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

How food and community are helping a San Diego neighborhood recover from floods

 April 19, 2024 at 12:27 PM PDT

S1: Welcome to KPBS roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. This week we hear about how neighbors in one San Diego community are leaning on one another to recover and rebuild from January's floods.

S2: There's very much a sense that at the end of the day , your neighbors are who you have and they're really relying on each other to pull.

S1: And how new federal limits on forever chemicals and drinking water are creating challenges for California water agencies.

S3: Over 200 water systems in California , with nearly 800 public wells , exceed the new federal drinking water standards.

S1: Plus , the weekly roundup of other stories we've been following. That's all ahead on KPBS roundtable. Welcome to KPBS roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. This week we hear about how strong community ties are helping San Diego's Shelton neighborhood recover from January's floods. Then we learn about new federal limits on forever chemicals and drinking water and what they mean for California. The KPBS roundtable starts now. Friday is the deadline to apply for federal assistance from the impacts of January storms and flooding. Meanwhile , many flood victims are still feeling the impact. Some can't go back to their damaged homes. Some live in hotels , others are waiting for insurance claims to come through. Katie Hyson is KPBS racial justice and social equity reporter. She's here to tell us more about how Shell Town , a neighborhood devastated by flooding , came together to get through this state of limbo. Hey , Katie , welcome back to roundtable.

S2: Thanks for having me.

S1: So tell us about Shell Town , which is the neighborhood you focus on in your story.

S2: Shell town is a small neighborhood just north of National City. Kind of hugs the I-5 freeway , and it's home to mostly low income Latino renters.


S2: We know that there were thousands impacted , more than a thousand people displaced from their homes. Shell town was one of the worst hit neighborhoods. When I was there , I asked residents to point to how high the water was , and they were pointing four feet up their walls. Wow.

S1: Wow. And your story begins by telling us about Issa Rosales , who's not a resident of Shell Town , actually. Tell us about her and how she has been playing a role in Shell Town's efforts to recover.

S2: Issa is what initially drew me to this story , and when I met her , I just marveled more and more. So she lives in El Cajon , and like a lot of people in the county , she was pretty removed from the impacts of the flood. And it wasn't until she saw pictures and videos on social media , on Facebook that she realized how bad the flooding was in some areas. And Issa is a single mother of three. She works multiple part time jobs and businesses to make ends meet , but she says she felt moved to do something. She started to pray , ask God how she could be used , and she drove out to the neighborhood to ask the neighbors what she could do. And she describes just being devastated , like not being able to comprehend what she was looking at in the streets and , you know , overwhelmed. She couldn't fix everything she was looking at. But what she can do and do really well is cook. And so she learned that a lot of these residents were still using microwaves and portable stove tops and things. And for her , like a hot home cooked meal was really , really important. And she started a cooking mass amounts of food and bringing it to the neighbors to share. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And I think it really taps into that idea of , of food as a part of home. Right. Like you're talking about. Yes , you may have access to food , but when you don't have a kitchen to cook it in , you can't connect with your , you know , family , your friends , things like that. Connecting with that homemade food really comes through in the story.

S2: And there is , you know , Issa phrased it really beautifully where she said , you know , every other aspect of these people's lives might be in limbo. And usually sitting around the table to a home cooked meal with your family is that piece of stability during the day , and they don't have that. And so for her , it's well until they can again , I can provide this and really like emotional healing to write. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. So tell us about some of the shell town residents you spoke with for this story.

S2: The main person I spoke with was Beba Zarate. She hosts the meals in her front yard , and she's lived in Shell Town for 25 years in this house. And since the floods , her house kind of looks like a command center. Most of her personal belongings are gone. They were lost in the flood. And she has like donations to distribute to flood survivors , floor to ceiling in her carport. All the neighbors kind of come there to congregate. And so she's kind of become this , like , neighborhood connecting figure.

S1: So , Katie , you know , one thing you say in the story , though , the storms , they happened back in January about three months ago , but the disaster actually feels much more recent than that.

