/Morning Report: Chula Vista Public Safety Staffing Stagnant After Tax Hike

Morning Report: Chula Vista Public Safety Staffing Stagnant After Tax Hike

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

When Chula Vista pitched voters in 2018 on its second tax increase in two years, leaders cited public safety needs. The groups that supported Measure A promised that the money wouldn’t merely plug a hole in the budget. It would be spent on more cops and firefighters.

The money is coming in, but hiring is going slow.

Scott Lewis and Megan Wood report that city leaders have offered a variety of excuses — and a lack of money is not yet one of them. City officials, for instance, said they’ve been struggling to fill the available positions.

In other words, one year after Measure A was approved, there has been very little change to the number of people patrolling Chula Vista’s streets or responding to emergency calls.

The question of whether the city was making good on its promises to taxpayers was kicked up earlier this month when Councilwoman Jill Galvez announced she was firing her only aide. His salary, however, is not being allocated to the city’s public safety budget.

A Charter Scam, and a Statewide Crackdown

In this week’s Learning Curve, VOSD’s Will Huntsberry looks at a charter school scam laid out in a new indictment that alleges the school netted some $50 million in taxpayer money by falsely enrolling thousands of students in summer school.

The indictment, which was obtained by the Union-Tribune, explains how the school enrolled student athletes into summer credit recovery program, but the students didn’t take any classes. The owners of the company still pocketed state dollars on their behalf.

In this week’s San Diego Explained, Huntsberry and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia explain California’s plan to crack down on charter schools.

Also in this week’s education newsletter, Huntsberry write about how Democratic presidential candidates are courting teachers unions.

Beach Wrestling and Beach Karate, We Hardly Knew Ye

Turns out San Diego isn’t so classy after all.

The World Beach Games, an Olympic-style competition that includes water ski jumping and wakeboarding (as well as beach wrestling, beach tennis and beach karate), was set to begin here in less than five months. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, the organization behind the international event is backing out.

In a statement, the Association of National Olympic Committees said it’d been in talks with other cities “that have the financial guarantees necessary and a proven track record to host a world-class event.”

Reuters cited a lack of funding and sponsorships in San Diego and dubbed the World Beach Games a “troubled” event from the start. It was supposed to be staged in 2017 but got delayed.

Breaking: Coronado Has Millionaires, IB Has Meanies

The Union-Tribune reports that Imperial Beach could lose $50,000 after two of its officials publicly criticized a neighboring city for not joining a federal lawsuit intended to stop cross-border sewage spills.

Two years ago, Coronado agreed to cover some of the costs of IB’s litigation with the International Boundary and Water Commission. That agreement included a “no disparagement” clause preventing IB officials from criticizing Coronado. Yet criticize they did.  

“Coronado … a city laden with millionaires, with millions of dollars in the bank, tons of money, has done almost nothing to help us and their beaches are almost as polluted as ours,” IB Mayor Serge Dedina told KPBS. “It’s not fair that Imperial Beach is left holding the bag.”

Earlier this year, Dedina and other South Bay leaders successfully lobbied the city of San Diego to join their lawsuit. Still, he’s expressed frustration to us at how long it’s taking to come up with a solution.

Part of the Imperial Beach shoreline was closed Thursday due to contaminated runoff from the Tijuana River, City News Service reports.

Hunter Says He Killed Civilians, Children

In defense of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, Rep. Duncan Hunter told the hosts of a military podcast released Tuesday that he probably killed upward of “hundreds of civilians,” including children, on the battlefield, the U-T reports.

Hunter has been a public advocate for Edward Gallagher as the chief special operator awaits a military court trial in San Diego. At a town hall over the weekend, Hunter said he, too, had posed for photos with dead enemy combatants.

It drew a critical response from the Marine Corps. A spokesman issued a statement saying the intentional mistreatment of the dead could be a violation of the laws of war.

Lawyers for Gallagher, in the meantime, have accused military prosecutors of withholding evidence and conducting surveillance on the defense. While attempting to find the source of news leaks in the case, a prosecutor traced when and where email messages were opened by recipients, the Associated Press reports.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.