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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

Man struck by police cruiser gets day in court

City attorney accused of "frivolous defense"

A July 2014 auto collision involving an on-duty police officer who rear-ended a car on Friars Road will go to trial on Friday, August 26. Attorneys for the plaintiff, William Raines, however, say the city ...

A thief’s aquatic paradise

Larcenous land sharks trawl SeaWorld’s water park

As summer temperatures soar, crowds flock to SeaWorld-owned waterpark Aquatica, which sits in the Otay River Valley in southeast Chula Vista two miles east of Interstate 805. The Australian and Kiwi-themed water park, next door ...

SDSU's Coach Burns refused to remain silent

Fired soon after a 27-win season

On August 26, Beth Burns — San Diego State University's longtime women's basketball head coach who is suing the university for wrongful termination — will get her day in a different type of court than ...

Encinitas No Rail Trail group displeased

Mayoral candidate/councilwoman Blakespear answers accusations

A group of Encinitas residents is accusing a councilmember of rigging the public process in a proposal to construct biking and walking paths along San Elijo Avenue in Cardiff. The residents feel the Cardiff portion ...

Puppy-mill protesters vs. Escondido Fire Department

City holds out on banning stores that sell pets of poor provenance

The Escondido Fire Department is being sued for restricting protesters' efforts against Escondido Pets (formerly known as California Pets), a commercial dog-breeder operating at the Westfield Shopping Mall in Escondido. According to an August 3 ...

Heritage status for deceased husband's pepper tree

City follows through on mayor's Mother's Day promise

The Brazilian pepper tree that Marie Ostwald's now-deceased husband planted in 1959 can stay for good, says an August 7 letter from the City of San Diego's Planning Department. After review from the Community Forestry ...

State fines Plaza de Panama project consultant

Technicality, says Gordon David Kovtun of KCM Group

The State of California's labor commissioner has fined the lead consultant on the Plaza de Panama project $19,200 for hiring unlicensed contractors and failing to issue pay stubs to two employees. According to a complaint ...

Judge Curiel sides with the Donald

Country's largest media companies denied access to two videotaped depositions

Gonzalo Curiel, the federal court judge presiding over the Trump University case in San Diego, has denied a motion from the country's largest media companies to obtain two videotaped depositions given by Donald Trump during ...

San Diego’s pension investments tied to luxury trips?

Thousands spent on city officer Jamie “Jet Set” Hamrick over 15-month period

Take an all-expenses paid trip to Shanghai and stay in the 307-room state-of-the-art Hyatt Andaz overlooking the city’s skyline. Follow it up with a two-night stay at the Four Seasons Hotel perched above Boston’s Public ...

Steady as she goes on proposed Balboa Park project

City attorney advises seeking opinion from Fair Political Practices Commission

The San Diego city attorney's office has cleared the way for the city to rehire Plaza de Panama building consultant KCM Group to complete design work on the controversial Cabrillo Bridge bypass road in Balboa ...

Francis Parker School expansion approved

"I am not sympathetic to residents that live near high schools."

San Diego's planning commission approved a proposed expansion of Francis Parker School in Linda Vista today (July 28). The private high school expansion calls for a net increase of approximately 62,000 square feet of new ...

Hillcrest homeless decision leads to cyber-bully incident

Then media onslaught from publisher of gay newspaper and Carl DeMaio

Opposition to Hillcrest Business Association's decision to hire a security firm to chase out disruptive homeless people from the community has caused the association to cancel a meeting due to reports of cyber-bullying and online ...

Seaport Village "chills free speech"

Tourist spot accused of fleecing groups by forcing them to hire attorneys

An animal-rights group is suing Seaport Village and the company that manages it for implementing strict guidelines to prevent free speech from occurring at the tourist attraction. The complaint also asks that a judge place ...

Palomar Community College District's growing pain

City seeks to halt plans for 27-acre campus in Rancho Bernardo

The City of San Diego is asking a judge to halt progress on Palomar Community College District's proposal to build a new campus on 27 acres in Rancho Bernardo. The proposed South Education Center Project ...

How Hillcrest sidestepped Uptown planners

Is the business district flouting the law?

The Hillcrest Business Improvement District has added community planning to its list of responsibilities. In June 2016, Ben Nicholls, executive director for the Hillcrest Business Association, the nonprofit that manages the local business improvement district, ...

Sale of Truax House seems imminent

Historical significance validated in report

The sale of the Truax House, considered one of the nation's first hospices for AIDS patients, is one step closer to being finalized. According to an email obtained by the Reader from an asset manager ...

Biker accident victims win $375K settlement

Claim says city failed to "designate, place, situate, sign, stripe, mark, paint, delineate, illuminate, design, construct..."

