Morning Report: Tijuana’s art scene is back

As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, Tijuana’s art scene is experiencing a resurgence.

Thousands of people are expected to attend Colonia Libertad’s Opera en la Calle festival south of the border on Saturday after a two-year hiatus. Organizers say their aim is to attract a diverse crowd – from opera fans to first-time listeners.

“The idea is to take opera out of the theater, into the street, into the neighborhood, to make it accessible,” Maria Teresa Rique, general manager of Opera de Tijuana, told Border Report writer Sandra Dibble.

For the past two summers, concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have forced organizers to go online. Despite uncertain funding and the elimination of federal support under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the festival has not passed a year since its inception.

Also in the Border Report: U.S. Representative Juan Vargas and state Senator Ben Hueso are raising concerns about a U.S. government plan to replace existing international border barriers from the Pacific Ocean — and potentially close access to Friendship Park.

We learned earlier this month that the plan could end the decades-old ability for individuals to connect with loved ones separated by the border.

Read more about Tijuana’s art scene and the future of Friendship Park in the latest Border Report.

The study points to the lack of affordable housing as a key factor in the increase in homelessness

Tents line up along 17th Street in downtown San Diego on August 18, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A recent study by two researchers looked at homelessness across the country and found that affordable housing is one of the key elements in understanding homelessness numbers, the Union-Tribune reports.

Clayton Page Aldern, a data scientist and policy analyst, and Gregg Colburn, an assistant professor of real estate at the University of Washington, looked at various factors that often contribute to the overall issue of homelessness, including substance abuse and mental illness.

According to their research, which studied the rate of homelessness per 1,000 people, the highest homelessness rates were often found in communities with the highest housing costs.

San Diego’s latest homelessness census shows homelessness has increased by 10 percent countywide since 2020. According to Aldern and Colburn’s research, mental illness and addiction are factors that should be considered but not addressed lack of affordable housing in the city, this number will only continue to grow.

Secure parking, or lack thereof

In an inside look at life in a 24-hour secure parking lot, the Union-Tribune spoke with Zelaya, a San Diegan who lives in a trailer attached to her SUV.

Zelaya has been staying in a secure parking lot operated by Dreams for Change since March. Before that, she had a hard time finding a place that wouldn’t ticket her for having a trailer. Many lots do not allow large vehicles.

Dreams for Change, which opened in 2018, was the first secure parking lot in San Diego to allow RVs and large vehicles. Since then, Mission Valley’s secure parking lot operated by Jewish Family Service has also provided a spot for San Diegans with large vehicles.

We wrote about how the San Diego City Council recently voted to renew the Mission Valley lot contract and extend the hours to 24 hours a day. But those with large vehicles still have only two sources to turn to when looking for a safe place to sleep at night.

Natalie Raschke talks with her daughter Lulu Raschke, 4, as she searches for personal items she wants to take with her while visiting their impounded RV at a Chula Vista tow yard in early April. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

ICYMI: Voice of San Diego followed the journey of a family of six living in an RV until it was confiscated by the city. Now the Raschkes live in a van, the Mission Valley area is too far from their children’s schools, and shelters aren’t an option for them. Until more resources are created, many families still have nowhere to turn.

Click here to read more about the Raschke family’s journey.

In other news

  • Council members Raul A. Campillo and Joe LaCava argue in a new op-ed in favor of Safeguard San Diego, a proposed ballot measure that would lift the ban on Project Work Agreements on public works projects and increase transparency in construction contracts over $10,000. The “common sense update,” they write, would ensure millions in state infrastructure funding continue to flow to the city. Read their full argument here.
  • Pharmaceutical company HRA Pharma applied for FDA approval to sell its birth control pills over the counter, making it the first company to do so, KPBS reports.
  • A new study from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy shows that black households are hit harder by inflation than white households. According to the research, inflation is 13 percent more volatile for black households because they tend to spend a larger share of their income on essential goods and services compared to white households who spend more on luxury items they have less likely to fluctuate in price. (KPBS)
  • A video of two sea lions chasing beachgoers at La Jolla Cove on Friday is going viral. (NBC-7)

This Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne and Megan Wood. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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