Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the city’s plan to turn Golden Hall into a temporary homeless shelter with more than 240 beds in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

As Mayor Kevin Faulconer eyes a bid for governor, he’s peddling his approach to homelessness in a state grappling with its homeless crisis.

Faulconer’s policy prescription: Dramatically increase homeless shelter offerings and services and then use police to force homeless Californians to use them, a tack that is controversial in San Diego and among national experts.

Faulconer told Lisa Halverstadt that the potential 2022 state ballot measure he’s sketching out will likely include a component making it easier to force homeless Californians into shelter.

Halverstadt laid out the criticisms that have followed similar proposals and Faulconer’s policies surrounding police and homelessness, and dug into the outcomes of the mayor’s push for increased enforcement of crimes associated with homelessness and of police-led efforts to help homeless San Diegans.

Faulconer has said his approach of bolstered services and enforcement has led to reductions in homelessness in San Diego, pointing to homeless census numbers showing a year-over-year drop in overall and street homelessness. But as Halverstadt reported earlier this week, changes to the methodology of the county itself and Faulconer’s own policies making homelessness less visible complicate the success story he’s touting.

Dire COVID-19 Predictions from UCSD

San Diego County could reach its capacity limit for ICU beds in the next week, according to new modelling data from a team of epidemiologists from UC San Diego. 

The team found that if current trends in virus transmission continue San Diego’s hospital system could soon be entirely overwhelmed, Natasha Martin, who specializes in infectious disease modelling at UCSD, told the County Board of Supervisors at a Tuesday meeting. 

Martin noted, however, that the new stay-at-home order has the potential to reduce the spread of the virus enough to help San Diego’s hospital system handle the new surge in COVID cases. 

The model attempted to gage the impact of a three-week versus eight-week stay-at-home order. 

A three-week stay-at-home order showed San Diego with enough breathing room to handle growing demand for hospital beds. With ICU beds, where the need is more dire, a three-week stay-at-home order seemed to show the region would still ultimately tap out its capacity. 

Martin also showed slides that demonstrated her modelling has been extremely accurate in recent weeks. But she noted that gaging the impact of the stay-at-home order was difficult to model. Because of fatigue and the upcoming holidays, people may be less inclined to follow a stay-at-home order than they were in March, she said. 

Dems Wanna Count Dem Ballots Again

San Diego County Democratic Party chairman Will Rodriguez-Kennedy has requested a recount for the Santee City Council District 4 election. In a letter to county registrar Michael Vu, which was shared on social media Tuesday, Rodriguez-Kennedy said he was making the request on behalf of Samm Hurst, a fellow Democrat. 

In the final election results, Hurst lost to Republican Dustin Trotter by five votes. 

“Given the closeness of the vote, I believe a thorough recount could affect the outcome,” Rodriguez-Kennedy wrote. “This process will ensure the credibility and fairness of our electoral system for the voters of the City of Santee.” 

City Council Meeting Cut Short

The San Diego City Council got cut short due to technical problems. The remaining items on the agenda will be taken up as early as next week after the new five members of the City Council are sworn in. 

Before adjourning, the outgoing members got through the consent agenda as well as items certifying the election results and mid-year capital improvement project budget adjustments, said Dave Rolland, the City Council communications director. 

The inauguration ceremony for the new mayor, city attorney and 73rd City Council is scheduled to take place Thursday. Their first order of business: selecting a new Council president. 

In a new op-ed, four San Diego residents argue that by electing Monica Montgomery Steppe as president the new Council would be showing its commitment to open, transparent and equitable government decision-making.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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