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Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Wife, Margaret, Changes Plea In Corruption Case And More Local News

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Margaret Hunter, who was co-indicted on corruption charges last year, has agreed to change her plea and is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday. Plus, KPBS travels to El Paso to talk with U.S. Army leaders who are running operations at the border from Texas to California; and the California Democratic Party is thinking of using people living in the country illegally as delegates.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:01 It's Thursday, June 13th I'm Andrew Bowen and you're listening to San Diego and news matters coming up. A big update in the case against Congressman Duncan Hunter over campaign finance violations and US troops are at the southern border. We are not taught to engage in this particular mission, said we want to deescalate every situation that we come in contact with. KPBS went to Texas to check in on how president Trump's military action is effecting illegal immigration or on that story right after the break,

Speaker 1: 00:33 a big changes coming into the campaign finance violation case against the wife of Congressman Duncan Hunter Kpbs reporter John Carroll says, Margaret Hunter is going to change your plea in court today. Last year, Margaret Hunter joined her husband, Congressman Duncan Hunter in pleading not guilty to allegations of campaign finance violations, but a filing in federal court Wednesday indicates that Mrs. Hunter will change her plea on Thursday. Last year, the couple was charged with misusing $250,000 in campaign donations for personal expenses. Congressman Hunter's attorney says the change in Mrs Hunters plea doesn't change anything in the case against Mr. Hunter. There's no word on whether the congressman might be changing his plea as well. A call to Margaret hunters lawyer for comment was not returned. John Carroll KPBS news is San Diego on the path to greater health, wealth, comfort and yeah, sustainability. The nonprofit institute at USD just released its findings as KPBS. Is Maya true? He explains

Speaker 2: 01:37 the 2019 San Diego regional quality of life dashboard measures environmental and economic factors in the county when compared to previous years, certain benchmarks can get a thumbs up. Electricity use has decreased while employment and entrepreneurship has increased. The dashboard gave a thumbs down to housing, traffic and water use, which has increased since the state wide. Water restrictions were lifted in 2017 Christiana did. Benedict is director of Environmental Leadership Initiatives at the nonprofit institute at USD. We face environmental challenges that threaten our quality of life. The equinox project is important because it provides data and information, highlights regional leadership and solutions. The first quality of Life Dashboard was released in 2010 the goal of sharing the data is to inform the public as well as decision makers responsible for creating solutions to regional challenges. Maya triple C K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:32 In 1971 shaft announced a new kind of black screen icon. Holiday would tried to build on the shaft name in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson playing shafts. Nephew KPBS film critic Beth Armando says Jackson is back with yet another incarnation of the New York private detective. The fact that John Singleton's 2000 films shaft failed to capture any groundbreaking vibe of Gordon parks. Original film was sadly disappointing considering

Speaker 3: 03:00 the promise of singletons debut film Boyz in the hood. Now, Tim Story, a lesser director than both singleton and parks has found success in reinventing shaft in a more comedic vein with the introduction of a third generation of John Shaft. I'm looking for a WHO, who's asking John? Chef junior is your son? My son junior. The film has some funny dialogue as well as great chemistry between the original shaft. Richard Roundtree, Samuel L. Jackson as his son and Jesse Ti. Usher is Jr. It's better than singletons formulaic thriller, but still doesn't compare to the landmark 1971 film. This latest Schaff never quite figures out how to view its blaxploitation roots in an era of millennials and political correctness, but it does have some fun trying. Fuck Amando KPBS PBS News,

Speaker 1: 03:55 California's Department of Justice is preparing to take over the database that tracks potential gang members. Some civil rights groups say the move could perpetuate biased policing capitol public radio. Scott Rod has the story. Local law enforcement agencies ran the database known as cal gang for more than two decades, but in 2016 the state auditor found issues with how those agencies collected and use the information. Now the Department of Justice will run the program. They declined an interview request, but the proposal includes more rigorous vetting for who ends up in cal gang. [inaudible] Arulanantham with the ACL. Ou says it doesn't do enough to avoid biased policing in potential civil rights violations.

