Keep up the great work exposing bad cops from both the Sheriff's Department and the San Diego PD [“Shocking Consequences,” Sept. 16]. Years ago I served on the San Diego Police Department Advisory Committee for North County and while I firmly believe that the majority of citizens who serve in departments nationwide are above reproach, we all know that in every department there are the bad apples who not only should have never been hired in the first place, but once hired should be suspended and fired once incidents that are not in the public interest are investigated and documented.
Police have a tough job, but those in uniform chose that profession and should abide by the law, not by personal ideology or any other metric regarding race, economic status or other subjective belief that consistently gets them into trouble and costs local government millions of dollars in lawsuits for actions that any real law enforcement professional could easily avoid.
Today, there is a national epidemic of “police brutality” across our great country and elected officials should be forced to address it, particularly in San Diego. We have a documented history of police incidents going back many years and while leaders have changed, the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same…” seems to apply here.
The City of San Diego has instituted a limited use of police body cameras, however, the public has no access to the footage. How does this help? We all know that software can be easily altered…third-party oversight is needed.
What we need for both the city and the county is a dedicated Office of Inspector General with a charter to investigate and prosecute acts of police violence that result in harm to citizens they're sworn to “serve and protect.”
Tom Graham, San Diego
THE HOMELESS CYCLE
Your editorial [“A champion for the homeless,” Sept. 30] espousing “a champion/ czar/leader with political clout” for the homeless issue causes me to ask: Did the last homeless “commissioner” aka czar we had in our city fail? Termed-out city councilmember Brian Maienschein (with nothing now to do) stepped into a lead role in solving this annual/perennial conundrum. He was so enamored with this position he asked that he be anointed as “the commissioner,” and those who were hip-deep into this challenge gladly agreed to, for now someone would be “in charge.”
What his compensation was is unknown. However, as soon as he could bail out and run for the state Assembly, he did. What was his legacy? What did he accomplish? If he was so committed to being the commissioner why did he run away when the task was not anywhere near resolved? Are we back to square one? It would be good to see who ALL the players are today in this never-ending saga. Does that list include, besides the usual lineup of orgs like the Alpha Project, St. Vincent de Paul, the San Diego Rescue Mission and the VA of America, orgs like the Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the San Diego Rotary Club, the United Way?
If not, why not? Does solving the homeless issue include the homeless who have taken up “residence” in Pacific Beach, in La Jolla, in El Cajon, in Escondido, in Oceanside? If not, why not? Shouldn't we citizens know just how many taxpayer and other org dollars are being spent annually on a problem with no solution?
Maybe CityBeat can be the lead “media mover” to get this issue off dead center and on its way to a resolution! No one else in the media seems to want to do that. Lou Cumming, La Jolla
The Sept. 30 issue was excellent, but I have a few disagreements with the “A champion for the homeless” editorial. Both the city and county use a poor definitions for what a “homeless” person is, and the Regional Task Force numbers are bad guesses at best, measuring how well the homeless can hide (or not). Most homeless do not admit same, plus everyone is trying to hide.
Our numbers have the homeless in San Diego up 10 percent in one year.
Project 25 has some cost savings, but it is administered in awkward ways that do not help nor even affect most homeless. Worst of all, we of the intelligent homeless are ignored both by the agencies that try to help, and by the conventional news media, when we try to introduce some reality into the situation. We know the problems better than the government and nonprofits. Good editorial, nonetheless. Thanks.
I never imagined that CityBeat, trying to save money (in an economic climate that has all newspapers struggling) would actually emerge better than it was. Keep up your good work.
John Kitchin, Publisher, San Diego Homeless News