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The San Diego Police Department’s rules about new body cameras make it clear that cops aren’t supposed to record protesters when they’re protesting. But there’s an exception: If things get intense, like they did recently in a recent demonstration in City Heights, officers can press the record button.
And then we can all take a look at the video, right? No. SDPD has not made the video from the protest available to the public, nor has it allowed the public to see video of officer-involved shootings.
The police department, it’s defending its lack of transparency, as VOSD’s Liam Dillon reports. The department’s representative says video will help in investigations and that bolsters community trust.
Only certain police supervisors, internal investigators and the civilian review board may be allowed to see evidence in those investigations, however, and then only in certain cases.
• Journalists continue to point out that body cameras are no grand solution to the problem of law-breaking cops. The NY Times puts it this way in a story published this weekend: “No consensus has emerged about when officers should turn on their cameras, which could leave departments open to accusations of selective recording. And footage does not always lead to universally shared conclusions.” As a former prosecutor puts it, “we shouldn’t just think of video as the safeguard of truth.”
Politics Roundup: Road to a New Driving Fee
• The VOSD Radio Show and Expanded Podcast examines rumors that have been swirling around that the Republicans on the City Council might try to cut Councilman Todd Gloria down to size by dumping him as council president. Supposedly, according to the gossip, the GOP types would go for Councilwoman Sherri Lightner instead, even though she’s a Democrat.
• State legislators are snarfing up new pay raises just a few years after some of them turned down salary increases because of the state’s dire financial straits. (U-T)
• “Faced with growing shortfalls in highway funding as drivers give up their gas-guzzling cars,” the L.A. Times reports, “California officials are trying to determine if a mileage fee would be more effective at raising revenue for road projects than the state tax of 36 cents per gallon.”
Quick News Hits: El Niño? More Like El Crapshoot
• The most popular article on our site over the past week is a commentary by the head of the San Diego firefighters union in which he claims, as the headline puts it, that “San Diego Is Paying Half Price for Quarter Service on Emergencies.” We later ran the commentary through San Diego Fact Check and ruled that his claim is Misleading.
Here’s the full Top 10 list of the most-read stories on our site.
• You might assume an El Niño means rain for Southern California. Not necessarily. As the L.A. Times reports, mild to moderate El Niño are hardly that predictable. Only strong ones “come with a virtual guarantee of significantly increased precipitation,” and we don’t have one this year. But we could still be in for a lot of wet.
• It may soon cost people $75 plus $10 a month to detach themselves from those “smart meters” that power companies have attached to homes in California. “Some utility customers have health concerns about the effects of wireless signals,” the U-T reports, “while others oppose sharing detailed information about electricity and natural gas use.”
• A dangerous white cobra captured in the L.A. area is heading to the San Diego Zoo, the L.A. Times reports: “How a snake from a species common to Southeast Asia became loose in Thousand Oaks is unclear.”
The venomous snake’s been well-behaved so far, and one of her caretakers says “she has shed her skin nicely.”
Huh. A new face in place of an old face: Are they sure she wouldn’t feel more comfortable where that’s more common? Time for a zoo in La Jolla!
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.