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SDSU West Begins Affordable Housing Pursuit

Construction of San Diego State University’s Aztec Stadium in Mission Valley on July 14, 2021. / Photo by Noelani Sapla, The Daily Aztec

Voice of San Diego

by Andrew KeattsLisa Halverstadt, Megan Wood and Andrea Lopez Villafaña.

Redevelopment of Mission Valley’s old Chargers Stadium property is in full swing, with the new stadium for the Aztecs that’s set to anchor SDSU West nearing completion ahead of its debut next fall.

In the meantime, SDSU is starting its search for developers to build low-income housing as part of the 132-acre project it’s building after voters approved it on the 2018 ballot.

The university issued a request Tuesday for developers to register their interest in taking on the first affordable housing component of SDSU West. It’ll be the first of two adjacent projects on a single, 1.7-acre block of affordable housing. The university’s notice to developers Tuesday said the entire block could total between 200 and 300 homes reserved for residents with an average household income of about 60 percent of the median income, with the first project expected to include about half that.

Overall, SDSU West when complete could include up to 4,600 homes, and the university has committed to reserving 10 percent of them to people meeting those income restrictions.

The university’s request for bids says the stadium is on track to open in September, and a 34-acre river park on city-owned land next to the project area will be completed by 2023.

SDSU will whittle down the group of interested developers in the coming months. It expects to issue a request for their final proposals in May.

Sliding Down the Omicron Slope

Christopher Longhurst, UC San Diego Health’s chief medical officer, posted an interesting tweet thread Monday about COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations. Compared to the previous week, Longhurst noted that cases and case rates were down at UC San Diego Health, and that hospitalizations “for” and “with” COVID across the county were up.

“Fortunately our ICU numbers are pretty flat, and most recent admissions have COVID as a secondary diagnosis, especially in trauma and obstetrics,” he tweeted.

Longhurst also shared Friday that there are “multiple signs we are sliding down the Omicron slope.”

COVID-19 Roundup:

  • California has recorded more than 7 million coronavirus cases, reports the Los Angeles Times, adding 1 million cases in just one week.

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Otay Mesa Detention Center saw a major spike in COVID cases last week. More than 90 people were in isolation or being monitored with confirmed cases as of Jan. 10, inewsource reports.

  • The Union-Tribune reveals how staffing shortages and burnout exacerbated by the pandemic have battered renowned charter school network High Tech High, which recently lost its CEO.

  • NBC 7 reports that the San Diego County Office of Education received nearly 2 million N95 masks from the state on Tuesday.

  • USPS will begin sending out free at-home COVID tests at the end of January. Get yours here.

Local Reporters Mourn the Death of a Tijuana Journalist

Tijuana photojournalist Margarito Martínez Esquivel was getting ready to photograph a crime scene in the city, something he had done for years, when he was gunned down in his driveway, reports the Union-Tribune.

The weapon used in Martínez Esquivel’s muder has been linked to five other murders in Tijuana officials said Tuesday. Some of those crimes date back to 2020. The news of his death followed calls for justice from journalists and press freedom organizations.

San Diego and Tijuana journalists who worked with Martínez Esquivel mourned the loss of their colleague, and many are demanding answers. He worked with national outlets, Tijuana news organizations and local publications such as the Union-Tribune.

Voice of San Diego contributor Sandra Dibble wrote on Twitter, “Very sad. Margarito played a key role documenting homicide scenes in Tijuana, whenever and wherever they happened, at considerable personal risk. Many journalists relied on him. May his killers be brought to justice.”

The 49-year-old journalist was in the process of seeking government protection through an agency that works to address violence against activists and reporters, the Union-Tribune reported.

In Other News

  • KPBS reports that a recent Scripps Institution of Oceanography study shows Imperial Beach ocean water might be even more polluted than researchers thought.

  • Two Chula Vista City Councilmembers told NBC 7 they want customers of Republic Services to receive credits of the month-long period that a strike halted trash pickup. It’s unclear if the city has the power to force the company to provide refunds or credits. Fox 5 separately reports that the city has set up a hotline where Chula Vista renters can use to report overflowing trash outside apartments and condos.

  • You might have a new county supervisor. The county reminded us that new district boundaries are now in effect following a year-long redistricting effort. Interested in learning more? You can find VOSD’s extensive redistricting reporting plus a helpful podcast explaining how redistricting worked here.

  • KPBS notes that local government officials are increasingly weighing in on controversial national issues.

  • The Union-Tribune did a deep-dive analysis that included reported crimes and police stops and found some communities with large minority populations saw more enforcement than mostly white areas with similar crime statistics.

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