Stories by Gloria Penner
San Diego legal leaders this week blasted a last minute decision made by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He reduced the sentence of Esteban Nunez, from 16 years to 7 years. Nunez, who pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter for his role in the stabbing death of a man near SDSU in 2008, is the son of former state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. Tony Perry, San Diego bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, explains the reaction to the decision.
America's libraries are being forced to redefine and advocate for their continuing value in society. Here in San Diego, public library hours have been cut at a time when library use is at an all time high. Roberta Stevens, President of the American Library Association, talks about the organization's plans to address challenges and identify solutions.
Professor M.C.Madhavan is a Fulbright scholar and semi-retired economics professor at San Diego State University. He's led United Nations development programs and was an economist for the World Bank. But he may be best known for founding the San Diego Indian American Society which established the Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship. More than 400 San Diego students have received this award since 1984. Dwane Brown spoke with professor Madhavan and found out what motivates him to continue to make a difference in the lives of youth in San Diego and abroad.
Some of the University of California's highest-paid academic leaders want to increase pension benefits for those earning more than $245,000. UC President Mark Yudof rejects the contention that UC is required to increase the benefits. Why do academic leaders believe they deserve a pension boost in difficult financial times? And, what's next in this dispute?
Does Arnold Schwarzenegger rank among California's worst governors? Before leaving office, Schwarzenegger made a number of controversial appointments to paid state commissions, and reduced the prison sentence of a former lawmaker's son. We discuss the reduction of Esteban Nunez's16-year prison sentence, and Schwarzenegger's legacy.
Governor Jerry Brown is considering eliminating local redevelopment agencies, like CCDC. Redevelopment funds are helping to pay for the new downtown library, and have been eyed for a new Chargers stadium and convention-center expansion. We discuss impacts in San Diego if Brown cuts redevelopment funding.
Preparing for one million more people who will call San Diego County home in the coming years means an increase in the amount of water and power county residents will use. How to deliver those resources to the region has stirred up controversy among environmentalists, tribal leaders and back country residents and other groups. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce looks back at the progress made on those fronts in the last year.
One million more people are expected to call San Diego home in the next 40 years. What is being done to prepare for the population surge now? Local leaders have been at work updating the county general plan a bland title for an important blueprint for San Diego's future growth. KPBS Senior Metro reporter Alison St John explains what's in the works to accommodate a more crowded San Diego.
It's been a year of stunning headlines from the border. Beginning in January with the capture of "El Teo," the gang leader believed to be responsible for 300 murders followed by the discoveries of smugglers tunnels and seizure of hundreds of tons drugs; and the arrest of an alleged 14-year-old assassin born in San Diego. KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson recaps these stories and gives us a glimpse of how new leadership in Tijuana may impact life in the region in the year ahead.
How will the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" impact local Marines and sailors? What's the status of Camp Pendleton-based Marines currently serving in Afghanistan? And, when will Afghan-led security forces be ready to take over? We discuss the top military stories of the year, and look ahead 2011.
The San Diego City Council faces difficult decisions in 2011 to eliminate a $73 million deficit. We discuss how new faces on the council could influence the decisions. And, we talk about how the defeat of Prop. D will impact the council's ongoing efforts to eliminate the city's long-term debt.
Could we see a decrease in the local jobless rate in 2011? We discuss how the region's double-digit unemployment rate affected San Diego's economy in 2010. And, we talk about next year's economic predictions.
San Diego is besieged by claims and lawsuits against the city. They range from accidents involving city sidewalks to floods from broken water pipes. According to the Watchdog Institute at San Diego State University, the number of cases has dropped, yet the cost of dealing with them has tripled, And you, the taxpayer, are paying. Reporter Kelly Thornton gives us the details.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to adopt a network of marine protected areas, or MPA's, from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. Areas off San Diego County's coast will now be part of a statewide system of underwater parks. Eric Brickenstein, spokesperson for San Diego Coastkeeper explains the changes.
Deportations of undocumented immigrants have increased this year - in some cases separating families. Some mothers risk dangerous illegal crossings to get back to their children left in the U.S. KPBS reporter Ruxandra Guidi went to a shelter in Tijuana and spoke to some recently deported mothers and has details.
Governor-elect Jerry Brown wants a budget agreement in place by March. Brown says the state budget is much worse than he thought. The governor-elect told state education officials to "fasten your seat belt. It's going to be a rough ride, but we'll get through it." We talk about what Jerry Brown might bring to the State Capital, and his first-year challenges.
