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Dear Neighbor,

After Jan. 22’s unprecedented storm, San Diego is on the road to recovery.

My team and I have been on the ground in the impacted communities since day one. And I've directed significant City resources to help impacted residents. My emergency declaration has helped clear barriers and allowed us to get things done more efficiently than we could have before.

Immediate post-storm emergency cleanup actions included:

  • Deploying five emergency contractors to help with storm cleanup 
  • Clearing approximately four miles of channels and 22 culverts of vegetation and obstructions (compared to the yearly average of 1 mile a year) 
  • Completing eight emergency structural repair projects 
  • Completing 487 storm drain inspections 
  • Clearing 73 drain systems 
  • More than 100 staff assigned to post-storm response efforts 
  • Reassigned multiple crews from Stormwater, Transportation, and PUD to focus on storm recovery
  • Collected and cleared over 2,300 tons of debris, with City crews picking up debris multiple times a day 
  • City crews did overtime and double shifts, working into the night to complete storm recovery projects
  • City staff and volunteers provided information and resources for people impacted by the flooding to more than 2,000 homes in impacted areas

We also opened a Local Assistance Center at the Mountain View Community Recreation Center to connect residents to resources and information from several nonprofits and government agencies to help them recover from the storm and start rebuilding their lives. At the LAC, people who were displaced by the storm were connected to housing assistance by the San Diego Housing Commission. As of yesterday, we have provided hotel rooms to 765 adults, 394 children and 255 pets.

We have now transitioned the LAC to an online resource hub and will have dedicated staff at the Mountain View/Beckwourth Library from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays to assist people who need it with navigating and accessing the resources offered on the website.

My staff, City workers and volunteers have also been busy going door to door in neighborhoods that flooded to make sure residents know about the wide array of services available to help them recover (read more about some of the City resources available in the rest of the newsletter below).

Over the past few weeks, I've personally met with many people impacted by the flooding on Jan. 22. I’ve also witnessed the generosity and resilience that defines our city. Hundreds of people and organizations have answered my call to action by donating necessities like diapers, bleach and blankets to our neighbors impacted by the storm by dropping the items off at four City-run resource centers we set up.

My team and City crews have been working nonstop to help get people back on their feet. I’m proud of the work our city and community have done so far. But we’re not done yet. 


The road to recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint. I ask for San Diegans’ partnership as we work to overcome this challenge together.


As always, it’s an honor to serve as your Mayor.

Mayor Gloria Proposes Plan to Waive Fees for Storm-Related Repairs and Reconstruction 

We’ve been on the ground listening to residents and businesses impacted by the storm to ensure we’re providing the most effective assistance to help them recover.

As these residents look to repair and rebuild, I have directed the City’s Development Services and Environmental Services Departments to waive fees for building permits, demolition permits and waste disposal, as well as to reimburse recycling costs associated with the reconstruction of private property damaged by Jan. 22’s storm. 

These fee waivers will lower costs and help ease the financial burden for San Diegans whose lives were changed so suddenly and dramatically by this natural disaster.

The waiver does not include fees for the expansion of structures larger than those that were destroyed or damaged, but the City will provide permit amnesty for storm victims who wish to permit and reconstruct previously unpermitted additions.

We estimate that these fee waivers will save residents approximately $2.41 million in total.

Read more about the fee waivers for people impacted by the storm on Inside San Diego.

Helping Small Businesses Recover After Historic Storms 

The recent storms have also ravaged many small businesses and nonprofits across San Diego County. To help local business owners recover from the historic storm, the City of San Diego and community partners have stepped up to provide financial assistance.

The City of San Diego's Economic Development Department (EDD) will be giving emergency relief grants up to $2,500 per applicant to businesses within city limits that suffered storm-related losses.

Applications opened today. EDD will prioritize businesses located in under-resourced communities. Staff from the EDD and community partners have been going door-to-door to share information about the grant program with businesses potentially impacted by the flooding, but business owner can also get details about the City's grant program on this webpage.

Other community partners are also stepping up to help small businesses impacted by the storm.

The Strategic Alliance - which includes the County of San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, The Asian Business Association and The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce -has launched the Emergency Business Relief Fund.

Money raised through the relief fund will provide support and aid to small businesses hit the hardest by recent storms.

