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Roundtable: Governor Complies With Request For National Guard Troops

Roundtable: Governor Complies With Request For National Guard Troops
Roundtable: Governor Complies With Request For National Guard Troops
Roundtable: Governor Complies With Request For National Guard Troops PANEL:Kelly Davis, freelance reporter Jeff McDonald, investigative reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune Steve Walsh, military reporter, KPBS News

>>> Governor Jerry Brown agrees to Trump's request for National Guard troops at the border but there are conditions. Confusion of the Sheriff's Department over policies and practices regarding pregnant inmates and the reporting of deaths. The city recently bought a downtown building to help solve the homeless crisis. Critics say too much was paid for ill-suited building. I am Mark Sauer. The Roundtable starts now. >>> Welcome to our discussion of the week's top stories. Joining me at the Roundtable today, Jeff McDonald of the San Diego Union Tribune. Kelly Davis, freelance, and military reporter states Walsh. -- Steve Walsh. Jerry Brown decided he did not want another fight with Donald Trump. He agreed to send 400 National Guard troops to the border. The mission is to target criminals like human traffickers and those who smuggle drugs and guns. Steve, start by reminding us here what Trump pushed for when he set a military presence. >> That is the question. In a Tweet, he says military presence, and the order they came to the secretary of defense seems to be much more in line with what we have seen in past border operations, like when Governor Schwarzenegger sent troops to the border in 2000 six and in 2010 under the Obama administration. What they want to do essentially is to call as many as 4000 troops to aid in some sort of mission, defending against illegal immigration and to enforce immigration policy. >> Brown, in his statement, he scoffed at Trump's wall once again and went to the governor allow the troops to do? >> He put -- Governor Brown was the last of the four border governors to say yes to this. He put several conditions on it. They cannot work on border enforcement, they would not do anything as far as building a wall, no rounding up of women and children or asylum-seekers, and there was a tentative end date of September 30 if both parties do not agree to extend. >> There is confusion -- does Trump agree? >> The last couple of days, it is hard -- between the tweets we see and the policy we see coming out of the White House, when Governor Brown sent out this letter with the conditions it was warmly received by the Trump administration. President Trump, who called the governor Governor Moonbeam praised him for doing this. The press secretary thanked the governor for participating and was glad everyone was on board. So far we have actually not seen the signed agreement from the Pentagon. Just before we came on air, I got word back from the California National Guard -- if this has all been signed off on, they referred those questions back to the Pentagon. >> The troops are not there yet. They are in Texas? >> They are. Texas already had a number of troops on the border, even before this. California has troops that are working with different federal entities. There are some 55 of them in the San Diego area that work in support roles. >> Under federal law, there are limitations? On what the National Guard can do in situations like this? >> Posse, taught us. One day we will have to do a whole show in Latin. That is an act that was passed right after the Civil War. It prevents martial law from occurring in the south. It limits how the active-duty Army can enforce domestic laws. It is part of a suite of different laws and residence. The posse comitatus only mentioned the Army specifically and then it was amended to include the Air Force. It does not include the Marines, Navy, Coast Guard which enforces federal law. >> Homeland security, who knows? Is it surprising Brown finally agreed to it in a limited way? >> The National Guard often works in support roles with the federal government. They work with the border patrol in certain capacities. It is not unheard of and if the governor agrees to do this and keep them under state control rather than having them federalized, it would give the governor more control to set the conditions. >> We have advised him a couple of players in this, U.S. attorney Jeff Sessions arguing the guard is needed. Deb King wrote a book about the history of immigration law and we will hear them back to back. >> We have a crisis here. We know it and the president knows it and we are determined to do something about it. >> For fiscal year 2017, undocumented immigration fell to approximately 300,000 and that is the lowest number sense 1971. I am not sure exactly what sort of crisis they will be addressing. >> Of course, President Trump ran this is a huge central plank of his campaign. We talked about that quite a bit. Critics say Trump is demigod on the issue. The numbers are way down. Governor Brown said that, as well. >> Yes. Where is the crisis? Illegal immigration is actually down. It is at a low point. Illegal immigration from Mexico specifically, is that a 10 year low. The question is why now? Why do this now? That is going to be the question going forward here. As you see these troops on the border, this will call additional attention to it and what will be the role of these troops along the border? What will they do? >> It is notable when President Trump was in San Diego to look at those border wall prototypes a month ago, he did not see the governor or the leaders show up at the presidents event. >> It is a real tight rope for San Diego. The San Diego Chamber of Commerce came out against this and urged Governor Brown not to authorize troops to go to the border. They do not like the optics of having troops along the border, as they tried to work with Mexico. >> Before we leave the segment, I wanted to talk about another story -- story reported on. Efforts to retain soldiers as the fleet expands. >> The golden ticket program is part of one of many things that the Navy is trying to do to encourage people to stay with the Navy. You get a sabbatical and a golden ticket and you can leave for a year, test out civilian life, then come back. You can resume your career right where you left off. This is part of an effort to try to keep the numbers up. They want to expand the Navy and all the active-duty military. It will be a real challenge. They don't know if they can make their numbers. >> What are some other efforts to make it sweeter for the Navy folks? >> They are trying to make it easier. There will be -- there are two career Navy families and they try to space out their deployments so you don't have both parents deploying at the same time. That is still up to the needs of the Navy. I have talked to sailors where they have both had to go. They had a mission