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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

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Amazing audacity of local government leaders.

The claim that an elected city attorney’s discussions of city business with reporters were off limits to other reporters didn’t sit well with those at NBC.

Would-be railroad barons face steep grade

Note to MTS: Backers of Pacific Imperial Railroad have controversial past

Conflict of interest and other financial wrongdoings continue to appear around every bend for the binational railroad meant to link factories in Mexico and the U.S. Yet, despite allegations of fraud and links to dozens ...

Former mayor Bob Filner and city face new lawsuit

Alleged harassment occurred at Johnson Elementary School

Bob Filner's legacy as mayor continues to leave a mark on the City of San Diego. On April 9, more than six months after the former mayor was forced from office amid allegations of sexual ...

San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway to roll?

Executive from company to address allegations of fraud

Problem: Two trains leave opposite ends of San Diego. Train A is traveling at 100 miles per hour loaded with allegations of fraud; Train B is traveling on the same track at the same rate ...

FreePB.org wins records act lawsuit against city

Judge says Chief Lansdowne’s SDPD was wrong to deny request

Emails, memos, and other communication explaining the San Diego's Police Department's reasoning for allowing some special events to be exempt from the city's alcohol ban must be turned over to the nonprofit anti-booze-ban group FreePB, ...

City cracks down on another pot dispensary

“[J]uvenile, who appeared to be 13 years old,” mentioned in complaint

While the city's newly adopted medical marijuana ordinance awaits final approval from the California Coastal Commission, city attorney Jan Goldsmith has continued his legal assault on dispensary owners and the property owners who lease to ...

Longtime city employee claims discrimination

Iranian says ethnicity and age hindered promotion in transportation dept.

A longtime San Diego city employee has sued for discrimination, claiming that his Iranian descent and age kept him from moving up the ranks in the transportation department. Seyed Ahmadi, 62, has worked as a ...

Toni Atkins pulls Community Benefit District legislation

Bill would have made it easier to create assessment districts

Assemblymember Toni Atkins will not move ahead with legislation that would make it easier for large property owners to form assessment districts in San Diego County. As first reported by the Reader, Atkins introduced the ...

Judge rules Barrio Logan referendum should be on the ballot

Judge admitted petition drive was based on lies, however, said not enough to keep it off ballot.

It's settled. The Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association's petition drive to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update was steeped in lies and false representations, ruled Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp at today's ...

What the emails tell us

Did shipping companies push petition signers in Barrio Logan referendum?

Did signature gatherers hired by San Diego's shipping conglomerates purposely spread misinformation in order to collect enough signatures to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update? Emails released in court from those in charge of ...

City sued over murals

Art is in the eye of the permit holder.

In December 2013, Pam Anderson, founder and owner of the now-defunct ArchitectureArt, a company that specialized in large hand-painted murals, filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego for violating her right to free ...

Atkins pushes bill so 30% of your neighbors can redevelop you

Marco LiMandri weeps elephant tears over end of assessment districts.

Assembly Speaker-elect Toni Atkins wants to make it easier for property owners to levy assessments on their neighbors property tax bills to pay for community improvements. Last month, on February 21, Atkins introduced legislation aimed ...

Gloria and Goldsmith vindicated so far

Appellate court rules that private emails from city officials are off limits to public

Open government advocates' hopes for transparent government were partially shut on Thursday when California's appellate court overturned a Santa Clara County judge's ruling that deemed private email messages and text messages pertaining to government business ...

Pro-Faulconer money goes to Zapf

She collects more than double her nearest opponent.

After raising a cool million to help get Kevin Faulconer into the mayor's office, the political action committee spearheaded by San Diego's Chamber of Commerce and the Associated General Contractors of America is shifting its ...

Impeachment bragging may bite Goldsmith

Either they had control over Filner or they didn’t

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith took pride, and much credit, for ousting Bob Filner from the mayor's office. After Filner's departure, Goldsmith turned to media outlets and social media sites such as Twitter boasting about the ...

North Park memorial for 1978 PSA crash that killed 144

Relatives want more than small plaques

Aside from the 22 newer homes and buildings in North Park, a newcomer to San Diego would never know that on September 25, 1978 a total of 144 people died as the result of a ...

Council to rescind permit for University Town Center neon sign

Judge Timothy Taylor nails staff for double standard.

On Tuesday, city councilmembers will rescind a permit granted to shopping mall conglomerate Westfield Group to hang a 672-square-foot neon sign at Westfield's UTC Shopping Mall. City staff as well as city councilmembers granted the ...

