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Mayor Kevin Faulconer started 2017 by emphasizing that San Diego is going to start building way more homes to help make it more affordable to live here. It was a big part of his State of the City speech, and he reiterated it again this weekend at a gala for the building industry.
His first term, though, largely didn’t move the needle on the city’s housing supply and affordability crisis, even though he pledged to do many of the things he’s talking about now years ago – making neighborhoods more dense, making it easier to navigate the city’s bureaucracy to get building permits and stripping away regulations that make development projects infeasible in certain areas.
Instead, the hallmark of his housing agenda has been updating the city’s community plans, which stipulate where and how many new homes can be built. Many of those plans haven’t made way for new housing at all, and others did so only modestly.
He did, however, adopt a policy that lets developers build more homes than their zoning allows in exchange for also building low-income homes. That policy, according to some housing-supply advocates, is among the best in the state and a model for other cities to follow.
• Meanwhile, the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development held a forum in San Diego Monday to brainstorm solutions to the state’s housing prices, as KPBS reported. It’s holding similar meetings across the state.
San Diego Explained: What Do Graduation Rates Measure?
There are a lot of government statistics that don’t really measure the thing you think they do.
One of those areas is the oft-touted graduation rate for a school district.
You might think that it’s the percentage of students who started as freshmen in a district and went on to get a degree. You’d be wrong. There’s a lot more to it.
For instance, kids who switch to district-run charter schools –even in the middle of high school — aren’t counted in the total. Kids who transfer out of the district aren’t included. Kids who get GEDs or go to adult education are.
Mario Koran goes through the whole thing in a new episode of San Diego Explained.
The New Plan for Our Old Stadium
San Diego has spent more than a decade debating what to do to keep the Chargers from fleeing town. After they left anyway, it only took a couple weeks for San Diego to get started on the next sports-focused proposal.
NBC 7 and the Union-Tribune broke the news yesterday that an investment group was leading the charge to bring an MLS team to San Diego. They’d build a new stadium on the Qualcomm Stadium property that would be suitable for both professional soccer and as a new home for SDSU’s football team.
Today, we got more details. The Union-Tribune’s Roger Showley reported it would be an overall $1 billion development project that would include a new, riverfront park for the city, housing and office space that could accommodate SDSU’s expansion needs, an arts and entertainment district and the $200 million stadium.
The ownership group would buy the land from the city for whatever a third-party appraiser deems is the market rate.
In an interview with Voice of San Diego, Nick Stone, a partner in the La Jolla-based investment group FS Investors that is leading the charge, said the sales price would not be the $225 million estimate that accompanied the proposal of a task force that took on the issue a couple years ago.
That estimate assumed the land would already be leveled for development, that the city would already sign-off on new development plans and there would already be new roads and sewers and related infrastructuire to support development.
“It assumed a series of conditions that are not in place,” Stone said.
Stone’s ownership group is going to start collecting signatures to bring the measure to the City Council in the coming months, in hopes that the Council approves the proposal outright, instead of putting it on the ballot for 2018. It needs to work on that timeline so that the stadium could be ready for a team to play in by spring 2020.
Stone also said the ownership group is hoping to purchase part of a professional soccer team in Mexico. It would require league approval, but the hope is some Mexican-league games could be played in the new San Diego stadium. They’d also like to establish youth soccer development academies that could bring players into either the Mexican team or San Diego’s new MLS team.
Opinion: San Diego’s Arts Scene Isn’t Just for the Rich
A recent Morning Report referred to public funding of the arts as money that often supports organizations whose audience is mostly wealthy.
The Old Globe didn’t like that so much. In a letter, the organization’s artistic director responded by pointing out that in the last four years the Globe has invested in reaching more low-income people. Last year, 26,000 people saw some of their programs that brought theater to venues like schools, senior centers and and homeless shelters.
“Like the Globe, every other major nonprofit arts organization here is doing serious community-based work,” Edelstein writes.
In Other News
• Protesters shut down the San Ysidro border crossing Monday as they continued demonstrating against gas price hikes in Mexico. (KPBS)
• Local leaders including the mayor launched a new district Monday where commercial buildings would agree to have lower energy consumption. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• The county of San Diego is considering Tuesday whether to build a new office facility in Santee for its marriage licensing, birth certificates and historical government records, at a price of $21 million. (San Diego Union-Tribune)