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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

War rages on against apartment project

City poised to rely on irrelevant environmental study

The proposed College Avenue Apartments is essentially a dormitory in an apartment building’s clothing, says a group of residents in a newly filed lawsuit against the City of San Diego, San Diego State University Foundation, ...

Truax House repair costs a wild guess?

Inspector who arrived at the $1.47 million didn't step inside the house

At first listen, the $1.47 million in repairs needed to restore the potentially historic Truax House in Bankers Hill sounded like a good reason why the city should sell the property. After all, the estimated ...

A matter bigger than the city attorney

League of California Cities denied right to keep emails private

A request from the League of California Cities to distance itself from San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith's use of private email backfired on February 3 when the California Supreme Court rejected retrying the case ...

Babewatch is over, SD

Female lifeguard sues city for discrimination

A female lifeguard is suing the City of San Diego for gender discrimination — the fifth such lawsuit filed by female lifeguards over the past ten years. The suit, filed on February 9 by lifeguard ...

Window dressing on Truax House...meh

Critic unimpressed with Councilman Gloria's decision on historic house

Despite numerous objections from Uptown residents, open-space advocates, and historic preservationists, a city-council committee on February 10 supported a proposal to sell two properties abutting Maple Canyon in Bankers Hill. One of the houses, built ...

Hillcrest hashes high-rise housing heights

Does this make uptown homes more affordable? Or less?

A group of property owners in Hillcrest want the freedom to build higher residential and commercial buildings. And if that freedom isn’t granted, members of the newly formed Uptown Gateway Council warn, local housing prices ...

Wrecking ball to swing past Truax House?

Airtight protections for historic residence/hospice sought

During a February 10 meeting, San Diego city councilmembers on the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee will hear a proposal to sell two city-owned properties in Bankers Hill, one of which housed a former ...

Cheese mistaken for meth

Lawsuit charges border patrol agents used faulty drug test

A woman is suing three U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and a drug-test kit-manufacturer after enforcement officials falsely identified a food enzyme she was carrying in her car used for making cheese as methamphetamine ...

Can we read it now?

Councilman Alvarez pushes for open government

The San Diego City Council is expected this month to consider an ordinance that would make public record of emails and text messages sent from elected officials’ and non-union employees’ private electronic devices as long ...

Hoteliers, brace for your backlash

San Diegans for Open Government passes “microscopic” test

San Diegans for Open Government's lawsuit challenging San Diego's hotel tax will now go to the second phase of the trial after what has been more than a year's worth of court hearings, depositions, and ...

As Irving spins in his grave...

Case involving historic Gill house in La Jolla has city on the ropes

Score one for proponents of property rights and at the same time mark a loss in the columns of historical preservation and the City of San Diego. On Wednesday, January 27, a California appellate court ...

The long-desired transnational railroad

Latest incarnation as bizarre as its predecessors

Pacific Imperial Railroad has yet to roll out of the tunnel.

"Eat him Up" the officer allegedly said to his dog

Homeless man says he was treated like a "runaway slave"

A San Diego police officer is accused of commanding his police dog to "eat up" a defenseless man like a "runaway slave," according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on January 22. In his ...

SDPD under the influence of power?

Officer Laura Smith hit with second lawsuit within three-year period

A San Diego police officer has been slapped with a second lawsuit in the span of three years for using excessive force. On January 13, 2016, Whitney Mathis filed a lawsuit against the City of ...

Cross-complaint filed over deadly crosswalk accident

City says homeowners' association failed to maintain adjacent property

The father of a seven-month-old girl who died after being struck by a vehicle in March 2015 while crossing a busy street in Point Loma was careless and negligent, reads a newly filed court document ...

Phew. No fees for SOHO

Judge says preservation group not required to pay opponent's legal fees in Balboa Park case

The lawsuit challenging Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama renovation project is officially over, with a judge issuing his ruling that Save Our Heritage Organisation, the group that challenged the legality of the proposal, was not ...

Lawsuit filed over paramilitary training facility in Alpine

Shoot first. Ask later

As promised, environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez has filed a lawsuit against the County of San Diego for granting a permit to a 160-acre firearms training facility called Covert Canyon tucked away in the mountains of ...

Historical or perfect for a park?

