San Diego Sheriff logo by Tristan Loper
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department logo / Photo by Tristan Loper

State law prohibits restraining inmates during labor, delivery and recovery unless an inmate is deemed a threat to herself or others.

Yet VOSD contributor Kelly Davis found that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Sheriff’s Department says its policy is to restrain all inmates as a default.

“In the majority of cases,” inmates are shackled during labor and delivery, Lt. David Gilmore wrote in a March 26 letter to the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, the agency tasked with overseeing county law enforcement officials.

Some context for those of you who haven’t had a baby: Moving around is actually a popular method of pain management. Having women lay on their backs in a hospital bed during labor is largely a thing of the past.

But while the shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth might sound cruel to many, it was the standard for years until a growing number of states moved to ban the practice.

It wasn’t until 2013, when then-Assemblywoman Toni Atkins wrote the law limiting when inmates could be restrained during labor and delivery.

Atkins told Davis she was troubled to hear the Sheriff’s Department was automatically restraining pregnant inmates. Atkins said the law needs to be followed, and she plans to contact Sheriff Bill Gore to discuss the issue.

Big Water Projects Approved

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the source of most of San Diego’s water, voted Tuesday to spend $11 billion on a pair of tunnels to help bring water south from rivers in Northern California.

The San Diego County Water Authority, which buys water from the agency and resells it to local water departments, opposed the deal, citing uncertainty about how the project will affect water rates.

Separately, the San Diego City Council voted to advance a $1.4 billion project to turn sewage into drinkable water. The Council did so only after lengthy discussion that included complaints from communities near where new pipelines for the project will be built.

Opinion: Reform School Board Elections

A recent Grand Jury report recommended reforming San Diego Unified School District board elections. One of the suggested changes was to move from citywide elections to district-level elections, the same way elections for City Council, supervisor, Congress and most other representative positions are held.

The district is hosting the first of five town halls on the issue Wednesday, but in a new op-ed for VOSD, Bret Caslavka says the school district “didn’t simply ask the community’s opinion on the issues raised by the Grand Jury. They added issues that seem to serve no other purpose than to confuse people and muddy the waters.”

Caslavka is the president of Community Voices for Education, a group of parents and community members seeking reform.

Some good news and new bragging rights for San Diego Unified. San Diego Unified was the only large, urban school district to improve its fourth grade reading scores, and for the first time, the district scores exceeded the national average (by a point) on the so-called Nation’s Report Card, which allows for state-to-state comparisons. The district’s six-point increase in reading scores is considered unusually large, EdSource reports. A decade ago, it was 12 points below the national average.

Culture Report: Super Chill Port Art

The Port of San Diego is doing exciting things with its public art program (I recently explained all that in a segment with our friends at NBC 7). Just look at all the fun the Port is manufacturing:

Fern Street Circus has performed as part of the Port of San Diego’s public art program. / Photo courtesy of the Port of San Diego
Fern Street Circus has performed as part of the Port of San Diego’s public art program. / Photo courtesy of the Port of San Diego

This week, San Diego artist Adam Belt will open his new interactive installation at the end of Broadway Pier. The piece, which was commissioned by the Port, invites folks to experience a moment of zen.

Also in this week’s Culture Report: An avocado experience is coming to San Diego, an update on the Green Flash/Alpine Brewing Company saga, San Diego’s best burgers and more.

 Watch this: Local artists teamed up with a group of Southwestern College students to project protest art onto the border wall prototypes at Otay Mesa. Our video guru Adriana Heldiz went with them and made this video.

The Push for Progressive Prosecutors

Taking back control of Congress from Republicans is not the only progressive movement afoot.

“There is a progressive movement at the local level to reshape the criminal justice system by winning elections for district attorney,” writes The Intercept’s Elise Swain.

Geneviéve Jones-Wright is a public defender running for district attorney. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Swain uses San Diego district attorney candidate Geneviéve Jones-Wright as an example. Jones-Wright did an interview last week with Jeremy Scahill on the Intercepted podcast and talked about her fight against police-endorsed incumbents and what kind of reforms she wants to see if elected.

Remember this: In VOSD’s podcast interview with Jones-Wright, the candidate had some brutal things to say about former DA Bonnie Dumanis, and in a Q-and-A with VOSD, she talked about why she’s running and how she would do things differently.

In Other News

• Matt Strabone, a candidate for county assessor-recorder-clerk, has accused his opponent, incumbent Ernest Dronenburg, of violating campaign finance law. Strabone has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging Dronenburg accepted $5,000 in donations from the county’s Republican Party and failed to disclose it within 24 hours, as required. Dronenburg admitted that he failed to meet the 24-hour deadline and said he disclosed the failure to the FPPC. (Union-Tribune)

San Diego City Council President Myrtle Cole delayed a discussion about a $900 million affordable housing bond proposed for the November ballot. The measure proposes to pay for an estimated 7,500 homes for homeless and low-income San Diegans. (KPBS)

On Tuesday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer updated folks on the city’s effort to clean up the San Diego River. (Times of San Diego)

• The City Council confirmed Faulconer’s appointment of Kevin Ester as San Diego Fire-Rescue Department interim chief. Ester was the assistant chief of business operations for the Fire Department, (Times of San Diego)

Haters of shareable bikes and scooters exist in San Francisco, too. That city is also adjusting to life with dockless bikes. (Union-Tribune)

• Mexico’s top water official is touting a plan to pipe reclaimed urban wastewater from Tijuana to the Guadalupe Valley. (Union-Tribune)

• The Port of San Diego has selected Protea Property Management to manage Seaport Village for the next three years. (Union-Tribune)

The area is now under control of the same company that the Port previously selected to redevelop the entire area into the most ambitious waterfront development in town. Two years ago, we covered the Port’s plan to outsource the planning of its waterfront development to developers.

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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