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Judge: Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Trial Can Detail Alleged Affairs And More Local News

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A judge on Monday decided jurors can hear evidence of Congressman Duncan Hunter's alleged extramarital affairs when they consider charges he looted campaign cash to finance vacations, golf outings and other personal expenses. Plus, a San Diego pediatrician is under investigation for allegedly using dirty needles on patients; the case of Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is now in the hands of a jury; get ready to pay more for gas and more local news.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, July 2nd I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up, a judge rules on evidence of extra marital affairs and the corruption trial of a local congressman and to San Diego pediatrician under investigation for allegedly using dirty needles on his patients. I was shocked because he always seemed super buttoned up that as more San Diego news stories right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:30 [inaudible].

Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Congressman Duncan Hunter was back in court Monday. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, Hunter is trying to have a case dismissed alleging he used campaign funds for personal expenses.

Speaker 4: 00:49 Congressman Duncan Hunter entered the federal courthouse. Two shouts from [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:53 protests.

Speaker 4: 00:55 A federal judge said allegations that the East county congressman used campaign money for romantic relationships is relevant to the corruption case. Something Hunter's attorneys challenged. This comes after hunter's wife recently struck a deal with the prosecutors and pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds. Federal prosecutors indicted the couple last year of using more than $200,000 in campaign money for personal use, but hunter says the federal prosecutors involved in the case are politically biased. After finding out they tended to Hillary Clinton fundraiser, he says the case should be thrown out. His attorneys produced an email from the secret service discussing a photo op with Clinton. The US attorney's office says the secret service routinely asked prosecutors to attend events involving their protectees. The judge did not rule on hunter's motion to dismiss the charges. That ruling is expected next week. Hunter has previously denied all allegations against him. His trial is scheduled to start in September. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 3: 01:50 A military jury in San Diego will now decide the fate of the navy seal accused of war crimes. KPBS as Steve Walsh has been in the courtroom and has this story,

Speaker 5: 02:01 both sides rested Monday in the case of a sealed chief Eddie Gallagher, who is accused of war crimes in Iraq. In closing arguments, prosecutors use the photo of Gallagher posing with the detainee with a text. Good story. Got Him with my hunting knife. The defense argued that these are juniors seals out to get their more experienced commander. He called them entitled Young Seals led by a chief of Craig Miller. The group calling itself the sewing circle pressed each other for evidence. The jury of seven we'll have to decide who is telling the truth to seals who say Gallagher's stamped the detainee and a marine raider who says he saw no stab wound. The case did not go to the jury until three 45 a verdict is not expected until at least sometime Tuesday. Steve Walsh KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 02:46 If you bought gas on Monday, you might've noticed significantly higher prices. The second phase of a gas tax approved by voters in 2017 just went into effect. KPBS reporter John Carroll, sample driver reaction at a gas station.

Speaker 6: 03:01 The price at the pump jumped to nearly 6 cents on Monday. The increased brings the state's total gas tax to 47.3 cents a gallon and that means California now has the highest gas taxes in the country. The increases thanks to attacks voters approved a couple of years ago to raise about $5 billion a year for road and infrastructure repairs along with investments in mass transit. As of last week, Californians were paying an average of three 75 a gallon more than a dollar higher than the national average drivers. We spoke to like Michael Foul cone. We're not happy.

Speaker 7: 03:34 I think that any increase in price to gas is going to hurt anybody. Commutes to work.

Speaker 6: 03:41 Not everyone we spoke to was opposed. One driver told me she supported the tax as long as the money was being used. As promised, the tax hike is scheduled to sunset in 2027 estimates are it will have raised $52 billion by then. John Carroll KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 03:57 Imagine California without any reliance on fossil fuels, capitol public radios as we're David Romero reports a new state funded study explores how to become carbon neutral by 2045

Speaker 8: 04:10 some environmental groups hope that one point $5 million study green that by the state budget is a sign governor Newson will prioritize restricting oil production. Kathy seagulls with the center for Biological Diversity's climate law institute.

Speaker 3: 04:23 We have study after study calling for an end to oil and gas wells in communities because of the really serious health harms from cancer to birth defects.

Speaker 8: 04:35 You see system experts in government agencies will examine how changes may impact low income or disadvantaged communities. Kavli PA spokesman Sam Delson.

Speaker 9: 04:44 We want to make sure that this transition does not contribute to further job losses, abandoned infrastructure, or new polluting industries.

