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For months, there’s been speculation about what appears to be a dramatic rise in homelessness countywide.
Today the numbers are finally out. The Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the group behind the annual count, reports that homelessness has spiked 10 percent since 2020, and that street homelessness is up 3 percent.
But as Lisa Halverstadt reports, other data points — and even the Task Force itself — suggest the 8,427 homeless residents counted in late February represent a minimum number rather than a comprehensive view of the region’s homeless population.
For example, Halverstadt reports that other Task Force data shows more than 21,000 people accessed temporary housing or interacted with outreach workers from October 2020 through September 2021. And another Task Force data set reveals that more people have become homeless for the first time in the last two years.
Related: Wondering how the homeless crisis is playing out in your area? Here’s a breakdown of the number of homeless residents counted throughout San Diego County.
In North County, Oceanside now has the highest unsheltered homeless population, replacing Escondido.
The latest numbers from the homeless census show that Escondido’s unsheltered homeless population decreased by more than 30 percent, while Oceanside’s increased by more than 30 percent.
He Said, He Said on Gun Owners Endorsement Push
This weekend in the Politics Report (you should be a donating member of Voice of San Diego and get the goods!) we covered the curious dispute between Dave Myers, who is running for sheriff, and the San Diego Gun Owners PAC.
The Gun Owners PAC has previously supported Myers but decided this time to support Undersheriff Kelly Martinez. After that, Myers began criticizing Martinez for pandering to “her gun lobby,” specifically the Gun Owners PAC and their opposition to local regulations trying to control the proliferation of ghost guns.
But Gun Owners PAC Executive Director Michael Schwartz told us Myers aggressively sought the Gun Owners endorsement even after they sued to stop local regulations on ghost guns.
Myers denied that and said he was only asking for Schwartz’s personal financial support for his campaign, not the Gun Owners PAC endorsement.
After the piece ran: Myers continued to argue Schwartz was lying. He told us the Gun Owners explicitly require candidates who want their endorsement to fill out a questionnaire and meet with the group.
“Did Scwartz provide completed questionnaire any documents he even offered for me to complete one and dates to meet with his board members? NO,” Myers wrote in a message to us.
Schwartz responded that they didn’t need a new questionnaire and he told Myers that when he asked for the endorsement in December.
“He knows (and knew) we do not ask people to complete a questionnaire a second time. We never have,” Schwartz said. “It was his instability (for lack of a better term) that scared the Board away from him. Not his views on guns.”
Chula Vista Delays New Landlord-Tenant Rules
After a marathon meeting Tuesday night, the Chula Vista City Council decided to table a pair of ordinances intended to put tighter rules around evictions and come back with more information and possible revisions.
As the Union-Tribune noted, the first of the two proposals would have temporarily prevented landlords from kicking tenants out of their homes for the purpose of making significant repairs. A similar ban on what’s known as “no-fault” evictions in San Diego will take effect Sunday.
Chula Vista’s proposal required four votes but only three members of the City Council were present. Andrea Cardenas was a no-show, and John McCann recused himself because he owns multiple properties. An alternative proposal would have placed limits on the reasons that a landlord could terminate a renter’s tenancy.
Tenants and activists said the rules were needed to protect them against harassment and loopholes in state law, citing a couple examples. Property owners called the proposals extreme and burdensome, arguing the problem is not widespread.
Both proposals are expected to come back up for discussion in July.
In Other News
- The city of San Diego slashed its street vendor fee in response to pressure from immigrant rights groups and advocates for racial equity. Officials are also expected to spend $5 million annually on enforcement of the new law by adding 44 employees. (Union-Tribune)
- U-T columnist Michael Smolens considers the history of water policy in Southern California and offers insight into why Orange County moved ahead with wastewater recycling when San Diego did not. (Heads up: this one’s for subscribers only.)
- Encinitas voters will vote on a ballot measure that would increase taxes for local cannabis businesses. (Coast News)
- A study on California Condors found the birds are eating prey with dangerously high levels of DDT. (NBC 7)
- A San Diego-based Navy combat ship successfully fired hellfire missiles from sea to a land-based target (location undisclosed) for the first time earlier this month. (Times of San Diego).
Correction: A previous version of the “Morning Report: Volunteers of America Southwest Under Criminal Investigation,” misstated how much SDG&E proposes to raise rates between 2023 and 2024. It is an almost 19 percent increase. It also had an incorrect title for Mitch Mitchell. He’s the senior vice president of diversity and community partnerships for Sempra.
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Jesse Marx, Will Huntsberry, Scott Lewis and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.