The federal government stepped in to investigate the San Diego Police Department amid a rash of misconduct allegations. But the feds aren’t running the show. Instead, they outsourced to a firm called the Police Executive Research Forum.

It turns out that this firm is no stranger to policing in San Diego.

In fact, the man who runs it has deep ties to two previous police chiefs. One is William Lansdowne, the most recent one. He was once the firm’s treasurer; this year, he essentially resigned in disgrace.

The other ex-police chief, Jerry Sanders, was once lauded by the firm’s head as “one of the most progressive, innovative and compassionate leaders in the country.” Sanders’ wife worked for the firm too.

S.D. Gang Member Wins in Supreme Court

You may have heard about the U.S. Supreme Court’s big ruling yesterday that says police need a warrant to inspect cell phones. One of the cases in the ruling is from San Diego and involves a gang member who was convicted of attempted murder, in part because of evidence from his cell phone.

The gang member sued and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. So what happens to him now? The L.A. Times talks to a law professor involved in the case who says there’s no guarantee he will be released.

The ruling has wider implications than just cell phones, the N.Y. Times reports: It “almost certainly also applies to searches of tablet and laptop computers, and its reasoning may apply to searches of homes and businesses and of information held by third parties like phone companies.”

Politics Roundup: Escondido Tells Feds to Stuff It

No surprise here: Escondido, one of the county’s largest cities and long a conservative epicenter of anti-immigrant advocacy, is firmly resisting the idea of allowing a shelter for the kids of undocumented immigrants.

Heeding a big hell-no from hundreds of residents, the city’s Planning Commission quashed a request from the federal government, KPBS reports. Residents worried about everything from traffic to safety and disease. But the kids would have gone through health screenings, and escapes have apparently been rare.

Similar but smaller centers already exist in the Lemon Grove and El Cajon areas, the U-T reports.

• The city is about to move forward with plans for a new fire station near the waterfront. The fire station might be finished within a couple of years. (Times of San Diego)

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer: GOP star or GOP superstar?

• The merchant-funded business group in the Hillcrest neighborhood is having quite a spot of bother. (CityBeat)

S.D. Homes Are Overpriced Again

Slate takes a look at new numbers that suggest San Diego home prices are 7 percent overvalued. That’s not bad compared with the Orange, L.A., Riverside, San Jose, Ventura and San Bernardino metro areas, which are even more overpriced. But we’re still among the 10 most overvalued home markets in the country among the top 100 metro areas.

Could be worse, though. Back in 2006, when the housing slump first kicked in, home prices here were — whoa! — 69 percent overpriced.

• Meanwhile, we’ve slumped a bit in a rating of the top metro areas for life sciences. We’re now at No. 3 instead of No. 2. Boston and the Bay Area beat us out.

The report says “San Diego’s ranking drop is largely due to reduced demand for resources by mature companies as smaller enterprises have flourished.”

Tony Gwynn’s Memorial Is Tonight

The U-T has details about the memorial tonight for late Padres star Tony Gwynn. Freeway snarls are expected, although extra trolleys will be in service to get people to the baseball stadium downtown. Parking at several lots will be free.

Waterfront Park: Back Off, Daddies!

The new Waterfront Park next to the County Administration Building is pretty darned nifty. The kid fun in the playground and “water features” are enough to warm the calcified heart of even the most cynical journalist. (Don’t ask me how I know this. And don’t get me started how we started about the annoyance of the term “water feature.”)

So everybody’s having a good time, enjoying the summer and trying to forget that they just paid $20 for parking. But wait. Turns out the security guards do more than chase away seagulls that threaten to soil the water. They also tell parents to get off playground equipment designed for kids.

A VOSD reader captured a video of the security guards at work — you can watch it here — and complained. A county official said the guards are simply enforcing the equipment age limits set by the manufacturers.

Don’t parents have their own playground nearby? It’s called the Gaslamp Quarter. Just keep in mind that there’s no free merry-go-round to make you get dizzy and stagger around. That’s going to cost you by the glass.

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

Randy Dotinga

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

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