During her six years in the state Assembly, Lori Saldaña established the same reputation among both friends and foes. She was seen as a fighter. They just disagreed over whether that was good or bad.
Now that Saldaña’s running for a seat on the county Board of Supervisors, that reputation is again fueling both her supporters and her opponents, as Lisa Halverstadt breaks down in a new story as she continues to take a close look at all of the candidates for the Fourth District Supervisor race.
To supporters, Saldaña championed progressive legislation before it was fashionable – and has since watched the Democratic Party move toward her. She got kudos for pushing bills trying to eliminate hazardous waste in consumer electronics and to ban open carrying of unloaded handguns.
But opponents say she was needlessly divisive and has continued to be so since leaving office.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, then a newcomer to the Assembly, even told Halverstadt that she asked to have her seat moved from sitting next to Saldaña because she was so short with her.
Previously, Halverstadt covered Attorney Omar Passons’ successful and unsuccessful gambits in community activism, which paved his road into politics.
She’ll have more on the other candidates in the coming weeks.
City Council Takes Scalpel to Housing Regulations
For more than a year, the City Council has been promising to trim the quilt of city regulations that make it hard and expensive to build homes in San Diego, exacerbating the region’s housing shortage.
Continuing those efforts, the Council this week voted to cut fees charged to homeowners who build “granny flats” – small cottages that share a lot with a single-family home – in hopes that it’ll spur more production of them. (NBC 7 San Diego)
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said there’s more relief on the way for granny flat production. City planners like granny flats as a solution because they’re seen as a painless way to increase housing production. Neighbors don’t often rally against them, the way they might for a new apartment building, or a broad density increase.
• Speaking of which: Jim LaMattery, who has organized protests in Bay Park and Linda Vista against plans to upzone the areas around new trolley stops there on the trolley extension from Old Town to UTC, wrote an op-ed for us yesterday with a modest request.
He wants people to stop labeling people like him as a “NIMBY.” They should be called “stakeholders,” he argues, and their feedback on new projects and proposals should be welcomed.
Local Author’s New Book is Killing It
Local author Julia Dixon’s new novel, “How to Set Yourself on Fire” is getting rave reviews, ahead of its official release party next week.
Dixon chatted with Kinsee Morlan for this week’s Culture Report about writing about unhappy people who live in San Diego and don’t fit its vacation-y stereotype, and when she realized her story was enough for a novel, and started believing it was worth the fight to make it happen.
Also in the Culture Report this month, the former head of the Convention Center Corp. is now leading the nonprofit that runs the San Diego Civic Theatre and Ballboa Theatre, an introduction to the new leader of the San Diego Symphony and local designer Trista Roland’s fashion line Sugardale graces the cover of CityBeat.
County Settles with Deputy’s Victims
Two women who accused a sheriff’s deputy of sexual misconduct settled with San Diego County Tuesday, receiving $412,000. Those are the first of 15 separate lawsuits brought against the county by women who’ve accused Fischer of offenses including groping and exposing himself to them. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Meanwhile, a captain of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department told NBC 7 San Diego that she was sexually harassed for years, and that her supervisors retaliated against her when she demanded they do something about it. She’s filed a lawsuit against SDFD and the city.
• And, the city of National City has hired a law firm to investigate multiple allegations involving Councilman Jerry Cano. The firm will look into Cano’s claim that Councilwoman Mona Rios inappropriately touched him, and also claims that he conducted renovations on his home without proper permits and how city staff responded to the code violations. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
San Diego Tries to Make Libraries More Equitable
San Diego’s City Council is changing a policy intended to spur more donations to local libraries. Used to be, the city would match any donation to a branch library, dollar for dollar. There’s some concern that’s led to disproportionate funding for libraries in wealthy areas, so the new plan is to match half of each donation to the branch location, and the other to an account to be spent on the whole system. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
That’s reminiscent of a recent change to the nonprofit groups that manage Park and Recreation centers across the city. Those groups used to have their independent bank accounts, which the city attorney’s office determined was a legal liability. The city’s since shifted those into city accounts, that spend the money locally. The money available in each community varied greatly, with wealthier areas having more resources.
In Other News
• The city of San Diego approved a new animal services contract with the Humane Society. (KPBS)
• Mayor Faulconer’s proposed budget includes more money for infrastructure improvement than any previous budget, at $633 million – including some $23.3 million from SB 1, the law that raised the gas tax last year. (KPBS)