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VOSD Podcast: Lorena Gonzalez’s Super Chill, Uneventful Few Weeks

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher attend a press conference supporting AB 5. / Photo by Megan Wood

President Donald Trump was in town this week [1]. He was just blocks away from City Hall downtown for a fundraiser. San Diego was his last stop on a three-day California trip, in which he raised somewhere near $15 million, including $4 million from San Diego alone, the U-T reported [2].

The San Diego stop concluded with a trip the U.S.-Mexico border. We pulled some choice moments from that appearance.

When the president boasted about new technology being used to secure the wall, for example, a nearby general astutely and diplomatically noted, “Perhaps there could be merit in not discussing that.”

The Gómez Factor

On Tuesday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced he’d veto the City Council’s new policy on inclusionary housing. That’s the proposal [3] by City Council President Georgette Gómez to increase the fee developers can pay to avoid building low-income units in their projects. It otherwise could reserve 10 percent of the units for people making under 50 percent of San Diego’s median income — about $53,000.

On a previous episode of the podcast [4], Gómez threatened to imperil Faulconer’s signature priority, his measure to expand the Convention Center, [5] if he vetoed her plan.

It’s an interesting development made even more complex by the fact that Gómez is now officially running for the 53rd Congressional District. Does her threat stand? Does Gómez have the same political capital to undo Faulconer’s measure now that she’s focusing on Congress?

Hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby got into all of that, as well as the emerging dynamic of San Diego politicians [6] treating the county like one big open Congressional seat, despite not living in the districts for which they’re running.

Our Rape Kits Investigation, Explained

This week, Keatts dropped major investigation revealing that the San Diego Police Department crime lab tested dozens of rape kits by analyzing only a single swab [7] instead of the usual six. That’s according to meeting minutes and crime lab employees.

Five crime lab employees said that crime lab management explicitly told them the less rigorous procedure was meant to “check a box” so the city could show the kits had been tested.

After VOSD’s inquired about the policy, the crime lab reversed course and instructed analysts to test all six swabs going forward. Analysts say they won’t be able to go back and work on the cases already processed under the one-swab method. Keatts, Lewis and Libby unpacked the story a bit more in the podcast.

Lorena Gonzalez Had Quite a Couple of Weeks

San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez joined us on the podcast this week to talk about her big year — and crazy last few weeks.

First up: AB 5. This is one of the biggest deals to happen in the Legislature in recent memory. Gonzalez’s bill limits the instances in which employers can classify workers as independent contractors, codifying a state Supreme Court decision. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill this week.

The team also got into the 53rd Congressional District race. When Rep. Susan Davis announced her retirement, many wondered whether Gonzalez would jump in the race, but she quickly dismissed the idea. (She’s running for secretary of state [8] in 2022, remember?) Gonzalez said she supports Gómez’s run.

Lastly, and most wildly, was the vaccine law discussion.

Anti-vaccine advocates were incredibly organized and wildly disruptive before and after the bill to limit medical vaccine exemptions passed earlier this month. Gonzalez talked about how she weathered some intense, emotional interactions with anti-vaxxers.

The interview with Gonzalez starts at 22:30

Listen Now

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