The causes of homelessness may be myriad and complex, but San Diego’s current homeless problem can be summarized with simplicity, Lisa Halverstadt reports. Cities across the country struggle to accommodate and support their homeless population, much like San Diego does. But Halverstadt reports we are exceptional in one way: We’re stuck in the old way of doing homeless services.

“San Diego’s homeless providers are relying on an outdated, less effective strategy to reduce the region’s homeless population,” Halverstadt writes. It used to be that you would house homeless people in temporary (or “transitional”) facilities while trying to give them services that would help them out of homelessness. But recent research shows more success comes from doing it the other way around: Give a homeless person a permanent, non-transitional home, and then provide them services. Most top cities have already moved to doing it this way. San Diego lags far behind them.

Almost half “of beds available for San Diego’s homeless are tied to transitional programs,” Halverstadt reports. “The average among other the nation’s other top 20 metros is 19 percent.”

• One local woman wants to build itsy-bitsy “houses” for homeless people, but the one she already built has been seized for encroaching on public property. (Union-Tribune)

Solar Strikes Back

This year we’ve been taking an intense look at the usage of rooftop solar power in San Diego: Why people want solar, what can go wrong with it and what solar power’s future looks like here. A series of proposed changes recently threatened to take the solar wind out of the sails of homeowners. With those doomsday predictions in mind, Halverstadt checked in on the industry and found it still crackling with momentum.

For example, rooftop solar owners suspected San Diego Gas & Electric was going to start paying them a lot less for the energy generated by the panels, which is fed back into the grid. The Public Utilities Commission recommended SDG&E keep paying homeowners the higher rate, Halverstadt reports. Also, an important tax credit set to expire in 2016 has a shot at being extended to 2019, if Congress can muster the action. Doomsday will have to try again another year.

Climate Action Plan: San Diego Explained

You may have heard the big, national headline news this week about San Diego’s ambitious plan to convert the entire city to only using renewable energy by 2035. The move turns America’s Finest into America’s Renewablist, making us the largest city in the U.S. to commit to such an aggressive plan. While the Climate Action Plan is dense with legalese and opaque concepts like “community choice aggregation,” Andrew Keatts and NBC’s Catherine Garcia get down to the real talk of what it really means for San Diegans in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Foster in Hot Water Over Free Lunches

Most parents of kids in San Diego Unified are encouraged to apply for the free lunch program, whether they qualify or not — the system is supposed to reject those whose families make more than the income cutoff. The Union-Tribune reports that San Diego Unified Trustee Marne Foster’s son, though Foster about $81,000 annually between her gig on the school board and another job with the community college district, was signed up for the free school lunches. The maximum income for a family of five is $52,559.

The San Diego district attorney’s office is investigating Foster over an unrelated matter and has served at least one warrant, although they won’t say what specifically they’re looking for, and the warrant is sealed.

Steve Walker, a spokesman from the DA’s office, told our Mario Koran the investigation into Foster is ongoing, and the office has no plans to ask the judge to unseal the warrant in the immediate future.

• Dr. John Warren, publisher of The San Diego Voice and Viewpoint, thinks the authorities investigating Foster are part of a lynch mob out to take down Foster because she is black. “It appears that someone has made the decision to attempt to kill Ms. Foster with a thousand cuts woven into one rope for death by lynching,” Warren writes.

Comic-Con Ballot Initiative, Sort of

Signature-gatherers are out and about, and some of them may try to tempt you with a ballot initiative they promise “could help keep Comic-Con in San Diego.” KPBS reports they’re actually gathering signatures for the Citizen’s Plan, a proposal championed by local attorney Cory Briggs. The plan would overhaul much of how the city and hotels tax hotel guests and then spread that tax money around. One of the changes would allow hotels to fine themselves and put the resulting money toward a non-contiguous expansion of the convention center, which might then theoretically help entice Comic-Con to stay.

Comic-Con still insists it only wants a contiguous convention center expansion, though. “Signature Gathering Will Not Keep Comic-Con in San Diego,” they said in a statement.

Texans Owner Condemns San Diego Government

On Wednesday we mentioned that Houston Texans owner Bob McNair had opined to the Houston Chronicle how he thought the Chargers shouldn’t be allowed to move to L.A. Why? Because, according to McNair, too many of our elected officials go to jail. “They’ve had all kinds of political problems there. At one time, half the council went to jail or something. It’s been pretty bad,” McNair said.

These comments quickly spawned a falling out between McNair and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, with a meeting scheduled for Thursday between the two men being canceled, reports Times of San Diego. A spokesman for the mayor said McNair had “grossly inaccurate and outdated information” about our city, and said McNair canceled the meeting.

News Nibbles

It’s taken many years, but the saga of the Really Ugly Point Loma House may be finally drawing to a close. (NBC 7)

Realizing that big grocery stores aren’t coming, City Heights residents are helping transform their small neighborhood markets into fresh food destinations. (KPBS)

We’re starting to come up with rules of the road for cars that have no human drivers. (Times of San Diego)

By the time the ball drops on a new year, tourists will have plowed nearly $10 billion into San Diego’s economy in 2015, according to projections. (KPBS)

Eat Your Heart Out, Star Wars

Everyone is talking about the new Star Wars movie, which opens Friday. And sure, maybe it’s got cute robots and a hojillion people bought advanced tickets. But it’s got nothing on the fictional character who really commands the hearts of Californians everywhere: Snoopy. The Snoop D-O single-G will be coming to California license plates next year with 7,500 plates already pre-ordered, the Union-Tribune reports. How many tickets did the Jedi sell a year prior to their new flick? Zip. Keep on reaching for those stars, BB-8. Your cuteness and silence may land you a plate gig in 20 years or so, if we still have license plates.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him on the Twitters: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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