Photo courtesy of Studio E Architects

In a time when consensus can seem elusive, county residents are largely in agreement that steep housing costs and homelessness crisis are among the region’s foremost problems.

A Voice of San Diego poll found 80 percent of county residents believe the cost of housing and rent are extremely or very serious problems, while 76 percent of a smaller sample said the same about homelessness.

But as Lisa Halverstadt writes, there’s far less consensus about solutions to those challenges, making it difficult to predict how even voter voters who agree on the seriousness of the region’s housing and homelessness crises will respond to ballot measures aiming to address them.

Affordable housing advocates in the city hope to persuade voters to back Measure A, a $900 million housing bond to fund 7,500 subsidized homes for homeless and low-income San Diegans at risk of ending up on the street. Another coalition is pushing Measure E, which would exempt the city’s Midway District from the city’s 30-foot coastal height limit and thus allow thousands more housing units in the neighborhood.

Interested in checking out the results of our polls on the mayor’s race, the District 3 county supervisors’ race and more? You can catch up on our coverage here.

  •  The Registrar of Voters announced Thursday that nearly half of county voters had already voted, more than double the number of ballots received by this time in 2016. 
  • Still haven’t turned in a ballot yet? Times of San Diego ran down early voting details ahead of the Saturday start of early voting at polls across the county.

Think Things Are Going Wrong? Support … the People in Charge?

We tested two political races along with the general poll of the region about people’s takes on different issues. And one of the more fascinating results is in the numbers about how people feel about the direction the city and county are headed and whom they support to lead those agencies.

In the city of San Diego, survey respondents who thought the city was headed in the wrong direction overwhelmingly preferred City Councilwoman Barbara Bry as their choice for mayor (44 percent for Bry compared with 26 percent for Gloria).

And respondents who thought the city was headed in the right direction preferred Assemblyman Todd Gloria (44 percent for Gloria compared with 25 percent for Bry). 

This is a bit odd considering Bry is in city government now and Gloria isn’t. But she has been running as an outsider and challenger to the existing establishment. 

And the county: The same phenomenon occurred in the county District 3 race. Respondents who felt the county was headed in the wrong direction preferred the incumbent, Supervisor Kristin Gaspar to her challenger, Terra Lawson-Remer (48 percent for Gaspar compared with 28 percent for Lawson-Remer).

And on the other side, if respondents felt the county was headed in the right direction, they somewhat strangely prefer to switch representatives (50 percent of them support Lawson-Remer and 23 percent of them support Gaspar).

Gaspar has positioned herself as a kind of outsider critic to the county’s response to the COVID-19 crisis at times. 

Police Budget Report Opens Door to Future Changes

A City Council committee this week got an in-depth look at how the San Diego Police Department is spending money thanks to a report from the city’s independent budget analyst commissioned amid racial justice protests this summer.

“The IBA found that while the police budget has grown to an all-time high this fiscal year, it is in line with previous years when looked at as a percentage of the city’s overall general fund budget,” KPBS’s Andrew Bowen reports. “In 2020-21, spending on police is 35% of the total budget, and since 2008 it has accounted for between 32% and 35% of all general fund spending.”

Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe, who along with Council President Georgette Gómez requested the report, said the report made clear that gang policing in particular was an area where funds could be diverted to other priorities, KPBS reported.

The Council in June increased SDPD’s budget despite community demands to decrease it. A Voice of San Diego poll found a plurality of San Diego County residents support significantly shifting police funding toward social services.

County Funds Aim to Reduce Digital Divide

Months into a pandemic that has left parents and students reeling amid a move to online learning, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Thursday that $2 million from the county’s general fund will help connect 4,000 families with little to no internet access.

10 News reported on Fletcher’s announcement and noted that 45,000 students will still be left without internet access or only limited access despite the new funds which will be split across 19 school districts with the highest need – and the County Office of Education’s initiative to provide mobile hotspots to more than 7,000 families.

VOSD’sKayla Jimenez has previously reported on the struggle for many families and teachers in rural and low-income communities where hotspots don’t work as a result of lacking infrastructure for broadband. Before the school year began, superintendents and school years from small, rural districts told Jimenez they were frustrated by the slow response from the state, among other complications.

 In Other News

  • Eight gym owners in the county are taking their fight against public health orders to court, according to City News Service.
  • The National Park Service is set to survey Chicano Park in Barrio Logan to establish its national significance, City News Service reports.
  • The Union-Tribune broke the news that Santee activists on Thursday submitted more than 6,000 signatures in hopes of reversing the City Council’s approval of a roughly 3,000-home development.
  • Fox 5 reports that Carlsbad Unified School District’s board approved plans this week for students to return to schools at least part-time starting early next year.
  • A murder investigation is underway after a man picking up trash found possible human remains in a Fiesta Island fire pit on Thursday, NBC 7 San Diego reports.
  • A creepy story just in time for Halloween: CBS LA reports that a San Diego mortuary service owner is accused of stealing … from dead people.

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Sara Libby.

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