When beach closures cascaded over San Diego beaches in early May, it triggered a storm of backlash from elected officials concerned about losing access to the beach ahead of the Fourth of July.
The closures were prompted by the county’s new, more sensitive water quality testing technology. Critics urged county officials to consider how the new tests were crippling beach areas and pressure from beach communities mounted. Then, the county abruptly opened the beaches again.
In a new story, MacKenzie Elmer writes that beaches are still failing quality tests. So why are they open?
The county announced early this month that it would post new, blue signs at beaches warning there may be sewage in the water that could cause illness. Now, the county plans to only close beaches when there is a “known” source of contamination.
One environmental health specialist put it this way: That was done so the public could make their own decisions about whether to enter the water. Some critics aren’t so sure.
“I think it’s because (the county doesn’t) believe in the integrity of their own test and methodology, and don’t want to face the public backlash that would ensue if the beaches closed half the year,” said Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey.
Read more about what will happen with the new water testing technology here.
Who Really Thinks San Diego Is Going to Reach its Housing Goals
Last week Andrew Keatts checked in on the progress the city has made to increase its housing production. He found that the city of San Diego released numbers indicating that the city is not anywhere close to producing the 108,000 homes by 2029 that the state has determined it needs to combat the housing crisis.
The city issued permits for roughly 5,000 homes last year. That means developers would need to build roughly 15,000 homes a year for the next seven years.
The gap between the numbers the city needs to hit and its average annual production over the last 10 years is so wide, Keatts asked elected officials a question: Do you believe the city will issue 108,000 housing permits by 2029?
Read what they had to say in the Politics Report here.
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Oceanside Opens Internal Investigation Into Allegations Against City Treasurer
Oceanside is investigating recent allegations made against elected City Treasurer Victor Roy.
The allegations were made by Treasury Manager Steve Hodges in a June 6 email sent to Roy and other city officials. In the email, Hodges accuses Roy of making bad investment decisions that cost the city millions of dollars, viewing nudity on a public library computer, inappropriate behavior toward a city employee who has since passed and more.
City Manager Michael Gossman told Voice that they have hired a third-party to investigate the claims, but the investment dealings are not under investigation.
The city also issued a statement Wednesday assuring the public that the city’s investment portfolio is healthy.
Click here to read more on the city’s response.
Over on the most popular public affairs podcast in San Diego, we’ve got a lotta news waiting for you.
The big story we shared was from NBC San Diego. Their reporter Alexis Rivas joined the pod to discuss her story of a local woman’s murder.
But the real story was the phone calls from across the street
The victim’s neighbors called 911 for nearly two hours — begging for help and relaying what they saw. Rivas and podcast co-host Andrew Keatts discussed the details of that June night, the San Diego Police Department’s response to the scrutiny, and what seems to be a systemic lack of police capacity and slow response times to critical calls.
Also in that episode: New trends in old military suicide data, San Diego’s other housing failure and former mayor Kevin Faulconer’s next big thing.
Hear the full show here or wherever you cast pods.
In Other News
- With rising cases of COVID-19, late last week San Diego County entered into the most severe level according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide COVID-19 activity map. San Diego Unified School District brought back its indoor mask mandate for staff and students enrolled in summer school programs. Military bases in Coronado and San Diego also announced indoor mask mandates would return today. (Union-Tribune, NBC 7)
- Former city attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson say they plan to take court action to try to stop the city from proceeding with a controversial settlement with the city’s 101 Ash St. landlord and lenders behind the deal if City Council approves it later this month. (Union-Tribune, Voice)
- A baby giraffe at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is now galloping proudly with its herd after getting her leg braces removed. The 5-month-old giraffe, named Msituni, was born with joints that were hyperextended and needed custom braces to help correct the condition. (Union-Tribune)
- Just like the King of Reggaetón we all need more gasolina, luckily for us, at least for now, the average price of gas in San Diego County keeps dropping — it was at $5.936 on Friday, the lowest it’s been since May 14. (KPBS)
- An effort to offer San Diego police officers affordable childcare is headed to the City Council after getting its first approval from the city’s Land Use and Housing Committee. The program is a public-private partnership between the city and KinderCare, which will operate the facility and offer services from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (CBS 8)
The Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Tigist Layne, Nate John and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.