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Roundtable: Climate Action, Border Sewage, SoccerCity Secrets, Gang Database

California's Climate; Toxic Border; Private SoccerCity Meetings; Gang Database

PANEL:

Erik Anderson, environmental reporter, KPBS News

Jeff McDonald, Watchdog reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dana Littlefield, courts reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

CLIMATE DISCORD

The Story

On Thursday President Donald Trump did what said he would do. He announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord.

President Obama joined the agreement in 2015, along with most of the world.

California officials have signaled for weeks that if the federal government decided to drop the climate ball, the golden state would pick it right up and run with it.

California Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Javier Becerra, Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Scott Peters, to name but a few, all denounced Trump's decision and vowed the state would step up to battle climate change.

The Conversation

-Can California take the place of the U.S. government in the arena of climate change?

-What can or will Congress do?

THE TOXIC BORDER

The Story

Big sewer spills along the Tijuana River this winter fouled beaches as far north as Coronado.

But the consequences are most severe for those who live and work along the border. Border Patrol agents are reporting nausea, rashes and respiratory problems caused by walking through toxic mud and and hazardous wastewater on patrol.

The poisonous muck in the canyons and tributaries comes from illegal septic dumping by businesses and homeowners as well as broken sewer lines.

National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 has threatened legal action if circumstances do not improve for its agents. A bipartisan San Diego congressional delegation urged the president to devote more resources to helping Tijuana fix its sewer system.

The president's current budget proposes cuts instead.

The Conversation

-Why are conditions getting worse when the U.S. has helped improve sewage treatment along the border in the recent past?

-What has Baja California done to improve its sewer system?

-What can and should the U.S. do to help Mexico deal with this problem?

THE MAYOR'S OWN PRIVATE SOCCERCITY

The Story

Perhaps the 25 meetings over 13 months between San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and FS Investors were simply due diligence for a big proposal.

Or perhaps they were part of a closed process that favored SoccerCity over other plans for the Mission Valley Qualcomm site, and the public should have known about them.

The mayor’s office says it collected public input on what to do with the site for two years, meeting with San Diego State University and other developers in addition to FS Investors.

Yet somehow the city ended up with only one plan to choose from, FS Investors' SoccerCity, which includes a soccer arena, housing, lots of retail, offices and a river park.

SoccerCity will hold five open houses in the first two weeks of June. The whole thing then heads to the San Diego City Council for approval.

The Conversation

-Did these private meetings violate any laws, like the Brown Act, for instance?

-What happens if the city council votes to send the SoccerCity initiative to the ballot? What are its chances of passage?

CALGANGS: INACCURATE, UNSUPERVISED

The Story

When Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) requested an audit of the 10-year-old CalGangs database, she may have gotten more — or less — than she bargained for.

The 2016 audit report revealed a system without oversight and with vague criteria for inclusion which produced a database teeming with errors.

Further, adults could not access the database to find out if they were listed in it.

One of Weber’s follow-on bills, which went into effect in January, allows adults to find out if and why they are in the database and mandates notification when someone’s name is added to CalGangs.

Another of Weber's bills, AB90, mandates supervision of CalGangs by the California Department of Justice. It passed the Assembly yesterday.

The Conversation

-What effect does inclusion in CalGangs have on adults?

-What's the process now for getting off the list?

Related: San Diegans who suspect they may be in a gang database seek answers from SDPD

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