Lori Lapointe of Project Ujima, a program of the Family Engagement Department of the San Diego Unified School District which caters to African-American families, at the Harold J. Ballard Parent Center on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Old Town, San Diego. / Photo by Vito di Stefano for Planetcob
Lori Lapointe of Project Ujima, a program of the Family Engagement Department of the San Diego Unified School District which caters to African-American families, at the Harold J. Ballard Parent Center on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Old Town, San Diego. / Photo by Vito di Stefano for Planetcob

In his latest Progress Report, Jakob McWhinney focuses on a program targeting parent education called Project Ujima run by San Diego Unified’s Family Engagement Department. Ujima is the principle of “collective work and responsibility,” one of seven celebrated in the tradition of Kwanzaa which draws from African values. 

Its founders set up the program to focus on Black families by bringing them together to support each other while solving problems. They hold meetings for families with food, childcare, places for students to do their homework and translation services. They arrange college visits, invite recent college graduates to guide families through the process, how to navigate applications and financial aid. 

But now this 15-year-old program is at risk of falling victims to district budget cuts that slash their staff.

“I don't know how my families will be able to seek support when there's only three total people in the department,” said one program teacher.

Read the Progress Report here.

County Boss Pick: Ebony Shelton

Board of Supervisors meeting at the San Diego County Administration Building in downtown on Dec. 5, 2023.
Board of Supervisors meeting at the San Diego County Administration Building in downtown on Dec. 5, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

We hinted at who could be the new leader of the county’s 18,000 employees last week, but now we know for sure.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors have chosen Ebony Shelton, the county’s top finance official, to become the new chief administrative officer, Chair Nora Vargas announced Wednesday.

The supervisors will vote to approve the appointment and Shelton’s employment agreement next week Tuesday. If that goes well, her start date would be June 14, the Union-Tribune reports.

Shelton would be the first Black woman to run the county. She currently works as the deputy chief administrative officer and chief financial officer.

  • Meanwhile, in the city of San Diego: The Union-Tribune reports that many city firefighters are rallying for a deputy chief to become the Fire-Rescue Department’s next leader.

More Details on Death at Safe Sleeping Site

A homeless man lay dead in a tent at one of the city’s safe campsites for more than two days before he was found dead after a drug overdose this fall.

inewsource reported that workers for Dreams for Change, which oversees the site, found 65-year-old Ralph Threatt dead in his tent and the 20th and B Street safe sleeping site after noticing a foul odor and noted that the nonprofit relied on a meal sign-up sheet they acknowledged they hadn’t seen Threatt sign to estimate the last time he was accounted for.

Dreams for Change declined to comment on the incident but a city spokesperson told inewsource that staff have since implemented some changes including “more thorough procedures to verify a person’s status during a wellness checks” though he didn’t say if those changes followed Threatt’s death.

Threatt is one of at least four people who have died while staying at the city’s safe campsites.

In Other News

  • After previous resistance, the Coronado City Council has approved a new housing plan it hopes will put it back into compliance with state laws. (KPBS)
  • The city’s planning commission on Thursday advanced plans to dramatically increase the number of homes in University City and Hillcrest. (CBS 8)
  • A proposed class action accuses the city of falsely claiming it made flood-control fixes in the Chollas Creek neighborhoods that were devastated during the Jan. 22 downpour. (Union-Tribune)
  • A UC San Diego professor has sued the county alleging it suddenly ended contracts with her consulting firm after she made a sexual harassment claim against former supervisor Nathan Fletcher at the university last spring. (CBS 8)

The Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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