Roundtable: Outrage Over Border Immigration Policy
He has been described as populous, antiestablishment and predicable. When talking about all trumpet the next leader of Mexico. His potential impact on the latest on asylum seeking immigrants. San Diego leaders at the first comprehensive look at the housing crisis, plus solutions remain elusive. And San Diego signature event is less than two weeks away, the changes outside and in, at, con for the thousands of fans downtown. I marks our with a K PVS roundtable starts now. Welcome. Our discussion of the weeks top stories, I marks our. Joining me is Sandra Dibble who covers Mexico and the border for the San Diego Union Tribune. City Hall reporter for the Union Tribune. Jean Guerrero. And Lori Weissberg who covers tourism for the Union Tribune. >> Is outrage over separation and incarceration continues, Mexico has a new president. Plus an important ruling on California so-called actuary loss, it seems the stories mouth and south of the border often raise more questions and the answer. Let's start with asylum seekers and immigration. How is reuniting going? We have a hearing, the Justice Department has asked for more time. They asked it's confusing. >> The U.S. government says it is been working dutifully to reunite these families as fast as I can. It asked federal judges for more time. The judge had said on June 26 that they had one month to reunify all children. That is July 26. And any children under five had to be reunified by this coming Tuesday. It looks like the U.S. government once more time. In order to verify parental relationships and make sure they comply with the trafficking victims act that was passed in 2000, to protect these kids, they want more time. They are also saying they do not want to reunify families that were separated before March 9. Currently the judge had said, reunify any families that have been separated. But the U.S. says that is too complicated and is asking the judge to set a start date. So any family separated before March 9 let's forget about them. That is what they are asking. They are also asking the judge to clarify whether they have to separate out whether they have to reunify parents that have already been deported with children who remain in the U.S., because that is very complicated as well. Some families have been reunified but we don't know how many or what will happen going forward. >> Different stories this week, and before, on where the kids are, does the government really know? They're doing DNA testing. >> The government initially said that more than 2000 children had been separated, now it looks like it is closer to 3000. There is much confusion about where the kids are. Once the Department of Homeland Security transfers them to the Department of Health, there isn't much communication that happens between the agencies. Right now the government is trying to figure out which families have been separated, where everybody is, and doing DNA tests, swap testing, to make sure they don't release children to people who are not their parents. >> When Trump reversed his policy of separating the families of the border, the stories gave us the idea, they reassured us, don't worry, we can reunite them. Yet now were they misguided? Did that I don't know the truth of a hard this is? They need more time. They were reassuring us that they know where everybody is. >> Zero-tolerance is not seem to be have been thought out at all. >> That they should. Normally when children were placed into Health and Human Services they were actually unaccompanied minors, that's the system in place. It is meant to address children who came to the border alone. But now children separated from their parents are being classified as unaccompanied minors when they were not unaccompanied. That is the issue. There is no system in place to coordinate these agencies for that scenario. >> And the public is upset. I have poll figures. Americans by a 60 percent margin say separating kids of the human rights violation. By 83 to 12% they say the administration is responsible. South of the border, what is the feeling? In Tijuana? >> Generally, in Mexico, Donald Trump and his policies are not popular. But it is not a front and center issue like in Tijuana as it is in San Diego. You don't see people marching about this. Because in some ways the life of the city continues. And it is the migrant strain, and that community people are upset, people who work and go to school just keep doing that. >> I want to get back to you as a judge in Sacramento delivered a defeat to the Trump administration, California so-called sanctuary loss, explain what happened. >> The administration had filed suit in March to block the sanctuary loss think they allow criminals to be released onto the streets. But a federal judge said no. He said the state can limit the kinds of immigration -related information that state and local law enforcement agencies share with immigration officials. They also said that the state can affect require inspections of detention facilities. The judge did block one of the most controversial part of the sanctuary law, that bans private employers from voluntarily cooperating with immigration officials and verifying the legal work status. The judge was saying, he hopes the decision to not be viewed through a political lens, and more of a win-win scenario. Both sides are kind of saying, that it meets ... >> Let's move down to dramatic news in Mexico. They have a new president, who is a, why is this a departure from the past everything in Mexico or initials. He is 64 years old, he is an native of Tabasco, he is a former member of the