East Village is hot. The downtown neighborhood has transformed into a hotspot for sports fans and bookworms, families and hipsters, builders and businesses. But much of East Village’s grit remains, and so does something else: The ever-present homeless people who either wander the streets or settle into tents on the sidewalk.

But there weren’t always so many people – homeless or housed – in East Village.

As our Lisa Halverstadt explains in a new story, there’s a reason East Village is now the region’s hub for homeless services: Because city leaders wanted it that way.

The story goes back to the 1980s, when the city sought to revitalize the Gaslamp Quarter, then known for tattoo parlors and adult theaters instead of the modern-day bustling nightlife and new businesses surrounding Petco Park. The homeless didn’t fit into the vision for the Gaslamp Quarter, so the city encouraged those who served them to head to East Village. They did just that.

“The San Diego Rescue Mission, St. Vincent de Paul Village and Catholic Charities eventually moved to the East Village, supplying dozens of shelter beds and services,” Halverstadt reports. “So solidified East Village’s position as the regional hub for homeless providers, a reality that’s helped make it San Diego’s most visible, concentrated homeless population.”

Halverstadt tells the story with the help of homeless advocates from the past and present.

• In a related story, Halverstadt documents just how much the homeless population in East Village has exploded recently. “We are hamsters in a hamster wheel trying to make things happen for people and open up doors where they can exit homelessness, and here it is, growing around us like it is,” said one official with Father Joe’s Villages.

• You’ll see a lot more about homelessness in San Diego if you’re reading or watching news throughout the day today. About 20 San Diego media outlets and personalities have committed to covering San Diego’s homelessness crisis. We’re calling it San Diego Homeless Awareness Day. Check out this Twitter account for updates, and this site for a collection of stories published by various newsrooms throughout San Diego.

What Did DA Know and When Did She Know It?

The campaign fraud trial of a Mexican businessman who allegedly tried to manipulate local elections is renewing “questions about what the district attorney knew of [his] role and what she should have known,” KPBS reports. “Prosecutors told jurors in the trial that started three weeks ago that a full 25 percent of the money [Bonnie] Dumanis received during her run for mayor came from [him] but never in his name.”

A USC professor tells KPBS that “the fact that so many contributions corresponded with money that had been transferred to the donors from an outside source is a very alarming figure.” A former federal prosecutor, meanwhile, says “it’s not a good fact for Ms. Dumanis, that’s for sure. Straw donor after straw donor. It certainly would make a prosecutor question and investigate further how directly involved she was in these types of contributions.”

Dumanis isn’t talking, although she’s painted herself before as a victim. And she’s not facing charges of wrongdoing. But she is expected to testify in the case, and we’ve summarized the questions that she should answer.

Last year, Liam Dillon documented the scores of illegal donations made to Dumanis’ campaign.

Kindergarten Sticker Shock

As our Scott Lewis reported last month, education doesn’t start in kindergarten: “We can debate Common Core and other established standards all we want — and we surely will for some time. For now, they are the standards many of us confront when our children enter kindergarten. And some of our children are not ready for them.”

What to do? The L.A. Times finds that Santa Monica parents are paying $1,000 for a kind of pre-kindergarten bootcamp. It lasts a week and is designed for kids from 3.5 to 5 years.

Culture Report: Tijuana Art Center Rises Again

VOSD’s weekly Culture Report highlights the rebirth of Tijuana’s Estación Federal as an arts center. It used to be a hub of artists and art thanks to cheap rent and its closeness to the border, but it became dilapidated and worse. “My time in at Estación Federal came to an end one morning when I opened up my medicine cabinet and found a cockroach camped out on my toothbrush,” writes Kinsee Morlan, VOSD’s engagement editor and Culture Report scribe.

Now, a revamp is in the works with apartments, a restaurant, a coffee shop and deli, murals and more. The idea is to draw young professionals intrigued by a cross-border lifestyle.

Also in the Culture Report: A massive cleanup at the crumbling Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park, the tiki subculture (who knew?) and a musician who plays broken glass with his face. No word if he’s a prickly character.

• The 1960s-era Skyline Hills Branch Library was torn down this week to make way for a new, much bigger $13.2 million building.

You can see an artist’s conception courtesy of KPBS.

Make sure to check out the stunning sky in the painting: It looks like something amazing just happened, like perhaps the Rapture. In that context, I think of the painting as an inadvertent tribute to Tim LaHaye, co-author of the influential “Left Behind” book series and influential local evangelist, who died last month at the age of 90 at a San Diego-area hospital. In a related matter, I sure like the idea of being left behind post-rapture in a library branch.

More Layoffs at U-T

Layoffs are continuing at the Union-Tribune. They’re reportedly part of company-wide cutbacks at the U-T’s corporate owner, Tronc. (Yes, that’s its name, as HBO’s John Oliver mercilessly informed viewers last week.)

A spokeswoman unhelpfully informs the journalism think tank Poynter that there have indeed been “some restructuring across all business functions,” which suggests cuts go beyond the newsroom. “Some of these changes are to meet the demands of the local business and some of these changes are to align with our larger transformation strategy.”

Apparently, there were six layoffs in the newsroom as of Tuesday. One reporter’s Facebook account says the paper laid off four people who work on the online side of the paper and two veteran photographers.

Quick News Hits: Do You Speak San Diegan?

“Former City Council President Tony Young was arrested this past weekend on several charges related to an alleged domestic violence incident,” NBC 7 reports. Young was released on bail.

Young is president of RISE San Diego, an advocacy organization that supports urban neighborhoods. He’s also a former CEO of the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter.

Legislators and church leaders began fasting for 24 hours Tuesday in support of local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s resurrected bill to require overtime for farm workers, the L.A. Times reports.

According to the Times, the bill “would phase in farm worker overtime starting in 2019, lowering the current 10-hour day to the standard 8-hour day, and establishing for the first time a 40-hour standard workweek over the next four years.”

The U-T has mapped how climate change will affect our coastline if global warming boosts sea levels by 6 feet by 2100. As we’ve reported, some local communities are whistling past the watery graveyard (looking at you, Coronado!), but little Imperial Beach is trying to step up.

U-T columnist Logan Jenkins is out with another look at the unique pronunciation of San Diego places, following up on an earlier dive into the proper way to say “Jamacha, Junípero, Cabrillo, Guejito, Aguanga, Tijuana, Olivenhain.” (Gesundheit!)

A former standup comedian recalls the joke he’d make in the 1980s: “I used to relay to the audience my mispronunciation of La Jolla and Jacumba. When the locals corrected me and asked just how long I had been in San Diego, I’d tell them that I had moved here either last Hune or Huly.”

Ji-larious! OK, it’s actually pretty funny. The kind of thing that will keep readers giggling as they drive down Gar-NET (not GAR-net) on the way to POW-way (not PO-way or Pow-WHY).

O-TAY, then? Nope. O-TIE, then. Do keep up.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also a board member and ex-national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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