Voice of San Diego's Lisa Halverstadt attends a press conference in light of the city's decision to sue sellers of the 101 Ash Street and Civic Center Plaza deals. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

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We had big expectations for 2021. Vaccinations became available, schools reopened, and as Randy Dotinga writes, it gave our community an opportunity to wonder — if only for a moment — whether we were about to get back to normal. 

As part of VOSD’s annual year-end tradition, our team of reporters and editors shared a recap of their best work over the past year and looked forward to what’s next. 

Some highlights: Our old friend Sara Libby reflected on the culmination of the police killing of Fridoon Nehad, which we’ve followed since it occurred in 2015. Scott Lewis held up his look into Rep. Scott Peters’ insertion into Congressional negotiations over how Medicare could negotiate drug prices. Maya Srikrishnan looked back on the first episode of the new San Diego 101 podcast episode, on how some high-profile people first got involved in local government. And Bella Ross, now working at the Union-Tribune, highlighted her look at San Diego’s struggle to address its lack of public restrooms, especially downtown.

See the work we’re most proud of here.

VOSD Podcast: The Low-Down on Elo

San Diego City Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera speaks to KPBS Reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler at a press conference for a pop-up vaccine site in City Heights. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This week’s podcast brings you a sit down with freshly-minted San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, whose rapid rise to one of the most powerful positions in the city surprised many.

He spoke with hosts Scott Lewis and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña about why he sought the job, his biggest priorities for the city and how he wants to tackle our biggest issues — like homelessness, government transparency and suffering infrastructure.

“I really do see this role as being an opportunity to demonstrate that the council can be strong, that it can be collaborative and that it can be transparent in a way that allows for the body to be the policy making body that it’s meant to be,” he said.

Listen to the full episode here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

All This Rain Won’t Relieve San Diego’s Drought

If you haven’t heard, rain is coming and there’s going to be a lot of it.

Dan Gregoria, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says a Pacific Storm bringing a stream of moisture from the tropics (called an atmospheric river, and less formally, a pineapple express) means at least two inches of rain countywide. 

Yet San Diego, like most of California, is still experiencing major drought. San Diego County in particular is in moderate drought, which is worse than abnormally dry, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. This year’s rain deficit for the region amounts to about 2.85 inches, meaning we need that much more to nudge us out of drought, Gregoria said. 

More rain is expected next week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

So, What Have We Learned This Year?

You might have noticed our series this week reflecting on all the things we learned about our region this year.

And it taught us a lot. From the disproportionate impacts COVID-19 had on county residents to which side of the border we’re willing to spend money to solve the Tijuana River sewage crisis, the stories we’ve followed all year have revealed some harsh truths about San Diego.

We’ve put all those stories in one place, if you want to catch up. And good news: we’ve got a few more on the way next week, too.

Check out our What We Learned This Year series here.

In Other News

  • Brace yourselves, politics junkies: There won’t be a Politics Report this weekend. Yes, yes, there is an actually surprising amount of politics news and chatter — Assemblyman Chris Ward, for example, just announced that even though most of his district has moved to a new district, he’s going to run in the one he lives in (that saves Tasha Boerner Horvath some awkwardness and she can run for the coastal district) — but we are working on some other good stuff and trying to finish the year strong. And then there’s the whole taking a break to spend time with family, etc. We’ll have a new Morning Report Tuesday.
  • The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department stops, searches and uses force against people of color more often than White people, a study released earlier this month found, two years after the department commissioned the study. Now, a citizens group that oversees the department has asked the department to draft a report on how it will respond to the report’s findings. It gave the department 60 days to report back. (Union-Tribune)
  • More than 1,400 city employees either are not yet vaccinated, or have not told the city what their vaccination status is, some three weeks after the city’s vaccination mandate went into effect, NBC 7 reported Thursday. On a percentage basis, police officers are leading the pack of holdouts, with 38 percent not yet fully vaccinated. As we reported at the beginning of the month, though, the deadline wasn’t really the deadline. Employees have until Jan. 4 when they’ll receive notices of termination for not being vaccinated. They would then receive all the protections that public employees receive, including a hearing of their case, which they can appeal if it doesn’t go their way.
  • The district attorney’s office is warning the public about the prevalence of drunk driving, and increased DUI enforcement, ahead of the holiday season. (Fox 5 San Diego)

This Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, MacKenzie Elmer and Megan Wood.

We have just one week left to raise $56,000 to hit our fundraising goal of $250,000 for the new year. Support all of the great work our team does by becoming a member today. The Morning Report will be back in your inbox Tuesday, Dec. 28. Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

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