Summer Stephan has been with the San Diego County district attorney’s office for more than 25 years.
Soon, she could be running the place.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will resign in July to focus on her likely run for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. She’s hand-picked Stephan to fill in for the remainder of her term. The county supervisors will yay or nay Dumanis’ recommendation this week.
But whether Stephan slides into the DA seat in the next few days, she will be running for district attorney in 2018.
Our Sara Libby sat down with Stephan to get her take on the criminal justice issues that have dominated recent local policy discussions. In an in-depth Q-and-A, the two talk about the backlog of untested rape kits, police body camera policies, immigration officials in local jails and more.
Stephan said in an ideal world all rape kits would be tested, but also had a surprising caveat: She argues there could be downsides to testing them all, a relative departure from many public officials across the country who argue all kits should be tested.
Libby also asked Stephan to explain her stance on police body camera footage and when it should be released to the public.
“Whenever possible, following due process,” Stephan said. “I’m all for transparency, and I don’t mean that in the cheesy transparency way, I just mean more evidence and more information is better, so long as we don’t trample on due process.”
The interview sheds a lot of light on where Stephan stands as a candidate for one of the region’s most powerful offices. But don’t expect any jaw-dropping departures from her predecessor; as Libby writes, Stephan “crept closely to the line of saying she’d do things differently than Dumanis but never crossed it outright.”
• The Union-Tribune’s Greg Moran made an interesting finding: The DA’s office spent almost $100,000 in 2016 on weapons for its Bureau of Investigation. That’s more money than Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino district attorneys spent on weapons combined in 2016, Moran notes, and almost as much as the San Diego Police Department.
Opinion: The Minimum Wage Hike Is Killing Restaurant Jobs
A Forbes contributor argues San Diego’s minimum wage hike is killing San Diego restaurant jobs.
Tim Worstall cites data supporting a sharp downward trend in local restaurant jobs since the city hiked its minimum wage and said while the evidence is not conclusive, it seems as though “a rise in the minimum wage would be expected to reduce the number of low-end jobs in an area.”
Worstall does some hand-wringing and foreshadowing, warning that the various minimum wage hikes around the country will likely do the same, and that the restaurant industry is just the canary in the coal mine, meaning other industries will suffer, too.
Of course, in California, we’re on track to reach hike the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023, so many folks are as worried as Worstall. Mother Jones, however, looked at some of the same data last week and walked away much less certain that the city’s minimum wage hike is to blame.
Mission Valley Gets a Much-Needed New Park
A new public park opened in Mission Valley Saturday.
The U-T’s Roger Showley explains why the new space is such a big deal.
“The community’s only active park is 8-acre Sefton Field at the west end of the valley with 12 other acres in the form of trails, pocket parks and other miscellaneous open space,” he writes. “City standards for this community of 21,000 call for 58.9 acres and double that as the community nears its proposed buildout of 40,000 over the next 20 years.”
Called Civita Park, the former sand and gravel quarry now features an outdoor amphitheater, trails, bronze sculptures, athletic fields and basketball courts, a community garden and more.
• Speaking of public parks, the Port of San Diego just announced that it’s making upgrades to three of its park playgrounds along the waterfront. Civic San Diego, a city-owned nonprofit, is also holding public workshops to redo downtown’s Children’s Park.
Weekend News Roundup
• The Union-Tribune checks in on changes the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has made to provide more mental health services for inmates, including a suicide prevention program launched in early 2015.
• Rep. Duncan Hunter loves vaping so much that he’s introduced a bill to ease impending federal restrictions on vaping products. (Union-Tribune)
• Shark! A woman was bitten by a shark at San Onofre State Beach over the weekend, and at least one expert thinks it was likely a great white or a seven-gill shark. (ABC News)
• San Diego State says it raised $800 million as part of a campaign launched in 2007 to help pay for student scholarships, endowed professorships, academic programs, new campus buildings, athletics and more.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget devotes many millions to some big environmental initiatives while making cuts to other environmental programs. (Union-Tribune)
• On Saturday, an estimated 5,000 people marched in San Diego to bring attention to climate change and demand actions and policies to combat it. (Union-Tribune)
• City officials are holding a press conference Monday to announce San Diego is getting close to switching its entire fleet of refuse and recycling collection trucks from diesel fuel to compressed natural gas.
Social Media Moments
• NFL draft watchers really wanted Roger Goodell to accidentally say “San Diego Chargers.”
• The San Diego Museum of Art was filled with flowers over the weekend and lots of pretty pics and videos ensued.
• It’s fair to say that this driver will not be rooting for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. Contact her directly at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to her podcast.