Young adults take a tour of the juvenile detention facility in Kearny Mesa. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego County is home to two juvenile detention centers — one of which is undergoing a $240 million renovation. Both sit half empty amid an unprecedented drop in juvenile incarceration.

Either facility could contain the entire juvenile population. But county officials don’t have a clear explanation for why both facilities continue to stand into the future.

Will Huntsberry reports that the facilities in San Diego house juveniles from across the spectrum: They range in age and among those who’ve committed minor and serious crimes. Even still, county officials say it would be bad to close either one facility because it could interfere with their ability to move kids around and provide different programming options.

One probation official cited the need to always have “an overflow unit available for when our populations fluctuates.”

City Preparing for Balboa Park Overhaul

Plans for a major overhaul of Balboa Park’s center have been held up for years by lawsuits. Encouraged by initial legal victories, however, San Diego is quietly setting the stage for the Plaza de Panama to move forward.

Lisa Halverstadt reports that officials have released a request for bids and consulted outside attorneys on bonds that would cover the city’s share of the project. It aims to clear cars from the park’s central mesa and replace the asphalt lot behind the Organ Pavilion with a grass-covered paid parking garage.

Success of the project depends on the city’s ability to secure up to $50 million in bonds and the ability of philanthropists to raise another $28 million.

If the city prevails in court — we should know in the coming weeks — supporters hope the project can break ground next year.

If You Missed PolitiFest Saturday …

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum speaks at Politifest, Oct. 6 with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

… it would be perfectly understandable if you are now debilitated by shame. But you can also go to our website and Facebook page for updates. Our live podcast with Rep. Scott Peters, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Councilman Chris Cate — all potential San Diego mayoral candidates — will be available soon.

We have a bunch of professionally edited videos that will be available soon. But if you can’t wait, we’ve already posted a recording of the fiery debate over the future of the Mission Valley stadium site, featuring reps for both SoccerCity and SDSU West. The loudest applause was directed at Howard Blackson, an urban planner who made the case for killing both proposals.  

My notebook is full of interesting quotes and bits of gossip over the course of the day. Here’s a taste:

  • Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum acknowledged the growing violence is his city and encouraged people to stay in tourist areas: “If you go looking for trouble, you’ll find trouble.” He also spoke of a macho culture around guns: “What we’re doing is we’re trying with the federal government to … change the law to whoever is carrying a gun goes to jail without bail.”
  • During the same panel, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg was talking about permanent homeless housing when he noted, “We’re having a hard time finding warehouse space that’s not occupied by the legal cannabis industry.”
  • Assemblywoman Shirley Weber is planning to reintroduce in December a bill that would change the standards for when police can use deadly force. She said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins told opponents in the last legislative session, “You can kill it this time, but you can’t kill it forever.”  
  • Supervisor candidate Nathan Fletcher said former Union-Tribune publisher Doug Manchester called him during the 2012 mayoral election and tried to instruct him on what he should say in an upcoming endorsement interview. Fletcher had been a Republican but was running then as an independent (he’s now a Democrat). Fletcher said when he refused to play along, Manchester responded, “I will use my newspaper as a weapon to destroy you.” Fletcher received the paper’s endorsement for his current race last week.
Assemblyman Chad Mayes, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber at Politifest, Oct. 6. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Opinion: Why We Need to Elect More Women

While running for California’s 49th Congressional District, Sara Jacobs said she heard plenty of well-meaning but insulting things about how to combat sexual violence and run a campaign.

She shares some of those experiences in a new op-ed, and contends the treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused a Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault, reveals how the system isn’t designed to protect victims.

“There are many reasons women don’t ‘speak up’ — from worrying about their job security, to fearing retaliation or stigma,” Jacobs writes. “But another major reason is that many women rightly fear that their speaking up will be for naught — and that they’ll be ridiculed and dismissed while their abuser is afforded the benefit of the doubt.”

In Other Political News

  • In his final days in office, Gov. Jerry Brown disappointed progressives by vetoing several sexual harassment-related bills written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. He did, however, sign a bill requiring corporate boards to include at least one woman, leading Gonzalez to say the governor was prioritizing women of “a certain standing.”
  • After being accused of workplace discrimination and sexual assault, labor leader Mickey Kasparian became persona non grata. Democrats connected to Fletcher’s campaign for supervisor encouraged others not to seek Kasparian’s support. That’s over now.
  • Over in the VOSD podcast, we were joined by our friend and former colleague Liam Dillon to talk about one of the most contentious issues in the November election: rent control. Some local leaders are steering clear of the debate, but City Councilwoman Barbara Bry came out against Proposition 10 in a recent op-ed.
  • Coronado City Council candidates who say tourism is negatively affecting their quality of life are looking for ways to limit tourists and day-trippers from neighboring towns. (Union-Tribune)

Elsewhere in San Diego

  • The U-T reports that the state’s cap-and-trade program often pays for greenhouse gas reductions that would’ve happened anyway. A San Diego-based group has tried to overturn the program court.
  • Police agencies are changing the way they handle and test dangerous opioids such as fentanyl to avoid accident exposure. Even a 2 milligram dose can be fatal. (Union-Tribune)


Saturday’s Politics Report mischaracterized the amount of money Mickey Kasparian planned to spend opposing Nathan Fletcher in the primary.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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