By Doug Porter
Police Chief Bill Lansdowne called a press conference yesterday evening to announce yet another reported incident of sexual misconduct involving a SDPD officer.
One of the women contacting the SDPD following allegations against officer Christopher Hays, provided information leading to yet another officer, who is now under investigation for allegedly touching and exposing himself to a female arrestee.
The chief told the assembled press that the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues. “We are doing everything we should be doing in this case,” Lansdowne said, and repeated an earlier plea for any other potential victims or witnesses to come forward to report wrongdoing
Voice of San Diego reported yesterday that Lansdowne’s promise to bring in an independent auditor bypassed the city’s own office in charge of such things.
That was news to San Diego Independent Auditor Eduardo Luna, the guy typically in charge of these sorts of things. He hadn’t heard of Lansdowne’s request until it hit the paper.
“As the city’s independent auditor, I welcome having a role in it if that’s what the City Council and the mayor desires,” Luna said.
The terms of the outside SDPD review will determine the worthiness of the entire exercise. Control over an audit’s scope, findings and follow-through matters significantly to its credibility and capacity to usher in change. Luna’s involvement could be one way to ensure its independence.
It’s become apparent auditor independence and mandatory requirements for procedural and structural changes are the two things Lansdowne and his enablers at city hall want to avoid. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is fighting a furious legal battle against demands by an earlier sexual assault victim that an outside monitor be brought in to oversee practices in the SDPD.
Liam Dillon’s story at VOSD says the SDPD chief’s idea for bringing in an outside auditor is based on a similar move made by Philadelphia following a spike in police-involved shootings.
Via Philly.com, whose reporting prompted Philadelphia’s Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to review his department’s use of force policy:
By inviting the DOJ to work with the department, instead of waiting for the feds to take action, Ramsey headed off what could have been forced changes and years of oversight. And by taking the first step, the department is also likely to avoid court involvement and potential embarrassment.
There’s one huge difference between the situations in Philadelphia and San Diego. The audit of Ramsey’s department was triggered by a short term (2012) series of incidents. Chief Lansdowne’s problems go back over a decade, according to allegations made in several cases regarding sexual misconduct.
What we are talking about here is a culture of misogyny, that has impacted everything from on-the-job harassment (in the sex crimes unit!) to a police officer feeling free to share cell phone photos of his “conquests” with his co-workers.
Mayor elect Kevin Faulconer issued a nice generic statement following last evening’s press conference:
“Ensuring confidence and trust in the San Diego Police Department is my top priority. San Diegans will see that this is the immediate focus of my administration when I take office.”
It’s time to bring in an outside set of eyes. Will any local politician be willing to stand up for justice here?
Dead Tree Television Gets Pulped
Oh, the synergies they were going to create… Grizzled veteran reporters all cleaned up filing reports on shows hosted by prettified talking heads… Roger Hedgecock becoming the Rush Limbaugh of Cable TV… And who could forget the promises of national distribution for their content?..At last! Fox News was going to get the competition the American public was so clearly yearning for…
Now UT-TV won’t even be on cable. One commenter at the UT website wisecracked that their sole viewer must have died.
From the UT-San Diego announcement:
“The move toward an all-digital format is the next evolution for U-T TV,” said U-T San Diego, president and COO, Mike Hodges. “We will continue to innovate our market-leading news report on video and digital platforms, continuing the entrepreneurial spirit in which we launched this division.”
U-T San Diego’s move follows a trend in advertising dollars shifting to digital platforms. Research firm eMarketer estimated spending on video ads that air on PCs and mobile devices will reach $4.14 billion this year, more than double 2011 levels. By 2017, spending will more than double again, to $9.06 billion.
“We are projecting over a 30 percent gain in year over year digital revenue growth in 2014,” said Hodges. “U-T TV will be a key driver of that success.”
Remember that number folks: 30%.
I should have known something was up. UT-TV followed me on Twitter this week.
Gonzalez Goes for the VOTE Act
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) announced the Assembly Bill 1873, known as the “Voting Ought To be Easy Act” yesterday. The law would allow California’s counties and cities to conduct special elections for legislative and municipal offices entirely by mail ballot, but would require them to provide full postage for all returned ballots if they choose to exercise the mail-only option.
Gonzalez’s office pointed out via press release that elections that don’t coincide with major statewide elections – like June primaries and November general elections – result in low voter participation and high costs for county election offices, which spend upwards of millions of dollars to set up polling locations and staff Election Day when local contests aren’t consolidated with a statewide election.
“Voters are more likely to participate in special elections if we give them several weeks to cast their ballots as opposed to a matter of hours on Election Day,” Gonzalez said. “By paying for the postage to return their completed ballot and providing voters an extended amount of time, the VOTE Act innovates our democracy in a way that will result in better access and participation – and that’s a good thing for California.”
Her office pointed out the cost for every in-person voter casting a ballot in the 40th Senate District special election last March cost $221.43, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. For every mail ballot counted in that race, the taxpayer cost was only $8.73. (via San Diego Politico)
Oh Lookie Here! Jim Crow Laws for Gay People in Arizona
The Arizona Senate has passed a Republican-backed bill that expands the rights of people to assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays and others.
Democrats and civil rights groups opposed the bill being pushed by social conservatives, saying it would allow discriminatory actions by businesses.
But GOP Sen. Steve Yarbrough of Chandler says his push was prompted by a New Mexico case where the state Supreme Court allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to take pictures of their wedding. He says he’s protecting religious rights…
…A similar bill is making its way through the House.
Dispatches From the Minimum Wage Battlefront…
Gap, America’s largest clothing-focused chain in America, has declared it will raise its wages to $10 an hour by next year. This change, which will affect over 65,000 workers (including those at Gap’s Old Navy and Banana Republic), comes ahead of a potential increase of the federal minimum wage to $10.10. (Via UFCW.org)
Walmart was quick to deny it was considering pay raises for its employees in the wake of The Gap announcement….Karma, baby…
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. offered a weak profit outlook Thursday, signaling that it expects economic pressures to keep weighing on its low-income shoppers around the world.
The world’s largest retailer also said its fourth-quarter profit, which covers the crucial holiday season, dropped 21 percent. Its Wal-Mart stores recorded their fourth consecutive quarter of declines in revenue at stores open at least a year…
….the discounter acknowledged that the Nov. 1 expiration of a temporary boost in government food stamps is also hurting customers’ ability to spend. Wal-Mart said that excluding the impact from the reduction of the food stamp program, revenue at stores opened at least a year would have been unchanged from a year ago. (Via Associated Press)
Meanwhile, over at Walmart’s competitor Costco, a company that actually pays it employees enough to live on, things were looking up.
Costco Wholesale Corp’s January same-store sales beat market expectations, even as the warehouse club retailer recorded weak fuel prices and lower international sales in dollar terms.
Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4 percent in the four weeks ended Feb. 2, including the negative impact of gasoline sales and foreign currency. (Via Reuters)
On This Day: 1809 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government was greater than that of any individual state. 1962 – John Glenn made space history when he orbited the world three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes. He was the first American to orbit the Earth. He was aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule. 1997 – Ben and Jerry’s introduced a their ice cream Phish Food, named after the rock group Phish.
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