San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit speaks at a press conference. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

The San Diego Police Department is projected to exceed its overtime budget by more than $9 million by the end of the fiscal year.

At a Monday City Council briefing, Police Chief David Nisleit said the largest share of the expected overage beyond the roughly $40 million budgeted is a result of efforts to respond to increased violent crime and the need to address patrol gaps due to staffing shortages. 

At the same time, Nisleit said, the department has decreased overtime for its Neighborhood Policing Division, which responds to homelessness and quality-of-life issues, by more than $2 million and instead directed more resources to responding to 911 calls. Nisleit acknowledged that has meant fewer patrols in some areas downtown and its outskirts.

The shift in priorities reflects the department’s struggles to keep up with calls, a reality that has led to surging response times for situations not considered life-threatening emergencies. The department has largely blamed staffing shortages for rising waits.

An analysis by the city’s independent budget analyst’s office found that staffing challenges – and thus increased overtime expenses – are unlikely to lessen in the near future even if the department meets its recruitment goals and sees reduced attrition.

After questions from councilmembers and a presentation from the head of the city’s white-collar workers’ union highlighted staffing vacancies among SDPD’s civilian workforce, Nisleit said he’d like to increase the department’s civilian corps to handle some duties now handled by officers to try to address his department’s challenges. Nisleit said that could perhaps include responding to records requests or taking burglary reports in situations where suspects aren’t present. 

Environment Report: Climate Activists Demanded a Timeline for Climate Action. Tuesday’s the Deadline.

A bicyclist in North Park on Dec. 20, 2022. / Photo by Gabriel Schneider for Voice of San Diego

The group of climate activists that helped San Diego write its first planet warming emissions-cutting plan have now sued that same city over that same plan. Why? Because a plan is just a plan without firm commitments as to when the city will do the things it promised, they say.

Mayor Todd Gloria’s Office promised activists a timeline by February. The city says it will release something Tuesday. 

But if it’s similar to what city budget analysts have produced so far for the City Council, said timeline may be so complex it would be hard to hold San Diego accountable on climate.

Read more here. 

How to Use the 2023 Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools 

Children at a YMCA after school program at Wolf Canyon Elementary School in Chula Vista on Nov. 29, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

In partnership with UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Research and Evaluation, Voice of San Diego has compiled crucial information and data that parents need to help them navigate one of the most complex systems out there: schools. 

We have data on chronic absenteeism, graduation rates, access to after-school programs and income vs. test score metric results. Download the guide here to see how your child’s school compares to others in the county. 

We’ve pulled together a key and definitions list to help as you read the guide and dig into the data. 

Here’s everything you need to know to use the guide. 

Parent’s cheat sheet: We also define some of the most common terms you’ll come across when dealing with the education system. Read more about school lingo. 

Todos los artículos en la Guía de Escuelas para Padres 2023 están disponibles en español. Lee historias de la guía aquí.

In Other News 

  • The massive systems outage that has impacted Sweetwater Union High School District for the past two weeks was caused by a cybersecurity incident, the district said Friday. Problems with its Microsoft systems first started Feb. 12 and just started being restored on Feb. 24. It seems student data wasn’t impacted in the data breach, but it is still unclear if employee data was compromised. (Union-Tribune)
  • The San Diego committee tasked with guiding the vision for the redevelopment of the city’s center has released a final report summarizing their recommendations for the project. You can read their report here. Last month, the Politics Report explained that this committee was torn on their recommendations.
  • Councilmember Stephen Whitburn’s chief of staff Jesus Cardenas has agreed to shut down his political consulting firm after the Union-Tribune reported last week that the firm conducted hundreds of thousands of dollars of political campaign work while suspended by state tax officials. Whitburn told Cardenas to close his firm or leave his position at the city. (Union-Tribune)
  • And finally, Bill Walton, the San Diego basketball legend who has recently turned on Mayor Todd Gloria for the worsening homelessness crisis, was parodied on Saturday Night Live. 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, MacKenzie Elmer, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Andrew Keatts.

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