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City Attorney Mara Elliott says she has a “professional disagreement” with Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. It’s also a political one, and their dispute has another, even more important angle — justice.
Elliott, who was elected last year, has called for all rape kits — evidence collected from victims of sexual assault — to be analyzed. She said this during her campaign.
“Elliott recently sent letters to Gov. Jerry Brown, urging him to sign legislation encouraging law enforcement agencies to analyze all sexual assault kits,” VOSD contributor Kelly Davis writes in a new story. “Right now, there are roughly 2,500 untested kits in the San Diego Police Department’s evidence room, and between 6,000 and 9,000 untested kits statewide.”
SDPD says it makes sure that a crime happened before sending a kit for testing. However, Davis writes, “some of the department’s untested kits come from victims deemed ‘uncooperative’ by investigators. Advocates argue that even if a victim refuses to cooperate with prosecutors, a kit’s DNA evidence could identify a repeat offender, or solve a cold case. That is Elliott’s position.”
How Much Water Is Councilman Cate in?
Councilman Chris Cate has admitted that he passed a confidential city legal memo to the developers of the SoccerCity Project, and City Attorney Mara Elliott says he did a bad, bad thing.
The U-T reports that the DA is investigating the situation, and offers a look at the law he may have violated. It’s in city code and punishable as a misdemeanor: “It is unlawful for any current or former City Official to use or disclose to any person any confidential information he or she acquired in the course of his or her official duties, except when disclosure is a necessary function of her official duties.”
The VOSD Podcast this week also broke down the details behind the leaked memo and vetted whether the leak hurt the city’s bargaining position, as Elliott has charged.
“There’s been discussion about whether Cate had the right to waive the attorney-client privilege, but that may be something for the district attorney, or a judge, to determine. Elliott says he can’t do that unilaterally and that it’s a city decision that must be approved by the council,” the U-T reports.
Cate is up for re-election next year and is a possible mayoral hopeful in 2020.
• Councilman Scott Sherman is pushing a measure to boost affordable housing in some park-friendly parts of the city (think those around Balboa Park and Mission Bay) by making it easier for developers to build housing without having to worry as much about parks. (U-T)
Court Considers California Gun Control
In California, gun magazines with more than 10 bullets are supposed to be outlawed — even if gun owners already had them — but the law’s been put on hold. “Some gun owners, backed by the state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, are challenging the high-capacity magazine ban in San Diego federal court and already scored an early win when a judge blocked the law from taking effect over the summer,” the U-T reports.
As the paper explains, “in California, high-capacity magazines have been illegal to sell, manufacture, import or transfer since 2000, but owners were allowed to hang onto the magazines they already had.” The new law targets those magazines; gun owners say don’t want to relinquish them or lose firepower.
The newspaper also reports that “bump stocks,” which appear to have helped boost the death toll in Las Vegas last week, are already illegal in California.
• The SDPD is sticking with the use of a “Shot Spotter” system that detects the locations of gunshots in four southeastern San Diego neighborhoods. Critics say the technology doesn’t build ties with the community. (U-T)
New Era for S.D. Catholic Diocese on LGBT Front
Reflecting the local Catholic diocese’s more open, Pope Francis-style approach, the San Diego bishop and other priests joined for a mass on Saturday at a Hillcrest church that reached out to the local LGBT community, the U-T reports.
“Pope Francis is calling us to reach out to everyone with a message of radical inclusion,” Bishop Robert McElroy said. “Sadly, there has been an estrangement and an alienation with LGBT people, and the church needs to take steps to heal that.”
The mass was held at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church, which has an LGBT ministry.
Quick News Hits: Great Ballpark, Lousy Team
• No, whatever you may have heard or hoped (or non-hoped), the 1-4 football-team-that-shall-not-be-named is NOT moving back to San Diego. That’s the word from an unidentified team official and an NFL spokesman, per the NFL’s “news” site.
• The nice thing about the downtown ballpark is that it’s really nice. As for the team, well, never mind. Let’s talk more about the park: How does it stack up nationally among baseball parks?
Pretty good, actually! A site called ReviewTrackers compiled 130,000 stadium reviews and finds that our ballpark is No. 1 when it comes to … restrooms. And fans may be using them a lot because we’re No. 3 on the beer front, only behind the ballparks in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
We’re in the middle of the pack in terms of things like facility, hot dogs and fan experience.
So which ballpark is terrible? Fans have a lot of problems with Oakland’s stadium, although the ranking doesn’t say anything about how many are annoyed by its annoying name (O.co Coliseum).
On the annoying name front, Petco Park is just OK. It’s no Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field, but at least we’re not Guaranteed Rate Field. At least not yet.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.