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Daily roundup of San Diego’s most important stories (Monday-Saturday)
We know San Diego needs to increase its supply of housing if it ever hopes to solve an affordability crisis in the region and effectively combat homelessness. And 2018 is shaping up to see several proposals that aim to fund more affordable housing, including one to raise property taxes for the purpose of backing a $900 million bond for housing construction in San Diego.
Tax hikes are always a tough sell, but Lisa Halverstadt reports the framers of the proposal believe they can get it done; a poll conducted by the San Diego Housing Federation found 71 percent of likely voters may be up for the tax, with a 4 percent margin of error. The tax would need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of voters.
Meanwhile, city insiders are busy working on other ideas. This week, Councilman David Alvarez launched an effort to get a proposal to voters that would fund homeless housing and services for 20 years through hotel tax revenues. Other power brokers have mulled a proposal with the hopes of getting a convention center expansion out of the deal.
“Housing is at the forefront of people’s minds,” the Housing Federation’s Stephen Russell told Halverstadt.
San Diegans have to talk about feces a lot. Feces in mouths, causing hepatitis A. Feces from Tijuana, ending up in Imperial Beach. We’ve been fighting a battle against feces in this town for decades: Mission Bay was once overrun with poo, and San Diego Bay was once so poo-laden ships were being corroded by it. We’ve gotten a lot better at fighting the feces over the years, but we haven’t conquered it yet. Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Monica Dean look into the frequency of sewage spills that originate in San Diego in our latest San Diego Explained.
Back in March of 2014, SeaWorld was busy telling its investors that a new documentary called “Blackfish” was having no effect on their business, even going so far as to wonder if the film was helping draw people to marine parks like SeaWorld.
But in truth, SeaWorld leaders had already been tracking the growing impact of “Blackfish” on their business for months, the Union-Tribune reports. Emails released as part of a lawsuit show leaders tallying lost revenue on a spreadsheet called “Lost Blackfish Revenue” in January 2014. “God we look like idiots,” wrote one executive in December 2013. The emails also show SeaWorld leaders scrambling to flood an Orlando Sentinel online poll by directing staff to vote multiple times. “Like a hundred or so,” one spokesman suggested.
In a commentary published at the Union-Tribune, Mayor Kevin Faulconer looks ahead to Tuesday and makes his case for why the City Council should support his plan to build to build temporary shelters for the homeless, even though they are expensive and have proven to be ineffective without permanent solutions attached. “The shelters will help hundreds of people every day — people who would otherwise be sleeping in unsanitary conditions on our sidewalks, canyons and other public spaces,” Faulconer writes. “Cities need help in addressing these deep problems. It’s a conversation I am ready to lead.”
• San Diego’s five-year financial outlook was published on Thursday, warning of potential budget shortfalls related to recent initiatives like funding for the homeless and police salary increases. (KPBS)
• Another novel way that hepatitis A has spread from San Diego: catching a ride back to Utah with a couple of tourists who came for the Metallica show in August. (Union-Tribune)
• San Diego County is facing a lawsuit from a woman claiming a deputy sheriff committed sexual assault and battery when he came to her house in the middle of the night after a welfare check. (Union Tribune)
• The Union-Tribune published this snapshot of crimes committed in San Diego County from Nov. 1-7.
• San Diego bought a Super 8 motel near Imperial Beach and wants to turn it into transitional housing for low-level offenders. A planning group in Otay Mesa rejected the proposal on Wednesday. (NBC 7)
• Weekend rules restricting parking in the Gaslamp have netted tow truck drivers about 1,200 tows since last year. (10 News)
• For the first time, the San Diego Zoo is home to some newly hatched crocodiles. These ones are dwarf crocodiles listed as vulnerable. (Fox 5 DC)