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San Diego Approves Plan To Build More Affordable Housing, Doctors At The Border Protest To Give Migrants Flu Shots, 5G Rollout In San Diego, And More

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In a move to help address the region’s housing crisis, the San Diego City Council on Tuesday passed an updated affordable housing policy that requires builders to construct more low-income units or pay a penalty. A previous version was vetoed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer. At the U.S.-Mexico border, doctors are protesting in San Diego to demand they be allowed to vaccinate detained migrants against flu. Over the past year, three migrant children have died of flu while in Border Patrol custody. Plus, San Diego is getting 5G this week, but most cellular customers won’t see the increase in speed on their service. We’ll explain. As the baby boomer generation ages, the burden of caring for elderly parents fall on their children. A San Diego author examines the challenges this brings. And, the owner of San Diego’s Comickaze comic book stores died suddenly last week. KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando has a tribute to the man whose geekiness and pop-culture savant brought joy to many.

Speaker 1: 00:00 A new deal on affordable housing for the city of San Diego has business onboard and a veto proof majority on the city council. After months of negotiations, the city council Tuesday approved a plan requiring developers to build more affordable units or pay a penalty. The last inclusionary housing proposal was opposed by the building industry and vetoed by mayor Kevin Faulkner. But this time the effort led by council president, Georgette Gomez has the support it needs. Here's the council president at yesterday's meeting.

Speaker 2: 00:31 I definitely stand by this update. Um, I do think that it's moving the needle forward. It's is just a solution. No, it isn't. We need to do much more to really ensure that we are housing all San Diego and said that it is a crisis that we have in front of us.

Speaker 1: 00:48 Hey, PBS Metro reporter Andrew bone has been following the negotiations and he joins us now. Hi Andrew. Hi. Now, what's in this new deal? What will developers now be required to do if they want to build housing in the city of San Diego?

Speaker 3: 01:01 Yeah. So if a developer wants to build an apartment complex in San Diego, they have to set aside 10% of the units for low income households and charge those households, uh, affordable rents that households have to be making no more than 60% of the area median income. We're going to throw out a lot of numbers here and it's a little confusing, but basically, let's say there's a four person household, two parents, two kids together, they make 64,000, $200. They would qualify for this affordable housing. Let's say they're renting a three bedroom apartment. They would have to pay no more than about $1,600 a month, which is significantly less than what the market would, would typically charge for a three bedroom apartment. So that's a significant subsidy that the developer is taking on. I know there are a few more options in this policy to the developer. Could look at the numbers, say, you know what, it actually is cheaper for us to pay a fee instead of subsidizing those rents in our, uh, in our apartment complex. And the fee is currently at $12 per square unit, give to a greater foot. That is, um, the fee will more than double to $25. So that's going to change the equation for the developers about which option they decide for. And the fee will be phased in over five years. That's a longer timeline than, than originally proposed last July.

Speaker 1: 02:14 And if the developer does pay those fees to the city, does the city use the fees to build affordable housing?

Speaker 3: 02:20 Yes, it goes into a fund that's controlled by the San Diego housing commission. Um, inclusionary housing fees are one local revenue source that um, funds affordable housing in San Diego, but it's a relatively small one actually. So, um, typically a developer will have to cobble together a number of different funding sources like state and federal tax credits, um, other funding sources out there in addition to perhaps, um, some of these inclusionary fees so that they can actually get enough money to build, uh, affordable housing, which is very expensive to build.

Speaker 1: 02:50 Now this was an upgrade to an existing inclusionary housing plan and they tried to get one in before, as you say this, this, this one now

