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Morning Report: City Attorney Program for Repeat Offenders Has Its Own Struggles

Construction continues at a shuttered Super 8 motel in Nestor that the city hopes can eventually house dozens enrolled in its San Diego Misdemeanants At-Risk Track program. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

More than two years ago, city attorneys debuted a program to try to connect homeless San Diegans struggling with drug addiction with treatment and housing rather than another cycle through the justice system.

That program, known as the San Diego Misdemeanants At-Risk Track program, has hit a series of challenges.

Lisa Halverstadt checked in on the program and found only a handful of people who have entered the up to two-year program have graduated from treatment and moved into permanent housing. More than two-thirds of the 53 people enrolled in the program have also exited it at least once, a reality that underlines the tough road for vulnerable clients wrestling with addiction.

Meanwhile, a court battle continues over the city’s ability to use a Nestor motel it purchased in 2017 to house dozens of S.M.A.R.T. program clients.

Dems Try to Clean Up Endorsement Process

Top San Diego County Democratic leaders approved some, but not all, of a series of reforms intended to clean up its endorsement process.

Activists alleged earlier this year that a political consultant had gamed the system to steer resources to his friends and clients by creating clubs that existed only on paper. Those clubs make endorsements in different geographic areas — meaning they can help make or break campaigns — but the oversight is weak.

During a long discussion that went into the night Tuesday, officials agreed to strengthen rules around conflicts of interest and ensuring the clubs are operating legitimately. Other proposals — that would have given larger clubs a louder say in the process, for example — did not get enough support, but could come up for further discussion in the future.  

Property Owner Challenges Encinitas’ 30-Day Email Retention Policy

An Encinitas property owner filed suit against the city in connection with a hotel project that’s making its way through the planning process.

But what began as a dispute over public records is evolving into something much bigger. As Jesse Marx writes in the North County Report, the property owner and his attorney are now targeting a policy in Encinitas that allows officials to delete emails within 30 days.

If successful, the case could force changes at cities and counties across the state. California requires municipalities to keep copies of their records for at least two years, but many municipalities argue that the law is murky regarding email retention specifically, and that not all emails count as records.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria is carrying a bill that would clearly define emails within the two-year minimum for retention. It’s set to be heard next week by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

New Vehicle Habitation Ban Advances

First, it was not OK. Then it was OK. But now a new proposal from Mayor Kevin Faulconer would once again make it illegal to live inside a vehicle.

The City Council’s public safety committee voted 3-1 to advance the proposal to the full Council, but did not make any recommendation as to whether the Council should pass it, according to KPBS.

Faulconer also wants to double the number of “safe lots” where people can park. He argues the new measure is not meant to penalize people who cannot find housing, but instead van-dwellers who travel from city to city, by choice. Of #vanlife, the mayor has said, “This is not safe, this is not healthy and this is not acceptable.”

In Other News

Correction

  • Tuesday’s Culture Report misidentified the photographer who took a shot of Jacqui Ramirez, Audrey Pavia, Evie Bibo and Kitty Johnson that’s featured in a San Diego History Center exhibit. It was Tim Griswold.
  • Wednesday’s North County Report misidentified the man suing Encinitas over public records related to a hotel project. Donald McPherson is an Encinitas property owner but not an Encinitas resident.

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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