S2: So there was a huge dumpster right in the middle of the street , and there were still sandbags piled up on the sidewalks. Um , the homes look kind of odd because of the lack of personal possessions left the street that neighbor's house is on used to have a lot of traffic. It connects to the highway and a school. And so there always just used to be cars and children and noise , and that's gone. I heard multiple people reference it as a ghost town or a ghost street , but it's interesting. Biba is really remarkable because she has this way of seeing positives and situations that you just would never think to look for them. And so to her , she talked about her neighborhood changing for the good to saying that this tragedy had really brought the neighbors together in a way that they hadn't been before , that they stopped to talk with each other. Now that they have really rallied together , sometimes they'll , you know , be grilling in the backyard and they'll share what they have with the whole neighborhood. Or she told me stories about the neighbors kind of pulling together the change they had and buying one hamburger with it and sitting and cutting that up and splitting it up in the yard. And so I think it it's no doubt that these floods have reshaped the neighborhood. But like you said , it does feel so recent. It's all these signs of the flooding is there. It's just the water is gone.

S1: And you mentioned , you know , some people kind of referring to it still a little bit as a ghost town.

S2: They said there are over a thousand people , a thousand San Diegans still receiving rental assistance , so ostensibly still out of their homes. They couldn't give me a number specific to Shell Town. But neighbors there say there's a lot of people and a lot of children still gone. And Biba said something that stuck with me where she got really emotional about the children being gone , and she said , it's really scary to not see those smiles around anymore.

S1: So , I mean , you talked a little bit about this. I mean , you said there's less people there. There's still signs of the floods and their damage there. There's like the dumpsters you mentioned. What work still remains in Shell Town for its recovery.

S2: A lot of people are still in the FEMA assistance process of trying to get that assistance money. Or if they have it , they're trying to , you know , get construction workers to come help. But people have really lost everything. The way Biba phrased it was , you know , at first you're in survival mode. So you're thinking , you know , what do I need day to day ? But when enough time passes , you realize , oh , this is this is just life now , like , I don't have any of the things that I used to lean on to live day to day. And I was looking at the census of their income levels , and they're very low income. And in San Diego , like , it is hard to survive even on higher incomes than that. And so I've been thinking , you know , I can't imagine how long it's going to take to replace even just possessions like furniture , clothes , um , even with FEMA assistance , I think normal life is probably a long way off. And it's also this emotional toll like that really stuck with me from Biba that she she describes the neighborhood as having PTSD from the floods , and she tried to describe what PTSD feels like. And I have a clip of that.

S4: It is like the emotions are numb. It is like when you have on stage and you are barely waking up. This is how we are feeling. We are like colorblind. You can see the color , but we cannot see the colors. We are trying to. But it's really hard.

S1: That's really powerful and kind of talks about some of that trauma that you referred to. Um , like you said , you can kind of get by for a little while in that emergency phase , but at some point you need to kind of return back to normal life so you can really hear that in there.

S2: And Beba mentioned her neighbors having some technology and internet barriers , and they've said that she did receive FEMA assistance , but that it wasn't much money compared to the need. And this is going to be a really bad way to calculate this , because some people receive more , some people receive less. But FEMA told me they gave $20 million to , um , about 2500 people. Um , and so if everyone got the same amount , that would be about 7500 dollars each , which for , you know , things like housing repairs , housing assistance , all of that. And I have to say , being there and looking around inside baby's house , it's hard to imagine that stretching very far.

S1: For someone that may still be looking to apply.

S2: Household for , as I mentioned , housing assistance , repairs and property loss. Online that's disaster There's a FEMA mobile app or and this is especially important if people are feeling those technology and internet barriers. You can call a FEMA helpline. It's 806 213362. They have operators available until 10 p.m. and they also have translators available. So if English is not your preferred language , don't let that stop you. And the other important thing that FEMA told me is that the main reason they're seeing people not get funds is because they don't connect with the FEMA home inspector after their application has moved forward. So FEMA is really encouraging people to watch your phone. And if you're concerned that maybe you missed the home inspector to call the FEMA helpline.

