A day after the shooting at a Poway synagogue, a nearby Jewish temple voted to allow non-Jews to serve on its board.
“The common humanity to strive for something better no matter what your faith of origin is, I think that strengthens us all,” said Temple Adat Shalom’s rabbi, David Castiglione.
The bylaws of the temple, founded in the 1970s, said board members must be Jewish.
Castiglione acknowledged there was some resistance to the change, but it appeared to be a small minority of the congregation.
The rabbi said the recent hate crimes against people of faith worldwide have left him “really tired of the divisiveness.”
“The time has come to pick up the flame, pick up the torch and say to hell with the hate,” Castiglione said.
There were also significant new developments in the criminal case against the alleged shooter at the Chabad of Poway synagogue.
Despite a recent state moratorium on the death penalty, San Diego’s top prosecutor may seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing a woman at the synonogue.
“However, the law is still that California has the death penalty,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan at a press conference Tuesday. “So there is not a bar for seeking the death penalty. It just means that while the governor is the governor there will not be executions.”
Stephan’s office has not decided yet whether to seek the death penalty, though she talked about how the death penalty or life without parole applies in a “special circumstance” crime, like a murder that targets someone for their religion.
She said her office met with the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the woman who was killed Saturday during a service. Before the shooting, the alleged shooter, who is 19 years old and white, is said to have written a rant that said Jews should burn in the hell, according to prosecutors.
During the press conference, Stephan pointedly refused to use the alleged shooter’s name, a step victims advocates have urged in mass shootings to avoid giving fame to killers.
In addition to the first degree murder charge, the accused shooter is charged with injuring three others, including the rabbi at Chabad of Poway and a young girl, which could get him 103 years in prison. He was also charged Tuesday with setting fire to a mosque in Escondido last month, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The People’s Reporter: Recycling (or Not)
About 10,000 tons, or about a sixth, of the recycling collected from homes in San Diego each year is thrown out. That’s because the city has a narrow list of items that can be reused by manufacturers to make new products.
In the latest People’s Reporter post, our segment where we track down answers to questions sent in by readers, VOSD’s Megan Wood explains how the city sorts through the recyclable material sent in by residents and how much of it actually gets recycled.
If you have a question you think a VOSD reporter should explore, submit it here.
Fired Water Department Employee Says She Is a Scapegoat
A former city water department official who was let go during a recent shakeup said she is the victim of retaliation for raising concerns about spending of ratepayer money.
Susan LaNier, a former deputy director, was pushed out as part a housecleaning by Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s administration, which has been responding for over a year to problems with the department, problems that first bubbled up when customers began receiving unreasonably high water bills.
LaNier and several others were out during the February shakeup, the second in less than a year. One of the officials included an assistant director who had once tried to waive off an audit of the city’s troubled “smart” meter program.
But, in a complaint filed with the city, LaNier said she wasn’t part of the problem. Instead, she said she was pushed out in an act of retaliation because other city agencies were siphoning millions of dollars away from the department to pay for things like street repairs and staff. That would be illegal, because water customers’ water rates can only be used to pay for water-related expenses. The city has a history of siphoning money away like this.
A city spokesman declined to comment to the Union-Tribune about LeNier’s allegations, which the paper first reported, citing pending litigation.
Sara Jacobs: Not Running for Board of Supes
There will be lots of big races in 2020 but probably none more intensely watched than District 3 of the County Board of Supervisors. It’s likely the winner will determine whether Democrats or Republicans will have a majority on the board.
We have not yet heard whether Republican Kristin Gaspar is running for re-election but we did get some news: Sara Jacobs, who ran for Congress last year, has decided not to run for the seat. She had done polling and made preparations.
“While I believe that flipping the County Board of Supervisors is one of the most important tasks this cycle, I ultimately didn’t feel that running was the right decision for me. I look forward to supporting whichever of the impressive, well-qualified Democrats makes it through the primary,” she said in an email.
Terra Lawson-Remer and Olga Diaz, an Escondido city councilwoman, both Democrats, have begun campaigning for the seat.
County Supes Reject SANDAG’s Big Move
The County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to oppose any attempt by the San Diego Association of Governments to re-allocate remaining funds from TransNet, the sales tax measure for transportation that won’t come close to bringing in enough money for all the projects voters thought they were getting when they extended it in 2004.
SANDAG’s new director, Hasan Ikhrata, said Friday that he’s going to ask the board in the next two months to abandon the remaining 15 TransNet projects that have yet to break ground, 14 of which are freeway projects that are prioritized by officials in North County and East County, and immediately budget $300 million to start planning and environmental review for new transit projects.
He imagines that as a precurser to a new, transit-focused vision of a regional transportation system he’s pushing SANDAG to adopt by 2021.
In February, Ikhrata told his board it was time to accept TransNet’s financial problems and decide what to cut.
But Supervisors Jim Desmond and Kristin Gaspar pushed the County Board of Supervisors to oppose any modification to TransNet. Their motion also included a promise to advocate for highway projects to be part of SANDAG’s next regional plan.
“Even with SANDAG’s new vision, 90 percent of people are still going to be in cars,” Desmond said.
Board Chair Dianne Jacob joined Desmond and Gaspar supporting the motion. Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Greg Cox voted against it, arguing TransNet expressly allows SANDAG to make changes. Fletcher argued the realities of climate change demand a renewed focus on transit investment.
“I agree promises have been made and should be kept, but opposing any modification before seeing anything would be premature,” Cox said.
Two-thirds of SANDAG’s board needs to approve any change to TransNet.
But county’s motion was symbolic. Gaspar and Desmond are already on SANDAG’s board. They could have cast their votes against the amendment regardless of what the county decided.
- Jacob opposed TransNet back in 2004. She said t it spent too much on transit was “dishonest and deceptive” specifically because it allowed SANDAG to amend the measure. Tuesday, she argued it was improper for SANDAG to make any changes regardless, because she didn’t think voters understood that part of the measure when they approved it.
- In late 2012, SANDAG amended TransNet to buy the SR 125 toll road, after the private company that built it went bankrupt.
Culture Report: Meet the Slow Fashion Movement
Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski opened her sewing studio in 2013 and moved to her current location in Barrio Logan last year.
Her slow fashion business, Sew Loka, where she takes custom orders, offers tailoring services and teaches sewing classes, is part of a movement looking to counteract the fashion industry’s demands for cheap and readily available clothing.
In Other News
- Nearly every one of the 2,000 guns seized in Tijuana last year came from the United States, the city’s mayor told KPBS.
- Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke held a well-attended town hall at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in southeastern San Diego Tuesday. (Union-Tribune)
- Tom Keliinoi, who ran unsuccessfully for the San Diego Unified School District last year, is running for San Diego City Council, reports the Union-Tribune. Two new Democrats recently entered the field as well, leaving as many as nine candidates for the open seat. San Diego Unified Trustee Kevin Beiser has not said whether he plans to run for the seat despite the sexual assault and harassment allegations against him, but a representative for him attended a planning group meeting on his behalf last week.
- The Board of Supervisors put another $25 million into a fund for low-income housing that is expected to lead to a total of 2,000 homes reserved for low-income people. (Union-Tribune)
- High San Diego rents have led the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide a 14 percent increase in rental assistance for public housing authorities in the county. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.