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Morning Report: The Competing Visions for the Future of San Diego

A meeting of the SANDAG Transportation Committee / Photo by Megan Wood

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To get a sense of how much the San Diego Association of Governments has changed over the last year, consider this: Steve Vaus, the chairman of the SANDAG board, does not agree with the vision that the agency’s executive director and his staff are pushing — one that prioritizes public transit over freeways.

The current debate, writes Scott Lewis, is among the most important in San Diego because it’ll determine what the region looks like in the decades to come and how people move from place to place within it. Nearly every aspect of life for the average San Diegan will be affected, from housing access to climate change.

SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata has an advantage because Vaus, though he’s chairman of the board, isn’t in charge. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is.

That’s because of structural changes to the agency that were pushed through the California Legislature after we revealed that the previous executive director had misled the public and tried to cover it up. Before the new law, each city in the region had a strong voice on SANDAG’s board of directors. Now, the power is apportioned by population.  

Advocates Take a Second Stab at Housing Bond

Affordable housing advocates on Tuesday launched their second bid to get a $900 million housing bond on the ballot.

The announcement comes nearly a year after the San Diego Housing Federation abandoned its push for a 2018 ballot measure amid concerns about a crowded ballot and pressure from supporters of a hotel-tax measure.

This go-round, City Councilman Chris Ward has pledged to champion the property tax increase, which aims to deliver 7,500 affordable homes for homeless San Diegans, seniors and families. Ward called for a summer vote on a City Council committee he serves on to begin the process of getting the bond on the ballot next November. The hotel-tax measure to bankroll a Convention Center expansion, homelessness initiatives and road repairs is already set for the March 2020 ballot.

How Crafting Gave a Rare Platform to Women

A new exhibit at the Central Library downtown celebrates the way midcentury crafting merged art and design and gave a platform to women who were often overlooked in other mediums. The fine arts in particular were dominated by macho Jason Pollock types.

In this week’s Culture Report, Voice contributor Julia Dixon Evans notes that the post-war housing boom and peace-time optimism not only thrust art and design into the middle class — it provided a market for the pieces that women had been already making.

Curator Barbara Hanson Forsyth said these women were “oftentimes designing for the domestic sphere, and that was maybe less threatening.”

Opinion: Solving Homelessness Will Require Much More Cash

In a new op-ed, Ricardo Flores argues that San Diego leaders are not treating homelessness with the urgency it deserves.

Flores, a former city official turned non-profit executive, points to a new report showing San Diego has dedicated $62 million for homeless housing over the past 10 years. By his estimate, that money would only account for the construction of approximately 200 units.

“With a total homeless population of 4,476 living on the streets,” he writes, “the amount provided by the city of San Diego in the last decade remains far too little to have any meaningful impact for the scale of the problem.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his latest plan to address homelessness is … a task force.

The task force will help guide local governments as they come up with joint regional plans to address homelessness, and will deliver at least one report annually to the governor,” reports CBS San Francisco.

Newsom’s state budget proposal includes $1 billion to address homelessness.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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