Voice of San Diego Podcast
Summary: This is Voice of San Diego’s weekly spitfire roundup of news. We cover local and regional politics, the environment, education, the border and more. This show features our investigative reporting and interviews with lawmakers and other special guests.
This week, we explain the 101 Ash Street saga from the beginning and why it matters. ***** In January, VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt wrote a long piece on the role Jason Hughes, a commercial real estate broker, had in the mess the city has faced related to 101 Ash St., the building it was never able to move employees into. Hughes had been an unpaid volunteer advising mayors going back to Bob Filner and helping the city renegotiate leases. But he also helped the city lease two large towers, 101 Ash St. and Civic Center Plaza. This week, we learned Hughes had, at some point, stopped being a volunteer and had instead gotten one of the most lucrative commercial real estate gigs in the city: representing the city itself. He revealed it himself. The company that bought the two buildings so that the city could lease them from it paid him $9.4 million. He revealed it because the city attorney was about to make public the results of its subpoenas and new lawsuits meant to unravel the two deals based on the theory that Hughes had violated state conflict-of-interest laws and thus the lease-to-own arrangements were void. It’s all very complex. We have two important pieces on it: Why what then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer knew matters and how we wouldn’t know any of this without asbestos. And now, we now have this podcast. Read more at voiceofsandiego.org/101ash See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Housing dominates California politics. It will shape big cities like San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco this year and in the future. Josh Stephens is the author of a book dedicated to this issue, "The Urban Mystique," which focuses on the potential of such cities — what they are and what they could be — through the lens of housing and development. Host Andy Keatts interviewed Stephens at an event put on by the San Diego-Tijuana Urban Land Institute. The folks at ULI were kind enough to lend us the audio of that discussion for this bonus ep. Keep up with all our housing stories with The Morning Report: vosd.org/morning See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Homelessness in San Diego is officially “near crisis level.” We’ve been calling it a "crisis" for a while now, but new reporting lays out how big the problem really is — and how much money local leaders are ready to throw at it. Plus: The debate over how to implement police oversight and another local defection from the GOP. Send Scott your receipts! He wants to see whatever "pandemic surcharges" restaurants are pushing these days. Send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @vosdscott. Thank you to all who gave during our most recent campaign! We appreciate you all. If you missed your chance, become a member anytime at vosd.org/donate (plus you'll get access to Scott and Andy's Politics Report). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Now that the state has officially reopened, it’s time to look forward. On this week’s VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Sara Libby go through several questions looming for the second half of the year. Schools will be open in the fall, but how many students will choose to stay home, and why? Every elected government agency is redrawing the lines for voters, which will have big impacts for upcoming local races. Speaking of upcoming races, how will the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom ultimately shake out? Finally, the mayor says homelessness may get more visible soon. How long are we talking? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We need more housing. A lot, lot more. This week, the San Diego City Council approved changes to a housing plan it submitted to comply with a state housing law. San Diego was the first city to go through the process this cycle, which attracted interest across the state. On the show, we review what happened the last time the city went through this process, how those numbers actually shook out (spoiler: not great) and some glaring issues with the plan. Plus: The latest at Lincoln High, what's up with redistricting and three reasons to party on June 15. Watch our video that breaks down redistricting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoZ5xFkdW8g&ab_channel=VoiceofSanDiego And here's our panel about what it could mean for communities: https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/politifest-2020/redistricting-for-our-community/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
