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Plurality Of San Diego County Residents Support Reallocating Police Funding

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY ZOË MEYERS / INEWSOURCE

Above: The San Diego Police Department headquarters is shown on Jan. 7, 2020.

Nearly half of San Diego county residents support reallocating some law enforcement funding toward social services. Plus, a break down of Proposition 20, which would roll back some of the criminal justice reforms California has passed in recent years. And, a preview of some of the creepiest (in a good way) events this Halloween weekend.

Speaker 1: 00:01 A poll finds public support in San Diego for police defunding.

Speaker 2: 00:06 The term itself has become so loaded that a lot of politicians especially say that they don't support it.

Speaker 1: 00:13 Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition. We look at one of the state propositions on this year's ballot, prop 20. It's a noticeable shift away from throw away the key to we support rehabilitation. And our weekend preview explores what to do on this very different and even scarier Halloween stay with us for midday edition. It's coming up

Speaker 3: 00:47 Next,

Speaker 1: 01:00 The movement to defund the police is something most politicians in San Diego want nothing to do with, but a new poll indicates the political scramble away from the issue may be out of step with many residents. The poll commissioned by voice of San Diego finds more San Diego and support the concept of reallocating. Some police funding towards social services than oppose it. The support differs widely, however, among different ages, genders, races, and political affiliations. Joining me is voice of San Diego's managing editor, Sarah Libby, and Sarah. Welcome.

Speaker 2: 01:34 Thank you for having me. How was

Speaker 1: 01:36 This poll conducted and what were the overall results?

Speaker 2: 01:40 Yeah, so we surveyed three different groups actually. Um, when it came to the San Diego mayor's race, we spoke to city voters. We also surveyed residents of the district three board of supervisors race, and then we surveyed residents. County-wide um, that's a group that includes both voter registered voters and non-registered voters, um, about a number of issues that, uh, we wanted to take resident's temperature on, uh, including their feelings about local police and this question of funding. And what did you find? How did it break down? So on the funding question specifically, um, it, it wasn't a majority who said they, uh, favored shifting funding away from police departments, but it was a plurality. So more people responded that they supported shifting funding than those who said they opposed it. Um, but like you've said, we found things broke down significantly. Um, depending on what kind of person was responding. So young people, uh, people 18 to 49 overwhelmingly supported, uh, reallocating funding, uh, while people over 50 overwhelmingly opposed such a move. Um, I think political affiliation was the strongest indicator of where someone was so likely to land on this question. So people who identified as Republicans, particularly Republican men overwhelmingly opposed the idea, um, of shifting funding while people who identified as liberal and even people who identified as independent, uh, said they supported it.

Speaker 1: 03:18 Now, the question that was asked did not use the term defund the police. Why not?

Speaker 2: 03:24 Right. I think that's really important. It seems like, um, what we found is that the term itself has become so loaded that a lot of politicians especially say that they don't support it. And then they'll go on, um, to describe what they do support. And they essentially do say that they think social services are underfunded, um, and that they should be getting more money. And so the question that we asked specifically was whether people, um, opposed taking a significant amount of funds currently going to local police departments and the County Sheriff's department, and instead using them for other programs that could improve safety, like mental health services and substance abuse treatment.

Speaker 1: 04:04 Now, how have local politicians reacted to the movement to take some of the funding away from law enforcement?

Speaker 2: 04:10 Uh, well, like you said, they certainly haven't been supportive. We saw earlier this year, the San Diego city council, which is represented by a super majority of Democrats, um, didn't just decline to reallocate funding. They actually increased funding for the San Diego police department. Um, the two democratic candidates for mayor of San Diego have both said they do not support the idea, um, of defunding the democratic attorney general of California told us, um, last month that defunding police is something he could never support. We also saw governor Gavin Newsome veto, a bill that included a pilot project, um, for having community groups serve as first responders in certain situations. And so even though the poll found that Democrats and independents, um, really favor this idea, we've seen democratic politicians at all levels of government. Um, haven't reacted that way.

Speaker 1: 05:08 And the present County board of supervisors is not in support either, is it?

Speaker 2: 05:13 No. Um, you know, we're, it's all going to come down to this district three race on the board of supervisors to determine party control. And so if a majority of Democrats ended up representing the County moving forward, that could change, but certainly the Republicans currently on the board, as well as those running for the board now say that this is not a concept that they sell.

Speaker 1: 05:35 Well, like the, uh, residents that you poll many politicians who say they don't support defunding also say they don't want police to be mental health or social service workers. So is it this phrase that stopping them get to get on the bandwagon and support this idea?

