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16 Marines Arrested In Migrant Smuggling Investigation And More Local News

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An investigation into Marines accused of helping smuggle migrants into the United States led to the arrest Thursday of 16 of their fellow Marines at California's Camp Pendleton, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Plus, a San Diego-base SEAL platoon was pulled out of Iraq over disciplinary issues, construction jobs on MTS land will pay more under a new policy and the San Diego Symphony has signed a lease with the port for a new outdoor concert venue.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, July 26th. I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. 16 marines at Camp Pendleton, arrested in connection with the human smuggling ring and troops from Texas. We'll try to address one of the unintended results of the president's immigration crackdown traffic jams. These delays are, you know, lost money last time. Um, very often it impacts their bottom line more right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Mm.

Speaker 1: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. More than a dozen marines were arrested at Camp Pencils and Thursday morning in connection with the human smuggling ring. KPV S military reporter Steve Walsh says they're tied to a federal case involving two more marines.

Speaker 3: 00:52 Maybe police pulled 16 marines from their formation at Camp Pendleton. The Urs were in connection with two Marines who have already been charged with human smuggling. After being arrested near the border at Takati in early July, they were carrying three undocumented migrants. Major Ken Ramond says, officials are looking into the connections

Speaker 4: 01:10 throughout the investigation of those two marines that were previously charged. There's an association that they found with those 16 marines, so they're trying to figure out if they should be charged with specific allegations.

Speaker 3: 01:23 Some of the Marines are being held in connection with human smuggling. Others are being questioned regarding drug crimes. On other eight marines are being questioned. All of the Marines are from the same battalion of Fifth Regiment, part of the First Marine Division, Steve Walsh KPBS News,

Speaker 1: 01:38 environmentalist or suing San Diego County over the approval of a large development in a fire prone region. KPBS reporter Eric Andreson says the project is an unincorporated area in the southern part of the county.

Speaker 5: 01:52 The center for Biological Diversity says the sprawling development would destroy sensitive habitat, caused traffic congestion, and put people in harm's way if wildfires hit the lawsuit. Also argues the project ignores a recent court ruling requiring the project mitigation to happen in the county. Richard Halsy is with the chaparral institute. He says the proposed development is not fire safe.

Speaker 4: 02:16 The habitat issue is really important and yes, this development will again push people out into the back country in areas that are very important for the region's diversity. But first and foremost, as far as the chaparral instance is concerned and what everybody should be concerned about is human safety.

Speaker 5: 02:32 Oh, Thai ranch village calls for 1100 homes and commercial projects to be built around the lower o Lake Eric Anderson. KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 02:41 great music in a stunning setting. That's one way to describe Bayside. Summer Nights, the San Diego Symphony Summer Concert series at the Embarcadero, KPBS reporter John Carroll says the venue is about to get bigger and better.

Speaker 3: 02:55 The setting at Embarcadero Marina south park has become to audiences

Speaker 6: 03:00 who attend the San Diego symphony summer concerts. But a new lease with the port of San Diego will turn what is now a temporary concert space into a permanent ultra modern one San Diego Symphony CEO, Martha Gilmer,

Speaker 7: 03:13 fabulous sound and light indoor plumbing. Um, and also backstage amenities so that we can welcome in the absolute best way the many, many guest artists that are going to want to perform here.

Speaker 6: 03:25 The project will feature a 13,000 square foot stage. Man, the new facility will be able to seat 10,003 times more than the current space. The cost around $45 million. The symphony will pay for all of it. The hope is construction could begin in September with the new facility ready for next summer's concerts, but there are still hurdles, permits and such, so it could be pushed to 2021 John Carroll KPBS news

Speaker 1: 03:52 2% that's how much California's housing production is expected to grow compared with last year. The pace is far below what's needed to meet demand, but as capitol public radio is Chris Nichols reports some housing advocates are still optimistic about the future.

