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VOSD Podcast: Georgette Gómez on Housing, Transit and the Mayor

Councilwoman Georgette Gómez / Photo by Megan Wood

Tuesday night, the San Diego Unified School Board voted to extend Superintendent Cindy Marten’s contract through 2023.

But in an unusual rebuke of Marten [1], school board president Sharon Whitehurst-Payne voted against the extension. The reason was Lincoln High School.

Whitehurst-Payne, who represents the subdistrict that includes Lincoln, made clear she doesn’t believe Marten has done enough for the school.

“Getting Lincoln High School right has to be the district’s No. 1 priority, not with all the stops and starts,” Whitehurst-Payne said. “We have not put together a comprehensive, coordinated picture for Lincoln High School because those students are indicative of other kids in the district who are not achieving.”

On the podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Sara Libby talk about how Lincoln has been perhaps the most difficult puzzle of Marten’s tenure.

This Land Is Your Land

Last year, voters directed the city of San Diego to sell 132 acres of land to San Diego State University. That was so the school could expand the campus, build homes — and a new stadium, of course.

The university’s main deadline is to break ground on the land by early next year. But behind closed doors, there’s tension, as VOSD’s Ry Rivard reported this week [2].

Officials there say things are still on track for the main deadline. But one of the university’s first deadlines – having a tentative deal in place this summer – will almost certainly be missed, if it hasn’t been already.

Rivard joined the podcast to talk about where the deal stands.

Gómez’s Housing Plans

This week, the San Diego City Council approved an update to the city’s inclusionary housing policy — one Council President Georgette Gómez has been pushing for and working on for some time.

The policy forces developers to pay for or build more low-income housing as part of their projects.

Here’s how VOSD’s Andrew Keatts and Lisa Halverstadt described the plan [3]:

Gómez’s proposal would increase the fee developers can pay to avoid building low-income units as part of their projects, from the current $12 per square foot to $22, over the course of three years. Developers could otherwise choose to reserve 10 percent of the units in their project to people making under 50 percent of San Diego’s median income, or about $53,000, under Gómez’s proposal, rather than the city’s existing requirement that the units be reserved for people making up to 65 percent of the median income.

The negotiations slogged on, and in this week’s podcast, Gómez said she compromised and was transparent throughout the process until it was “enough.”

The policy passed with five votes, missing a potential sixth from Gómez’s ally, Councilwoman Vivian Moreno. Because of that vote, Mayor Kevin Faulconer could potentially veto the plan.

Gómez said she’s not sure if she’d want to concede changes.

“I worked significantly to get to something that I just felt that it was good. And this is a good policy. If the mayor is to veto it, then that’s a different conversation that we will have.”

The interview with Gómez starts at 22 minutes in the podcast. You can also watch the full interview here [4].

Listen Now

• Listen on Apple [5]
• Listen on Google [6]
• Listen on Spotify [7]