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Former La Mesa Police Officer Charged With Falsifying Report

 January 5, 2021 at 4:36 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday, January 5th. A police officer charged with falsifying an arrest report involving a Black man That story next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. San Diego county public health officials reported more than 3-thousand new infections on monday, and six deaths. The county has reported nearly 11-thousand cases since the new year started. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’s working to speed up the administration of covid-19 vaccines across the state. He is expanding the number of distribution sites, and the types of people who can give the shots. The governor says the state received 1.3 million doses of vaccines from Pzifer, and another 600-thousand are on the way. As of Sunday however, only about 4-hundred and fifty thousand doses have been administered. A California advisory board wants police agencies to routinely review officers’ social media, cellphones and computers for racist, bigoted or otherwise offensive content. The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board made the recommendation on monday. From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. The Former LA Mesa police department officer involved in the controversial arrest of a black man last may has been charged with falsifying a police report in connection with the incident.. kpbs’ joe hong reports. San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Monday that her office filed the charges against former La Mesa police officer Matthew Dages. On May 27, Dages got into an altercation with 23-year-old La Mesa resident Amaurie Johnson near a trolley stop. Dages arrested Johnson for assaulting a peace officer, but those charges were eventually dropped. Following Johnson’s arrest, the police department faced widespread criticism for discriminating against Black people. In a statement, Stephan said: Everyone is accountable under the law and as we’ve done previously, we will file criminal charges when they are supported by facts and evidence.”According to a DA spokesperson, the charges against Dages mark the fifth time since 2009 that a police officer in the county has been charged for falsifying a report. Dages faces up to 3 years in prison if convicted. Joe Hong KPBS News. San Diego's ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer is officially preparing to run for governor. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the announcement came on Monday. AB: As a Republican in deep blue California, the odds are automatically stacked against Faulconer. But with a budding campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, Faulconer could find a familiar, if unlikely, pathway to victory: Wait for a scandal to oust the incumbent, then win in a low-turnout special election. UCSD political science professor Thad Kousser says that's how he was elected mayor in 2014. TK: If turnout is lower in a recall that's held in an odd year in an odd month, then you might have a more Republican-slanted electorate, or at least one where it wouldn't be as blue as most electorates are in California. AB: The "Recall Newsom" campaign has another two and a half months to gather 1.5 million valid signatures. That would force a statewide recall vote. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news. County officials and business leaders are urging small businesses to take advantage of a state program that’s handing out five-hundred-million dollars in grants…. KPBS’ Max Rivlin-Nadler reports. The program offers businesses between five thousand and twenty-five thousand dollars depending on their size…. These grants don’t have to be paid back. Originally, the deadline for business owners was this Friday, but sensing the tight deadline, state officials moved the date back to Wednesday January 13th. Unlike other pandemic relief programs, this one isn’t first-come, first-serve, meaning no applications will be reviewed until the 14th. Daniel Fitzgerald is with the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center, which is helping business owners navigate the application. Fitzgerald: This is an opportunity for non-profits and small businesses to be able to get a little bit of relief and the state of California is here to support them. Businesses and nonprofits can sign up for the program through an online portal at Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS News You heard yesterday about how the San Diego Opera has pivoted to adapt to the pandemic. KPBS reporter John Carroll talked to one San Diegan who’s had to find solutions for not one, not two, but three different arts groups. “What’s been taken away is the very thing that we’re usually doing, that is performing.” Even during the middle of a pandemic Ruben Valenzuela has a lot on his plate. He founded San Diego’s Bach Collegium in 2003 and he remains its artistic director. He is the choral conductor for the La Jolla Symphony Chorus, and he’s the director of music and organist at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Point Loma. Given that he has his fingers in so many “arts pots” - we wanted to know how the arts organizations that he’s responsible for are faring nearly a year into this pandemic. Valenzuela says things have gotten better… here he describes how things changed with his musical duties at church. “Things started to kind of refine themselves, ok we can get some people in here in the building which gives us a proper acoustic, which means we can use the organ…” Valenzuela says part of the challenge with the La Jolla Symphony Chorus is just keeping the group of about 80-volunteer singers engaged… think zoom meetings. With the Bach Collegium, the pandemic presented a more daunting prospect. We have concerts planned, they got pulled, they got cancelled, people paid for things. What are we gonna do?” Like most leaders of arts organizations, Valenzuela says he’s looking forward to the end of the pandemic, and anxious to see what arts groups look like… on the other side. JC, KPBS News. Coming up....Speaking with Secretary of state designate Shirley Weber of San Diego about her agenda once she’s confirmed by the state legislature. Secretary of State-Designate Shirley Weber of San Diego talked to Capradio’s Nicole Nixon about her agenda for the office once she is confirmed by the legislature. She also reacts to President Trump's controversial phone call with Georgia's top elections official... That was Secretary of State designate Shirley Weber speaking with Cap Radio’s Nicole Nixon. ….That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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A former La Mesa police officer is facing a felony charge for filing a false report in connection with the arrest of Black man near the Grossmont trolley station. Also, Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is supporting a recall of Governor Gavin Newsom and officially preparing to run for Governor. Plus, we’ll hear from San Diego’s Shirley Weber on her agenda as Secretary of State.