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The Election Reform Train Has Left the Station

San Diego is shifting. Historically, the region had been a Republican stronghold. But over the last decade, the county's demographics and politics have changed, giving Democrats a boost. Sometimes, the shift has been powered by organic population growth, but other times the change has been engineered through changes in the way local leaders get elected. In this week's podcast, Andrew Keatts, Sara Libby and Scott Lewis explain recent election reform efforts at both the city and county...


A Spectacular Failure

The decade-long push to expand the Convention Center is dead. This week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer's top priority – a tax increase that would have funded an expanded Convention Center, homeless services and road repairs – morphed into the biggest failure of his tenure so far. On the podcast, Andrew Keatts, Sara Libby and Scott Lewis discuss the decisions that led to the epic demise of the mayor's top pursuit.


Sherman on the City's Recent Frustrations and Failures

Scott Sherman is on fire. In a special podcast, the councilman talks about his frustration with a few of the recent decisions his colleagues have made. The new vacation rental regulations – Sherman said they are an infringement on property rights and possibly face a strong legal challenge. The lease extension between San Diego State University and the city for the Mission Valley stadium – Sherman said the City Council should have pushed for a better deal for taxpayers. Listen to more of...


The Pension Issue Is Back and Messier Than Ever

All former Mayor Jerry Sanders had to do was meet with labor unions before leading the effort to reform city employee pensions at the ballot box. He didn't. And now, six years later, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously he violated the law. He had an obligation as the city’s top manager to first "meet and confer" with unions about the reforms before leading efforts to put a citizens’ initiative on the 2012 ballot. He wasn't required to do anything the unions suggested, but as the...


The Mayor on Vacation Rental Crackdowns, Homelessness and the GOP

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined Voice of San Diego's Scott Lewis in a special episode of the VOSD Podcast to talk about how the new vacation rental regulations will play out, and other big issues.


Cracks in the County’s Foster Care System

Union-Tribune reporter Morgan Cook joins hosts Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby to talk about a disturbing case of sexual abuse inside the county's foster care system. Also on the podcast: debunking a myth about a hotel pool being open to the public, and a case that could throw a major wrench in the government's policy of omitting from court docs whether a defendant being charged with entering the country illegally has actually asked for asylum.


VOSD Podcast Live: Real and Fake News About What's Happening in San Diego

Chaos in San Diego courts caused by the Trump administration's immigration policies. A dramatic shift in who can rent out homes to vacationers. A potential 2020 ballot measure to raise sales taxes for transit. Plus: lead in school water and doing away with stamps on mail-in ballots. This week, we tackled all those topics and more, and we did it in front of a packed house at the Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Hosts Andrew Keatts, Scott Lewis and Sara Libby were joined by Assemblywoman...


Patience With the Water Department Runs Dry

Beginning last summer, hundreds of water customers started seeing unexpected spikes in their water bills. Many of them contacted the city and media outlets to complain. How the city's water department has responded to those customers' concerns, and what might be behind those unusually big bills is the subject of a new joint VOSD and NBC 7 investigation. On this week's podcast, Voice of San Diego's Ry Rivard joins hosts Andrew Keatts, Sara Libby and Scott Lewis to talk about what he learned...


Small Cities Say They've Lost Their Voice at SANDAG

SANDAG meetings have been getting heated. San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond, who sits on the transportation agency's board, talks to VOSD's Andrew Keatts about the issues fueling the flames. Historically, the regional transportation agency's board meetings have been mostly drama-free. But then AB 805 became law, and along with other reforms, SANDAG board members can now call for a vote weighted by population, which gives the representatives from the two biggest cities in the county the power to...


The School Bond Pitch You've Heard Before

The new $3.5 billion school bond being floated by San Diego Unified should give San Diegans a sense of déjà vu. In this week's podcast, Andrew Keatts, Scott Lewis and Sara Libby talk about how many of the projects being proposed in the new bond are identical to those pitched in previous measures passed by voters in 2008 and 2012. Projects promised in those two past ballot measures, like asbestos removal and replacing old plumbing, ended up taking a back seat to things like new classroom...


Zero Tolerance at the Border, Explained

The Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border, and the ensuing confusion over its decision to temporarily walk back some of those policies, has dominated the news. On the latest podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Sara Libby talk with Voice of San Diego border reporter Maya Srikrishnan about how the chaos at the border began, how the family separations that followed played out and what to expect now that Trump signed en executive order to temporarily keep immigrant...


The Mayor Makes His Vacation Rental Move

San Diego's vacation rentals have long been stuck in a gray zone: The city attorney has said they're illegal, but the city's not doing anything to crack down on them either. That could soon change. On the podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Jesse Marx talk about the mayor's big vacation rental move this week. The City Council has struggled to reach consensus when it comes to regulating the home-sharing industry. But on Thursday Mayor Kevin Faulconer finally proposed a policy framework. The City...


The Biggest Primary Takeaways

Tuesday's election mostly went as predicted, with a couple surprises. This week's show features a special post-election roundtable discussion with hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby, plus political consultant Ryan Clumpner and Carol Kim, political director of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council. The crew works through the more interesting election outcomes in a fast-paced game of true or false, offering their insights along the way. Example: City...


Special Podcast: Election Results

A lot of races turned out to have much cleaner outcomes after early results than in the past. In a special election podcast, Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts digest the election results.


Special Podcast: The Primary Pre-Game Show

The primary election is Tuesday. In this special election podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts discuss some of the biggest races and issues facing San Diego voters on June 5.


SANDAG's Wild Weighted Vote

For the first time in public, the San Diego Association of Governments board flexed its new authority. The move caused a kerfuffle. Last year’s AB 805 shifted the power on the regional transportation agency's board, which is composed of local leaders from around the county. It allows the board to call for weighted votes that give more power to bigger cities. Some of the leaders from small cities aren't big fans. In this week's podcast, Sara Libby, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts explain the...


The City Attorney's Latest Big Move

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot is flexing her power again — though you wouldn't know it from her office's announcement about her latest move. On this week's podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts discuss the potential far-reaching implications of Elliott's new lawsuit seeking to boot both of the proposals to redevelop the Mission Valley stadium site off the ballot. Later in the show, Keatts interviews Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who was in San Diego...


The Great Sex Work Debate

Interim District Attorney Summer Stephan doesn’t see a big difference between sex work and sex trafficking. She's said that women involved in prostitution rarely choose that work voluntarily and are often being coerced. Genevieve Jones-Wright, who’s running against Stephan for district attorney, disagrees. Jones-Wright has said Stephan is conflating sex trafficking with sex work, the latter of which can be voluntary. On this week's podcast, I. India Thusi, an assistant professor at...


Potcast: Connecting 'Cannaseuers'

Many industries have places where professionals, both young and old, can hobnob and break bread. Weed is no different. And since San Diego crafted a system for adult-use marijuana businesses, there’s been a wave of private clubs offering to connect investors and entrepreneurs who might not know one another but whose interests are the same. They want a piece of the new and limited regulatory system. "It's really in the beginning stages, but there's a lot of fight over who gets what and how...


Who Really 'Got Rid of' Filner

John Cox, a Rancho Santa Fe businessman who's running for governor, made quite a claim in a gubernatorial debate this week. In response to a question about sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, he said: "I led the recall of Bob Filner and got rid of him as the San Diego mayor." A collective eyebrow raise spread across San Diego. On this week's show, hosts Sara Libby, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts consider the claim, and go through the laundry list of people and efforts that really put...