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A Senior On The Streets, With Little Chance Of A Home And More Local News

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In parts of California, seniors are the fastest growing part of the homeless population. Plus: A new American Lung Association report finds San Diego is the sixth smoggiest city in the country and the number of unhealthy ozone days is going up; an apartment complex in City Heights last week told residents their rent will increase 75% to $1,875, forcing residents to look for another place to live; a spoiler-free review of "Avengers: Endgame" and more San Diego news.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Good morning. It's April 25th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters. Fin Social Security checks, little retirement savings and a lack of affordable housing are forcing some California seniors onto the streets in San Diego County. The number of unsheltered people between the ages of 55 and 74 rose 6% last year as part of our series in California, KPBS as Etha Sean has spent the day with a 71 year old man who lives on San Diego sidewalks.

Speaker 2: 00:34 Carl Russell wakes up at 5:00 AM he slept on the sidewalk sitting up against San Diego's senior wellness center.

Speaker 3: 00:41 The concrete is hard and you can't get comfortable when it's raining and your clothes are wet and you got dog walking up and down beside you and strange people.

Speaker 4: 00:52 Justin genes, a blue windbreaker over an orange sweatshirt. He says he's still tired. I can't sleep solid because I don't want to get my throat cut. I lost a friend here who got stabbed to death. Carl points to his wooden cane,

Speaker 2: 01:05 his only defense, he calls it his first big challenge of the day is finding a spot. Trying to do them. Number two, so he walks eight blocks through other homeless encampments to a nearby Deli.

Speaker 4: 01:19 Sammy, this is a nice guy. He feeds me. It gives me a cup of coffee. Let me put it a lot and when I got a dollar, Carl seem to know everybody here. He spent some time saying hello and then walks back to the senior center

Speaker 2: 01:34 for a shower and food. After that, he gets on a bus.

Speaker 4: 01:39 It goes back to 15 years.

Speaker 2: 01:44 Sweet. Carl has been homeless for more than three years now. He stole the rotisserie chicken from Vons a while back because he was hungry.

Speaker 3: 01:54 I can't see no goal. At the end of the rainbow crush. This is getting harder and harder and I'm getting older and older.

Speaker 2: 02:02 He says, friends, other homeless seniors have killed themselves.

Speaker 3: 02:05 Charlie committed suicide. It hurt me so bad. I had tears the first time you tried to commit suicide. I talked him out of it. A call nine one one.

Speaker 2: 02:16 Carl keeps looking for a place to live, but affordable housing options in California for relatively healthy homeless seniors are few and regular housing is way beyond reach. He gets $800 a month from social security. Then you apartments being built around him in San Diego, Costa, triple or quadruple that amount.

Speaker 3: 02:36 I couldn't get a job at work anymore. With two knees replaced, two hips is almost impossible and who's going to give you a job?

Speaker 2: 02:43 He's working with a pro bono lawyer to try to convince the teamsters union. He's entitled to a pension from his truck driving days. In the meantime, he prays and hopes, but on this date dejection got the better of him.

Speaker 3: 02:57 Society doesn't care about the singers like we have worked

Speaker 4: 03:00 most of our lives and this is our reward to be homeless on the street in San Diego.

Speaker 1: 03:07 I'm, I'm Etha Sharma. The story is from our California dream collaboration. Find out more about our series at grain, california.org tennis at an apartment complex in city heights. Came home to unexpected news last week. Their rent would be going up by 75% on July 1st now, many of them were scrambling to find a new place to live. KPBS report or Prius reader as the story rent for a two bedroom complex at the Marlborough Plaza apartments in city heights is increasing from 1070 $5 to $1,875 on July 1st for many city heights residents, the increase is too much. The median income in city heights is $40,000 $30,000 less than that of San Diego. One resident who said her name was Nomi, who lived there for seven years, moved out over the weekend, [inaudible] a lot of rent and that's why we're sad because they increased the rent by too much and we can't pay the property management company. Constellation management says the previous owner did not keep up with maintenance and reasonable rent increases. They say they are willing to help tenants find a new place to live. Priya, SRI, there, Kay PBS news, members of Congress listened to some of the problems local vets have encountered with student loans and private colleges. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says, Congress is working on new rules.