S1: You can also find that information at our website , KPBS. Org. Katie , this is not the first story you've done on the communities and the people impacted by these storms. What have you learned about these communities with how they've responded.

S2: In these different neighborhoods I've been to that were worst hit by the floods. I've really noticed how the neighbors are relying on each other. There are various assistance programs , but there's very much a sense that at the end of the day , your neighbors are who you have and they're really relying on each other to pull through , and just their resiliency has really stuck out to me. Like you said , life continues to go on. A lot of these people are , you know , they're single mothers or families and their kids still need to go to school. And I've just been really , um , blown away by how much these neighborhoods are continuing to push through despite everything that they've lost.

S1: You know , I think you mentioned this earlier , but there was a large contrast in how some communities were really impacted by the storms and the damage from them and other communities weren't even. Issa Rosales , from your story , you know , she was in El Cajon , wasn't as impacted and needed to , you know , see these videos on social media to really see how devastating it was.

S2: I really related to Isa in that way , like being from Florida. You know , I've , I grew up with multiple hurricanes most years , and it was hard for me to understand when that storm happened. I heard people talking about floods and impacts , but I had looked out my window and just seen light rain , you know , and so it was hard for me to understand. I even saw in social media , like Californians who weren't in those neighborhoods , kind of cracking jokes about Californians being dramatic about the rain or things like that. It wasn't until I went to those neighborhoods to report on this. I really had to witness it for myself to understand that the infrastructure here just isn't built for that kind of rain. And so the effects I witnessed , I felt like I was looking at after a hurricane had come through in Florida. A lot of the visuals were very similar to what I remember of that. So I think it's important for people to understand just how how much support is needed in these areas that might be , you know , very close to you.


S2: And unless you fell into their categories , then you don't qualify. And so I'm thinking of people who don't have one of those legal statuses , what is happening to them. And how are they recovering. And not just that , but how does this missed group of people , how does that affect the community as a whole ? You know , these are people part of the fabric of our communities and our collective well-being rests also on their well-being. And so I really want to see what's available to them if they don't have this very core form of assistance.

S1: I want to go back now to earlier in the conversation when we talked about Rosales and her food and what she brought to the community.

S2: I actually went back. She was at a fair and I went and found her booth and tried her tamales. And they were the best I've ever had. I'm not just saying that. I highly recommend the chicken mole. Perfect ratio of meat to masa. No dryness. Fixings on top. Made with love. It's the best.

S1: Oh great , I can't wait. And she does. She has pop ups.

S2: Yes , I believe it's called S's tamales. And she also does desserts and other things. And yeah , it's made with a lot of love.

S1: I think in the course of this conversation you covered it pretty well. But just some of that strength of community really comes through in this story. And thank you for your reporting and for sharing more about it with us today. Katie Hyson is KPBS racial justice and Social Equity reporter. Thanks again , Katie.

S5: Thank you.

S1: When roundtable returns , we take a look at what new federal limits on forever chemicals in drinking water mean for San Diego and California.

S3: Nearly everyone in the US , even newborn babies , have been exposed to them.

S1: That's coming up next on roundtable. You're listening to KPBS roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. Do you know what's in your drinking water ? The Environmental Protection Agency released the first nationwide limits on forever chemicals and drinking water. These chemicals have been linked to illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Several thousand water systems in the U.S. are expected to exceed the new national limits , including many here in California. Rachel Becker is Calmatters water reporter. She has details on the situation in the Golden State. Rachel , welcome to roundtable. Hi.

S3: Hi. Thanks for inviting me.

S1: So what are these forever chemicals ? Yeah.

S3: So they go by a lot of names. They don't readily break down in the environment. So they're known as forever chemicals. You might also have heard of them as a per fluoro alkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances , or PFAS for short. There are absolutely thousands of them. And they're everywhere in all sorts of products. They've been used to make things like Teflon in some firefighting foams , stain and water resistant coatings , and even some food packaging , and they get into the environment by leaching into soil and water from places like industrial facilities , military bases , airports , landfills and nearly everyone in the US , even newborn babies have been exposed to them.


