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Alpha Project’s temporary bridge shelter in Barrio Logan / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Alpha Project’s temporary bridge shelter in Barrio Logan / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The three homeless tents that went up in the city amid a devastating hepatitis A outbreak were always described as temporary.

But the collapse of a proposed hotel-tax hike Mayor Kevin Faulconer and others had hoped would pull in more money to aid homeless San Diegans starting next year solidifies the tents’ uncertain future.

Now, as Lisa Halverstadt writes, the City Council will be forced to decide by next summer whether to continue to fund tents in Barrio Logan, East Village and Midway now serving as a safe haven for hundreds who would otherwise be on the streets.

Since the tents opened, city leaders have grappled with the shelters’ failure to meet their targets to move clients into permanent housing as well as decisions to raid San Diego Housing Commission funds meant to support housing projects to bankroll the tents.

The City Council is set to vote Sept. 18 on updated contracts with the three nonprofits operating the tents in hopes of increasing the percentage of clients moving into permanent homes. But the real showdown will likely come during next year’s budget cycle, when the City Council must decide whether to again shuffle city funds to pay for the shelter contracts or force hundreds to return to the streets.

The Mystery Behind the ‘Black Eye in Hillcrest’

For more than three decades, Pernicano’s Italian restaurant has sat empty on a prime piece of real estate in the center of Hillcrest.

Rumors have swirled about why.

VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga took up the case after a reader submitted a question to our People’s Reporter feature, which allows readers an opportunity to suggest and vote on questions they want VOSD to investigate.

The latest question: “Why is Pernicano’s restaurant in Hillcrest still empty after decades? Is it true the owner hates ‘the gays’ and refuses to sell?”

Dotinga dug into those rumors, and found out not just about the property’s history but its future: The property former City Councilman Todd Gloria once dubbed “a black eye in Hillcrest” is now in escrow and soon could end up being topped with apartments.

Endorsement Bingo

Campaign season is beginning to ramp up again and that means more endorsements.

The county Democratic Party on Wednesday announced it’s backing City Council candidate Antonio Martinez, who’s vying to replace termed-out City Councilman David Alvarez, over Alvarez staffer and fellow Dem Vivian Moreno.

The news marks Alvarez’s latest failure to line up a party endorsement. The party earlier this year opted to endorse Sean Elo over Alvarez for San Diego Community College District board.

That’s despite steps Alvarez took two years ago to avoid this outcome.

  • The Democratic Party also made another big choice this week: The party is supporting the SDSU West ballot measure to redevelop the Mission Valley stadium site. It’s the latest in a string of endorsements for the measure, which recently got the seal of approval of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club and City Councilwomen Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf.

Deadline for Vacation Rental Referendum Approaching

Vacation-rental groups opposing new city rules that dramatically restrict short-term rentals are expected to turn in signatures by the end of the week in hopes of forcing a public vote on the policy.

The city’s municipal code says referendum signatures must be turned in within 30 calendar days after the mayor signs new legislation. That means the committee of supporters — known as Stand for Jobs, Stop the Vacation Rental Ban — must turn in signatures Thursday or Friday.

But spokespeople for vacation-rental platforms Airbnb and Expedia, which are covering the lion’s share of signature-gathering bills, wouldn’t say Wednesday when they expect to deliver the nearly 36,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

Campaign finance disclosures show Airbnb and Expedia have sunk more than $760,000 into the signature-gathering effort this month while pro-vacation rental group Share San Diego and an Airbnb PAC have chipped in another $130,000.

Meanwhile, hotel workers’ union UNITE Here Local 30 established a committee of its own earlier this month to oppose the referendum if it qualifies.

In Other News

  • U-T columnist Michael Smolens considers the tightrope that local Republican candidates are walking this fall when it comes to President Donald Trump. While he may boost enthusiasm and donations among the GOP base, he was defeated in certain districts once considered safe for conservatives.
  • Carlsbad has agreed to rewrite rules restricting peaceful demonstrations. A 2006 ordinance requires demonstrators to file a permit application 90 days in advance and limits where and when demonstrations can be held and how many people can participate. (NBC 7)
  • While the Trump administration continues to strictly enforce immigration violations, California has tried to keep courthouses “safe spaces” for undocumented victims and witnesses of crimes. The Los Angeles Times reports that one recent arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reignited protests from immigrant advocates as well as some judges. San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has lobbied against ICE’s presence in courthouses, arguing that ICE is undermining justice.
  • This U-T headline says it all: “‘Leave my wife out of it,’ Rep. Duncan Hunter says after all but blaming her.” A federal grand jury indicted the couple last week on conspiracy and campaign finance violations. Politico has reported that the five-term congressman’s initial response to the charges — that his wife handled his finances — drew criticism from fellow Republicans in D.C.
  • Radio host Carl DeMaio alleges that Caltrans and one of its contractors handed out campaign literature opposing Proposition 6, an initiative he’s spearheading to repeal an increase in the California gas tax. (Times of San Diego)
  • A federal judge toured parts of the border this week to get a sense of whether the Trump administration is doing enough to stop sewage that routinely pours into the United States from Mexico. (Union-Tribune)
  • Since its launch in 2014, a restorative community conference program in City Heights has allowed 84 young people avoid criminal prosecution. The City Heights-based nonprofit Mid-City CAN would like to bring the expand the program into other communities. (KPBS)
  • Good news for the South Bay: Bus service from east Chula Vista to downtown San Diego begins next month with free rides. (10News)

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

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