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Large Chaldean Iraqi Population Is Thriving In San Diego Suburb And More Local News

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In El Cajon, a community of Iraqi refugees is growing its economic power, but now the Chaldean community is aiming to flex its political power and gunning for a seat on the local city council. Plus, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) will plead guilty today to charges he misused campaign funds. What made him change his mind after nearly 1½ years of maintaining his innocence? And, is the tap water in Poway safe? It's a question residents want to know the answer to and city officials are investigating.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, December 3rd. I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. San Diego, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, but plead guilty today to charges he misused campaign funds and an El Cahone. A community of Iraqi refugees is growing its economic power but political would not be at yet. But I'm hoping that the new generation that they will be involved with the politics that and more coming up right after the break. Republican Congressman duck and a Hunter who faces federal corruption charges will plead guilty to one count of misusing his campaign funds. Reporter Prius Schriever has details. Congressman Duncan Hunter who represents the 50th district will be changing his plea on Tuesday morning in federal court. Prosecutor is charged Hunter with 60 criminal counts for allegedly using $200,000 of campaign money on personal expenses. Hunter told local news station K USI that he made the decision to plead guilty because of his kids.

Speaker 2: 01:06 I did make mistakes. Um, I did not properly monitor or, uh, account for my camp campaign money. Uh, I justify that plea with the understanding that I am responsible for my campaign and what happens to my campaign money.

Speaker 1: 01:20 He says he will work to help with the transition to whoever is elected to take his seat next. The primary election for his seat is scheduled for March, 2020 Prius, either K PBS news, Duncan Hunter's decision to plead guilty to charges he misused campaign funds, likely removes the incumbent from next year's 50th congressional district race KPBS editor Tom fudge reports on the reactions of some people vying for the seat.

Speaker 2: 01:47 In 2018 Hunter defeated his democratic opponent, a Mar camp in a jar by just three percentage points. Camp in a jar. Plan to rematch in 2020 now with Hunter likely out of the race, he called Monday a sad day, but he's glad the coming election will focus on people not scandals. Republican candidate Carl de Mio, a former San Diego city Councilman said Hunter's guilty plea was the right decision for his family and constituents. Former Republican Congressman Darrel ISO also has intentions to run in the 50th he told the San Diego union Tribune. There are two Dunkin hunters, the one that joined the Marines after nine 11 and the one who veered from his marriage and made improper campaign spending decisions. Tom fudge KPBS news the

Speaker 1: 02:34 race for San Diego American soon get its first Republican candidate KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says city Councilman Scott Sherman has indicated he's interested. Sherman has pulled the paperwork necessary to run for mayor, but according to his campaign consultant, the Councilman has not made a final decision. The mayoral primary is only three months away and so far all the major candidates are Democrats. Sherman is a Republican

Speaker 3: 03:00 and has represented city council district seven which includes mission Valley and allied gardens since 2012 Sherman's interest in the race is something of an about face. He's vented frustrations about city politics and even kept a chalkboard in his office counting down the days until his term expired. Sherman has until Thursday to file all the forms necessary to get on the ballot. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 03:24 is the tap water in Poway safe. It's a question residents want to know the answer to and city officials are investigating. KPB as reporter Matt Hoffman has details in this developing story,

Speaker 4: 03:35 volunteers were out in force Monday handing out bottled water to Poway residents. Varney where would you like to have the water? The city has been handing out the bottled water since Brown water was discovered coming out of taps over the weekend. City officials issued a boil water notice for all residents while water chlorine levels are quote, well within standards, it's still unclear if the water is totally safe. Officials are saying you can bathe in the water but are urging people not to put it in their mouth. Further testing is currently underweight. A city spokeswoman told KPBS that they believe a storm drain backed up into its water treatment facility and city crews are working to clean and flush the system while officials wait for water testing results. The County health department has closed all of the restaurants in Poway. The city says there is no timeline on one. The boil water advisory will be lifted. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 04:20 The city of San Diego has opened a new storage center in city Heights for people experiencing homelessness. Mayor Kevin Faulkner said, the storage programs are the right thing to do. Speak city Heights. Reporter Ebony Monet has war

Speaker 3: 04:33 mayor Kevin Faulkner explained the connection between the city's homeless problem and a storage site.

