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San Diego criticized for making unsheltered people move during heat wave

 September 7, 2022 at 2:00 PM PDT

S1: The number of unhoused reaches a new high in downtown San Diego.

S2: It's unacceptable. It's heartbreaking. It's. It's unthinkable. It kind of hits every emotion.

S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. A recent settlement with e-cigarette maker Jewel highlights harms caused to teens.

S3: Really glad that Joule is being held accountable for its practices.

S1: How the needs of visually impaired students are being met in school and the history behind Escondido is great day. That's ahead on Midday Edition. As temperatures linger in San Diego County in the nineties and one hundreds for another day , being homeless is even more dangerous. Some of those living on the street have nowhere to go to escape the heat. And there are now more people living on the street in downtown San Diego than ever before. The downtown San Diego Partnership's August count shows more than 1600 people living unhoused in the San Diego area. Joining me now to talk about this is Drew Moser , executive director of the Lucky Duck Foundation , which raises money for homeless programs in San Diego County. Drew , welcome.

S2: Hi , Jade. Thanks for having us.

S1: Drew As someone who works every day helping unhoused individuals , you called this new record number of unhoused San Diegan is unacceptable.

S2: It's heartbreaking. It's it's unthinkable. It kind of hits every emotion. We have to collectively do a better job , not just throughout the region , but especially downtown , in providing immediate and safe and healthy pathways off the streets. The Downtown Partnership has been doing this count for over ten years , and if you look closely at the numbers , they've basically doubled over the last 18 or so months and the numbers for August were eye popping , and that is a record high in those ten years. And it's also significantly higher than in 2017 when you had the hepatitis A outbreak. So we're calling on elected leaders to be more swift and meaningful and tangible in the action steps that they take to open up beds and again , provide those immediate pathways off the streets.

S1:

S2: We hear constantly that that shelters are at capacity. And in a couple in less than a week , we will bring a shelter online that's owned by the Lucky Dog Foundation that will have 150 beds. And it's important to note that from the moment the city , the county and lucky that came to an agreement to use that asset , it will be up in less than six months and much , much quicker and much more cost effectively than adding housing. And that's not to discount housing. It's just to reinforce the critical need for immediately available beds. And so we need more shelter beds as quickly as possible , coupled with a more appropriate level of outreach that that coincides with an appropriate level of enforcement. And so meeting people where they're at , understanding their needs and then getting them to the best place that's suitable for them because the street we don't believe anybody should live on the street.

S1:

S2: And , you know , unfortunately , there's some well nots that are out there that are preying on some of the have nots and the candidates. And the bottom line is , the city and others need to do a much better job of connecting folks to the appropriate resources for whatever their circumstances and situation might be. But make no mistake , a lot of these folks , this is a grandmother or an aunt or a brother or an uncle or a child or a family. And it's just it's entirely heartbreaking.

S1: It won't. Last week. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria told us the city has placed more than 700 people into permanent housing solutions as a result of the city's housed , housing , shelter , health outreach approach.

S2: Of 700 people have been housed. I think we need to understand , you know , compared to what when the convention center was opened , a significantly higher number were housed through that effort. And so housing , that's an ideal outcome. I don't think anybody can dispute that. But if that's all we focus on , we say it's kind of like telling passengers on a sinking ship , hang tight , we'll build you some lifeboats sometime in the next 5 to 20 years because it can take that long , if not longer. And so we have to have more immediately available beds that folks can move into. And , you know , that's largely up to the city of San Diego to cite those locations , provide those beds and provide those resources. And that's , again , just based on the facts. When you look at the numbers across the region and you look at the point in time count , it's mostly concentrated within the city of San Diego. But it's not just the city. It's it's the Housing Commission. It's the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. It's service providers and others that truly have to come together and all roll in the same direction. But the bottom line is , we need more beds right now.

S1: You know , this heat wave has been unrelenting for all of us , but for people living on the streets , it can be deadly.

