Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

EPA outlines plan to solve trans-border sewage problem

 November 9, 2021 at 3:27 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:00)

A new plan to expand clean up for cross border sewage contamination. They're going to

Speaker 2: (00:05)

Well, the capacity, that's the first big project that they hope to do.

Speaker 1: (00:09)

I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition A look at how the infrastructure money could be spent in San Diego

Speaker 3: (00:29)

Is an amazing opportunity for this region, major infrastructure projects.

Speaker 1: (00:35)

Then we expand that conversation to look at how the trillion dollar infrastructure package could impact California. Plus the Padres have a new manager that's ahead on midday edition. First the news,

Speaker 4: (00:47)


Speaker 5: (01:00)

The announcement of a major cross border sewage project and San Diego makes plans for federal infrastructure money. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Hyman. This is KPBS mid-day edition. It's Tuesday, November 9th,

Speaker 1: (01:26)

Beach closures along the Southern coastline due to sewage are unfortunately nothing new for the San Diego Tijuana region. Cross border sewage spills have been a major problem here for decades resulting in not only closed beaches, but also health hazards for residents on both sides of the U S Mexico border. A new plan by the EPA aims to improve that by doubling the capacity of the international wastewater treatment plant along the border here to tell us more about the project and its potential impact on the region is KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric. Welcome

Speaker 2: (02:01)

My pleasure.

Speaker 1: (02:02)

So, okay. What exactly did the EPA announced yesterday?

Speaker 2: (02:05)

Well, the EPA basically laid out its vision for how they're going to go about fixing this problem. And the vision that they laid out was a pretty big project. They're looking at spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $630 million. That'll include a variety of different projects. That's things like expanding the international wastewater treatment plant. They're also going to build another facility right next door. That'll treat river water coming down the Tijuana river valley. They're going to improve the collectors on the canyon collectors on the U S side of the border. And they're going to do some things in Mexico as well, uh, including possibly building a treatment facility, uh, uh, near [inaudible] that's south of Tijuana and maybe a recycling, some water that will end up in the, uh, Rodriguez jam.

Speaker 1: (02:58)

And can you sort of put this into context for us? I mean, how much water is treated now

Speaker 2: (03:03)

And how could this a proposed plan change that? Yeah, the existing international wastewater treatment plant, which was built back in the 1990s, the late 1990s was built and designed for a problem that existed. Then it's going to be able to treat 25 million gallons of water a day that was coming across the border at that time. But the problem is, is that Tijuana continued to grow since then. And the amount of sewage coming across the border continued to grow as well. And so this plant really didn't keep solving the problem it was designed to solve very long. They've expanded it a little bit is about 30 million gallons a day. Now they're going to double the capacity. That's the first big project that they hope to do. Double the capacity to 60 million gallons a day. And then with this new plant, right next door, another 60 million gallons a day.

Speaker 2: (03:55)

So there'll be capable of treating 120 million gallons a day of tainted water that flows across the border. Is that enough? They say it is enough combined with the other projects that they're looking at to be able to take care of the situation and reduce the days of beach closures in the Imperial beach area. By about 95%, basically the dry weather flows that currently happen in foul the ocean waters, uh, reduced to just 5% of the existing contamination that they have. So it will have an impact if everything is built out the way that they hoped.

Speaker 1: (04:32)

And so how will this plan be funded?

Speaker 2: (04:34)

That's one of the things that they'll be looking at in the future right now, they only have about $300 million, which was funding that came through the U S MCA, the United States, Mexico, Canada border trade agreement. They set aside $300 million for the EPA, which the EPA then dedicated for use in the Tijuana river. But that only accounts for about a little bit less than half of the money. They need to do everything that they want to do. And what they're going to do is look to the state for some funding, state of California, to help with that a little bit. They're going to look to the environmental protection agencies, wastewater border project, account funding. They're hoping to be able to lobby congressional lawmakers, uh, while the EPA is not going to be lobbying them, but maybe the Congress can add some more money to this effort to help meet us go. And they're going to be looking to Mexico to help pay for some of the solutions that might happen in the Tijuana area.

Speaker 1: (05:33)

And, you know, obviously this issue of cross-border sewage is an issue that involves two countries, both Mexico and the U S so how is the U S working with Mexico to, to fix this problem?

Speaker 2: (05:46)

Well, the EPA talks to Mexico every other week, uh, and they have for, for a long period of time. So the dialogue has been happening there. It's a question, I think, a commitment of, of how they're going to spend the money. Now, there, there are some interesting ways that Mexico has helped fund, uh, some of the projects that have been done there, some of the sewage collection projects on their side of the border, you know, they've supported the, uh, north American development bank, which is an agency that basically is allowed to spend us dollars on the Mexican side of the border. So that might be one avenue that Mexico can take. And there may just be a convincing Mexico that they need to spend money on treatment facilities in Tijuana. And it needs to be part of that regional solution.

