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Last week, Voice of San Diego’s Lisa Halverstadt and contributor Peggy Peattie told the story of a homeless family of six who have recently spent most nights in a van.
Since the story published, the Raschkes received an emergency housing voucher from the San Diego Housing Commission and now say they have found an eventual home.
Natalie Raschke said the family learned this week that their application for a Mission Valley apartment was accepted. They are now set to move into the apartment in early August.
Raschke, who addressed the City Council at Council President Sean Elo-Rivera’s request on Monday, said the family expects to spend a number of nights in their van over the next month due to steep summer hotel room rates.
On Thursday, Raschke said the family expected to spend another two nights in a hotel room before returning to their van.
San Diego Commits to Produce Climate Timeline and Costs, Activists Satisfied
At first, San Diego’s top climate advocates urged a “no” vote on the city’s most ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gasses because it lacked a clear timeline and costs for getting it done.
But by Thursday, the Climate Action Campaign appeared satisfied after city staff, during their presentation to the City Council’s Environment Committee, said they’d produce that timeline by February of 2023.
So, what changed?
“In the absence of a detailed implementation plan concurrent with the CAP update, the next best thing is a commitment to a date certain for delivery of one,” said Nicole Capretz, who helped create the city’s first Climate Action Plan and founded the advocacy group Climate Action Campaign.
On Wednesday, Alyssa Muto, the sustainability and mobility director for the city, had said the city would have that done in six to nine months, when the city would prepare to pass the next budget. But Capretz said the Climate Action Campaign wanted a firm date by which to hold the city accountable.
“We have to recognize progress when it occurs, while at the same time we will remain vigilant and continue to watchdog the process of the document and insist we actually see investments on the ground,” Capretz said.
San Diego Community Power General Counsel in Hot Water in Orange County
The lawyer for San Diego’s new public power company has become a target of criticism at another community choice energy agency where he serves as general counsel.
Orange County Power Authority’s governing board met in closed session to discuss the future of its chief executive officer and general counsel, Ryan Baron, at the agency this week amid concerns over transparency and poor leadership, according to Voice of Orange County. Baron is also general counsel at San Diego Community Power.
Baron started drawing questions from the OCPA’s board after he reportedly refused to recognize the appointment of a Huntington Beach City Councilman to the board, and blocked the board majority from holding a special meeting to discuss firing CEO Brian Probolsky earlier in June, according to Voice of Orange County.
Probolsky faced scrutiny for months after being hired in January of 2021 because he had no experience working at an electric utility, a college degree and was investigated for ethics violations at previous government jobs. Yet, he was the lone candidate brought before the board and recommended by Baron to interview for the job, according to a grand jury report.
The embattled agency started losing interest from cities like Lake Forest and San Clemente that could have joined to purchase power from the government-run agency over a private utility. The latter is considering joining the Clean Energy Alliance in north San Diego County.
Then OCPA’s chief operations officer, Antonia Castro-Graham, abruptly resigned after a hot mic caught a heated exchange between her and Probolsky, where she shared concerns about the CEO’s behavior.
The OCPA board didn’t take action Wednesday after the closed session, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Baron nor his law firm Best Best and Krieger responded to requests for comment Thursday. Baron’s email address returned with an out of office message.
In Other News
- Instead of closing sewage-tainted beaches near the border this holiday weekend, the county is giving swimmers some discretion, placing signs that warn beach water contains sewage and could cause illness. That’s after more sensitive water quality tests revealed the depth of pollution from the Tijuana sewage crisis but caused an uproar from beach town leaders. (Union-Tribune)
- The cost of undoing Prop B, the 2012 ballot measure that ended pensions for new city hires, after the state Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the ballot measure was illegal just keeps going up. The Union-Tribune reported this week that the latest analysis pegs the cost of unwinding that mistake at $150 million, up from $80 million, and that doesn’t include the latest declines in the stock market, which are likely to push the cost higher still.
- Reorienting Park Boulevard in University Heights to have protected bike lanes is the latest local road project to instigate a loud cry from neighborhood groups, as the Union-Tribune reported Thursday. Twenty years ago, the local road outrage du’jour was the plan to install roundabouts throughout Bird Rock – a project that this week made a list of seven road redesigns nationwide that show how successful such projects can be, even if locals hate them in the moment. The roundabouts, reported the urban planning website Strong Towns, maintained the same traffic count, but by reducing the speed limit from 40 mph to 20 mph managed to slash noise by 77 percent, increase retail sales by 30 percent and reduce traffic crashes by 90 percent.
This Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer, Andrea Keatts and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Megan Wood and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.