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Back in 2015 when San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber passed a law requiring California law enforcement officers to collect data about who they pull over, a police union spokesman made a bold claim: The law was unnecessary because racial profiling doesn’t exist.
“There is no racial profiling. There just isn’t,” the officer told the L.A. Times in 2015. “There is criminal profiling that exists.”
Now, the state is making strides to implement the law, and the idea that racial profiling doesn’t happen is still being asserted by law enforcement.
In a new story, Ashly McGlone got a look at data collected by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego Police Department during a two-week trial run of some of the new state requirements. The small snapshot of data showed both departments pulled over blacks and Latinos at a higher rate than those groups’ share of the population. Both departments say the data sample is too small to be used to reach any conclusions about profiling.
“There is no profession more committed to ensuring that bias is not a factor,” SDPD spokesman Lt. Scott Wahl told McGlone. “I think some of the most unbiased people in society are police officers.”
The data also showed some potential issues as collection ramps up: Officers, for example, sometimes checked multiple races when entering the data, and included only vague details about why they pulled some people over.
The Day in Hep A
The spread of San Diego’s hepatitis A outbreak appears unlikely to slow anytime soon.
County and city leaders gathered Tuesday to emphasize their efforts to work together to stem a growing public health crisis and offer San Diegans steps they can take to help halt it.
But one county health official said he expects the outbreak to continue for at least another six months.
The Tuesday press conference follows what had been a lethargic team effort to combat an outbreak that’s infected nearly 450 and left 16 dead.
A new Huffington Post story zeroes in on more long-running failures that led to the outbreak, detailing how it could have been avoided. The issues the story outlines aren’t new to VOSD readers: As we’ve written, San Diego lacks adequate public restrooms and affordable housing, and has dealt with a growing homeless population that can be reluctant to enter shelters and has faced increased police enforcement.
• Los Angeles health officials on Tuesday declared a hepatitis outbreak of their own after reports of 10 cases, including two that aren’t tied to San Diego, the Daily News reports.
— Lisa Halverstadt
Bipartisan Council Group Outlines Vacation Rental Plan
A group of two Republican and two Democratic City Council members released a memo Tuesday outlining what they’d like to see the city do about short-term vacation rentals.
They want to allow people to rent out their whole homes all year long, if they get a permit. Councilwoman Barbara Bry had proposed to limit whole-home vacation rentals to 90 days — meaning someone else would be living their the rest of the time.
The five-piece plan from Councilmen Chris Ward, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and David Alvarez suggests the city should create a special zoning category, code enforcement standards and permitting and enforcement processes specific to short-term rentals. It also calls for fees and taxes to pay for enforcement, plus fines for those who violate the rules.
Airbnb released a statement on the memo saying it was still reviewing the plan but was optimistic about it.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has mostly stayed on the sidelines.
The Role of Art in the Homelessness Crisis
Whenever there’s a hot political issue in the news, there’s usually also a wealth of great art exploring the subject. We know that’s true of the border, and as Kinsee Morlan writes in the latest Culture Report, it’s also true of homelessness.
Morlan reports on a Wednesday showing that will explore art by and about the region’s homeless population. One homeless resident whose art will be on display told Morlan: “When I do my art, I enter a whole different space and I lose track of time. My mind stops racing, and it’s wonderful.”
Also in this week’s Culture Report: Yet another arts studio in Barrio Logan is ousting its tenants, pop-up galleries and pop-up restaurants are happening and more.
Quick News Hits
• The Democratic Party endorsed Nathan Fletcher in the county supervisor race. The endorsement comes early as there are three other Democrats running: Lori Saldaña, Omar Passons and Ken Malbrough. Former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, is also running. The move allows the party to help campaign and spend money to help Fletcher.
• The City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday opposing President Donald Trump’s border wall, the U-T reports. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has publicly spoken out against a border wall many times but told KPBS’s Andrew Bowen that he will not veto the resolution, but won’t sign on to it either.
Speaking of which: On Wednesday morning, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra plans to give a press conference at Border Field State Park detailing his lawsuit against the Trump administration over the border wall.
• Goodbye, The Q. Hello, SDCCU. The City Council made it official and voted to rename the stadium SDCCU Stadium, for a cool $500,000. (NBC San Diego)
• Here’s a fun breakdown of what it took to get Mark Hamill his very own San Diego street. (SyFy)
• Are you sick of stories about people hating on the Chargers yet? Because I’m not. (Yahoo Sports)
• A key water district has voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s big delta tunnels project. Ry Rivard recently explained some big unknowns about the plan. (KQED)
• The city is about to step up its composting game. (KPBS)