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As the city of San Diego copes with highly visible homelessness and a deadly hepatitis A outbreak, it’s gambling on a crackdown.
The city is clearing the streets and filling up courts with homeless defendants in a way we haven’t seen, our Lisa Halverstadt reports. Previous lawsuits have made the city reluctant do this. And new lawsuits have come.
The city says it’s complying with the rules and figuring out how to respond to the new lawsuits. But an attorney involved in all the cases tells us that the city is violating the constitutional rights of homeless San Diegans living on the streets and in cars and RVs. “They’re now using the (hepatitis A public health) ‘emergency’ to run roughshod over the constitutional rights of the homeless,” he said.
Later Start Times Depend on More Buses
Researchers have been saying for years that early school start times are bad for teenagers because of how their minds and sleep patterns work. Now, San Diego Unified parents are on the start-later bandwagon, and later start times (later than the typical 7:30 a.m. or so) may be on the way at local high schools.
But, as our Mario Koran explains, there’s a big problem: “School start times are dependent in large part on busing schedules. To get kids from various neighborhoods to schools on time, the district staggers start times so buses can make two to three trips each morning, dropping off kids and picking up new ones.”
Opinion: Cop Oversight Board’s Gone Rogue
As we recently reported, the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board, which is supposed to investigate in-custody deaths and complaints against law enforcement in the county, dismissed 22 death cases without doing any investigations at all.
“By dismissing the cases and refusing to find facts that could help prevent future deaths, no citizens nor law enforcement officers will be safer. No future risks and liability can be avoided,” writes Sue Quinn, who worked for the board in the 1990s, in a new VOSD commentary. “San Diego County’s oversight process is broken. It’s time to fix it.”
Quinn, past president of the National Association Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, calls for the board to restore a focus on the most serious cases, such as deaths. Instead, “it has neglected to annually report trends, such as increased numbers of death, that become known each year through analyzing complaints and investigations.”
If board members can’t handle the load, she writes, they should quit.
VOSD Podcast: La Jolla High’s Open Secret
As we reported last week, multiple women have come forward to complain of inappropriate touching and groping by a male teacher when they were students at La Jolla High. (You can read the story here.) The teacher denies the allegations.
In the latest VOSD Podcast, our reporter Ashly McGlone talks about her reporting, the school’s failures and the story’s impact.
How SDG&E Shuts Power When Winds Blow
In a story about how wildfires in California can be prevented, the L.A. Times takes note of SDG&E’s 170 weather stations on backcountry power poles, which alert the company to the speed of potentially dangerous Santa Ana winds.
The utility faced a backlash when it announced its program to turn off power to parts of the backcountry in times of high winds. “Since the program started, SDG&E says, it has turned off power to portions of its distribution system 16 times for public safety reasons. The shut-offs have affected a relatively small number of customers, a total of 1,000, who received telephone alerts of impending outages.”
Quick News Hits: Hotel Del Turns Christmas Upside Down
• Antonio Villaraigosa, the former L.A. mayor and current candidate for governor, declared that he had “no job, no house, no car” when he left City Hall in 2013. Now, he’s rich. The L.A. Times digs into how he made his money and finds that much of it came from advising companies, some of them controversial like Herbalife. “His business dealings are likely to be raised on the campaign trail ahead of the June 5 primary,” the paper says.
• The L.A. Times has a major story out investigating a $100 billion housing plan and investment in Mexico that has devolved into a nightmare, including in Tijuana. “The program has devolved into a slow-motion social and financial catastrophe, inflicting daily hardships and hazards on millions in troubled developments across the country,” writes Rich Marosi, a San Diego-based reporter for the Times.
• The U-T has a very unappetizing list of 12 local restaurants that were closed three or more times this year — yes, three or more times — due to violations of food regulations such as vermin infestations.
• Some tourists and locals are “flipping out” about the upside-down Christmas tree at the Hotel Del Coronado, NBC 7 reports.
The hotel says it’s “whimsical,” but we all known what upside-down means: It’s an tree distress signal. My theory: Glitter poisoning. Send help! Anybody got a vacuum?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.