S3: They've been linked to all sorts of health effects. There's just really a massive review of what we know that linked them to certain cancers , decreased immune responses , changes in cholesterol and decreased growth of fetuses and babies. And even back in 2021 , the white House said that they were taking action against these chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment. And so now , three years later , the EPA announced these new drinking water standards for six of the PFAS chemicals , which the agency said they expect will prevent 30,000 illnesses , 9600 deaths and save about , I think , 1.5 billion a year from reduced health effects like cancers and heart disease , strokes and birth complications. But the caveat is it's also going to be expensive. EPA expects testing and treatment to cost , you know , about 1.5 billion per year , but water industry analysts estimated that the cost could be much higher.

S1: So you and your colleagues at Calmatters , you analyzed state data to better understand the problem here in California. Tell us , you know , what did you find ? Yeah.

S3: Um , John D'Agostino and Jeremiah Kimmelman on our data team made a map that you can check out at calmatters. Org. And what they did was they took a look at test results that water suppliers have reported to the state of California , and they average results from 2023. And they found that over 200 water systems in California , with nearly 800 public wells , exceed the new federal drinking water standards. So that's more than half of the California systems that had tested and reported their results.


S3: Water suppliers may already be treating the water under California's current guidelines. They may have other supplies that they rely more heavily on or use to dilute the contaminated sources to within acceptable limits. Um , so that what is seen in sources , uh , you know , especially drinking water wells , may not actually reflect what folks are getting from their taps , which might have lower levels. It'll vary from supplier to supplier.


S3: And really , you know , it's it's hard to see patterns. It's really a kind of a smattering throughout the county. There are coastal wells as well as ones more in the in the central county as well.

S1: You're reporting also identifies other parts of the state , you know , that had these elevated levels , including on military bases , as you mentioned earlier. And some of this was found on Camp Pendleton , for example. Um , tell us more about that. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. That's right. Um , military facilities are often considered hotspots because of the use of firefighting foams that may have contained , uh , forever chemicals. And Camp Pendleton definitely showed up in the state testing results with some elevated levels.


S3: You know , they could find new sources of water , import expensive surface water supplies , for instance , and take contaminated wells offline. They could blend the contaminated source with another source of water to dilute the concentrations to within acceptable limits , or they can install treatment. There are several options. One I've heard about is reverse osmosis , which is what's used for desalination. But the one I hear more commonly is ion exchange , which you can kind of think of as like a home water softener , but on steroids.

S1: So earlier you mentioned cost. So how are water agencies approaching that challenge ? You know , you mentioned , I think figures , you know , over $1 billion. What's the next step there in terms of water agencies being able to meet these new limits ? Yeah.

S3: EPA estimates about $1.5 billion a year for things like testing , treatment , uh , maintaining that treatment , uh , water industry analysis put it anywhere from between 2.5 to $3.2 billion. And the big question is where is that money going to come from ? So there have been some major settlements , but a multibillion dollar settlement really only goes so far. And so water suppliers I spoke to in California , they've turned to low interest loans , grants from the state or other sources. But , you know , all of them that I talked to acknowledge that some of it is going to have to come from customers who will likely see it in their bills and water agencies.

S1: They have five years to comply with these new limits. But , you know , given the health dangers , I'm guessing the sooner the better , I would think.

S3: So a big question for them is how much the new federal guidelines are going to increase the number of wells that need treatment , and so how much that's going to cost , both to construct treatment and then to maintain and operate it for years and years and years to come. There's also another question , though , of , uh , for smaller suppliers , suppliers that may not have begun testing yet , that will now be required to test under the EPA's , uh , new standards. And they're sort of in a different boat because they don't know yet what they're facing. You know , they don't know yet if they have contamination. And if they do , they'll then sort of be at the starting line for figuring out treatment and how to pay for it.


S3: Um , so far , more water suppliers are going to have to test. And so we'll , we'll start seeing , you know , where this truly is an issue.

S1: And in another recent story you wrote about California's effort to limit the amount of another contaminant and that is hexavalent chromium. Tell us about what's going on there.

