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Stories by Amita Sharma

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Authorities Look To San Diego Hotels For Help In Fight Against Sex Trafficking

Nov. 21, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Law enforcement agencies believe the region's hotels and motels can help battle the sex trade business by ensuring their staff are trained in detecting and responding to signs of trafficking.

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MTS Lawsuit Over Doorway Creates Hassle For San Ysidro Passengers

Oct. 25, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The dispute has triggered accusations of racism and raised questions about how a public agency is using its land, clout and money.

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San Diego's Measure E: A Post-Filner Way To Boot Politicians

Oct. 3, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Next month's ballot measure creates procedures for removing officials from office.

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Consumer Advocates Hope Audit Sparks Ballot Initiative To Reform Utilities

Sept. 26, 2016
By Amita Sharma

California's state auditor says the PUC hasn't fully disclosed secret communications between the regulator and outside parties — among other problems.

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Conflicting Poll Numbers In California's U.S. Senate Race

Sept. 22, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Attorney General Kamala Harris boosts her lead over Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in the new Field Poll, but the lead shrinks in the latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California.

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Two Dozen Donors In Dumanis' Mayoral Run Linked To Key Figure In Azano Case

Sept. 19, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The donors are tied to former San Diego Police Det. Ernie Encinas, who was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in connection with the campaign finance scandal involving Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura.

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Mexican Tycoon Convicted Of Illegally Pumping Money Into San Diego Campaigns

Sept. 9, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Jose Susumo Azano Matsura was convicted on more than 30 counts. The jury also found two others — social media services expert Ravneet Singh, and Azano’s son Edward Susumo Azano Hester guilty on several counts. The jury found lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes not guilty.

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U.S. Senate Candidate Sanchez Criticizes Opponent Harris On San Onofre Probe

Sept. 8, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Rep. Loretta Sanchez said Attorney General Kamala Harris has “failed” in her inquiry of the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and that’s why a federal investigation is needed.

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U.S. Senate Candidates Can't Agree On Debate Schedule

Sept. 5, 2016
By Amita Sharma

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has signed on to two debates, while her opponent Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez wants four. But the two haven't agreed to the same debates.

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Azano Case Goes To Jurors

Sept. 1, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The illegal campaign finance case of José Susumo Azano Matsura is now in the hands of a jury. The Mexican businessman is charged with illegally giving money to San Diego candidates in the 2012 mayoral race.

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Key Question May Never Be Asked Even If Dumanis Testifies In Azano Trial

Aug. 22, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Both the defense and the prosecution may benefit from never asking San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis what she knew of José Susumo Azano Matsura's immigration status.

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Volume Of Dumanis Donors Linked To Mexican Businessman Renews Questions About What DA Knew

Aug. 16, 2016
By Amita Sharma

A KPBS analysis of the money trail in San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ candidacy for mayor in 2012 shows the number of alleged illegal contributions was particularly high on a single day in 2011.

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DA Bonnie Dumanis, Bob Filner Subpoenaed In Azano Trial

Aug. 10, 2016
By Amita Sharma, KPBS News

The attorney for José Susumo Azano Matsura said others he expects to subpoena in the political corruption trial include Rep. Juan Vargas, San Diego developer Douglas Manchester and San Diego Union-Tribune Publisher and Editor Jeff Light.

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Witness Says Azano's San Diego Mayoral Campaign Donations For Dumanis Seemed 'Fishy'

Aug. 4, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Mexican billionaire Jose Susumo Azano Matsura is accused of unlawfully channeling nearly $600,000 to San Diego candidates.

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Reopening Of San Onofre Settlement Set For This Week

July 5, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The California Public Utilities Commission will take another look at the deal in light of revelations about a secret 2013 meeting where a Southern California Edison executive and Michael Peevey, then the head of the CPUC, discussed terms that nearly matched the final settlement.

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Sen. Barbara Boxer On Gun Laws, San Onofre Investigation

June 27, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The retiring U.S. senator spoke to KPBS News about her colleagues' efforts to push for stricter gun laws, her call for a criminal investigation into the San Onofre nuclear power plant and her plans after a 24-year Senate career.

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Watchdog Makes Emails From California Utility Officials Public

May 30, 2016
By Amita Sharma

A searchable website contains more than 100,000 emails and other records that detail the California Public Utilities Commission's dealings with state utility companies over issues such as the shutdown of San Onofre.

