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If you have an emergency, San Diego Police officers will get to you real quick — in an average of 7 minutes. If you have a less-serious problem, however, you may need to wait. And wait.
While the SDPD continues to promptly respond to the most urgent calls, the department’s response time to the least-urgent calls has jumped over the past several years, our Andrew Keatts reports.
If someone’s parked in your driveway or you need to report lost property, it may take three hours in some parts of the city for a cop to get to you. The average is almost 2.5 hours, well above the SDPD goal of 90 minutes.
And if you’re calling about a nuisance, a loud party or to give a statement about crimes like arson or assault with a deadly weapon, the average wait is over 90 minutes.
The police chief and mayor recently announced that crime is at a 40-year low. But this area of non-emergency response is where the officer staffing crisis is showing its impact.
SANDAG Reform Bill Advances in Assembly
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who chairs the powerful appropriations committee in Sacramento, moved several bills through the full Assembly Wednesday including the one that would change governance at the San Diego Association of Governance.
Councilman: No Hurry on Ballot Measure
In a VOSD commentary, Councilman Chris Ward, who represents a swatch of the central part of the city, says he wants to see the convention center expand. But he won’t support putting a higher hotel tax on the ballot in a special election this year.
“I believe San Diego will rise to the occasion and meet the biggest needs facing our city,” he writes, but adds that “the prudent and responsible way to get there is with a more thoughtful and inclusive process.”
Ward’s announcement is significant. It’s yet another sign Democrats on the City Council are coalescing against a November vote. If the mayor is able to rally all his Republican colleagues on the City Council, they’ll still need one Democrat to support the special election.
A move against a November special election could also cripple the effort to pass the SoccerCity proposal. Proponents say it has to be voted on in November because of pressures in Major League Soccer.
• Two homeless providers — from Father Joe’s Villages and the Alpha Project — announced their support for the mayor’s hotel-room tax hike plan that in addition to paying for the Convention Center, would also provide funds for roads and homeless efforts.
• Curiously, our Andrew Keatts was especially excited to get surveyed by a political pollster. The caller was testing messages on the Convention Center special election proposal. But more interestingly, the surveyor floated the idea of different completely separate 2 percent hotel-room tax increase to fund housing initiatives.
• Scott Lewis spent some time on the Mighty 1090 going through the politics of the moment.
SD’s Not Alone on Homeless Spike
A new report says the homeless population in Los Angeles County spiked by 23 percent last year, a trend reflecting what we’re seeing here. “The sharp rise in the latest count, to nearly 58,000, suggested that the pathway into homelessness continues to outpace intensifying efforts that — through rent subsidies, new construction, outreach and support services — got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year,” the LA Times reports.
L.A. voters approved billions in taxes to support the homeless services and housing. City and county voters there approved two separate ballot measures, one to build homes (via borrowing) and the other to provide subsidies and services (via a higher sales tax), the Times reports.
• The city and county are now getting a bit of help on that front thanks to the federal government: They’ve won a $6 million grant, the U-T reports. It’s a program the city attorney launched last year that helps people on the street avoid jail by agreeing to drug treatment and housing solutions.
• A big affordable housing tower downtown has opened up.
Politics Roundup: Issa on Hot Seat Again
Rep. Darrell Issa will hold a town hall in Orange County’s San Juan Capistrano this week. (His district serves part of Orange County.)
He’s getting flak because his office is controlling who gets to attend, the AP reports.
• International tourism to the United States — has been slumping this year, possibly because of a Trump Effect. A new report singles out Los Angeles and San Diego, saying our international tourism grew from fall 2015 to fall 2016, but “dropped sharply in the first quarter of 2017,” NBC News reports.
• The LA Times checks in with Mayor Kevin Faulconer about his vision for the Republican party.
North County Report: More Housing Drama in Encinitas
This week’s VOSD North County Report leads off with news about a ruling that supports the city and a developer in a tussle over nine homes going into a 2.25-acre lot. Our contributor Ruarri Serpa notes a bit of weirdness: “one of the people sponsoring a lawsuit against the city over a development policy also sits on a City Council subcommittee charged with crafting Encinitas’ affordable housing plan.”
Also: Rep. Issa is appealing a court decision forcing him to pay $140,000 to his 2016 challenger, Democrat Doug Applegate, who came mighty close to a big upset. Issa tried to sue Applegate for defamation, but a court found Issa’s suit violated Applegate’s free speech rights.
And: The Del Mar fairgrounds just said no to a medical marijuana expo, and the city of Escondido settled a lawsuit over its denial of a permit to operate a detainment facility for refugees.
• A Carlsbad pastor called the sheriff to report himself for serious child molestation charges.
Quick News Hits: President Inspires Stone Brewing
• “More than one-third of fifth-, seventh- and ninth- graders in San Diego County public schools were considered to be overweight or obese in the 2014-15 academic year, according to a report released Tuesday,” City News Service reports. Latino kids were especially likely to be carrying around extra pounds.
• Guess who likes it soggy? Fleas. Thanks to the wet winter, there seems to be a bumper crop of them this year to torture pets and people, NBC 7 reports. Says a local vet: “With all the rain California has been getting, there’s more vegetation out. It’s not as dry. Fleas don’t like dry. They hide in the soil, or the carpets, or the grass, so the more humid it is, the happier they are.”
• The DMV is getting snarky. Here’s what it tweeted out the other day: “Painted lines in parking lots are to designate single spots to park. The price of your vehicle does not mean more than one can be used.” Oh, snap!
• You may have heard that the president sent out an incomplete tweet Tuesday night that included a gobbledygook word. It inspired a local brewery to create a new beer called Stone Covfefe Double IPA, “coming your way later this summer.”
Hmm. This could be a trend. Maybe next we’ll see beers called Dos Covfefes, Newcastle Brown Covfefe, and, of course, Stella Covfefe.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.