The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
When San Diego police officer Jonathan McCarthy shot Victor Ortega in a Mira Mesa alley in 2012, McCarthy claimed Ortega had rushed toward him and tried to take his gun. Despite forensic evidence hinting that Ortega was actually on his knees when the shooting occurred, McCarthy has stuck to his story. Kelly Davis reports how McCarthy has found an expert to back up the plausibility of his story, specifically the part where Ortega is alleged to have covered a distance of five feet during the attack, at such a speed the officer didn’t even have time to shout a warning at him.
The expert, Dr. William Lewinski, has been criticized for giving testimony in similar cases using what some have called “pseudoscience.” Lewinski claims peer-reviewed research has proven people can cover 11-foot distances in one second; too quick for anyone to shout a command at them. Davis notes one problem with the research cited by Lewinski: Its findings were based on a study of college athletes, not average folks.
The city of San Diego isn’t bothered by the shaky foundations of Lewinski’s testimony, though. “The Ortega case is the third time the city attorney has used Lewinski,” Davis writes.
Bad Boards, Bad Boards (Whatcha Gonna Do?)
What happens when one of the trustees on the San Diego Unified board breaks the rules? We’ve recently been looking into a case of a principal who lost her job at the School of Performing Arts, and whether it had anything to do with special treatment of board president Marne Foster’s son. Details on that situation are still developing.
But the school board does have some rules, and some consequences for rule-breakers, although the latter aren’t much. They may “get a stern talking-to in private,” Mario Koran writes in this week’s edition of The Learning Curve. They may even be officially “censured” (shamed) by other board members in a vote, which happened once in 2004. “Then they all carried on with life,” Koran reports.
• In brighter school news, Chula Vista Elementary School District is making a $15 million investment into arts education, “unlike any that local arts educators have ever seen.” (KPCC)
Minimum Wage Drama, Part Two
California’s legislative session is coming to an end soon, and that means big proposals with no consensus are getting shelved, the L.A. Times reports. One of those issues destined for the freezer is a statewide increase to the minimum wage.
With no increase coming from the state, a proposed minimum wage increase in San Diego returns to the main stage. You may recall how this issue sharply divided city leaders, who passed a minimum wage increase through City Council and then doubled down on it when a signature-gathering effort forced the issue to the June 2016 ballot.
• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted there’s still hope the state will beat San Diego to raising the minimum wage, when the Legislature returns in 2016.
Solving Cyclist Situation
A recent incident of blood-letting between a North Park motorist and a group of cyclists has reinvigorated the debate of where bikes fit in on the roads. One columnist at New York magazine wonders if the answer to dealing with misbehaving cyclists isn’t to give them exactly what they want: protected lanes of their own.
Chamber Flips on Endorsing
The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce stepped off the sidelines for the upcoming 2016 election in the 52nd Congressional District and formally endorsed Rep. Scott Peters on Thursday. That’s a different tune than it sang in 2014, when officials told the Union-Tribune they wouldn’t be endorsing in congressional races. The Chamber tweeted out an explanation of what changed members’ minds.
• An L.A. company bought some of the San Diego Daily Transcript‘s assets, including its name, after the paper announced it would shut down printing in September. (KPBS)
• A recent poll finds that a super-majority of people polled favor increased transparency into police departments, especially officer misconduct cases. Here’s the whole poll. (L.A. Times)
• Tech workers in San Diego are making salaries double their non-tech working counterparts. (San Diego Reader)
• Need your money? Start by getting it back from the county. (Union-Tribune)
• Radio show host Carl DeMaio is now the sole host of his show on AM talk radio station KOGO, with his former co-host announcing Thursday he is jumping ship. (Union-Tribune)
• If you have an orange crate (a crate once used to hold oranges, not an orange-colored crate, although it could be colored orange) and a desire to ride it down a hill at speeds approaching 30 miles per hour, Chula Vista has got just the event for you this Saturday. (Union-Tribune)
Shake It Off
Does life have you down? Are you driving erratically and failing to follow street signs? Are the police chasing you down the avenues of your city, using spike traps to blow up your tires? Take it from someone who was in your same situation recently: Just dance it off. Yeah, just throw down some moves right there in the street, bathed in blue and red lights flashing like a stratospheric disco ball. You’ll feel better for a few minutes, tops. (Fox 5)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. Challenge him to a street dance-off via email at email@example.com or on Twitter: @loteck.