S2: And it's it's in many ways when COVID hit and the same reason why we launched a food and water outreach program that still continues to this day , that reaches about a thousand people daily to provide food , but also much needed water , especially in this heat. And when we surveyed the service providers that an outreach workers that participate in that program , 97% of them said it's life saving sustenance and 88% said that it improves their interactions , it makes their efforts as outreach workers more effective so that ultimately those people will be more inclined to seek and receive services and ultimately end their homelessness. And so our foot is on the gas with that program because as these numbers continue to climb , there becomes an increased need.

S1: As you mentioned , this Friday , the Lucky Dog Foundation is opening a new bridge shelter in the sports arena area , which earlier this year was home to a large homeless encampment.

S2: And so that is exactly the intent , is that it can be a resource used by hundreds , if not thousands , on their journey to getting back to self-sustainability. You know , in an ideal situation. And so they're an incredible resource to provide folks with a warm bed and a roof over their heads , access to meals , case management , housing , navigation and all the wraparound services so that they can start the process of recovery and move on onto a brighter path much more quickly. And so they're we're excited to bring that on. And , you know , frankly , every city in San Diego County could benefit from one of those.

S1: I've been speaking with Jun Moser , executive director of the Lucky Duck Foundation. Drew , thank you very much for joining us.

S2: Thank you , Jason.

S1: Yesterday , electronic cigarette maker Joule Labs agreed to pay nearly $440 million to settle claims that it marketed its products to teens contributing to an epidemic of teen vaping use in recent years. The problem studies show vaping can cause problems with brain development , among other things. The tentative settlement comes in the wake of a June FDA ruling that banned dual e-cigarette products from the market , arguing that dual played a disproportionate role in the popularity of teen vaping. Jewel is currently appealing that decision , but here to talk more about vaping and its health impacts is Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander , a researcher at the University of California , San Diego School of Medicine. And welcome to you.

S3: Thank you for having me.

S1:

S3:

S1: And you co-authored a study earlier this year about e-cigarette use focusing on dual products.

S3: In the areas where we control our mood and our emotions and even memory. And beyond that , we actually found changes in the immune state and inflammation in the GI tract and the lungs. Wow.

S1: Wow.

S3: And so I think a lot of people don't understand that all these different flavors that not only do they act to appeal to people , to get them hooked on e-cigarettes , such as a kid picking up a strawberry mint e-cigarette because it sounds and looks really cool , but that inhaling the chemicals that have been added to those e-cigarettes to create those flavors can actually directly impact their health.

S1:

S3: We were really in a terrible place in 2019 where in California , in some places , 50% of high schoolers were vaping and 25% of middle schoolers were vaping. And it has decreased over the last couple of years. One reason for that might be that with all the shutdowns of schools , there is less exposure across peers and less availability of getting these devices from peers.

S1:

S3: And I think getting that word out there is important for parents and teachers and society in general to understand that nobody wants to target our kids in this way. So I'm hopeful that it helps us that way. A second thing that I think it will help is that a lot of cities and states are working to ban flavors. And one of the main reasons that we want these flavors banned is because of their appeal to our young population.

S1: And can you explain what's in these products ? I mean , do they actually contain nicotine or is it.

S3: They contain these chemicals because it's the only way to get nicotine into solution so that these e-cigarettes can heat that solution and pull it to a mass to create this aerosol. A lot of people don't understand that. It's not like water vapor that contains nicotine. It's a chemical composition with nicotine added. And the most modern e-cigarette , of which Joel is one , they have been designed specifically to contain very high levels of nicotine. So , for instance , one joule is the equivalent of an entire pack of cigarettes. Worth of nicotine. And another popular e-cigarette on the market called The Flame , actually contains the equivalent of 13 packs of cigarettes worth of nicotine. So that's another thing that policymakers are working towards , is to have our government set limitations on the amount of nicotine that's allowed in these e-cigarettes. Hmm.

S1: Hmm. I mean , in a statement yesterday , Jewell said they are focused on helping to , quote , transition adult smokers away from cigarettes , end quote.

