Morning Report: 1 Block, 5 'Party' Houses for Rent, No Fuss - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: 1 Block, 5 'Party' Houses for Rent, No Fuss

Balboa Park re-do still stalled, labor leader's fate continues to divide Democrats, flu prompts lockdowns at nursing and senior homes, map reveals S.D. school segregation, a border wall tour and the goat who likes kids and jazz.

With all the industry and low-income homes around, the neighborhood of Stockton near the interchange of highways 15 and 94 may not seem like Party Central. Yet in one block, five homes advertise themselves for rent as party houses, just the sort of waking nightmare that worries activists who are fighting Airbnb-style rentals.

We took a closer look to see how the neighborhood has reacted to their new neighbors. In a new VOSD story, our Kinsee Morlan reports what we found: No muss, no fuss.

Yes, “on the surface, the block appears to confirm some of the biggest fears and complaints of those who oppose vacation rentals in San Diego.” They fear nuisances next door, and they worry that Airbnb is making the local housing crisis worse instead of helping homeowners to make extra money to afford to live here. (These homes are owned by investors.)

But the neighbors we talked to in Stockton don’t seem bothered. The manager of the rentals says the homes are in a lot better shape than when he came in, and upgrades are continuing.

Balboa Park’s Makeover Remains Stalled

The long-stalled plan to overhaul the center of Balboa Park is still stuck in nowheresville thanks to a pair of lawsuits that are working their ways through the appeals process, our Lisa Halverstadt reports.

Top politicians and influential philanthropist Irwin Jacobs (a major supporter of VOSD) continue to support building a for-pay parking structure and evicting cars from the area between the art museum and organ pavilion. But preservationists have tied the project up in court, and it looks like no construction will begin until the fall of this year, if ever.

Politics Roundup: Convention Center Measure Debuts

A coalition of various business, labor and homeless advocate groups calling itself Yes! For a Better San Diego is out with a proposed November ballot measure that would boost taxes on hotel guests to raise an estimated $6.4 billion over 40 years, the U-T reports. The money would pay for a convention center expansion, help for the homeless and road repairs.

The Yes! For a Better San Diego campaign didn’t release detailed initiative language during or after its Monday press conference, making it difficult to verify proponents’ claims about the measure.

But Lisa Halverstadt obtained a draft late Monday that offers more details.  Spokeswoman Laura Fink said the campaign would likely release final language on Tuesday.

The details are critical. A push by Mayor Kevin Faulconer last summer for a similar measure ended up failing in part because opponents successfully argued it didn’t spend enough of the new money on homelessness.

There are other initiatives in the works that would do more to help the homeless. Also, a convention center expansion is no gimme even if voters approve. The U-T notes that “also a major hurdle is gaining control of the site. Plans for a $300 million hotel project that would occupy much of that land is currently headed to a hearing before San Diego Port commissioners this spring.”

• A new U-T story provides more insight into the sharp divide among local Democrats (elected leaders, candidates and activists) over what to say about labor leader Mickey Kasparian, a powerful and aggressive political player who’s been facing allegations of various kinds of misconduct. More are saying he should step down “despite efforts by party leaders to discourage participation in a survey on the matter,” the paper reported. It’s talking about its own survey.

Some local Democrats like state Senator Toni Atkins are trying to avoid taking a stand for or against Kasparian.

• Councilman Chris Ward is calling for a review of publicly-owned properties that could be used for housing. As we’ve reported, Assemblyman Todd Gloria is also exploring whether state properties could house people.

• In response to our reporting, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher tweets that she was “shocked to learn @sdschools forwards payment information to a collections agency when parents don’t pay bus fees on time. That doesn’t seem right.”

She told us last week that one of her legislative priorities for the year is a bill that would ban the practice.

Flu Prompts Lockdowns at Nursing, Senior Homes

Nursing homes, rehab centers and assisted living facilities across the county are on lockdown this week, restricting residents to their rooms and banning visitors in order to stop the spread of this year’s aggressive flu, the U-T reports.

