Editordude: The following post about homelessness in Ocean Beach was written and sent to us by Eliana Phillips, who is a senior at High Tech High International. For her class’ final project they had to write about an issue they care about and she chose to write about homelessness in OB. The final part of their project was to send their of writing to a local newspaper so she chose to send it to the OB Rag – and we’re so glad she did. Check it out.

By Eliana Phillips

Homelessness in Ocean Beach has been a long standing issue but it has recently been getting more attention.

Local news boards criticize these people and discredit their situations. “The stench by the wall is overwhelming. I barely go that way anymore. So unfair to the actual residents! Come on SDPD-DO SOMETHING,” said one Ocean Beach local.

“All the trash and sketchy/ drugged out/ aggressive people discourage me from going to the wall and surrounding area…I’ve lived in OB for 10 years and it has never been this bad. I actively report things and communicate with the police, and it’s just disheartening to see the state our great town is in. I don’t understand why the police can’t make it less comfortable for them so the actual citizens can enjoy the beach, parks and town.”

This is an excerpt from a local news article. And while I agree something needs to be done, talking bad about these people is not the answer.

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By Judi Curry

I realize that I have written about the fireworks at SeaWorld many times in the past. There are definitely two camps in this on-going battle – those that love the fireworks and those that see the pain and suffering to animals, big and small; pain and suffering to those people diagnosed with PTSD; the harm it is doing to the environment; and the lasting effects every time a firework is shot off.

I am, quite frankly, tired of the people that give stupid advice about turning up the volume of the television to distract the animals from reacting to the noise and repercussions of the fireworks; the people that are now advocating giving the animals a small dose of CBD to calm them down. (I wonder how small a dose you would have to give an Orca, a seal, a porpoise, a dolphin, etc. to “calm them down.”)

How loud would you have to turn up the volume of a television, or a radio, or….to calm them down?

This article is NOT for those people. This is for those people, like me, who are fed up with watching our animals shiver and shake every night when this unnecessary display is going on. And they don’t just react at the time of the noise; they react for hours afterwards.

Is there any real purpose for the fireworks?

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“Celebrate the OB Vibe” for June 26 Will Replace Event

The 2021 Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off and July 4th fireworks have been cancelled for this year, due to Covid. The Fair and Cook-off had been scheduled for June 26.

But the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association took the brave step of not risking people’s health and business and organizational monies by putting off any in-person events.

There will be a replacement-type event; OBMA calls it “Celebrate the OB Vibe” which will be held June 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participating businesses will have specials for the day on display. And an arts and crafts, a children’s area and dance lessons will be offered in designated areas, along with art vendor areas near the Ocean Beach Pier and at Veterans Plaza.

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By Geoff Page

While there were no projects to review on the OB Planning Board’s, Wednesday, April 7 meeting agenda, two things that matter to almost everyone, libraries and parks, were.

There was a presentation by the San Diego Public Library Foundation, or SDPLF, on its efforts to revise the citywide library master plan.

There was also a presentation by the OBPB’s parks subcommittee that contained a well detailed inventory of the parks in and around OB with ideas for improvements.

City of San Diego Library Master Plan

It is important to first understand the entities involved with the library system, for folks who are not intimately familiar with the system. The system is owned and operated by the City of San Diego. The SDPLF is a private, non-profit corporation based in the Central Library downtown.

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by Ernie McCray

Wow! What a game!

A game that was truly anybody’s game as the University of Arizona Women Wildcat Basketball team lost to Stanford, 54 to 53.

A “March Madness” NCAA Championship game that ended like a well-crafted suspenseful drama where you really don’t know how it’s going to end until the very end of the last scene…

Oh, it was so much fun seeing those young athletes chasing their dream, steam rolling over one team like they were merely running drills, then scratching and crawling to get a win, then, voila, they were enjoying the thrill of being in the “Sweet Sixteen,” the “Elite Eight,” and the “Final Four,” rings on a ladder upon which no Wildcat women had ever climbed before.

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By Lori Weisberg / San Diego Union-Tribune / April 7, 2021

The San Diego City Council Tuesday formally affirmed its decision in February’ to impose a yearly cap on whole-home vacation rentals that could potentially cut the volume by as much as 30 percent.

