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Morning Report: The School Board Money Race


November’s election will be the first test of new rules for electing San Diego Unified’s board of trustees, who are now voted on only by residents of each sub-district rather than the whole city. The move was meant to allow candidates with less funding to compete, but despite the change spending by the union that represents San Diego Unified teachers may still have a big impact on the races.

In District C, conservative charter school founder Becca WIlliams has badly outraised liberal Cody Petterson, an adviser to Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. But even given the around $114,000 Williams has raised dwarfs the around $44,000 Petterson has raised, union spending on the race has more than made up for the gap. The union has dumped around $93,000 into mailers and digital ads for Petterson.

The fundraising totals in sub-district B are even more uneven. Not only has former nonprofit executive Shana Hazan raised nearly $120,000 more than her opponent Godwin Higa, a former SDUSD educator and principal, the union has also pitched in nearly $49,000.

Read more about each candidate’s fundraising hauls – and what they’ve spent their funds on.

IB Approves Mobile Home and RV Park Protections

An empty parcel inside the Miramar Imperial Beach Mobile Home and RV Park. / Photo by Jesse Marx

The Imperial Beach City Council pressed ahead Wednesday with rental protections intended to help the residents of Miramar Imperial Beach Mobile Home and RV Park who’ve been complaining about living conditions and a policy requiring they move out every six months.

The ordinance, approved unanimously with one member absent, includes an eviction moratorium and no more than 5 percent annual rent increase. Though mobile home and RV park regulations typically fall under state jurisdiction, elected officials said they were motivated by a sense of urgency, so that many of the residents don’t end up on the streets.

Several speakers at the meeting who were sympathetic to the park owners warned that the ordinance would trigger legal action, arguing that officials were overstepping their authority.

“We don’t want to evict anyone,” said Victor Martinez, the property manager and part-owner. “We don’t want to make anyone unhoused or homeless, but we do have to operate a business.”

After a representative from the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association argued that the city hadn’t provided evidence of rising rents and evictions, one of the residents, Connie Villapando, showed off a copy of her five-day notice to leave. Other residents spoke of an open sewer that had been repaired with tape and a trash bag.

Alysson Snow, an attorney who’s representing several tenants pro-bono, also told the City Council that the park was engaging in unfair business practices by shuffling around people who weren’t causing a disturbance. Their real offense, she said, was standing up for their rights.

The harshest words came from outgoing Mayor Serge Dedina, who said the city’s job was ensuring that its residents weren’t treated like garbage. He called the move-out policy “absolutely insane.”

Last week, one of the park owners donated nearly $10,000 to mayoral candidate Shirley Nakawatase’s campaign. She’s running against Councilwoman Paloma Aguirre, who proposed the ordinance, and Councilman Jack Fisher.

“If I upset an Oregon hippie slumlord with $10,000 in cash to buy off political candidates, no problem,” Dedina said to applause. 

North County Politics and the Abortion Rights Proposition

Protesters march through downtown in response to the decision that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

As California voters prepare to vote on Proposition 1, a measure that would cement the right to abortion in the state’s constitution, some candidates are increasingly focusing on reproductive rights as a central part of their campaigns, even at the city council level.

In North County, two candidates – Democratic Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Republican small business owner Matt Gunderson – are running for state Senate District 38, which encompasses some North County coastal cities.

Over the past few months, the issue of abortion has quickly become a focal point of the tight race, both candidates disagreeing over who is pro-choice and who isn’t.

Proposition 1 has also caused division on a local level, the San Marcos and Vista City Councils both recently considered resolutions that would show support for Proposition 1 and urge residents to vote for it.

Both councils ended up rejecting the respective resolutions, each disagreeing on what the city council’s role should be in the Prop 1 debate. San Marcos and Vista both have mayoral seats and council seats up for election in November.

Read this week’s North County Report here.

In Other News

  • It’s been a year since agents executed search warrants in a criminal probe surrounding the city’s 101 Ash St. and Civic Center plaza leases. The U-T reports that the district attorney’s case remains murky and experts say prosecutors have their work cut out for them. “A mistake in a high-profile case like this one could be politically fatal,” said one law professor. 
  • The U-T also reports that military service members are getting a pay increase and bump in their housing allowance for the rest of the year as the cost of housing rises. 
  • Times of San Diego reports that a former president of the Chula Vista Democratic Club has filed a complaint accusing mayoral candidate John McCann of violating city and state campaign finance laws. It comes in response to McCann’s decision to hire a private investigator to monitor his political rival. 

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Jesse Marx and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.