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Third aircraft carrier not wonderful for everyone in San Diego

Alliant U. needs agreement with local cops

When the Navy moved the USS Abraham Lincoln to San Diego, it was greeted with delight by the downtown political establishment led by Republican then-mayor Kevin Faulconer.
When the Navy moved the USS Abraham Lincoln to San Diego, it was greeted with delight by the downtown political establishment led by Republican then-mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Naval housing crunch

Hours-long commutes, a painful childcare backlog, and an ever-growing lack of housing are some of the problems bedeviling San Diego-based Navy families these days, says a new report to Congress by the federal Government Accountability Office. “According to officials in San Diego, the current waitlist for childcare for the installation is over several hundred children, and they reported a 6-to-18-month wait for childcare services in the area,” says the April document.

“Providing sufficient housing is also an ongoing challenge in supporting additional ship homeporting, based on information provided by officials and strategic laydown plan documentation we analyzed.” San Diego Chamber of Commerce types lobbied heavily for the Navy to add a third aircraft carrier to the two already based here, touting the new business and population growth it would bring. “In 2000, the Navy announced its decision to develop homeport facilities in support of three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers at Naval Air Station North Island near San Diego, California,” the document recounts.

Kevin Faulconer: big fan of Navy ships, not so much of Navy houses.

“Officials from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and others stated that a contributing factor to this decision was also the Navy’s desire to ensure access to needed nuclear maintenance and support near the homeport,” the report explains. “As the aircraft carriers age, nuclear and other system repairs increase in complexity, and maintenance has taken longer. Accordingly, it has become increasingly important they be homeported near sufficient maintenance capabilities, according to nuclear maintenance and other officials,” the findings say. “It was not until 2019, however, that the Navy moved the USS Abraham Lincoln to San Diego to join the two carriers already homeported there.”

That action was greeted with delight by the downtown political establishment led by Republican then-mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Those dollars are really going to help every portion of our city,” Faulconer enthused to a TV interviewer during an October 2019 meeting touting a Military Economic Impact Study for the non-profit San Diego Military Advisory Council showing the military spent $28.1 billion that year in San Diego. Unmentioned was the fact that the Navy’s growth added to an already painful housing shortage due to the government’s failure to develop sufficient new units to accommodate incoming crews.

“Navy officials in San Diego stated that unaccompanied housing (i.e., housing for single sailors) is particularly strained now that three aircraft carriers can be in port together, because current base housing only accommodates two aircraft carrier crews,” the report says. The worsening situation has forced many Navy families to commute long distances to get to work, auditors found. “The area surrounding the homeport in San Diego is densely populated Coronado Island, where there is little room for expansion,” says the document. “Because of the area’s housing market many sailors live 60 to 80 miles from the base, according to officials.”

Clery crime free

Alliant University, which encountered controversy when it moved to turn part of its Scripps Ranch campus into a 300-house subdivision two years ago, has been called out by California State Auditor Elaine Howle. “State law requires institutions to enter into written agreements with these agencies to designate operational responsibility when investigating certain crimes such as robberies or hate crimes that occur at Clery reporting locations,” says an audit regarding compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act - otherwise known as the Clery Act.

Elaine Howle needs Alliant to be more of an ally when it comes to security.

“Alliant’s campus in San Diego does not have any written agreement with its local police department,” says the audit, released May 17. “According to Alliant’s vice president of student affairs, the former director of security engaged in discussions for an agreement with the local police department in 2016, but a written agreement was not finalized. She also stated that Alliant will initiate the process and enter a written agreement with its local police department.” Add the auditors, “Five of the six institutions we reviewed — Alliant International University, Cañada College, Irvine, San Joaquin, and Sonoma — failed to include certain policies in their annual security reports as required by the Clery Act and federal regulations.”

On a positive note, the audit goes on to say that Alliant and Cañada “did not report any crimes in their annual security reports.” Per the document, “An outside agency reported one crime to Alliant for its San Diego campus in 2019. In its report, the agency informed Alliant that it was an unfounded crime, which meant that a law enforcement agency determined that it was a false or baseless report before the report was submitted to Alliant. We confirmed that Alliant identified this crime as unfounded in its annual security report.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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When the Navy moved the USS Abraham Lincoln to San Diego, it was greeted with delight by the downtown political establishment led by Republican then-mayor Kevin Faulconer.
When the Navy moved the USS Abraham Lincoln to San Diego, it was greeted with delight by the downtown political establishment led by Republican then-mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Naval housing crunch

Hours-long commutes, a painful childcare backlog, and an ever-growing lack of housing are some of the problems bedeviling San Diego-based Navy families these days, says a new report to Congress by the federal Government Accountability Office. “According to officials in San Diego, the current waitlist for childcare for the installation is over several hundred children, and they reported a 6-to-18-month wait for childcare services in the area,” says the April document.

