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Morning Report: San Diego's Costly New Styrofoam Recycling Plan

Many environmentalists think Styrofoam containers should suffer the same fate as plastic bags – they want it banned.

While several cities around the state are instituting restrictions on foam products, other cities recycle it instead.

The city of San Diego wanted to look into the feasibility of starting its own recycling program for foam plastics, so it paid consultations to do a study.

That study found that recycling foam food containers wouldn’t reduce litter, and would cost the city $290,000 a year, yet the city opted to launch the recycling program anyway.

Usually, the city tries to make money off recycling, so why’d city leaders give the green light to a costly new Styrofoam recycling program anyway?

“One of the big winners of the new plan are the makers of the plastic-foam, often called Styrofoam,” Ry Rivard reports in a new story. “They include Dart Container Corporation, a plastics maker that’s spent over $200,000 in recent years donating to local political campaigns and lobbying the San Diego City Council.”

A city spokesperson says an outright ban would cost the city more money than the recycling program. Yet one environmentalist tells Rivard that it sure looks a lot like the city has bent over backward to give a boost to plastic foam makers like Dart.

One strange catch of the program: The city hopes people don’t recycle Styrofoam too much, because that would cost the city even more.

San Diego County Refugee Flow Slows

San Diego County is home to a large number of refugees. City Heights and other communities across the county have become home for a large number of people who’ve fled from Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia and other countries struggling with war and violence.

“For nearly a decade, no California county has received more refugees than San Diego County, followed by Los Angeles and Sacramento, according to state and federal data,” CALmatters reported last week. “A large number of refugees are assigned to San Diego because of its concentration of four resettlement agencies and the existence of several rooted immigrant communities already in the area.”

Yet the steady flow of refugees to our region is slowing, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Twelve refugees arrived in San Diego County in June, the lowest number of new arrivals in over a decade, according to data from the State Department,” the U-T reports.

The number of refugees resettling in San Diego has dropped significantly since President Donald Trump’s executive order that paused the U.S. resettlement program and reduced the number of refugees the U.S. would accept.

• Advocates for immigrants are celebrating the release of Fallbrook resident Mario Figueroa, whose family brought him to the U.S. illegally when he was 3, from federal custody. (NBC 7′)

All Eyes On San Diego’s Housing Crisis

Housing prices and rent are skyrocketing in San Diego.

On Monday, the San Diego City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss what to do about the issue.

“At the meeting, the Council will consider several action items that will promote and incentivize affordable and sustainable housing development in the city as well as hear reports from the mayor’s office, the San Diego Housing Commission and Civic San Diego detailing current and future strategies that will address the high cost of renting or buying a home in San Diego,” according to a press release.

The U-T’s editorial board says it hopes city leaders turn plans into actual action. And U-T columnist Dan McSwain blames local regulations and anti-growth policies for San Diego’s housing crisis, and says folks with kids who might want to live nearby someday have skin in the game.

Surging Sea Levels

Sea level rise is under way, so how are coastal cities preparing?

The Union-Tribune digs into how much flooding scientists are predicting, and how fast they’re saying it’ll happen.

ICYMI, Voice of San Diego looked at how coastal communities like Coronado and Imperial Beach are preparing (or not) for sea level rise.

Weekend News Roundup

San Diego Comic-Con was a thing that happened over the weekend. There’s more coverage than I can link to in the Morning Report, but here’s one interesting story about how Netflix won Comic-Con.

• Old-timey barbershops are on the rise in Tijuana. They’re already big in San Diego, btw.

• The Associated Press looked at how cities, including San Diego, regulate fire sprinklers in older residential towers.

•  The U-T asks: Will Nathan Fletcher, who’s running for county supervisor, be able to find enough supporters from the left, or is the former Republican too close to the middle?

I guess some San Diegans still like the Chargers. (Bolts from the Blue)

Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. Contact her directly at kinsee.morlan@voiceofsandiego.org.

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