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This week, our reporting fellow Rachel Evans noted a generational schism emerging in District 4 over Councilwoman Myrtle Cole’s comments on racial profiling: Younger activists “have called for her resignation. Established community leaders have urged reconciliation,” Evans notes.
This election has boiled down to a lot of us vs. them rhetoric. Immigrants vs. citizens. Black vs. white. Hillary Clinton has responded by staking her campaign on the idea that we’re “stronger together.”
And yet it’s this divide that Evans pointed out — old vs. young — that seems to be the most pronounced lately.
Though I’ve noted before the frequency of newspaper op-eds that deride millennials, writing them off as entitled and lazy, young people are suddenly getting a lot of props. Timothy Egan notes in the New York Times this week:
Millennials are saving us. Yes, Trump is loathed by huge majorities of women, Latinos, blacks, college-educated whites, Catholics, Jews and religious skeptics. But the largest generational cohort of all, those born after 1980, really seems to get what kind of monster the Republican Party has loosed on the land. And they get it with their trademark coolness, the way they considered gay marriage no big deal.
And in a separate New York Times essay, former MTV News correspondent Tabitha Soren looks on with bemusement at the current thirst for all things ’90s nostalgia. Back then, she notes, it wasn’t all that cool to take young people seriously:
MTV News was fairly earnestly trying to contribute to the sum total of human understanding about politics and political candidates, albeit for young people. It was mocked by important media outlets — which seemed to want to see our work as an extension of MTV’s reality show and music content. But “Choose or Lose,” as our election coverage was called, took young voters seriously, and we wanted them to take their vote seriously, too.
In many ways, though, it’s still not cool to take young people seriously. Go to any of the various civic awards dinners in San Diego, and I guarantee you will hear the same round of jokes, over and over, made by the most powerful people in the region about those young punks at Voice of San Diego and several digs at Councilman Chris Cate about his young person haircut, or his young person taste for hip-hop. The message is clear: Young people aren’t really welcome in places where important decisions are made.
Writing off young people, though, doesn’t really seem to be going well for politicians, particularly Republicans. In a story on Donald Trump’s unprecedented lack of support among young voters, USA Today notes:
If the trend continues, the Democratic Party will have scored double-digit victories among younger voters in three consecutive elections, the first time that has happened since such data became readily available in 1952. That could shape the political affiliations of the largest generation in American history for years to follow.
What VOSD Learned
Our effort this week to push homelessness issues to the forefront turned up, as you might imagine, a few problems: Folks who wait years to receive a housing voucher that pays all or part of their rent are finding that San Diego’s rental market is so tight, the vouchers are now effectively useless in some parts of the county. And, police are increasingly giving out tickets to homeless people for a violation that was intended to target trash dumpsters.
On top of uncovering those problems, though, we also examined potential solutions – including a number of ideas that have been successful in other cities that could be replicated in San Diego.
Lisa Halverstadt revealed why East Village has become the epicenter of homelessness in San Diego – it all goes back to some key decisions made about 30 years ago. A big part of it has to do with the fact that city leaders assumed East Village would never become an attractive place for those with money. They were wrong – and it’s causing tensions between the many homeless who call the area home, and the residents of new condos and businesses.
One reason homelessness is surging in East Village and throughout downtown could be the loss of thousands of SRO units – the housing of last resort for many low-income earners.
On the podcast, Scott and Andy talked with a Navy veteran who was forced to live in his car for a time even though he had a job. San Diego’s seen a huge surge in folks living in their vehicles. One safe place for them to congregate is about to close.
As Friendship Park, the gathering space that straddles the border wall, turns 45, our Tijuana freelancers shared some incredible photos and talked to activists about what they’d like to see for the space in the future.
And speaking of cross-border ties, I highlighted the big questions we’re hoping Bonnie Dumanis answers when she testifies in the case of a Mexican citizen accused of trying to interfere in U.S. elections.
What I’m Reading
• Before the calls for Muslim bans, before declaring Mexicans rapists, Donald Trump led a vocal charge to execute the so-called “Central Park 5” – a group of young black men convicted of a rape for which they were later exonerated. (Guardian)
• Life in a Phoenix neighborhood tormented by a serial shooter. (The Trace)
• An open letter to managers of women. (Medium)
• A long but worthwhile autopsy of Gawker. (New York Mag)
• Participants in the 1932 Olympics were so dirt poor, many came to the Games with bags of coffee and sugar to trade, instead of money. (LA Weekly)
• No one does a food metaphor like Olympian Alexi Pappas. In this essay on running through pain, she notes: “Some pain happens like butter melting on toast, a slow thing over time.” (Lenny)
• This story of a murdered woman and the daughter she pretended was sick all her life is absolutely insane. (Buzzfeed)
• A fascinating look inside a makeshift restaurant in South Sudan’s biggest refugee settlement. (Eater)
Line of the Week
“NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.” – An official statement from the New York City Parks Department on the removal of a naked Donald Trump statue.