Axios San Diego

Newsletter branding image

There it is. Friday. You asked. Now, it's here. Could be unrelated, though.

  • Today's weather: Coast β€” Cloudy, then clearing, with highs in the mid-60s. Inland β€” Gradually clearing; highs in the low 70s.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to Axios San Diego member Jordan Snodgrass!

Situational awareness: UCSD canceled this weekend's Sun God Festival, a major annual event for the university, citing a lack of security resources because of the pro-Palestine encampment on campus.

Today's newsletter is 914 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: California bill would fund freeway lids

Teralta Park in City Heights is built on a freeway lid over I-15. Photo: Andrew Keatts/Axios

Attempts to stitch back together communities of color that were torn apart by freeways could get a serious boost if a new bill by San Diego assemblyman David Alvarez becomes law.

Why it matters: Communities have for years pursued freeway lids β€” decks over the interstate that enable park or commercial development to reverse decades-old damage β€” only to hit a wall over price.

  • AB 2945 would fund the projects from property tax revenue in the immediately surrounding area.

How it works: The Reconnecting Communities Redevelopment Act by Alvarez would allow communities to form new agencies, with state approval, that could issue bonds to help build those lids and other projects that rectify damage from freeway construction.

  • They'd then collect any growth in property taxes above their baseline starting point, within a half mile of the project area, to repay those bonds.
  • That essentially recreates the state's redevelopment program that former Gov. Jerry Brown killed in 2011 while facing a budget crunch.

What he's saying: "This brings two things together: undoing harm done to lower-income communities that were displaced and divided by freeways, and recreating redevelopment, which has left cities with less funding to improve communities since the state dissolved it," Alvarez said.

The big picture: California and the federal government both have been putting more money toward redressing the harm of interstate construction β€” and San Diego has already benefited.

  • The San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning agency, has received $3.3 million between two pots of federal money to study, plan and design a lid over I-5 between Logan Heights and Barrio Logan.
  • Caltrans allocated a total of $149 million for three projects, including a plan to connect southeastern San Diego and National City over I-805, and proposals in Arcata and south San Francisco.

The bottom line: "These projects are very, very expensive," Alvarez said. "There will never be enough federal grants, state grants or city funding to pay for them."

Full story

2. πŸ›οΈ The man behind Gloria's mega-shelter proposal

The site of the proposed shelter in the Midway District near the airport. Photo: Andy Keatts/Axios

City officals are getting a crash course on Douglas Hamm on the heels of Mayor Todd Gloria's proposal to turn Hamm's property into the city's largest homeless shelter.

Why it matters: The former print shop north of downtown would house 1,000 beds for residents experiencing homelessness, but both the City Council and the public have blushed at the pricey lease Gloria struck, putting the project in peril.

Driving the news: Voice of San Diego profiled Hamm on Thursday, revealing that his deal began with a cold email to city staffers in October.

  • The Union-Tribune reported last month that Hamm borrowed $12.5 million against the property the same day he closed on the purchase, with his loan backed by anticipated rent payments.

By the numbers: The city would pay $92 million in rent over a 35-year term, and $18 million to convert the building.

Friction point: Real estate pros have told Axios and other media the cost is above market rate.

What he's saying: Hamm is shocked by the backlash and told the Voice he had discussed similar or costlier leases with other companies.

  • "I can't take a complete bath on it just because I want to see it happen from a human perspective, but I'm stretching to try to get it done," he said.

What's next: Hamm said he's talking with city staff in hopes of saving the deal, following a closed-session City Council discussion.

  • "At some point, (Hamm) could say forget it or the city could say it's too expensive," he said. "But I can tell you, the mayor is focused on finding a long-term home for 1,000 beds. That's the order of the day."

Full story

3. The Lineup: Catch up on this news

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

βœ‚οΈ The city's independent budget analyst says the mayor's proposed budget, and its $100 million in cuts, would hit disadvantaged neighborhoods hardest. (Union-Tribune)

πŸ€ The Aztecs are replacing departed star Lamont Butler with a familiar face: Wayne McKinney III, a Coronado High School graduate, is transferring from the University of San Diego. (East Village Times)

🚁 Local officials unveiled a new wildfire-fighting tool in San Marcos this week. A water tank suspended from a helicopter can be filled with 5,000 gallons of water in less than three minutes. (Fox 5)

4. πŸ₯³ Legit low-key kickbacks

The Common Kings wil play the Rady Shell on Saturday night. Photo: Andrew Keatts/Axios


πŸ₯ San Diego Seals Semifinals

Root the Seals on in their best-of-three series to reach the National Lacrosse League championship series.

🀠Riley Green at Petco Park

Check out the new Gallagher Square for the country singer-songwriter β€” with Ella Langley.

🍲 Foodieland Night Market

Eat around the world at more than 210 vendors and take in family-friendly games and entertainment.


⚽ The Chrome Ball Tour: Chula Vista

Catch San Diego FC's city-by-city tour through the county in preparation for its inaugural MLS season β€” including performances from stars like Rossi Rock.

🎀 Common Kings at the Rady Shell

Enjoy these Polynesian-roots reggae stars at a gorgeous waterfront venue.

🐴 Escondido Renaissance Faire

Eat a turkey leg, watch a joust, drink some ale.

πŸ₯³ Gaslamp Cinco de Mayo Festival

Party downtown while watching Lucha Libre matches, mariachi performances and a low-rider show.

Sunday events

5. πŸ“Here in SD: Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Alright, alright β€” a lot of y'all nailed this one. Photo: Kate Murphy/Axios

πŸ“· Congrats to Anne M. for recognizing the Spruce Street suspension bridge in Bankers Hill!

The intrigue: The bouncing footbridge, built in 1912, crosses over Kate Sessions Canyon.

Our picks:

🦭 Andy is expecting to see some readers catching Seals fever at Pechanga tonight.

😎 Kate is off today.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by James Gilzow.