City attorney's office accused of blocking campaign application

Wannabe District 2 candidate Bryan Pease files complaint in federal court

Bryan Pease, an animal-rights activist and attorney best known for his defense of La Jolla seals, is fighting to be included on the list of potential appointees to fill newly elected mayor Kevin Faulconer's council ...

Todd Gloria ordered to round up e-messages

Lawsuit challenged councilman’s use of electronics during hearings

Council president Todd Gloria may have to turn over city-related text messages and emails from his private email account after all. In a March 14 tentative ruling, superior-court judge Joel Wohlfeil ordered Gloria to begin ...

City sued for racial discrimination

Woman says she was passed over for a promotion due to skin color

A city employee of nearly 24 years filed a racial discrimination suit against the city on March 4, claiming higher-ups in the Purchasing & Contracting Department denied her a promotion because she is African American. ...

Dear Mayor Faulconer: repeal the email retention policy

"We disagree that it would be legal, either on its face or as applied."

Kevin Faulconer's decision to suspend a city policy to delete all city emails one year or older was good news for open-government advocates. But since that announcement, the mayor and city staff have been silent; ...

Judge to rule on privacy of Gloria’s e-correspondence

Lawsuit says council president’s text messages should be made public

Should the text messages that council president Todd Gloria sends during council hearings be made available to the public? And, if so, should Gloria have to appear in court or under oath to discuss those ...

City attorney Goldsmith fights to keep his emails private

Mayor Faulconer's regime says "all communications related to public business" subject to California Public Records Act

San Diego's city attorney Jan Goldsmith is above the law — California's public records law, that is, says a February 27 legal briefing filed in San Diego Superior Court. According to attorneys for Goldsmith, public ...

SD’s Tourism Marketing District’s odd strategy

Boardmembers expected to approve expenditure to file brief in case in Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga

What better way to promote San Diego than for the Tourism Marketing District to pay attorneys to file legal briefs in other cities’ fights to keep their hotel tax up and running? On March 7, ...

City distances itself from Filner harassment case

Ex-mayor's alleged deeds "completely outside the scope of his employment"

Court documents filed in the case of military veteran Katherine Ragazzino and her nurse Michelle Tyler — who allege that former mayor Bob Filner sexually harassed them during a meeting last year — shows the ...

More caution against city plan to purge emails

After Calaware, San Diegans for Open Government threatens lawsuit

Much of the money that the city plans to save by purging all year-old emails may be spent fighting lawsuits. The policy change was announced in a February 27 memo to city employees. The reason, ...

City of San Diego to purge year-old emails

Cost of storage declared prohibitive; action could result in litigation

The City of San Diego is running out of space to store all those old emails — internal emails between staff and elected officials and correspondence from constituents. To remedy that, city officials have opted ...

Danzig sues distribution company in federal court

Heavy metal singer accuses company of not paying proceeds

Glenn Danzig, former Misfits frontman and lead singer for the heavy metal band Danzig, is ready to bang heads with his former distributor in court. On February 27, the self-proclaimed "Evil Elvis" filed a lawsuit ...

Study determines food-truck regulations insensible

SDSU students measure foot traffic and decibel levels for facts

A group of students from San Diego State University, inspired by a social science course, gave a closer look at the newly proposed food-truck regulations set to go before the city council on March 3. ...

Improper payment for Barrio Logan maintenance district?

Resident says a lawsuit is on the way

In April of this year, residents of Barrio Logan will once again see an extra fee on their property-tax bill. The pot of cash will go toward Barrio Logan's Maintenance Assessment District, which was officially ...

County clerk has infused $147K into reelection campaign

Dronenberg loans “Friends of Ernest Dronenburg 2014” $50,000

San Diego county clerk Ernest Dronenburg is relying on one well-heeled financial supporter to fund his reelection campaign: himself. Disclosures filed with the county show Dronenburg loaned his campaign committee (“Friends of Ernest Dronenburg 2014”) ...

Rolando residents fight dorm-style project

District 9 councilmember Marti Emerald declines to comment

Details on the controversial Boulevard at 63rd development, formerly known as Centrepointe Luxury Apartments, are beginning to emerge as construction proceeds and as the lawsuit filed by residents opposed to the project makes its way ...

City attorney’s report on medical marijuana ordinance

Councilmembers' questions addressed

City councilmembers now have the legal advice they need to move ahead with a medical marijuana ordinance. Last week, the city attorney's office issued a report to council and the mayor answering in detail many ...

