The San Diego Police Department headquarters / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

California was one of several states in recent years to place restrictions on police use of facial recognition. Lawmakers at the time expressed concern over racial bias and the potential for abuse.

This summer, however, they failed to pass a bill that would have kept the moratorium in place. The easing up on police restrictions around facial recognition reflects a shift among the attitudes of officials nationwide.

The lack of regulations creates an opportunity for police departments to re-deploy the controversial technology starting in 2023, unless something changes in Sacramento. Jesse Marx surveyed local agencies and reports that none have immediate plans to revive the old program. They also didn’t rule it out in the future.

But doing so in at least one jurisdiction — the city of San Diego — will be harder following the reforms laid out in the recently approved surveillance ordinance. Officials will need to produce a use policy and impact report and hold public discussions, then submit their documents to a privacy advisory before ultimately heading to the City Council.

In other words, SDPD can’t unilaterally go back to using the technology. The new process ensures, as one member of the Trust SD Coalition explained, that there is at the very least a public debate. 

Read the story in its entirety. 

Coming Up at Politifest: Real Talk on the Homelessness Crisis

Hey, Lisa Halverstadt here. I’ve been reporting on homelessness in San Diego for almost seven years. During that time, I’ve written about the surging suffering on city streets, tackled common myths and introduced readers to people at the center of the growing crisis

Like many loyal Voice readers, I have many questions about what local leaders are doing about it. So I am happy to report that San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher have agreed to join me at Politifest on Oct. 8 for an in-depth chat about homelessness and the challenging politics surrounding it. 

I’d love to see you in the audience and welcome your suggestions on topics we should cover. 

That’s not all you’ll get if you join us at Politifest this year. We have a robust list of debates and panels about the Midway height limit, sports gaming, statewide ballot initiatives and more. 

Plus: Voice editors will host a two-part live podcast discussion with mayoral candidates from National City and Chula Vista on Oct. 6 for Politifest South. 

Get your tickets here. Students can register for Politifest Oct. 8 for free.  

In Other News 

  • Professor and military veteran Michael David Rudd argues in a new op-ed for Voice of San Diego that the central challenge targeting military suicide is a cultural one. Rudd is the director of the Rudd Institute for Veteran and Military Suicide Prevention. 
  • The Union-Tribune zeroed in on a major goal of the city’s updated Climate Action Plan: a pledge to create 700 acres of marshland in the city.
  • Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since he was suspended for using performance enhancing drugs. He apologized to the team and fans for letting them down, and announced that he’d be getting shoulder surgery that he avoided last offseason, as reported.
  • Carlsbad on Tuesday declared a state of emergency following a surge of collisions involving bicyclists, City News Service reports.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that the review board overseeing the sheriff’s department is calling for the agency to mandate that all people entering county jails be subjected to a physical search or body scan to check for contraband including drugs.
  • San Diego State this week welcomed its largest incoming class in school history, NBC 7 San Diego reports.
  • The city of Oceanside received $9.9 million from the federal government to complete a treatment plant to turn wastewater into drinkable water for the city, as Times of San Diego reported.
  • Assemblyman Chris Ward of San Diego’s state bill aiming to save renters money on background check fees when they are searching for a new home is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, the Orange County Register reports.
  • Maui Brewing created a new corporate entity ahead of the expected October completion of its purchase of Modern Times Drinks, for $15.3 million through a court-supervised receivership, the Union-Tribune reported. The Hawaii-based brewery will retain Modern Times’ current executive to run the company.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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