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Ask either candidate for mayor of San Diego, and they’ll tell you that racial profiling is a bad thing. But Liam Dillon found that the candidates disagree on whether racial profiling happens in San Diego. “I believe it does, yes,” David Alvarez said when asked if he thinks it happens here. “I don’t think it’s rampant and every officer or all the time.”

Alvarez described his own uncomfortable encounter with police.

Kevin Faulconer, on the other hand, wouldn’t commit to a specific answer on the same question, other than to say we should be vigilant in guarding against racial profiling. Aside from being vigilant, Faulconer wants police to get back to “community policing.”

• The San Diego Police Department will be at a City Council committee hearing on Wednesday to report on its racial data collection.

Check, Please: Faulconer’s 80 Percent Claim

In recent debates, Faulconer has criticized Alvarez for receiving most of his campaign money from organized labor groups. But he stepped it up to a new level recently when he said “labor unions are spending 80 percent of all funds (in) the entire race supporting David Alvarez.” Lisa Halverstadt debunked that but clarified Faulconer does have a true version of the claim. When he says that 80 percent of money supporting Alvarez comes from unions, he’s on more solid ground.

• KPBS points out that Faulconer’s criticism Alvarez’s sources of campaign donations “is a tad bit disingenuous,” considering how much money Faulconer has received from “business-oriented interests.”

Listening in City Heights

City Heights resident Felicia Shaw wrote in support of community members having more input into the decision of what business should replace their neighborhood’s Albertsons grocery store, which is closing Feb. 20. “Civic engagement done well is not just about sharing information,” Shaw wrote. “It’s about providing opportunities for people to come together, solve community problems and define their futures.”

• Marti Emerald talked about the Albertsons closure with some residents during an interview on KPBS.

Of Buffers and Industry

The City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of putting a buffer zone around an industrial area to protect both the businesses and the local residents. Sound familiar?

Nope, not Barrio Logan.

This buffer zone is around Solar Turbines, which (like the Barrio Logan buffer zone), is near the waterfront. Unlike the Barrio Logan plan, which was passed on a contentious 5-4 vote, this effort was supported by all council members unanimously. Alvarez said he “can’t help look at this (zoning) map and be reminded of what we’ve attempted to do with Barrio Logan.”

A few months ago, Scott Lewis explained what happened at Solar Turbines.

News Nibbles

• If you’re in the mood for sunsets, award-winning photography and the extreme glorification of tacos, our newest Culture Report is for you.

• Both mayoral candidates have a history of meetings with lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes, who is now suspected of illegally funneling foreign money to local campaigns. Cortes has been in jail since Jan. 21, but is expected to get out on bail soon.

• The Fair Political Practices Commission filed suit against the publisher of The Coast News in Encinitas over what it calls campaign-spending violations, according to the Seaside Courier.

• New money-saving street lights are going in on some San Diego streets. The lights are smart; they’ll tell the city when the bulb goes out or the light malfunctions.

• A very generous and anonymous donor is giving $275 million to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. It’s the largest philanthropic gift ever given in San Diego, wrote U-T San Diego.

• The San Diego Housing Federation’s executive director Susan Riggs has been called up to work for Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Your Honor, I Plead Affluence

While San Diego County continues to get clobbered by a deadly strain of influenza, lawmakers in Sacramento have their eye on a very different affliction. They want to pass a law barring the so called “affluenza defense,” a term coined after a Texas teenager successfully argued for a reduced sentence on his DUI conviction due to his “overly indulgent upbringing.”

“The laws can be made to knock out some of these defenses that are a little hard for us to believe,” said one California assemblyman. The bill already passed one committee, so eager parents had better get busy with the spoiling. Just make sure your teen doesn’t mix up the affluence defense with the far messier effluence defense.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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