Roundtable: Colorado Theater Massacre, SDPD Budget, Defense Cuts
Friday, July 20, 2012
Aired 7/20/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Guests: Mark Sauer, Senior Editor, KPBS News
John Warren, Editor, Publisher, San Diego Voice and Viewpoint
Keegan Kyle, reporter, Voice of San Diego
Colorado Shooting: A mass shooting in Colorado has left at least 12 people dead and dozens injured. The accused gunman, James Holmes, attended high school in San Diego, and his mother still lives here. Holmes, a PhD student in neurosciences at the University of Colorado, Denver, was arrested as a suspect in the mass shooting at the midnight showing of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Night Rises."
SDPD's $66 Million Plan: Saying the crime rate is rising and will continue to climb unless something changes, the San Diego Police Department has requested a bigger budget.
The SDPD has given the City Council a plan to rebuild the police department over the next five years, to the tune of $66 million. The cost will pay for more uniformed personnel, more civilian staff, new equipment and facility repair. The police have offered statistics to back them the requests: a 12.6 jump in major crimes over the last year.
Crime rates peaked in the 1990s and have descended to record lows, both in San Diego and nationwide. Police chief Lansdowne has expressed his belief that the recent increase in crime is due to budget reductions, more mental-health calls and prison realignment. Others are not so sure, not only about the reasons, but whether there is actually an increase in crime at all.
Defense Cuts Will Hurt San Diego's Economy: If Congress cannot agree on a budget, deep cuts to all departments and programs will kick in in January.
The process known as “sequestration” – automatic budget cuts across the board, part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 – will lead to $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years. If it does, California would lose more jobs than any other state.
The impact of sequestration on San Diego’s economy, which is heavily dependent on military spending, would be severe. Even without the automatic cuts, defense will be cut here. But those planned budget cuts will be greatly offset by the new DoD emphasis on the Asian-Pacific region, which will bring new initiatives to San Diego.
Mayor Jerry Sanders and congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., are among those getting the word out about the potential damage to San Diego and to America’s defense.