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An annual count of the region’s homeless population confirms what most suspected – more homeless people are living on the streets of downtown San Diego. (Though overall homelessness in the region, counterintuitively, saw a slight dip.)
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt makes sense of some of the numbers released last week as part of the annual point-in-time count, conducted each year to help get a snapshot of the region’s homeless situation.
Halverstadt gives readers four key takeaways, including taking a look at some of the possible causes behind the homeless population’s migration to East Village and what last year’s big shift in cities and local nonprofits’ approach to combating homelessness might be doing to the numbers.
In case you missed it, on Friday Halverstadt created this guide to some of the newest projects the region has launched to address homelessness.
Chargers Couch Mayor’s Concerns in Squishy Terms
There’s a lot of ground covered in the 33-page letter sent from Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos to Mayor Kevin Faulconer late Friday.
One point the team really wants to make is that the new stadium won’t require using money from the city’s general fund, writes Times of San Diego.
The thing is, the city’s hotel tax, which the Chargers’ ballot measure proposes raising, is technically city funding. What the team could have said to be more clear is that the proposal won’t touch existing general fund revenue.
Another interesting aspect of the letter is what isn’t in it. The Chargers punted on the question of the facility’s fundamental design, instead referring to recently released convadium renderings as a loose concept.
The ultimate design, according to Chargers.com, will be the result of a likely grueling design process that includes input from the city and other stakeholders. But as Scott Lewis pointed out over the weekend, it’s easy to imagine voters saying no to the measure if it qualifies for the November ballot if they have no idea where the new convention center will be in relation to the stadium.
Quibbling About the Botanical Building’s Future
The Reader picked up on an impassioned plea about the future of the Balboa Park’s Botanical Building posted on Facebook by David Lundin, cofounder of the Balboa Park Heritage Association.
In the Reader’s story, Lundin says the Balboa Park Conservancy, a nonprofit whose signature project is the rehabilitation and restoration of the Botanical Building, is proposing an expanded renovation of the iconic building that requires a “significant portion of interior space for a gift shop, employees’ bathroom and chairs and service bars for events.”
I talked to Tomas Herrera-Mishler, the Conservancy’s CEO, last week after I saw Lundin’s post. Herrera-Mishler said that while his organization has started work on the design process for the Botanical Building’s restoration and enhancement, they’re still in the early, input-gathering phase of the design.
He said nothing was off the table in terms of considering how they might build a more sustainable future for the deteriorating building, but specific design elements haven’t been finalized yet.
Opinion: State Law Is Critical Tool for Combating Housing Crisis
Stephen Russell, the executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, wrote a letter in response to a recent op-ed from Encinitas residents who laid out their issues with the state’s density-bonus law and the ills that come with increased density.
Russell says that though the state law isn’t a silver bullet, it is indeed working to make a dent in the region’s worsening housing crisis.
• In a Q-and-A with Russell we ran in December, he talked more about the kinds of tools necessary to tackle the affordable housing shortage in San Diego.
Quick News Hits
• The Chargers’ controversial former doctor, David Chao, is facing another round of accusations. USA Today reports that the California state medical board has accused Chao, who has had legal problems in the past, of gross negligence for his care of deceased linebacker Junior Seau. Chao’s attorney refutes the claim.
• A consumer advocacy group says San Diego public utility officials are shutting off customers’ water without warning, tacking on library fines and old parking ticket fees to bills and engaging in other practices that aren’t cool. City officials say they’re doing their best. (U-T)
• The U-T’s
• David Wescoe’s the guy who helped rehab San Diego’s municipal pension system and rid the city of its pejorative nickname, “Enron-by-the-sea.” The U-T reports on Wescoe’s first year as the chief executive of the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association and the turnaround work he’s doing there, too. VOSD’s Ashly McGlone has covered the county employee pension system’s past controversy and the effort to overhaul it.
• The 2020 version of San Diego will use 14 percent less water, according to a draft of a water management plan by the San Diego County Water Authority. (Times of San Diego)
San Diego Social Media Moments
• Floral interpretations of art at the San Diego Museum of Art prettied up my social media feeds over the weekend.
• Well, if this dessert dish doesn’t give you a heart attack, I don’t know what will.
• Sunday was Star Wars Day at the Central Library and these kids’ costumes are stellar.