Case Managers Abigail Brown (right) and Shelly Baker (left) work at McAlister Institute- Adult Detox in Lemon Grove on Feb. 10, 2023.
Case Managers Abigail Brown (right) and Shelly Baker (left) work at McAlister Institute's adult detox program in Lemon Grove on Feb. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

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As San Diego County faces down the fentanyl crisis, vulnerable San Diegans struggling with addiction are often forced to wait for detox beds – or failing to access them at all.

The county has only about 70 county-contracted detox beds for Medi-Cal patients – and none of them are in the city of San Diego, home to about half of the region’s fentanyl deaths the past few years.

Our Lisa Halverstadt found that a limited number of beds, required intake processes and the current inability of local detox programs to treat patients with medical issues mean that people in need are rarely able to access beds on demand.

That’s despite consensus among experts, advocates and detox providers about the need to do so.

The county and three of its largest detox providers say they want to expand offerings and there are possibilities to do so, but a major new facility has yet to materialize.

Read the full story here.

Cops Want to Revive, Merge Streetlight Cameras with License Plate Readers

A streetlight camera in downtown San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

The San Diego Police Department will host a series of public meetings next week to gather feedback on a new proposal. Officials want to reinstall and regain access to 500 streetlight cameras and add license plate readers.

They argue that the single surveillance network will aid investigations and responses to critical incidents while easing the department’s staffing shortage.

It is, as the Union-Tribune reported, the first big push for surveillance technology since the City Council approved, and Mayor Todd Gloria signed, an ordinance governing the acquisition and use of devices capable of gathering images and other data in public rights of way. Next week’s meetings are a requirement of that ordinance.

The proposal will also need to go before the city’s Privacy Advisory Board. Though established almost a year ago, the board has yet to convene. Police plan to meet with the board on March 15. The public comment period ends the day before.

Where to even begin? As Jesse Marx reported in 2020, the smart streetlight system was pitched as a public-private partnership to foster civic innovation and collect mobility and environmental data. But it became a tool for investigators until it was (kinda, sorta) shut down that same year following concerns over privacy and civil liberties.

The original $30 million project was supposed to pay for itself through energy savings. The new cost to install the cameras and license plate readers: $4 million.

Inside the Schools Guide: All About Charters

Children work in class at Blossom Valley Elementary School in El Cajon on Nov. 28, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler
Children work in class at Blossom Valley Elementary School in El Cajon on Nov. 28, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

If enrolling your child in a charter school is something you’re interested in, we have everything you need to know about that process in the 2023 Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools. 

Charter schools are free to attend but managed independently from traditional schools. They offer different educational approaches and follow a sort of lottery system for accepting applicants. Former Voice intern Gabriel Schneider rounded up some of the most common and unique lottery priorities in the county. Read that story here. 

If you haven’t already, RSVP for our March 6 free information session at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla. Our staff will be there to answer questions and talk about the Schools Guide. 

RSVP to the information session here and click here to download the guide.

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

In Other News

  • A new city audit of the Housing Commission’s management of homeless service contracts largely gave the agency’s oversight a seal of approval but docked the city for major delays in repairs at the city homelessness facilities “causing persistent unsafe and unsanitary conditions at some locations.”
  • What pollutants spill into the ocean can be launched into the air where waves meet the shoreline, which means humans are breathing contamination in the sea. (Union-Tribune)
  • California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, is in the hospital with a case of shingles. (Union Tribune)
  • Lonnie Rupard, a 47-year-old man found unresponsive in his downtown San Diego jail cell last year, died of pneumonia, malnutrition and dehydration, the county medical examiner announced Thursday. His death was ruled a homicide, launching an investigation. (City News Service)
  • Silvergate Bank, a La Jolla-based bank that remade itself into a crypto-friendly institution in the last decade, released financial information Thursday revealing that it’s in a precarious position as the cryptocurrency market continues to collapse. (Union-Tribune)
  • Instances of wage theft reported to the Labor Commissioner in San Diego have rebounded to their pre-pandemic level. (inewsource)
  • Mayor Todd Gloria and other big city mayors lined up Thursday behind a bill that would reform the state’s conservatorship laws to change the threshold for when a court can force someone into mental health treatment. (City News Service)

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

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