The romanticized narrative of the sharing economy, including services like Airbnb, is one of the little guy.
It’s swarms of regular Janes and Joes taking matters into their own hands: giving and asking for a ride in something besides a taxi, settling into an out-of-home office space next to a stranger or renting out and booking unorthodox vacation accommodations.
But in San Diego’s short-term vacation market, the numbers tell a different story.
Of 2,797 short-term rental units registered with the city, 40 percent are operated by 20 of San Diego’s top short-term rental management companies, Zoe Schaver reports. Another 22 percent are run by small companies or hosts listing at least three units.
That’s a good hunk of rentals that presumably don’t have owners on site while visitors are there, which has been a major complaint among some exasperated neighbors. There’s a movement afoot to ban these kinds of owner-absent short-term rentals.
The concern is that if an owner isn’t home to keep an eye on things, the renters will be more likely to cause a ruckus.
“When a property is that big, and when it’s managed by people that don’t live there, it gets a lot of people in, and the only people that suffer are the neighbors,” said Clairemont resident Sue Hopkins.
But as Schaver reports, the companies say they’re actually better-equipped to police things.
Red Cross Stares Down the Barrel of a Lawsuit
The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties is locked in a legal battle with its former chief development officer, Joy Chesbrough, who says she was wrongfully terminated after refusing to participate in alleged shady activities. Chesbrough said the Red Cross local chapter’s CEO Bill Earley agreed to hand over confidential donor information for personal gain, Ashly McGlone reports.
“Plaintiff walked into a culture of mismanagement and unethical practices,” according to the lawsuit. “It came to Plaintiff’s attention that sharing donor information externally was previously practiced by, and acceptable to, the Red Cross-SD. When Plaintiff refused to participate in this conduct and sought to put an end to it, she was faced with retaliation and ultimately the wrongful termination of her employment.”
Chesbrough says Earley, who’s been at the helm for less than a year, is hurting the organization.
Though the people and chapter involved are decidedly local, the case is being heard in federal court because the American Red Cross headquarters is in Washington, D.C. and “the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, excluding interest and costs,” according to the lawsuit.
Quick News Hits
• When in drought, where can hospitals cut corners to conserve water without compromising patient safety? A full water audit is under way at Oceanside’s Tri-City Medical Center. (Union-Tribune)
• There’s a new effort to add a suicide barrier to the Coronado Bridge after about 300 suicides since 1969, the Union-Tribune reports.
VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga’s first work for us was a series of stories in 2008 about the stunning toll of Coronado Bridge suicides and the lack of a barrier despite successful suicide-prevention efforts elsewhere, and a local push in the 1980s for Caltrans to do something. (It didn’t). Dotinga also wrote about his encounter with a San Diego suicide-by-jumping that couldn’t have been closer to home.
• Remember that jaw-dropping suggested water rate hike everyone was talking about last month (17 percent!)? The proposal by the city’s Public Utilities Department is going before City Council’s Environment Committee this week. A final decision by the full City Council wouldn’t come without a public hearing, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 17. (City News Service)
• Was the inaugural service to Las Vegas out of Carlsbad’s Palomar-McClellan airport by Biz Air Shuttle, North County’s only airline, really worth a $530 last-minute roundtrip ticket? You guys know that’s not really Elvis up front, right? (Reader)
• Campaign disclosures submitted Friday show who the early fundraising rockstars are in races for City Council and city attorney. (Union-Tribune)
• Junior Seau’s daughter Sydney will get to speak at her late father’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after all — though it’s in the form of an interview after his bust is revealed. (Union-Tribune)
• Bali Hai Restaurant faces a bit of a PR pickle after 50-some journalists and event attendees got food poisoning at the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual banquet last week. 10News reports the health department is investigating, but the source of the bug still isn’t known. Union-Tribune engagement director and SPJ San Diego president Matt Hall sent out a memo, which you can read on media observer Jim Romenesko’s blog.
• The Boston Globe appears not to have grasped that the San Diego Reader’s “Almost Factual News” feature is, in fact, not factual. An old 2013 installment said Doug Manchester bought Playboy Enterprises for $400 million. Like one of your hometown friends sharing an Onion story on Facebook paired with an earnest “smh” caption, the Globe took it as truth and ran with it. (h/t Liam Dillon)
And Finally …
I regret everything I did Saturday that did not include celebrating a panda’s birthday. (We appear to have present-opening techniques in common.)