There are plenty of services available to help the homeless in San Diego County, but they need to find those they serve and be found by them. In the South Bay, the system is failing on both fronts.

There, the homeless are less visible because they aren’t as prone to set up tents on sidewalks. “Instead they live multiple families to an apartment, in motels or tucked inside junkyards and storage containers,” our Maya Srikrishnan and Lisa Halverstadt report in the fourth in our series of stories about the South Bay’s hidden homeless.

These homeless aren’t only less visible. They’re also harder to count, and numbers matter when it comes to money. As a result, there are far fewer resources to help struggling residents and families.

How bad is it? There are just 32 emergency beds in all of South County, an area that encompasses Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, San Ysidro and more. The homeless could seek beds in downtown San Diego, but that could take their kids far away from their stable school environment.

In a VOSD video production, our contributor Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft visits the Rios family — five people, including four kids, who share a tiny trailer. Two of Catalina Rios’ boys sleep on a bench in the kitchen.

Previously, they lived in a junkyard, trying to keep their lights off after dark so they wouldn’t be discovered.

Mayor Announces Affordable Housing Initiative

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has released a dozen proposals to improve affordable housing. He’s calling for “streamlined project approvals, bonuses for densely built projects, lower parking requirements in transit areas and loosened regulations for granny flats and business owners living in their workplace,” the U-T reports. He also wants to “shrink fees developers pay to provide parkland, modernize how a project’s effect on traffic congestion is calculated and make it easier for private developers to lower construction costs by using city-funded environmental studies.”

• In an editorial, the U-T bashes Faulconer, complaining of his “latest failure” when the 2017 special election went down the tubes. It calls for a transparent process to consider what to do with the old stadium site in Mission Valley. However, “Faulconer isn’t embracing that open process as he should.”

Court Deals San Diego Water Officials a Big Loss

San Diego water officials were dealt a major legal loss Wednesday that could leave local water customers on the hook for billions of dollars over the next several decades. For years, San Diego water officials have argued that the region’s major supplier of water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, has been charging too much to deliver water to San Diego from the Colorado River. But on Wednesday, an appellate court found that San Diego water customers are, by and large, only being asked to pay their fair share to use a statewide water delivery system. The Water Authority will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Ry Rivard

Saying the Unsayable: We’re Not a Sports Town

CityBeat’s Seth Combs begins his latest column with a biting screed from snarktastic sports writer Drew Magary about our fair city: “this is not a city known for its collective brainpower. These people are easy marks. We’re talking about a city that has all the grace and charm of a Margaritaville chain restaurant on its best day. They took literal paradise and turned it into a paved-over Navy base, filled with aggressive douchebros in pooka shell necklaces grabbing asses outside a bunch of overpriced Gaslamp Quarter fusion restaurants.”

Yikes. Combs isn’t nearly as biting, but he makes a strong point: “when stadium plan after stadium plan is rejected, it has to sink in that that the vast majority of the city just doesn’t care.” That’s in part, he believes, because we’re a city of transplants with sports loyalties for other teams. Meeting someone who was born and raised here happens about as often as a chupacabra sighting,” he writes. Hey! What am I, chopped liver? Or chopped chupacabra?

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how some Padres fans are upset about a lack of violence on the field. The U-T explains: “Padres manager Andy Green on Wednesday defended the team’s decision not to retaliate after Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo committed a violation of the home-plate collision rule but did not face discipline from Major League Baseball.”

Perhaps we are a sports town, just the wrong kind.

Meet Our Smartypants Congressional District

The congressional race in Georgia got lots of attention, including a focus on how the district is the sixth most educated in the nation. Fun fact: Our own California 52nd, which covers parts of the city including La Jolla, downtown, Poway and Coronado, ranks 10th, with 52 percent of residents holding college degrees.

The New York Times has the numbers and describes the 52nd, represented by Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, as the home of “U.C. San Diego, Mitt Romney’s beach house (the one with the car elevator).”

The numbers, by the way, suggest that the 52nd is the third most competitive of the top 15 most educated districts, which are almost entirely dominated by Democrats.

North County Report: District by District

This week’s VOSD North County Report leads with news about how Carlsbad, the latest city to look into allowing City Council elections by geographic district, is figuring out the map and the status of the mayor (elected or rotated?).

Poway and two North County school districts have also caught geographic districting fever.

Plus: Candidates are lining up to replace Bill Horn, the forever-county supervisor, who’s being termed out at last. Plus: A very early Democratic poll (two reasons to be skeptical about this one) says Rep. Darrell Issa is mightily endangered.

Quick News Hits: Y-M-C-Sight & Sound …

 The San Diego-based California Innocence Project has helped another prisoner go free, this one in Orange County. (OC Register)

 The troubled county pound will work to make sure all shelter dogs are walked each day, the U-T reports, after complaints that dogs were being killed because they became too stressed by being cooped up in kennels without going outside. County animal services will be outsourced next year. (U-T)

 This week, the remote desert town of Ocotillo Wells (population: hot) recorded the highest temperature in the county’s history — 124 degrees. The previous record was 122 degrees in Borrego Springs. San Diego itself has never gone beyond 111, and that was back in 1963. (L.A. Times)

• TV’s Ryan Murphy is working on a series about 1990s San Diego-based mass murderer Andrew Cunanan and designer Gianni Versace, one of his victims. Entertainment Weekly has a cover photo of the cast, including “Glee” star Darren Criss playing Cunanan, complete with a turquoise polo shirt. And yes, that’s Ricky Martin playing Versace’s partner.

 Vintage San Diego, a nifty Facebook group, has posted programs from the 1963 Del Mar Fair (aka the “Southern California Exposition and County Fair”).

Among the highlights: “Andy Williams & the New Christy Minstrels” (hmm), “Twist Contest with Dick Ryan’s Band” and “Judging Sr. Dairy Goats” (shouldn’t old dairy goats just get to relax?). Plus: Bozo the Clown, Journalism Awards (borrrr-ing), Squaredance Jubilee, Escondido police motorcycle drill team, table setting judging and much more.

A couple more tidbits: The program, apparently printed by the Union and Evening Tribune, offers this less-than-scintillating slogan: “Newspapers Make a Big Difference in People’s Lives.” Huh. Where’s Don Draper when you need him?

Finally, there’s an unexplained fair event titled “YMCA in Sight and Sound.” Sounds good, just as long as they don’t add any YMCA In Smell.

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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