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Theo is a resident of the Alpha Project bridge shelter. / Photo by Megan Wood

The city finally has a long-awaited plan to combat homelessness. Now city leaders have to figure out how to execute it.

In a new story, Lisa Halverstadt breaks down the major steps the plan calls for the city to take to put a significant dent in its homelessness problem over the next decade.

Among them: More than double the city’s stock of supportive housing units for formerly homeless San Diegans and fund hundreds more housing aid slots at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion, take a more systematic approach to the problem and decrease the number of people who are becoming homeless.

So what will it take to get all this done – and what are the next steps? Learn more this Saturday at Politifest, where Halverstadt will lead a discussion with key players from the city, Housing Commission and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless focused on carrying out the plan.

Police Oversight Measure Moves Forward

Voters could soon empower the independent commission to oversee the San Diego Police Department with subpoena power to conduct its own investigations and an independent legal counsel to prevent any conflicts of interest for the elected city attorney.

The City Council’s committee on public safety forwarded the ballot measure to the full Council Wednesday, as City News Service reported. The Council will soon decide whether to put it on the ballot, and when.

Right now, the Community Review Board on Police Practices relies on SDPD’s internal affairs to conduct any investigations into police misconduct or officer-involved shootings. Outside groups tried and failed in 2018 to put a measure on the ballot that would give the committee more teeth, but they’ve found more success this year.

Earlier this year, City Attorney Mara Elliott proposed her own measure to reform the oversight agency, one that would have given the entity independent legal counsel, so that her office wasn’t expected to represent both sides of a dispute.

But the measure that’s moving forward has been a chief priority of Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, who ran for office on a pledge to increase oversight of SDPD in part by providing subpoena power to the watchdog group. 

The Police Officers Association, SDPD’s union, criticized the measure when it was first put forward, calling it vague and poorly written.

Digital Advocacy Group Urges SANDAG to Pump the Brakes on Facial Recognition

A new law that takes effect in 2020 creates a three-year moratorium on local law enforcement use of biometric surveillance, including devices that can recognize faces. The Electronic Frontier Foundation would like the moratorium to begin even sooner.

The San Francisco-based digital rights group sent a letter to the San Diego Association of Governments, demanding that it shut down a program allowing police throughout the county with access to take photos of people in the field and match the images against a database of mugshots. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is among the agencies involved in the program, raising concerns that local resources might be used for immigration enforcement efforts. 

Through a public records request, EFF found that ICE agents had conducted 309 face recognition queries using mobile devices, while Border Patrol had conducted 53 — which could be a violation of the California Values Act.

That law, Maya Srikrishnan reported earlier this year, was supposed to create a firewall between local law enforcement and immigration enforcement, but some local agencies still weren’t fully complying with it. Many agencies were still routinely interacting with federal immigration officials through task forces, and shared databases and workspaces.

In Other News

  • Interest in CBD has skyrocketed in the last three years will likely continue to grow. And (shocker) claims about its benefits are wildly overblown, according to a new UCSD study. (Union-Tribune)
  • Two-thirds of city financial chiefs nationwide are expecting their tax revenues to decline next year, according to a survey of 500-some cities by the National League of Cities. That’s stoking recessionary fears, but it could also signal tough decisions for cities across the county, where leaders have had the benefit in recent years of deciding where to allocate their expanding budgets, rather than deciding which services to cut as budgets shrink.(Axios)
  • An SDPD officer has filed a lawsuit alleging a sergeant inappropriately touched her and was then allowed to retire without discipline. She says the lack of a subsequent punishment reflects that the department tolerates harassment and discriminiation. (U-T)
  • The city of San Diego said it has collected $1.5 million in permitting fees from scooter companies since the city instituted new regulations in July, and that it expects to bring in $2.87 million by the time the rules have been in place for a year. (NBC San Diego)
  • San Diego is taking steps toward regulating massage parlors again. Since 2009, the state has largely handled regulation. But city officials say they need to enforce new regulations to deal with human trafficking and prosititon. Under the proposed rules, police would issue and have the power to revoke massage parlor permits. (U-T)

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts and Will Huntsberry, and edited by Sara Libby.

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