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The San Diego Police Department / Photo by Megan Wood

The city’s plan to launch a new police oversight group is out, and advocates behind the effort aren’t happy.

Late Monday, city officials released a draft ordinance to implement Measure B, the ballot question from last year approved by nearly 75 percent of city voters that called for replacing an existing oversight body with a new commission empowered to conduct independent investigations of alleged police misconduct, complete with its own subpoena powers.

But during a Tuesday community forum discussing the city’s proposal, criminal justice advocates harshly criticized the draft ordinance. Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice and author of Measure B, said it contained “poison pills” that could “absolutely gut” the oversight commission the measure envisioned.

Kelly Davis covered the forum for Voice of San Diego, and sent the city’s ordinance to two police oversight experts who said the language lacked specificity and raised multiple red flags.

The meeting preceded a Thursday hearing of the San Diego City Council’s committee on public safety on the draft ordinance. That committee is chaired by Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, a vocal proponent of the measure during election season.

“We have not yet given Councilmember Montgomery Steppe the support she needs to be bold,” St. Julian told meeting attendees, after saying Montgomery Steppe shouldn’t be blamed for the language in the ordinance.

St. Julian said she and other criminal justice advocates will release their own, alternative “community ordinance” addressing the problems they see in the city’s proposal, during a Thursday morning press conference before the committee hearing.

Escondido Boosts Police Budget

Escondido is increasing its police budget by $3 million this year — a boost that, according to Mayor Paul McNamara, is “not that big of a deal.”

Kayla Jimenez reports that the roughly 6 percent increase in funding will go toward reinstating officers who can work on homeless outreach and traffic enforcement, boost salaries and upgrade the city’s emergency response system. 

Activists have been calling on the city to put less money into the police department and more money into social services, arguing that armed police disproportionately target people of color and aren’t the right people to respond to mental health-related calls.

While McNamara has agreed that it’s not ideal for police officers to respond to homeless needs in the community, he said the city is “somewhat stuck” until there’s a comprehensive system in place to assist people suffering from mental health illness.

In Other News

  • A City Council committee voted 3-1 last week to support a plan that would eliminate parking requirements for businesses located near transit hubs or in plazas near dense residential areas. The proposal would allow businesses to transform parking spots into additional dining and retail space, reports the Union-Tribune.
  • Petco Park will host this year’s Holiday Bowl following four decades in Mission Valley. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Diegans could see sewage and water rates rise beginning next year under a package of proposed rate increases sent to the City Council. (City News Service)
  • SANDAG and MTS on Wednesday unveiled a new trolley station at the VA Medical Center, one of nine new stations that’s part of the $2 billion Mid-Coast Trolley line ready to open for service later this year. (Union-Tribune)
  • The San Diego-sector Border Patrol chief who supported former President Donald Trump’s border wall and other hardline immigration policies is being forced out of the job by the Biden administration. (Associated Press)
  • San Diego is home to more work-from-home-friendly jobs than other startup-soaked cities, the Union-Tribune reports.

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

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