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San Diego earned international acclaim in the 1990s when then-police Chief Jerry Sanders persuaded his department and the city to lead the country in problem-oriented policing. Simply put, the police would spend as much time as possible trying to prevent crime and not just simply respond to it.

They’d work on abandoned cars piling up or graffiti rings. They’d work with the community closely developing ties that proved beneficial in the long term.

Now Mayor Jerry Sanders has had to preside over cuts that decimated the teams he established. And current chief, William Lansdowne, doesn’t emphasize the concept as much.

Our data pro Keegan Kyle wrote up an engaging profile of the dramatic change: “When Sanders was chief, he pushed to have patrol officers spend 60 percent of their time responding to emergencies so the rest could be used for problem-solving with residents. Today, Lansdowne estimates 80 percent of a patrol officer’s time goes toward emergencies and doesn’t expect that number to drop with additional cuts on the horizon.”

It’s the quiet disintegration of a success that defined the mayor’s career.

City Attorney’s Office Grows, Libraries Cut

City Councilman Kevin Faulconer led a rally Saturday at the Ocean Beach library. I was able to stop by. KGTV reported that “scores of people” showed up. Not quite, but it was a boisterous one score at least.

Ocean Beach’s little library, like all others, is in danger of being open only 18 hours a week under Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposed budget. And one of the protest signs at the rally decried the rise in the budget for the city attorney while at the same time the library department was cut.

We took a look at that very phenomenon today. How is it that the City Attorney’s Office, which in 2007 got a few million less than libraries, now is getting $12 million more than the library department?

The answer reporter Liam Dillon received: Some budgets may be higher but that doesn’t mean more services. Money is going to fund employee benefits and other liabilities. Last week, we illustrated how the city’s payroll was growing even as its workforce shrank.  City Council members defended the spending on lawyers, pointing out that legal snafus have ended up costing the city a lot of money in the past.

Remember to check out our bubble graphic of city spending under the mayor’s plan. Note that the city attorney’s circle is bigger than libraries this year.

• On a related note, KPBS points out that California tourism officials used a San Diego beach fire pit in one of their ads promoting the state. Yes, one of the many fire pits foundations and others are once again trying to save from the mayor’s budget cuts.

Best of the Week

Every week we put out a list of our most clicked on stories. Here’s last week’s.

New 24-7 California News Channel

TV News Check is reporting that NBC San Diego (KNSD), a partner of ours, is launching a new 24-7 channel along with two other California NBC stations. It’s part of NBC’s promise to the FCC that, with approval of its merger to Comcast, it will air 1,000 more hours of local programming.

Sony’s San Diego Security Breach

Sony has a major presence in San Diego and it, along with other companies like Netflix, is rushing to be at the forefront of internet television. Instead of going to the video store, many people (full disclosure: these people include me) were beginning to use their PlayStation game consoles to watch TV shows and movies downloaded online.

But then, a nightmare occurred for the company. Its San Diego data center was hacked and it had to warn millions of users that the hackers not only mean the PlayStation’s online movie, gaming and network service is down, but they might have gotten a hold of our credit cards too.

The hack was so big it has provoked worldwide worry.

Apologies and promises have come. But the company is moving its data center away from San Diego.

2011 via Twitter

Obviously, today’s news cycle is going to be dominated by last night’s stunning revelation that Osama bin Laden was killed in a dramatic confrontation with, apparently, U.S. Navy SEALS.

The year so far has been an unrelenting series of incredible pieces of breaking news like this. From the near assassination of Gabrielle Giffords, to Japan, to Arab capitals, to this. I realized last night that I heard about all of these major national and international news developments first via Twitter.

And it wasn’t just raw accounts. Last night I was able to follow the news breaking about bin Laden in a way I never could have before. There was the international context and links, along with perspective about Pakistan I got from Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. And the latest links from The New York Times’ assistant managing editor, Jim Roberts. My feed was full of new insights and observations.

I know that for many, Twitter and social media are still not to be trusted or a distraction. But to me, it’s become an indispensable way to follow major news and get links to the context and background I desire. Yes there are some obnoxious aspects of tools like this. But there are ways to control those annoying things as well.

For two years, I’ve honed a presentation about what’s happening to the media and why you should care about social media. It’s been well received across the region. If you’d like me to come by and do it for your friends or group of any kind, drop me a line.

You can contact me directly at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!): twitter.com/vosdscott.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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