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Roundtable: Sara Kruzan Is Out, Mayoral Plans Are In, City Moves Forward On New EMS Provider

Audio

Aired 11/1/13

HOST

Mark Sauer

GUESTS

Amita Sharma, KPBS News

Sara Libby, Voice of San Diego

Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego CityBeat

Transcript

Sara Kruzan Out of Prison

Sara Kruzan, who was sentenced at the age of 17 to die in prison, is free. Kruzan was convicted of killing her pimp in a Riverside motel.

She contended that he had sexually and physically abused her and groomed her from the age of 10 to work as a child prostitute. The judge acknowledged her horrific life but said the crime of first-degree murder warranted a life conviction.

Human Rights Watch posted an interview with Kruzan on YouTube in 2010 in which she tells her story and yet expresses remorse. She says, yes, she deserves prison, but asks: for how long?

The video resulted in Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger commuting her sentence to 25 years to life, giving her the possibility of parole.

In January 2013, a Riverside judge reduced her murder conviction to second-degree, making her immediately eligible for parole. Governor Jerry Brown signed her parole order and, after 19 years in prison, she was released on Thursday, Oct. 31, from Chowchilla prison.

Had Kruzan committed this crime today, many legal experts believe her sentence would have been much more lenient. Because it was so harsh, her case became a cause celébré for advocates of softer prison sentences for juveniles.

By all accounts, Kruzan was a model prisoner, earning an associate's degree from a community college and exhibiting both maturity and possibility.

California State Senator Leland Yee sponsored two successful bills because of the Kruzan case. One provides that juveniles already sentenced to life without parole may now seek new sentence hearings. The other mandates that parole boards give special consideration to juveniles tried as adults who have served more than 15 years.

Mayoral Plans In Vogue

San Diego's top three mayoral candidates, Councilman Kevin Faulconer, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and Councilman David Alvarez, have all released plans -- lots of them. The major theme here seems to be neighborhoods, as opposed to downtown business and development plans.

There are plans to create jobs and create green jobs. There are plans to strengthen police and fire departments and, somewhat redundantly, keep neighborhoods safe.

All candidates want to fill pot holes, repair sidewalks and — again with the redundancy — tackle the city's very large array of backlogged infrastructure projects.

Not to leave any stone unturned, there are plans to give more attention to neglected neighborhoods, protect water quality, find more water, form partnerships with schools, grow the cross-border economy, eliminate bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and improve transparency.

In addition to all that, Alvarez, Faulconer, Fletcher and former city attorney Mike Aguirre were asked by UT-San Diego Watchdog to release their college transcripts to the media. Alvarez and Faulconer did. Aguirre is working on it. Fletcher said no. Now the question is: So what?

City Goes Forward With EMS RFP

The city of San Diego finally made a decision this week — postponed at least twice — on what do do about its 911 ambulance service. Many city officials were unhappy with the contract with current provider Rural/Metro (except, perhaps, Rural/Metro itself), a contract with a loophole that allows the company’s ambulances to routinely arrive late to 911 calls without penalty.

On Wednesday, Mayor Todd Gloria decided to go ahead with the bidding process for a new provider and issue the delayed request for proposals. The RFP was put on hold by Mayor Jerry Sanders in late 2012 and again this year by Mayor Bob Filner, who wanted to explore having the fire department submit a bid. San Diego Fire and Rescue could not bid to provide emergency services because the department had helped craft the RFP.

The decision to go ahead with the current RFP means SDFR still cannot submit a bid at this point.

Rural/Metro will be offered a contract extension until a new provider is selected. City Council members have said they want the terms of the extension to include fines and penalties for late arrivals to emergency calls.

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