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Statistics provide a clearer picture of San Diego’s homeless crisis, and we’re now understanding who’s most being affected. As our Lisa Halverstadt reports, the number of adults over 55 living on streets countywide more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

“A decade ago, less than a quarter of clients sleeping in temporary beds downtown at Father Joe’s Villages were over 50. Today, the region’s largest homeless-serving nonprofit reports 42 percent of those clients are seniors,” Halverstadt writes. “Nearby PATH San Diego’s Connections Housing, which operates permanent units and an interim shelter downtown, says about half its clients are seniors. Just a few years ago, seniors made up about a third of the nonprofit’s clientele.”

Our story includes details about individual seniors and the reasons they ended up on the street. In many cases, it seems, homeless seniors become homeless after the age of 50, sometimes because they can’t afford housing on their SSI checks.

Chargers in Talks About 2017 L.A. Move

USA Today reports that the Chargers are talking to L.A.’s Memorial Coliseum about playing their games there a year from now. The word comes directly from the president of the Coliseum Commission. They’d need a temporary place to play if the team decides to join the L.A. Rams in a yet-to-be-built stadium in Inglewood.

“In light of the vote of the people of San Diego,” the L.A. official told the paper, “it’s back on the table in earnest.” Voters last month turned down two stadium initiatives.

Opinion: Millennials Aren’t Getting Transit They Deserve

In a VOSD commentary, Alan Hoffman, a lecturer in city planning at San Diego State University and director of The Center for Advanced Urban Visioning, says the chances are improving for his Quickway Proposal regarding public transit.

“The Quickway Proposal gives millennials what they want,” he writes. “Unlike the region’s current plans, which do not do enough to support our existing neighborhoods, the Quickway Proposal focuses infrastructure investments in urban communities that are expected to absorb much of the region’s long-term growth.”

He even writes that his proposal has a 100 percent chance of being put into effect — someday: “At some point, we as a region will finally invest in the kind of transit system that is truly world-class and capable of sustaining us far into the future. We can build out the regional plan, flood the streets with ‘rapid’ buses and build light-rail lines where they’re politically easier to build but don’t match either the city we are or market demand, and at some point, someone will say, “Really? Is that all we get for our investment? We’ve got to do better … a lot better.”

Culture Report: The Trees Are Singing

UCSD’s Stuart Collection has outfitted 32 trees with accelerometers that turn their movements into sound. “I visited the musical eucalyptus grove Monday, a particularly windy day,” our Kinsee Morlan reports in this week’s Culture Report. “As the leaves rustled and the tree trunks swayed in the wind, a symphony of bells and chimes poured from the speakers, swelling and subsiding along with the gusts of cold ocean air.”

Also in the Culture Report: A discussion about the safety of artists in performance spaces in the wake of the Oakland fire, an exhibit about links between San Diego’s mid-century arts scene and the local defense industry, and much more.

Quick News Hits: Pig Therapy

 Accusations of inappropriate punishment are being aimed at Horton Elementary School in the Chollas View neighborhood: “Parents complained their children suffered burns on their hands after the principal allegedly forced them to hold a push-up position on hot blacktop for unruly behavior on multiple occasions in October,” KPBS reports.

The district is looking into it but said there was no corporal punishment, defined as punishment that is painful.

The SeaWorld company is cutting about 320 jobs. They’ll affect all of its parks, apparently, including the one here. (NBC San Diego)

The San Diego Airport has therapy dogs on hand to soothe stressed-out travelers. (Here’s an adorable picture of a Siberian husky decked out for the holidays.)

It turns out there are even more options than pooches. The San Francisco Airport’s “Wag Brigade” has debuted a therapy pig named LiLou, the first porcine member of the team. This photo of a gussied-up LiLou has to be seen to be believed.

Here’s hoping they’re polite and don’t trot her out by any sort of barbecue place at the food court.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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