Stories by Hank Crook
What are San Diego scientists doing to find cures for some of the world's rarest diseases? We speak to KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge about the local efforts taking place at the Sanford Burnham Institute to find treatments and cures for "orphan" diseases.
Mayor Jerry Sanders and other city leaders are pushing for a $750 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, but how will they pay for it? We discuss how Proposition 26 and uncertain redevelopment revenue could affect the proposal.
The county's practice of cashing out unused sick time for managers and administrators is an uncommon benefit in this region, according to the Watchdog Unit at the San Diego Union-Tribune. We discuss how much the county has paid out for unused sick time in recent years, and what other local employers are doing.
First, Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo attempted to shut down Sempra's liquefied-natural-gas terminal in Baja after alleging that permits for the facility were improper. Now, Mexican federal lawmakers are calling for a review of the LNG plant's permits. We talk about why neighbors are concerned about the facility and why officials on both sides of the border are questioning Sempra's business practices in Baja.
The Westboro Baptist Church has angered many by protesting at military funerals and other events. The church protesters often hold signs with anti-gay messages and say things like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." Despite the church's offensive messages, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protects their right to protest, and use signs containing what many consider hurtful speech. KPBS Guest Military Blogger Beth Ford Roth joins us to explain the Supreme Court's ruling.
With gas prices soaring, a local organization has formed to encourage San Diegans to use their bikes more often. We speak to the spokesman for the San Diego Bike Union about their goals, and the challenges that local cyclists face when they ride around town. Is San Diego a bike-friendly city? How can our transportation infrastructure be improved to make our local roads safer, and more accessibility to cyclists?
As part of a $61 billion package of cuts, House Republicans passed a proposal to eliminate $430 million in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray joins us to talk about why he voted in favor of eliminating funding for the CPB. And, KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo talks about why he thinks federal funds should continue be used to help pay for public broadcasting.
Mayor Jerry Sanders and other local officials released a $4 billion wish list this week for redevelopment projects for San Diego. City leaders are hoping to secure funding for the projects in case Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate local redevelopment agencies is approved. We discuss why local politicians are fighting to keep the redevelopment funds, and how the city could be impacted if the agencies are eliminated.
Could the push to limit the collective-bargaining rights of government workers in Wisconsin come to California? We talk about recent labor battles in San Diego County, and discuss how the nationwide campaign to reduce public employee benefits could affect the middle class.
How might the uprisings in Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and Egypt affect global politics? And, what role should the United States play in shaping the future of the Middle East and North Africa? We discuss the latest news on the political unrest in Libya and its surrounding countries.
If the violence and unrest in Libya continues, should the U.S. or other members of the international community get involved? We speak to KPBS Guest Military Blogger Beth Ford Roth about the possibility that the U.S. could step in to bring order to the country.
What can the scientific community do to better educate the public about the affects of climate change? We speak to a pair of scientists who are participating in the "Climate Conversations" series at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Councilman Carl DeMaio has already announced his plans to run for mayor in 2012, but who will support him? The polarizing politician has few allies in city government after taking on some of the city's most powerful entities. We discuss DeMaio's disagreement with the mayor over eliminating free trash pickup, and his efforts to switch all city employees to a 401 (k)-style retirement plan.
The San Diego City Council recently was given a list of almost 300 options to cut its projected $56.7 million deficit for next fiscal year. We take a look at the budget cuts menu, and discuss how politics will play a role in what's decided. Plus, we talk about the disagreement between the mayor's office and the city's independent budget analyst over the amount of next year's deficit.
The San Diego Unified School District faces a budget hole of $120 million for 2011-12 academic year. The school board is considering two scenarios. If voters support a proposal to extend state tax increases, the debt could be cut in half. If not, as many as 500 teachers could be laid off. We discuss how the uncertainty is affecting the district.
How did veterinary medicine start, and how has it evolved over the last 250 years? We speak to local vets, Dr. Katy Allen and Dr. Michael Mansfield about the history of the practice, and the varying specialties that are now offered.
President Obama tells the nation's business leaders that they have a responsibility to America. Meanwhile, the Administration continues to strike a cautious note on the protests in Egypt. NPR Correspondent Scott Horsley joins us for a White House update.
The number of homeless sex offenders has increased dramatically since Jessica's Law passed in 2006. The law prevents convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park. We discuss why the law's requirements are making it difficult for sex offenders to find places to live, and why some convicted sex offenders in San Diego are challenging the law's residence restrictions.
How could Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies affect Escondido's efforts to build a minor league ballpark? City leaders are concerned the redevelopment proposal could disrupt plans to sell $50 million in ballpark bonds. If redevelopment agencies are eliminated, what will happen to Escondido's ballpark?
Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council voted 7-1 to repeal its supercenter ordinance. The ordinance required supercenter retailers to conduct an economic impact study in order to get building permits. The council reversed its decision after Walmart's successful signature-gathering would have forced a public vote on the issue. We discuss why two councilmembers changed their vote.