Speaker 5: 04:39 It's really going to help people with their ability to, their dignity and their freedom for their personal belongings. Uh, as well as help clear our community.

Speaker 3: 04:51 The newest site is located on a city owned lot on Leah and 54th streets. It's being managed by mental health system vice president Sarah new Dell says staff will be on site to connect people to County services, which includes housing, which includes mental health treatment and medication, whatever it may be. The program is funded with the state homeless emergency aid program or heaped dollars. How Monet K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 05:16 San Diego researchers are taking part in an expedition looking at the heart of the Earth's largest species. KPBS science and technology reporter Shalena Celani says they've captured the first Everheart beat recording of the blue whale

Speaker 6: 05:31 scientists at the Scripps institution of oceanography. And Stanford university spotted these blue whales and Monterey Bay and carefully attach sensors to their flippers using suction. Oh gosh. Scientist David K with Stanford says, the bigger the heart, the longer it will take to contract. That means blood pumps through the body at a slower rate

Speaker 3: 05:51 increasing size, which means the time it takes for the heart to track.

Speaker 4: 05:55 We're gonna keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Speaker 1: 06:00 Hurry. Resupply. Recent plan [inaudible] Kate says, when the whale is stressing its body by swimming to the ocean surface, its massive heart is struggling to contract. Kate's has the research will help scientists understand the physical limitations of life on earth such as size. Shelina, Celani, KPBS news. California has the highest share of foreign born residents in the country. The biggest immigrant groups are Mexican, Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese. But in a suburb of San Diego there's a larger thriving population of Cal DNS, a religious and ethnic minority from Iraq. As part of our ongoing California dream series, KPB has reporter Claire Treg is her reports that the community is now hoping for some political clout.

Speaker 7: 06:44 Walk down main street in El Cahone and you feel like you're on the set of an old Western. The wide street is lined with old fashioned storefronts selling antique furniture and used clothes. On a recent Sunday, people were swing dancing to country music at a restaurant called downtown cafe across the street in a park, there was a different scene. More than 100 people gathered in solidarity with the protests in Iraq. They made speeches and saying in Arabic, I feel torn between my Kentucky United States and between my Homeland.

Speaker 1: 07:25 We dad slot up was a leader at the protest. She moved to the U S in the 1980s but still feels a strong connection

Speaker 7: 07:33 with a rock I can do in the States to study end of his tongue, but they fell in love with the democracy and the sense of justice and the educational opportunities. El Cahone lies about 10 miles inland from San Diego

Speaker 1: 07:49 and its population is more than 70% white. It's politics are conservative Republican, but in recent decades the city has been changing. It's now home to one of the largest Iraqi Cal D and populations in the country, estimated at over 15,000. This is something my code called the Catholic church best Makoto strides through a large complex in El Cahone that houses a keldi in church, a Cal D in school and a Cal d'un radio station. This and the hub of the community. She works at a nonprofit that helps new arrivals adjust to their new city. Coda says once El Cahone was established as a destination for [inaudible], that's where refugees want to come. When they hear about the community here, uh, they will take their stuff after they were settled and then they come to [inaudible]. And the community here has been thriving restaurants, clothing stores, jewelry shops, and corner markets are owned by keldi. Ian's catering to their community. But there is still one where COTA would like to see keldi [inaudible] make more progress.

Speaker 6: 08:59 Political, we're not there yet, but I'm hoping that the new generation that there will be involved with the politics and that they get into a higher positions and that may be [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 09:12 beginning to happen. Mike [inaudible] is one of the areas, top real estate agents.

Speaker 8: 09:18 70% of my clients are middle Eastern and Kellyanne middle Eastern and 30% are, you know, local residents who are selling their homes to my clients

Speaker 1: 09:29 and now he's running for a seat on the city council vying to be one of the first to represent the interests of his community.

Speaker 8: 09:37 There is people who migrate and they are low income. They live in apartment and they are trying to improve their life.

Speaker 1: 09:45 Those people need reduced crime and better services. He says

Speaker 8: 09:49 the other people who was improving their lives, um, who was like trying to um, you know, improve alcohol as well by opening more business.

