These were the most popular Voice of San Diego stories for the week of July 21-28.

1. Southeastern San Diego Leaders Worry They’ll Trade Old Empty Storefronts for New Empty Storefronts

More development is on the way to southeastern San Diego, but leaders are concerned the retail and commercial sections of new mixed-use projects will sit empty. (Kinsee Morlan)

2. Contractor With Financial Issues Blew Past Budget and Deadline on Encanto Elementary Project

Unforeseen issues drove the cost to overhaul Encanto Elementary 30 percent over budget. The project’s contractor was facing financial problems at the same time of the costincreases; but the district is adamant that there’s no link between the company’s issues and the cost overruns. (Maya Srikrishnan)

3. City Hopes Residents Won’t Participate Too Much in Costly Styrofoam Recycling Plan

The city of San Diego is starting a program to recycle Styrofoam, but unlike other recycling programs, it’ll actually lose money. But officials worry people will recycle too much foam – because the more the program works, the more money the city loses. A company that makes Styrofoam has spent thousands lobbying the city to start the recycling program. (Ry Rivard)

4. When it Comes to Gifted Programs, the GATE Doesn’t Open as Widely for Minority Students

In 2016-2017, although Latinos make up more than 44 percent of the overall enrollment at San Diego Unified, they made up only 33 percent of the GATE program. For black students, the disproportionality is even worse, with an 8 percent overall enrollment rate, but only a 3 percent enrollment in the GATE program. (Maya Srikrishnan)

5. Power Brokers, City Councilman Call for Immediate Homelessness Solutions

Two businessmen and the city councilman who represents downtown are calling on the mayor and fellow city leaders to pursue immediate steps to stem the city’s growing homeless crisis. (Lisa Halverstadt)

6. More Than Two Years in, Confusion Dominates Vacation Rental Debate

As the debate over vacation rental regulations drags on, confusion dominates. The latest chapter in the debacle came Monday during a City Council vote that could add yet another wrinkle to a dysfunctional policy-making process. (Lisa Halverstadt)

7. Court Sides With District Employee Who Balked at Order to Purge Emails

An appellate court said this month that a jury got it right when it awarded a Fallbrook school district employee over $1 million when she was fired after refusing a supervisor’s directive to delete old emails from the district’s server. (Ashly McGlone)

8. In the Most San Diego Dispute Ever, County Workers Are Fighting for the Right to Wear Flip-Flops

The newest front in the labor negotiations between the San Diego County government and union workers is Casual Tuesday. (Ry Rivard)

9. San Diego Needs Action on Housing — Here’s My Plan

The city needs to consider a variety of innovative short- and long-term measures to develop new housing units, with a focus on affordable and workforce housing. (Georgette Gómez)

10. Chaos and Confusion Pervade Homeless Camps Downtown

As homelessness rises in San Diego, so does police enforcement and questions about where the homeless are allowed to go – before and after they’re hit with citations and orders to stay away. (Lisa Halverstadt)

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