In the days before and after the city’s new homeless camping ban went into effect, our Lisa Halverstadt has been on the hunt for new city signs barring homeless camps.
The new law makes it illegal to camp in so-called sensitive zones including certain parks and near schools even when shelter isn’t available – once signage goes up. But the city hasn’t said exactly where signs are going up.
Where we found signs: Halverstadt last week discovered several camping ban signs near Roosevelt Middle School, which also happens to be near the home of NBA legend Bill Walton, who publicly criticized Mayor Todd Gloria’s homelessness response. She also found a cluster of signs along a single stretch of C Street within the San Diego City College campus and near Garfield High School – and a single one at Perkins K-8 in Barrio Logan, where there have long been complaints about homelessness.
Where signs have yet to go up, as of last week: Near the Central Library in East Village which houses a high school and where there have long been complaints about homeless camps or the Monarch School for homeless students where camps until recently lined nearby sidewalks.
City officials say they have started placing signs near certain parks and near certain schools and expect to add more in coming weeks – and that the signs near Walton’s house have nothing to do with Walton’s complaints. A spokeswoman said the city’s making signage decisions based on Get It Done encampment complaints plus input from City Council districts, Gloria’s office, police, outreach teams and camp clean-up workers.
Why it matters: Signage is required for enforcement in parks and near schools – and absent more details, it’s unclear how the city is considering equity concerns that were flagged by residents and council members before the law went into effect.
Environment Report: Yet Another Attempt to Stop a Water Divorce
Last Thursday, the chair of the San Diego County Water Authority board asked the County Registrar of Voters to stall a special election of water customers in Rainbow and Fallbrook.
The response? Uh, no.
Registrar Cynthia Paes wrote back that their role is to hold elections that follow the rules under state elections law.
Background: There’s a bill in the state Legislature that could stop the Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Utilities District from leaving the Water Authority. But as MacKenzie Elmer writes, the bill could hit some roadblocks.
Mel Katz, the chair, argued with the Registrar that the districts’ elections are “premature” and would only confuse voters if AB 399 passes. That would mean there would be multiple elections (one in Rainbow, in Fallbrook and in the county).
The Water Authority is also suing the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, which gave the two districts the greenlight to pursue a divorce.
“Your impending lawsuit against LAFCO, or actions against the districts, may determine what significance, if any, the election will have,” Paes wrote.
Also – Water Authority Officially Sues LAFCO: The San Diego County Water Authority filed its lawsuit Monday against the people that allowed two of its 24 water districts to seek cheaper water outside its business territory. The Local Agency Formation Commission voted to let Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utilities District divorce from the Water Authority at a July hearing.
We knew this lawsuit was coming because Water Authority attorneys threatened it in multiple letters throughout the LAFCO process.
The Water Authority said in a news release that it’s suing to “stop imminent, illegal water rate increases” and “protect the environment.” The agency argued in the past that if Rainbow and Fallbrook leave, they also leave behind their portion of the $2 billion or more debt it agreed to pay to build relatively drought-proof water supplies. And, that their departure would put more pressure on drought-impacted northern California water supplies.
Hilary’s Aftermath: ‘We Were Spared’
City and County leaders on Monday praised first responders and thanked residents for a coordinated effort in responding to Tropical Storm Hilary.
The storm didn’t have as large of an impact as leaders originally anticipated, but County Supervisor Chair Nora Vargas said it was better to be prepared than to realize too late that they should have done more.
Chris Heiser, executive director of San Diego’s Office of Emergency Services, said they had “no regrets” about their response to the storm.
We asked County Communications Representative Michael Workman which cities, communities or areas were hit the hardest. He said via email that’s still “being assessed at this time but we have not heard of much damage.”
Rainy day funds: San Diego City Council voted to ratify Mayor Todd Gloria’s state of emergency proclamation. These types of declarations allow cities to tap state and federal disaster money to fund repairs. City staff said the storm damaged roads, infrastructure and facilities.
“Everyone stood up at the highest level and was ready to respond,” said city Chief Operating Officer Eric Dargan at the meeting. “Luckily, we were spared at the end of the day, but the emergency was truly needed for us to be ready to make sure that every citizen and every resident was protected.”
Look at what went down: Our Ariana Drehsler was out over the weekend documenting the storm’s effect on the region. She visited Jacumb, downtown San Diego, ranches in San Ysidro and beach areas. View her photo essay here.
In Other News
- Tribal leaders, state assembly members and County Sheriff Kelly Martinez met last week to begin ongoing discussions about the impacts of fentanyl addiction on tribal communities and potential solutions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020 and 2021, American Indian and Alaska Native people had the highest drug overdose rate of any ethnicity in the country. (Union-Tribune)
- A San Diego Nazarene pastor has been fired for his stance supporting same-sex marriage. Senior Pastor Selden “Dee” Kelley III led San Diego First Church of the Nazarene for 17 years and is well-liked by the community, but after sharing his support for same-sex marriage, leaders of the wider Nazarene denomination fired him. (Union-Tribune)
- Thirteen people had to be rescued by San Diego Fire-Rescue Department swift water crews on Sunday from a flooded encampment in Mission Valley caused by Tropical Storm Hilary. Two people needed medical attention at the scene, but all were released without injuries. (Fox 5)
- Gloria, San Diego County Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors Nora Vargas and others are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom and state leaders to add $1.5 billion for cities and counties to a proposed state behavioral health services infrastructure bond.
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, MacKenzie Elmer and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.