Speaker 1: (06:34)

Talk a bit about how cross border sewage spills impact people who live near them.

Speaker 2: (06:40)

What happens is because Tiwan sits up on a hill, the sewage flows downhill and it flows downhill into the United States, uh, left on abated that sewage would flow through the Tijuana river valley into the Tijuana estuary. And through that estuary and out into the ocean. That's one of the problems. The other problem is, is that there is an existing sewage treatment plant south of Tijuana right now that is supposed to be capable of treating the sewage generated in Tijuana, but that plant simply doesn't work. And right now it's basically a conduit for untreated sewage that reaches the ocean south of Tijuana. And if the swell is moving in a northerly direction, it carries that sewage up into the, uh, San Diego ocean waters. Uh, so there are two big problems that happen and the impact, you know, it can be a health impact. People react poorly to the stench of sewage. Uh, they, they worry about airborne particles out of the sewage. They worry about swimming in an ocean. That's contaminated with sewage water because it can have a direct impact on the health of people who recreate there. All those impacts are very real and they've happened, uh, for years. Uh, and it's kind of been in the last couple of years, the impact of the sewage has really been growing and lot more sewage that's been untreated has crossed into the United States and then out into the ocean. So what

Speaker 1: (08:10)

Comes next in this project? What's the timeline here?

Speaker 2: (08:13)

Well, the immediate thing is, is that the environmental protection agency has said, it's going to start the environmental reviews, the national environmental policy act reviews required for projects like this. They think they can get the expansion of the international wastewater treatment plant done pretty quickly because it has a pretty small footprint. The air Lander has already been disturbed. They also want to build that additional sewage treatment plant, right next door it's in the same area, doesn't impact that much. And they think that'll move relatively quickly. Uh, what might take some time is their plan to create this diversionary system, to pull water out of the Tijuana river, because that could impact endangered species. It could impact a riparian habitat, and there are a few more hurdles to jump over, to get passage, uh, by the NEPA, the national environmental policy act. So that's going to take a little bit of time, but they're doing this in stages. And what they're hoping is that, you know, they've got some money to start the international wastewater treatment plant expansion, that $300 million already in the bank ready to go. They can start with that project, do the environmental review quickly, and then kind of pick up on the other projects as they move toward that comprehensive solution.

Speaker 1: (09:26)

I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson,

Speaker 2: (09:30)

Eric, thank you. My pleasure.

Speaker 5: (09:36)

The new trillion dollar infrastructure bill passed by Congress last week is designed to overhaul. And re-imagine much of the nation's roadways, bridges, ports, rail transit, and power grid. San Diego is in line to receive tens of millions of dollars from the bill. And as it happens, the San Diego association of governments is presently working on updating the next regional transportation plan, a project that could include creating a rail connection to the San Diego airport, as well as other improvements, how the federal infrastructure bill could affect San Diego's ambitious infrastructure plans is right now being determined by SANDAG officials. Joining me is Hassani Sonic Grotta chief executive officer of the San Diego association of governments. Hassan, welcome to the program.

Speaker 3: (10:25)

We'll be with you. Thank you.

Speaker 5: (10:27)

Is San Diego guaranteed a certain amount of money under the infrastructure bill?

Speaker 3: (10:32)

Absolutely. There's two parts to the bill. One is the formula funding that we're going to get from Washington, but the most importantly is the grant funding we could get if we put good applications together. And I can tell you that this federal bill is a welcome news. It is an amazing opportunity for this region to move major infrastructure projects, to say it lightly this national infrastructure bill puts every federal funding program in steroids. It doubles the federal program to support and expand the regional rail system. It makes project like fixing that their motto for moving the Trank, uh, more achievable. It funds more that infrastructure and makes our autonomists to project a more achievable. Um, it, it moves us into the future when it comes to electric charging. It's an amazing program. And I think San Diego region will be one of the regions that use as an example of how successful it's been.

Speaker 5: (11:44)

As you mentioned, much of the money will be allocated under the discretion of the department of transportation. Those grant funds, as you said, how has San Diego prepared to compete for those funds?