PRI, but currently ruling PRI, who pulled away from the party years ago. And became allied with the leftist movement. Which he is continued to be, he is a leftist nationalist cup he is very focused on not just reducing corruption but eliminating it. >> That was the main plank. >> Reducing violence, and creating economic opportunities for the poorest. >> Talking about eliminating violence., Violence is chronic, and corruption has been for a long time in Mexico. It is easy to make a promise in a campaign. What practical things are they following up on? >> One of the things he wants to do is a training program for unemployed youths. There are 2.3 million that would be in the program. It is an internship. They would be getting about 3600 pesos a month as they do these internships, about $190. So giving people opportunities, employment, so that maybe they are not seduced into working for drug traffickers or selling drugs. That would be one start. >> That's an example. We should note he doesn't take over until December, it is a long lame duck. >> There is a lot to think about and talk about between now and December 1 expect right. It is been hard in the stories you read here to not pigeonhole, but characterize this candidate who is one, Amlo, a leftist championing the poor. But he is along with some conservatives and various things. Is he tough to pin down? >> This election is been confusing because you have the larger parties allying themselves with smaller parties, like the right of center, the left of center PRD, in the coalition. He was in a coalition, Amlo was in a coalition with two smaller parties, one which has its roots in the event evangelical movement. And anti-gay marriage, antiabortion. He has been evasive about where he stands. I was listening to an interview on those issues. He says we are going to go to referendum or something. But that is not the center part of what, the core of what he is pushing for. >> Much of this may clarify in this period leading up to when he actually takes over. >> We will see that, we will see a pragmatist I think. >> I have heard some say this is a watershed moment for Mexico. There is been a groundswell for that in the past and then they have lost. Do you think this is watershed? >> I think it is so interesting, I guess. I think we won't know. I think that is what is so interesting. I think this is seen as a vote of anger, anger at the status quo, anger at the entrenched political parties, anger at the cronyism and corruption. We don't know, he promises better, and it is on that promise that I think people are voting for him, or just think how Windows can we do? Or maybe the least worst they say. We don't know. >> One of the things I found remarkable was he said we are going to prioritize the poor. First, poor. I feel like that is something that has not been dead by a president in a while in Mexico. >> And just thing that, and prioritizing the poor, how? What can we do? Just that he is saying that and bringing it up. >> That marks a difference. >> It will be fascinating going forward. A lot of reporting as we go from the summer into the fall. City leaders were delighted to have San Diego's first conference of analysis of housing inventory. The conclusion is not so delightful. Why has it taken until now to have a hard look at San Diego housing? We been in crisis forever. >> The recession, the worst one since the Great Depression, hid the problem for a while. You had kids living with her parents. And a lot of abandoned houses because of the housing bubble. I think maybe the problem has been there for a long time but it is become acutely >> It was in the last three or four years during the recovery. When everyone is getting raises, and now they can afford to buy houses, and pushing the prices up and pushing rental prices up. Even the minimum wage increase has, maybe it's a good thing but it is pushed rental prices up. Many contributed vectors but expect more on the street, or homeless. >> That is added to it. >> This big new conference of study, what did it find? Is the culprit? >> Declining production is pretty shocking. You had about 90 to 100,000 units built in both the decade of the 1970s and 1980s. That dipped in the 2000 to about 50,000. And this decade we are on pace for about 18 to 20,000. Part of that is the recession, but just a shocking decrease in the amount of units produced. An interesting test statistic, the first comprehensive study, 75% of housing units in San Diego County are at least 30 years old. That is very high and a concern going forward. Especially with the high birth rate, people want their grandkids to be able to find a place to live in the same region where they are. It is become a bigger problem. >> I have covered this years ago, before you, and I'm not so sure it is hidden. I have seen those periodic reports the state requires. Every year, every city does it. This is more focused. I do recall that builders, the last time we had the best, they were wary of overbuilding. That was a problem before. There is still that lingering fear of overbuilding. And having too much, and not enough demand to meet it. And housing prices did. Meanwhile, much of the building going on is luxury apartments and who can afford those? >> I think I when you were at City Hall, it is the number one issue coming out of everyone's mouth. The amount of legislation is coming through, is unprecedented. We talked about the live workspaces, granny flats, they are streamlining EIR approvals, where Faulkner has done more than a dozen community plan updates. That's all that gobbledygook. But it's a blueprint, a growth blue point for a community. A community like Northpark or Little Italy. When developers don't know what is going to be allowed, it is harder for them to plan. These plants help developers know, this is what is going to be allowed here. All of these things are a multi-prompt effort to try to solve the problem. There is no one easy solution. >> And how many folks, give assistance, are moving in? >> That rivals, moving in, and birthrate ... 