A unhoused woman who has been homeless for 12 years sits in a Spring Valley parking lot near where the county at least initially envisioned putting safe sleeping cabins on June 19, 2024. She hoped she could live in the sleeping cabin but heard the county has nixed those plans. / Ariana Drehsler for Planetcob

County supervisors voted Tuesday to nix a tiny home project in Spring Valley backed with a $10 million pledge from the state. Instead, they want to examine a Lemon Grove site and persuade the state to still send the money.

But other regions with shovel-ready projects may get it.

The news: Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to approve Chair Nora Vargas’s proposal to rescind the Spring Valley plan after hearing nearly an hour of public comments, mostly from nearby residents concerned about safety and the site’s proximity to schools and neighborhoods.

The county had already invested $465,000 into preparations for the Spring Valley site that supervisors initially signed off on in March.

Why it matters: It became a test of the county's willingness to stand up shelters for homeless residents on land outside of cities, which are also struggling to find places where people can shelter while cracking down on people camping on public land.

The alternative: Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe, who on Monday sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to consider allowing the county to redirect the $10 million to a Lemon Grove site, successfully amended Vargas’s rescission pitch to include a review of that option. Her motion also calls for county staff to return to the board with recommendations on a new site on July 16.

Supervisor Jim Desmond was absent for the morning vote (though present for the afternoon session) and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer voted against the proposal.

The nay: Lawson-Remer criticized the decision after the vote.

“There is no alternative plan and no guarantee the state will give us the $10 million,” Lawson-Remer said. “This feels like a big loss in the fight against homelessness.”

The state: Newsom spokesperson Daniel Lopez, who said the Governor’s Office is now reviewing Tuesday’s board action, also highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the state funding in a statement.

“One thing is clear, their vote puts them further behind the timelines they committed to in their agreement with the state and creates an open-ended process with an uncertain timeline,” Lopez wrote. “The state is not interested in further delays on such an important project to help address the housing and homelessness crisis.”

Montgomery Steppe said she looked forward to working with the community to come up with a more viable project and hopes the state will be game to work with the county.

“Community members deserve to have their voices heard so that the county can make informed decisions about what is best for their community, but we must also maintain our partnership with the state government on homelessness issues,” Montgomery Steppe said in a statement.

In other county Board news: Supervisors on Tuesday also approved an $8.5 billion budget that includes increased spending on public safety and homelessness programs and a plan to have county health officials dig into how the Tijuana sewage crisis is affecting South Bay residents’ health. (Times of San Diego)

Company Settles with Baja California Government Over Rosarito Desal Plant

A former Baja California governor’s cancellation of a desalination project in Rosarito will cost that Mexican state’s government. 

Tijuanapress.com broke the news that Baja California settled a long legal battle this month with Cayman Islands-based Consolidated Water Coöperatief, U.A., which proposed to build a plant that would have converted 100 million gallons of seawater daily, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The settlement, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, includes Mexico buying back the 20 acres of land meant for the desal plant for around $36 million. Then Baja California’s government will have to pay another $1.18 million to purchase documents related to the project from Consolidated Water’s Mexican subsidiary, N.S.C. Agua.

The Rosarito Beach Desalination Plant project launched more than five years ago when the government of Baja California Gov. Francisco Vega de Lamadrid signed a public-private-partnership with Consolidated Water. Then his successor, Jaime Bonilla, a member of Mexico’s ruling Morena party, saying it was poorly written and the company’s proposal was not financially sound.

Consolidated Water denied Bonilla’s assertions and sought more than $51 million from the government to reimburse the company’s investment in the project.

Song of the Week: ‘Your Smile is a Hoax’

I can never get enough grimy, chaotic tunes. The feeling of being subsumed by some bone rattling fuzz is, quite simply, unmatched. Luckily for me, Psychic Graveyard's new album, “Wilting,” has added some tracks to my playlist that perfectly fit that craving – and just in time for summer, no less.

“Wilting” is the band’s fifth album in six years, and it’s a doozy. A generous mix of punk, post-punk and noise rock, “Wilting” finds Psychic Graveyard heaping on the anarchic synthesizers, heavy drum beats and snotty, snarling vocals. It’s a beast of an album meant for savoring.

Psychic Graveyard, “Your Smile is a Hoax”: Album opener “Your Smile is a Hoax,” feels like the most radio- ready track on “Wilting.” If you think that means it’s bright and inviting or features a catchy hook, you’d be wrong. Instead, it’s a grim and hypnotic track powered by a motorik drum beat, an absolutely filthy bassline and harsh synth and guitar flourishes. This is the kind of song you shouldn’t even bother listening to if you’re not willing to turn the volume all the way up. It’s absolutely delicious, but an admittedly acquired taste.

Like what you hear? Purchase a copy of “Wilting,” on vinyl.

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

  • Paul Parker, who until recently led the county’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, is the new leader of the city commission overseeing the San Diego Police Department. (Union-Tribune)
  • The closure of Scripps Mercy Chula Vista’s maternity unit has sparked fears that the closure will hit low-income South Bay families hard. (Fox 5)
  • Families still struggling to rebuild their damaged homes following the devastating January floods have been repeatedly targeted by looters. (10 News)
  • San Diego’s proposed coastal resilience master plan is slated to bring projects like dikes and new sand dunes to beaches up and down the city. (Union-Tribune)
  • An employee of the San Diego City Attorney's Office has sued the city of San Diego. Her lawsuit allages the city did not properly address reports she made alleging that her former supervisor – who once worked as a San Diego Police Department – beat and raped her. (CBS 8)
  • A San Diego federal judge awarded a 9-year-old girl and her teen brother $1.9 million after ruling that U.S. Customs and Border Protection falsely imprisoned the U.S. citizens by detaining them at the border. The 9-year-old was held by border officials for 34 hours. (Union-Tribune)

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

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