Stefanie Benvenuto is the director of public affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This week, Stefanie Benvenuto, director of public affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and who serves as a member of the San Diego Housing Commission, stopped by the podcast. And because most people do not know what that commission does, Scott Lewis and Benvenuto worked out a nice, three-point summary:

  1. If the city of San Diego owns or manages housing, the commission is in charge of that.
  2. If the city gets funds to give to people to subsidize rent, the commission manages that.
  3. If the city has money set aside to invest in affordable housing projects, the commission handles that.

This is something of a response interview to one we had with City Council President Georgette Gómez two weeks ago. Benvenuto sits on the other side of the table in the negotiations on inclusionary housing.

In our interview with Gómez, she said she compromised a lot throughout the negotiations on the inclusionary housing policy she’s been championing, and that she was done compromising.

That policy passed the City Council to allow new requirements on affordable housing. But it passed with five votes — one short of the votes needed to overcome a mayoral veto. That means the mayor has a big decision to make.

In the interview, Lewis put some questions to Benvenuto on the potential veto: “Have you asked him to? Do you expect him to? And is that the only thing you can do to open up a negotiation?”

Benvenuto: “The negotiations are entirely up to the Council president. We’re absolutely ready, really hopeful that we can continue this conversation. It is ultimately going to be her decision.”

Lewis: “So you haven’t asked him to veto it?”

Benvenuto: “We have asked him to keep that option available.”

Central Library at the Center of Two Crises

A 49-year-old man died by suicide inside the library last month; three others attempted suicide there since mid-May.

VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt reported about how these incidents highlight how East Village — and the Central Library in particular — are at the center for the mental health and homelessness crises in San Diego County.

Halverstadt joined the podcast to talk about what followed the incident, how library staff find themselves charged with managing these incidents and what resources are being provided at the library.

You can watch a highlight from the discussion with Halverstadt here.

In crisis or know someone who may be suicidal? Call San Diego County’s free 24-hour Access & Crisis Line at 888-724-7240 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can learn about local resources here.

Bill Buzz

There was a lot of buzz around comments state Senate President Toni Atkins made to Capitol Public Radio about AB 5.

AB 5 would codify a new legal interpretation of what it would take to classify a worker as a contractor and not an employee.

The bill passed the Assembly but Atkins will have a say on it in the Senate. Atkins said regardless of where they end up on the final day of session, this is a big enough conversation to take in to next year.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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