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You might have heard Donald Trump was in San Diego yesterday.
He made a new promise, about as plausible as his regular ones: If he can’t get a wall built on the Mexican border, he’d get former San Diego Union-Tribune owner and developer Doug Manchester to do it.
Things were calm early, but turned ugly as the day wore on. Demonstrators clashed with police and each other after police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly at 4:40 pm when crowds didn’t disperse, according to the L.A. Times. In the end, at least 18 people received medical attention and 35 people were arrested and multiple people pepper sprayed, according to NBC San Diego.
One of those detained was Bryan Pease, who’s running for city attorney. The video of it is something.
Sacramento Bill Rush
Meanwhile, it was a busy day in the Capitol. State legislators determined which of their most significant bills would move forward to be potentially adopted later this year.
Sara Libby looked at some of those bills from local legislators in this week’s Sacramento Report. Assemblywoman Shirley Webber’s moves to beef up accountability in public schools and reform the state’s gang database are still alive. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s bill extending overtime pay to farmworkers is too.
Reporter Ry Rivard also pitched in to the Sacramento Report this week, going over some of San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s priorities during a recent Capitol lobbying trip. They supported Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to make it easier for developers to build more housing, and asked for more money for transportation projects near the border.
Permanent Shelter Struggles to Find Permanent Housing
Eighteen months ago, city leaders announced plans to shutter two temporary winter tents for the homeless in favor of a new, year-round shelter with 350 beds and services to get more people off the streets.
More people are being served through the year-round shelter but our Lisa Halverstadt found it’s not connecting the bulk of its clients to permanent housing.
Through the end of April, just 17 percent of the 1,500 people who have left the shelter moved into permanent housing.
Officials at Father Joe’s Villages, which operates the shelter, acknowledge that they aren’t satisfied with that statistic – or the number of clients moving into shorter-term housing options.
They say a tight housing market, a lack of permanent housing and continuing efforts to build up local infrastructure to more efficiently pair the homeless with services are all partly to blame.
“We’re building the boat while we’re sailing it,” said Paul DeLessio, who oversees Father Joe’s interim shelter and its coordinated entry efforts.
Podcast: U-T Endorsements and a Citizens Plan Deep Dive
The San Diego Union-Tribune rolled out its endorsements for the election this week, making clear it’s no longer your father’s – or even your big brother’s – U-T.
We invited the head honcho at the paper’s opinion section, Matthew T. Hall, onto our podcast this week to go over his process. Hall said the editorial board looks at each candidates’ positions on key policies, but it’s just as interested in their temperament and how they display civility while campaigning.
After we recorded the podcast, the paper released its most surprising endorsement yet, tapping union organizer Sarah Saez for the city’s District 9 seat. The paper didn’t like her support of rent control, but endorsed her because they liked her eagerness and her outspoken advocacy for immigrants.
The paper also endorsed Mayor Kevin Faulconer re-election.
Attorney Cory Briggs also joined me and Scott Lewis on the podcast, parsing the details of the Citizens Plan – including a deep dive on whether it’s fair to say the plan subsidizes a downtown Chargers stadium. We also discussed his relationship with the media and a victory he had this week against the city over the reconstruction of a North Park Jack in the Box.
• Speaking of which: the Citizens Plan is apparently on the cusp of qualifying or not for the November ballot. The Registrar of Voters will take another 30 days to verify the signatures submitted to get the initiative on the ballot, reports City News Service.
New Rules for Vacation Rentals
Short-term vacation rentals have become one of the city’s most contentious topics this election season.
City Attorney candidate Mara Elliott, a current deputy city attorney who’s been endorsed by anti-vacation rental group Save San Diego Neighborhoods, penned an op-ed for us arguing the city needs to write new rules for a problem it didn’t see coming.
“San Diego’s municipal code doesn’t mention short-term rentals or allow them in residential neighborhoods,” she wrote.
“City leaders must update the laws to protect our neighborhoods, lay out clear rules for home sharing and explicitly spell out where short-term rentals are a permissible use.”
Why Lowering Water Usage Doesn’t Mean Lower Water Bills
San Diegans have heeded calls from the state to cut their water use. They haven’t been rewarded with cheaper water bills.
On this week’s episode of San Diego Explained, Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Monica Dean describes why water bills don’t directly correlate with water usage.
• While we’re talking water: during his speech, Trump claimed that there wasn’t really a drought, that water rationing was the fault of environmentalists and the state was dumping water into the ocean.
Plenty of national reporters ridiculed the statements as typical Trump nonsense. Rivard, our water reporter, took to Twitter to explain that Trump’s claims are reference points from the state’s ongoing water debate – especially from the state’s agricultural industry. Farmers often say we have a “man-made drought.” Dumping water out to sea refers to the water the state diverts to wetlands to preserve the habitat of the delta smelt.
But Trump’s phrase “we’re going to start opening up the water,” Rivard wrote, doesn’t mean anything.
In Other News
• The Sacramento Bee notes Faulconer pulled himself out of the race for governor – even though he never really entered the race for governor.
• The Scripps Institute of Oceanography finds itself in the middle of a political fight over whether Exxon Mobile misrepresented facts around the science of climate change. (KPBS)
• A new report from the San Diego County Grand Jury shreds the San Ysidro School District for various examples of mismanagement. (inewsource)
• Members of SDSU’s faculty issued a letter criticizing campus president Elliot Hirshman’s handling of an activist who posted fliers around campus linking students to terrorism. (KPBS)
• San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor upheld a tentative ruling denying a new trial to one of the women who brought accusations against disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner.
Top Stories of the Week
Here’s our weekly post of the Top 10 most-read pieces of the week. Here are the first five:
1. San Diego’s Losing Its Grip on the Avocado Market
Salty water turns avocado leaves brown, curbs root growth and can even stop trees from producing fruit at all. In the past three years, the amount of salt in the water used by most avocado growers in San Diego County has gone up by 20 percent, according to one expert. (Ry Rivard)
2. Opinion: The Convadium May Just Be a Con
The Chargers have touted on several occasions that their proposed facility will operate just like Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. But a review of that facility’s data shows a heavy reliance on the stadium side of the convadium for events. If taxpayers are expected to pay upward of $1.15 billion for this facility, they should be getting a return on their investment for the convention center side of the convadium. (Scott Sherman)
3. New School Discipline Program Has Fans and Results, But Few Participating Schools
A lack of human and financial resources seems to be behind the slow rollout of San Diego Unified’s restorative justice program, in which students who’ve done something wrong work together with their victims to listen and heal. One district official said San Diego Unified allocates fewer financial resources to restorative justice programs compared with other school districts around the state. (Rachel Evans)
4. The Tax Loophole That Gave Rise to San Diego’s Avocado Boom
While the county’s first avocado orchards were planted around 1915, the industry exploded six decades later thanks to congressional bumbling and some sharp-eyed tax planning. (Ry Rivard)
5. Culture Report: UCSD Converts 50-Year-Old Gallery to Classroom
UCSD’s new classroom, MCASD’s new leader, viral clowns and more. (Kinsee Morlan)