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Morning Report: Problem Cops Still a Problem

Investigating some odd Chargers claims, exploring the tough lives for transgender teens and advice regarding a rogue iguana.

Last month, a federal jury ruled against a San Diego cop. And it wasn’t the first time the same officer was ruled to have violated a citizen’s rights.

But we don’t know whether the officer, Ariel Savage, is part of the department’s program to monitor problem officers, a program that itself was found to be a problem in the Justice Department’s recent review of SDPD’s policies, Liam Dillon reports.

Chief Shelley Zimmerman has pledged to implement changes based on the Justice Department report. Not everyone is sure things are getting any better. Even if that happens, it will be hard to tell whether the system is working without more transparency.

“We’re going to have to trust that the department gets the system right,” Dillon writes. “Officer discipline histories are shielded from public view and not accessible via the state’s open records laws. The only reason we know anything about Savage’s complaint history is through the lawsuits filed against him.”

Lincoln Club Blitzes the Chargers Before Round 2

The Lincoln Club, a political action committee that supports business-friendly conservative causes and candidates — often by any means necessary — has come out swinging against the Chargers just before the team begins its second round of negotiations with the city and the county over a new stadium plan, Scott Lewis reports.

The Lincoln Club’s Facebook ads suggest the team isn’t sincere in its efforts to stay in town, and the ads have so riled the team, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani is threatening to tell dad, er, complain to the NFL. Lincoln Club Executive Director Ryan Clumpner’s response? “So he wants to blow up a billion-dollar deal over a $200 Facebook post by a private organization? lol.”

VOSD Podcast: Professor’s Startling Claims

When it comes to hysteria about the Chargers skipping town, no one beats U-T sports columnist Nick Canepa. Last week he turned to a local professor for perspectiveand got a surprising response. People commit suicide when teams leave, National University psychology professor Doug Barba told Canepa: “I’ve heard of cases of spousal abuse following Super Bowls. San Diego fans will have to go through a grieving process, some will find somewhere else to get their violence fix.”

We brought Barba onto the weekly VOSD Podcast to talk about his claims. He thinks Canepa could have put his remarks into better context, and he acknowledges the domestic abuse claim is widely debunked.

• The U-T, like the rest of us, is trying to figure out what the heck is going on with all that city attorney/Chargers business that we uncovered.

• VOSD readers continue to snarf up stories about the Chargers: The three most popular stories on our site over the past week are about the stadium saga, leading with our lawsuit against the city of Carson over its secretive negotiations with the team. Here’s the full Top 10 list of our most popular articles.

The Traumatic Lives of Transgender Teens

The U-T explores life for local transgender teens who face challenges despite changes in attitudes, especially among the young. “At first, I was confused about what’s happening to my body. This is wrong, this is not supposed to be happening to me,” said one of the teens interviewed for the story, a 14-year-old.

As the paper notes, three transgender teens in the county have killed themselves this year. The 14-year-old, Kyler Prescott, was one of them. Prescott killed himself four days after being interviewed.

A medical director at Rady Children’s Gender Management Clinic, which helps transgender teens, says “close to 80 percent of the teens we see have a history of depression, cutting or anxiety. The good news is that about 75 percent of those teens … improve with treatment.”

Water Wars Pit Party vs. Party

California’s Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Congress are battling over how to deal with the drought, the L.A. Times reports. In general, although there are exceptions, the GOP is blaming government and trying to help farmers while Dems look to protect endangered species and spend money on projects like pulling salt out of seawater and conservation.

Clarification on Last Week’s Briggs Item

An update to an item in last Thursday’s Morning Report: We linked to one of the ongoing Inewsource stories alleging improper conduct by well-known and influential environmental attorney Cory Briggs. Our summary of the Inewsource story said a Superior Court judge “ripped into” Briggs for his conduct in a case successfully challenging the Convention Center expansion’s financing.

Briggs objected to that characterization, correctly noting that elsewhere in the court transcript the judge praised his legal work. Here is a link to the whole transcript, if you’d like to read for yourself.

Quick News Hits: Down, Paco!

• Judging by who’s happy and who isn’t, it looks like cyclists are losing the big battle over expanding access for bikers in the Hillcrest/Mission Hills area.

• San Diego Unified has settled an unsettling case involving a kindergarten student who was allegedly sexually assaulted in a school restroom.

• Dr. Seuss, you shouldn’t have.

• “Dozens of Southern California facilities, including oil refineries, aerospace plants and metal factories, will face new requirements to reduce toxic emissions or notify their neighbors of the health risks from their operations,” the L.A. Times reports.

• A San Diegan named C.C. writes to a pet advice column: “My iguana, Paco, is about 8 years old and, until recently, was a great pet. Now his personality has changed. Some days he likes me, and others he chases me aggressively, or acts like he’s never seen me before. What I should do?”

The advice columnist notes that iguanas can get to be 6 feet long and cause serious injuries to people. I would like to add, C.C., that Florida is lovely this time of year, and there are plenty of reptile friends for Paco to meet. And what iguana doesn’t enjoy a cross-country car ride?

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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