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Mass Shootings Loom As Five Presidential Candidates Speak At Latino Conference And More Local News

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Five candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination spoke in San Diego at the annual conference of the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization on Monday; KPBS sat down with Bernie Sanders for a one-on-one interview to discuss homelessness and affordable housing. Plus, a quadriplegic veteran’s death at the San Diego VA might have been avoidable and Encinitas officials say the bluff that collapsed last week and killed three people is at risk of another collapse.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, August 6th. I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Encinitas officials say the bluff that collapsed last week killing three is still at risk, and five Democratic presidential candidates bring their pitch to San Diego, including Bernie Sanders. We need to make sure that we have a policy that works for all people, not just real estate developers. That more San Diego news stories right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Um,

Speaker 3: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh, top presidential candidates. We're in San Diego Monday addressing the twin issues of gun violence and white nationalism. This came after two more mass shootings, rock the nation over the weekend. The candidates spoke during a conference at the Convention Center hosted by unit. Those us the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization. Among them was former vice president Joe Biden

Speaker 4: 01:01 as long time, long past time that we in fact call out for what it is. This is white nationalism. This is white supremacy. This is about hate. This is about what happened in the border community.

Speaker 3: 01:16 Yeah. Those us as president Trump has created a climate of hate and fear toward Latinos, which motivated a gun man to kill people in El Paso. It's believed that the alleged shooter had posted an anti-immigrant rant on an online message. Board staff at the San Diego VA hospital failed to follow rules that might've prevented a veteran's death. I knew source investigative reporter Jill Castellano has the story. A 68 year old quadriplegic veteran died last summer at the San Diego VA medical center when a problem occurred with his ventilator, a device that helped him breathe. A report released last week by the VA Office of Inspector General said hospital employees had not been closely watching the patient even though they had seen his equipment malfunction before and staff had never reported that safety problem, which was required by hospital policy. Plus a respiratory therapist had turned down the volume on the patient's emergency alarm because it had been going off unnecessarily. That alarm would have alerted staff when the man's ventilator stopped working.

Speaker 5: 02:23 It was a tragic event.

Speaker 3: 02:25 Suzanne Gordon has been writing about healthcare in America for 35 years.

Speaker 5: 02:30 You want to avoid that from happening and you also want definitely to avoid it from happening in the future.

Speaker 3: 02:36 After the veterans death, the VA hospital trained at staff and began using new equipment. The report called the hospital's response prompt and appropriate for KPBS. I'm I new source investigative reporter Jill Castillano to read more about the VA healthcare system. Go to, I knew I knew source is an independent nonprofit partner of KPBS radio host and former San Diego city. Councilman Karl de Mio Monday said he'd run for Duncan Hunter's 50th Congressional district seat. KPBS reporter Prius rather says Demario is entering an already crowded field. Reformed California chairman, Carl Demaio announced he's running for Congress in 2020 in the 50th district, the only seat in San Diego County held by a Republican Representative Dunkin Hunter was reelected to the seat back in November, but is currently being prosecuted for allegedly misusing more than $200,000 in campaign money to fund his lavished personal lifestyle. Dimio is joining the field in the deep red district with as many as four other Republican candidates. Now. The old guard of California Republicans, I believe they've just given up or worse like the incumbent in the 50th district. They're tied up in court facing criminal charges. Hunter's Democratic opponent from the 2018 election, a mar campaign a czar has also announced he will be running in 2020 Prius are either k PBS news. White nationalism has been tied. Teresa shootings across the country including a California capitol public radio. Scott Rod looks at what the State is doing to address hate groups

Speaker 6: 04:15 outside of a Santa Clara County Hospital. The day after the Gilroy garlic festival shooting governor Gavin Newsome denounced white supremacist ideology and says it's been a key focus of his administration.

Speaker 7: 04:26 What's the first week I was in office, but I sat down with my emergency director thinking we were going to talk about preparing for wildfires after the camp and Woolsey fire and he says, you know what, you need to focus on white supremacy. God as my witness. That was the first meeting I had as governor talking about, remember chief preparedness after those two horrific fires,

Speaker 6: 04:46 but the governor's own office of emergency services tells a different story of spokesperson, says Newsome was briefed on all manner of threats upon entering office, wildfires, floods, cyber attacks, and domestic extremism after the San Diego synagogue shooting earlier this year, Newsome and legislative Democrats approved $15 million in one time, spending to improve security at nonprofits, susceptible to hate crimes. That's up from four and a half million dollars in previous years, but some experts say that's not enough.

Speaker 5: 05:13 Bottom line, we have to do more particularly with data collection, coordination and addressing white supremacy.

Speaker 6: 05:19 Brian Levin is director of the Center for the study of hate and extremism at cal State San Bernardino.

