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Morning Report: ICE Is Getting Fewer Notices From the Sheriff Under SB 54

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and Sheriff Bill Gore discuss their plans to implement a law limiting cooperation with federal immigration officers. / Photo by Kelly Davis

County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar has spent a lot of time on Fox News since she spearheaded the county’s decision to support the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California for SB 54, the so-called sanctuary state law.

That law has restricted the ways in which federal immigration agents can cooperate with local law enforcement officers.

In one recent appearance, Gaspar said 385 criminals have been let out of jails and back into the community, thanks to restrictions put in place by SB 54. In a follow-up email, her spokesperson said Gaspar misspoke, and the number was really 347 individuals.

Gaspar is right that since the law was put into place, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has notified Immigrations and Customs Enforcement of the release dates of unauthorized immigrants in its custody less than in previous years. That’s what Maya Srikrishnan found when she got some official numbers.

Srikrishnan made four significant findings:

The sheriff this year has released 349 people from jail without pre-emptively alerting ICE. ICE has sent 605 requests to be notified when someone is being released. Under SB 54, the Sheriff’s Department checks those requests against a list of about 800 crimes, plus the previous criminal history of the person who’s the subject of ICE’s request. In San Diego, 349 of the 605 requests did not meet those standards, so ICE didn’t get a head’s up on their release.

SB 54 is resulting in fewer people entering the deportation pipeline with the sheriff’s help. Nearly halfway through the year, the Sheriff’s Department has notified ICE of the release of less than a fourth of the people they did the year before.

Most of the people being released without warning ICE are charged with misdemeanors. The three most common charges against people released from the sheriff’s custody without ICE getting pinged were for DUI-related charges, drunken disorderly conduct/public intoxication and domestic abuse – all misdemeanors.

This hasn’t kept ICE from arresting more people. ICE has arrested 72 more people this year than it did during the same period last year. That owes itself to a 50 percent increase in non-criminal arrests, combined with an 11 percent decrease in criminal arrests.

  • The Carlsbad City Council voted 4-1 to support the federal government’s lawsuit against the state of California Monday . The City Council members who supported the motion expressed concern primarily over public safety.

    “Not for a minute do I believe most or all of the people here illegally are criminals,” said Councilman Keith Blackburn. “Not for a moment. I want to address those who are here illegally and are criminals. That’s my concern, when the communication of our law enforcement agency and the federal law enforcement agency are interfered with at the peril of our residents.”

San Diego’s Solar Search

San Diego must use 100 percent green energy by 2035. One thing that will help the city get there is more solar sites.

In this week’s Environment Report, VOSD’s Ry Rivard covers the city’s quest to find places that can host good-sized solar projects – think empty lots, parking lots or large rooftops.

The city’s hired an outside nonprofit, which is spending the next year and a half looking for places where solar arrays can fit. So far, it’s identified lots of available industrial space that could work.

Of course, San Diego is in the middle of a huge decision when it comes to reaching its clean power target: Should the city form its own agency to buy and sell clean energy, or keep working with SDG&E to do the same thing on the city’s behalf?
Also in the Environment Report: Two statewide water bonds are headed to the November ballot, and Congress is considering banning environmental lawsuits against the controversial twin tunnels.

Yeah, the City Attorney Is Trying to Get SDSU West and SoccerCity Thrown Off the Ballot

From Andrew Keatts: There was some confusion about why in this weekend’s Politics Report we said the city attorney was trying to get both SDSU West and SoccerCity thrown off the ballot.

In a press release, the city attorney’s office referred to their move as petitions, asking a court to simply decide whether they should go before voters.

But the same press release also referred to the petitions as lawsuits – and the lawsuits themselves are anything but ambiguous.

A plain reading of the two lawsuits – they’re largely the same – shows the city attorney is arguing the measures are illegal and should not appear on a ballot.

“(The city) submit that the initiative cannot lawfully be presented to voters because it suffers from fatal flaws,” both lawsuits read.

The subject headings lay out some of those fatal flaws. One says the initiatives contain administrative actions that aren’t permissible for initiatives; another says they conflict with the city charter; a third says they’re against state land use laws, including the California Environmental Quality Act; another says they fail to enact an enforceable legislative action and are too vague. The lawsuit against SDSU West adds that it conflicts with state laws on how state universities can be developed.

These petitions are lawsuits, in the words of the city attorney press release announcing them. And the lawsuits themselves are clear arguments that the initiatives are illegal and that a judge should throw them off the ballot.

School Board Members Get a Challenge

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego, reports that the party has  qualified two write-in candidates for San Diego Unified’s Board of Education. Two incumbents had been running unopposed – Kevin Beiser in District B and Mike McQuary in District C. Now, if Krvaric et al got sufficient signatures, and they beat other write-in candidates who may emerge, Tom Keliinoi will advance to the runoff against Beiser and Marcia Nordstrom will advance to the final against McQuary.

Loxie Shooks, who was featured in our story recently speaking out against the district for its treatment of a teacher she accused of groping her, has also said she wants to run as a write-in against McQuary.

More Politics News

From Scott Lewis: Genevieve Jones-Wright, a public defender who’s running for district attorney, held an Ask Me Anything on Reddit Monday. Jones-Wright has consistently maintained that sex trafficking is a crime the district attorney needs to prosecute. But she took issue with District Attorney Summer Stephan’s claim to us that virtually all sex workers are victims of sex trafficking.

Jones-Wright has said many times women pursuing voluntary sex works are not victims and also shouldn’t be prosecuted. So one question came up in the Reddit discussion that keeps coming up: Would she support decriminalization of sex work?

She has been unwilling to go there. She didn’t answer the Redditor’s question, referring the user to another answer about trafficking. At a recent debate, Jones-Wright said, “I’m not going to give my opinion on whether [it] should be legal or not as of this moment. Prostitution is against the law in the state of California, and I’ll leave it at that.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Kinsee Morlan and Sara Libby.

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