Letter from the Editor: Gaining Perspective
Editor in Chief Erin Meanley Glenny dishes on the March issue of San Diego Magazine
Photo by Sandy Huffaker
If the name weren’t a dead giveaway, our job at this magazine is to show you how to see San Diego. That means everything from encouraging you to try a new bar and see a just-debuted play to understanding minimum wage laws at restaurants and learning how local scientists are making industry-shaking discoveries.
It’s all about perspective—bringing together people of different backgrounds, cultures, and educations in one magazine. And you’ll find a lot of perspectives in this issue. Author and East County resident Don Winslow explains how vacationing in Ensenada laid the groundwork for his new novel about drug cartels, and clears up some of America’s misconceptions about Mexico. Chef Rob Ruiz tells us why, as a city, our lack of commitment to sustainable food sources has kept us from graduating to the big leagues. Our cover story looks at road trip ideas, whether you’re a family, a foodie, or a flower child.
But nowhere is this sense of perspective stronger than in “Putting a Face to San Diego’s Homeless.” Writer Kelly Davis interviewed three people living in Alpha Project’s downtown shelter, which I also visited last summer. There’s a gated entrance and staff to help with check-in. There are trailers for medical services, case management, 12-step program meetings, showers, laundry services, clothes to borrow for job interviews, and more. The tent itself is enormous—like a high school gym. At the time, it was insufferably hot outside but the tent was air-conditioned. There are seating areas with TVs, and refrigerators holding medicine and late plates for residents who have night shifts. All of the 324 beds were spoken for, but many were unoccupied—those people were out looking for jobs, cleaning the streets (through Wheels of Change, they get $46 per day), and yes, going to school. When I visited, 42 of the residents were students at City College, 113 were veterans, 83 were age 18–24, and 139 were 62 or older.
Our story went to press before the results of the 2019 Point in Time Count could be tallied, but in 2018, San Diego’s homeless population numbered more than 8,500, with loss of employment the top cause. If you pass a person in the street, remember that the least you can do is look him or her in the eye and say hello. Dignity is one thing we can never afford to lose.
Erin Meanley Glenny, Editor In Chief