Speaker 8: 04:52 Still a spokeswoman for the western States Petroleum Association says renewable energy alone cannot meet the demands of a sustainable energy future. A one month public comment period will open soon. In Sacramento, I'm Azur David Romero,

Speaker 3: 05:06 San Diego police officers arrested two people who were filming them making an arrest in barrio Logan last Thursday. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Adler tells us how this set off a night of protest over the treatment of citizens who filmed the police.

Speaker 5: 05:21 It started as a traffic stop and eat the overpass in Chicano Park. 35 year old Georgina Ramirez Mercado began recording two police officers who were taking an unidentified driver's license within a few minutes. Mercado who was in the park with her three children was being arrested for obstructing an investigation for years. Residents of Barrio Logan have claimed their neighborhood is being targeted by police. Disproportionately Mercado reached out to others who videotape the police in the neighborhood. She needed someone to watch her children. 22 year old Eddie Alvarez answered the call. Bell refused to hand over his own identification to the police. Within a few minutes of arriving, he was also arrested and police officers punched him nine times in the back as they claim he resisted arrest on Thursday. Community members protested the arrest of Mercado and Alvarez outside of the San Diego County jail claiming the two were targeted because they were filming the police. The SDPD has said it will now conduct an internal investigation to determine if the force used against Alvarez was appropriate and whether internal policies were followed. Under a new state law. The police have 60 days to make their investigation. Public Maccers Lind Adler, k PBS news.

Speaker 10: 06:32 A San Diego pediatrician is under investigation for allegations that he used dirty needles on children. KPBS reporter Prius three there says the California medical board is looking into the case, San Diego pediatrician, Bright Gerber, or was arrested in 2013 for possession of ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms during a traffic stop on his way to the burning man festival. According to documents from the medical board of California, Gerber entered into a six month diversion program that would allow him to keep a clean criminal record, but it did have an impact on his medical career. Gerber was investigated by the State Medical Board and placed on a two year probation that required him to undergo random drug testing and to stay out of trouble. Carolyn Olstaad took her oldest son to Dr Gerber from 2010 to 2012 before he was caught with the drugs.

Speaker 1: 07:26 I was shocked, um, because he always seemed super buttoned up, you know, so I, it definitely changed my perception of him.

Speaker 10: 07:35 She says she understands doctors can make mistakes in their personal lives. It's when that behavior crosses into the doctor's office that she has a problem

Speaker 1: 07:44 if he wants to go out and party and stay out till two in the morning. Like I, that's totally up to him. If he's doing it and then coming and seeing my baby, then I'm going to have a problem, you know, for if, if he seemed under the influence or anything like that, yes, I would've brought it up.

Speaker 10: 07:57 The drugs incident happened away from his office, but that's not true with the dirty needles. A few years later, a medical assistant reported seeing Dr Gerber use expired and unauthorized needles from a box that contained dead insects and what appeared to be rodent droppings according to the assistant. He used them on a two and 10 year old patient. The incident allegedly happened while Dr Gerber was working at Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Hillcrest. In a statement, the scripts clinic and Hillcrest said quote, when it was discovered that he had brought in nonstandard needles from home, a full investigation and disciplinary actions were taken, which included removing him from patient care scripts also reported the issue to the California Medical Board. Carlos via Toro is with the state medical board. I reached out to him to find out what happens when doctors get in trouble

Speaker 5: 08:53 in every disciplinary. Um, the decision that the

Speaker 11: 08:56 board makes is tailored around the facts of the case. So there is a no one size fits all answer for uh, for discipline.

Speaker 10: 09:04 Vittorio says there are no red lines in the process. Nothing a doctor can do that will automatically cause them to lose their license. He says the Attorney General's office makes a recommendation to the medical board on how a doctor will be professionally punished. Ultimately, the board has the final say.

Speaker 11: 09:24 The board's discipline can be as severe as licensed revocation. However, it can include probation and a public letter of reprimand.

Speaker 10: 09:33 If through the course of the investigation, investigators believe a doctor has broken criminal law, they would contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to pursue criminal charges. Gerber now off probation for the prior offense is being investigated again through the medical boards process. While it's been years since Carolyn Olstaad has taken her son to Dr Gerber, it has made her think a little more about how much research she should be doing before she chooses a doctor. You expect that the medical community would have gotten rid of the doctors that aren't any good. So you can trust that whenever you walk into a hospital that you'll be cared for. And while the board says it's their top priority to investigate any complaints in discipline, doctors who violate the medical practices act, they say there are ways you can look into your doctor to the board has an app you can download that will notify you if your doctor, his medical license has been changed in any way.

