A homeless encampment on Commercial Street in the East Village on May 23, 2023.
A homeless encampment on Commercial Street in the East Village on May 23, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

More than three decades ago, San Diego leaders determined to revitalize the Gaslamp Quarter pushed homeless service providers to East Village. The region’s homeless residents have since clustered in East Village and its outskirts to access services.

Fast forward: Downtown City Councilman Stephen Whitburn and Mayor Todd Gloria are on a mission to transform East Village sidewalks now lined with tents.

As our Lisa Halverstadt writes, Whitburn and Gloria are rallying for an ordinance that would bar homeless camps at all times on public property when shelter is available but at all times within two blocks of shelters, along with a handful of other locations.

What does this mean for San Diego’s homelessness epicenter? We created a map that reveals just how much that ordinance might impact those who have long set up camp near the neighborhoods’ shelters and other services.

Read the full story here.

Border Report: A Search for Tijuana’s History 

Parque Teniente Guerrero in Tijuana on May 31, 2023.
Parque Teniente Guerrero in Tijuana on May 31, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Three professors in Tijuana are on a quest to preserve the city’s rapidly vanishing history. Voice contributor Sandra Dibble writes that Tijuana is a city of constant change and renewal, but its history has never properly been preserved.

One professor told Dibble, that’s why they are leading efforts to rediscover and build awareness of Tijuana’s origins, a project they’re calling Iniciativa Zaragoza Tijuana.

They’re hoping to create a comprehensive catalog of Tijuana’s historic structures and make it available to public schools in the near future. And eventually, the goal is for something bigger, Dibble writes.

Read more about their efforts in the Border Report. 

The Homeless Census Over 10 Years

Yesterday we published a story about the number of people living without housing over the last 10 years. Will Huntsberry found homelessness hasn’t increased nearly as much as most people assume.

The new numbers will be out soon, and people are expecting that they will be much higher. But even with a large jump between 2022 and 2023, it’s still important to take note of the 10-year trend. 

Just look at the map above. Homelessness hasn’t increased nearly so much as it has moved around or become more visible in other ways. Many people believe heightened enforcement prior to the pandemic and Todd Gloria becoming mayor, simply displaced homeless people from view. 

Authorities “drove encampments deeper into riverbeds and canyons. It’s not that they weren’t there, it’s that they weren’t as visible,” one person said. 

Displacement, however, wasn’t the only factor driving visibility, Huntsberry found.

Interact with the chart here and read the story, if you missed it.

Water Divorce Decision Delayed 

San Diego’s geographic boundary referees were unable to settle a divorce between warring water districts on Monday. 

After seven hours of presentations and public comment, the Local Agency Formation Commission voted 5 to 3 to delay a decision on whether two small farming communities in North County could disband from the San Diego County Water Authority until Aug. 7.

Where they stand: Some commissioners, like San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson, felt there was too much information to wade through to come to a decision in time. Others said they wanted to see staff bring back more options to resolve the squabble between the parties without a full divorce. 

Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utility District filed for a divorce from the Water Authority in 2019 because they say water rates are growing so high it’s putting their farmer customers out of business. The Water Authority, along with some of its biggest customers like the city of San Diego, argue their departure will shift the growing cost of water onto the remaining 22 water districts – and raise everyone else’s water bills

“We’re really disappointed that the commission was confused by the misinformation of the Water Authority and decided to wade into waters that have been fully evaluated over the last three and a half years,” said Tom Kennedy, general manager of Rainbow who was first to leave the commission hearing room after the vote to delay the vote.

Nick Serrano, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s deputy chief of staff and a Water Authority board member representing the city, said the delay speaks to the complexity of the issue at hand. 

“There are going to be potential unintended consequences and impacts from this action and the commission has rightly decided to seek more information,” Serrano said. 

In Other News 

  • Backers of a 2020 hotel tax measure called Measure C will go to court next month to try to overturn a previous judge’s ruling that the city of San Diego was wrong to say the measure passed. The measure sought to increase the city’s hotel tax to fund the convention center expansion, homelessness efforts and road repairs. It didn’t garner the two-thirds majority the city initially said it needed, but a year later, the city said all it needed was actually just a simple majority to pass. A superior court judge, though, said the city couldn’t legally change their minds a year after the election. (Union-Tribune)
  • A state oversight panel is recommending that California’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills is too ambitious. The panel suggested pausing the implementation of Senate Bill 1383, which requires cities and counties to offer organic waste recycling, or composting, because it’s drastically falling short of its goals and a number of issues that need to be reevaluated. (Fox 5)
  • Two eight-story apartment buildings with a total of up to 360 units have been proposed for two vacant blocks near the Oceanside pier. Ten percent of the apartments would be reserved for affordable housing units. The city has some of the tallest beachfront properties in North County, which has drawn criticism from some residents who argue that it changes the city’s character and blocks ocean views. (Union-Tribune)
  • Falling debris has, once again, halted train service between San Diego and Orange County. This comes after a one-month suspension of rail service in May. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Will Huntsberry, MacKenzie Elmer, Tigist Layne and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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