Journalism won’t die if you donate. Support Voice of San Diego today!

The price of housing in San Diego is high, and that’s a predictable outcome of economic forces pushing on a city that can’t seem to catch up to the demand for work force housing. While cranes may be busy remaking the downtown skyline, Alon Levy reports San Diego is way behind other big cities in California and around the world when it comes to how many new homes we’ve permitted to be built to address steadily rising costs.

“San Diego County permitted a little more than three units per 1,000 people in 2016. That’s dwarfed by the level of new housing permits in other fast-growing Sun Belt cities,” Levy reports. Dallas, Tokyo, Vancouver, Sydney; all throw up housing start numbers that are multiples of what San Diego is building. Levy reports on how, in many cases, the way local development is governed makes all the difference on getting development projects going. Zoning is national law in Japan, for example, and in Vancouver their city council elections happen at-large instead of by district.

Without changes, Levy writes, “San Diego’s growth will keep lagging those in Canada and the Sun Belt, and rents will continue to stress a majority of households.”

Rising housing costs hit seniors, too. Can’t afford assisted living in San Diego? Maybe try Mexico instead. (KPBS)

Housing Costs: San Diego Explained

San Diego recently hit its all-time high for housing costs, beating out even the bubbling numbers we saw right before the recession. That’s higher costs for both buyers and renters, and it’s largely thanks to a dearth of new units coming online to keep pace with need. Maya Srikrishnan and NBC 7’s Monica Dean look into those housing numbers and find some doozies, like only four percent of needed moderate income housing being built since 2014, in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Convention Center, SoccerCity Approach Roadblock

A couple of local campaigns to do really big things like expand the convention center and bring professional soccer to Mission Valley could hit a sudden and serious snag on Monday, the Union-Tribune’s David Garrick reports. That’s because, while those individual projects aren’t set to be considered by the City Council until later in June, council members may decide the fate of 2017’s special election funding in general on Monday. Eliminating funding for a 2017 special election “would make it highly unlikely that either measure would go before voters until sometime in 2018 – probably in the November general election,” Garrick reports.

In perhaps related news, Thursday was marked by a sudden explosion of appeals to the public and councilmembers for support of a proposal to put a hotel tax increase on the special ballot in 2017.

The U-T did a poll of voters that special election supporters do not like.

Opinion: Support Hotel Tax Increase Measure, Urgently

Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages, wants people to focus on the potential good that could come from a hotel tax increase if part of the revenues from the new tax go toward homeless causes. “The initiative is projected to raise a minimum of $10 million annually to help those on our streets, and finally provide the city with a dedicated funding source to address homelessness,” Vargas writes. He recognizes several concerns about the plan, but urges readers to support the effort regardless. “Will $10 million a year from the hotel tax resolve our homeless crisis? Of course not. Will it help? Absolutely,” Vargas writes.

Opinion: Not So Fast, SoccerCity

On the other side of the special election ballot, Councilmember Barbara Bry has made up her mind about the SoccerCity proposal to turn Qualcomm into a site to host major league soccer, and she’s decided against it. Too much risk, she writes. “The SoccerCity initiative provides no guarantee that a professional soccer stadium or river park will ever be built and that taxpayers may end up on the hook for significant environmental contamination cleanup costs,” Bry writes, citing a recent memo from City Attorney Mara Elliott. Instead, Bry wants the Qualcomm site opened to a competitive proposal process.

It’s Bill-Passin’ Time

Sacramento is busy cranking out bills ahead of a Friday deadline. Assemblymember Shirley Weber managed to get a bill passed out of the assembly that would allow schools to extend teacher probationary periods from their existing first two years to a proposed three years, the Sacramento Bee reports. We’ve previously covered the tricky role tenure plays in California’s education problems.

Over on the state Senate side, Senator Toni Atkins successfully ushered a bill through her chamber that would create a single-payer healthcare system in California. The passage of such a major bill with many crucial details — like how to pay for it — yet to be determined had one Sacramento reporter wondering who would ultimately kill the bill.

Liam Dillon rounded up a few other notable bills that are coming and going in the whirlwind. (LA Times)

Lightning Round

 President Trump announced the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords. Governors of California, New York, and Washington have announced a coalition to take the lead on the issue. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer issued his own statement about the need for cities to lead on climate change. (ABC News)

Court of Appeal: Hey San Diego, quit restraining every defendant who shows up in court with five-point shackles that make them look like a “bear on a chain.” (Union-Tribune)

New rules, requiring breweries and the food caterers that sell at breweries to both get permits for that food activity, are apparently starting to have an impact.

Stories about Republican politicians in California facing a tough fight for their elected offices jumped out in both the New York Times and The Washington Post.

A bill that would prohibit middle and high schools from starting classes prior to 8:30 AM is doing pretty well in the California Legislature. (NBC 7)

It’s probably been awhile since you last worried about an unexpected earthquake wreaking havoc in San Diego. Here you go! (Union-Tribune)

Chula Vista politician Steve Padilla is headed back to the California Coastal Commission. (Times of San Diego)

On Sunday, if you want to be amazed or perhaps a little horrified, you may want to head down to Petco’s Park in the Park and watch a man attempt to win an ice cream sandwich eating contest by eating “45 to 50 ice cream sandwiches” in six minutes. (NBC 7)

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or find him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.