Speaker 3: (11:55)

We, in the last couple of years, we actually have proven that we can get federal and state funding because we have very own innovative and creative programs that we are ready at SANDAG to put actually we've been ready for awhile to apply for funding, to move the tracks of the bluff, to symbolize the bluff, to build the auto message, to, to continue with our environmental work on the new commuter rail lines. And so what we're going to do is we're going to immediately, once the department is ready with the rules, we're going to immediately police application. And not only that, this application has all the innovation and the data needed to make them successful. So we're, we're more than ready at SANDAG. And, and this is something your listeners probably be interested to know, uh, San Diego, when it comes to, you know, population, we're about 1% of the, of the nation's population. But if you look at our history, we got more than one person to the funding because we're creative, we're innovative. We're ready to go on this five big moves. This plan that we're just about to work our board to adapt has definitely imagine the future of transportation in San Diego have definitely put us in Lyon to compete and be the best competitor for all these problems that this national bill has. So we're ready, Maureen, we're ready to go. And we're ready to receive significant funding from the federal government.

Speaker 5: (13:25)

So you're saying you think the proposed new regional transportation plan, uh, gives us an edge in competing for the funds because of the kinds of projects in it. Is that what you're saying?

Speaker 3: (13:37)

Th this plan, as I said, not only imagine the future of transportation in San Diego, but goes into the areas that this bill emphasize rail, which we're putting 200 miles of air belt rail, and we're going to went about to start the environmental work in that, moving the tracks of the Del Mar plot and stabilizing the plot for good, but building the tunnel needed for that, where we just signed a memorandum of understanding with our partners in Mexico, not I miss it too. Uh, we are building a central mobility hub and making, uh, providing choices for San Diego to get around. So this, the five big moves, the new plan definitely positioned us not only to compete for federal, but for state funding. It positions us to be very successful and exact. We were expecting exactly what's happening in this year right now, when we start the work on this,

Speaker 5: (14:36)

And I would monies received from the infrastructure bill allow SANDAG to abandon ideas like charging a 4 cent, a mile driving fee to fund transportation projects.

Speaker 3: (14:47)

The simple answer is yes, it could. We S we still need to know that the impact of this in the overall regional transportation plan, but if we could get because of the stimulus national stimulus, we could get enough money. Obviously we, we need the local funding. They haven't been in history and many projects that were a hundred percent funded by the federal government. So you need the local match to be successful. Every project requires you to put local money on the table. We're about to deliver the mid cost, a $2.2 billion project. The federal government paid half, but a billion, and we can have, so I don't expect this would replace the need for federal funding, but a lot of funding, but will this, for example, look at the statewide broad charge. That's going to have to be there because that's what the state is going to do by 2030, the additional road charge. Yes, we're going to evaluate and see whether we still need this, but absolutely is going to impact our local financial strategy moving forward.

Speaker 5: (15:58)

Aren't there climate considerations though, in that 4 cent, a mile driving fee to try to get people off roads and onto public transportation.

Speaker 3: (16:05)

Totally. I think Maureen, I spoke to you on porn when I started here, but almost three years ago. And I told you a nice, you could research this article. I told you, climate change is going to drive all the transportation decisions. And that's exactly still true today. Climate change is driving it, that road, user charges a very effective strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That continued to be part of the discussion, but even if we scaled down and the local funding sources, we still need to come up with measures to reduce the greenhouse emission because we're required to do it by state law. So yes, there is global warming consideration for that Napali funding. And now that giving that we have a national stimulus that we think we're going to compete well for, do we need the state charge and the local charge, or do we need one of them? And that's something we still don't know the answer, but at the end of the day, we're going to have a plan that meets the state's greenhouse gas emissions reduction that meets the federal requirement to financial constraints and needs our goals as a region to move forward with the system that we imagine the future of transport.

Speaker 5: (17:23)

And how quickly do you expect the funds to be released? And these projects started,

Speaker 3: (17:28)

I believe, uh, this is the optimist in me. Uh, I believe by, by the end of this year, we should, we should hopefully see a final rules. Uh, but for us, we are writing the application right now in anticipation of this foods being finalized quickly dependent, uh, the stages of the project we have right now, a billion dollar worth of projects that are ready to go, what did it took, cut the ground, but we have multiple billion dollar project that we still in the environmental, uh, and design process. And that is what I hope when the department of transportation, the national department of transportation, put the rules out that they allow projects in the environmental stage to be eligible. And that's our hope. So it could be very quickly, but it will all depend on how quickly the rules can be put in place. So the rules of the game are clear.

Speaker 5: (18:25)

I've been speaking with Hassan, Grotta chief executive officer of the San Diego association of governments. I sound thank you so much.

Speaker 3: (18:34)

Good to be with you again,

Speaker 5: (18:36)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heinemann earlier in the program, we discussed how the massive new federal infrastructure bill might help San Diego, but the entire state of California is also asking the same question to find out more about what might be on the state's wishlist. The California reports, Laura Cliven spoke to Serena Alexander associate professor with the department of urban and regional planning at San Jose state university. Professor Alexander starts by talking about the impacts of the package on Californians.

