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Last spring, a San Diego police officer responded to an alley in the Midway area after reports of a man threatening people with a knife. The officer and shot and killed a mentally ill man who didn’t actually have a knife but — according to the cop — appeared to have one.
What really happened? Security camera video might offer insight, but it’s been off limits to the public even as the district attorney declared the shooting to be justified. Yesterday brought two new developments that could change the narrative.
The city confirmed that the shooting will be investigated by federal officials (although it’s not clear if the FBI or the Department of Justice will be in charge of the probe).
Also yesterday, a federal judge heard arguments as he considers whether to allow private parties to make the video public. VOSD and other local media outlets have sued to force the release. As the U-T reports, the judge was skeptical about the city’s position that the video must be kept secret. (The city doesn’t own the video but it is currently under seal.)
For one thing, the city said the release could prejudice an internal investigation of the officer. But the investigation is almost over, and the judge wondered how a release would affect an investigation.
An attorney for the city also claimed that the media wanted “to make people angry” and sell newspapers and gain viewers by pushing the video into the public eye.
• The officer in the shooting never turned on his body camera. Body cameras have become more common across the country since the shooting amid questions about when they should capture video and what access the public should have. Now, City Council members in Los Angeles are feeling “sticker shock” over the high cost of the body camera system for cops there. The whole program is supposed to cost a whopping $58 million over five years. (L.A. Times)
Historic Climate Compact Passes Council
The San Diego City Council unanimously (though with Councilman Scott Sherman absent) passed the Climate Action Plan that commits the city to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 and dramatically rearrange how we all will commute.
The news caught the attention of The New York Times: “Other big cities, including New York and San Francisco, have said they intend to use more renewable energy, but San Diego is the first of them to make the pledge legally binding.”
Andrew Keatts yesterday explored how the goodwill from the measure that brought business groups, environmentalists and labor together will likely erode when the city begins implementing it.
Investors Irked by Water Plant Delays
It’s no secret that the opening of the long-awaited water desalination plant in Carlsbad has enemies. But you may not have heard this criticism, which comes via Bloomberg: “Some investors say it wasn’t worth the wait.”
The project faced many delays since 1998, the story says. “The specter of similar delays may scare off future investors and underscores the difficulties Western states confront as they rush technology common in the Middle East to their fight against a historic drought that may have been worsened by climate change.”
Little-known fact: The plant is named after Claude “Bud” Lewis, the late Carlsbad mayor.
• In other nature news, La Jolla still smells like poop. One potential new solution — and I’m not making this up — installing a misting system to keep sea lions off the rocks at La Jolla Cove. They aren’t big on being wet outside the water, apparently. Delicate flowers, they are. (Just like me!)
Culture Report: Paint that Piano!
VOSD’s weekly Culture Report leads with news about an effort by the San Diego Symphony to bring music via pianos to many parts of the community. Community groups and artists are transforming the appearance of 10 pianos in advance of the Upright & Grand Piano Festival, and signs welcome passersby to sit down and play music on the pianos.
Also in the Culture Report: Space for art at the mall and San Diego State, a vegan restaurant/bar, happy tidings from a local comic book guy, weird sculptures at the airport and “an expensive little bottle of beard oil.”
• “Jingle Bell Hill” is a thing. So are “Tinsel Town,” “Christmas Circle,” “Candy Cane Lane” and “Holiday Hill.” As CityBeat explains, you can find holiday lights at these various neighborhood hotspots from Rancho Peñasquitos and Santee to Chula Vista and Point Loma.
Quick News Hits: Qualcomm Wants to Stay in One Piece
• “Qualcomm has rejected splitting its two main businesses — smartphone semiconductors and wireless patent licensing — into separate companies, ending a five-month strategic review sparked by an activist investor,” the U-T reports.
• San Diego State is getting raves for helping close the gap between white students and certain minority students. (U-T)
• Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, a San Diego native, gave a heartfelt interview to a Mighty 1090 about how the Chargers leaving feels and why he thinks the team will never be embraced in Los Angeles.
• Fantastically expensive drugs have been in the news lately, and now comes word via the L.A. Times that the state’s pension system for public employees is spending almost 25 percent of its medication budget on fewer than 1 percent of prescriptions.
• Speaking of all those pianos popping up around town, a rep from the symphony tells our Kinsee Morlan that “everyone is an artist.”
Huh. You might need to run that by San Diego Fact Check after I finish this watercolor of my cat playing poker with his mice friends.
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.