San Diego has one of the top-ten best climates according to the Farmers' Almanac  and has one of the two best summer climates in America as scored by The Weather Channel. The climate in San Diego, like most of Southern California, often varies significantly over short geographical distances, resulting in microclimates. In San Diego, this is mostly because of the city's topography the Bay, and the numerous hills, mountains, and canyons.
A sign of global warming , the average surface temperature of the water at Scripps Pier in the California Current has increased by almost 3 degrees since , according to scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Annual rainfall along the coast averages The months of May through September tend to be almost completely dry.
Although there are few wet days per month during the rainy period, rainfall can be heavy when it does fall. The wettest month on record is December with 9.
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Snow in the city is so rare that it has been observed only six times in the century-and-a-half that records have been kept. In and , snow stayed on the ground for a few hours in higher locations like Point Loma and La Jolla. The other three occasions, in , , and , involved flurries but no accumulation. Like much of southern California , the majority of San Diego's current area was originally occupied on the west by coastal sage scrub and on the east by chaparral , plant communities made up mostly of drought-resistant shrubs. The chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitats in low elevations along the coast are prone to wildfire , and the rates of fire increased in the 20th century, due primarily to fires starting near the borders of urban and wild areas.
Torrey Pines State Reserve and a coastal strip continuing to the north constitute one of only two locations where the rare species of Torrey Pine, Pinus torreyana , is found. Due to the steep topography that prevents or discourages building, along with some efforts for preservation, there are also a large number of canyons within the city limits that serve as nature preserves, including Switzer Canyon , Tecolote Canyon Natural Park,  and Marian Bear Memorial Park in San Clemente Canyon ,  as well as a number of small parks and preserves.
San Diego County has one of the highest counts of animal and plant species that appear on the endangered list of counties in the United States.
San Diego and its backcountry suffer from periodic wildfires. In October , San Diego was the site of the Cedar Fire , at that time the largest wildfire in California over the past century. The city had a population of 1,, according to the census, distributed over a land area of They, along with the Riverside—San Bernardino , form those metropolitan areas in California larger than the San Diego metropolitan area , which had a total population of 3,, at the census.
The population density was 3, The racial makeup of San Diego was The ethnic makeup of the city was Median age of Hispanics was In there were , households, out of which Households made up of individuals account for The average household size was 2. The U. Census Bureau reported that in , The economy of San Diego is influenced by its deepwater port , which includes the only major submarine and shipbuilding yards on the West Coast.
San Diego hosts the largest naval fleet in the world:  In it was home to 53 ships, over tenant commands, and more than 35, sailors, soldiers, Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors. The city is "home to the majority of the U. Also, the local craft brewing industry attracts an increasing number of visitors  for "beer tours" and the annual San Diego Beer Week in November;  San Diego has been called "America's Craft Beer Capital.
The visitor industry provides employment for more than , people. San Diego's cruise ship industry used to be the second-largest in California.
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Numerous cruise lines operate out of San Diego. However, cruise ship business has been in decline since , when the Port hosted over ship calls and more than , passengers. By the number of ship calls had fallen to Local sight-seeing cruises are offered in San Diego Bay and Mission Bay, as well as whale-watching cruises to observe the migration of gray whales , peaking in mid-January. San Diego's commercial port and its location on the United States—Mexico border make international trade an important factor in the city's economy.
San Diego hosts the busiest international border crossing in the world, in the San Ysidro neighborhood at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. This terminal has facilities for containers , bulk cargo , and refrigerated and frozen storage, so that it can handle the import and export of many commodities. Historically tuna fishing and canning was one of San Diego's major industries,  and although the American tuna fishing fleet is no longer based in San Diego, seafood companies Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea are still headquartered there.
San Diego hosts several major producers of wireless cellular technology. Qualcomm was founded and is headquartered in San Diego, and is one of the largest private-sector employers in San Diego. The University of California, San Diego and other research institutions have helped to fuel the growth of biotechnology.
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San Diego is also home to more than contract research organizations CROs that provide contract services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. According to the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,  the top employers in the city are:. San Diego has high real estate prices. San Diego home prices peaked in , and then declined along with the national trend. The San Diego metropolitan area had one of the worst housing affordability rankings of all metropolitan areas in the United States in Consequently, San Diego has experienced negative net migration since A significant number of people moved to adjacent Riverside County , commuting daily to jobs in San Diego, while others are leaving the region altogether and moving to more affordable regions.
The downtown branch consists of two buildings on two opposite streets. Old Globe Theatre at Balboa Park produces about 15 plays and musicals annually. Both the Old Globe Theatre and the La Jolla Playhouse have produced the world premieres of plays and musicals that have gone on to win Tony Awards  or nominations  on Broadway.