Speaker 6: (19:11)

So, first of all, either we create some jobs in the construction industry and also other immediately related sectors. So if you are employed in these sectors are looking for a job, you will probably feel the impact. And then there's a ripple effect of every dollar spent by closely related industries, as a dollar moves through other industries and also through the local economy. So even if you're not in construction or related fields, you will still see the impact in the local economy. Uh, and eventually the funding is large enough that it will make the U S economy more productive. Uh, and theoretically the us consumers will see the impact of this in the goods and services that they use.

Speaker 7: (19:56)

My understanding is that the majority of funding for transportation in California comes from a local and state sources. Can you give us a sense of what piece of the pie this infusion of cash would be?

Speaker 6: (20:09)

Oh, of course not all of that money is going to be spending California. It is expected that, you know, the state government on also other levels of government in California will be still involved in funding transportation, but it will definitely make a big difference, especially as it is related to, uh, you know, maintain an operating roads and bridges. There is a large amount of money that will be spent in roads and bridges and the haven't. You haven't seen that, uh, you know, in that amount in many years, and also this allocation of money will potentially create, uh, you know, things like new bus routes or improved transit service, uh, that will help California's, especially the seniors and the disabled and the people that are transit dependent. So they will see the impact of related to that.

Speaker 7: (21:01)

A lot of the things we're talking about is making transportation easier, and we in California, our biggest emissions come from transportation. So how does this intersect with climate mitigation or adaptation?

Speaker 6: (21:14)

We have seen various changes to this particular infrastructure bill and also various iterations to it. And unfortunately, what we have seen, you know, over these changes is that some of the funding related to climate change, uh, has evaporated in the process. But that said, the current bill still includes some investment in things like, uh, electric school buses and vehicle charging, strict stations that are important. And at the same time, it invests in public transportation, also investment in resilience. Um, so we will see some investments specifically related to how do we build a more resilience, resilience transportation system, um, as related to, you know, the goal of this state to reduce emissions from transportation. We do know that it has been very tough. Uh, transportation has proven very difficult to deal with in terms of emissions. And, you know, in terms of meeting our transportation goals, we have to make drastic changes in the ways we see mobility in California and also in the nation that the bill will help move us towards those goals a little easier. But, uh, I think that we still have to continue to come up with innovative strategies, to think about mobility in a way that will address climate change in the Loma.

Speaker 5: (22:43)

That was Serena Alexander, an associate professor with the department of urban and regional planning at San Jose state university. Speaking with the California reports, Laura livens,

Speaker 1: (22:59)

One of the kinks that's causing disruptions in the global supply chain is a severe shortage of truckers KPBS, reporter Alexandra, Ron hel examines, this issue and visits a local driving school, working to keep up with demand

Speaker 8: (23:14)

Breaks in a little blow on the horn there, make sure nobody's out, hanging out.

Speaker 9: (23:21)

Andre Weston is the driving instructor at United truck driving school in mission

Speaker 8: (23:25)

Valley. I'm going to teach you a lot to do a little bit of up

Speaker 9: (23:27)

Shifting a year ago, this job wasn't in Wesson's plans, but then the pandemic hit and he saw the need for his expertise.

Speaker 8: (23:35)

I thought I was going to retire. I did retire. And then I see this ad and I'm thinking, wait a minute, I got 20 years of experience and I'm thinking, and you sitting here wasting it. Why don't you go out there and see what happened?

Speaker 9: (23:51)

Careers and trucking have long been a path for the middle class who don't have college degrees, but it's a grueling job that doesn't attract many younger workers. And now a wave of retirements is washing over the industry, leaving firms in desperate straights, according to the American trucking associations, the industry is short 80,000 drivers. That number is expected to double by 2030. If major progress isn't made. Philip Harris is also a retired trucker. And now the admissions counselor at United, he says, it's a shortage that has accumulated over the years

Speaker 10: (24:25)

And came out the guys that were going to retire in three to four years, just now we're done. And then DMVs were closed. So they weren't able to license new drivers, which takes about six months to really get the good training.

Speaker 9: (24:35)

But the need has never been greater. The ATA estimates that 72% of the nation's freight gets moved by truckers.