Speaker 3: 03:00 took months of negotiations. Why did the last effort to get this passed fail the building industry association, which represents developers as well as the chamber of commerce and a group representing commercial, uh, builders, uh, got together to oppose the previous version of this policy that would have set an income threshold for the affordable housing in, in an a development at 50% of area median income. So basically that means, you know, those, those households that qualify for the affordable housing or be making less money and the developer would have to charge them even cheaper rents and the, those, those groups got together and felt, you know what, this is too draconian. It's, it runs the risk of basically making a lot of projects in feasible, economically and feasible cause the developer would not be able to turn a profit or pay back all the loans that they take out to actually build. But this new policy I have to say is not really a clear win for those developers. There was some give and take on both sides. So while that 50% area median income threshold was raised to 60%, the fee is actually higher. The, the in lieu fee is higher than what, uh, Gomez had originally proposed. However, the Republicans on the council were not too pleased with this compromise. Councilman Chris Caden Scott Sherman voted against the policy. Here's Scott Sherman. At yesterday's meeting,

Speaker 4: 04:17 a slightly less painful compromise is still bad policy.

Speaker 3: 04:24 So this compromise was not good enough for Scott Sherman. Scott Sherman just has a fundamental disagreement with the council president about the efficacy of inclusionary affordable housing policies. He has cited evidence from some other cities that these types of policies can chill housing production if the fees or the mandates are too severe to, it's a very complex equation. Um, he actually, during the council meeting pointed to Grantsville as an example of how the market can produce affordable housing without, um, you know, increasing the, these fees or mandates. Grant vole has seen a lot of dense development since the city council approved a plan update there in 2015 and a significant share of that development has been affordable housing thanks to some incentives that were built into that plan update. It is kind of apples and oranges because Grandville was a very under underdeveloped neighborhood, a lot of vacant land or industrial land that they then changed to residential.

Speaker 3: 05:22 And so it's, it's really a, a complex equation that is specific to each individual neighborhood and each city. Are there concerns though even amongst supporters of this new plan that uh, it could shale and slow down development San Diego. So Gomez actually commissioned a study that, that put in a lot of different numbers and tried to sass out some of the economics of this policy proposal that they drafted hypothetical development scenarios to see how much of this new policy, um, how likely it would be to make projects in feasible. That study concluded that most of the projects that could be built in San Diego could absorb the added costs of the more, um, you know, generous policy for affordable housing. There were, however, some that would likely just become infeasible and would never get built. And the question to the council really was, will this policy be a net positive for the housing situation in San Diego?

Speaker 3: 06:16 When you tally up all the pros and all the cons, even if some hypothetical housing doesn't get built, is the added revenue from the higher fees or is the greater subsidy for those low income households were fat cost and clearly the majority decided that it was. And finally going back to a council president, Georgette Gomez, she was just reelected by the council to lead as council president. She's also running for Susan Davis's congressional seat and she led the negotiations, uh, that for this plan that passed. Is this a big win for her? Absolutely. I think this is probably her biggest accomplishment as council president and as since her time since she was elected in 2016. Um, it's been a long time priority of hers. Her district council, district nine, which includes city Heights. It has a lot of low income households, and this is something that she had really been pushing for because she sees herself as really representing those folks. Um, not, uh, you know, what they might term as the, uh, greedy developers, the developers that are looking for, you know, profits above everything else. And she's been a real, um, you know, champion of affordable housing on the council. So it's definitely a big win for her and something that I expect she'll point to in this congressional campaign. I've been speaking with KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew. Thank you. Thanks, Maureen.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Medical professionals from the group. Doctors for camp closure held a March in vigil this morning at the port of entry in sannyasi DRO to demand customs and border protection changed their policy of not allowing migrants in custody access to the flu vaccine.

Speaker 2: 00:21 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:21 yesterday, several members of the group were arrested after blocking the entry into the border patrol headquarters in Chula Vista. KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler was at the protest yesterday and joins us now. Max. Welcome. Hi. So what can you tell us about this group? Doctors for camp closure, it's a group of over 2000 doctors that was formed over the past year that rallies for better health care for detained migrants and ultimately the closing of border detention facilities and the protests were prompted by the death of three migrant children in border patrol custody. What do we know about these three cases? So these three cases were in Texas and New Mexico, so none of them were in California. But they include 16 year old Carlos Hernandez Vasquez and eight year old Philippe Gomez Alonzo. These are kids who caught the flu either before their time and border detention centers or while they were there and died as a result.

