San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn and Chief Executive Officer Sharon Cooney at an MTS board meeting on April 20, 2023.
San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn and Chief Executive Officer Sharon Cooney at an MTS board meeting on April 20, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

More uncertainty looms over the Metropolitan Transit Agency.

On the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discussed this week’s votes at MTS to try to install a permanent board chair after the Nathan Fletcher scandal. San Diego City Councilman Stephen Whitburn, in Fletcher’s absence, is acting chair.

But no one got enough votes to clinch the gig.

As our hosts discussed, it was a harsh rebuke of Whitburn by his Council colleagues — two of whom sit on the board, and one acting as an alternate for the mayor, voted against him. Per MTS rules, Whitburn will be interim chair for another month before voting resumes.

In Other City Council Dramz: San Diego City Councilman Kent Lee asked a lot of questions as the new homeless camping ordinance made its way through the Land Use and Housing Committee last week.

In this episode, we’ve got clips from Lee, Whitburn and the Mayor Todd Gloria’s staff as our hosts review Lee’s line of questioning to determine whether the city has ample shelter space and how deterrence would work as city leaders aim to sharpen ordinances against camping.

In our final segment, we called up senior investigative reporter Will Huntsberry

He laid out his latest story of three North County nonprofit executives — and how they spun a web of deals they happened to make money from.

Watch Now

YouTube video

We started filming the podcast. I’ll aim to put up meaty segments of the show on our YouTube page every week and some goodies on social media, of course.

And you can watch us in real life at our next live podcast recording on May 10 at Whistle Stop Bar. Members are free. Nonmembers are $15. See you there!

Listen Now

Listen: Apple | Spotify | Google | PodLink

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

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1 Comment

  1. The history of San Diego taking in the homeless population of other cities and the county’s unincorporated areas goes back decades. When the city allowed the establishment of the County’s Detox Center in what was then Centre City East, now downtown’s East Village neighborhood, and let the new facility take in drunks from all over the county, other cities and the sheriff’s department learned to give drunks one way rides into downtown, and never return to take the now sober individuals back to their place of origin. This state of affairs suited the other cities just fine, and when the drunks sobered up, they were deposited in the streets of Centre City East. That is one reason it was the last neighborhood downtown to be upzoned and gentrified.

    That began to change when former mayors and council members tried to diversify local detox centers throughout San Diego and the rest of the county. After then councilmember Valerie Stallings volunteered to accept one in PB, the blowback by locals was overwhelming. Absolutely nobody wanted to allow drunks into their neighborhoods. The same went for other cities around the county. Only recently has pressure been building on those other cities to come up with their own homelessness services centers, but to my knowledge the only functioning detox center remains downtown.

    They city needs to lean on other cities to set up their own detox centers as well as homelessness response facilities.

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