San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe is riding high this week — commanding a big lead in the special election to replace Nathan Fletcher on the Board of Supervisors. Amy Reichert is also going to the November runoff election.

It’s a classic Democrat vs. Republican contest! Isn’t familiarity soothing?

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Jakob McWhinney and reporter Tigist Layne discussed the race thus far and what we might expect as two camps face off in a heavily Democratic district during a heavily weird election.

Also riding high: parents.

We’re on the cusp of a new school year — a pivotal time for families as parents finally get their lives back and kids lose theirs.

In his latest Learning Curve newsletter, McWhinney, reviewed some of the biggest education stories he’s been following and what to watch in the coming year. Chief among these storylines is San Diego Unified’s pandemic-era surge in chronic absenteeism.

Also riding high: UCSD researchers.

A new research center opened at UC San Diego dedicated to psychedelics.

The Center for Psychedelic Research is advancing the field of mushroom studies. The illegal, Schedule I drug is difficult to obtain. But as McWhinney reported this week, it has provided big relief for those suffering from phantom limb pain.

On the show, McWhinney explains how this center came to be — and the next major project they’re looking to conquer.

Also riding high: Palomar Health’s anxiety.

A couple of months ago, North County sleuth Layne reviewed Palomar Health’s finances. She found the healthcare district lost a lot of income during the last fiscal year.

Palomar Health, a North County public healthcare provider, is now trying to balance the books and broadcast a message: we’re ‘going to be in pretty good shape.’

Layne in this week’s show reviewed her initial story, how Palomar’s leaders, staff and stakeholders responded and what they’re saying now at the start of their new fiscal year.

See You Soon!

Coming up on Sept. 6, 2023, we’ll be at Original 40 in North Park for the next Brews & News.

As always, we’ll have Voice journalists, special guests, great vibes and the Voice membership community. Get your tickets now and hang with us.

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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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