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Roundtable Spotlights Foster, Spanos, Televangelist and Body-Cam Videos

Roundtable Spotlights Foster, Spanos, Televangelist and Body-Cam Videos
Roundtable Spotlights Foster, Spanos, Televangelist and Body-Cam VideosHOST:Mark SauerGUESTS:Mario Koran, education reporter, Voice of San Diego David Garrick, San Diego city hall reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune Dana Littlefield, courts reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS News

A San Diego school trustee agrees to plea deal for accepting an illegal left and steps down. Chargers owner decides the team will play your next year, then what? Police are the cameras generate serious challenges about what to do with all that footage. Televangelist has big plans for a Christian resort in Mission Valley. This is the KPBS roundtable. Welcome to our discussion of the week's top stories. Joining me at the roundtable today are reporter David Garrick, San Diego city hall reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Mario Koran, education reporter, Voice of San Diego, Dana Littlefield, courts reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS News. With a lot to cover. The troubles have been mounting for months for the school district, the attorney's office also was. Foster resigned this week over something the public hadn't heard about. Mario, give us the specifics. The plea deal involved a charge that involved accepting illegal gifts for politicians. Politicians cannot accept interposition any more than $460. She has to properly claimants. There were two issues with that's, she didn't claimant she wasn't allowed to have it. This was airline tickets? Yes, airline tickets and hotel stays for her son, for a total of a few thousand dollars. She didn't disclose that until she was confronted? I don't know at what point she was confronted. I am looking at the search warrant, it looks like she didn't come forward until she had scrutiny based questions on it. She amended in the form but at that point, the law had been broken. What is the result? She accepted, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. She has to step down from the board. Three years of probation and she has to pay back the money to the gift giver. The misdemeanor charge was the formal. But there were several other charges swirling around. She held a fundraiser for her son, she was behind a 250,000 or illegal name against the district. And a false statement of academic interest. All of this has been swirling around for a year. This is the first time the sort -- the search warrant wasn't sealed yesterday. Reporters asked the judge to unseal that's. The judge unsealed it. This is the first time we have a look at what the District Attorney's Office was interested in in the first place. There was an improper fundraiser, there was an allegation she was secretly behind to a $50,000 claim against the district. Allegations that she was falsely -- she had been accepting subsidized lunch for sandwiches over the income limits. This was when she looked into. If they discovered it while looking for these others. The other things that came up, they didn't get much traction with the school board or superintendent at the time until the latest thing that caused the plea deal. The other two issues in particular, the fundraiser an issue with the claim, when we reported those, there was some backlash, that's when the school board decided to open an internal investigation, and hired an independent investigator to come in. That was supposed to come back within 30 days. That did not happen. That stalled. We never saw the end of that's but that's why they were looking into the issues in the first place. Has foster said anything publicly since the plea deal? There was a quote, she didn't address the issues of wrongdoing, she said it was something to the effect of its been good to serve the kids. So generic statement. What about the other school board members? All this time, they were honoring her in the midst of this. That was odd. On the same night the approved the investigation they honored her for her good work. It was bizarre. Since then, we have the typical autopsy, post scandal autopsy statements. We will review what happened to try to do better next time. Whether that's sincere? I don't know. The civil grand jury looked at this last year, they recommended the school board revamped policies and recommended they do some ethics training. At the time they way that away. The district said okay and into anything. Now I guess they are more open to its. A real problem for the schools? Policy is different than other organizations, do they have a more lax policy about reporting gifts? I don't know how food compared to other school districts. It seems fairly typical I'm wondering who is different then a typical thing. To all school districts operate the same? I know that all the ones I looked at have similar policies that they're supposed to be a firewall between the school board and operations of the district. We're getting a lot of traction on the presidential campaigns about sex all the media attention. Democracy works in the trenches, it's these boards. They have a tremendous amount of money, a lot of businesses benefits. This is where a lot of people pay attention and they say who is she never even heard of her? This is where we should really be focusing a lot of attention locally. I think we need to pay close attention to how she is replaced moving forward. There are a couple things they can do. The remaining school boards can appoint to somebody, there's an issue of how transparent that process will be. Before we leave this topic, superintendent Cindy Martin, what is herbal? Martin has said