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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

Pretty slick, City

Lawsuit challenges "euphemistically labeled 'assessments'" — taxes!

It's official, expanding the convention center through the use of a special tax on hotel guests is not going to happen. Yesterday, August 27, city councilmembers decided against appealing a court ruling that deemed the ...

Shriners as burn victims

Group files lawsuit for damages to 25-acre camp destroyed in 2013

Members of the Al Bahr Mount Laguna Shrine Camp are asking the federal government to take responsibility for the loss of their 90-year-old lodge and 116 cabins destroyed in the Chariot Fire in 2013. Shriners ...

“Free” city land just got pricey

Sunroad to pay for controversial Kearny Mesa easement deal

The 18 feet in easements that city councilmembers gave to Sunroad for their Kearny Mesa development isn't free after all. Today, August 22, the developer, the City of San Diego, and attorney Cory Briggs agreed ...

Who's bitch-slapping who?

Unpermitted work on Grand Del Mar still under toothless scrutiny

Doug Manchester, owner of the Grand Del Mar and publisher of the U-T, is coming closer to having permits for the illegal work done on his property over the course of the past decade. Next ...

Time’s up, Development Services Dept.

New lawsuit filed for unfulfilled public-records request

The city will defend yet another lawsuit for not complying with California's Public Records Act. The latest complaint was filed by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation on August 14. The attorneys for the foundation, Marco ...

Watch it, bud

Medical marijuana patients say city's ordinance violates disability laws.

Medical marijuana patients aren't sitting idly by watching city attorney and city council wage a legal battle against illegal dispensaries and the landlords that lease space to them. On August 13, eight medical marijuana patients ...

Pride flag funding problem?

City auditor to send complaint to state attorney general

The Hillcrest Community Foundation, the group in charge of collecting donations for Hillcrest's Pride Flag monument, may soon be the subject of an investigation by California's attorney general's office. According to an email obtained by ...

Sunroad to salvage soured sweetheart deal?

Former deputy city attorney Andrea Contreras is on the job

The 18 feet of city-owned parkland that the San Diego City Council gave to developer Sunroad Centrum isn't free after all. On August 1, San Diego Superior Court judge Timothy Taylor issued a temporary restraining ...

Would-be railroad baron backstory

More questions raised about the Desert Line

Rancho Tembabichi: the 21,326 acre beachfront property in Mexico touted by the principals of Pacific Imperial Railroad, operators of the controversial Desert Line, as collateral for a loan to pay for repairs on the line ...

Cross-border terminal may soon become reality

With no thanks for Ralph Nieders

There will be shovels, most likely a ribbon of some sort, and, of course, a group of well-dressed developers and public officials. They will stand at a barren plot of land in Otay Mesa, the ...

Thanks for the "offer," Briggs

City attorney's office refutes basis of email lawsuit against Goldsmith

City attorney Jan Goldsmith isn't backing off in the lawsuit that accuses him of withholding emails to lobbyists and reporters from multiple private accounts . On August 3, three days after the city council approved ...

If we were transparent...

CalAware sends a letter to Civic San Diego after Faulconer pulls a fast one

Civic San Diego: Agree to abide by the state's open-meeting laws or prepare to defend those practices in court. That was the gist of a July 31 cease-and-desist letter from open-government advocacy group Californians Aware ...

Between open government and a hard place

City attorney Goldsmith and councilman Gloria offered deal in email lawsuit

Last Tuesday, July 29, San Diego City Council members retroactively approved city attorney Jan Goldsmith's decision to hire outside attorneys to represent him in a lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed after he refused to turn ...

No qualified electors here, folks

Convention-center expansion plan has to go to the ballot

San Diego's strategy to levy a tax on hotels in order to pay for the expansion of the convention center not only violates California's state constitution but municipal law as well, ruled the Fourth District ...

Calm down, Mr. Congressman!

News of back taxes doesn't make MTS support for Desert Line waver

Pacific Imperial Railroad, the company that leases the binational track — also known as the Desert Line — from San Diego's Metropolitan Transit System, is in financial peril and has been for some time. According ...

An attorney for the city attorney

Council asked to approve counsel for Goldsmith a month after he hired them

City attorney Jan Goldsmith is asking the San Diego City Council for help in a lawsuit over his refusal to turn over private emails he sent to reporters and lobbyists from multiple email accounts. His ...

This land is my land...this land is not your land

Property owner sues county for notice of entry to clear trash and weeds.

