A vacation rental opponent holds up a sign during a City Council meeting. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego’s years-long vacation rental drama likely didn’t end with Monday’s City Council vote.

The City Council’s vote to restrict vacation rentals to primary residences might have settled the long open question about whether vacation rentals are even allowed in San Diego, but it also opened up many new ones about how the measure will be enforced or if it even can be.

VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt outlines the potential legal challenges brewing and Coastal Commission concerns that could haunt the new law. The city budget could also be affected by the City Council’s decision.

She also provides a rundown of how enforcement is expected to work once the new rules go into effect.

Federal Judges Let Frustration With ‘Zero Tolerance’ Slip

Problems caused by President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration violations have reached a fever pitch in local courts, and two federal judges have had it.

In rare moves, District Judges Gonzalo Curiel and Dana Sabraw both vented their frustration in separate court hearings Monday. Voice of San Diego editor Sara Libby breaks down their remarks, which came after government delays reunifying children separated from their families and the unintended consequences of hurried border-crossing prosecutions.

“I know that all of this is a product of this administration deciding that they want to do things a certain way. They haven’t been well thought out,” Curiel said. “As a result, there’s not an infrastructure in place for much of what is going on.”

Voice’s Maya Srikrishnan and others have reported on the impact the “zero tolerance” immigration policies have been having on local federal courts, including trouble transporting defendants to and from court, the dearth of translators for non-Spanish speakers, inconsistencies with witness testimony that went undiscovered until trial and prosecutors accidentally bringing juveniles into adult criminal court.

Looking ahead, San Diego federal courts will continue to navigate due process issues created by expedited immigration hearings under Operation Streamline, and Sabraw will keep monitoring the government’s efforts to reunite families separated at the border.

National City Meeting Disrupted

Activists took over a City Council meeting in National City on Tuesday night demanding answers from the city about the death of Earl McNeil, who was hospitalized in May after an encounter with police.

Protesters had disrupted two previous meetings, the Union-Tribune reported. The newspaper said the activists demanded more information about McNeil’s death, including the release of police body camera footage and the resignation of Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez.

Max Rivlin Nadler, a journalist with the criminal justice publication The Appeal, tweeted that activists chanted “release the tapes.

Three people were arrested, according to the U-T.

Timken Highlights a Living Artist, With Lively Results

San Diego artist Bhavna Mehta
San Diego artist Bhavna Mehta talks about her new paper installation at the Timken Museum of Art. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

San Diego artist Bhavna Mehta is bringing new life to Balboa Park’s Timken Museum of Art, best known for its old master art collection. Mehta is Timken’s first artist in residency and her paper installation inspired by Bartolomeo Veneto’s painting, “Portrait of a Lady” is “stunning,” writes Voice’s Kinsee Morlan. Mehta’s work will be shown through Sept. 16.

Opinion: Developers Keep Setting San Diego’s Housing Narrative

NIMBYs have been around a long time. But what sets our current housing crisis apart, writes Nico Calavita, chair of the San Diego Housing Trust Fund, is that developable land is scarce and expensive and the economy has been running at a steady pace for almost a decade now.

Yet the city’s response has been to slash regulations, reduce development impact fees and trample on community planning groups, all of which serves the building industry, argues Calavita.

Specifically, he takes aim at Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan – currently on hold – to incentivize the production of “middle-income housing” while the city is doing practically nothing, he says, to produce low-income housing.

In Other News

  • A state appellate court declined to hear San Diego County Republican Party Chair Tony Krvaric’s lawsuit challenging a state budget provision that keeps alive the prospects of a 2018 ballot measure to change how county elections are conducted.
  • Newly released emails show that political appointees of Gov. Jerry Brown who represent boards and commissions across the state met privately to discuss energy policy, the Union-Tribune reports. The San Diego attorney who sued utility regulators for the records told the U-T that the meetings were not appropriate because the public didn’t get a chance to participate. One of the topics included the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which has been under investigation by the state for years.
  • The Surfrider Foundation says it’ll sue a federal agency for failing to Tijuana River sewage from polluting local beaches, according to City News Service. They’re not alone. Five of San Diego’s congressional representatives asked the State Department’s inspector general to investigate the International Boundary and Water Commission.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration awarded the San Diego International Airport $12.1 million, to be used on a taxiway rehabilitation. (City News Service)
  • National City is considering revisions to the municipal code that dictates which projects require improvements to nearby streets or sidewalks, making minor storefront repairs easier to complete. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Diego’s Fire-Rescue Department is getting a Black Hawk helicopter later this year to help fight wildfires. (City News Service)

Happening Tonight: Brews & News + Live Podcast Taping

We’ll be doing a live taping of the VOSD Podcast Wednesday night at the Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Special guests Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., will join. There will be chances for the audience to get involved, and reporters will be around to chat as well. Come chat about journalism and issues in your neighborhood. It’s free, but be sure to sign up here.

Journalist of the Year

Andrew Keatts / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Late Tuesday, the Voice of San Diego team celebrated our senior investigative reporter and assistant editor, Andrew Keatts, as he was awarded the Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists’ San Diego chapter. You can watch Keatts’ speech, which many seemed to appreciate, here. Keatts was honored for his work investigating, and provoking widespread changes at, the San Diego Association of Governments.

Several other of our reporters were honored for their work last year — two with special awards for excellence. We’ll post the list and links to their work in tomorrow’s Morning Report.


In our story about spikes in residents’ water bills, we wrote that the average water bill in San Diego is roughly $80. Surveys have found $80 is roughly the average monthly cost of water, but the city bills customers every two months.

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