and they had to go. It is not an easy thing to do, to retain these Navy personnel. >> The pressure on retention is more now than ever. Are they meeting their numbers or even with the sweeteners will be tough? >> The Navy is. The Army is in danger of not. There are shortages throughout all of the military. Pilots are a huge issue. They are an enormous issue for the Air Force, which is way down. It is a larger issue for the Navy, as well. Try to keep these highly trained people from leaving after you have spent millions of dollars to train them up. >> There will be follow-ups to see what happens with the border and the border troops and also with the retention results are as we move forward. We will move on now. What is going on with the Sheriff's Department in the jail system. Confusion seems to be the watchword this week regarding policies and practices. This involves how pregnant inmates are treated and when the public learns of deaths of those in custody. Let's start with inmates giving birth. The story from officials with the Sheriff's Department, women in labor and delivery are routinely handcuffed or shackled. Kelly, you reported those statements and voices in San Diego this week. Start with what the department officials told you for your story. >> The impetus was a letter of the citizens law enforcement review board -- sent to the Sheriff's Department back in December. This was in response to complaints they received. Clerb Took issue with pregnant patients rights. It was a statement that pregnant women are read as they are booked into jail and the statement said, you will be chained and handcuffed during labor and delivery. I contacted the Sheriff's Department and said, I wanted some clarification and they told me that that is the case. The department spokesperson -- spokeswoman told me all of them start off minimally restrained. One wrist to the better something similar while they are in the hospital. >> The citizens law enforcement review board said they wanted to change that wording. They wanted to update it. >> Yes, they asked the Sheriff's Department, the statement does not jibe with state law. State law says first there needs to be a finding that this woman poses a flight risk or a safety risk. If they make that finding, they can restrain a woman during labor. The Sheriff's Department, said it does not fit with state law. The Sheriff's Department said no, we will keep the wording because this is true. This is what we do. We do in most cases restrain women during labor, delivery, and recovery. >> So your story comes out and they scramble a little bit. They contacted you, they contacted us and said, no, that is not really what we do. >> Their policy is great. Their written policy fits with state law. It says everything state law says. You have to meet the safety finding first. When I was working on the story, went to the Sheriff's Department and said your written policy says this, but you're pregnant patients rights says this and your spokeswoman is telling me that you are restraining all inmates. So now they're going back and pointing to their policy, which I never said there was any problems with their written policy. It is what they are doing and practice that is a little strange. >> Jeff was joking on Twitter that parenting was hard enough without being handcuffed going into it. Is there a rash of pregnant women running away from custody? >> The data shows that no pregnant women have tried to escape. The official national OB/GYN Association said there is no rationale. There is nothing supporting shackling of any kind of any woman, just -- have guards in the room to catch them if they tried to run away. If they start lashing out or something, then you restrain them. But don't start them off restrained. I have never had a child, my friends who have, the pain, they tell me -- I can't imagine. >> Those of us who have been in labor and delivery when her wiser getting birth, I can't imagine them getting up and running away. You talked to some inmates or you have tried to find out what is happening in the jail? >> I will have a follow-up story. I have found some inmates who say that they were restrained. One woman described the whole process is terrific. >> Doctors? What do they say? >> Doctors say don't do it. Medical personnel to have the right to tell the Sheriff, remove these restraints from this woman. It will harm her health or the health of the baby. >> How often does this even come up? When you have someone in a jail was giving birth? >> I believe there were 54 women who have given birth over the last -- since January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2018. >> One or two a month. >> Something like that. >> A different complaints, Jeff, you reported that the Sheriff's Department tends not to tell the public about deaths of those in custody. -- Usually until a reporter inquires. What is their policy on that? >> It was fuzzy. They told me they don't like this one case was a suicide. When I asked them about it, they said they don't like to report suicides to the public because they were it might encourage other detainees to take their lives. I said okay, but what is the policy about alerting the public when people die in custody? They sent me a 500 page policy and procedure manual and they directed me to one section of it. I found a different section of it that says we should report every death whether homicide, suicide, or natural cause via a press release. So I sent that back. >> That seems clear. >> The language was clear. When I asked the follow-up question with the department, they said, that policy only applies under certain circumstances and went deaths are investigated by homicide, they make the decision on whether or not to issue a press release. So they are trying to have it both ways it seems. The policy says they will report every death by press release. The reason it matters is because sometimes things happen in jail that are the result of negligence or liability on the part of San Diego County. Like any large institution, that detains thousands of people. In those cases, if the public is not made aware or family not made aware, there may not be corrective actions taken. That is why we care and should be alerted as a public when people die in custody. >> How do other counties handle this? Is San Diego an outlier? Mac it seemed like it. I talked to about four or five other prison systems. The state and three or four counties. They tend to issue press releases when they happen in custody. The state has so many, it is the largest system in the country. The only issue under limited circumstances and they don't issue blanket press releases to the whole state. They target them to the regions where he was housed. >> 40 deaths since 2007 by suicide, do they have a suicide problem at the county jail? >> Kelly is still reporting on that, but whether it's a problem or not, it is a very frequent occurrence, far more so than other county