California Attorney General Rob Bonta at the University of San Diego for Politifest 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta at the University of San Diego for Politifest 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. / Vito Di Stefano for Voice of San Diego

A lot went down at Politifest 2023! 

If you didn’t make it, we missed you, but don’t worry. We’ll recap interesting revelations, mic drop moments and everything else you need to know in the coming days.

You can also watch some of the discussions here.

Now, speaking of revelations: During the live recording of the VOSD Podcast at Politifest, Attorney General Rob Bonta shared with LA Times journalist Liam Dillon that his office is on the verge of “announcing something” regarding the city of Coronado’s failure to comply with state housing laws.

Background: Across California, cities have had to submit housing blueprints to the state. And as Dillon has reported for the LA Times, Coronado “is arguably the most flagrant resister” of the state’s affordable housing law. Its housing plan is two years overdue. The city’s elected representatives are aware the state could crack down on them, but they weren’t worried because it could be years.

And it has been. So, what does this say about the state’s willingness to enforce its laws?

Bonta said he is prioritizing the most brazen violators — Coronado among them — and his office has engaged with its leaders.

“It’s been on our radar, we’ve been engaged, we haven’t had to sue and if this gets approved, we won’t have had to sue because we will get the outcome that is required by our engagement and our threats to sue and subsequent negotiation to get them in compliance, so they will be in compliance in very short order, if they vote to approve the term sheet,” Bonta said.

Supe debate: The Union-Tribune covered our County Supervisor debate between Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe and Amy Reichert. The candidates got into their positions on homelessness, transit and an upcoming county vote to spend $3 million to help groups responding to the influx of migrants in San Diego.

Politics Report: What the City Attorney Has to Say 

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott appears at Golden Hall on Election Night in March, 2020. / Photo by Megan Wood

A few weeks ago, our VOSD Podcast crew talked about a ballot measure that would dramatically change the city attorney’s job.

The San Diego City Council’s Rules Committee last week delayed its discussion on the proposal. It was a tense meeting.

Council President and chair of the committee Sean Elo-Rivera wanted more time to consider a legal analysis City Attorney Mara Elliott provided and a separate memo she sent on the issue. He felt that Elliott was not being objective.

She disagreed.

Our Scott Lewis spoke to Elliott about why she feels she has not taken a position on the matter. Read the Politics Report here.

The Latest Downtown Homeless Count 

A downtown business group’s latest census shows a 6.5 percent month-over-month increase in street homelessness in downtown and its outskirts. The Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Sept. 28 count was the second since police began enforcing the city’s new homeless camping ban. 

The September count represents a 35 percent decrease from the record 2,104 people counted in May.

What this census doesn’t reveal: where unsheltered people have relocated outside the downtown area. As our Lisa Halverstadt has previously reported, homeless residents often move elsewhere when police crack down.

More Sidewalk Vending Rules

People walk passed a vendor at Balboa Park on Sept. 14, 2023.
People walk passed a vendor at Balboa Park on Sept. 14, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

A little over a year since the city of San Diego adopted an ordinance for how sidewalk vendors can operate within its boundaries, officials want to tighten up the rules.

The big issue: Vendors have found ways to skirt the rules, city officials say. 

The Union-Tribune reports that some vendors are claiming it’s their First Amendment right to vend in areas the city has identified as prohibited — parks and areas with high foot traffic — because of items they sell. Some examples are T-shirts with images of Jesus Christ or items that have political elements. 

The San Diego City Council’s Community and Neighborhood Services Committee approved proposed changes to the city’s sidewalk vending ordinance on Thursday. It will need a vote of the full council next. 

Here’s what’s different: 

  • They got rid of warnings as a first level of enforcement. Vendors with permits selling in a prohibited area, would get a $100 fine. That goes up to $250 for an unpermitted vendor. 
  • The city could immediately impound a vendor’s equipment if there are “public health and safety concerns” such as selling food without a county food permit. 
  • San Diego police officers will take the lead on cracking down on vendors, in addition to the city’s park rangers. 

In Other News 

  • An ex-employee for Qualcomm pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme to pose as a tech startup that doesn’t exist in order to sell Qualcomm technology it owned. (Union-Tribune) 
  • Father Brown, a beloved figure in Barrio Logan, will be paid tribute to with the naming of his own street. (KPBS)
  • Six new odor sensors from the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District will have the vital role of deciphering smells and its causes in the ongoing battle to resolve the Tijuana sewage crisis. (ABC 10)
  • For our across the border commuters, Avenida Internacional will be partially closed in three weeks due to construction of an elevated roadway to connect neighborhoods in the west side of Tijuana, east of San Diego, and the San Ysidro Port of Entry. (Fox 5)
  • San Diego’s mayor mourned the death of the mayor of San Diego’s sister city in Israel, Ofir Liebstein, the mayor of Shar’ar Hanegev in the attack Hamas militants launched this weekend on many parts of Israel, which has led to the outbreak of all-out war as Israel is still struggling to recapture some towns.

Correction: The Morning Report on Friday, Oct. 6, incorrectly stated the amount of money Casa Familiar has spent to provide services to migrants. It has spent $200,000 since Sept. 13. Click here to read the updated post.

The Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafana, Lisa Halverstadt and Hannah Ramirez. It was edited by Scott Lewis.

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