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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

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 ...

Gay Pride kilt case isn't over yet

City pulls ace card in effort to halt reinstatement by appeals court

The City of San Diego is calling on federal judges from nine states and two U.S. territories — the areas that make up the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — to overturn an appellate-court decision ...

Torrey Pines Road pothole problems never stopped

Case involving injured bicyclist reveals city made patches to no avail

The pothole on Torrey Pines Road that cyclist Jonathan Sammartino struck in March 2015 — sending him over his handlebars head first into the concrete — had been on the city's radar for more than ...

Mission Beach land-use ordinance kicked in the teeth

“...a classic example of a developer trying to stick it to the community.”

Residents in Mission Beach are accusing a La Jolla–based developer of using outdated maps and other tricks to try and skirt local planning laws and to avoid building a community park. They claim that doing ...

Briggs and Goldsmith go another round

"The city attorney’s just cherry-picking issues to call out."

San Diego's city attorney's office is sticking by an April 11 memo that questioned the legality of a proposed ballot initiative brought forth by local attorney Cory Briggs that would reconfigure the Tourism Marketing District. ...

Mayor's pot-shop busters report due on 4/20

Three employees cover city's medical marijuana ordinance enforcement

Three city employees spend 40 hours a week scouring publications for advertisements, researching citizens’ complaints, and patrolling communities in search of illegal medical marijuana dispensaries. A new report from the Development Services Department — to ...

Truax House for sale for sure?

Preservationist calls Gloria's recommendation "wordsmithing"

The City of San Diego is moving closer to selling two potentially historic properties abutting Maple Canyon in San Diego's Bankers Hill neighborhood. On April 12, city councilmembers are expected to approve setting a $2.7 ...

Student grabbed buttocks, school sought expulsion

San Diego Unified sued for handling of case involving off-campus incident

The father of a 13-year-old middle-school student is suing San Diego Unified School District and the vice principal of Wangenheim Middle School for threatening his son with a year’s suspension for grabbing a fellow student's ...

Off-duty deputy v. off-duty security guard

Resisting-arrest case goes to prelim trial this week

The preliminary criminal trial of a man who was involved in a near car collision with a plain-clothed San Diego County Sheriff's detective who later followed the driver and choked him out will begin on ...

Police dust-up with family a sizable can of worms

Department of Justice report won't be struck from case against cops

Attorneys for the City of San Diego are trying to put distance between the police department and a Department of Justice report that found San Diego police officers are more apt to stop Hispanic and ...

Disabled man's "leering" leads to suspension at Cal State San Marcos

Autistic and with Asperger's and Tourette's syndromes is no excuse

A Cal State San Marcos student diagnosed with autism, Asperger's syndrome, and Tourette's syndrome claims the college unjustly suspended him for "leering" at a female student while in class. In the complaint, student Jason Lo ...

Little Italy restaurant makes noise over Civic San Diego tactics

Red-line the audio!

Civic San Diego's handling of permitting and planning functions for downtown and neighboring communities is under fire in a new lawsuit from a Little Italy restaurant owner. The lawsuit is another challenge to the City ...

Quality of life allegedly threatened in Point Loma

Could 900 residents be wrong about Jessop estate project?

The dispute over the San Diego City Council's decision to stop a development of the former Jessop property in Point Loma will move on to the appellate court. On March 15, a majority of city-council ...

Civic San Diego sued by its own boardmember

The agency illegally performs government functions, suit alleges

To pay salaries and stay afloat, Civic San Diego relies on the revenues it receives from issuing permits and approving development projects in downtown San Diego. The nonprofit oversees the dissolution of San Diego’s former ...

Transparency tempest looms over council committee

Private device + city business = public record?

On Wednesday, March 23, a city-council committee will discuss an ordinance to classify city business conducted on private devices as a public record. The ordinance was proposed by open-government organization Californians Aware and is meant ...

De Anza Cove's next chapter

Former residents get more equitable relocation compensation

In December 2014, San Diego's elected officials celebrated the end to the 11-year legal fight over the closure of De Anza Cove Mobile Home Park and the relocation of hundreds of residents. The residents and ...

Stingray may limit your free speech beginning now

Police cell-phone site simulator has huge capacity to filter private messages

The legal fight over the use and public disclosure of Stingray, a device that allows law-enforcement agencies to locate cell-phone signals and collect data by acting as a cell-phone tower, is coming to an end. ...

City Attorney's Office vs. People of Mission Beach

"We tried to get the city to settle this with no cost to the taxpayers."

Despite the City of San Diego's best efforts, the $250,000 in bond money that a group of Mission Beach residents raised to challenge the construction of a new, state-of-the-art lifeguard station will be returned. On ...

Appeal set for Gay Pride leather-kilt case

Legs, hips, and thighs offensive depending on eye of the beholder?

Do San Diego police officers interpret public nudity laws differently for a gay man at a Gay Pride event than, say, a woman in a g-string at the beach? A federal appellate court will consider ...

City lacks street smarts

Audit points out road-repair inefficiencies likely to hinder mayor's goal

According to a March 3 audit, street conditions will deteriorate as long as city crews continue to ignore the guidelines set forth when tearing up the street to access storm drains, underground utilities, and sewer ...

Big break for San Diegans for Open Government?

Hotel group's attorney fought and won case that may present conflict

While San Diego's Tourism Marketing District has spent more than three years defending a lawsuit over the legality of the 2 percent hotel tax, the marketing district's attorney, Michael Colantuono, was using many of the ...

Bikers can take a hike

Business districts resist giving up parking spaces for bicycle lanes

Little Italy's Business Improvement District prefers to preserve parking spaces rather than allocate street space for bike lanes through the heart of the district. In a February 23 letter to business owners and residents, Little ...

Who wants a new Mission Beach lifeguard tower again?

City attorney's office of stonewalling in order to keep project alive

On February 25, district court judge Katherine Bacal denied a request from the City of San Diego to wait until an appeal could be heard before returning a $250,000 bond that a group of residents ...

Gap-Toothed Bandit tries to take bite out of justice

Jailed robber requests info on GPS device placed on car by cops

From inside his San Quentin cell, the Gap-Toothed Bandit is trying to get his hands on travel logs that the San Diego Police Department used to tie him to a string of bank robberies he ...

Bicyclist vs. city's pothole

Devastating injury could have been prevented, says lawsuit

March 21, 2015, was a perfect day for a bike ride in La Jolla…until cyclist Jonathan Sammartino struck a two-and-a-half-foot by four-foot pothole on Torrey Pines Road and was thrown from his bike head-first onto ...

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 ...

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