To enact the new regulations governing Airbnb-style rentals, the council was required to approve a second reading of the ordinance it approved following a six-hour hearing on Feb. 23. The new’ rules will not go into effect until July of next year. Councilman Joe LaCava, whose district includes La Jolla, cast the lone dissenting vote, as he did in February.

Under the new plan, whole-home rentals that are available for more than 20 day’s in a year will be capped at 1 percent of the city’s more than 540,000 housing units, or about 5,400. An exception, however, was made for Mission Beach, which has a long history’ of vacation rentals that predates the rise of online home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. For that community, the allocation is much more generous, limited to 30 percent of the community’s total dwelling units, or about 1,100.

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San Diego City Council Resurrects Measure C – Defeated at the Ballot Box – in Order to Expand Convention Center, Long Sought by Establishment

April 7, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council resurrected the local establishment’s long-sought expansion of the convention center, by declaring that Measure C – the hike to the city’s hotel tax to enlarge the center defeated by the voters of San Diego – actually was passed. The measure needed two-thirds of the vote but only garnered 65.24 per cent.

But, business writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Lori Weisberg, reflecting the general attitude of the council majority, said the measure only “technically failed.” Tax hike measures need that two-thirds. Until now, it appears. Weisberg explains:

… there have been three appellate court decisions concluding that simple majority approval is adequate when a tax hike is placed on the ballot by citizens, which was the case with Measure C. The state Supreme Court has so far denied review in two of those cases, which is seen as an encouraging sign for Measure C backers. A third case is awaiting the high court’s review.

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Weber Wins 79th Assembly Special Election

April 7, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

It appears that short of a Southern California earthquake, Dr. Akilah Weber has won the special election to succeed her mother in the 79th Assembly District.

Akilah Weber, currently a La Mesa City Councilmember – and an obstetrician and gynecologist – gained 52 per cent of the vote. The sole Republican in the race, Marco Contreras, came off with 33 per cent. The other 3 Democrats shared the remaining 15%.

These are “unofficial” results but with 100% of the precincts reporting, it definitely looks like Weber will be going to Sacramento.

Weber was taking the win. Late Tuesday night, she said:

“Tonight’s win and these results are staggering. I am deeply honored and humbled by the faith that the voters have placed in me. My campaign is focused on one mission — creating healthier communities for everyone who lives and works in the 79th District.

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Recall Campbell Campaign Has 5,000 Signatures – Well On Its Way for Required Total

April 7, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Five thousand. That’s 5,000.

That’s the number of signatures the recall Jen Campbell campaign has gathered up to now. This means the campaign is well on its way for the required total of 14,421 signatures needed by June 3. The 14,421 number is based on 15 percent of the 96,140 registered voters in District 2 at the time of the general election on November 3, 2020.

On Tuesday, organizers of the recall effort told the press that the 5,000 signatures have been vetted to ensure there’s no duplicates or otherwise unusable ones. They’re planning on collecting many more signatures than are needed – as typically a good number of signatures on any petition are invalidated by the County Registrar of Voters for different reasons.

Campaign leaders said by Thursday, they could add a few thousand more from several hundred petitions they are in the process of downloading from the recalljen.com website.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early April 2021

April 5, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Dottie of OB Hardware Passes

One of the most familiar faces on Newport Avenue, Dottie of OB Hardware, has passed. She had worked at the storefront for more than 30 years.

Pt Loma Football Team Ends Season Due to Safety Concerns

OB Man to Stand Trial for Murder of His Mother

Bike Rentals Boomed During Pandemic – New Shop Opens in P.L.

The Return of the Scooter

Rincon Tribe’s Beer Set to Star in Ocean Beach This Summer

Feeding San Diego Food Distribution at Pechanga Arena April 7 and May 1 (Sports Arena)

Shout Out to The Log for its 50 Years

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OB Planning Board to Elect New Leaders, Get Update on Library Master Plan and OB Library – Wed., April 7

April 5, 2021 by Staff

Wednesday night, April 7, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will hold its monthly meeting – it will be held at 6 pm virtually via Cisco WebEx. You can register for the meeting here.

There are no development projects to review. The Board will certify its March election results, elect a new executive board (prez, VP, etc.), and will appoint members to two of its subcommittees; the all-important Project Review Committee and the Transportation committee.

