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District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis took the witness stand yesterday in the trial of Jose Susumo Azano, the Mexican national accused of illegally spending over $200,000 to help her failed 2012 mayoral campaign.
We were hoping some lingering questions would be answered. But the appearance didn’t amount to much, although it did include Dumanis’ remarkably evasive description of meeting Azano.
“I was introduced to someone who was introduced as Susumo Azano,” she said.
Dumanis said she didn’t recall what was discussed at meetings she had with Azano during the election and referred to them as typical campaign “meet and greets,” as Kelly Davis reports for us in a dispatch from the trial.
Dumanis did, however, say now that she was aware Azano was working on her behalf during the election, but she was under the impression that he was a U.S. citizen and his donations were legal. That acknowledgment is a reversal from what Dumanis said when the case against Azano first broke. She told the Roger Hedgecock show at the time that she had no knowledge of anything Azano was doing.
New County Board Members Want Say on New Superintendent
The County Office of Education is an obscure agency that happens to have a lot of power. It’s also undergoing significant change.
Two new board members were elected in June, and another incumbent faces a challenge on November’s ballot. Meanwhile, the agency’s superintendent is on paid leave after a lawsuit alleged he paid himself $100,000. The agency oversees the county’s 42 individual school districts and is directly responsible for some of the county’s neediest students, such as those without a home. Here’s our San Diego Explained on what it is.
The two newest board members don’t take office until January, but in interviews with our Ashly McGlone, Mark Powell and Paulette Donnellon said they intend to have a say in whoever the next superintendent is.
No New Police Oversight in North County
Nah, that’s alright.
That’s how Escondido and Oceanside responded to a recommendation from the County’s Grand Jury that the cities establish citizen oversight committees for complaints against their police departments, as we covered in the North County Report, our weekly summary of news from the north.
Carlsbad got the same advice, and it was required to respond by Aug. 23, but it’s unclear whether that happened.
The recommendation said without such citizen oversight, cities risked losing trust between their communities and their police force.
Chargers Study Says Chargers Stadium is a Good Idea
The San Diego Chargers have released their own study on the economic impact of the stadium plan voters will be asked to approve in November.
Their study said their idea is a good one, the Union-Tribune reports.
Specifically, they said the proposal to build a joint facility that would be the new home to the Chargers but also function as an expansion of the convention center would generate 900,000 new hotel room nights in the city per year. It also said the city would collect an additional $12.5 million a year in higher taxes thanks to the stadium, which would be paid for by a four percent increase in the city’s hotel tax.
The Chargers study joins a host of other studies on the measure.
Earlier this week, the city’s independent budget analyst released a study that said the measure would probably generate the tax revenue that the Chargers expect it will, and that should be enough to cover the cost of the stadium – unless the stadium experiences cost overruns, as large projects often do.
Another study commissioned by the city said the measure posed financial risks for the city, and one by the city’s Tourism and Marketing District basically concluded the facility wouldn’t be useful as a convention center annex. In its own analysis, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association decided not to support the measure because it said it would put the city’s general fund at risk.
In Other News
• Downtown San Diego’s homeless population is getting bigger, but there isn’t any change coming to a long-running problem for homeless people downtown: they don’t have anywhere near enough toilets. (KPBS)
• San Diego’s Democratic and Republican parties are gearing up to drive voters to the polls in November, but with both presidential candidates at historically low popularity they’re unsure where they’re going to find the enthusiasm they normally count on to get people in the booth to vote for local candidates. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Environmentalists are opposing the Port of San Diego’s plan to expand the 10 th Avenue Marine Terminal because they say it’ll harm nearby Barrio Logan residents. (10 News)