Council President Sean Elo-Rivera (center), Independent Budget Analyst Charles Modica (left), and Assistant City Clerk Diana Fuentes (right) during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023.
Council President Sean Elo-Rivera (center) during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

City Councilmembers called out a 100-year-old, family-owned San Diego company for blocking a permanent supportive housing project at their meeting Tuesday. 

You may remember: We revealed several weeks ago that H.G. Fenton Company blocked the city’s purchase of an extended stay motel in Mission Valley that would have been used to house homeless people. Fenton blocked the sale with a restrictive covenant – a binding set of rules similar to those of a homeowner’s association – it had created years earlier. 

Fenton’s covenant banned all affordable housing projects. 

“It is very disappointing that very wealthy companies are not helping us on our journey to house folks here in San Diego,” Councilmember Marni Von Wilpert said at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Out for blood: Council President Sean Elo-Rivera asked city staff members whether other companies in the city are blocking affordable housing projects. Yes, they are, one official answered. Elo-Rivera said he wanted to see a list.

“If there was a good way to end up on the not favored list of folks who do business within this city, it would be folks who are explicitly standing as barriers to creating affordable housing,” Elo-Rivera said. “That’s a bad look.” 

On Fenton’s actions, he added: “That is shameful. I’ve got a few other words I could add to the front end of that sentence, but I’ll keep this family friendly for now.”

Related: Four other permanent supportive housing projects remain in play. Permanent supportive housing is specifically designed to help homeless people. Support staff – as the name implies – work at each of these locations in order to help get people the mental health services they need. 

City leaders already applied for funding, which comes from a state program known as Homekey, on two properties. But on Tuesday, board members for the San Diego Housing Commission voted to approve applications for two additional extended stay motels. They are located at 3860 Murphy Canyon Road and 2087 Hotel Circle South. 

Chula Vista Is Getting in on the Action 

The entrance of Chula Vista City Hall on Nov. 29.

Chula Vista also wants to purchase and rehabilitate a motel into affordable housing for now-homeless people. On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to apply for Homekey funds. 

Our Andrea Lopez-Villafaña reported over the weekend that Chula Vista is the only other city applying for Homekey. Read the chisme here. 

The site: A 31-room motel located at 1160 Walnut Avenue. The property also has a parking lot the city plans to use as a safe parking site for people living in their cars, the Union-Tribune reports. 

It’s moving fast: Chula Vista isn’t waiting on the state to award the funds. It plans to set aside $14 million from its federal stimulus to pay for the hotel, and as back up if they are not selected by the state.

Mexico Says It’s Fixing Its Broken Sewage Pipe

One of two sewage pipelines rendered inoperable in Tijuana as of Aug. 2, 2022. / MacKenzie Elmer

Federal officials report that Tijuana is finally fixing a sewage main that snapped in half last summer. 

When that pipe broke, it meant wastewater couldn’t make its way to a Mexican treatment plant further south and instead spilled into the Tijuana River which crosses into the United States. It also meant the International Wastewater Treatment plant in San Diego, built to treat 25 million gallons of Tijuana sewage per day, had to take on more sewage than it was built to handle. 

Mexico finally received materials to restore that pipeline in Matadero Canyon on the Tijuana side of the border, confirmed Morgan Rogers, who works for the International Boundary and Water Commission and manages the plant, in an email Tuesday. The pipe is expected to be fixed by November, according to Rogers. 

In Other News

  • Former state Assembly Member Randy Voepel of Santee literally handed the Girl Scouts of San Diego one of those big checks for $500,000. Then the money never came through. (10 News)
  • There was a lot of talk about how Hollywood’s actors and writers’ strike would impact Comic-Con. Some even wondered if the event would get canceled. Turns out, it might have been the best thing for the event, KPBS reports. Related: CBS 8 reports that next year could be the last year Comic-Con happens in San Diego if its contract with the San Diego Convention Center is not extended. Other cities have expressed interest in hosting the event. 
  • Everything is getting more expensive, even ferry rides. The San Diego-Coronado Ferry raised its prices last month by one dollar and might be going for another hike later this year. But first state regulators need to approve it. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Shaun Cole is officially San Diego State’s head baseball coach. He was already acting head coach after Mark Martinez retired. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The El Cajon City Council decided not to renew funding for the East County Homeless Task Force. The decision was made after staff reviewed 10 existing programs funded by the city and determined that the ECHTC did not deliver enough return on their investment. The ECHTC is a nonprofit organization run by the East County Chamber of Commerce that helps coordinate between the various public, private and nonprofit entities working to address homelessness in the region.  
  • Here’s your daily dose of cute: The San Diego Zoo welcomed four capybara pups on Sunday. You can find the little critters at the zoo’s Elephant Odyssey exhibit. (KPBS) 

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, MacKenzie Elmer and Kathryn Gray. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Every comment on the Fenton article was pro-Fenton. You are out of touch with your audience. If anyone knew who the city council members were, they wouldn’t be on the city council anymore.

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