San Diego County’s second city had a first-rate problem: Hundreds of homeless people living in cars. But unlike its bigger neighbor just to the north with its downtown tent cities, Chula Vista’s latest homeless count has gone down. Leaders say it’s due to their approach.

In a new story, our Lisa Halverstadt explains that a one-third decrease in homeless on the street in Chula Vista may be due to a city decision to target RVs, trailers and other large vehicles on city streets.

“I think the most important thing to remember is homeless people don’t disappear. They don’t just, ‘Poof, I’m gone,’” countered activist Michael McConnell. “They move on.”

Rep. Issa to Press: Buzz Off

North County Rep. Darrell Issa is in the unusual position of trying to seem moderate in the wake of a near-upset by a no-name Democrat in November. But he still has a Republican base that likes Trump. So there’s no real upside to announcing how he’ll vote on Trumpcare 2.0, especially if it never actually goes before the House. Perhaps not coincidentally, he’s been mum… mostly.

First he trotted out the I’m-on-the-phone excuse to a Slate reporter. Then he got blunt when asked again yesterday by the press to say what he’s thinking: “None of your business.”

However, he ultimately responded to a sharp 10News reporter who noted the comment above and queried him on Twitter. He had this to say: “Undecided and still reviewing the changes to the bill.”

• Everybody in the pool! County supervisors are accepting applications for the position of interim district attorney now that longtime DA Bonnie Dumanis is departing while trying to orchestrate the appointment and future election of her handpicked successor. (City News Service)

• One of Dumanis’ DAs is trying to get the appointment with a pledge he won’t run for the seat.

Murder Beat

The NBC show “Dateline” is marking its anniversary and remembering old crime tales for old time’s sake. An episode last week focused on Andrew Cunanan, the National City native who killed five in 1997, including designer Gianni Versace.

The show tracks his life from La Jolla’s tony The Bishop’s School to UCSD to San Diego’s gay neighborhood, where he was known as the “Mayor of Hillcrest.” His life would end at his own hand on a boat off Miami Beach.

• Wendy Fry at NBC 7 San Diego has a harrowing tale of a couple of victims of this weekend’s shooting in University City. One has a shattered arm after blocking a bullet heading toward his face.

The L.A. Times reports on the deadly business of being a journalist in Tijuana.

Californians bought guns at a much higher than normal rate after the massacres in Newtown, Conn., and San Bernardino. (KPBS)

• The U-T is out with an engaging profile of a San Diego homicide detective who explains why she immediately suspected the Sabre Springs neighbor who turned out to be the kidnapper and killer of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in 2002. Her murder was one of the most notorious crimes in local history.

Quick News Hits: Vista Rising

• Yesterday, we wrote that a new change would mean that you had to dial “1” before calling an (858) number from a (619) number. That is already the case. A new change next year will require you to always dial the full area code even if your number shares it. Sorry for the error.

• San Diego has an airline connection to Germany now. Say hello to Condor. (NBC)

• KPBS says the winter’s big rain means we now have lots more bugs.

• “The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday it would not hear a case filed by a San Diego minister and others challenging the California’s 2012 landmark law that prohibits licensed mental-health professionals from practicing therapies that seek to make gay and lesbian youths straight.” (U-T)

 Former City Councilman Carl DeMaio is trying to lead recall efforts against several California legislators for their support of a gas tax hike to pay for roads. He’s claiming he can oust his old adversary, Sen. Ben Hueso.

Our local streams aren’t decaffeinated Literally. (NBC 7)

A state auditor is out with a report that says the DMV is doing a poor job of dealing with the illegal use of placards and plates for people with disabilities. (Almost 3 million drivers here have them.) As the L.A. Times reports, “it isn’t sufficiently examining motorists’ applications for the placards. For another, it isn’t conducting nearly enough sting operations to nab abusers.” The DMV says it will fix things.

You can spend all your days being moisturized by the ocean and still really need a full-time dermatologist. (U-T)

There’s a newcomer to San Diego County’s 100K Club: The number of residents in the North County city of Vista has topped 100,000, according to new state figures estimating populations as of Jan. 1. It joins the other club members — San Diego (now over 1.4 million), Chula Vista, Oceanside, Escondido, Carlsbad and El Cajon.

The county as a whole has an estimated 3.316 million residents, about 514,000 of whom live in unincorporated areas — non-cities like Ramona, Fallbrook, Rancho Santa Fe, Lakeside and a tiny spot of land called Lincoln Acres in the middle of National City. Former VOSD reporter Adrian Florido (now with NPR) and I stumbled across it in 2009 when my car got towed there. You can read his story here — goats included — and a follow-up here.

The state’s new population report has plenty of other tidbits, like L.A. hitting the 4 million mark. I enjoyed noticing California cities to the north that I’ve never heard of: Galt, Wasco, Firebaugh, Paradise. Despite its name, the latter city grew by fewer than 100 residents from 2016 to 2017.

Del Mar’s also in the slow-growth group. It expanded by just 24 people over that period, reaching 4,297. Racehorses not included, of course. Whenever the census folks come around, they just say neigh.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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