San Diego Police Department
A San Diego police officer / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego police response times to reported robberies, domestic violence incidents and other crimes have risen dramatically since 2018.

Our Lisa Halverstadt reports that average responses to calls classified as life-threatening remain within department-set targets but response times for lower priority calls to address everything from child abuse to loud parties now far exceed the department’s goals. The spiking wait times are unsettling both residents and police.

The leading culprit, according to police, are staffing shortages that have also plagued law enforcement agencies across the nation. Indeed, Police Chief David Nisleit wrote in an August 2022 memo obtained by Voice of San Diego that the number of sworn officers available for full duty had fallen to the lowest level in more than 15 years. 

Mayor Todd Gloria and a police captain say the city has already instituted changes including reassigning some officers to try to stem rising response times and is considering other tweaks.

For now, police acknowledge there are times when they can’t keep up with calls, a distressing reality for San Diegans like Isaac Howe who watched a man hitting and knocking over a woman accompanied by two young children during a recent visit to Mission Bay Park. Records show police arrived about 48 minutes after one of a handful of 911 calls about the incident.

Read the full story here.

Applicant for Vacant Carlsbad Council Seat Met With Backlash Ahead of Vote

Carlsbad Boulevard / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

An applicant for Carlsbad City Council’s open District 2 seat is causing some controversy among Carlsbad residents for being a real estate developer.

Josh Coelho is a developer and construction project director for The Irvine Company, a private real estate investment company that operates three apartment communities in Carlsbad.

Many residents are concerned that a potential development or venture by The Irvine Company could someday go to the council for a vote, which would present a significant conflict of interest for Coelho if he is appointed.

State law prohibits elected or appointed officials from making contracts they have a financial interest in.

If such a situation does arise, Coelho could potentially recuse himself from a vote or series of votes to avoid a conflict of interest.

The District 2 seat was left vacant after Councilmember Keith Blackburn was elected mayor in November.

Coelho is one of eight applicants scheduled to make oral presentations to the City Council Wednesday.

The council then has until Feb. 24 to appoint someone. The appointee will not be eligible to run for the seat in November 2024.

County Tracking Small Uptick in Hepatitis A Cases

A man gets a hepatitis A vaccine shot amid a deadly outbreak of the disease in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

County health officials are responding to a small spike in hepatitis A cases five years after an outbreak devastated San Diego’s unhoused community.

The county reports that it has recently tracked five cases, including three involving homeless residents. One unhoused person has already died. The county said that the cases for now don’t appear to be linked and that the volume of cases has yet to amount to an outbreak.

County spokesman Tim McClain said late Tuesday that the county could not immediately confirm whether the cases may be concentrated in one area of the region as county investigations are ongoing. For now, Mayor Todd Gloria’s office said, the city has only been notified of one confirmed case in the city, which was the epicenter of the 2017-2018 outbreak.

The county and the city’s Housing Commission confirmed that one person who fell ill was staying in a city-funded homeless shelter. As of Tuesday, the shelter — which officials did not identify — was continuing to accept newcomers.

Read the rest of the story here.

In Their Own Voices

This week, we featured op-eds by three formerly unhoused residents who are members of Voices of Our City Choir. The latest comes from Christopher Edmonds, who couch surfed for years and writes that no one dreams of becoming homeless

You can read DeForrest Hancock and Anthony Bielek’s op-eds here and here.

In Other News

  • The San Diego City Council updated its land development code to provide housing density incentives further away from public transit than what’s currently allowed. (CBS 8)
  • Cannabis revenue is dropping in San Diego as legal dispensaries in the city face growing competition from delivery services and nearby markets. The U-T reports that inflation may be driving customers to cheaper goods. 
  • inewsource reports that a prominent San Diegan in an antisemitic group has evaded hate crime prosecution by fleeing the country
  • Encinitas will consider expanding its smoking ban to include sidewalks outside public places and parked vehicles. The proposal applies to tobacco, vapes and the devil’s lettuce (Boo-urns!). (Union-Tribune) 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Tigist Layne, Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Lisa Halverstadt.

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