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It's Decision Day For San Diego's Pension Reform Measure, Prop B And More Local News

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San Diego City Council members are scheduled to decide whether to seek the invalidation of Proposition B, the city's landmark pension reform measure, after a series of court rulings put the measure in jeopardy. Plus, the city council will also cast a final vote on the city budget and a new report to the San Diego Police Department outlines ways to increase diversity on the force.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Good morning. It's June 10th I'm Priya there and you're listening to San Diego News matters today. San Diego City Council,

Speaker 2: 00:06 so members will decide whether to fight to protect the city's pension reform. Measure proposition B Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, courts have already founded violated state labor laws. Since voters approved prompt be in 2012 newly hired city workers have been excluded from the city's pension system. The State Supreme Court ruled last year that the city broke the law when it placed the measure on the ballot without first negotiating with city labor unions. Now those unions are trying to get property removed from the city charter. They say that's the only way the city's violation of the law can be corrected. City Council members will decide in closed session whether to argue it should be removed from the charter or they could try to preserve property and come up with some other way to compensate workers for missing out on guaranteed pensions. Andrew Bowen Kpbs News, a new report to the San Diego Police Department outlines ways to increase diversity on the fours. KPBS editor Tom Fudge says the suggestions focus on how officers are recruited.

Speaker 3: 01:09 The report comes from the San Diego Citizens Advisory Board on police and community relations. For the past two years, the board has been holding public meetings across the city to find out resonance concerns regarding policing in the city. The board divided it's work into three themes based on public comment, recruitment, training, and racial profiling. In the report, they say they want community residents to be more involved in the recruitment of police officers in their neighborhoods. Brian Pollard is the chairman of the board.

Speaker 4: 01:39 There's people in our communities react and they trust people that look like them. If you want to make any child kind of change in any organizational culture, you have to be cognizant of the type of people you are hiring.

Speaker 3: 01:53 The board also wants the department to look into retaining officer's in underserved communities. Tom Fudge, k PBS news,

Speaker 1: 02:01 a change at City Hall could cause development in downtown San Diego to slow down. KPBS is Sarah Catsi. Honest tells us the city has severed its ties with Civic San Diego. In 2012 the city own nonprofit Civic San Diego began to manage parking, permitting and the planning of downtown. But in order to settle a lawsuit, the agency was forced to turn many of its functions back over to the city. George Belch with Sdsu Fouls College of business says that people are concerned that development will now have more regulations and in turn slow things down.

Speaker 4: 02:35 I think the big fear that developers have is, is is this a score attached to the wall, uh, Civic San Diego and then their predecessor move things along in a very timely manner. And really we see it reflected downtown. All the building that happened there in a short time period,

Speaker 1: 02:49 Civic San Diego was founded the same year. San Diego's redevelopment agency was dissolved due to state action. Sarah Cutsie Ana's KPBS news today, San Diego City Council members or casting a final vote on the city budget. Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says there are some last minute requests.

Speaker 2: 03:09 Officials predict there will be about $9 million leftover from the current fiscal year. All the council members released memos listing their priorities for how to spend that cash. They include restoring the tree trimming budget. After Mayor Kevin Faulkner proposed cutting it and hiring more lifeguards at council. Majority can make changes to the mayor's proposed budget as long as it remains balanced. The city's total spending is one point $6 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1st Andrew Bowen Kpbs News,

Speaker 1: 03:39 a team of University of California scientists searching for a cure for HIV is losing federal funding following a new ban on fetal tissue research cap radios, healthcare reporters, Sammy Allah has more fetal cells are collected during abortions. They can multiply and transform into any type of cell which makes them ideal for testing out new therapies. But abortion opponents say it's a moral to use them at all. This month the Federal Department of Health and human services band its own scientists from using these cells. They stopped funding a major UC San Francisco HIV project and they're requiring all future fetal tissue research to get approval from an ethics board. Past administrations have supported this research and it's led to new developments in vaccines. Parkinson's disease and more supporters of the band say tax payer dollars should go toward finding alternatives to using fetal cells in Sacramento. I'm Sammy Kay Yola. More than half a century ago, a young Navy reservist died in a plane crash in Vietnam. For years, government scientists couldn't identify his remains in part because he was adopted and they couldn't match his DNA to blood relatives. Finally, they turn to an emerging technique that linked his bones to the drinking water in the places he grew up. Libby dunk man reports for the American Home Front project

Speaker 5: 04:56 at a funeral home in Montebello, California. Sun Mourners pause during a ship's bell before signing the guest book. Many in this crowd of waited 52 years to pay their respects to fall. A Navy reservist, Raul Guara, he was just 24 when his plane went down northwest of Denang for his former fiance, Mary Barrow. Summer Lot. The loss is still fresh. I was 22 years old and I had never before experienced that. Dope I the man responsible for bringing rebel guera home. His best friend mostly sit silently with his family in a front row. Pew. I visited Reuben Valencia at his home a few days before the service. This is something I made momentos of Gira. We're everywhere. It's a photograph of my best friend, Raul and myself. Back in 1965 when I got married, Raul was my best man. Shortly after that, Valencia was to the Marine Corps and deployed to Vietnam. Garris signed up for the reserves and got a job as a sports editor at a local paper. Then in 1967 he too was shipped off to war. The navy assigned him to serve as a reporter in the field. The friends kept in touch, writing letters back and forth.

Speaker 6: 06:14 Hi. I always tell him, don't worry about me. I'm gonna get home. I know I'm going to come home.

