In the midst of an addiction crisis, treatment providers who get dozens of desperate calls for help each week are determined to deliver more beds for low-income and homeless San Diegans.
But as our Lisa Halverstadt writes, three of the region’s leading detox and residential treatment providers have hit roadblock after roadblock as they try to add more beds.
The McAlister Institute and San Diego Freedom Ranch each report they have assessed more than 40 properties in recent years. Interfaith Community Services has been on the hunt too.
McAlister has struggled to find a workable site even with $12 million in committed county and city funds to help with an expansion.
And Freedom Ranch has identified an East County site it thinks could supply dozens of additional beds – if the county will help.
Interfaith, meanwhile, is hoping for support from the city of Escondido.
Related: Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed state legislation that will put a $6.38 million bond measure on the March 2024 ballot aiming to fund more than 11,000 new behavioral health beds and supportive housing units. While the legislation included language meant to streamline the local government review process for such projects, San Diego treatment providers’ experience reveals that there are a slew of roadblocks that can slow the process to deliver new beds. Delivering tens of thousands of new behavioral health beds and housing units will be no easy task.
Worth noting: Not everyone grappling with addiction needs residential treatment to start the recovery process. KPBS spotlighted a Central Library, Father Joe’s Villages and San Diego State School of Social Work partnership linking people who use opioids with medication that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Why Port Commissioners Censured Sandy Naranjo
The Port of San Diego on Wednesday night released the findings of an investigation into Commissioner Sandy Naranjo. The port’s board voted to censure her earlier this week. Read the document here.
The partially redacted document prepared by an outside law firm hired by the Port concludes that Naranjo made false accusations against the agency’s chief legal officer, Tom Russell, and retaliated against him “because she felt unfairly targeted by him as he was attempting to obtain information to clear her various conflicts of interest issues as they became known to him,” according to the report.
Naranjo will remain on the board, but as a result of the censure, lost her title as vice chair. She’s also prohibited from holding leadership positions or other committee assignments. She was appointed to the board in 2020 by National City.
The Union-Tribune reports that Naranjo’s attorney referred to the investigation as a “hatchet job.” According to the investigation, Naranjo alleged that Russell was targeting her because of her race and sexual orientation. At the Port’s meeting on Tuesday community members spoke in favor of Naranjo’s character and dedication to environmental justice.
Meanwhile: National City’s City Council met in closed session Thursday to discuss the investigation. The City Council will meet again Tuesday during closed session to discuss the city’s response to the investigation. Councilwoman Ditas Yamane told CBS 8 that she felt blindsided by the report.
Why Newsom Won’t Declare Tijuana Sewage Emergency
As our MacKenzie Elmer has reported, Newsom decided against declaring the Tijuana sewage debacle an emergency and for months wouldn’t explain why.
Now the Union-Tribune reveals that the guv’s legal affairs secretary ‘fessed up in a letter to state Coastal Commission.
What’s the beef? The Newsom official says it’s a jurisdiction issue and that “a state proclamation of emergency cannot accelerate federal work needed on this federal facility that is in a federally controlled area on an international border.”
Now the Coastal Commission is set to consider whether to urge President Joe Biden to declare an emergency.
In Other News
- The city prevailed this week in a legal case that could have scuttled the city’s franchise agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric. (Times of San Diego)
- Sweetwater Union High School District dialed back bathroom access to try to limit vaping and other issues. Student leaders say it’s depriving them of a basic need. (KPBS)
- Qualcomm is laying off more than 1,000 workers in San Diego. (Union-Tribune)
- Escondido city workers are protesting the city’s rejection of their union’s proposal for cost-of-living increases at a time when the city is facing a $10 million budget deficit. (KPBS)
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.