More than two years ago, city attorneys debuted a program to try to connect homeless San Diegans struggling with drug addiction with treatment and housing rather than another cycle through the justice system.
That program, known as the San Diego Misdemeanants At-Risk Track program, has hit a series of challenges.
Lisa Halverstadt checked in on the program and found only a handful of people who have entered the up to two-year program have graduated from treatment and moved into permanent housing . More than two-thirds of the 53 people enrolled in the program have also exited it at least once, a reality that underlines the tough road for vulnerable clients wrestling with addiction.
Meanwhile, a court battle continues over the city’s ability to use a Nestor motel it purchased in 2017 to house dozens of S.M.A.R.T. program clients.
Dems Try to Clean Up Endorsement Process
Top San Diego County Democratic leaders approved some, but not all, of a series of reforms  intended to clean up its endorsement process.
Activists alleged earlier this year that a political consultant had gamed the system  to steer resources to his friends and clients by creating clubs that existed only on paper. Those clubs make endorsements in different geographic areas — meaning they can help make or break campaigns — but the oversight is weak.
During a long discussion that went into the night Tuesday, officials agreed to strengthen rules around conflicts of interest and ensuring the clubs are operating legitimately . Other proposals — that would have given larger clubs a louder say in the process, for example — did not get enough support, but could come up for further discussion in the future.
Property Owner Challenges Encinitas’ 30-Day Email Retention Policy
An Encinitas property owner filed suit against the city in connection with a hotel project that’s making its way through the planning process.
But what began as a dispute over public records is evolving into something much bigger. As Jesse Marx writes in the North County Report, the property owner and his attorney are now targeting a policy in Encinitas that allows officials to delete emails within 30 days .
If successful, the case could force changes at cities and counties across the state. California requires municipalities to keep copies of their records for at least two years, but many municipalities argue that the law is murky regarding email retention specifically, and that not all emails count as records.
Assemblyman Todd Gloria is carrying a bill that would clearly define emails within the two-year minimum for retention. It’s set to be heard next week by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
New Vehicle Habitation Ban Advances
First, it was not OK. Then it was OK. But now a new proposal from Mayor Kevin Faulconer would once again make it illegal to live inside a vehicle.
The City Council’s public safety committee voted 3-1 to advance the proposal to the full Council , but did not make any recommendation as to whether the Council should pass it, according to KPBS.
Faulconer also wants to double the number of “safe lots” where people can park. He argues the new measure is not meant to penalize people who cannot find housing, but instead van-dwellers who travel from city to city, by choice. Of #vanlife, the mayor has said , “This is not safe, this is not healthy and this is not acceptable.”
In Other News
- Attorney General William Barr announced that asylum-seekers who clear a “credible fear” interview and are facing removal don’t have the right to be released on bond by an immigration court judge  while their cases are pending. (Associated Press)
- U-T columnist Michael Smolens asks whether City Councilwoman Barbara Bry’s stand against putting a Convention Center-related measure  on the March 2020 ballot will hurt her mayoral bid. Business and labor groups support the earlier election.
- Dan Sileo, the sports talk radio host who has a long history of making racist, sexist and anti-Semitic remarks on the air, has left his morning show on San Diego’s 97.3 FM  for a job in Boston. The station is the radio home of the San Diego Padres, and the team said last year that Sileo would not be part of their broadcasts. That was before another host on the station promotes a show with a joke about people who commit suicide from the Coronado Bridge, causing the team to distance itself from the station . But last week, the team announced members of its front office would begin making appearances on Sileo’s show, generating controversy among fans . (Union-Tribune)
- A police trailer that has long been part of the landscape of the parking lot at the foot of the Ocean Beach Pier has been towed away . (OB Rag)
- City Journal, a conservative-leaning magazine out of NYC, considers Faulconer’s embrace of denser housing development and asks, “Where are all the Republican YIMBYs?” 
- Ballast Point is closing its Temecula brewpub and 80,000-square-foot warehouse in Miramar, another sign that the company’s $1 billion pricetag in 2015  was too high. (Union-Tribune)
- The first nine cars in the Metropolitan Transit System’s new fleet of trolleys will begin service  on the Orange and Blue lines Saturday. The cars have an improved section for riders with bicycles, wheelchairs and other mobility devices. (Times of San Diego)
- Tuesday’s Culture Report  misidentified the photographer who took a shot of Jacqui Ramirez, Audrey Pavia, Evie Bibo and Kitty Johnson that’s featured in a San Diego History Center exhibit. It was Tim Griswold.
- Wednesday’s North County Report  misidentified the man suing Encinitas over public records related to a hotel project. Donald McPherson is an Encinitas property owner but not an Encinitas resident.
The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.