County supervisor candidates weigh in on housing and land use issues during a Politifest 2019 panel. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

For the first time in a long time, voters in the South Bay will get to choose a new representative for the County Board of Supervisors. 

Four Latino Democrats are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Greg Cox: Rafael Castellanos, an attorney and chair of the Port of San Diego; Nora Vargas, a Southwestern Community College trustee and Planned Parenthood executive; state Sen. Ben Hueso and Sophia Rodriguez, an employee at the county’s Health and Human Services Agency.

Yet despite the impending historic shift, most progressive institutions have yet to weigh in. Instead, Maya Srikrishnan writes, groups like the San Diego County Democratic Party and the union that represents county employees are focusing on North County’s District 3, where Democrats hope to oust Republican Supervisor Kristin Gaspar.

“The bottom line is, with the composition of the district, it’s not surprising to not see a lot of focus from mainstream media and major parties,” said Cox. “I think there are four candidates who could certainly do the job. I’ve taken the position to not decide anything during the primary, and after I’ll take a look and decide if I want to weigh in.”

San Diego Unified Still Has a Discipline Gap

A new study from researchers at San Diego State University details wide disparities in school discipline in the San Diego Unified School District, specifically higher suspension rates for black students. 

Among the main findings, black boys between Kindergarten and third grade during the 2017-2018 school year were nearly four times as likely to be suspended than their classmates in the same grade levels,” KPBS reports.

The new numbers drive home an ongoing problem. Here’s what we reported in 2013:

“in San Diego Unified, more Latino students were suspended for willful defiance than every other student subgroup combined.

The numbers show that Latinos make up 54 percent of the suspensions in the district. That’s notable — as they make up only 46 percent of the district — but not all together surprising, given the issues facing other districts.

But when we look at black students, the situation is more alarming. Black students make only 11 percent of the district, but count for 22 percent of all suspensions.”

San Diego Unified isn’t alone in doling out lopsided discipline. We revealed in August that Grossmont Union High School District expels black students at a rate seven times higher than the county average.

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill outlawing so-called “willful defiance suspensions,” a catchall term that can include anything from disrespectful behavior to minor infractions and has for years overwhelmingly been used to suspend students of color. 

Refugee and Immigrant Stories Shine in San Diego Asian Film Fest

The San Diego Asian Film Festival kicks off this weekend with a feature-length film inspired by the story of a Vietnamese refugee family in San Diego. The film, “The Paradise We Are Looking For,” is a collection of linked, short documentaries that “are distinct and powerful examples of storytelling, with San Diego’s vast and varied communities as a unifying backdrop,” writes Julia Dixon Evans.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the event will showcase more than 170 films in eight venues across San Diego. In the Culture Report, Evans gives us a roundup of some of the standout selections.

Also in the Culture Report: neoclassical hype culture, a big gay singalong and more culture news.

City Council Advances Police Reform Ballot Measure

The City Council took another step toward putting a measure on the November ballot that would create a new, empowered commission to oversee misconduct by San Diego Police Department officers.

The measure isn’t on the ballot yet. First, the city needs to engage in collective bargaining with the relevant city unions. But the Council’s vote will kickstart those negotiations.

The new board, the Commission on Police Practices, would replace the existing Community Review Board on Police Practices, and unlike the old entity, it would have subpoena power to conduct its own investigations, along with independent legal counsel and the discretion to not investigate certain complaints.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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