The Board will also receive a presentation and update on the Library Master Plan and the OB Library. And the Parks ad hoc committee will give a presentation on their recommendations for park upgrades.

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The Origins of the Thirty-Foot Height Limit

June 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Recently – within the context of discussions over the City of San Diego’s plans to bring massive redevelopment to the Midway District on this site – there has been some serious disparagement of the 30 foot height limit, and it’s being blamed for everything from the housing crisis to the lack of affordability at the coast.

So, apparently it’s time, once again, to present some local history – the origins of the 30 foot height limit – and some of the good folks who made it happen.

It all began back in the late Sixties when beach residents began to rebel against a wave of unbridled development occurring at the coast.

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Colleen’s Report Card on 2021 Predictions – Quarter-Term

April 6, 2021 by Source

Quarter-Term Report Card on 2021 Predictions

By Colleen O’Connor

In a column, written in February, a list of predictions on “both sides of the border,” was posted, with a one-year expiration date. This is the quarter term status on those U.S. predictions.

First, a footnote about last year’s prediction that Mitt Romney would become the “conscience of the Senate.” Recently affirmed with 2021 JFK “Profile in Courage” award for his vote to convict former President Donald Trump. The first ever Senator to vote to convict a President of his own party.

On to this year’s mid-term contenders.

#1 on the list, “Don’t Cry for Liz Cheney.”

Prediction: Liz Cheney is going to be the first Republican female minority leader after Kevin McCarthy is ditched. She sees the future and it isn’t Trumpism.

At the time of this February prediction, Cheney defied Trump on mask mandates and voted to impeach him, while beating back calls to “resign” her post as the #3 in House GOP leadership.

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Commission on Police Practices Issues Policy Recommendations for San Diego Police

April 6, 2021 by Source

On March 30, the Commission on Police Practices issued a litany of policy recommendations for San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit and his department. Commission Chair, Brandon Hilpert wrote the following memorandum, which we repost below in substance:

Subject: Recommendations to the San Diego Police Department

The Commission on Police Practices (“CPP” or “Commission”) appreciates that the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) accepted the former CRB’s recommendation to create a stand-alone policy which would provide a clear structure on how SDPD responds to First Amendment protected protest activities.

The Commission reviewed SDPD’s new procedure (4.17) and held public meetings to discuss its proposed clarifications and revisions. The Commission’s Policy Committee held a public meeting on February 25, 2021 as well as a community roundtable on March 18, 2021. At its Open Meeting on March 23, 2021, the Commission voted unanimously to make the following policy recommendations to the SDPD for its consideration:

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Save San Diego Neighborhoods Critique of Proposed Amendments to Short Term Rental Ordinance

April 6, 2021 by Source

The group Save San Diego Neighborhoods has sent a letter from their attorney to the San Diego City Council objecting to elements of a proposed amendment on short term vacation rentals. The Council meets today, Tuesday, April 6 to work out regulations for short term occupancy. The letter is from Everett DeLano of Delano & Delano.

Here is the substance of that letter, dated April 5, 2021:

Dear City of San Diego City Council:

This letter is submitted on behalf of Save San Diego Neighborhoods (“SSDN”), … in connection with the proposed amendment to the City’s Municipal Code to impose a license requirement and operating regulations for short term residential occupancy (“Ordinance”). On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the City council voted to approve the Ordinance.

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Rest In Peace – Dottie Veal

April 6, 2021 by Source

This memorial for Dottie Veal appeared in OB Hardware. Photo by Albert C Elliott.

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What’s Up With Mayor’s ‘Get It Done App’?

April 5, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Mayor Todd Gloria just announced new “improvements” in the City of San Diego’s online citizen complaint portal; “Get It Done.”

Several problems. Most seniors do not use the internet. Many others do not have computer access. And “Just download the app” instructions do not allow for downloading to popular iPhones or iPads.

But, the good news.

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San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club: A Dilemma for Clairemont Community Planners

April 2, 2021 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Community mistrust and apprehension surfaced in the March 10, 2021, Zoom meeting of the Clairemont Community Planning Group’s Plan Review Subcommittee.

Those sentiments arose amid discussion of whether a Bay Park property known as the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club should be approved for higher-density development under special regulations that could be included in the Clairemont Community Plan Update.