On Tuesday, July 19, city councilmembers will approve a $375,000 settlement for a couple who were injured in a 2013 motorcycle accident that occurred at an intersection outside of a Walmart in Clairemont Mesa. Garrett ...

Councilman Alvarez charges colleagues with devious ploy

"I look forward to the day when the City takes open government seriously."

On July 11, San Diego city councilmembers firmly shut the door on the open-government ballot measure which, if passed, would have designated communications sent by city officials and non-union employees on their personal electronic devices ...

Judge admonishes city attorney's office over Filner case

"Rather than punishing her...the city should actually thank [her]."

Stacey McKenzie's lawsuit against former San Diego mayor Bob Filner ended on March 30, 2016. On that day, a jury determined that while Filner's groping qualified as harassment, it was not "severe or pervasive" enough ...

City's bike-share program needs help, says report

Transit system says DecoBike hasn't sought out new locations

A May San Diego County County Grand Jury report accuses officials at the Metropolitan Transit System of refusing to get onboard with the city's bike-sharing program. DecoBike, launched in 2013, has been touted as a ...

Petco Park may soon get 37-story neighbor

Long-delayed Ballpark District plans heading to city council

The long-awaited Ballpark Village development adjacent to Petco Park is another step closer to final approval. On July 1, South Carolina–based development firm Greystar filed a tentative map of the design with the City of ...

Encanto charter school, facing shutdown, files lawsuit

San Diego Unified said criteria were not met to stay open

A charter school in Encanto that serves minority and underprivileged children is suing the San Diego Unified School District for wrongfully revoking its charter, resulting in the displacement of 172 elementary-school children. Twin sisters Shelia ...

Trump at the mercy of the judge

Prez candidate's lawyer requests Curiel keep videotape testimony sealed

Releasing videotaped depositions of Donald Trump testifying about Trump University would "taint the jury pool" and "imperil" the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's chances for a fair trial, argues the real estate mogul's attorneys in court ...

Cop-on-cop lawsuit

Officer Hart also questioned Mayor Faulconer's sports package

A 15-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department is suing the city for kicking him off the force upon learning he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder caused by witnessing several officer-involved shootings. The ...

Judge sanctions Jehovah's Witnesses

Imposes $4000-a-day penalty for not producing documents in sex-abuse case

A San Diego Superior Court judge has ordered the Church of Jehovah's Witnesses, also known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, to pay $4000 a day for every day that it fails ...

Metropolitan Transit System's been working on the railroad...

Recently released documents indicate loss of faith in Desert Line operatives

October 2015 nearly marked the end of the road — rather, railroad, for Pacific Imperial Railroad, the company that leases the 100-year-old Desert Line from the Metropolitan Transit System. According to documents released by Metropolitan ...

Julian residents object to Linden Blue’s backcountry development plans

General Atomics co-owner’s plans for 1416 acres

Regardless of how you slice it, if approved, a proposed development of 1416 acres of untouched wilderness in Julian, known as the Hosking’s Ranch Development, violates state law, reads a February 4 letter from California’s ...

Excessive force lawsuits against SDPD officer dismissed

Second of two lawsuits now over

On Tuesday, June 21, San Diego city councilmembers are expected to settle the second excessive-force lawsuits against San Diego police officer Laura Smith. While the amount has not yet been made public, court documents filed ...

Hillcrest historical district plan wiped out

"I am outraged, as a resident of Hillcrest and as a gay man."

The nearly 20-year-old proposal to designate portions of Hillcrest as a historical district was scrapped on Friday, June 10. The City of San Diego released the community plan update on its website. A 60-day countdown ...

Fun things to do in San Diego

A million things under the sun — we offer a few (some indoors)

County Administration Center Waterfront Park In 2014, 12 acres of former parking lots were converted into a public park facing San Diego Bay. Running both north and south of the county government headquarters established in ...

Smaller One Paseo project heads toward approval

Peace in Carmel Valley as neighbors give long-delayed nod

After a four-year-long feud with Carmel Valley neighbors and several lawsuits, a new scaled-down version of Kilroy Realty's One Paseo development will likely be approved. On June 27, city councilmembers will be asked to approve ...

Turmoil in parking-enforcement department

Longtime employee says new boss disregarded medical condition

A San Diego parking-enforcement officer is suing the City of San Diego for discrimination and harassment for refusing to follow his supervisor's request to issue a higher number of parking tickets on a daily basis. ...

Former Desert Line railroad prez penalized

End of the line for Donald Stoecklein?

The former president and chief operating officer (now “director of compliance”) for Pacific Imperial Railroad, the company that leases the rights to the binational railroad from Metropolitan Transit System, is in trouble with the Securities ...

