A view of the I-5 freeway near downtown San Diego during rush hour on March 5, 2020. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego is an expensive town and it’s only getting worse. As the Union-Tribune reports, the average price for a gallon of regular gas is up $1.20 in a single year and nearing $5. 

Disruptions in the global supply chain during the pandemic are also causing problems locally and fueling inflation. Girl Scouts cookies are harder to find and “that’s left troop leaders frazzled and parents stressed,” the U-T also reports.

NBC 7, in the meantime, spoke to a couple small businesses about their struggles to keep prices competitive. A cider bar in Miramar relies on apples from the Pacific Northwest. A pizza joint only a few miles away complained about the skyrocketing cost of flour and boxes. 

NBC 7 also took a crack at explaining the sky-high utility bills that residents got hit with to start the year. An executive from SDG&E said it was driven by a 25 percent spike in natural gas costs, combined with an unusually cold December. 

Housing is, of course, the big one. U-T columnist Michael Smolens writes that San Diego has long been an attractive place because of its sunshine. But that attractiveness is waning as growth in home prices outstrips the cost of living. 

Related: A Washington Post analysis that found a record number of homes were bought by “investors” nationwide in 2021 included a significant finding on San Diego’s housing market: nine percent of homes in the region were bought by investors last year. 

Though that’s comparable to other major metro areas, it’s up from 6 percent in 2015. Of course, it also means that 91 percent of homes were not purchased by investors. “Investors,” in this case, could refer to anyone from multinational corporations to people buying a second home that they do not intend to live in. 

Students at Charter School Protest Mask Mandate

Despite a statewide requirement that children wear masks in schools, six students showed up at Innovations Academy in Kearny Mesa without a mask — and told school leaders they had no intention of putting one on. 

The protest turned into a small standoff between some parents and the school’s director, Christine Kuglen. 

After being called to the office one student left school and another was convinced to put on their mask. But the other students remained maskless and their parents did not respond to messages from the school. 

“I feel sad for these children who are being used as game pieces to strike out in anger at Governor Newsom,” wrote Kuglen in an email to parents. “I am bewildered that this school would be placed in the position of either supporting the use of children this way or following a state mandate that holds the force and power of law.”

The parents apparently reached out to KUSI who framed it this way: “Innovations Academy Director threatens to personally drive students who don’t wear masks home.”

Kuglen doesn't actually want masks though. 

“Innovations Academy is not my school, it is a public school and I will instruct my staff to follow all laws whether I like them or not,” she wrote. “I do not want the mask mandate. I believe that we should all be able to take personal responsibility for our health and that we should have the freedom to wear or not wear masks.”

In Other News

  • Happening today: We’re hosting a virtual community meeting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss our Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools. Bring your questions about school choice, performance data or anything else you’re curious about. Join us live on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
  • A program approved last year by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors promises to provide no-cost legal representation to migrants in removal proceedings. It’s been hailed as a “life-saving” initiative. (inewsource)
  • San Diego reduced its tax rate on cannabis production facilities to encourage more local production and compete with the underground market. Critics argue that the city shouldn’t budge on taxes before it has an equity program in place to help low-income people gain access to the industry. (Union-Tribune)
  • ReOpen San Diego, the group that protested local COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic, has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego over its mandate that city workers be vaccinated against the virus. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Marcos teachers are demanding a raise. But the school district has to make $10 to $15 million in budget cuts. (Union-Tribune)

This Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Jesse Marx, Andrew Keatts and MacKenzie Elmer. It was edited by Megan Wood and Scott Lewis.

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