Douglas Jensen appeared as a spokesperson for the tennis center owners, the Ming Tom Family, and their partners, the Douglas Allred Family, who together seek approval for a Community Plan Implementation Overlay Zone or (CPIOZ).

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New Motto for the Democrats: ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’

April 2, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Just back from Yosemite. The recent heatwave delivered fabulous, gushy waterfalls; even a rainbow to usher in spring.

The heat wave greatly accelerated the volume of the snowmelt. This may be a harbinger of a drought or a glimpse of a beautiful spring.

However, the lingering damage from the fires of two years ago, not only contrasts the beauty of the falls, but mirrors the lingering political damage accumulated over the last 4 years.

The photographs say it all; as is often the case. One photo of the waterfalls in powerful form.

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A Little Story of Bear Down Gym and Me

April 2, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

This is a little story about a place called Bear Down Gym and me.

I just found out that it’s in the National Register of Historic Places and an historic place is exactly what it is to me.

We were tight. It provided me a space that eventually led to me being in my school’s Sports Hall of Fame and Basketball Ring of Honor.

In between its bleacher-ed walls I’d do my thing to foot stomping cheers and applause that still remain as music to my ears after sixty-one years.

I loved every inch of the building, even the dead spot on its court that no one could apparently fix. But for a relationship to work you have to accept a pimple or a wart or two in the mix.

I can just picture myself, back then, walking to this beloved gym, on a game day, slowly putting on my game face.

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Gina Champion-Cain, Former Owner of OB’s Surf Rider Pizza, Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Giant Ponzi Scheme

April 1, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Gina Champion-Cain, the former owner of the Surf Rider Pizza chain, a host of “patio restaurants”, vacation rentals and clothing businesses, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for operating almost a $400 million Ponzi scheme, with hundreds of victims.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said Champion-Cain deserved the maximum, calling her crimes a “tremendous fraud” and a “betrayal,” and likely the biggest fraud committed in the history of the federal court’s Southern District of California.

Her Ocean Beach Surf Rider Pizza had to close – and now the building has a whole different business. Champion-Cain was not the original owner of Surf Rider Pizza, having purchased the small chain from other owners.

Judge Burns said Champion-Cain could have been charged with many more criminal counts — and faced a much longer prison term —

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April 2021 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

April 1, 2021 by Source

The Ocean Beach Green Center will be celebrating our 32nd Anniversary on Earth Day April 22nd. We can’t have our usual celebration this year but we will be open from 12:30 to 6:30 with Covid-19 protocols if you want to drop by and say hi! We will have a donation jar available if you are so inclined to make a small donation. Do not feel obligated as we know a lot of people are having a hard time. Your presence is our present. Happy Earth Day

A lot is happening this month. Because it is Earth Day Month environmental events dominate the calendar. Peace and Social Justice highlighted events are listed but check out our list of all P & SJ groups for more of their events. Go to http://www.oceanbeachgreencenter.org/get-involved.html for their links

April Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

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Update on California’s 2 Remaining Nukes

April 1, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News April 2021

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of nuclear power in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future.

Since I began writing Nuclear Shutdown News in 2014, I’ve learned that the No Nukes Movement resembles a woe-begone tale with more twists and turns than anyone would care to imagine.

The now outdated nuclear power technology began as the Atoms for Peace program following the mass nuclear destruction of multitudes of humans at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now nuke power freaks don’t seem to know how to give up the ghost.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this better- or worse– than the current situation with California’s two remaining nukes, both overshadowed by the legacy of multiple meltdowns at Fukushima 10 years ago

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Lawsuit Alleges Mayor Gloria’s Bid Invite for City’s Utility Franchises Favors SDG&E and Violates City Charter

March 31, 2021 by Staff

A lawsuit filed by a long-time City Heights resident alleges that the recent invitation to bid on San Diego’s utility franchises by Mayor Todd Gloria favors SDG&E and actually violates the city charter.

Resident John Stump, an attorney, has initiated the lawsuit in which it’s alleged that Gloria’s bid process violates Section 103 of the charter, which requires a two-thirds vote of the City Council to approve a franchise agreement. Stump is represented by the prestigious law firm Aguirre & Severson (that’s Mike Aguirre – the former City Attorney for San Diego); the firm’s Maria Severson told the press that the invitation favors SDG&E.

