San Diego City Hall
San Diego City Hall / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Voters in 2020 approved a ballot measure that would strengthen the city’s police oversight commission, allowing it to conduct its own investigations into police misconduct and recommend areas for policy reform.

That body, the Commission on Police Practices, has faced a series of challenges getting up and running, with delays from the city writing the ordinance that would guide its creation and disputes with the police union over specific implementation details.

But during that time, vacancies have piled up on the commission, leaving it barely capable of functioning, as Kelly Davis reports in a new story. There are just eight active commissioners out of the 25 it’s supposed to have.

As a result, the commission’s acting chair said, the commission no longer reviews less serious complaints, prioritizing instead only the most serious allegations, like wrongful use-of-force, in-custody deaths, and officer-involved shootings. Because it’s short handed, the commission has a 100-complaint backlog, said Doug Case, the acting chair.

“Every time I think we’re getting ready to move, the City Council slows the process down,” said Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice, who wrote the ballot measure creating the commission. “I am stunned by the fact that not only do we not have commissioners but we don’t have a fully functioning commission.”

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said this week the Council is poised to consider appointments to the commission that would fill the vacancies so it can begin operating as designed.

Click here to read more on the commission’s slow start.

At the Border 

Asylum seekers can be seen through the border wall waiting for snacks and fruit that were given out by volunteers in San Ysidro on May 11, 2023.
Asylum seekers can be seen behind the border wall waiting for snacks and fruit from volunteers on May 11, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Late Thursday night, as the government’s order under Title 42 was set to expire, asylum-seeking migrants waiting in a space between two border walls prepared for the days ahead. They sought warmth in makeshift tents, and accepted blankets and food from people handing donations through the border wall.

Background: As the Union-Tribune reported back in April, immigration officials have been using the space between two border walls as an “open-air holding cell.” Hundreds of migrants then waited weeks to be processed at a Border Patrol station.

At the border: Hundreds of migrants who have been waiting for days have grown increasingly desperate for resources. Adding to that, as the Union-Tribune reports, are issues with the app that allows asylum seekers to schedule processing appointments.

And while much of the focus was in San Ysidro, NBC 7 also visited an area near the San Diego-Imperial County border and found hundreds of asylum seekers also waiting to be processed. 

Fired Teacher Resigns From Classroom After Voice Investigation

A physical education teacher at Grossmont Union High School, fired for inappropriate comments and touching a student, made his way back into the classroom at a different San Diego district. But not for long. 

Sweetwater Union High School District hired Joshua Allen Barney late last year, despite many findings against him dating back to 2018 and reported on by Voice of San Diego. But amid district investigations into his conduct and less than a week after Voice reported on his working for the district, Barney resigned, Jakob McWhinney reports in a new story. 

Sweetwater was looking into more alleged misconduct against a student and providing false or misleading employment information on his job application. One of the allegations stems from a comment posted on a Voice of San Diego story about his attempts to get his job back after being fired from Grossmont.

Read the full story here.

Orange County Power Company Plucks San Diego Power Leader

North Park Towers-6
A shadow of power lines along the alley behind North Park Towers / Photo by Ariana Drehsler for Voice of San Diego

After recently firing its embattled CEO, Orange County’s government-run power company hired former San Diego Community Power board chair, Joe Mosca, to replace him temporarily. 

Orange County Power Authority has had a rough go since its inception in 2021. 

A maelstrom of mistrust swirled around its former CEO, Brian Probolsky, who was the only candidate interviewed for the job and investigated for ethics violations in a previous role. The agency began failing audits and inquiries into its finances and transparency policies. 

Then, Orange County left its own namesake government-run energy-buying entity. Then its general counsel, Ryan Baron, who is also San Diego Community Power’s general counsel, resigned before the power authority could consider firing him. 

Then, Probolsky fell, fired behind closed doors in a split vote by his board last month. 

Noah Biesiada at Voice of Orange County has been closely following the saga, including the hiring of Mosca to take over the helm while the power company searches for its new permanent leader. Mosca joined the agency in December as its first communications department employee, just as the county bailed out. 

Mosca previously served as a city councilman in Encinitas and worked for San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas Company before that. He was board chair through the controversial departure of San Diego Community Power’s creator, Cody Hooven, who was ruled ineligible to take over as CEO. 

In Other News 

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and MacKenzie Elmer. 

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