Speaker 5: 05:24 I also think we should have some statewide mechanism for helping smaller communities that might be hit by these kinds of mass bigoted attacks.

Speaker 6: 05:34 He says Newsome his right to publicly call out the threat of white supremacy and hate groups in more governors need to follow his lead. But he says the state's efforts are currently falling short in Sacramento. I'm Scott. Rod Encinitas

Speaker 3: 05:46 officials say the bluff that collapse last week and kill three people remains at risk. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson says, structural engineers war. There could be another.

Speaker 8: 05:58 The bluff doesn't look dangerous, but the yellow police tape tells a different story. And so notice lifeguard chief Larry Giles says there are still cracks in the seaside wall and more rock could tumble onto the beach below. He says the fatal collapse was a shock because lifeguards constantly warn beachgoers about the danger.

Speaker 9: 06:16 It's a very low frequency type incident for us here. Um, it's, it's very significant threshold incident that it's difficult.

Speaker 8: 06:29 The community is left flowers and notes for the three women who died. Some of the memorial bouquets are at the top of the stairs that lead to the beach. Others are in buckets hung near the bluff. Eric Anderson, KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 06:41 President Trump is again, voicing support for what he calls extreme risk restraining orders. After this weekend, shootings in Texas and Ohio, California is one of at least 15 states that has such a law. And as capitol public radio has been Adler reports, there's a debate over whether to expand it. California's law took effect three years ago. It allows family members and law enforcement agencies to seek gun violence, restraining orders against people they believe could be dangerous if granted by a judge. Officers served the restraining order and confiscate any guns, magazines or ammunition they find at issue now is whether to also allow employers, coworkers, and teachers to petition for restraining orders. The legislation is opposed by gun rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union. Former governor Jerry Brown twice vetoed similar bills last year. Brown wrote that law enforcement and family members are best situated to make these especially consequential decisions. Current Governor Gavin Newsome is seen as more likely to sign the bill if it reaches his desk at the state capitol. I'm Ben Adler. The head of the navy will have the final word on the fate of Seal Eddie Gallagher, who was acquitted of most of the war crimes charges. He faced KPBS military reporter Steve Wolf says the CNO, his office as he'll decide whether to uphold his sole conviction.

Speaker 10: 07:58 In July, a military jury in San Diego Found Gallagher guilty of only a single charge of posing with a corpse. On the battlefield. It was given the maximum four months sentence and reduced in rank. The Navy has 120 days to confirm whether to uphold that sentence. His case was in the hands of Rear Admiral Betty Boulevard, the head of Navy region southwest, the chief of naval operations. Admiral John Richardson announced he is taking over the case. His office confirmed on Monday. The news comes after Richardson dismissed the charges against Gallagher's commander Lieutenant Jake Portier then ordered prosecutors to take no action against a key witness who said on the stand that he not Gallagher had killed the prisoner in their custody in 2017 while their seal team was in Iraq, any reduction in rank would count against Gallagher's retirement. Steve Walsh, KPBS news

Speaker 3: 08:47 Senator Bernie Sanders was in San Diego Monday to attend the annual conference of unique tells us the nation's largest Latino organization. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew [inaudible] sat down with Sanders to talk about his campaign. That was Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen.

Speaker 11: 09:08 You were here in San Diego for the [inaudible] US conference. What's your message to Latinos in this met in this campaign? My message is that we have got to stand together and stop from epic to divide us up based on where we were born or the language that we speak or the color of our skin. This is the United States of America and the function of a president is bring people together, not forced or hatred and prejudice and bigotry. We heard just this morning from Juanita U s about polling results that they've done and they found that a strong majority of Latino, 74% won a presidential candidate who is willing to work with both parties and compromise to get things done. Now you're medicare for all bill has far from enough support in Congress to actually get past. How would you negotiate with Congress if you're elected president and and are you willing to compromise on healthcare to get something where you're looking at somebody who when he was in the house actually got more amendments passed working with Republicans than any other person.

Speaker 11: 10:07 You're looking at somebody who just recently for the first time in 45 years, passed a resolution to get the United States out of the war in Yemen, working with Republicans using the war powers act, uh, passed the major veterans bill working with John McCain. So of course I have a record of working with Republicans, but I think in terms of healthcare, you will be very surprised to find that not only Democrats and independents support a Medicare for all single payer program, but so do many Republicans. And the reason for that is they understand that the current system in which 87 million people are uninsured or under insured, 500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they can't pay medical bills at 30,000 people die because they don't get to a doctor at the time. This is not a system that we have got to continue. We need to do what every other major country on earth does guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right, not a privilege function of health care, quality care for all, not making $100 billion in profit for the drug companies.

