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Roundtable On Useless SDPD Surveillance System, No Convention Center Expansion, San Diego Court Backlogs


No SDPD Surveillance, Convention Center Expansion, Relief for Court Budgets


Mark Sauer


Andrew Keatts, Voice Of San Diego

Liam Dillon, Voice Of San Diego

Doug Sherwin, San Diego Daily Transcript


No Snaps For SDPD Camera Surveillance

“Secure San Diego,” a surveillance network the San Diego Police Department began in 2010, was supposed to provide the agency with access to all private and public cameras all over the city to deter crime, provide live feeds of crime scenes, collect evidence and identify sketchy people and conduct.

These were either worthy crime-fighting goals or goals worthy of Big Brother, depending on one's perspective.

In any case, there are just 41 addresses with cameras around the city the police department has access to. Of these, 20 are actually inaccessible because the cameras use software incompatible with the department’s.

“Every camera seems to be a bit different,” department spokesman Mark Herring said.

Worse, all 500 of the department’s cruisers currently have 3G connections for receiving images, when they need 4G. The program has been announced, hyped and updated at various press conferences by various mayors over the years. But it is still not operational.

Convention Center Funding Plan Really A Tax

San Diego attorney Corey Briggs sued the city of San Diego because he thought the city’s plan to fund the expansion of the downtown convention center was really a tax levied by hoteliers without a public vote.

Yes, that would be illegal, said the court, agreeing with Briggs. The city is deciding whether or not to appeal the decision — which throws its largest planned construction project into jeopardy — to the California Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Briggs has several other lawsuits against the city queued up:

  • One alleging the Convention Center expansion violates environmental laws.
  • Another against the hotel tax to promote tourism.
  • A legal challenge to the use of a lease-revenue bond for infrastructure repair.
  • One that would require City Council President Todd Gloria and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to produce emails and texts about city business sent from their private accounts.

San Diego Courts Take Another Budget Hit

Beginning in 2008 when the economy began its nose dive, the California judicial system was not left out of the pool. The system, already stressed financially, took a 30 percent budget cut.

Courts were closed one day a week. Some were shuttered altogether. The business offices of San Diego’s East and South County courts were closed. Most cases were delayed (some to the point of automatic dismissal), and lines for anything legal were — and remain — long.

Governor Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 budget increases funding for the courts statewide by $160 million. San Diego Superior Court, however, will receive a net revenue decrease of $1 million from 2013-14. Because of increased operating costs, San Diego will have to cut $6 million in the current fiscal year and an additional $3 million in 2015-16.

The delays and backlogs caused by the earlier cuts are already disastrous for many litigants and will only get worse.

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