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The Jackie Robinson YMCA / Photo by Megan Wood

The pending departure of the head of the Jackie Robinson YMCA is sparking a lot of soul-searching in southeastern San Diego about what leadership looks like.

Because of the organization’s place in San Diego’s historic black community — as well as its namesake, an icon of black civil rights — some community leaders are upset that the person leading the search for a new executive director is a Latina.

But as Andrew Keatts reports, there’s not a unified view of how the YMCA should handle the vacancy. Other community leaders argue that the next leader doesn’t necessarily need to be black. The debate about the replacement process is leading to a larger a dialogue about the organization’s diversity goals and the shifting demographics of its clientele.

Although many black residents wound up in southeastern San Diego due to discriminatory housing policies that prevented them from living elsewhere, the area has never been an exclusively black community. It’s home today to an increasingly large Latino population.

Another complicating factor: the current head of the Jackie Robinson YMCA is not black, but many in the community have mistakenly assumed he was for years. Still, his leadership has been embraced by the community.

The Rapid Bus That Still Isn’t Rapid

San Diego is eyeing dedicated bus lanes on El Cajon Boulevard to finally deliver on a decade-old promise to bring rapid bus service between Mid-City and downtown. Those dedicated bus lanes never happened in part, inewsource reports, because of public pushback from business owners and others.

The 215 re-do — which ultimately cost federal and local taxpayers $44 million — wound up being five minutes slower on average than its replacement. Despite its early struggles, as we reported in 2015, the number of riders has grown.

That hasn’t been the case with the 225. In May, Andrew Keatts reported that the new bus line from Otay Mesa to downtown was falling far short of ridership projections set by transportation officials.

Insurance Story Sparks Offers

Last week, we reported that insurance was harder to find for East County homeowners in fire-prone areas. When we posted the story to Facebook, a bunch of insurance agents started posting about how they could hook us up.

As any group of salespeople do, they bragged about their own companies and slighted their competitors. “Be careful which company you go with,” State Farm agent James Cassady wrote. “If you go with a broker, they will give you a list of companies that you never heard of before. Did you hear about the smaller no name companies that went bankrupt because of the fires in Northern California? Do you want that to be your company?” (One company, Merced Property & Casualty Company, went out of business after the Camp Fire in Northern California.)

Mike Clinkenbeard, a Farmers insurance agent, said “every home is insurable unless it’s actually on fire right now.”

Indeed, a recent RAND study found that more companies are writing policies in fire-prone areas. That sounds like a good thing but a market dominated by a few large, competitive insurers might be healthier than one made up many small ones that may be unable to handle a catastrophe. And just because companies are there doesn’t mean insurance isn’t harder to find — even before the major fires last year, the state’s Department of Insurance found a 15 percent increase in the number of people getting dropped by their insurance companies.

Related: A new poll shows that about 75 percent of Californians would limit the number of homes allowed in fire-prone areas. San Diego County officials currently support the construction of thousands of new homes likely to be threatened by fire at some point in the foreseeable future.

San Diego Republicans ‘Stand With Trump,’ Mayor Stands Next to Trump

Tony Krvaric, the chairman of the local GOP, issued a statement Tuesday that said “San Diego Republicans” stand with President Donald Trump’s vision for America.

On its face, it seemed like a bold declaration considering that several of the region’s top elected Republicans have distanced themselves from the president.

City Councilman Chris Cate, for instance, has said Trump “just isn’t the person I want as our standard bearer, delivering a message to younger voters about what we stand for.”

In an op-ed last year for the U-T, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer complained that the conversation about trade and the border in D.C. is dominated by people who don’t live here. He then told CNN in January that he wanted to strengthen relations with Tijuana rather than erect walls. And in March he encouraged California Republicans to stop acting like a “carbon copy of the national GOP.”

But in an interesting turn of events Tuesday, Faulconer quite literally stood with Trump. The mayor met with the president to discuss issues facing San Diego, including trade, homelessness and sewage from the Tijuana River Valley. Less than three weeks ago, Faulconer condemned Trump’s tariff threats against Mexico.

We asked Krvaric about the tension within his own party when it comes to Trump and he told us that Faulconer and others who make critical remarks are entitled to their opinions. “In our party,” he said, “people can disagree on things and still be part of Team Freedom.”

The Local Legacy of Drag Queens

For the latest Culture Report, VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans explored the San Diego History Center’s newest exhibit, “Legendary Drag Queens of San Diego,” and details the drag community’s impact on LGBTQ movements.

Evans also shared her top picks for art events this week, including this gem: “I love packaged snacks and I love art,” she wrote. “So what is not to love about 1805 Gallery and Porto Vista Hotel’s new vending machine group art exhibition.”

In Other News

  • L.A. Times columnist Robin Abcarian makes the case that “something is wrong with Duncan Hunter” and he should resign now that his wife has flipped. Even after the U-T began raising questions in 2016, “the family continued to spend campaign money on seemingly personal expenses.”
  • Assemblywoman Shirley Weber has said in the past that she had concerns about the way San Diego police treated her son during a traffic stop. She elaborates on those encounters in a new CALmatters piece, and says he was stopped more than once on the campus of SDSU while she was a professor there.
  • Trump announced Monday night that ICE will begin a large operation to arrest and deport thousands of undocumented immigrants starting next week, but whether that’s even possible is unclear. The president’s plan — which took federal authorities by surprise — is at odds with the staffing levels on the ground, the Washington Post reports.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx and Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.

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