“You have the most complex and the most frail people in our communities living in these facilities. They’re the most vulnerable to begin with, and we have to be hyper vigilant,” says a doctor whose company runs a Point Loma rehab center.

As the medical news site Stat reports, “people in public health hate H3N2 flu seasons, like the one gripping most of North America right now. So do folks who work in hospitals and in the care facilities that look after the elderly. To put it flatly, H3N2 is the problem child of seasonal flu.”

Inside San Diego’s School Segregation

San Diego’s neighborhoods are segregated by race and class. For that, it stands to reason so too are neighborhood schools. But the way school districts draw school attendance boundaries can either improve or exacerbate already existing segregation.

San Diego Unified School District draws neighborhood school boundaries in a way that recreates the already existing segregation patterns in San Diego, according to a new story from Vox.

This is especially relevant given San Diego Unified’s efforts to keep more kids in their neighborhood schools. The story comes with an interactive data set that allows you to see how school attendance boundaries impact segregation in your school district.

Pot News: Where It’s Still Illegal

Don’t even think about legally buying pot and bringing it back to smoke or eat at UCSD or any state-run college. Marijuana is still banned there. (EdSource)

Fun fact: Pot is still banned at the Coachella music festival, which is adorable.

• If you’re in the military, no one may notice if you drink to excess now and then. But if evidence of pot shows up in your blood, your military career is likely to be kaput, KPBS reports, even in our newly weed-friendly state.

• Correction: In yesterday’s Morning Report, the word “monied” somehow transformed into “muddied” in a quote from a marijuana industry advocate about the city’s murky approach to independent pot delivery drivers. Here’s the accurate quote: “The whole thing was poorly thought out and as time progresses…it’s been a continuous lobbying effort by the monied interests to push out the small mom and pops.”

Border Report: In Tijuana, the Border Fence Can Be Quite Close

In this week’s VOSD Border Report, our Maya Srikrishnan has a rundown of border-related news, and she travels to the Mexico side of the border wall with an artist/activist: “we ended up in a part of eastern Tijuana, in a mixed-use industrial and poorer residential area. It’s become a make-shift landfill, with not only garbage from households — like thrown-out elementary school homework — but burnt-up, abandoned vehicles.”

It turns out that “this area is actually one of the most common places for asylum seekers to hop because the primary fencing is only about 7 feet high. We didn’t stick around long enough to catch anyone hopping the fence, but evidence of the pathway was all over,” including piled-up tires.

• The president may make his first trip in office to California in a few weeks, after the State of the Union address, to visit the border wall prototypes. (Axios)

Quick News Hits: Get Yer Free Goat Right Here

• More women are making claims of sexual misconduct against a sheriff’s deputy. The total is now at 13. (U-T)

• “The North American Soccer League confirmed Monday it will delay its 2018 schedule due to ongoing legal action, which will push back the debut of the San Diego area’s newest professional soccer team,” City News Service reports.

• Bodies are stacking up at Tijuana’s morgue, and the stench is aggravating neighbors. (@esmcintyre)

• An unusually low number of people are jumping at the opportunity to apply to join the county grand jury, which investigates local governments. The pay is a stipend of $25 a day plus travel expenses. (KPBS)

• Here’s a pretty nifty overhead view of our fair city. (Reddit)

• Here’s a not-nifty-at-all photo of a homeless man in downtown. Check the words at his feet. (Reddit)

• “Free goat to good home,” says a for-sale ad in the San Diego section of Craigslist. Its condition is described as “excellent.” Its “make/manufacturer,” “model name/number,” and “size/dimensions” are conveniently all listed as… “goat.”

Its owners are relocating, and the “quality goat” needs a new home. “It is very friendly, great with kids, and likes jazz.”

Hmm. Maybe they got the goat confused with a hipster uncle.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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