The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
We’re learning more about the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in the Midway neighborhood last spring. It “was unprovoked, according to a sworn statement from someone who has viewed security camera footage of the incident,” reports VOSD’s Liam Dillon.
The officer “appeared” to shoot the man “hastily,” states the man, who works at a nearby business that captured the incident on a security camera. In an interview with us, the man adds: “When you see the video, it’s obvious he was not doing anything threatening.”
The man also tells Dillon he contacted several politicians to express his concern about what he saw on the footage, including mayor Kevin Faulconer and Rep. Scott Peters, but got no response.
“The San Diego Police Department has had the security camera footage since the aftermath of the shooting, and has refused to release it publicly despite public records requests, calls for transparency from interest groups and protests,” Dillon writes. “Like body camera footage, the department is treating the security camera video as evidence and reasons it is therefore exempt from disclosure under state law. SDPD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”
How Developers Sneak Past Residents
Earlier this week, we revealed how developer Accretive Investments is trying to manipulate the system in order to get permission to build a big housing development in the rural North County town of Valley Center. The project has plenty of critics, including local fire officials, but it keeps moving toward approval even though it doesn’t fit into the county’s official blueprint.
Now, our team of Andrew Keatts and Maya Srikrishnan is back with a story that uncovers a legal trick that developers like Accretive use to stitch projects together. A law professor tells us that developers “conduct transactions with companies that don’t bear their name — so land owners can’t figure out the offer in front of them is part of larger development plan.”
Another law professor puts it this way: “At the beginning, they disguise who they are. They don’t want people to know that one group is trying to buy everything. They don’t want people to raise prices because they know they are a missing piece.”
Whether this is a sneaky move or not, it’s common, legal and sometimes even considered a best practice.
Urban Living Roundup: High Price to Pay?
• The L.A. Times examines the same traffic-control conundrum that we face in San Diego: What price in terms of traffic congestion are people willing to pay to make getting around easier (and safer) for those who don’t drive?
In L.A., a plan for the year 2035 calls for a reduction of traffic fatalities to zero. But this looks likely to greatly increase congestion on city streets and send more cars into residential neighborhoods in search of shortcuts.
• Those public restrooms downtown known as “Portland Loos” are controversial, and at least one of them may be removed. Now, the Reader finds that “the upkeep of the two easy-to-clean, graffiti-proof Portland Loos installed since December costs more than in any city that has them.” A rep from the company that makes them says “I’ve sold 21 restrooms to cities, and I’ve never had one cost so much to install, let alone maintain, than in San Diego.”
• We hear a lot about how streetlights seem to keep neighborhoods safer, and we’ve explored the tangled maze that residents need to go through to get a streetlight.
But in an L.A. Times commentary, an editor for Astronomy magazine complains about how nighttime lights — especially low-energy LED ones — increase “skyglow” and make life difficult for astronomers.
But what about safety? “Decades of research show there’s no scientific reason to believe that darker streets are inherently more dangerous. And, increasingly, researchers are finding that excess light is toxic for both humans and wildlife.”
Quick News Hits: We’re All Wet
• Weird Story of the Day: A professor brought a gun to an administrative meeting at Miramar College and says he should be in the clear because he was blowing the whistle about campus sales of ammunition. (Union-Tribune)
• The governor has signed a bill by local legislator Lorena Gonzalez that protects certain grocery store workers from being immediately sacked after a change in ownership. The law is the first of its kind in the nation.
• “State parks officials and Native American leaders are decrying what they say has been a devastating spate of vandalism and looting at historically and culturally significant sites in San Diego County’s backcountry.” (Union-Tribune)
• Some dastardly thief has made off with a $650 brass-and-copper horse statue from Alpine: “The sturdy stallion weighs about 30 pounds and stands 2.5 feet tall and 3.5 feet long from its nose to its metal wisps of a tail.” (NBC 7)
• Three members of the VOSD staff jumped off the O.B. Pier yesterday (don’t worry, it was all legal thanks to the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation). You can watch the video here.
Feel free to tell them via Twitter that they’re all washed up. Otherwise I’ll have to do it!
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.