anything publicly. She hasn't made any public statements after this happened, she was involved in the situation. She knew that foster would submit that claim, was aware of the fund-raising allegation. I don't know if anything will all on Cindy Martin. I can say it doesn't look good for her right now. We watch this as we go forward. The Chargers were all but gone, the seed or bolt sides were tossed in the trash but owner's is singing a different song. His fellow owners arranged a marriage with billionaire owner of the Rams. Here is having done a complete 180. We want to be here in San Diego and we are committed this year, we are going to give it 100% effort to get a new Stadium done here. Operates, what do you think? What needs to happen? We have a different manner than we had in the past. He has accomplished a lot. He came up with the first real tangible financial plan to create a Stadium although it sounds like the charges behind the scenes prefer downtown. We don't know if that plan will be important. This is a Mayor who has shown he can focus on the issue and may progress. They treated the Mayor and a task force, everybody was trying to keep them here like a mushroom. Now they are seeing a different song. Who has leverage in this deal? I don't think the Chargers do. They don't want to go to Los Angeles all that badly or they would have taken that deal. The charges preferred to stay here if they get the right deal. They don't want to be second banana to the Rams. I think the NFL agrees with them because there hasn't been football in LA in 21 years and they have to teams suddenly where there were zero for 21 years. I don't think anyone thinks that's a good idea. You reported the Chargers have been quietly working on a fallback plan all along. But the Stadium downtown, will this revive the whole expansion of the convention center, the satellite site, dual-purpose facility, etc. That is the one planned for downtown the Chargers have publicly endorsed. Is that that's what they wanted to and the mayor wasn't up for us. He would it be to be spanned -- expanded continuously. The mayor said he is open to downtown the charges will have to guide us. If they have something else in mind, he would love to see it. You mentioned the vote, we've all watch this play out. To think you pass a vote for public supports several hundred million per NFL? That is a tough sell given all the other spending priorities the city has. We have a huge if the structure deficit. More than $1 billion. The Mayor says that is his spending priority. It's tough to convince a voter to subsidize this a billionaire team owner to build a stadium when we have other things to spend money on. You been looking at the councilmembers priorities. Anybody mentioning, let's get a bunch of money to Chargers owner? No Council member has said that. There was a Paul this week that said 60% of people said no public money. 50% said no. The campaign the Chargers and the city would launch hasn't started yet. If it's only 5044 against, if it were to work out, they would mention the city pays 13 million a year right now. Theoretically, 200 million over 30 years is about the same or less. There are ways they could increase the number. We're Faulkner has an opponent now. She admits a big uphill climb. Now she has said no public money and she has a lot of public support for that's. Is this a political club now? I think it will be something she hits hard. I'm writing a story about the race for this weekend. She says he's not focused enough on the city and the idea of public money is a no go. Is this the worst thing for losing the Chargers, now we can turn to the big site in Mission Valley, all the opportunities there. Now it has come back? If there ends up being a public vote he will be politically insulated because he can point to the vote. I think he is still okay politically. You'd wonder which way he would even about. What's the timetable, when will this be settled? It will be settled late in the season. A June vote seems unlikely so probably in November vote. We assume that will happen after the city and the charges work out a deal. If the vote gets approved and they still don't have a firm deal, they could have an extra year. They could have until January 2018 if a boat gets approved but no firm deal is in place. So they should have an outline of something to put before the public in the next few months. Public outcry over controversial police shootings has made body cameras a priority. There is a practical challenge, tons of videotape to catalog and store. What is to be done with all of those recordings? How much are we talking about in San Diego. The District Attorney's Office has been working on this issue for quite some time with various other partners. The various police agencies who have the technology now. The District Attorney's Office announced last month that expects more estimated there will be someone in the neighborhood of hundred thousand videos, 11 camera videos come into the office just this year. That's compared to 40,000 in 2015 but that was only over a portion of about eight months. It's a significant jump. I have been told repeatedly that number is a very conservative estimate. Give us an idea generally, what happens when we make a recording. It depends on the model camera. I took a look at the camera is currently being used by the city of Escondido. They had this particular brand in use since mid-2014. This is the Taser international brand camera. It's a small square black device, maybe a little bigger than a go pro. Quite a bit bigger. But not very large. It seemed a little smaller than a pop tarts. It has a secular in the middle. You tap the button twice and it starts recording. The device is or can they get so