San Diego City Council President Jen Campbell is facing a swell of opposition from some of her constituents — due mainly to her position on short-term rentals. But there are also deeper issues at play. Meanwhile, misinformation is spreading about California’s efforts to reform single family zoning laws near some of its biggest cities. Plus, as the county expands eligibility — will there be enough vaccines?
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, February 26th.
Recall efforts begin soon against the San Diego City Council President.
We’ll have more on that next. But first… let’s do the headlines….
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond is asking Governor Gavin Newsom to allow fans back to Petco Park for the upcoming baseball season that begins April. Desmond argues other cities and teams have changed how people can gather at stadiums and have made masks mandatory. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher says he would also support allowing fans back to Petco Park, provided that covid-19 case numbers support the move.
A federal judge has denied a request from 25 San Diego gyms and fitness centers to reopen indoor operations. The gyms sued the state amid the covid-19 restrictions arguing that public health officials were arbitrarily allowing some businesses to remain open and that the closures were a violation of free speech. The judge rejected that argument..
A proposal to close the Brooks Street swimming center in oceanside was defeated at Wednesday’s city council meeting in a 4-1 vote. Two Oceanside council members had proposed closing the community pool that serves many low-income families to pay for the new “El Corazon Aquatic Center.”
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
A signature gathering campaign to recall City Council President Jen Campbell of district 2 will kick off on Saturday. Campbell’s district includes pacific Beach, Mission beach, and Point Loma.
KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen has more on the issues motivating the recall campaign, and how Campbell is responding.
BL: Alright everybody, 6:35 it is. Let’s get started here.
AB: Bridger Langfur is a volunteer with the Recall Jen Campbell campaign. He’s welcoming about 90 people to a virtual organizing meeting.
BL: We want community-based policymaking at the city. We want our voices to be heard, we want to govern our own city and not be governed by these special interests.
AB: Recall campaigns are rarely successful and the pandemic will make this one all the more difficult. But the group is motivated by what they see as Campbell’s failure to represent their interests.
MH: We live in a coastal community that has been taken over by short-term vacation rentals.
AB: Point Loma resident Mandy Havlik says she joined the campaign when Campbell announced her proposal to legalize and regulate short-term home rentals popularized by AirBnb. The proposal was approved by the council Tuesday and is expected to significantly reduce the overall number of rental listings in San Diego. Most of the city’s elected officials call it a good compromise. But Havlik says it was crafted by special interests, not the community.
MH: They need to ban them. That is my compromise – I’m not willing to compromise on that. Because again, you’re saying that this industry is going to be put on the backs of people who are in need of housing. And that’s going to impact their community little by little when the school populous goes down because there’s no families in the neighborhood.
AB: Campbell says she’s been discussing this thorny issue with constituents since before she was elected to her seat in 2018 and that community input played a big role in her proposal. regulations.
JC: So it was a lot of collaboration, a lot of compromise, a lot of working together over at least a three year period. And it included the community all the way along.
AB: Campbell adds a special recall election would cost taxpayers up to 2 million dollars — a high price, she says, when she’s up for re-election next year.
JC: The people behind this are people who disagree with me on certain issues or politically. And what they need to do is get themselves together for the next campaign and vote for whomever they want.
AB: Campbell’s stance on short-term rentals is not the only issue driving the recall effort.
TW: Maybe it’s unconscious racism, but it is racism. And people need to call it out for what it is.
AB: Tasha Williamson is an activist who lives outside District 2 in Southeast San Diego. She was outraged when a slim majority of Campbell’s colleagues chose her to become city council president. Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe also sought the post, and said she would use it to advance racial equity — especially in policing. Williamson says Campbell is holding back police reforms.
TW: Jen Campbell has showed us in every instance that she is against our right to have a police department that is just and moral, that provides nonbiased policing.
AB: Campbell says she’s spent a lifetime advocating for equality, and has evolved on policing issues. For example, she initially backed the police’s right to use the carotid restraint, or sleeper hold. But after last year’s racial justice protests, she agreed it should be banned.
JC: I did not realize that the police departments were using it incorrectly and they were choking people, and I didn’t realize that. So I opened my eyes and I learned new information and I changed my mind.
AB: But Williamson says the community’s problems with Campbell run deeper than her stance on a few specific issues.
TW: So she has actually brought people together that would not normally be together to recall her because she has refused to listen to her constituents all over this city and she has been disrespectful to constituents of color.
AB: To force a vote on the recall, the campaign needs to gather more than 14,000 valid signatures from District 2 voters by June 2. Campaigns like this often rely on paid signature gatherers. But the recall effort doesn’t have major financial backers, so most of the work will have to come from volunteers. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.
That reporting from KPBS Metro Reporter Andrew Bowen.
Over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands more people in San Diego County will become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s good news, but vaccine supply has been a concern. Here’s KPBS reporter John Carroll….
Will there be enough vaccines for everyone who becomes eligible over the coming weeks? The matter gets more urgent by the day because on March 1st, teachers, law enforcement, food service and agricultural workers will become eligible. Then on March 15th, those aged 16 to 64 with certain preexisting health conditions will be able to get a shot.
Scripps Chief Medical Officer for acute care, Dr. Ghazala Sharieff says planning for the coming rush of people is nearly impossible… for one reason.
