Mayor Kevin Faulconer urged San Diegans to say yes to new housing projects, new initiatives to combat climate change and homelessness solutions in his State of the City address Tuesday night.
The mayor announced plans to spur taller, denser housing projects near transit and pledged to take steps to create a joint powers authority to operate a government-run energy program, which could include other local cities looking to provide power for residents instead of SDG&E.
What he didn’t say: When he expects a hotel-tax hike measure to fund a Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road repairs – for years his top priority – will end up on the ballot. (The measure, backed by a business and labor coalition, has qualified for the 2020 ballot but Faulconer has been pushing for a 2019 vote.)
The Voice of San Diego team took a closer look at the mayor’s speech and offered more context and insights in an annotated version of the speech.
Today’s 2020 Musical Chairs Update
Councilman Chris Ward has formally announced that he won’t run for re-election in his District 3 seat; instead he’ll seek to replace Assemblyman Todd Gloria in Sacramento as Gloria runs for mayor. Tuesday, Stephen Whitburn, the former director of San Diego Pride, became the first candidate to announce a run to replace Ward on the City Council.
There’s a tidy quality to Gloria’s announcement kicking off a round of musical chairs that has now led to Whitburn’s run: In 2008, Gloria defeated Whitburn for the same seat.
By Tuesday afternoon, Whitburn had company. Chris Olsen, a staffer for the city’s independent budget analyst and a lecturer at SDSU, threw his hat into the ring as well.
Other candidates are expected to emerge for the seat that covers downtown, Hillcrest, North Park, Normal Heights and Golden Hill. But the steady stream of candidate announcements is happening earlier this cycle than normal because California’s 2020 primary is not in June, as we’ve become accustomed, but in March, a mere 14 months away.
Helmuth Projects’ Last Hurrah
Helmuth Projects, an arts space in Banker’s Hill, is slated to shutter on April 1.
In this week’s Culture Report, VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans talks to Josh Pavlick, the person behind Helmuth Projects, about its legacy and closure. To close out the space’s reign, Pavlick will be hosting one final residency to open on March 30, right before he needs to turn over the keys.
David Sedaris will be performing Wednesday, a new exhibition celebrating San Diego’s Vietnamese-American community and a celebration of Kindred’s third anniversary are some of the other events featured in this week’s arts and culture roundup.
The Border and Detention
The border wall has been at the forefront of national discussion, and the dispute over how to fund it has kept the government shut down for weeks. The Union-Tribune pulled together what you really need to know about the existing border barrier, the proposals for a new structure and what migration and drug smuggling actually look like at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Meanwhile, advocacy group Human Rights First released a report detailing problems in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers in California. The report includes gruesome details from San Diego’s Otay Mesa Detention Center, including documenting cases of transgender women who were held for months in male units, and the case of a woman who was hemorrhaging for two months before she received medical care.
In Other News
- The number of pedestrian deaths spiked in 2018 to 34, up from 17 the year before. (Union-Tribune)
- The San Marcos City Council interviewed candidates to fill its vacant seat. (City News Service)
- The Sweetwater Authority, which provides water to customers in western Chula Vista, Bonita and National City, voted to add dependents to their health insurance plans. It could cost the agency as much as $146,000 a year. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan, and edited by Sara Libby.