Morning Report: Terror in Poway — What We Know - Voice of San Diego

News UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Morning Report: Terror in Poway — What We Know

A makeshift memorial near the Chabad of Poway synagogue / Image courtesy of NBC San Diego

Wielding an assault-type rifle, a man killed a woman inside Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday and injured three others, including an 8-year-old girl, on the last day of Passover.

The Union-Tribune identified the woman who was shot to death as Lori Kaye and witnesses said she jumped in front of the synagogue’s founding rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, who was wounded on his hand. A doctor who was inside the synagogue told the newspaper that Kaye’s husband, a physician, ran to help victims and fainted after he realized he was performing CPR on his wife.

Another man, Almog Peretz, was shot in the leg as he scooped up children, NBC 7 reports.

The alleged shooter is a 19-year-old Rancho Penasquitos man. San Diego police arrested him shortly after he fled the synagogue amid a hail of bullets from a security guard, the U-T reports. Like other synagogues around the country, Chabad of Poway has increased its security in recent years with the support of federal grants.

Authorities found a racist manifesto attributed to him online that expresses admiration for the perpetrators of other mass shootings. He also claimed credit for an attempted arson at an Escondido mosque in March.

The deadly shooting and attempted arson occurred at a time of rising hate crimes nationwide. There were more than 1,500 hate crimes reported in the United States in 2017 — nearly two-thirds of which were attributed to anti-Semitism, according to FBI stats. As the U-T noted, the number of victims and offenders has increased since 2012.

North County had a comparatively high number of reported hate crimes based on population in 2017, and the lead prosecutor in charge of those cases blamed social media.

The family of the 8 year-old-girl who was struck by shrapnel inside the synagogue Saturday had been the target of a previous hate crime during Passover in 2015. Someone spray painted their Mira Mesa home and truck with swastikas, Fox 5 reported at the time.

School Officials Say Abuse Report Went to Spam Folder

In 2016, Randy Vazquez, a volunteer in Mar Vista High’s JROTC program, emailed seven Sweetwater Union High School District officials with evidence that an instructor was sexually abusing a student.

Vazquez believed the details of the inappropriate relationship would move officials to take action and report the situation to authorities — as they’re required by state law — but he never heard back.

Officials now say the message landed in their spam folders, as VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez reports.

When nothing happened back in 2016, the student reported the abuse to police herself nine days later. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against Sweetwater Union High School District, claiming it had negligently hired and retained the instructor, Martin Gallegos. She and the district settled.

Jimenez’s latest story in our series about sexual misconduct in schools shows that when officials fail to comply with mandated reporting laws they leave students vulnerable to harm by predatory teachers.

Politics Roundup

  • Assemblyman Todd Gloria has introduced a bill that would let transportation agencies propose new taxes for part of the areas they serve. If passed in time, the Metropolitan Transit System could section off areas like Poway or Santee that are less likely to vote for its 2020 ballot measure. General tax increases require two-thirds voter approval, giving any pocket of no votes the chance to sink a measure.
  • Over on the podcast, Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts throw dirt on the grave of the Plaza de Panama project, which would have redirected cars in Balboa Park and opened up space for pedestrians, and try to explain why it failed. Our hosts point to a disjointed leadership of the park as a possible symptom of the city’s inability to successfully see projects through.

County Supes Pushing for Freeway Expansions

Hasan Ikhrata, director of the San Diego Association of Governments, and his staff unveiled their big plan for the future of transportation in the region. It includes a new network of trains — some underground, and some above ground — to make travel as fast and convenient by transit as it is driving.

But as Keatts writes in the Politics Report, politicians from North County and East County have made clear they won’t support a plan that doesn’t include the freeway expansions promised in TransNet, the sales tax voters extended in 2004.

The revenue from that sales tax has come in wildly short of projections, and Ikhrata has plans to take the freeway expansion projects off the table. County Supervisors Jim Desmond and Kristin Gaspar are asking their colleagues to oppose that effort.

Part of this debate centers on climate change. Ikhrata has pledged not to build projects that put more drivers on the road and increase the region’s emissions.

Desmond, on the other hand, is skeptical that the climate is changing because of humans and told us on the podcast that the region is just going to have to adapt, regardless of who’s at fault. It was a wide-ranging interview that also touched on his first 100 days in office.

In Other News

The Trump administration is refusing to release detailed information about a database used to track journalists, attorneys and immigration advocates at the San Ysidro border crossing. So NBC 7 and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed suit.

San Diego will spend at least $5 million to make repairs to the Cortez Hill Family Center, a downtown transitional housing complex for homeless families that had leaky windows, exposed electrical wires and a moldy smell. (Union-Tribune)

Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s budget proposal includes cuts in some areas as well as increases in others. He wants, for example, to spend more than twice the amount previously set aside to crack down on illegal dumping, littering and homeless encampments in canyons, downtown and along the San Diego River. (Union-Tribune)

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

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