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Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not been shy about his embrace of YIMBYism.

He kicked off the year by making a bold declaration in his State of the City speech: “Height limits outside the coastal zone put a cap on housing. This year I’ll propose the Council remove them. We must change from a city that shouts, ‘Not in my backyard’ to one that proclaims, ‘Yes in my backyard!’ From a city of NIMBYs to a city of YIMBYs. Together we’re going to transform San Diego into a YIMBY city!”

He’s since been the subject of glowing profiles that tout him of an example other Republicans should follow.

But when it comes to arguably the most closely watched measure in the state, Sen. Scott Weiner’s SB 50, a proposal to allow for taller, denser developments near transit hubs, the mayor said he’s neutral.

Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, who chairs the Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee and has also embraced the YIMBY cause, also didn’t appear to have a position on the measure when she discussed it with the U-T, and said she has no plans to bring the measure up for a resolution that the Council could weigh in on.

When we had Moreno on the podcast recently, I asked her for her thoughts on Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath’s bill to sharply curb short-term vacation rentals in coastal cities in San Diego County. She said she couldn’t offer her thoughts because she hadn’t read the bill. Which, fair enough.

It’s become something of a trend for San Diego’s biggest housing champions to suddenly go quiet when high-profile, controversial housing proposals are put forward. Two of the most vocal housing proponents in the state Legislature, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Sen. Toni Atkins, wouldn’t say where they stood on 2018’s Prop. 10, which would have opened the door to new rent control policies across the state.

Since then, however, Gloria has taken a vote in favor of a bill to put limits on rent hikes, and he and Atkins will both eventually have to cast votes for or against SB 50 (if it makes it that far). Atkins has already showed her hand a bit by placing Weiner in charge of the committee on housing.

The housing crisis is a gnarly, mammoth problem. Most proposed solutions manage to spur anger among all kinds of disparate groups. It’s not easy. But I certainly don’t remember any politician winning office with a rousing, “I commit to tackling the lowest-hanging fruit and the rest, eh … ”

It’s hard to imagine us making any meaningful progress in addressing the crisis if no one is even willing to say whether they support or oppose the ideas on the table.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Seven school officials in the Sweetwater Union High School District received a report of a student being abused by a teacher – abuse they were required by law to report to police – but did nothing. They say it’s because the message went to their spam folders. It turns out, there aren’t really any consequences for educators who fail to report abuse.

In other education news, San Diego Unified – like districts across the nation – doesn’t have a teacher population that reflects its student body.

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Sheriff Bill Gore stressed the Chabad of Poway shooter acted alone – but statements like that downplay the extent to which domestic terror incidents are indeed “world-connected [events], stemming from a coherent, though vile, political ideology.”

Down the road from Chabad of Poway, another synagogue voted a day after the shooting to allow non-Jews to become members of its board. In other words, they responded to having their way of life singled out by embracing inclusion.

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Back in January, VOSD was the first to report that police had massively ramped up arrests in the run-up to the annual homeless census. This week, we learned that the Regional Task Force on the Homeless took the unusual step of adding in to its count the 62 homeless people who were arrested during that crackdown.

The count numbers released this week appear to show a modest improvement in eradicating homelessness, but because officials changed the way they conduct the count, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to last year.

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It seems like the county government is … doing stuff? Lisa Halverstadt explains this strange turn of events.

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar appears to like doing stuff – she is running for re-election to the board, a decision she explained to me and Andy Keatts in a special podcast episode.

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You might put stuff in that blue bin, but the city sends about 15 percent of all the recycling it collects to the dump.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“Have we thought of names? Of course! Though we want to be careful not to pin our tiny bundle of joy down to any one particular brand identity right from the start. Still, we were thinking ‘Marsden’ if they seem like an Instagram Model, ‘Carsden’ if they’re more of a style influencer, and ‘Blarsdryn’ if they’re vibing like a YouTube conspiracy theory video-type.” – Gender reveal parties are out, personal brand parties are in.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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