The coalition will work with community partners including the Urban League, NAACP, Latino Professionals, The Chicano Federation, San Diego Foundation, Black American Political Association of California, The Urban Collaborative Project, The Regional Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, The Burnham Center and many others to help raise philanthropic funds for local small businesses who saw flooding and other impacts from the heavy rains.

The City of San Diego's emergency relief grants, the coalition's Emergency Business Relief Fund and the San Diego Foundation's San Diego Flood Response Fund are just a few examples of many efforts launched to help San Diegans impacted by the storm get back on their feet.

Outreach Initiative for Storm-Impacted Residents 

My office partnered with City Councilmember Vivian Moreno to launch a comprehensive outreach initiative to disseminate information to residents impacted by the storms.

My staff and I have been on the ground every day in the heavily impacted communities during the week and over the weekends since Jan. 22, making sure people are updated on all the available services to them. This program is an extension of those efforts.

The information being hand-delivered door to door by City staff and volunteers covers a wide array of services available to help residents recover from the devastating floods. The outreach program also disseminates information in English and Spanish about emergency preparedness, housing assistance, trash disposal and sandbag distribution.

Among the services offered through the outreach initiative has been a hotel placement program run by the San Diego Housing Commission, a program that will be transitioning to the County of San Diego once they stand up a longer-term housing assistance program.

Read more about this initiative on Inside San Diego.  

San Diego’s Migrant Assistance Center Gets National Spotlight 

The show “60 Minutes Overtime” recently featured a story on immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border and included a highlight on the work of San Diego nonprofit SBCS (formerly South Bay Community Services).

Correspondent Shayrn Alfonsi toured the SBCS-led Migrant Welcome Center in San Diego.

The segment centered around the journey of migrants after they cross the border, exploring the role the Migrant Welcome Center plays once they are cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The Migrant Welcome Center, funded by the County of San Diego under the leadership of San Diego County Board of Supervisor’s Chair Nora Vargas, offers critical services such as food, toiletries, and transportation to migrants processed by Border Patrol. 

This support is vital, preventing hundreds of people from being stranded in San Diego without the support they need to continue their journey to their final destinations elsewhere in the United States.

Watch the segment on 60 Minutes Overtime here. 

A Continued Partnership with Forever Balboa Park  

The City has partnered with nonprofit Forever Balboa Park for a three-year, special use permit that will help expedite maintenance and beautification projects across our city’s Crown Jewel.

Forever Balboa Park, formerly known as the Balboa Park Conservancy, works with dozens of park entities to sustain and enhance a best-in-class park for all visitors and future generations of San Diegans.

They partner with the City on projects that help rehabilitate the park’s forest; restore and enhance historic buildings and gardens; and activate public spaces for greater community engagement.

Read more about the City and Forever Balboa Park’s new deal in the San Diego Union-Tribune.


New Street Surfaces in Balboa Park

Balboa Drive near the Prado Bridge in Bankers Hill is getting a fresh slurry surface. This work is part of the Slurry 2323 project, which features road work in the communities of Golden Hill, Southeast San Diego and Otay Mesa.


Celebrating Black History Month  

February is Black History Month. I’ve joined a few celebrations this month, including the 18th Annual Black History Month Celebration at the George L. Stevens Senior Center in Southeastern San Diego. I was thrilled to help honor organizations and individuals who have positively impacted the Black community in San Diego’s District 4, including the Floyd Robinson Foundation, Flack Emergency Medical Services, Blacks In Government, Jacqueline M. Jackson and Kathie C. Hardie. Thank you to the organizers of this beloved annual event, including Ms. Rosemary Pope, the Executive Director of the Senior Center, and the entire senior center’s board. 

Entering the Year of the Dragon at the Lunar New Year Festival  

The Lunar New Year Festival at Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights was a great way to ring in the Year of the Dragon! The festival featured lanterns, folk and traditional performances, arts and cultural exhibitions, lion dances and firecrackers, a large selection of Asian food, and lots of fun family activities celebrating the culture of our San Diego’s Asian-American community.  