S3: And in fact , a lot of people ended up being dual users , meaning that they continued to smoke cigarettes , but they also vaped e-cigarettes. So they potentially could have the worst of both worlds , the health effects of both types of inhalants. However , the newer generation of e-cigarettes , of which Joel is one , the studies that have come out so far suggest that they might work a lot better at helping people quit conventional tobacco. But it's not convincing yet that they are actually able to help people quit the nicotine addiction.

S1:

S3: I think all of us know that people who started smoking cigarettes decades ago that have struggled to quit and some people just never can quit because nicotine is so incredibly addictive , is one of the top three addictive substances of all time. And with the high concentration of nicotine in these e-cigarettes , such as the Flume and Puff Bar , and your four kids and young adults whose brains are still developing until their mid-twenties , it is easier for them to become addicted with even just one use or to use , as are three uses. And that becoming addicted at that age fundamentally alters your brain so that for the rest of your life , your responses to other substances will be completely different.

S1: I have been speaking with e-cigarette researcher Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander with University of California , San Diego School of Medicine. And Dr. Crotty Alexander , thank you so much for joining us.

S3: Thank you for having me.

S4: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. California proudly adopted the Brown Act decades ago , which requires most legislative meetings on every level of government be open with full access to public participation. But in recent months , this started to happen. Yes.

S2: You know , John Doe died in violation of the Nuremberg Code , which is still largely under the dock. But that said , it was her. Your time has expired. The Japanese. We shall not be forced. All of this in the in our report is coercion and the penalty for violating that burden , violating the law for.

S4: That outburst at a San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting last year mirrored disruptions and threats at other legislative sessions and school board meetings in the county and even across the nation. Late last month , Governor Newsom signed a new law outlining when and why people may be ejected from public meetings. San Diego supervisors have also changed the rules of participation to ban disruptive behavior. But are these rules still needed since the outbursts triggered by COVID restrictions have faded ? And will the new regulations end up limiting the public's access and input to legislation that affects their lives ? Joining me is David Loy , legal director for the First Amendment Coalition , a nonprofit that advocates for freedom of speech and public participation in civil discourse. And , David , welcome.

S2: Thank you. Great to be here.

S4: Well , the First Amendment , as you know , says the government does not have the right to abridge the freedom of speech.

S2: And I'll preface this by saying any law can be abused , but the First Amendment does not guarantee unlimited rights to say anything you want at any time during a city council meeting or other governing board meeting that is covered by the Brown Act inside the confines of a governing board meeting. The First Amendment guarantees the right to speak to items on the agenda and to do so within reasonable time limits. But there's not an unlimited right to continue speaking after the time limit is up. There's not an unlimited right to chant , protest , demonstrate , talk over other people. Certainly , if you want to conduct a protest outside city hall , outside the county building , outside the school board , those kinds of protests can be and often are much more robust and noisy. That's as it should be in a traditional public forum. But inside the meeting room itself , the public can be required to adhere to reasonable and viewpoint neutral rules. That being said , the mayor or other presiding board member absolutely may not silence people or remove people simply because they don't like what the speaker is saying. People have a right to engage in public comment that is pointed , critical , controversial , potentially even offensive. They cannot be silenced because their viewpoint , but they can be required to yield the floor when their time is up.

S4:

S2: And true threats are not protected by the First Amendment , and those have never been protected by the First Amendment. They are , in fact , already against the law under the penal code. And yes , they are exceptions to what is allowable public comment in a governing board meeting or otherwise.

S4: Many of the recent outbursts at public meetings seem to have been connected to outrage over COVID restrictions like school closures , mask and vaccine mandates.

S2: This can be useful. I will say it is not a blank check and it should not be interpreted as a blank check for governing boards , city council , school boards , what have you to silence or remove people simply because they don't like what they have to say or they find it inconvenient or offensive. It really needs to be limited , reserved to the circumstance where someone is genuinely preventing the. Meeting from going forward. Genuinely disrupting , genuinely talking over preventing other people from being heard , making genuine and true threats of harm. And if those things happen , they can be addressed. And that's what this new law does provide a means to address , but it doesn't really break any new ground in the First Amendment sense. It's a First Amendment case law already allowed governing boards to address these kinds of problems. This just creates a formal mechanism to do so. And one good thing about the law is that in most circumstances , it does require the presiding member to give a warning and allow the person an opportunity to cease disrupting the meeting as an alternative to having them removed. So it does formalize the process where instead of simply saying a person could be instantly ejected or removed , they're allowed an opportunity to be warned , notified that their behaviour is disrupting the meeting and an opportunity to , you know , yield the floor and stop interrupting and stop creating a disruption.

