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Editor’s Note: Judge Jeffrey Fraser has since said our interpretation of his quote that “Everybody in the Police Department knew about this” was incorrect. We’ve published this explanation, and we apologize.
The words came not from a prosecutor, a witness nor an attorney but from the judge overseeing the trial of an ex-San Diego cop accused of on-duty sexual misconduct: “Let’s face it. Everybody in the Police Department knew about this.”
The comments from Judge Jeffrey Fraser came yesterday as he declined to allow last-minute testimony from a police officer whom a prosecutor said came forward this week. The officer, the prosecutor said, has information about how accused ex-cop Anthony Arevalos treated women.
What police leadership knew and when they knew it is what’s captured our attention about this case. If they knew he was trouble, what oversight problem allowed him to continue patroling?
The Union-Tribune and NBC 7 San Diego have more details about yesterday’s developments at the trial, including an allegedly incriminating tape-recorded conversation and a security video that may show evidence of an alleged sexual encounter.
Mayoral Rivals Get Up and Close with Garbage
San Diego is one of the only cities in the state that doesn’t require residents of single-family homes to pay extra fees for garbage pickup, and it’s been that way since 1919. Apartment and condo dwellers here, however, have to pay special fees.
We asked the mayoral candidates what they think about that and also about the city attorney’s proposal to get the city out of the trash business, leaving residents to pay private contractors.
For background about the trash fee debate, check our San Diego Explained feature video and a history flashback that explains how a 1910s hog farm scandal resulted in resistance to garbage collection bills.
You can also read about how San Diego tried to get rid of garbage in the 19th century, back when cows and pigs roamed the streets, dead animals piled up at the foot of G Street and trash scows at the wharf made sailors woozy. P-U!
• Check our site this morning for a recap of a forum last night that featured three of the four major mayoral candidates. Here’s a preview, via our Liam Dillon: ” Filner: first appointment as mayor will be Donna Frye as ombudsman for the city.” Interesting! Now plenty of Frye fans are dreaming of the exact reverse.
Cleaning Up Trashed Foreclosed Homes
Foreclosures and mortgage problems are hitting San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods especially hard. In Logan Heights, for example, more than half of homes with mortgages are “underwater,” the U-T reports, the highest percentage in the county.
Other densely populated neighborhoods like City Heights and Otay Mesa are struggling too, and not just because mortgage bills aren’t being paid. Residents say many homes in foreclosure have been poorly maintained by banks, becoming havens for trouble. Getting help, CityBeat reports, is no easy task.
Even Councilman Todd Gloria failed to get the mess behind his City Heights home resolved promptly. “There were squatters, prostitution and drug dealing,” he said. “I’m a City Council member, and I couldn’t get it solved for months and months and months.”
One problem is lack of funding for code enforcement, which CityBeat says is at its lowest level in seven years. Now there’s talk of requiring banks to pay fees for homes in foreclosure. But a fee could bump up against property rights.
News from Sacto Could Affect Schools Crisis
There’s contradictory news that could affect the San Diego district’s financial future: the Sacramento Bee reports that the state’s deficit is far bigger than expected according to estimates, but “trigger cuts” that could trip up the district big-time might be avoided due to a new pickup in the economy. We talked to the Bee reporter to get more details. The Union Tribune also describes the impending mid-year cuts to the state budget. When the schools superintendent warned they were on the edge of a precipice, the mid-year cuts is that precipice.
• We haven’t just been writing stories about the possible impending insolvency of the San Diego school district. Our journalists have appeared on several local radio and TV shows too. If you’re trying to get a handle on the latest happenings, check these links to video and audio reports.
• Our Scott Lewis and I talked about the school district’s doomsday scenario — I’m skeptical that it will ever happen — along with other topics like Occupy San Diego in the latest edition of VOSD Radio.
At Border, Ugly Fence Gives Way to… Ugly Fence
The unattractive “surf fence” at the international border — a row of metal pipes stretching 300 feet into the ocean — could use a facelift.
Instead, the old metal pipes (which were first installed in the early 1990s) are getting replaced by new metal pipes, KPBS reports. It’s a bit of a porous fence, with 4-inch bits of space between the pipes to allow sealife to go back and forth without a passport or birth certificate. (Lucky!)
San Diego’s Turn to Shine in Art Extravaganza
The big cross-Southern California “Pacific Standard Time” art extravaganza focuses on San Diego this weekend. We’ve got links to the schedule, background and more details
But What If My Battery Is Dead?
“God has an unlimited talk plan.” — the announcement board outside a Lutheran church in North Park.
‘Fountain of Life’ Sought in Fruit Flies
Want to live longer? If you’re a mouse or fruit fly or some other kinds of animal, the best way is to severely cut down on the food you eat. Somehow, a diet that deeply restricts calories seems to boost lifespan. There are suspicions that the same thing might work for people, although it won’t be very pleasant for those who like to chow down.
A professor at Salk Institute for Biological Studies is leading research into lifespan in the fruit fly. They’ve found that tinkering with a gene linked to fruit fly intestines boosted the lifespan of the little buggers by 50 percent; apparently, the gene manipulation made their guts healthier.
“Their intestines were beautiful,” declared a Salk researcher in a press release.
Related story: Salk Researcher Needs to Get Out More.