Speaker 2: 05:54 Yeah, I think it's the phrase itself that is very and provocative, um, that they want to stay away from as well as, you know, it all comes down to what exactly we're talking about, um, what pools of money we're pulling from. Um, so, you know, budgets are tricky things and involve a lot of moving parts. And so I think that they want to make sure that first responders have the tools that they need to stay safe and to protect the community. And it all depends on, on what that looks like.

Speaker 1: 06:25 Now you spoke with a defunding advocate about the results of this poll. What was her reaction?

Speaker 2: 06:31 She said that she thinks it's going to take a lot more time for politicians, even democratic politicians to come around to some of these concepts. Um, but she expressed a lot of hopefulness. She said that this is the most, you know, sustained movement for, um, police reform that she has seen in her career of, of years and years of advocating for these types of changes. So she does think that changes on the way, but you know, it's not going to happen overnight.

Speaker 1: 07:00 I've been speaking with voice of San Diego's, managing editor, Sarah Libby, and Sarah, thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Mail-in ballot turnout continues to be phenomenal this year. And this weekend in-person voting begins at polling locations across San Diego. One of the many state propositions on the ballot proposition 20 would roll back. Some of the criminal justice reforms, California has passed in recent years. Key to this issue is the rhetoric used about crime over the years and how that rhetoric has changed KQ KQBD. Kate Wolf has more

Speaker 2: 07:40 In the 1990s, California led the nation in passing a spate of tough on crime laws. Here's a 1994 ad for Republican gubernatorial candidate, Pete Wilson, right

Speaker 4: 07:56 In California.

Speaker 2: 07:59 One of the most harsh and recognizable laws of that era was 1990 fours, three strikes law backed by Wilson with bipartisan support. It put people in state prisons for decades for third offense, even if it was non-violent.

Speaker 4: 08:14 It used to be even in California, that an effective campaign was to talk about law and order that you were really, really for it as a Republican or that you weren't against it as Democrat.

Speaker 2: 08:30 That's dr. Fernando, Garah a political science professor at Loyola Marymount university. As the state packed its prisons and spending ballooned. However, public sentiment slowly began to change. And after a Supreme court order to lower the prison population voters passed a series of reforms that softened some criminal penalties. Now law enforcement groups have put prop 20 on the ballot to roll back. Some of those reforms,

Speaker 5: 08:57 It would increase penalties on some theft and fraud crimes and exclude thousands of people from early parole. Yes. On 20 consultant. Richard temple says people who've committed violent crimes. Shouldn't be eligible for early release. But in this moment of racial reckoning and admitted calls for more oversight of police and prisons, temple is also quick to contend that the measure won't send people to prison.

Speaker 4: 09:23 This initiative does not increase the prison population. Not one new inmate will go to prison.

Speaker 5: 09:29 Temples, technically right? Prop 20 would send more people to jail, not prison and keep some people in prison longer. But for a ballot measure, backed by prosecutors and police. It's a noticeable shift away from throw away. The key to we support rehabilitation. Temple says under the current system, people with drug and mental health problems are falling through the cracks.

Speaker 4: 09:53 Those people will get better treatment. How has this taken care of them by letting them over and over steal and not get treatment?

Speaker 5: 10:00 Temple is referring to a more tough love approach, get help or go to jail. But in analysis by the center on juvenile and criminal justice found that prop 20 would undercut rehabilitation by redirecting money from those programs back to locking people up opponents of prop 20, say despite the softer rhetoric from the other side, this is just the same playbook with a different script. Lenore Anderson helped write some of the reforms. The prop 20 is seeking to roll back.

Speaker 4: 10:30 Now is the time to go further with reform. But what prop 20 does is seeks to send us back. Prop 20 is an effort to return California, to it's tough on crime mass incarceration past.

Speaker 5: 10:46 Ultimately it will be up to the voters to decide whether California has become too lenient. But professor Garris says if prop 20 passes, it will send an important message.

Speaker 4: 10:58 Clearly there's been tremendous momentum from the criminal justice proponent. This would indicate that that momentum has gone too far,

Speaker 5: 11:08 But if prop 20 fails, it could be that the reforms are here to stay.

Speaker 1: 11:15 That was K QEDs, Kate Wolf. You can locate the new in-person polling place in your area by checking the back of your sample ballot for the address, or you can click the how to vote button on our voter guide@kpbs.org. If you count the pandemic and election day jitters, this could be the spookiest Halloween ever, even without the trick or treaters. Fortunately local arts groups can help us turn to some of the more classic tales of horror, right? In our plus a community of friends and spooky live music. So this Halloween weekend, dim the lights and settle in for some spooky culture. Joining me as KPBS arts editor, Julia Dickson Evans, with all the details and Julia welcome. Hi Maureen, this year's poll fast has gone online, but it's still here with the best of Gothic literature to celebrate the season. How can we tune in?

