Construction workers help build an affordable housing development in Barrio Logan. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

Government-subsidized affordable housing projects come with an expiration date: After several decades, property owners can start jacking up rents.

Right now, the city doesn’t even have a list showing when low-income tenants are at risk of being priced out by landlords, Kinsee Morlan reports.

Over 1,300 federally subsidized homes in the city of San Diego were lost from 1995 to 2016 due to expiring government contracts, according to state records.

Now, San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez is spearheading an effort to create such a list.

Once the database is made, she said city leaders will be better positioned to preserve the developments, holding down rents there even after the government contracts requiring price controls expire.

Here’s the catch: The list, on its own, won’t save these projects from becoming unaffordable. That may take more money.

Ricardo Flores, executive director of a nonprofit that provides affordable housing and economic development support, said even if the database was built and ready to use today, there wouldn’t be much the city could do with it.

Property owners who might consider opting out of affordability requirements would need to be presented with financial incentives to remain affordable or a competitive real estate offer.

“In reality, there’s nothing anyone can do about these expired projects, unless they have money,” Flores said.

What’s next? The City Council will vote on whether to put a $900 million affordable housing bond measure on the ballot in coming weeks. The deadline for getting measures on the ballot is Aug. 10. Money from that could both preserve and build new affordable homes.

Meanwhile, in Encinitas … For years, Encinitas has been breaking a state law that says all cities need to plan for how they’ll provide low-income housing. The city is supposed to be putting a plan in front of voters this fall, but it’s cutting things dangerously close. This week, the City Council met to decide on that plan, but the Council deadlocked on what to do, in part because its fifth member, Mark Muir, was absent, the Encinitas Advocate reported. The Council will meet again on Aug. 8, when all five City Council members are supposed to be there, but that’s only two days before the deadline to turn ballot measures in to the county registrar.

Pot Is Coming to Imperial Beach – Officially

The Imperial Beach City Council agreed Wednesday to license one marijuana dispensary, with the possibility of a second if everything goes well in the first year.

The regulations had seemed like a done deal in June but were temporarily derailed by “just say no to drugs” activists.

Mayor Serge Dedina said he was shocked to hear disparaging remarks about the potential usefulness of medical marijuana, considering that he smoked marijuana with his mother while she was dying of cancer. Although the marijuana wasn’t ultimately “that effective because my mom was on so many opioids,” he considers himself “a personal witness to the fact that if people are in pain, let’s provide options for them,” he said.

Some proponents of the ordinance raised concerns that the barrier to entry was too high. Applicants must show $300,000 in liquid assets.

The U-T reported that applicants must also provide a detailed security plan, pass background checks, employ at least one manager with previous marijuana industry experience and find a location more than 900 feet from schools and other sensitive sites.

Jesse Marx

Judge Kills Case Against Kazakh Asylum-Seeker

On Thursday, Immigration Judge Phillip Law decided to terminate Andrey Federovskiy’s case, allowing him to continue seeking asylum in the United States.

VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan delved into Federovskiy’s unique case this week – he’d been arrested during an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement operation in March.

Federovskiy, who is an evangelical Christian from majority-Muslim Kazakhstan, had come to the United States on a tourist visa and months before it expired, submitted an asylum application, seeking refuge from religious and political persecution.

Law – yes, the judge’s name is Law – questioned why the case was before him if Federovskiy had an asylum application pending.

Kazakhstan had put out an international warrant for Federovskiy’s arrest, which Federovskiy said is related to fabricated charges that are evidence of the government’s vendetta against him.

The government of Kazakhstan has been known to use misuse international arrest warrants.

The Department of Homeland Security attorney opposed terminating Federovskiy’s case.

“All the defense is asking is to terminate so the respondent can have his asylum application adjudicated,” Law said, before announcing he would terminate the case.

In Other News

  • Why are school districts across California struggling to stay afloat despite increased state funding? In our Good Schools for All podcast, Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talk with two researchers who answer that question.
  • Comic-Con is opening a new museum in Balboa Park, but that doesn’t mean its huge annual convention will stay in San Diego forever. On the latest San Diego Explained, Voice of San Diego’s Kinsee Morlan and NBC 7’s Monica Dean look at the growing popularity of Comic-Con and the city’s struggles to keep up, plus other issues playing out behind the scenes of the pop-culture convention.
  • SDSU West, one of two proposals to redevelop the former Chargers stadium property in Mission Valley, is going to appear on the ballot. A judge ruled against the latest attempt from SoccerCity, the competing redevelopment proposal, to throw the measure from the ballot. SDSU West and SoccerCity both also survived an attempt by the city attorney to remove both measures from the ballot. (Union-Tribune)
  • Here’s a detailed account of the circumstances behind Earl McNeil’s death following his arrest by National City police, which has sparked protests and demands for more transparency around what happened. And KPBS interviewed the author of the piece. (The Appeal)
  • A new $4.6 billion Navy destroyer already needs a new engine. (Union-Tribune)
  • UC students will pay a slightly – very slightly – lower tuition next year. The university system announced it was reducing its fees by $60. Other charges add up to over $12,000. (Sacramento Bee)
  • The Union-Tribune profiles a newly appointed Poway city councilwoman, Caylin Frank, who is an aide to County Supervisor Bill Horn.
  • An appellate court declined to hear a challenge to the recent ruling allowing SDSU West and SoccerCity to stay on the ballot, so they’re still allowed to stay on the ballot. (Times of San Diego)

The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Kinsee Morlan, and edited by Sara Libby.

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