One of the ways the foster care system in California supports children is by funding lawyers needed to make sure kids’ regular legal needs are taken care of. A foster child needs help attending the best school for their situation? They need a lawyer. A foster child is a victim of a crime? Lawyer needed there too. With 3,000 foster children living in San Diego County, the need for legal services is extremely high. Mario Koran reports on how lawyers who serve foster children have been short-changed on funding and have now reached a breaking point. Individual attorneys in San Diego County are handling an average of 210 cases at a time.
Crushing caseloads like that mean attorneys don’t have time to give kids all the help they need, and often mean attorneys have to weigh competing needs of foster kids against one another to figure out which child to serve. Advocates say that only $22 million is needed from California to bring caseloads down to manageable levels, “budget dust” when compared with California’s overall $124 billion budget.
But the problem is getting worse. Under current funding, “money for attorneys in San Diego County would drop again next year – from $7.7 million to $5.6 million,” Koran writes.
• AB 1164, a bill that would provide more assistance to families who agree to take in foster kids on short notice by giving them immediate assistance, has is moving forward in the Legislature.
East Village Boom: San Diego Explained
The East Village neighborhood is growing fast. A lot of that growth is happening in residential development; beautiful buildings of newly built condos reach for the sky throughout the community. But not so long ago, East Village was much less expensive to live in and fostered a vibrant community of artists and ethnic groups that are now being pushed out by development dreams. Kinsee Morlan looks past the cranes and towers to cover what’s being lost, in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Opinion: Block Local Cops From Immigration Enforcement
Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, believes the risk posed to families by local law enforcement’s ability to report or initiate deportation proceedings is too great, and she advocates for a proposed California law that would bar local officers from assisting in immigration enforcement. While many local police claim they don’t act as immigration agents, “there is still much to be done to keep families together and communities whole,” Chavez-Peterson writes. That includes passing SB 54, which would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for the sole purpose of immigration enforcement.
Opinion: Yeah, Reliable Water Costs More
Mark Muir, chair of the board of directors of the San Diego County Water Authority, wants water users to know that water in San Diego is more expensive for a good reason. “We are at the literal end of the pipeline in a semi-arid region of 3.3 million people with few significant lakes, rivers or groundwater aquifers,” Muir writes. Being lowest on the water totem pole has spurred the Water Authority into action to ensure adequate, consistent sources of water service. The reliability of water supply, not cost, is what concerns most people, Muir writes.
The Politics of Sports
While the Padres may be taking you on a roller coaster of emotions this year, San Diego’s sports craziness doesn’t stop there. Nobody can tell what will become of the now-abandoned Qualcomm Stadium, or the SoccerCity proposal to replace it that is sucking up all the sports oxygen across the city. In the most recent episode of The Kept Faith podcast, the guys chat with Darren Smith from Mighty 1090 about what it’s like when covering apolitical sports suddenly requires a degree in political science. Andrew Keatts also drops in to talk about the SoccerCity initiative and the future of Qualcomm.
How to Live in a Canyon
KPBS’s Alison St. John takes a guided tour through a homeless encampment in a canyon in Oceanside to see how and why homeless people take up life there. Some have made mistakes, some are ex-convicts who can no longer access the normal labor market. Some have low-paying jobs. “Somehow they find their way here and they find their way to me,” one elder of the encampment told St. John. “This is where they begin to learn how to survive on their own and make their choices and decisions about what to do in life.”
• One poll showed San Diegans are compelled by the idea of a tax hike measure dedicated solely to addressing homelessness. (Union-Tribune)
• The effort to use a Coronado mansion as transitional housing for women escaping the human trafficking industry seems to be on its way. (Coronado Eagle & Journal)
• Recreational cannabis may have been approved by California voters, but San Diego authorities are still committed to cracking down, this time on rogue delivery services. (KPBS)
• California chefs, however, are cashing in on the cannabis craze by offering expensive private dinners infused with bud. How do you feel about cannabis-infused Hollandaise sauce? (NBC 7)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.