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Photo Of Dead ISIS Militant Shown At Navy SEAL Trial And More Local News

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During opening statements in the court-martial of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, prosecutors showed jurors a photo of a dead militant said to have been killed by Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. Plus, the abandoned California Theatre will become a massive downtown condo tower; City Heights residents say they are unhappy about billboards advertising pot; and a new study shows that migrants applying for asylum do show up to their hearings, despite Trump administration testimony to the contrary.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, June 19th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters coming up. Graphic images during opening statements in the murder trial of a decorated navy seal and is the spent nuclear fuel at Santa. No free safe. If you had no shield in between our fuel and yourself, it could be fatal as scientific explainer on how the waist is being stored. That more right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. The trial of seal chief Eddie Gallagher opened with prosecutors trying to place Gallagher at the scene of a murder in Iraq. In 2017 KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh has been covering the court. Marshal Gallagher

Speaker 3: 00:52 is accused of killing a wounded teenage isis fighter in his custody. During opening arguments, prosecutors said they have eyewitnesses among Gallagher's platoon who said they saw him stab the wounded fighter. They show photos of him holding the body by the hair is knife in the other hand. After the hearing, Gallagher's attorney Tim Parla. Tori was asking why the defendants, fellow seals would lie in court.

Speaker 4: 01:14 We're talking about a small core group of friends that they're the ones that are lying and trying to drag everybody else down with them.

Speaker 3: 01:21 The defense characterizes this as a generational conflict between a younger group of seals and the older chief. The prosecution continues its case through the end of the week. Other seals from Gallagher's platoon are set to testify. Steve Walsh, KPBS news,

Speaker 2: 01:37 San Diego Mirror. Kevin Faulconer had some one on one time with president Trump at the White House. Tuesday. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, fault for met with Trump and brought up issues facing San Diego.

Speaker 5: 01:49 Faulkner and Trump discussed a number of topics during a meeting inside the Oval Office, including Faulkner support for the United States, Mexico, Canada trade agreement, how sewage flowing in from Mexico is impacting San Diego and the efforts being taken to curb homelessness here. Specific details of conversations that were not provided in a tweet Tuesday, Faulkner said he briefly met with the president to discuss a few big issues facing San Diego. He went on to say he encouraged more federal action to fix the issue of sewage coming in from the Tijuana River valley and earlier Twitter posts from Faulkner said he was in Washington DC for a border trade aligns conference. Matt Hoffman, k PBS News,

Speaker 2: 02:27 a spokeswoman for the mayor, says this was a planned meeting. She says, immigration at the border was not discussed. After years of delays of legal challenges, developers are finally ready to move forward with a condo project on the side of the abandoned California theater. KPBS reporter Maxwell villonodular takes a look at the new plan for the long stalled downtown project.

Speaker 3: 02:50 For almost 30 years. The California theater has sat abandoned as developers and a local preservation organization have battled in court over how to salvage the landmark 1920s movie cathedral. Last week, the group's announced a settlement that would replace the building with the largest ever condo tower in downtown San Diego. There will no longer be a theater, but the bottom floors, the new structure would replicate parts of the existing historic building inside and out. Bruce Koons is the executive director of save our heritage organization. A historic preservation group.

Speaker 6: 03:26 It is going to be a reconstruction, but it's going to be a faithful reconstruction.

Speaker 3: 03:31 According to the developers, the ground floor of the building will be used for retail and public space. The mural for the Calli anti race track in Tijuana, which local groups have rallied around saving will be demolished under the new plan. Koons says the plan is to create a replica mural.

Speaker 6: 03:48 Eh, there's a special place in the hearts of San Diego Represents San Diego. When we had a much different situation at the border where we freely float back and forth across the border,

Speaker 3: 03:58 the project is expected to be completed by 2023 Max Riverland, Adler, k, PBS news,

Speaker 2: 04:06 activist and community leaders from city heights want more regulation of marijuana billboard advertisements, KPBS reporter prehistory. There's says they want the city council's help. City Heights residents say a number of billboards advertising marijuana in their community violate California law. The law prohibits those billboards from being within 1000 feet of a school or daycare center. They say after reporting the signs to the State Bureau of cannabis control, it took over two months for most of them to be taken down. William Pernow works for the nonprofits. Social advocates for youth.

Speaker 7: 04:42 The San Diego City Council has a responsibility to protect kids from marijuana industry advertisements, exposing children to marijuana billboard advertisements where they learn live and play, normalizes marijuana and puts young lives at risk.

Speaker 2: 04:58 Activists want the city council to set up stronger rules than what's in the state law. Pre usher either k PBS news with crimes against seniors on the rise in San Diego. The district attorney is turning to bank employees to help stop financial abuse. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says the DA's office is pushing a campaign to remind bank employees they're mandated to report financial abuse

Speaker 8: 05:24 reporting. Suspected financial elder abuse isn't just a good idea. It is the law

Speaker 5: 05:31 district attorney. Summer, Stefan says, Bank and Credit Union employees are required by state law to report suspected financial abuses. Reasonable suspicion is enough to make a report, which Stephen says could make a huge difference.

