The San Diego Police Department has released new numbers about the races of people who get pulled over in traffic stops, and they continue to raise questions about whether cops engage in racial profiling. Blacks and Hispanics were pulled over more often than their level in the city’s driving population in 2014, and whites and Asians were pulled over less.
The department is at a loss as to how to interpret the numbers: “If the people on its roads are always changing, it can’t reliably make comparisons between the race of those stopped and the overall makeup of commuters,” reports Megan Burks. But there are ways to find meaning in the numbers, and Councilwoman Marti Emerald has enlisted a team at San Diego State to launch an independent analysis.
For background on racial profiling, check our previous coverage, which convinced the police to resume collecting the numbers.
• A federal review of the police department’s misconduct policies is on the way. The police chief got to review a draft copy prior to its public release, which is now slated for March.
A Highly Charged Conversation
We asked VOSD members for their thoughts about the possibility of a Chargers move, and boy, did they have a perspective or two. Or 200.
Local Schools Angry Over Power Rates
“Public school districts throughout San Diego County are demanding relief from soaring electricity rates that they estimate could cost them a combined $30 million more this year than last year,” the U-T reports, “and siphon money from critical student services just as the state’s recovering economy is funding education again.”
SDG&E, through a vice president who’s a VOSD board member, blamed state regulations and delays in regulatory decisions regarding rates. For background on the future of power rates, check our coverage here. And check our recent story about how high power rates are hurting local businesses.
• Inewsource finds that property taxpayers in the tiny San Ysidro school district, which runs elementary schools in the San Diego neighborhood, will pay back almost $15 for every $1 the district borrowed in a $16 million bond measure in 2011. There’s more: It turns out that Poway’s notorious bond, which requires taxpayers to pay back a $105 million loan with almost $1 billion, isn’t even the most egregious case of a potentially bad deal in the county.
Briggs Fires Back Over Coverage
Cory Briggs, who may be San Diego’s most feared attorney, has responded in an open letter to a pair of Inewsource stories that raise questions about land deals and his wife’s work. He says there’s nothing “illegal, unethical or unusual” about payment arrangements from clients (such as deeds of trust on property) or his wife working in the same field (environmental law) as he does. He also hints at possible legal action, calling the coverage “reckless, wrong and harmful to the public as well as to innocent third parties.”
His response doesn’t include details about why he apparently sold his house at half-price to a corporation he controls or what he disclosed to clients or opposing parties about his wife’s job, if anything.
Quick News Hits: Burglar Makes Time for Art
• San Diego County doesn’t appear to be a fan of the state plastic bag ban: We were a bit of a hot spot for signatures forcing the issue onto the 2016 ballot. (Sacramento Bee)
• CityBeat profiles a local man who might benefit if the state makes it easier for people to get organ transplants when they use medical marijuana. Some hospitals reportedly turn these patients away.
• Someone’s been burglarizing the public library in the remote North County town of Valley, swiping laptops and iPads and a few things you wouldn’t expect would be on a burglar’s wish list. Like pottery, photos and artwork, including a portrait of a former president of the Valley Center Friends of the Library and a rather ordinary-looking painting of a pickup truck in front of trees.
“It is a little weird,” a sheriff’s detective tells the U-T. Authorities are monitoring swap meets and online sites. Anyone want to keep an eye on “Antiques Roadshow”?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.