Dolores Magdaleno Memorial Recreation Center in Logan Heights on July 24, 2023.
Dolores Magdaleno Memorial Recreation Center in Logan Heights on July 24, 2023. In 2016, police arrested Jamie Wilson's son and his friends outside the Memorial Park recreation center and collected DNA samples without notifying the boys’ parents. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

In recent years, there has been a precipitous drop in the number of law enforcement agencies that use CalGang, California’s gang database. 

Locally, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department has stopped using the state database, saying it’s too labor intensive. But just over 100 agencies still use it, including the San Diego Police Department. 

Now, Voice of San Diego contributor Kelly Davis writes, some think it’s time they give it up too. 

The city’s Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention has tasked some of its members with studying the police department’s use of the database. The group’s co-chair, whose son is in the database, is proposing that the commission recommend SDPD stop using it. That conversation has stirred up a debate — and law enforcement officials don’t seem open to the idea. 

  • District Attorney Summer Stephan’s criticism: “Every single meeting is focused on giving more rights to people who may or may not be involved in gangs … Are we sending the message to the community that we don’t care about victims of gang violence?”

So, what is it? CalGang is a database accessible to law enforcement agencies that stores the names and personal information of people suspected of being active gang members or associated with gangs. This includes adults and minors. 

The database has gone through a number of reforms like requiring notice to juveniles when they are entered into the database and the creation of a process to request removal from the program. (As we’ve reported before, few have been successful in the latter.) 

SDPD has also made some tweaks. While other agencies look to check off two of the eight criteria, San Diego requires three and only counts certain ones as half a point. Police officials said they are also looking into sending parents warning letters before entering a minor into the database. 

The database has been criticized for how difficult it is for those on it to get off, and for having been used for employment and military-related screenings when it’s meant to only be used by law enforcement. 

Read the whole story here. 

North County Report: There’s a New Homeless Shelter in Town

Living quarters at the Oceanside Navigation Center on July 21, 2023.

A 50-bed homeless shelter operated by the San Diego Rescue Mission in Oceanside’s former Ocean Shores High School building – which would be the first shelter of its kind in the city – is open. 

Well, almost.

It’s overdue: The shelter was originally set to open last summer, but a variety of hurdles from labor shortages to changes to the project delayed the opening. Those overseeing the project are now crossing their fingers that it will be open by the middle of next week. 

What it means: When the shelter opens, it will be one of only three low-barrier shelters in North County, meaning it won’t require individuals to be sober or go through background checks. It will up the number of beds available in the region to 194. According to the last homeless census, North County has a total of 861 unsheltered residents.

Also, Del Mar’s housing skirmish continues: A controversial Del Mar housing development called Seaside Ridge is still mired in opposition by city officials. The developers hoped to lean on a trio of state laws to get the development greenlit. 

But as of May, the state approved Del Mar’s previously unapproved Housing Element. The city has now deemed the developer’s application incomplete twice, writing they just don’t believe the legal theory the developer is relying on passes muster.

Read the North County Report here. 

In Other News 

  • Columnist Michael Smolens writes that Westfield’s sale of its Mission Valley malls to a pair of developers, one of which has pledged to build housing at the site, begs the question of if these mixed-use commercial developments are the future of housing. (Union-Tribune)
  • The San Diego City Council unanimously agreed to a nearly $5 million settlement for the families of two individuals hit by a car in Kearny Mesa. That street has seen more than a dozen other collisions in the years prior. One of the individuals died and the other was left permanently disabled. (CBS)
  • A La Mesa man jailed weeks before he was set to undergo surgery to remove a cancerous lung tumor received the surgery after a six-month delay. His lawyer had previously filed a motion to force the San Diego Sheriff’s Office to allow him to receive the vital surgery. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Oceanside’s Downtown Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend the passage of a 100 dwelling per acre cap on housing in its downtown neighborhoods. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Vilafaña and Lisa Halverstadt.

Correction: This post has been updated to correct that Oceanside’s new shelter will add 50 beds, making the number of beds available in North County to 194.

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