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Roundtable: Junior Seau, Daniel Chong, Blackout Report

Evening Edition

Above: Jay Paris, a sports columnist with the North County Times, and Jeff McDonald, a reporter with U-T San Diego, talk to KPBS about Junior Seau and a UCSD student who was left in a cell without food and water for four days.

Aired 5/4/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests: Jay Paris, sports columnist, North County Times

Jeff McDonald, UT San Diego

Morgan Lee, UT, San Diego

Transcript

Flowers and signs outside Junior Seau's House in Oceanside
Enlarge this image

Above: Flowers and signs outside Junior Seau's House in Oceanside

A sign outside Junior Seau's house on the Strand in Oceanside.
Enlarge this image

Above: A sign outside Junior Seau's house on the Strand in Oceanside.

Junior Seau: He had a unique place in the hearts of San Diegans, a sports hero of almost mythic proportions, as renowned for his community spirit as for his talent and passion on the field. Junior Seau was much loved and arguably had a lot going for him when he committed suicide on Wednesday.

As soon as his death was announced, questions were raised about what might have caused the football legend to take his own life. Depression and brain trauma, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease which causes dementia, have been raised as possible causes. Seau's family announced on Thursday that they will allow the University of Boston to study his brain. The school is also studying the brain of Dave Duerson, the former Chicago Bears safety who also shot himself in the chest.

We look at what he meant to San Diego and to professional sports and examine his legacy as both a stellar player and generous community member.

Daniel Chong's Ordeal: Daniel Chong, 24, a UCSD senior, went to a party on April 21. Four days later, he was in the hospital near death and hallucinating from dehydration, having been swept up in a raid by the DEA and left in a cell without food and water until April 25.

The incident has angered many, including Senator Barbara Boxer and Representatives Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa. The DEA has apologized – sort of – and Daniel Chong has said he will file suit for $20 million. We look at how it is possible to lose someone in custody for several days, the potential legal and monetary fallout for the DEA and the Justice Department, and the promised internal investigation.

Blackout Report: A federal report released on Tuesday said the September 8, 2011, blackout could have been mitigated or avoided altogether had the electrical-grid operators communicated with each other and monitored voltage lines.

The mystery was always how a the failure of one transmission line in Yuma, Arizona, could affect Southern California, Arizona and parts of Baja California. Seven million people lost power for more than 12 hours in some cases.

The report, authored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) cites electrical grid operators, including the Imperial Irrigation District and SDG&E, for failure to monitor and analyze grid conditions and important low-voltage power lines. They also failed to take into account the idling of a major Mexican power plant for maintenance.

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