Morning Report: A New Twist in the Navigation Center Saga | Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: A New Twist in the Navigation Center Saga

Residents fill out paperwork at the city’s homeless navigation center in East Village. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to turn an indoor skydiving center into a one-stop shop for homeless services has been beset by controversies and criticism from the outset, since the city rushed to purchase the supremely weird building.

But the criticism soon turned to the plan itself, namely that this new project to help the homeless wouldn’t actually … house any homeless people.

Nevertheless, the city and the nonprofit tapped to run the center, Family Health Centers of San Diego, expressed optimism that the facility would perform a vital role connecting homeless residents with services they need.

But a lot has changed since the nonprofit began running the center, as Lisa Halverstadt writes in a new story revealing that Family Health Centers and the city have agreed to part ways early.

The CEO of Family Health Centers slammed the experience and the project in a scathing email to city officials. 

“During the last year, we have come to understand from reliable sources that the navigation center project was orchestrated more as a public relations undertaking than a needed and important component of a homeless continuum,” Fran Butler-Cohen wrote.

The city now plans to move Housing Commission staffers into the facility and take over running things, implementing lessons learned from operating the temporary Convention Center shelter, where city housing officials have worked with other agencies to house hundreds of homeless San Diegans.

After our story published, a spokesman for the mayor dismissed Butler-Cohen’s criticisms on Twitter as “complete BS.”

Council Members, Employees in Quarantine Following Exposure

Multiple City Council members and city employees have been advised to obtain COVID-19 tests and to quarantine themselves for two weeks following Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which was attended by someone who tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, the mayor’s office confirmed Wednesday evening.

“The mayor’s office consulted with county public health officials to enact safety and cleaning protocols throughout city facilities, Craig Gustafson, a spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, said in a statement Wednesday night. That includes temperature checks at entries, a requirement to social distance and wear masks,” Jesse Marx reports.

After TV Appearance, Hueso Is Red Pilled

Last week, state Sen. Ben Hueso told KUSI that supporters of Proposition 15 were “very disconnected from reality.” He’s now on the other side of the contentious state ballot measure. 

Maya Srikrishnan reports that Hueso issued a statement Tuesday saying he’d heard from constituents and reviewed the language of the measure. He walked away assured it wouldn’t do the thing he previously suggested it would do: increase taxes on small businesses. 

Instead, Prop. 15 will require some large business and industrial properties to pay property taxes based on market value rather than the original purchase price, which is generally far less. It exempts agricultural properties and properties where the business owner has less than $3 million in holdings in California. 

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office estimated Prop. 15 would generate between $8 billion and $12 billion a year for local schools and governments.

At the Tuesday kickoff of Politifest, Sara Libby and Jesse Marx offered a rundown of Prop. 15 and the other 11 measures on the statewide ballot. You can check out that review here.

Speaking of the greatest event of all time …

Check Out Thursday’s Politifest Schedule

Our annual public affairs summit runs through Saturday and you can register at any time — literally right up until the end. If you aren’t registered already, below are the good discussions you’re missing on Thursday alone. 

We will be recording and posting all of these discussions as soon as we can. You can check out our live blog to see interesting updates from the latest sessions. Adriana Heldiz also made this video highlighting the major races and issues in the November election. 

From 5 – 5:55 p.m.

  • NBC 7 reporter Danny Freeman is moderating a County Supervisor District 2 debate with Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former state Sen. Joel Anderson.
  • VOSD Southern gentleman-scholar Will Huntsberry is hosting a discussion on the politics and science of reopening society during the pandemic with Kim Prather of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey. Spanish translation is available.

From 6 – 6:55 p.m.

  • VOSD editor in chief Scott Lewis is interviewing Fletcher and Southwestern Community College District trustee Nora Vargas about how Democrats intend to wield power if they take control of the county.
  • VOSD reporter MacKenzie Elmer is moderating a 53rd Congressional District debate with San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez and children’s anti-poverty advocate Sara Jacobs.
  • KOGO host Jack Cronin is moderating a 50th Congressional District debate with former Rep. Darrell Issa and business owner Ammar Campa-Najjar.
  • VOSD reporter Kayla Jimenez is hosting a discussion on the North River Farms development project in Oceanside with Tanya Castaneda of the Yes on Measure L campaign, North County YIMBY co-founder Catherine Ferguson, retired professor of business/economics Dennis Martinek and community advocate Kathi Carbone.
  • KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler is moderating a discussion on young Latino voters and the 2020 election with Mid-City CAN organizer Rosa Olascoaga and Joshua Piedra, Youth Will emergency resource ambassador. Spanish translation is available.

The full schedule for the week can be found here. We’ll also be running a live blog, where members of our staff will post highlights from various conversations

In the latest North County Report, Jimenez broke down the debate over Measure L in Oceanside, which is arguably (and argue they will) the most contentious local ballot measure in the region, so you’ll have the facts before going into Thursday’s discussion. 

Developers want to build 585 homes in a still-rural part of North County’s most populous city, plus a commercial village and parks. Depending on who you ask, it represents sprawl or badly needed units that will satisfy the city’s larger housing goals. 

Interestingly, city planners initially recommended that officials reject the housing plan, noting that there was adequate space in existing neighborhoods if residents were willing to build more densely. The City Council approved it on a 3-2 vote. 

Mo’ Politics

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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