If you thought there are more homeless people on San Diego County streets, you’re right. An annual survey of homelessness found nearly 5,000 people on the streets, up 19 percent since last year.
They are mostly men and most of them became homeless when they already lived in San Diego. In the city, homelessness is actually down 8 percent overall, but up downtown.
Lisa Halverstadt looks into the efforts local leaders are making to combat homelessness.
The city is lagging behind the Obama administration’s goal of effectively ending veteran homelessness. About a fifth of San Diego’s homeless are veterans.
San Diego’s rising rents give landlords little incentive to rent to homeless veterans who may have past evictions or convictions.
So officials plan to throw more than $4.4 million at inducements to encourage landlords to make that leap. That will include lump-sum payments for rentals to veterans, contingency funds for expenses and assistance with security deposits and utilities. The Housing Commission’s also agreed to speed up apartment inspections and dedicate housing specialists to assist landlords and homeless veterans.
Some people are especially difficult for agencies to house: The Regional Task Force on the Homeless, a nonprofit that oversees the annual homeless count, last year estimated 19 percent of the county’s homeless population suffers from a serious mental illness.
• Two brothers from Santee were arrested and accused of torturing and killing a homeless man, NBC 7 San Diego reports. The man, Gregory Lowery, was 50 years old and was found dead near an encampment he lived in with his wife.
VOSD Radio: San Diego Governments Want Another $18 Billion
Yesterday, the San Diego Association of Governments board of directors decided to ask voters for $18 billion for a cornucopia of transportation and land needs.
A lot of people are not happy with the plan, including San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The diversity of dissent against the proposal prompted Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts to invite three who oppose the plan on to this week’s VOSD Podcast: Kristin Gaspar, the mayor of Encinitas and a candidate for the District 3 county supervisor seat; Nicole Capretz, executive director of environmental advocacy group Climate Action Campaign; and Brian Brady, director of Stop Taxing Us.
Keatts and Lewis also talked to a prominent analyst of newspaper economics about the news this week that the Union-Tribune may, again, get a new owner. Interesting he told the VOSD duo that the plan might be to buy the newspaper and sell it, yes, again.
Sacramento Report: Human Trafficking Tangle
It’s a rare problem for politicians to agree too much on an issue. But that’s what’s happening in Sacramento. Lawmakers, including several members of the San Diego delegation, have introduced a long list of bills to fight human trafficking. Sara Libby sorts it all out.
A line in the recap of Thursday’s Member Coffee sent to readers via email implied that the so-called Citizens’ Plan would raise hotel room taxes for a stadium. It would not. It would raise hotel room taxes and provide a deduction for hotels that invest in a convention center in East Village. That facility could be attached to a stadium but the Citizens’ Plan says no money from the tax hike could be used on the stadium part.
Police Probs and City Pols
“Is Faulconer vulnerable on public safety?,” asks the Union Tribune. The paper’s David Garrick picks up on how the two candidates challenging Mayor Kevin Faulconer are highlighting the “shortage of 9-1-1 dispatchers, thousands of untested rape kits and struggles recruiting and retaining police officers.” The dispatcher issue, especially, is drawing a lot of attention because the family of a three-day-old baby who was mauled to death by a dog was put on hold by the city when they called 9-1-1 for help.
• A lawsuit by a black city police sergeant alleging other officers harassed and discriminated against him can proceed, a judge ruled Friday.
News From Elsewhere
• A new analysis of income and race shows, again, how far behind black and Hispanic children from poor families are in school. The data from researchers at Stanford University is easily searchable, thanks to the New York Times. Students in San Diego Unified’s school system are a half a grade behind the national average; while students in Poway are more than a grade ahead.
• California Attorney General Kamala Harris missed the deadline to file criminal charges against folks involved in a scheme to stick California ratepayers with the bill for Southern California Edison failure to safely operate its San Onofre nuclear plant, KPBS reports. Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who has been deeply involved in exposing the shenanigans, wonders if Harris, who is running for U.S. Senate, is interested more in politics instead of taking on powerful utility interests.
• Stone Brewing Company CEO and Founder Greg Koch announced a $100 million consortium of craft brewers called “True Craft.” According to the brewing trade pub West Coaster, True Craft is a group of “independent investors who will create a platform in which craft breweries can exchange minority, non-controlling stakes in their businesses for access to financing.”
It appears to be a elaborate way of describing an investment fund. Koch has a history in that world.
• San Diego’s State Sen. Joel Anderson got some time on stage with the Donald.
Most Read Stories of the Week
These were the five most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of April 23-April 29.
1. Poway Unified Board Puts Superintendent on Administrative Leave
The Poway Unified school board’s move follows a string of departures by high-level administrators. (Ashly McGlone)
2. Renters Grapple With a Changing Oceanside
Rents are rising in Oceanside, and long-time renters are feeling the pinch. They’re happy to see their neighborhood improve, but can’t help wondering for whom it’s improving. (Maya Srikrishnan)
3. After a Rush to Build Costly Water Treatment Plants, They’re Now Sitting Unused
This winter, demand for water was so low that the San Diego County Water Authority temporarily idled a $160 million plant in San Marcos that it built less than a decade ago. Water agencies that went into debt building treatment plants still have to pay up, whether the plant is needed every day or not. (Ry Rivard)
4. Fact Check: Police Chief Offers No Evidence for Media Slam
The San Diego Police Department can’t hire and train new recruits as fast as veteran officers are leaving the force. Chief Shelley Zimmerman says that’s partly because of the “national dialogue” around police officers that the media has fostered. Is there any evidence to back up her claim? (Scott Lewis)
5. Your Speeding Ticket Might Not Be Enforceable
Attorney Coleen Cusack wants the city to conduct valid traffic surveys. If a traffic survey is more than 10 years old, the speed limit on that portion of road is considered unenforceable under state law — but most people don’t know that. (Kelly Davis)