Speaker 3: 04:08 Analysts say California needs to build more than 3 million homes over the next several years to meet pent up demand and plan for future growth. The problem, we're only building about a hundred thousand apartments, condos and homes each year. Dan, Dan Moyer heads the California Building Industry Association. He says, Governor Gavin Newsom's, nearly $2 billion housing investment in this year's budget will help

Speaker 8: 04:34 he more than any other modern Devanter has made housing a priority.

Speaker 3: 04:39 Donmoyer says California's housing supply is expected to grow by a meager 2% in 2019 that's a continuation of a slow growth trend.

Speaker 8: 04:48 We are trending in the right direction. We did have a lot of rain, which is great for stopping the drought, but it's hard to build when it's raining. And so our prayer literally is that we start to see us an upswing and it continues at the end of the year. So we actually met match what we did last year, but right now we're down to year over year and that is troubling for us.

Speaker 3: 05:07 Advocates for affordable housing, say they're already seeing a jump in production and planning for subsidized homes, but even with the governor's big investment, they say it will be years before enough can be built and before the state's affordability crisis can be solved in Sacramento. I'm Chris Nichols.

Speaker 1: 05:26 Well, in fact, California is tracking governor Newsome's can pain promise to expand the state's housing supply for updates. Visit politifact.com/california a judge in San Diego has ruled in favor of media outlets and ordered the unsealing of 17 search warrants containing details. About a deadly synagogue shooting in Poway KPBS. As Sally Hickson tells us in a brief hearing, presiding judge Peter Deta said there was no legal reason to keep the warrants under seal any longer. There were no objections either to unsealing the warrens by prosecutors or defense attorneys. The judge did say had reviewed the warrants with the district attorney's office to redact certain portions such as the names of some investigating officers and civilian witnesses. Otherwise, the warrants having to do with the Hublot of Poway shooting rampage and the arson of an Escondido mosque are expected to be available sometime next week. The defendant who is being prosecuted in federal and state court in separate but simultaneous cases as pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges, he faces a possible death sentence. In both cases. If convicted Sally Hickson KPBS news mts has been on a mission to build more housing on the transit agencies. Real Estate KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says those projects will soon pay higher wages and get more expensive.

Speaker 3: 06:49 MTS board members voted Thursday to mandate higher wages and benefits for construction crews who work on the agency's transit oriented development projects. It's called prevailing wage and it's already required on public works projects and most affordable housing construction developers say it can increase the cost of a project by 20 to 30% Carol Kim is political director for the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council, a group of labor unions that pushed for the chain.

Speaker 9: 07:19 She looked forward to working with you to make sure that people are always beating, being able to earn real wages that sustain their families and that when we're building affordable housing, we're not actually increasing the market for more affordable housing.

Speaker 3: 07:33 Does means MTS will likely get less revenue when it allows development on its real estate. Andrew Bowen KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 07:41 Since February Central American migrants have been sent back to Mexico under the Trump administration's migrant protection protocols or MPP, which makes migrants wade out their asylum claims in Mexico. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Adler joined a mother and her teenage son as they crossed the border to go to court. Thursday morning.

Speaker 3: 08:03 Ana Margarita and her 14 year old son, Jorge got up early and pack their bags to leave to Kuana for what they hoped would be the final time. Jorge says they had to flee gang members in El Salvador on the assessment. I don't want to sort of slamming the artist when they killed our family members. At the same time they were looking for me. Now they live in constant fear for their safety behind locked doors in Mexico. That's why we've changed their names in court. They're lawyers with Jewish family services, argued they need to be screened by an organization that evaluates torture claims, including emotional torture. But the u s government argued it wasn't able to accommodate that request because it couldn't properly staff the interview. So now they're heading back to Mexico and we'll have another court date. In October Max with Lynn Adler, k PBS news,

Speaker 1: 08:52 a platoon of San Diego seals was abruptly home from Iraq. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the commander order them out after allegations of misconduct.