Speaker 11: (24:43)

We have been posting everywhere

Speaker 9: (24:45)

From billboards to Craigslist, to recruiting at diesel gas stations. Roberto Rodriguez says he's tried every avenue to look for new hires

Speaker 11: (24:53)

Down here in San Diego, in California, especially we don't have enough doctors. The drivers that already have their permits that are licensed, they are working for big companies,

Speaker 9: (25:01)

Increase pay, but as he raises the bar, other companies do the same

Speaker 12: (25:05)

Pay is going up. We have one major company that last year was paying in the $20 range. They now are paying their class, a drivers, $25 an hour.

Speaker 9: (25:15)

Gary Smith is a placement instructor for United. He says, companies are now willing to hire drivers with no experience. As long as they have a license. That used to be unheard of little Maria says he can't be choosy right now. He has a thousand trailers on his lot waiting to be picked up.

Speaker 11: (25:32)

I've been working, uh, with a lot of, uh, uh, lawyers or law firms to verify they can help us to do any process, or we can give Mexican drivers the opportunity to work down here. Neutral

Speaker 8: (25:43)

Breaks, lashes of steel alone.

Speaker 9: (25:46)

As companies scrambled to fill driver's seats. United trucking school is doing its part to fill the need.

Speaker 8: (25:52)

We take them from almost ground zero and, uh, teach them all the skills and knowledge in order to become professional trucks.

Speaker 9: (25:59)

During the four week course, students earn their class a and class B commercial driving license, and are helped with job placement. The news of the driver shortage in higher pay appears to be having an effect for the first time ever. United has a waitlist of students looking to join the program and applicants are coming from diverse background.

Speaker 10: (26:19)

We've been very inundated with students. Students are just, we were booked out till June.

Speaker 9: (26:24)

They're on gray is currently enrolled in the program, but it's not his first time getting his CDL. He left trucking a few years back when his daughter was born because he wanted to be home more. But with incentives increasing for drivers, he's ready to hit the road. Again.

Speaker 13: (26:39)

There's a lot of work available right now for truck drivers. A lot of people are going other careers that are more corporate white collar, and they're kind of leaving the blue collar jobs behind. And these companies need bodies in the seat

Speaker 9: (26:51)

Yet the trucker lifestyle is in for everyone. Harris says he's very blunt with students who are looking to enroll.

Speaker 10: (26:58)

We don't get to see our families a lot. We're on the road. A lot of times, most truckers average only see in their family about 12 days out of the year. Okay.

Speaker 8: (27:05)

Yeah, no, your shift is getting really good lately, right? You're up shifting you're downshifting. All of that's been, yeah, it's really coming through

Speaker 9: (27:12)

As for Wesson. He's just grateful. He gets to contribute to teaching the next generation of drivers.

Speaker 8: (27:19)

I think we can get there together. Uh, keep America moving, so to speak because right now we're backed up and it's bad.

Speaker 9: (27:30)

KPBS news

Speaker 1: (27:32)

Story was made possible with support from the economic hardship reporting project

Speaker 4: (27:37)


Speaker 5: (27:45)

Thanksgiving and the holiday season are always important times of year for the feeding San Diego organization, hunger relief groups, try to gear up to make sure people can get access to the foods that make the holidays something special. This year, feeding San Diego is also gearing up for another special event. Starting January 1st, a new state law requires food handling businesses like supermarkets to start donating surplus edible food to hunger relief organizations like feeding San Diego. That means that those organizations will have to increase both capacity and distribution to feed more people and keep more discarded food waste out of landfills. Joining me is feeding San Diego, chief supply chain, officer patio, Connor Patty. Welcome. Thank you. Now, feeding San Diego already gets quite a lot of food donated from local food businesses. So how does this new law Senate bill 1383? How does that change the status quo?

Speaker 14: (28:46)

Well, it changes the status quo by now. It's a requirement starting January 1st, um, before it was the people that would be donating to us. We're doing it for various reasons, but it wasn't a requirement by law and starting January 1st, grocery stores and other, they call them food generators are going to be required to donate their excess edible food. So it will increase the amount of food that goes back into the community.

Speaker 5: (29:12)

And climate change is sort of the real target of this bill. At least the co target of this bill, how will rescuing and donating more food, help mitigate climate change.

Speaker 14: (29:23)

So what we can tell you is that food, when it goes into the landfill generates methane and methane is a force, one of the worst pollutants and with so much food going into the landfill, it's generating so much methane and affecting our environment. So this bill does something that's twofold, which is so great. It's reducing the amount of landfill and improving the environment. And at the same time, it is rescuing food that would otherwise go into the landfill. So we're feeding people at the same time.

Speaker 5: (29:53)

So this bill creates two tiers of food businesses that have to start donating surplus food. Tell us more about that.

