Axios San Diego

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It's not just any Tuesday; it's a super one because primary election day is here for San Diego voters.

  • Today's weather: Coast — Partly sunny with highs in the low 60s. Inland — Partly sunny with highs in the mid-60s.

Situational awareness: You have until 8pm today to vote in person or return your mail-in ballot via the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Keep track of results with Axios' live coverage of Super Tuesday beginning at noon for our national and local reporting.

Members like you drive the heart of our impactful reporting. Join us now.

Today's newsletter is 902 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Mental health system overhaul on the ballot

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

California voters today could approve an overhaul of the state's approach to mental health treatment and homelessness, creating a blueprint that supporters hope — and opponents fear — could be replicated elsewhere.

Why it matters: The measure is Gov. Gavin Newsom's answer to a chronic crisis that ranks among residents' biggest concerns in a state that is home to 28% of the country's homeless population.

How it works: Proposition 1 would let the state borrow $6.4 billion to build mental health treatment space and supportive housing for homeless residents, and allow the state to keep a larger percent of its existing "millionaire tax," with less going directly to counties.

  • It also would require counties to redistribute state dollars toward the most severe behavioral health needs — away from prevention.

The big picture: Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tells Axios that Prop 1 could become a model for addressing chronic homelessness. It prioritizes the greatest behavioral-health needs over less-urgent programs that allow homelessness to persist, he said.

  • Steinberg, who authored the "millionaire tax" as a state lawmaker in 2004, told Axios the money "has been spent in a variety of good ways … but it did not do enough for people who are chronically homeless."

The intrigue: Newsom has put his weight behind Prop 1 after the state spent $17.5 billion on homelessness-related programs from 2018 to 2022, only to watch its homeless population jump by 40% over about the same time frame.

By the numbers: The new revenue would build an estimated 4,350 homes for those experiencing homelessness or those at risk of becoming homeless.

Yes, but: California's homeless population is estimated at 181,000.

Friction point: While the measure had bipartisan support when the legislature proposed putting it on the ballot last year, a last-minute change to allow funding for facilities that involuntarily hold patients outraged some mental health advocates.

  • Proponents say it aligns with recent policy changes that have embraced compelling some mentally ill people on the streets into treatment, but others protest the constitutionality of doing so.

Go deeper

2. Chart du jour: Donors spend big on Biden

California presidential campaign contributions from large donors
Data: Federal Election Commission; Note: Individual contributions of less than $200 are not required to be reported to the FEC; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

President Biden leads presidential campaign contributions from large donors in California, followed by Donald Trump and Nikki Haley.

Zoom in: Despite facing declining support from California voters, Biden had raised more than $14.3 million from about 61,300 large donations as of Monday.

  • Trump secured nearly $8.9 million from about 201,250 donations.
  • Haley reported more than $4.4 million from almost 41,000 donations.

The big picture: Biden leads nationally with nearly $106 million, compared to about $89 million for Trump.

The fine print: The data doesn't include donations that are less than $200, so it's not a complete picture of total money raised.

  • But the numbers provide a general sense of a candidate's financial position in California going into today's Super Tuesday primary election.

How to vote in the primary

3. The Lineup: News that's brewing

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🍔 Hayes Burger, which serves popular smash burgers near Barrio Logan's Chicano Park, is opening a second location tomorrow in Normal Heights. (Eater)

📚 San Diego Unified will vote tonight on a plan to cut about 400 jobs, including teachers and principals, to help bridge a $94 million unrestricted budget gap for next school year. (Union-Tribune)

🎓 U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, whose 50th Congressional District includes San Diego, proposed a new bill that would forgive student loans for military service members and veterans by automatically enrolling them in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. (CBS8)

🗳️ Prominent California Democrats and U.S. Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff are scrambling for top spots in the Senate primary after a late surge by Republican candidate Steve Garvey, a former first baseman for the Dodgers and Padres. (Axios)

4. Snapdragon's Concacaf semifinals set

USWNT forward Jaedyn Shaw also plays for the San Diego Wave. Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF via Getty Images

The field is set for the semifinals tomorrow of the inaugural Concacaf Women's Gold Cup games at San Diego's Snapdragon Stadium.

State of play: The U.S. Women's National Team, ranked second in the world, will face 10th-ranked Canada at 7:15pm in this knockout round. Mexico will take on Brazil at 4pm.

Why it matters: Team USA, Canada and Brazil qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics, so this tournament provides a pitch for players, especially young talent, to prove they deserve spots on those rosters.

The intrigue: It'll be home turf for San Diego Wave/USWNT players Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, Abby Dahlkemper and Jaedyn Shaw, and goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan for Canada.

Who to watch: 19-year-old Shaw is a rising star on Team USA's front line.

  • She has put away three goals this tournament, while becoming only the second player in USWNT history to score in each of her first three starts.

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5. Historic primary photo to go

Ronald Reagan stopped in San Diego ahead of Super Tuesday in 1980. Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images

We're taking you back to 1980, when there was early use of the election phrase "Super Tuesday."

The big picture: In that presidential election, Super Tuesday described the final Tuesday of the primary season in June, when key states like California cast votes, according to the National Constitution Center.

  • Now, it marks the start of primary elections in more than a dozen states, usually in March.
  • That switch to earlier primaries was driven by Southern states looking to gain influence in the 1984 election.

Zoom in: This June 1980 photo shows then-Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan listening intently to San Diego tuna fishermen on a brief campaign swing on the eve of California's primary election.

Our picks:

🗳️ Andy is listening to the Election Day anthem.

🎤 Kate is ready to snag Kacey Musgraves tickets today.

This newsletter was edited by Carly Mallenbaum and copy edited by James Gilzow.