Roundtable: DeMaio’s Calendar, Convention Center Finances, Tuite’s Case, “Conversion Therapy”
Friday, October 5, 2012
Aired 10/5/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Lorie Hearn, KPBS/I-Newsource
Liam Dillon, Voice of San Diego
Greg Moran, U-T San Diego
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News
The issue is one of transparency. If a major developer with major plans for the city meets several times with a candidate for mayor, does the public have a right to know? And if those meetings are listed in his personal, rather than official, calendar, what then?
KPBS/I-Newsource received 17 pages of Carl DeMaio’s personal calendar which documented two meetings, one with Manchester and one with Manchester and U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch. The calendar is important because of an e-mail Lynch sent to Port Commissioner Scott Peters saying that he and Manchester had support from a mayoral candidate for their desire to develop the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal.
DeMaio said that candidate wasn’t him.
DeMaio has promoted and advocated government transparency since he was elected to the city council in 2008. But he did not disclose two meetings with a major developer, and did not release his personal calendars and e-mails to KPBS when the station made a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Personal e-mail accounts and calendars are often not discovered through public records requests. There is disagreement over whether personal calendars and e-mails of public officials are public records.
Convention Center Financing Plan Approved: In a case of deja vu, on Monday, the City Council approved the financing for the expansion of the Convention Center.
They did so on a 7-1 vote (David Alvarez voting no) with the proviso that the city's day-to-day budget be protected.
The city must contribute at least $3.5 million a year toward the expansion, and that money will come from the same budget that funds city services, including police and fire.
The council, led by DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer, wanted assurance that the loan backed by the city is first in line to be paid off . It might not be possible to limit the risk to the city budget in this way, because the expansion also relies on two other loans, from the Port and from a special hotel-room tax. One such attempt already failed.
Will the Port and hoteliers be willing to see the city loan paid off first?
New Trial for Tuite?: The conviction of Richard Tuite for the killing of Stephanie Crowe in Escondido 14 years ago was overturned months ago by a federal court of appeals. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a plea from state prosecutors to review the case.
The state attorney general has until November 7 to announce whether Tuite will be re-tried for manslaughter. If not, he will go free after he finishes his 17-year sentence. Tuite was convicted of manslaughter and acquitted of murder and therefore cannot be re-tried for murder.
The conviction was overturned because the defense was not allowed to question a prosecution witness.
Lawsuit Over Gay Therapy Ban: Last weekend, Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation prohibiting mental health professionals from using psychotherapy to make gay and lesbian youth straight.
On Monday, Donald Welch, a licensed marriage and family therapist, ordained minister at Rancho San Diego's Skyline Church, and teracher at Point Loma Nazarene University, filed suit challenging the law on the basis of the first amendment and equal protection laws.
Welch and others believe the legislation is a result of "psychiatric ignorance" and violates the right of youths to seek the counsel they want. Proponents, including the American Psychiatric Association, say conversion therapy has no basis in medicine or science and that homosexuality is not a "disease" that needs to be cured.