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Leaders of the county’s Democratic Party and one of the most politically influential local unions have been at odds throughout the year. The behind-the-scenes fight climaxed this summer with a physical altercation, followed by a series of scathing emails, our Andrew Keatts reports.
Some union members and party activists are upset that Democratic leaders refuse to distance themselves from Mickey Kasparian, a labor leader who has been accused of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. In light of those allegations, Kasparian left his post as head of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council and launched his own competing coalition of unions this spring.
The local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers stayed with the Labor Council and supports the women raising the allegations against Kasparian. Because the union also refused to ban anti-Kasparian protestors from Democratic Party meetings held at its union hall, the party decided to move its meetings.
In doing so, Jessica Hayes, the party’s chair, threw salt on the wounds within the labor movement. She wrote in an email to IBEW’s leader that she worried for the safety of her daughter, who works on a union construction site. Hayes said she was “fearful” that union construction workers would “turn their focus on her,” apparently in violent respond to the ongoing drama. In saying this, Hayes resorted to stereotypes typical of a union foe rather than friend.
IBEW’s business manager Nick Segura replied to Hayes by saying he worried the Democrats and the union were on a collision course.
Alvarez Is Running … for Community College District
David Alvarez leaves his City Council seat in 2018. That’s two years before the 2020 race for a spot on the county Board of Supervisors he wants. But he wants to do something in the meantime. So, he’s running for a seat on the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees.
Community college trustees have four-year terms, so Alvarez would be running with the knowledge that, if he won both races, he would step down as trustee midway through his term. The trustee seat Alvarez will run for has been held for 15 years by Peter Zschiesche, who will be leaving.
“I think we need someone who is going to transition into the next Peter. I don’t foresee myself staying in the position as long as Peter did,” Alvarez said.
Learn more Alvarez’s situation and other political tidbits in this news roundup from Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts.
Check Out These Paper Cuts
In her weekly summary of goings on in the San Diego art world, Kinsee Morlan talks about Bhavna Mehta’s precise and detailed paper cuttings – intricate compositions that tell narrative tales, often drawing from Mehta’s experience growing up in India and using a wheelchair to get around.
DA Backs Off Hardline Pot Stance
James Slatic’s marijuana manufacturing business was stormed by government agents, his assets were frozen and his life turned upside down when he faced over a dozen felony charges. But, recently, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and ended the two-year ordeal. “All that for two misdemeanors!” Slatic said in an email to the Union-Tribune. “Neither of these did I do, but they dropped my 15 felonies and I’m done.” His cause became national horror story for people worried about the power of the government — in this case, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office — to seize the personal property of innocent people.
Slatic told the story of his amazing up-and-down life as an entrepreneur in one of our first episodes of I Made It in San Diego.
But the remarkable downgrade of Slatic’s risk — he has to pay $1,000 and gets a year probation — may not be the big news. The U-T has more:
“This settlement takes into account the changing focus of the new District Attorney administration, which allows companies to apply for a state license to legally sell marijuana,” spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said in a statement.
Prosecutors were also seeking all of the emails of his attorney in a case that got the attention of lawyers everywhere because it would have thrown out attorney-client privilege.
That battle has not been resolved.
Police Oversight Group Does Throw Out 22 Cases of Deaths in Custody
Earlier this week, we broke the news that the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board was considering dismissing 22 cases of deaths that occurred in custody or while someone was being taken into custody. That means, dismissing them without an investigation to see if anything went wrong.
Tuesday night, the group followed through and did it.
In Other News
• The San Diego City Council approved $6.5 million to put up giant tents to shelter 700 homeless people. We already wrote about why this is a no-bid deal that lacks language to hold the nonprofits responsible for the tents accountable for whether they help people move into longer-term or permanent housing. Separately, the County Board of Supervisors approved $500,000 in rental assistance for homeless people living in unincorporated areas of the county and the county announced more than 100,000 San Diegans have receive hepatitis A vaccines as the deadly outbreak appears to be slowing. (KPBS, Union-Tribune)
• Just 5 percent of border agents are female, according to a survey of women in federal law enforcement. (Politico)
• The NFL was “freaking out” that its leader, Commissioner Roger Goodell, would be attending a “Los Angeles” Chargers game in Carson where airplanes would be flying overhead with banners critical of the team and its owner, What’s-his-name. The Federal Aviation Administration normally prevents planes from flying over NFL games but the ban didn’t kick in because the Chargers play in such a small stadium now. (ABC 10)