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Clockwise from top left: Sen. Toni Atkins, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilwoman Myrtle Cole / Photos by Dustin Michelson, Adriana Heldiz and Jamie Scott Lytle

Three San Diego leaders who talk a lot about their commitment to housing won’t weigh in on the boldest and most divisive proposal to make housing more affordable to Californians: Prop. 10, the state ballot measure that would allow cities to create rent control policies.

Sen. Toni Atkins, president pro tem of the state Senate – arguably the most powerful woman in California – and Assemblyman Todd Gloria both told me they’re neutral on Prop. 10. Atkins advised voters looking for guidance on this issue to “read their county voter guide carefully.”

City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole told the Union-Tribune editorial board that she did not have a position either.

I don’t point this out because I have strong feelings about whether rent control should exist. In fact, it’s precisely because I don’t have strong feelings that I would love to entertain arguments for or against the measure from someone elected to a leadership position who has fashioned himself or herself an advocate for affordable housing.

The lack of San Diego leaders willing to take a stand on divisive issues doesn’t end with rent control. Cole, for example, also declined to take a position on major issues facing the city, including the competing proposals to redevelop the Mission Valley stadium site, and how school board elections are conducted. I and others have pointed out many times that Mayor Kevin Faulconer for years led from behind on critically important issues like homelessness. Faulconer and the city learned things the hard way: Inaction can be deadly.

Contrast these leaders’ reticence with Rep. Duncan Hunter’s appearance this week before a Republican women’s group in Ramona. There are many things that can be said about Hunter’s remarks – for example, you could say they were racist. You could say many of his statements were not true; others grossly distorted the truth.

But you could also say that Hunter’s remarks make his worldview and his position on contentious issues perfectly, remarkably clear. I know exactly where Duncan Hunter stands.

Now imagine if you could say that about a San Diego politician who wasn’t under criminal indictment.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Here is what both of the plans to transform the Mission Valley Stadium site actually say when it comes to a river park – something they’ve both used as a major selling point but that is far from certain in either plan.

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The Sweetwater Union High School District miscalculated its budget by about $30 million and now must identify millions in cuts in real time – as opposed to making cuts for the following school year, which is usually what schools are faced with.

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The Trump administration is mulling a major change to visas for the spouses of highly skilled foreign workers – a move that could have a big impact in California, and especially at companies that depend on these workers, like Qualcomm.

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For our People’s Reporter series, we broke down how much nonprofits housed in Balboa Park pay the city in rent (for many, the answer is $0), and how much gross annual revenue they take in.

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Ashly McGlone pulled together in one place the major findings and revelations from her ongoing investigation into sexual misconduct in San Diego County public schools.

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On the podcast, we jumped into the race for City Council in D8 – and tried to find some daylight between the two Democrats vying for the seat. Meanwhile, another big decision in November will be the statewide measure to let cities implement rent control. But two of the biggest housing advocates in the Legislature won’t say where they stand on the issue.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

Because he’s like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining.” Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because “New York values.” Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that’s just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he’s conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he’s the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that’s what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected. Otherwise, you might say I’m his No. 1 fan.” – Conservative columnist Bret Stephens has quite a take on Sen. Ted Cruz.

Sara Libby

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

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