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Border Patrol beds scrutinized

Former U-T owner turns to AI

“An allegation stating that SANDAG, the City of San Diego and Consultants working on the Bike Project are grossly mismanaging, wasting, and abusing public dollars,” says a description of the audit project on a SANDAG Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report for the first quarter of 2024.
“An allegation stating that SANDAG, the City of San Diego and Consultants working on the Bike Project are grossly mismanaging, wasting, and abusing public dollars,” says a description of the audit project on a SANDAG Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report for the first quarter of 2024.

Worn and dirty beds

Border Patrol outposts in San Diego County have been called out again, this time by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Homeland Security Department for worn and dirty detainee bedding, along with a raft of other violations. “In May 2023, we conducted unannounced inspections of U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities in the San Diego area, specifically four U.S. Border Patrol facilities and one Office of Field Operations port of entry,” says a November 15 report.

“At the time of our inspection, Border Patrol and OFO held 1187 detainees in custody in the five facilities. We found that 668 (56 percent) of these detainees were held in custody longer than specified [requirements] which generally limits detention to 72 hours, as operationally feasible. We also found data integrity issues with information in Border Patrol’s electronic system of record, and worn bedding at one facility.”

According to the document, “At the Chula Vista station, we found Border Patrol did not meet standards requiring that detainees be provided clean bedding. We observed holding cells that had severely worn, damaged, and cracked sleeping mats. The damaged mats created a potential health risk for detainees at Chula Vista station because they could not be effectively cleaned.” Adds the report, “On July 31, 2023, Border Patrol submitted documentation for replacement mats delivered to Chula Vista station the week after our inspection.”

David Gilmore didn’t have to drive home from Orange County.

On a brighter note, the audit says, “All five facilities we inspected were clean, temperature controlled, and adequately ventilated. [Customs and Border Protection] made available basic amenities such as meals and snacks (including accommodations for those with religious and dietary needs), water and other beverages, blankets, and sleeping mats.” In addition, “[Customs and Border Protection] provided child-specific items such as baby formula and cereal appropriate for infants. Supplies of feminine hygiene products, diapers, personal hygiene items, and clothing and shoes were available. All five facilities had medical contract staff onsite to provide medical screening and care to detainees. CBP facilities in the San Diego area had access to telephonic interpretation services to communicate with non-English speaking detainees.” Concludes the document: “In response to our draft report, CBP officials concurred with our recommendations and described corrective actions to address the issues we identified.”

San Diego County Sheriff’s Lieutenant David Gilmore, chairman of the county’s retirement board, headed for a free overnight stay worth $375.95 at the Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency on September 7, courtesy of the State Association of County Retirement Systems, according to a November 6 disclosure filing. The freebie was billed as a way for Gilmore to “conduct official business relating to county public systems governance, strategies, and pension issues” at an association board of directors meeting. The resort is a noted luxury getaway for vacationers going seaside. “Pool cabanas and waterslides make for a perfect day in the sun, while a private beach bonfire complete with chairs and s’mores is a fine way to end the evening,” notes thepointsguy.com.


Bikes spiked

It’s been more than a year since auditors at the San Diego Association of Governments, commonly known as SANDAG, began an investigation of so-called Bike-Gate, a sprawling agency-wide scandal allegedly costing taxpayers millions. So far, though, the case remains open. The story began October 20, 2022, with “an allegation stating that SANDAG, the City of San Diego and Consultants working on the Bike Project are grossly mismanaging, wasting, and abusing public dollars,” says a description of the audit project on a SANDAG Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report for the first quarter of 2024, presented to SANDAG’S internal audit committee on September 13. “The claim includes four different complaints filed through the fraud, waste, and abuse hotline. The matter concerns the fact that the project has doubled in estimated cost.”

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Sponsored

Additionally, “there are allegations that in some areas that have been completed, the contractors failed to ensure that proper safety guidelines were followed, including proper signage and advanced posting of work tasks.” Another yet-to-be-resolved investigation, begun on March 16 of last year, involves a “an allegation regarding misuse and abuse by a SANDAG consultant/contractor,” including “abuse of billing, overreaching of authority and failure to adhere to the terms of the contract. The claimant states that these actions by the contractor have been ongoing for many years.”


