The Morning Report
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Three months from now, one of the city’s three large homeless tents must come down and officials are still figuring out where to put the roughly 150 San Diegans relying on it as a safe haven.
Before it opened the 150-person shelter tent for families and single women, Father Joe’s Villages warned that it would eventually have to shutter its East Village tent to make way for a supportive housing project.
Now, with a ground-breaking approaching, Lisa Halverstadt reports officials and Father Joe’s Villages are scrambling to keep families and single women from going back onto the street.
All say they intend to ensure the shelter continues operating at full capacity until its March closure and are adamant no homeless San Diegans will be out in the cold when the facility is shuttered. But they’re still working out plans – and two prominent philanthropists suggest the city consider Golden Hall, a Civic Center event facility, as a backup option.
The coming March closure is the latest challenge following Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s rush to quickly open the shelter tents last year. The tents have faced scrutiny for their struggles to move clients into homes and faced a potential funding setback last year after a tax measure expected to bring in more homelessness cash to the city crumbled.
Gordon, we hardly knew ye: Gordon Walker, the CEO of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, has officially resigned. He bolted abruptly last month after announcing he was going to go on leave for six months to help the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints open a temple in Rome. However, he vowed to return. The Task Force made COO Tamera Kohler the permanent CEO and San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward is the new chairman. 10News has more about Kohler.
A Judge May Finally Resolve the Encinitas Anti-Housing Quandary
Encinitas has earned its place as San Diego’s most anti-housing city. It has been unable to adopt a state-required plan for how it will let developers build more homes to accommodate a growing population.
In part, that’s been because of voter-approved measure from 2013 that forced any zoning change in the city to get approval from city voters. Voters rejected plans that could have satisfied the state law in 2016 and again this month.
Now, a judge dealing with lawsuits over the ordeal is poised to step in and sideline the city’s law to force Encinitas into compliance with the state’s requirement, as Jesse Marx laid out after attending a Wednesday court hearing.
As the Coast News reports, opponents of the housing plan that went before voters on Nov. 6 are asking Encinitas officials to cap building heights at 30 feet and develop a city-owned sited for 100 percent affordable housing. They’re also asking that developers no longer be able to pay a fee instead of building affordable units.
The Latest From Tijuana
Conditions are worsening inside the Tijuana sports complex where thousands of Central American refugees are sheltering as they wait on the United States border bureaucrats to consider appeals for asylum.
As local reporter Wendy Fry put it, “people are sick and hungry and drenched in rain.” About a half of inch of heavy rain fell in the area Thursday morning, wetting blankets and tents.
CNN said in a story accompanying a series of misery-filled photos from inside the makeshift shelter, “Some migrants tiptoe through the mud, trying to avoid the runoff from the nearby bathing and bathroom facilities. Children play in the puddles. At times, the stench of sewage fills the air.” Even so, a group of migrant women planned a hunger strike. One of them, during a press conference, said, “We are not afraid.”
Doctors from San Diego are volunteering to treat Central Americans from the migrant caravan who are now living in tight quarters in Tijuana’s temporary shelter in conditions the doctors say are unsanitary and prone to spreading infectious diseases. (KPBS)
- Americans unfamiliar with just how intertwined life along the border is might be surprised to hear how many students live in Tijuana and attend schools here in San Diego County. Navigating the migrant caravan, and the fortified San Ysidro border crossing, is wreaking havoc on the lives of those students, reports Alex Zaragoza for Vice.
Learning Curve: Local Schools Plagued by Chronic Absenteeism
California now uses a new system to display school performance across the state. That system, for the first time, includes a metric for how many students in a school are chronically absent. Like suspension rates, chronic absenteeism can be a way to measure a school’s climate.
The San Diego Unified School District officially ranks “high” in chronic absenteeism, as Will Huntsberry covered in this week’s edition of the Learning Curve. The state average for chronic absenteeism is 11.1 percent, while San Diego Unified comes in at 12.4 percent.
Latino students in the district fared worse than the statewide average for Latino students. The opposite, however, was true for African-American students, who fared better in San Diego Unified than African-American students statewide.
Liberty Station Buildings Sold
Many buildings within Liberty Station, the retail and office complex in old Navy barracks in Point Loma, have been sold by San Diego-based McMillin Co. to a Michigan-based developer, according to an email obtained by Times of San Diego. OB Rag worries about the fate of a church on the site that it blames city officials for doing little to protect. The news site reported earlier this month that McMillin was looking to turn a chapel on the site into a restaurant. The buyer appears to be the Seligman Group or one of its affiliates, which owns property all across the country, including commercial real estate in Orange County. (Times of San Diego, OB Rag)
Bonus Podcast: San Diego’s Power Couple
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and County Supervisor-elect Nathan Fletcher came to the podcast studio this week to record a special episode with Scott Lewis.
The conversation touched on how the two influential figures — Gonzalez chairs one of the most powerful committees in Sacramento, and Fletcher is already being touted as a leader of the local progressive movement — manage a relationship in the political spotlight, what they think of the future of the Democratic Party in San Diego and across the state, and what they learned from some of the county’s closes races this election cycle.
In Other News
- San Diego County’s first government-run alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric is going to be in the red during its first few years of operations. The city of San Diego is looking to form a similar agency, known as a “community choice” agency, or CCA. (ABC 10)
- Reporters often refer to organized labor as a monolithic entity, obscuring the extent to which different unions that are part of the same movement might have different perspectives on a given issue. On this week’s edition of San Diego Explained, with our partners at NBC 7, we tried to walk through the different groups and players in the labor movement, one of the most powerful forces in local politics.
- Animal-rights activists are suing for access to records on how an orca died while in captivity in SeaWorld. (Union-Tribune)
- New research out of San Diego State has shed light on the differences in the way children with autism perceive the world, and could make it easier to diagnose children on the spectrum in the future. (KPBS)
- Following a “near-miss” incident in August while handling nuclear waste, the operators of the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station plan to continue burying radioactive material 100 feet from the ocean. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Scott Lewis.