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Mayor’s Office tackles twin problems of homelessness and housing

Here Comes The Neighborhood

Detail from the National Realtors Association map of San Diego.
Detail from the National Realtors Association map of San Diego.
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“It’s no secret that San Diego has a big homeless problem,” said Mayor Gloria’s head of creative thinking Ron Brightside at yesterday’s conference announcing the city’s intention to go ahead with the purchase of an abandoned factory on the corner of Kettner and Vine and its eventual conversion to a homeless facility. “And big problems demand big solutions — big like a block-sized building with room for 1000 beds and maybe even a couple of bathrooms. Everybody knows that the ultimate solution to homelessness isn’t something costly and time-intensive like intervention, drug treatment, and job training. It’s housing, plain and simple. Only then will these unfortunate souls be off the streets and out of the public eye. Sure it’s expensive, but some things are more important than money. Political capital, for instance. You can’t put a price on downtown business owners and out-of-town convention-goers being able to conduct transactions without having to step around sidewalk encampments. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. It’s a little crass. We knew we needed to get serious if we were going to put the late Bill Walton and his scathing criticism of the Mayor on this point well out of everyone’s mind. He was a popular guy, I guess. And here’s the really great part: it’s no secret that San Diego has a big housing supply problem as well, a problem that has resulted in insanely high home prices that are making America’s Finest City a hard place to live. In same cases, these rising prices are even feeding the homeless problem, as renters are driven by market forces out their homes and into their cars. This facility should help with that. Home prices within a sizable radius of the shelter will plummet, because who would want to live there? But a substantial number of owners will sell anyway, because who would want to live there? Suddenly, you’ll have an influx of affordable homes. Sure, the neighborhood won’t be great, but that’s how gentrification works, right? Ambitious risk takers move into a lousy part of town and start the long process of cleaning things up. Yes, that will mean getting rid of that awful homeless shelter at Kettner and Vine someday, but by then, Mayor Gloria should be safely ensconced in the Governor’s office. Almost everybody wins!”

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Detail from the National Realtors Association map of San Diego.
Detail from the National Realtors Association map of San Diego.
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“It’s no secret that San Diego has a big homeless problem,” said Mayor Gloria’s head of creative thinking Ron Brightside at yesterday’s conference announcing the city’s intention to go ahead with the purchase of an abandoned factory on the corner of Kettner and Vine and its eventual conversion to a homeless facility. “And big problems demand big solutions — big like a block-sized building with room for 1000 beds and maybe even a couple of bathrooms. Everybody knows that the ultimate solution to homelessness isn’t something costly and time-intensive like intervention, drug treatment, and job training. It’s housing, plain and simple. Only then will these unfortunate souls be off the streets and out of the public eye. Sure it’s expensive, but some things are more important than money. Political capital, for instance. You can’t put a price on downtown business owners and out-of-town convention-goers being able to conduct transactions without having to step around sidewalk encampments. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. It’s a little crass. We knew we needed to get serious if we were going to put the late Bill Walton and his scathing criticism of the Mayor on this point well out of everyone’s mind. He was a popular guy, I guess. And here’s the really great part: it’s no secret that San Diego has a big housing supply problem as well, a problem that has resulted in insanely high home prices that are making America’s Finest City a hard place to live. In same cases, these rising prices are even feeding the homeless problem, as renters are driven by market forces out their homes and into their cars. This facility should help with that. Home prices within a sizable radius of the shelter will plummet, because who would want to live there? But a substantial number of owners will sell anyway, because who would want to live there? Suddenly, you’ll have an influx of affordable homes. Sure, the neighborhood won’t be great, but that’s how gentrification works, right? Ambitious risk takers move into a lousy part of town and start the long process of cleaning things up. Yes, that will mean getting rid of that awful homeless shelter at Kettner and Vine someday, but by then, Mayor Gloria should be safely ensconced in the Governor’s office. Almost everybody wins!”

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