Our Voice of the Year pick is not an honor, necessarily, it’s a nod toward the person or group who drove the most important conversation about San Diego and its future.

On this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts discuss VOSD’s decision to name downtown homeless people the 2016 Voice of the Year.

Homeless people didn’t hold any press conferences or push for policy changes, but their growing presence across downtown and especially in East Village was a statement that became impossible to ignore.

A skid row is growing right outside the office windows of the City Council and mayor. The more than 1,000 people now living on downtown streets didn’t put up their tents to start a conversation, but that’s exactly what’s happened over the past 12 months.

Other people who made the Voice of the Year list include Nicole Capretzwho won’t let city leaders forget that that ambitious Climate Action Plan is just a first step; Councilman Chris Cate, who bucked the trend of being an overly cautious and careful San Diego politician and instead took strong stances on some of the city’s biggest issues.

Mark Cafferty also joined Lewis and Keatts in the VOSD podcast studio to talk about the intersection of politics and economics.

The CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation discussed the Chargers, the importance of education for equitable economic growth, the government’s role in keeping or attracting businesses, the benefits of our binational region and more.

Cafferty said the biggest conversation happening in his office right now is about President-elect Donald Trump’s impact on cross-border commerce.

“We have companies calling us regularly to say, ‘Can you give us an update on what you think is going to happen, because we’re kind of on hold in thinking about Mexico because we don’t know if things are going to change drastically,’” he said.

Also on the podcast, Lewis and Keatts consider Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Facebook rant against the Union-Tribune. Hunter shrugged off a series of articles the paper ran on his misuse of campaign funds as an example of “clear bias in support of the liberal agenda.”

Lewis had some thoughts for Matt Hall, the U-T’s editorial director, who responded to Hunter’s post by saying the paper isn’t biased rather than stepping up to defend the solid reporting behind the stories.

“I think he brought an email invitation to a knife fight,” Lewis said. “This guy was out to destroy the credibility of the Union-Tribune and he responds with, ‘We’re not biased.’ And he’s going to lose that argument.”

Hero of the Week

Cindy Barros made the Voice of the Year list, but she also gets the hero award for her work as president of Lincoln High Schools’ newly founded parent teacher organization. Barros is taking a leading role rallying parents and advocating for students at the struggling school.

Goat of the Week

The San Diego Association of Governments board of directors gets a major goat for not saying a word after a staff report at a recent meeting disclosed a $17.5 billion shortfall and a likely inability to finish all the transportation projects promised in a 2004 sales tax extension. The issue is something Keatts uncovered in October, and something SANDAG itself should’ve shared with the public as it was selling its tax hike to build more transportation projects to voters this November.

Subscribe to the VOSD Podcast on iTunes or get the RSS feed here. Download it here.

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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