Speaker 14: (30:01)

Correct. So January 1st, 2022, the first group of people that will have to be doing that, um, are going to be the larger grocery stores, wholesale vendors and food distributors. And then January 1st, 2024, that will start including large restaurant facilities, hotels, health facilities, um, large venues and events and local education agencies as well.

Speaker 5: (30:25)

How much of the food feeding San Diego already distributes is rescued from supermarkets and restaurants?

Speaker 14: (30:32)

Well, overall we rescue about 27 million pounds of food. And 70% of what we distribute is rescued food. As far as how much we get from local restaurants and local markets, we are rescuing about 900,000 pounds a month, which translates into a little over a million meals a month that we then are putting back out into the community.

Speaker 5: (30:54)

Okay. So even though surplus food donations are already significant, as you just told us, how much of an increase do you expect when this new law goes into effect?

Speaker 14: (31:05)

You don't really know exactly the amount that's going to be increased. I know that the goal is to, uh, reduce the waste by 20%, but that's all throughout California. So we are just gearing up to be able to accept more food and bring on more partners, but we don't really have an exact number of how much more that would be.

Speaker 5: (31:24)

And how are you gearing up? How will that change your facilities and your distribution chains?

Speaker 14: (31:31)

What we're doing is we are looking to add more partners on the donor side because we know they're going to be out there, but we're also looking to add more partners on the distribution side. So right now we partner with about 300 local agencies, such as churches or community groups that are the ones that are on the ground, right. They get the food and they distribute it to their neighbors and their community. So we're looking for more partners in that regard and we do sign new people up every month. It's something that if people are interested in being able to distribute food into their communities, they can go to our feeding San site. And with that, we're also gearing up. We're getting more vehicles to pick up the donations we are asking for more volunteers to help us distribute and to go through and sort the donations. So we were pretty much gearing up for this. Um,

Speaker 5: (32:21)

Well, speaking of distributing donations, I know right now you're hosting drive-through food distributions in many areas across the county. Tell us about feeding San Diego's together.

Speaker 14: (32:32)

Sure. Yes. Art together towards been going on since February of this year. And it is such a wonderful thing that's going on. And we're so glad to be able to share the food with the community. What we're doing is we're an all parts of San Diego. So for example, this week we're involved Brook and Chula Vista. Next week, we'll be in Ramona San Marcos. We're also in Carlsbad, Escondido Sorento valley, spring valley. And what we do is we go to where there's a large parking lot where we can handle up to a thousand cars come through and there it's, you can stop. Uh, we, we put them through very safely people stop and get the first box of dried, uh, shelf-stable goods about 25 pounds worth of product. And then the next stop is they're going to get about 15 to 20 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, and then a final stop you get about, um, five to 10 pounds of a frozen protein. And so it equates to about 50 pounds of food per family. Um, and the only thing we ask is that if you can register online, that helps us with the amount of food that we're offering. It's just a really great way to get food out to the people in San Diego that need it.

Speaker 5: (33:39)

Have you seen an increase in the need for food at these distributions?

Speaker 14: (33:44)

You know what we definitely have, unfortunately me we're thinking it might go down, but, um, it really hasn't gone down. In fact, in the last month or two, we've seen an increase in the number of people coming. So that's unfortunate and it's a cause of what's going on in our times. So yeah, we have seen an increase in, we will continue to be out there, distributing the food until we see there isn't a need anymore.

Speaker 5: (34:08)

What about the price of food we've been hearing that prices are going up, supply chain shortages. It has that affected getting more donations.

Speaker 14: (34:16)

Yes. The price of food has been going up as you've been hearing. And we are seeing that we belong to a feeding America network. So we're fortunate in that we're able to tap into a supply chain that services the whole country for the foods that we buy, as far as how it's affecting the cost of our donation items. We rescue food from over 200 farms across California, and we do have to pay for the transportation of that produce. And that is just gone up extraordinarily in the last year. I mean, it's a lot more expensive now to have a truck come from middle of California, Northern California, down here to deliver the produce. So we are seeing a need for more financial donations actually to help us cover those costs

Speaker 5: (35:00)

During the holiday season, how much consideration goes into getting the traditional holiday foods to people?

Speaker 14: (35:07)

I am so excited this season because as you know, we are distributing our boxes of food out in the community. Um, and this season we made a really concerted effort to make sure there are the typical holiday items in there. So we're going to be including stuffing sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberries, all of those things that we think about when we think about, um, holiday table, particularly around Thanksgiving. So I'm very excited about those items that are gonna be part of our box.

Speaker 5: (35:34)

And where can people get more information on finding a together tour or getting food assistance in general?

