The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
I suffered a gnarly ankle sprain this week, which is a small-scale nightmare for me because it means I’m forced to do the thing I hate most in the world: wait.
The remedy for an ankle sprain is mostly just sitting around, waiting for it to get better.
I’ll live. But there have been several reminders over the last few weeks that waiting – though it might seem at first glance like just an annoyance – can be devastating for some people.
Video showing police officers ripping a child from his mother’s arms went viral this week. The mother’s offense: sitting down as she waited in a long, slow line for public assistance at a Human Resources Administration office in Brooklyn.
Caravan members and others at the border seeking asylum in the United States must wait excruciating weeks-long stretches just to get a foot in the door. When torrential downpours recently roared through the region, the camps holding those waiting migrants devolved into scenes of pure misery.
Once someone does finally come into contact with U.S. immigration officials, the waits can get even worse. The average wait time for a pending immigration case in California is an astounding 734 days. Imagine the crippling stress of your fate being unknown for that long.
Outrage has been building all year over wait times at California DMV offices, an issue Republican candidates seized on in the run-up to the November election.
“The @CA_DMV audit request has been rejected. They have just sentenced CA drivers to never ending wait times. This is what one-party rule looks like and it’s real ugly,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson tweeted in August.
One thing you might have noticed about the first two examples of people forced to wait – a mother at a public assistance office, and those seeking asylum – is that they involve poor, vulnerable people.
The DMV wait time issue, though, is one that impacts everyone — including those with means, and those with a platform to demand improvements. Perhaps that’s why it’s also an issue that has been quickly addressed.
This week, the DMV revealed wait times have dropped 65 percent thanks to tech improvements, task force recommendations and an influx of new workers.
What VOSD Learned This Week
A private school in Clairemont gave a second chance (or third or fourth, depending on how you look at it) to a teacher whose credential was revoked after a string of misconduct and harassment incidents. Within days of our report, the teacher and the private school’s superintendent resigned.
That’s not the only education-related impact our work had this week.
Voice of San Diego reached a settlement with San Diego Unified that prevents the district from deleting emails en masse as it had planned; the district has agreed to a two-year email retention policy.
City officials said definitively and repeatedly that it had no water lines made of lead. It turns out the city doesn’t actually know what a head-spinning number of its water lines are made of – and that could cost ratepayers close to $1 billion.
Scott Lewis is a crack reporter on the secret GOP meetings beat. See previous entries here and here. This week, he pulled back the curtain on a recent meeting Republicans and other business leaders held as they came to grip with stunning election losses.
We hashed out that come-to-Jesus meeting and the Republican Party’s reaction to its recent setbacks on this week’s podcast.
One of those setbacks included a Democrat taking over the 76th District Assembly seat. New Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath told us in a Q-and-A how she’s getting up to speed in Sacramento and her take on a high-profile bill to spur more development near transit.
That won’t be the only housing density issue that impacts Boerner Horvath’s district: A judge this week suspended Encinitas’ law that let voters veto state-mandated housing plans.
Yes, San Diego is a city of transplants.
Politics grab bag: MTS officials rushed to approve a major new contract just before many of them left office. Ron Roberts has walked back comments he made recently about the county not having enough Hep A vaccines. The new SANDAG chief admits the agency might not have enough money to finish the projects it promised voters as part of TransNet.
What I’m Reading
- This profile of Julia Louis-Dreyfus is as warm and funny and wonderful as its subject. (New Yorker)
- I wish more reporters would publicly wrestle with their changing assessments of politicians or policies the way Ezra Klein has done here in this fantastic assessment of Paul Ryan’s legacy. (Vox)
- I’m very into the TV version of “My Brilliant Friend” – here’s what it gets right about poverty. (Paris Review)
- An astonishing number of men who kill their wives or girlfriends are already on law enforcement’s radar as a threat to those very people. (Washington Post)
- Given what we know about NFL cheerleaders, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that NBA dancers work under infuriating conditions and expectations. (Yahoo)
Line of the Week
“DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly. … FACT: Prior to President Trump taking office, we have never built wall that high.” – There is a non-zero chance that this real, official Homeland Security press release was written by an actual wall.