San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna says the National Family Justice Center Alliance (NFJCA)—a nonprofit that provides technical assistance to organizations that work with domestic-violence victims—is thwarting his attempts to complete an audit by withholding certain financial documents, citing its nonprofit status as the reason.
The audit comes after a Nov. 19, 2012, report from the San Diego City Attorney's office to the mayor and City Council. In it, the City Attorney says two agreements between the NFJCA and the city's Family Justice Center are illegal because they failed to go through the proper approval process. The report prompted Luna to audit the nonprofit. He told CityBeat that the NFJCA provided some financial statements, but then refused to release remaining documents. Meanwhile, the City Attorney's office is conducting its own investigation.
The San Diego County Grand Jury issued its annual inspection reports for the regional jail system, praising the San Diego County Sheriff for its "efficiency and dedication of the staff at each of the county detention facilities."
But would those remarks glow so brightly if the Grand Jury—a body of 19 citizens empaneled to investigate complaints against public officials and inspect detention facilities—had received accurate information about deaths in the county’s jails?
The San Diego Unified School District is re-evaluating its zero-tolerance policy, under which students are automatically suspended or expelled for certain actions, like bringing a firearm, drugs or alcohol to school. District spokesperson Linda Zintz told CityBeat that families have raised concerns that the policy's too harsh and doesn't take into account things like a student's socio-economic background and whether it's a first-time offense.
Nationwide, most districts are scaling back on zero-tolerance policies, said Chief Student Services Officer Joe Fulcher at a San Diego Unified School District board meeting on April 23. The American Civil Liberties Union, American Psychological Association and American Bar Association have all advocated for abolishing or limiting zero-tolerance policies, he said.
"Some of the opponents are talking more about the students being unfairly punished," Fulcher said. "The disproportionate number of students of color who are affected, student immaturity or lack of development is not a consideration in some cases, kids make mistakes, and we can't treat seventh graders like we do 11th graders."
Zero-tolerance policies developed en masse after Congress enacted the Gun-Free Schools Act in 1994. Many districts expanded on the legislation, passing policies that covered acts of violence and defined what was considered a weapon, Fulcher said. There is no legal definition of zero-tolerance, he added.
The San Diego Police Department, meanwhile, has advocated for limiting out-of-school suspensions. Police Chief William Lansdowne said in an interview that the department has been working with school districts to encourage in-school, as opposed to out-of-school, suspensions. The overall goal is to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system, he said.
At a Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention meeting on April 18, Lansdowne said that burglaries in particular were increasing across the city, partly due to out-of-school suspensions.
For the past couple of months, the United Way of San Diego County has been searching for a successor to Brian Maienschein, who, since 2009, has been the local United Way's commissioner of the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. Maienschein stepped down from the post last November when he was elected to the state Assembly.
It turns out that Maienschein won't be replaced by a person, but, rather, a company. The United Way has hired LeSar Development Consultants, owned by real-estate developer, affordable-housing advocate and former Centre City Development Corp. board member Jennifer LeSar to take over and expand the program. LeSar is also the spouse of state Assembly Majority Leader and former San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins, who's long been an advocate for affordable housing. One of LeSar's tasks will be to lobby all levels of government for additional funding for affordable housing.
Maienschein's primary success as PTECH commissioner was the launch of Project 25, which identified the 25 most vulnerable and expensive—in terms of taxpayer-funded emergency healthcare and law-enforcement—homeless people and put them up in apartments with supportive services. The program has grown to 36 clients.
Recently, LeSar has been immersed in efforts to reduce chronic homelessness Downtown, working under a contract with the Downtown San Diego Partnership to help lead and implement the agency's Ending Homelessness in Downtown program, which started in 2011 by housing 125 chronically homelessness people and has grown since.
After Seattle-based Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. wrote in a Jan. 11 letter that Coronado Brewing Co. shouldn’t be marketing a beer called “Islander IPA” in the Seattle area and state of Washington, the Coronado brewer responded a week later saying it had trademarks for “Islander” and a copy of the registration.
On Friday, Coronado Brewing sued Maritime Pacific for trademark infringement.
Coronado Brewing has been using “Islander” since 2005, began interstate use of the term in 2009 and had the term registered in 2011, according to the company’s response to Maritime Pacific. Maritime Pacific, however, said in its Jan. 11 complaint that the family business has marketed “Islander Pale Ale” since as early as 1994.
Maritime Pacific also argued that “Islander” is well-known among the company’s customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. The company also threatened legal proceedings if necessary.
Paul Grandinetti, a Washington, D.C. attorney whose firm is representing Coronado Brewing said the firm has told Maritime Pacific that they're welcome to keep using the term “Islander” and associated logos or elements, but only within the Seattle area.