When we host community meetings, and venture out on assignments, our reporters hear about nothing as much as concerns about homelessness and how much the population seems to be growing.

Downtown, homelessness is exploding, and no matter what part of the political spectrum you fall on, it has to be disturbing. East Village is now a large tent city. Police are disrupting and cleaning the encampments but it’s a broad community shame.

Everyone has a theory, but Lisa Halverstadt collected everything we know (and don’t) about why it’s happening downtown. Fact: There are far fewer cheap residential hotels downtown than there used to be. Fact: Rents are high. Fact: Downtown is where homeless services are, mostly.

Not so clear: the impact of Proposition 47 — criminal justice reform without which some of the people on the street might be incarcerated or in treatment. Also not clear: how many homeless come to San Diego. Data indicates about two-thirds of homeless people in San Diego became homeless here.

Podcast: A Curious Debt at SD Schools

We had Mario Koran join us for a holiday-shortened podcast this week. We wanted to talk about his story this week about a retroactive legal bill San Diego Unified’s school board approved in a bizarre turn of events.

For next week’s episode, we did a long exit interview with City Councilman Todd Gloria, who is moving on to the California Assembly. So stay tuned for that.

Op-ed: Toussaint Kids Will Be OK

Recently, we ran a community commentary blasting Father Joe’s Villages for closing the Toussaint Academy. Well, Father Joe’s has posted a passionate response. In short, it has plans for all the young people affected by the closure, writes Deacon Jim Vargas.

Quick News

This week’s North County Report rounds up all the news about the end of the Gregory Canyon Landfill, a project that could never die but could never quite break ground.

Late in the afternoon Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a long awaited report on police and racial profiling in the city of San Diego was released. It found that although black and Latino drivers were not more likely to get pulled over, they were more likely to be searched. (NBC) Here’s the full report.

NBC 7 San Diego says the use of an antidote to heroin overdose is on the rise in San Diego. If a loved one is addicted to opioids, you might want to carry it.

The Wall Street Journal has a splashy feature on a day-by-day guide to a long, artsy weekend in San Diego.

CityBeat has a new editor. Arts writer Seth Combs is now steering the ship. It’s not clear what happened to editor Ron Donoho, who had taken over for longtime editor David Rolland last year when Rolland left to take a job working for the former Assembly speaker and now state senator-elect Toni Atkins.

When Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez got on a high horse about Thanksgiving gravy on Twitter, her daughter called her out.

Top Stories of the Week

You can read our Top 10 most read stories of the week here. Here are the top five:

1. School District Retroactively OK’d More Than $200K for Foster Investigation
When the San Diego Unified school board opened an investigation into then-trustee Marne Foster, it capped the cost of the probe at $40,000. In the end, the district never made the report public — but it paid $228,000 for the effort. (Mario Koran)

2. Opinion: No Excuse for Father Joe’s Toussaint Academy Failure
Father Joe’s made a commitment to protect the teens living at Toussaint Academy. It has a moral obligation to ensure a safe, well planned and transparent transition into new housing. (Angela Santora)

3. National City Keeps Lowering the Bar to Building, But Developers Are Unmoved
National City has increased the density developers can build to and sped up the time it takes to get a building permit. But even combining those regulatory incentives with the area’s low land costs, bayfront views and proximity to downtown San Diego, the freeway and the trolley hasn’t made a difference. (Maya Srikrishnan)

4. Homelessness Is Exploding Downtown: What We Know (and Don’t) About Why
By all measures, homelessness is spiking and tent cities downtown are proliferating. (Lisa Halverstadt)

5. Across the County, Taxpayer-Funded Turf Fields Are Falling Apart After Just a Few Years
At least 20 artificial turf fields at schools across San Diego County have deteriorated while still under warranty. Yet instead of getting a free replacement, some schools shelled out even more money for another new field. Without much pushback from public school officials, taxpayers have been left holding the bag for a private company’s admittedly defective product. (Ashly McGlone)

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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