San Diego’s ‘Trailergate’ Gets Some Attention

by on March 20, 2023 · 4 comments

in Homelessness, San Diego

Somebody was listening.

Late last week, we reported that the city was close to utilizing 12 or 13 of the trailers it had stored for 3 years, given to the city by the state for unhoused needy families. On Wednesday, March 15, the San Diego City Council‘s Rules Committee had voted unanimously to move forward a plan to open a safe parking lot in the Clairemont – Rose Canyon neighborhood for people who sleep overnight in campers or other vehicles.

We’ve been covering the “lost trailers” for the homeless for weeks in the hopes there would be some public and or media traction that would pressure the Gloria administration to get on the ball and put the trailers to the use that was intended.

We said the next day, “San Diego’s Trailergate — a minor scandal that no one really cares much about — may soon be over.”

But lo and behold! somebody was listening.

On Saturday’s Union-Tribune, the issue was front and center – right there as the main article on the front page. We’re thankful for that — and thanks Jeff McDonald, the reporter. The article answered a couple of our outstanding questions. But others remain.

For instance, why did the city wait so long to put the trailers to use? But for 3 years? And after the city accepted 20  trailers, only 13 are planned for use. Where are the other 7?

As reporter McDonald stated, “… the trailers have yet to be made available to vulnerable populations as called for by the California Department of Social Services —even though other cities had moved residents into theirs within months.” He also reported, “Mayor Todd Gloria’s press office did not respond to questions this week about where or when the remaining trailers might be placed into service.”

Records released under the Public Records Act show the city initially planned to place all 20 trailers in Rose Canyon, but the number was reduced.

Plus, McDonald wrote, “the trailers donated to San Diego were kept as Mayor Todd Gloria and former Mayor Kevin Faulconer deliberated over how and where to put them into service. The current mayor blamed his predecessor.”

Our city council members haven’t been too concerned either. McDonald reported, “The unanimous decision [of the Rules Committee] came without any questioning from council members over the three years it has taken to make the campers available to needy families.” McDonald: “Instead of asking about the three-year delay, council members praised Gloria administration officials for their work in identifying Rose Canyon for use as a safe-parking resource.” The trailers have been stored there for many months already, so all this praise is somewhat disingenuous.

Although, McDonald writes, “Councilmember Vivian Moreno obliquely referenced the delay.” She said, “We need to move quickly to get this program to council. I’m happy to see the camper trailers that we received from the state during the pandemic are being put to good use.”

Of course, the context in part of all this is Mayor Gloria’s vow to to crack down on street and vehicle homelessness and force people living in encampments into some kind of living quarters — that have yet to be identified — or even created.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie March 20, 2023 at 11:55 am

Gov. Newsom wants to give San Diego 150 tiny homes. Maybe, given the history of previous gifts to SD for the homeless, Newsom should reconsider. San Diego might just place them all in storage somewhere.


Deb Porter March 22, 2023 at 10:26 am

And, we would have to pay for the storage :-)


Frank Gormlie March 21, 2023 at 9:13 am

On Monday, the city council by a vote of 8 to 0 (Moreno was absent) approved the 12 trailers.


Progressive guru March 26, 2023 at 10:56 pm

Too bad Walmart does not allow trailers to stay overnight on its lots anymore. This could have saved the city thousands.


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