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Top Stories: Sept. 7-14

These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Sept. 7-14.

Top: SDSU’s vision for the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley. Bottom: SoccerCity’s vision for the site.

These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Sept. 7-14.

1. Just How Close SoccerCity and SDSU Got to a Deal and How it All Fell Apart

For a year, the mayor’s office, San Diego State University executives and FS Investors worked to put together a deal to transform the land into a joint soccer-football stadium. They came as close as it gets to an agreement, until it all fell apart. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how that happened. Now the onetime partners are backing competing ballot measures to reimagine Mission Valley. (Scott Lewis)

2. Poway Teachers Ousted for Relationships With Students Kept Working in Education

Poway Unified agreed not to mention to future employers that two high school teachers at separate schools had been forced out for having romantic relationships with students. Their cases reveal how district decisions, and a slow-moving state system, can leave future employers largely in the dark, allowing those ousted for misconduct to continue working with youth. (Ashly McGlone)

3. Downtown’s Free Transit Service Is San Diego’s Most Expensive by Far

The civic organizations behind Free Ride Everywhere Downtown, or FRED, consider the program a success and are even discussing expanding it. But for all the benefits, the trips cost more than twice that of a ride on public transportation. (Andrew Keatts)

4. The Other Plan to Turn a Balboa Park Parking Lot Into a Public Plaza

City leaders still haven’t broken ground on a controversial revamp of Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, but park activists are now pushing a different plan to turn a parking lot into a pedestrian plaza. (Kinsee Morlan)

5. Report Urges San Diego Unified to Track Students Who Leave Before Graduating

A new report on San Diego Unified’s graduation rate for the class of 2016 confirms that a significant portion of students left district high schools for charters, a finding first reported as part of a yearlong Voice of San Diego investigation. (Will Hunstberry)

6. Culture Report: More Artists Exiting East Village

Scars become art in a new exhibition, Balboa Park boosters have their hearts set on a different parking lot-to-plaza revamp and more in our weekly digest of the region’s arts and culture news. (Kinsee Morlan)

7. Sacramento Report: 3 Times California Out-California’d Itself

Homelessness funding is starting to roll in, Gov. Jerry Brown signs three new bills from local lawmakers and more in our weekly digest of news from Sacramento. (Sara Libby)

8. Auditors Flag Troubling Water Department Hiring Practices

City workers may have helped their friends and family get jobs in the city’s troubled water department, according to two recent investigations. (Ry Rivard)

9. Politics Report: The Other SANDAG Leadership Search

The fallout over the San Diego County Taxpayers Association resignations continues, National City Mayor speaks about the Ear McNeil protesters and more. (Andrew Keatts and Ashly McGlone)

10. The Water Department’s Latest Problem: Its Own Employees (and Lack Thereof)

A new audit, one in a series of critical reports on the department, found some workers were putting in a half day of work and getting full pay. It also found understaffing could be a problem. (Ry Rivard)

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