People walk near the Metropolitan Transit System trolley at the Santa Fe Depot in downtown on Oct. 4, 2022.
People walk near the Metropolitan Transit System trolley at the Santa Fe Depot in downtown on Oct. 4, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The Metropolitan Transit System is set Thursday morning to choose the board chair that will lead the agency as it investigates the agency’s role in sexual harassment allegations against its former chair, Nathan Fletcher.

The board will consider three nominations: La Mesa Councilmember Patricia Dillard, San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn and El Cajon Councilman Steve Goble.

Whitburn is the agency’s acting chair, since he was vice chair when Fletcher stepped aside. He has enough support among the board to get a nomination for the permanent role, but Dillard has collected high-profile support.

One of those is Whitburn’s colleague on the City Council, Vivian Moreno. She argued for Dillard in last week’s executive committee meeting, and she and National City Councilmember Marcus Bush put out a press release Wednesday touting her candidacy.

“Patricia is a well-known, independent and temperate voice, who has a record of holding people accountable, building consensus, and developing policies that bring people together,” they wrote.

Goble, meanwhile, has support from Republicans on the board.
Fletcher quietly resigned as MTS chair the day a lawsuit was filed against him by former MTS employee Grecia Figueroa of sexual assault and harassment. But the scandal is still in its nascent stages, in large part because Figueroa’s lawsuit also linked MTS’s firing of her to retaliation.

IB Extends Mobile Home Protections — And Puts Park Owner on Notice 

Consuelo Villalpando sits outside her mobile home in Imperial Beach
Consuelo Villalpando sits outside her mobile home in Imperial Beach on July 29, 2022. / Photo by Jesse Marx

With a moratorium on evictions and rent increases about to expire, the Imperial Beach City Council voted Wednesday to keep emergency protections for mobile home park residents in place for another month. It wasn’t exactly what residents wanted.

Mayor Paloma Aguirre had been pushing for a 60-day extension to buy attorneys representing the landlord and tenants more time to negotiate better living conditions and terms.

In case you forgot: The Miramar Imperial Beach Mobile Home and RV Park has been a hotbed of political organizing thanks in large part to the owner’s policy that residents move out every six months. Those who refused got hit with eviction notices. Fearing that many of the park’s residents might become homeless, elected officials have approved a series of temporary measures since the fall.

What happened Wednesday: Nearly two dozen residents came out in support of the 60-day extension to argue that the best way to address homelessness is to stop it upfront. “We don’t want anybody falling through the cracks,” Aguirre said. “It is our responsibility as a community to take care of one another.”

The 60-day extension failed with Councilwoman Carol Seabury absent and Councilman Mitch McKay voting no. McKay argued that enough time had passed for negotiations and offered a counter motion of 30 days.

That measure passed. But Aguirre also asked that legal counsel for both sides be made aware they had only one more month to figure it out. “At that point,” she said, “maybe we should come back and consider a permanent ordinance.”

Attention turns to Sacramento: Aguirre plans to testify in support of Assemblyman David Alvarez’s proposed protections for residents living in recreational vehicles. That bill, as currently written, would fine mobile home parks in IB that require residents to move in and out every few months as a means of preventing the resident from gaining legal rights.

North County Report: How Encinitas Ended Up With an Affordable Housing Deficit

Encinitas coastline / Photo via Shutterstock

A couple of weeks ago, North County Reporter Tigist Layne wrote about Encinitas’ affordable housing shortfall. This week, she’s explaining how the city got here.

It all goes back to the city’s Housing Element – the housing plan that outlines how the city will meet the community’s housing needs.

Some residents argue the city fell behind because of poor planning, while some officials say the city didn’t have many options. Either way, it will take some work for the city to get back on track.

Read the North County Report here.  

In Other News 

  • U-T columnist Michael Smolens reviewed competing proposals from Mayor Todd Gloria and ex-Mayor Kevin Faulconer to increase the number of homeless shelter beds. The financing is a point of distinction, as both put a priority on tougher enforcement. 
  • The city of San Diego is considering a water rate hike over the next couple years, and a second legally required opinion concludes that it may put too much financial pressure on single-family homeowners and not enough on businesses and multi-family dwellings. (Union-Tribune) 
  • You won’t have to travel quite so far for Ensenada’s renowned seafood tostadas. La Guerrerense just opened its new food truck-style location on Hipódromo Avenue in Tijuana. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Carlsbad police stopped individuals believed to be Black or Latino at higher rates than Whites in 2022, according to the first report produced via California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Act. Police are prohibited from asking an individual’s gender, ethnicity or race, so the results amount to estimations. (Union-Tribune)

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

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