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Escondido and Oceanside have rejected recommendations by the San Diego County Grand Jury that local police agencies establish citizen committees to oversee the handling of complaints against a department.

The recommendations were also made to Carlsbad, and other cities outside San Diego that do not contract with the Sheriff’s Department. All were required to respond by Aug. 23, though it is unclear whether Carlsbad accepted or rejected the grand jury’s recommendations.

Specifically, the Grand Jury found that cities without citizen oversight boards do not have public review of police complaints and risk losing community trust in the police departments. Establishing a committee with public input restores trust in the process. (Of course, the cities that do have citizen oversight boards can also have trust issues.)

The cities without oversight committees were asked to respond to the findings of the Grand Jury, and recommended to establish their own board, or work together to form a regional one.

Oceanside said establishing an oversight board was neither warranted, nor reasonable given the city’s finances, though the city didn’t address the Grand Jury findings regarding public review and trust.

Escondido, meanwhile, agreed that public input in the establishment of a board would promote public trust, but said the city will not be establishing an oversight board, as it is not warranted in its case either, according to a letter from City Manager Graham Mitchell.

SANDAG’s Stretch on Traffic Congestion

Nearly two-thirds of North County residents (inland and coastal) travel outside the region for work, and have long sought relief from traffic congestion to ease their daily commutes.

The San Diego Association of Governments is hoping that this November, those commuters will support a half-cent sales tax measure, which the agency says would ease congestion by widening highways and upgrading public transit, which would take some drivers off the roads, among other improvements.

Critics say there’s no data to back up claims that SANDAG’s efforts will relieve traffic congestion.

Maya Srikrishnan fact checked SANDAG’s claims this week, and found that SANDAG thinks of traffic relief differently than a commuter might.

“The measure would provide options for some people to get off the roads who don’t want to deal with traffic. It might make improvements at certain intersections or on certain roads that will benefit certain people at certain times,” Srikrishnan writes. Still, “that’s not the same thing as reducing congestion.”

Desal Discussion Continues

VOSD has run a number of opinions on the Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad, including one this week that says the plant’s critics are partly responsible for the high cost of desalinated water.

Kevin Dayton, a research analyst with the California Policy Center, says environmental and labor groups contributed to the nearly 400 percent increase in the plant’s construction costs, by delaying the project for years.

Also adding to the cost of desalinated water is the price of electricity, Dayton writes, which is being pushed higher by environmentalists who argue for tougher mandates that negate any savings ratepayers might make through lower consumption.

(Disclaimer: I work in IT at one of those environmental groups, the Surfrider Foundation.)

Also in the News

 Encinitas punted an update to its density bonus program, choosing to wait on a bill working its way through the state Legislature.

 Oceanside will consider advertisements on the back of city vehicles, in a deal involving Mike Missett, the son of newspaper publisher Tom Missett, who is resurrecting the Oceanside Blade-Citizen as the Oceanside Blade. Mike Missett was said to have been a part of that endeavor. (Union-Tribune)

 Encinitas passed on a plan to accept a $2 million grant that would rename the library after the benefactor. (The Coast News)

 Oceanside will ban smoking in its pedestrian railroad underpass, to deter the presence of panhandlers and transients. (Union-Tribune)

 Carlsbad is moving ahead with beach access improvements. (Union-Tribune)

• The mayoral race in Encinitas has come down to Paul Gaspar against Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear. (The Coast News)

 Candidates and electeds in Oside are taking their sides, and San Marcos’ incumbents have some opposition this year. (Union-Tribune)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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