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The Voice of San Diego Podcast

VOSD’s Friday roundup of the past week’s news in brief, featuring interviews with special guests and more.

Sep 2, 2016

Last week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office sent out an email saying the mayor would be appearing the next day with leaders of the San Diego Unified School District to launch a “game-changing education initiative.”

The announcement, it turned out, was that the district was launching a Pre-K for All program.

It sounded just like New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's Pre-K for All program, which made preschool free for some 65,000 children.

So is that what happened in San Diego? Nope, not at all. That is not what happened in San Diego.

On this week's podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts explain just how the different the initiative Faulconer and school officials described is going to be. The program would be more accurately titled something like You Can Pay Us for Preschool.

The school district and the mayor get a big-time goat award this week for making the initiative sound like a much bigger, better deal than it is.

Experimenting With Affordable Housing

Architect and developer Jonathan Segal, the guy behind the North Parker building at the corner of Upas and 30th and several other projects in San Diego's urban neighborhoods, joined the show this week to talk about a new project in Little Italy that's breaking some regulatory molds.

Segal said the project won't include any parking.

That's a move that will help keep construction costs down, resulting in savings he said he'll pass on to tenants. He said they hope to charge around $1,000 to $2,000 a month for small units that are about 350 to 400 square feet. He said that's a lot less than nearby rents.

The city, though, does require new projects to include parking. Segal said his firm used the state's density bonus law, which allows developers to build more homes on a property than city restrictions allow if they agree to build some low-income homes in their project. The law also allows developers other exceptions, and Segal used his to waive the parking-garage requirement.

He calls the project "experimental micro-housing" and said he thinks it's a model for building affordable housing downtown. He said if developers continue to pack downtown with nothing but luxury condos, it will lead to a homogenized population.

"If you want to push all the real people out of downtown living, just keep cramming that parking requirement in and you'll find out it'll be all the highbrows that are living down here versus a great mixture," he said.

Also on this week's podcast, Lewis and Keatts digest all the Chargers news and opinions on our site this week and they debut the "Faulconer Watch," a weekly look at whether the mayor has decided to take a position on the stadium, the biggest decision facing the future of the city he leads. They also worry about climate change and connect it to the ongoing debate about the Carlsbad Desalination Project, and discuss more of the week's biggest news.