About six years ago, I was sitting in my then-boyfriend’s tiny apartment in downtown L.A., and he mentioned that an old friend from Indiana was in town looking at grad schools. She’d stopped by that day and they’d hung out for a while, he said. Ours was a toxic, tumultuous relationship, so my first reaction was paranoia. Who is this bitch?

It’s funny, how people come into your life. That bitch, it turned out, was Caty Green.

She soon moved to L.A. to study journalism at USC, my alma mater, got my email from her friend, my shady boyfriend, and I gave her some advice about the school.

She reached out again when she was about to graduate – by then I’d left L.A. for a stint in D.C., and had landed back on the West Coast at VOSD. As luck would have it, we were hiring.

That’s how we got to this week, Caty’s last one at Voice of San Diego. She’s moving on to her own D.C. stint with an awesome new gig at The Atlantic.

Hiring decisions are always fraught with risk and anxiety. But no one assured us that we’d made the right call as rapidly as Caty did. She could write quickly and engagingly, she could do TV and radio and she could be a conduit to folks in the community. The writing was on the wall from the beginning, really, that someone would see what we had and lure her away.

I haven’t talked to the shady ex-boyfriend in years. But I hope Caty never falls out of touch.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Where to put new housing is going to be one of the biggest battles of the decade, or longer. One document, the county’s new general plan, specifically says where not to put it – in places “far away from existing homes, jobs and infrastructure.” Yet that’s just what Lilac Hills Ranch, a massive development planned for rural Valley Center, would do.

This week Andrew Keatts and Maya Srikrishnan revealed a former county planning official who thought — and still thinks — it should never be approved. They told the story of a family who wasn’t willing to sell the developer rights to a road, and so the family got sued. And they talked about the fire agency, worried about how it could protect the project, stop being worried after unprecedented political donations. Here’s how the project got this far. Officials now think it can be OK’d without solving the glaring problems with emergency responders being unable to get to the development within required timeframes.

There’s also a possibility the county could use its eminent domain power to seize private property in order to ensure the project conforms to another county rule.

♦♦♦

Back in April, after an SDPD officer shot an unarmed, mentally ill man, there were whispers that security camera footage of the incident was not favorable to the department. This week, those whispers became a sworn statement from an employee of the business that owned the security camera. The witness of the footage said the video is “shocking” and that the man who was shot was either moving slowly or stopped entirely before he was shot.

The video is being held under a protective order as part of the federal lawsuit the man’s family has filed against the city. VOSD – along with KPBS, inewsource, the Union-Tribune and 10 News – filed a motion this week to unseal the footage and the officer’s statement about what happened.

 Radley Balko, a criminal justice reporter at the Washington Post, unloads on SDPD over its transparency issues, including the most recent shooting video, in a new column, quoting VOSD and other local outlets’ coverage:

So Zimmerman believes not only that she has the right to keep body camera footage from the public, but also that she has the right to seize video taken by a camera owned by a private citizen and prevent the public from seeing that footage as well.

What Else VOSD Learned

 SDG&E has a tense, complicated relationship with rooftop solar. We broke down the eight facts about why, exactly, that is.

 Planning group folks like planning.

 At least three San Diego programs could be models for statewide laws.

What I’m Reading

Politicians Behaving Goodly

• In which Sen. Claire McCaskill sings the phrase “do the stanky leg” and explains how she engineered a race with Todd Akin. (New York Mag)

 A moment of grace from Jimmy Carter. (The Atlantic)

Anniversaries Sad and Happy

• Twenty years after Selena’s death, her fans are as devoted as ever. (Texas Monthly)

• Fifteen years after “Bring it On,” the cheerleader as a cultural archetype is basically dead. (Huffington Post)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of ‘Straight Outta Compton’

• Very relevant to my particular obsessions with American history and hip-hop: This piece compares “Straight Outta Compton” with the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” One is “a uniquely American story about the early days of hip-hop;” the other “a uniquely hip-hop story about the early days of America.” (L.A. Times)

• Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, “Straight Outta Compton” leaves out Dr. Dre’s violent episodes with women. (Gawker)

Line of the Week

“He’s the very portrait of the existential pain of being human: a tall man crammed into a tiny flying elephant while his life is falling apart and the line at Space Mountain grows ever longer.” – From a New York Magazine blog post about Ben Affleck’s trip to Disneyland.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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