20,000 and most years you have, in the last 10 years the average has been 3 to 4000 new units. We are talking about five times the number of people for the number of new units. That is why conversing the average price of a home at 608,000. >> The average rent is towards 1500 for a one bedroom apartment? What about other cities? How do San Diego compared to other cities on the West Coast? >> I would say all the cities in the West Coast and across the nation are dealing with the problem. San Diego is doing worse. They rank 16th out of the 20 top cities in the country for the average number of housing units per person per capita. Back to we are we don't. >> It could be worse but it is not good. Things are probably going to get worse because Seattle and San Francisco and Los Angeles have passed more aggressive legislation financially, San Francisco and Los Angeles have belt majors to raise money. Low income affordable housing. But that is a big part of the problem. San Diego got unless they are using more aggressive [ indiscernible ]. >> Me timetable? On some solutions? The report was promising. They are doing some right things. But it is a long period before anything takes effect right? Back because of business you have to plan it, you have to get the approval, and you have to build it. It takes two or three or four years. Just for those units to get on. And to try to start increasing production in convincing developers it is worth their while, it is a long lengthy slow process. >> The irony is, this is the need, for people who are being born here. For years, the trend has been along the coast, San Diego and other cities, people are leaving. We have people leaving. >> It would be even worse without people leaving. >> The housing shorted as we know it, difficult for many to find affordable housing, as we were saying. He contributes to the number of people living in the streets. There is a story this week on a new law that prevents discrimination against the poor minorities? >> The 15,000 people with housing vouchers, and San Diego, this gives them a discount on their rent. They pay 30% of income toward the rent, the voucher makes up whatever the difference would be between the rent and the 30% of their income. It is a leg up. But there are many landlords who rent apartments and advertise them on Craigslist and one of the first things they say is no section 8 housing vouchers. Referring to these. There is a question, why are they doing that? Some say it is the redtape, they don't want to do with it. Other say maybe it is racism or they don't want low income people because maybe they worry they will be a quality tenant. But this law would say, you don't have to rent to those people, but you can't discriminate specifically on them using a voucher. >> Has worked well elsewhere? Other places that have those quick >> Others have passed those, Santa Monica, Berkeley, San Francisco, I believe it's new so I'm not sure what kind of success they have. Back and likely to see that come about here? >> The city Council is divided with five immigrants and four Republicans, and the committee that heard it, it was 2 to 2. Maybe it will pass by 4, the mayor could veto it. I don't know. >> That is one to watch. Along with all sorts of other things. We have to move on. More than 130,000 attendees, many in the dazzling costumes, are set to descend on downtown San Diego later this month. But there are big changes at the harbor front convention center this year, inside and out. Lori start with the big obvious one, we are going to close down hard drive for the first time what's behind that? >> You kinda have to wonder why they didn't do this sooner. During Comicon you have to be crazy to take that road. What they are doing is between first and Park Boulevard they are closing it. It will be open only for shuttles and shuttle buses and emergency vehicles. The shuttles run people between hotels the convention center. That opens up this area in front of not just the sidewalk, and I've been on that sidewalk, or you're watching -- walking claustrophobic and trying to get to the center. It opens the area beyond it, or the shuttle buses used to be. Now you can walk more freely in that area. I think it will ease the path into the convention center. I was talking to a Police Department spokesman who thinks it is also a security measure. I was surprised he simply said. He said this could be a sitting duck or a terrorist act. This eases their control of these people. Another thing is you can only have a batch to walk on the area. >> You have to belong there. >> That was not the case before. >> People should be warned, if you're not going to Comicon, stay the heck away. If you did not know that already. >> Part of the zone were not, combats people can't go, the sidewalk area plus this area in front of the open area that used to be where the shuttle buses were. Why would you be walking in that area? You can't get into the convention center anyway. And there is plenty of area around the center to experience the spirit of comic on. >> This will help security. What about the convention itself? Inside there are some changes, to big popular exhibitors are going to be there. >> Every year you expect Marvel to be there and