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Within days of starting a new job cleaning out buses and trolleys for MTS, Allen Koka was on his way to the hospital with injuries inflicted by MTS’s own officers. Andrew Keatts and Ry Rivard report that Koka’s supervisor tried to call off the officers, who had surrounded him claiming he was trespassing. Claiming Koka was “not being very cooperative,” one officer “takes Koka down by the throat.” Koka eventually wound up hospitalized and the charges against him were dropped. Koka filed a lawsuit.

Turns out, two of the officers involved in Koka’s violent arrest are not strangers to accusations of using brutal behavior on the job. A day before the Koka incident, a judge announced MTS had settled a suit in which the officers “took [the defendent] to the ground and proceeded to beat him,” an incident that occurred in 2011. Other complaints have been filed against officers involved in Koka’s arrest, resulting in other settlements.

“MTS does not have a written policy for judging whether its officers have been too violent,” our team reports, in this joint investigation with NBC 7.

Spotting Trolley Cops: San Diego Explained

If you run into a uniformed officer on or around the trolley, it may be hard to tell which organization that officer works for, and what they are allowed to do. Some of them carry guns, some of them don’t. Some of them work for MTS, some of them work for a private contractor. If they work directly for MTS, they can write citations, but the contractors can’t. Andrew Keatts and NBC 7’s Mark Mullen went down to a trolley station to point out who is who, and who can do what, in our most recent San Diego Explained.

The Learning Curve: Dumb Voting and Sharp Candidates

To win a seat on the San Diego Unified School Board, you have to win a lot. School board candidates have to place first or second in a vote inside the district in which they’re running. Then, they have to win outright in a citywide election. It guarantees running for school board is an expensive process and therefore prone to the influence of money. “The resulting system is convoluted and dumb,” Mario Koran concludes in the latest Learning Curve. But how to change it? It “would require a change to the city charter,” Koran reports, which is a tall order since that would have to go to voters.

Koran also notes the school board has decided to pick between four women in its search to appoint a replacement for former trustee Marne Foster.

Rumor has it a new education-themed podcast from Voice of San Diego staff is in the works. Recent Facebook posts have only intensified speculation that we are going to become a podcasting powerhouse.

Dear North Park, Build More

Resident and North Park business owner Dennis Stein wrote in to express his support for more density-focused development in his community after he read about his neighborhood’s struggle over how much density to approve and where to put it. “In denser communities, we’ll have a greater variety of small businesses so that we don’t have to go very far to get the things we want and need,” Stein writes.

On Dying in San Diego

A new report out shows how San Diego providers of care to dying patients wait too long to provide hospice service, dispense aggressive care for too long and use feeding tubes inappropriately in some cases. inewsource pulls apart the report, which shows how “there’s a little less emphasis on the human side of medicine, on caring for people instead of caring for diseases,” they write.

News Nibbles

The next craft beer bar you go to in East Village may actually be hiding its true identity of being owned by macro brewery Anheuser-Busch, makers of Bud Light.

The Police Executive Research Forum is out with its latest recommendations for police departments, “many aimed at encouraging officers to slow down in difficult situations.” (NBC 7)

San Diego’s convention center has won the competition to host a multi-day tech conference due to its “experience hosting major fan events” like Comic-Con. (Silicon Angle)

There’s some signs of life over at the embattled Gregory Canyon Landfill site. (KPBS)

Rep. Darrell Issa thinks Apple should fight the government’s decision to ask the iPhone maker to help the FBI break into an encrypted iPhone used by the San Bernardino attackers.

Douglas Inman, who “created founding principles of nearshore science, and influenced generations of oceanographers,” has died. (Scripps)

The Coffee of Kings

The next time someone gives you a hard time about spending $5 for your favorite beverage at your nearby coffee shop, you can assure them that you don’t drink that kind of cheap garbage. The coffee for you can only be this $11 cup of coffee from local coffee superstars Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. Entice your friends by telling them how “it tastes more like a summer garden party with a whiff of piña colada,” with beans that smell  “like the air outside a cabana,” according to the Union-Tribune. Slurping down a cup may change the way you think about coffee (aside from that it can be rather expensive).

Seth Hall is a local writer, technologist and fan of Chemex coffee brewing. You can email him your coffee tips at voice@s3th.com or chat with him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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