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An Israeli And A Palestinian Dig Deeper Into Controversy At SDSU

May 6, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Two experts weigh in on the explosive rhetoric about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on campuses such as SDSU, where tensions have boiled over in recent weeks.

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Deadline Passes In Probe Of Secret San Onofre Deal

April 29, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Customers may now have little recourse for accountability for how they were handed a $3.3 billion bill for the San Onofre nuclear power plant’s shutdown after a radiation leak in 2012.

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Harris Questioned For Representing Gov. Brown During San Onofre Probe

April 15, 2016
By Amita Sharma

San Diego consumer lawyer Mike Aguirre has asked Gov. Jerry Brown’s office for records and communications related to San Onofre. But Attorney General Kamala Harris has notified Aguirre she is representing Brown’s office in the lawyer's request for documents under the California Public Records Act.

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Critics Unhappy With Kamala Harris' Approach To San Onofre Probe

April 5, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Some consumer activists worry that California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Democratic Party loyalties are influencing her office's criminal investigation into the 2013 closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

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Kamala Harris’ Career Choice Inspired By Civil-Rights Icons

April 4, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The California attorney general and U.S. Senate front-runner credits the civil-rights activism of Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley, as well as that of her Indian mother and Jamaican father, for propelling her into a law career.

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US Senate Race Shaping Up As A Harris-Sanchez Match

April 1, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Polls show Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez are almost certain to face off in November in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. The top two vote-getters in the June election move forward, regardless of their party affiliation.

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Former YMCA Executive Says Problems Remain At Organization

March 1, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Details of an inquiry last year into the operation of the YMCA of San Diego County found no illegal conduct at the organization. But the exit of a key executive may indicate the YMCA’s troubles remain.

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Chavez Exit Could Boost GOP Shot At Runoff In U.S. Senate Race

Feb. 9, 2016
By Amita Sharma

One fewer Republican to compete against helps, but a political analyst says the party must rally around just one candidate in order to make it into the fall runoff.

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New Judge In San Onofre Case Has Past Experience With San Diego Utility Issues

Feb. 8, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The judge, who once allowed secret settlement talks and kept out evidence in a case over the 2007 wildfires, will likely hear arguments asking the California Public Utilities Commission to overturn the $4.7 billion San Onofre nuclear plant shutdown settlement.

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Former Filner Chief Of Staff Writes Tell-All Book

Jan. 29, 2016
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke

Lee Burdick's book, "Bob Filner's Monster: The Unraveling of an American Mayor and What We Can Learn From It," is an insider's account of the sexual harassment scandal that brought down San Diego's mayor.

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Federal Authorities Do Little To Punish San Onofre Over Closure

Jan. 20, 2016
By Amita Sharma

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission never fined San Onofre plant operator Southern California Edison for failing to disclose it knew in 2006 that the steam generators it installed could have potential flaws.

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State Accountability Scarce Four Years After San Onofre Leak

Jan. 19, 2016
By Amita Sharma

This month marks the fourth anniversary since the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station leaked radiation, leading to the plant's premature shutdown. So far, Southern California Edison has mostly escaped accountability for that incident despite revelations that the company knew the equipment was flawed before it was installed.

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Judge Connected To San Onofre Investigation Retires

Jan. 6, 2016
By Amita Sharma

Administrative Law Judge Melanie Darling stalled a probe into the closure of the nuclear power plant.

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SDSU Official, Student Talk About Race Issues On Campus

Dec. 3, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera, Steve Walsh

Amid recent college protests against racial discrimination, how would a complaint of racism or other types of bias like a verbal slight be handled at SDSU?

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Navy Taking Public Input On Future Training In San Diego Waters

Dec. 2, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Neiko Will, Steve Walsh

The U.S. Navy is seeking a new permit to conduct training exercises off the San Diego coast, and is collecting concerns and comments from the public about potential ill effects on marine life.

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San Diego Forum Examines Role Of Race In Medicine

Dec. 1, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera, Steve Walsh

The San Diego-based Multicultural Health Foundation is presenting “Racism: Let the Cure Begin" Tuesday at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

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San Diego Scientists Hope To Raise Ocean Consciousness At UN Conference

Dec. 1, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Megan Burke, Steve Walsh

A team from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego are in Paris attending the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change. They are there to educate conference delegates on the role the ocean plays in climate change.