Food-truck regulations expected to rankle operators

New proposed rules most fair for who?

Interim mayor Todd Gloria has taken to the media to dispel some misconceptions swirling on the internet and in media reports on new food-truck regulations soon to be discussed, quite possibly adopted, at an upcoming ...

San Diego Christian College sued for firing pregnant woman

School says she was fired for having premarital sex, violating agreement

A former employee at San Diego Christian College claims administrators fired her after learning she had engaged in premarital sex with her then-fiancé, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, a violation of the school's contract with ...

Goldsmith and Code Enforcement dept. out for bud

No easing in litigation against pot dispensary and landlord

Two weeks before the San Diego City Council is set to discuss a new medical marijuana ordinance, the Code Enforcement department, under the direction of city attorney Jan Goldsmith, remains poised to shut down and ...

"Hispanic 100" backs Faulconer

Same Tea Party–backed group bashed Romney in 2012

A political action committee going by the name "Hispanic 100" has taken to the airwaves in an effort to attract voters to their cause. Only, the candidate they support isn't the one with Hispanic heritage. ...

Council to discuss new pot ordinance

To limit number, places, and quantities sold

Nearly three years after city councilmembers repealed San Diego's first medical marijuana ordinance instead of placing it on the ballot, a new ordinance has finally made its way back to the dais. The council will ...

San Diego food trucks to oppose proposed regulations

"Unfair to the consumer that the city is protecting [restaurants]."

Next week, February 12, a council committee is set to discuss new regulations governing food trucks in San Diego. The proposed regulations would essentially ban truck operators from pulling up in San Diego's busiest entertainment ...

County Office of Education loves to pay lawyers

Rodger Hartnett won’t stop fighting the San Diego County Office of Education.

Protect Our Jobs Coalition financially underwater

Spent $287,000 more than they collected to fight Barrio Logan plan

The Protect Our Jobs Coalition — the group spearheading the referendum aimed at overturning the Barrio Logan Community Plan — has spent $730,000 on the petition drive, legal fees, and consultants who were working to ...

City attorney considers conflict of interest

Unwise to have hoteliers on convention center board, says memo.

Turns out, it probably isn't the best idea to appoint a hotelier to San Diego's Convention Center board of directors. Considering that many hotels depend on revenue from large conventions but also due to the ...

City sued by bicyclist who spent ten days in hospital

Uneven sidewalk led to serious injuries on Carmel Valley Road

Regardless of how difficult court victories might be for those suing the city for dangerous sidewalk conditions, as long as conditions on city streets and sidewalks remain subpar, the lawsuits will continue. In the latest ...

City attorney sued regarding private emails

Lawyer Cory Briggs accuses Goldsmith of violating Public Records Act

The battle with San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith over public records requests is heating up. Yesterday, Cory Briggs, attorney for watchdog group San Diegans for Open Government, filed a lawsuit against the city and ...

Allred and Filner lawyers agree to 30-day delay

Time made for settlement talks in McCormack Jackson case

Attorneys for the city who are representing former mayor Bob Filner have made an agreement with Gloria Allred to delay the discovery phase of the lawsuit against Filner to give time for settlement talks, says ...

New allegations against San Diego county clerk

LGBT leaders oppose Dronenburg due to his gay-marriage stance

County clerk Ernest Dronenburg remains a target for those who wish to unseat him for petitioning the state supreme court to reconsider their decision to overturn the same-sex marriage ban, also known as Prop 8. ...

Ex–pension-board members to rake in $5.4 million?

Appellate court says city is required to pay criminal defense costs

The court case over whether the city should pay the legal costs for six former pension-board members is now one step closer to being a done deal. The most recent appeal filed by the city ...

Pot political action committee forms

Will access to politicians thwart federal crackdowns?

In this age of political action committees, it's hard to fathom that there wasn't already a committee dedicated to fight for medical marijuana initiatives and boost pro-pot politicians. Well, now there is. On January 6, ...

Councilmember Lightner mum on One Paseo development

Neighbors say public safety will be impacted by massive development

Up until now, the battle over One Paseo, the 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use development proposal, has been fought in Carmel Valley. Residents there claim cramming the super-sized project on 23 acres of land will clog nearby streets ...

Off the record: city attorney and U-T reporters

Did Jan Goldsmith use personal email for communications?

Reporters for the UT San Diego have a friend in city attorney Jan Goldsmith. Whether it was the flap over the Tourism Marketing District, the project-labor agreement for the convention center, the pension deficit, Goldsmith’s ...