When journalists have asked District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis about her connection to José Susumo Azano Matsura, the Mexican citizen charged with illegally funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to San Diego political campaigns, she’s consistently said she knows very little about Azano.
“What is clear to me is that there is nothing that suggests that I’ve done anything wrong whatsoever,” Dumanis told one journalist when the scandal first broke. But since then she’s consistently misrepresented the extent of her ties to Azano.
But Azano donated more than $200,000 toward Dumanis’ failed 2012 mayoral campaign, and there’s at least one conference call, multiple meetings between them — including one between her, Azano and Sheriff Bill Gore – a holiday gift basket and a college recommendation letter Dumanis wrote for Azano’s son that connect the two.
Dumanis isn’t accused of any wrongdoing, but she is scheduled to take the stand in Azano’s trial as early as this week. VOSD’s Sara Libby rounded up the questions we hope the DA’s testimony clears up.
For one thing, everyone still wants to know if Azano ever asked for something in return from the various politicians he was trying to help. It’s still unclear why the wealthy Mexican businessmen thought he needed to grease local politicians’ palms in the first place.
• VOSD has dug deep into the life and possible motivations of José Susumo Azano Matsura. Read our in-depth investigative series on him here.
Saving the Starlight Bowl
Nearly 300 volunteers showed up Saturday to help pull weeds and otherwise spruce up Balboa Park’s long-shuttered Starlight Bowl.
The U-T talked to some of the folks spearheading the move to get the crumbling amphitheater back up and running.
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt has covered the plight of Starlight and explained why the city-owned outdoor venue is falling apart.
The city’s lease with the Civic Light Opera Association, which ran the theater for years, is officially done, which means the city’s free to find someone else to take up residence there and help push the Starlight Bowl’s renaissance. At the cleanup event, Councilman Todd Gloria, whose district includes Balboa Park, said the city hopes to begin accepting lease bids for the property by the end of the year.
But a city spokesperson told Halverstadt last week that the request for proposals likely won’t be released until sometime in 2017.
The Carlsbad Desalination Project’s Reliable Water
Any time someone lobs a criticism at the new desalination plant in Carlsbad, the plant’s backers have one response: It’s all worth it to have a reliable, drought-proof source of water.
And that’s once again the argument Mark Weston, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors, makes in a new op-ed responding to a criticism that the Carslbad Desalination Project represents a bad deal for taxpayers.
Yes, desalinated water is more expensive than traditional imported supplies, Weston says, but it is also far more reliable. He says the drought has pushed the San Diego County Water Authority to build a regional diversification strategy that includes the stream of completely drought-resilient desalinated water. The new supply has also helped ease the region’s reliance on water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has cut supplies in the past, triggering extreme emergency conservation measures.
Weston says the Water Authority will continue to build a diverse supply portfolio to meet the region’s water needs.
No Water for Lots of Residents in Tijuana and Rosarito
Baja California officials need to shut off a leaky, 30-year-old aqueduct that serves about 600,000 people living in western and southern parts of Tijuana and northern Rosarito Beach.
The repairs to the major pipeline could take anywhere from two to five days.
At this point you’re probably thinking, thousands of people without access to running water for several days – really? It’s definitely something that would never fly in the states, but as folks explained to the U-T, water shutoffs are relatively common in Mexico.
Not having water is a huge nuisance, of course, but when I lived in Tijuana, I did what locals did and got a lot of my water from garrafóns, or huge jugs of clean water I bought at the grocery store.
Weekend News Roundup
• Ramla Sahid, the executive director of San Diego-based Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, makes an appearance in this Associated Press story about former refugees and asylum-seekers who are voting in this year’s elections.
• The community choice aggregation camp really has to come up with a new name. The state policy that allows local governments to procure more alternative energy supplies should be called something catchier like “Greening up the Grid.” The U-T explains more about CCAs and which municipalities offer the program and those that are moving closer to implementing it.
• Summer’s almost over (gah!) and as parents get ready to send their kids back to school, a new vaccine law in California, co-written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, now requires most students to be fully vaccinated. Students can get a medical exemption, and the U-T found that some anti-vaccination parents in San Diego are looking into that option.
• Ugh. Can we all just start paying women what we pay men? Elected officials should probably be among the first to step up to that challenge. (U-T)
• There are laws protecting active-duty service members from eviction when they are deployed or otherwise can’t appear in court to defend themselves. Two companies that manage military housing were fined for unlawfully evicting military families in a case that’s the first of its kind. (U-T)
• Streeeeeeeaking is still a thing. (10News)