Thumbnail image for DA Bonnie Dumanis’ Re-Election Campaign Gets Petty

DA Bonnie Dumanis’ Re-Election Campaign Gets Petty

by Doug Porter 04.18.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Things must be going poorly for incumbent District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in her re-election campaign. While she hasn’t been accused of involvement in the unfolding campaign finance scandal stemming from a foreign donor’s quest to turn our downtown waterfront into another Miami, a whiff of ‘something’s not right here’ remains in the air.

Her re-election effort is facing a stiff challenge from a well-funded opponent who’s managed to nail down endorsements from a large majority of law enforcement-related groups and nearly two dozen former assistant DAs. And her latest gaffe won’t help matters much.

Yesterday, challenger Bob Brewer announced the endorsement of Father Joe Carroll, whose high profile blessing of Kevin Faulconer was well received by voters during the recent mayoral contest. It should have been a blip on the radar of the campaign. Now it’s not.

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Thumbnail image for Dear Parents, You Are Being Lied To

Dear Parents, You Are Being Lied To

by Source 04.07.2014 Culture

By Jennifer Raff / Violent Metaphors

In light of recent outbreaks of measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses, and the refusal of anti-vaccination advocates to acknowledge the problem, I thought it was past time for this post.

Dear parents,

You are being lied to. The people who claim to be acting in the best interests of your children are putting their health and even lives at risk.

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Thumbnail image for Happy 50th Birthday!  Time for a Colonoscopy!

Happy 50th Birthday! Time for a Colonoscopy!

by Source 04.05.2014 Culture

Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

I could see the light coming and it wasn’t a train in a tunnel. It was the fiber-optic luminescence of my gastroenterologist’s endoscope. I knew it was coming, years before the nurse hooked me up to the IV and flushed a cocktail of saline solution and sedatives into my arteries. I knew it because my maternal grandfather died from colon cancer before medical science had put the fiber into optic and endoscope into my rear end.

The day I turned fifty was the day I became a party pooper. “Happy Birthday” may have decorated the German-chocolate cake. It might as well have spelled out dreaded “C- word:” colonoscopy, squeezed out of a tube in brown letters.

Family and friends acted like it was just another birthday, prompting me to make a wish I knew would not come true. I blew out the candles and sat in my private hell waiting for the doctor’s minuscule beam to snake its way toward my drain pipe.

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Thumbnail image for And Why Shouldn’t the Government Force Corporations to Cover Abortion?

And Why Shouldn’t the Government Force Corporations to Cover Abortion?

by Source 03.29.2014 Business

By David Atkins / Hullabaloo

Justice Anthony Kennedy, on whose vote the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS case rests, seems very concerned about the government forcing corporations to cover abortion:

WASHINGTON, DC — Justice Anthony Kennedy thinks gay people are fabulous. All three of the Supreme Court’s most important gay rights decisions were written by Justice Kennedy. So advocates for birth control had a simple task today: convince Kennedy that allowing religious employers to exempt themselves from a federal law expanding birth control access would lead to all kinds of horrible consequences in future cases — including potentially allowing religious business owners to discriminate against gay people.

Kennedy, however, also hates abortion.

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Thumbnail image for We’re Finished. Now What?

We’re Finished. Now What?

by Will Falk 03.28.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

I don’t know how to write this, but it looks like humanity is finished.

Many of us know it in our hearts. We watch as civilization marches us to the edge of the cliff. We look around to find most governments refusing to implement the radical shifts needed to save us and killing those who fight back against these governments. We are searching for the serious resistance movement we have needed for the last sixty years while nothing materializes. Even though we have invented a million reasons why we’ll be saved like the belief in technology or a faith in economics, we know what is happening.

Of course, this culture is suspicious of the implications of any easily observable phenomenon that is not stamped with the approval of the currently dominating priesthood – I mean – scientific community. And, even the scientists have known our doom for decades.

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Thumbnail image for Across America, Attacks on Pregnant Women’s Rights On the Rise

Across America, Attacks on Pregnant Women’s Rights On the Rise

by Source 03.25.2014 Courts, Justice

Marlise Muñoz was removed from life support, but a growing pattern of state intervention in pregnancies threatens women from Alabama to Wisconsin.