Soon-Shiong’s new nudge

It hasn’t taken Los Angeles Big Pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong long to find something new to sink his cash into following dumping the San Diego Union-Tribune from his big-money portfolio in July. After his stealthy U-T exit, Soon-Shiong was mum, never saying how much (if any) cash he got from the new owner, controversial New York vulture fund Alden Global Capital, bane of editorial workers. Not so for his latest deal, linked to trendy artificial intelligence.

Patrick Soon-Shiong prefers the economics of genomics.

“DnaNudge, a medical and consumer genetics testing innovator and a spin-out of Imperial College London, today announced that it has signed a multi-million-dollar agreement with NantNudge, an entity whose mission is to drive genomics and AI to the point-of-decision,” says a November 6 news release for the new venture. “NantNudge will develop, manufacture and supply transformative medical and consumer diagnostic and predictive software and services for improving a healthy lifestyle (diet and skin care) and for real-time PCR diagnostics for infectious diseases and cancer,” per the announcement.

“A key focus of NantNudge is to establish regulatory approvals for point-of-decision diagnostics of infectious diseases such as Covid, flu, RSV, tuberculosis, bacterial infections, and cancer risk — all to transform personalized treatment at the point-of-decision based on personal genomics signature. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder of NantWorks and NantNudge, stated: ‘Professor Chris Toumazou and I have pursued a shared vision together for over a decade that the convergence of nanotechnology, engineering, and biology will transform our capability to derive real-time information from the human signal engine1 and transform decision making at point-of-decision. This genomics PCR device, I believe, will be an inflection point for capturing genomic signals on a very personalized basis and transforming how we work, live, and play. I am proud to have been associated with Imperial College of London for all these years, and I am excited that together with Chris and his team, we will accelerate the clinical adoption of this first-in-kind PCR device.’”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Examples of Common Class Actions

“An allegation stating that SANDAG, the City of San Diego and Consultants working on the Bike Project are grossly mismanaging, wasting, and abusing public dollars,” says a description of the audit project on a SANDAG Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report for the first quarter of 2024.
“An allegation stating that SANDAG, the City of San Diego and Consultants working on the Bike Project are grossly mismanaging, wasting, and abusing public dollars,” says a description of the audit project on a SANDAG Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report for the first quarter of 2024.

Worn and dirty beds

Border Patrol outposts in San Diego County have been called out again, this time by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Homeland Security Department for worn and dirty detainee bedding, along with a raft of other violations. “In May 2023, we conducted unannounced inspections of U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities in the San Diego area, specifically four U.S. Border Patrol facilities and one Office of Field Operations port of entry,” says a November 15 report.

“At the time of our inspection, Border Patrol and OFO held 1187 detainees in custody in the five facilities. We found that 668 (56 percent) of these detainees were held in custody longer than specified [requirements] which generally limits detention to 72 hours, as operationally feasible. We also found data integrity issues with information in Border Patrol’s electronic system of record, and worn bedding at one facility.”

According to the document, “At the Chula Vista station, we found Border Patrol did not meet standards requiring that detainees be provided clean bedding. We observed holding cells that had severely worn, damaged, and cracked sleeping mats. The damaged mats created a potential health risk for detainees at Chula Vista station because they could not be effectively cleaned.” Adds the report, “On July 31, 2023, Border Patrol submitted documentation for replacement mats delivered to Chula Vista station the week after our inspection.”

David Gilmore didn’t have to drive home from Orange County.

