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Any day now, we should be learning the results of the annual effort to tally the region’s homeless population, the point-in-time count. Though the count produces just a snapshot of the county’s homeless problem, federal funding to combat homelessness is tied to the tally.
But there are two important populations consistently underrepresented in that count, freelance contributor Maria J. Duran reports: women and children. Both groups tend to feel vulnerable sleeping outside on the street in places where lots of homeless people congregate. Instead, they often seek shelter with friends or relatives, or stay in cheap motels. That means that they’re not easily observed by the volunteers who roam the streets, canyons and underpasses for the point-in-time count.
Even the leaders of the group that organizes the count recognize that some types of people are more likely to be counted than others.
A new national effort to survey youth homelessness in a more comprehensive way is about to kick off, and San Diego is one of 22 communities where it’ll happen.
Talk the Vote
The latest episode of San Diego Decides, our 2016 elections podcast, is all about access to voting.
You might’ve read a lot of jubilant stories lately about the fact that California’s presidential primary might actually matter for once, and be pumped to get in on the action. But if you’re a No Party Preference voter (and there are many in San Diego County), it won’t be as easy as strolling into your polling place in June and pulling the lever for Ted, Bernie or whoever your heart desires. (Yes, I know we don’t pull actual levers anymore.) Vince Hall, who heads Future of California Elections, talked with us about what kind of advanced planning you’ll need to do to make sure you’ve got a green light to vote in the presidential primary, why you can’t vote online yet and California’s unimpressive voter turnout.
Rep. Susan Davis also joined the show to talk about a bill she’s been pushing in Congress that would make it easier for folks around the country to vote by mail.
• The Supreme Court on Monday released a new ruling that lets states “continue to divide legislative seats according to total population rather than limiting representation to citizens or voters,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said the ruling is a win for districts just like hers, where a big portion of the population isn’t able to vote — they’re either under 18, immigrants or incarcerated at the prison in her district.
Brown Makes Minimum Wage Hike Official
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the minimum wage hike into law Monday.
The wage will hit $10.50 next year, $11 in 2018 and $15 by 2022. Brown signed the deal the same day New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his own $15 minimum wage hike. “The new laws in California and New York mark the most ambitious moves yet to close the national divide between rich and poor,” notes the Associated Press.
Most stories reporting on the wage hike quote a mix of supporters and detractors, and a reliable detractor for minimum wage hikes across the country is always the state or regional chamber of commerce. California’s Chamber of Commerce has been quoted in dozens of stories opposing the latest deal, and the North San Diego Business Chamber and San Diego Chamber of Commerce have made their disapproval clear as well.
But a new Washington Post report reveals that the various business groups that populate local chambers of commerce might not be nearly as universally opposed to wage hikes as you might think:
The survey of 1,000 business executives across the country was conducted by LuntzGlobal, the firm run by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, and obtained by a liberal watchdog group called the Center for Media and Democracy. (The slide deck is here, and the full questionnaire is here.) Among the most interesting findings: 80 percent of respondents said they supported raising their state’s minimum wage, while only eight percent opposed it.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they belong to a chamber of commerce, whether on the local, state, or federal level — suggesting that the groups’ public statements might be out of step with their members’ beliefs.
UC San Diego Brought in More Non-Californians
Over the last year, state lawmakers in Sacramento have been locked in a fight with UC officials over funding. Chief among legislators’ complaints: UC schools admit too many out-of-state students, and they often give those students scholarships even though the system depends on the higher tuition those students pay.
A scathing state audit released last week backed this up: The UC system harms California students by admitting too many kids from out of state.
In a new story for KPBS, Megan Burks notes that “UC San Diego had the sharpest increase in out-of-state students, climbing 126 percent between 2010 and 2015.”
She also finds a jaw-dropping local example of the kinds of students being shut out: A student who’s part of the Reality Changers program had a 5.0 GPA and good SAT scores but “received rejection letters from all four of the University of California campuses to which he applied.”
Quick News Hits
• A host of new projects is reshaping the Carlsbad skyline. (Union-Tribune)
• San Diego’s not hitting statewide goals for water savings, “mirroring a statewide trend toward less conservation.” (KPBS)
• Lots of people, from animal activists to state lawmakers, applauded SeaWorld’s recent announcement it was ending its orca breeding program. But many marine scientists say they’re disappointed by the decision. (Associated Press)