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San Diego police officials have begun holding a series of meetings this week to share more details about a new surveillance system they hope to install on streetlights, linking cameras with license plate readers.
The proposal might look like a revival of the old network from 2020. But because camera technology has advanced in the years since the smart streetlights program went bust, the new platform is more sophisticated.
While police have stressed that they want to use the surveillance network essentially the same way they did before — without real-time access and no facial recognition — activists are calling for more study and deliberation.
Jesse Marx explains why the Trust SD Coalition, which championed the rules requiring this week’s meetings, is raising alarm. Even if police officials have no interest in higher levels of analysis, the devices are at least capable of searching public spaces for things like “unusual motion” and “unusual activity.”
Housing Commish HQ Could House a Shelter
The San Diego Housing Commission is exploring whether its East Village headquarters could double as a shelter for transition-aged youth. (Click here to read this post in your browser.)
Interim Housing Commission CEO Jeff Davis told the City Council on Tuesday that a pilot allowing agency staff to work from home has freed up first-floor office space and that the agency is assessing the viability of converting it into shelter space for youth ages 18 to 24.
“Several factors still need to be considered and finalized; however, we certainly know that time is of the essence, and we’re confident we will be able to bring something forward to you in the future for your consideration for approval,” Davis said.
Davis’s announcement comes a week after Mayor Todd Gloria’s office shared plans to stop sheltering unhoused people at Golden Hall by the end of the year. That means those now staying in the City Hall complex shelter will need to eventually relocate. There are now 46 beds for transition-aged youth at the facility.
A Gloria spokeswoman said SDHC’s headquarters is one of a few locations being evaluated to potentially accommodate transition-aged youth now staying at Golden Hall.
A Housing Commission spokesman wrote in an email after the Council meeting that the agency expects to propose a youth-focused “LGBTQ+ affirming shelter” and outreach program at its March 17 Commission meeting. He said the SDHC office space could be considered a potential long-term location for the new shelter program.
- Hotel Purchase on the Horizon? Davis said the commission is also looking into purchasing and converting a Midway Ramada Inn into a 63-unit affordable housing project. The plan for now is to seek state Homekey dollars for the project.
- Hepatitis A Update: The county reports it has now confirmed eight hepatitis A cases countywide, including six among the unhoused population. This is up from seven cases as of last week. The county also said it has now inoculated 274 unhoused residents in an effort to try to further combat spread following a small spike in cases.
In Other News
- Amidst declining enrollment Vista Unified is forming a committee to investigate the consolidation of some schools within the district. Consolidation, and the ultimate school closures it brings about, are highly controversial. San Diego Unified also has some schools with severe under-enrollment, as Voice has previously reported, but the district tends to shy away from discussions about consolidation. (City News Service)
- Two sisters who spent time in the county foster system are suing the County of San Diego. They say the county took survivor’s benefits they were entitled to after the death of a parent. (10 News)
- City officials released an update to plans for De Anza Cove that calls for balancing space for recreation areas and camping and with natural habitat restoration. (City News Service)
- CBS 8 examined the phenomenon known as “excited delirium.” Cops have said that several high-profile deaths in recent years, including that of Lucky Phounsy here in San Diego, occurred because the person was in a state of excited delirium, caused by drugs or mental illness. The American Medical Association has “denounced” the syndrome. (CBS 8)
- A new report suggests there will be 7.7 million less meals available to San Diego families in need, following the loss of pandemic-era benefits. (City News Service)
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Lisa Halverstadt and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.