Speaker 4: 04:36 The criteria for inclusion in the database or actually so overbroad that they will sweep up and collect the information of people of color, not based on any connection to gang activity or criminal activity, but simply because they live in a certain neighborhood. The Department of Justice

Speaker 1: 04:51 will hold public hearings on the proposal in the coming weeks from Sacramento. I'm Scott Rod. A program pays homeless people in San Diego to pick up trash. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Adler says it's gearing up for a big expansion. Last year, the nonprofit organization Alpha project launched wheels of change, which pays homeless people minimum wage to spend a few hours cleaning up city streets. Now the program is set to expand after it raised over half a million dollars from both the city and private donors. Wheels of change has added a second van to its fleet and is now sending out 20 homeless people every week day to clean up neighborhoods. Wheels of change is aiming to give jobs to more than 5,000 people this year as it expands it services. Two more days of the week. Max Riverland, Adler k PBS news. The California Democratic Party is considering a proposal to allow non citizens to serve as delegates, capital public radio. Scott Rod has that story. Sarah Sousa is the president of San Francisco's Democratic Club in a member of the county Party Central Committee. She's also an undocumented Daca recipient who came to the US from Brazil nearly two decades ago as a teenager. While Sue's a camp vote in state and local elections, she wants the state Democratic Party to allow noncitizens like her to vote in party elections as delegates and proxies regardless of their immigration status.

Speaker 5: 06:19 We pay taxes, we contribute to social security and two they call anime and we want to sit at the table.

Speaker 1: 06:25 The proposal submitted by Sousa and the San Francisco Democratic Party came up for consideration at last weekend's state party convention, but it was shelved until August to allow for further discussion, allowing noncitizens to serve as delegates has some precedent. The National Democratic Party nominated it's first undocumented dreamer as a super delegate over a year ago. Sousa says she's optimistic. The State Party will adopt the new rule in the coming months from Sacramento. I'm Scott Rod. In the coming months, US troops are likely to have more direct contact with migrants along the US Mexico border. KPBS reporter Steve Walsh recently visited El Paso, Texas. That's where soldiers showed how the military has so far trying to keep its distance.

Speaker 6: 07:11 Soldiers and Marines are stretched along the border from California to Texas monitoring mobile surveillance cameras sitting in trucks provided by border patrol. At times, troops are so far away from the border that soldiers say they can't tell whether they're looking at a cow or a person. And so they are armed says task force commander, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Gatlin. A soldiers always over marine is always authorized to defend him or herself. Uh, but that is not why we are here. That's not why the service member has the side arm. Uh, we are not taught to engage in this particular mission set. We want to deescalate every situation that we come in contact with and turn it over to the supported element, which is the core to patrol

Speaker 7: 07:53 soldiers from Fort Lewis Mcchord near Tacoma, Washington are stationed around El Paso. They've been drilled on the rules of forest when working with border patrol. Soldiers carry flashcards in Spanish to communicate with asylum seekers than other migrants. Colonel Paul Nathan Garcia is Deputy Commander of joint task force north, which is in charge of the operation. He says, troops mainly encounter people looking for water or people who want to turn themselves into border patrol.

Speaker 6: 08:21 I would say on average, we maybe across the entire southwest border wall, we'll have a, we'll have one or two that that APP deal with routinely have maybe a couple of weeks hold

Speaker 7: 08:32 of interactions a week. He says a handful of more serious encounters have been made public in April. Mexican military personnel stop to US Army soldiers conducting borders support operations in Texas, mistakenly believing that the soldiers had crossed into Mexico in May. Police in Yuma, Arizona made arrests after troops in the mobile surveillance mission reported someone aimed weapon at them. Army north is also investigating a marine who discharged his weapon while stationed near El Centro, California Brigadier General Walter does knee. The deputy commanding general of US Army North says contact between troops in migrants is uncommon.

Speaker 8: 09:12 It is very uncommon for the duration that we've been involved in this operation and really the size of the operation in terms of, you know, the, the, the geographic size of the border. Uh, it's actually small

Speaker 7: 09:25 since they first arrived at the border in October. Troops have mostly perform missions that kept them away from anyone crossing the border. Soldiers and marines laid miles of concertina wire and erected barriers at the ports of entry in El Paso, a city heavily depended on trade with Mexico. Every aspect of border policy draws attention, though the military's presence has barely registered

Speaker 4: 09:52 roses

Speaker 6: 09:53 sandstones, Los Benito's, Dick Carlos and Mickey's a busy Mexican restaurant just south of Fort Bliss. El Paso is also a military town. Some of its customers were in army uniforms. The day I visited. Sans is one of several restaurant owners who deliver food to asylum seekers, dropped off by border patrol. She says there are a lot of problems related to the way migrants are being handled, but so far she says most people don't blame the military

