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Feds: Duncan Hunter Used Campaign Funds For Extramarital Affairs And More Local News

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Federal prosecutors turn up the heat against Rep. Duncan Hunter; lawyers for a decorated Navy SEAL charged with war crimes ask a judge to find him not guilty; the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approves a $23.8 million to expand mental health and substance abuse care; and curbside recycling in San Diego is about to get a lot more expensive.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, June 26th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Federal prosecutors say a local congressman use campaign funds for his extra marital affairs and a small number of people are repeat nine one one callers, but why do they call over and over again? When we look at individuals and their experience in the nine one one system, we realized that we may not be addressing their needs that and more right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Federal prosecutors allege in due court papers that Congressman Duncan Hunter use campaign funds to pursue extra marital affairs with lobbyists and congressional aides. KPBS a Sally Hixon says the US Department of Justice filed more than a dozen motions Monday. The court papers say hunter illegally used campaign funds to finance romantic flings with a series of women. Those allegations are connected at charges, he and his wife misspent or than $200,000 on trips and personal expenses. Prosecutors say hunter repeatedly use campaign credit cards or sought reimbursement for expenses that included resort hotel rooms, airfare and Uber rides to the homes of five women with whom he had intimate relationships earlier this month. The congressman's wife Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to one corruption count and agreed to testify against her husband. Hunter. Meantime filed his own set of court papers asking that the case be dismissed. Sally Hixon Kpbs News, the mayor's office has announced a proposed location for a storage facility to keep belongings for people who are homeless.

Speaker 2: 01:43 KPB As reporter Prius either tells us where that is. The city funded storage facility is proposed for an area on 54th and Leah streets near city heights, just south of university avenue. It's expected to have 500 bins. The facility would be run by the mental health services department and have case management on site in hopes to reduce homelessness. A 500 bed facility run by the city opened up in Sherman Heights in June of 2018 but the city says that site is that capacity. City Council. President Georgette Gomez volunteered to find a location for a new site in her district last month. The mayor's office will hold a town hall for residents about the facility on July 11th Prius. Sure. Either k PBS news. The San Diego County Board of supervisors will decide today whether to approve a new housing development and the [inaudible] ranch area. KPBS reporter John Carroll says the project has run into opposition from environmental groups.

Speaker 3: 02:42 The proposed development is called a Dora at Otay ranch. If approved up to 1,119 homes would be billed in a 1300 Acre village setting. The developer, Jackson Pendo company says the development is in keeping with the Otay ranch master plan approved nearly five years ago. The main way in and out is proctor valley road, which would remain a two lane route and there in lies the issue with a coalition of environmental groups. They say if a wildfire where to hit the area evacuation of people and animals would be extremely difficult. They say the development would be built in an area ranked by cal fire as being at very high threat. But a spokesman for the developers responded saying the fire evacuation plan was written based upon the San Diego County emergency operations plan and has been reviewed and accepted by the San Diego County fire authority and determined to meet all state and county requirements. KPBS we'll be at the supervisor's meeting and we'll have full coverage for you. John Carroll Kpbs News

Speaker 2: 03:42 San Diego County supervisors have agreed to spend more than $20 million extra on behavioral health services. They also approve sweeping changes to the way they provide help for people in mental health crisis. KPBS is Alison Saint John says they'll negotiate with any hospital willing to offer land to build a new mental health crisis treatment center. North County Supervisor Jim Desmond proposed the county spent $14 million to build a new mental health crisis stabilization unit at Tri City hospital, which closed on its beds last year, but the supervisors instead supported a recommendation to negotiate with Tri city or any other hospital willing to partner with the county to invest in new facilities. County board chair, Dianne. Jacob said other hospitals have struggled to keep their units open and the county cannot step into bail out one hospital.

Speaker 4: 04:31 This is a partnership that we would be creating with tri city, not a bailout and that has to be really, really clear as we move forward

Speaker 2: 04:39 or supervisor Desmond degree to accept the modified proposal

Speaker 4: 04:43 and I don't believe the Tri city is really looking for a handout. They're just wanting to survive

Speaker 2: 04:48 the number of beds available for people experiencing a mental health crisis in North County has already dropped from 58 to 28 and would drop to 12 next year without further investment. The supervisors plan to build more crisis stabilization centers in communities across the region, but I've met with resistance from some municipalities, Alison, Saint John Kay, PBS news mountain lions aren't listed as an endangered species in California, but environmental groups want to change that for six populations is banned from Santa Cruz to the u s Mexico border capital public radio is Ezra David Romero reports big cats deserve protective status. That's the message behind your recently submitted petition to the state's fishing game commission. It relies on a study from earlier this year that southern California lions could go extinct in just over a decade. Tiffany Yap is with the center for biological diversity behind the petition. These populations are struggling with high levels of inbreeding and low levels of genetic diversity, which is being caused by extreme levels of isolation from roads and development. Kind of closing them in. If the state decides to list cougars, it could stop highways from being built or expanded within their habitat unless there are ways for the animals across them. It also might limit development. A decision could be made by the commission by years end in Sacramento. I'm as her David Romero, the prosecution of seal chief Eddie Gallagher. We'll go forward after a judge's ruling. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh has been covering the case and has this story.

