Tri-City Medical Center / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Tri-City Medical Center’s controversial decision to shutter its behavioral units last year set off a domino effect as other groups work to fill the gap.

A big part of that burden has fallen on law enforcement agencies, as Lisa Halverstadt reports in a new story.

North County police agencies now must take patients deemed a danger to themselves or others to Palomar Health emergency rooms in Escondido or Poway, or drive to the county psychiatric hospital in Midway — a more than 30 minute drive each way.

The result, police told Halverstadt, is that officers are often spending less time on the beat and more time on the road or in hospital ERs.

Two North County police departments — Escondido and Carlsbad — say they have dipped into their budgets to ensure they can bring in reinforcements when hospital-waits escalate.

Meanwhile, data from the county and the state reveals the number of patients with mental-health challenges coming to Palomar Medical Center Escondido ER and to the county’s psychiatric hospital from North County cities has spiked. 

SANDAG Reaffirms Its Commitment to New Transit-Heavy Future

The Association of San Diego Government’s executive board, which is made up of elected officials from around the county, clarified its support for a new vision of transportation that’ll help the region comply with state and federal climate laws. Sorta. 

As Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts explain in the Politics Report, SANDAG agreed to keep studying alternative modes of transportation while emphasizing that any plan should also make a point of prioritizing congested transportation corridors

It was a fig leaf to disaffected officials in North County and East County, who’ve rebelled against the possible sidelining of freeway expansions

“We must focus on all modes of transportation for a complete network,” Faulconer said, according to the U-T. “It means roads and transit.”

Meanwhile …

The Metropolitan Transit System is considering a new tax that would fund new projects intended to get more people out of their cars. That effort would require voter approval from people living in cities like Chula Vista — which already has one of the highest tax rates in the county. 

At our live podcast last week, we asked Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas about the appetite for yet another tax increase in her hometown and she called it “a real tough sell.” She’s not necessarily opposed to it, but she also didn’t sound enthusiastic. 

The fact that Salas is on the MTS board and sounds uncertain about the prospects of another tax initiative , at least in Chula Vista, is significant. She said MTS and the San Diego Association of Governments should keep other options on the table as they look to raise revenue in the future.

3 Big Local Bills Meet Different Fates

Three of the most high-profile bills written by San Diego lawmakers have different fates awaiting them, as Sara Libby explains in the Sacramento Report

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s AB 392, which would limit police use of deadly force, is heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. It was encountering major opposition until Weber struck a deal with law enforcement groups. 

In the meantime, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s AB 5, which would limit the instances in which employers can classify workers as independent contractors, is still being hashed out. It now includes, among things, an exemption for freelance writers and journalists who provide 25 or fewer pieces to a single publication in a year. Weekly newspapers that rely on freelancers have been anxiously following that discussion

And finally, Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath put her bill, AB 1731, which would sharply limited short-term vacation rentals in San Diego County, on ice for the year.

How ICE Raids Played Out in San Diego

Federal officers arrested 20 unauthorized immigrants in the San Diego region during a five-day sweep known as “Operation Cross Check VII.” The field office director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told KUSI that the public could expect more of these efforts in the future

On Friday night, the U-T reports, thousands of protesters marched through San Ysidro to demand the closure of detention camps where unauthorized immigrants are being held. 

Immigrant advocates, according to the Los Angeles Times, are warning that President Trump’s advance notice of ICE raids are likely to push undocumented residents toward unlicensed consultants. Notarios charge a fee, but are not authorized to give legal advice. 

In Other News

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

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