On a brighter note, the audit says, “All five facilities we inspected were clean, temperature controlled, and adequately ventilated. [Customs and Border Protection] made available basic amenities such as meals and snacks (including accommodations for those with religious and dietary needs), water and other beverages, blankets, and sleeping mats.” In addition, “[Customs and Border Protection] provided child-specific items such as baby formula and cereal appropriate for infants. Supplies of feminine hygiene products, diapers, personal hygiene items, and clothing and shoes were available. All five facilities had medical contract staff onsite to provide medical screening and care to detainees. CBP facilities in the San Diego area had access to telephonic interpretation services to communicate with non-English speaking detainees.” Concludes the document: “In response to our draft report, CBP officials concurred with our recommendations and described corrective actions to address the issues we identified.”

San Diego County Sheriff’s Lieutenant David Gilmore, chairman of the county’s retirement board, headed for a free overnight stay worth $375.95 at the Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency on September 7, courtesy of the State Association of County Retirement Systems, according to a November 6 disclosure filing. The freebie was billed as a way for Gilmore to “conduct official business relating to county public systems governance, strategies, and pension issues” at an association board of directors meeting. The resort is a noted luxury getaway for vacationers going seaside. “Pool cabanas and waterslides make for a perfect day in the sun, while a private beach bonfire complete with chairs and s’mores is a fine way to end the evening,” notes thepointsguy.com.


Bikes spiked

It’s been more than a year since auditors at the San Diego Association of Governments, commonly known as SANDAG, began an investigation of so-called Bike-Gate, a sprawling agency-wide scandal allegedly costing taxpayers millions. So far, though, the case remains open. The story began October 20, 2022, with “an allegation stating that SANDAG, the City of San Diego and Consultants working on the Bike Project are grossly mismanaging, wasting, and abusing public dollars,” says a description of the audit project on a SANDAG Fraud, Waste and Abuse Report for the first quarter of 2024, presented to SANDAG’S internal audit committee on September 13. “The claim includes four different complaints filed through the fraud, waste, and abuse hotline. The matter concerns the fact that the project has doubled in estimated cost.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Additionally, “there are allegations that in some areas that have been completed, the contractors failed to ensure that proper safety guidelines were followed, including proper signage and advanced posting of work tasks.” Another yet-to-be-resolved investigation, begun on March 16 of last year, involves a “an allegation regarding misuse and abuse by a SANDAG consultant/contractor,” including “abuse of billing, overreaching of authority and failure to adhere to the terms of the contract. The claimant states that these actions by the contractor have been ongoing for many years.”


Soon-Shiong’s new nudge

It hasn’t taken Los Angeles Big Pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong long to find something new to sink his cash into following dumping the San Diego Union-Tribune from his big-money portfolio in July. After his stealthy U-T exit, Soon-Shiong was mum, never saying how much (if any) cash he got from the new owner, controversial New York vulture fund Alden Global Capital, bane of editorial workers. Not so for his latest deal, linked to trendy artificial intelligence.

Patrick Soon-Shiong prefers the economics of genomics.

“DnaNudge, a medical and consumer genetics testing innovator and a spin-out of Imperial College London, today announced that it has signed a multi-million-dollar agreement with NantNudge, an entity whose mission is to drive genomics and AI to the point-of-decision,” says a November 6 news release for the new venture. “NantNudge will develop, manufacture and supply transformative medical and consumer diagnostic and predictive software and services for improving a healthy lifestyle (diet and skin care) and for real-time PCR diagnostics for infectious diseases and cancer,” per the announcement.

“A key focus of NantNudge is to establish regulatory approvals for point-of-decision diagnostics of infectious diseases such as Covid, flu, RSV, tuberculosis, bacterial infections, and cancer risk — all to transform personalized treatment at the point-of-decision based on personal genomics signature. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder of NantWorks and NantNudge, stated: ‘Professor Chris Toumazou and I have pursued a shared vision together for over a decade that the convergence of nanotechnology, engineering, and biology will transform our capability to derive real-time information from the human signal engine1 and transform decision making at point-of-decision. This genomics PCR device, I believe, will be an inflection point for capturing genomic signals on a very personalized basis and transforming how we work, live, and play. I am proud to have been associated with Imperial College of London for all these years, and I am excited that together with Chris and his team, we will accelerate the clinical adoption of this first-in-kind PCR device.’”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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