Speaker 3: 09:04 The movement of seals is typically closely guarded, so it's highly unusual that the u s special operations command, but announced on Twitter Wednesday evening that a platoon from the San Diego based seal team seven was being removed from Iraq naval special warfare spokesperson commander Tamra Lauren says they were ordered out of a by Major General Eric Hill, the commander of the joint task force in Iraq due to a perceived a deterioration of good order and discipline related to their behavior during downtime. Recently, members of seal team seven have been in court over their behavior in Iraq. In 2017 chief Eddie Gallagher was on not guilty of the most serious charges during the trial. It came out that the platoon operated a rooftop bar at their safe house in muzzle. Empty beer cans were found in a Humvee part of a string of embarrassing headlines for the normally secretive seals. Steve Walsh KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 09:53 More National Guard troops are headed to the u s Mexico Porter. 1,000 troops from Texas. We'll try to address one of the unintended results of president Trump's immigration crackdown traffic jams. Trucker say it can take hours to cross the border and get through u s customs from Texas Carson frame reports for the American home for a project

Speaker 10: 10:15 every day, more than 40,000 commercial trucks cross over the Pharr international bridge carrying things like fruits, vegetables, and machine parts. Once the truck's reached the u s they spill out into an intersection with two gas stations or many go to refuel, some of an island on the three mile long bridge for hours waiting for customs officials to scan and approve their loads. Christiane Davila stands in the shade pumping diesel fuel into his tank today. He crossed the border with a load of mangoes, Chili's, cucumbers, and squash. He says he can only make one trip per day because the wait times fluctuate so much.

Speaker 11: 10:53 Well then 11 tomorrow, sometimes six hours depending on the line. Sometimes we get in line at night again and we get here at 6:00 PM four or 5:00 PM depending on the lions. Eight o'clock yeah, it's a really long time. There's not enough time for another trip across. In late March, customs and border protection began pulling customs agents away from their regular jobs at ports of entry and reassign them to process migrants at the border. [inaudible] and the migrant situation began and then began closing lanes. It became worse, but it's getting bad. I crossed over today in less than an hour. CVP

Speaker 12: 11:27 since moved some personnel back to customs processing at the ports. That's improved wait times somewhat, but all along the border companies are still concerned. Staffing remains an issue and business leaders worry about a possible repeat of the situation. This spring when president Trump's threats of tariffs led to a surge of Mexican imports that made traffic even worse. Rufus York site is president of the National Foreign Trade Council.

Speaker 1: 11:51 The rates have definitely gotten

Speaker 13: 11:54 much longer since many of these policy changes were put into place. These delays are, you know, lost money, lost time. Um, very often it impacts their bottom line. It also impacts the workers in those, in those production fills Saudis, and of course it impacts American consumers because it raises their costs.

Speaker 12: 12:14 In late June, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced the deployment of National Guard troops to ports of entry. He said they'll help support commercial trade.

Speaker 14: 12:22 They will be working, uh, in assisting border patrol at ports of entry, uh, to facilitate commercial traffic coming in as well as any other traffic that may be coming across the border. So they, they will, they will be performing basically, uh, the functions that border patrol performs collaboratively with the border patrol.

Speaker 12: 12:42 Neither Governor Abbott's office, the Texas Military Department nor CBP responded to requests for clarification about what exactly the guard troops will be doing. CBP did brief some business leaders who do cross border shipping and logistics work. Tony Rivera is the general manager of Parker and company, a customs brokerage agency. He says, they were told that the national guard would not be processing shipments. They're here on a security function. That's what we were told later, that they're not here to be able to do law enforcement. They're here to secure our borders, to be able to also provide security for customs and for border patrol. Revera says he welcomes additional security at the ports and along the border generally, but he says to reduce the delays customs needs trained officers, people who know how to process goods and handle manifest as a brokerage community, we need people that are experienced, that are trained to be able to process customs, documentation, understand the business, understand the urgencies. It takes a while to get there. Industry leaders say there would be a need for more customs officers even without the migrant situation, because trade between the U s and Mexico is expanding now with some truckers saying the immigration crackdown has made the delays worse. It's unclear how much the national guard deployment will improve things in far Texas. I'm Carson frame.

Speaker 1: 14:01 This story was produced by the American Home Front project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. If you 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.