Speaker 6: 12:20 Yeah. So performers from right out loud, they have recorded videos of retellings of a bunch of classic creepy short stories, poetry and folk tales. So including at ground co, but also HP Lovecraft, Charlotte Perkins, Gilman, and more each year, they usually perform in the old Adobe chapel in old town. And they've recreated that this year in onsite to film the stories for us at home. And they're in bundles of six separate readings. So you can either binge them all or space them out. And you can even just pick one or two to buy a pass for. It all starts off with mr. Poe's, the mask of red death. It sort of got a little boost in the news lately. It's a story of a bunch of wealthy leaders who think they're immune to a deadly plague. So they gather for a party and spoiler alert. It goes wrong. I am personally looking forward to the yellow wallpaper, which is deeply interior, sort of horror about a woman. Who's trying to figure out if it's the house or her mind that is haunted. And of course all those classic post stories like the Raven read here by the incredibly spooky Travis red.

Speaker 7: 13:33 No, I said what it is. It's only stock can still vote from someone happy master who man must suffer disaster followed fast, then followed faster to his songs when the burden ball for the didge is of his hope that none of the coli burden ball, I've never, never know.

Speaker 1: 13:53 It's Travis red, Wilson of pole, fast reading Edgar Allen. Poe's the Raven. You can catch the whole story plus more in six episodes online. Now through November 8th and the San Diego museum of art has paired Shakespeare with paintings in a spooky virtual SDMA plus performance. What can we find here?

Speaker 6: 14:15 Yeah. So it's across the pond from ed ground poets. So much of horror and dark creepy art even today is inspired by Shakespeare and the San Diego Shakespeare society. They're pairing up with sending a museum of art again, to perform some works alongside pieces from the museum's collection. They'll do some really classic scenes like the out out damned spot scene and the dagger scene from Macbeth. Plus that be not a feared part from the Tempest as well as scenes from Othello. Plus it's not just Shakespeare. I'm excited about the pairing of Emily Dickinson's. I felt a funeral in my brain poem with contemporary abstract artists. Nancy Lawrence is chaotic gold tinge work. And these virtual SDMA plus offerings they've run on the short side during quarantine. So I'm really looking forward to this one, being packed to the gills with stuff. It's a video format on YouTube. So you can experience the art too.

Speaker 1: 15:15 San Diego museum of art plus San Diego Shakespeare society performs spooky works of literature with art from the museum. That's online Saturday, that's Halloween at 6:00 PM. DIA de Los Muertos starts on Sunday and city Heights. Art space. You belong here has a special offering. Tell us about their community of friends.

Speaker 6: 15:39 Yeah, you belong here. Brought in artists to Maria Romera to install a public alter her a friend does really beautiful pieces. And one nice part about this project is that it's viewable from the outside. Through you belong here is windows 24 hours a day through Monday. So you can go to pay your respects and celebrate those who came before you, even if you're not quite ready to go indoors. But if you are, you belong here as offering short in VAR, viewings of no more than four people at a time. So you can interact with the altar. They're open this afternoon until four and Saturday and Sunday from 10 to noon and masks are required.

Speaker 1: 16:20 Romero's community of friends will be on view at you belong here in city Heights through Monday and in the scary music world. Let's head back to the 1980s. What does the belly up have to offer this?

Speaker 6: 16:34 Yeah, so dead man's party. It's an oil go Boingo cover band. And what good is Halloween without when you go bowling, go dead. Man's parties, an eight piece band with a three piece horn section, and they're from San Diego. They'll take the belly upstage Saturday night to live stream a bit of Danny Elfman energy, right to our houses. You can expect all your favorite spooky ongo Blanco hits. And this is also the kickoff to belly ups, 10 concert virtual tour series, and proceeds support the venue and all the artists who regularly share the stage. So you can get tickets just for the show or a pretty good discount on all 10 in the tour,

Speaker 1: 17:13 Dead man's party streams live from the belly up Saturday at 8:00 PM. And let's have a listen to weird science covered by dead man's party.

Speaker 6: 17:49 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 17:52 And Julia, just briefly remind us about the County health guidelines about trick or treating this year.

Speaker 6: 17:57 Yeah, they're recommending that people avoid traditional door to door trick or treating. They've been playing out that leaving out bowls of candy on the porch is unsafe, and instead they recommend one way trick or treating where you have individually wrapped goodie bags lined up outdoors. So families can grab them while practicing social distancing. You can check the county's special Halloween fact sheet online. So yeah, I mostly just recommend listening to post stories

Speaker 1: 18:24 As keeps us safe. Right? I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson Evans. For more arts events, you can go to kpbs.org/arts or sign up for the weekly KPBS arts newsletter, happy Halloween, Julia eater.

Speaker 6: 18:39 You Marie. And thank you. [inaudible].

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.