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Ocean View Hills, seen here on Dec. 12, 2021, is part of the Nestor neighborhood. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The city of San Diego will start to spend $7 million over the next year to help neighborhoods more vulnerable to climate change’s impacts — heat waves, drought and flooding — prepare. But that requires identifying those areas. And that’s an important step because more money is coming.

The city zeroed in on specific census tracts in need of an extra financial boost in the name of climate equity. But in an analysis of the data, reporter MacKenzie Elmer found the formula the city is using has some problems. 

In her story, Elmer takes us to the hilltop homes of Ocean View Hills and then to the southern San Diego neighborhood of Nestor, where the poverty rate is twice as high. Ocean View Hills qualifies for extra equity cash while Nestor does not.

“That’s a stark contrast,” said Richard Cuevas, who moved to Nestor from east Oakland in 1989 and is a member of the Otay Mesa Nestor planning group. “The issues we have down here are getting swept under the rug just like they always do.”  

Governments all over California are developing tools like San Diego’s Climate Equity Index with the good intention of identifying and supporting communities in need. These tools are not perfect but the city of San Diego plans to learn on its own to prioritize funding in the future. 

Click here to read the full story.

The Mask Mandate Is Back

State health officials are once again asking Californians to resume wearing face coverings in public indoor buildings such as businesses and entertainment locations — regardless of vaccination status. The Union-Tribune reports that the change will go into effect Wednesday

California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said the guideline will run through Jan. 15 and will have no impact on gatherings inside homes. 

The state’s decision to ask residents to resume wearing face masks comes after an increasing concern over the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, officials said. 

Are Two Tijuanas Better Than One?

Houses in the eastern area of Tijuana. The Tijuana City Council is considering a proposal to create two Tijuanas by splitting up the eastern part of the city into a separate municipality. / Photo by Sandra Dibble

A proposal to split the city of Tijuana into two separate municipalities has been generating fierce debate among members of Mexican President Andrés López Obrador’s Morena party as it moves through Baja California’s Congress. 

Those in favor of splitting the city in two believe it would allow neighborhoods in eastern Tijuana — many of which have long dealt with inadequate trash pickup, street lighting, schools and other recreational services — to have greater control over the area’s issues. But those against it see dividing the city as a move that would further segregate the city’s neediest areas.

VOSD contributor Sandra Dibble in the latest Border Report breaks down why the proposal, brought forward by Araceli Geraldo Núñez, a Morena member who represents the state’s 14th electoral district, is irking members of her own party. In the meantime, the state is moving forward with analyzing the proposal, and if approved, would eventually kick it up to Tijuana voters. 

Click here to read more. 

Speaking of Controversial Boundaries 

The city is nearing the end of a “turbulent redistricting possess,” writes UC San Diego student Aidan Lin in a new opinion piece. A big takeaway is that many communities — especially diverse, underrepresented areas — were let down by the group of volunteers in charge of deciding the city’s new political boundaries. 

Lin writes that the commission chose to keep undergraduate students with the wealthy neighborhood of La Jolla, despite organizing efforts by students for the area to become part of City Council District 6. Students argued that the college area had more in common with the district and therefore should be a part of it. The students were also in favor of a map drawn up by several community organizations that empowered people of color, but that didn’t pass. 

Although the process is almost over, groups plan to continue pushing for change. 

Click here to read Lin’s take on redistricting. 

In Other News

  • A former nurse at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas shared screenshots of the facility’s electronic health record system with Los Angeles Times business columnist David Lazarus that painted a clear picture of the widespread “institutional price gouging” in America’s healthcare system. The screenshots showed price hikes automatically generated by the hospital’s software ranging from 575 percent to 675 percent. Yikes.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that national leaders of the NAACP have suspended San Diego chapter president Francine Maxwell from conducting business on behalf of the organization. A letter to Maxwell said she failed to follow a national order to add an administrator to the group’s bank account and did not fill a vacancy for branch secretary, violating NAACP bylaws and policies.
  • Donate blood if you can. San Diego hospitals are worried they may need to start delaying surgeries because of an ongoing blood shortage. (Union-Tribune)
  • U.S. women’s national team star Alex Morgan is joining the San Diego Wave, which will begin play in the National Women’s Soccer League next season. (Sports Illustrated)

This Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and MacKenzie Elmer. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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