Chris LeFall passes a gas station while driving for Uber Eats in Chula Vista on March 11, 2022.
Chula Vista resident Chris LeFall passes a gas station while driving for Uber Eats on March 11, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler for Voice of San Diego

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There’s nothing new about it being expensive to live in San Diego – but even by our standards, it feels like it’s been an especially tough time for working families.

That’s why we’ve decided to dedicate this entire week to stories on how typical San Diegans are making ends meet in the face of spiking costs in housing, transportation, utilities, child care and the rest.

In the first installment in our Cost of Living Crisis series, we wanted to get an intimate picture of the harsh budget realities facing four different San Diego households.

Out of four families, just one owns their own home. Two have roommates and one lives in affordable housing. 

“You have to roll with the punches,” said full-time student and father of two Christopher LeFall, who lives in Chula Vista with family to save on rent. “You have to put one foot in front of the next and just keep moving.” 

To the extent the four families tell a similar story, it is this: Getting by comfortably in San Diego is becoming more and more a luxury that only the ultra-wealthy can afford.

Read the first story in our new “Cost of Living Crisis” series here

Be sure to follow along all week while we continue to focus on the cost-of-living crisis. And if you’ve got a perspective to add – or want to alert us to something we’ve overlooked – don’t hesitate to contact Andrew Keatts.

State Officials Refused to Answer Why They Isolated, Interviewed Toddlers

The owners of Aspen Leaf Preschool last week met with state officials hoping to get answers about why officials interviewed small children alone about the school’s masking policy. They were quickly disappointed though, when most of their questions went unanswered, writes Will Huntsberry in a new story.  

Aspen Leaf previously had a policy in place not to mask its students, despite a state mandate that required preschoolers to wear masks except when they were sleeping and eating.

State regulators were aware of the preschool’s policy, but showed up at Aspen Leaf’s three facilities in mid-January to conduct an investigation. They interviewed children alone without a familiar adult present, outraging Aspen Leaf’s parents, Voice of San Diego reported.  

The state officials’ tactics alarmed parents who felt that it was unnecessary for them to interview the children alone about the school’s masking policy given that they could see students were not wearing masks. 

Read Huntsberry’s story here. 

Tell Me You Need a Tax Measure, Without Telling Me You Need a Tax Measure 

In this week’s Politics Report, Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis outline how a dispute on the SANDAG board reveals the odd position in which the agency finds itself.

An outside group of unions and environmentalists is currently collecting signatures for a November ballot measure that would increase sales taxes to pay for the region’s transit needs. Since it’s an outside group instead of SANDAG itself pushing the measure, there’s a good chance the measure will need just a bare majority of support for approval. But that also means the agency needs to take a hands-off approach to the measure, even though it really needs voters to approve it.

The agency last year passed a new, decades-long plan for the region’s transportation needs. That plan assumes that voters won’t just approve a tax measure in 2022, but that they’ll do the same in 2024, and also in 2028. If any of those things fall through? The agency will need to find another way to get the money for everything it wants to build.

Even though the agency is dependent on this tax measure, though, the board shot down Friday a proposal to hold a hearing to consider putting up their own measure.

Read the Politics Report here. 

Over on the podcast: our hosts walked through two of our big stories from last week. One is about the mysterious death of a 31-year-old man whose family is skeptical of the official narrative. The other is about toddlers who were interviewed alone by state agents investigating a local pre-school group’s mask policy.

Elsewhere: U-T columnist Michael Smolens writes that immigration advocates are pressing the president to take executive action as legislation flounders during an election year. Biden has insisted that a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and border enforcement are not at odds. 

In Other News 

  • The San Diego Union-Tribune reported over the weekend that the county’s two largest law enforcement departments are losing officers and deputies faster than they can hire them. Police leaders and experts attribute that to work demands, staffing shortages, and leaving for jobs that pay more or offer better benefits. (FYI This story is for subscribers only) 
  • An early review of the city’s new ambulance provider found that it has regularly understaffed ambulances, and officials with the San Diego Fire-Rescue plan to pursue financial penalties. SDFD Chief Colin Stowell laid out the department’s concerns about Flack’s performance during a city committee meeting last week. (KPBS) 
  • Coronado’s director of recreation and golf services, Roger Miller, resigned, the city announced Thursday. His resignation comes after a video was released alleging that Miller and his wife made racist statements toward Asians. (KBPS) 

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Jesse Marx.

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