View of tents at the 20th and B Street maintenance yard on June 29, 2023.
View of tents at the 20th and B Street maintenance yard on June 29, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The city’s first new safe camping site for homeless residents is open.

This week, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and other city leaders announced the opening — the first of two in the coming months — along with a new ban on camping, which narrowly passed the City Council last week. The ban expands current restrictions with further attention to sensitive areas such as schools and is now set to take effect in late July.

The new campsite is made to accomodate 136-tents, up to twice as many people, and resides at a city operations yard at 20th and B streets. The second, larger safe campsite is on tap for the fall — expected to accomodate up to 400 tents behind the Naval Medical Center.

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Jakob McWhinney discuss the details of this robust effort by the mayor to reduce tents on the streets and the effects of homelessness in the city. Plus, our team reviews a recent fact check by reporter Will Huntsberry after Gloria claimed shelter capacity has increased by 70 percent under his administration.

Sales Tax v. Sales Tax

Last week, a coalition of labor leaders and climate activists launched a new campaign to gather signatures to put a sales tax increase on the 2024 ballot.

It’d be a half-cent sales tax increase for the county to fund transit and road plans by the San Diego Association of Governments.

Meanwhile, Gloria and Councilman Raul Campillo have been working on their own half-cent sales tax increase for the city of San Diego. This would be a general tax increase, so they can’t promise exactly where the money would go.

Now, with potentially two half-cent sales tax measures set for the 2024 election ballot, should organizers change strategy? On the pod, Lewis breaks down how these measures stack up, what it would take to pass, and whether dueling measures drag each other down.

And something else: VOSD senior investigative reporter and podcast darling Lisa Halverstadt joined “The Uplifters” podcast this week. She talked about her extensive reporting on homelessness in San Diego, the humanity of the unhoused — and how her inability to smell is a reporting superpower. Check it out on The Uplifters podcast.

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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

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