San Diego council guilty of limiting access?

"The City is supposed to be the guardian of the public’s rights."

A government watchdog group that sued the city for denying citizens a chance to speak on non-agenda items during San Diego City Council hearings should have their day in court, ruled a panel of appellate ...

College Area residents thwart shiftily contrived project

Councilmembers okayed decade-old environmental impact report

The City of San Diego failed to conduct the proper environmental reports for a 91-unit student-housing facility on the campus of San Diego State University, ruled a Superior Court judge on Friday, May 27. The ...

San Diego Unified stonewalls Sally Smith

Citizen on a mission sues district for violating state public records act

San Diego Unified School District is discriminating against a student advocate in her quest to obtain public records, says a newly filed lawsuit filed on behalf of San Diego resident Sally Smith. Over the past ...

Jack in the Box headed to court over North Park "remodel"

Appellate court springs some justice on fast-food chain and city

A group of North Park residents will have another chance in court to show that fast-food company Jack in the Box illegally rebuilt a restaurant against current zoning regulations. On May 23, appellate judges from ...

Paralyzed Fiesta Island bicyclist sues city

"Simple and inexpensive remedies" could have prevented collision

Fiesta Island is more of a death trap than a "water wonderland biking bliss" (as described on the City of San Diego's website), says a new lawsuit filed by a bicyclist who was paralyzed after ...

Sidewalk casualty vs. the City vs. Little Italy

Maintenance assessment district said not to have done its job

On May 24, city-council members will consider whether to end a yearlong legal fight over a broken sidewalk in Little Italy that caused a woman to fall and break both of her ankles. According to ...

Crawford student/ex-lover sues district over teacher-sex case

San Diego Unified had "a special duty of care, in addition to a duty of ordinary care..."

The 16-year-old boy and his legal guardian Loretta Sinette accuse the district of negligence in hiring former 37-year-old former Spanish teacher and volleyball coach Toni Sutton. The suit also faults the district for failing to ...

Widow sues city over preservation of 57-year-old tree

Despite mayor's word it could remain, attorney suspects "political stunt"

Marie Ostwald, a 91-year-old widow, is suing the City of San Diego to ensure that the pepper tree her husband planted in front of their Allied Gardens home in 1959 stays put. Ostwald made headlines ...

City sued over Mission Beach Elementary School site redevelopment

Unacceptable: private roads, larger lot sizes, increased density...

As promised, a group of Mission Beach residents has filed a lawsuit against the city and developer Christopher McKellar over a proposed residential development to be built on the site of the former Mission Beach ...

SDG&E undergrounding case goes to court..next year

City agreed to 62-year deal with utility — over $1.6 billion at stake

The legality of a hidden surcharge that San Diego residents pay SDG&E and the City of San Diego to fund the burying of utility lines is slated for trial in April 2017. In the meantime, ...

Investigation into Green Elementary School sex scandal closes

District officials admit mishandling of harassment complaint

More needs to be done by San Diego Unified School District administrators to prevent sexual assaults from occurring at public schools, says Esther Warkov, cofounder and executive director of Stop Sexual Assaults in Schools. Warkov, ...

Ooh, you're in trouble, Civic San Diego

Agency denied more tax revenue; council to discuss budget discrepancy

Regarding next year's budget, there's some good but mostly bad news for Civic San Diego (the nonprofit agency that manages the dissolution of San Diego’s redevelopment agency and performs planning and permitting duties in downtown ...

Show us the numbers, Civic San Diego

Hundred-million-dollar question

Murky financial reporting from San Diego’s former redevelopment agency.

Cell-phone companies want more antennae in parks

City to entertain proposals from Sprint and T-Mobile May 12

The City of San Diego continues to lease public park space to cell-phone companies as attorneys for the city prepare to defend the practice in court. On May 12, planning commissioners will consider a proposal ...

The gun problem at Miramar College

Lawsuit claims professor was told to hush about missing firearms

A part-time professor at Miramar College is suing the school for retaliating against him after he complained that several guns used for police training courses were unregistered, not stored properly, and in some cases turned ...

SDPD sgt.'s racism case to go forward

Judge rejects city attorney's bid to keep evidence from public

The discrimination lawsuit brought by an African-American police sergeant that accuses the San Diego Police Department of racial discrimination and harassment will move forward, according to a Friday, April 29, court ruling. Superior Court judge ...

Tough to build Jehovah's Witness sex-abuse case

Without documents, says plaintiff, he can’t get justice

On Friday, April 29, an attorney for Osbaldo Padron will ask a judge to impose severe sanctions on the Jehovah's Witness Church for refusing to turn over documents. The documents allegedly show the church was ...

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