Two large wind tunnels remain inside the shuttered skydiving facility that’s set to become a homeless housing navigation center. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Two large wind tunnels remain inside the shuttered skydiving facility that’s set to become a homeless housing navigation center. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

In January, San Diego rushed to buy an indoor skydiving facility in the East Village with the goal of turning it into the city’s first homeless housing navigation center.

Following a deadly outbreak of Hepatitis A, the project – intended to help homeless San Diegans who are overwhelmed and alienated by a confusing web of services – was an opportunity to show the public that Mayor Kevin Faulconer meant business.

Voice’s Lisa Halverstadt explains how the deal came together so quickly and how an influential real estate financier helped push the project forward.

There’s been a hail of concerns about the project ever since.

The question remains whether a building can address overarching challenges facing the region’s homeless serving system and whether the city’s $7 million investment can deliver what the mayor hopes.

What to look out for: The City Council is expected to vote later this month on a contract with Family Health Centers of San Diego, the nonprofit selected to operate the center.

The navigation center is expected to open this fall.

The Great Vacation Rental Debate Is Back

Faulconer’s proposed vacation rental rules allow people – not companies – to seek licenses to operate up to two short-term rentals in the city.

That will be a major point of contention at Monday’s hearing on vacation rental rules, because it could allow a workaround. Companies could still own vacation rental properties. They’d only need to rent to someone who then seeks a vacation rental license from the city.

The mayor called his proposal a compromise, but neighborhood activists say it contains loopholes that allow investors to keep doing their thing.

If you want to get caught up ASAP, here’s what you should know:

In the Politics Report, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts observe that potential allies of the mayor’s proposal keep dropping out. Coastal City Council women Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf say it doesn’t do enough to protect the local housing stock and neighborhoods.

And now, City Councilman Chris Ward believes the city can’t effectively regulate the licensing system as proposed and so he, too, has switched to saying that a resident should only be able to rent out the house they live in and that’s it. It’s a dramatic change for Ward, who last year held steadfast preferring more liberal regulations during the fiery debate. Lewis wrote last year about how much pressure he faced.

The fireworks start at noon.

City Councilman Chris Ward / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

State Gives Pot Deliverers Way Around Local Prohibitions

San Diego County’s ban on marijuana may not be so potent after all.

Regulations released Friday by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control would allow licensed retail shops to make deliveries in any municipality, regardless of whether that municipality allows it.

The San Diego Cannabis Delivery Alliance hailed the news on Facebook as a major victory that effectively overturns local marijuana prohibitions.

A bill that would have similarly expanded delivery services throughout California stalled in the Legislature in May. The California State Association of Counties, which lobbies on behalf of San Diego County and others, believes the new delivery rules constitute an amendment to Proposition 64, which can’t be changed through the regulatory process, a spokesman told VOSD. That requires a vote of the Legislature.

Proponents, on the other hand, argued that blanket bans on marijuana delivery are pre-empted by state law and prohibited by the state Constitution.

The public has 45 days to comment. The regulations are expected to go into effect by end of year.

In 2017, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors agreed to give existing medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated parts of the region until 2022 to close their doors, the Union-Tribune reported.

History: A Low Point — and Turning Point — for LGBT San Diegans

A 1974 sting stood out because of its location – in the men’s room of Mission Valley’s landmark May Company department store – and the police department’s elaborate spying set-up. / Image via Flickr user adrian.
A 1974 sting stood out because of its location – in the men’s room of Mission Valley’s landmark May Company department store – and the police department’s elaborate spying set-up. / Image via Flickr user adrian.

It was Pride weekend in the city of San Diego. As a preview, Randy Dotinga looked into how the march for equality began here. The local gay community was mobilized in the mid-1970s in response to sting operations in a department store restroom, where police hid behind vents and looked for lewd behavior. The names, addresses and occupations of more than 20 men were published in the newspaper.

“San Diego was a very anti-gay town,” a judge who defended one of those men told Dotinga.

The crackdown and public shaming campaign led to protests, and the men who fought their cases won.

Stats Show San Diego Is Safe, But Not Always Equitable

Hate crimes are on the rise in California, increasing by 13 percent between 2016 and 2017.

That’s according to criminal justice stats compiled and released by the California attorney general’s office. We reviewed several of the reports and highlighted other important takeaways in the Sacramento Report:

  • Despite the perception that border regions are violent and chaotic places, San Diego County’s homicide rate remains one of the lowest in the state.
  • Black and Latino residents were involved in police use of force incidents at a higher rate than their general shares of the population in San Diego and statewide.
  • A greater percentage of Hispanic juveniles were found to be unfit for juvenile court than white or black juveniles.

In Other News

  • San Diego’s water department has downplayed billing and smart meter problems and dodged its oversight board. On the podcast, Voice reporter Ry Rivard talks more about his joint investigation with NBC 7 and contrasts the actions of San Diego’s water department with those of an East County water district that’s been quicker to address smart meter problems.
  • Here’s a nice feature on VOSD’s Andy  Keatts, who’s being honored as San Diego journalist of the year this week. (Times of San Diego)
  • After people complained, Port officials have pulled plans to loosen rules on building-sized ads but could allow dozens of large TV-screen kiosks on the waterfront with video ads. (Union-Tribune)
  • The Crossroads of the West gun show took place this weekend on the state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds, drawing protesters. The Justice Department is investigating whether the show has broken any laws because two men close to the organizer are convicted felons, the Union-Tribune reports.
  • The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists asked El Cajon police to fully investigate a complaint by an East County reporter, who alleged that City Councilman Ben Kalasho threatened him with a dog.
  • The Union-Tribune takes a look behind the production of Comic Con — its history and enormous size.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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