Speaker 1: 01:17 Uh, according to, uh, medical examiners reports afterwards and in the case of 16 year old Carlos Vasquez, video footage of his time in border patrol custody, uh, was released last week. Tell us about that. A nurse practitioner actually caught that he had a flu and a 103 degree fever and said to border patrol agents, Hey, you should be monitoring this kid. If it gets worse or his condition worsens, then you'll need to take him to a emergency room. As video that was released by ProPublica last week showed his condition visibly worsened over the next several hours after his initial inspection and he was ignored by border patrol agents as he lay on the floor dying. It's really disturbing video to watch and that video actually only came to light after a freedom of information act request to the local law enforcement in the, in the area because border patrol had not released it themselves.

Speaker 1: 02:12 How has border patrol responded to the protest by doctors? For cam closure. Border patrol has said it basically is not going to let any individual just come up to the Gates of a border patrol facility and, and start poking kids with needles. That's how they put it. They call them radical activists. They derided them on Twitter. So you know, their, their response has been pretty firm. You can't just show up and vaccinate kids. So what is the current policy of the border patrol in terms of vaccinations? So their current policy is that it has never been CBP practice to administer vaccines. Uh, and that, that that's not a new policy under the Trump administration, right? So border patrol really only tries to hold on to individuals for as long as 72 hours. They, they're usually either parole people into the U S transfer them to ice custody, put them into a a if they're an unaccompanied child, put them into a shelter.

Speaker 1: 03:06 That's for specifically those individuals will, they'll have access to better healthcare. They really view themselves as a very temporary solution, uh, for holding people. What we've seen over the past a year and past two years at this point has been just because of the amount of people crossing the border and the backlog of processing these individuals. People have been staying for weeks at these border patrol facilities as these illnesses run rampant. And you spoke to a local member of doctors for camp closure who said the facilities where migrants are being held are really a prime breeding ground for the flu. What did she say about that? So she said that based on the fact that they cram so many people in just such a small space and do not allow them access to, you know, be on cursory screenings, do not allow them access to any medications or things like that.

Speaker 1: 03:56 The, these are breeding grounds for the flu, right? Just like a school could be a breeding ground for a flu. If you put people in close proximity, if you do not give them access to sanitation, sanitary products, a lot of places, a lot of these border patrol facilities, the toilet is the same as the sink. Um, you know, it's one unit that's obviously will breed, um, infection and disease and that's exactly what you have happening in, in border patrol facilities like this. And, uh, there's in fact a new report that was put out by San Diego state university looking into the conditions of border patrol facilities and, and the health of people coming out of those facilities. And it's, it's quite market that people's health outcomes clearly decline while they stay in border patrol facilities, in groups, including doctors for camp closure. We're providing healthcare services to migrants.

Speaker 1: 04:44 Previously, at what point in the process were they able to do that? Some were, some doctors were crossing over into to Kuana to meet with migrants who were waiting or had been sent back to Mexico under the remain in Mexico program. Um, and giving them screenings. They're giving them healthcare in another country offering aid. Um, uh, other doctors had been, like I said before, once people had been released from border patrol custody, meeting with them, screening with them, uh, at local shelters that put people up, uh, when they get released from custody and basically fulfilling their, their medical requirements. Some of them needed immediate transport to a hospital. Uh, their situation was so dire. And all of this comes at a time when apprehensions by border patrol are down by a third. What's being credited as the reason for that decrease. So they reason for that decrease is, um, there's a couple of reasons.

