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Some pretty weird things happened this week.
First, the unlikely star of the new governor’s inauguration was his 2-year-old son, who ran on stage mid-speech in what is every working parent’s biggest fear come (adorably) to life.
Though Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration was not lacking cuteness, because corgis!, a stage full of children surrounding the new governor and the first partner was something new.
Late last year, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez told me she believed having a governor who’s a father of young children would lead to considerably different policy priorities – and so far, she’s been proven right.
Also this week, the San Diego City Council had a strange debate about a housing proposal. As usual, it was a development that had been met with community opposition. What was strange was that in the end, the Council was wary that the proposal didn’t represent enough density. The Council ultimately voted for the project, but it sent a signal that debates over housing moving forward might not look like they always have.
The mayor laid out a vision for a future in which – get this – you could actually take the trolley to the airport. If you’ll recall this excellent tool measuring cities by perhaps their two most important metrics, tacos and transit, you’ll remember that San Diego is embarrassingly bad at one and embarrassingly good at the other. The ideal city, of course, would excel at both.
Finally, Todd Gloria announced this week he’s running for mayor. He played up his roots and ways he’d be different from those who came before him. His entrance into the race, combined with who’s already in, who we think will be getting in eventually, and election reforms ushered in over the last couple years, means San Diego’s next mayor may not be a white man, or may not be a Republican – and very well may not be either.
We’ve got plenty of intractable problems, but it’s also pretty clear that a lot is changing.
What VOSD Learned This Week
So far the new head of SANDAG is unafraid to talk about bold ideas but is less clear on the details necessary to make them reality. In a wide-ranging interview with Andrew Keatts, he talked about everything from a hyperloop to driverless cars to a new system to pay for transit, but was not ready to say how we’d pay for such things. Then later in the week, he and Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a plan to finally bring the trolley to the airport but … was not ready to say how we’d pay for such a thing.
The border once again dominated national news in a big way. Maya Srikrishnan did a good job squaring President Donald Trump’s warnings about the border with the actual situation on the ground, and detailed new efforts by the County Board of Supervisors to address the worsening migrant shelter crisis. Over on the other side of the border, Tijuana is experiencing record violence. But one expert warned why it can be harmful to blame it all on the drug war.
San Diego County is required to create a plan to combat climate change. After six years and more than $1 million spent on legal fees, it still hasn’t fulfilled that requirement.
In a separate effort to help the environment, the city this week passed a Styrofoam ban – but not without exposing some tension among Democrats.
Over the last year, the city massively ramped up spending to combat homelessness – namely on emergency tent shelters and converting an indoor skydiving facility into a navigation center. The results after all that spending, however, aren’t so clear.
Those efforts sounded an awful lot like what Gov. Gavin Newsom included in his first state budget, which he unveiled this week. Included in his plan is hundreds of millions of dollars for localities to create emergency shelters and navigation centers.
What I’m Reading
- Chicago seized more than 50,000 cars from people with unpaid tickets – and in many cases, it sold the cars off without a dime going toward the owners, or the debt. (WBEZ)
- This is a devastating, infuriating read about a woman who went into distress while four months pregnant and was utterly failed by every medical professional she encountered. (Time)
- When young people, women and people of color enter spaces that were designed to exclude them, insane, irrational freak-outs tend to ensue. Case in point: AOC. (The Atlantic)
- In its ongoing investigation of emergency room billing practices, Vox discovered Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is out of network for every patient who enters, leaving many with debilitating bills.
- I clicked on this with my pale, sensitive fingers: Is everything we’ve been told about sunscreen wrong? (Outside)
Line of the Week
“The West Coast is filled with liberals and environmentalists who are perfectly willing to drive a Prius and buy organic veggies but raise holy hell if anyone tries to build a bike lane, light rail station, or new housing anywhere near them.” – Yes, this.