/Morning Report: DA Slams SDPD’s Rape Kit Procedures

Morning Report: DA Slams SDPD’s Rape Kit Procedures

District Attorney Summer Stephan / Photo by Megan Wood

Not only does District Attorney Summer Stephan say that no one in her office signed off on SDPD’s March decision to begin analyzing some rape kits with less rigorous testing procedures, she also says that no one there even knew it was happening.

But that’s not Stephan’s only complaint with SDPD’s rape kit policies, as she told Voice of San Diego during a Tuesday interview.

She also criticized the department’s process for deciding which ones deserve to be tested.

The time has come for SDPD to abandon its long-held position that it is not worthwhile to test all rape kits, Stephan argued, and accept guidance from the Department of Justice advising departments to test all kits, not make subjective decision about which ones should be tested.

Stephan’s comments are not just a rebuke to SDPD over its decision to lower testing standards for some kits, which Voice of San Diego revealed last week. She went far beyond that, blasting the department’s entire approach to rape kits, going back years.

Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, who chairs the Council’s committee on public safety, also said she’s been talking to SDPD’s chief over the issue and said the city needs to do better.

Children’s Museum Employees: Adults Have Rights Too

Workers at the New Children’s Museum are organizing

More than half of the museum’s workers filed an official petition to unionize with the National Labor Relations Council on Friday, reports VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans. 

The workers notified management at the museum of their move to unionize, but management has yet to respond or recognized the new group. 

The lowest paid museum employees make $12.50 an hour, while the highest paid employee makes $97.82 an hour, according to a website created by the organizing employees.

If the new union is officially recognized, it would represent the first museum workers’ union in San Diego. Earlier this year, workers at the Guggenheim Museum in New York successfully organized. They have been in contact with workers at the New Children’s Museum to offer support. 

  • A new exhibition by photographer and mixed media artist John Brinton Hogan features photography with a distorted, embellished human component. He paints over humans or human objects with bright, glittery paint. In this week’s Culture Report, Dixon Evans describes the work as striking. It’s also a bit alien as it calls attention to both the way humans use nature and the subjective influence of the artist.

White House Meeting to Talk Shit

San Diego officials made their case to the Trump administration on Tuesday that the federal government needs to help stop the repeated spills of sewage across the border into Tijuana.  

County Supervisor Greg Cox – who attended the meeting along with the mayors of San Diego, Imperial Beach and Coronado and the chairman of the Port of San Diego – said officials from the White House were familiar with the spill issue. Cox said San Diego’s strongest argument seems to be that the spills are affecting the health of Border Patrol agents and the ability of Navy SEALS to train in coastal waters.

“I think that’s been an element that there has been a great deal of interest in,” Cox said.

For years, San Diego officials have complained about the spills, which are leaks of sewage from Tijuana’s inadequate sewage system into the binational Tijuana River that empties into the ocean on the American side of the border. The spills often close South Bay beaches.

But little has been done to solve the problem. Over the past few weeks, tens of millions of gallons of sewage-filled water has come across the border, despite recent dry weather.

Now, there seems to be enough pressure locally and perhaps enough interest nationally to do something. Cox is pushing for a $400 million water treatment system that will capture and clean water as it runs into the United States.

He’s looking at several different bills pending in Congress that could help pay for such a fix.

Other politicians have taken a different tactic. San Diego and Imperial have sued the federal government for not doing enough to prevent the spills. The county and Coronado have not, something for which they’ve been criticized.

But Cox said it was easier for him to get the meeting – even though he brought mayors from cities that sued – because the county hadn’t. He said funding for cleanup projects could be part of an eventual settlement.

San Diego’s Congressional Reps Respond to Impeachment News

Congressional Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump over allegations that he pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a potential political rival. At least two San Diego reps are on board.

“To not move forward would make Congress complicit in the President’s behavior,” said Rep. Susan Davis in a statement.

Democrats have given the acting director of national intelligence until Thursday to turn over a whistle-blower complaint and they’ve threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for documents, the New York Times reports.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez also tweeted part of a text message exchange suggesting Rep. Juan Vargas is supportive of impeachment too. 

Rep. Duncan Hunter, shockingly, is not a fan

Politifest 2019 Is Upon Us!

The deadline to buy discounted tickets to San Diego’s greatest public affairs summit of all time is end-of-day Thursday. Get ‘em here, folks.

We also released the lineup of panels and speakers. There will be lots and lots of discussions on housing, transit and homelessness. One of our panels — about gentrification within Latino communities — will be entirely in Spanish, with English translation available. And we’ll close it all off with a San Diego mayoral debate and live podcast taping. 

In Other News

Correction

Tuesday’s story on the New Children’s Museum’s employees’ unionization efforts misspelled the name of Anabel Arauz, the group’s representative at IBEW Local 465. The story also initially misidentified the East Coast group that New Children’s Museum employees have been in touch with. It is the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Jesse Marx and Ry Rivard, and edited by Sara Libby.