S4: You know , we hear a lot about the current state of public discourse and how charged the rhetoric can be.

S2: That is true now. That was true at the founding of the republic. I think that's what democracy is about and that's what freedom of speech is designed to protect. There are outer limits , you know , as I said , on true threats of harm. There are outer limits , certainly within the context of a city council meeting or a board of supervisors meeting , where people can be expected to stick within their time limits and not chant or interrupt over other people. But outside the meeting room , this is what the First Amendment is guaranteed to protect is robust , uninhibited , wide open debate. And that's always been true. And I think that's a strength that we have that. And democracy is messy and it should be messy as long as the outer limits are observed. That's what we're here to protect.

S4: I've been speaking with David LOI , legal director for the First Amendment Coalition. David , thanks.

S2: Thank you very much. Appreciate the opportunity.

S4: This fall , students across San Diego County are again adjusting to being back on campus and face to face full time. The start of the new semester is especially challenging for students who are visually impaired. KPBS education reporter MJ Perez tells us how their special needs are being met and celebrated.

S2: Step up buttons in front , forward left. Find a button that's in front of you.

S5: These are very specific directions for a very specific young student.

S6: We use the back of the hand because we don't know if there is something on the button or if the button is hot.

S5: 15 year old Grace Dabiri is feeling her way across Orange Avenue in Coronado and listening to traffic all around her.

S6: Right off my right shoulder is where the car should be.

S5: Grace has been blind since birth because of an underdeveloped optic nerve that can't carry messages from her eyes to her brain.

S6: It's a bit scary at first because there are literal cars. But after doing it for a few years , it gets easier because I know what to expect most of the time , and it just becomes something I do every day.

S2: Give us a safety sweep. Left to right. Very nice step.

S5: The voice she listens to belongs to Jim. For Randy , an orientation and mobility specialist with the San Diego County Office of Education. He works with five or six visually impaired students every day in districts from Coronado to San Ysidro , teaching them life skills and helping with accommodations for their school work.

S2: It's not about failure. It's not about meeting my expectations. It's about them reaching the highest level of independence that they can in the amount of time that it takes to do that safely.

S5: He has worked with Grace since she was in second grade.

S6: I'm trailing the grass line. That's to my right. So I have a boundary.

S2: So I want you to find the.

S5: She is now a freshman at Coronado High School , already enrolled in Advanced Placement Computer Science , along with math and English classes. Grace is growing up with her other senses sharpened and has only a little interest in what she might never see.

S6: Honestly , probably just my family and I've heard the stars are pretty beautiful , so I'd want to see the night sky , but I don't really want sight because I'd have to relearn everything.

S5: Randy has more than 16 years of experience. That includes time as an EMT , security officer , a credentialed special education teacher with a master's degree , a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. And he is visually impaired.

S2: At 24 years old. I had an injury to my left eye where I had a retinal attachment and I lost the majority of the vision in my left eye and I didn't get it back.

S5: Sometimes Piron covers his one good eye so that he can relate to what his student is experiencing.

S2: So you're at the end of the 500 building. We're going to work on going to the front office in the nurse's office.

S5: At San Ysidro Middle School. There is another student success story involving 12 year old Diego Chaparro , also blind since birth. With prosthetics for both his eyes. He has never seen light or even shadows , only complete darkness. That has not stopped him from Dreams of Someday playing professional football.

S6: I love football. Yes.

S5: What position do you.

S3: But I don't.

S6: I haven't figured that out yet. What ? I'm throwing the ball. Someone just make some noise like a like.

S1: They clap or something.

S6: I just thought at the direction.