Speaker 1: 05:36 One is that the interior of Mexico, there's been a lot more enforcement by the Mexican government to make sure that people cannot cross from it's, uh, the Southern border of Mexico into Mexico and make their way to the U S uh, there's been a real focus on that. Uh, another thing is the remain in Mexico program, customs and border protection and the department of Homeland security claim that that has acted effectively as a deterrent. Um, you know, it's really tough to prove causation. And of course the numbers that we were seeing last year seemed pretty unsustainable in terms of just the sheer numbers of people who decided to come at the same time. So it's unclear what's driving that. One thing we do know, however, is that the amount of Mexicans, families from Mexico who are crossing the border and asking for asylum has increased during that time. Uh, so the migrant crisis along the Southern border, even though numbers are down, is not going anywhere. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max Riverland and Adler max. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The wait is over. A five G has arrived in San Diego. And if you're not quite sure what that means, just stay with me. The techies among us have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new faster technology for mobile devices. Now T-Mobile has made it available to San Diego subscribers and a T and T is expected to be next. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune technology reporter Mike Freeman and Mike, welcome to the program. Glad to be here. Can you start off by telling us what 5g is and how it differs from 4g?

Speaker 2: 00:35 Okay. It's um, I'm going to start, I'm going to go even further back than that. You know, each generation of these cellular, uh, transitions, you know, one G was a brick phone to G would be like you're talking text, phone 3g, you know, was kind of the birth of the smartphone. So some rudimentary apps connect to the internet. 4g actually brought the promise of the mobile internet to your handheld. So, um, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, you could do things like that. You can stream YouTube and then 5g is the next evolution of that. And what it really promises is faster speeds, lower transmission delays, um, and a ability to be architected in a way to connect everything, not just smart phones. And, and that is probably the biggest difference in 4g. That network was operated in a way that you can connect thousands of divorces of devices per killed kilometer, square kilometer 5g is architected so you can do millions and it's supposed to usher in kind of like the internet of things, right? Where cars, healthcare devices, smart cities, infrastructure, all this stuff is connected in a reliable, you know, fast, secure way.

Speaker 1: 01:48 Can you give us more of an idea of what we might be able to do with 5g? I mean, practically speaking on a day to day basis, that's just sort of impossible. Now

Speaker 2: 01:57 people, what they talk about is augmented reality and virtual reality. So glasses that could help you instead of looking at a manual all the time. Looking back at your manual, trying to do something, uh, you could just have that as a heads up display on a pair of glasses and it would be, you know, beamed and overlaid and you could do all that. That's the one thing that's really interesting. Um, they've talked about things, uh, like, um, mobile gaming. So today, you know, it's just very much like console gaming, except you could do it on your phone today. You just can't do that. There's just not enough bandwidth, uh, to do that sort of stuff. Uh, well that's another good one. Well, you know, all the smart cities connected cities stuff, um, you know, cameras, a light poles can be controversial, but you know, the aggregated data can help move traffic better. That's the type of thing that they're talking about.

Speaker 1: 02:49 Now. My, you won't get 5g though on your current phone, will you?

Speaker 2: 02:53 No. And this is something that's a little bit of, um, how the hype of five G has gotten of what the reality is. I think in some consumer's minds. Um, you know, F F you need a five G phone to get five G a five G phone will be backwards compatible. So you can get five G four G three G two G a but a four G phone is not forward compatible. So you can't, you get, you can't go four G to five to, you need to buy a new device and that is going to be the trick to 5g particularly with smart phones, which is how you know the bills are paid today, right? It's, there isn't really a big internet of things market today. So the bills are paid with smartphones. Is 5g going to be good enough to convince people to buy a new high end smartphone because of songs are going to be expensive?

Speaker 2: 03:37 Yeah, they are. It's more, it's much more complex. Five G is much more complex cars, more components. Those things are going to be country are expected to be base price expensive. Now let me put a caveat on this. Um, the mobile app 5g and other thing it does is it makes the cost per bit. Plus, we're delivering a bit of data to your phone for mobile operators, less expensive. And so doing in that regard, they may be more willing to subsidize and we'll see how it rolls out. But if you notice T-Mobile in their little 5g rollout, which is not, you know, the best 5g can be. Um, they're doing, you know, buy one phone, get one free. I mean, so there's going to be those story promotions out there to try again because it's in their interest, right? I mean it's more efficient than 4g so they can get more people onto their network. It costs them less, they're going to do what they can.

Speaker 1: 04:32 Let's talk about 5g in San Diego. It requires more and tenors to blanket this region with reliable signals. And that led to a bit of controversy with the city of San Diego as far as restrictions on how the intent is. We'll look, why was that disagreement there? What was that about?

