Mayor Kevin Faulconer kicked off 2017 promising to take major action to address San Diego’s booming homelessness crisis.
The year is exactly halfway over and his highest-profile efforts to better aid thousands of homeless San Diegans are stalled.
A proposed hotel-tax hike meant to help pull in more cash for that cause and others is off the table for a year, Faulconer has yet to publicly identify a site for hundreds of temporary shelter beds and he’s now without the staffer he hired last year to try to help him execute those plans.
In an interview Thursday, Faulconer said he’s working hard behind the scenes and should have announcements to make this month. He wants to get buy-in from stakeholders before sharing details and moving foward.
“It’s a combination of setting it up right, setting it up for success because it’s in all of our interests to actually achieve results, not just put something out there,” he told me.
But as I explain in a new story, many are skeptical, including some of his supporters.
• A day after the Los Angeles Times described state Republicans’ “furious” efforts to urge Faulconer to run for governor, Faulconer took to Twitter to explain that he remains committed to San Diego. But he also never said he wasn’t running for governor.
Comic-Con Commits – For Now
Faulconer and Comic-Con organizers announced Friday that the mega convention will be sticking with San Diego through 2021 – even absent the promise of a Convention Center expansion.
Fears that Comic-Con might flee have long dominated arguments about the need to expand the Convention Center, including during Faulconer’s recently failed push for a tax hike to support that expansion.
Faulconer, Comic-Con and tourism officials said Friday that the convention still views an expansion as a crucial factor in its willingness to commit long-term but Comic-Con’s Friday announcement.But it’s another reminder Comic-Con has been willing to commit without it. I’ve previously written about how Comic-Con’s managed to make things work absent that expansion.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher took a swipe at oft-repeated arguments that an expansion is necessary to keep Comic-Con on Twitter: “Oh wait. So expanding the convention center & keeping comic-con aren’t tied together?”
Sac Repore: Atkins’ Single-Payer Silence
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s decision to put a plan to create single-payer health care system on ice has drawn fire from many Dems and left-leaning groups but bill co-author Sen. Toni Atkins hasn’t been one of them.
Our Sara Libby sheds more light on Atkins’ lack of resistance to the move in this week’s Sacramento Report.
Also in this week’s report: Libby updates us on where various cities stand on Gonzalez Fletcher’s bill to reform the San Diego Association of Governments and two San Diego-area GOPers’ demands for audits.
VOSD Podcast: Crime at City Hall?
City Attorney Mara Elliot set off a new City Hall drama on Thursday.
After the group behind SoccerCity quoted a confidential memo from Elliot’s office, she accused the leaker of a crime.
Our Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis help walk us through the drama and the reasons behind it in this week’s VOSD Podcast.
They also hand the San Diego Unified school board, a group they’ve dubbed the goat of the week, as this week’s heroes for creating a committee to study the district’s graduation rates and deciding to hold off on a proposal to delete district emails after just six months.
• City Council members are eager for police to analyze hundreds of untested rape kits but San Diego police argue it’s unlikely to have the positive impact they want. (Union-Tribune)
• About 500 Scripps Ranch High students will have to retake their Advanced Placement exams due to administration errors uncovered in a College Board investigation. (NBC 7)
• Poway Unified school board members are grappling with how to address and avoid years of coming budget deficits. (Union-Tribune)
Most Popular Stories
These were the top five most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of June 23-30. To see the full top 10, click here.
An investigation into the Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent eventually snowballed into a massive scandal that resulted in convictions for several school leaders and dominated the news for years. Missing from most of those stories was the small, devoted group of parents and community members who set the whole thing in motion. (Ashly McGlone)
In 2005, SANDAG was looking to maximize the possibilities for Transnet, its newly passed tax measure. So it did what other public agencies were doing: It played around with sophisticated financial arrangements that few understood. Now it has a roughly $100 million liability hanging over its head. Agency leaders say the deal is working as intended. (Andrew Keatts and Ashly McGlone)
Anger builds over Chinese Historical Museum director’s ouster, neighbors aren’t fans of the Observatory North Park, Suzie’s Farm calls it quits and more in our weekly roundup of the region’s arts and culture news. (Kinsee Morlan)
At very least, an appellate court ruling this week is a momentary setback for the San Diego County Water Authority at crucial time in California water policy and politics. The Water Authority has two major decisions to make by the end of the year and the ruling plays some part in each of them. (Ry Rivard)
Compare district staffing with district-run school enrollment and the trend is clear: The district budgeted more staff for fewer students in recent years. (Ashly McGlone)