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City Heights Residents Not Giving Up On Mural That's Five Years In The Making And More Local News

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A handful of community leaders and residents in City Heights have gathered every few weeks for half a decade to try to get a mural painted in their neighborhood. Plus, next steps after the administrative shake-up at Lincoln High School, a search warrant reveals new details about the Poway synagogue shooter and more San Diego and California news.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, June 18th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters coming up. What's next after the administrative shakeup at Lincoln high at residents in one city heights neighborhood or hoping persistence pays off. This is a community whose heart and soul is in this and it's a whole history to it. That and more right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:24 [inaudible].

Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. The suspect in the deadly synagogue shooting in Poway allegedly posted a manifesto on eight Chan on online message board, a gathering place for Neo Nazis. Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, federal prosecutors have executed a search warrant on the site.

Speaker 4: 00:55 The warrant was signed by a judge in April, but with sealed until last week. It seeks all the digital footprints of everyone who responded to or commented on the suspect's manifesto. It calls them potential witnesses, co-conspirators, or individuals. Inspired by the posting. Eric Best is a former US attorney. He says, prosecutors have to decide whether any of the responses glorifying the Poway attack are protected by the first amendment or if the poster committed a crime. Does this person have any type of indication in their background that they really would be likely to commit a crime or likely to incite others to commit acts of violence. The suspect in the Poway shooting is charged with more than 100 counts of federal hate crimes and civil rights violations. He could face the death penalty. Andrew Bowen, Kpbs News Fiesta Island

Speaker 3: 01:44 dog park will remain as it is. KPBS reporter John Carroll says the vote of the San Diego City Council was unanimous Monday afternoon.

Speaker 5: 01:53 The council voted to follow the action of the Environment Committee in supporting option B over option a option a would have approved construction of a road through a portion of the park along with other improvements so that non motorized boat clubs could use part of the dog parks. Sure. Option B will preserve the off leash dog park as it is. Two people spoke in favor of option a at the council meeting while dozens support option B, the city council did recommend upgrading South shores beach at fiesta island so that it can accommodate paddler's and other non motorized boat users. John Carol PBS News,

Speaker 3: 02:30 California. Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the creation of a master plan on aging. By late next year. Senior advocates are optimistic, but as KPBS as Amica Sharma reports, they don't want the elderly's most pressing needs ignored. In the interim, California senior population is expected to reach 9 million by 2030 Newsome wants a master plan on aging to address public services, housing, transportation, and in home care for California's elderly. Kevin [inaudible] who heads the advocacy group. Justice and aging praised the governor's order, but he says

Speaker 6: 03:07 it's critical that the governor, the legislator, continued to identify action that we can take right now in the places where we already know we need to be spending more to meet the needs of older adults in our communities today.

Speaker 3: 03:19 He says he'd like to see more immediate funding for senior health care and longterm care costs. Princeville is heartened that the new state budget includes an expansion of medical eligibility for seniors in San Diego. I'm Emmy fisherman, transportation officials, bit $44 million on a San Diego rapid bus route that slower than the one it replaced. That's according to a new analysis from KPBS partner. I knew sores. They're reporter Lauren J. Map has the story.

Speaker 7: 03:52 The two 15 bus route between Sdsu and downtown has been in operation for nearly five years and is actually five minutes slower on average than the old route metropolitan transit systems. CEO Paul Blonde, he says, part of the problem is four miles of plan dedicated bus lanes never got built.

Speaker 8: 04:10 We're working with the city to give us the lanes now mean the community up in alcohol home wants to give us dedicated lane along Gail Collins Boulevard,

Speaker 7: 04:19 San Diego City Council members, including Council President George Jack Gomez, have okayed spending $97,000 to create bus only lanes for the two 15 which in reality means they're going to paint about five miles of lanes.

Speaker 8: 04:32 Well, fully this year we'll have a pilot to show to demonstrate that if we have a better circulation of buses, they're more efficient. Uh, writers can ditch their car at a real option. So real choice,

Speaker 7: 04:47 except the council isn't sending any goals for how fast they want the route to be or how many writers they expect. Again, on the new and improved two 15

Speaker 9: 04:57 great.

Speaker 7: 04:58 KPBS. I'm I knew source reporter Lauren J. Map.

Speaker 3: 05:01 If you want to help plan San Diego's treads, if future, go to elevate SD 20 twenty.com and click on get involved. I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS good companies. The labor unions have long had a contentious relationship, but legislation in California that could reshape the gig workforce is bringing the two sides to the negotiating table. Capitol Public Radio, Scott Rod has more.

Speaker 4: 05:29 The GIG economy uses contractors, which means workers can choose when, where and how long they work. It also means companies don't pay for benefits like health insurance and worker's compensation, but a bill at the Capitol following a state Supreme Court decision last year would require the companies to make their contractors full employees. Good companies say that would eliminate the flexibility essential to their business model, so they're searching for a compromise. The goal to try and contemplate

Speaker 10: 05:58 a new class of work

Speaker 4: 05:59 that's Vikrum I or with Postmates, the food and grocery delivery APP with about 200,000 workers in California. He says labor unions are an ideal partner to offer gig workers benefits. Like a minimum wage and more voice on the job.

