101 Ash St. and Civic Center Plaza / Photos by Adriana Heldiz

And I would have gotten away with it, too! If it wasn’t for that damn asbestos.

That’s the Scooby-Doo mask reveal moment we have this week, as former real estate advisor to the city of San Diego Jason Hughes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charge after agreeing to pay back $9.4 million to the city, which he received for his work on two city lease deals.

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña tell the tale (for the last time?!) of the downtown high-rise that plagued the city for the better part of a decade.

After years of dogged reporting by Voice’s Lisa Halverstadt, one of the most topsy-turvy, confusing and expensive recent city controversies appears complete.

On the pod, our hosts review the whole story — with all the news that broke this week — to pinpoint the moments that changed the course of the investigation and how Halverstadt followed the money that led her all the way back to Hughes.

Now, the city owns 101 Ash St. and the other building caught up in this scandal, Civic Center Plaza. When the city decides what to do with those properties, you know where to come.

You can see all the exhaustive reporting that went into the 101 Ash and Civic Center scandal at vosd.org/101ash.

You can support this uniquely impactful journalism, and all of Halverstadt’s efforts, at vosd.org/podpeople.

Inspiration Point Inspo

Inspiration Point — that one part of Balboa Park you’ve never hung out at — is the next big front in the city’s homelessness fight.

As discussed in previous podcasts, Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilmember Stephen Whitburn aim to tighten rules on street camping and compel unhoused residents to city-made solutions.

One of those solutions could be at Inspiration Point — the forgotten attic space of Balboa Park — where city leaders are considering the next safe campsite. But Balboa Park groups are trying to squash the idea fast. On the pod, our hosts discuss the new effort, the old opposition and the park’s overall vibe and woes.

Listen Now

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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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  1. How can you possibly say it’s the end of “ASH?” Rumor has it that Faulconer is running again for an encore. You voters love power and vote power than complain like crybabies. Well, how now brown cow! I decided to run for mayor and even filed. Reason is to teach the dumb voters a lesson in humility.

  2. Great discussion, thank you. I gotta point out once more that Mayor Gloria & the City Council are spending almost 1/2 Mil $ to add RV hookups to a City maintenance yard alongside I-5 (Rose Canyon) for 12 camping trailers. Not far from the City-owned, operating Mission Bay RV Resort across the I-5 which has 500 spaces. They could have moved those trailers (and all 20 of them they got from the State almost 3 yrs ago to shelter houseless residents) into Mission Bay RV Resort & they could be occupied immediately, since spaces already have RV hookups, and there’s other infrastructure there.

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