What We Learned This Week - Voice of San Diego

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What We Learned This Week

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria delivers the State of the City Address from the San Ysidro Library on Jan. 13, 2021.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria delivers the State of the City Address from the San Ysidro Library on Jan. 13, 2021.

Many people found many things to like in Mayor Todd Gloria’s State of the City speech this week.

Because coronavirus restrictions meant he couldn’t deliver the speech to a packed auditorium, he chose to film the message from a San Ysidro public library – a gesture of inclusion to a part of the city often overlooked. Democrats, of course, cheered on his fiery rebukes of former Mayor Kevin Faulconer. And YIMBYs and transit advocates are excited his proposals to include housing in city building projects and to close off certain streets to car traffic.

For all of Gloria’s spicy criticisms of Faulconer in the speech, he sounded an awful lot like him in one crucial area: exerting control over the police department, and demanding true accountability.

Numerous studies and data sets show the department treats Black residents differently than their peers. The Police Department has continually batted down those numbers and said they don’t really show anything. Does Gloria believe that?

The Police Department has yet to explain how so many of its officers knew to punish residents’ constitutionally protected speech with seditious language tickets, it hasn’t said whether it will punish officers who doled them out and it hasn’t explained how it will make residents whole. Does Gloria believe the department should answer those questions?

One officer who knocked his wife unconscious remains on the force. Another who shot an unarmed, mentally ill man within seconds of arriving on the scene and who went on to later accidentally discharge his weapon into a baby’s crib also stayed employed Does Gloria think the department should explain those decisions? Does he agree with them?

As my colleague Lisa Halverstadt noted, “Gloria did not clarify whether he will eliminate the police department’s Neighborhood Policing Division, which Faulconer created to address homelessness and quality of life issues, or if he has directed police to reduce enforcement of crimes associated with homelessness that soared on Faulconer’s watch.

It was truly heartening to see a San Diego finally speak frankly about the city’s challenges and realities, and to try to bring residents along in the challenge and opportunity of addressing those issues together. The next step is to bring that frankness – and action – to its biggest, most consequential problem.

What VOSD Learned This Week

If Tijuana River water can be recycled and utilized as a water source, that would make it valuable. But before we get there, we have to figure out: Who actually owns it?

Meanwhile, as county officials begin the process of rewriting their Climate Action Plan, they can’t rule out using the controversial carbon offsets that got the last plan tossed out.

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The city is warning departments: Get ready for cuts. That explains why Mayor Todd Gloria’s first State of the City address included some realtalk about where we’re at, in addition to the traditional rundown of priorities and goals. We talked about the speech and the dire budget realities on this week’s podcast.

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So much of Jesse Marx’s reporting on police surveillance efforts highlights have driven home the absolute abdication of government officials – in this case, the San Diego City Council – to question their priorities, safeguards or spending in any way.

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North County school districts have been struggling to navigate tensions between parents demanding in-person learning and teachers refusing to return to classrooms. Even a charter school system with no teachers union felt the heat: It backed off after initially telling teachers they had to either return to the classroom or quit.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“Yes, technically, I did incite Brutus to stab you, but the last thing that Rome needs is for me to face any sort of consequences. What Rome needs now is healing.” – Same shit, different regime.

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