Speaker 10: 06:14 Companies like ours that Postmates have a responsibility to not only ensure that they're making a meaningful wage, but that we're also investing in their long term upward mobility on and off the platform.

Speaker 4: 06:28 Postmates isn't alone. Uber and Lyft published a joint op Ed last week announcing their intention to work with labor unions. They want to extend benefits to workers yet keep them as contractors, but democratic assembly woman Lorena Gonzalez, who authored the legislation says the proposals from good companies fall short.

Speaker 3: 06:47 I have yet to hear from these companies anything that would truly provide workers' empowerment or voice on the job.

Speaker 4: 06:53 She says collective bargaining or the ability for workers to negotiate wages and conditions would be essential to any agreement. Anything less, she says is essentially collective begging from Sacramento. I'm Scott Rod.

Speaker 3: 07:06 The federal government wants to change the way it measures the poverty line and a California analysts say that could be bad news for the states. Low income families, capitol public radio, Sammy Kay. Ola has more. Right now. Federal officials adjust the poverty line for inflation. As prices go up, more people fall below the threshold. The cost of living keeps rising in California and experts say the poverty line should rise with it. Under this new measure, the rise would happen a lot more slowly. Some people would make too much to qualify for federal aid programs and analysis from UC Berkeley and Ucla shows that if the new measure is adopted in 2021 about 60,000 medical enrollees would be cut from the program and over a million people on covered California, the state health insurance exchange would get less or no federal help with their premiums. The administration is seeking public comment on these options until June 21st in Sacramento.

Speaker 3: 08:00 I'm Sammy Kay, the city of San Diego launched its annual portable pool program at the city heights recreation center. Monday. Kpbs a Sally Hixon tells us the program offers free swimming and water safety lessons to children. The pool will remain at the city heights rec center and for other recreation centers in the San Diego area for three weeks each before moving on to the next facility. The city will provide week long water safety classes at each stop to kids ages three to 15 the city can accommodate up to 100 children a week at each facility. The city launched the portable pool program in 1968 primarily to prevent children from drowning. More information on the portable pool program can be found at San diego.gov/pools Sally Hixon KPBS news besides the border wall, there's another wall causing controversy here in southern California, but this one is in

Speaker 11: 08:56 city heights. KPBS reporter Prius rather takes us to terracotta park where residents have been waiting years for action. This is a community whose heart and soul is in this and it's, it's a whole history to it. It's a strategy session in city heights. A handful of community leaders and residents have gathered every few weeks for five years to try to get a mural painted in their neighborhood. When they first got the idea, residents commissioned Linda Sheridan, CEO of the San Diego Cultural Arts alliance to plan the process. Art Is transformative. It reflects the truth of a community. It's the visual of the heart of people. Share it and sent out surveys to city heights residents, asking them what they wanted the mural to say about their community. They learn from each other. They have very diverse backgrounds. They speak, I don't know how many different languages in this community, the theme they settled on was unity in the community and they wanted to put it on a 263 foot long wall into Rolta Park. The park sits directly on top of interstate 15 and used to have a lot of gang activity. Deon Tomsky a community leader says the park represents the change in growth. City Heights has made

Speaker 12: 10:16 the wall, um, as being quite often tagged by you, you know, you know, with graffiti, um, by gang related youth and others. And uh, the quests was knowing that mural art is a real deterrent, you know, from that kind of vandalism.

Speaker 11: 10:31 In addition to displaying the diversity of city heights, the mural features key neighborhood landmarks like the city heights library, central school and the iconic terracotta neighborhood park sign. The community decided to include the words, acceptance, diversity, harmony and justice in Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese and English. The plans also included a few messages to represent the unity in the community theme, including we are America, we welcome you and education, reading and respect. Tomsky says the words help emphasize what the mural represents.

Speaker 12: 11:08 They underscore the hopes, aspirations as well as the history, the diversity, um, culturally and age wise or this community. But

Speaker 11: 11:16 it's those words that started their problems. Caltrans owns the wall and according to their policy, text is not allowed on transportation. Art back in April, the mural organizers asked for a formal waiver so they could include the text and then they waited. They got no response from Caltrans for months. Sheridan who helped plan the process from the beginning says the years long wait has been beyond frustrating. I mean, it's like you want to shake your head and say, seriously, we can't function differently from this. We can't function at a better level. Um, response to the needs of a community. The mural working group doesn't want to give up hope. They want to invite Caltrans to Charlton Park to have a conversation with the community and understand their plans while the mural team hadn't heard from Caltrans in months. Once I started working on the story, I was able to get some answers. Caltrans told me they plan to approve the mural but it won't be allowed to have text. They say because they're a state entity, they're required to be quote content neutral and that they can arbitrarily pick and choose which art can have text and which won't without violating the U s constitution. Maria Cortez, a long time city heights resonance says she will continue to fight for the mural. She says celebrates the change and growth of her neighborhood.

Speaker 9: 12:39 The park is thriving. The community has come together. Communities come out here, the kids play soccer games. Late in the evenings we have had um, movie nights here in the park. The mural would also interrogate art and what a, what a difference it would make to have art displayed out here throughout the community.

Speaker 11: 13:03 She says getting the mural painted would also be a sign of how our community has learned to work together. And to her, that would be the reward. Prius. Sure. Either k PBS news. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPBS podcasts, go to k pbs.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.