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The San Diego Police Department’s program to boost video surveillance of the city has been a bit of a flop so far, but cops still have access to feeds from private security cameras and the program may work out its kinks. So what’s the policy on access to the video? Good question, and they have no good answers.
As we report in a new story, the police department isn’t tracking how useful the Orwellian-sounding Operation Secure San Diego has been in terms of specific incidents, and there’s only one public document that explains how the program works. Civil liberties advocates are concerned.
• San Diego cops are getting their own personal body cameras too. But it won’t be easy to see film of anything that happens.
VOSD managing editor Sara Libby explains the limitations in a story for CityLab: “Officers wearing the cameras were present during at least two shootings earlier this year. Yet we’re still not any closer to knowing what happened in those chaotic moments — whether the perpetrators can be easily identified, what kind of interactions the officers had with those present, nothing.”
Big picture: “the cameras offer plenty of value. But they don’t necessarily do what you’d be forgiven for believing was their fundamental job: giving the public a record of what happened.”
Minimum Wage Battle Heats Up Again
The City Council overrode the mayor’s veto of a boost in the minimum wage, setting the clock ticking for opponents to gather enough petition signatures to force a public vote. They only have 30 days. (U-T)
• In a new story, we continue our quest to understand the challenges of doing business in San Diego by looking at how the local job market is on the upswing, but the boost is coming from service and retail jobs that tend to have lower wages, the kinds that would get a boost if San Diego raises its minimum wage a bit above the state’s level, as proponents want to do.
Wait, Somebody Tried to Bribe Briggs?
The U-T follows up on our profile of uber-attorney and City Hall antagonist Cory Briggs with a profile of its own. In it, Briggs said he got a visit from a top City Hall insider who supports the Convention Center expansion (Briggs is the project’s top legal opponent) and “after writing the numeral ‘1’ on a whiteboard in Briggs’ conference room, the person patted his shirt pocket and said he had a check for $1 million in private funds, made out to Briggs.”
The catch: Briggs had to stop the legal fight. He refused.
• Briggs has challenged archenemy Jan Goldsmith, the San Diego city attorney, to a mutual ice-water challenge to support ALS. Will the response be chilly? Stay tuned.
• The U-T also profiles Reese Jarrett, who’s expected to be the next president of the city’s urban development agency. Here’s a revelation you may not have heard: “I was student body president at Lincoln (High) School and in 1969, Lincoln was the first school ever to walk out in the city of San Diego. We were protesting conditions at the school.”
Check our earlier profile of Jarrett here.
Born and Bred, California Edition
Back in the day, California was the place that people moved to, and natives were fairly rare. That’s still the case in some places like the VOSD office, where just about everybody is from another state originally. But, as a map from the New York Times reveals, we’re much less of a state of carpetbaggers: As of 2012, more than half of Californians were born here in the Golden State.
That’s a bigger number than Virginia, much higher than Florida and Arizona, and about the same as Georgia and the Carolinas. So where’s the new state at the end of the rainbow? Nevada: Just a quarter of residents were born there.
• More than a quarter of first-year students at UCSD are from out of state or out of the country, the L.A. Times reports, and similar trends at other UC campuses are helping the system reap a big benefit in higher tuition fees.
Quick News Hits: Let There Be Light
• The stadium lights at San Diego’s Hoover High are finally up and working after a lengthy squabble that pitted the school districts against local residents. (U-T)
A U-T writer isn’t sympathetic to concerns (which we covered last year): “Mainly it was NIMBYism among some in the neighborhood who had forgotten that Hoover — which opened in 1930 — has been around longer than all of them. Some have forgotten what the school — and the kids inside it — means to the community.”
• News from Sacramento: “A proposal pending in the Legislature would prohibit the use of aerial drones to collect video, photos and audio from celebrities and others in a way that violates their privacy rights,” the L.A. Times reports.
• On the science front, a UCSD researcher is getting international attention for developing “a tattoo that produces power from perspiration.” It’s a temporary tattoo — the best kind, some say — and produces four microwatts of power from a component of sweat.
That’s not enough to keep a digital watch going, the BBC says. But with some more development, this may be the best thing to happen to tattoos since someone first came up with MOM next to a heart with an arrow through it.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.