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San Diego’s mayoral race has so far been defined by housing.
That owes largely to Councilwoman Barbara Bry’s campaign email warning that an ominous “they” were coming for our homes. She was referencing Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s stance on a state law that limits local control over development decisions.
The race, as a result, has commonly been reduced to one between a YIMBY and a NIMBY, ramping up the rhetoric as the city grapples with the best way through its housing crisis.
But that framing doesn’t quite square with some fundamentals about the two candidates, as Andrew Keatts lays out in a new story. Bry has received ample support, for instance, from some of the city’s most prolific developers, and on the City Council she’s repeatedly voted to make way for more housing.
Gloria, meanwhile, has long been considered a housing advocate, but during his time on the Council he supported some community plan updates that did little to make way for new housing, by the city’s current standards. And, he has now said on multiple occasions that he is not ready to support SB 50, the controversial state law that would dramatically increase development potential near any major transit station in the state.
Keatts talked to developers, a former elected official and a YIMBY advocate about how they see both candidates and the way the housing discussion has come to be framed in the race.
One thing that’s clear is that the dynamic is closer to heating up than cooling down. SB 50 is expected to come forward for a vote in the legislature in January, just as people begin to turn their attention to the mayoral race and its March primary.
(Editor’s note: We’d like to congratulate ourselves for writing this bitchin’ mayoral housing policy story on the day the president of the United States was impeached. Maybe the most on-brand thing we’ve ever done!)
Palomar Board Places College President on Leave
Palomar Community College’s Board of Trustees placed President Joi Lin Blake on paid administrative leave at Tuesday night’s board meeting after faculty and staff gave Blake a “no confidence” vote in November. The board said the move is not disciplinary but is instead being used as a precautionary measure to “protect all parties” as an investigation into Blake moves forward.
Faculty and staff members on Tuesday blamed Blake for the future uncertainty and current instability of the college’s fiscal health.
A Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team report earlier this year found that the Palomar Community College District has a high probability of reaching fiscal insolvency and will be forced to borrow $6.5 million from an external source in two years if it keeps its spending at its current pace.
California Community Colleges District Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said on a conference call at a Tuesday night’s meeting that if the district’s fiscal health and management does not improve and the board does not respond adequately to FCMAT’s recommendations, the state community college board of governors will intervene by conducting a special audit or assigning a special trustee to the board.
Julie Lanthier Bandy, a spokeswoman for the Palomar Community College district, said the board is currently examining ways to address the recommendations.
Now There Are Many De La Fuentes Running Many Races
San Diego businessman Roque De La Fuente is running for president and Congress — and so are his sons.
De La Fuente ran for president as a Democrat in 2016. In 2018, he ran for Senate in nine states. He also tried to run for New York City Mayor. This year he’s running for president, again, as a Republican and as part of the American Independent Party. He’s also running for the 21st congressional district in the southern San Joaquin Valley. His son is also running for president, as a Democrat, and for the 21st Congressional District. His son, Ricardo, is also running for Congress in Texas.
The Union-Tribune’s Michael Smolens tried to figure out why De La Fuente and his family are trying so damn hard to get into office.
“He found Donald Trump insulting to most everybody and wrong on certain policies, particularly immigration,” Smolens writes.
De La Fuente also alluded to U.S. political dynasties, like the Kennedys and the Bushes.
“For you, for me and for my kids,” De La Fuente told Smolens. “We have to show how corrupt the system is.”
De La Fuente has also been launching legal challenges at states across the country for ballot access since 2016. Just last week, he filed a petition in Minnesota requesting that the court order the state to include Republican candidates other than President Donald Trump on the March primary ballot.
De La Fuente’s campaign also filed a federal lawsuit just days ago alleging that Trump and the Republican National Committee colluded to prevent any competition to Trump’s re-election campaign.
“Joseph Stalin once told his private secretary, ‘I regard it as completely unimportant who in the party will vote and how, but it is extremely important who will count the votes and how,’” reads the lawsuit’s introduction. “This case is about how the President of the United States, wielding influence and money, decides who can vote, and whose votes will count, to ensure that he wins nomination and re-election as President.”
Dems Line Up Against Measure A
Both the local Democratic Party and a pro-housing group have voted in recent days to oppose Measure A on the March 2020 ballot. The controversial initiative would require that the public, and not its elected representatives, sign off on housing developments in unincorporated areas that don’t comply with the county’s general plan.
As Kayla Jimenez this week explained, the general plan was supposed to shift housing construction away from rural and semi-rural areas, but developers have been able to get around that by seeking special permission from the County Board of Supervisors.
At a meeting of the Democratic central committee Tuesday, the “no on A” argument won in the second round of voting with 60 percent support.
“Measure A is bad public policy that would prevent badly needed affordable housing from being built and contribute to racial and economic segregation,” Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the party’s chairman, said in a statement. “It would force more San Diegans to move to Riverside or Tijuana to find housing, and cause more vulnerable people to end up homeless.”
The YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County also waded into the debate last week. More than two-thirds of the group endorsed the “no on A” argument.
“Rather than forcing land-use decisions to a countywide vote, we are focused on electing representatives with the values and knowledge to make the right decisions on housing, climate change and the preservation of rural lands and open space,” said Rachel Laing, a VP and co-founder of the group.
In Other News
- Imperial Beach is pressing ahead with a lawsuit arguing that oil and coal companies should pay for rising sea level costs, even though the state of New York just suffered a major defeat last week in a similar legal battle. (Union-Tribune)
- Gina Champion-Cain was accused by another investor of fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that the San Diego businesswoman and her companies swindled hundreds of millions of dollars from people who thought their money was being used to purchase liquor licenses. (Union-Tribune)
- Since Proposition 64 went into effect, visits for cannabis poisoning have gone up by 35 percent in San Diego County. Doctors, however, don’t see this as a public health crisis because the people who’ve smoked or ingested too much don’t usually need medical treatment. (KPBS)
- The president of Share San Diego argues in a new op-ed that his collection of homeowners, property rights advocates and rental managers are ready to compromise on a short-term vacation rental ordinance that includes a fully funded enforcement system for neighborhood nuisance issues.
The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan, Jesse Marx and Kayla Jimenez and edited by Sara Libby.