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Hundreds of San Diegans demonstrated this weekend over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They marched along the highway and in front of civic institutions in solidarity with communities of color and with demands for justice.
In La Mesa, which was also the site of a violent police arrest of a black man last week, officers in riot gear fired tear gas and other projectiles at protesters. Among the people injured were a young man who was driving in a car and a woman got struck in the eye.
By Saturday night, there were reports and photos of looting and arson in La Mesa. Two banks burned. And eventually officials declared a curfew. In San Diego, officers positioned themselves outside businesses to prevent property damage in Mission Valley and elsewhere.
The following morning, a group of volunteers in La Mesa had mobilized to help clean up. The protests resumed as well Sunday, starting in downtown San Diego and marching past SDPD’s headquarters and eventually back near the Hall of Justice. There were chants and moments of silence along the way. And more clashes.
Several reporters on scene in La Mesa Saturday and downtown San Diego on Sunday described police officers’ violent reactions, which included tear gas and rubber bullets. The U-T’s Andrew Dyer reported he was struck by a police projectile, and that he witnessed police officers reacting violently without being provoked. Other reporters noted there were moments of understanding and conversation between police and protestors.
City Council President Georgette Gómez and Councilwoman Monica Montgomery wrote in a joint statement Sunday evening that they’ll be announcing police-related action along with Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Monday.
- It’s a good time to re-up a major investigative effort Voice of San Diego, in partnership with news outlets across the state, published in November. We found that hundreds of California police officers have been convicted of crimes, and that many managed to keep their jobs. Some who committed crimes that should have required that they be stripped of their weapons managed to avoid that fate, thus allowing them to keep their badges. You can access all the stories in the series here.
San Diego Is Pioneering Coronavirus Tech
In a matter of days this spring, researchers in San Diego’s health care and technology sectors quickly shifted their focus to the coronavirus. Their efforts will outlive COVID-19.
Plenty of these gadgets are still in development. They include a drone capable of sterilizing a room with UV-C light, a known carcinogen, and a wristwatch that monitors the vital signs of patients all day and night. That data might ultimately be used to know when your health is about to take a turn — before you’re even conscious of it.
Predictive wearables pose a number of important ethical and legal questions for public health professionals and governments. As one engineering professor acknowledged: “This is where tech policy and public policy need to come together.”
Other gadgets are less worthy of a Philip K. Dick novel, but they’re already showing up at public and private facilities. The San Diego County Superior Court is using a touchless temperature reader. The Convention Center, which is housing hundreds of the region’s homeless, is using washable keyboards and antimicrobial tape for door handles and other high-touch areas.
- In the meantime, San Diego County is creating a small army of COVID-19 detectives. The U-T explains why their job is important and what’s required of contact tracers to stop the next wave of infections.
There Will Be Fewer Student Housing Options
Student housing is the opposite of social distancing. Some dorms fit as many as four people per room. Some Greek life chapter houses at San Diego State University sleep as many as 40 students.
So what does the post-COVID future of student housing look like? It’ll probably be less dense.
Bella Ross surveyed the big universities that are considering reopening, even in limited capacity in the fall, and found that some are eliminating their riskier living options. At both the University of San Diego and UC San Diego, administrators are only assigning students to single- or double-occupancy rooms.
Different schools are going to adapt to the coronavirus in different ways. Generally, though, the switch to lower-density housing models could mean two things: less revenue for universities and less control. Administrators will have a harder time enforcing their social distancing efforts if more students live off campus.
The Mission Valley Stadium Deal Is (Basically) Done
After a unanimous decision Friday by the San Diego City Council, officials have begun putting together the final legal documents to formally transfer the land underneath the Mission Valley stadium to San Diego State University.
Scott Lewis writes that every major issue between the university and City Attorney Mara Elliott is settled (although the City Council still needs to off on the final wording of the compromises). She called it “the largest and most complex land use deal ever made involving the city of San Diego.”
The question of what should happen to the land has been nearly two decades in the making. Barring some unforeseen hangup, it will be transformed in the coming years into housing, retail, an expanded campus, a hotel, a large river park and, yes, a football stadium. The revenue will help the city’s budget move in a healthier direction.
If not for the coronavirus, the deal would probably be the biggest story in San Diego story this year. On the podcast, we rehashed some of the biggest moments leading up to Friday’s vote.
Weber Is Trying to Overturn California’s Affirmative Action Ban
In 1996, a voter initiative banned affirmative action in California, meaning the state wasn’t allowed to take race or gender into consideration when making decisions about hiring employees, awarding contracts or admitting students to public universities.
Prop. 209 was championed by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, a San Diegan. And a San Diegan is now working to overturn it: Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber.
She’s argued that Prop. 209 has harmed California in a myriad of ways and made it difficult to close the achievement gap between white students and students of color.
Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Republican from Santee, has offered early support for the bill, but he may not ultimately vote for it when it lands on the Assembly floor. He made clear at a committee meeting recently that his view of Prop. 209 is shaped at least in part by the economic disparities wrought by the coronavirus.
In Other News
- Another local casino is reopening Monday. (City News Service)
- At least 15 lawsuits filed over the past year accuse the sheriff of civil rights violations. The county has approved almost $2 million in settlements in 2020 alone. (Union-Tribune)
- San Diego County’s eviction ban expired Sunday; the County Board of Supervisors will consider extending it another month on Tuesday. (CBS 8)
- The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal from a Chula Vista church trying to fight limits on worship services imposed as a result of the coronavirus. (Associated Press)
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.