In a surprise twist Monday night, City Councilmembers voted down a set of housing reforms that Mayor Todd Gloria has been pushing for months.
Gloria’s Housing Action Package 2.0 appeared relatively uncontroversial and seemed as if it would sail through Council. But in recent weeks, two details in the package emerged as controversial.
First, the mayor wanted to stop giving fee waivers to developers who build studio apartments and instead give those waivers to developers building three-bedroom units. Critics on the council believed this would encourage the development of high-end units, rather than the smaller units they believe are critical in battling the city’s homeless crisis.
The second change, revealed two weeks ago by Voice of San Diego, would have watered down a requirement that forces developers who want to build big, dense developments to build mandated-affordable units on-site. The change would have allowed developers to build those units off-site — in some cases in poorer neighborhoods than the original development.
A block of four councilmembers — that included Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, Vivian Moreno, Kent Lee and Joe LaCava — tried to amend the package to get rid of, or at least roll back, some of the suggested changes.
But the council deadlocked on the amendments at four-four — with Councilmember Raul Campillo out on parental leave.
After the amendments failed, some councilmembers, who opposed the package entirely, sided with others who wanted it tweaked. Ultimately, they voted 5-3 to shut down what has been one of the mayor’s biggest legislative efforts of the year.
The package is likely to go back to the city’s Land Use and Housing Committee or come before the full City Council, again.
Related: Voice contributor Kathryn Gray recently shared the story of two women who are being evicted. They have shared a duplex in Golden Hill for years, but the building’s new owner wants to redevelop it and plans to use a city law that allows for density bonuses to build 108 units. Some of the changes proposed at Monday’s meeting would have affected these women. Read the story here.
A Choreographer’s Source of Inspiration: Stories of the Border
Contemporary dancer and choreographer Minervia Tapia has long-been inspired by the stories of the border.
She has produced works that tell the story of Tijuana’s maquiladora workers and victims of drug violence. The stories of immigrants who cross the border without legal documentation.
Now, she’s embarked on her latest project: a book. Voice contributor Sandra Dibble spoke with Tapia about her new book and how the stories of the border have inspired decades of work.
County Migrant Welcome Center Is Already Running Out of Money
Last month, San Diego County Supervisors voted to allocate $3 million to open a welcome center to help the hundreds of asylum-seekers that feds were dropping off at transit centers across the region. KPBS reports that the funding was meant to last three months, but it’s already running out.
The center’s funding is expected to run out in mid-December, KPBS reports. It’s a bit unclear what the specific cost breakdown has been, but some of it has gone to transportation to bring migrants to the welcome center. Chair Vargas told KPBS that the center costs $1.5 million a month to run.
Related: Last week, we reported that some migrants are continuing to stay in the city of San Diego’s homeless shelters.
In Other News
- The County Sheriff’s Department released a 10-year, $500 million-dollar plan last week to renovate and replace the county’s seven jails. It’s part of what the department is calling a “strategic framework” to help address what the state auditor said were very dangerous conditions inside San Diego County jails. (Union-Tribune)
- The president of Mexico addressed the recently increasing wait times for cross-border commuters traveling southbound from San Ysidro to Tijuana during his three-day tour through Baja California. After his tour, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered all 21 lanes at the border crossing to be open starting Monday. He also promised more changes in the next year to further ease traffic. (Union-Tribune) Related: Voice contributor Sandra Dibble recently wrote about the increasing traffic at the border and the thousands of commuters who have been urging officials to do something about it. Read that story here.
- Businesses in Little Italy are worried that an upcoming redesign of Grape Street will further divide the neighborhood. That’s what happened 50 years ago when Interstate 5 was built, and it took decades for Little Italy to recover. Now, city officials want to expand Grape Street and remove its street parking, but neighboring businesses are worried history will repeat itself. (KPBS)
- San Diego officials are promising sweeping changes to the city’s Water Department. The changes include a new billing system, switching customer service software, more payment options, replacing more than 250,000 outdated water meters and more. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Tigist Layne and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.