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Email Suggests Brown Took Edison's Side On San Onofre; Governor Denies It

Nov. 24, 2015
By Amita Sharma

An email from a utility CEO suggests Gov. Jerry Brown was taking Southern California Edison's side while others sought a criminal probe of the utility. Brown's spokesman denies that happened.

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San Diego County Food Pantries Struggle To Keep Up With Need

Nov. 19, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke

It's the time of year when many charities ask people to open their hearts and their wallets to those less fortunate. Some of the most urgent appeals come from groups providing food.

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Full Disclosure: What California Home Sellers Must Tell Buyers

Nov. 6, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Patty Lane

California has many disclosure codes on the books requiring home sellers to tell potential buyers everything from whether a person died in the home to an unruly neighbor.

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San Diego Writer Shares Her Experience With Depression

Nov. 4, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke

This week in her long-running San Diego Reader column, Diary of a Diva, Barbarella Fokos decided to write about something she never has before. She described what it's like for her to live with depression.

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Drought Taking Heavy Toll On San Diego Trees

Nov. 4, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Maureen Cavanaugh, Neiko Will

California has lost an astounding number of trees to the ongoing drought. Among them, many of San Diego's beloved Torrey pines.

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University Of San Diego Forum Examines Global Refugee Crisis

Nov. 4, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh

The situation in Syria and Europe is considered the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. A public forum asks whether the world should be more prepared for the population upheavals that come with war.

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Edison Never Told Federal Regulators Of San Onofre Equipment Design Flaw

Oct. 30, 2015
By Amita Sharma

Records show Southern California Edison knew in 2005 about a flaw in the San Onofre nuclear power plant's new steam generator design but omitted that detail in a meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Critics say the omission deserves legal scrutiny.

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San Diego Scientists Turn Ocean Pink To Study Pollution

Oct. 16, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera

The study is part of a binational effort to examine how pollution travels across the U.S.-Mexico border.

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YMCA Corporate Board Refuses To Release Investigation Results To Branch Leaders

Oct. 12, 2015
By Amita Sharma

A June resolution shows, however, that board members intended to turn over inquiry findings "to any branch board member who wishes to receive a copy."

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Proposal To Ban Styrofoam Food Containers In Encinitas Heats Up

Oct. 2, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Megan Burke

The City of Encinitas has extended the public comment period on a proposal to restaurants and other businesses from using styrofoam containers for take-out food and drinks.

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Inventors Show Off Their Wares At Maker Faire San Diego

Oct. 2, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera

The inaugural Maker Faire gets underway this weekend in Balboa Park. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has named it the Fall Centennial Event of 2015.

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YMCA Investigation Finds No Evidence Of Wrongdoing, Says Board Chairman

Oct. 1, 2015
By Amita Sharma

The YMCA is mum on whether the findings will be revealed.

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Details Emerge In Investigation Of YMCA Of San Diego County Management

Sept. 30, 2015
By Amita Sharma

The YMCA of San Diego County is facing turmoil at the top. KPBS previously reported that the YMCA’s corporate board had hired a consultant to oversee an investigation into mismanagement allegations. Here are edited excerpts from an interview with KPBS Investigative reporter Amita Sharma.

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Federal 'Good Neighbors' Meeting Scrutinizes Climate Change Impact On San Diego Border

Sept. 21, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Neiko Will

The Good Neighbor Environmental Board collected input from local and state agencies and other stakeholders this week, for its annual report to the President.

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Roundtable: The Marne Foster Mess, Women Marines, New CPUC Head, Nuclear Waste

Sept. 18, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Pat Finn

The San Diego Unified School Board President is in some hot water. Women Marines fighting for combat-readiness. The California Public Utilities Commission has a new chair, if that makes a difference. San Diego County Supervisors want nuclear waste out of San Onofre — now.

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San Diego Group Says U.S. Needs To Do More To Help Syrian Refugees

Sept. 11, 2015
By Amita Sharma, Marissa Cabrera

The White House announced the United States will now take 10,000 Syrian refugees. But the Syrian American Council of San Diego calls that a "drop in an ocean."