In an unincorporated part of El Cajon, property owner Tommy Matthews is fighting a court order obtained by the county to access the property in order to remove weeds, trash, and other debris. On July ...

Near naked and unafraid of the SDPD

Another Cheetahs stripper lodges lawsuit against police department

The flap over San Diego Police Department's raid on two strip joints earlier this year is nowhere near finished. On July 16, a dancer named as "Jane Doe" filed a lawsuit against the police department ...

Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Uncovered document tells of desert railway drug-smuggling bust in 2010

Would officials at Metropolitan Transit System knowingly lease a public asset to a company that was penalized for smuggling drugs across the border? It appears so. According to a “Notice of Penalty” obtained by the ...

Lawyer's money train seems to be stopping

James Warner involved with controversial railroad

James Warner, the criminal defense attorney who yesterday pled guilty to stashing $100,000 in drug money for a client of his, has played a role in other allegedly fraudulent endeavors in San Diego County. Warner ...

Civic San Diego rankles Frye

Former councilmember says agency is preparing to run afoul of Brown Act

Civic San Diego boardmembers will meet tomorrow for a last-minute meeting. At the meeting, their first order of business will be adjourn the meeting. The tactic is a way around open-government laws as a way ...

Sue me

City attorney's lawyer threatens attorney Briggs with defamatory lawsuit

City attorney Jan Goldsmith is spending taxpayer money on lawyers to represent him in a lawsuit from San Diegans for Open Government, which challenges his refusal to turn over private emails that he sent to ...

Hear that train a comin'?

Railway company makes overdue lease payment

On Friday, July 11, the Metropolitan Transit System's offices received the outstanding $500,000 lease payment from Pacific Imperial Railroad, the company that leases a portion of the binational railroad. In a brief statement, MTS spokesperson ...

Ché OK ... for now

The Ché Cafe, the music venue and cafe collective at the University of California at San Diego, will remain open until a full hearing can be held. On July 10, a Superior Court Judge issued ...

Who owns Rancho Tembabichi?

Metropolitan Transit System to face more questions about railroad deal

On July 9, officials from the Metropolitan Transit System responded to a letter from congressmen Duncan Hunter Jr. and Jeff Denham listing their concerns regarding what they felt to be a "significantly mismanaged" public asset. ...

Mayor Faulconer said it was okay

City Attorney Goldsmith goes to court tomorrow

The question of who gave city attorney Jan Goldsmith authority to hire outside legal counsel on the city's dime without council approval is answered, says the city attorney's office. Assistant city attorney Dan Bamberg says ...

Such a deck

Pacific Beach Shore Club expansion met with more resistance from residents

A group of residents has filed a second lawsuit against the city and California Coastal Commission for giving a popular bar and restaurant in Pacific Beach the green light to build an 1895-square-foot deck outside. ...

Goldsmith digs in

City attorney hires legal counsel to defend him in email lawsuit

City attorney Jan Goldsmith needs legal help. He has hired outside counsel in the case brought against him for his failure to turn over emails from his personal email account to reporters and others. In ...

MTS chief Jablonski railroaded?

Congressmen seek answers regarding backcountry railway deal

United States congressmen Duncan Hunter and Jeff Denham have put Metropolitan Transit System on notice: Explain the reason for delays and the transit authority's reasoning for granting a non-experienced, allegedly corrupt company a 99-year lease ...

Pension settlement pending

City to pay former board members another $1.18 million for legal fees

San Diego's fight against having to pay legal fees for six former pension-board members accused of raising benefits, including their own, while reducing the amount the city pays into the pension system, is over. On ...

Bylaws and sweethearts in Hillcrest

The Hillcrest Business Improvement Association has been forced to rescind what has been an effective method at keeping whistleblowers or other non-desirables from becoming a member or joining its board. That strategy? Rewrite the bylaws. ...

Environmentalists win one

Pardee Homes agrees to redesign project in Santee

Environmental groups have claimed victory in a lawsuit against Pardee Homes to prevent what they feel would be irreparable harm to the San Diego River in Santee. John Buse, attorney for the Center for Biological ...

You’re going down, Phoenix Lucha Libre

San Diego restaurant claims copyright infringement

In this corner, hailing from San Diego, adorned in hot pink, black, and light blue, we have Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop. And in this corner, hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, also wearing hot pink, black, ...

Cole seeks cash to snuff campaign backfire

Former opponent Crenshaw claims crackhouse-association defamation

City councilmember Myrtle Cole is looking for cash to fight a defamation lawsuit filed by her former opponent, Dwayne Crenshaw. The lawsuit accuses Cole of dirty politics when her campaign sent out mailers placing Crenshaw ...