S3: Yeah , it's a mouthful. Hexavalent chromium. It's also sometimes known as chromium six. It was made infamous by the movie Erin Brockovich , which dramatized the contamination by PG and cooling towers of the water supply of a small California desert town called Hinkley. Um , hexavalent chromium has long been known as a carcinogen when folks breathe it in. But for a long time there was a there was some debate about whether it could cause cancer by consuming it as well , until in the last 10 to 20 years , 2008 , there were , uh , studies showing that in mice and rats that scientists said clearly demonstrated a cancer risk from drinking it. Um , and so under federal limits , the US EPA doesn't actually have a specific hexavalent chromium standard for drinking water. Instead , it has a total chromium limit that includes hexavalent chromium , and it's kind of more benign. Alter ego trivalent chromium in California has had a lower limit for total chromium as well. But a decade ago , state regulators enacted a specific limit for hexavalent chromium. But the regulation was overturned in court. And so what happened Wednesday was , uh , state regulators enacted a new hexavalent chromium standard for California drinking water. It's ten parts per billion , which is about ten drops of contaminants in an Olympic sized swimming pool. And so now water systems will have to figure out how to how to live within that limit.

S1: And I believe , you know , in your reporting , you know , it's present naturally in certain parts of the state. And then and it's also come about as a result of industrial contamination. What parts of the state are most affected by this contaminant ? So.

S3: We we did an analysis again of state data. It was again found kind of throughout California. We saw some on the Central Coast. We also saw elevated levels in areas like Sacramento and Solano. And the highest levels found though were in Riverside , Yolo County , Los Angeles and Ventura counties. But again , like with the Forever Chemicals , the levels in the sources don't necessarily reflect what folks are drinking because of steps that water suppliers may take to blend the water or treat it , or they may not rely on those sources very heavily.

S1: And in another water change , California made a change to the rules involving water recycling. And this is a pretty big focus here in San Diego with its pure water project. What are these new rules and how are they going to shape water in California going forward ? Yeah.

S3: So in December , California approved rules to turn sewage into drinking water. You don't call it toilet to tap because there are so many steps in between. Uh , previously California allowed , um , what's called indirect potable reuse. And so once the sewage is highly treated , it makes a pit stop in a reservoir or an aquifer before being incorporated into the water supply. Now , under these new rules , which were ten years in the making , um , mandated mandated by state law , they allow for the water to be directly added to water supplies , bypassing that kind of that buffer , that pit stop. There are a huge amount of treatment steps and monitoring steps that are required to make sure that this water doesn't contain anything that could harm health. Um , it's , you know , bubbled with ozone , it's digested by bacteria , gets filtered through activated carbon , it goes through reverse osmosis membranes multiple times. It gets , um , you know , cleansed with something like hydrogen peroxide , uh , beamed with UV light. And then it's so clean that that minerals actually have to get added back in. And then at that point it gets mixed in with drinking water and goes through that regular treatment. This is still probably years away for most water suppliers , because of the sheer amount of technology that has to go into this and the expense of building these facilities. But now with these new rules , water suppliers can actually really start planning to incorporate direct potable reuse. And this is a big deal for suppliers that don't have that kind of local storage , you know , that reservoir or that don't have aquifers beneath them that are capable of holding the water. And it's also a big deal for places with aquifers that are so contaminated that after all this treatment , you'd then be contaminating your nice , clean , you know , former wastewater. So it could really expand the possibilities for recycled water in California. But it's also pretty expensive. And so it's going to be a really kind of cost benefit analysis for regions in California that are especially water scarce.

S1: Well , and here in San Diego , we also hear a lot about desalination as an option. But , um , that's also pretty difficult and expensive as well. Right ? At this point.

