The Morning Report
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When the long-awaited, long-delayed study of whether SDPD engages in racial profiling finally dropped, it showed some serious issues, including that black and Hispanic drivers were more likely to be searched than white drivers even though they were less likely to have contraband items.
But drafts of the report obtained by VOSD showed researchers used far more aggressive language and included even more troubling findings that never made it into the final version, Kelly Davis writes in a new story examining the changes between the drafts and the final report.
For example: In more than two-dozen instances, the word “bias” was replaced in the draft with the less-charged word “disparities.” A survey of officers in which the majority said they didn’t believe they’d benefit from impartial policing training was cut. And the final version found “black drivers were more likely than white drivers to be stopped in only one of the San Diego Police Department’s nine divisions;” whereas drafts found that to be true in three divisions.
The city refused to give VOSD copies of the drafts, but San Diego State, which conducted the study, provided them.
Joshua Chanin, the study’s lead researcher, said that almost all of the changes were made internally and without pressure from SDPD. He said in some cases, they decided to use a higher threshold to determine if a finding counted. Overall, he said many of the revisions were made in order to get SDPD to take the study seriously. Experts told us the changes were appropriate and in line with academic standards.
In at least one instance, though, researchers cut a recommendation because the department made it clear they’d never adopt it.
Despite researchers’ decision to massage the language and change standards in order to get SDPD to take the study seriously, the recommendations have been ignored.
Another Weird Twist in the Never-ending Water Agency Fight
For years now, the San Diego County Water Authority has been locked in an intense feud with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to millions of people across Southern California.
In the latest twist in the saga, the Water Authority is spending more than $200,000 on a PR campaign against Metropolitan. As part of that, the Water Authority put out a very strange public opinion poll. What made it weird? First, it’s a public agency spending ratepayer money against another public agency. Then there’s the fact that the Water Authority poll targeted registered voters, even though water agencies serve everyone, whether they’re registered to vote or not. But the strangest part was when it asked whether voters would support a state takeover of the Metropolitan Water District.
“For the Water Authority to make such a suggest is bizarre: For the past two years, the agency has been criticizing Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration for trying to micromanage local water agencies during the drought. Now, it suggests some form of state control is the way to go,” Rivard writes.
Unsurprisingly, Metropolitan is not enthused.
“San Diego’s survey is a push poll designed to get results the County Water Authority desires and it’s an unfortunate waste of ratepayer money,” said Bob Muir, Metropolitan’s spokesman.
Opinion: The Special Election Plan Is Especially Bad
It was less than seven months ago that San Diegans overwhelmingly approved two citywide measures, K and L, that changed local elections so they’re held when the most voters are likely to participate. That idea is about to go out the window if Mayor Kevin Faulconer gets his way, writes City Councilman David Alvarez in a new op-ed.
Faulconer wants to hold a special election this November for two ballot measures, one to approve a hotel tax hike to fund a convention center expansion and one to approve the SoccerCity plan for the Qualcomm Stadium site. Alvarez writes that two major big public policy issues like those are precisely the kind of decisions that should be made when more voters will be at the polls, such as November 2018, when state and congressional elections will also be held.
“So, why the rush? Unfortunately, we don’t really know,” Alvarez writes. “The public explanations offered by the mayor simply don’t add up.”
• The Union-Tribune reports that Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his chief of staff met with SoccerCity investors 25 times in about a one-year span. The mayor’s office said the meetings were routine due diligence; but “critics say the public should have been told about the meetings and future plans for the stadium property should be a matter of open debate.”
Quick News Hits
• Wildfires have been a constant threat for those living in San Diego’s backcountry. Meanwhile, shooting and hunting are a way of life there for many residents. The problem: The latter can often cause the former. Hence, a neverending tension over whether to ban shooting on certain properties in unincorporated areas of the county. (Union-Tribune)
• The Los Angeles Times editorial board is urging passage of a bill by San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber that would lengthen the probationary period before public school teachers earn tenure. Right now, the period is two years before a teacher gets what’s called permanent status, making it much more difficult to ever let them go. But it’s functionally a shorter period as teachers must be advised by March if they are being cut. That’s well before their second year would be up.
• New results released by San Diego Unified show five schools have elevated levels of lead in their water, but it’s not a high enough to trigger action by the district. That’s on top of three schools that have been found to have levels requiring action. (NBC San Diego)
• The number of unaccompanied minor children who are undocumented but granted legal immigration status under a little-known program has grown rapidly since 2011. But two bills in Congress might drastically curtail the program. (Union-Tribune)