The Morning Report
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County Supervisor Ron Roberts recently had a run-in with the head of San Diego’s homeless choir, John Brady, who was also formerly homeless.
During the public comment period at a Board of Supervisors meeting last week, Brady suggested that the county focus more of its resources toward homelessness, reports VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt.
Roberts jumped in defensively, raising his voice and wagging his finger at Brady to demand recognition for what the county has done in regard to homelessness.
“I’m tired of hearing the tweets and the idiocy that’s coming out of certain quarters, from government officials that ought to know better” said Roberts, who apparently was also unnerved by tweets from Mayor Kevin Faulconer and others similarly criticizing the county for its investments in homelessness.
Roberts’ outburst, Halverstadt writes, helps explain the race to replace him. Democrat Nathan Fletcher has been a fierce critic of the county’s tendency to stash money in reserves, and Republican Bonnie Dumanis has also suggested that she could nudge the other supervisors to spend more.
More on Migrant Caravans Old and New
Another large migrant caravan, or group of migrants who decided to travel together for safety and other reasons, is making its way north from Honduras and inciting the wrath, again, of the Trump administration, reports KPBS. After a tense stand-off at the Guatemalan border, members of the caravan crossed into Mexico. Now, Mexico appears to be fortifying its border with Guatemala and has said that people who already have visas or documentation will be allowed in, but those who don’t and who request refugee status could take up to 90 days to process. They will be detained during that time. Those caught entering illegally will be detained and deported.
Earlier this week, we ran an investigation tracking how members of the last large caravan to make its way to the U.S.-Mexico border have fared.
In a new post, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan profiles one Honduran migrant who traveled with caravans in both 2017 and 2018 and has been writing music that caravan members from the group that arrived in the spring have started using as a soundtrack to their protests, rallies, vigils and other events to motivate and unify the migrants.
Opinion: Investments in Public Transit Help Everyone
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey raised eyebrows last week when he suggested in a VOSD op-ed that local governments are disproportionately funding public transit over freeways.
In a response, Vianney Ruvalcaba, a Chula Vista resident and a transportation planning professional, argues that transit investments help drivers as well as members of San Diego’s workforce who cannot afford a car by relieving traffic.
San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gómez, who chairs the Metropolitan Transit System, also weighed in to challenge the idea that roads and transit are in competition. Both are important if the goal is to “move people more efficiently, affordably” and give the public a choice, she writes.
- SANDAG is hosting a series of community meetings this month on the future of San Diego County’s transportation network. (City News Service)
San Diego Unified Officials: The State of the District Is Rosy
All is rosy in public education, according to San Diego Unified’s State of the District address Tuesday night at Serra High School. School board president Kevin Beiser, who is running for re-election, and Superintendent Cindy Marten touted the district’s graduation rates, which was bolstered in part by students who were far behind leaving for charters.
Beiser also mentioned how the district has tightened its standards for lead in water, which also followed some VOSD reporting, and how the district, through cutting roughly $60 million in administrative costs, has finally gotten a positive budget rating.
Marten also re-upped the district’s commitment to Vision 2020, its initiative to make sure every neighborhood has a quality school. Progress toward the goal is still murky, we’ve found.
Cracking Down on Cartels
The Department of Justice recently announced the unsealing of 15 indictments nationwide as part of an effort to dismantle the violent Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, reports the Union-Tribune. One of the indictments included the anticipated extradition of the alleged leader of operations in Tijuana, which has seen a surge of violence in recent years in part because the CJNG is battling with other drug organizations for control of the border city.
CJNG, which was founded in 2011, has expanded rapidly due in great part to its use of extreme violence and its investment in trafficking fentanyl.
The move seems to be following a “kingpin strategy” that law enforcement has been using to take down cartels by going after leaders and other high -level members. We wrote about the success of the strategy a few weeks ago. One expert told us that it tends to lead to one or more of three things: some sort of retaliation against law enforcement, internal fighting within a group to take over leadership and/or encroachment from rival criminal organizations. It’s the same stratefy that resulted in Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s extradition, which has given rise to the CJNG and the surge of violence in Mexico in recent years.
Chargers Schadenfreude Bursts Local Brains
From Scott Lewis: Wednesday morning ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham tweeted that a big topic of discussion at this week’s NFL owners meetings was the Chargers’ struggles in Los Angeles. The team is performing well on the field but continues to fail to get anyone to like them. Wickersham reported that sources told him the team had lowered its expectations about how many seat licenses the team would sell to fans who wanted to buy season tickets at the new stadium in Inglewood. The team was now aiming for $150 million in such sales, not $450 million as previously envisioned.
The news sent San Diego sports bros atwitter and begat a hundred related stories in sports media across the country. Such a dramatic markdown of expectations would be a big sign of a company struggling. Would the NFL pull the plug on this LA Chargers experiment and send the team back with its tail between its legs?
Short answer: No. C’mon. Normal people can stop reading this section here.
Long answer, for the obsessives: The markdown is fascinating, if true. The NFL commissioner assured everyone it was all fine. The Chargers are hoping to sell seat licenses to people who would then buy season tickets. Most of the money from the sale of these licenses to buy season tickets would go to fund construction of the new stadium. But the Chargers get to keep 18.75 percent of the sales for their own profits. Lowering expectations like this would be a fascinating admission that something really is wrong with the team’s effort to secure a fan base in Los Angeles.
But the Chargers and NFL have already sunk big costs in the new L.A. project. The Chargers also agreed to pay a $650 million relocation fee, in 10 installments, beginning next year. Last year, we outlined all the other reasons they won’t move back.
The NFL could change all these rules and fees and the Chargers owners could sell the team, and the team could move back. But there are so many “coulds” in that, it’s not worth thinking about just because of a tweet.
Related: The Chargers also released their new ticket prices for the new stadium, seriously undercutting the Rams’ prices.
In Other News
- State officials who monitor the Corrections Department are done investigating the death of a man in Otay Mesa last year, but it could be months, possibly years, before we get the details of what happened. James Leonard Acuna’s body was discovered at least two days after he died in his cell. (Patch)
- The principal of La Jolla Elementary apologized for sending parents a vague warning about a black man at a nearby Starbucks. (Union-Tribune)
- The San Diego City Council is set to decide next Monday whether to repeal restrictive vacation rental rules approved in July or to refer the matter to city voters. If you need a refresher on what those rules entail, we’ve got you.
The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.