San Diego County Administration Building / File photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Nora Vargas, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, emphasized to San Diegans that she’s in their corner during her first State of the County speech Wednesday night.

“It’s gonna take a heck of a lot more than a speech to solve all these challenges we face as a community,” said Vargas, the first woman of color and immigrant to serve in her post. “But I want you to know that I see you, I hear you and I got you, and I won’t rest and I won’t stop until we make real changes.”

Vargas said she wants all San Diegans and communities to be heard including parents, immigrants, small business owners and those struggling to make ends meet.

What she sees as top priorities: Vargas’s speech didn’t focus on big announcements. Instead, she described increasing county efforts to address homelessness such as its fall declaration of the region’s crisis as a public health emergency and a new subsidy program to aid seniors at risk of becoming unhoused. She said preventing and addressing homelessness will be a top priority – and said she will rally to make childcare more accessible and workable for those who provide it.

Plans for the future: Vargas, who also leads the SANDAG board, said the region has a responsibility to invest in more frequency in its transit options and transportation infrastructure and pledged to rally behind increased free transit options for youth and young adults. Vargas revealed she’ll partner with Sheriff Kelly Martinez to launch an initiative to address gun violence and public safety issues and urged the county to up its tree-planting goal for this year.

  • Vargas – who on Wednesday deemed San Diego “a welcoming county” – is teaming with fellow Supervisor Joel Anderson to call a vote next Tuesday to direct county staff to step up preparations for the lifting of Title 42 immigration restrictions expected to lead to a surge in migrants.

The Learning Curve: The Grim Reality of School Shootings in America

Gun violence is a seemingly inescapable phenomenon in America. Guns are now the leading cause of death of children under 18, and in 2022 there were nearly as many shootings on school grounds as there were days in the year. 

In the latest Learning Curve, education reporter Jakob Mcwhinney writes that as a middle schooler in La Mesa in 2001, two shootings occurred at high schools less than 20 miles from his school within three weeks. The possibility of a school shooting is a reality that American children of all ages carry with them into the classroom. 

Each day, friends and family join a growing fraternity of individuals whose lives have been touched by gun violence. Though the pain of those immediately affected far outweighs that of a journalist’s, the horror of having to cover a school shooting is what scares McWhinney most about being an education reporter.

Read more in the latest The Learning Curve.

Controversial Cement Warehouse Planned for the Barrio Logan Area Is Off – For Now

A semi-truck drives under the Barrio Logan gateway sign on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway on March 29, 2022. / Photo by Kristian Carreon for Voice of San Diego

Plans to construct a cement warehouse at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in Barrio Logan have stalled out, Rafael Castellanos, the chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners announced Wednesday. 

The project, proposed by the Mitsubishi Cement Corporation, faced opposition from community members and environmental activists, who said the potential pollution from the warehouse’s diesel trucks was dangerous to nearby neighborhoods.

Barrio Logan has long had some of the most polluted air in the region, and residents have fought to reduce pollution by banning diesel commercial trucks from driving through neighborhoods and creating a buffer zone between residential and heavy industrial areas. Community members have attributed the significant levels of pollution to the neighborhood’s elevated number of asthma cases

In 2020, the Board of Port Commissioners rejected Mitsubishi Cement Corporation’s previous proposal and directed the company to use only electric or zero-emission trucks at the facility. But according to the Union Tribune, the company never produced a plan.

Despite stalling out, the project isn’t off for good. Castellanos noted the port is open to future negotiations so long as the company meets the port’s Maritime Clean Air Strategy, which among other elements has set a goal of using entirely zero-emission cargo vehicles by 2030.

“In the meantime, the Port continues to collaborate with our current tenants to meet the goals of our (Maritime Clean Air Strategy) and is open to businesses that share our dedication to a zero emissions future,” Castellanos wrote.

In Other News 

  • The Union-Tribune reports that four San Diego County janitors were rehired after a county investigation upheld an employee’s complaint of unsafe work conditions and retaliation. The janitors, who went on strike last week, are now asking officials to force their employer — a contractor — to abide by a new county labor policy and recognize their union as a condition of the contract. 
  • Hundreds of Lincoln High School students staged a walkout over the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl. (NBC 7) 
  • Home prices are dropping in San Diego faster than most cities, but it still takes Three people working minimum wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment. (Union-Tribune, Fox 5)
  • Three U.S. Senators are demanding more details from a La Jolla-based bank in connection to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The lawmakers want to know, according to the U-T, why Silvergate failed to flag improper transfers after portraying the bank’s initial responses to Congress as evasive and inadequate.

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

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1 Comment

  1. The S.D County Board of Supervisors did NOT declare homelessness a public health EMERGENCY, but a crisis: “The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously declared homelessness a public health crisis”, from the SD U-T link you provided. The word choice is intentional by the Board/County, as “emergency” invokes actual action and responsibility therefor. Do not use these two words interchangeably.

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