By Michele Bratcher Goodwin / Alternet

In Texas, hospital officials refused for over two months to remove 33-year-old Marlise Muñoz, who was declared brain dead, from life support because of her pregnancy. A court ruling on Friday ordered John Peter Smith Hospital to take Munoz off life support in accordance with the family’s wishes, and her body was disconnected from machines on Sunday, Jan. 26.

The tragedy of Muñoz’s case is that it fits a terrible pattern of state interventions in women’s pregnancies.

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Thumbnail image for What Will Happen to Pumbaa, the Shar Pei?

What Will Happen to Pumbaa, the Shar Pei?

by Judi Curry 03.24.2014 Culture

By Judi Curry

Sometimes one hears a story that is so sad that you don’t even want to know the details because you know that you are helpless to do anything about it. Sometimes you hear a story that might have a happy ending if only the right set of circumstances happen in the right amount of time.  Such is the sad tale of Pumbaa.

Just a little background information:  I have a 13 year old Golden Retriever – 91 in adult years – older than me!  He has been having severe hip problems in the last year or so and he is having acupuncture once a week and swim therapy twice a week.

I wrote an earlier article about Trish Penick and her “Cutting Edge K-9 Rehab.”  Because I have a large pool that is now heated, Trish has been working with other dogs, along with Buddy, on a weekly basis.  Some of the dogs that come for therapy come often; some come once in a while.  “Pumbaa”  and his human mother Daisy started coming a few weeks ago.

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Thumbnail image for Increasing San Diego’s Minimum Wage: If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu

Increasing San Diego’s Minimum Wage: If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu

by Doug Porter 03.20.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The ‘Improving Wages and Working Conditions’ measure is set to be introduced at the City Council Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations (EDIR) Committee on Monday morning. In addition to calling for an increase in the minimum wage, the proposed initiative would also guarantee workers up to five earned sick days.

While serving as iMayor, Councilman Todd Gloria made a bold pledge to get a measure before the voters that would raise local minimum wages. He’s now softened that pledge a bit making it clear that the actual amount of any increase is negotiable. And the opening negotiating position for the Chamber of Commerce (and their as yet silent allies) is: Zero.

While advocates and opponents of increasing the minimum wage each have studies that purport to back up their claims, there can be no doubt about the realities that the value of dollars earned by low wage workers has decreased and the unsustainability of trying to eke out a living on the lower end of the payscale in San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for There is Still Time to Enroll in Covered California Health Insurance in San Diego

There is Still Time to Enroll in Covered California Health Insurance in San Diego

by Staff 03.20.2014 Government

By Staff

The March 31st enrollment deadline for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is approaching. The state of California is handling the insurance exchange and enrollment through Covered California. According to the state’s enrollment statistics in February, San Diego has already surpassed its target, reaching 105% of its goal by the end of December.

That doesn’t mean that everyone who is eligible has enrolled. Kaiser Permanente is hosting two events in San Diego, one on Saturday March 22 and the other on Saturday March 29 to assist people who want to enroll.

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Thumbnail image for Hundreds of Tribal Representatives Join Huge Rally to Oppose Fracking

Hundreds of Tribal Representatives Join Huge Rally to Oppose Fracking

by Source 03.19.2014 Activism

“We’re here to stop fracking and the rape of Mother Earth. Water is the life blood of Mother Earth.” 

By Dan Bacher 

Hundreds of indigenous people from California and across the country gathered with a crowd of over 4000 activists at the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 15 to send a clear message to Governor Jerry Brown: ban fracking, an environmentally destructive oil extraction practice that pollutes groundwater, rivers and the oceans. 

The large Tribal contingent included members of the Miwok, Maidu, Winnemem Wintu, Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa Valley, Ohlone, Pit River, Cahto, Round Valley, Pomo and Chumash Nations and other Tribes from throughout the state, as well as members of the Dakota, Lakota Sioux, indigenous communities, native organizations and activists in the Idle No More Movement and Klamath Justice Coalitions. Many Tribal representatives emphasized the direct connection between fracking and the Shasta Dam raise and the Governor’s peripheral tunnels plan, which will provide water for fracking. 

“We should call the Governor ‘Westlands’ Brown,” said Chook Chook Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Justice Coalition, a group that has organized many direct action protests to remove the Klamath dams, halt the violation of tribal gathering rights under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas,” and to stop the Westlands Water District legal attempt to raid Trinity River water. 