The Joan B. Kroc Theatre at Kroc Center's Performing Arts Center is a seat state-of-the-art theatre that hosts music, dance, and theatre performances. Hundreds of movies and a dozen TV shows have been filmed in San Diego, a tradition going back as far as The franchises moved to Houston and Los Angeles respectively. First named the Conquistadors a. They intend to build a soccer stadium in Oceanside , approximately 40 miles north of downtown San Diego, and will play at the University of San Diego 's Torero Stadium in the meantime.
Other prominent Aztec sports include college football , as well as soccer , basketball and volleyball. San Diego has hosted several sports events.
Soccer, American football , and track and field are also played in Balboa Stadium , the city's first stadium, constructed in Rugby union is a developing sport in the city. The USA Sevens , a major international rugby event, was held there from through This course was also the site of the U. Open Golf Championship. The amateur beach sport Over-the-line was invented in San Diego,  and the annual world Over-the-line championships are held at Mission Bay every year.
The city is governed by a mayor and a nine-member city council.
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In , its government changed from a council—manager government to a strong mayor government , as decided by a citywide vote in The mayor is in effect the chief executive officer of the city, while the council is the legislative body. The members of the city council are each elected from single-member districts within the city. The mayor and city attorney are elected directly by the voters of the entire city. The mayor, city attorney, and council members are elected to four-year terms, with a two-term limit.
In , registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by about 7 to 6 in the city,  and Democrats currently as of [update] hold a 6—3 majority in the city council. The current mayor, Kevin Faulconer , is a Republican. Areas of the city immediately adjacent to San Diego Bay " tidelands " are administered by the Port of San Diego , a quasi-governmental agency which owns all the property in the tidelands and is responsible for its land use planning, policing, and similar functions. Public schools within the city are managed and funded by independent school districts see below.
San Diego was the site of the San Diego free speech fight , in which the city restricted speech, vigilantes brutalized and tortured anarchists, and the San Diego Police Department killed a member of the Industrial Workers of the World IWW. Then-mayor Roger Hedgecock was forced to resign his post in , after he was found guilty of one count of conspiracy and 12 counts of perjury , related to the alleged failure to report all campaign contributions. A scheme to underfund pensions for city employees led to the San Diego pension scandal.
This resulted in the resignation of newly re-elected Mayor Dick Murphy  and the criminal indictment of six pension board members. On November 28, , U. Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned after being convicted on federal bribery charges. He had represented California's 50th congressional district , which includes much of the northern portion of the city of San Diego. In , Cunningham was sentenced to a month prison sentence. In two city council members, Ralph Inzunza and Deputy Mayor Michael Zucchet — who briefly took over as acting mayor when Murphy resigned — were convicted of extortion , wire fraud , and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for taking campaign contributions from a strip club owner and his associates, allegedly in exchange for trying to repeal the city's "no touch" laws at strip clubs.
Inzunza was sentenced to 21 months in prison. In July , three former supporters of mayor Bob Filner asked him to resign because of allegations of repeated sexual harassment. Filner agreed to resign effective August 30, , subsequently pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor battery charges, and was sentenced to house arrest and probation.
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San Diego was ranked as the 20th-safest city in America in by Business Insider. Crime in San Diego increased in the early s. While violent crime decreased Total property crimes per , people were lower than the national average in Public schools in San Diego are operated by independent school districts. The majority of the public schools in the city are served by the San Diego Unified School District , the second-largest school district in California, which includes 11 K—8 schools, elementary schools, 24 middle schools, 13 atypical and alternative schools, 28 high schools, and 45 charter schools.
In addition, there are a number of private schools in the city. According to education rankings released by the U. Census Bureau in , The census ranks the city as the ninth-most educated city in the United States, based on these figures. The city-run San Diego Public Library system is headquartered downtown and has 36 branches throughout the city.
In addition to the municipal public library system, there are nearly two dozen libraries open to the public run by other governmental agencies, and by schools, colleges, and universities. Times of San Diego is a free online newspaper covering news in the metropolitan area. Voice of San Diego is a non-profit online news outlet covering government, politics, education, neighborhoods, and the arts. The San Diego Daily Transcript is a business-oriented online newspaper.
San Diego led U. San Diego has an Due to the ratio of U. Scripps Company owns KGTV and KZSD-LP, they are not considered a duopoly under the FCC's legal definition as common ownership between full-power and low-power television stations in the same market is permitted regardless to the number of stations licensed to the area. San Diego's television market is limited to only San Diego county.