they are essentially recording all the time without audio. Once the officer taps the button, there's 30 seconds before the tap happens that the camera has already recorded and then you get the sound. The officer could look at that on a smartphone. There is no way to review all of this footage? Who looks at it? That is what they are trying to figure out, the best time to look at these videos depending on the case, the situation, who within these offices would be the attorney assigned to that particular case or would it be an attorney who is assigned to look at many of these videos before they get doled out. I would imagine it would be challenging to store the video. Is there an archival process? It's very costly. I don't have specific numbers that every agency I have spoken with has said storage is a major and most expensive parts of this process. They have to store the video -- Escondido for example, they stored in the cloud. There other agencies a look at storing its other ways. The Sheriff's Department are testing out their cameras today. They have discussed possibly storing those in-house. What has been the impact so far? We have four agencies use them but more will be coming online. Is it to new yet or are they saying it's working out okay. All the agencies I talked to they all seem to be happier on board with the idea of having these cameras and having the British. They acknowledge the problems that exist in terms of getting a camera footage into those agencies, viewing the footage etc. etc. These are all questions that have to be answered. Right now, a little bit of all of those things are happening. This story will be with. It will be a while. Yes. All those parties mentions, they seem to be feeling positive about how things are going so far, not all of that video is in yet. San Diego televangelist is popular among some Christians and reviled by many friends. Known for his anti-gay preaching. Is no surprise his plan for a tourist resort is controversial. What are we talking about here? Is going to be South of Interstate 8, 18 acres, a hotel restaurant and liquor store reside there currently. The project would be huge in scale. To have the offices of the Morris Cerullo world evangelism which are currently in service. There be a pretty large commercial aspect of the project, hundred 37 timeshares, retail space, a spa, some more religious attractions would be replicas of the catacombs underground where you can see a replica of the apostle Paul's prison cell foam. There be a movie theater This into the objections on a few fronts. What would be, the physical project and the location, what are the objections there? It's not exactly a large streets. They have ways to mitigate any impact on traffic. They want to create an extra lean in a certain part of that street. It's right by the freeway, there's not a lot of space that would allow vehicles to come on and off the freeway. One of the most important impacts would be on Bachmann place, the street from the project site up the hell. The medical center has been one of the more prominent agencies to express concern about this project. They rely on that road to get emergency vehicles and announce of the hospital if there is a significant impact on that road, that could impact their ability to provide medical services for San Diego. Is no way to mitigate the impact on traffic. Bachmann place goes up the hill, the road is not wide enough to white knit or create extra lanes. I don't have the SECUs off the top of my head. In that draft and I wrote -- environmental impact report, they can determine if impact is significant or not. They can determine if it's mitigated or not. They determined that there be a significant impact in many of the areas, medication or not. Is lucrative, you would think there be a lot of money for the organization and a lot of people have a stake in this. The project director says the proposed center is a protected. Dwightmare meant specializes and religious land use. Usually, the typical case is not a large mixed-use commercial elements. With a large scale mixed-use development possibly be under the umbrella or protection of the religious land use and institutionalized persons act? It's unlikely, is the short answer. He saying they have a legal problem. It goes to the community. The Mission Valley planning group has a say, it is purely advisory. Eventually will have to go through the planning commission and the city Council. The city Council could deny it and I think if that were to happen, you could probably expect a lawsuit that would drag out quite some time. The important part of the religious land use act is whether or not this development is part of a religion -- religious exercise. You have to understand what does the Morris Cerullo believe, and determine whether this project is an exercise of those religious beliefs. You can say this missionary training Center is an exercise of those religious beliefs, his training people to spread he is beliefs. A spa, a restaurant, that's a tougher sell. Is interesting point. Most of this project is not exempt from property taxes. They have identified most of these buildings as not exempt and that's an important point for them because they want to tell the city this will generate tax revenue for you. I want to touch on the other thing that is he has been preaching against the LG between community for years. He is not exactly Westborough, where he has supported the X gay ministry which has been widely discredited by the medical community and people who have gone through it. It's safe to say a lot of LGBT groups were initially attracted because of his anti-gay preaching but now they are focusing more on traffic. That wraps up another week of stories at the KPBS roundtable.