S3: Yeah , there have been there was kind of a smattering of desal plants , um , coastal desal plants that went through the a pretty key part of the regulatory process with the Coastal Commission. A couple of years ago , we saw one in Huntington Beach , uh , rejected , um , because of a kind of combination of factors , including concerns about the environmental effects , but also because , um , the area may not have needed that supply because there were ample other sources. But we did see a couple of plants approved , including one in Dana Point and one in , um , Monterey County. And so those are there. There does seem to be some interest in coastal desalination , something that gets less attention , but is is kind of almost seems more established in California is inland brackish groundwater desalination and , um , water suppliers in kind of more inland areas with really salty groundwater supplies. Pull that water up and , uh , clean the salts out. And that tends to be less energy intensive than the coastal desalination.

S1: And I should note , Carlsbad , here in northern San Diego , also has a fairly large desalination plant. That's right. Yeah. So when we talk about California and its water , you know , it's almost impossible not to mention the Colorado River. Several western states , including California , have long relied on it. And now negotiations are underway to reduce California's dependence on that water. Tell us what's happening there. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. So California is currently sort of embroiled in negotiations about what to do after current drought agreements expire at the end of 2026. And so all of the basin states are working the the lower basin , including California , Nevada. In Arizona and the upper basin states , including Colorado , New Mexico , Utah and Wyoming are trying to kind of hash out what the future looks like. You know , who will see cuts if supplies drop like we've seen in this recent megadrought. And last day , I checked in in March , California , Nevada and Arizona had submitted their plan to the federal government , in which California agreed to cut their portion by about 10% in most years. This is still kind of an ongoing negotiation , though. The upper basin states had their own plan , and it seems like they're kind of a ways away from a deal. There are lots of plans being submitted to the US Bureau of Reclamation , and they're expected to kind of assess possible approaches , and that's expected in December. And so we'll see which ones they consider and and what they think of them going forward.

S1: You can find Rachel's reporting , as well as a map of California wells that would exceed new federal standards at Cal matters. Org you can also find that on our website KPBS. Org. Rachel Becker covers all things water for Calmatters. Rachel , thanks for being here.

S3: Well , thanks for inviting me.

S1: Coming up on roundtable , we catch up on some other stories on the Weekly roundup. That's next. You're listening to KPBS roundtable , I'm Andrew Bracken. It's time to catch up on Top stories from the week. And joining me to do that is KPBS web producer Laura McCaffrey. Hey , Laura.

S3: Hey , Andrew.

S1: Before we get started on this week's stories , I wanted to touch on one story from last week , and that was the eclipse. I kind of had a muted reaction to it. And we received an email from Todd Madison. Yeah , I wanted to share a little bit of it with you. He said expecting to have an eclipse experience without actually going to see totality is like expecting to get a Grand Canyon experience from a hotel a few miles away from the rim. So he , you know , reiterated that the zone of totality is basically where the experience actually happens. You know , that's that's a different thing , he says. And he also notes that we'll have more opportunities Spain in 2026 or Australia in 2028. So I'm going to flip a coin and choose one of those to really experience the next. I say Spain. That's where I'm leaning to. But I have friends in Australia , so yeah , I'll keep my options open. But thanks , Todd , for that email. Okay. What are some of the stories you're following this week ? Yeah.

S6: So one of the big stories. Well , homelessness is always a big story in San Diego County. Um , so a homeless camp ban bill modeled after San Diego's unsafe camping ordinance , um , that's stalled in the California Senate. It would have been a statewide ban on homeless encampments. And two state senators from San Diego County were sponsoring it. Um , Brian Jones and Catherine Blake Spear , and they modeled it after the city of San Diego's ban. And Brian Jones is one of the people saying the city's homelessness ban , um , is working. You know , there is some data from the downtown San Diego partnership that showed a downward trend of people experiencing homelessness in that area. But there was a calmatters story. You talked to Marissa Kendall from Calmatters last week about that ? Yep.

S1: Last week on roundtable , Marissa talked about that story and some of that response from the state of people looking up to this ban that San Diego implemented , but also kind of digging into some of the complexities there , too , because it's kind of hard to fully get the full picture of what's worked.

S6: So , yeah , we don't really actually have evidence that we can see that this ban is successful or not. But in any case , it's , you know , not moving forward in the state legislature , at least for now.

