At Monday’s San Diego City Council meeting, a whole bunch of drama kicked off around a series of housing reforms proposed by Mayor Todd Gloria. The Council ultimately blocked them and you can read about that in yesterday’s Morning Report here.
But something even more interesting also happened: Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, who was clearly frustrated, got candid about the influence of development money on the city’s legislative process.
Elo-Rivera and several other councilmembers supported a series of amendments that would have taken away two big concessions to developers in the housing package. Some of his colleagues didn’t like that. They said they liked the amendments, but they didn’t like seeing them proposed — as Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert put it — “on the fly.”
The legislation had been in the works for months, they said. Why were the amendments just now surfacing?
“What I have seen in my experience,” said Elo-Rivera, “is that oftentimes very complex policy proposals will not come to us first for input about the general direction we would like things to go. This is not a knock at staff,” said Elo-Rivera.
It seemed, instead, like a knock at the Mayor’s Office, which frequently originates policies, like the housing package.
“To be frank I’m tired of that. We are the legislators and I want us to legislate,” Elo-Rivera said.
He wasn’t done.
Elo-Rivera held back his amendments for another important reason, he said.
“That gives industry a chance to lobby this body and tell us what we shouldn’t do,” said Elo-Rivera. “There’s a reason why I wouldn’t necessarily share these last week. Folks with a lot of power and a lot of influence would have undoubtedly started making calls to tell us that we shouldn’t… tell them the standards for which they need to [build off-site affordable housing.] I wasn’t ok with that.”
The mayor’s housing package likely isn’t dead. It’s likely to head back to the council’s Land Use and Housing Committee or the full council soon. It’s also likely those calls are already being made.
San Diego Padres Owner Dead at 63
Beloved Padres owner and chairman Peter Seidler, an eternal optimist devoted to delivering a winning baseball franchise and combating the region’s homelessness crisis, died Tuesday at age 63.
Seidler, a two-time cancer survivor who had for months battled an undisclosed illness, made headlines in the final years of his life for pouring financial resources into drawing in prime talent.
As our Lisa Halverstadt writes, he was not only devoted to the team but also to ending homelessness in San Diego. In 2017 as a deadly hepatitis A outbreak ravaged San Diego’s homeless population, Seidler and restaurateur Dan Shea forced a public conversation about delivering shelter beds in the absence of immediate housing solutions after private conversations with then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
We named him one of our Voices of the Year for that effort.
Whitburn Demands Retraction; Lewis Responds
This weekend’s Politics Report by Scott Lewis told the story of San Diego City Councilman Stephen Whitburn’s attempt in 2021 to change the city’s cannabis laws to allow for more locations for retailers. Lewis wrote that the push may get more scrutiny now that Whitburn’s chief of staff at the time, Jesus Cardenas, has been accused by the district attorney of fraudulently claiming cannabis shop employees as his own to get federal Covid relief.
Cardenas had also disclosed significant income from cannabis retailers and interested parties.
Whitburn had some issues with the post and sent in a response, which we have published in full here.
Lewis made a correction to a quote he had transcribed in the piece but otherwise, Lewis stands by the piece and has posted a response to Whitburn’s letter. You can read that here.
Song of the Week
Twenty-one years ago this week, San Diego indie rock heavyweights Three Mile Pilot released their debut album, “Nà Vuccà Dò Lupù.” Though not the band’s most celebrated release, it launched the careers of all three original members, who would go on to found legendary local acts like Pinback and The Black Heart Procession.
Especially compared to Three Mile Pilot’s later work, which features a more fleshed out lineup, “Nà Vuccà Dò Lupù,” stands out.
Three Mile Pilot, “Unicycle Silencer”: On first listen, “Unicycle Silencer,” feels much fuller than its instrumentation would suggest. That’s in large part due to Jenkins’ layered, tortured vocals, which vacillate from screams to whispers and Armistead Burwell Smith IV’s visionary bass acrobatics. The result is a dark, meandering, nine-minute track that seemingly discovers, loses and rediscovers swelling hooks within the folds of its almost psychedelic sonic explorations. Just close your eyes and let it sway you.
Like what you hear? Give Three Mile Pilot’s fabulous follow-up album, “The Chief Assassin to the Sinister,” a listen.
Do you have a “Song of the Week” suggestion? Shoot us an email and a sentence or two about why you’ve been bumping this song lately. Friendly reminder: all songs should be by local artists!
In Other News
- Over the summer, the San Diego Humane Society transferred hundreds of small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs to a Tucson shelter. The shelter initially said the pets were being adopted out by a private rescue organization, but new evidence seems to suggest the animals were instead turned into reptile food. (Union-Tribune)
- San Diego has begun to search for a new police chief following David Nisleit’s Monday announcement that he’d be retiring. (City News Service)
- According to a San Diego Housing Commission report, 20,000 San Diegans received federal rental assistance last fiscal year. (City News Service)
- Del Mar’s city council voted to approve a set of guidelines for the relocation of the rail lines along the city’s coastal bluffs.
The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Lisa Halverstadt, Scott Lewis and Jakob McWhinney. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.