Morning Report: Anti-Trafficking Nonprofit Under Fire (Again) For Misrepresenting Relationship With Another Group

May 6, 2022

Saved in America bills itself as an anti-trafficking nonprofit that, working with law enforcement, conducts operations rescuing children who have gone missing from the streets.

But a decades-old nonprofit known for helping locate missing children said the Valley Center-based group did not have its permission to use its branding in a fundraising appeal for one of those operations, and that the groups have no relationship with one another.

Freelance reporters JW August and Lynn Walsh, who uncovered similar issues with Saved in America for us in November, are back with more revelations on the group, which runs the alleged rescue operations in an RV that it purchased with the help of a grant from the San Diego Countygovernment.

August and Walsh also report that two years ago, a private investigator sent a report detailing allegations against Saved in America to the District Attorney’s office, which responded with a letter agreeing that the allegations deserve further investigation and forwarding the complaint on to the Attorney General office’s group that scrutinizes nonprofits.

Two years later, a spokesperson for the DA suggested that he is still alive.

“I can tell you that we believe the AG’s office is taking this referral seriously and will handle it as appropriate,” said Steve Walker, communications director and special assistant to the San Diego County District Attorney.

Read the full story here.

Progressive Mayor Proposes Bigger Budget for Police

San Diego is poised to beef up its police budget for another year.

In a press release, Mayor Todd Gloria said his fiscal year 2023 budget includes $584 million to support police personnel, equipment and facilities — a nearly $14 million increase over the previous one. It anticipates pay increases through negotiations to improve recruitment and retention. He said it’s reflective of San Diegans desire to keep safe and improve response times.

His proposal also includes continued ongoing money for a gang-violence reduction program, graffiti abatement and homeless encampment cleanups.

“I’ve been clear: lawlessness will not rule the day in our city — and this budget reflects that,” he said. “We are investing in the brave men and women who serve our city and ensur[ing] they have the proper equipment and facilities for operations and training to do their jobs effectively.”

As we reported in 2021, SDPD’s police budget has increased steadily for years, despite marathon meetings in which members of the public have demanded the department be defunded and the money be diverted elsewhere. The increases have come in part because of the increased costs of pensions and retiree health care.

A decade before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked widespread protest over policing, San Diego was spending less than $400 million on its police department.

In Other News

  • The county released a $7.15 billion recommended budget Thursday with significant investments in mental health, homelessness, equity, racial justice and climate change. The public can comment on the budget at hearings on June 13 and 16. (Times of San Diego)
  • San Diego’s police union singled out City Council pro Tem President Monica Montgomery Steppe, head of the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee, in a recent news release about the rise in violent crime at city parks. The statement said Montgomery Steppe wants to divert police funding, which she said “articulates a fallacy” of the work her committee has done. “Until we address the root causes of violence and crime, we will continue to see the exact same issues in our city and in our systems,” she said. (KPBS)
  • Diane Takvorian, co-founder and executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition, is transitioning out of her role after leading the organization for 42 years. According to a statement, Takvorian will continue to work with EHC in some capacity.

This Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Jesse Marx and Megan Wood.


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