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Eighteen federal immigration agents are based at local jails, where they’re allowed access to prisoners 24/7 and can take unauthorized immigrants into custody. “But the days of immigration agents working inside San Diego jails appear numbered,” our Scott Lewis reports.
A bill in the state Legislature would evict the agents from our jails, perhaps inadvertently boosting their numbers elsewhere in our local society. “If it passes in much the same form it’s in now, and the governor signs it, it would be the most significant change to local immigration enforcement in a decade — and it would come not from President Donald Trump but the state.”
An ICE spokeswoman says “the program has helped ensure that criminal aliens who are amenable to deportation are not released back to the street.” (The word “amenable” makes things sound a bit more voluntary than they actually are.)
And a local legislator who’s a critic of the bill offers this disturbing scenario: “If we make it easier to collect someone in front of an elementary school than collecting them in a jail where they’re serving time, where do you think ICE is going to go?”
But an ACLU rep says the current system scares unauthorized immigrants, something that local law enforcement officials say they don’t want to do because it could prevent people from reporting crimes and cooperating with cops.
Critics Say City’s Trashing Food Scrap Program
Think for a second about all that leftover food that’s scraped off plates or never makes it to the table in the first place before going bad. It tends to end up in landfills, where it takes up space and creates pollution via methane gas.
The state now requires big restaurants and some other places to recycle their food waste. Some smaller local restaurants have hired businesses to get rid of their food waste, but the city is cracking down on these firms. As of July 1, only those that “are licensed through the city and pay fees to the city will be authorized to do it. Currently, the city has no plans to open up its licensed waste hauler program to other businesses that want to apply.”
As our Kinsee Morlan reports, a small number of unlicensed companies fear they’ll have to shut down. “Those businesses say they were blindsided by the city’s decision to put an extra layer of regulation on food waste collection,” Morlan writes, “and they’re working hard to get City Council to reverse course.”
Conservative Group Sues School District Over Anti-Bullying Policy
Parents and a conservative legal organization are suing San Diego Unified over its anti-bullying program to protect Muslim students, the Union-Tribune reports. A lawyer whose group filed the federal suit says the school district is giving special treatment to Muslims and could violate church-and-state regulations by encouraging lessons on Islam.
Inside SoCal’s Rehab Ripoffs
The Orange County Register and its parent newspaper company are out with a major investigation into the massive growth of Southern California’s drug rehab centers, the lack of state oversight and the ways that some exploit addiction.
Among other things, the paper finds that there are no degrees required to run a rehab center. “Some centers are run by ex-cons who earned certificates in rehab center management from prison schools,” it reports, “others by doctors who have had their licenses in the crosshairs of the Medical Board of California.”
Also: Just 16 state inspectors watch over almost 2,000 rehab centers, and “from 2013 to 2016, consumer complaints about licensed rehab centers nearly doubled, from 266 to 509 per year.” And “on average, somebody dies about every two weeks while being cared for in a licensed rehab center in California.”
Oceanside Mayor Takes Time Off
Jim Wood, the mayor of Oceanside, is taking time off due to an undisclosed medical situation, City News Service reports. The deputy mayor, Chuck Lowery, will serve in his place.
We profiled Wood when he unsuccessfully ran for county supervisor in 2014. As we reported, “in cultivating a folksy, old-fashioned persona on the campaign trail, the 66-year-old Wood has also showcased his own vulnerabilities. One of his early campaign advisers wondered whether he would have been better-suited for an election half a century ago.” Among other things, he liked to comment on women’s looks.
Oceanside is the county’s third-largest city.
Culture Report: Ken Video Says Goodbye for Good
For decades, San Diego-area film buffs knew where to find videotapes (and later, DVDs) of classic, cult and foreign films that the local Blockbuster or Wherehouse wouldn’t bother to stock. Ken Video would have it.
Not anymore. Ken Video has closed for good after briefly coming back to life. Yet another craft beer joint will take its place, a fate that’s annoying at least a few video fans. “I guess San Diego has nothing better to do than to drink all the time,” complains one Facebook commenter.
This week’s VOSD Culture Report has details about Ken Video’s demise plus news about an oyster restaurant on the way to Rosarito, a goodbye concert for the symphony’s departing conductor, rabbit sculptures in downtown and much more.
Quick News Hits: All’s Fair in Love & Krispy Kreme
• Homes in the county have reached a median (not the average) price of $525,000, the highest in history, the U-T reports. But keep in mind that the number isn’t inflation-adjusted. As the paper helpfully notes, the previous peak of $517,500 in 2015 is the equivalent of $644,487 now.
• “The Save Our Heritage Organisation has sued the city and developers to stop demolition of the historic California Theatre to make way for a 40-story housing project,” the U-T reports. The theater and its Agua Caliente racetrack mural are considered to be historic.
• Local school districts have been hiring hundreds of teachers who aren’t fully trained, but some say this isn’t as bad as it sounds. (KPBS)
• The little North County city of Solana Beach is poised to move further toward offering its residents an alternative to SDG&E via so-called community choice aggregation. The U-T reports that the city of San Diego is exploring the idea, but the county government declined after hearing from SDG&E’s parent company. For more on how community choice works, check out Ry Rivard’s comprehensive guide.
• How much does California dislike Donald Trump? Are we less enamored of the presidents than other liberal states like Massachusetts and New York? Yes, says data guru Nate Silver of 538.com.
He estimates that two-thirds of voters here disapprove of Trump. Only Hawaii has a higher disapproval number (68 percent) and Vermont is tied with us. The most Trump-approving state? Wyoming.
• KPBS checks in on this year’s wackiest foods upcoming at the county (Del Mar) fair: Octopus on a stick, cupcakes made with tomato spice cake and candied pepperoni, bacon-wrapped asparagus and Brussels sprouts, beef meatballs topped with peanut butter and batter. Plus: an edible insect booth.
These are all real. The craziest of them all: The “Krispy Kreme Ice Cream Chicken Sandwich.” It uses donuts as bread and is topped by Fruity Pebbles and syrup.
No word on the suggested wine pairing for this concoction, although I suspect it may be “just get a box of vino.”
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.