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Thumbnail image for More Emphatically Pro-Choice With Every Pregnancy

More Emphatically Pro-Choice With Every Pregnancy

by Source 03.18.2014 Gender

By Molly Westerman / First the Egg

Safe, legal, affordable abortion access is something I’ve felt strongly about since I was a child. I don’t remember quite what brought twelve-year-old, southern, Catholic me to feel that way: it was not exactly taught at my school! But it felt big in my heart, a revulsion at the idea of forced pregnancy and at the rhetoric of the “pro-life” movement around me.

Many years later, I have had two babies. I have held my breath hoping not to miscarry two very-much-wanted pregnancies, hoping to have healthy little humans join our family, and I have been so lucky to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to have unambiguously healthy planned ones. I have felt two beloved fetuses moving inside my body.

It’s interesting to me to hear how individuals’ gut feelings and beliefs about reproductive justice–and specifically about abortion and fetuses–are affected by personal experiences of pregnancy. People seem to expect for folks who’ve birthed babies to question whether terminating a pregnancy is acceptable, at least at an emotional level, as a reaction to All the Love and All the Cute (of which, certainly, there is a great deal).

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Thumbnail image for I Didn’t Beware the Ides of March (and I’m Grateful)

I Didn’t Beware the Ides of March (and I’m Grateful)

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.15.2014 Desde la Logan

Desde la Logan columnist reflects back on an incident 25 years ago.

By Brent E. Beltrán

Twenty-five years ago today my existence changed forever. My physical self was torn asunder whereas my socially conscience self was just beginning on the journey that I am still on. That fateful day in 1989, the ides of March that the Soothsayer warned Julius Caesar about, was the start of my new life. A life that eventually lead me to Barrio Logan and the San Diego Free Press.

In 1989 I was an eighteen year old recent graduate of Clairemont High School. At the time I was attending my second semester at Mesa College and had been working at Vons (now Keil’s) at the Clairemont Village shopping center since I turned sixteen.

I was a typical aimless youth of the era. I worked and went to school but had no real sense of what I wanted to do with my life (who really does at 18?). I was a good worker and I assumed that I would eventually work my way up the ranks of Vons.

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Thumbnail image for Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “I Am Doubling Down On Medical Marijuana”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “I Am Doubling Down On Medical Marijuana”

by Source 03.09.2014 Health

Cannabis prohibition is a “Draconian system where politics override science”

By Paul Armentano / NORML

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is “doubling down” in his advocacy for patients to have legal access to cannabis as a therapeutic agent.

In a commentary featured on the CNN website today, Gupta  writes: “I am more convinced than ever that it is irresponsible to not provide the best care we can, care that often may involve marijuana. I am not backing down on medical marijuana; I am doubling down.”

Last August, Gupta authored a commentary  apologizing for his past opposition to medical cannabis, stating, “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States (in regards to cannabis), and I apologize for my own role in that.”

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Thumbnail image for A Sweet Victory

A Sweet Victory

by Source 03.08.2014 Culture

After two decades of consumer campaigns, the government has agreed to include added sugars on nutrition labels.

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

The Food and Drug Administration recently came out with a sweet surprise. Its proposed new nutrition label will finally give us a bit of key information we need to understand our food: the amount of added sugars.

If you look at a nutrition label now, you will see how many grams of sugar are in a serving of your food. That includes all sugars. It counts the lactose in milk and naturally occurring sugars from fruit. The nutritionally important bit of info for most of us is not total sugars, but added sugars — which include the sweetener we call “sugar” plus others like high-fructose corn syrup and honey.

In addition to the blueberries and the yogurt in your blueberry yogurt, how much sugar did the manufacturer add? If you’re trying to pick the healthiest yogurt or granola bar, that’s a fact you need to know.

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Thumbnail image for Recognize: 58% Of Women Use Birth Control For Reasons Other Than Pregnancy Prevention

Recognize: 58% Of Women Use Birth Control For Reasons Other Than Pregnancy Prevention

by Source 03.08.2014 Activism

By Rajiv Narayan / Upworthy

I’m looking at these graphics, and I’m thinking to myself, “How did we ever put up with health care before the Affordable Care Act?” Were we really cool with paying $600 a year for birth control pills or being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions? Get the word out: The benefits of this law aren’t good, they’re common sense.