Speaker 5: 06:23 After prosecutors wrapped up their case Tuesday afternoon, the judge ruled against a defense motion to find Gallagher not guilty on all charges. This despite bombshell testimony from last week by seal medic, Cory Scott who said he killed the wounded prisoner by closing his breathing tube after he said to Gallagher, stabbed the prisoner. Judge Aaron ru says it's a high standard for a judge to dismiss any charges. So he kept in place the murder charge from killing the detainee in May of 2017 as well as shooting a young woman and an old man with his sniper rifle and posing with a corpse as well as obstruction of justice charges for intimidating witnesses. The defense will begin its case Wednesday morning. Steve Walsh KPBS news

Speaker 2: 07:09 in San Diego. More and more first responders are being called on for their services. So much so that the emergency system has been strained just this week. City and county authorities and San Diego have started putting more money into a program called Rep. The resource access program. KPV As evening edition host Ebony Monet spoke about wrap with an Jensen who is with the San Diego Fire and rescue department. So what can you tell us about

Speaker 1: 07:38 rap? Uh, the resource access program is, is what we call rap. And it was, um, started as a pilot program in 2008 and expanded in 2010 and it addresses frequent nine one one colors of the system and roughly 1% of the population in San Diego generates almost 20% of the call volume that EMS receives. And so we have a group of specially trained paramedics who monitor the system and find people who are frequent callers. They're always vulnerable and in some way either having a social or medical difficulty and are especially trained paramedics intervene and provide resources and connect them to resources and they become their advocate to maintain longer term services. And during the pilot run, what was discovered about the need the need? Well that was kind of where, where we articulated, you know, the impact the system, but we discovered that paramedics were effective in reducing a nine one one calls and connecting people to services and helping them achieve a stable or life

Speaker 2: 08:42 the current strain to the county's emergency

Speaker 1: 08:46 see system, the county and cities emergency system. Could you expand on that? I can speak to the nine one one system. And as I said before, percent of our call volume is or almost 20% is generated by frequent nine one one colors and the, the EMS system has meant to handle that. So we can't handle that. But when we look at individuals and their experience in the nine one, one system, we realized that we may not be addressing their needs the way that they need help. And so if we can adjust our approach to providing care, then we can save money for it, you know, the, the community and we can also help people, um, more effectively. And San Diego has a homeless crisis. We've been hearing about the ramifications of that crisis for a few years. Now. Is this tied into the growing homeless population in any way?

Speaker 1: 09:39 Well, with the, we have about 1400 people who would be considered, um, frequent nine one, one colors. And in that total group, about 55% of them are homeless. And, but when we moved to a higher frequency of nine one, one utilization, like if we look at people who call more than 20 times per year, that's about 90% home. People experiencing homelessness. Or, um, if we look at people who call more than 50 times per year, that's 100% of people who are experiencing homelessness. And so how does, um, wrap, um, support our emergency system? You know, rap, you know, the mission of rap is to help vulnerable EMS patients and also to preserve safety net resources. And it's, uh, it's uh, something that you don't have to choose between, which is, is nice that, you know, we can tackle both of those at the same time.

Speaker 1: 10:34 Tell us more about the announcement this week. Um, what additional resources or are being put towards the, the rap program? Uh, the county has given us to, um, s part clinicians, mental health clinicians, which about 70% of our higher, higher utilizers, you know, are suffering some from some sort of mental illness. And so that's really helpful to us. So they, they've given us two per clinicians. And then Amr as well has also given us two paramedics. And then we have our fire department paramedics working too. So, um, it's a, it's a good partnership between the three entities. So once the outreach team identifies people in need, what types of services will they be linked to? People we'll never attach and be successful in services unless you and their immediate social, medical or mental health crisis. And so the first stage is always to make sure that they're stable and then they can think properly and that they're not hungry and that they have the proper medications for their condition. So once they're stabilized, then our paramedics will look for the transitional and longterm services and those. And so the paramedic helps that individual navigate through those different services.

Speaker 2: 11:47 And Jensen with the San Diego Fire and rescue department spoke about the program called wrap the resource access program. 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.