Cops’ code of criminality attacked

Lawsuit alleges SDPD is an incubator for sexual predators

There are unwritten codes in the San Diego Police Department, a so-called "two-tiered system of justice," where officers become untouchable and above the law. That system has served as an incubator for sexually violent predators ...

Adiós, Ché?

Attorneys for UCSD café question motives for eviction

University of California San Diego administrators are wasting no time in shutting down its Ché Café, a student-run cooperative. The school says that the popular music and arts venue and hangout is run down and ...

Fizzle for shizzle in La Jolla

City to settle fireworks lawsuit, but too late to plan for display

The city's decision to fight the lawsuits over fireworks at La Jolla Cove has officially backfired. On Tuesday, June 17, city councilmembers were asked to approve doling out $250,000 to the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation ...

From math teacher to political powerhouse

School-district board president Kevin Beiser is not described as humble.

Not long after getting elected trustee for the San Diego Unified School District in 2010, Kevin Beiser returned to the campaign trail. Some say he never left. Since 2010, Beiser has raised nearly $80,000 and ...

Minimum-wage hike may have legal impacts

City attorney’s office issues warning of “very fact intensive” analysis

The San Diego City Council's attempt at hiking the minimum wage to $13.09 could make way for some uphill legal battles, warns a June 6 memo from the city attorney's office. The Committee on Economic ...

Downtown windfall on the down low

City and Civic San Diego sit on $23.5 million in developer impact fees

Surely downtown residents would be thrilled to discover the city kept a secret stash totaling $23.5 million that could only be spent filling downtown's potholed streets, building parks, leveling uneven sidewalks, or funding public safety ...

City's pot-shop governance machinery on overload

Applications and lawsuits glut the system right now

While the city attorney's office remains busy filing lawsuits against owners of dispensaries and the people who lease them their space, the city's Development Services department is stuck processing dozens of applications for new dispensaries ...

Cory Briggs, environmental ambulance-chaser?

City attorney takes aim at lawyer and his non-profits

City attorney Jan Goldsmith and the attorneys working for him are doing their best to try and dig out the thorn in their side whose name is Cory Briggs. Briggs is an environmental lawyer who ...

Balboa Park Golf Course plan gets go-ahead

City attorney's office deems funding method sound

The City of San Diego, golfers who frequent the Balboa Park Golf Course, and pedestrians who traipse and cycle the the winding road where the clubhouse is located hope to replace the 1930s clubhouse, pathways, ...

SDPD officer says fellow cop abused power

Same officer has been in the news before…

On May 23, officer John Ampol and the San Diego Police Officers Association filed a formal complaint against the SDPD, alleging that a department hearing officer abused his power and failed to provide Ampol with ...

The Carmel Valley battle for square footage

L.A.-based Kilroy Realty sues SD for illegally giving away easements

The bell has sounded in a heavyweight battle between two Carmel Valley developers and the City is caught in the middle of it all. Kilroy Realty, the Los Angeles–based developer of the massive One Paseo ...

Are we fluoridated? Or not?

Dentist sues city for not releasing documents

On May 20, David Kennedy, a local dentist who was turned away after requesting documents pertaining to the addition of fluoride compounds in the city's water supply, filed what is the latest legal complaint against ...

You got a permit for that trail?

Trails of Tierrasanta are paved with good intentions.

On weekends, in the canyons surrounding San Diego’s community of Tierrasanta, urban guerrillas hack through chapparal with picks and other tools, transforming once-narrow coyote paths into smooth, broad hiking trails. The urban vigilantes have carved ...

Garbage truckers’ gripes

Lawsuit claims city devised computer program to cheat workers

While some members on the city council push to increase the minimum wage, attorneys for the city will be preparing their defense in a class-action lawsuit from an employee who says the city violated California's ...

City hit up for storm-water violations

Public and private projects to blame, taxpayers to pay

Cash continues to flow from San Diego's coffers to pay for storm-water drain violations and to remediate pollution sites throughout the city and bay. More funds will be needed. On May 13, the San Diego ...

Tax and spend on salaries and council campaigns

Does Downtown San Diego Partnership play by the rules? Are there rules?

City-council candidates Lorie Zapf and Chris Cate have a solid partner in the Downtown San Diego Partnership. The agency that manages the city's largest property-based improvement district and its CEO Kris Michell has gone to ...

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