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Andy Berg spends many of his nights acting as chair for a bond oversight committee for San Diego Unified School District, where he is expected to ensure that billions of taxpayer dollars from construction bonds are spent appropriately. But during the day, Berg is the head of an association of electrical contractors, where he lobbies the same school district on behalf of companies that collect that money.
Our Ashly McGlone looked into Berg’s dual roles as both lobbyist and watchdog. “Following San Diego Unified’s bond money leads you to the pockets of many of Berg’s electricians and his bosses,” McGlone reports.
Through a public records request, McGlone found emails where Berg dealt with a dispute between one of his member contractors and the district — ultimately, in one message, he threatened to recommend to his member that the company sue the district.
“If he is sending emails like that, he should step down” from the oversight committee says Michael Turnipseed, president of the California League of Bond Oversight Committees. “He’s bringing his day job into the arena.”
Partial Report Wholly Delayed
Back in 2014, we wrote about how far behind the San Diego Police Department had fallen in combating racial profiling within the department. The coverage inspired city leaders to announce an effort to study police data for signs of racial profiling during traffic stops, a study that was supposed to produce a report due this month. KPBS reports Councilwoman Marti Emerald announced on Wednesday the report would be delayed by eight months.
Emerald says the report is only partially completed. Despite the fact the original plan was to release the study in three parts, “we don’t feel that it’s responsible to release partial information along the way,” Emerald said.
No Fish Story
Scripps Institute of Oceanography reports the fish population in California has declined by more than 70 percent since 1970. Researchers looked at the results of two studies to collect the data, and found it “notable” that studies of two different populations of fish have declined at very similar rates. “The study concludes that changes in the California Current ecosystem are the likely cause of this decline in fish abundance,” Scripps writes. Whether the declines are due to changes in the climate is “a key question for future investigation,” they write.
State Senate Clash Begins
It’s early days in the race for state senator between Toni Atkins and Marty Block, but the Union-Tribune reports the stress of the contest is already producing meetings laden heavily with drama. “I’m damn tired of people coming in and getting involved in our party, our club, our business!” one woman complained at a small meeting of the Uptown Democratic Club on Tuesday. Atkins and Block were both in attendance, vying for the club’s support. Atkins told the club she was running against Block because “Women have been asked to step aside again and again and again,” the U-T reports.
“Just hunker down, folks,” Block told the crowd. “We’re barely beginning.”
The Sporting Life
• The San Diego Padres named Arizona D-backs third base coach Andy Green as their new manager. (KPBS)
• The San Diego Aztecs named their basketball court after their famous coach, Steve Fisher. (KPBS)
• UCSD researchers are spending their days figuring out the many ways to hack into your cars. (KPBS)
• The huge Post Office facility on Midway Drive has been purchased and will be turned into multiple industrial spaces. (San Diego Business Journal)
• USA Today finds a religious group in Turkey may have been illegally paying for federal lawmakers to fly to Turkey. Among the legislators who took the trips: former congressman Bob Filner.
• The Port of San Diego will get $10 million in federal money to help pay for renovations at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal where the huge Dole ships offload. (Times of San Diego)
• The Union-Tribune pulled together data showing San Diegans who have donated to presidential candidates, and how much.
Halloween’s Racist Rejects
If you don’t have your Halloween costume worked out yet, your prospects are quickly becoming spooky. Donald Trump masks are supposed to be popular this year (best worn over top of a bald cap!), and 2015 is the year movie characters found themselves transported to in “Back To The Future Part Two,” so you’ll be seeing plenty of those costumes. Three costumes you won’t be seeing: Walmart’s “Little Amigo” costume that folks thought was no bueno; and now add to that list the “Israeli Soldier” and a costume supposedly made to look like an Arab Sheik. “‘Sheik Fagin Nose’ was a large, prosthetic and crooked appendage that was described by Walmart as the ‘perfect’ accessory to those who wanted to dress up as an Arab patriarch,” the Union-Tribune reports.
Great Scott! Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.