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San Diego homes / Photo by Sam Hodgson

Building height limits have long been one of San Diego’s sacred cows.

In his State of the City address this week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced his plan to change that and other current city policies that cap development in hopes of addressing a housing shortage that’s also fueled San Diego’s homelessness crisis.

Faulconer wants to get rid of building height limits in areas near transit (the coastal height limit would remain in place) and end existing parking requirements for new housing developments. He’s also looking to streamline the approvals process and add major incentives for affordable and homeless-serving projects.

Andrew Keatts described the significance of those proposals and the mayor’s declaration that he’s determined to make San Diego a city that welcomes rather than opposes new developments.

Keatts writes that the mayor’s mission to make San Diego a Yes In My Backyard city, a reference to a movement against so-called NIMBYs who oppose new housing, could have major ripple effects on the 2020 mayor’s race and the political climate at City Hall.

Speaking of the 2020 mayor’s race …

Peters to Mayor’s Race: I Am Not in You

The San Diego mayor’s race just got narrower.

Rep. Scott Peters announced Wednesday that he won’t run for mayor in 2020, likely leaving fellow Democrats Assemblyman Todd Gloria and City Councilwoman Barbara Bry to duke it out next year. No other candidates have entered the race yet, though former Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, a registered independent, has said she’s mulling a run.

Peters says he decided to instead run for re-election to Congress because he believes he can make a greater impact there.

“I just spent my first full week in the majority in Congress, with another term of seniority,” Peters wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday. “It’s clear to me that I will have more influence than ever on our San Diego and national priorities. Here in Congress, I’m in a position to better serve the city I love and to help heal a country that is crippled by anger and division.

Peters didn’t say who he’d endorse in the mayor’s race but Gloria already seemed to be publicly vying for the congressman’s support in 2020.  

“Scott’s continued service in the Capitol gives me hope that we can break the partisan stalemate and move our country forward,” Gloria tweeted after Peters’ announcement.

“Thanks, Todd. Very kind,” Peters tweeted back. “What are you up to these days?”

  • KPBS sat down with Bry and Gloria to discuss their mayoral bids.

American Activists Could Be Adding to Caravan Confusion

Some of the fliers that spread across migrant camps in Tijuana informing Central American asylum-seekers of their rights depict families tearing down a chain-link fence.

KPBS reports that while those fliers were written in the first-person plural, suggesting the migrants wrote them, they were actually written by an American group called BAMN, or By Any Means Necessary. Some of the migrants who approached the border in December and were tear-gassed by U.S. Border Patrol appear to have been motivated by the fliers.

A Nicaraguan woman told KPBS that she’s getting conflicting messages about the asylum process and now Americans have encouraged her to “skip the line.”

Bird Spikes Are Coming to the Coronado Bridge

The Union-Tribune reports that Caltrans is getting ready to install small spikes on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in hopes of deterring suicidal people from jumping off. The spikes are four inches and similar to those used to prevent birds from roosting on ledges.

About 400 people have jumped from the bridge to their deaths over its 50-year history, and the number of annual suicides has risen in recent years. Voice contributor Randy Dotinga has reported that the death toll reached a near-record in 2017.

In Other News

  • Bob Brewer was sworn in as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, the federal court that covers San Diego, on Wednesday, more than six months after President Donald Trump nominated him to serve in the post. (Union-Tribune)
  • County health officials report that five more people have died of the flu. (Ramona Sentinel)
  • Chula Vista is doubling down on efforts to attract a reputable four-year university that’ll help guide its development on the eastern side. One idea is the creation of a “binational” campus, with at least one Mexican university on-site, reports the Union-Tribune. It’s been a long, ongoing battle. Maya Srikrishnan reported back in 2015 on the city’s years of thwarted attempts to attract a school.
  • Chula Vista is also moving forward on marijuana. Officials estimate that a tax on sales and cultivation could generate $6 million annually — equal to what San Diego is anticipating. Retail shops could open by end of year. (NBC 7)
  • An Escondido man and his daughter alleged that police illegally entered their home and used excessive force. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the 9th U.S.  Circuit Court of Appeals to be reheard. (The Coast News)
  • The Port of San Diego is seeking public input on the development of the downtown waterfront from the airport to the convention center. (Times of San Diego)
  • The vice president of the San Diego County Board of Education is pushing to have Narcan, which can combat the effects of opioid overdoses, on hand at local schools. (NBC 7)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month sent a case alleging unlawful entry and misconduct by Escondido police back to the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals. (Coast News Group)

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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