Last year, a police car followed deputy public defender Geneviéve Jones-Wright on her way home to southeastern San Diego. She captured the unfolding events on video.

“Officers with guns drawn told her to exit the vehicle. A crowd gathered. Officers put Jones-Wright in handcuffs in the back of their car while drug dogs searched her car,” our Andrew Keatts reports. “Officers soon determined a clerical error at the DMV had led them to believe her car was stolen. She was sent on her way.”

Her way now includes a bid to become county district attorney as a Democrat and a candidate dedicated to progressive reform instead of the tough-on-crime status quo.

In a Q-and-A with VOSD, Jones-Wright talks about racial profiling, defending the poor and improving gang policing. She also discloses what the police chief told her about the incident: “What she expressed to me was that it seemed a lack of discretion, or that discretion was exercised in a way in that particular situation that it didn’t have to be that.”

When the Civil War Came to San Diego

In 1861, a California assemblyman named Dan Showalter shot another legislator to death in a duel, collected 15 Confederate sympathizers and then headed to the South to slaughter some Yankees. First, though, he had to get through the backcountry in the backwater of San Diego County.

We could barely have been a friendlier territory. California was part of the Union, but San Diego was a stronghold of Confederate support and dislike of Abraham Lincoln. Would Showalter make it through the county alive? Yes. His bloody end in a Mexican saloon was still to come. But, as my new history flashback story for VOSD reveals, he had a mighty close call with Union troops during California’s only face-off between Union troops and Confederate wannabes.

Plus: I take a look at the Civil War’s legacy in San Diego and the gutsiness of an 1860s schoolteacher whose name still graces a San Diego elementary school today, unlike a certain traitorous Confederate general.

Sen. Harris Talks Immigration

Sen. Kamala Harris answered five questions from our contributor Brooke Binkowski about her progressive approach to border and immigration issues.

Harris says she supports continuing to give polygraph exams to Border Patrol applicants. An estimated two-thirds of applicants have failed the tests, the AP has reported, and critics say “many applicants are being subjected to unusually long and hostile interrogations, which some say can make people look deceptive even when they are telling the truth.”

Harris also promises to fight the Trump administration’s creation of a “culture of fear” regarding immigration. She opposes private prisons, including private immigration detention centers, and offers guidance about what people in this country illegally can do to protect themselves.

 “The number of targeted immigration arrests in San Diego has returned to levels from before former President Barack Obama changed enforcement priorities in late 2014,” roughly doubling from February-May this year compared to 2016 and 2015, the U-T reports.

Opinion: Spend More on Homeless Students

In a VOSD commentary in response to our series about the hidden homeless in South Bay, County Office of Education official Michelle Lustig calls for more money to support students without homes. “Passing legislation to help youth experiencing homelessness, yet not fully funding the agencies tasked with carrying it out is madness. Leaving schools districts alone to address the issue of homelessness and its impact on students is unacceptable.”

Quick News Hits: A Whale of a Find

A watchdog group looked at 416 beaches in California and says La Jolla Cove is the fifth germiest based on bacterial pollution. (KPBS)

A CityLab report says downtown homeless shelters are on the decline: ” Property values throughout America’s urban cores are rising, making the work of sheltering the disadvantaged less sustainable and desirable downtown, even as displacement adds to their ranks. Plus, scarce federal dollars for supporting the homeless are increasingly directed toward programs that provide housing for the chronically homeless — which is great, and a big success, but not so helpful for families who are struggling with a sudden crisis that has put them on the streets.”

Residents in neighborhoods like North Park and Hillcrest might want to drop down into Mission Valley to work, eat, shop or catch a movie. But if they’re riding a bike, they’d better have plenty of stamina to get back up that mighty Texas Street hill. That, or a bus pass and the patience to put their bike on a bus.

Now, a $16 million “commuter bikeway” along the 15 freeway is near its opening day, the Reader reports, offering a less-steep route for cyclists.

Fun fact: last year, paleontologists “discovered a portion of a skull … of a baleen whale within the sandstone of the bikeway construction site. It was estimated to be 3.5 million years old.”

Like so many of us, the whale is sensitive about its advanced age. Be polite and don’t call it a fossil.

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 ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.