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Roundtable: Faulconer’s Win; Sex Crimes & SDPD; Surveillance in San Diego

KPBS Roundtable

Roundtable: Faulconer's Win; Sex Crimes & SDPD; Surveillance In San Diego

Aired 2/14/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Mark Sauer


Sandhya Dirks, KPBS News

Mitch Blacher, 10News

Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation


Kevin Faulconer's Victory

San Diego City Council member Kevin Faulconer got an early Valentine’s Day gift from San Diego voters. On Tuesday, they wrapped up the mayor’s office for him in a race that was not even close: 55 to 45 percent.

The brief campaign was expensive and ended up ugly, with many millions spent on attack ads and nasty mailers. The conservative Lincoln Club of San Diego County had a featured role in the campaign, launching what some called racist attacks on Faulconer's opponent, City Councilman David Alvarez. And several San Diego County unions spent bushels of money dumping dirt on Faulconer.

The questions for Monday morning quarterbacks are many:

Why did Democrats jettison Nathan Fletcher for the young, inexperienced and relatively unknown Alvarez?

Why was the turnout south of I-8 so low, especially in Alvarez' district?

Besides applauding neighborhoods, what were the candidates actually for?

And what will happen when the City Council appoints someone to fill Faulconer’s seat?

Another SDPD Cop Arrested

First it was Officer Anthony Arevalos, convicted in November 2011 of sexually assaulting five women during traffic stops. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Controversy erupted when it was reported that the San Diego City Attorney's Office accused one of Arevalos' victims of bribery and also put her under surveillance.

This week another SDPD officer, Chris Hays, was arrested on charges of felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery in connection with four women. Since his arrest, more women have come forward. The SDPD had been looking into the allegations since late December.

Some are starting to wonder if these are isolated incidents or if there is something amiss at the SDPD.

There are more than 1,800 officers in the SDPD, but the department is struggling to keep its best young officers from leaving, and back-to-back scandals won’t help. In the city of San Diego, there is no independent auditor of police practices with any clout. The Citizen’s Review Board on Police Practices makes recommendations but cannot enforce them.

Money, Politics and Surveillance

Dave Maass, then a reporter for San Diego CityBeat, was the first to notice (May, 2012) that a Mexican national, Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, had contributed $100,000 to Bonnie Dumanis’ 2012 mayoral campaign through a PAC. The PAC’s fundraiser told Maass that Azano had a green card, and the contribution was legal. He didn’t, and it wasn’t.

Maass left CityBeat before the fundraising scandal he uncovered blew up. He has since become an investigative researcher for the Electronic Frontier foundation, which surveils the world of electronic surveillance.

San Diego, says Maass, is becoming the advance guard of the surveillance state, helped along in this endeavor by SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning agency.

San Diego law enforcement departments are experimenting with automatic license plate readers (ALPR), digital cameras mounted on patrol cars and fixed locations that record plate numbers for every car that passes. SANDAG is the repository for all that digital information in a huge database it maintains and the subject of a lawsuit asking for access to that information.

SANDAG is also using federal funds to experiment with a facial recognition system, which can match faces to mug shots or driver's license photos. It has provided 175 mobile facial-recognition devices to local law enforcement agencies, according to Maass.

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Avatar for user 'twells'

twells | February 14, 2014 at 12:22 p.m. ― 3 years ago

This show has fallen so far … I use to love editor’s roundtable. Now the discussions are lopsided as there is no diversity in point of view. Why is Sandhya Dirks still on this panel? Her analysis is terrible. The logic assumptions made last week on the election by the guests were staggering in their ineptness. Assuming the “Declined to state” demographic of the electorate is skewed left is a bias without thought. Keeping in mind the losses in registration by the Republicans party, one would think that the “Declined to state” are actually skewed more right of center in San Diego. However, just because they aren’t registered republicans anymore doesn’t mean that they are going to jump headfirst into the progressive pool. Furthermore, continually bringing up the “dog whistle racism” whistle racism story of the Lincoln Club just smacks of party activism by promoting the views of the left fringe, rather than contesting these false accusations.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 14, 2014 at 2:04 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Twells, many people, myself included, saw subtle race baiting in some of the ads against Alvarez.

Why is KPBS biased for discussing something that troubled many people about this campaign?

I have been following KPBS's coverage closely during this election, and they brought up Alvarez' ties to union money just as much as the Lincoln club.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 14, 2014 at 2:22 p.m. ― 3 years ago

SANDAG is becoming our local NSA.

KPBS, please stay on these stories.

Mr. Maas - you are a hero. Thank goodness someone is investigating these things and making the public aware.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 14, 2014 at 3:08 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Is something amiss at the SDPD? I think yes, something is amiss, but not just with the SDPD. The title and power that comes with being a police officer, tied with the relatively low pay, usually attracts people who have inferiority complexes and who are not very intelligent. This is a dangerous combination of personality traits in a law enforcement officer, and it seems to be the majority of law enforcement officers that have them.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 14, 2014 at 3:12 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Jean, what about SANDAG? Hopefully this is an issue liberals and conservatives can agree on.

They are amassing "car metadata" on every San Diegan.

Talk about big brother!

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Avatar for user 'lvaughan'

lvaughan | February 14, 2014 at 9:26 p.m. ― 3 years ago


Sauer is dysarthric, tongue-tied and says uh,uh, uh more than the average 13 year old teenageschoolboy.. Ms Dirks has a very strange affect and comes across as disconnected from her co-panelists. All in all, the "Roundtable" program has gone downhill dramatically. Mr twells gets it !
Could the 5 famiklies / Bosses of San Diego have something to do with this ? You know, buy ~ all the newspapers & broadcast media...then hire incompetent, off-putting, uninformed face-people ?
Seems to be working if the goal is dis-enrollment, cancellation of $$ financial support to KPBS by intelligent, sescient beings. You know ....knowledgable viewers!
The surfer dude reference really hit home !
Have you no pride ?
LMV MD Del Mar, in the City of San Diego 2014 donation = $ 0.00

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