Assemblyman Todd Gloria holds a slim lead in the race to become San Diego’s next mayor, with nearly a third of voters still undecided, according to a new, exclusive poll commissioned by Voice of San Diego.

We also found that Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer has opened a large advantage over County Supervisor Kristen Gaspar in her bid to represent District 3, which would flip partisan control of county government.

The Voice Poll surveyed the two political races, as well as residents’ trust in civic leadership, the direction of the region and more. (You can see the full crosstabs for the city here and for D3 here.) The poll was conducted by FM3 Research from Oct. 8 through Oct. 22.

  • The mayor’s race offers the first look at a city growing into its new position as functionally a one-party town, as two Democrats square off. Gloria’s 4-point lead, with 32 percent of voters undecided, is built on his successfully winning over Democrats and self-identified liberals, where he holds leads of 18 points and 33 points, respectively. But Bry has cobbled together a coalition of everything to Gloria’s right, leading by 32 points among Republicans and 35 points among self-identified conservatives. She holds a small lead among Latinos, while Gloria is winning with Black, Asian and white voters.
  • Bry holds a strong edge among voters who say the city is on the wrong track, while Gloria leads by over 20 points with voters who support shifting some police funding to social services. Gloria also leads among voters who are satisfied with the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lawson-Remer, who has never held elected office, has nonetheless built a significant lead over the incumbent Gaspar. Her 11-point advantage – 42 percent to 31 percent – comes with fewer undecided voters than in the mayor’s race. Democrats have a 10-point registration advantage in the tossup district – which covers Encinitas and Carmel Valley and into Escondido – but the poll finds evidence that registered partisans are swinging to Lawson-Remer more than Gaspar, perhaps because the Lawson-Remer campaign has relentlessly hammered Gaspar’s connections to President Donald Trump. The poll found 17 percent of Republicans were supporting Lawson-Remer, compared with 11 percent of Democrats supporting Gaspar.

We’ll have more issues-specific polling results from the whole region later this week. Stay tuned.

New School Start Date Set for January – With Strings Attached

San Diego Unified leaders, who have been under pressure for weeks to provide more details about when they might initiate a widespread back-to-school plan, set a tentative date for the second phase of their school reopening plan. 

For elementary school students, the target date for returning to some in-person learning is now Jan. 4. For middle and high school students, Jan. 25 is the target date. 

School leaders emphasized the plan is contingent on the severity of the virus in the community at the time, as well as the success of “phase one.” During phase one, a small group of students, who have fallen behind during online learning, have been invited back to some campuses for in-person services. Some schools are offering few phase one services or none at all, as we previously reported. 

Under the phase two plan, elementary students would come back to school four days a week on a split schedule – they would attend for half days either in the morning or the afternoon. Fridays would be for distance learning. Middle and high school students would return two days a week. 

Leaders admitted that none of the details around phase two has yet been bargained with employee unions. 

A communication from union leaders to teachers last week noted that the plan the district presented was different than what had been shared with the bargaining team. No reopening plan will proceed until teachers agree to it, the communication noted. 

Council Signs Off on New Navigation Center Plan

The City Council voted Tuesday to have the San Diego Housing Commission – with assistance from nonprofit People Assisting the Homeless and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless – take over operations at the homeless housing navigation center downtown.

City Council members who have been critical of the project in the past, including City Councilman Chris Ward, said they believe the reworked program meant to help connect homeless San Diegans with housing and services can be successful. City Council President Georgette Gómez, the sole vote against the agreement with the Housing Commission, said she wished the city would shutter the former indoor skydiving center and instead offer it up as surplus property to be converted into affordable housing.

The Tuesday vote follows the city’s decision to have nonprofit Family Health Centers of San Diego, the nonprofit that has been operating the facility, exit its contract early. Family Health Center’s CEO has also publicly aired frustrations with city bureaucracy and the program model itself.

Housing Commission officials said Tuesday they hope to reopen the East Village facility, which they have renamed the homelessness response center, early next year.

The City Council also unanimously voted Tuesday to create a coordinated homeless outreach program led by nonprofit PATH. The initiative, set to kick off Nov. 1, will include two teams that focus on providing immediate help in neighborhoods with large concentrations of unsheltered homeless San Diegans, and on prioritized outreach and aid for the most vulnerable people living on city streets.

In Other News

  • Robust testing is keeping San Diego in the state’s red tier for at least another week. (Union-Tribune)
  • Speaking of the coronavirus … The County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Tuesday asking Gov. Gavin Newsom for more local control over COVID-19 restrictions. The proposal by Jim Desmond and Kristin Gaspar requests that the state “continues to regularly consult and incorporate the expertise and judgment of local health officers in the determinations for the most effective non- pharmaceutical interventions in local jurisdictions.” (City News Service)
  • Michelin held off on putting out a California guide this year but it did honor these dope new San Diego restaurants. (Eater San Diego)
  • Vista Unified is continuing to rethink its reopening plan as new cases send more students into quarantine. (KPBS)

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Will Huntsberry and Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Sara Libby.

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