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Morning Report: Another Tax Hike for Homelessness

June “Junebug” South with her tent on 17th Street in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Another proposal to combat San Diego’s homeless and housing crisis could be headed to the November ballot.

A City Council committee on Wednesday voted to move a potential $900 million bond measure forward, as Lisa Halverstadt reports. Details are still up in the air, but the measure would raise property taxes to pay off the nearly $1 billion in new debt the city would take on.

The San Diego Housing Federation, the affordable housing advocacy group pushing the measure, says the money could fund the construction of about 7,500 homes for homeless and low-income San Diegans.

The proposal joins a growing list of ballot measures voters will have to consider come November. One homeless advocates tells VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt that she plans to support at least two of the measures aimed at raising money for homeless services, while another advocate says the San Diego Housing Federation’s bond measure is the one to back.

Special Podcast: SD’s New Police Chief

Last week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer tapped Assistant Chief David Nisleit to succeed retiring Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

Nisleit stopped by the Voice of San Diego podcast studio to talk to Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts about some of the department’s biggest issues. He discusses the department’s staffing shortage, racial profiling, community policing tactics and more.

Building a Business that Builds Community Space

Landscape architect Ilisa Goldman thinks it should be easier to turn empty lots into useful community spaces.

In a new episode of I Made it in San Diego, VOSD’s podcast about the region’s businesses, I talked to Goldman about the business she’s built around the idea of designing and building more affordable, neighborhood-driven improvement projects like community gardens, outdoor classrooms and overlooks.

Goldman was also part of the city’s short-lived Civic Innovation Lab, an attempt by former Mayor Bob Filner to build more of the projects specializes in. She said her time in City Hall gave her a first-hand look at how hard it is for community members to improve their neighborhoods on their own.

North County News: State Law Streamlines Housing

A new state law will likely force California cities to build more housing for lower-income residents.

In this weeks’ North County Report, Ruarri Serpa explains how SB 35 will streamline the permitting process for development projects in North County coastal communities that have long struggled to meet state-mandated housing goals.

Also in Serpa’s roundup of news from the north: Encinitas’ gold-star-winning climate plan, a short-term homeless shelter reopens in Vista and more.

Yup, the U-T Has a New Owner

It’s official: The Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune have a new owner.

Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong closed the deal Wednesday and bought the papers for a cool $500 million. (Associated Press)

The U-T looked into its ambitious new owner’s controversial past, tracing Soon-Shiong’s path from his birth in South Africa to Chinese immigrant parents to his rise to becoming America’s richest doctor. Longtime U-T columnist Michael Smolens also weighed in on the purchase, noting that the new owner’s focus would be on The Times, and the U-T will likely experience both pros and cons because of that.

Meanwhile, Tronc, the LA Times and U-T’s former owner, has already made some big moves post-sale, including reinstating LA Times Publisher and Chief Executive Ross Levinsohn. The company cleared Levinsohn of any wrongdoing following an investigation into sexual harassment charges, and named him the head of a new division called Tribune Interactive. (NiemanLab)

Your Mini, Mid-Week Culture Report

Larry Baza was recently named vice chair at the California Arts Council, a state agency that works to promote and fund arts and culture.

CityBeat sat down with Baza, who has a long history as an arts leader in San Diego, and asked how he plans to use his position to benefit the local arts community.

Baza said he plans to make the city of San Diego’s Commission for Arts & Culture more accountable for the state funding it gets. He also said he will push the county to reinstate its own version of an arts commission. The county did have an arts agency at one time, but pulled its funding decades ago.

The Reader’s cover story this week is a smorgasbord of arts stories including one about San Diego artists who work in textiles and another about some of the region’s quirkier cultural offerings.

A long list of art professionals signed an open letter that criticizes artist Christoph Büchel’s proposal to preserve President Donald Trump’s border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa. Büchel thinks the prototypes should be designated a national monument. The letter calls for a boycott of both the gallery that represents Büchel, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, which serves as a meeting point for tours the artist is offering to view the border wall prototypes. MCASD, though, has said it’s not involved with Büchel or the proposal. (ArtNews)

In Other News

• The Union-Tribune has uncovered more irregularities and questions about Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign funds.

• The San Diego Tourism Authority is dropping some cash on new advertising campaigns targeted toward Chinese tourists. (Union-Tribune)

• An Orthodox Christian university in San Marcos is eyeing eastern Chula Vista as its potential new home. Chula Vista has a long-standing dream of becoming home to a four-year university. (Union-Tribune)

More flu deaths have been reported in San Diego County. The flu-death toll is now at 231. (NBC7)

• People showed up at Border Field State Park to stage a protest urging Congress to pass legislation protecting undocumented immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children. (Times of San Diego)

Correction

Yesterday’s Morning Report incorrectly referred to a new initiative by the County of San Diego to spend more money on healthcare for homeless people as an initiative by the City of San Diego. We regret the error.

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