As he introduced the members of San Diego’s congressional delegation at a Chamber of Commerce panel on Friday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer was at his Kevin Faulconeriest, extolling the reps’ penchant for working together when it matters and embracing a sense of bipartisanship to advance San Diego.

The discussion itself, however, put many of their disagreements on display, particularly when it came to immigration and the border wall.

All of San Diego’s House members did seem to agree on one basic fact: There is already an extensive structure separating the United States from Mexico, the border fence. There are two different schools of thought, however — broken down along party lines — for how the border fence plays into the current debate. Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter both argued that opposition to the border wall is silly, because the border fence already exists. They both suggested that any objection to the wall is simply a matter of semantics. “Call it whatever you want!” Hunter said. Issa even contended that in voting for funding bills that included construction and upkeep of the fence, all the San Diego members “have already voted for a wall.” Rep. Juan Vargas shot back that he has never, and will never, vote for a measure that funds a border wall.

The Democratic members of the delegation argued the other side of the coin: There’s already a border fence, so why spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a duplicate structure? That seems to be the prevailing sentiment for those who represent the districts that touch the border itself — the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that no members of Congress who represent the actual border, Democrat or Republican, support the border wall.

Cheers in the crowd rose up any time a member of Congress spoke out against the wall. In a room full of many white, conservative businessmen, that is worth noting. San Diego continues to exemplify the disconnect between Republicans in D.C. and those who actually live near the border. Despite that disconnect, though, most leaders still seem willing to speak out against the wall only in economic terms, instead of human ones.

Members of both parties said some stunningly ignorant things about the actual people impacted by President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown. Issa defended the deplorable practice of ICE agents trolling courthouses for illegal immigrants. It’s a fine practice, he said, because the people at courthouses are criminals. Let that sink in for a moment. Hunter said the only people being deported under Trump are involved in criminal activity here, which we know to be untrue (and wasn’t under Obama). Even Vargas, a Latino Democrat, expressed confidence that ICE officials would stay away from “sensitive areas” like schools and churches. I’m not so sure.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Time and again, we’ve seen school officials sound the alarm over urgent problems they say require school bond money to fix.

They warned about the dangers of asbestos, which they now say is no big deal. They also said – three times for three separate bonds sent to voters for approval – that Emerson-Bandini Elementary needed new pipes. The bonds all passed. The school didn’t get new pipes – and now its water has been found unsafe. (On the bright side, San Diego Unified has lots of new football fields. Though that hasn’t always worked out either.)

The discovery of the toxic water isn’t the only lead danger impacting local children.


San Diego has a housing crisis. We all know this. It was driven home yet again this week by a new census of the homeless population that showed homelessness downtown surging.

The city of San Diego is sponsoring one of the 130 (!) housing-related bills in the state Legislature – this one would let groups like the San Diego Housing Commission build middle-income housing instead of just low-income housing.

Whatever solutions emerge, many San Diegans are already looking to more affordable regions. A lot of them, including some of the poorest among us, are decamping for Riverside. And one developer is hoping some San Diegans will be attracted to new housing just across the border.


More from Sacramento: Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s effort to reform the broken CalGang database is moving forward, but it has a competitor.

De’Andre Brooks from the Stockton neighborhood testified in favor of Weber’s bill this week, and drew attention to the fact that in San Diego, blacks and Latino gang members are documented at rates wildly higher than their share of the population, while whites are virtually absent.

Meanwhile, a bill on charter schools being floated would all but kill schools like San Diego’s Thrive Public School from opening in the future.


The investigation into SANDAG over problems uncovered by Voice of San Diego might sidestep several major issues.


Summer Stephan is, in all likelihood, San Diego’s next DA. Here’s why her inevitability for an elected position is pretty incredible.

What I’m Reading

• You could buy an insanely expensive juicer that’s been given the Silicon Valley startup blessing. Or you could just squeeze some fruit packs with your own two hands, with the same results. (Bloomberg)

• Maybe you, like me, have been avoiding all things Rachel Dolezal. This is the only piece on her you need to read. (The Stranger)

• There are many ways in which Mexico could hurt the United States very badly, if it gets pushed hard enough. (The Atlantic)

 A deeply restrictive culture underpins the anti-gay repression happening in Chechnya. (The Guardian)

• A National Endowment for the Arts grant can go on to change the cultural fabric of the nation. Under Trump, they might get cut. (Esquire)

Line of the Week

“Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you.” – Harry Styles has no patience for your dismissal of teenage girls.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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