Just before Memorial Day, the city announced plans to shutter the 264-bed homeless shelter at its City Hall complex shelter by the end of the year and pledged to find new landing places for the men who now sleep there.

But as our Lisa Halverstadt reveals, the city’s permit for its Golden Hall shelter expires Oct. 6 and the city’s fire marshal isn’t eager to grant another extension.

Feel like you’ve heard this before? You have. astL year, Mayor Todd Gloria’s team announced plans to close the shelter by the end of 2023. Families and transition-aged youth moved out after the city opened new shelters but dozens of homeless men remained. They moved to Golden Hall’s second floor in April and now the fire marshal says the building's disrepair means it’s time to move on.

What’s next: The city’s homelessness point person says the city has “options available” for a new shelter site (though she declined to elaborate) and expects to continue a contract with nonprofit Father Joe’s Villages to operate a large shelter.

As Halverstadt reports, Gloria’s pledge earlier this year to deliver at least 1,000 new shelter beds by early 2025 only increases the pressure to find a new site. That pledge – and expected closures of multiple other shelter sites – are helping fuel his push for a controversial mega shelter in Middletown.

Read the full story.

Why San Diego Community Power is Offering Dirtier Energy

San Diego Community Power is now offering a new power mix that’s dirtier – but cheaper – than those it currently offers.

That’s a curious move for the government-run power company created in 2019 for the main purpose of getting its member cities to run on 100 percent renewable energy by at least 2045 (for San Diego and others the goal is a full decade earlier).

Jen Lebron, a spokesperson for Community Power, says the new power mix and price is to offer a choice to customers who might be struggling to pay energy bills.

“It supports our mission to get to 100 percent renewable by keeping people in San Diego Community Power service without going to the competition,” Lebron said.

The clock is ticking. San Diego has 11 years to meet its goal, and each year, the warming planet breaks temperature records due to fossil fuel use.

Read the rest of the story.

New County CAO Ebony Shelton Appointed

The Board of Supervisors appointed Ebony Shelton as the new chief administrative officer to manage the more than 20,000 employees that work for the county providing an array of services from public health, virus control and food assistance to county libraries and parks and services for unincorporated areas. (For more, here’s our San Diego 101 on what the county does.)

The county’s version: The county released its own story on its new boss, the first Afro-Latina to serve in the role. She has been the chief financial officer for the county and rose up the ranks in nearly 30 years of service at the county.

End of a tense process: Local labor leaders tried everything they could to prevent Shelton from getting the job, insisting that Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez at least get interviewed for the role after she got a (later-rescinded) offer to take the job last year. Union leaders stopped short of insisting Chavez get the job but they wanted someone like her and objected to the process that ultimately led to only Shelton being considered for the role. 

POTUS Signs Executive Order to Stop Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers dropped at off near the Iris Avenue Trolley Station in Otay Mesa on Sept. 14, 2023.
Asylum seekers dropped at off near the Iris Avenue Trolley Station in Otay Mesa on Sept. 14, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday that allows him to seal the border to migrants who are seeking asylum if 2,500 or more cross in a day. The daily number is already higher so he can do it now.

San Diego at the center: The New York Times Tuesday wrote a feature about how many people are crossing the San Diego section of the border. Its takeaway: “In April, 37,370 people crossed illegally in the San Diego sector and surrendered to the Border Patrol to claim asylum. The highest total that month in Texas was 30,393 at the El Paso sector.”

People are arriving from all over the world, not just Latin America.

Reactions: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa wrote a statement: “Biden’s allies call today’s proposal a ‘crackdown.’ Left out of that spin is the fact that this new order only goes into effect after illegal border crossings reach 2,500 per day – almost one million per year. Some crackdown.”

Like Issa, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond was unimpressed, saying the move would still allow “thousands of illegal immigrants into the country.”

“The reality here in San Diego is dire, and the president's empty gestures do nothing to address the ongoing crisis,” Desmond said. “We need urgent, comprehensive action, not more political theater.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, facing a tougher re-election campaign, praised the move: “Today’s announcement incorporates executive actions to reduce the strain of asylum claims on our border officials and court system, and to dismantle human smuggling operations.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria also praised the move: “In the face of Congressional Republicans' continued inaction on legislation to help improve the situation at our southwest border, President Biden is acting decisively …The current system is failing both local communities and asylum seekers; the fact remains we need comprehensive immigration reform,” Gloria told City News Service.

Song of the Week: ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'

Organist and lead singer Doug Ingle, the last living member of Iron Butterfly’s classic lineup, passed away last week. Though Iron Butterfly was born in San Diego, in a familiar tale, the band moved to Los Angeles to pursue a real career. It was there, in the garage of the Laurel Canyon home Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy shared, that the psychedelic tour de force “In-A-Gadda-De-Vida,” was penned.

There are few songs that captured the zeitgeist of the burnt psychedelia of the late 1960s more than Iron Butterfly’s sprawling acid rock extraordinaire “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The 17-minute dirge managed to be both messy and hypnotic, and presaged the direction many hard rock bands would take in future years.

The story goes that Bushy returned home to find Ingle blitzed on a gallon of wine and playing a song. When asked what it was called, Ingle’s drunken slurring was incomprehensible. So, instead of “In the Garden of Eden,” as Ingle intended to title the song, Bushy wrote down what he was able to make out: “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

Like what you hear? Check out this full Iron Butterfly concert, recorded during the band's heyday in 1971.

Do you have a “Song of the Week” suggestion? Shoot us an email and a sentence or two about why you’ve been bumping this song lately. Friendly reminder: all songs should be by local artists!

In Other News

  • Major League Baseball banned Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano from the league for life after the organization said he placed hundreds of bets on baseball, including wagers on games that involve the Pittsburgh Pirates, his former team. He’s the first active player in a century banned for life because of gambling. (ESPN)
  • The city of San Diego is facing a massive $170 million deficit. But on Tuesday, councilmembers will vote on new labor contracts that would give police, firefighters and lifeguards big raises. (Union-Tribune)
  • Big upgrades, including an aquatic complex and playground, are coming to the Mira Mesa Community Park after the San Diego City Council approved the $43 million project. (Times of San Diego)
  • Palomar Health has settled allegations by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California that fentanyl had been taken from its hospitals and that the healthcare district hadn’t kept accurate records of fentanyl in its facilities. Though  Palomar paid $250,000 to settle the allegations, prosecutors did not determine if the healthcare district was liable for the breaches. (Fox 5)
  • Line of the day: This is affordable housing developer Rebecca Louie, writing in the Union-Tribune about the cost-of-living and housing affordability crisis: “Imagine the emergency was a wildfire. But instead of rushing to put it out, we spent decades creating wildfire task forces, hiring wildfire consultants and commissioning wildfire studies (so many studies!), debating if they should be called wildfires or fires experiencing wildness, cutting funding to the fire department, etc. But meanwhile, the fire raged on.”

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Lisa Halverstadt, MacKenzie Elmer and Scott Lewis . It was edited by Lisa Halverstadt and Scott Lewis.

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