Farmers Insurance agreed to pay $700 million for the naming-rights to a proposed NFL stadium in Downtown Los Angeles. The deal would be one of the most lucrative naming-rights agreement in history, and the stadium hasn't even been approved yet. What does this news mean to the Chargers future in San Diego?
Score one for Walmart. The San Diego City Council voted yesterday to overturn its controversial ordinance requiring proposed bog box "supercenters" to conduct economic impact reports before building in the city.
Last month, Governor Jerry Brown proposed a $500 million dollar cut to both the UC and CSU systems. This could mean that for the first time in UC history, the students will be contributing more to the university budget than the state. Will this proposal affect students in the form of tuition increases, which have already climbed by 40% in the last 2 years? Listen ahead as we speak with Patrick Lenz, UC's Vice President for Budget & Capital Resources, and Wafa Ben Hassine, Associated Students President at UC San Diego, about the impact on students and San Diego.
What were the key issues Governor Jerry Brown discussed in last night's State of the State address? U-T Government Editor Michael Smolens gives us a recap of the governor's speech.
What can be learned from a yearly count of the local homeless population? KPBS Reporters Joanne Faryon and Kyla Calvert share their stories from the Regional Task Force on the Homeless' Point In Time Count.
Carnival Cruise Lines recently announced that the locally-based ship, the Spirit, will be leaving San Diego in 2012. The Spirit is the second locally-based Carnival ship to recently announce it is leaving San Diego. We speak to KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge about why these cruise lines are leaving San Diego, and the impact their departure could have on the local economy.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders traveled to Sacramento this week to voice his opposition to Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate local redevelopment agencies. What has Mayor Sanders proposed as an alternative to the governor's plan? And, how will San Diego be affected if redevelopment agencies like CCDC are eliminated?
San Diego was one of four regions to experience home price gains in 2010. We discuss the local real estate outlook for the new year. Could home prices rebound to the peak levels seen in 2006-2007? Or, is our region due for a double-dip in home prices?
The San Diego City Council approved a plan this week to increase water rates starting in March. We discuss why water is costing more around the region, and what local leaders are doing to oppose rate hikes.
There are more than 700 prisoners currently on death row in California, but legal challenges have prevented any executions from happening over the last five years. We discuss the current status of the death penalty in California, and hear the latest arguments for and against capital punishment.
The SDSU Men's Basketball team is currently 20-0, and ranked No. 4 in the nation. This is, by far, the best basketball season the Aztecs men's basketball team has ever had. So, what's the secret behind SDSU's success this season? We speak to U-T sports reporter Mark Zeigler about the Aztecs success this season, and their game tonight against ninth ranked BYU Cougars.
Bruce Reznik, former executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, looks back on his 11 years as the head of one of the city's most influential environmental organizations. Reznik talks about the accomplishments he's most proud of, and the issues he hopes environmental community will address in the future.
What can the U.S. and Mexico do to prevent future ocean contamination from sewage spills along the border? What can San Diego do to reduce contamination in our local waterways? We talk about what caused the recent sewage spill that forced beach closures in Imperial Beach.
The talk about building a new NFL stadium in Los Angeles got more serious this week. First, billionaire Phillip Anschutz said he would be willing to finance a new stadium in downtown L.A. if certain conditions are met. Plus, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is leading efforts to fast track the Anschutz Entertainment Group's stadium proposal. What does this all mean to the Chargers? Which city will win the race to build a new NFL stadium?
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the health-care-reform bill this week. While Democratic leaders in the Senate said they will not consider a repeal, the House's symbolic vote indicates that efforts to change the legislation will continue. We talk about why the Republicans want to change the law.
University of California regents met in San Diego this week to discuss how to close a $1 billion budget gap. UC President Mark Yudof said thousands of qualified applicants will be turned away because of a proposed $500 million budget cut for 2011-2012, and other "unavoidable" expenses. The California State University system is also facing massive budget cuts that could lead to layoffs, and higher tuition. We discuss how the budget cuts could impact California colleges.
How could a proposal to freeze city employees' "pensionable pay" affect San Diego's more than $2 billion pension liability? KPBS Political Correspondent Gloria Penner provides her analysis of the proposal. Plus, Vince Mudd, one of the people behind the failed Prop. D ballot measure, and Councilmember Carl DeMaio share their thoughts on the idea.
San Diego is moving forward with a plan to provide housing and supportive services to 25 of the region's most chronic homeless individuals. We speak to Father Joe Carroll, from St. Vincent De Paul Village, about the goals of the project and the challenges that local homeless are dealing with nowadays.
How will the Aztecs' football program be affected by the departure of Brady Hoke? Who's likely to replace Ron Rivera as the Chargers' defensive coordinator? We speak to Jay Paris, of the North County Times, about the latest local sports news.