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On Tuesday, San Diego City Council will hear a series of proposed regulations about medical and recreational marijuana.
Delivery services have been operating in this legal gray area for a few years – they’re not allowed, but they’re also not prohibited. So dozens of delivery services operate in a gray area in San Diego. Some try their best to be on the up and up and some couldn’t care less about laws.
“It’s currently the wild, wild west and it needs to be reined in,” one dispensary owner told me.
One of the proposals would allow only the legally permitted dispensaries to operate delivery services.
Dispensary owners like this idea because they spent a lot of money getting permits and they want to be in charge of deliveries when for the full legalization of adult-use comes. The move would also ensure the city collected taxes and make it easier to shut down illegal operators.
Delivery owners – even ones who say they want more regulations – think that the small number of dispensaries allowed in the city won’t be enough to meet the demand. They want a chance to apply to operate independently and legally.
Cleaning Up the Stormwater Mess
VOSD’s Ry Rivard took a deep dive into issues with the state’s stormwater system earlier this month.
After it rains, stormwater picks up debris and pollution on its way to creeks, rivers, reservoirs and the ocean. The state’s stormwater rules are supposed to check that process and ensure that California’s bodies of water remain clean after it rains.
The state doesn’t have the staff or resources to enforce its rules, so private attorneys and environmentalists have become enforcers, but sometimes the rules are enforced arbitrarily and businesses who try to follow the laws lose out.
But not all is hopeless. Rivard put together a solutions post, listing five ways to fix the stormwater mess.
• In an op-ed, Matt O’Malley from San Diego Coastkeeper and Drevet Hunt from Lawyers for Clean Water argue the attorneys and environmentalists who have been policing stormwater are a necessary part of the system.
“Many businesses do not take stormwater permits seriously,” O’Malley and Hunt write. “Luckily, the Clean Water Act allows for citizen enforcement, which plays a vital role in ensuring compliance with the rules that protect us all.”
We Have a Housing Problem, Episode 298753475
In this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts talked to the unlikely couple from city council that plans to tackle the city’s housing woes: Democratic Councilman David Alvarez and Republican Councilman Scott Sherman.
The two hosted a summit this week to launch their housing push. San Diego doesn’t have enough housing for the number of people who want to live here, which is raising housing costs and exacerbating a bunch of problems, like the number of homeless people in the region and families’ abilities to access good schools and jobs.
“The willingness is there now,” Alvarez told Lewis and Keatts. “There’s never been a moment like this while I’ve been on the Council where it just feels like it’s the right time to do it.”
But the pronouncements of local leaders hasn’t comforted many affordable housing advocates and developers in the county. Earlier this week, they told the state that local governments weren’t doing enough on the housing and they wanted the state to step in and do more during a workshop.
• In this week’s Sacramento Report, I wrote about the discussion between local housing folks and the state department of Housing and Community Development about their new report on the state’s housing crisis and potential solutions. Sara Libby detailed California vs. Trump battle and the new state bills we’re keeping an eye on.
• The annual homeless census count kicked off Friday morning, reports KPBS. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt also went on a special edition of KPBS’ Roundtable that focused on San Diego’s homelessness crisis.
The Chargers Aren’t Coming Back
Some still hold onto hope that the Chargers might come back to San Diego under new ownership, but VOSD contributor Beau Lynott is here to give everyone a reality check.
There are policies and complicating factors that prevent that from happening.
A key part is that the NFL has already discouraged it, imposing a number of stipulations, requirements and special provisions on the Rams, Chargers and Raiders while they’ve been considering their relocation to Los Angeles.
Quick News Hits
• A planned gas-fired power plant in Carlsbad won’t be open on time and will be dirtier, creating more greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions than expected. (inewsource)
• A San Marcos couple left a $3.2 million donation to Interfaith Community Services in Escondido, which will help build a new Recovery and Wellness Center for homeless individuals struggling with addiction. (KPBS)
• A coalition of border advocates and cross-border businesses, calling themselves “#OneBorder” met in Tijuana Thursday, calling for a collective message about cooperation between politicians in Mexico City and Washington, DC. (Union-Tribune)
• Photographer John Gibbons gives us a breathtaking aerial photo tour of what the border with Mexico — from here to Arizona — looks like from the sky. (Union-Tribune)
The Week’s Top Stories
These were the top five Voice of San Diego stories for the week of Jan. 21-Jan. 27. Click here to see the full top 10.
1. Is San Diego a Sanctuary City and What Does That Even Mean?
There’s no one policy or criteria that makes a place a sanctuary city. Yet two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday — including one that would crack down on sanctuary cities — could impact the city of San Diego, the county and the state bigly. (Sara Libby)
2. Lincoln High’s Middle College Program Takes Another Disastrous Turn
The last semester of Lincoln High School’s Middle College program was so plagued with problems it ended with school district officials brokering a deal with the San Diego Community College District to withdraw dozens of students in order to avoid Fs on their transcripts. (Mario Koran)
3. The Only Consistency to Padres’ Uniforms Is Inconsistency
While Padres fans wait for the new tradition of winning to take hold, they need something to identify with. And, when you can’t recognize the players on the field, it’d certainly be nice to recognize the team. (Dallas McLaughlin)
4. Despite Reforms, City and County Pension Funds Are Billions Short
The latest shortfalls mark new troubling heights for each pension fund, surpassing levels that rocked the city during the pension scandal of the early 2000s. (Ashly McGlone)
5. Why I Left San Diego’s Art Scene Behind
Between the unsustainably low prices, the lack of any attempt to sell the work and endless opportunities to work for free, there’s little hope for an emerging artist to succeed on any sort of financial level in San Diego. (John Raymond Mireles)