Speaker 5: 04:33 Members of the house education and veteran's affairs committees took testimony at Grossmont College. Wednesday. Representative Susan Davis says they're looking at the issues surrounding how for profit schools use federal student loans

Speaker 4: 04:46 may create a convenience for the individual that sometimes within our systems were not able to match. But on the other hand, what good is convenience if you end up in a worse place than when you started.

Speaker 5: 05:00 Expert said the school's target veterans and their Gi bill dollars. The house is looking at several changes including strengthening the rule, which requires a private school to have at least 10% of its student body, which does not use federal funds. The Obama Administration had already designed similar rules, but they were not implemented by the Trump administration. Steve Walsh Kpbs News,

Speaker 1: 05:22 I knew American Lung Association report five San Diego is the sixth small gayest city in the country. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson has details

Speaker 6: 05:32 can lung association official State Local Air quality has been declining in San Diego. The associations. Deborah Kelley says the number of smoggy days in the city is up 42% over the past five years. That comes after the number had been trending down for 15 years. Kelly says, climate change isn't helping.

Speaker 4: 05:52 The hotter it is, the more ozone is made, the faster it's the worst hour. Air Quality Gats and of course the impacts of climate change. Just get that much worse.

Speaker 6: 06:05 Small August created when carbon emissions typically from cars and trucks are mixed with nitrogen oxides and then that mixture is heated by the sun. The pollution can make it hard to breathe and damage lungs. Eric Anderson, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 06:20 Avengers Andy game finally arrives in theaters with early screening starting tonight. KPBS film critic bath like a macho as this spoiler free review.

Speaker 4: 06:30 It's been a long wait, but Avengers end game is here. Just hang on. If you've been following the nearly two dozen films over the past 12 years, you won't be disappointed, but if this is your first marvel film, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Producer, Kevin Fay. He deserves high praise for masterminding the franchise and working diligently to make the marvel film universe feel like a cohesive whole. Despite the film's varying widely in quality and tone and gain picks up where infinity war left off with half the living creatures turned to dust by fantasies, casual snap of his fingers. He used the stones again.

Speaker 4: 07:06 We'd be going and shorthand and you know, look, he's still got the stone, so, so let's get up. Use them to bring everyone back just like that. Yeah, just like of course it's not that simple. The Russo brothers who also directed infinity war and a pair of Captain America films wrap up everything with a proper mix of teary eyed sentiment and good natured humor, and with the massive cross cutting between multiple storylines, it feels like a brisk three hour run time. My main takeaway though, now that the story arc is done is that I really want a Thor and rocket film the Fuck Amando KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 07:40 California counties are reviewing criminal cases to find marijuana related convictions that could be expunged or reduced to misdemeanors. Capitol. Public radio is Bob Moffit reports counties from Sacramento to Los Angeles took part in a pilot program and it helps them easily identify the cases.

Speaker 7: 07:59 One is now legal in California and previous convictions for sales or possession must be reviewed by district attorneys. The Sacramento DA's office has filed dismissal requests for 1900 marijuana related convictions and requests for 3,400 felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors. Rob Gold is with the DA's office, people who sold marijuana to another person cultivated marijuana or those who possess marijuana for purposes of sales. Those were all felonies prior to the passage of prop 64 and then possession of small amounts. Those were misdemeanors. Gold says the DA's office met with community groups and went beyond the minimum requirements under state law for sentence review. Also recommended for reduction or expungement cases in which the conviction was the only one on a person's record. The person hasn't committed a crime in 10 years or if the person convicted was under 21, Nia more weather's as a community organizer with the group youth forward and says 44% of marijuana convictions in Sacramento have been African American, which continued their cycle of poverty. This is going to allow these people to pursue jobs. This is going to allow these people to pursue housing. Um, and it's also gonna allow these people to economically provide for their families and invest back and be functioning members of their community. Before he 2018 law, people were required to apply to the court to have their sentences reduced or dismissed. Sacramento and for other counties are part of a pilot project with a group called code for America that created a computer program use to identify cases that qualify on Bob Moffit in Sacramento.

Speaker 1: 09:31 Oh, critical need to attract and keep qualified teachers and socioeconomically challenged areas of San Diego County is being met by a new initiative. KPBS is Maya troubles. He has the story.

Speaker 8: 09:43 Teacher shortages are still widespread in California and a report from the learning policy institute says access to qualified teachers is growing worse in many communities. National University is launching an effort with local schools and colleges to address the shortage in the parts of San Diego County that need teachers the most. The teacher pathway inclusion program also addresses the need for access to teachers from diverse backgrounds. Dr. David Andrews is President of National University.

