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Anthony Doerr Jul 30, 2014 The award winning author will be in conversation with The Book Catapult’s Seth Marko about Doerr's 10-years-in-the-making novel WWII novel, All The Light We Cannot See. 62 other events on Wednesday, July 30
 
News
San Diego planning director’s uphill battle to create walkable communities
Film
Documentary about the famous film critic leads our rundown of movies screening around town
Editorial
Kevin Faulconer should follow Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ lead
Arts & Culture feature
A look at the late architect's lasting impacts as his murderer faces 15 years to life
Film
New Roman Polanski flick leads our rundown of movies screening around town

 

 
 
Home / Blogs / Staff Blogs / Last Blog on Earth
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.28.2014 33 hours ago

What prompted advocates for juvenile detainees to file a complaint against San Diego County

Summaries of more than a dozen disturbing incidents

- By Kelly Davis
Dave Maass contributed to this post.

Earlier today, the San Francisco-based Youth Law Center (YLC) and a coalition of nine civil-rights groups announced that they'd filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice over pepper-spray abuses in San Diego County juvenile-detention facilities. The 34-page complaint, which follows CityBeat's reporting on the excessive use of pepper spray in county juvenile facilities, highlights dozens of troubling examples of the chemicalalso referred to as OC (oleoresin capsicum)—being used indiscriminately on kids who posed no physical threat to staff.

More than 70 percent of juvenile-detention facilities in the U.S. forbid the use of pepper spray on detainees. But, as we reported in a longer story on the complaint, "... probation staff sprayed youth at risk for suicide; youth who simply were disobedient; youth with respiratory, cardiovascular and skin problems; and youth being treated with psychotropic medication." The complaint highlights, too, probation's use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment—a practice that's been widely condemned by experts—as well as cases where suicidal female detainees were ordered to strip naked in front of male staff, a violation of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

The complaint asks the DOJ to conduct its own investigation of the probation department's policies and procedures governing the use of OC spray and require probation to "adopt policies that eliminate the use of OC spray in its juvenile facilities."

Through a public-records request, Youth Law Center obtained two years' worth of incident reports from county probation. Below, we've included, verbatim from the complaint, summaries of some of the more troubling incidents.

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at 03:30 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.24.2014 7 days ago

UC San Diego's Books for Prisoners downgraded to a storage closet

Student-run group has to move out of the space it's occupied for nearly six years

- By Kelly Davis


Volunteers with Books for Prisoners are trying to figure out how to cram dozens of boxes of donated books—tomes that had once filled more than 600 square feet of space—into a storage room one-sixth that size. The UCSD student-run group, which, since 2001, has provided prison inmates with free books, was told last month that they had to vacate the space they’d been using for almost six years.

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at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.15.2014 14 days ago

San Diego's frozen funding pipe

Prop. A is preventing the city from accessing millions of state water and sewer dollars

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

It’s no secret that San Diego needs all the help it can get when it comes to repairing aging water pipes and sewer lines. With more than a billion dollars in unmet infrastructure needs, officials have been looking under every couch cushion to keep the disrepair to a minimum.

What might seem odd, however, is that the city has ostensibly given up access to tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure grants and loans provided routinely by the state. Despite warnings from Sacramento officials, in June 2012, San Diego voters passed a ballot measure, Proposition A, that’s in direct conflict with state law.

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at 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.09.2014 20 days ago

Affordable-housing compromise proposed

Housing Commission and business group to pitch plan to City Council committee next week

- By David Rolland

The San Diego Housing Commission next week will propose to the City Council's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee a new plan for funding affordable housing and making market-rate housing cheaper.

Here's a draft of the report that will go to the committee. CityBeat will follow up with some analysis of the details soon.

The proposal stems from a battle earlier this year: The City Council passed an increase to a fee that developers of commercial properties pay to help finance affordable housing, but opponents of the fee—calling themselves the Jobs Coalition—waged a successful campaign to get a referendum on the ballot to repeal the increase, and the City Council conceded defeat, repealing its own ordinance.

