View of parking lot at Balboa Park's Inspiration Point on Feb. 3, 2023.
View of parking lot at Balboa Park's Inspiration Point on Feb. 3, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

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The city councilman representing downtown wants to dramatically increase the space where homeless residents can stay and introduce a new city law requiring them to go there or someplace like it.

Councilman Stephen Whitburn said at a community meeting last week he will release proposals next month for a large shelter tent and safe camping sites at a parking lot near downtown that he didn’t identify. He also said moving forward would give the city the ability to enforce an ordinance he plans to propose banning camping on public property.

As Whitburn finalizes those details, our Lisa Halverstadt also reports that the city’s housing agency is evaluating Inspiration Point, a long-underutilized corner of Balboa Park, as a potential site for such a project.

Whitburn’s focus on delivering more shelter options to also deliver increased enforcement reflect legal realities and challenges the city has faced with existing ordinances.

Read the full story here.

It’s getting worse: A downtown business group’s monthly census of unhoused people sleeping downtown and just outside hit another sobering record late last month. The Downtown San Diego Partnership counted 1,939 people and 789 tents on Jan. 31, a dramatic increase from last January when the group tallied 1,409 people and 442 tents.

Another Signature Drive for a Tax Hike Goes Down

Supporters of a ballot measure that would put a parcel tax on properties within the city of San Diego to put on more programming in parks and libraries and fund capital needs are losing hope that it could be on the 2024 ballot. County and city officials determined that they gathered insufficient signatures despite spending more than $1 million.

That news and more was in Saturday’s Politics Report, which Voice of San Diego members can access.

VOSD Podcast: In the latest podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discuss the latest story in Voice’s investigative series. Reporters reviewed thousands of death certificates from the second year of the pandemic and found that Republicans became far more likely to die with Covid-19 than Democrats.

The hosts also bantered about an unusually frank and contentious City Council meeting last week.

Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Anti-Cruising Laws Would Be No More With This Proposal 

Marisa Rosales’ drives her 1949 Hudson Commodore in National City on Oct. 7 , 2022.
Marisa Rosales’ drives her 1949 Hudson Commodore in National City on Oct. 7 , 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

National City has long-struggled to repeal its 1992 anti-cruising law because city leaders have paralyzed multiple reform efforts by associating the policy discussion with concerns about controlling large, organized events. 

Now, the city’s anti-cruising law could finally be a thing of the past. 

Here’s why: Assemblyman David Alvarez, whose district includes National City, plans to introduce legislation today that would repeal sections of the state’s vehicle code that allow cities to ban cruising in the first place. His proposal would prevent cities from ever adopting bans on cruising and repeal current ones. 

National City’s former mayor and current Mayor Ron Morrison told us at a live debate that they had concerns about the city’s ability to control large events if the city lifted the ban.  

“We can’t handle a Western United States event,” Morrison said in October, referring to cruising clubs that came from far-flung cities for a cruising event in May. He said cruising events must be treated like any city permitted event that requires organizers to pay for police overtime and other city services.  

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