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California can really out-California itself sometimes – whether it’s making surfing the official state sport, or passing laws regulating how much craft beer can be served at a farmer’s market.
Kinsee Morlan’s latest report might be the ultimate example of California parodying itself: A group of environmentalists successfully killed a proposal for a public art project because it depicted plastic straws.
“I was like, what is the arts commission thinking?” said one opponent who alerted the Sierra Club to the project. “A nearly million-dollar plastic straw? Do they not have any concept? It was supposed to symbolize our relationship to water, but basically straws symbolize our relationship to plastic pollution.”
The city confirmed the artist is reworking the proposal.
On top of memorializing a utensil that’s become Public Enemy No. 1 for environmental advocates, the project was also the latest piece to draw criticism for being a piece of public art slated to go in a not-very-public location.
Housing advocates, business leaders and politicians including Mayor Kevin Faulconer are increasingly pushing reforms to try to trigger more home-building for middle-class San Diegans.
To make the case for those policies, many have pointed to both anecdotes of young families moving elsewhere and a stark statistic featured in a recent city report showing just 33 middle-income units were built over the past seven years.
Turns out that statistic is wrong.
Our Lisa Halverstadt dug in and found the city relied on a narrow methodology to reach that estimate rather than track the actual number of homes built for middle-income San Diegans – and included more than two dozen units that shouldn’t have been factored in.
A top city official and housing advocates say they are committed to getting a better handle on middle-income housing production numbers going forward to ensure data better reflects reality and thus, better informs policymaking efforts.
Clairemont residents have recently raised big concerns about proposed housing projects in their community.
At a neighborhood meeting earlier this week, CBS 8 reported that a wave of neighbors spoke out against a five-story high-rise the county envisions replacing its longtime crime lab on Mt. Etna Drive.
And as Halverstadt has reported, residents initially revolted against a plan to build a 52-unit supportive housing project nearby.
In a new op-ed, Clairemont Community Planning Group and the Clairemont Town Council board member Barbarah Torres argues that Clairemont should step up to help the city address its housing crisis – and be willing to accept increased density along with some revitalization and an upgraded transportation network.
In a separate op-ed, Duncan McFetridge of San Diego County’s Save Our Forest and Ranchlands and the Cleveland National Forest Foundation argues San Diegans concerned about the region’s housing shortfall, climate change and traffic issues should support an effort to overturn a county-approved plan to build more than 2,100 homes in North County.
Signature-gatherers are now trying to persuade residents countywide to sign a referendum petition to force a 2020 public vote on the Newland Sierra housing development approved by the county Board of Supervisors last month.
Ry Rivard has written about major referendum financier Golden Door resort and spa’s beefs with the project.
The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Sara Libby.