Speaker 11: 11:09 And the insurance companies. One of the hottest political issues here locally in San Diego and also in the State of California is homelessness and housing affordability. Some of your opponents in this race have put forward platforms and policy ideas about how to address that. What would you do as president? Well, you're right, it is a terrible, terrible problem and it's not only the fact that we have some 500,000 homeless people in America today, but you have millions of people who are spending 45 50 60% of their limited incomes on housing. I am very proud when we, as mayor of Burlington, we initiated a community land trust concept, which has now spread not only all over America, but all over the world along with representative Bob or League of San Fran of Oakland. We passed the national low income trust fund. First major piece of legislation passed to provide low income rental units.

Speaker 11: 11:58 We have a major crisis and as president of the United States, I will work with communities all over this country and invest the billions of dollars that we need to build the millions of units that this country absolutely requires. We should not be having people sleep out on the street. We should not be having people spend 50% of their limited incomes on housing. We need to build housing. We need to combat gentrification, which is destroying working class communities. We need to make sure that we have a policy that works for all people, not just real estate developers. What's the most important lesson that you learned from your 2016 campaign and what's different this time around? I'll tell you what the most important lesson was, is that when you speak truth to the American, people are coming forward with ideas that at the time seemed very unpopular. It is amazing how quickly you change the compensation.

Speaker 11: 12:49 When I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition free, oh, Bernie radical idea can't be done. Well, that's what they've done in Los Angeles, San Francisco, in many parts of New York state or Tennessee and other parts of the world. When I talked about climate change being the major national security crisis that we faced, people literally laughed at me. They're not laughing now. So I think the lesson that I learned is if you have the guts to tell the truth and to take on very powerful special interest, the American people will respond and other politicians will follow your lead. That's my lesson. Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 13:24 Immigrants and asylum seekers that come to the u s often had to places where they know people and in Oakland there's a growing community from rural Guatemala. It speaks in indigenous language called Mam as part of our California dream collaboration, KQ Edis for either Java love. Romero went to a class where English and Spanish speakers are learning the mom language

Speaker 11: 13:47 and then a call that the Arturo,

Speaker 12: 13:49 a handful of adults said in the Latin x Cultural Center at Laney Community College. They practice saying good afternoon and mom with teacher Henry Salus later salads writes on the whiteboard, let's go eat and show students word by word.

Speaker 11: 14:08 Oh cool. [inaudible]

Speaker 12: 14:13 oh, the students laugh at themselves through practice meet I, yeah. What is taking the class? She volunteers at a Sunday school where many of the kids, only [inaudible]

Speaker 13: 14:24 big mom. And I want them to hear me speak mom. So that they see that I'm also learning and trying hard to learn a different language because that's what they're doing.

Speaker 12: 14:33 She wants the kids to feel proud of their language and culture. Sure.

Speaker 13: 14:37 I say [inaudible] uh, for good afternoon. I hope I said that right. And then [inaudible] is really easy cause that's, thank you. And we always try to teach the kids I'm good manners after we give them their snacks and helps the kids open up. She says they trust her more. And even the parents too, if I greet them and in mom they smile and I think they feel, uh, that I'm, I care more about them. Okay.

Speaker 12: 15:06 There's no official count of mom people in Oakland, but the community has grown rapidly to at least several thousand and as more moms speakers come, the city needs more people able to talk with them, to connect them to schools and services

Speaker 14: 15:21 as there so many newcomers, they're having a great need to to, to serve those people and, and what they have found out is that they don't speak Spanish necessarily.

Speaker 12: 15:30 Arturo Davila is a Spanish professor that coordinates the Latin x Cultural Center at Laney. He says they've gotten requests for mom interpreters,

Speaker 14: 15:39 interpreters for medical clinics or legal clinics.

Speaker 12: 15:42 The first waves of mom Guatemalans began arriving in Oakland in the 1980s during that country's civil war. Today mom are leaving with Amala because of gang violence and crushing poverty. In some ways they're finding Oakland more accepting of their indigenous culture than their home country says, mom, teacher Henry, Sally's.

Speaker 13: 16:03 Now that I'm here, I understand my rights and I understand like who we are and now I feel proud and I will teach anyone who would like to learn to which yes,

Speaker 12: 16:14 it's not easy for mom speakers new to the city. It's expensive. Families cramped together in small apartments. It can be hard to navigate if you don't speak English or Spanish, but sadness things, he and this class can help change that. I love it. I love, you know, connecting communities at the end of class. Salads writes down the phrase for any questions. Oh my gosh, look at this. Oh Man. One word has four consonants together. You make it look so easy at them to leave, but then after practice they get it in Oakland and Friday that Jeff Valero Romero, thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. If you'd like the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

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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.