Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilwoman Jen Campbell talk toElvida Elizalde, a homeless resident in the Ocean Beach area, while conductiing the Point-in-Time Count that surveys homeless individuals throughout the San Diego region on Feb. 24, 2022. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilwoman Jen Campbell talk to Elvida Elizalde, a homeless resident in the Ocean Beach area, while conducting the Point-in-Time Count that surveys homeless individuals throughout the San Diego region on Feb. 24, 2022. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, along with the mayors from California’s largest cities are advocating for the extension of state funding for homelessness programs. 

Funding from the state’s Homelessness Housing Assistance and Prevention Program has allowed cities to purchase new shelter beds, provide case-management services and make overall improvements to services for homeless individuals.That funding is set to expire next year. 

Gloria and the other big city mayors held a press conference in Sacramento on Monday, urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to extend the program and approve $3 billion over three years in the state budget. That money would go directly to cities as flexible homeless funding.

“We have a powerful tool when it comes to the [Homelessness Housing Assistance and Prevention Program],” Gloria said. “The dollars the state entrusts to us have allowed us to do big, bold things — things that Californians want us to do.”

In San Diego, the funding has allowed the city to expand shelter capacity by 1,000 beds, a 21 percent increase, Gloria said. The funding was also used for rapid re-housing, safe parking sites, safe storage sites and more.

Statewide, the program has funded more than 9,000 shelter beds and housed more than 25,000 homeless individuals.

The mayors included Libby Schaaf from Oakland, Sam Liccardo from San Jose, Jerry Dyer from Fresno, Darrell Steinberg from Sacramento, Karen Goh from Bakersfield, Kevin Lincoln from Stockton, Patricia Lock Dawson from Riverside and Vicente Sarmiento from Santa Ana.

The Verdict Is in on One Man’s Yellow Water

Water from a faucet in National City on April 15, 2022
Water from the faucet of a home in National City on April 15, 2022 / Photo courtesy of Ramel J. Wallace

When National City’s water turned yellow earlier this month and no one was notified why, one man looked for answers. 

Ramel Wallace first turned to a community Facebook group. But all he found was other neighbors posting about the apple juice-colored water coming out of their kitchen faucets. 

Eventually the public water agency Sweetwater Authority explained that there was nothing to fear, because there was no impact to water quality and safety. 

Still, Wallace saved a bottle from the tap, tested it himself and shared the results with Environment Reporter MacKenzie Elmer. 

Here’s what we learned.

Police Officers Across the Country (Even Some in Chula Vista) Are Increasingly Promoting, Marketing Drone Technology 

Motherboard reports that California-based drone company Skydio has managed to get drones into dozens of police departments with the help of officers who have become the technology’s biggest supporters

Hundreds of emails reviewed by Motherboard detail how some officers are helping promote the company’s products to their colleagues. They are also encouraged to fill out Google forms about their experiences with the drones, in a way serving as “beta testers,” Motherboard reports. 

The company told Motherboard that it engages law enforcement officials regularly to solicit feedback and share best practices. 

Still, this close relationship has opened up career opportunities for officers, who can turn around and leverage their social and professional network. 

A drone sits idle at the rooftop of the Chula Vista Police headquarters. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Voice of San Diego reported last year that two police officers and members of Chula Vista Police Department’s drone program now work for Skydio and Axon, which provides live streaming technology for aerial vehicles. The city’s drone program was the first in the country to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly drones to respond to 911 calls. 

The former head of Chula Vista’s program has gone on to coordinate tours and draft federal waivers that other cities can easily replicate. He told us that his goal is to advance the drone industry in law enforcement and views himself as an “influencer in the public safety space.”

Chula Vista’s drone program and its accompanying PR efforts have been hugely successful, attracting the attention of media and law enforcement from across the globe. As Voice of San Diego also reported last year, the Tijuana Police Department launched its own drone program after seeing Chula Vista’s.

The city’s Technology & Privacy Advisory Task Force met for the first time on Monday night to talk about potential policies.

In Other News 

  • The giant building ad wraps that pop up during Comic-Con will likely come back this summer despite a push to get rid of them once and for all. The city does in fact have a law on the books that prohibits such ads, but the fines are so small that advertisers don’t mind paying up if they bring in more business. Officials so far don’t seem interested in making changes to that law. (Union-Tribune) 
  • City crews spent the morning removing some palm trees in Ocean Beach, and KUSI reported that some residents had thoughts about it, but our fearless leader was there to remind everyone that palm trees are not really trees. Also, the city clarified that the city had to cut down the palm trees at the direction of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority because the palm trees were intruding into protected airspace
  • San Dieguito Superintendent Cheryl-James Ward, who was recently placed on administrative leave following her controversial comments about Asian students, said she is suing the district for retaliation. James-Ward told NBC 7 the real reason she was placed on leave is because she is being retaliated against for a complaint she filed in March against board vice president Michael Allman. (NBC 7)
  • The Union-Tribune reports that the San Diego City Council is moving forward with a plan that would allow city auditors to hire outside lawyers. Council members agreed Monday to begin a meet-and-confer process in advance of placing the issue before voters later this year.

This Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Tigist Layne, MacKenzie Elmer and Jesse Marx. It was edited by Megan Wood. 

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