Ocean View Hills Nestor San Diego
San Diego's Nestor neighborhood seen here on Dec. 12, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts discuss whatever happened to… that SANDAG driving fee, San Diego’s food waste recycling program and the downtown homeless services hub.

We’ve got a theme going on this week across Voice content — a look back on stories that were once front page news but have since shirked the public eye. To cap off our “Whatever Happened To…” week, we’re revisiting three San Diego storylines.

Driving fee: An updated term, coined by Keatts, captures the essence of one of these squishy San Diego subjects — an idea spawned by the San Diego Association of Governments to charge drivers for driving.

Gas tax? Psh, that’s old news for old cars. With more electric vehicles around, the driving fee (also called “road user charge”) is the agency’s proposed solution for the EV era.

On the pod, Keatts laid out some back-and-forth between the SANDAG board members and executive director, Hasan Ikhrata, on how the driving fee squares with the current five-year plan and the next five-year plan. These plans are SANDAG’s authoritative roadmaps for the region.

Food waste is one of the biggest contributors to pollution. The solution: new bins!

Your ill-fated leftovers are a big problem for local landfills. So, starting January 2022, the state mandated all cities to provide a third bin for residents to toss out last night’s Chipotle. But San Diegans still have no such bin.

Environment reporter MacKenzie Elmer owned this edition of our series. She found the city of San Diego is aiming to roll out the third bin in January 2023 — a full year after the state’s deadline.

A homeless solution developed during the Faulconer administration sought to turn downtown’s indoor skydiving facility into a homeless services hub. What did happen, perhaps surprisingly, is it has stuck around and helped unhoused folks.

Since the hub was allowed to reopen in May 2021, the Housing Commission reports more than 17,400 visits by those seeking shelter or other help. That’s about 1,245 visits a month. Not too shabby.

You can check out all our “Whatever Happened To…” stories at vosd.org/whathappened.

If there’s a story you think matches the series, tell us about it here.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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