San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Turns 153 

I was glad to celebrate the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 153rd anniversary along with more than 750 of San Diego’s business leaders, community leaders, and elected officials who all share the goal of making the San Diego region a great place to live and work. Congratulations to this year’s honorees: Helen Robbins-Meyer, the longtime Chief Administrative Officer of the County of San Diego who recently retired after a long and productive career in operational leadership at the County, and the San Diego-based company Dexcom, which develops, manufactures, produces, and distributes a medical device that helps people manage their diabetes.

Honoring Black Changemakers and Leaders  

The 11th Annual Anniversary Gala for Voice & Viewpoint at Point Loma’s Liberty Station was a great opportunity honor local trailblazers and celebrate 64 years of consistent publishing by the Voice & Viewpoint, San Diego’s only Black newspaper and publishing company. Every year, Voice & Viewpoint honors different organizations and individuals who have positively impacted the Black community here in San Diego. This year’s theme was “The Future is Now: Documenting Change” and included honoring Peggy Cooper, Dr. Jerome Robinson, Samantha Williams and other local changemakers. 


New Off-Leash Dog Park Opens in Allied Gardens

Allied Gardens residents, local dog owners, and members of the community recently celebrated a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony of the new Allied Gardens Off-Leash Dog Park led by Councilmember Raul Campillo.

The new dog park is located immediately adjacent to the Allied Gardens Pool, 6707 Glenroy St, San Diego, CA 92120. The park features repurposed logs for agility training and seating, a dog drinking fountain, trash and recycling receptacles, dog-bag dispensers, and separate fenced areas for large and small dogs (19,000 square ft and 8,850 square ft respectively). Additionally, heavy fabric has been set up along the fence of the Allied Gardens Pool so as to mitigate any impact to pool users.

Celebrate Culture and Community During Black History Month at San Diego Public Library 

The San Diego Public Library (SDPL) has a full schedule of all-ages programming planned for Black History Month. 

Throughout the month of February, SDPL is hosting several free programs, including an author discussion, storytimes and craft projects featuring freedom quilts and traditional African masks.  

Black History Month events at SDPL include:  

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia with Dr. Sabrina Strings. Feb. 25, 2024. 1 – 3 p.m. at Central Library. 

Presented by University of San Diego and San Diego Public Library. Author talk and book signing by author and professor Dr. Sabrina Strings. She will discuss the idea that the contemporary ideal of thinness is, at its core, radicalized and racist.  


Afro-Mexicanos: Mexico Finally Recognizes Its Black Citizens. Feb. 26, 2024. 6:30 p.m. at Central Library. 

WorldBeat Cultural Center’s Jorge Gonzalez will lead a discussion on the presence and history of people of African descent in Mexico and the omission of Afro-Mexican from Mexican history, governmental rights and society. 


Black History Pride Storytime. Feb. 20, 2024. 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Skyline Hills Library. Celebrate Black History Month with a special Pride storytime. The library will celebrate diversity and individuality through age-appropriate stories and songs.  


For a full list of programs, registration information and Black History Month book lists, visit the library’s Black History Month webpage. 

Planning for the Future of Balboa Park 

The Parks and Recreation Department has engaged AEA Consulting to develop a Prioritization Framework for future Balboa Park capital projects. 

The goal of this project is to help identify strategic priorities for future investment in Balboa Park, inform future decision-making and provide better alignment between available resources and what residents want to experience when they visit. 

To do this, we need your help in two specific ways. First, the City is deploying a public survey to collect resident and stakeholder feedback on priorities for Balboa Park – What do you consider important to enhance the overall visitor experience? Where do you spend the most time in the park and why? What areas do you visit most and what areas need the most attention? 


Please make your voice heard by taking this brief survey today. 


We would appreciate you circulating this survey with your staff, board members, colleagues, neighbors and anyone across San Diego who loves Balboa Park like you do and wants to weigh in on its future. The survey will close January 28th. 


Second, the City (via AEA) will also be hosting four public engagement sessions to gather additional public input. Please mark your calendars for the fourth and final session next month:  

Thursday, March 7 at Balboa Park Committee Monthly Meeting at Santa Fe Room / Balboa Park Club 

6 - 8 p.m. 

2150 Pan American Road, West 

San Diego, CA 92101 


If you have questions about the survey or the upcoming engagement sessions, please contact Catalina Casas with AEA Consulting at 1-845-765-8100 or by email at [email protected]. We thank you in advance for your help. 

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San Diego, CA 92101


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