The Morning Report
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Police are stopping residents far less often than they did a few years ago – before Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd.
Stops by San Diego police officers have decreased by almost 50 percent, according to data reviewed by Voice of San Diego’s Will Huntsberry.
In 2019, cops stopped residents 187,251 times. In 2022, that number went down to 96,119.
There are several possible reasons for this dramatic decrease. Leaders in the department said Covid-19 and staffing challenges have played a big part, as well as the decision to stop posting officers on public transit.
They also acknowledged the shifting attitude toward police officers after George Floyd’s murder and the massive wave of protests that followed.
And then there’s the “soft strike” theory – the idea that officers may be taking a step back from their duties as sort of a silent protest.
Environment Report: Maps Show Flood Impact from Border Wall
In a scenario where a big storm causes an electrical failure and the border wall gates across the Tijuana River are blocked with trash and don’t open, the river would consume most of Tijuana’s Zona Norte and into downtown.
That’s what new maps from a study commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency show.
That scenario was under smaller-scale flooding conditions. But the region could face worse because of climate change and years of neglect to the river of muck and sand.
MacKenzie Elmer explains what the new maps warn about the construction of the border wall across the Tijuana River. She’s been following how the EPA has hit a dead end trying to get Border Patrol to conduct these studies.
Read the Environment Report here.
Housing Developers Will Be Invited to Bid on City Hall Land
The City Council voted 8-1 Monday to proceed with a plan to redevelop six blocks in the city’s downtown core as part of a Civic Center revitalization effort and later, to back Mayor Todd Gloria’s push to explore converting the old Central Library and the former skydiving center turned city homeless service hub into affordable housing or shelters.
This means that next month the city will officially invite bidders to propose what they would do with five of the blocks downtown that include the existing City Hall, Civic Center Plaza, the Civic Theatre, Golden Hall and 101 Ash Street. The bidders must be led by affordable housing builders. Over the next month, affordable housing developers will put together partnerships with other builders and designers and interest groups to make their case.
The remaining sixth block, the City Operations Building, which includes downtown’s main fire station, is where the City Council wants to build a new City Hall.
What about the theater? Two weeks ago, workers who serve the Civic Theatre and its operas, comedy shows and other events decried the plan as “alarmingly vague” and it spurred a councilmember to ask the mayor’s designated assistant on this project, Jay Goldstone, if they could require the bidders to rebuild or preserve the venue.
Goldstone asked who was going to pay for it, implying that all the money the city generated from selling or leasing the five blocks would be needed for the new City Hall.
The Council Monday decided to include this language: “The city desires proposals that guarantee the continued employment of all current theater workers.”
The Council added no other major design requirements and it did not ask developers to consider the SANDAG vision to locate a transportation hub in the area.
In Other News
- San Diego’s plan to transform parts of northeast Mission Bay into marshland is drawing backlash from many residents who say it will negatively impact recreation. The plan calls for shrinking the space available for picnicking, camping, and recreation like tennis, golf and baseball, and replacing it with climate-friendly marshland that can pull carbon out of the air and help fight sea-level rise. (Union-Tribune)
- California said three years ago it would be returning incarcerated juveniles to their counties to finish their sentences. Those transfers have started, but San Diego County isn’t ready. The U-T reports that not all of the required classes and services are in place, and the living facilities are still being remodeled. (Union-Tribune)
- Doctors at San Diego hospitals say severe injuries at the border have increased five-fold since 2017, when the Trump administration raised sections of the border wall in San Diego, Arizona and Texas to as high as 30 feet. Migrants are sustaining severe injuries, sometimes fatal, from climbing and falling off the wall. (CBS 8)
- Chula Vista is working on its Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative and is seeking input from its residents. Chula Vista residents are invited to participate in four roundtable sessions to help develop its equity plan. The first session is Wednesday, April 26. (Union-Tribune)
- State Sen. Brian Jones announced Monday that his bill aiming to ban homeless camps near schools, daycares, parks and libraries is officially dead this legislative session.
- Construction delays on a UC San Diego housing project will leave the university with around 1,700 fewer beds than expected. The $520 million project was supposed to provide housing for 2,000 students, but supply chain problems and delays caused by a wet winter means only around 300 students can move in at the start of the school year. (Union-Tribune)
- On the bathroom beat: The city reports it’s adding one single-stall public restroom next to existing public bathrooms at City Hall to address “increased demand for access.”
The Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Scott Lewis and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Scott Lewis.