The Mexican flag flies over Tijuana, near the U.S.-Mexico border. / Image via Shutterstock

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax, Tijuana’s art scene is experiencing a resurgence.

Thousands are expected to attend Colonia Libertad’s Opera en la Calle festival just south of the border Saturday after a two-year hiatus. The organizers say their aim is to draw a varied crowd — from opera lovers to those listening for the first time.

“The idea is to take opera out of the theater, to take it to the streets, to the neighborhood, to make it accessible,” Maria Teresa Rique, general manager of Opera de Tijuana, told Border Report writer Sandra Dibble.

For the past two summers, concerns over the spread of COVID-19 forced organizers to go online. Despite uncertain funding and the elimination of federal support under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the festival hasn’t skipped a year since its inception. 

Also in the Border Report: U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas and State Sen. Ben Hueso are raising concerns about a U.S. government plan to replace the existing international border barriers by the Pacific Ocean — and potentially close off access to Friendship Park.

Earlier this month we learned that the plan could end the decades-long ability of individuals to connect with loved ones separated by the border.

Read more about Tijuana’s art scene and the future of Friendship Park in the latest Border Report.

Study Shows Lack of Affordable Housing As Key Factor To Rising Homelessness

Tents lined up along 17th street in downtown San Diego on Aug. 18, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A recent study by two researchers looked at homelessness across the nation and found that affordable housing is one of the major elements to understanding homelessness numbers, the Union-Tribune reports.

Clayton Page Aldern, a data scientist and policy analyst, and Gregg Colburn, an assistant professor of real estate at the University of Washington, looked into different factors that often contribute to the overall issue of homelessness, including substance abuse and mental illness.

According to their research, which studied the rate of homeless per 1,000 people, the highest numbers of homeless people were often found in communities with the highest housing costs.

San Diego’s latest homeless census shows homelessness has spiked 10 percent countywide since 2020. According to Aldern and Colburn’s research, mental illness and addiction are factors to consider, but without addressing the city’s lack of affordable housing, that number will only keep rising.

Safe Parking Lots, or Lack Thereof

In an inside look into life in a 24-hour safe parking lot, the Union-Tribune spoke to Zelaya, a San Diegan who lives in a trailer attached to her SUV.

Zelaya has been staying in a safe parking lot operated by Dreams for Change since March. Before that, she had a hard time finding a place that wouldn’t ticket her for having a trailer. Many lots don’t allow oversized vehicles.

Dreams for Change, which opened in 2018, was the first safe parking lot in San Diego to allow RVs and oversized vehicles. Since then, the Mission Valley safe parking lot operated by Jewish Family Service has also provided a place for San Diegans with oversized vehicles.

We wrote about how the San Diego City Council recently voted to renew the contract of the Mission valley lot and extend the hours to 24 hours a day. But those with oversized vehicles still only have two resources to turn to when looking for a safe place to sleep at night.

Natalie Raschke talks with her daughter Lulu Raschke, 4, as she looks for personal items she wants to take with them while visiting their confiscated RV in a tow yard in Chula Vista in early April. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

ICYMI: Voice of San Diego followed the journey of a family of six who lived in an RV until it was impounded by the city. Now the Raschke family lives in a van, the Mission Valley lot is too far from their kids’ schools and shelters are not an option for them. Until more resources are created, many families still have nowhere to turn to.

Click here to read more about the Raschke family’s journey.

In Other News 

  • Councilmembers Raul A. Campillo and Joe LaCava argue in a new op-ed in favor of Safeguard San Diego, a proposed ballot measure that would lift a ban on Project Labor Agreements in public works projects and increase transparency on construction contracts over $10,000. The “common-sense update,” they write, would ensure millions in state infrastructure funding would continue flowing to the city. Read their full argument here.
  • Pharmaceutical company HRA Pharma applied for FDA approval to sell its birth control pills over the counter, making it the first company to do so, KPBS reports.
  • A new study by UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy shows that Black families are hit harder by inflation than white families. According to the research, inflation is 13 percent more volatile for Black households because they tend to spend a larger portion of their income on essential goods and services, compared to white households that spend more on luxury items that are less likely to fluctuate in price. (KPBS)
  • A video of two sea lions chasing away beachgoers at the La Jolla Cove on Friday is going viral. (NBC-7)

This Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne and Megan Wood. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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