Speaker 4: 10:19 in El Paso. We understand what the military is about. We don't blame them. We know it's there. Following orders are doing their jobs. You know how you follow orders. Of course, you know you can either do it with a certain amount of certainness or you can do it with understanding that these were just people

Speaker 7: 10:38 troops could become more visible along the border. The Pentagon has agreed to begin transporting migrants to detention facilities and provide food service troops will also build six new detention facilities. Though the details of those operations haven't been released, meaning El Paso could see much more of a military presence in the coming months. Steve Walsh, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 11:02 four states, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico have watched shares of their water from the Colorado River flowing downstream for nearly a century, but now they want to claim that promised water in the last part of our series, the final Straw Kue our reporter Judy Fi's explorers Kue, our reporter Julie K U E R report or Judy Fi's explores the drive between a massive water pipeline in south western Utah.

Speaker 4: 11:31 Gary Turner is facing a busy afternoon at his turf farm on the outskirts of booming. Saint George customers are calling even before he can finish greasing is harvester,

Speaker 6: 11:42 so they're all looking for grass. But you know how much Omar wants

Speaker 4: 11:46 the dirt and the surrounding. Red Rock Country of Washington county are technical or contrast to turn his crop acres of Emerald Green Lawn grass that glows in the spring. Sunshine. There's nothing more greener for this planet. Then grass, suburban ramblers and apartments sprout outside Turner's 114 acre farm. It's assigned. This is one of the nation's fastest growing metro areas. I mean we grow houses better than we can grow any other commodity. Turner irrigates with the Virgin River. It's the areas soul water source, but he says if the people moving here, one lawns, they need the Lake Powell pipeline, we absolutely have to have it. I don't know any other option. The pipeline would be like dipping a 140 miles straw into Lake Powell halfway across the state. It would cost billions of dollars and be paid for by Utah. The water would support nearly 100,000 new households, including future turf customers. Crap, it's absolute madness. Nick Scour the Utah or Rivers Council says too much. Colorado river water has already been promised to too many people.

Speaker 9: 12:48 Well, the State of Utah would have you believe there's plenty of water for all of these projects as though we're living in the good old days.

Speaker 4: 12:56 When the river was gushing and it kept Lake Powell and Lake mead full, now 40 million people rely on that stored water and their demands and drought have strained this vital supply.

Speaker 9: 13:07 We are way beyond the budget of what the Colorado River can deliver and when you just look at how much water's in the river and how much everyone else wants to take out, it's just not there.

Speaker 4: 13:19 But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is proceeding with Utah's application to draw 86,000 acre feet from Lake Powell. It's the largest of nine proposed water projects in the upper basin states

Speaker 9: 13:31 and we're up here looking the other way, whistling and pretending we don't notice.

Speaker 4: 13:36 Scouse says pipeline proponents are also putting whole communities at risk by ignoring climate change. Scientists predict the Colorado's flow could be nearly one third, lower by mid century instead of a pipeline. Opponents say the smartest and cheapest solution is conservation found us. Lisa Rutherford lives in a St George suburb where that idea's already embraced. Her Front Yard is red rock and low water plants. It's the stuff of nightmares for someone who makes a living growing sod.

Speaker 9: 14:04 We took out our front grass in 2013 and just have a little piece of grass in the backyard.

Speaker 4: 14:10 Rutherford tracks the pipeline for the nonprofit conserved southwest Utah. We don't think there will be the water. We do not think that we need the water, but rather for to partner Paul van dam. This says a problem has deeper roots, a conviction that Nevada, Arizona and California are taking precious resources that belong to Utah.

Speaker 9: 14:30 That's almost part of the DNA of people out here. It's just like treason. If you don't fight for the water, that is your water.

Speaker 4: 14:38 A long time soldier in that fight is Mike styler who recently retired as director of Utah's Department of natural resources. Before that he was one of the state lawmakers who voted to begin the battle for the pipeline.

Speaker 9: 14:49 What they need to do. The lower states

Speaker 10: 14:52 use their right that's allocated to them and we will use our right. This allocated does and that water is

Speaker 4: 15:01 the turf farm. Turner's Harvester is peeling two by five which drips from the ground, rolling them up and stacking them on pallets. Two tractor trailers await loading for delivery tomorrow morning and contractors with pickups and trailers are standing by Turner doesn't want this market to dry up. The good book says that the meek shall inherit the earth, but they won't get no water and they have to fight for their water into Turner. The answer to Utah's water problem is a no brainer. I'm Judy phase in southwestern Utah. I'm Andrew Bowen. Thanks for listening to this 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.