Morning Report: Community-Police Relations Are Tense in Oceanside - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Community-Police Relations Are Tense in Oceanside

Members of Oceanside’s neighborhood enhancement team talk to residents in the Crown Heights neighborhood. / Photo by Jesse Marx

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Last week, a forum in Oceanside was supposed to connect residents with law enforcement officials. Instead, it turned into a referendum on policing and officers ultimately walked out.

Jesse Marx reports on the poor state of police relations in North County’s most populous city.

Over the past year, researchers at the University of San Diego teamed up with community leaders to examine the perceptions of police in Oceanside. 

One person reported seeing an officer kick a homeless person on the ground while that homeless person was overdosing. Another complained that police hadn’t shown up to a shooting but arrived seven or eight cars deep to inspect a family party.

Lt. Ignacio Lopez, who oversees the neighborhood enhancement team, acknowledged that there’s a lack of trust within one predominantly Latino neighborhood in Oceanside and and that bias may be a cause of that. But he said the department is actively trying to do better and to engage more people who have negative views of police officers.

“It’s a big cultural change we’re trying to accomplish, and it’s unfortunate the wheels are turning a bit slower than we’d like,” he said.

South Bay Cities Unhappy With Housing Expectations

Last year, the San Diego Association of Governments did something unusual: It told the state that it was fine with the number of homes the region would be expected to build over the next decade.

Typically, regions lobby for a lower number, and SANDAG had been on pace to do the same until the region’s large and urban cities overruled the rest of the county and said they’d take the higher number.

Now, the regional planning agency is taking the next step, and dividing up how much new housing each city needs to plan for to make good on the region’s responsibility to the state.

But two cities in the South Bay – Imperial Beach and National City – are now balking at the way SANDAG has divided up that responsibility, arguing they’re shouldering more than their fair share. They think wealthy coastal cities like Del Mar and Solana Beach should be forced to take on more of the burden, according to the Union-Tribune.

National City would be responsible for planning for about 5,400 homes, and Imperial Beach another 1,300 homes, combining for about 4 percent of the 172,000 homes the entire region is expected to accommodate by 2029. But those numbers are multiples what the cities were expected to plan for during the state’s last planning cycle.

National City and Imperial Beach officials have taken exception to the formula SANDAG is using to determine the best places to put new homes, which has resulted in increases to the two South Bay cities.

“Under the proposed formula, allocation is skewed toward cities with transit,” the Union-Tribune wrote.

Many planners will see that as a feature, not a bug. Concentrating housing near transit is the central premise of every major planning document adopted in the region in recent years.

Last year, former National City Mayor Ron Morrison opposed SANDAG’s acceptance of the higher housing requirement. He’s since been replaced by Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina voted to accept the higher housing requirement.

But this is also in many ways just a thought exercise, anyway. The state’s “fair share” housing law is widely seen as a failure, as detailed by our old friend Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times two years ago, because it does not mandate the construction of homes. It requires cities to plan for new housing, and even in that case has never managed to punish cities that don’t comply. There are small changes coming to that process, with Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature increasingly looking to give teeth to the state’s so-called housing element law.

Issa Appears to Be in 50th District Race

Per his website, former Rep. Darrell Issa appears to be jumping into the race for the congressional district neighboring the one he used to represent, currently represented by embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter.

The website DarrellIssa.com says he’s opened an exploratory committee, and says “I have received such a tremendous outpouring of encouragement from supporters inside the district, and around the state and across the Nation. I’m truly grateful for the many encouraging phone calls, messages and letters that I have received.”

Republican Carl DeMaio recently entered the race, which also includes several other candidates, including El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.

In Other News

  • Public transit fares are set to rise. (NBC San Diego)
  • The Los Angeles Times reports that, “In dozens of interviews and in court proceedings, current and former officials, judges, lawyers and advocates for asylum seekers said that Homeland Security officials implementing Remain in Mexico appear to be violating U.S. law, and the human cost is rising. Testimony from another dozen asylum seekers confirmed that they were being removed without the safeguards provided by U.S. law.” (Los Angeles Times)
  • UC San Diego researchers analyzed thousands of cases of people seeking asylum in the United States and found refugees were forced to eat poor food, drink questionable water, unable to sleep because of overcrowding or temperatures, lack access to hygiene supplies, and may have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse. (Union-Tribune)
  • County election officials want voters to check the status of their voter registration following problems last year involving, of course, the California Department of Motor Vehicles. (inewsource)
  • A middle school teacher in Solana Beach told a bullied student to lie about how he was injured in the classroom, according to a lawsuit. Examples of the alleged bullying include other students calling the student racial slurs, shoving him against his desk, threatening to stab him and urging him to kill himself. (NBC San Diego)
  • State Sen. Pat Bates, an Orange County Republican who represents parts of northern San Diego County, is asking for federal help to stabilize bluffs following the death of three people in an Encinitas landslide earlier this month. (KPBS)

The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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