S5: Diego is supported by his visual impairment teacher too. Tania Gonzalez is another member of the San Diego County Office of Education Team. Gonzalez is a person who can she and she says she has been educated by so many of her students who cannot.

S6: Students can generally tell if a person is naturally kind , good hearted , not because of the way they look , but by the way they're interacted with.

S5: Diego's perseverance sets an example for all the other visually impaired students across the county like him who just want success and happiness.

S6: Treat them normal. Treat them the way.

S1: Normal people are. Treated.

S2: Treated.

S5: That is a lesson for all of us that is clear to see. M.G. Perez , KPBS News.

S4: Joining me is KPBS education reporter M.G. Perez. Andrew , welcome.

S5: Good to be with you , Maureen.

S4: Now , I learned a lot from listening to this feature. I didn't know that schools in the county had programs that help students with special needs actually navigate their lives outside the classroom.

S5: I want to teach you a new acronym and that is self-pay CLP a. It stands for special education local plan areas , and there are several shelters throughout the county. And the reason that significant is that the county Office of Education is responsible for working with all districts in those sectors to make sure that their students needs are met.

S4: It does. And I hope you can tell us a bit more about what a school quote , orientation and mobility specialist like Jim Peron , what he actually does.

S5: So as we mentioned in the report , Jim himself is visually impaired because of an accident that he suffered. And as a result of that , he is especially qualified to help students who are blind , who are visually impaired in any way , who have partial vision and so forth. And so his job is really to get them on campus and safe. So that could include , you know , finding your way around from one class to another , transitioning from one class to another. In the case of the young lady that we spoke with , Grace , she is now attending Coronado High School and she lives in the area. So she has to walk to school. And that involves some very crowded , busy intersections. And that's part of his job , too.

S4: Now , M.G. , I know that you used to be a special needs teacher.

S5: I worked with both populations. You might ask , Well , what is my child's disability ? That could be something as simple as a reading disability or something that is keeping a student from learning whatever that might look like. And of course , on the severe side of things , that would be somewhere on the autism spectrum. Children who are blind. And those kinds of disabilities. So there is a range of services that are available to students in those two classifications. There's something called an IEP , which is an individual educational plan , and that is specific to each student. So each student has goals , they have requirements. It's a legally binding document that teachers and administrators must abide by in order to make sure that that particular student is being serviced in the way that they need specifically.

S4: Now , it seems that there probably should be some special needs education given to the classmates of students like Grace and Diego.

S5: It's interesting to me how students , classmates of children with disabilities can actually be part of their program. We talked to Diego , who I mentioned wants to be a professional football player and having sat across from him and he's him telling me that I believe he's going to do it. And one plan for Diego is that his classmates would help him out on the field in supporting him to move around. So in that regard , they would actually be actively participating in his education. And there are other plans , you know , to use a football that makes a sound in order to allow him to at least have that initial experience. And then who knows where technology will take him from there.

S4:

S5: I worked with students at a school , Wolf Canyon Elementary , in the Chula Vista Elementary School District over a period of about three months. We started with basic theater exercises and games and that kind of thing. But because of the time of the year , we developed our own production of It's the Great Pumpkin , Charlie Brown. I taught them how to write a script , to memorize lines , and then we actually performed for the entire school on Halloween. The significance was one of the students I worked with was on the autism spectrum and completely nonverbal. By the time he got on stage in October. He was able to deliver two short lines. And for me , that was the moment I knew , first of all , I'm in the right business. And second of all , that. That's really the victory. Small victories and and he did that. And I'm told that after that , he was more verbal , if you will , in his other classwork after his performance , which I think is a great tribute to him.

S4: I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter MJ Perez. MJ , thank you very much.

S5: Thank you , Maureen.

S1: During the pandemic. Some cities in L.A. have banned rent hikes , but tenants are still getting demands to pay more in many cases. Whether they can fight those rent hikes depends on where they live. KPCC's David Wagner brings us this tale of two cities.

