San Diego City Hall / Photo by Sam Hodgson

On the VOSD podcast this week, it was basically Christmas for nerds like us, in that we talked about some of the long-running San Diego civic dilemmas that are our bread and butter: the Mission Valley stadium sitch, the push to expand the Convention Center and the continued nonexistence of vacation rental rules.

They all seem to highlight a question that’s loomed over San Diego the whole time I’ve lived here: Can the city do big things, ever?

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom has been on a bill-signing spree as the deadline for new bills looms. Among the measures he’s approved lately: a landmark bill to limit police shootings, major changes to labor laws including banning forced arbitration and limiting use of independent contractors, a ban on smoking at the beach, a law limiting medical vaccines, a ban on private prisons and more.

These are all, to put it mildly, pretty big deals.

And they provide a pretty harsh and frustrating contrast to San Diego’s particular inability to get anything done.

In the past, we might have been able to blame this on the fact that Sacramento is dominated by one party, making it easier for that party to get stuff done.

But this doesn’t really withstand scrutiny anymore. San Diego Council Democrats now have a Council supermajority. When Andrew Keatts asked people after the election what that might mean, they told him that, for one thing, it meant Democrats could push through changes to the city’s inclusionary housing rules – something they identified as their top priority.

Fast forward about a year, and that measure just went down in defeat.

No matter what you think about vaccines or private prisons, it’d be hard to argue that those measures are small potatoes. In San Diego, though, it’s difficult to imagine the city being able to efficiently pass even a ceremonial resolution applauding the existence of small potatoes.

What VOSD Learned This Week

The big plan to tackle homelessness is here. Lisa Halverstadt laid out what the plan says the city must do, and how much it will cost. And she noticed the plan appears to validate Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s approach to building temporary shelters.

Speaking of plans, there still isn’t one for regulating vacation rentals. Like, not even close.


I’m loathe to admit when Scott Lewis is right but a couple months ago he predicted that the SDSU stadium negotiations were poised to blow up and, well, they did that this week.


Grand jury transcripts from the big A3 charter school scandal reveal how flimsy the state auditing process for schools really is.


Last week we revealed that Southwestern College officials agreed not to tell prospective employers about a professor who had sex with students in his office and kept videos of the encounters on his work computer. That agreement likely helped him acquire a new position at San Diego City College. The deal is far from the only one in which a local educator struck a confidentiality agreement that allowed him to keep teaching.


It’s the yearly billsplosion: Here are a bunch of new laws – and a few vetoes – Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed from San Diego lawmakers.

Newsom also signed a bill banning private prisons in the state. One private prison that holds ICE detainees is in San Diego’s backyard – here’s what we know about that facility.

And speaking of state lawmakers, Sen. Ben Hueso reflected on his time in Sacramento, including that DUI arrest.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

Does this sound stupid yet? Do you feel stupid for knowing about this? Because I do, and I have to write about it for a fucking living.” – I’m living for Sady Doyle’s exasperation at women having to mine their own pain to prove the existence of pregnancy discrimination.

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

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