More Jail Space

The public is becoming accustomed to corrupt politicians and off-the-wall Ouija board decisions of some public officials. However, another classification has creeped into the circle, "The Nimby Syndrome" (not in my backyard).

It seems to fit Supervisor George Bailey, from his advocacy to build a county jail on Midway Drive opposite the main Post Office. The supervisor has a county facility in his own district that could be expanded.

Crime increases for many reasons, but to force law enforcement into a moratorium on arrests due to lack of jail space is ludicrous and dangerous. A vital necessity to any community is a quality of life that includes public health and safety. The sheriff has been pleading to the Board of Supervisors for years to increase budgets for proper and adequate jails.

Since 1850 (137 years), San Diego County's grand juries have urged that adequate jails be built and maintained. As foreman of the 1977-78 grand jury, I joined the panel to stress the urgency of providing humane and sufficient public prisons within the county, as required by law.

As an alternative to building new facilities, perhaps the agencies should swap buildings. The City of San Diego is looking to spend about $100,000 on facilities, and it appointed a committee that agreed (a small wonder) that more temporary jails are needed for both men and women.

The council ignored the recommendation of the Library Commission to utilize the old Sears building that the city had purchased and is now holding as a "white elephant." Its structure and location are ideal for a county jail and is accessible to several major arteries and freeways. Bounded on the north with almost full security and not adjacent to commercial or residential buildings, it should not require a major investment to modify the structure.

On another issue, the judicial system is in need of more space. Let the Port District give up its building to the courts, and then the Port District could construct a building on Midway Drive, across from the main Post Office. Port District officials would feel right at home under the flight path of the soaring/roaring planes night and day and could also keep a watchful eye on their own property, Lindbergh Field.


San Diego

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