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Roundtable: Trump’s Tweets, Housing Crisis, Trouble For Snopes

President Trump's tweets announcing a new policy banning transgender people f...

Credit: KPBS

Above: President Trump's tweets announcing a new policy banning transgender people from the U.S. military are shown in this undated photo.

Transgender Troops, Housing Crisis, Snopes Troubles

PANEL

Chris Jennewein, CEO & editor, Times of San Diego.com

Dan McSwain, business columnist, The San Diego Union-Tribune

David Wagner, science and tech reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

TRUMP'S TRANSGENDER TWEETS

The Story

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump surprised many in his administration, Congress and even the military by tweeting that the U.S. government would no longer allow transgender personnel to serve in any capacity in the military.

James Matthis, Trump's secretary of defense, was away and apparently unaware the change was coming.

Since 2016, U.S. policy has been that transgender troops already in the military could serve openly.

Trump indicated no timetable for implementation or gave any idea of what now happens to transgender troops already serving.

Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday there would be no modifications to the current policy, and all troops were to be treated with respect.

And there was pushback from Congress, even from conservative members like Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, filed an amendment to the defense appropriations bill which disallowed any funds in the bill for implementation or enforcement of the president’s directive. Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr., R-San Diego, on the other hand, said the move would restore the military’s “warrior culture.”

The Conversation

-Why the change now?

-What will happen to transgender troops already serving?

Related: Trump Says Transgender People Can’t Serve In Military

Related: Pentagon takes no steps to enforce Trump's transgender ban

Related: Rep. Scott Peters Attempts To Block Trump From Barring Transgender People From Military

SAN DIEGO'S HOUSING CRISIS

The Story

In San Diego, as in much of the rest of the state, rising housing prices and scarcity have become a crisis.

In a market-based society, this situation should cause a mad construction boom. Instead, construction is falling. Why?

Among the reasons: voters vote to limit growth and downsize projects.

We elect politicians who tax developments to pay for schools, parks, transit, and local government itself.

We sue when we don’t want a development in our backyard.

And then there’s CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, which applies to all private development.

In a competitive market, housing prices should be close to construction costs. Here they are generally double. Our housing market attracts large numbers of investors, who pay cash.

San Diego Mayor Faulconer has announced “Housing SD,” several proposals to speed up the construction of low-income and middle-class housing. The City Council has already approved three of these.

The Conversation

-Is Housing SD a good first sep or weak tea?

-What can or will the state be able to do to ease the crunch on housing?

Related: San Diego's housing crisis, a family problem

Related: San Diego Unveils Affordable Housing Plan

Related: City housing changes not enough, say developers and planners

SNOPES' TROUBLE IS REAL NEWS

The Story

Snopes, a nationally known fact-checking website based in San Diego, finds itself in a bind.

Snopes, which has been around for 20 years, was one of the first media organizations to debunk fake news before fake news was a thing. It currently helps Facebook do the same thing.

But Snopes is in a legal dispute with its website developer, Proper Media, over control of the site, accusing it of withholding all its advertising revenue.

Proper Media, in turn, has accused Snopes of gross mismanagement.

Snopes raised more than $600,000 in one day through a GoFundMe account, hoping to stay in business at least until its first court hearing next Friday.

The Conversation

-How important is Snopes in the current media landscape?

-Is the dispute a clash of egos, or are there real issues?

Related: Who owns Snopes.com? Dispute puts future of fact-checking site in question

Related: Fact-Checking Website Snopes Gets Outpouring Of Financial Support Amidst Lawsuit

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