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Roundtable: Homeless Count, Government Shutdown, Marines United, Secret Service

Homeless Count, Shutdown, Marines United, Secret Service

PANEL

Susan Murphy, reporter, KPBS News

Chris Jennewein, publisher & CEO, Timesofsandiego.org

Steve Walsh, military reporter, KPBS News

Tony Perry, freelance journalist

Transcript

MORE HOMELESS, MORE MISERY

The Story

We all knew the numbers were going to be bigger, and they were.

The county’s annual point-in-time homeless count found that 9,116 people were living in shelters or on the streets, an increase of 5 percent.

Worse, the unsheltered homeless, people in tents or encampments, increased 14 percent countywide and 104 percent in the city of San Diego. Many of them suffer from addition or mental illness or both.

Some advocates for the homeless say the city of San Diego and its police are criminalizing homelessness through citations and arrests. But the police say the issue is complicated and they are acting compassionately while looking out for public safety and health.

The Conversation

-Why are there more unsheltered homeless and fewer in shelters?

-Why does the city periodically make the homeless move on? What purpose does it serve?

-There's a lot of talk, but what's being done to find permanent housing for the chronically homeless?

Related: Advocate Wages Social media Campaign Against San Diego's Homeless Enforcement

Related: Policing San Diego Is Much More Than Citations

Related: Some Homeless Policies Need Updating, Says San Diego Councilman

ARE WE SHUTTING DOWN? APPARENTLY NOT

The Story

Here's a riddle: When is the U.S. Government like a fast-moving ping-pong match? Answer: right now.

A month ago it looked like appropriations to keep the government going for another year were a done deal.

Then President Donald Trump suddenly demanded that funding for the border wall be included and subsidies for Obamacare be excluded.

So it looked like the government might indeed shut down today, since those proposals were non-starters at this point.

But now it looks like the government will stay open at least for another week, via a short-term funding bill.

The border wall, cause of the original hiccup, is proving a problem for the administration, mainly because many border-area Republicans don't want it. Regardless, prototypes for the wall may be built near Otay Mesa this summer.

Meanwhile, a bill preventing the state from doing business with any company or person that so much as glances at the border wall is making its way through the state Senate.

To be continued.

The Conversation

-How did it happen that the border wall became part of the appropriations bill?

-Is the wall looking likely to be built, or not so much?

-If the Freedom Caucus is pleased with the new version of the American Health Care Act, what does that bode for passage?

Related: Congress Likely To Avoid Government Shutdown (At Least For Another Week)

Related: New San Diego border wall a priority for Trump administration, documents say

MARINES UNITED SCANDAL HANGING ON

The Story

The Marines United scandal – the posting of sexually denigrating photos of and remarks about Marine women to a private Facebook account shared by some 30,000 Marines — continues to have fallout.

The Navy and Marines have made it a crime to post such photos without consent for purposes of humiliation, harm or harassment.

Violations can now be enforced with the full weight of the military justice system. So far, two Camp Pendleton Marines have been demoted for comments they made on a Facebook page after Marines United was shut down.

At a press conference Thursday attorney Gloria Allred said the new regulations were not enough and asked that women harmed by Marines United testify before the House Armed Services Committee.

The Conversation

-Why — and how — are the Marines taking this scandal seriously? Why didn't they when the same thing thing happened three years ago?

-Is this type of incident a result of men and women serving together?

-Is there any discussion of once again separating the sexes in the military?

Related: Alleged Victims Of Nude-Photo Scandal Push Marines To Do More About Online Misconduct

Related: Two Camp Pendleton Marines punished in sex-shaming, cyber-bullying scandal

FORMER MIRAMAR GENERAL TAPPED TO HEAD SECRET SERVICE

The Story

Retired Maj. Gen. Randolph Alles, who led units from Miramar Marine Air Station in Iraq and was the Corps' public spokesman during the investigation into the 2008 University City jet crash, has been named to lead – and try to clean up – the U.S. Secret Service.

The Secret Service seems to be in deep trouble. There have been multiple incursions on White House grounds, the latest in March of this year, and several incidents of agents partying with prostitutes.

Morale is said to be quite low, while attrition is at a record high.

The agency is in a funding crisis because of cutbacks and the increased expense of guarding the far-flung Trump family and the president's weekend travels.

The Conversation

-Randolph Alles is an outsider. Is this a good or bad thing for the Secret Service rank-and-file?

-Why have previous efforts to reform the service failed?

Related: Former Miramar general to lead Secret Service

Related: Randolph Alles, Retired General, Is Chosen to Lead Secret Service

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