Morning Report: Oceanside Reboots Top Cop Search - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Oceanside Reboots Top Cop Search

A mural outside of the Oceanside Police Department / Photo by Megan Wood

Oceanside is rethinking the process for hiring a new police chief in the face of criticism from community leaders. City officials had proposed limiting applications to internal candidates and skipping any public forums to speed up the hiring process. 

But one pastor and organizer told Kayla Jimenez the city’s top law enforcement officer needs to be someone with a track record willing to address racial justice head on and willing to bridge the community divide. 

A survey spearheaded in 2018 and 2019 by the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice revealed that White residents and residents of color had radically different views of the Oceanside Police Department. Some described awkward and insulting encounters while others said police threatened them with deportation. 

Last year, two officers walked out of a meeting in Crown Heights, a predominantly Latino neighborhood, after the line of questioning got tense. The event was intended to build trust but highlighted the poor state of police relations in North County’s most populous city. 

Going forward, Oceanside’s city manager said she’ll be relying on community members to guide her, but she plans to keep those people anonymous until after her decision is made, leaving it unclear who is influencing her in the process. 

Politics Report: The Ash Street Drama, Chapter 453

Last week in the Politics Report, Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis explained and explored the intrigue behind Alleged Footnote 15. This week, they marked the renaming. It’s now Forged Footnote 15 and they are all over it.

The lemon of a building — 101 Ash Street — San Diego leased to own and stopped making payments on has been a campaign issue between Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who alleges it was such a flub it is disqualifying for Gloria because he was on the Council that approved the deal. NBC 7 San Diego seemed to provide one of the most significant revelations last week that Gloria was culpable not just of approving it and enthusiastically supporting it but of perhaps fraudulently pushing it through approval. 

But that implication was based on a footnote within a report NBC 7 obtained. Late Thursday, the station confirmed it was totally forged. Not before Bry ran ads for a week about it. 

At a press conference Friday, the Union-Tribune reports, Assemblyman Todd Gloria urged the city to investigate what happened and urged NBC 7 to be transparent about its own efforts to understand how it got duped

Sorry? What? Grab a White Claw and gather round, kids, because journalism school is in session. 

Keatts, Lewis and Sara Libby had to scrap their first podcast recording Thursday when NBC 7 retracted its story. They broke down the unfolding drama around 101 Ash St. and how the investigative reporting process works so you can better understand NBC 7’s decision to retract the story. 

Also, the hotel tax hike lives, maybe: Lisa Halverstadt had a dispatch in the Politics Report about how Measure C, which failed to get two-thirds of the vote in March (but did get 65 percent or so) may actually still be alive, thanks to a court ruling (or in last week’s case, the California Supreme Court’s decision to not do a ruling). 

SANDAG Audit: What Exactly Is Going on?

Also in the Politics Report, Keatts explained what’s happening with a new, controversial audit that has come out from the San Diego Association of Governments. 

“The audit has created deep divisions between SANDAG management and the agency’s auditor, Mary Khoshmashrab. SANDAG leadership says the audit is simply incorrect. The auditor says the agency has been manipulating her work and misleading the public.”

Here’s a story in the U-T about the same dispute and another about how the agency has not yet taken action on whether staffers should donate to campaigns (as Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata notoriously did recently).

San Diego Delegation Open to Special Sesh

State lawmakers are ready to get to work — now that the session has ended. California finished the year without passing major police and housing reforms but with plenty of demand that elected officials go back and complete what they started. 

In the Sacramento Report, Sara Libby surveyed the San Diego delegation and several expressed support for a special session. Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to make that call. 

Newsom has, however, wasted little time signing into law an update to AB 5 that removes a cap on freelance journalism and carves out further exemptions for youth sports coaches, music industry professionals and others. The landmark law was written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. 

One South Bay City Is Considering Alternative Policing Models

Imperial Beach is one of several cities in San Diego County that outsources its policing efforts to the Sheriff’s Department. Crime rates are historically low. Yet the costs of law enforcement are ballooning and, according to City Council members, unsustainable. 

The U-T reports that officials are expected this week to talk about alternative policing models, including unarmed personnel who can respond to non-emergency situations.  

Every year, the Sheriff’s Department charges the city $197,000 per deputy, $206,000 per detective and $255,000 per sergeant. That means the 23 cops assigned to Imperial Beach last year totaled $5.6 million.

A draft city report also criticizes the department’s data collection practices. Two City Council members said they requested localized data about use-of-force complaints and racial disparities but were told it only exists on a wider county level. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Scott Lewis, and edited by Sara Libby.

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