Looks like City Councilwoman Marti Emerald’s concerns were all for naught. The two-person emergency response crew she was convinced back in February would be a misuse of money has been a huge success in Encanto – so much so that Mayor Kevin Faulconer wants to add a second duo to the citywide fleet.
The two-person crew got to work this summer, cutting response times in half for the neighborhood, and cost the city just about $600,000. That’s a steal, VOSD’s Liam Dillon reports, compared to the $12 million it would cost to build a staff a new fire station with a four-person engine crew.
So far there hasn’t been a clear decision where the new crew would go. The money Faulconer included in his budget projections last week could either be used for that additional crew or to make the Encanto pair 24 hours a day instead of the half-day gig they’ve got now. Dillon pointed out a couple neighborhoods that might benefit the most from beefed up emergency response: the area around Home Avenue in City Heights, and Point Loma.
Hero of the Week: Freeing an Innocent Man After 36 Years
Our Hero this week on the podcast was the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law for exonerating 69-year-old Michael Hanline in Ventura County.
Hanline has been in prison for murder for 36 years.
Later in the show, we talked with the associate director of the Innocence Project, Alex Simpson. He worked on Hanline’s case for 10 years.
On Monday, Hanline will go to court again to get a new trial. The district attorney may not pursue another trial and has agreed Hanline should be released now.
“At this time, Hanline’s plans when he is released are not known,” read the press release from the California Western School of Law. It was the longest wrongful incarceration in California history.
Now, the Goat of the Week
Our Goat of the Week is the local prosecutor who’s charging a rapper named Brandon Duncan, or Tiny Doo, for nine felonies in a gang shooting. He faces life in prison.
The problem is that prosecutors do not think Tiny Doo killed anyone. He’s being charged because his music encourages violence and his record sales benefit from it. We read from 10News but the story has now gone national. Here’s BuzzFeed.
As the U-T’s Chris Reed put it, “Remember 2013 chalk vandal? Nation now poised for another round of ridicule of what San Diego considers justice.”
I would bet, though, that this is the best thing that ever happened to Tiny Doo’s career, assuming these charges are thrown out. I also bet the city attorney is glad that this is the DA’s problem not his.
The DA’s Rep in Sacramento
Our district attorney has a lobbyist in Sacramento named Gail Stewart-Brockman. Our Sacramento bureau chief (OK, our freelancer in Sacramento) interviewed Stewart-Brockman for this week’s Sacramento Report, which also compiles all the news fit for you from the capitol. It’s a slow time in the Assembly and Senate, but it won’t be for long.
President Sparing Some Immigrants But Not All
President Obama made big news this week when he announced he would protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Between 2010 and 2013, Obama’s administration has deported 1.18 million people to Mexico. More than half a million of them went to Baja and most of them went to Tijuana.
Those numbers and others are in this compelling story from National Geographic which tracked some of the thousands of mostly men who were deported to Tijuana and remain there, some not even knowing the basics of Mexican life.
KPBS gathered some local reaction to the president’s move. And the U-T notes that if more immigrants are willing to sign up their children for lunch assistance through schools because they’re no longer fearful of deportation, that could mean more money for those schools.
What We Learned This Week
• Carl DeMaio ran quite a culture of email anonymity in his campaign for Congress, and now the open sharing of online identities is central to both his accuser’s and his account of a scandal that dominated the final days of the high-profile contest.
• Two members of the Chula Vista City Council want the latest version of the city’s Climate Action Plan to follow San Diego’s lead and set a hard goal of making the city 100 percent dependent on renewable energy.
• Together, two foundations have spent more than $265 million in City Heights since 2000. But data that quantify their impact is hard to come by. It exists, though. City Heights still struggles with poverty despite the intense philanthropic attention.
• If the city of San Diego’s leaders want to give police officers a raise, they might get the most bang for the buck if they give what they can to veteran officers who are easy targets to get hired away.
• San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is blaming the city’s lawyers and its auditor for his public records failings.
Quick News Hits
• Chula Vista’s City Council race between Democrat Steve Padilla and Republican John McCann has officially ended in a tie. McCann seems to be alleging some kind of nefarious act sunk him in that NBC story. Vince Hall, former chief of staff to ex-Mayor Bob Filner, noted on Twitter that 928 Chula Vista voters made a choice in the mayor’s race but didn’t vote in the City Council race. If only just one would have gone the extra mile. (NBC 7)
• The Mid-Coast trolley line has been approved. It may face some legal challenges but the route that would extend the light-rail service from Old Town to past UC San Diego has gotten through a major milestone. Some folks are going to be mad. (San Diego 6)
• CityLab profiled the Quartyard project in East Village as a “sign of changing attitudes in what has been a traditional planning culture” in San Diego. We actually have written about that before. Our work on how quick upgrades can make all the difference in some urban settings fits in this discussion. But yes, we have a conservative planning culture.
Quote of the Week
“You live, you learn. You have to do a lot of learning in politics, and I’ve done quite a bit of it,”
— Zack Brown, a supporter of Carl DeMaio’s whose name was on the campaign email account that sent homophobic and anti-semitic messages to campaign donors. Brown did not have control over the account.