Speaker 14: (35:41)

Yeah. So if you go to feeding San, we've got a website and if you would like to find help, there's a button that says find help and it will take you to the different together tourists where you can go and register. And it'll tell you the dates and the times and the locations. And there's also a button on there too, for donations. If you'd like to be a donation partner, whether it be food or financial, it's real easy to go there and click on those. And you can find your way there.

Speaker 5: (36:08)

I've been speaking with feeding San Diego, chief supply chain, officer Patty O'Connor Patty. Thank you very

Speaker 14: (36:14)

Much. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (36:17)

You're listening to KPBS mid-day edition. I'm Jane Heintzman with Maureen Kavanaugh. The San Diego Padres moved forward from one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory by hiring Bob, Melvin as the team's new manager, while Melvin is among one of the most respected managers in baseball, only time will tell if his hiring will make a difference next season for the beleaguered Padres. Joining me now with more is San Diego sports writer, Jay Paris, Jay, welcome back to the program.

Speaker 15: (36:45)

Thanks for having me on it was good to join you folks. What's been

Speaker 1: (36:48)

The initial reaction to the hiring of Bob. Melvin, are people excited about this?

Speaker 15: (36:54)

Uh, thrilled stunned, I think would be a appropriate term. Bob Melvin had already agreed to an extension for the 2022 season with the Oakland athletics. And when going through the long list of candidates to replace the Jason Fiddler, who was dismissed after the season, Bob Melvin's name was not on anyone's list because he had a job. He had a contract, but with the upheaval in Oakland and their situation and impossibly moving, and really the franchise being in flux, Mr. [inaudible] general manager sought permission to speak to Mr. Melvin, the age, granted it, and look, you hear the Padres have their 22nd manager in franchise history.

Speaker 1: (37:31)

Hmm. Has there been much response from players or people within the organization to this?

Speaker 15: (37:35)

I think cartwheels might be a good, good term. I mean, for once they're not bringing in a manager who needs training wheels, uh, the last two gentlemen, Andy green, Jace Tingler. I mean, they had never been big-league managers and Bob Melvin certainly been that he's a three-time manager of the year only, uh, eight people that won it three times like him he's won over 1300 games as a manager. He was a 10 year player as a catcher. I mean, when he walks in a room, you kind of sit up a little straighter, you know what I mean? He has that instant credibility. He has that presence. He has that been there, done that, which all these players are experienced in the major league wide he's thought is one of the best communicators. And one of the most respected managers.

Speaker 1: (38:18)

I know some people, for example, wanting to see Ron Washington of the Braves considered who else was, was looked at,

Speaker 15: (38:23)

Uh, Ron Washington was a finalist in the last go around. Of course everybody's heart goes pitter, patter over Bruce bocce. He got the first call, regardless of when anyone says, you know, he won three titles with the San Francisco giants, but of course his heyday was with the Padres. He's still one of the most iconic members, uh, of, of the Padres past. And, uh, they were hoping maybe the presence. So, you know, Ron Washington, uh, um, there was some other talk, you know, of bocce and, uh, even locally Brad, Austin, this with Del Mar who, who managed the tigers and angels, that his name was certainly in it. Mike Sotia. I think what, what was interesting about the search is that, you know, on one side of baseball today is the analytical side. And on the other side is the old school baseball. If you will, the game, how it used to be played, what makes Mr. Melvin such a great candidate that he's almost a hybrid he brings with him, those old school, um, mannerisms, if you will, when somebody suggests the data suggests the analytics, which what baseball is now, he doesn't, you know, head off in the other direction as a 60 year old screaming about not knowing what a PDF file is or something. So he's able to, to be an old school guy, but he's certainly receptive of the data driven analytics, which the game has come today

Speaker 1: (39:34)

Is this new manager expected to be a good fit for the Padres.

Speaker 15: (39:38)

Baseball has changed. And just to put this hiring into context, you know, old school baseball, yet you had nine different hitters and you move the ball around, you try to string together, some hits and score runs. Nowadays. The pitchers are so good at throwing unhittable pitches that really everybody's trying to hit a home run. And, uh, that's just the way the game is today. Now the blend of the analytics, which AIG trailer is certainly a big fan of with what Mr. Melvin has done and can do is exciting. I think again, is to point out that he did a lot of this recently in the last 10 years with the Oakland athletics, Oakland routinely has one of the lowest pay payrolls in the league. Still. He was able to take it into the playoffs three of the last four years and became the windiest manager in Oakland history.

Speaker 15: (40:23)

So he's done it on a low budget. So now he's going to have a bigger budget with the Padres, $180 million projected payroll. Next year, he's going to have the data and the stars and Manny Machado, Fernando tests, east junior, uh, you know, there's five all-stars on this team. So they think they've really hit a home run to sum it up. They think they've robbed the rest of the teams of one of the greatest managers in the game today. And if they were to do so without anybody knowing about it only adds to the intrigue of Mr. Melvin coming to town.

