The rumors and reporting were true: The San Diego City Council, amid a flurry of praise for Council President Todd Gloria, ousted him from that position and made Councilwoman Sherri Lightner the new president.
Lightner is a Democrat but the move was yet another win for Republicans in a series of victories in the city since former Mayor Bob Filner stepped down in 2013. All four of the City Council’s Republicans joined with Lightner to block Gloria’s re-election to the post. Then, in the second vote, Lightner earned the support of everyone except Gloria and Councilman David Alvarez.
She’s the first woman to hold the post.
It’s not clear why Republicans wanted to make the change. Though it now leaves Mayor Kevin Faulconer as indisputably the most prominent city leader. Only Councilman Scott Sherman tried to explain. He praised Gloria, like dozens of members of the public had, but he said the seat should rotate.
Lightner didn’t say anything, even a thank you after she moved to the new spot and Gloria’s name plate was moved to another seat on the dais. And she took off without talking to reporters after the vote, issuing only this statement (with yet more praise for Gloria).
The move provoked an “I told you so” from labor leader Mickey Kasparian, who leads the United Food and Commercial Workers local. The resulting back and forth with a Democratic Party leader is worth a look. Kasparian and other labor advocates were not supportive of Lightner’s re-election in 2012. But other Democrats, including Gloria, worked hard for her.
All There Is to Know About Cameras on Police
San Diego cops are wearing little videocameras designed to monitor them and the public, but hardly all the time. In fact, as we explain, the cameras will often be turned off or set to not record video for posterity.
It’s not just a matter of protecting privacy when cops engage in private activities like using a restroom. The police department’s written policy says cops aren’t supposed to permanently record video during “informal or casual encounters with members of the public,” when they’re talking to people in sensitive situations, during protests, when they’re visiting jail, and more.
Even when video is recorded, police supervisors aren’t supposed to use it to routinely monitor how cops are doing their jobs. In other words, this isn’t a case of employees being recorded for “quality assurance.”
Fast Track for Minor Criminals
CityBeat profiles a new court program designed by the city attorney’s office to reduce bureaucracy: It “offers certain misdemeanor offenders the chance to have their cases dismissed if they complete 16 hours of community service within 60 days and pay an administrative fee of $120. Folks who can’t pay can have the fee waived in exchange for additional service hours.”
Year-Round Schedule Gets Evicted
The San Diego school district won’t make kids start school in August instead of September but it will begin phasing out year-round schedules. (U-T)
We told you about the big debate over both these topics earlier this week.
Quick News Hits: Meet the Data Guy
• The city has a new — and first-ever — chief data officer: He’s Maksim Pecherskiy, “a 27-year-old Russian-born, Chicago-raised web developer who intends to single-handedly crack open the city’s data,” as KPBS notes in its story. We’ve criticized the mayor for taking his time on promises about transparency.
• Qualcomm has laid off 600 workers around the world, including 300 in California. It wasn’t immediately clear how many employees lost their jobs in San Diego. (U-T)
• The two college football bowl games held in San Diego, the Holiday Bowl and the Poinsettia Bowl, may seem like also-rans compared to biggies like the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and on and on. But the guy who manages the games made more than $324,000 in 2012-2013, and an assistant made more than $245,000. (Reader)
On the bright side, at least we don’t have to put up with an Athletic Bowl, something called the Belk Bowl or, heaven help us because I’m not making this up, the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
• A few readers were taken aback by yesterday’s Morning Report headline, which candidly referred former San Diego school board member Scott Barnett as a “loudmouth.”
Keep in mind that we’ve described him in as a guy who “at times sees himself as the only one in touch with reality,” and Barnett himself declared that “I feel like I’m in a 3-D movie with my board colleagues, but I’m the only one who’s been given the glasses.” He also recently spent 40 minutes at a meeting bashing a board colleague.
And besides, a “loudmouth” isn’t necessarily a bad person with bad ideas. Take this from a guy who’s been described in print as a “fatuous twit” and a “bloviating nitwit.” (Stifle, San Diego Fact Check!)
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.