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The Visual Language of Comics Jul 28, 2015 Cognitive scientist Neil Cohn discusses the visual language of sequential images that combines with text and how are brains understand this deeply rooted expressive system. 100 other events on Tuesday, July 28
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Last Blog on Earth | News 01.26.2015

Judge rejects county's request for new trial in Daniel Sisson case

Pending an appeal, a $3-million verdict stands

- By Davis
In November, a jury found San Diego County liable in the death of Daniel Sisson, a 21-year-old inmate in the Vista Detention Facility (VDF) who died in his cell on June 25, 2011, from an asthma attack made worse by heroin withdrawal. Despite a requirement that jail staff conduct hourly inmate-welfare checks, at least three hours passed between Sisson's death and when he was found. Jurors awarded Sisson's parents $3 million based on findings that two jail nurses were "deliberately indifferent" to Sisson's medical needs and that the Sheriff's Department's policies on heroin detox and inmate monitoring were inadequate. CityBeat reported on Sisson's case in April 2013 as part of our ongoing series on deaths in San Diego County jails. 

After the verdict, the county requested a new trial, arguing, among other things, that the evidence didn't support the jury's finding of deliberate indifference—and that it was Sisson who turned down a scheduled medical appointment and wasn't showing any outward signs of failing health. County attorneys also claimed that jury instructions were confusing and that Sisson's parents lacked the standing to recover damages; compensation for a jury finding of wrongful death is only available to a decedent's heirs. 

Chris Morris, the attorney for Sisson's parents, countered that jail staff were well aware that the young man was facing a double threat of heroin withdrawal and asthma and, therefore, should have placed him in VDF's medical unit, where he could have been monitored more closely. In a response to the new-trial request, Morris pointed out that one of the county's own expert witnesses, Dr. Paul Adler, testified that in the Ventura County jail system where he works, detoxing inmates have their vital signs checked daily, regardless of the level of withdrawal. And, in her testimony, a VDF nurse agreed with Morris that chronic opiate use "poses a specific particular risk" for an asthmatic. 

As U-T San Diego's Kristina Davis reported, U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Bashant on Jan. 22 rejected the county's request for a new trial, ruling that the verdict was sound and the argument that Sisson's parents lacked standing "was brought up much too late in the case and 'looks suspiciously like sandbagging' because the county didn’t like the jury’s verdict," Davis reported.

The county has 30 days from the Jan. 22 ruling to file an appeal, though, as Morris told CityBeat, "the judge, by making the findings that she did, made it very difficult for them to get an appeal."

at 06:03 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.30.2014

What Donna Frye said at yesterday's anti-Carl DeMaio press conference--with video!

- By Davis

During his tenure on the San Diego City Council, rarely did Carl DeMaio not have his laptop open during council meetings. Was he taking notes? Being eco-friendly by not printing up docket material? Maybe. But it was pretty well-known that he was also working on personal business. Staffers would even take covert cellphone photos of DeMaio's laptop screen. But no one would talk about it on the record—until yesterday, when former Councilmember Donna Frye brought it up at a press conference during which she urged voters to pick incumbent Rep. Scott Peters over DeMaio for the 52nd District congressional seat. Frye mentioned it in response to U-T San Diego reporter Mark Walker asking her to expand on a comment she'd made about DeMaio exhibiting "behavior unbecoming of a public servant."

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at 01:24 AM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.28.2014

Gag rule proposed by Civic San Diego board chair

Latest move in the fight over redevelopment 2.0

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

The war among Civic San Diego’s board of directors continues. On one side, there are those who want elected officials to closely regulate the city-owned nonprofit. On the other, there are those vying for as much autonomy as possible.

The most recent salvo came from board Chair Cynthia Morgan, who last week proposed a gag rule for board members.

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at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.24.2014

Former DeMaio deputy campaign manager says Todd Bosnich was not fired for plagiarism

- By Davis
To swat down allegations that he sexually harassed former staffer Todd Bosnich, Carl DeMaio has insisted that Bosnich is retaliating after being fired for plagiarizing a May 12 report on congressional pensions

Bosnich has countered that he was fired because he confronted DeMaio on his inappropriate behavior and refused to accept $50,000 in hush money.