Options abound for old houses at access point to Maple Canyon

Stephen Hill, policy advisor for councilmember Todd Gloria, says city staff has determined that due to uneven terrain, dilapidated houses, and absent a clear path to Maple Canyon, the city-owned property in Bankers Hill should ...

Frye comes in for the kill

Ex-councilwoman introduces ballot measure aimed at elected knuckleheads

In January 2014, former city councilmember Donna Frye, now president of open-government group Californians Aware, and the group's lead attorney, Terry Francke, urged San Diego city councilmembers to place an initiative on the 2014 ballot ...

He said, San Diego Unified said

Elementary school sexual assault investigations not so elementary

Attorneys for San Diego Unified School District reject claims made by former investigator Michael Gurrieri that he was terminated after finding the district was trying to hide sexual assaults on a local elementary school campus. ...

What about Mission Bay's toxins, SeaWorld?

Lawsuit claims orca-pool expansion will stir up decades-old dump

The land SeaWorld sits on is a toxic wasteland and the City of San Diego or the California Coastal Commission is ignoring this, says a January 4 lawsuit from a group calling itself Save Everyone's ...

Contract killers

Did the City of San Diego kill Epic Pest Control?

Eleanor and Claude Thedford, owners of Epic Pest Control and Landscape Services, believe employees in San Diego’s Purchasing and Contracting Department are trying to shut down their business. The reason for the vendetta, says Eleanor ...

Time's up. No sexual harassment claim possible.

Alleged Filner victim contends with city's claim of missed deadline

On December 29, appellate court judges overturned a San Diego County Superior Court judge ruling that allowed a late claim to be filed by a woman who was allegedly groped by former mayor Bob Filner ...

No new Mission Beach lifeguard station

Construction stopped following judge's ruling

On December 24, superior-court judge Katherine Bacal ruled that the City of San Diego violated the city's own site development permit while going about the construction of a state-of-the-art lifeguard tower in South Mission Beach. ...

Hoteliers versus the "creature"

San Diegans for Open Government again cast as profit vehicle for attorney Briggs

As of November, as reported by the Reader, boardmembers for the San Diego Tourism Marketing District have spent more than $2.1 million on outside attorneys trying to get a lawsuit dismissed. Attorney Cory Briggs for ...

Councilman Kersey quiet

District 5 representative won't address cell towers in parks issue

If all goes as planned, a cell-phone tower, disguised as a eucalyptus tree, and a 20-foot-by-9-foot concrete enclosure will be placed less than 10 feet from a sidewalk and approximately 300 feet from the nearest ...

Prisoners' mail privileges restored

County to resume policy of allowing more than postcards and emails

Inmates in San Diego County jails will soon be allowed to receive letters, books, and magazines, according to a settlement reached on November 18. The county will be required to return to the former policy ...

Palomar Card Club's string of bad luck

Sexual and racial discrimination lawsuit follows raid by feds

On December 9, the Palomar Card Club was named as one of many illegal gambling operations that had laundered a total of approximately $10 million in proceeds. Two days later, on December 11, the club ...

More Filner business to settle

Complaints allegedly fell on communications director's deaf ears

Tomorrow, December 15, attorneys for the City of San Diego will update councilmembers and the mayor on one of four unresolved legal cases stemming from former mayor Bob Filner's sexual harassment scandal. The case to ...

Storm drain didn't do its job

City deals with flooding cases that will likely lead to $1 million payout

On Tuesday, December 15, the San Diego City Council is expected to finalize payment of $1 million to two property owners in San Diego's San Carlos neighborhood for flood damage resulting from a backed-up storm ...

Angel's no angel

Baggy shorts, tats, he ran, unarmed, now dead.

“The inequity here is that a civilian goes to jail and is presumed guilty, whereas an officer is given a leave with pay.”

Free English for Californians

Lawsuit prompts San Dieguito school district to correct policy

San Dieguito Union High School District will no longer charge registration fees to adults looking to learn English as a second language, says associate superintendent Eric Dill. The district's decision to stop charging the $40 ...

Insomniac sedated to death

Lawsuit claims "Lucky" Phounsey hadn't slept for days

The family of a man who died while in the custody of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the department and county. According to the complaint, filed in federal ...