Speaker 5: 06:18 Valencia did come home with a purple heart for injuries he received in combat, but Raul Guara did not return and for 40 years his remains were in the wreckage of the plane in the mountains of Vietnam, inaccessible to American investigators.

Speaker 6: 06:33 There was always something inside museum kept on saying that he was there. He was somewhere there.

Speaker 5: 06:40 In 2005 there was a break in the case of farmer had come across the crash site. Other passengers on the plane were quickly identified, but Raul Garris journey wouldn't be so simple. Turned out he'd been adopted from Mexico and no blood relatives were available to provide a positive DNA match. It was a surprise even to his closest friends.

Speaker 6: 07:01 Never, never knew that. My friends mother that I had always known as penis mother was not his biological mother.

Speaker 5: 07:12 The science to finally bring Gary home wouldn't catch up for over a decade. John Bird is laboratory director with the defense POW MIA accounting agency. The Pentagon department responsible for recovering, identifying and reuniting fallen service members with their families. Bird's team used an emerging forensic technique called stable isotope analysis.

Speaker 7: 07:33 In this case, we were looking at oxygen and oxygen isotopes in your body come from your drinking water.

Speaker 5: 07:39 The water we drink leaves a signature in our bodies. Researchers can match the skeletal record with maps of places where drinking water has been tested.

Speaker 7: 07:48 We knew that Ronald Garrett grew up and Ensonata Mexico and then he moved up into southern California. We found, uh, data from studies that had already been done of water supplies from northern Mexico and from southern California. Then we were able to show the ratios we got from the bone matched very favorably

Speaker 5: 08:10 early in 2019 after 52 years, Reuben Valencia got word his friends remains, were finally coming home. He choked up at the memory of hearing the news.

Speaker 6: 08:21 Hard to talk. Yeah, really, really happy, but hard to talk about it.

Speaker 5: 08:30 Hi Martin Garrow was laid to rest with full military honors at a cemetery that Valencia can see up on a hillside when he looks at is sliding glass back door in Los Angeles. I'm Libby dank man. This story was produced by the American Home Front project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veteran's funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting, 60

Speaker 1: 08:56 minutes corespondent and former CBS evening news anchors. Scott Pelley writes that there was a time he was really looking forward to the 21st century, but after nine 11, the Bush administration's war against terror and the hyperpartisan swinging politics, everything seemed to change. Everything except the values that journalists live by truth and accuracy, which are more important than ever. Pelly spoke to midday edition host Maureen Cavanagh about his new book. Truth worth telling, a reporter search for meaning in the stories of our times

Speaker 8: 09:29 so far. This century has not quite turned out the way that you were hoping. How have you coped with that?

Speaker 9: 09:36 Oh, you know, a doctor, Martin Luther King Junior as you know, marine was, was fond of a quote from a 19th century ministry. He said the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. So that's, that's how I cope with it. I take the long view. Uh, I think, uh, the, the history of humanity is one of constant progress, but it's kind of three steps forward, one step back. But if you take a, if you take the long view, I think you can be filled with faith and hope.

Speaker 8: 10:08 And one attribute that you write about is Hubris that you observed in both presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And you worry about Americans developing a tolerance for poor leadership. Can you tell us more about that?

Speaker 9: 10:23 Well, we live in a time now where the truth can be made to seem ally and ally can be made to seem the truth. And I don't think that's what any of us as Americans expect from our leadership. I'm the most non partisan person you're ever going to meet. I don't have that gene. I don't care whether the Democrats or Republicans are in power in Washington. I've met many great republican presidents in my view, in many great democratic presidents in my view. But what I do care a lot about marine, his character, if you have character, you can work out just about anything. If you don't have character, nothing is going to work. And I'm hoping in this next election, uh, the American people will be looking at character more than anything else in choosing a president,

Speaker 8: 11:09 even though you don't have the partisan gene was the political state of arc that our nation is in right now. Part of the impetus for writing this book,

Speaker 9: 11:19 the political state, yes, but also something that worries me a great deal in the information age. I believe that we've moved from the information age seamlessly into the dish information age. Never before has more information been available to more people and that's a great thing. But it is also true that never before has so much bad information been available to more people. What's the fastest way to destroy a democracy is a terrorism war and other great depression? I don't think so. I think the fastest way to destroy a democracy is to poison the information. And as you and I sit in the studio right now, that's exactly what's happening in our world and in our country. And how,

Speaker 1: 12:06 how much responsibility do you think the news profession bears for the public snack? Lack of knowledge on issues and their distrust of the information that report is provided.

Speaker 9: 12:17 This is a little self serving and nobody who hears this is going to like hearing it. But I think our readers, viewers and listeners and bear a great deal of that responsibility. When I was coming up, there were three television networks as God intended, but today we have limitless sources of information. I'm telling my audiences today that they have a responsibility right now that they never had before, and that is to choose reliable, independent reporting and not believe just anything that happens across the Internet. You know, all of us every day make choices about what we eat because of our health will. Now for the first time, we have to make choices about what is good for our brains and what's nutritious for our brains. I tell people, they, people say, well, what do I do? I say, go to name brand news organizations. Go to KPBS, go to CBS, go to NBC, go anywhere you want to go. And the Nice thing about it today as you can do that on the internet, but choose a reliable organization that you know is working hard to try to get it right.

Speaker 1: 13:32 That was 60 minutes corespondent and former CBS evening news anchors, Scott Pelley talking to midday edition host Maureen Cavanagh. I'm Priya [inaudible] there. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters podcast. Find more local news online@kpbs.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.