Mayor Todd Gloria in April outlined 11 criminal justice reforms he planned to make, what he referred to as his “police and public safety reform package.”
The package included a handful of items ranging from exploring ideas that have already been hotly debated for years, implementing changes that had been approved by voters or the City Council before his inauguration, policy shifts that have been tackled by state legislation and actions that were welcomed by activists but which he played a supporting role in.
Six months after he announced his priorities in the policy area, we thought we’d take a look at how they were coming along. Gloria’s administration opted against participating in our review, instead issuing their own progress report in a press release last week.
By our analysis, though, Gloria’s progress report ignored four of his 11 proposals. He also touted his excitement to comply with two changes made to state law and said he had completed five of his proposals (one of those wasn’t actually completed, and another is the same subject of a much stronger outside ordinance that could come before the City Council in the coming months).
Continuing our conversations on law and justice: We kicked off Politifest day two with an important discussion led by local journalist Kelly Davis about what can be done to better address sentencing disparities in San Diego County and across the state.
We heard from Jay Jordan, vice president of Alliance for Safety and Justice, and Laila Aziz, director of operations for Pillars of the Community, about their experiences with law enforcement.
Jordan, who spent more than seven years in prison for robbery, explained how a conviction changed his life.
“I was a kid, and I got out a man,” Jordan said. “I looked around and I realized that I couldn’t throw a rock in my neighborhood without hitting somebody with a felony conviction … Let me tell you what a felony does. That was almost 20 years ago and I can’t coach my son’s little league team, for life. I can’t volunteer at a school, for life. I can’t work in healthcare. I can’t work in government. I can’t work in education. I can’t work in finance. For life.”
We also spoke with Assistant District Attorney Dwain Woodley and Santa Clara University Professor Elsa Chen about decarceration efforts, sentence lengths, crime rates and more.
“The solution [to increasing crime rates] is not necessarily more incarceration or more policing, and especially not longer sentences,” Chen said. “Research has shown that swift and certain incarceration in short ways works better than long sentences.”
Haven’t tuned in yet? Watch yesterday’s session and sign up to join us Wednesday when VOSD alum Sara Libby (now politics editor at the San Francisco Chronicle) sits down with Aaron Harvey, who might have been sent to prison for life for a crime prosecutors admitted he had nothing to do with.
Libby covered Harvey’s controversial case back in 2015 when a district attorney used an obscure criminal statute to prosecute 15 men, including Harvey, for a series of shootings by Lincoln Park gang members years earlier. It was guilt by association, essentially, and Harvey was charged with conspiracy just for belonging to the same gang as the shooters.
Harvey insisted he wasn’t a gang member, just a product of a system that can land young men in a statewide gang database for walking through their own neighborhood and being seen with other family members and neighbors who live there.
Libby and Harvey will revisit the case and how it’s affected his life and beyond starting today at 5:30 p.m.
Supervisors Back Lawson-Remer Push to Reform Low-Level Offense Punishment
San Diego County supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to back Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer’s proposal to hire consultants to do a wide-ranging analysis she hopes will lessen the county’s reliance on jail stays for low-level offenses.
Lawson-Remer wants a preliminary analysis and recommendations to be presented to supervisors early next year. She called for a final report in February 2023 with recommendations that could be baked into the county’s next budget and fashioned into a five-year plan.
Lawson-Remer’s push for more jail data follows pandemic-related decisions that led the county’s jail population to drop by a third, a dynamic our Lisa Halverstadt wrote about earlier this year.
District Attorney Summer Stephan, officials with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and multiple homeless service providers were among those who spoke in favor of the in-depth analysis.
- Supes also passed a ban in a 3-2 vote on possession or distribution of so-called “ghost guns,” which are firearms with parts that can be 3D printed or sold in kits. Point is, the parts don’t have serial numbers and therefore are essentially untraceable. (KPBS)
What We Know About San Diego’s Vaccine Data
The latest data from local health officials show 80 percent of eligible San Diego County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But that’s not what data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will tell you.
We’ve had several readers in recent weeks ask why data reported by big news outlets, like the New York Times, show a vaccination rate of just above 50 percent in San Diego. Vaccination data is taken from the county, shared with the state, and then analyzed by the CDC. So, what gives?
The short answer: It’s not right.
A spokeswoman for the CDC this month acknowledged the reporting error in response to a request from Voice of San Diego. They said the CDC is working with the state to update its data, and that issues relating to processing transmission of data occasionally occur.
What we know: According to San Diego County health officials, data published on the county vaccination dashboard, which updates every Wednesday, is accurate and what’s reported to the state.
In Other News
- The county on Tuesday announced that a total of 15 homeless San Diegans staying in central San Diego have now contracted shigellosis, a highly contagious intestinal infection that can be spread via contaminated food and water and sometimes person-to-person.
- San Diego County Supervisors also voted to adopt voting centers or “one-stop shops” for voter access to election materials, as Supervisor Nathan Fletcher put it in his retweet of himself on Tuesday.
- Though the U.S. Navy charged a single sailor with arson for the 2020 fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard in the Port of San Diego, a report obtained by the Associated Press shows at least three dozen officers and sailors were also responsible for failures that led to the disaster. (Associated Press)
- Remember that oil spill in Orange County which officials believe may have been caused by an anchor strike dragging from a vessel? Yeah, well, tar balls are still washing ashore on San Diego County beaches including in Del Mar. (10 News)
- The state Labor Commissioner cited local construction company, JPI Construction, for $1.7 million in wage theft for failing to pay overtime. (Union Tribune)
- Want to beat LA? Become a San Diego Loyal fan. (Because they did, shutting out LA Galaxy II 3-0 on Oct. 2.) This city’s United Soccer League team, coached by former MLS star Landon Donovan, is headed toward its first postseason game. A win against Orange County on Wednesday would earn the team a home playoff game. (Fox 5)
This Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, MacKenzie Elmer, Megan Wood and Lisa Halverstadt.