Fairfield council questions SLO CA police chief’s record

Soon-to-be former San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell is facing scrutiny in Fairfield, just weeks before starting her new job — over her lost gun incident and the department’s handling of Black Lives Matter protests.

According to the Daily Republic newspaper in Solano County, two members of the Fairfield City Council raised concerns at a meeting Sept. 15 about Cantrell’s handling of the weapons incident, noting they received calls from city residents on the issue.

“I think we will have a better sense of the police chief when we meet her,” Vice Mayor Pam Bertani told the Daily Republic. “I have never talked to her or met her. … I think her presence will make a difference.”

Prior to her resignation from her post as head of San Luis Obispo Police Department in August, Cantrell was the subject of some high-profile local incidents.

In July 2019, she left her gun in an El Pollo Loco bathroom in San Luis Obispo. The follow-up search for her missing weapon led to an investigation and arrest of an unrelated suspect.

Fairfield Councilwoman Catherine Moy said at the Sept. meeting that she wanted to hear more from Cantrell on the gun incident and the subsequent investigation.

“My concern is the arrest of a person who did not at all look like the person who they believed took (the gun), and they got him for something else,” Moy said in the Daily Republic article. “I believe that is a violation of his civil rights.”

At the meeting, Cantrell was also criticized for the handling of Black Lives Matter protests in San Luis Obispo.

During as march in June, the San Luis Obispo Police Department fired tear gas at protesters. The department later arrested activist Tianna Arata and asked the district attorney to file eight criminal charges against her for leading a separate July protest.

According to the Daily Republic, Fairfield city manager Stefan Chatwin, who was responsible for hiring Cantrell, said he stood behind his decision, noting Cantrell was the clear favorite for the position after community, professional and staff panel interviews of the top candidates.

Cantrell began the recruitment process for the Fairfield chief job in May. Her last day with the San Luis Obispo Police Department will be Sept. 30.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.

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Plan for affordable housing in Leonidas, Lower Garden District faces neighborhood criticism; mayor, City Council in support | Local Politics

In a vote that could advance or delay plans to build affordable housing in rapidly gentrifying areas, the City Planning Commission will consider on Tuesday a key piece of a $20 million development plan for vacant sites in Leonidas, the Lower Garden District and other areas along the Mississippi River.

The Planning Commission will consider redividing several lots in the Leonidas area so that the Housing Authority of New Orleans can build affordable duplexes on the lots, which are owned by HANO.    

But the duplexes have been dogged by residents who say HANO’s designs are out of step with their neighborhood’s character. They told the City Council last week that HANO needs a more extensive federal review to ensure its buildings hew to historic standards.

Meanwhile, HANO and partner Iris Community Development say the project will help realize a broader effort to ensure the city’s most desirable areas remain accessible to people with lower incomes. And affordable housing advocates say resident criticisms are actually thinly masked objections to having poorer residents of color as neighbors.

Housing Authority approves new mixed-income developments in these New Orleans neighborhoods

Council members were briefed on the plans at the council’s Community Development Committee last week, but did not vote on them. But several members, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell, agreed with HANO’s take. 

“If we get to the point where certain segments of the community can no longer live here, we’re going to lose the magic that is New Orleans,” said Councilmember Jay H. Banks, who chairs the committee. 

Cantrell added in a statement that the project is “beyond needed,” and will bring “new affordable housing to high-opportunity neighborhoods.”

Two large former public housing sites in Algiers and the Upper 9th Ward would become mixed-income developments under proposals the Housing Aut…

HANO’s current effort is part of a plan to break up the concentrated areas of poverty that were standard under its previous public housing model, and to instead place lower-income residents in higher-income communities that are more likely to be near jobs and opportunities. 

The plan is also aligned with an Obama-era housing rule — which the Trump administration rescinded in July — that required local governments to try to make wealthy neighborhoods more diverse and to pump more money into poor ones. 

HANO wants to redevelop vacant “scattered site” properties it owns as two-family and single-family homes for low-income residents. The majority of the 117 units HANO wants to build are located in Leonidas, while several others are located in the Lower Garden District, East Riverside and West Riverside areas. 

Each of those areas has seen rapid appreciation since 2012, according to a market-value analysis the city last commissioned in 2018. Long-time Leonidas residents, in particular, faced an increasingly higher risk of being priced out from 2009 to 2018, the study found. Median home values in that neighborhood rose anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 between 2015 and 2017. 

Roughly 80 of the 117 homes HANO wants to build will be leased or sold to people earning at or below 80% of area

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