HBO, and the beloved game of thrones. No-shows this year. Especially the HBO was a stunner. Marvel, they have skipped before. They left last skipped in 2015. That was surprising. There was a lot of handwringing. And has Comicon lost its luster? We talked to a number of observers, and they said no, this is typical of the kind of rotation, and if you don't have something really put together, a great trailer or something, and you're not ready, don't come. Game of thrones, the lefties and is going to be 2019. They say they are not ready to show anything. Marvel is more vague peak they are not ready either. If you don't have something good to show, don't disappoint the fans and Tom. For now we are thinking, there will be enough high-profile things there, this is not doom. >> And they could come back. >> Both have hinted that they are coming back. >> Comicon takes over downtown for the better part of a week. At its core, is the convention center. They are expanding that facility, not guaranteed a spot on the about, what is going on with that? >> For several months a pretty powerful coalition has backed the initiative to raise the tax, provide funding for the homeless, and repair sidewalks. They should've turned the signatures and by now. And they haven't. And it is the pricing. >> How many are required? >> To guarantee that they have enough valid signatures, which is about 73,000, they typically wring in about 110,000 signatures. They are finding from their own random sampling themselves, that they did not feel they had enough of an insurance policy. So they have taken all this extra time, they have not turned them in, maybe next week? It will have to be next week. The registrar has 30 business days to count the signatures through random sample, and then he has to turn all election materials and by August 10. They are cutting it close. And then the Council has to schedule a hearing to pass a resolution to put it on the ballot. They have two days to spare. >> It seems like they run late with this. Remind us who is backing this? Where support coming from? >> I've been looking at the camping contributions. A lot from hotel industry, labor unions, big business, hotel years, Chamber of Commerce. >> Political leaders? >> You can't see, you can't tell exactly the political leaders in favor of it. It is very well-funded. I think they got a slow start. They did not budget enough for the signature gatherers. Now they are commanding $10 a signature, anything to get them in. And then they even sent letters to the Chamber of Commerce and the downtown partnerships, they sent letters to members thing, please, circulate the petitions in your office. Collect signatures. >> Haven't seen that before. >> When you are seeing emails like that, it's a sign they are in trouble. >> Is there a legality issue to some of these methods? >> Not for the signature gathering. If and when it qualifies, I'm sure there will be the questioning of the language in the initiative, just as they are questioning the language in the initiatives to redevelop [ indiscernible ]. They have to get this on the ballot, and they need ideally to get a two thirds majority. >> I know it's early. How likely is this to pass up has been? Why do we need the two thirds? >> Is a supreme court ruling that ... >> They have to go for the two thirds. >> Nothing gets two thirds. >> Because it is seen as a tax. We have to get the two thirds. >> This would raise taxes on out-of-towners, hotel tax, we will pay it, it is visitors. >> That is was, you will have to have a campaign that explains that. And get the word out. >> And that's why they worked so hard to bring on labor. On this kind of measure, it is so hard in this town to get two thirds. So you can't have anybody opposing it. There might be opposition, you can't afford to have any opposition. When I asked signature gatherers, they never mention the convention center. Oh it's to fix bottles. It's to help the homeless. >> Because they know there's are popular. >> Those are issues that will resonate. >> They are going to get this on about, right? >> I would be concerned about the city apart because there about 20 things I have to decide on in early August. >> You have to work on the registrar. >> Another one to watch. That does wrap up another week of stories at the KPBS Roundtable and I'd like to think my guests. From the Union Tribune. In KPBS news. All of the stories we discussed are available on our website, KPBS.org. I'm Mark Sauer. Thanks for joining us today on the Roundtable.
North And South Of The Border
Outrage continued this week, over the separation and incarceration of immigrant families. Now the federal government is asking for more time to get families back together. In addition, an important ruling came down on California's so-called sanctuary laws. Meanwhile Mexico has elected a new president.
Addressing San Diego's Housing Crisis
To find out where you're going, you must know where you are. That's why city leaders are happy to have San Diego's first comprehensive analysis of housing inventory. The conclusions, however, are not so sunny and point to a long-simmering problem with no easy solutions.
Comic-Con Is Coming
You see them trickling into town, little by little. Maybe a few stray superheroes on Monday. By Thursday, downtown streets are a riot of colorful costumes, movie studio installations, even the hotels get dressed up. More than 130,000 people are expected to descend on San Diego in less than two weeks for this year's Comic-Con. San Diego has made somechanges to its convention prep this year. Plus, the latest on the effort to expand its venue, the San Diego Convention Center.