Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, managing editor of daily news at Voice of San Diego / Photo by Ariana Drehsler
Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, managing editor of daily news at Voice of San Diego / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Hola! I’m Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, one of the managing editors at Voice of San Diego. I’m taking over What We Learned This Week, but as you can tell from the headline, with a new look and name: Cup of Chisme

About the name: Chisme directly translates to gossip in English. But that’s not what this newsletter is going to be about. You can still expect well reported facts here. To me, the word “chisme” means sharing information, stories and facts with family and friends. 

In my home, Sundays were the one day of the week I’d sit down with my aunt and mom over cafecito and pan dulce to dish out chisme and important news. My aunt was busy most of the week taking care of kids and my mom worked as a waitress, so she had long hours. Sunday evenings were a time for all of us to catch up. We’d talk about news, stories we found interesting and more.  

I hope to bring that tradition to your inbox.  

What to expect: Every Sunday, I’ll highlight stories you need to read to start your week. I’ll share behind-the-scenes stories about our newsroom and reporters and bring you engaging perspectives from people in our neighborhoods on some of the most pressing issues in San Diego.  

This newsletter will feel a little different than WWLTW, but I hope you’ll stick around and help me build a strong community in this space. Want to ask me a question? Do you have an idea or feedback for this newsletter? Email me: 

Now, let’s jump into a story that sparked a lot of chisme last week.  

Behind Voice: The Local Stove Debate  

Flames burn on a gas stove on Jan. 17, 2023.
Flames burn on a gas stove on Jan. 17, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Here at Voice we often talk about conceptual scoops: information that’s out there in the world, not making a lot of noise on its own, but worth highlighting in a story. That can be an off-hand comment from a politician or a statistic in a city report.  

That’s exactly what our environment reporter had last week.  

People were losing their minds at the mention of a hypothetical nationwide ban on gas-powered stoves. It sparked a wave of backlash and media coverage. But it turns out that the city of San Diego already has plans to do that, MacKenzie Elmer reported.  

San Diego has already committed to eliminating almost all natural gas use from buildings by 2035 through its Climate Action Plan. This includes retrofitting existing buildings to run on electricity.  

Elmer writes that “cutting fossil fuels of homes means replacing gas stoves with electric-powered induction stovetops and swapping out gas-powered water heaters for electric heat pumps to do both heating and cooling.” 

The story took off: Once our story was published, and other news outlets picked it up, some people were angry the city would plan to take their stoves and others reflected on how heating tortillas would never be the same. (I mean, burning your fingers over the flame is part of the entire experience.)  

Here’s the deal: As we explained on the VOSD Podcast, this story is a classic example of when city policy clashes with reality. The proposal to replace gas stoves has been in the city’s Climate Action Plan for a while, so it’s not new. And the plan doesn’t include specific polices for how to actually do that. 

Main takeaway: It’s not happening tomorrow because there’s a lot the city must get done first before implementing any sort of mandate or plan to get rid of gas stoves from homes. They could also choose to back out and not do it at all.  

The city could be having conversations soon about implementing a plan for its Climate Action Plan. But will city leaders follow through? We will keep you updated. 

Chisme to Start Your Week  

  • Teachers at San Diego Unified are not stoked about the district’s rollout of a new grade for 4-year-olds. The teachers union recently invited top staff from the district to hear the concerns that teachers have about the program. Our education reporter spoke to teachers about their concerns with staffing, training and more.
  • The Border Report is back. Voice contributor Sandra Dribble was off for a couple months, but she will return with her first newsletter on Monday. The Border Report is a bi-weekly updates on the U.S.-Mexico border and surrounding region. If you aren’t subscribed yet, you should check it out. It’s good. (Sign up here)  
  • The city of San Diego recently rolled out green bins for food waste to neighborhoods, including my own. These bins are a result of a state law that requires cities to separate food waste from regular garbage and recycling. As Elmer has explained to me before, food farts, or the gas that’s generated by bacteria that decomposes food waste, is not good for the environment. I started separating my food waste last week. Here’s a post about what to expect and common questions.
  • You saw it here first: Tomorrow we release the fourth story in our Covid Year Two: After the Vaccine investigation. The team has some findings about how politics played a role in who was more likely to die. Catch up on the other stories in this series here.  

See you next week. – Andrea, a professional chismosa 

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Managing Editor, Daily News Andrea oversees the production of daily news stories for Voice of San Diego. She...

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Hola Andrea!
    Thanks so much for this! It used to be my favorite way to catch up with everything that has been going on in the city, I’ll look forward to reading every week!

Leave a comment
We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.