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As someone who has overseen accountability reporting and investigative journalism about police, I just wanted to say something about this week. Police officers have a difficult job that can turn violent and terrifying. Over the years, I have met many who are good to their core. I am heartbroken for the families who lost loved ones.
The effort to hold officers to a standard of excellence is not contradictory to concern about their well-being. In fact, they go hand-in-hand.
We must ensure the community feels safe when they encounter officers. Many do not. And when they don’t, we have to seek answers. That is right in line with the need to respect and value law enforcement officers. Both of these concepts support the rule of law. The pursuit of justice and liberty is not possible without the rule of law. We cannot allow anyone, on any side, to take matters into his or her own hands.
We do our work assuming that it is understood how much we value these public servants. But we can express it more and better. I am sick about what has happened. I believe our only choice is to continue the partnership, build trust in the community and withstand the attacks of madmen who want to see it all burn.
• Among local reactions to the shooting, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ tweetstorm stood out, particularly this line: “It is apparent our nation has reached a tipping point. …”
It was very ominous. I tweeted back wondering what we were tipping toward. I’ll pass along any response.
County Office of Ed Hit With Me-Too Complaint
We have been exploring various so-called “me too” clauses in the contracts of school administrators across the county. These mean that if a school superintendent negotiates a raise with the teachers union, well, they get the raise as well.
A new lawsuit against the County Office of Education’s superintendent Randy Ward alleges he’s benefited from a me-too clause and that the money he reaped from it should be taken back as a form of wrongful self dealing.
Unsure what the County Office of Education is? I recently did a San Diego Explained on it with NBC’s Monica Dean. Incidentally, Paulette Donnellon appears to have held onto an ever-so-slight majority in her race for the County Board of Education seat. That’s the group that decides who gets to be superintendent (and sets the contract). If Donnellon takes the seat, along with Mark Powell, who beat incumbent Gregg Robinson, the dynamics of the board will shift a bit. The incumbent won one of the other seats and the final of the four open seats is going to a runoff in November.
The Running of the Data
A few years ago, we organized a roundtable about open data that included some entrepreneurs, computer wizards and representatives of local governments. A movement was taking hold across the country where government agencies were making their volumes of data open to the public. Now, years later, I was thrilled to learn the city of San Diego has followed through in a big way and released several major data sets on its new site: data.sandiego.gov.
The data includes things like where the city is issuing solar panel permits and info on parking meter collections. While there are some things anyone can do on the site themselves, the major value will be what software developers can do with it. It’s what’s called machine readable, which means a programmer can create applications to map city performance or help demonstrate where the city might be more efficient, say, in traffic management.
It’s also possible that entrepreneurs could use the data to create new apps or other services.
For this week’s podcast, we brought in the city’s director of performance and analytics, Almis Udrys (his last name is pronounced like Drew Brees.) He explained what the director of performance and analytics does and he actually broke some news: His department is now no longer just a part of the mayor’s cabinet of sorts. It sits under the city’s more long-term structure and the chief operating officer. That essentially means that the department and open data efforts like this won’t be subject necessarily to the whims of whoever’s mayor.
On the podcast we also discussed the terrorizing of the homeless community, parking at Balboa Park, a new poll about the Chargers stadium plan and the turnaround at McKinley Elementary School.
Sara Libby makes sense of the myriad awards legislators give their loved ones and the escandalito of the week about one of them in the Sacramento Report.
She also rounds up the various state budget roundups. We ran into Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins at NBC 7 San Diego where she, Sara and I were all recording segments for this Sunday’s “Politically Speaking.” (That’s an invitation to watch Sunday at 3:30 p.m.)
• It’s going to be a big month in San Diego tourism. The U-T reports that the MLB All-Star Game is expected to outdraw Comic-Con in visitor totals.
• We’re learning more about the background of the suspect accused by police of killing two homeless men and gravely injuring two others. He told reporters he did not do it. (NBC)
• Yesterday we suggested in the Morning Report that, if you spot a downed power line, you don’t need to report it to 911 and maybe could use an alternative system, like 311, if it’s ever implemented here. That is not good information. As self-proclaimed utility geek Rachel Laing pointed out, you should call 911 if you see a downed power line.
It could be very dangerous! I’m sorry!
This Week’s Hits
Here’s a list of our Top 10 most-read stories of the week. And here’s the Top 5 below:
1. McKinley Elementary’s Transformation Mirrors a Changing Neighborhood
It’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago, McKinley was the school the neighborhood parents avoided. The McKinley of today has an engaged parent community and has to turn away many folks from outside the neighborhood. (Mario Koran)
2. Authorities Can’t Force the Homeless Off the Street. Here’s What They Can Do.
Homelessness itself may not be a crime, but common elements of it can be. (Lisa Halverstadt)
3. Sacramento Report: Porn Initiative ‘Degrades Our Work’
An adult film star on a ballot measure requiring condoms in porn, the ballot grows ever longer, a push to cover homelessness goes statewide and more in our weekly roundup of news from the Capitol. (Sara Libby)
4. When it Comes to Rising Sea Levels, Coronado Is Treading Water
Coronado’s city leadership acknowledges it could be facing dire circumstances. It also acknowledges that thus far, it has taken no steps to plan for such outcomes. (Ry Rivard and Maya Srikrishnan)
5. The Big Questions on Balboa Park’s Big Day
Here’s a look at the questions that still remain about the plans Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Thursday. (Lisa Halverstadt)