Natalie Raschke struggles to speak to a woman from the auto repair shop where their van is being repaired.
Natalie Raschke struggles to speak to a woman from the auto repair shop where their van is being repaired. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

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Like most people who become homeless, Natalie and Dustin Raschke never thought it could happen to their family of six.

After losing their bartending jobs at the start of the pandemic, the couple and their four kids packed into an RV to return to San Diego where they had previously lived for years. They planned to temporarily stay at a Mission Bay campground until they got through the pandemic and secured new jobs.

But, as our Lisa Halverstadt and contributor Peggy Peattie reveal, those plans fell apart. The Raschkes and their children — now ages 4 to 15 — ended up parking their RV on city streets where they spent months unsuccessfully trying to avoid parking tickets. Then, in early February, police ordered their RV to be impounded following a series of unpaid tickets and an expired registration while they spent a rare night in a hotel.

Alo, left, and Natalie Raschke inside of their van as the family prepares to spend the night camped out in a parking lot. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

Now the family of six usually sleeps in a van and despite the multiple pay raises Dustin has received since starting a new job, they have been unable to find a permanent home.

The experience has been excruciating for the couple and their four children.

You can read their story here.

Cody Hooven Departs San Diego Community Power

Cody Hooven, one of the top leaders at the region’s fledgling public power company, has left San Diego Community Power. Her departure as the agency’s chief operating officer was not publicly announced, but confirmed by Voice of San Diego Tuesday. 

Eddie Price, chair of the agency’s Community Advisory Committee, said he learned recently that Hooven is no longer with the agency, but couldn’t share more details about her departure. 

“There wouldn’t be a CCA if it wasn’t for Cody Hooven. She’s the one that got five cities to come together. It’s hard to get five council people to come together in the same city,” Price said. “She always fought for us to have a voice, that’s for sure.”

Hooven transitioned from her position at the helm of the City of San Diego’s Sustainability Department to build San Diego Community Power from scratch. It’s one of dozens of public agencies created statewide with the mission of producing cleaner, less expensive electricity than investor-owned utilities like San Diego Gas and Electric.  

Click here to read about Hooven’s recent departure.

Gloria Pushes Behavioral Health Reform at State Capitol

Mayor Todd Gloria on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to move forward legislation to expand the definition of “gravely disabled” — one of the reasons that a person with a mental illness can be held in a conservatorship under the state’s 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act.

Gloria traveled to Sacramento to testify before the Assembly Health Committee to urge the passage of SB 1416, one of eight bills sponsored by Sen. Susan Eggman of San Joaquin County aiming to improve the state’s behavioral health system and reform its conservatorship process. The committee ultimately forwarded the bill, which is now expected to head to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Mayor Todd Gloria at a press conference on Jan. 12. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Gloria has for months lobbied the state to make it easier to force vulnerable homeless San Diegans into care rather than continued languishing on the street, including by broadening the definition that’s the focus of Eggman’s bill.

“Gravely disabled” generally means a person can’t address their need for food, clothing or shelter — though there are many potential caveats to that definition, and street homelessness alone doesn’t qualify someone for a conservatorship. Eggman’s bill would expand the definition to include people who are “unable to provide for their basic personal needs for medical care when it is reasonably foreseeable that such inability is likely to result in serious bodily injury.”

“SB 1461 I think is a critical step to helping people with mental illness access care by licensed clinical professionals who can consider one’s ability to care for their basic medical needs when considering conservatorship,” said Gloria, who was representing the city and the state’s Big City Mayors coalition. 

Gloria has also backed more local reforms. Gloria recently added $547,000 to the city’s budget for the year beginning in July to back a City Attorney’s Office unit focused on placing homeless residents who are unable to care for themselves in treatment and housing.

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom’s CARE Court proposal to try to compel more Californians with behavioral health challenges into care separately cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Gloria has also been a vocal supporter of Newsom’s reform pitch.

In Other News

  • Following complaints from the California Coastal Commission, the San Diego City Council voted this week to require new accessory dwelling units near the beach to have parking spots if they aren’t close to a trolley stop or a bus line with frequent service. (Union-Tribune)
  • There has been a long-held belief that the Port of San Diego needs to do something to reduce truck traffic in portside communities to decrease pollution. But a new assessment revealed that port trucks only make up a small percentage of cancer causing risks in communities such as Barrio Logan and National City. KPBS reports that the largest risk comes from cargo handling equipment. That’s leaving port commissioners split on how to prioritize emission-reduction efforts
  • Only 25 of 453 businesses that obtained temporary outdoor dining permits have applied for renewal as of Monday. Some restaurant and cafe owners told NBC 7 the new permits are too expensive and not cost-effective.
  • Local law enforcement are trying to curb street racing takeovers. San Diego police have pursued 53 court orders and seized more than 30 vehicles this year, according to the department. (ABC 10)

This Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and MacKenzie Elmer. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Megan Wood.

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1 Comment

  1. as someone who has been homeless twice in my life – most recently just last year – may i say that the story would be much more relatable if they didn’t have FOUR children. and, btw, does the short version really need to mention that three times?

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