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Mojalet Dance Collective and Rhythm Talk Oct 01, 2014 The contemporary dance company teams up with Swiss percussion band Rhythm Talk to present a collaborative piece that celebrates both music and movement. 55 other events on Wednesday, October 1
Errol Flynn biopic leads our rundown of movies screening around town
A very loud Diversionary Theatre offering tops our coverage of local plays
Chamber of Commerce, led by the former mayor, launches all-out campaign to regain control of San Diego
One-woman San Diego Rep production tops our coverage of local plays


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Last Blog on Earth | News 09.30.2014 26 hours ago

How San Diego's using technology to solve homelessness

Data helps providers to assess need and target services

- By Kelly 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. 

It's all part of a larger federal initiative called 25 Cities that emphasizes better coordination among service providers and using data to help target those services. As a first step, over the last few months, volunteers in San Diego have surveyed more than 2,200 unsheltered homeless folks and are using that information to not only match up people with housing, but also determine where there might be gaps in services. (A HUD analysis conducted last year, for instance, suggested San Diego has too many short-term beds and not enough permanent housing units.) Since August, 112 people, 44 of them vets, have been placed in permanent housing, paid for with federal vouchers; others have been hooked up with case managers who'll help them find appropriate housing. 

"This is a very data-driven initiative," says Michael McConnell, the 25 Cities San Diego team leader, "looking at who the people are and what their needs are."

McConnell is also part of Funders Together to End Homelessness, a group of philanthropists who, on Tuesday, announced a grant of $200,000 to continue 25 Cities San Diego's work. McConnell says a next step will be using data from the surveys to determine roughly how many people need to be housed each month to meet the goal of ending homelessness. 

"We're going start using that in the next 100-days phase," he says, "really drilling down on what we need to do."

at 09:06 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.26.2014 5 days ago

San Diego homelessness services providers get on the same (virtual) page

Region-wide software program should make it easier to put people in beds

- By Kelly Davis
A year ago, when I interviewed Kelly Knight, homeless outreach coordinator for the Downtown San Diego Partnership's Clean & Safe program, she lamented the fact that there was no central database she could use to help connect clients with beds. Providers like Knight will tell you that if someone's willing to accept help—especially someone who's chronically homeless—it's important to get them hooked up with shelter right away. Here's an excerpt from that story:

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at 05:15 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.24.2014 7 days ago

Ambulance selection on hold, yet again

State officials say county must control contract bid

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

After being on hold for more than two years, the city of San Diego’s competitive-bidding process for 911 ambulance service looks like it’s headed for yet another delay.

In August, state officials declined to approve the city’s formal request for proposals (RFP), saying county officials must perform the process, according to a memo released by the city Tuesday.

Expecting to send its 911 service out to bid this September, the city extended its contract with ambulance provider Rural / Metro through June 30. However, entering into a new contract by next summer now looks increasingly unlikely.

At a minimum, the state’s decision will delay the ambulance RFP by “a matter of months,” Scott Chadwick, San Diego's chief operating officer, wrote in the memo. “In a worst case scenario, the state’s decision could impact the city’s ability to determine how its paramedic services will be provided and under what financial terms.”

Based on a 2010 appellate decision concerning Butte County, state officials have taken a hard stance on which entities can issue RFPs for ambulance service. In San Diego’s case, the state Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) has said that only the county-run local Emergency Medical Services Agency (LEMSA) can issue the RFP.

With the city's support, the county appealed the state's decision on Aug. 29. The state’s Commission on Emergency Medical Services will make the final determination. No date has been set for a hearing.

Craig Gustafson, spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, issued this statement to CityBeat:

“Mayor Faulconer strongly believes that a spirited competition for the City’s ambulance contract can lead to better response times for San Diego neighborhoods and lower costs for taxpayers. He urges state authorities to reconsider their decision so that the City can put its contract up for competitive bid and allow San Diegans to decide which provider can best serve San Diegans in the future.”

In 2011, following allegations that Rural / Metro embezzled more than $17 million from the city, officials dramatically restructured the ambulance provider's contract and prepared a competitive-bidding process.

By 2012, then-Mayor Jerry Sanders’ staff had completed an RFP document but never released it. Then, when Mayor Bob Filner took over, he further delayed the process to consider allowing the San Diego Fire Department to bid.

If the county takes over the process, it’s unclear if a new RFP document will need to be drafted.