On Thursday afternoon, as we sat down to record this podcast, a proverbial grenade was lobbed into our virtual podcast studio in the form of this letter. School Board Trustee Sharon Whitehurst-Payne released the letter in response to San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe’s own letter from a few weeks ago requesting answers about Lincoln High. This week, we read the letter with fresh eyes and unpack its implications. Plus: A whole heap of housing politics. Read Scott's take on the letter here: voiceofsandiego.org/nonfeature/school-board-member-escalates-war-of-words-over-lincoln-high Keep up with Capitol news, politics our daily news takes and more! Subscribe to your interests at our newsletter hub: vosd.org/newsletters See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This week, we discuss the response to a San Diego city councilwoman's open letter about the troubles at Lincoln High. And we’ve got three major investigations to unspool about about potential fraud at Volunteers of America, conflicts of interest with the San Diego Housing Commission and harassment at a local university. Keep up with all our investigations with The Morning Report: vosd.org/morning Catch our explainer series, San Diego 101: vosd.org/sd101 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This week, we discuss a public records failure by San Diego Unified, a high-profile callout of Lincoln High and some spicy public agency Twitter drama. School up on the region with San Diego 101: vosd.org/sd101 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A lot of parking spots were taken away last year when the city of San Diego let restaurants move their business outside temporarily to keep customers around safely. Now that we're moving to an increasingly maskless and virus-less region, what's the deal with those patio structures? This week, we discuss the mixed messaging that's coming from the city on the structures' future. Plus: The latest on 101 Ash St., Cindy Marten's new job is official and other local news. Watch San Diego 101 – A user's guide to the region: vosd.org/sd101 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The recall election truly earned the criticism this week that the effort is a circus. One San Diegan in the race, John Cox, is pushing some wild tactics that feature an actual bear. The other San Diegan running is former Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a key player in a new investigation by Voice of San Diego. This week, we talk the race, the investigation and a story of potential fraud at a powerful charity. Plus: San Diego 101 is back! We'll break down the latest series of explainers and how you can use it to learn about the region — and change it. Watch them all at voiceofsandiego.org/sd101 Tell us what you want to know at voiceofsandiego.org/contact See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The recall is on. Enough signatures have been gathered to trigger an election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, likely sometime in November, just before the next gubernatorial election in 2022. This week, we review the mechanics of a statewide recall election, like what you'll see on the ballot and how you'll be able to vote. Plus: Andy Keatts tells the story of the rise of Reform California, a conservative political advocacy group. Keep up with all our political coverage with the Politics Report: vosd.org/politics See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Last week, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria released his proposed budget for the city's next fiscal year. Since then, Scott, Andy and Sara — along with a lot of other folks in the city — have been digging into it to suss out where the mayor stands on police and other major city services. This week, we're getting in to the police funding argument. Plus: Rent relief money could get left on the table. High Tech High is set to unionize. And... a new rendering! (Check it out here.) Watch our recent members event unpacking the city budget at vosd.org/events See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This week, we review some of the latest efforts by elected officials to change policing, from budgets to bills. Plus: Schools are back! And the Convention Center is changing as much as the rest of us. Keep up with all our investigations and news analysis with The Morning Report: vosd.org/morning Join us Wed., April 12 for a happy hour to discuss the San Diego city budget: vosd.org/events See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Akilah Weber is poised to clinch the 79th Assembly District seat vacated by her mother, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, and become the newest state legislator. We're going to conduct a postmortem on this special election (the rules of which we learned in real time) and how some nasty politics shook out leading up the vote. Plus: Next week marks the start of what will totally catch on as “The Great Reopening.” June 15 is gonna be a big deal. And Measure C is back. Join the spring campaign today! Donate a tax-deductible gift at: vosd.org/spring2021 If you write a note to us when you give, we'll thank you on next week's show. Every gift and every donor means a lot to us. Follow our stories all week long: vosd.org/newsletters See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
On this week's podcast, Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby ran down three items in the news that were pushing their buttons. First: Several local Republican politicians seized on a local agency's call for teachers to volunteer to conduct some lessons for the migrant girls being temporarily housed at the Convention Center to try and stoke resentment and anger toward the girls. In doing so, they also publicized some outright falsehoods. Meanwhile, as vaccinations continue and life starts inching back toward normal, scooters are making a comeback. We recalled how, pre-pandemic, this was an issue that many San Diego civic leaders actually took seriously. And finally, VOSD's Will Huntsberry reported this week that Lincoln High's leadership team is being shaken up once again. The district responded to the story by doubling down on the narrative that everything is great at Lincoln and that suggesting otherwise demonstrates something sinister, a kind of gaslighting that benefits no one. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.