jails. >> Kelly you have done a lot of reporting on that. Is there a reluctance to report deaths because it is negative publicity? >> I was not aware of this policy, so thank you Jeff. I thought I had scrubbed -- looked through the policies and procedures. Yet, there would have been a point where it would've looked really bad. I think was 2015 where there was back to back to back suicides. Interestingly, the only time I am aware of the press release were to suicides. They were high-profile, and inmates capture made news. They were both suicides. To say that reporting a suicide can cause suicides, but the only two press releases that were put out were suicides. That kind of didn't -- >> There is a lack of consistency. >> Mike, last question. Might this be an issue in the reelection campaign? -- Running this year and that is tougher for challenges -- challengers to crack through because they are well-known name and boaters tend to go with the known horse. >> The campaign has been sort of low profile. I imagine it comes up at the question and answer sessions. This is just one of a number of issues that are confronting the Sheriff's Department. I am sure it is added to a stack of issues they are being asked about on the trail. >> Is the election season heats up we will talk about that and that race and many others and other issues as we move along. The city bought a building downtown, the latest move in dealing with the homeless crisis. The structure at 14th Street and Imperial is to be a one-stop "housing navigation center" to help people get off the streets. It was an offer so good they cannot refuse, but not everyone sees it that way. Jeff, start with this building. What was it designed for? >> It is a skydiving center. It went out of business. The founder and venture that undertook it sank millions and millions of dollars into it. He was a big fan of aviation and that was his dream to open that center. It did not fly, so to speak. It sat vacant and closed and then it was foreclosed upon by the financier and then the city bought it early this year. >> What I found most curious -- a couple of things, the city spent $7 million without an appraisal, so I'm not sure that is prudent when you're investigating -- investing in real estate. More curious, it is a skydiving facility, so there are two giant wind tunnels in the center of the building that are 60 or 80 feet tall. They inhibit the floorspace and the usable area that people are going to need to meet and interview and fill out forms. >> To set the scene here especially for our radio audience, you have a lot of people coming into a center during the day to get various forms of information so you think it is a major office building. You have these giant tubes in the middle of it. >> The city says whoever selected -- is selected to operate will work around it and it is a good deal for the city and will really take a bite out of the homelessness problem. Some of the real estate experts I have spoken to and some -- are not so convinced. They think that money could have been set aside and maybe even put in an annuity at 5% and would raise three or $400,000 a year to deliver direct services or to keep a system operating in perpetuity. In this case, the Sibley bought the building and they are going to have an operator interviewing clients and figuring out what they need and referring them to other services. They are not delivering any direct services inside the building. >> Was there any sort of assessment of other available properties first to see if this was indeed the best one? >> It depends who you ask. The city says they did their due diligence and yes, it's the best property. It is right next to father Joe's. It is located in a place where homeless people tend to congregate. Some people think that centralizing this in one place in the downtown East Village is not a good energy long-term because there are so many other homeless people across the community. Another person I spoke to said the city might have done better to lease storefronts around the city, maybe five or six or seven different neighborhoods because you only need meeting rooms and meeting spaces and desks and chairs. >> Field library had been proposed. >> They said the library was not feasible and this was a good deal. >> There were earlier appraisals, right? Two yes, one in 2016 from one business to another. That was when the property was secured as a loan. They had it appraised I think at 7 million. There was a broker's opinion, which was a lot more recent and done in December and that was from one private business to another. The city never did its own evaluation. The broker's opinion specifically said this is not an appraisal. >> The figure came in much higher. >> 15 to 22 million. The mayor's office told the city Council, this is a great deal and we're getting it for half of what it is worth. When I started pressing them and why they did not do an independent appraisal, they said it wasn't necessary and the folks that looked at it were satisfied with the materials the provided -- they were provided. >> Will it cost a lot to convert and get rid of the tubes? >> When I got the tour last week they said the operator will work around the tunnels and the other infrastructure that is specific to a skydiving facility. That said, it will be up to the operator to make use of the building. The city will turn it over and subsidize it to whoever operated's. -- Operates it. It will probably a group of charities. >> They will be stuck with these wind tunnels? >> It looks like fun. It would be a great corporate event, if you could afford that. >> Help the homeless, skydive. >> Was this widely known that they were looking for office space or they saw building and they decided to buy it? That is always my question when dealing with homelessness in San Diego. What is the overall strategy? >> The mayor said the housing -- it was going to be -- the mayor changed his mind and they put up temporary tents. The overall strategy is multipronged. They have a number of different things they are trying, including supportive and permanent housing, interventions, getting people into services where they can get their ID, their address, a place to store their stuff. They are trying to address it on a number of fronts, but they have not met a whole lot of success. >> They need more permanent housing. >> A few seconds less -- left for a rapid up. Any response from the critics? >> No. I did not hear a lot of feedback from the city after that story ran. They have criticized us for reporting the issue is deeply a as we have -- as deeply as we have. I have not heard anything from the councilmembers. I think they are okay with their approval. >> We will look for another approval. -- Follow-up. That wraps up the stories of the K PBS -- KPBS roundtable. I would like to think my guest today. -- thank My guests. Join us next week on the Roundtable. Have some slow traffic -- a crash blocking the right lane.