The UT's Watchdog team reports that the former head of the San Diego YMCA had a pay package worth nearly $1 million -- twice as much as YMCA leaders in Los Angeles and Chicago. The newspaper also investigated rich medical benefits for board members at local water agencies. We discuss the growing anger over executive compensation.
Chargers CEO Dean Spanos told Mayor Jerry Sanders the team won't leave San Diego in 2011. Spanos wouldn't commit to staying after next season, as rumors have the team moving to Los Angeles in 2012. What are the chances the Bolts could bolt? What's the latest details on a Chargers' stadium in downtown San Diego?
San Diego Gas & Electric held a groundbreaking for the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink transmission line last week, but County Supervisor Dianne Jacob will not give up her fight against the project. KPBS Political Correspondent Gloria Penner joins us to discuss the history of the controversial project, and to talk about why Supervisor Jacob continues to oppose construction of the line.
What's next now that the Escondido home, filled with explosive materials has burned to the ground? KPBS Environment reporter Ed Joyce gives an update including the impact the fire had on air quality.
California is experiencing a whooping cough epidemic, the worst in 60 years. Ten babies have died throughout the state and more than 7,000 people have become sick, nearly 1,000 in San Diego County alone. KPBS and the Watchdog Institute at SDSU have spent the last four months investigating this epidemic and two of the reporters, Joanne Faryon and Kevin Crowe discuss some of their findings.
SDG&E broke ground on the controversial Sunrise Powerlink project Thursday. For years, local residents, community leaders, organizations and elected officials fought the project, concerned in part that the route will traverse some of the most fire prone areas of San Diego County. KPBS Fronteras Reporter Ruxandra Guidi explains why tribal leaders oppose the powerlink and what is being done now to stop the project from progressing.
A 14-year-old boy born in San Diego was arrested in Mexico this week. Authorities claim he killed at least four people on behalf of drug traffickers in Central Mexico. Other members of the teen's family have also been arrested including his mother, who was living in San Diego. KPBS Border Reporter Amy Isackson joins us with the latest details.
Kris Michell is one of the most powerful people in San Diego city government that you've never heard of. Michell, Mayor Jerry Sanders chief of staff for the last five years, announced that she will step down in January. We discuss the impact Michell has had on city government, and what her departure will mean to the mayor's office.
County Supervisors are once-again looking at ways to improve the food stamp program. The supervisors this week discussed increasing enrollment in the food stamp program, and asked county staff to report back with a plan in 90 days. We discuss the food stamp recommendations, and assess what might be different this time as the county board remains the same.
Authorities report the controlled burn of the Escondido "bomb house" went according to plan. What will be done to ensure that the property is safe and free of hazardous debris? And, what can be made of the bizarre story of accused bomb-maker George Jakubec?
Why does the City of Del Mar want to buy the Del Mar Fairgrounds? Del Mar Mayor Richard Earnest held a press conference this week to answer questions about his city's interest in the site. KPBS Senior Metro Reporter Alison St. John gives us the latest info on the potential sale of the fairgrounds.
Laura Duffy, United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, sits down with Reporter Alison St. John for an in-depth interview about her goals for the region, her recent investigations of Mexican drug cartels, and Somali terror suspects in San Diego.
North County Congressman Darrell Issa has become one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives. The Republican is incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Issa has pledged to increase scrutiny of the Obama Administration in an effort to cut government spending. How might Rep. Issa's rise to national prominence affect our region?
Is the San Diego region well-positioned to take advantage of future growth in the green-technology industry? KPBS environment and business reporter Ed Joyce joins us to discuss the potential growth of clean technology industries in San Diego.
San Diego will welcome two new city council members next week, and say goodbye to longtime Councilwoman Donna Frye and Council President Ben Hueso. The council will also select a new president on Monday, and begin discussing how to cut the city's $73 million budget deficit. How will the makeup of the council change once Lorie Zapf and David Alvarez take office? Who will be the next council president? What impact will Donna Frye leave on city government? We discuss what's on the agenda for the new San Diego City Council.
Vista's Darrell Issa continues to elevate his role as one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives. The Republican, incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pledges to increase scrutiny of the Obama Administration in an effort to cut government spending. How might Rep. Issa's rise to national prominence impact San Diego?
The holiday season could be tough for San Diegans looking for work. Federal benefits for the long-term unemployed expired this week, and it doesn't look like Congress will extend them in the near future. What impact will the expiration of benefits have on San Diego? Is it harder to find a job in San Diego than other parts of the nation? And, how might the local job market change in 2011?