Speaker 2: 04:50 Well, there are different flavors of five G and so it's kinda, this is kind of important to understand. Yes. Two to do 5g you're going to have to densify the network. They call it densifying. The networks means have put up more towers. Okay. Um, but for certain flavors of 5g, the ones that are kind of closer to four G now, uh, you don't really need to put up that many more towers. I don't think that's what the controversy was about. The controversies about the super fast 5g millimeter wave that is going to require a significant densification. These are not new towers. They're more like new antennas. They're a little bit bigger than pizza boxes. They'll hang from buildings. They're probably going to need to be fiber optic connected because they're going to be big data streamers and big data collection, you know, transmitters. But that's what you're going to see.

Speaker 2: 05:42 And I think people are concerned that, you know, on every building, every streetlight, every place you can imagine there's going to be a bunch of these, not very attractive and tennis. Um, so that obviously has neighbors concerned, neighbors are all concerned always about [inaudible] new cell towers going up. So I think is that you think is a good trade though, for the fastest speed? I mean, so that's hard for me to judge. Um, but because we don't really have millimeter wave in San Diego, right? We don't have that super fast service and what T-Mobile is doing and what ATNT is doing is not the super fast five G. um, so I'm, I'm not sure if it's a good trade off or not. I, I do think though that, you know, millimeter wave, there has been some, you know, speculative stories about, um, our speculation on social media about it being harmful and the FCC and, and, um, others have come out saying that it is not harmful that these signals don't propagate. And if, if you, you know, if they're easily blocked by tree leaves, I really not even gonna penetrate your skin. So you know, that it's not actually a health issue. They also have power restrictions. You can only radiate these things at a S at a low power. I've been speaking with Mike Freeman, he's technology reporter with the San Diego union Tribune and Mike, thank you very much. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Tens of millions of Americans now find themselves faced with the prospect of having aging parents. Many of them are in the so-called sandwich generation, caring for children and aging parents. At the same time, a new book by Del Mar, author, dr Ken Druck, raising an aging parent, looks at how the children of aging parents can deal with the challenges of aging parents in healthy and beneficial ways. Dr Druck, welcome. Good to be with you, Jade. As I said, the title of your book is raising an aging parent. Why the term raising rather than caring for,

Speaker 2: 00:34 well, you know, raising is elevating. We raise our children, we're not trying to disempower them and you know, make them dependent. What we're trying to do is raise them up. We're trying to elevate them and that's what we want to do with aging parents as well. We want to raise them up so it's not raising in the sense of diminishing them, even though, you know, we all realize that sometimes the challenges of having an aging parent that you love it are great and that sometimes we need to take care of them and the roles reverse that they, we end up taking care of them.

Speaker 1: 01:09 It would seem that there are some parallels between raising children and caring for aging parents. What are some of those parallels that we might not think of?

Speaker 2: 01:17 Yeah, you know, it's great. You know, we, all of us who had been parents realize that you can teach your child learned helplessness. You take over for them, you do it for them, you do everything for them. You don't include them in the critical thinking, in developing options that they can think about what's the best, what are the consequences. And so it's similar when you have an aging parent who's facing, you know, whether it's time to move out of the family home or whether it's time to increase their, their visits to a doctor, whether it's time to look at their finances and things like that. We don't want to disempower them. We want to have inclusive conversations with them and help them think through what the best thing to do is going forward.

Speaker 1: 02:01 You know, some of us in that so-called sandwich generation are caring for aging parents while doing our best to raise a family of our own. And what are some of the biggest challenges faced by those of us that are in that sandwich generation?

Speaker 2: 02:14 Well, the biggest challenge is that we don't take care of ourselves. We work ourselves into a state of exhaustion and depletion, frustration and, and sorrow. Because you know what? There are parts of having a parent get older that are sad and difficult. You know, they, they, they have lost the younger version of themselves. Perhaps they're retired. Perhaps they are a little bit lost in their life about what now? How do I restore a sense of purpose and meaning, you know, and maybe we're so busy with our own lives that we feel guilty. We're not spending enough time or they're not getting to see the grandchildren enough for things like that. So self care is a premium. We have to upgrade the operating system for self care to professional grade self care. And that doesn't mean we go out and get a Manny had penny. It means that we truly do the things to fill our own cups.

