The San Diego County Fair attracts thousands of visitors a year. A chair lift ride is seen here in 2017. / Photo by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

A recent ruling by a San Diego judge left San Diegans uncertain they’ll see the iconic County Fair this year.

That part you've probably read about. But behind those headlines is a judge’s description of alleged severe misconduct.

The reason the fair is in jeopardy is that judge's preliminary injunction on a contract awarded to carnival operator Ray Cammack Shows giving the company the job to run the rides and games at the fair.

The judge was reacting to an allegation. Del Mar Fairgrounds CEO Carlene Moore has been accused of rigging the contract. But as Tigist Layne explores in a new story, Moore still holds her position and has not faced any disciplinary action by the board that oversees the fair and Fairgrounds.

The 22nd Agricultural District operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds on behalf of the state, and the governor appoints its board members. Talley Amusements sued the district alleging it district changed the scores during the 2021 bid selection process to ensure that Ray Cammack Shows would win.   

Despite the judge's stunning decision, the district board has avoided taking any sort of disciplinary action and there's no indication the board or state has started an investigation of their own. 

Click here to read more about the allegations.

Housing Commission Scandal Coming Back Up for Discussion

The San Diego City Council will get an update Tuesday (behind closed doors) on its lawsuit against a real estate broker who helped the Housing Commission find and purchase hotels for the homeless. That broker, according to an internal legal review, made a large investment in one of the companies that sold a hotel to the commission.

The city attorney has alleged the broker and his employer broke state conflict-of-interest laws and made fraudulent representations to officials. The Housing Commission has conceded that two staffers knew of the transaction long before it became public but did not raise any concerns.

Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts have a refresher on the case in the Politics Report.

Ballot dreams: Also in the Politics Report, a City Council committee will consider potential ballot measures Wednesday. Councilman Chris Cate has requested voters consider waiving the coastal height limit in Midway to enable redevelopment of Sports Arena.

A deal: It also looks like the beef between labor and SDSU over the new Mission Valley stadium has largely subsided. The two sides traded some fire quotes a couple months ago after union leaders accused the university of reneging on a previous deal. 

On the podcast: our hosts dug into a story last week by Lewis about the persistence of tent encampments and why so many people are choosing to live in them over shelters. They also talked about development now that San Diego officials have conceded they won’t build a massive transit hub at the Navy’s huge NAVWAR building. 

Dennis V. Allen Park
The playground at Dennis V. Allen Park in Southeastern San Diego. / Photo by Megan Wood

Mayor Unveils New Budget Requests

The Union-Tribune reported Friday San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is proposing across-the-board increases to spending on parks, the arts, homeless services, fighting climate change and other quality-of-life services, everything from graffiti abatement to infrastructure. 

He’s able to do so thanks to left-over federal aid, revived tax revenues and a shrinking annual pension payment.

“What we want to accomplish in this budget is to begin a transition from a sort of reactive and crisis-oriented approach to one that is much more stable and service-oriented and capable of meeting the expectations and needs of our residents and the neighborhoods of our city,” the mayor told the newspaper.

EPA and IBWC Find Path Around Congressional Stall on Tijuana Pollution

While San Diego waits for Congress to figure out how to get the border region its funding to build a bigger and better Tijuana sewage plant, the EPA and IBWC say they’ve found a path forward to avoid further delay.

Basically, the Clean Water Act allows EPA to give IBWC some funds to start planning and design of that U.S.-side wastewater plant that helps treat Tijuana sewage which could otherwise spill across the border into San Diego.

But, EPA said the current plant - which has some overdue repairs – will need some upgrades first. Will the $300 million from Congress to do all this work be enough cash?

Read more of the story here.

In Other News

  • Mother Jones compared eviction and census data in California and concluded that families living in majority-Latino neighborhoods faced a lockout rate greater than that experienced by people in majority-white neighborhoods. The magazine profiled one such family in Chula Vista. 
  • A video of city crews destroying bicycles as they cleaned out a homeless tent encampment went viral on social media. The city addressed some of the outrage on Twitter posts saying that the bikes were examined and determined to be inoperable.
  • The San Diego City Council is set to consider the sale of a little more than 5 acres for $35.1 million and approving new construction for mid- and high-rise buildings at Tailgate Park. The $1.5 billion development plan has drawn some criticism from people who argue that the city should prioritize affordable housing, the Union-Tribune reports. (FYI this link if for subscribers only)
  • KPBS reports that as the job market heats up, the Navy is offering a $25,000 signing bonus for new sailors who agree to ship out for training by the end of June. 

Correction: An earlier version of the article, “How San Diego Will Feed its Appetite for Solar Energy” incorrectly identified Bill Powers’ affiliation. He is a board member of the Protect Our Communities Foundation.

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

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