Downtown San Diego News Roundup (Nov. 9, 2022)

Local, state and national funding isn't adding up for homelessness programs; plus, notes on two world-class festivals…and an appearance by the Piano Man?

The landscape surrounding local homelessness can be a labyrinth. There are hundreds of moving parts, and money comes in from all angles. It’s hard to keep up with the numbers.

If not perfect clarity, this San Diego Sun News Update offers the latest media attempts to follow the money.

Also on tap below: the bloated budget for the Seaport Village redevelopment plan; the story of a lost-then-found moped; and an unexpected visit from an iconic musician in a San Diego state of mind.

Gov. Newsom Withholds Homeless Programs Funding

California Gov. Gavin Newson says “whoa” to homelessness programs funding. (Getty Images)

A whole lot of state funding for homelessness programs was on tap to be funneled to San Diego–about $43 million–until California Governor Gavin Newsom tapped the brakes. The governor expressed displeasure at the way cities up and down the state planned to use the funds.

“I think the governor’s response is the same response that so many of us have, which is that the status quo is unacceptable, that we’re not making progress fast enough and in too many places we’re slipping backwards,” says San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera. (Read more:

Pace of People Becoming Homeless Ticks Up

In October 2022, San Diego’s Regional Task Force on Homelessness reported that for every 10 homeless people who found housing over the last year, 13 more people became homeless for the first time.

“One of the things I think it shows is we know what to do, we just have not been able to do it at the right scope and scale,” said Regional Task Force on Homelessness CEO Tamera Kohler. “And even when we have been able to do it at that scope and scale, the numbers overwhelm the system…There are successes every day. We just have a lot more people coming in than going out.” (Read more: SD Union-Tribune)

Celebrating a Small-Scale Housing Success

While local media outlets are dealing with distressing numbers on the homelessness front, the Los Angeles Times recently zeroed in on a small success story in San Diego.

The federal government has $1.1 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act to give to cities to help low-income tenants pay rent. Just 52 percent of these Section 8 vouchers are in use across the country. California has used 45 percent of its vouchers.

San Francisco has only doled out 40 percent of its vouchers–in comparison to San Diego, which has made use of 100 percent of the vouchers the city has received since June 2021.

(The story is firewalled on the Los Angles Times’ website, but you can see a copy on

Seaport Village Developers Seeking Public Funding

A recent aerial view of Seaport Village. (Getty Images)

Remember when the San Diego Unified Port District picked developer 1HWY1 to implement a major re-do of Seaport Village? The initial proposal for new hotels, restaurants and attractions had a $1.2-billion price tag.

Since 2016, the cost estimate has ballooned threefold to $3.6 billion. And now, the developers want a $550 million public subsidy. (Get details from an SD Union-Tribune podcast.)

Beater Bikes & Stolen Mopeds

During two decades of downtown San Diego living, I’ve had four bicycles stolen, not including separate incidents where I lost three seats and two wheels. I still bike everywhere, but only buy cheap “beater” bikes that cost roughly $100.

As gas prices rise, it appears moped and motorcycle thefts are now on the rise. One downtown resident had a moped go missing, but rediscovered it in a nearby neighborhood. Aided by TikTok and the police, she was able to get the moped back. (Read more: SD Reader)

World-Class Foodie Fest In Our Backyard

Revelers at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. This year’s “Grand Tasting” is November 12 at Embarcadero Marina Park North.

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is taking place now through November 13. More downtown residents need to be aware of it and take advantage of this culinary treat held on Embarcadero Marina Park North.

The festival has been around since 2004. This year there’ll be more than 300 booths proffering fine food, wine, beer and spirits. The fete has gotten national props from USA Today. Tickets are on the pricy side, but this event can easily be called one of the best local parties of the year. (Read more:

Then Wonderfront Festival Takes Over

Less than a week after the Wine & Food Festival tables are cleared from Embarcadero Marina Park North, the Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival takes over the exact same spot from November 18-20.

Wonderfront got off the ground in 2019, then got kiboshed by COVID for two years. Welcome back Wonderfront, and nightly headliners Gwen Stefani, Zac Brown Band and Kings of Leon–along with 80-plus bands on multiple stages along the San Diego bayfront. (Read more:

Was That The Piano Man?

Yes, that was legendary music performer Billy Joel playing an unannounced gig in late October at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park on Embarcadero Marina Park South.

The gorgeous, outdoor music venue sits on public land. Sure, only attendees of Daimler Truck North America’s Customer Appreciation Night could come inside the ropes. But anybody out for a walk behind the San Diego Convention Center could stroll over and get an earful of “My Life,” “Uptown Girl,” and “Only The Good Die Young.” (Read more: SD Union-Tribune)

[Lead photograph of Billy Joel by Getty Images] SDSun

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