Speaker 2: 03:11 We say no to the things that right now at this point in our life, we have to say no to and we say yes to the things that allow us to feel restored and rejuvenated. So you really have to be focused and prioritize, uh, you know, do all those things. We can't be nice and we can't be that type II woman that we are who does everything for everybody else and has never learned to, to really put herself on the priority list and say, you know what? I need to take care of myself. I need to say no to that. I need to go out. I need to go for a walk. I need to turn on soft music. I need to take a bath. I need to set some limits with my parents because sometimes parents don't realize that they are draining and depleting us and we need their help.

Speaker 2: 03:56 So sometimes being direct, having direct forthright communications with our aging mom or dad is what's going to help us out. It's going to help us balance everything out with all of the demands put on our time by both aging parents and our own children. Uh, what's your advice to avoid burnout and just feeling overwhelmed? Yeah. Well the first thing I think we have to do is take inventory and realize, Hey, my neurotransmitters are afraid. I'm singed at the edges, I'm burning the candle at both ends. We have to take honest inventory and realize, you know what, I'm tired. I'm really, I'm functioning on fumes and I need to do something to take care of myself. And once we realize that it's time to do that, then we need to put a list together of, here are some things I can do to take better care of myself.

Speaker 2: 04:44 Here's some things I can do to drain myself even more. And here are some things I can do to make things better and we can become the smarter, more time efficient, better version, more communicative version of ourselves. And sometimes it's even asking a sibling to get involved. Sometimes it's getting a caregiver involved. Sometimes it's facing into a difficult decision that our parent is having made, having trouble with by asking the family doctor to be in that decision or the family attorney. If we have somebody a resource like that. Disagreements between siblings there are fairly common. Do you have any advice for how siblings can overcome those when they're dealing with aging parents? Well, we know that this is a time siblings can either destroy their relationships or they can grow closer together. The rawness of some of the things that happen, the emotional rawness of things that are happening and changing and the challenges we're facing with our aging parents can either result in us coordinating and communicating, talking and respectful tones to our brother or sister and and taking the drama and the stress out of it by working together for our parents' best benefit and, and sometimes that means age old rivalries and Oh, I'm the family hero or you're the family slug.

Speaker 2: 06:03 It's, it's dropping all that old stuff and rising up and realizing we have an opportunity to grow closer as brothers and sisters and an inservice to our parent who really needs us to work together right now. And now that we're headed into the holiday season, some adult children might be facing their first holiday season without their parents. Do you have any advice for how to deal with that specific kind of grief? Yeah, that's, you know, that's one of the tough parts is that, you know, Le impermanence is a condition of this life and how do we continue, uh, have something in, in my book about the six honorings. How do we continue to honor those we love in the way that we carry on. And one of them is to continue to do things that they would have loved. So, you know, if you're facing your first holiday season without a parent or a loved one, you know, keeping their memory alive in a variety of ways is the way to do it.

Speaker 2: 07:04 They live on in the love that never dies. They live on, in our hearts. They live on, in our memories. They live on in so many ways, and we need to focus on them living on in those ways, in honoring their lives and spirit by keeping them in the room, keeping them in the family, keeping their memories alive. How should parents talk to their children about their aging grandparents? We are an example to our kids of how we treat our parents, and guess what they're watching and they're at some point with, you know, God willing, they will watch us get older and they're watching and they're going to remember in some way, whether we showed our own parents love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, and humility, or whether we tried to take over and boss them around and, and, uh, disrespectfully or we rendered them invisible. And the importance of them being seen and valued and included cannot be overestimated. I've been speaking with dr Ken Druck. He's the author of the new book raising an aging parent, which is out. Dr [inaudible], thank you so much for joining us. So good to be with you. Thank you.

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KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.