The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
California’s deadliest hepatitis A outbreak in 20 years has claimed the lives of 11 people in San Diego.
The virus disproportionately affects homeless people, because it spreads person-to-person and people living on the streets without easy access to basic amenities like restrooms struggle to maintain typical hygiene standards.
Despite that, a public restroom in the heart of a major homeless encampment in East Village remains locked day and night. Homeless people are allowed to go into the restaurant where the bathroom is housed to ask for a key, but many don’t know they have the option and others say restaurant workers often flatly refuse.
Lisa Halverstadt talked to some homeless people in the area, including one who has contracted hepatitis A, about the struggle to find clean restrooms in East Village.
A city spokesperson, once contacted by Voice of San Diego, said the city will put out a sign making clear that the restroom is available to whoever wants it, and reiterate with restaurant ownership that it is obligated to operate the restroom for the entire public.
The restroom went on lockdown in the first place because it was attracting crime. But the developers of the nearby Pinnacle towers – that big yellow one that looks like it’s still under construction – got permission to make their project taller and add more apartments by agreeing to build Fault Line Park and the restroom as public amenities.
State Judicial Watchdog Censures Kreep for Living Up to His Name
Judge Gary Kreep, who was elected to the bench in 2012, received the most severe penalty possible from the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance, except for removing him from office, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday.
Four of the 10 commissioners voted to remove him from the bench. He received “severe public censure” instead.
He was facing 29 charges of misconduct, including jokingly calling a lawyer appearing in court a prostitute and making jokes about female lawyers who were pregnant. He also faced charges over his campaign while running for office.
None of this was particularly surprising for people who happened to follow Kreep’s election in 2012, though, as with most judicial seats, that’s a pretty small subsection of the public.
But he ran up a number of red flags back then, as memorably chronicled in a lengthy investigation by Dave Maass for CityBeat at the time.
Learning Curve: The Long-Running Fight Over School Start Dates
San Diego Unified voted last month to start its school year a week before Labor Day, just as it did last year but contrary to the wishes of a committee formed specifically to advise the school board on that question.
It turned into a pretty heated debate, with one committee member chastising the board for the process by which it made its decision.
And it turns out, it’s been a pretty heated debate for quite a while. In some states it’s even illegal to start school before Labor Day.
In her new issue of the Learning Curve, Maya Srikrishnan tackles an issue that seems to have started in the ‘80s as the tourism industry pressured schools to make sure they weren’t in session through August.
Other states have also cited financial savings for starting later, while in San Diego proponents for starting before Labor Day pointed to it helping student athletes, and giving students more time to prep for AP exams and other standardized tests.
Opinion: Cut GHGs by Focusing on Transportation, Not Shifting Energy Providers
In a new op-ed, Peder Norby, a former Planning Commissioner and consultant for Sempra Services, argues that the best way for the city to slash its carbon footprint is by committing to making most cars run on electricity, and redeveloping the city so people don’t have to drive as much, rather than taking over purchasing energy from SDG&E.
His argument comes as the city is starting to get serious about whether to make that switch, a wonky debate you’ll probably hear more about over the next year about a policy called community choice aggregation; earlier this year, Ry Rivard broke down what the issue entails and what we need to sort out.
In short, it’s about who buys the energy you use. Right now, that’s SDG&E, and it’s bound by state law to meet certain standards for how much of that energy comes from renewable sources like wind and solar power. But the city has committed to shifting to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, and supporters of CCA say it’s the only way the city will ever reach that goal.
In a story earlier this week, Rivard framed it this way: Your feelings on the policy probably depend on who you hate more — the government, or SDG&E.
San Diego Explained: The New DA’s Involvement in a Case Gone Wrong
Few cases captured San Diego’s attention like the Stephanie Crowe murder case.
Crowe’s brother and his friends were initially charged with the crime, but those charges were dropped. A homeless man was then convicted of involuntary manslaughter before the case was overturned. The families of the three originally accused boys won millions in a settlement over the initial charges.
Summer Stephan, San Diego’s interim district attorney who is running for the full-time position in next year’s election, has said she was only moderately involved in the botched prosecution. On this week’s episode of San Diego Explained, Ashly McGlone shows her role went well beyond what Stephan suggested publicly.
The Charlottesville Rally Hits Home
• Speaking of Stephan, she took an interesting step Thursday. She released an open letter to the community, arguing that no one in San Diego should feel the events of Charlottesville are a world away. Instead, she said hate crimes are up 11 percent in San Diego, and pledged that her office would prosecute such crimes aggressively.
• Rep. Darrell Issa on Thursday called for a congressional hearing on white supremacist groups, writing to the House Judiciary Committee’s chairman that the committee owed it to the country to understand the persistence of hateful ideologies from groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other emboldened neo-Nazi groups, as Joshua Stewart reported for the Union-Tribune.
• Three California chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union – including the San Diego chapter – broke ranks with the national organization Thursday, issuing a statement saying the violence from white supremacist groups in Charlottesville wasn’t a freedom of speech issue.
In Other News
• It’ll cost $120 million just to restore all the buildings in Balboa Park to good condition, according to a new assessment from the city. (Union-Tribune)
• A few weeks ago, Republican Daniel Casara announced he was challenging fellow Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter for the East County congressional seat in 2018. He changed his mind; now, he’s challenging Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. (Union-Tribune)
• Talks to strike a new deal failed, so now the question of who should pay for the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station could be headed back to court. (KPBS)
• Four years ago, former Mayor Maureen O’Connor agreed to pay back $2.1 million to her late husband’s charity, after she admitted to embezzling that much money while she struggled with a gambling addiction. An assistant U.S. attorney confirmed to the Union-Tribune Thursday that she’s yet to pay a dime.
• SDPD raided two marijuana dispensaries Thursday. (NBC San Diego)
• The San Diego Rotary named Mel and Linda Katz “Mr. and Mrs. San Diego” Thursday. (NBC San Diego)