(Left to right) Alain Stephens and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña in the VOSD Podcast studio, Aug. 7, 2023.

Few joys in life match a breezy summer night gossiping with good friends over cold drinks. And in this first-ever “Happy Hour” edition of the VOSD Podcast, that’s what we’ve got for you.

This week, VOSD Podcast hosts Scott Lewis and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña chat with special guests Alain Stephens, reporter from The Trace, and Greg Moran, investigative reporter formerly with the The Union Tribune.

Each journalist brought a story and a drink.

Selling Sunset and Tenant’s Rights

Lopez-Villafaña loves “Selling Sunset,” a reality TV show about glamorous realtors who sell Hollywood mansions.

A recent LA Times story connected one realtor to a wild tale of a Los Angeles landlord who set fire to his property to drive out long-time tenants.

In the happy hour, Lopez-Villafaña dished some hot goss and glam that fuels “Selling Sunset” — which highlights the dire circumstances of the tenants clinging to their fixed rent in a region that has become increasingly unlivable.

The Gun Machine

A new podcast from The Trace and WBUR Boston, “The Gun Machine,” will explore secret and critical histories between the gun industry and the United States government.

In the happy hour, Stephens shares an exclusive peak into the forthcoming series, including secrets that boosted the gun industry through the industrial revolution, antebellum south and World War II. Plus, Stephens laid out data and research behind big ideas to address our current gun violence crisis like, “what if we banned AR-15s today?”

Fat Leonard Scandal Storytime

The Fat Leonard scandal is perhaps the wildest, most cinematic story featuring San Diego in recent history. As Moran put it in his happy hour segment, it was “one of the most significant cases happening at the San Diego courthouse.” A major update to this saga was Moran’s last piece for the Union-Tribune.

In his authoritative telling of the scandal that blew a hole in the U.S. Navy, Moran explains it from the beginning — how Leonard got into business with the Navy, inflated invoices, bribed sailors and hampered the careers of some bigwig officers — all while living lavishly and scheming anyone who came his way.

The Slippery Promise of Desalination

When Lewis first started his career in San Diego, he was assigned the water beat. “Boring” — or so he thought.

At the time, desalination was a new idea: turn ocean water into drinking water.

Now, because Lewis is so old, a productive desalination plant is real and has diversified the region’s water sources. But it’s expensive.

At the project’s outset, water leaders told Lewis that the price would eventually level out — we’d break even on the desal investment and pay less for water. But that hasn’t happened.

In his happy hour offering, Lewis explains how we got here, who’s responsible for the bad budget projection and what’s next for San Diego’s water future.

Listen Now

Listen: Apple | Spotify | Google | PodLink

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 nate@vosd.org.

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