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Geneviéve Jones-Wright is holding nothing back in her campaign to become San Diego’s next district attorney.
I listened to the progressive Democrat and public defender speak recently in Barrio Logan. No notes, no consultants. She riffed for 90 minutes, taking everyone’s questions.
After the event, we talked about the federal government’s war on drugs and she raised a middle finger to the Trump administration.
On this week’s VOSD podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts interview Jones-Wright, who said the DA’s mission statement may need to be tweaked. Some of the county’s resources would be better spent on building community trust and preventing crime rather than just prosecutions. She’s running against former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ hand-picked successor, Summer Stephan — an anointment that was accepted by the county’s elected representatives.
“This is not a monarchy,” Jones-Wright said. “We don’t have a queen who sits on the throne and says you know what, this is the person that’s going to succeed me, this is how this is going to happen.”
Dumanis is now seeking a seat on the Board of Supervisors. The Union-Tribune reported last month that she hired a legal team to research whether she could collect both her pension and salary if elected. Now, Dumanis says she never intended to take the salary and didn’t disclose the information because the race hasn’t officially started.
Lewis and Keatts consider that explanation with some disbelief.
Women’s Caucus Gets a New Chair
Of the five female lawmakers from San Diego who are part of the state’s Legislative Women’s Caucus, only Sen. Toni Atkins waded into the news engulfing Los Angeles Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. A vocal leader of the Me Too movement, she’s been accused by several men of groping and other inappropriate behavior.
Atkins said she supported Garcia’s decision to take leave. She also said she supported Garcia’s replacement, Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, as the new head of the caucus.
The caucus acted after getting the all-clear from its vice chair, Sen. Connie Leyva from Chino, who said she was “shocked and disturbed” by the allegations against Garcia, writes Marisa Agha in this week’s Sacramento Report.
At the same time, state Sen. Joel Anderson, whose district includes parts of East and North County, is proposing a ban on lawmakers using taxpayer dollars to make sexual harassment and abuse cases go away.
We also have a quick preview of the Democratic gubernatorial debate that’s happening in San Diego on Thursday. Healthcare is likely to be a good point of distinction.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are basically neck-in-neck going into the state party’s convention. Newsom supports a bill that would establish single-payer healthcare but doesn’t say how it will be paid for. Villaraigosa supports single payer but not the bill and doesn’t say how he would pay for it.
After Parkland, City Attorney Issues Restraining Orders
You can almost feel the outrage of the headlines coming out Wednesday’s shooting inside a Parkland, Fla., high school that left 17 people dead. Here’s how NPR put it: “FBI Received A Tip Last Month About Florida Shooting Suspect — But Nothing Was Done.”
Citing an “epidemic of senseless killing” and the failure of the federal government to act, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, a Democrat, issued restraining orders against 10 “unstable and irresponsible gun owners.” ABC 10 reports that these residents, all men, are not allowed to acquire or possess any firearms or ammunition for one year.
Some, according to Elliott’s office, had been accused of domestic violence, while others appear to be suffering from a mental illness.
Any working-stiff who’s recently moved to San Diego, or around the city, knows that the stock of affordable housing is limited. The City Council is set next month to consider changes to its land development code that’ll make construction easier.
“There are many good changes being proposed, but they do not go far enough,” writes City Councilman David Alvarez in a new op-ed. “The city must get rid of regulations and find ways to incentivize housing construction.”
For instance, Alvarez — and his colleague Scott Sherman — are proposing the city relax a rule requiring developers to build ground-floor retail space in new projects. There’s just too much empty retail space throughout San Diego. Alvarez also wants to rezone and increase density around transit priority areas, reconsider live-work quarters, and more.
• Speaking of housing, Assemblyman Todd Gloria introduced a bill this week that would allow developers working on projects near transit to build smaller — and thus less costly — units. He’s asked Gov. Jerry Brown to invest $1 billion of the state’s $6 billion budget surplus into affordable housing projects and homelessness programs.
The Takeover of a Large Employer
In case you haven’t heard by now, Broadcom has been aggressively pursuing Qualcomm ahead of a March 6 shareholder meeting by taking over a majority of the board and pushing the merger through.
Talks are ongoing. But for now, the San Diego chip maker is rejecting Broadcom’s latest, and apparently final, offer of $82 per share, according to the Union-Tribune. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Qualcomm believes the offer is still too low and does not account for the risk of being broken up. Federal regulators could ultimately block the deal.
But Broadcom is willing to bet up $8 billion that the deal won’t fall through, the Economist reports. The total value of the offer was placed at $146 billion.
In a statement Friday, Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs said he wanted to know what Broadcom would do to ensure the merger cleared regulatory hurdles.
The impact of that takeover on the San Diego region remains unclear. Qualcomm is one of the region’s largest private employers and one of the few with global reach. Broadcom is based in Singapore, though the chip maker says it plans to relocate to Silicon Valley.
• In the meantime, the U-T is reporting that Sempra Energy, another San Diego-based company, is close to wrapping up a deal to acquire Oncor, the largest utility in Texas. Oncor’s customer base is 10 million.
• While we’re on the subject of jobs, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. estimates that the region’s defense contractors represent $9.2 billion of economic activity and constitute 5,600 businesses and 62,000 workers. (Union-Tribune)
In Other News
• Late on Friday, the U-T dropped a story about its former owner and President Trump’s pick as ambassador to the Bahamas, Douglas Manchester. It reports he had apologized “to any employee who felt uncomfortable or demeaned” during his four-year run at the paper. The allegations are not spelled out, but the story does contain references to harassment and an atmosphere hostile to women that radiated from the paper’s now-defunct TV station.
In 2013, our Sara Libby noticed that. She wrote about the way UT-TV handled women.
• San Diego Magazine has re-published parts of a March 1980 piece suggesting California’s premiere marijuana growing region used to be in North County, not Humboldt. A DEA official at the time said weed in the Fallbrook area was the largest cash crop in the state — “more than grapes, tomatoes, even avocados.”
• Land that was originally cleared in Southeastern San Diego for a freeway is now open as a park. (Times of San Diego)
Top Stories of the Week
In order to prevail on this claim, Stone doesn’t have to prove actual confusion — meaning, they don’t have to produce consumers who bought Keystone Lite on the mistaken belief that it was a Stone Brewing product. Stone simply has to demonstrate likelihood of confusion. (David Lizerbram)
Neighbors called the cops 53 times on a home in Chula Vista. But it took pure dumb luck for Border Patrol and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to discover a human smuggling ring inside. (Adriana Heldiz)
Taxpayer-funded attorneys are needlessly harassing a journalist who did her job and did it well. They need to knock it off. (Randy Dotinga)
San Diego isn’t building enough homes. But it has built too much retail space. The City Council is considering a plan to solve both issues at once, by letting people live in those empty storefronts. (Kinsee Morlan)
San Diego’s independent auditor is looking into the city’s water billing issues. But a water department leader is dictating what the auditor can and can’t investigate, raising questions about a lack of oversight. (Ry Rivard)
For the complete list, check out the site.