Speaker 9: 10:12 Highest achieving students from these communities are tending to go into other disciplines and we need them to go into education and not just be great teachers, but be community leaders and role models for the students in those schools.

Speaker 8: 10:24 The program hopes to prepare teachers by streamlining their education. They can earn their associate's degrees from participating. Community colleges then move on to earn their bachelor's and teaching credentials from national university all for little to no cost. And Andrew says, guaranteed employment. Maya, triple C K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 10:45 We all conduct interviews throughout our daily lives, even if they are broadcast on TV or radio. After a 40 year career in journalism, Dean Nelson writes about his experiences interviewing in a new book. Talk to me how to ask better questions, get better answers, and interview anyone. Like a pro. Nelson is the founder and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University and the annual writer's symposium by the sea. He spoke to mark Sauer on midday edition about his expertise on crafting a good interview.

Speaker 7: 11:19 Well, you've interviewed more than a few people in your career. How has the way you conduct the interviews changed over your 40 years as a journalist and journalism teacher?

Speaker 10: 11:27 Yeah, I think early on when I first went into journalism, I was thinking it's all instinct and improvisation and you just kind of wing it. And those had mixed results. So I would say I, I now put a lot more thought even on a, uh, a news story I might be reporting on it. Put a lot more thought into what's going to be my first question and what do I really want out of this interview. Um, and, and then try to craft it in such a way that there are some questions that, um, elicit better answers than others. Open ended questions, for instance. I, I think, uh, I'm more intentional about that now and when I do interviews with the writer's symposium, I actually look at the questions as a, a kind of trajectory. I want this to go somewhere and I want it to end somewhere.

Speaker 11: 12:20 All right. And what's the, uh, the general purpose of the book? Why'd you write the book?

Speaker 10: 12:24 Actually, the reason I wrote this book, it, this was not the book I had intended to write a book I had intended to write was a handbook for writers and things. And uh, it was the publisher, Harper Collins, they said, but you mentioned a couple of things about the interviews that you've done. Why don't you do a buck about interviewing instead? So that got me thinking. I do know something about this. I could probably do something on that topic. But then I got to thinking actually so many different areas of life depend on the quality of the conversation you have with somebody. It could be a social worker, an HR person, a financial planner, a nurse, or a doctor that I thought, you know, if we maybe if we talked more concretely about what we're after when we interact with one another, uh, we might actually improve some things.

Speaker 11: 13:15 And you mentioned these other professions where asking good questions is important. Doctors, police officers give us some examples of, of how good questions in various fields can make a difference.

Speaker 10: 13:26 One of the examples I use in, uh, in this book, uh, talk to me is a social worker who said when she goes in to talk with a family where they have, uh, a newborn for instance, who is in some sort of physical distress. The first question she asks is, what were the conditions under which this baby was born? And that helps her understand then some of the layers that she's dealing with here with those parents. And so I think when you start thinking about the quality of your questions as applied to other professions, even the human relationships, when you ask your kid, if you're picking up your kid on the way home from school, how was school, you're gonna get a one syllable answer. But if you ask that in a more open ended intentional way that's going to lead to better kinds of connection, then I think your whole experience is going to be improved.

Speaker 11: 14:25 Talk a little bit about silence, especially in a hostile interview or a, an interview. That's where there's a lot riding on it. Uh, sometimes silence can be an excellent technique for an interviewer.

Speaker 10: 14:35 Actually silence as part of the grammar of an interview. Um, if you and I went silent on this radio program for, for a little while, that's a good, yeah, that, that doesn't work. But, um, if you're in person with somebody or even on the phone with somebody, silence as a way to, to just let the person know, I'll let you collect your thoughts, but you're not going to avoid it. I'm not letting you off the hook. And I think a lot of rookie, uh, interviewers will fill in the silence and uh, and kind of jump in there before they need to. Waiting the source out will probably lead to better responses. All right. I've been speaking to Dean Nelson, author of talk to me how to ask better questions, get better answers and interview anyone like a pro. Thanks Dean. My pleasure. It's always fun talking to you. Mark Nelson

Speaker 1: 15:29 will be speaking and signing copies of his book at La Playa Books and point Loma Saturday April 27th at 11:00 AM as part of the third annual San Diego book crawl. Thanks for listening to KPBS as San Diego news matters podcast. For more local stories, go to k pbs.org.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.