Illustration by Carolyn Ramos for Voice of San Diego

The house on the corner of Boyle Avenue looks like any other single-family home on Oak Hill Drive in Escondido. But the story of how it passed from a charity to a friend of the charity’s leaders and then to another friend of the charity’s leaders is unlike any other, reports Will Huntsberry. 

Affordable Senior Housing Foundation, a nonprofit, owns Oak Hill Residential Care. It also previously owned 1385 Oak Hill Dr – a house that sits across the street from the senior center and was used for storage.  

In August 2020, Zillow valued the house at $505,900. But at the same time, Affordable Senior Housing’s leaders sold the house, without listing it, for just $150,000 – to a friend of the charity’s chief financial officer. 

Charities “are legally barred from making deals that enrich other people at the expense of the charity itself,” writes Huntsberry. “That’s the deal they strike with the federal government by becoming nonprofit organizations: In exchange for not paying taxes, they must serve the public good, rather than a particular person’s private business interests.”

They’re also required to sell assets at fair market value and make attempts to market them to interested parties. 

But the leaders of Affordable Senior Housing say there is good reason they had to arrange a quick, cash sale of the house. They were in line to get a loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If they didn’t sell the house quickly, they would have had to restart the HUD loan process and lost much more money than they did on the sale of the house.  

Eric Bills, who bought the home for $150,000, sold it shortly thereafter for $350,000. He confirmed he made no improvements. 

Bills sold the house to a Poway family that also had connections to the charity’s executives. A little more than a month after buying it, they had a pending sale for $624,999 in the works. 

Affordable Senior Housing’s executives are also part-owners of at least two for-profit companies, with which the charity does business.

Read the full story here. 

Bobby Ewing, a former marine and Vietnam veteran, holds one of his recent parking tickets on April 19, 2022. Ewing lives in his car, and said police have stopped issuing vehicle habitation citations. Even so, he’s racked up over $5,000 in parking tickets. / Photo by Jakob McWhinney

City Isn’t Enforcing Controversial Ban on Vehicle Homelessness

People living in vehicles and attorneys representing them have for years been fighting the city’s crackdown on homeless residents living in cars, RVs and large vehicles.

They’ve been particularly focused on ending a city law that bans living in vehicles.

As the legal battle continues, Lisa Halverstadt and Jakob McWhinney discovered the city quietly stopped enforcing that law, known as the vehicle habitation ordinance. A city spokeswoman said police initially stopped enforcing the law during the pandemic and decided to continue that policy due to the ongoing lawsuit.

The city is mum on exactly when it halted enforcement of the controversial ordinance, but one thing is certain: It’s made that call as vehicle homelessness is increasingly visible across the city, including in beach communities and in the Midway District.

That doesn’t mean homeless residents living in vehicles aren’t dealing with any enforcement. The city and several San Diegans living in vehicles confirmed that police are still issuing citations for parking violations such as the oversized vehicle ordinance, which is often applied to people living in large vehicles and RVs.

Read more here. 

All of The Above 

Mayor Todd Gloria’s staff made it clear earlier this month that they wanted to whittle down the number of bidders vying to redevelop the 50 acres of land around the Sports Arena. But as Scott Lewis writes in the latest Politics Report, several council members left those plans in tatters. 

That’s because the City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee voted to recommend that the council analyze all the bidders. That’s a big deal because, as Lewis writes, the city will probably not be able to narrow the bidders down to one before the November election. 

And that means none of the bidders are going to be especially motivated to help the city pass another ballot measure to exempt the Midway neighborhood from the 30-foot coastal height limit on construction.  

All of the plans depend on that happening though. Maybe they’ll all throw in as kind of a pooling of bets?  

Read more in the Politics Report here. 

Over on the podcast: our hosts took us on a spin through the recent history of the San Diego County fair, which nearly didn’t happen this year after the fairgrounds CEO was accused in a lawsuit of rigging a lucrative contract for one carnival operator. They also check in on the Chula Vista mayor’s race and a slew of potential ballot measures in San Diego related to ranked-choice voting, the coastal height limit and more. 

In Other News

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott is asking a judge to overturn a jury’s verdict, or grant a new trial, in a wrongful termination case. The court found the city liable for $3.9 million in damages for the firing of a former high-ranking lawyer. (Union-Tribune) 

The Union-Tribune explores the story of two mothers taking refuge in the city of Tijuana in a short video. One mother is from Honduras and the other is from the Ukraine. They both are on a journey, motivated by the need to protect their children, but their stories are vastly different. 

NBC 7 reported that Liana LeBaron, a Lemon Grove City Councilwoman, was arrested last week and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. 

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Lisa Halverstadt, Jesse Marx and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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