What if we could be voting for a real vision, instead of just trying to curb the daily assaults on justice and decency?  

Yesterday, our bi-weekly Conversation in the Garden sorted through the overwhelming number of Propositions and Measures on our ballot. Most of us had already made up our minds on the candidates, and were relying on the advice of trusted community leaders to give our Yea or Nay on the long list of judges, but those propositions and measures just loomed menacingly! The blatant lies on mailers, TV commercials and social media ads just add to the confusion. And much to my surprise, neither the large California General Election Guide nor the smaller Sample Ballot & Voter Information “pamphlet” (that most of us only received on Wednesday) had the actual language of the propositions – they only had summaries and pros and cons. So it was impossible to tell what we were actually being asked to vote on.

I was feeling tempted to just skip the entire proposition and ballot measure sections, rather than risk voting for something that wasn’t in the best interest of our community. That’s why I really appreciated the informed perspectives that the people in our conversation provided. This morning I completed my entire ballot, confident that my choices were informed and based on my values. As I sealed the envelope, I imagined a not too distant future that my votes could create that included ending homelessness in our region.

While I’m always concerned that throwing gigantic sums of money at a problem, opens the door to squandering that money while enriching the same chosen few, and not actually solving the problem, I voted yes on Propositions 1 and 2.  The problem of people not having a place to live is not going to be solved without a lot of money. That is just reality. However, it is our responsibility to make certain that money is used judiciously for what it was meant to do. So Props 1 and 2 got my YES vote. 

Here in San Diego, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put that money to good work immediately! Both Measures G and E would hand the existing stadium and Murphy Canyon site over to developers and special interests to do what developers and special interests do – make money – gobs of money. They have spent millions trying to sell us on the vision of river parks, college expansion, a soccer stadium, up-scale condos, shopping and businesses. BUT, what they REALLY want to do is make gobs of money. They have made a huge investment in propaganda and wise business people don’t make investments unless they are see a huge return on their money. You can be sure, if they are spending this kind of money trying you convince us to hand this valuable site over to them, there is a windfall for them at the end of it.

Let’s get our priorities straight as a community of decent human beings. I don’t think any of the things the proponents of Measure G and E are touting in their ads matter one bit to the thousands of San Diegans who will not have a safe place to sleep tonight. And happily housed people are more worried about folks camping in the canyons starting fires, and folks sleeping in their cars using shrubbery for restrooms, and folks huddled on the sidewalks turning our city into a third-world disgrace. They think ending homelessness is way more important than creating a river park, when we already have the magnificent Pacific Ocean to lure tourists. And I’m sure, if you ask the people who are already dealing with traffic nightmares on Friars Road, if they want to make the congestion they experienced during every Chargers game, a permanent condition, they will most likely howl their disapproval. 

Instead, imagine this. Imagine using this precious site to create truly VERY affordable housing. Not the affordable housing developers tout with granite counter-tops and in-unit laundry for middle-income people with cars and good paying jobs. This would be well-built, safe, decent housing for people who will use the trolley to get the services they need downtown, and to get to their low-wage jobs that cater to tourism and healthcare. This will be housing that seniors and the disabled people on fixed incomes can afford without a subsidy.  This will be housing for  families who are putting their kids to sleep every night in the back seat of their car. This will be housing that won’t require parking spaces for every unit, and won’t impact traffic, because the people who will live there will choose to have a roof over their head over having a car.  

Imagine putting up immediate, safe, sleeping cabins on a part of the site while we build that good, VERY affordable permanent housing – we could get the most vulnerable people off the streets in a matter of weeks.  

Imagine we didn’t hand this precious site over to a developer, and instead the City actually developed this property, and hired local union workers and paid decent wages.  Imagine we used that money from Props 1 and 2 to build this solution and we didn’t need to write obscene developer profits into the budget.  

Imagine we brought services on-site for people with mental illness, and everything is planned around accessibility.  

Imagine being able to tell the homeless veteran you’ve been trying to help, that there is a place they can afford on their $900 monthly income without a subsidy.  

Imagine the housing is designed to be environmentally sustainable and humanely uplifting, and includes community gardens, safe and fun playgrounds, a farmer’s market and a river walk for residents instead of tourists. Imagine San Diego being a model for making certain every resident is safely housed. 

So YES on Props 1 and 2, NO on Measures G and E. Get Monica and Tommy and Vivian on the City Council so we can over-rule Mayor Failure’s vetoes – because you know he and his developer puppeteers will hate this idea. Let’s get that done, and I’m all in for helping to make this vision happen.  

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