“We will find out today what we are getting on Monday or Tuesday… so, can plan as much as we like for next week but if the vaccine doesn’t come in, you know, we just don’t know what else to do.” There is promising news. Both Pfizer and Moderna say they’ll be able to turn out tens of millions more vaccines over the next couple of months. And it looks like the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will get FDA approval soon.
That reporting from KPBS’ John Carroll.
The San Diego Police Department is instituting new rules on how it will police future protests…
KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler tells us this comes at a time when civilian oversight of the agency is changing.
New rules by the San Diego Police Department seek to better manage protests….. By laying out a chain of command… and determining when officers can use munitions…
The new rules are the subject of a hearing in front of the Commission on Police Practices, which is meant to provide civilian oversight of the police board.
But, this current board will soon be dissolved… And replaced by a new, more powerful board, since voters passed Measure B this fall.
Ariana Federico is an organizer with MID-CITY CAN, which pushed for that measure.
We need to ensure there’s funding so that they’re able to pay staff so that the commissioners are able to bring transparency.
Federico says it will be up to the community that elects the new board members to decide its priorities… on issues like police policies regarding protests.
And that was KPBS’ Max Rivlin-Nadler
The LA City Council voted on (Wednesday) to give frontline retail workers at supermarkets and drugstores an extra 5 dollars an hour in what’s come to be known as “hero pay.” It’s the latest in a series of pandemic raises being considered across Southern California. But stores are fighting back. KCRW’s Matt Guilhem reports.
And that was KCRW’s Matt Guillem.
Coming up…. A fact check on California’s plans to reform single family zoning in some of its major cities. That story’s next just after the break.
Plans to reform single family zoning are moving forward in some major cities across California, but not without controversy and misinformation.
CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols spoke with anchor Mike Hagerty to explain how the plans work in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment.
ANCHOR: Chris, first off, what is single family zoning and what changes do cities want to make?
CHRIS: Single family zoning is a neighborhood model that’s common across California — it allows only one main housing unit per lot, though duplexes are often allowed on corner lots.
Several cities are looking to change that. Last month Sacramento became the first in California to support plans for more housing options in those neighborhoods, such as duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.
These are often called “missing middle” housing options — and are in the middle on the density spectrum between single family homes and large apartment buildings.
The city of Berkeley voted to do the same thing this week. And San Jose and San Francisco are considering similar reforms.
ANCHOR: What do supporters have to say about these plans?
They say they add more options to ease California’s severe housing shortage. State lawmakers have introduced bills at the Capitol to accomplish this statewide, but they have all failed after community opposition.
Advocates also say these changes will help break down the legacy of exclusionary zoning in some of the wealthiest and whitest neighborhoods across California … where racially restrictive covenants were used in the first half of the 20th century to keep out people of color. [add for local, “Locally, that includes areas like East Sacramento, Land Park and Elmhurst].
ANCHOR: You mentioned there’s been community opposition. What do opponents have to say?
CHRIS: They are worried that higher-density homes, along with added traffic and parking issues, could change the character of their single-family neighborhoods.
Some also reject the idea that these changes will help with California’s affordable housing shortage — they point out that there’s no requirement in the plans for the new housing options to be affordable.
Maggie Coulter of Sacramento’s Elmhurst Neighborhood Association says districts like midtown and downtown work better for higher density housing. And that many enjoy the calm and quiet of single family areas like Elmhurst.
01Coulter: “People want that choice and we should be able to have that choice in Sacramento.”
CHRIS: There’s also been some confusion and misinformation attached to these proposals. Can you tell us some examples?
ANCHOR: I think that comes with the language that’s used. You’ll often hear these proposals described as eliminating or abolishing single family zoning — and some opponents then twist that into the false claim that cities are trying to ban this type of housing — which no one is proposing — developers would still be able to build new single family homes.
Here is Sacramento’s long range planning director Matt Hertel says that construction will continue:
“This key strategy would simply allow a greater array of housing types, more housing options, neighborhood scale missing middle housing options throughout the city, where they were once allowed.”
Last week, the conservative website Breitbart falsely claimed the city of Berkeley might “end single family housing” and “the ability of families to live in a home where only their family resides.”
Those are major distortions and just plain wrong.
That was CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols speaking with anchor Mike Hagerty. You can find more on these fact checks at PolitiFact-Dot-Com-Slash-California.
And for our arts segments today….
Billie Holiday died at the age of 44 in 1959. She leaves behind a legacy of great songs rendered in her uniquely evocative vocal style. But the new HULU film The U.S. Versus Billie Holiday wants to remind us of the harassment she was subjected to by law enforcement.
KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has this review.
The US Versus Billie Holiday is worth seeing for two reasons. First and foremost, Andra Day’s stunning performance and gorgeous singing.
CLIP Strange Fruit…
And two shedding light on the FBI’s harassment of Holiday, because it perceived her song Strange Fruit as dangerous.
CLIP Why is that song so important.
This film arrives alongside MLK/FBI and Judas and the Black Messiah. All three level criticism at how the government targeted people like Holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Hampton. These films serve up an outraged trilogy about racism and abuse of power.
But as a work of art, The US Vs Billie Holiday falls short. Director Lee Daniels uses his film to make points but he doesn’t really give us a fully fleshed out portrait Holiday. She’s there to serve his purpose rather than to live and breath as a person. He shows us the political importance of Strange Fruit but I wish he could have given us a more intimate perspective on how she found the song and how it came to be so important to her.
Beth Accomando, KPBS News.
That’s it for the podcast today. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a weekend.