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Morning Report: City Council Will Try to Tackle Vacation Rentals, Again

Vacation rental opponents hold up banners outside of a City Council meeting. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

We’ve been hearing for weeks San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s staff is putting the finishing touches on a proposal to produce a city policy on short-term vacation rentals.

Now, it will go to the City Council July 16, Faulconer’s chief of staff Aimee Faucett confirmed to VOSD.

The outlines of the deal will likely be close to the ones we saw almost prevail last year: Owners would have to rent for more than just one night (to minimize transitions), they would have to pay a fee and get special permits for big homes. Mission Beach may be carved out as an area with minimal restrictions.

The big questions the Council will have to decide on is whether to limit how many vacation rentals one owner could have, and just how many nights the minimum stay will be.

In a column Monday, the U-T’s Logan Jenkins may have perfectly articulated what’s going on in a lot of people’s minds: He wrote that has not yet experienced any actual inconvenience from a new vacation rental next door to his home, but he is consumed by the idea that he may, some day.

In his piece is a collection of all the fears coming out in the debate among neighbors: the fear that you never know who may visit next, that housing is being lost, that maybe nothing illegal or that obnoxious is happening – but it could.

A few months ago, we hosted a roundtable on the issues and some of this came out. Neighbors can always call the cops if a party gets out of control but not for more trivial annoyances that people often bring up as part of this discussion – like noisy luggage being walked past homes, or someone clicking the remote key on their car too often.

County Is Slow to Roll Out Overdose-Reversal Drug

Over 200 people died from opioid overdoses in San Diego County last year. Eighteen-year-old Anthony Calvert was one of them.

Calvert’s mom Jennifer White has turned her grief into action, and now she’s advocating to get the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone into the hands of more people.

White’s not alone. As it turns out, the county’s got more than 6,000 doses of naloxone thanks to a state grant, and county public health officials want to increase access to naloxone in San Diego. But none of the county’s cache has made it out into the community yet.

In a new story, VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan looks into why the county has been sitting on the naloxone since December.

County officials say bureaucratic holdups like paperwork and grant requirements are responsible for the slow distribution. Meanwhile, activist Aimee Dunkle, a woman who lost her 20-year-old son to a heroin overdose and has since become an advocate who’s personally handing out Orange County’s stash of grant-funded naloxone, called San Diego County’s slow rollout “unbelievable” and “absolutely outrageous.”

  • Morlan recently wrote about “The Narcan Lady,” a retired nurse who sets up at a table outside the county’s only needle exchange program, a place drug users can get clean syringes, and hands out naloxone herself.
  • Naloxone has its critics, who say access to the drug leads to more reckless opioid use. A recent study backs up those concerns.

Kinsee on what to watch: In San Diego County and elsewhere across the country, there aren’t enough beds for drug users seeking affordable or free detox and substance abuse treatment. Naloxone is, of course, a stopgap measure to keep drug users alive until they can get into long-term treatment. This year, the county is upping its game big-time when it comes to funding programs to help drug users. It will be interesting to see the impacts of the county’s increased investment in substance abuse programs.

What’s Behind the Surge in Teen Drug Arrests at the Border

Smugglers are turning to teenagers to haul drugs and humans from Mexico into the United States. “It’s part of an unsettling trend that, according to Customs and Border Protection, began around 2009,” writes VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan in this week’s Border Report. Seizures of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine and more recently fentanyl strapped to teen bodies have surged. Srikrishnan shares the numbers and looks at the vulnerability of teens living life on both sides of the border.

  • A new CityLab report details just how extensive the U.S. border zone really is. That’s the area in which Border Patrol agents are given wide discretion to search private property and stop, question and detain people suspected of immigration violations. The resulting “no man’s land” or “constitution-free zone” extends far beyond the border line to include most of California, all of Michigan and Florida, and the cities of New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.
  • A new investigation by CNN reveals Border Patrol’s efforts to track and record migrant deaths have been haphazard at best. The agency failed to record at least 564 deaths over the last 16 years, even though some deaths were directly witnessed by agents or reported by other law-enforcement agencies.
  • It’s May, and ICE worksite investigations are already double what they were in all of last year

Election News Roundup

Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed Genevieve Jones-Wright in her bid to become San Diego’s district attorney. It’s a big boost for Jones-Wright, especially considering that her opponent, Summer Stephan, has called Jones-Wright the anti-law enforcement and anti-prosecutor candidate. Harris is a career prosecutor who served as California’s attorney general. Meanwhile, the Union-Tribune calls the race for San Diego’s top prosecutor “a study in contrasts.”

An interactive tool from KPBS shows when local city, county and congressional candidates registered to vote, what party they registered with and whether they neglected to vote in past elections.

A Republican city councilman, a Democrat firefighter and a Libertarian business owner are fighting to replace state Sen. Joel Anderson, who represents nearly a third of the county. The Union-Tribune takes a closer look at the East County race.

A Shakeup at the Agency Combating Tijuana Sewage Spills

Edward Drusina has resigned as U.S commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, the international agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem sewage spills and water pollution from Tijuana has resigned, according to the Union-Tribune.

In a sign of how unpopular he’d become, on Monday the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a notice of intent to sue the commission.

Ry Rivard on why it matters: Drusina became sort of a hero among water officials in the West when he helped negotiate a deal for the United States and Mexico to share the Colorado River during a drought. But that success didn’t do anything for his reputation when it came to dealing with sewage spills from Tijuana into San Diego’s coastal waters. The commission became the focus of ire for ongoing sewage spills. Last year, the commission released a report on one of the major spills, but it managed to say little at all. Perhaps that’s the nature of the delicate diplomatic world Drusina inhabited, but it nevertheless helped to cement his standing as yet another in a long series of bureaucrats who failed to stop pathogens from endangering surfers and swimmers visiting one of America’s great coastal cities.

Dockless Bike Confusion

Sean Karafin snapped this photo on his way to work Monday morning:

This is not a dockless bike. / Photo by Sean Karafin

 

“Oooo. That’s not how that one works,” he tweeted.

Why we’re LOLing: The bike is shareable, but it’s not one of the new dockless ones that riders can just leave anywhere. Nope, these white bikes are part of the older system that requires riders to rent from – and return the bikes to – a docking station. Looks like the dockless bike craze is causing confusion. If you have a funny photo, send it to us so we can share it in the Morning Report.

In Other News

  • SeaWorld is plotting its comeback. Part of its strategy: “To debut a new ride, attraction, show or event in every park every year,” reports the Union-Tribune.
  • In a VOSD op-ed, the head of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation writes that SANDAG needs to finally start prioritizing public transit projects. The Cleveland National Forest Foundation and others sued SANDAG over its regional plan for front-loading highway-focused projects.
  • 10News is delving into the housing challenges that make it hard for families to stay in San Diego.
  • Earlier this year, President Donald Trump killed Broadcom’s unsolicited takeover bid for Qualcomm. Over the weekend, Trump made another move that may help Qualcomm close a $44 billion buyout of a Dutch semiconductor company. (Washington Post)
  • San Diegans with a 619 or 858 area code are about to lose the convenience of dialing just seven numbers to make a call to someone with the same area code. Starting May 19, everyone will have to start dialing area codes for all local calls. (KPBS)

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Ashly McGlone and Kinsee Morlan, and edited by Sara Libby.

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