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The eyes of the national criminal justice movement are on San Diego this month, thanks to the district attorney’s race.
The two candidates present a stark contrast: Genevieve Jones-Wright, a reform-minded public defender, is facing Summer Stephan, a tough-on-crime career prosecutor.
Yet national observers have missed a key difference between this race: California has in recent years already enacted many of the reforms that candidates like Jones-Wright are promising.
For instance, Philadelphia’s new district attorney, Larry Krasner, is often compared to Jones-Wright. Earlier this year, he released an extensive memo outlining big changes his office is making on what crimes it charges, and the sentences its attorneys will seek. The changes were hailed as revolutionary and a model for like-minded prosecutors.
Yet many of those changes are already law here in California, through measures like Prop. 47, Prop. 57, Prop. 64 and AB 109.
For Jones-Wright, it raises the question: What does it mean to be a reformer in reform-minded California? For Stephan, it’s a different question: Are Jones-Wright’s ideas really so scary, if they’re in keeping with a trend that’s already underway?
Both candidates answer those questions in a new story by Andrew Keatts. Jones-Wright has a list of things she’d like to do that go beyond what the state has already done, and says she wants her DA’s office to take on a leadership role pushing the state even further. Stephan said the state’s reforms have been good and bad, and she wants to be part of patching holes in them that would make them tougher on crime.
The DA campaign has become perhaps the most-watched race on the June ballot. Here’s a round-up of other weekend coverage of the race.
President Donald Trump has invited Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and County Board of Supervisors Chair Kristin Gaspar to the White House to discuss California’s so-called sanctuary laws, according to the Union-Tribune. Both Republican elected officials have been critical of the new laws. Gaspar called the invitation “quite an honor.”
To fully appreciate this development, let’s consider a few things.
We recently dismantled some of the claims that Abed and other leading Republicans have been making, and are likely to make at the White House, about the new laws in California.
From Randy Dotinga: Where the heck – and what the heck – is Cockatoo Grove?
The other day, I saw a local weather map that included a mention of this South Bay place in the Bonita area. I grew up in Chula Vista, but I’d never heard of it. Maybe it’s #fakenews. Maybe it’s time to make a flap!
I pecked around a bit and discovered that Cockatoo Grove does exist. It’s a neighborhood in Chula Vista next to Southwestern College and north of Otay Ranch, and its history goes way back to at least the 1890s. It was once so well known that stories about the community college in the newspaper used “Cockatoo Grove” as a dateline.
According to the book “San Diego County Place Names, A to Z,” which describes Cockatoo Grove as “one of the more unusual county names,” the neighborhood is so named because an Austrian immigrant owned 160 acres there and raised white-crested Australian cockatoos. A 1925 San Diego Union story says Cockatoo Grove was also a station on a stagecoach route, and it mentions that the the Austrian had a vineyard and a wine press, perhaps so he could make some vino to help him cope with a bunch of some of the loudest birds known to man.
The cockatoos are gone now, replaced by homes. But that’s OK. You know what they say: No fowl, no harm.
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.