Marne Foster pleads guilty, steps aside

After months of accusations and speculation San Diego Unified school trustee Marne Foster pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting illegal gifts as a public official and resigned.

This particular charge was new amid the turmoil of the Foster saga, but it proved to be her undoing. Janet Hunter, described by Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr as "a benefactor in the community," paid $3,487 for airfare and drama camp for Foster’s son. Public officials may not accept more than $460 a year from a single source. The charge is a misdemeanor.


Foster resigned, effective Feb. 7, as part of a plea deal.

She has faced several other allegations of misconduct, including enrolling her son in a school-lunch program to which he was not entitled, lying about not being the source of a claim for $250,000 against the district and holding a private fundraiser to which district vendors were invited.

The District Attorney’s Office agreed not to pursue these or other charges.

The deal stipulates that Foster will serve three years' probation, pay back the gift and cannot run for office for four years.


Chargers: Here today. Here tomorrow?

The blow Chargers president and CEO Dean Spanos received when the NFL rejected his plan to move to a stadium in Carson with the Raiders apparently was a glancing one.

Spanos announced last week that the team would play the 2016 season in Qualcomm Stadium. And if that weren't surprise enough, he said he would renew negotiations with the city on a new stadium.

Nevermind that Spanos also has an agreement that will eventually enable the team to join Stan Kroenke's Rams at their stadium in Inglewood. And, to be sure, it is their stadium. The Chargers would be second banana.

The announcement was greeted with some optimism, a good deal of skepticism and big questions: How will a stadium here be funded? Where will it be? And will voters approve?

Spanos has already met with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts. Both the team and politicos issued somewhat giddy pledges to work together.

Police body cams: Nice idea. Now what?

The San Diego Police Department has about 2,000 sworn officers. If they all wore body cameras and if they all had a dozen encounters with the public every day, that could mean many hours of video, per officer, per day. And that's just one department.

That's a big problem.

The District Attorney's Office received 35,000 videos in 2015. This year, it expects 75,000 or more.

All that video has to be collected, sorted, categorized, reviewed and stored. It is both time consuming and expensive, and figuring out how to do it all effectively is a challenge in San Diego and every other jurisdiction in the country that employs body-worn cameras.

About 1,000 body cameras are in use in the county now, including in the San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado and Escondido police departments. The Sheriff’s Department and several smaller cities are considering using them as well. They are expensive. Escondido’s cameras cost $400 each.

The televangelist and the traffic problem

San Diego televangelist Morris Cerullo wants to build a bricks-and-mortar legacy in Mission Valley.

Cerullo has bought an 18-acre site on Hotel Circle South that currently hosts the Mission Valley Resort Hotel, and a restaurant and liquor store. He proposes to replace them with 127 timeshare suites, a restaurant, spa, retail space and — here's where the legacy comes in — various religious attractions, including a missionary training center.

Opposition to the project has emerged around the issue of traffic. UC San Diego is concerned about more vehicles on Bachman Place, the street leading from the proposed project to the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

There is also doubt about whether the project, which is both religious and commercial, is protected under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

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.