S1: And the regional task force on homelessness , they're the ones who do the annual point in time count in San Diego. They just came out with a new report on homelessness , right ? Yeah.

S6: Um , so the report that came out for March , it kind of shows the same trend we've seen the last couple of years , more people becoming homeless versus people that have found housing. But there's some good news in this report. According to some advocates , um , that gap is narrowing. So in the March report , there was more than 1300 people that became homeless , while more than 1200 people found housing. So that ended up being about a difference of 100 people. Um , but last month , February , that difference was about 150 people. Thus a trend journalist love trends.

S1: Well , that's good to see because I think for a long time we've been seeing that where more people looking for housing is just that number not adding up. So any positive news , I think , on homelessness we'll be thankful for at this point. Yeah.

S6: Yeah.

S1: So what other stories , what else do you got ? Yeah.

S6: Well , we had another interesting one from , um , our investigative reporter , Amita Sharma. Um , she took a look at this crowdsourcing site that lists , um , that lists historical markers , and she took a look at some places where something significant happened in San Diego's history. San Diego's history has a lot of markers listing like Spanish , colonial and U.S. military pasts , but there wasn't a lot of information that tells us about the people indigenous to our region , like the Kumeyaay Lucio tribes and the Native Americans living here today that Amita talked to. They weren't surprised. They said the omission kind of reflects American culture and the very little that we know about indigenous history , which is true. I mean , I feel like I didn't learn too much about the Kumeyaay and Lucina people growing up. I think in school , like I only thought there was the one tribe , the Kumeyaay people. But there's so many other tribes that have had a long history here.

S1: Yeah , there's. A lot in this story. It's really interesting from Amita. I mean , can you talk a little bit more , you know , an example of some of these omissions that you're talking about ? Yeah.

S6: I mean , one of them is the Kumar's 4000 year old history with the Ramona Grasslands Preserve. It was a village site. It had two creeks and oak tree acorns local to the area where a big food source for the tribe.

S1: Next up you have a story on an update with the OB pier in my neck of the woods.

S6: Oh yes , another historical iconic site. Um , as we all know , the OB pier has been closed on and off for years due to storm damage.

S1: It feels like a long time. Or it was closed. And then was it open briefly and then closed again ? I can't even remember at this point. Yeah.

S6: It's just been like , on and off.

S1: Yeah , it's just something at this point I just see in the distance , you know. Yeah.

S6: Yeah. You don't actually experience it anymore. Um , but maybe you will soon. I mean , but the best option that the city has found , um , is just to replace it completely. Right ? So they released a proposed redesign , and they're asking for input from the public. There's an online survey. You can find it on KPBS. Org and let them know what you think. Um , and the pictures that you see there , it's not the final design. Um , so they , they will take into account or they say they will take into account the public's feedback and come back with a second version. And the the new design is it's like the shape of the old one pretty much , but it's more of like a Y shape. So a little bit more modern looking , if you will.

S1: Yeah , that's what I thought. I mean , but it's still it's not a huge redesign in the sense of like it's going to have all sorts of new stores or new build up. It still kind of has the feel of that , you know , that OB pier , but there are some , some amenities , some there's like a cafe going to be on it. Right.

S6: Yeah , yeah. There was a cafe like I'm assuming it's not operating anymore. There was a cafe , um , on the current design , but this design proposal has a cafe and restaurant area with indoor outdoor seating. There might be a gift shop , a bait shop , and then there's a surfer's lounge , which is sort of a rest area where people can sit and watch surfers.

S1: I mean , I'm open to it. I don't I don't know exactly what I'd want. I just miss kind of accessing that space and going out there. I used to walk there in the mornings , like early in the mornings and a nice foggy days. Kind of a beautiful way to start my day. Um , and I missed that. I guess I envisioned some more elements to it , but I need to check out the Surfers Lounge. That sounds cool.

S6: Yeah , I kind of like that. I mean , any like , public space is great , I think , because it gets people out. Absolutely. You know , enjoy the sunshine. But I do like the idea of more rest areas. Yeah. Because , um , you know , the current , the current OB pier , they have like benches and stuff like that , but it's usually , you know , covered in stuff. Right.