Next week supporters of a deal to sell the state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds to the city of Del Mar will try again to close the deal in the state legislature. A special session of the legislature has been called to address California's budget deficit and it's an opportunity to re-introduce legislation about the sale. Joining us to examine the issues and complexities involved in a potential sale of the fairgrounds is KPBS Political Correspondent Gloria Penner.
On this special edition of San Diego Week we bring you some of our most memorable stories from earlier this year. First, the true costs and benefits of illegal immigration, then you'll hear about a gang problem in San Diego's North County, we'll tell you why California's prisons are so crowded and so costly, and why honey bees are disappearing. You'll also hear about one family's journey from an Iraqi refugee camp to a home in El Cajon.
The old saying "sleep tight - don't let the bed bugs bite" isn't a figure of speech anymore. Bed bugs are crawling over mattresses, in crevasses and carpets across California and the country! Heading into the busiest travel week of the year, bed bugs are reportedly hitchhiking with airplane travelers. Why is San Diego playing reluctant host to this persistent pest and what can we do about it?
The holiday travel season has begun and the recently installed full electronic body scan machines at Lindbergh field are busy. Their purpose is to insure public safety. But those scanners have made some passengers uncomfortable and even resistant. We'll discuss the objections and whether they are deserved.
The days of one of Tijuana's top crime fighters may be numbered. Police Chief Julian Leyzaola has been hailed as a model for the rest of Mexico. He has survived assassination plots but he may fall victim to Mexican politics. KPBS Border Reporter Amy Isackson explains why his job is in jeopardy.
Reports that the Spanos family, owners of the Chargers, are looking to sell a stake in the team has renewed speculation that the Bolts may leave San Diego. Tonight, we ask if the Chargers go, how will the city be affected? Veteran San Diego Union-Tribune sports columnist Tim Sullivan gives us some answers.
John Tyner, the local man who refused to submit to a full-body scan and pat-down at San Diego International Airport, has ignited a national discussion about airport security procedures. Are the new screening methods too obtrusive, or necessary to prevent against terrorist attacks? How might a campaign encouraging travelers to opt-out of the body scans impact one of the busiest travel weeks of the year?
Outgoing San Diego City Council President Ben Hueso is under scrutiny for hiring three workers from his brother Felipe's failed campaign to represent the 8th District. Hueso says he was so concerned about the inexperience of Councilman-elect David Alvarez's incoming staff that he decided to hire the former campaign staffers. The workers will serve in Hueso's office until December 6, and will be paid $2,308 every two weeks to work on "time-sensitive" projects. We talk about the ethical questions that have been raised about the hiring of these individuals.
The former controller for Sempra Global in Mexico says he was fired for asking too many questions about the company's business dealings in Baja California. Sempra adamantly denies Rodolfo Michelon's lawsuit that claims the company bribed Mexican officials, and built a lavish oceanfront vacation resort "at utility ratepayers' expense." We discuss the questions that have been raised about the company's business practices in Mexico.
With the city of San Diego facing an ongoing structural deficit and no additional sources of revenue on the horizon, there are renewed calls for the city leaders to begin exploring the option of bankruptcy. We'll hear arguments for and against filing for municipal bankruptcy.
Drivers on Interstate 5 between La Jolla and Oceanside know that gridlock happens too often. Transportation officials know that, too, and are poised to do something about it. But from the first hint that the freeway could be widened to accommodate more traffic, opposition has been vehement.
San Diego honored veterans this week with a parade and other ceremonies, but according to a recent report, 26,000 vets want help from the V.A. medical center here.
We hear from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith about the bankruptcy option and other reform ideas for a financially troubled San Diego.
How is our region doing in taking care of the estimated 50,000 recent vets that call San Diego home? We discuss the challenges new veterans face as they begin the transition back to civilian life. Plus, hear an update on the difficult month Camp Pendleton-based Marines have had in Afghanistan.
Should Interstate 5 be expanded by four to MORE lanes, or is there a better solution to traffic problems plaguing the freeway on a daily basis? We discuss the options that will be considered by the California Department of Transportation as the agency works to decide what plan is best for the future of our region.
Will a rooftop park be key to raising the necessary funding to pay for a proposed $700 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center? We discuss the details of architect Curtis Fentress' plan to make the convention center the largest on the West Coast. Plus, we give an update on the latest plans to cut the city's budget deficit. Why is the city moving forward with several costly downtown-development projects when it is facing a $70 million deficit?
Three San Diego men accused of aiding a Somali terrorist group with ties to Al Queda have pleaded not guilty. They're accused of sending money and providing support to al-Shabab. One is a popular Imam at a City Heights mosque another works as a cab driver and the third is a former Somali community leader. We speak to KPBS investigative reporter Amita Sharma who has been following the story.