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Morning Report: The Long Fight for the University of the South Bay

The clock is ticking on a big benefit for rooftop solar customers, researchers reveal a shocking human-trafficking study and City Heights is still waiting on the art it was promised.

The city of Chula Vista has tried for decades to get itself a four-year university. Things haven’t gone its way, but leaders aren’t giving up, reports Maya Srikrishnan, in a comprehensive overview of the years-long effort.

Last year, the city finalized agreements with area developers that secured enough land for a full campus. It promised those developers they’d get speedy review of any major projects they want to build nearby.

Now that the city’s paying consultants to recruit a school to town, they’ve charted a rare course for a city. Where most places have a school, and need to find it a place to grow and thrive, Chula Vista got the land first. Now it needs to find the university that’ll take it.

City Heights Still Waiting on Promised Art

When regional planners built I-15 through City Heights in the 1990s, they made some promises to the community that was cut in two. They were supposed to get a transit line to downtown, which is now under construction, plus a new park and two large transit plazas on bridges crossing the freeway.

But those transit plazas were also supposed to include art installations that have been cut for budget reasons, our Kinsee Morlan reports. In fact, the art component of the project’s been cut twice.

“Artful elements are nice, but they’re not necessary or integral to the project,” said Dave Schumacher, principal planner at SANDAG, on why the art installation keeps getting scrapped.

But local arts group Fairmount Corridor Arts Collaborative has set its sights on making sure the transit plazas get the art they were promised, Morlan explains.

11,000 Girls Caught in Local Sex Trafficking

The University of San Diego released a shocking study Monday, finding as many as 11,700 girls and young women are involved in a local $810 million underground sex trafficking industry, run mostly by street gangs. (NBC 7 San Diego)

Researchers said they hoped it would focus attention on the second largest underground industry (behind drugs) and highlight the severity of the problem to schools, law enforcement and social service providers.

Clock Is Ticking on Big Solar Benefit

Right now, residents with rooftop solar get one really big benefit: if they generate more power than they use, they can sell it back to SDG&E for retail prices, making their bills much cheaper.

KPBS reports the so-called net-metering program’s about to run out, and SDG&E is lobbying state regulators for a replacement that would let individuals sell power back at wholesale prices instead, a substantial hit to the incentives for installing rooftop solar.

Our Lisa Halverstadt spent a few months on this topic earlier this year, detailing how the bills for solar customers might change if SDG&E gets its way and the complicated relationship SDG&E has with solar in the first place. We also did a San Diego Explained segment with our friends at NBC on how net-metering works.

City Heights Soars in Common Core Test

America’s Finest Charter School in Chollas View is the highest-ranking low-income school in California, based on the reading and writing sections of the new “California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, KPBS reports.

Eighty percent of the school’s third graders are at or above grade level, well above the San Diego Unified School District’s 48 percent pass rate for low-income students and even above the districtwide rate of 69 percent.

Community Versus Climate

In a new story, newly announced Democratic mayoral candidate Gretchen Newsom tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that her top priorities will be giving voice to neighborhood groups, raising the minimum wage, increasing funding for job training programs, fighting climate change and making City Hall more transparent.

But recent experience suggests her first and fourth priorities are often in conflict. Opposition to dense development that decreases local residents’ carbon footprint often begins in the local planning groups Newsom looks to empower. That local opposition is a part of why San Diego is the worst metro area in California at allowing developers to build the type of housing that combats local contributions to climate change and combat income inequality.

Linkapalooza

• We have confirmation: As we gathered from social media yesterday, Albie’s Beef Inn, the old-fashioned Mission Valley institution, is closing its doors in December. It’s been open since 1962. (San Diego Eater)

• A nonprofit group founded by Sally Ride and intended make science and math education more available to women and other underrepresented students struck a permanent agreement to become part of UC San Diego. (KPBS)

• Construction crews broke ground yesterday on a freeway connection near the Otay Mesa border crossing. It’s expected to be completed by the end of 2016, and roughly 10 percent of its $21.5 million price tag came from the county’s half-cent sales tax, TransNet. (KPBS)

• A San Diego county prosecutor won’t go to jail after being arrested for drunk driving twice in less than two years. Instead, she’ll be part of two monitoring programs, after a judge sentenced her Monday. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

• Carlsbad and Escondido are preparing for the heavy rains promised by the looming El Nino (The Coast News Group)

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