S1: Right. Icky stuff. No. You're right. And to like , better access the coast. Do you know what I mean ? So if you , you know , aren't surfing all the time or in the water , you can still kind of have an experience out in the water. That's what I always kind of appreciated about. Yeah.

S6: If you're like me and you can't stand on a surfboard , then the surfers Lounge is for me.

S1: Yeah , so we'll see. You said they're still taking public comments ? Yep. And then there'll be another kind of redesign from there. Yeah. Update to it. Yeah. So we'll see.

S6: So yep. Get on that if you have strong feelings. So Andrew what have you been reading this week.

S1: One thing I saw was in the Los Angeles Times. It was a Terry Castleman article , and it was just about the increase in number of California cities that have become these million dollar cities , meaning the number of cities where the median home price has risen to above $1 million. And I'm not talking about cities like that. You'd expect , like , I don't know , Laguna Beach , but just smaller places that you don't think of as having like million dollar homes. Um , the article mentions Tustin in Orange County. It also mentions Bonita here down in San Diego. And it said , oh , wow. Some 210 California cities have median home prices of at least $1 million. So I think that's according to Zillow. And that's more than the next five states combined , is what that was Terry Castleman writes about. So I thought that was interesting. One more story. This one I think was originally reported from the Wall Street Journal. It's been getting a lot of attention. And that's the the Justice Department plans to sue a Live Nation and his company Ticketmaster , basically , you know , accusing it of being a monopoly , charging these , you know , these sometimes exorbitant fees , but also. Causing sometimes a poor quality experience. I think you'll remember there was like all this controversy with Taylor Swift ticketing that just went haywire. But I got to say , this is something I'm old enough to remember. This has been going on decades , where artists and concertgoers have been fighting against Ticketmaster , Pearl Jam , back in the early days , they fought this like grandiose battle against Ticketmaster and ultimately lost. So I'm just interested to see. I don't think a lot's been announced here. Um , but , you know , we'll see where that that case goes.

S6: I mean , in my experience as a concertgoer , they tack on so many fees that I don't understand service fees or whatever kind of fees. Um , so yeah , I think , I think if something comes of it that'll be great for frequent concert and , um , sporting event goers and yeah , I mean , maybe the Swifties will get involved and really put some movement on there.

S1: That's the only way real change will happen is getting this. The Swifties behind you.

S6: Taylor , if you're listening , we need your help.

S1: Laura McCaffrey , thanks so much for being here.

S6: Thanks for having me.

S1: That's our show this week. We'd love to hear from you. You can email us at roundtable at KPBS. Org. You can also leave us a message at (619) 452-0228. You can listen to our show anytime as a podcast. KPBS roundtable airs on KPBS FM at noon on Fridays again Sundays at 6 a.m.. Roundtables. Technical producers Brandon Truffaut. The show was produced by Laura McCaffrey and me , Andrew Bracken Brooke Ruth is Roundtable's senior producer. I'm Andrew Bracken. Thanks for listening. Have a great weekend.

Ways To Subscribe
Shelltown neighbors gather for a hot meal at the home of Beba Zárate (left) on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Donations to be distributed to flood survivors pack her carport.
Katie Hyson
Shelltown neighbors gather for a hot meal at the home of Beba Zárate (left) on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Donations to be distributed to flood survivors pack her carport.

Though the storms and floods happened three months ago, many communities in San Diego are still working to recover from January's floods. We hear about how San Diego's Shelltown neighborhood continues its recovery with the help of community bonds and food.

Also, Friday, April 19, is the last day to apply for federal aid to help with housing assistance, repairs and property loss.

Then, we take a look into dangerous "forever chemicals" in drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday revealed the first nationwide limits on the chemicals, setting standards that will have sweeping effects throughout California.

Plus, we hear about other stories from this week in the roundup.


Katie Hyson, racial justice and social equity reporter, KPBS

Rachel Becker, water reporter, CalMatters

Lara McCaffrey, web producer, KPBS