Two women have filed lawsuits against powerful local labor leader Mickey Kasparian.

The suits are separate and one contains very serious allegations. Both suggest Kasparian, who runs the United Food and Commercial Workers union, leads through intimidation and fear, and that he misbehaves toward women. Kasparian denies all of the allegations.

In an exhaustive story, Andrew Keatts lays out the various charges and the responses from those involved.

One of the suits also “reveals the depth and extent of the war going on between him and other local progressives,” Keatts writes.

Other women not involved in the lawsuits who were fired from the union over the years spoke with Keatts to back up the claims in one suit that Kasparian mistreats women specifically and fires them when he believes they’re acting out of line. Kasparian says the women were all fired for cause.

One former UFCW leader, a woman, said Kasparian supports women and through his tenure has made the UFCW leadership more diverse.

A Week of Serious Suits

The lawsuits against Kasparian are perhaps the most notable accusations to come out of the San Diego political landscape in a while.

Two lawsuits against the San Diego Police Department were also in the news this week.

The Union-Tribune reports that multiple lawsuits have emerged that separately accuse San Diego police officers of lying and committing perjury. One was filed by a detective who says she was retaliated against for reporting false statements made by another detective. The other was also filed by a female officer who says she was demoted after reporting a supervisor’s misbehavior.

The Best San Diego Journalism of the Year

It’s that time of year: We’ll have several stories this week revisiting some of our best work from 2016.

But first, we put together this piece highlighting some of the best San Diego-centric stories and pieces of journalism that came from outside VOSD.

From an extraordinary story about a woman who helped bring down a Gaslamp rape ring after her own assault to to the definitive account of how Dean Spanos lost his bid for a Carson stadium to Dan McSwain’s personal take on the city’s homeless crisis, the depth and breadth of some of these stories is remarkable. Check them out as you ride out the last few days of 2016.

Our Podcast Empire Took Shape Over the Last 12 Months

We launched three new podcasts over the last year in addition to the original recipe, the VOSD Podcast: San Diego Decides, Culturecast and Good Schools for All.

We also kicked off a podcast network, which includes shows like The Kept Faith, about San Diego’s sports landscape.

Our list of our five favorite podcast episodes from the last year is a great sampling of each show — it includes our big rundown of the 17 statewide ballot measures (still useful if you’re trying to understand all the new laws voters passed in November!), a comprehensive breakdown of the troubles facing Lincoln High and the difficulties involved with turning things around, a look at the artists trying to shape the way Barrio Logan grows and more.

• On this week’s VOSD podcast, Scott Lewis and Andy Keatts look back on our Voice of the Year list. They also talk with San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. CEO Mark Cafferty about what the government’s role should be in attracting and retaining businesses, and revisit the fight between the Union-Tribune and Rep. Duncan Hunter.

Quick News Hits

• A drug made by a San Diego pharmaceutical company is showing promise for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (KPBS)

• The New York Times reports on the rise of fact-checking website Snopes in the wake of President-elect Trump’s victory, and the struggles that have come with an increase in prominence. Prominent in the story is VOSD contributor Brooke Binkowski, who is Snopes’ managing editor and author of VOSD’s Border Report.

• The Chargers have picked out office space in Costa Mesa in the event that the team moves to Los Angeles. (L.A. Times)

 Kristina Davis has the crazy story of a San Diego case involving drugs, gambling, a Robin Hood figure and a former Super Bowl champ. (Union-Tribune)

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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