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Roundtable: DACA Demands, Feinstein’s Run, Hep A Continues, La Mesa School Board


DACA Demands, Feinstein's Run, More Hep A, La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board


Michael Smolens, politics editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Lisa Halverstadt, reporter, Voice of San Diego

James DeHaven, Watchdog reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Ken Stone, reporter, Times of San Diego



The Story

Last weekend President Trump abandoned an apparent agreement with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to support legislation to continue protections for some 800,000 "Dreamers."

In addition to making Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) law, keeping children brought here as unauthorized immigrants from being deported, funding for the border wall was to be taken off the table.

That was then.

Conservatives became enraged. Trump did an about-face, releasing a list of hard-line immigration proposals which, he said, must be implemented if Dreamers are to be protected.

In San Diego, recent poll results reveal that 82 percent of county voters would support permanent legal status for immigrants brought here as children.

The Discussion

—Are Trump's hard-line demands a negotiation ploy or an attempt to trash the deal he made?

—How many Dreamers are in San Diego?

—Did he believe his base would accept the deal he was said to have made with Democrats?

Related: Trump Ties Immigration Demands To DACA Deal, Including Border Wall

Related: San Diegans condemn, welcome Trump's immigration demands


The Story

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), at 84 the oldest sitting and longest-serving U.S. senator, has decided to run again in 2018.

It may not be so easy this time, even in very blue California.

In the last several years, the Democratic Party, especially in California, has angled left, while Feinstein has remained close to the center.

Known as a formidable fund-raiser, for herself and other Democrats, her Senate record is fairly formidable as well, including a successful ban on assault weapons, and an end to some types of torture by the U.S. government.

Even so, her main challengers are likely to come from her own party, possibly including California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles) and billionaire Tom Steyer. She has been endorsed by Senator Kamala Harris and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

The Discussion

—How or why does Feinstein's age factor into this race?

—Can a centrist win in California any longer?

Related: California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she'll run for a sixth term: 'There's still so much work left to do'

Related: Dianne Feinstein's age? Yes, there's something worse than criticizing her for that


The Story

Hepatitis A has officially killed 18 and sickened 490 as of Wednesday.

Both the City and County of San Diego appear to be funneling more resources into combating the spread of the disease, but there is still much we don't know.

We often don’t know where people acquired the disease, for multiple reasons, including privacy rights and the fact that many homeless move from place to place.

The county estimates that at least half the illnesses occurred in the City of San Diego, and 10 percent are associated with homeless encampments along the San Diego River and elsewhere.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that city officials were repeatedly informed by the local water board over the last decade that run-off from homeless encampments into waterways would carry disease, specifically hepatitis A.

This week the city turned one of its parking lots into a mini-city of tents for 200 particularly vulnerable homeless people, like seniors and the disabled.

Now that the clean-up has begun, so has fighting over who should pay for it.

The Discussion

—Is this a matter of the county simply ignoring health warnings, or of not believing them?

—Are there more temporary shelters in the works?

—What about long-term solutions?

Related: County Won’t Share Many Details on Where Hepatitis A Cases and Deaths Are Happening

Related: Water board reports highlighted health risk before hepatitis outbreak


The Story

The La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board governs a district of about 12,500 elementary and middle school students in 21 schools.

When a seat on the five-member board opened up, there were applicants with years of experience in education.

The board chose to appoint Rebekah Basson, a 25-year old church secretary with no education experience, to the seat.

Basson briefly attended public schools, but her education was mostly in parochial schools in Georgia.

A conservative majority on the board appointed Basson to replace Rick Winet, who resigned.

In another twist to the story, Basson was not technically a registered voter when she applied for the job, although she believed she was. Being a registered voter is a requirement for appointment to the school board.

The Discussion

—What kind of role did politics play in this appointment?

—Is the appointment perhaps a case of desire to have an outsider's perspective?

Related: How a Church Secretary, 25, Was Picked for La Mesa School Board Over 4 Experienced Rivals

Related: ‘I Take the Bible at Its Word,’ Says La Mesa’s New School Board Member

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