S2: Brian Cooney's apartment in West Hollywood is cozy. Just enough room for him and his dog. It's a small studio like I can lay in bed and fried egg at the same time. Space is tight and there's construction noise next door. So we had to a nearby park to talk about the time he fought a $350 rent hike. And one I've lost so many friends in West Hollywood that have had to leave because they couldn't afford the rent. So I felt like if I stood up to this , that maybe in a small way I can make a difference. Kuna moved to his new place in June 2020 , right as the pandemic was hollowing out L.A. Everyone was leaving. I got here. There was all moving trucks. Long term tenants were leaving the building. Everyone was scared. At that point. No one want to live in a city. Kona negotiated his rent down to 1550 per month , but when his lease came up for renewal , his landlord said he'd have to start paying 1900 , an increase of almost 23%. And I objected to it. I told him that it's not legal. I would not have moved in had I known that was going to be the rent. The landlord said , Take a look at your lease. There's a clause in there saying the rent you've been paying was temporarily reduced and now we're taking away the discount. Hoping to resolve the dispute , Kuna contacted the city. It all led up to a public hearing before West Hollywood's Rent Stabilization Commission. Madam Secretary , do we have a representative for the tenant and the landlord ? The landlord's representative laid out their case. Acuna laid out his and the city sided with Kuna , saying the rent he'd always paid should determine increases moving forward , not a lease , saying his actual rent was much higher. Jonathan Hollub is West Hollywood's rent stabilization manager. What the landlord was trying to do by increasing the rent subsequent to the initiation of the tenancy is not permitted under the existing law because it's essentially an illegal rent increase. Hollub says landlords won't get around the city's ban on rent hikes during the pandemic by writing creative leases. They can't then just decide they're going to raise it at some future point. It completely undermines the purpose behind rent stabilization. When the decision came down , Cunha says he felt vindicated. Yeah , it was. It was very , very stressful. Year. Kuna was lucky to live in West Hollywood , a city founded in 1984 , when LGBT residents , seniors and tenants banded together to push for stronger rent controls. If you lived a few blocks away in the city of L.A. , he would have lost.

S6: Unfortunately , there's no consistency as to how various cities or governmental agencies are handling these types of issues.

S2: Trinidad Ocampo is an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services of L.A. County. She says despite rent freezes , many tenants are still getting rent hikes , depending on the details. Some cities might stop those increases , while others allow them.

S6: Through the pandemic. Certain jurisdictions have imposed greater protections.

S2: I recently covered a story in Koreatown where tenants faced the same kind of rent hike as Brian Acuna. West Hollywood bans the practice , but the city of L.A. says it's legal. The city attorney's office pointed to a section in the city's rent control law , saying landlords can offer temporary discounts. And City Council President Nury Martinez deferred to LA's Housing Department , which says landlords can raise rents based on the fine print written into leases , even when tenants never knew they were getting a discount. Inconsistent enforcement isn't just confusing. UCLA assistant professor Catherine Lafayette says it can be harmful to health.

S6: We know that when pregnant.

S1: Moms get evicted , they're more likely to give birth.

S3: To babies that are low birth weight or preterm. Life.

S2: Life. Does epidemiological research on the links between housing and health.

S6: We know that.

S3: When kids get evicted , they're more likely to go food. Insecure.

S1: Insecure.

S6: And have developmental.

S1: Issues and problems concentrating in school.

S2: After receiving a 17% rent hike in her own apartment and Santa monica life , I decided to do some digging. She found that increase was way over the city's limit. She wanted to help other tenants figure out the rules where they live. So she created an online map showing allowable increases across L.A..

S3: It's complicated. You look at the map and it's this crazy patchwork.

S6: All over the county.

S2: Life says if tenants don't know their rights , they may end up agreeing to illegal rent hikes. Some may even lose their housing. She says expecting tenants to figure it all out for themselves is not a good system. I'm David Wagner in Los Angeles.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. As grape harvest season returns , so does Escondido Grape Festival. Dating back to the early 1900s. The Grape Festival celebrates Escondido as rich agricultural roots. This year's festival is this Saturday , September 10th , and will feature a range of entertainment , food and activities. As part of what the Escondido History Center is calling Escondido is one day history lesson. Joining me now is Samantha Narok , event coordinator for this weekend's festival. And , Samantha , welcome to Midday Edition.