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Assault on American Democracy Continues at State Capitols – 250 Bills Introduced by Republicans in 43 States to Restrict Voting

March 31, 2021 by Source

By Amy Gardner, Kate Rabinowitz and Harry Stevens / Washington Post

The GOP’s national push to enact hundreds of new election restrictions could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans, potentially amounting to the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, when Southern states curtailed the voting rights of formerly enslaved Black men, a Washington Post analysis has found.

In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws

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America’s Founders Believed in Publick Education

March 31, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican

The second and third presidents of the United States advocated powerfully for public education. Thomas Jefferson saw education as the cause for developing out of common farmers the enlightened citizenry who would take the rational action a successful republican democracy requires. Jefferson contended,

“The qualifications for self government are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training.”

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‘Why I Support Public Education’

March 31, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / March 29, 2021

The original cause for my supporting public education was that my rancher father married a school teacher. Growing up in southern Idaho, I learned many philosophical and theoretical reasons for supporting the establishment and maintenance of public schools from my mother. However, it was from watching mom and her dedicated colleagues in action that I learned to truly respect and appreciate public school.

I remember stories of my father being warned that he better not treat that woman wrong. For several years in a row she won the Elmore County sharp shooting contest. She didn’t like to chop a chicken’s head off so she would pull out her rifle and shoot it off.

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Are We About to Have a Fourth COVID Surge as Some States and European Countries Have Spikes?

March 30, 2021 by Staff

Yesterday, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pleaded with Americans to not give up on using the measures we’re employed this last year to staunch the spread of COVID-19, and warned of a the possible coming of a Fourth Surge.

In an emotional address to the country, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, issued a dire warning of a sense of “impending doom” as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations tick up. Walensky said there are “continuing concerning trends” in the nation’s response to the pandemic, as the numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths are all rising.

The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States, she said, is following European countries like Germany, Italy and France, which have experienced a “consistent and worrying spike in cases.”

In her televised address, Walensky became emotional, and said:

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Don’t Bee Worried, They’re Not Swarming at the Ocean Beach Post Office

March 30, 2021 by Staff

by Bob Edwards

Late last week the OB RAG received an email from a concerned reader who suggested a topic for a new article. “Hey, not sure if you guys are interested but there’s a swarm of bees at the USPS building on Cable St. Might be a cool story about how the city handles it,” the email stated.

This was not the first report of a bee situation in the Ocean Beach/ Point Loma area. Last year there was an infestation of aggressive bees on the Bayside Trail at Cabrillo National Monument that closed down the trail for months as the Park Service struggled to find a solution that didn’t involve a call to Terminex. Ultimately they sealed the “bee cave” that was the little critters’ home with expanding foam caulk and eventually it was bricked over, eliminating (at least for now) the problem.

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When Landlords Didn’t Take COVID Aid Money, Tenants Missed Out on Rent Relief

March 30, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

by Cody Dulaney / inewsource / March 30, 2021

The city and county of San Diego set aside more than $47 million in federal coronavirus aid last fall to pay landlords whose low-income tenants were behind on rent. But some eligible renters didn’t get any help because their landlords didn’t take the money and they weren’t required to explain why.

Public records obtained by inewsource show 1,268 eligible households were denied assistance from the county’s rent relief program because their landlords either refused to participate or missed deadlines. The city’s program, overseen by the San Diego Housing Commission, had 19 households with landlords who wouldn’t accept payments, an agency spokesperson said.

Now, more than $211 million in state and federal funds have poured into the region to help low-income renters. And under a new state law, this time the programs come with built-in incentives designed to persuade landlords to take the money.

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The Color of Authority: San Diego Police and Sheriff’s Disproportionately Target Minorities

March 29, 2021 by Source

Data Shows Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans Bear Brunt of Racial Biases in Local Policing

Long before protests erupted across San Diego County over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died last May after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, community leaders have called on local law enforcement officials to address persistent racial disparities in policing.

For years, study after study has shown that people of color — especially Blacks — are stopped, searched and arrested at higher rates than their White counterparts.

A new analysis by The San Diego Union-Tribune of nearly 500,000 stops of drivers and pedestrians made by San Diego police and sheriff’s deputies

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