The police department’s top brass may have been ready for a grilling yesterday over cop misconduct, but the City Council was more in the mood for tea and sympathy.
“Police do not feel the respect that they deserve,” Councilman Todd Gloria said at a meeting in which he and another council member tread lightly by the scandal over multiple serious accusations. “I want to make sure for any officer hearing my voice, we appreciate what you do.”
“Each member thanked Lansdowne for responding to a scandal that developed under his command and Lansdowne returned their praise by thanking them for an opportunity to speak,” Keegan Kyle reports. “Several key questions we’ve had about the scandal went unasked or unanswered.”
Twitter Hijinks Force GOP Account Shutdown
San Diego politics keep getting weirder and weirder… and now fake-er too.
The county Democratic Party says the Twitter company yanked the accounts of the county Republican party and its chairman because they were linked to fake accounts of local Democratic political types, the Union-Tribune reports. The GOP county chairman said yup, he’s behind them.
“There’s nothing illegal about it and I don’t think I did anything wrong,” GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric tells the U-T, although he acknowledges that he sent messages — tweets — from an account named after Jess Durfee, the county Democratic chairman.
The flap, which local Democrats trumpeted immediately, revolves around the use of Twitter accounts that don’t belong to the people named in them. Krvaric acknowledged that he created accounts named after City Council members Sherri Lightner and Marti Emerald and others.
Krvaric said: “For Marti Emerald to not register @MartiEmerald when she’s been on the council for how long? I just tried it one day and they were all available so I registered them. So what?” But Twitter apparently bans using real names for fake accounts.
Bottoms Up in University City
We go deeper into the story behind the big sinkhole in University City and explain how it fits into the wider story of the city’s troubled approach toward repairs to its streets. “San Diego’s repair plans include examining and fixing the worst kind of storm drain pipes,” writes Liam Dillon, “but officials say the city lacks the money for a more thorough assessment.”
New Money — Without Taxes — For Convention Center and Stadium
• The City Council has laid the groundwork for its efforts to obtain most of the funding for an expansion of the Convention Center that will cost more than a half-billion dollars. At its core is an additional tax on hotel guests; the plan is to push it through without getting voters involved. “But neither the City Attorney’s Office nor its outside bond counsel will guarantee that a court will find the proposal legal,” Dillon reports.
• How do you tell a football team you really love it? Flowers? Chocolates? No, you spend as much as $250,000 for another consultant to find ways to finance an emerald-green playground. Er, stadium.
Matt Hall reports in the Union-Tribune that the mayor’s office has retained a firm to figure out how to squeeze $38 million of public money out of the city’s barren financial landscape for a Qualcomm Stadium replacement.
Mayor Sanders says he hopes to have a public vote in 13 months but it won’t be for a tax. “It’s not a tax that we’re talking about putting on,” he told the U-T. “I think it would be a long shot in this economy, at this time, to try to get any revenue increase because it takes 66 2/3 percent. I don’t think you could get that if you said we were going to solve homelessness, solve all disease, solve everything else.”
Your Thoughts on SD Schools and Special Ed
We’ve compiled lots of public responses to our investigation into how San Diego district schools — which serve much of the city outside some northern and southern regions — have adopted new ways to deal with special ed students. Readers offer thoughts about the shift, the motivations behind it and the importance (or lack of importance) of special training for teachers.
Newspapers Could Get Zinged for Pot Ads
California’s federal prosecutors are upping their battle against medical marijuana shops by going after media outlets that allow them to advertise, California Watch reports.
Locally, at least two alternative newspapers — the Reader and CityBeat — frequently accept ads for marijuana dispensaries.
It seems that media outlets will first get warnings that they’re violating the law, and then the feds could conceivably go after their assets. However, the law doesn’t appear to be crystal clear on how much trouble the media outlets would be in, if any, for running the ads.
“I’m not just seeing print advertising,” San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said. “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder want kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law.”
CityBeat is not pleased with Duffy, who’s also going after pot shops directly: “All Duffy and her ilk are doing is forcing folks who really use marijuana as treatment to get it on the black market. It’s puritanical and stupid.”
13 Years On, a Settlement in Crowe Murder Case
The murder of 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe in Escondido in 1998 was one of the most high-profile crimes in the county’s history. It became a tangled and bombshell-ridden tale of alleged police misconduct and forced confessions. Authorities arrested three boys, including the victim’s brother, but later let them go. Thanks to DNA, a homeless man was ultimately convicted of killing the girl in a unlikely-sounding scenario.
Now, the Union-Tribune reports, one of the boys who was arrested has settled a lawsuit with four Escondido cops, another cop from Oceanside who assisted with the investigation and a psychologist. The U-T plans to push for the release of the settlement amount since it involves public employees.
Stephanie Crowe’s brother, who’s also part of the lawsuit, has not settled and the trial is expected to begin soon. The third boy who was arrested is not part of the suit.
An Editor’s Death in the Desert
The tiny town of Borrego Springs continues to deal with the news that the longtime editor of the local paper, the Borrego Sun, was killed this week, apparently at the hands of her long-troubled husband in a murder-suicide.
The U-T says Judy Winter Meier, 61, may have been the most well-known person in the community.
New Twist in Death Near Occupy SD
The man who fell to his death near the Occupy San Diego protest on Monday was facing charges regarding the hit-and-run death of a highway worker near El Centro in Imperial County, the U-T reports. It’s still not clear whether his death was a suicide, an accident, or something else.
A Hero Plus Goats Galore
Armed with vim and vinegar, several readers responded to my request for suggestions about a voiceofsandiego.org motto.
Some were snarky, including “What, ANOTHER Scandal?” and “Like KPBS, only WASPier.” (Hey! I resemble that remark!) One suggestion, “Dude, It’s San Diego,” put me in a Jack Nicholson mood in light of a famous film quote directed at him. (“Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.”)
Several were serious: “The City Speaks,” “Comforting the Afflicted, Afflicting the Comfortable” (long said to be a mission of news types), “Your Eyes and Ears” and “No Stone Left Unturned, No Voice Left Unheard.”
Not sure about that last one. I hear more than enough from a few voices. Not you, of course! I’m always absolutely delighted to hear your thoughts, [enter your name here].
My favorite comes from former local TV reporter Doug Curlee: “Pissing Off the Power Structure 24/7.”
With a slight change in wording — to “Pissing Off My Bosses 24/7” — it sounds like I’ve found my very own personal slogan! (Editor’s note: Isn’t it time for your annual review?)