Speaker 8: 05:44 When they step in and they speak up and report suspected financial abuse, they can literally keep someone from losing their life savings.

Speaker 5: 05:54 Stefan says there are some telltale signs of abuse of elders at banks, including seniors coming in with people that seem to be controlling them or with someone that appears to be a stranger. Officials say the financial abuse can also come from family members. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 2: 06:10 The sheriff's department says the stealing of money is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. A new steady on family seeking refuge in the United States contradicts a recent claim by the Department of Homeland Security KPBS report or Max reveleigh nodular explains

Speaker 3: 06:27 last week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin Maca Leenan told us Senate panel that 90% of families seeking refuge in the United States did not show up to their court hearings, but a new study by researchers at Syracuse University indicates the reality is just the opposite. The study reviewed the cases of 47,000 families who had arrived in the United States between last September and the end of May. It found that over 85% of all families who have had an initial court hearing have in fact shown up for it in San Diego. Those numbers are higher. Over 95% of families have shown up for all of their hearings nationwide. 99% of families who had legal representation attended all of their court hearings. Max Riverland, Adler, k, PBS News,

Speaker 2: 07:20 southern California Edison has resumed storing spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre nuclear generating station. This comes a year after a near miss accident when one of the canisters almost fell 18 feet. KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Celani looks into whether storing 1700 tons of nuclear waste on a beach is safe

Speaker 9: 07:43 at the Santa No free community engagement panel and ocean side residents are concerned. They say the spent nuclear fuel at Santa No free isn't safe on the beat.

Speaker 10: 07:53 Show me stuff about halfway the nuclear waste is there some of those quickly, but the 24,000 years,

Speaker 9: 08:00 local resident Peter McBride worries, the canisters are too thin and they'll corrode. Others say rising ocean levels could smother the canisters and water. Other areas of the country faced the same kind of irresponsibility with such a sense of potential, potentially disastrous material and now I'm worried about her children, my grandson, but at the sooner, no friend nuclear generating station, which jets right up to the beach chief nuclear engineer Randall grayness isn't worried. He says any danger would come right after the rods are removed from the reactor because they are extremely hot. That's why they are put in wet cooling ponds. After five years, we can basically then we can transfer it into this a dry storage system, but even after it's cooled spent, nuclear fuel is still highly radioactive and part of that radiation can go through materials like aluminum and human beings, but it can be stopped by concrete and steel. Still, it can take years for this radiation to become less of a problem.

Speaker 11: 09:02 If you had no shield in between our fuel and yourself, it could be fatal. Right now. If you fast forward several hundred years and now you can walk up to one of those fuel assemblies and for a short period of time and you'll be fine, but we can't fast forward.

Speaker 9: 09:19 And that's what's got residents worried. What would happen if this shielding suddenly went away at Santa? No phrase, a large spent fuel site, a thick concrete slab acts as a 35,000 pound lid and it sits on top of a 20 foot crevice where the fuel canisters live official, say the system can withstand massive amounts of stress. But back in January we interviewed physicist Tom English at the center, no Free State Beach. He's very skeptical. The system could hold up in an ocean environment,

Speaker 11: 09:52 so they're going to store it a few inches above the ground water table. As the sea level rises. What will happen is the quality of the containers will curve.

Speaker 9: 10:00 Jim Conka a nuclear waste storage consultant for, so cal Edison says there's little risk of a breach. He was on the sand. I know for a tour,

Speaker 12: 10:08 well these are totally fireproofing and fight. It's like you're doing even to this, um, flooding. Is it going to do anything and you think to this terrorism is the least issue because there's these, each of these weighs 150 tons. It's not like a pack back up pickup truck cut through the fence and throw this in the back of the truck and drive away. One other concern has been earthquakes. Yeah, the, these are are ready for earthquakes. There's some concern about sea level rise. What's good to take a long time for that sea level to rise anywhere near this.

Speaker 9: 10:36 I also asked about corrosion while we were at the plant. Much of the exposed metal have rust, which can cause it to break apart caucuses. The fuel canisters are made of a special steel that resists Russ, but to check Edison's claims, I talked to Ted Quinn, he's the former president of the nonprofit American nuclear society.

Speaker 13: 10:55 The NRC has stated that there is no credible action at did it cover with our dry casks, with the age of the fuel, which is older now.

Speaker 9: 11:03 But he says there's still a caveat. Sandino Frey wasn't built to store, spent nuclear fuel in the long run.

Speaker 13: 11:11 The role of Santiago Frias done. Yeah. It's being taken down and the only thing that'll be left will be the canisters. Yeah. And there's no reason for them to be there if the federal government fulfills their role

Speaker 9: 11:23 back at Santa. No fray. Conka agreed saying there needs to be permanent storage underground.

Speaker 12: 11:28 And that's because, you know, I love, the pyramids are great, but that's the only thing humans have made that lasted, you know, anything approaching geologic time, 10,000 years,

Speaker 9: 11:38 the federal government was supposed to provide a solution decades ago, but it still has it. So these nuclear experts say, what's preventing a permanent, safer solution for Santa? No Frey and plants around the country is less scientific and more political. Shelina chat, Lani Kay PBS news. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPB as 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.