The plan is being billed as a compromise between the Housing Commission, which spearheaded the effort to increase the affordable-housing fee, and the Jobs Coalition, and Mayor Kevin Faulconer is on board.

“I promised to bring housing advocates and the business community to the table to work on a compromise and that’s exactly what happened," he said in an written statement provided by a spokesperson. "This deal strikes a fair balance that provides more funding for affordable housing without stifling economic development.”


at 06:46 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.09.2014 20 days ago

Bonnie Dumanis releases controversial letter, takes shots at the media

District attorney gives 'exclusive' to friendly KUSI

- By David Rolland

This morning, KUSI aired a live interview with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, during which she discussed a controversial letter of recommendation that she wrote for the son of Susumo Azano, who’s been charged by federal authorities with making illegal contributions to Dumanis’ campaign for mayor of San Diego. Azano’s son was seeking admission to the University of San Diego.

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at 03:35 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.08.2014 21 days ago

Fighting human trafficking in secret

County advisory council has never followed open-government law

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

One of San Diego County’s most touted advisory groups has failed to follow state open-meeting laws.

Since its inception in June 2011, the San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) Advisory Council hasn't posted agendas or made its meetings known to the public, Steve Schmidt, spokesperson for county Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office, confirmed Tuesday. No information about the advisory council’s meetings can be found on the county’s website; nor is any information listed on the "Committee Fact Sheets" web page.

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at 05:55 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 06.27.2014 32 days ago

Faulconer's 2015 budget included money for homeless 'triage beds'

'Critical component' of shelter system will keep going year-round

- By Kelly Davis
When the city of San Diego's homeless shelters close on Tuesday, July 1, gone will be 24 so-called "triage beds" where outreach workers—like Kelly Knight with Downtown's Clean & Safe program and the San Diego Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team—have been placing homeless folks temporarily until a more permanent bed can be found. The triage beds are reserved for people at risk of illness, injury or worse should they remain on the street.

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at 06:37 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 06.18.2014 41 days ago

Smile, you may or may not be on camera

Civil-rights group expresses concern over new police body-camera policy

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

To the chagrin of the ACLU of Southern California, a new San Diego Police Department policy on body cameras released Wednesday would give officers discretion over when to record an encounter.

The ACLU took issue with several provisions in the new policy, but perhaps the most concerning to the civil-rights group was a stipulation that reads: “Generally, officers should not record informal or casual encounters with members of the public.”

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at 06:39 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 06.16.2014 43 days ago

Todd Gloria compromises on minimum wage

But mayor, Chamber of Commerce remain opposed

- By Kelly Davis
What a difference a few days—and a few bucks—makes. On June 5, Harry Schwartz, who owns the Gaslamp Ace Hardware, offered up his storefront for a joint Chamber of Commerce / San Diego County Taxpayers Association press conference to point out flaws in a proposed local hike in the minimum wage. Schwartz said that his business, which already pays workers above the state minimum, wouldn't be able to absorb any additional increases. 

Today, Schwartz was at City Hall to support of a scaled-back wage-increase proposal by City Council President Todd Gloria.

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at 04:22 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 06.13.2014 46 days ago

District Attorney's office won't release Azano letter of recommendation

Reasons range from privacy laws to protective order

- By Kelly Davis
Earlier this month, District Attorney candidate Bob Brewer asked a federal judge to release a letter of recommendation that DA Bonnie Dumanis wrote on behalf of Edward Susumo Azano, the son of a wealthy Mexican businessman at the center of a campaign-finance scandal. The letter, dated Sept. 28, 2012, and written on official District Attorney letterhead, was addressed to University of San Diego president Mary Lyons; it had been sealed as part of the U.S. Attorney's corruption probe.

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at 06:58 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 

 

 
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