The last few years have been a difficult time for police in the city of San Diego. Besides dealing with fewer resources, pay issues and personal tragedies involving colleagues, the department’s reputation has been battered by a series of allegations of misconduct against officers.

That’s not all. There’s talk of leaders failing to do enough to protect the public from officers gone bad.

Still, the SDPD’s profile hasn’t been as bad as the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the department hit perhaps its lowest point ever amid a series of major scandals. And crime rates are low, after all.

We decided it was time to step back and review all the upheaval. This is your chance to catch up so you can keep track of a changing department as it all continues to unfold.

At San Diego State, a Battle Over a Fat Fee

We take a look at the big debate at San Diego State over a $400 extra fee each year to fund professors and classes. Students can only make a recommendation about what to do — not a controlling vote — and there wasn’t much interest until recently when some began protesting and making a stink.

Our story explains what’s at stake and notes the extremely low turnout in an advisory election. The university president hasn’t met yet with students who are demanding to be heard.

Frye’s Open Government To-Do List

This week’s radio show and expanded podcast features an interview with former Councilwoman and almost-mayor Donna Frye, who’s now president of California Aware, an open-government advocacy organization.

Among other things, she explains how many citizens learn to understand the value of transparency, calls for accountability as a new mayor takes office, and says the halt in the planned purge of older internal city emails needs to be confirmed in writing.

It’s also the co-co-hosting debut of Catherine Green.

Quick News Hits

• On Saturday in the Morning Report, Scott Lewis linked to an op-ed from former Mayor Jerry Sanders which rallied San Diegans to join together with his JOBS Coalition to find funding for affordable housing projects after the City Council decided to rescind a major fee hike on commercial construction. Lewis read a sentence wrong and implied Sanders hinted his own coalition wasn’t fully on board with that. We’re assured it is.

• A U-T investigative series last year about assisted living and care homes titled “Deadly Neglect” has prompted state legislation that aims to speed up government investigations. Now, the U-T says, investigators can begin within 10 days of a complaint and don’t need to be finished quickly.

The newspaper series “identified 27 deaths in San Diego County assisted living homes from abuse or neglect since 2008.” The story doesn’t say whether the legislation, which is bipartisan, has a good chance of passing.

• The L.A. Times says San Diego County officials are exploring whether to take advantage of the state’s Laura’s Law, which gives counties greater leeway to seek court-ordered treatment of the mentally ill. The law is poised to become a flashpoint for a debate since it essentially expands the government’s ability to put people away without their consent.

• San Diego County is one of only two parts of the state where voters prefer to vote in person instead of by mail, a new report says. Younger voters prefer to vote in person.

• Tens of thousands of fans of “Veronica Mars,” the low-rated but deeply missed TV show filmed in San Diego, contributed money to support a new movie that’s due in theaters and online this week, the New York Times reports.

Yeah, yeah, OK. More importantly, will the dad’s private detective office in the fake city of “Neptune” still be on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights?

Library Just Won’t Pipe Down

As architect Rob Quigley told us a few months ago in a wide-ranging interview, the new downtown central library is built to last for the long haul. He envisions it being here, like the U.S. Grant Hotel and other striking buildings, for more than a century.

But complicated buildings, like complicated people, often come with plenty of bugs. The recent rains have exposed a big one: The dome makes a screeching sound when it’s really windy, and some neighbors have complained. Quigley tells the U-T that the sound is like a moan or a howl, but people have different interpretations, even positive ones.

The library could hire engineers to muffle the sound if it develops into a serious issue. Or they could just get a bunch of librarians together to “Shhh!” at it.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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