Speaker 1: 09:59 Those people need easier permitting processes and better city planning. So far no one is challenging a crikey for the city council seat after years of enduring religious persecution in Iraq, the community is hoping new political power will move them from the sidelines to become an even more interwoven part of their city in El Cahone. I'm Claire Traeger, sir, the 2019 UN climate change conference known as cup 25 is underway in Madrid, Spain. About 25,000 people from 200 countries will be taking part. The U S is also sending a delegation even as president Trump's departure from the Paris climate accord officially begins. Many climate experts are viewing this conference as make or break on efforts to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. David Victor is an expert on efforts to mitigate climate change. He's a professor of international relations at UC San Diego school of global policy and strategy. He'll be attending the conference in spade as part of coverage from our climate change desk. David Victor spoke last week with KPB as round table host Mark Sauer.

Speaker 9: 11:11 You're a leader in the deep de-carbonization initiative. Tell us what that is. In order to make big reductions in emissions, we have to look at each of the major sectors that causes emissions. One sector, we've seen actually a lot of progress in the world. That's electric power sector. We're starting to see emissions come down in many countries. That's because of new technologies like renewables in this country. A lot of natural gas, better if energy efficiency, so, so that's the story in the electric power sector. But in almost every other major sector like transportation, uh, agriculture, uh, steel cement and so on, the emissions are still going up. And the central problem is that we don't yet have the technologies tested, delivered. We don't understand exactly how they perform, what they cost. We don't have the technologies yet to make these big reductions. And so a lot of governments are wary in that environment. Where were we about committing to too much? And so it's easy for them to talk about stopping climate change and then it's proved very difficult to do that

Speaker 10: 12:02 real world. And, uh, this major conference that we're talking about, the, a UN climate change conference, cop 25, what are some of the ways to do that that people can understand?

Speaker 9: 12:12 Well, this conference is gonna be very interesting. First of all, it's just been moved from, from Chile, which has having a massive antigovernment protests to Spain just in the last five or six weeks. And so they're just logistically, there's a huge scramble underway. Uh, the all kinds of side events will be happening there. I'm involved in one where we're going to be releasing this report that you mentioned. And what we're arguing for in that report is to break the climate change problem down to the major sectors. We've identified 10 major industrial sectors that caused most emissions. And then we've also shown exactly what is needed in every one of these sectors. And it's not going to happen quickly. It's not going to be cheap, but it's long overdue, these kind of action. And, and I think what's interesting is that you can get started on this problem working in small groups of countries and firms, industries and, and we now have a growing number of countries and industries that are exactly like that, that want to do something that know that if they don't do something that, that, um, that they're going to be held accountable.

Speaker 9: 13:08 And so there's been a big shift in political interest in doing something about the problem and not yet a big shift in investment. And that's what this report is about.

Speaker 10: 13:14 Turns out the latest, uh, analysis from the UN shows the Paris Accords were not nearly ambitious enough. What would you like nations to pledge doing at cop 25

Speaker 9: 13:24 well, I think you're going to see more nations beginning to pledge to do more. A cop 25 isn't the big deadline for new pledges. That'll actually be next year. The cop 26 about a year down the road, the British government will be hosting that. That'll be a really major event because all countries are expected to issue new pledges. And so we've seen in the traditional leader countries, we've seen a big increase in ambition and I was in Germany about two weeks ago and the German government has just passed a new law that is going to increase their ambition, reduce emissions in the sectors that have been difficult to reduce, like in transportation. So you're gonna see a lot of places ramping up their ambition overall. I think what's happened though is that the entire Paris process has kind of gone sideways. When the Trump administration announced it was going to pull out, other countries have announced that they're going to stay in and commit to the Paris process, but the really big emitters are watching. They're waiting to see what the United States is going to do. And that's China first and foremost.

Speaker 10: 14:18 And uh, the nations have to ramp up their pledges to cut emissions five fold to meet that 1.5 degree goal to keep us under, uh, increasing warming by 1.5 degree Celsius. Do you agree it's, we've really got to ramp these pledges up.

Speaker 9: 14:33 Well mathematically I agree. That's what we need to do in order to stop warming 1.5 degrees politically. I don't see that happening at all. And so we're going to blow through the 1.5 degree number. It seems quite likely now that we're going to blow through the two degree number. And, and had we gotten serious about this problem two or three decades ago, we'd be in a different today but we didn't. And now this is where we are. I've been speaking with climate science expert David Victor, professor of international relations at UC San Diego school of global policy and strategy. Thanks very much. Well it's my pleasure. 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.