The Morning Report
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San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has had multiple chances to kill the proposal to have the city take over from SDG&E the responsibility to purchase power for residents. And he hasn’t done it.
Our Ry Rivard reports that, Friday, the mayor decided once again to let the proposal go forward. The city will begin to develop a business plan to make the change. Faulconer did not say that was his preference and SDG&E will also still go forward with its own proposal for how the city can get to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035.
At some point, the city will have to make a decision.
Not sure what we’re talking about? Take a moment to review our guide to what’s called community choice aggregation.
Both sides of the intense debate about whether the city should take over the job to buy electricity cheered the mayor’s decision Friday. But what’s also true is he has has had several opportunities to stop the proposal in its tracks and he hasn’t.
DA Signals Change in Marijuana Enforcement
Our Scott Lewis took interest in a recent quote from office of District Attorney Summer Stephan. In a statement, a spokeswoman told the Union-Tribune that Stephan’s new administration was “changing focus” from that of former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who had a reputation for a hardline stance on cannabis cases.
Turns out, Lewis wasn’t the only one who noticed the statement. He looked into it a bit further.
It came after the DA’s office ended its two-year battle with medical-marijuana entrepreneur James Slatic, who ended up pleading guilty to just two misdemeanors. Slatic, his business partners and his lawyer were charged with a slate of felonies, including money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The lawyer’s case has generated national interest as prosecutors sought all her communications with clients, a potentially unique incursion on attorney-client privilege. That situation has not been resolved.
ACLU in the Podcast Studio
On this week’s podcast, hosts Sara Libby, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts talked about that district attorney’s decision and a big week of drama for local politics, in particular the local Democratic Party.
Bardis Vakili, a senior staff attorney for the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter, also joined to discuss some of the civil rights issues in San Diego right now, including a police watchdog group’s recent dismissal of 22 death cases, SDPD’s handling of juvenile DNA and how immigrants are treated inside local detention centers.
Sacramento Report: Racial Profiling Rules Set
Law enforcement agencies in California now have clear rules about what data they need to report to the state to help ensure they’re policing fairly.
This month, the state’s Office of Administrative Law approved new regulations detailing a series of things they need to report to the state about their policing stops, including the date and type of stop, the reason for the stop, the officer’s perception of gender or race/nationality of the person stopped and the result of the stop.
California’s eight largest law enforcement agencies, including San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and San Diego Police Department, must begin collecting stop data on Jan. 1, 2018.
Also in this week’s Sacramento Report, Ry Rivard writes about how $1.6 million coming in from a law sold as a way to clean up the Tijuana River valley may be used to instead build a new campground.
Quick News Hits
• New claims against San Diego Unified and the city of San Diego say school staff and police mishandled the sexual assault of a student with disabilities last year at Lincoln High School. (Union-Tribune)
• City officials laid out the process for selecting a new police chief, which will involve a three-stage interview process that includes two dozen community leaders. (Union-Tribune)
• The owner of four San Diego nursing homes will pay $6.9 million to settle allegations that employees paid kickbacks for patient referrals and submitted fraudulent bills to government health-care programs. (City News Service)
• ICE is fighting a court battle to have an Oceanside immigrants’ hearing held in Aurora, Colorado, instead of San Diego because a Ninth Circuit court ruling might benefit him. (Union-Tribune)
• San Marcos parents are concerned about how the district’s school boundary realignment will impact their children. (NBC7)
• San Diego County unemployment drops to 3.7 percent. (Union-Tribune)
Top Stories of the Week
These were the five most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Nov. 10-17. Check out the full top 10 list here.
1. San Diego Unified Sends Parents Who Can’t Pay for School Bus Rides to a Collections Agency
California is one of a dozen states that allows school districts to charge parents fees for bus rides to school. Records obtained by Voice of San Diego show that in the 2014-2015 school year alone, the district referred 380 parents to a collections agency for debts that ranged from $10 to $500. (Mario Koran)
2. Police Oversight Group Set to Dismiss 22 Death Cases Without Investigation
The Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board staff is recommending the dismissal of 22 investigations involving people who’ve died in county detention facilities or while being taken into custody. A number of experts said the rule being used to justify the dismissals shouldn’t apply to CLERB, and similar oversight groups across the state don’t interpret the rule that way. (Kelly Davis)
3. Scathing Emails Highlight Dem Party-Union Rift
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 emails obtained by Voice of San Diego.
4. City Attorney’s Top Aide Claims Privilege as He Pushes for Her
The city attorney’s chief of staff, Gerry Braun, is claiming messages he sent to a City Council office are not public records, citing attorney-client privilege. Braun is not an attorney. If that reasoning holds up, he’d be the first political chief of staff who can also claim to his counterparts that if you share the messages he sends to you, you are committing a crime. (Scott Lewis)
5. Fact Check: Is Most Homelessness Tied to Drugs and Alcohol?
El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells claimed nearly all homelessness is linked to drug or alcohol abuse. (Lisa Halverstadt)