“Providing sufficient housing is also an ongoing challenge in supporting additional ship homeporting, based on information provided by officials and strategic laydown plan documentation we analyzed.” San Diego Chamber of Commerce types lobbied heavily for the Navy to add a third aircraft carrier to the two already based here, touting the new business and population growth it would bring. “In 2000, the Navy announced its decision to develop homeport facilities in support of three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers at Naval Air Station North Island near San Diego, California,” the document recounts.

Kevin Faulconer: big fan of Navy ships, not so much of Navy houses.

“Officials from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and others stated that a contributing factor to this decision was also the Navy’s desire to ensure access to needed nuclear maintenance and support near the homeport,” the report explains. “As the aircraft carriers age, nuclear and other system repairs increase in complexity, and maintenance has taken longer. Accordingly, it has become increasingly important they be homeported near sufficient maintenance capabilities, according to nuclear maintenance and other officials,” the findings say. “It was not until 2019, however, that the Navy moved the USS Abraham Lincoln to San Diego to join the two carriers already homeported there.”

That action was greeted with delight by the downtown political establishment led by Republican then-mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Those dollars are really going to help every portion of our city,” Faulconer enthused to a TV interviewer during an October 2019 meeting touting a Military Economic Impact Study for the non-profit San Diego Military Advisory Council showing the military spent $28.1 billion that year in San Diego. Unmentioned was the fact that the Navy’s growth added to an already painful housing shortage due to the government’s failure to develop sufficient new units to accommodate incoming crews.

“Navy officials in San Diego stated that unaccompanied housing (i.e., housing for single sailors) is particularly strained now that three aircraft carriers can be in port together, because current base housing only accommodates two aircraft carrier crews,” the report says. The worsening situation has forced many Navy families to commute long distances to get to work, auditors found. “The area surrounding the homeport in San Diego is densely populated Coronado Island, where there is little room for expansion,” says the document. “Because of the area’s housing market many sailors live 60 to 80 miles from the base, according to officials.”

Clery crime free

Alliant University, which encountered controversy when it moved to turn part of its Scripps Ranch campus into a 300-house subdivision two years ago, has been called out by California State Auditor Elaine Howle. “State law requires institutions to enter into written agreements with these agencies to designate operational responsibility when investigating certain crimes such as robberies or hate crimes that occur at Clery reporting locations,” says an audit regarding compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act - otherwise known as the Clery Act.

Elaine Howle needs Alliant to be more of an ally when it comes to security.

“Alliant’s campus in San Diego does not have any written agreement with its local police department,” says the audit, released May 17. “According to Alliant’s vice president of student affairs, the former director of security engaged in discussions for an agreement with the local police department in 2016, but a written agreement was not finalized. She also stated that Alliant will initiate the process and enter a written agreement with its local police department.” Add the auditors, “Five of the six institutions we reviewed — Alliant International University, Cañada College, Irvine, San Joaquin, and Sonoma — failed to include certain policies in their annual security reports as required by the Clery Act and federal regulations.”

On a positive note, the audit goes on to say that Alliant and Cañada “did not report any crimes in their annual security reports.” Per the document, “An outside agency reported one crime to Alliant for its San Diego campus in 2019. In its report, the agency informed Alliant that it was an unfounded crime, which meant that a law enforcement agency determined that it was a false or baseless report before the report was submitted to Alliant. We confirmed that Alliant identified this crime as unfounded in its annual security report.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Comments
2

San Diego had for too long relied on the Navy/USMC and defense contracting to keep the economy healthy, if you could call it that. I've lost track of the number of times that Navy "billets" were regarded as a local economic mainstay. But now we have a housing crunch, and all those squids/swabbies/whatever-you-care-to-call them are straining the housing market. Well, guess what? That has been true for years and years, but only now has it reached crisis stage.

The real stress comes from decisions made far from here. There was a time not so long ago when the Navy had multiple home port facilities along the West Coast. But then all of the capabilities in the SF Bay area were closed down, and then Long Beach closed too. The Navy now has only two places to home port its large ships on the west coast. One is here and the other in Puget Sound. While the ship count isn't anything that seems that large, when there are only two homeport spots, things get strained.

San Diego is now paying the price, or should I say the Navy personnel are paying the price of short-sighted decisions made in regard to having necessary places to home port the Navy vessels.

June 9, 2021

Americans like to complain a lot about how rough they have it. In comparison to most of the rest of the World, we live in a much better situation. We are not nearly as over crowded and over priced (relative to income). The US Navy and Marine Bases are not the problem here. Our problem is our own individual expectations and desires going unsatisfied.

June 10, 2021

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