One night last July, a City Heights mother waited for her sons to come home to their living quarters at the back of the wireless store she owns. The brothers walked up to the door of the store and tried to enter. In moments, several San Diego police officers were on the scene, and a melee erupted.
By the time it was over, one brother was handcuffed and detained, another was punched repeatedly by an officer and arrested. Their mother was wrestled to the floor and arrested after trying to intervene.
There was no crime in progress. As VOSD contributor and veteran L.A. Times reporter H.G. Reza writes, “police on patrol simply watched the brothers separately take out keys and enter the store, and decided something nefarious was in the works. The whole thing went down because of a suspected burglary in the brothers’ own home.”
The incident, which led to major legal problems for family members and the possible deportation of the mother, raises further questions about police conduct. The cops aren’t talking, although there’s an investigation in the works. But security footage seems to dispute the cops’ version of what happened.
Happy Anniversary to Us – and You
Monday is a big day for us. It marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Voice of San Diego, and we’re celebrating with a new website and a new approach.
VOSD’s Scott Lewis explains why we went through the change and why we’ve redesigned the website’s home page to act as “a kind of poster.”
“It’s a large invitation to peruse the content, yes, but it’s also meant to persuade new visitors to register with this service so we can serve them the best stories and experience possible,” Lewis writes.
But that’s not all that’s changing. VOSD is focusing on producing better and more powerful journalism. We’ve always faced a balancing act between filling the website with new stories every weekday and working on longer-term journalism that matters. With your support and guidance, VOSD staff and contributors are going to find a better balance that serves you.
• Lewis remembers the first 10 years of VOSD: “It’s clear that Voice of San Diego is an institution in this city. It’s bigger than any one of us who helped it grow … We’re not settled, though.”
• We are gathering a list of VOSD’s 10 biggest investigations over the last decade but even that didn’t quite capture it all, though, so Lewis listed the 10 stories that made us laugh, cry and protect our virgin ears from foul language.
Wackiness at the Waterfront: A Retrospective
Speaking of looking back, I took a look at the most bizarre projects for the San Diego waterfront. I didn’t need to go back far: In the past few weeks, we’ve gotten to see mockups of a proposed “SkySpire” – Space Needle-meets-“Snakes on a Plane” –and a giant Ferris wheel that prompted an oh-no-you-don’t from the FAA.
You can also see photos and details about other proposed projects that (mostly) die on the vine, including the “Wings of Freedom” and a humongous statue of the God of the Sea & Friends that prompted one naysayer to declare that if this is public art, let us just not have any.
Politics Roundup: Cops May Get Raises
• The city of San Diego has reached a tentative agreement to give raises to veteran cops in an attempt to keep other cities and counties from poaching them. The across-the-board raises will boost pay by almost 7 percent over five years. “Raises will be accomplished through a direct pay boost, plus more holiday pay and an increase in health care, equipment and uniform allowances,” the L.A. Times reports.
Keep in mind that cops haven’t gone without raises. Like many public employees, many police officers receive boosts in pay up to a certain level as they gain experience.
• Councilman Mark Kersey was the guest on the latest VOSD Radio Show and Podcast. He talks about how the city just now came up with a plan for how to handle the future when it comes to streets, sidewalks and so on: “We can’t find evidence that we’ve ever had one. And that really helps explain why we’re in the predicament that we’re in right now, ’cause no one’s ever looked at infrastructure in a strategic way.”
He hinted he was open to a tax increase and that a vote on the convention Center expansion might be coming.
Port Commissioner Bob Nelson also made a cameo at the beginning of the show to banter about why all these wild ideas for the waterfront keep coming up.
• Even Republicans think they’re going to be losers come the 2016 Senate election, the L.A. Times reports. Part of the problem: The GOP has no big-name candidates, only a few “who?” hopefuls including local state Sen. Rocky Chavez: “The Republicans have been most notable for those sitting the race out. They include Rep. Darrell Issa and major donor Charles Munger Jr., who could both easily fund a campaign themselves, and Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego, the largest city in the nation led by a Republican.”
A Tailgater’s Dream or an ‘Anti-Urban Void’
• Prominent local architect Rob Quigley writes in a U-T commentary that downtown is exactly the wrong place for a football stadium. A baseball park is fine, he writes, because it contributes to the downtown community, but “stadiums, on the other hand, are massive inwardly focused anti-urban voids. They do not contribute to making desirable neighborhoods. When a 70,000-seat stadium is used, there is stifling congestion and serious hardships on nearby residents.”
But another architect, Héctor A. Reyes, says a stadium would revitalize downtown, and he likes the convadium idea: blending the convention center and a stadium. He’s especially intrigued by the potential for tailgating.
Quick News Hits
• No, that thing around the neck of San Diego Zoo polar bear Tatqiq isn’t a new fashion accessory. It’s more like a FitBit. She’s wearing an accelerometer as “part of a research project aimed at finding ways to arrest the sharp decline of her species in the wild due to global warming,” the L.A. Times reports.
The idea is to analyze what she does and how it shows up on data from the device. That’ll help researchers figure out what polar bears are doing up in the Arctic while they’re wearing similar collars.
Why does Tatqiq get to wear this thing? Other polar bears are busy with mating season right now, but Tatqiq isn’t supposed to breed and is actually on birth control.
Oh dear. Looks like she’ll need to buy herself her own box of candy this Valentine’s Day. Chocolate-covered seals, anyone?
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 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.