A collage of missing persons flyers
A collage of missing persons flyers and photographs taken from a YouTube video published by Saved In America.

Saved in America has collected favorable coverage over the years by claiming it built a team of former military and law enforcement personnel to find and save victims of human trafficking.

That narrative even won it some $100,000 of San Diego County funding, with the help of former County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, who was also a board member for the nonprofit group.

But now, ahead of a major fundraising gala at the US Grant hotel Thursday night, the group and its founder, a private investigator named Joseph Travers, are losing supporters, including many high-profile San Diego officials. That follows reporting that is scrutinizing the agency’s claims, and an announcement that San Diego County will look into whether Saved in America misused its grant by using it to raise other money.

Three law enforcement agencies have said they have no formal agreement with the organization, despite the organization’s claims that its find-and-save missions are conducted in coordination with local law enforcement. One of those agencies includes the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

But earlier this week, the group was still promoting its Thursday event using a quote from Kelly Martinez, the undersheriff for the department, praising the group. A spokesperson for the department said that the quote attributed to Martinez, who is running to be the next sheriff, is inaccurate and that Saved in America was told to take it down.

She’s not alone. Multiple groups listed as supporters on the organization’s website told Voice of San Diego they told the group to remove their names. A Congressman scheduled to receive an award at the event said he isn’t attending. San Diego’s former city manager said he too isn’t going, and that he has heard bad things about the group after giving it $10,000.

That’s all from a new story by JW August and Lynn Walsh. Read the full story here.

Barrio Logan Community Plan Passes First Council Hurdle

One of our most stuck-in-the-mud issues in San Diego — which we dubbed a San Diego Special — may not be so much longer. 

Barrio Logan’s Community Plan, which hasn’t seen an update in half a century and allows an unhealthy comingling of housing and industry, passed the San Diego City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee unanimously on Wednesday. The plan not only attempts to correct environmental racism that has plagued the community for decades, it also contains the city’s most ambitious anti-gentrification policy to date.

The plan would require 15 percent of all new housing built in Barrio Logan be reserved for low-income residents, and developers wouldn’t be able to pay a fee to avoid building the affordable housing. And residents living near each project would get priority for 75 percent of the new homes reserved for low-income residents. 

“When affordable units are built, local residents have first priority to live in those units,” said Councilmember Vivian Moreno, who represents the area.

Residents in buildings that are demolished or turned into condos would also receive relocation assistance

In the past, the fight for new regulations in Barrio Logan has centered on separating homes from harmful industrial businesses, and creating a large buffer between the community and the industrial shipyard in the nearby port. That part of the plan is now mostly uncontroversial, although New Leaf Biofuel, a company that operates in the proposed buffer area, spoke against the plan.

In Other News

  • KPBS considered the cost and value of San Diego County’s contact tracing program, as experts look back on how those efforts could have been more effective.
  • For months, the public comments over vaccines have been wild, but statements made at a Board of Supervisors meeting earlier this week crossed a particularly nasty line when a person wished for the death of several elected officials and lobbed a racial slur at the county’s public health officer. (Union-Tribune)
  • In partnership with USA Today, inewsource reports that veterans are caught in the crossfire of the VA’s battle to retain patients and funding since the passage of a landmark health care law. VA administrators are overruling doctors’ judgments and preventing them from sending patients outside the health care system.
  • An old warehouse in National City has been converted into traditional as well as “co-living” units with shared kitchens and living rooms at relatively lower rent. The developer behind the project said these kinds of complexes are the future of housing in San Diego County. (10News)
  • A congressionally mandated watchdog group is calling on the federal government to better regulate the for-profit residential treatment industry, according to The Imprint. In September, VOSD contributors Kelly Davis and Sara Tiano reported that San Diego was one of several California counties scrambling to bring kids home amid a massive decertification of treatment programs accused of abusing their young clients.
  • San Diego has become the fifth U.S. city to ban use of “he” and “she” in future city policies and laws to make transgender people feel more welcome. (Union-Tribune)

This Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Jesse Marx, Will Huntsberry and MacKenzie Elmer. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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