Earlier this week, Alison Rentschler, who worked as DeMaio's deputy campaign manager for several weeks this past spring—before leaving to work for the San Diego County Republican Party—sent CityBeat a statement, saying that Bosnich "is an honest and trustworthy person" who wasn't fired for plagiarism. CityBeat gave the DeMaio campaign a day-and-a-half to respond, but received no comment. Here's Rentschler's full statement:

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at 04:19 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.21.2014

Carl DeMaio campaign submitted fake letters to the editor

- By Davis
Carl DeMaio's bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Scott Peters was, not too long ago, described by national media as historic, with DeMaio vying to be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress. But instead, his campaign is fast devolving into a sad spectacle.

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at 11:54 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.20.2014

Offensive email from Carl DeMaio targets Scott Peters' campaign staffer

- By Davis
Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio wants voters to know that he's down with the whole women's rights thing: access to birth control, equal pay, etc. But, behind the scenes, if you're a woman he disagrees with, you could be the subject of ridicule.

On Jan. 22, DeMaio sent an email to two members of his staff, campaign spokesperson Dave McCulloch and then-policy director Todd Bosnich (Bosnich has accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him and trying to buy his silence). The email's subject line is "Kate Lyon" and includes a photo of an overweight woman wearing a bra and eating what looks to be a Twinkie chicken nugget. (The woman in the photo is not Lyon.) Based on the email's metadata, it appears to be authentic.

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at 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.16.2014

Todd Bosnich didn't go to CNN or police with harassment allegations against Carl DeMaio

- By Davis
In a CNN story last week about allegations that he'd sexually harassed Todd Bosnich, his former policy director, Carl DeMaio claimed that the "troubled" young man had gone to the media as retribution for being fired.  

But, save for a June 2 interview with KFMB's Mike Slater that never aired, Bosnich didn't go to the media. It was CNN who contacted Bosnich about the alleged sexual harassment, said his attorney, Bibi Fell.

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at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.13.2014

DeMaio accuser: 'It would have been much easier... just to remain silent'

Listen to Todd Bosnich's June interview with KFMB's Mike Slater

- By Davis

On June 2, the day before the primary election, Todd Bosnich recorded an interview with Mike Slater, a talk-show host on conservative radio station KFMB. Bosnich is the former policy director for Carl DeMaio's congressional campaign and has alleged that DeMaio sexually harassed him. In an interview that aired Friday on CNN, Bosnich said that when he told campaign manager Tommy Knepper about DeMaio's behavior, he was offered $50,000 and a job with the San Diego County Republican Party in exchange for his silence. He rejected the alleged offer. 

Last week, Slater told Voice of San Diego's Scott Lewis that the interview never aired because Bosnich wasn't able to provide "further proof" of his allegations against DeMaio. CityBeat obtained a copy of the interview, which you can listen to here.

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at 07:25 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 10.06.2014

Carl DeMaio's claim that Scott Peters supports Medicare cuts undermines his own platform

Not to mention that it's being used by every other GOP congressional candidate

- By Davis
A press release from Carl DeMaio's congressional campaign this morning criticized incumbent Rep. Scott Peters for voting in support of more than $700 billion in cuts to Medicare. The release is vague on details, saying only that Peters "has repeatedly supported the implementation of H.R. 3590." 

H.R. 3590 is the Affordable Care Act (the press release strategically fails to say so). Peters wasn't in office when the ACA become law in 2010. And while he does support the law's continued roll-out, he says on his website that the the ACA's still "a work in progress." He's voted in favor of some ACA-related legislation like the "Keep Your Health Plan Act" and a bill to extend the open-enrollment period. Peters also co-sponsored a bill to repeal the ACA's medical-device excise tax

So, does the ACA include $700 billion in cuts to Medicare? Republicans say yes and have used it repeatedly to attack Democratic opponents. In February, and July, and September—and back in 2012multiple times—Politifact examined the claim, finding it, each time, to be "half true" (or, in the case of Paul Ryan's version, "mostly false") and seriously in need of context. 

"Some political talking points just never die," wrote Politifact Deputy Editor Louis Jacobson in September. 

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at 06:44 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.30.2014

How San Diego's using technology to solve homelessness

Data helps providers to assess need and target services

- By Davis
It's been almost a decade since San Diego set a goal to end chronic homelessness, but two vital components in that effort are now in place: a coordinated assessment tool that will help determine what kind of housing and services a person needs and a software system that will allow homeless-services providers to share information in real-time and move people into beds as soon as they become available.

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at 09:06 PM | Permalink | Comments