The Morning Report
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There are only five weeks left until Election Day. If that gives you a little anxiety, imagine how we feel about all the coverage we need to get out by then.
In any case, we’re starting the process now of rolling out all the candidate interviews we plan to do between now and Election Day. First up: interviews with three of the major mayoral candidates. One candidate declined to participate, but we’ve got long-form discussions with Assemblyman Todd Gloria, Councilman Scott Sherman and community activist Tasha Williamson ready to go.
Gloria made some news, clarifying that he still doesn’t support the controversial housing bill SB 50, which would let developers build far more homes near jobs, transit and good schools. Sherman might have made the biggest news when he acknowledged that he is, in fact, a politician, after spending seven years on Council and opting to run for mayor. He also explained how he might share views with urbanists on housing, he’s far from aligned with them on transportation. And Williamson pledged to fire the head of the SDPD, an organization she said continues to exhibit disproportionately aggressive tactics in minority communities.
In Other Election News …
We’ve heard a lot in recent weeks about ballot measures that will expand the Convention Center in San Diego and put limits on the housing approval process in the unincorporated county. But there are a number of other important initiatives going before voters in select places in March, and Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens highlighted a pair of them Wednesday.
In Lemon Grove, he writes, a “sales-tax proposal is being billed by advocates as necessary to stave off an existential fiscal threat to the small East County city’s future…” There’s been serious talk over the last year about the city disincorporating.
At the same time, Del Mar residents will consider a proposed bluff-top development. Its opponents have complained about increased traffic and cited aesthetic and environmental concerns.
NBC San Diego reports that the group Save Our Bluff SD was peacefully protesting in Del Mar this weekend when Scott Eastwood, actor and son of Clint Eastwood, showed up and tried dismantling a banner. One protester told the news outlet that Eastwood claimed to be a city worker.
The whole thing is weird. Eastwood owns a North County-based company, but the developer said Eastwood wasn’t linked to the Del Mar project in any way.
High Drama Over Downtown High-Rise Continues
San Diego officials evacuated and closed a downtown high-rise on Friday, and the decision has caused delays for contractors and property owners whose plans and permits need approval, NBC San Diego reports.
City employees began moving into the building last month, despite a county notice of violation for the way it handled asbestos. Although city leaders have insisted the building is safe, the Union-Tribune reported recently, a former contractor overseeing the remodeling of the building recently accused officials of knowingly exposing workers to the known carcinogen.
The high-rise was once the headquarters of Sempra Energy. How and why the city got itself into this mess are now pressing political questions. NBC San Diego reports that City Councilwoman Barbara Bry called for an internal audit.
Earlier this week, the Union-Tribune editorial board questioned whether officials had pushed employees into the building prematurely because they were embarrassed by the extraordinary costs of renting an empty building: $18,000 a day.
Encinitas Makes Final Decision on Homeless Lot
In case you’ve missed all the drama surrounding the proposed homeless parking lot in Encinitas, VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez has you covered in her latest North County Report.
Also in this week’s North County news round-up: county officials agreed to help fund a 16-bed inpatient psychiatric health facility on Tri-City Medical Center’s Oceanside campus and Carlsbad City Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel has filed paperwork to run for state Senate.
In Other News
- KPBS surveyed the four Democrats vying for District 3 in San Diego, which includes downtown, on homelessness. The seat is currently held by Chris Ward, who is leaving his seat to run for state Assembly.
- More than a year after Chula Vista began processing marijuana business license applications, the city has yet to approve any of the nearly 100 applications it has received. Chula Vista has denied 20 applications, though. (Union-Tribune)
- As part of a legal settlement, San Diego rescinded a law placing residency restrictions on registered sex offenders regardless of parole status. (NBC San Diego)
- A philanthropic San Diego organization is urging city officials to use vacant government-owned buildings, including the former Chargers practice facility, to shelter the homeless and provide them with critical services. There’s an online petition. (CBS 8)
The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan, Jesse Marx and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.