Tami Grobarek and William Pendarvis sit in their broken down car in El Cajon on May 9, 2023. /
Tami Grobarek and William Pendarvis sit in their broken down car in El Cajon on May 9, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Next week marks an inauspicious anniversary for Tami Grobarek and her fiancé. May 29, will be one year since the couple became homeless.

That year of homelessness, which started after a dispute with a landlord forced them from their apartment, has mostly been spent living in their car. But when they moved into a safe parking lot at the former site of an East County homeless encampment in the fall they thought things were looking up. Instead, their situation worsened.

From troubles with the safe lot, to their car breaking down, the setbacks kept piling up. But after a brief stint living in a tent, the nonprofit Dreams for Change managed to set them up in a hotel and tow their car to a shop. Still, a critical issue remains – there’s no housing for them.

Their story is not unique. It’s just one more example of how complex it is to navigate the intricate web of systems meant to help people like Grobarek. 

“The system in itself is a nightmare it always has been,” Dreams for Change CEO Teresa Smith said.  

Read the full story here. 

The Learning Curve: iHigh Is No Longer an Option for This Mom 

Last week, Jakob McWhinney reported that San Diego Unified would no longer allow students in grades 6-12 to enroll in its online school, iHigh Virtual Academy. 

This was shocking news to Shavoine Bradford. She had already set up her son’s schedule and was planning activities for the next school year. 

Now, she’s scrambling to find a new option for her sixth grader. Still, as she told McWhinney, “There’s nothing quite like iHigh.” 

Background: San Diego Unified expanded and redesigned iHigh to include synchronous instruction when the pandemic hit. During the 2021-2022, some 1,7000 students enrolled. But this year, enrollment decreased to just under 650 students. 

As an alternative, the district plans to provide a self-paced online learning model at every neighborhood cluster throughout the district. 

But Bradford said iHigh was just what her child needed. And now, she’s skeptical of what will come next. 

Read the Learning Curve here. 

Watch Us on the Tube

VOSD Podcast host Scott Lewis. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

A major announcement from Major League Soccer, San Diego leaders and rich investors: The highest level of men’s soccer is coming to San Diego (in 2025).

In this segment from your favorite public affairs podcast, host Scott Lewis reports from the press conference where it happened — discussing the investors and the vibe of the event as outside interests try to act local and create “the story” that says this soccer club belongs to San Diego.

Watch the show here. 

Plus: How San Diego State University created a stadium and lured MLS at unprecedented speed. (If you’re looking for more on how they pulled this off, Lewis asked SDSU’s Athletics Director some questions about it in the Politics Report.

Bonus content: Check out our interview with the president of another San Diego soccer club, San Diego Loyal. Listen here. 

In Other News 

  • On Tuesday the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved spending $5.2 million for its upcoming special election. The special election will take place Aug. 15 to fill the seat vacated by Nathan Fletcher. During the meeting, residents asked the county to prioritize public outreach, especially because District 4 is a racially and culturally diverse district. So far, only three candidates are in the running: Janessa Goldbeck, Monica Montgomery Steppe and Amy Reichert. More Supes News: The board also approved a suite of policies meant to take on the causes of homelessness and behavioral health issues. (City News Service) 
  • A purchasing spree by the investment management company Blackstone has made it one of the San Diego region’s largest landlords – and the prospect of rent hikes are making tenants worried. (CalMatters) 
  • A law enforcement operation aimed at fentanyl has led to a surge in seizures of the drug. (NBC)
  • Luke Wood, SDSU’s vice president for student affairs and campus diversity has been named the president of Sacramento State University. (Union-Tribune) 

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Nate John. It was edited by Scott Lewis. 

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.