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Arts District Liberty Station was created to insulate artists from the rising rents that often pushed them out of San Diego neighborhoods.

But a decade later, the artists and cultural nonprofits that put down roots there are facing the same story as anywhere else: The rent is too damn high.

VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan walks us through how the arts district has found itself in the very situation it had tried to solve and how it has challenged the arts district’s identity.

From the beginning, city leaders agreed that an arts district was a worthy cause, but never committed to subsidizing rent for artists or giving the project a steady stream of funding.

The foundation created to open and operate the space built a lot of debt at the outset, when it was renovating buildings. Eventually, that debt and other increased costs, like wages and unexpected property taxes, were passed on to tenants.

The foundation board started courting tenants with more money, who could fund their own renovations in exchange for reduced rent to solve the problem. But the strategy has had consequences — not everyone thinks Liberty Station has achieved the vision it set out to achieve with the district.

Residents Demand Action at Marathon Homelessness Hearing

The City Council heard a slew of proposals and ideas to chip away at San Diego’s growing homelessness problem in an hours-long hearing on Monday.

Council members got a review of the challenges facing the region — including the relative lack of programs to prevent homelessness and San Diego’s dearth of affordable housing — and listened to a number of homeless folks and residents frustrated with the city’s response so far. They also heard from county and city bureaucrats who reviewed their own short- and long-term plans to better aid San Diego’s homeless population.

City Council members left the meeting vowing action. Council President Myrtle Cole called for the creation of select committee on homelessness, while City Councilman Chris Ward, who represents central city neighborhoods, talked up a series of policy proposals. Councilwomen Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez requested a study of what the city could do for its homeless population with a quarter-cent sales tax or a bond. And Councilwoman Lorie Zapf asked City Attorney Mara Elliott to look into what San Diego could do to demand more support to address side effects of Prop. 47, a 2014 ballot measure she’s argued has contributed to an increase in street homelessness.

— Lisa Halverstadt

Border Talk

Three state legislators, including San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, introduced a bill Monday that would require the California Public Employee Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System to divest from any company involved in President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

CalPERS and CalSTRS are the nation’s largest and second largest pension funds, with nearly $312 billion and $202 billion in investments under their control, reports the L.A. Times. The AB 946 announcement follows last week’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s request for companies to submit formal border wall prototypes.

“This is a wall of shame and we don’t want any part of it,” wrote one of the legislators, San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, in a press release.

The Union-Tribune explores what it means for an immigrant to “get in line” to get into the U.S. (Hint: There’s a multiyear wait, but no physical line.)

Quick News Hits

• Marines plan to reopen Stowe Trail, which connects Santee to Poway, for mountain bikers in mid-April. (San Diego Reader)

Here is a rundown of the housing funds San Diego could potentially lose under Trumps’ proposed budget. (Union-Tribune)

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been tweeting out warnings of how the state’s children will be impacted if the GOP’s health care plan cuts Medicaid spending. This inewsource story digs into those warnings and the potential reach of such cuts.

A judge has ruled that the suspect in the attacks on five homeless people in San Diego last summer is mentally fit to stand trial. (NBC 7)

Maya Srikrishnan

Maya was Voice of San Diego’s Associate Editor of Civic Education. She reported on marginalized communities in San Diego and oversees Voice’s explanatory...

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