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Carlsbad Music Festival and Village Music Walk Sep 19, 2014 Now in its 11th year, this year's fest will feature over 50 performances in three days with concerts in Magee Park and Carlsbad Village Theater. Almost all genres are represented, from country and jazz to indie-rock and classical. 76 other events on Friday, September 19
 
Check 1, Check 2 | Music & nightlife
Band plays live for first time in 20 years
Concerts
Bands coming to town and just-announced shows
Film
New indie from Lenny Abrahamson tops our coverage of movies screening around town
Editorial
Lying signature gatherers add to undemocratic referendum process

 

 
 
Home / Blogs / Staff Blogs / Last Blog on Earth
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.12.2014 6 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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at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 09.10.2014 8 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 12 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 13 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 27 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
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 08.01.2014 48 days ago

Top city planner Bill Fulton resigns

Abrupt departure raises question about the future of smart growth in San Diego

- By Joshua Emerson Smith

Confirming months of rumors, Bill Fulton, planning director for the city of San Diego, submitted his letter of resignation, according to a memo released Friday by Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office. Hired last summer by then-Mayor Bob Filner, the city’s top planner will step down Aug. 30 to take a position as the director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston.

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at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.30.2014 50 days ago

'Hammer' Jones is reporting to prison today

An update on this week's cover story

- By David Rolland

Here's an update to this week’s cover story in CityBeat about Lorne "Hammer" Jones, written by the author of the story, Andrew Gumbel:

Lorne Jones, the convicted former customs inspector whose case is subject of CityBeat's July 30 cover story, is reporting to federal prison today, more than three weeks ahead of the self-surrender date of Aug. 22 imposed by the San Diego District Court, and will serve no more than one-third of the time to which he was sentenced in March.

“I’m tired of fighting,” Jones told CityBeat from Reno, an hour’s drive from the Herlong Federal Correctional Institution, where he has been assigned by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). “There’s things I could still do, but I just want this to be over.”

Jones said he believed he was innocent of the charges on which he was convicted. He was further upset that the BOP was assigning him to a medium-security facility when a sentencing agreement worked out with the prosecution last month—and since made public by the court in an amended judgment—specifically called for the low-security prison at Taft, in Kern County, which is several hundred miles closer to his family in San Diego.

The amended judgment is dated July 11, the date of the hearing that Jones and his lawyer were clearly preparing for, and it cuts his time from 90 months, or seven-and-a-half years, to 30 months, or two-and-a-half years. Technically, he’s now sentenced to serve 30 months on each of the two counts—conspiracy and attempted marijuana-smuggling—on which he was convicted, but the agreement makes clear the two sentences are to be served concurrently.

Jones said he expected to be out in less than two years, allowing for time served after his arrest and before he made bail, and assuming he wins credit for good behavior.

The reason why his sentence was abruptly cut by two-thirds, even though he waived his right to appeal, remains shrouded in mystery. Nominally, the reason for the reduced sentence was Rule 35 (b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which refers to a circumstance in which a defendant offers “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.” But a legal source familiar with the case told CityBeat the reason was something more unusual, “like lightning striking”—curiously, the very phrase the government used at trial to describe one of its strongest pieces of circumstantial evidence.

at 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments
 
 
Last Blog on Earth | News 07.28.2014 52 days 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 58 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 65 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
 
 

 

 
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