Mylor Davis, owner of Pots & Pans clothing, prepares his sewing machine on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Ocean Beach. The street vendor sets up a booth almost ever week to sell his custom designs. / Photo by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

For years, sidewalk vending in San Diego has served as a pathway for people who want to start a business but don’t necessarily have the means or knowledge to open a storefront. You could call them microentrepreneurs.

But the rows of merchants who line Balboa Park and beach areas have also been subject to complaints about trash and other health concerns.

The city’s long-awaited rules around vendors go into effect later this month and are intended to provide some clarity on the permitting process. Andrea Lopez-Villafaña has more details on the history of the dispute and what to expect next.

Because there’s been some confusion about when the rules go into place, the city is promising to educate vendors and provide a grace period to get caught up.

It’s the product of a state law that decriminalized street vending and that prohibited cities from cracking down on merchants for reasons unrelated to public health, safety and access.

Read the full update here.

Millions Roll Back Into Public Coffers in Wake of A3 Charter Scandal

Another $18.75 million has been paid out to San Diego County in the wake of the A3 online charter school scandal, the District Attorney’s office announced. All in all, roughly $240 million has been recovered from the A3 enterprise. Some of that money will go to the county, some to the state and some is still being held by a court-appointed receiver.

Money that goes to the county will be earmarked to help school-aged children.

The A3 scandal, exposed by local prosecutors in 2019, was audacious in scope. After enrolling tens of thousands of students — some who took classes and many who did not — A3’s network of 19 online charter schools brought in roughly $400 million. The two ringleaders pushed some $80 million of that money into private companies they controlled.

We wrote a definitive account of the scandal in 2019. The scheme exposed loopholes in how the state funds schools and the auditing process all public schools undergo. The case also brought to light a system that allowed small school districts to rake in millions of dollars for authorizing charter schools.

Most Federal Assistance for Child Care Went to Higher Income Areas

During our cost-of-living series in March, we told you about the difficulties facing childcare centers, many of which had closed and had yet to return.

KPBS took a closer look at state data and reported Wednesday that some local ZIP codes lost between 20 percent and 50 percent of their childcare centers after COVID hit. But the effect was far from equal.

Most of the money distributed through the federal paycheck protection loan program to keep child care facilities open went to higher income areas. One provider in City Heights told KPBS she didn’t apply because she was afraid of going into debt and didn’t know the loan would ultimately be forgiven.

In Other News

  • KPBS reports that Chula Vista has quietly amended its contract with Motorola to provide the software that would power the police department’s real-time operations center, but privacy concerns remain. Jesse Marx wrote last summer more about the city’s efforts to gather and analyze intelligence, relying on a private corporation to become the “eyes and ears” of emergency responders.
  • In an overview of the San Diego County sheriff’s race for Bolts magazine, Kelly Davis writes that 10 people have died in the custody of San Diego jails so far this year. Eighteen died last year, which is more than New York City. All three frontrunners in the upcoming election have pledged to make the local jails safer, but they are bringing vastly different commitments to the table.
  • Crews broke ground on a water purification plant in East County that could purify up to 11.5 million gallons per day when completed. (City News Service)

This Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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