*Deep breath in.*
I hope you’re ready for some politics.
Up in Sacramento, two San Diego legislators are dominating the debate over rideshare companies like Uber. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and state Sen. Ben Hueso, who share some of the same constituents, don’t necessarily share many views on how to regulate Uber, Anita Chabria writes in the latest Sacramento Report.
Chabria also notes that Assemblywoman Toni Atkins spoke at a press conference Thursday where she applauded SeaWorld’s decision to end its orca breeding program, though Atkins declined to publicly support the so-called Blackfish bill introduced in 2014, which would have forced SeaWorld to take many of the actions it voluntarily took this week.
Here in San Diego, Democrats are worried about a “stealth GOP takeover of San Diego City Council,” if Anthony Bernal, a Democrat who’s running in District 3, is elected. That’s according to a memo Andy Keatts obtained written by local party chair emeritus Jess Durfee to Central Committee members. Some of Bernal’s donors have also donated to Republican candidates and causes, Durfee notes. He encourages members to endorse the other Democrat in the race, Chris Ward.
That little scooplet is part of a new column Keatts plans to write rounding up what’s happening in the world of local elections. It’ll complement our new San Diego Decides podcast, which also covers 2016 races and issues. (There’s a new episode dropping on Monday, lucky you!)
Keatts and Scott Lewis talked about Durfee’s memo on the latest edition of the VOSD podcast. They also debate Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s leadership style – they seem to settle on “peacemaker” – and offer a sampling of several other local podcasts.
New Probation Chief on Pepper Spray, Employment for Ex-Felons
Adolfo Gonzales, a longtime law enforcement officer who was police chief in National City, has a new mission: He’s San Diego County’s new probation chief.
But he doesn’t see the two roles – one focused on arrests and enforcement, and one focused on rehabilitation – as all that different: “he said his focus has always been on ‘intervention and prevention before suppression and enforcement,’” Kelly Davis writes in a new Q-and-A with Gonzales.
The department, which also runs the county’s juvenile detention centers, has been under fire recently for the use of pepper spray and long room confinements on minors. Gonzales said he’s reviewing the use of pepper spray, but didn’t seem willing to abandon it: “To me, [pepper spray] is just one of the options that you have.”
Gonzales also said he wants to expand the educational opportunities available to ex-felons.
“My goal is to make this the best probation department in the country, and it starts from the top all the way on down to the services, the families, the kids,” he said.
Quick News Hits
• Usually folks go to the opera to listen, but this time it’s the other way around: The San Diego Opera is doing a four-stop listening tour around the county to hear what people want out of the organization. (Union-Tribune)
• Newly released docs show San Diego Hospice, which closed in 2013 citing dire financial straits, might have been able to stay open after all. (inewsource)
• A top Border Patrol official talked with KPBS about the agency’s vulnerability to corruption, and its future with body cameras. He declined to talk about Donald Trump specifically, but said of any proposed border wall: “anyone who’s familiar with the southwest border and looks at the range of mountains, rivers, desert, would clearly see that an attempt to build a wall would be very very difficult, incredibly expensive.”
• This week, Lisa Halverstadt’s been covering San Diego’s swelling tent cities and the city’s broadening sweeps, which can displace homeless folks. Across the border in Tijuana, the new police chief says he plans to continue evicting homeless migrants from the Tijuana River canal. (KPBS)
Weddle in Hot Water
There really aren’t many good places to get fired. But I definitely LOL’d at this piece describing the bad breakup between the Chargers and fan fave Eric Weddle:
Coach Mike McCoy basically told him to his face while Weddle was sitting in a hot tub with Philip Rivers the day after San Diego’s regular season finale.
Weddle said the Chargers are “dead to me.”
Top Stories of the Week
Our list of the 10 most-read VOSD stories of the week is here. Below are the Top 5:
1. Look at Your Tent Cities, San Diego
Homeless tents and encampments are cropping up across the region, making it hard to ignore San Diego’s homeless problem. (Lisa Halverstadt)
2. Fact Check: Wild Animal Park’s Naughty Line
Statement: “It sounds like a corporate myth but it’s true: The world-famous Wgasa Bush Line, the park’s original monorail, received its name when a committee, searching for an African-sounding title, seized upon WGASA, a well-known acronym for Who Gives A (bleep) Anyway.” (Grant Barrett and Randy Dotinga)
3. Oceanside’s Sudden Construction Boom Was a Long Time Coming
Though it feels sudden, the plan to transform downtown Oceanside has been in the works for decades, following years of planning, a pause from the recession and a lawsuit that held things up even further. (Maya Srikrishnan)
4. What SeaWorld’s Big Shift Means for Its San Diego Park
SeaWorld has agreed to end its orca breeding program, and theatrical shows that feature the whales. (Lisa Halverstadt)
5. Big Decision Looms for Dems as City Attorney Race Grows Fierce
San Diego’s primary election isn’t for three months, but who will advance to the runoff in the race for city attorney could be decided next week. That’s when the local Democratic Party will choose whether to endorse one of the four Democrats running. (Andrew Keatts)