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San Diego’s high cost of living

 December 16, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, December 16th.

San Diego County’s high cost of living is pushing some people out of the region. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The largest water supplier in the nation has declared a drought emergency for southern California… including here in San Diego county.

The Metropolitan Water District says its member agencies need to cut their use of imported water… or face steep fees.

The San Diego County Water Authority says 12-to-13-percent of our water comes from the M-W-D… and it has developed other sources, like desalinated sea water and recycled water.

To keep San Diego “drought-proof,” the water authority recommends taking shorter showers, running only full loads of dishes or laundry and turning irrigation systems off for the winter.


Narcan vending machines won’t be coming to the county by the end of the year as previously announced

County officials say they are waiting on the supplier and the vending machines should be rolled out early next year..

Narcan or Naloxone is a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses by restoring normal breathing.

According to preliminary data, in 20-21 nearly 900 people died from accidental opioid overdoses in the county.


The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is happening Sunday.

About 80 boats will be decked out with Christmas lights and decorations for the 52nd annual event.

The boats will start in Shelter island at 5-30 p-m, and sail their way to the Ferry Landing in Coronado.

It’s expected to end at 7-30.

You can watch the boats parade by from anywhere along the bay.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


As the year winds down, some San Diegans are packing up and heading out … not for a holiday trip … but for a change of residence.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere looks at how some people are getting priced out … and pushed out … of the region.

It's no secret San Diego County is an expensive place to live. But life has gotten extra pricey over the past couple of years … and evictions are stressing out many renters. George Rowles Former Hillcrest Resident “We figured when the property was sold at some point we were going to get a notice to vacate.” And that's exactly what happened to George Rowles. He got that notice just after San Diego’s no-fault eviction moratorium was lifted in September. He was told to be out of his Hillcrest home two weeks before Christmas. And now, his living situation has gotten a lot more expensive. George Rowles Former Hillcrest Resident “And then trying to find something in this market … coming from where we have been, at a reasonable rent for 15 years and finding something now…. my rent is literally being quadrupled.” Situations like that are making many contemplate their future in the region, especially those with lower incomes. Lila Miller Chula Vista Resident “So I'm moving back home to Arkansas, I'm going to be staying with family for a while. I already have a job there. I already got hired at a Starbucks down there.” We talked to Lila Miller when she was packing up her belongings in Chula Vista. She’d fallen behind on rent and got an eviction notice. The cost of living priced her out of renting elsewhere in San Diego. Lila Miller Chula Vista Resident “Everything else was too expensive or too far away from where I was working … A lot of them were like 2200, 2400 all the way up to 3000 an apartment, for like a two bedroom just like this.” University of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin says in a housing market that is both expensive and in short supply: Alan Gin USD Professor of Economics “The expiration of eviction protections is going to make the problem worse. So people at the low end had some protection but no they could be susceptible to evictions. If that's the case many of them will have to leave the region.” Jeff Tucker is an economist with Zillow. He says San Diego County got roughly 33 percent more expensive during the pandemic. It’s now the fourth highest-priced metro area in the U.S. Tucker says that’s why San Diegans are moving to other counties at a higher rate than in the past.Jeff Tucker Zillow Economist “Riverside, San Bernardino counties, LA and the OC – all these places have seen a pretty substantial increase in the number of home seekers – both buyers and renters – coming from the San Diego area.” The U.S. Census Bureau says last year San Diego County lost population for the first time in a decade. Tucker says remote work is giving people more flexibility. Jeff Tucker Zillow Economist “This really is a story of people looking to find a place where they can make ends meet – where they can sort of reach their American Dream of a place of their own, maybe homeownership, and a house that fits their family. And that is increasingly infeasible in San Diego for the middle and working classes.” And those who don't leave San Diego – like George Rowles – are finding other ways to cut back. George Rowles Former Hillcrest Resident “We had a decent amount of disposable income, but now most of our money is going to have to go to actually, physically living.” Miller says if she didn’t move back to Arkansas, she’d likely end up homeless. Lila Miller Chula Vista Resident “I do hope to come back to California. I really do love it here. It's just too expensive. I'm working so hard – I work 12 to 16 hours a day sometimes and I still can't afford to live here, even with a roommate in a two-bedroom apartment.” Gin sees one clear answer for the long-term solution. Alan Gin USD Professor of Economics “And what's really needed is what some people call workforce housing – that’s housing for people who are kind of in the middle. These are going to be your teachers, your police officers, your normal working people who want to live in San Diego but can't afford it at this point.” For the short term, renters are hoping for stronger tenant protections. The San Diego city council will consider an updated tenant protection ordinance early next year. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.




Flu and COVID are rampant again in San Diego county …  Dr Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy public health officer says  this week the county will be reporting more than 4800 COVID cases and 1600 flu cases. But that isn’t the whole story … that this number is almost certainly a low estimate due to  the amount of home testing that doesn't get reported … Only 18 percent of people in San Diego County have received the new COVID booster. Kaiser says that is a concern. Yes the vast majority of us are going to come out okay but why roll the dice He says people with previous COVID infections can get the vaccine too without waiting and he is urging people get it now. The vaccine takes about a week or two for it to become effective So if you get that shot now… that’s just in time for the Christmas holiday. Kitty Alvarado KPBS News. 


California regulators approved the most significant overhaul of the state’s solar rules since first subsidizing rooftop solar in 19-96.

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The California Public Utility Commission voted five to zero to approve proposed changes that were revealed in the fall.   The new plan cuts the value of solar generated electricity sold back to the grid by 75 percent. That reduces the financial benefit of installing solar arrays.   The CPUC downplayed that part of the deal. Cliff Rechtschaffen, CPUC commissioner “It ignores the fact that a much larger portion of the customer savings from rooftop solar saving actually comes from customer’s powering their electricity needs at home….meeting their needs with solar energy.” Solar advocates called the plan too extreme for California.  They argued the state needs to make solar more affordable, not less affordable.  The state’s investor owned utilities have been notably quiet about the changes, only speaking in regulatory filings or hearings. Erik Anderson KPBS News.


Coming up.... A new “safe haven” for those experiencing homelessness. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


San Diego’s City Councilmembers were sworn in this week - bringing a new face to the council.

Kent Lee will represent the city’s 6th district.

The district includes Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa, most of University City, Sorrento Valley and portions of Scripps Ranch.

Councilmember Lee spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindmon.

That was Councilmember Kent Lee, speaking with KPBS’s Jade Hindmon.


Some people who are experiencing homeless need more help than others to get their lives back in order.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says a new “safe haven” will house nearly two dozen homeless San Diegans who need that extra help.

The new “Safe Haven” is at the Veterans Village of San Diego campus in the Midway District. It’ll help residents living with mental illness and chronic substance use conditions. Elizabeth Fitzsimons (fit-SIY-mins) is the CEO of Episcopal Community Services, which will operate the new 24/7 transitional housing facility. “It's really meant to be like a home to these people. And it is smaller because they're going to be spending more time here together. And we don't have a time limit on how long they can be with us; some of our clients stay with us as long as two years.” Fitzsimons says the 11-unit, 22-bed Safe Haven space will open by early January … with the goal of keeping people permanently rehoused. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by KPBS Senior Producer Brooke Ruth and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

Some San Diegans are packing up and heading out for a change of residence, as the cost of living becomes higher. In other news, California regulators approved the most significant overhaul of the state’s solar rules since first subsidizing rooftop solar in 1996. Plus, a new safe haven will house nearly two dozen homeless San Diegans who need the extra help.