Speaker 1: (40:50)

Yeah. You touched on this, but talk a bit more about Melvin's track record of success with previous organizations when it comes to winning championships.

Speaker 15: (40:58)

Sure. Uh, you know, he was a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks from when they won everything in 2001 he's been in manager for the time and backs. He was a manager of the Mariners. He was a manager of the Oakland. A's 18 seasons of making the tough, hard decisions. And before that again, we mentioned his playing career, which when you hit 2 30, 3 and 35 career homers, it didn't quite pan out like he thought, but I think he knows what a players going through, and he's not a screamer. He's not a holler guy, he's a communicator. And he does so in a manner in which she has empathy for a player, which is going, going through rough patches, you know, every player goes through a rough patch. You know, baseball is built around failure. Uh, when you go in and got out seven out of 10 times and we built a statue for him. So that shows you how difficult the game is. So I think when you have a manager who can empathize on those, uh, you know, on those during those puddles on the path to greatness, you know, it's going to be tough. That's Palm, Melvin. He knows what his players are thinking and that he's proven time. And again, it's almost like writing about the Pope. You can't find anybody to say a bad thing about him. And that's Bob, Melvin,

Speaker 1: (42:02)

As you mentioned earlier, Melvin's hiring comes after the Padres parted ways with their previous manager JS Tingler what do experts think that Melvin will bring to the table, uh, that his predecessor didn't exist?

Speaker 15: (42:14)

Uh, again, we go back to the training wheels, you know, nobody has to point Bob Melvin in the right direction. Nobody has to tell him what he should do next. I think just the comfort of being his own man, uh, the comfort in knowing you've done it before and the respect, the other players leaned from that. Now, now, Mr. Tingler Mr. Green, you know, too good baseball man. But when they walked into the room, they were still proving themselves. You know, you look on their sleeves, there weren't any air when he stripes yet, you know, they were still earning their stripes while on the job, as a manager of the Padres, Mr. Melvin walks in, he's got those stripes, he's got those big wins. He, and he's maybe more importantly, he knows how to react to the loss is, you know, is to react. When a team goes into a tailspin, look that second half of the year, last year was a disaster at the all-star break.

Speaker 15: (42:59)

The Padres were 15 games over 500 and looked to be a lock for the second playoff spot, nationally wildcard. And it was a complete face plant. The second half, once they started losing, there was nobody there or nobody able to, to, to pull a rip cord, if you would, and, and, and try to soften the landing and maybe with a more experienced guy like Mr. Melvin, he would know what buttons to push. Look, nobody knows how this is going to turn out, which is the beauty of baseball. But that being said, the Padres feel extremely fortunate to have Bob Melvin, as their manager,

Speaker 1: (43:34)

Audrey's have made a number of roster moves in recent years to put the team into contention and still this year fell short of their goals, or what kind of a difference will a different manager make with a team that already has some,

Speaker 15: (43:47)

I think a different voice. And again, we go back to credibility, uh, maybe if somebody hasn't proven themselves and their message could be the exact same as somebody who has proven himself, but when you're hearing it from somebody who, who doesn't have that been there, done that label, you, maybe you, you take that advice or you take that, uh, their statements with a bit of trepidation. When Bob, Melvin says something, you know, he's done it when Bob Melvin says something, uh, he can back it up. So, so I think it's just more the, uh, not as much the message. I mean, the message is really the same, you know, play hard, have fun win games, but it's the messenger. And, and in this way, it'd be like a substitute teacher telling you to do your homework or a tenured faculty member. Who's then the teacher of the year, a few times. I mean, if you're a student, you react differently. If you're a ballplayer, you react differently as well.

Speaker 1: (44:44)

I've been speaking with San Diego sports writer, Jay Paris, Jay, thanks so much for joining us.

Speaker 15: (44:49)

Okay. Always fun to be with you folks and have a nice.

Ways To Subscribe
The EPA is planning several different approaches to solving the decades-long cross-border sewage spills that have been plaguing the South Bay. Plus, SANDAG is working on the next transportation plan for the region just as Congress passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. Also, the infrastructure bill is expected to have a long-lasting effect in California and it won't just be fixing roads and modernizing transit projects. Meanwhile, a truck driver training school in Mission Valley is helping to ease the supply-chain bottlenecks by getting more truckers on the road. And, hunger-relief organizations are expecting to benefit from a new California law aimed at reducing food waste. Finally, will the new Padres manager save the beleaguered club?