Speaker 10: 10:29 There is a toll free number you can call where representatives from the board can answer any questions you have about your doctor's credentials and you can go onto the medical boards website and search for your doctor to see if any disciplinary action has ever been taken against them by the board. Priya, Sri, their k PBS news, we reached out to Dr Gerber and did not hear back from him. California is big in many ways and it's big into religious faith of many varieties. We've got more mega churches than any other state. Pentecostalism was born here and today, one small California city has become an unlikely global epicenter of Christian culture as part of our California dream collaboration. K QEDs. Vanessa Rancano reports.

Speaker 12: 11:17 Redding, California is the kind of place you learn your way around. In a day or two. Downtown is just a handful of blocks, but walking around this city of 90,000 you can meet people from a dozen countries in a day

Speaker 13: 11:29 from Australia, from the Netherlands, New Zealand. I'm from England, Manchester.

Speaker 12: 11:33 They're not here for the fly fishing or the views of Mount Shasta. No,

Speaker 13: 11:38 God is what brought me to Redding, California.

Speaker 12: 11:41 Specifically, God brought Galena Yamanaka to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

Speaker 13: 11:47 You were cool to shape history,

Speaker 12: 11:50 the flawlessly produced Promo video for the school people, mostly young hip looking people raising their arms and worship. While a band plays on stage, they place their hands on a forehead, a shoulder and knee. He's a man, hands over his crutches and walks freely. Will you say? Yes? We are a supernatural school, so we believe that healing is for today. Leslie Crandall oversees first year students at the school of Supernatural Ministry where students are taught through prayer. They can manifest the power of God to heal. We believe that God is still speaking and, and he can speak to his kids and he does. The school was founded 21 years ago by a pastor who heads up Bethel church. It started with a few dozen local students. Today, the schools, 2,500 students represent more than 70 countries. It enrolls more international vocational students than any other school in the country.

Speaker 12: 12:47 Treat on a Monday morning, 1201st years file into class. Notes are tied together in the name of Jesus. Amen. Students are studying worship music on the women's Day. Yamanaka was still in England when he encountered Bethel's teaching at his church in Manchester. At first, he wasn't feeling the whole miracle thing. My internal response was, this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of in my life. But then when you pray for someone, a complete stranger on the streets and they get healed ever leg injury, and they say, what the heck have you done? To me, that kind of changes the way you look at things Bethel to be more than a school with international pole more than a mega church with 11,000 members. Richard Flory is a university of southern California sociologist who studied Bethel and says their objective is nothing short of cultural transformation.

Speaker 14: 13:36 Let's get the right kinds of Christians in the right kind of public sectors of American society, politics, economics, Hollywood, whatever, through their efforts will bring about the Kingdom of God on earth in the here and now.

Speaker 12: 13:49 But some writing residents don't want to be part of the experiment. Reading is their test case of turning a city that is a democracy into a theocracy. Laura Hammons is a member of investigating Bethel. A Facebook group with more than a thousand members. Hammons is one of a dozen members of the group meeting at a writing park. One afternoon, another member Donna's Ebola is passing out stickers. Some say don't drink the Koolaid. We've handed them out, you know, just freely because you know, we want to get the message out there. Some people are afraid to put them on their car, afraid. She says, because the church's influence feels like it runs through the core of the city. Redding's mayor is a Bethel. Elder Bethel paid the salaries of several police officers when the city couldn't afford to. Bethel's influence was central to getting a direct flight from lax to Redding and there's $150 million Bethel expansion underway that will triple church capacity and allow the school to grow by a thousand students. They have this really well organized program, innovate

Speaker 15: 14:52 everything with with their influence is David Boon another member of investigating Bethel? You get this feeling that they know there a sort of virus, but they think they're the good buyers that we all need for some in writing, the very integrity of, yeah,

Speaker 12: 15:05 their city is at stake. Others see Bethel as a positive force. They say it makes the city more vibrant, diverse. It's good for the economy. Either way. Bethel's outsize influence on this little city is unavoidable. Writing has become a new type of Christian Mecca in writing. I'm Vanessa Ranconyo. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPBS podcasts, go to kpbs.org/podcasts.

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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.