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Thumbnail image for Nobody Who Works Full Time in San Diego Should Live in Poverty

Nobody Who Works Full Time in San Diego Should Live in Poverty

by Doug Porter 03.06.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

If you believe the San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce latest outlook, as reported on KPBS,  on the region’s economic health you’d better wear sunglasses because the future’s that bright. Business looks great, especially for the minimum and sub-minimum wage tourism, entertainment and hospitality sector.

On the other hand if you delve into the study entitled “Making Ends Meet 2014,” released this morning by the Center on Policy Initiatives and United Way of San Diego County, keep a box of tissues handy.

Their research quantitatively demonstrates that the cost of a basic, no-frills lifestyle without public or private assistance is beyond the reach of 38% of all working age households in San Diego County. That’s 300,000 households. Even with someone working full-time year-round, or with multiple part-time earners, about 1 in 4 households in the region have incomes too low to cover the basic costs of living.

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Thumbnail image for A New Era Begins for San Diego, Just Like the Old Era (With a Few Deletions)

A New Era Begins for San Diego, Just Like the Old Era (With a Few Deletions)

by Doug Porter 03.03.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

By the time you read this City Councilman Kevin Faulconer will have taken the oath of office to become San Diego’s 36th Mayor. He will, I think, have about a nine month honeymoon prior to starting his reelection campaign for 2016.

UT-San Diego’s been busy trying to setting the tone with its editorials over the past few days, urging the Democratic Majority on the City Council to appoint a Republican to replace Faulconer, pleading for Council President Todd Gloria to be the new mayor’s ‘bi-partisan partner in reform,” and cheerleading for further policies to privatize public services.

Lost amid the ceremonies and promises of better times are the moves being made to insulate the politics of ‘business as usual’ from public disclosure. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s successful efforts to derail an Open Government initiative and the iMayor’s last-minute issuance of a policy destroying city emails after one year are examples of the true nature of bi-partisan cooperation at the highest levels in local government.

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Thumbnail image for Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

by Source 02.28.2014 Government

By Harvey Wasserman / Common Dreams

A stunning new report indicates the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago.

If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy.

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Thumbnail image for Obama Administration Announces Banking Guidelines for Marijuana Business

Obama Administration Announces Banking Guidelines for Marijuana Business

by Source 02.22.2014 Business

By Phillip Smith / Stop The Drug War

The Obama administration Thursday afternoon announced new guidelines that will allow financial institutions to provide services to marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. The guidelines will apply to both medical marijuana and legal marijuana states.

Some 20 states and the District of Columbia allow for medical marijuana, while two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized marijuana commerce for adults.

Banks and other financial institutions have been increasingly unwilling to deal with marijuana-related businesses for fear of breaking federal laws. That has led to an untenable situation where marijuana businesses are forced to deal in large amounts of cash.

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Thumbnail image for It’s Health Care, Not Software

It’s Health Care, Not Software

by Source 02.22.2014 Health

The initial and temporary difficulty millions of Americans suffered when they first tried to sign up doesn’t matter.

By Mitchell Zimmerman / Other Words

So the Affordable Care Act didn’t exactly deliver the greatest website. What did we get after all those years of haggling?

Only health insurance for 9 million people (and counting) who didn’t have it before. Only an end to pre-existing medical conditions keeping you from getting health coverage. Only insurance for young adults under their parents’ policies, a requirement that your health policy cover preventive care, and health insurance plans that don’t cost any more for the vast majority of Americans — and are somewhat more expensive for a tiny minority who are, in exchange, getting better health coverage.

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Thumbnail image for NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

by Andy Cohen 02.10.2014 Health

Draft prospect from Missouri will test the sports world’s readiness to join the rest of us in the 21st Century.

By Andy Cohen

By now you’ve probably heard that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out to the national press yesterday as gay.  Sam is an NFL prospect—projected by some to be picked as high as the third round—hoping to earn a paycheck as a professional football player next Fall, and should he make an NFL roster, he will become the first openly gay player in any of the major pro sports in the United States (sorry, the MLS doesn’t count quite yet).

Sam’s draft stock will be the topic of conversation from now until the NFL season begins next September.  Attitudes are changing about the LGBT community; acceptance of LGBT people is now almost a given, something unthinkable 10 years ago.  Poll after poll show that by a large majority Americans now accept the rights of gays to marry, with 17 states having legalized gay marriage, the federal government having disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Attorney General Eric Holder having recently announced that the DOJ will fully recognize same sex couples, ensuring them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

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Thumbnail image for Cue the Crazy: What Are They Smoking at Fox News?