Governor Complies With Request For National Guard Troops

Governor Jerry Brown accepted federal funding to fulfill President's Trump's request to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexico border Wednesday. He pledged 400 service members with conditions. Brown stipulated that the California National Guard will not enforce federal immigration laws or help build a new border wall. In a statement, he also said troops will not be used to "round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life."

The Trump administration has been ramping up rhetoric on a border "crisis." Brown disagrees with this characterization, noting that Border Patrol arrests have fallen to 1971 levels.


RELATED: It’s Not The First Time California Deploys National Guard To Border Missions

County Jail Births, Deaths

Confusion seemed to be the watch word this week regarding policies and practices at the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The first issue covers the treatment of pregnant women in county jails and whether or not they are being restrained during labor. According to the San Diego County Sheriff Department's "Pregnant Patient's Rights" statement, women inmates can expect to be "chained and handcuffed during labor and delivery." State law prohibits restraining women inmates during labor, except under certain circumstances.

The second issue covers in-custody deaths at San Diego county jails. The Sheriff's department is not reporting in-custody deaths to the public and it should be doing that, per its own policy.

RELATED: Restraining Inmates in Labor Is Supposed to Be the Exception — in San Diego, It's the Norm


RELATED: Sheriff's policy seems to call for announcing jail deaths, but department says that's not so

San Diego Buys Skydiving Building

It may sound like an odd fit, but the City of San Diego bought a building designed for indoor skydiving to help the homeless. The plan is to turn the former site of Airborne San Diego into a "housing navigation center" that will hook up people with nowhere to live to permanent shelters.

Critics say the city paid too much and rushed through the process unnecessarily.

RELATED: San Diego bets millions of dollars on plan to turn skydiving center into homeless hub