Former councilman David Alvarez had more than a 12 point lead against former councilwoman Georgette Gómez as of Wednesday morning. / Photo Courtesy of David Alvarez

When the first results came in Tuesday, it looked like former Councilman David Alvarez would win the special election to represent the 80th Assembly District, with former Councilwoman Georgette Gómez needing to make up considerable ground as the Registrar finished counting votes.

By Wednesday morning, she was heading in the wrong direction, with Alvarez opening a more than 12 point lead against his former colleague, ally and friend.

It’s now safe to say that Alvarez has won the race. Based on the Registrar’s estimate of remaining votes, and assuming those votes come from the 80th District at the same rate they have so far, Gómez would need to win more than 60 percent of the remaining ballots, after having won under 44 percent of them thus far.

Alvarez, for what it’s worth, had already declared victory Tuesday night.

But Alvarez and Gómez faced off twice Tuesday – once to complete the term vacated when Lorena Gonzalez resigned from the assembly, and once in a primary election for a new term beginning in January.

It’s true that Gómez came in first in the four-candidate primary even while losing the special election, but in a rundown on the race, our Andrew Keatts explains why that shouldn’t be confusing. In short, the other two candidates were Republicans, and Alvarez ran a not-so-subtle race aimed at winning over moderates and conservatives against the more progressive Gómez. After all, Gómez won the special election’s primary, too, but that didn’t matter once Alvarez consolidated all the votes to her right.

Now, he’ll go into the November runoff with the boost of having “assemblyman” as his listed ballot title, and all the fundraising advantages that come with it. But Gómez could get her own boost from the elevated turnout expected in November.

Read more about the race here.

Other election updates: All in all, Tuesday’s election was a relatively quiet one, as primaries usually are. The total turnout based on the Registrar’s estimate that it has 250,000 votes left to count, will end up at about 34 percent. That’s below the 37 percent turnout in the 2012 primary, but ahead of the 27 percent turnout in the 2014 primary.

U-T columnist Michael Smolens writes that the election was more a matter of voter enthusiasm delayed than voter apathy. Check back in November, he argues, when a pitched partisan battle will take place, as Republicans try to regain ground in Congress and “Democrats try to shake off a growing sense of fatalism and try to buck the clear trends against them.”

What a Debate About a Homeless Shelter in Carlsbad Tells Us

A Carlsbad council member recently criticized the city’s only homeless shelter for being low barrier, meaning it doesn’t require things like sobriety, identification, program participation, etc.

During a recent meeting, Councilman Keith Blackburn said the low-barrier approach “coddles” homeless individuals with drug and alcohol addictions.

In North County, as the unsheltered homeless population steadily increases, shelters and resources have largely remained limited, writes Tigist Layne in the latest North County Report.

But as more shelters become available to homeless individuals, Blackburn’s concerns may signify a growing debate about low-barrier shelters vs. high-barrier shelters in the fight against homelessness in the North County region.

Read the latest North County Report here. 

Residents and Former Staff Report Problems at Veterans Village

In a multi-part investigation into Veterans Village, a much lauded charity dedicated to helping veterans experiencing homelessness and addiction, inewsource documented serious concerns inside the program’s flagship treatment facility.

Residents say drug use inside the facility is rampant and that it has been exacerbated by a severe staff shortage. Veterans Village used to receive praise for the high-quality meals - a key component of recovery, advocates said - it provided, but residents and a former kitchen manager said the food quality has deteriorated significantly in recent years. The charity also began taking in non-veteran clients, which is contributing to a drift away from its central focus on veterans, some said.

Overdose deaths as well as police calls to the facility have increased, inewsource reported. County probation officials have also stopped referring clients to Veterans Village.

Veterans Village CEO denied there were problems at the facility beyond those faced by all rehabilitation centers - and pointed to two recent inspections that did not reveal serious problems.

In Other News

  • The city of San Diego, thanks to a $21.5 million investment of state and local funds, is bringing back to life the historic Botanical Building in Balboa Park. (Union-Tribune) 
  • A grand jury has returned indictments against 11 people accused of attacking a “Patriot March” in Pacific Beach last year. Though video footage shows members of the Pro-Trump side also engaged in violence, the district attorney has defended her decision to only pursue charges against the anti-fascists, arguing they were overwhelmingly responsible for the riot. (CBS 8) 
  • The 46-year-old San Diego Repertory Theatre is laying off staff and shutting down productions citing a lack of funding. (City News Service) 

The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, Jesse Marx, Tigist Layne and Will Huntsberry. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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