Write to joshuas@sdcitybeat.com and follow him on twitter @jemersmith.

at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.23.2014 8 days ago

San Diego City Council calls on mayor to release Climate Action Plan

Fight against climate change inches forward

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

Council Republicans called it “unfeasible” and “meaningless," but on Monday, the Democratic-controlled City San Diego Council passed a resolution telling Mayor Kevin Faulconer to cough up a draft of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which activists have said is long overdue.

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at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.20.2014 11 days ago

Carl DeMaio staffer deletes Twitter account

Tweets included troubling comments about women, religion and race

- By Kelly Davis

Beware what you post on social media, especially if you plan to get a job in politics. And if you're a candidate, make damn sure your staff's vetted the social-media accounts of anyone you're planning to hire. Carl DeMaio's campaign, and the guy hired to be DeMaio's regional political director for his bid for congressional (DeMaio's trying to unseat incumbent Rep. Scott Peters in the 52nd District) learned that the hard way.

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at 04:56 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.12.2014 19 days ago

Lawsuit filed in the death of Bernard Victorianne

Attorneys argue that staff was 'deliberatively indifferent' toward inmate

- By Kelly Davis
Attorneys for the family of a man who died in a San Diego County jail two years ago filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in federal court today. Among other points, the lawsuit argues that jail staff were "deliberatively indifferent" to the medical needs of Bernard Victorianne, a 28-year-old African-American man who was found dead in his cell on Sept. 19, 2012, the result of a meth overdose.

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Last Blog on Earth | News 09.10.2014 21 days ago

Carl DeMaio gets endorsement from 'small business' group tied to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers

Sourcewatch says National Federation of Independent Business isn't exactly what it purports to be

- By Kelly Davis
When incumbent Congressmember Scott Peters got the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's endorsement last week, Carl DeMaio—the former San Diego City Council member who's challenging Peters for his 52nd District seat in November—shot back, describing the Chamber as a "special interest group." (The Chamber, in turn, shot back in a series of tweets about how DeMaio had "actively sought" its endorsement.)

Today, DeMaio's campaign announced the endorsement of a group called the National Federation of Independent Business. A press release said NFIB appreciates DeMaio's "record of fighting 'for the little guy' on important business and job creation issues." 

DeMaio's been trying to fashion himself into a moderate Republican, last week announcing his—as he tweeted— "women flexibility proposals" (which, we blogged, Planned Parenthood took major issue with). Getting an endorsement from NFIB ain't gonna burnish his moderate cred, either. According to Sourcewatch, NFIB's received millions from groups tied to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers:

... NFIB accepted a $3.7 million gift in 2010, and a further $1.4 million in 2012, from Crossroads GPS, a group affiliated with Republican political operative Karl Rove that overwhelmingly endorses and financially supports Republican candidates. According to tax documents, NFIB also received $1.5 million in 2012 from Freedom Partners, a behind-the-scenes organization that has been described as the "Koch brothers' secret bank".

And, in July, the New York Times looked into a TV ad sponsored by the NFIB, finding that the nonprofit is good at moving money around via a "complicated legal structure" that makes it tough to track exactly who its funders are. 
at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.06.2014 25 days ago

Mayor's office to Cory Briggs: You could've asked!

Unimpressed, activist attorney still questions city's deferred-maintenance bond disclosures

- By

Blasting the allegations as “not founded in reality,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s green-visor brigade on Friday struck back against claims by attorney Cory Briggs that the city is failing to properly disclose the extent of San Diego’s deferred-maintenance obligations to regulators and the bond market.

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at 06:58 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.05.2014 26 days ago

Carl DeMaio jumps on the women's-issues bandwagon

Congressional candidate dissed Planned Parenthood, supports over-the-counter contraception

- By Kelly Davis
In a National Journal profile in July, author Winston Ross wrote that Carl DeMaio viewed social issues as "a foolish distraction from the mammoth task of reforming government." Indeed, this position helped DeMaio dodge tough questions when he was a City Council member and when he ran for mayor in 2012. From Voice of San Diego's Sarah Libby:

He was the only one in last year’s mayoral race who didn’t fill out Planned Parenthood’s candidate questionnaire, though the group sent it to him twice....

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at 06:11 PM | Permalink | Comments
Last Blog on Earth | News 08.22.2014 40 days ago

Priorities unknown

City Attorney claims not to track types of crimes that flow through office

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

Of the thousands of cases referred every year to regional prosecutors, which get pursued and which get ignored? It’s a standard question that many crime journalists fresh on the beat start with. Veteran editors often tell cub reporters to request from an office a list of all referred, as well as prosecuted, cases categorized by crime type.

This way, reporters can see if any types of crimes are being ignored—especially tough-to-prosecute offenses that might mar an office’s statistics.

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at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments