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Sacramento Report: What San Diego’s Getting Out of the State Budget

The San Diego Symphony, cleanup efforts in Chollas Creek, mural restoration in Chicano Park and UCSD Hillcrest Medical Center are all set to receive funding in the state budget.
The San Diego Symphony, cleanup efforts in Chollas Creek, mural restoration in Chicano Park and UCSD Hillcrest Medical Center are all set to receive funding in the state budget. / Photos by Adriana Heldiz, Jamie Scott Lytle and courtesy of the San Diego Symphony

The state budget deadline has come and gone, and Gov. Gavin Newsom even signed a budget, but he and lawmakers are still ironing out lots of details. Many of those will be finalized in so-called budget trailer bills approved later this year.

Here’s what San Diego is set to get out of the budget so far.

First, a Detour: About Those UCSD Enrollment Cuts …

This week, both the Union-Tribune [1] and KPBS [2] explored the impact mandated cuts to out-of-state enrollment will have on the University of California, San Diego.

There’s a small problem: The budget doesn’t actually mandate any cuts to out-of-state enrollment at UCSD. Yet.

Lawmakers for months expressed their intent to limit enrollment from students outside of California at its three top UC schools, UC Berkeley, UCLA and UCSD. Since out-of-state students pay higher tuition, they planned to make up the funding gap to those three schools by paying them the difference. But when all was said and done, as CALmatters first reported [3], they didn’t actually do this: “The $149 million to fund 15,000 extra seats in 2022-23 for California residents at the UC and CSU? Not a dollar … None of that money will be available unless lawmakers and the governor agree next year to fund them.”

Here’s language from the higher education budget trailer bill [4]:

 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Regents of the University of California adopt a policy that limits the share of nonresident students at every campus to no more than 18 percent of the campus’ undergraduate enrollment.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that each campus that reduces nonresident enrollment pursuant to subdivision (a) enroll a like amount of resident undergraduate students.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide annual appropriations to assist the University of California in gradually making progress toward achieving this policy at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego campuses.

I asked several different stakeholders whether this means the out-of-state enrollment cuts are set in stone. A spokeswoman for Assembly budget chairman Phil Ting said the cuts are definitely happening.

“The UC nonresident enrollment reduction plan starts in the fall of 2022 – past what the current budget covers. So the first installment of the buyout plan (giving the three UCs state funding to offset nonresident tuition loss) will be in the governor’s January 2022 budget proposal,” Nanette Miranda wrote in an email.

A spokeswoman for UCSD though, wasn’t as definitive: “Please reach out to legislative leaders about their proposal as they are best positioned to explain its nuances,” wrote Laura Margoni. “UC San Diego continues to assess potential impacts.”

Moving on to What Is in the Budget …

Quadruple the Funding for City Attorney’s Gun Violence Restraining Order Trainings

City Attorney Mara Elliott has received lots of national attention for her aggressive use of gun violence restraining orders [5] to seize guns from people who might be a danger to themselves and others.

Along with the acclaim has come a huge boost in funding from the state for Elliott’s office to continue training peers in how to use the orders. The program to train others began with a budget of $50,000. In 2019, the office received a much heftier $250,000. This year, the state is doling out $1 million to Elliott’s office.

Hilary Nemchik, a spokeswoman for Elliott, didn’t directly respond when asked whether the amount of trainings the office is providing is quadrupling along with the funding, but said there’s plenty of work still to do. She also said the funding will cover them for three fiscal years.

“Since 2018, we’ve trained nearly 500 agencies throughout California, principally police departments, sheriff’s offices, city attorney offices, and school district and college police. Some have since requested refresher trainings, in part due to staff turnover,” Nemchik wrote in an email. “In addition, law enforcement agencies frequently reach out to the City Attorney’s Gun Violence Response Unit for advice on difficult GVRO cases.”

Scripps Bluff Collapse Research Is a Go

As my colleague MacKenzie Elmer detailed in April, researchers at Scripps Institute of Oceanography think they’re onto a system that could detect when ocean bluffs are about to collapse [6], hopefully preventing the devastating deaths and injuries those incidents have caused in recent years.

The budget comes through with the $2.5 million in funding Scripps was hoping to receive in order to further study the system.

More San Diego Items – From the Symphony to Chicano Park

Here are some of the other San Diego-specific projects being funded through the state budget proposal. (A note: I’ve chosen to highlight San Diego-specific projects; the budget also provides money for some projects in other cities in the county, like La Mesa.)

AG Wants to Add Housing Status to Police Stop Data Efforts

Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office is floating changes to data collected as part of a state law meant to document and fight racial profiling, including whether people interacting with police may be homeless.

The state’s 2015 Racial and Identity Profiling Act, written by Secretary of State Shirley Weber when she was a member of the Assembly, broadened the definition of racial profiling to include instances where people are disproportionately stopped or treated differently by police based on their status, among other changes. The law charged the state attorney general’s office with issuing regulations to implement the data collection mandate.

Now the state Department of Justice is seeking feedback on potential changes, including a proposal to have police document whether a person who is stopped is “perceived to be unhoused.”

In a document [7] laying out its reasoning for the proposed tweaks, the state agency wrote that the pitch that police record the housing status of those they interact with reflects increased police enforcement affecting homeless Californians over the last decade, recommendations from researchers and the fact that people of color, people with disabilities, the LGBT community and women and families fleeing domestic violence are disproportionately likely to fall into homelessness.

“Adding this new data element is necessary so that the (Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory) Board may more readily track and analyze officer interactions with people perceived as homeless, and in turn, serve its function of producing ‘detailed findings on the past and current status of racial and identity profiling,’” the Department of Justice wrote.

If enacted, the additional data could shed more light on the reality behind a concern flagged by San Diego police Capt. Jeff Jordon in response to multiple local analyses [8] showing Black San Diegans are more likely to be stopped by police. Jordon has argued [9] that the realities that Black people are disproportionately represented [10] in the homeless population and that homeless people are more likely to interact with police could be affecting the studies’ conclusions.

The public comment period for the proposed regulatory changes began Friday and is set to conclude Sept. 3. Public hearings are scheduled Aug. 20 and Sept. 1 [11].

Lisa Halverstadt

Golden State News