Residents enjoy the view of the ocean in Carlsbad amid beach closures. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Last week, Voice of San Diego published a series of stories on an array of “San Diego specials,” or relatively small-scale challenges that other cities have long since solved.

Plenty of those challenges also apply to North County and many of them reflect larger systematic problems at the regional level that have arisen, in part, due to disagreements from one city to the next. A few issues still at a standstill: There’s an overwhelming lack of diversity in police leadership, coastal anxieties on what can be built where, a lack of long-term plan for homelessness, competing energy providers, tensions over public transportation lines and a vast number of political leaders who remain complacent or unknown to their own communities.

My (now former) editor Sara Libby said it so well in her farewell: “Call it San Diego Nice. It’s a devotion to politeness at the expense of progress.” The same sentiment also applies in North County.

One of Voice of San Diego’s goals is to increase civic participation by giving residents the knowledge and in-depth analysis necessary to become advocates for good government and social progress. But there’s a difference — many North County cities are news deserts, and don’t get the same kind of coverage as the city of San Diego does. I encourage you all to push for quality journalism in your communities.

Now some news from me: After three years, I’m moving on from Voice of San Diego. In my last hurrah here I want to thank you all for welcoming me into your communities, teaching me about yourselves and the people and issues that matter most to you, and trusting me with your stories. I’m headed on to a new adventure, but feel free to stay in touch with me via Twitter or email.

It was an overwhelming yet rewarding feat jumping into reporting on the region’s numerous cities, schools, police departments, leaders and other public entities. In the last two years alone, Carlsbad restaurants became ground zero for COVID defiance, women politicians across the county said they faced harassment and threats, a decade’s worth of harassment and abuse complaints at Westview High in Poway were revealed, an Encinitas parking lot for the homeless stirred fear and anger, and the pandemic drove home disparities in internet access.

If you have a story about your community you haven’t seen reflected in Voice of San Diego’s coverage, I encourage you to reach out to one of the newsroom’s incredible journalists. They’ve all helped me tremendously along the way — whether it be to explain the reasons behind the lack of shelter for unhoused residents, what a beach groin is or the arguments on building housing in the backcountry.

What We’re Working On

  • After a long push for in-person school, some parents are getting cold feet about sending their kids back to the classroom.
  • Will Huntsberry reports that non-classroom-based charter schools ranked near the bottom of a new analysis of test scores that took poverty levels into account.

In Other News

  • North County parents are rallying against the mask mandate in schools in Oceanside and Encinitas. (Coast News, Fox 5)
  • Carlsbad appointed longtime resident Peder Norby to fill the City Council seat left vacant by former Councilwoman Cori Schumacher. (Union-Tribune)
  • Oceanside will extend its sobering center, motel voucher program. (Union-Tribune)
  • The county is joining a coalition headed by Southern California Edison to move nuclear waste from San Onofre. The county also selected San Diego Community Power as part of its community choice energy program. (Union-Tribune, Coast News)
  • Two candidates for San Diego County sheriff made their pitches at a deputy sheriff’s association forum. A third candidate is expected to jump into the race soon. (Union-Tribune)
  • The Encinitas City Council overturned a decision by the city’s Planning Commission to deny permits to a controversial Vulcan Avenue apartment project. (Union-Tribune)
  • And finally, a slew of new restaurants are driving economic recovery in North County. (KPBS)

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