Dismissing the arguments of the city and a police officer who shot a man to death, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that a video of the disputed shooting must be unsealed. But the judge gave attorneys a week to appeal the decision, raising the prospect that the video will be released amid the slow-news doldrums of Christmas week when few people are paying attention — or that it’ll get jammed up in court a while longer.
Meanwhile, reflecting an intense interest in this dispute, the majority of the members of the City Council plus at least two candidates for office rushed to declare they believe the video should be made public. Unless minds change, the city clearly won’t fight the ruling. But the officer could still appeal and tie up the issue in court for weeks or months. We don’t know what he’ll do.
Councilman David Alvarez, the council’s biggest critic of city policies on a variety of fronts, issued a statement calling for more openness when it comes to video and other information regarding “police-related incidents.” We also heard from a bipartisan group of Council members who now support releasing the video: Todd Gloria, Myrtle Cole, Chris Cate, and Scott Sherman. Last night, Mayor Kevin Faulconer also agreed that the video should now be released. The remaining Council members haven’t made their opinion public.
VOSD and several other media outlets had gone to court to force the release of security camera video that caught the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man in a Midway neighborhood alley last April. An officer shot the man while responding to a call about a suspect wielding a knife. In fact, according to the official story, the man was armed with a metallic pen.
• “More than 60 San Diego Police Department officers and dispatchers, including Chief Shelley Zimmerman, did not complete state-required professional law enforcement training in 2013 and 2014,” NBC 7 reports. The training takes at least 24 hours and updates officers on new laws, among other things.
The Police Department says about half those on the list were listed by mistake, and the others are now either done or working on it. Zimmerman says she regrets the oversight.
• San Diego was named in that weird bomb threat that forced the closure of L.A. public schools this week. (KABC)
Money Source Unclear for Another Big Airport Facelift
Comfy and wide-open spaces at the gates, an easy-to-understand layout, a fine selection of food after the security checkpoint: These are all hallmarks of a top-notch airport terminal. Like, say, Lindbergh Field’s spiffy Terminal 2, which serves the priciest airlines. But definitely not like Terminal 1, where discount passengers must suffer through cramped conditions and other indignities on their way to their cheap Southwest flights.
Definitely not first class. The airport knows this, and it wants to overhaul Terminal 1 and even rebuild a bit of the recently refreshed Terminal 2. Plans are in the works, but VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reports that the $2.2 billion project is far from fully funded. Public money won’t pay the full tab, so the airport is looking at private investments.
McGlone’s story examines the various options for funding plus two options that aren’t on the table.
Uber’s Uncertain Future in Tijuana
Tijuana isn’t jumping on the Uber express. Just as in other places, there’s a big debate over whether the cheaper Uber rates are worth the disruption in income for taxi drivers. As VOSD contributor Vicente Calderón reports, Uber was briefly legal but is no more, and new rules might ban it permanently. Among the interesting tidbits in the story: One rider says Uber makes her feel safer rather than as potential prey for taxi drivers, an intriguing position considering that Uber foes in the U.S. claim Uber and its ilk aren‘t safe.
North County Report: A Tide of Road Fixes
Big waves have done a number on roadways at the beach, with Highway 101 in Carlsbad and Encinitas among the streets with big and urgent problems. VOSD’s weekly North County Report has the details on the fixes — cities have actually declared emergencies — and takes a wider look at the damage and the risk that more is on the way.
Also in the No-Co-Rep: A bizarre dust-up in one of the Escondido school districts, fewer lanes for cars on Coast Highway in Oceanside and a scuffle over campaign signs in Poway.
• Also to the north, the Pechanga casino in Temecula is launching a $285 million expansion. If you feel like braving I-15 traffic to get there, make sure you bring a licensed driver and a steering wheel along if you’re in a self-driving vehicle. Sounds like they’ll be required. (L.A. Times and AP)
Faulconer Sitting Out Mayors Group on Homlessness
The sun draws the homeless, giving us one of the biggest populations of transients in the country. But Mayor Kevin Faulconer hasn’t joined a West Coast coalition of mayors who say they want to work on the problem together, CityBeat reports.
It’s unclear why he’s not joining, but it may have something to do with the fact that the big-city mayors involved are all Democrats. The CityBeat story doesn’t explore whether the coalition will do more than produce happy talk.
Quick News Hits: Hi Mom!
• Welcome to the county, all you 28,000 new residents who arrived over the year ending on June 30! And gee, thanks for making our housing prices and rents go up. (KPBS)
• The L.A. city of Carson continues to roll out the red carpet for the NFL (and maybe the Chargers) with a cozy building freeze near its proposed stadium, while the owner of the Texans doesn’t sound optimistic about the Bolts staying here. (NBC 7, Houston Chronicle)
Meanwhile, the Chargers game on Sunday could be the last in San Diego. Its record, 3 wins and 10 losses, does not inspire confidence.
• As NBC 7 reports, sheriff’s deputies found an intriguing To Do list when they arrested two suspects accused of stealing packages in Encinitas. On the list: “shop lift,” followed by “kiss Mom n tell her she’s loved.”
Awww. How sweet! I wonder if they were trying to pilfer a nice bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates.
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.