An old dairy factory, a mobile food truck and lots of thoughtful San Diegans set the perfect scene Thursday night for our first “One Voice at a Time” event of the year. Matt Yglesias, an economics blogger for Slate in Washington, D.C., joined us to talk about his book “The Rent Is Too Damn High” and the need to encourage density within cities to push down housing costs.
Our Kelly Bennett, who hosted the event, recapped some of the night’s best moments, including this key point from Yglesias, which touches on the housing crash that has affected San Diego: “I think what we got into recently, which was really dangerous, was the idea of homeownership as the key wealth-building strategy for individuals.”
Taking Stock of Downtown’s Homeless, Cont.
One of the key questions to our quest to understand the city’s homelessness population has been: What is the scope of the problem?
We’ve delved into different methods for counting the region’s homeless population, and on Friday we looked at one more: The Downtown Partnership’s monthly count of five downtown neighborhoods.
Among the neighborhoods surveyed, the East Village consistently had the highest number of homeless people sleeping on the street.
What We Learned This Week
The Coastal Height Limit Has Done Its Job: The coastal height limit, which celebrated its 40th anniversary recently, has done what it was supposed to do: maintain ocean views. But its legacy is more complicated than just that — it’s also contributed to steep housing costs in the coastal zone. Demand is high in part because the restriction dramatically limits how many units can be built.
• The height restrictions has invoked passions on both sides in our comments of the week.
One reader wrote: “We absolutely need a citizens movement to fight the NIMBY’s, modify the coastal height limit, and ensure that future growth in San Diego will be channeled into the dense parts of the city,” while another argued: “We are lucky that in San Diego many people at many income levels can have an ocean view. It’s not restricted to only the wealthy elite. “
San Diego/Tijuana Is One of the World’s Largest “Binational Regions”: Mayor Bob Filner, in calling for stronger ties between San Diego and Tijuana, has referred to the area as “the world’s largest metropolitan binational region.”
Urban planners and regional experts couldn’t quite tell us exactly whether the two cities make up the largest such territory, but they agreed it’s near the top of the list. We examined other metro regions that span multiple countries to see how those cities interact with each other.
We’re Reimagining Our City Coverage: Our Liam Dillon this week outlined a new leap he’s making here at VOSD: “My new assignment will be to tackle local government reporting from the bottom up. You’ll see much less from me about pensions and budgets. Instead, you’re likely to see more on emergency response times, building permits, streets, sidewalks and other ways San Diegans interact with their governments.”
San Diego Schools Have Stepped Back From the Brink: San Diego Unified, long beset by money woes, is by no means out of the weeds — but officials are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Our Will Carless took a look ahead at the 2013-2014 school year and noticed quite a change: “The passage of Proposition 30, a statewide tax increase that secures billions of dollars in additional funding for California schools, combined with a steadily strengthening economy and approval to spend almost $3 billion on new school facilities, have local school officials talking optimistically for the first time in years.”
Quick News Hits
• San Diego’s ABC 10 station and a local labor union have finally closed the door on a seven-year labor battle. (Labor’s Edge blog)
• Local music venue Anthology has closed its doors for good. Another local venue, 4th and B, also shut down recently. (NBC San Diego)
• Tickets to see the Chargers are going down — and also up. U-T San Diego reports: “The range in season ticket price changed from between $480 and $900 in 2012 to between $390 and $1,100 in 2013. One-third of the stadium’s general seats raised in price, the first increase to Chargers tickets since 2008. Two-thirds of the stadium, or about 45,000 seats, either decreased or maintained in cost.”
Quote of the Week
“I feel like this entire community of voters are being disenfranchised” — Anna Orzel-Arnita, a would-be candidate for the District 4 City Council seat who was surprised to learn the race will adhere to pre-redistricting boundaries.
Sara Libby is VOSD’s managing editor. She oversees VOSD’s newsroom and its content. You can reach her at email@example.com or 619.325.0526.
Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.
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