A recent mailer has been generating lotsa chatter about City Councilwoman and Supervisorial candidate Monica Montgomery Steppe’s position – and past action – on defunding the city’s police department.
The San Diego Police Officers Association-funded mailer declared that Montgomery Steppe, who is vying to replace former District 4 supervisor Nathan Fletcher, backed defunding the police department and “sought to slash the city’s police budget.”
So what’s the deal? Our Andrea Lopez- Villafaña dug into the recent history on this and found that Montgomery Steppe has voted to approve multiple recent city budgets with increased police funding but also once said she was “committed to developing a plan that can reasonably and responsibly address diverting funds from SDPD.”
Read the full story for all the details.
Camping Ban Enforcement Started in Balboa Park
Enforcement of the city’s new camping ban has initially focused entirely on Balboa Park.
Through Wednesday, police said they had contacted 30 people they found in violation of the ordinance – which bars camping in sensitive zones including Balboa Park even when shelter is unavailable – and cited two people. Three people accepted shelter.
At a Thursday press conference, police Capt. Shawn Takeuchi said five officers trained on the ordinance have kicked off enforcement. Takeuchi was set to train another set of officers who patrol the park on Thursday. He’s also working on written training guidelines.
Mayor Todd Gloria also announced that as of Wednesday night, 111 people slept at the city’s first safe sleeping site in Golden Hill. They were staying in 93 tents at a city operations yard the city has said can eventually accommodate 136 tents. Takeuchi said police have thus far been able to move all they encounter who request a spot there into the campsite.
Because you might be wondering: Police last month cleared homeless camps at the edge of downtown using the city’s longtime encroachment ordinance which bars blocking a public right of way. Police have said the orders to move were not tied to the new camping ban. As of Wednesday, a few camping ban signs had gone up in the area police cleared and homeless camps hadn’t returned. The area is within a couple blocks of two shelters and a school. Meanwhile, more makeshift homes popped up in nearby areas.
A reminder from the mayor: “We do not anticipate major changes happening immediately on the state of our streets in the areas where encampments are prominent. But we do think that with consistent contact unhoused people will consider accepting offers of shelter.”
Forced Pivot Likely for City Hall Redevelopment
Axios broke the news that the city will likely be forced to change its plan to revamp and revitalize five blocks including its longtime City Hall.
As of Wednesday, the city had yet to receive bids to redevelop the area. The deadline is 2 p.m. today.
Voice alum Andrew Keatts noted that if the city doesn’t receive any bids by today’s deadline, it could pursue the project without increased affordable housing mandates set by state law. Jay Goldstone, the mayor’s special adviser overseeing the effort, told Keatts he doesn’t expect a pitch to develop the entire five blocks.
The Union-Tribune reported that the city is now also looking for a consultant to help it mull options for the new City Hall. (Warning: This one’s only for U-T subscribers.)
Gloria’s take: Gloria told us during his Thursday press conference that he’s not deterred by the lack of bids thus far and remains committed to delivering a new City Hall and affordable housing.
“The status quo on the site is absolutely not acceptable,” Gloria said. “It is not an appropriate location for the public to access their government. It is a liability to taxpayers, and it has the potential to generate a lot of homes that are affordable to everyday San Diegans.”
In Other News
- The Union-Tribune reports that San Diego’s Planning Commission unanimously voted against a key part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s housing plan Thursday that would have eliminated single-family zoning in much of the city. A Gloria spokesman told KPBS that Gloria plans to now hold workshops on his pitch rather than present the policy to the City Council next month as planned. If you’re looking for more of a play-by-play of today’s vote (we see you), check out this thread from CalMatters reporter Ben Christopher.
- The Union-Tribune broke the news that an outside legal review requested by City Attorney Mara Elliott has deemed Assemblyman Brian Maienschein eligible to run for city attorney despite his inactive law license.
- 10 News reports that the Alpine Union School District recently became the first local district to provide affordable housing for its teachers.
- The Union-Tribune revealed that a former sheriff’s deputy convicted for a series of on-duty sexual assaults was released from county jail months early.
- Inewsource reported Wednesday that a jury ordered UC San Diego to pay a former UCSD doctor more than $39 million in damages following allegations the university attacked him after he spoke out about university funds being improperly diverted. The Associated Press reports that two Navy sailors, including one based in San Diego, have been charged with providing sensitive intelligence to China.
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez- Villafaña.