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A California law allows unauthorized immigrants to get a driver’s license. Approved in 2013, AB 60 was supposed to help bring a workforce out of the shadows.

But it may also be exposing unauthorized immigrants who have no criminal history to federal immigration authorities.

During several recent arrests, Maya Srikrishnan reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had copies of an unauthorized immigrant’s license or other information provided to the DMV. Immigration advocates believe the federal government had been able to track these folks thanks to database-sharing practices among law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security agencies — including ICE and Customs and Border Protection — have acknowledged that they tap into databases for criminal investigations, but they aren’t required to explain each individual inquiry, and they don’t keep track.

City Leaders Will Shelter Homeless Within City Hall Complex

One of the city’s shelters will soon move to City Hall’s front doorstep — at least for a few months.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has decided to temporarily house as many as 150 homeless women and families at Golden Hall, an event center next to the City Administration building, following the planned spring closure of Father Joe’s Villages bridge shelter tent, Lisa Halverstadt reports.

City officials have wrestled for months with how to accommodate both homeless San Diegans and Father Joe’s existing shelter tent, which must come down this spring to make way for a supportive housing project.

Late last week, after months of pressure from homeless advocates, Faulconer’s team announced it had secured a location for the tent and would house homeless women and families at Golden Hall during the three months it will take to take down and reassemble the tent.

Dearest Convention Center, We’re Just Not That Into You

After bursting into flames last year, a multibillion-dollar expansion of San Diego’s waterfront convention center is headed to the ballot in 2020. But if past behavior is an indicator of future turnout, Voice contributor Randy Dotinga writes, then the outlook is hazy at best, even though voters would be hiking taxes on hotel guests instead of themselves.

San Diegans have a well-deserved reputation for refusing to pony up the money to build things — especially convention centers. Voters killed convention center projects in 1946, twice in 1956 and in 1981.

Voters also turned down a Depression-era plan for a waterfront city-county civic center three times. Only federal money spearheaded by President Franklin Roosevelt turned a city-county civic center into the reality we now know as the landmark, art-deco and extremely pink County Administration Center.

Politics Roundup

  • Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear will represent her city at a meeting in Sacramento that Gov. Gavin Newsom has described as “a candid conversation” on housing. Encinitas is defying state law by not having a plan on the books that identifies possible sites for housing of all income levels. “These cities need to summon the political courage to build their fair share of housing,” Newsom said.
  • Scott and Sara took the podcast — part of it anyway — to Sacramento, where they met with lawmakers and got lost in the capitol. With Andy Keatts, they also unpack SANDAG leader Hasan Ikrhata’s stunning admission that the region will not make good on promises to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, he wants to get started on a less sprawling, car-centric vision of housing and transportation.
  • In the Politics Report, Scott and Andy consider the state of “state of” speeches and recall one of the oddest episodes in recent San Diego history — when then-Mayor Jerry Sanders showed a video of young children of color fleeing their neighborhoods and running towards … the new Chargers stadium and other buildings. Plus: scooters (!) are officially an issue in the 2020 mayor’s race.
  • Speaking of the mayor’s race, elected Democrats are beginning to pick sides. Rep. Mike Levin endorsed Barbara Bry. Rep. Rep. Susan Davis endorsed Todd Gloria. (Times of San Diego)

Gore Agrees to Drop Fee Demands on Misconduct Records

A San Diego County Superior Court judge granted several media outlets, including Voice of San Diego, the right to intervene in a lawsuit brought by eight local police unions seeking to stop the release of officer misconduct files made available through a new state law. The unions argue that the law, SB 1421, only applies to records created after Jan. 1, 2019. We disagree.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Department is not objecting to the release of those records and appears to be willing to release the records free of charge.

Last week, Sheriff Bill Gore’s legal advisers sent initial cost estimates to the KPBS and Voice totaling several hundred thousand dollars, arguing that they would need to hire someone to help redact parts of video before release. But after the U-T editorial board’s Matt Hall made the case to Gore directly that the fees could have a chilling effect on SB 1421 records requests, Gore dropped the fees and said he wanted to build confidence in his department.

In Other News

  • The race is on to roll out battery-powered big rigs — a move aimed at not only curbing greenhouse gases but harmful air pollution that overwhelmingly impacts low-income neighborhoods. (Union-Tribune)
  • A city that not only has a football team but fans who come out in the rain to see it play? Huh? (USA Today)
  • An unmanned Navy ship made history by traveling from San Diego to Pearl Harbor with no one aboard. (KUSI)
  • Members of the clergy will ride along with police officers on patrol in an attempt to boost police-community relations. (NBC San Diego)
  • The sheriff’s captain who oversees the Rancho San Diego substation was placed on paid administrative leave while federal agents pursue an unspecified criminal investigation. He was disciplined last year for buying and selling more firearms than is legal without a federal license. (Union-Tribune)  
  • San Diego County’s five U.S. House members raised $7.5 million in 2018, more than half of which went to Democrat Mike Levin. In his national headline-grabbing bid to flip the 49th Congressional District, he also had the largest percentage of individual donors over special interest groups. (Union-Tribune)  

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

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