S3: Thank you for having me.

S1: All right.

S3: In September , it was September 8th , and it was just something that was going to be a celebration of Escovedo agriculture. And people were kind of hearing all around the land , this is before social media , you know , through the grapevine , if you will. They were hearing that Escondido had the sweetest grapes in the region , and that was in the Southern California region , which was also it was a very you know , it was a growing agricultural and grape area. So basically , this festival was was going to be a celebration of that. Come c.r , come see our grapes , come see our agriculture.

S1: If the word was that Escondido had the sweetest grapes , I'd imagine that that may be one of the reasons the festival became very popular in those early years.

S3: It was it was it was not only the grapes , but it was because that's Canada was becoming a big area for citrus and avocado , all of that. It just sort of grew over time from 1908 to 1950. It drew thousands of Southern Californians and it really rivaled the Pasadena Festival of Roses and attendance. It was only second to that , which was really remarkable. Hmm.

S1:

S3: Actually , San Diego was the original area for for grapes in California. It was it was the first wine region in the whole state. And I don't think people realized that the the Spaniards brought grapes here and started planting them. And it began in San Diego , of course , with the first mission.

S1: And now to this year's festival.

S3: Less of a street fair. We have enough of those , you know , all all around California and around us , around the city. We are we're we're taking it back to it's a to an agricultural festival where there's going to be old games , old time games , old time music and everything that's basically from that those early years from 1908 up to up to the war , which is kind of when that first heyday of the festival sort of happened.

S1:

S3: That's how we match the grapes. Now we have machinery to do that. But , you know , it's it's a nice it's the historic way that we used to to to smash the grapes. So , you know , it's always fun to grape sounds always fun and this has always happened at the festival. So this year , the great thing is we have a good plentiful stock of grapes in the region , which is nice to say. Even with this heat , we do have a good crop , so there'll be some great grapes in there to stomp. We're going to have a wine and beer tasting area , of course , to taste all the local wine and beer and lots of different activities for the family. There's going to be a lot of demonstrations like spinning and weaving and corn shelling and grinding and butter making and things that a lot of kids nowadays don't see those sort of things in our , you know , digital age. Hmm.

S1: Hmm.

S3: I don't know if a lot of people have actually been to great state park and seen the history there itself , like the the Big Train Museum and the the blacksmith shop and the wheelwright shop and the old Victorian houses and things. And that's going to be set the stage basically for all of this. So yeah , there'll be a lot of static displays of steam engines and , and all of those kind of older things that just really show all of the different types of things that that we were known for back in the day that I don't think people really know. Know. Hmm.

S1: Hmm.

S3: So that's it's pretty cool. It's going to be a great day. Park It's on the 10th this Saturday and it's from 10 a.m.. A 4 p.m. and there'll be things all throughout the park for people to do and a lot of it's free , which is great.

S1:

S3:

S1: I've been speaking with Samantha Naki of Escondido , whose grape festival happening this Saturday , September 10th , from 10 to 4. And Samantha , thank you so much for joining us.

S3: Thank you for having me.

As temperatures linger in San Diego around 90 degrees or higher for another day, being homeless is even more dangerous. And, there are now more people living on the street in downtown San Diego than ever before. Then, following news that Juul labs agreed to pay nearly $440 million to settle claims that it marketed its products to teens, we talk about the health impacts of e-cigarettes. And, the start of a new school year can be especially challenging for students who are visually impaired. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez tells us how their special needs are being met and celebrated. And, in August, California Governor Newsom signed a new law outlining when and why people may be ejected from public meetings. But are these rules still needed since the outbursts triggered by COVID-19 restrictions have faded? Next, during the pandemic, some cities in L.A. have banned rent hikes. But tenants are still getting demands to pay more. In many cases, whether they can fight those rent hikes depends on where they live. Finally, a history lesson on Escondido’s rich agricultural roots, the city’s annual Grape Day Festival is happening this weekend.