Councilmembers' risky business

Deputy city attorney warns of possible violations of Brown Act

In a November 20 memorandum of law, chief deputy city attorney Prescilla Dugard found the city is at risk of violating California's open-meeting laws if councilmembers continue to issue memos on issues and attend committee ...

City moves closer to plastic bag ban

If you have a dime, your grocer will sell you a paper sack

The proposal to ban grocery stores and big-box retail stores from using plastic bags has moved one step closer to becoming law. On November 20, the city posted the draft Program Environmental Impact Report required ...

Legal battle on La Jolla Shores

Lawsuits float in after city's approval of 8518-square-foot project

Earlier this month, La Jolla Shores resident and attorney Bernie Segal filed a lawsuit alleging that the City of San Diego violated the California Environmental Quality Act and ignored building codes when it approved a ...

Drunk-driving case spills onto city

Three beers, vodka shots, and then I-15

The family of a man killed by an alleged drunken driver filed a wrongful death claim with the City of San Diego on October 23, the first step before seeking legal action. Rodolpho De La ...

Cop on cop ruination

Alleged retaliation for maternity leave leads to harassment suit

San Diego's Police Department has been slapped with another sexual discrimination lawsuit, bringing the tally to five such lawsuits filed by female officers against the department in as many years. Denise Mills, a 15-year-veteran of ...

The bars of El Cajon Boulevard: 15 through 56th

Shots are a dollar when an ambulance drives by

Maybe it’s the walk toward the little yellow bar near the corner of 50th Street and El Cajon Boulevard that skeeves a person out. Eyes are fixed to the ground to avoid stepping on an ...

But it's okay when the city's permit expires

Mission Beach lifeguard station project still hung up in court

Former development services directors for the City of San Diego say it is standard operating procedure to allow building permits for city projects to lapse while funding is procured and outside permits are obtained. In ...

Tourist money spigot wide open

Hoteliers have so far paid $2.1M for legal defense against taxpayer group

Since January 2013, San Diego's hoteliers have paid outside attorneys $2.1 million in hotel-tax revenues, according to numbers released by San Diego's Tourism Marketing District pursuant to a public records request. That number will increase, ...

Not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind

Law students sue school over allegedly false job numbers

Former law students at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law continue their quest to prove that the downtown San Diego school tricked them into enrolling with false employment rates. Instead of lucrative jobs at law ...

More body cameras for SDPD

Chief Zimmerman intends to keep tight control of recorded evidence

The City of San Diego wants body cameras for all uniformed police officers. On Thursday, November 12, city councilmembers sitting on the Public Safety Committee are expected to authorize spending another $1.85 million to purchase ...

Another Filner case settled...sort of

Plaintiffs' lawyer wins settlement and drops hammer on city attorney's office

Carla DiMare represented former Marine Katherine Ragazzino and her nurse Michelle Tyler in a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against former San Diego mayor Bob Filner. A week after winning a settlement in the case ...

Beach brawl, La Jolla style

"We each have the fundamental right to develop our property..."

Over the course of the past five years, La Jolla Shores property owner Bob Whitney has fought against neighbors and the La Jolla Community Planning Association to demolish two single-story units located on Avenida La ...

Court blesses city attorney's email practice

Yet taxpayers may have to pay Briggs's $55,772 transparency fee

San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith's emails sent to and from his personal accounts discussing city business are a matter of public record, ruled an appellate court on October 28. "...[D]uring Goldsmith's tenure as city ...

Pretty quiet for a railroad

Desert Line president doesn't respond to court summons

The wild ride continues for owner and operator of Metropolitan Transit System's Desert Line, Pacific Imperial Railroad. On October 19, the California Labor Commission ordered the fledgling binational railroad company to pay $90,152 in unpaid ...

Trial of tourism marketing district to proceed

Failure at last-minute attempt to subpoena Cory Briggs

A lawsuit challenging San Diego's Tourism Marketing District and the levy hoteliers charge tourists to pay to promote San Diego will move forward on November 6 in San Diego Superior Court. Today (October 27), Superior ...

Close down Crawford High immediately

Also, San Diego Business Leadership High is among worst in state

Two San Diego high schools are doing such a poor job at educating students and preparing them for college-level courses, it would be better if they shut their doors, says a new study released by ...

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