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The city of San Diego is way behind the pace of home building it needs to keep in order to hit a state-imposed housing target by 2029, but you’d never know it from reading the progress report that city staff is set to present to a City Council committee today.
As part of the state’s “Regional Housing Needs Assessment,” it told San Diego the city needed to permit some 108,000 homes in the eight-year period that started last year. In year one, San Diego issued permits for just 5,033 homes, which constitutes a typical year of housing production for the city over the last decade.
But city staff’s presentation does not spell out either that housing production last year was perfectly typical for the last decade, or that through the first 12 percent of the city’s new housing plan developers pulled permits for just 5 percent of the homes that the state says San Diego needs to keep pace with jobs, population growth and to prevent overcrowding.
Now, to have a chance at meeting the eight-year target, the city will need to nearly triple the pace of its housing production from last year in each remaining year of the cycle.
That all comes as state officials have begun strengthening a state housing law that has, throughout its over 50-year history, failed to spur homebuilding in any meaningful way. If San Diego continues to fall short of its housing targets – it could soon lose some authority to reject certain housing projects, based on a recent state law.
The city’s failure to measure up to the state requirements came in every income category. Developers pulled permits for 5 percent of the homes for very low income residents it needs, 12 percent of the low income homes it needs, less than one percent of the moderate income homes it needs, and 83 percent of the market rate homes that it needs.
Workers and Politicians Rally For Fair Hotel Contract Ahead of Strike Vote
Noemi Ponce was one of the many Hilton Bayfront workers who temporarily lost their job when COVID hit. She was forced during the pandemic to move out of an El Cajon apartment and into a garage in Spring Valley to make ends meet.
“This is my life now and my daily struggle,” she told reporters on Wednesday outside City Hall, where a group of union leaders and politicians rallied for a better contract.
Negotiations, as Jesse Marx wrote last month, have been slow-going. Unite HERE, the hotel worker’s union, says the Hilton Bayfront’s offer of a 50-cent per hour increase is much less than what they wanted and undercut by its additional proposal to raise the cost of employee parking by $20 a month. The standard hourly rate, according to the union, is about $20 an hour.
A strike authorization vote is scheduled for Friday, less than a week before the start of Comic Con, which attracts thousands of visitors and pumps millions into the local economy.
Mayor Todd Gloria said tourism is key to the city’s economic recovery because the tax revenue helps sustain public services. The industry is rebounding, he said, but the folks on the frontlines need to be well compensated as the cost of living grows. “One job should be enough to support your family in this city,” he said.
With conferences coming back and the costs of hotel rooms rising, said City Councilman Raul Campillo, “you can’t tell me you can’t pay your workers more.” He called the hotel’s offer to its workforce “insulting.”
Laura Ford, a spokesperson for the hotel, sent Voice of San Diego a statement after the press conference saying it “maintains a cooperative and productive relationship with UNITE HERE Local 30 and we are confident that we will reach an agreement that is beneficial to our valued Team Members and to our hotel.”
Graduates of Some Colleges are Leaving San Diego
Although UCSD and SDSU are among the most desirable destinations for college students, only 40 and 60 percent of their graduates, respectively, stay in the San Diego region after graduation, according to data reviewed by KPBS.
SANDAG’s Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Ray Major, told KPBS this was largely due to a lack of local companies in fields catering to those college grads, like healthcare and innovation.
Researchers offered a few ways to retain college grads. That includes setting aside funds to help lower-income San Diegans afford college, set up loan forgiveness programs in specific fields and help graduates with housing.
Speaking of which… In a pair of dueling U-T opinion pieces, a UCSD graduate student wrote that the university has an obligation to create more housing and keep rents low, while the university’s Chancellor cataloged efforts on campus to confront the housing crisis.
In Other News
- Around 600 doses of the Monkeypox vaccine have been made available in advance of this weekend’s San Diego Pride Festival. Priority is being given to men who have sex with other men, as a significant number of cases of the disease have occurred among individuals in that demographic. (Union-Tribune)
- Democratic officials are pushing back against plans to rebuild the border wall at Friendship Park that would eliminate the longstanding ability of visitors to have physical contact with those on the other side of the border. (Union-Tribune)
- The San Diego City Council voted to set a public hearing to discuss the possibility of a rate increase for water. (NBC 7)
- Long wait lists at the border have frustrated migrants hoping to seek asylum in the United States. The online registry of one Tijuana advocacy group has reached around 50,000 people. (KPBS)
- The city of San Diego will be required to get a warrant to hold or search seized cell phones, per a new settlement. It stems from a lawsuit alleging that SDPD confiscated a protester’s phone and refused to return it. (City News Service)
- Good local bird news — the Birch Aquarium at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography opened a new exhibit on Tuesday featuring the world’s smallest species of penguins. But not only are they under one foot tall, they’re also blue. (Times of San Diego)
This Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Jesse Marx and Jakob McWhinney. It was edited by Megan Wood and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.
Correction: This post has been updated to correct that the City Council did not vote to raise water prices. The vote was to set a public hearing to discuss a potential water rate increase.