The Morning Report
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The San Diego Police Department has rarely had a year as bad as 2014, when allegations of misconduct and other problems forced the departure of the veteran police chief. VOSD reporter Liam Dillon takes a look at what 2015 holds and finds that the police department has more hurdles to cross next year as it tries to rebuild.
For one thing, a promised federal review of misconduct in the police department hasn’t come out yet, even though it was supposed to be done and released by the end of this year. There’s no word about why it’s been delayed.
Meanwhile, the city is still wrangling over how to boost salaries for cops to avoid their exodus to better pay at other law enforcement agencies. Then there’s the issue of the new body cameras for cops. We’ve been pushing the department to be more open about the video captured by these cameras, but the police don’t want to cooperate.
• KPBS provides more detail on the lack of a deal over cop pay.
For background on the police salary issue, take a look at our Fact Check of a claim regarding SDPD officer pay versus sheriff’s deputy pay and read why the city’s best bet is to give veteran cops bigger raises.
• Sue Quinn, retired peace officer and first first elected president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, writes in a VOSD commentary that the model relied on by the San Diego police review board has weaknesses: “If it gets most of its training from the department it oversees, the board may not recognize problems in investigations, or may not recognize when evidence is insufficient. Another potential problem: The board may be co-opted by the department it oversees.”
• The U-T examines newly released documents that offer insight into the police department’s secretive new cell phone-monitoring technology: “The documents indicate, among other things, that the police department signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI that prohibits it from releasing information about the technology, and that officers do obtain a warrant before using the device to track cellphone signals.”
Here’s the city attorney’s documents.
Looks like the feds helped local officials, like our city attorney, write up the press release.
Sacramento: Centro de Escándalo
“This was a year of historic elections and searing scandals,” writes Brian Joseph, VOSD’s man in Sacramento. In a roundup, he recaps the highlights and lowlights of 2014 at the state capital from a San Diego perspective.
On one hand, local legislator Toni Atkins became the first San Diegan to ever serve as speaker of the state Assembly. Another local Democratic legislator, former union leader Lorena Gonzalez, quickly became one of the most influential voices at the capital.
But the state Senate was overwhelmed by scandal, including a DUI arrest for local legislator Ben Hueso. The imbroglios matter, our correspondent writes, because “one well-publicized scandal can grind the Capitol to halt for weeks at a time.”
More on Soitec
On Friday, we broke the news that Soitec, a darling of state and local efforts to recruit new business, was on its death bed after losing key contracts. Here’s some more context on the trouble it faces. Solar tech is doing well but not the kind Soitec deploys.
Quick News Hits: Welcome to Sick City
• San Diego County is experiencing its highest number of whooping cough cases on record, and a large majority of those who have gotten sick were immunized. (Inewsource)
• The county pension system “expects to begin interviews for an internal chief investment officer on Jan. 5 with a selection to be made as early as Feb. 6.” (Pensions & Investments)
• A new report predicts that by 2050 coastal cities like San Diego could face 30 days a year or more of flooding due to global warming. (CBS News)
• Why have airports like Lindbergh Field embraced rocking chairs over the past few years? A website called The Verge discovers that those countless airport “Kennedy Rockers” (named after the dozens of rocking chairs that JFK used) have their roots in a North Carolina chair company.
It helps that rocking chairs are slow-paced, just what airports need to get people stop stressing out: “Rocking chairs,” the story says, “signal the opposite of hurry.”
Hmph. If the goal is to coax people to not be in such a hurry to get anywhere, they might as well relocate Rosecrans Street to Terminal Two. Congestion loves company!
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.