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One hallmark of San Diego civic dialogue is that people tend to treat relatively trivial matters as life-and-death – whether it’s vacation rentals (cause of death: hearing someone wheeling a suitcase into a residence in your vicinity) or scooters (cause of death: seeing a scooter).
It’s both ironic and infuriating because as this week painfully demonstrated once again, some of these matters are life-and-death – for the people trying to make something happen in the face of vocal and often unreasonable opposition.
A 57-year-old woman lost her life while biking on Pershing Drive this week after a driver struck her with his car.
Protected bike lanes on Pershing Drive supposed to be finished by now – an effort that could have very well saved this woman’s life, as we discussed on this week’s podcast with a great assist from KPBS’s Andrew Bowen.
San Diego’s excruciating insistence on taking very seriously the insincere demands of Neighbors Who Hate Everything was on display in a CBS 8 segment on the cyclist’s death in which the station bizarrely included an interview with an anti-bike-lane activist who railed against bike lanes on nearby 30th Street.
To be clear, Pershing Drive, where the cyclist was killed, has no businesses. It has no parking to eliminate. It has no homes. It is virtually the only artery connecting North Park, where lots of people live, to downtown, where lots of people work.
That same activist, Pat Sexton, once told San Diego Magazine that “she and most of [her anti-bike lane group] are pro bikeway,” yet she’s exclusively appeared in the media for years … opposing bikeways.
To be clear, I am not a cyclist. I’m not suggesting we should create bike infrastructure out of a desire to use it.I don’t enjoy sharing the road with cyclists when I’m driving, and am often annoyed by what seems like their desire to enjoy the benefits afforded to both drivers and pedestrians and their willingness to follow the rules of neither.
And yet it’s easy to find plenty of reasons to support more bike infrastructure. Indeed, the very fact that I don’t enjoy sharing the road with cyclists means it’s only logical that I’d favor a barrier separating bikes and cars. While I may not like sharing the road with bikes, I frankly don’t love sharing the road with other cars either – and accommodating bikes might mean fewer cars.
Then there’s the fact that I’m not a callous monster and don’t want my neighbors to die needless deaths.
What VOSD Learned This Week
Police officers as prosecutors? That’s basically what’s happening in San Diego courtrooms, thanks to City Attorney Mara Elliott’s decision not to bother taking part in infractions cases, which still go forward without her office’s involvement.
And speaking of police, Jesse Marx and I laid out a big-picture overview of what’s changed in policing in San Diego and California over the last year – and what hasn’t.
Many of the coaches who’ve been fired by San Diego County school districts over the last several years have kept their positions as educators, which critics say evades full accountability and preserves their access to students. Speaking of school districts, Fallbrook’s elementary school district ousted its board president but won’t tell the public why.
San Diego Unified’s board is set to hire a new superintendent – here’s what we know about where the process is at and what it will look like this time around.
Preserving the limited stock of so-called single-room occupancy hotels has always been seen as a major priority in alleviating the housing and homelessness crises. The city finally has a plan – the only problem is that SRO owners hate it.
Some Asian residents of Park Village, which was split from the rest of Rancho Peñasquitos in the last round of redistricting, say it’s more important for them to be grouped with the rest of their neighborhood than to be part of an Asian-empowerment district.
What I’m Reading
- This is a unique and fascinating visual history of America’s immigration detention origins. (Bloomberg Citylab)
- I am deeply invested in the Olympics, but it’s also undeniable that this year’s games are depressing and possibly irresponsible. This piece made me feel better about still wanting to find joy in them despite it all. (New York Times)
- Tennessee stopped many forms of its vaccine outreach under pressure from Republican lawmakers. (Then it restarted them after this story revealing it all was published. Journalism!) (Tennessean)
- Kids in preschool are expelled at three times (!) the rate of kids in K-12 schools – and mental health resources might be the key to reversing the trend. (The 19th)
- The climate crisis and its devastating impacts are driving Guatemalans to seek refuge in the United States. (Politico)
Line of the Week
“Yet by being worth around $200 billion and having few people who are likely to tell him the truth about, say, how he looks in a cowboy hat riding his phallic rocket, he has become the Dorian Gray of dorkiness, a locus classicus and fun-house mirror through which a sizable contingent of usually white men, approaching middle age and unpossessed of Ryan Gosling’s looks, should see ourselves, if we become honest enough to admit the errors of spending our way into regrettable stylistic choices.” – Some good analysis on Jeff Bezos’s very literal interpretation of a space cowboy.