Homeless encampments along 17th Street in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

The city’s annual homeless census was big news in San Diego this week.

The point-in-time count released Monday on its face suggests there’s been a modest improvement in the city’s effort to shrink its homeless population, but because the methods guiding the count changed, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to last year’s numbers.

In this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Sara Libby sat down with Fran Butler-Cohen, CEO of Family Health Centers of San Diego. Butler-Cohen is at the center of many debates surrounding homelessness.

She talked with us about her organization’s efforts to redevelop the failed skydiving center in downtown to become a one-stop shop for homeless services, the annual count of homeless residents and surprising details about how many homeless San Diegans die each year living on the street.

“What kind of city do we have right now?” said Butler-Cohen. “We need to get busy. And the planning isn’t a paper document. The planning is coming to the table with everybody and doing what we need to do.”

The interview with Butler-Cohen starts at 22:30.

News of the Week

Also on the podcast, the crew discusses Councilman Mark Kersey’s departure from the Republican Party. He became the second local elected official to leave the party this year. There are now only two Republicans on the nine-member San Diego City Council.

Plus, Keatts breaks down the growing tension between North County leaders and San Diego and South Bay officials on the SANDAG board.

Hasan Ikhrata, SANDAG’s chief executive, announced the broad strokes of a new plan for fast transit across the region, and that he’d be moving to kill the remaining highway expansions that are part of TransNet, the underfunded sales tax program and subject of a years long scandal.

The County Board of Supervisors this week voted to oppose all of that.

And finally, we have an update on our story about a sexual misconduct case at Mar Vista High School. A school volunteer sent an email to seven Sweetwater Union High School officials with evidence that an instructor was sexually abusing a student, but didn’t receive a response.

Officials now say the email ended up in their spam folders. VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez found that when mandated reporters fail to report abuse, not much happens in the way of consequences.

Wishful Recycling

In a new People’s Reporter segment, Voice of San Diego’s Megan Wood answers a question from a reader about what happens to the stuff you put in your recycling bin. About 10,000 tons — or 15 to 17 percent — of the recycling collected from homes in San Diego each year is actually thrown out. That’s because the city has a narrow list of items that can be reused by manufacturers to make new products. Learn more about the rules of recycling here.

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Megan is Voice of San Diego’s director of marketing. She is responsible for producing and overseeing strategies that extend the reach of the organization....

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