San Diego police officers peer into a partially open window of a van parked along 17th Street near Logan Avenue just after sunrise, Monday, June 13, 2022. Officers would eventually call a tow truck and have the vehicle towed, even though the owners were sleeping in a tent less than 20 feet away. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego
San Diego police officers peer into a partially open window of a van parked along 17th Street near Logan Avenue just after sunrise, Monday, June 13, 2022. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

Getting towed can be devastating for people living in their vehicles, forcing a person or family onto the street whose car or RV was a makeshift home.

A viral story about two moms and their sons whose makeshift homes were impounded earlier this month for vehicle registration violations and a city audit that emphasized how city towing practices disproportionately hammer low-income San Diegans have shone a spotlight on the topic — and sparked a policy debate.

City housing commissioners, advocates for unhoused people and City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera have recently questioned the efficacy of the city’s practices as it tries to combat a surging homelessness crisis.

And City Councilman Stephen Whitburn, who requested the audit, now says he plans to propose early next year that the city halt tows for three offenses that can come with especially harsh consequences for low-income people.

Lisa Halverstadt wrote about the policy debate and got more details from the city and one of the moms whose vehicle was recently towed about what happened.

You can read the full story here.

Escondido Tax Measure Is Poised to Fail. What That Means for City Services

The city of Escondido is facing an $8 million deficit this year. Its Council is weighing the same sales tax increase it shot down two years ago. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

An Escondido sales tax measure that many were hoping would help solve the city’s budget woes is poised to fail, which will likely lead the city to make even more cuts to city services and public works.

Measure E, which would have implemented a 3/4-cent sales tax increase for 15 years, was expected to generate approximately $21 million for the city annually. Escondido is facing a growing budget deficit and had to close an $8.5 million gap for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

In recent years, the city has relied on temporary fixes from one-time funding sources to close its budget gaps, managing to avoid huge cuts to city services and maintenance costs.

But with the sales tax measure likely to fail, Escondido residents will likely see significant cuts and modifications to city services, unless the city can quickly come up with a new and sustainable revenue source.

Read the full North County Report here.

In Other News 

  • Congress needs to step up and offer relief to struggling San Diegans by making the expanded, monthly Child Tax Credit permanent, argue a pair of local nonprofit execs in a new op-ed. 
  • U-T columnist Michael Smolens writes about the re-election of Mike Schaefer to the Board of Equalization, a governing body that by Schaefer’s own admission “nobody cares about.” Schaefer’s candidacy split parts of the Democratic Party due to his troubling past, but he said he’s been rehabilitated. 
  • Despite deploying thousands of Mexican National Guard troops to Tijuana at the beginning of this year, the city is still on pace to surpass the 2,000 homicides it recorded last year. (KPBS) 
  • County Supervisors are set to vote next month on whether the city should end its policy that San Diegans who receive housing subsidies be drug free. The state and federal government did away with similar policies years ago. (CBS)
  • Two Navy warships were forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a head-on collision in the Bay this week. That near-miss is under investigation. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The votes are in, and San Diegans have chosen to name the city’s new mini electric street sweeper SWEEP-E. The name edged out T.E.S.S. (The Electric Street Sweeper) by a mere 11 votes. (NBC)

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Tigist Layne, Jakob McWhinney and Jesse Marx. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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