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Supporters of short-term vacation rentals hold up signs at a San Diego City Council meeting. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

I live at the very end of a winding vortex of streets that dead-end into a canyon. Lyft drivers consistently marvel, “I never knew this little street existed!”

This is all to say that no one ever stumbles across my street by accident, and it’s very easy to spot outsiders. And there is a constant stream of outsiders thanks to a neighbor who frequently rents out her place on Airbnb.

Since so many people feel compelled to share – and by share, I mean rage against, complain about, condemn, drum up fear about – their experiences with their neighbors’ Airbnb guests, I feel obligated to describe my experience.

It’s fine.

That’s it. That’s the whole experience.

Airbnb guests sometimes wander in front of various houses searching for their rental, or even ask us directly where my neighbor’s home is. I suppose I could decide this is an intrusion, but it’s certainly no more invasive than the fellow homeowner who wanders around with a camera, searching for HOA violations to report, or the neighbors who stop by for all kinds of mundane reasons.

Other experiences with Airbnb guests include: polite smiles and nods, and the time two women went out of their way to ask where on the street – which is open to everyone – they should park in order to inconvenience residents the least.

This steady stream of travelers has been consistent for years, and none of them has ever been as annoying as my actual neighbor, who when she’s home hosts strange, loud drum circles and full moon parties.

I wouldn’t think my non-experience with Airbnb guests would be very newsworthy if it weren’t for the steady stream of complaints about these guests – Their suitcases are noisy! They party into the night! They haven’t done anything whatsoever to inconvenience me, but I’m annoyed anyway! – on social media and in print.

I have made a willing decision to live in the urban core of one of the largest cities in the United States. That decision comes with an acknowledgment that I’m going to be around a lot of people, a lot of the time.

The city can and should regulate Airbnbs, bike-shares and the other myriad services that result in connections and exchanges between people. But unless the law confines us all to our homes for eternity, we’re necessarily going to encounter other humans at some point – some of whom might be annoying or who might do things in a way that’s not exactly how we would do them. At some point, we either need to be OK with that, or move somewhere with fewer people.

What VOSD Learned This Week

San Diego Unified will almost certainly ask voters in November to approve yet another multibillion-dollar construction bond. The projects it says it will build with the money are virtually identical to projects it already promised to build using money from its last two multibillion-dollar bonds. The district said part of the need for the latest bond comes from state budget cuts – but the state is giving schools more money than ever. The district’s explanation for what cuts it was referring to is pretty amazing.

Given all these discrepancies and unfulfilled promises from earlier bonds, you might think the school board would scrutinize this latest proposal pretty closely, right? Lol, you must be new here.

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What does a woman falling in a shopping center parking lot have to do with a marijuana dispensary? Or a call to tow a car made from an office complex? According to former Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, those calls and others are evidence of the dangers of marijuana businesses.

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Most immigrants caught illegally entering the country under the new “zero tolerance” policy end up pleading guilty – some want to leave jail as quickly as possible, some want to reunite with their children, etc. When the first such case went to trial recently, it did not go well for the government. And lots of cases since then have been dismissed too.

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Everyone was hoping to get a better understanding of just how much short-term vacation rentals impact the housing market. Everyone is still waiting, following this study that very much did not look into that.

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San Diego County is unique in requiring welfare applicants to submit to random home searches. That policy is being challenged again – and Kelly Davis unearthed some information casting serious doubt on the program’s efficacy.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“(Ariana) Grande, meanwhile, is a Starbucks unicorn Frap in human form, a thicket of hair pulled into a ponytail on her crown, a swoop of black eyeliner, an oversized sweater dress that makes her look like even more of an adorable, tiny baby than she already does.” – This is one of the most delightful celebrity gossip posts I’ve ever read (and that’s saying something!), which is exactly what I needed after this week.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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