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Roundtable: U.S. Attorney Punked; Mayor's Race; SDPD Budget; Padres In Limbo

Roundtable: Friday, August 3
Marijuana Hoax, Mayor's race, SDPD Budget, Padres
Guests: Angela Carone, KPBS News Scott Lewis, CEO, Voice of San Diego Matt Hall, UT San Diego Jay Paris, North County Times

Hoax Involves U.S. Attorney, San Diego Museum of Art: A medical marijuana advocacy group sent out press releases this week purporting to be from the San Diego U.S. Attorney's Office. The releases announced the shutting down of pharmacies in La Jolla, Carmel Valley and Pacific Beach because of high rates of prescription drug abuse.

Americans for Safe Access was responsible for the prank and was aided in the endeavor by The Yes Men, a New York-based non-profit group of performance artists known for elaborate hoaxes. The Yes Men were in San Diego at the invitation of the San Diego Museum of Art for a summer performance art series.

The U.S. Attorney's Office pointed out that impersonating a federal officer is a crime.


Mayor's Race: The operative word in the campaign to be San Diego's next Mayor seems to be flexibility. Party loyalty, political positions, poll numbers and funding are all currently in flux. Democrat Bob Filner has offered former Republican, now independent mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher a job in a Filner administration. Filner also hired Fletcher's former campaign consultant, Tom Shepard.

In turn, Republican Carl DeMaio has hired Democratic strategist Art Cantanares to consult for his campaign.

Positions are shifting as well. DeMaio’s positions on the Plaza de Panama project, Social Security for city workers, city funding for arts organizations and his relationships with “downtown insiders” are the opposite of what they were a few months ago.

In the meantime, Filner has abandoned his pension reform plan, which he said would be better than Proposition B at fixing the city’s budget problems, and embraced implementing Prop B.

Both candidates are perceived to have personalities that turn off significant portions of the electorate.


SDPD Budget Scrutiny: When the San Diego Police Department presented the City Council’s public safety committee a plan to restore the department after several years of cuts, the request made some in the media uneasy.

Voice of San Diego’s Keegan Kyle noted the SDPD compares over short periods, rather than looking at a long-term trend. UT columnist Matt Hall noticed the same thing. But not the City Council. Instead of questioning the SDPD’s use of statistics or anecdotes about attrition, council members reacted with alarm.

But the comparison of crime stats was less than half a page of the SDPD’s 16-page report, which included response times, staffing levels of sworn officers and civilians, equipment needs, community expectations and future projections. Since the presentation to the City Council, heads of the department appeared on KPBS to explain their needs.

Padres In Limbo: When the baseball season was young, there were plenty of expectations. TV viewers expected to be able to watch the games. An announcement on the sale of the Padres was expected at the All Star break. We expected completely inadequate funds allocated to personnel. And we expected whatever hot players we still had would be gone by this week's trade deadline.

As usual, our expectations have gone unmet. Only Cox cable subscribers can watch the games; no sale announcement has been seen; and so far Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Huston Street are still on the team. But, they still could be traded by the end of August. So where are we with this team?

Corrected: July 15, 2024 at 10:28 AM PDT
Claire Trageser contributed to this report.
KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.