St. Vincent De Paul Joan Kroc Center in the outskirts of downtown on July 10, 2023.
St. Vincent de Paul Village in East Village on July 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Father Joe’s Villages has long been the region’s best-known homeless service provider and the city has increasingly relied on the agency as homelessness has surged.

Yet the San Diego Housing Commission has in recent months struggled with the nonprofit that now provides about half of city-funded shelter beds.

Our Lisa Halverstadt reveals that the housing agency that oversees most shelter contracts earlier this year ordered Father Joe’s to swiftly address a series of issues with four of its contracts. Among the issues flagged were facility issues at the nonprofit’s Golden Hall shelter, disproportionate numbers of service suspensions and client grievances, and problems with reimbursement requests.

What they’re doing about it: Both Father Joe’s and the Housing Commission say their agencies are committed to working together to address the issues formally laid out in February – and that they intend to stick it out. The housing agency has hired an outside consultant to help address suspension list issues and Father Joe’s reports it has taken steps such as hiring a new Golden Hall facility manager and a new property management company in part to address issues raised by the commission. For now, the commission is continuing to closely monitor the four Father Joe’s contracts it raised issues on.

Read the full story here. 

City Council OKs Use of Streetlight Cameras, License Plate Readers 

The San Diego City Council passed two resolutions on Tuesday that authorize the use of streetlight cameras and license plate readers.

Dig in: The effort to pass these resolutions and to allow law enforcement access to these additional surveillance tools has been riddled with controversy. The first smart streetlights were rolled out in 2016 without informing the public that the footage would be accessible by police. They were turned off in 2020 following privacy concerns.

The City Council passed an ordinance last August that gives the council ultimate approval and governance of any technology used to monitor or identify people. A key part of the ordinance states, however, that input from the public and an advisory board be considered when making decisions about surveillance technology. 

The Public Advisory Board rejected the council’s last proposal and Tuesday argued that they were not given sufficient time to read the amended proposal.

Those opposed: Dozens of public speakers raised concerns. Most felt the City Council and the police department needed to be more transparent about the plan to roll out the new surveillance technologies. Many shared fears that this technology would be used to racially profile individuals or for immigration purposes.

Councilmembers Sean Elo-Rivera and Monica Montgomery Steppe voted no on the first resolution and Councilwoman Vivian Moreno joined them in voting no on license plate readers. They cited a lack of transparency around how the information will be used and who will have access to it. 

Reader Question: Why the Change of Heart?

Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe in City Council Chambers in downtown on June 13, 2023.

A couple weeks ago, Scott Lewis wrote in the Politics Report that in the race to replace former San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe had secured endorsements from unions that notoriously opposed her when she first ran for City Council in 2018. (Note: Things were different during her City Council reelection campaign.)

The reader’s question: Any insight on why unions were opposed to Monica Montgomery Steppe for city council but now back her for county supervisor? – David from San Carlos 

That was then: When Montgomery Steppe beat Council President Myrtle Cole in 2018, it was a big deal. She did it without institutional support — well mostly, the largest union of county workers had her back. 

This is now:  Montgomery Steppe highlighted her endorsements from labor in a Tweet on Monday, “… beyond honored to have the support and confidence of workers and labor organizations across the state! Workers move this country forward and with me they will have a tireless advocate at the County.” 

We reached out to the unions. We didn’t hear back from all, but this is what some said: 

  • UDW AFSCME Local 3930: From Executive Director Douge Moore, “ In 2018 our members voted to endorse a longtime supporter of care workers and our families. Since Monica Montgomery Steppe joined San Diego City Council, she has been a strong advocate for home care workers and family child care providers, attending UDW rallies and speaking out in support of UDW members. As a County Supervisor, we trust that she will continue to be there for our members and fight for their rights and dignity. After all, her mother was a home care worker—she knows firsthand how vital this workforce is. We wholeheartedly believe that Monica Montgomery Steppe is the best candidate in this race.”
  • Laborers Local 89 San Diego: In 2018, they did not have a relationship with Montgomery Steppe. But got to know her during her reelection campaign, said Kelvin Barrios, government affairs director. They believe she’s the best choice because she is experienced and knows how to navigate local government.
  • San Diego Municipal Employees Association: From General Manager Michael Zucchet, “We supported her for her re-election to the City Council in 2022 and support her candidacy for Supervisor in 2023. In her 4½ years on the City Council, she has been a passionate and successful leader on issues related to employee recruitment/retention and enhancing essential services. County employees and residents will be very fortunate to have her on the Board of Supervisors if she is successful in this election. As for 2018, our support for then-City Council President Myrtle Cole had nothing to do with Monica and everything to do with Myrtle’s support for City employees during her time in office.”

Always a fan: From SEIU Local 221 President Crystal Irving, “… Montgomery Steppe has been a champion for economic opportunity, neighborhood investment and a restorative approach to public safety. Monica’s work leading our region’s shift toward equity and her laser-focus on supporting working families and communities informed this choice. We know that Monica will be a fierce advocate for District 4, the most diverse supervisorial district, and make sure that all constituents have access, opportunity and are served by an experienced, responsive County government.”

Do you have a question about the race? Or anything you’d like our reporters to answer? Email our managing editor at

In Other News

  • The board of directors of the San Diego County Water Authority voted unanimously last Thursday in closed session to negotiate a contract with acting General Manager Dan Denham so he can become the permanent general manager. 
  • Diana Jurado-Sainz Fuentes is the city of San Diego’s new city clerk. She’s the first Latina appointed to the position, the Union-Tribune reports
  • The San Diego City Council voted to give developers more time for building permit applications. (KPBS) 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Kathryn Gray and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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