Cue the Crazy: What Are They Smoking at Fox News?

by Doug Porter 02.06.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

One of the big stories in the media this week concerns the decision by CVS/Caremark to discontinue selling tobacco products at its 7600 stores. In the short term this move will cost the company $2 billion a year in sales,or about 1.5% of their total volume.

I expected to see debate over whether this was a prudent business decision. After all, no good capitalist likes to walk away from a profit. And questions about the viability of the company’s long term strategy are to be expected. Will a large enough number of consumers actually react positively to the concept of hard-core retailing of health care?

I also expected the ‘yahoo’ element to chime in, filling comment sections with trollish chatter about how, liquor, candy and sodas would probably be next. But I was astonished at how quickly Fox News spun this story into yet another Obama-centric controversy.

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Thumbnail image for The Water Crisis: Dealing With the Shower Police

The Water Crisis: Dealing With the Shower Police

by Will Falk 02.06.2014 Culture

By Will Falk

I have a problem with some of the people I call the “shower police.” These are the people yelling about how we all need to take shorter showers because of the water crisis. They deem anyone a hypocrite who accuses corporations and the government of being the worst water offenders while not enthusiastically letting a night of the strongest urine fester in their bathrooms.

My problem with the shower police is not that they’re wrong that we all need to live as simply as possible. We do. My problem with that shower police is not that they’re wrong that we all must endure much more than funky bathrooms. We will.

My problem is that the shower police often confuse personal change with social change.

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Thumbnail image for New Study Finds Worrisome Pattern of Birth Defects in Fracking Communities

New Study Finds Worrisome Pattern of Birth Defects in Fracking Communities

by Source 02.06.2014 Environment

By Miriam Rotkin-Ellman/Switchboard–Natural Resources Defense Council

Science has long known that the developing fetus is sensitive to experiences of the mother – alcohol consumption, dietary factors, and mercury exposure are some of the more well-known examples.  This sensitivity makes newborn babies an early indicator of something going wrong in the environment of the mother.  Unfortunately, a team of researchers found preliminary evidence of something gone wrong when they looked at the patterns of birth defects in newborn babies in Colorado.  The researchers found that babies whose mothers lived in close proximity to multiple oil and gas wells were 30% more likely to be born with defects in their heart than babies born to mothers who did not live close to oil and gas wells.

As a public health scientist, this finding raises alarm bells and leads to many questions.  This is the first published peer reviewed study realistically examining whether people living near sites where fracking has occurred are experiencing more health impacts.  The fact that it found a statistically significant association, is very worrisome especially in combination with early reports of similar findings from a study in Pennsylvania. Although these types of studies can’t tell us definitively that pollution from oil and gas wells is the cause of the elevated birth defects, the findings of this study are like a flashing light saying something is going on here and we need to take action to make sure our most vulnerable are protected.  In fact, it is studies like this one that have ultimately led to the understanding we now have of how to protect pregnant women and ensure healthier babies.

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Thumbnail image for City Attorney Ploy to ‘Slut Shame’ Woman Sexually Assaulted by Cop Backfires

City Attorney Ploy to ‘Slut Shame’ Woman Sexually Assaulted by Cop Backfires

by Doug Porter 02.04.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

“Jane Doe” is one of thirteen women who sued the City of San Diego following the arrest of SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos for sexually assaulting women while on duty by threatening them with arrest. It was her courage in filing a complaint that triggered an investigation leading to an arrest of the officer.

Yesterday reporters with 10News revealed that taxpayer dollars, authorized by the City Attorney’s office, were used to hire a private investigator to follow and videotape Jane Doe over a 23 day period. The investigator’s report, uncovered during the discovery process, clearly indicates the intention to portray her as ‘wanton woman.’

Twelve of the victims have settled their lawsuits, with payouts totalling $2.3 million. Jane Doe has stood fast, even as City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has portrayed her in the news media as a gold digger.  The real issue at hand is the young woman’s demand that the city create an independent monitor at the San Diego Police Department to watch for corruption. She and her attorneys claim there were several reports and accusations Arevalos engaged in similar misconduct over a decade.

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