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‘Heal the Bay’ Gives San Diego Beaches An Environmental Report Card And More Local News

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The group published its annual report card with a mixed review for San Diego’s beaches. Plus, California is testing its new ShakeAlert earthquake warning system in San Diego; a witness in the Navy SEAL war crimes trial could face perjury charges; the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved a controversial housing development in the South Bay; and cities across the county switched to district elections for their city councils with the aim of increasing diversity. But is it working?

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Thursday, June 27th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up on an annual report card, give San Diego beaches a mixed review at district elections mean candidates are reaching out to their neighbors, not the entire city. People would say you're the first person who's ever knocked on my door to ask my vote and that was really sad to me. That and more right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:29 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. The environmental group heal the bay, published his annual report card and it had a mixed review for San Diego beaches. Heal the bay, assigns a letter grade to the water quality of 500 California beaches, 13 of 17 coastal counties including San Diego, had lower than average grades for the wet season with increased levels of bacteria and pollutants reported he'll the bays. Water quality scientists, Luke Ginger says that's due to heavy rainfall.

Speaker 3: 01:06 It's generally a good water quality at San Diego beaches, meaning most of the beaches get A's or B's, uh, during the winter, but only when it doesn't rain. When it rains, you advance. When beaches in San Diego County can get C's, D's or F's,

Speaker 1: 01:22 but there's good news to San Diego. Had 12 north county beaches listed on the honor role with perfect water quality scores including Carlsbad, Solana, beach, Cardiff and Encinitas. None of San Diego's beaches made the beach bum or list which ranks the states 10 most polluted beaches to find out where it's safe to swim. Check weekly reports and daily predictions@beachreportcard.org San Diego residents will receive an earthquake alert on their phones today. KPBS science and technology reporter Shelina Chat, Lani says it's the first time that county and the second time this date is testing out this new warning system at the San Diego on emergency operations center. Officials takeout phones from plastic storage bags. They're preparing them for a demo ahead of a test this week. When millions of people in the county, you will get a message through shake alert. It's a warning system that senses in initial shock wave from an earthquake and uses that to warn residents via phone alert before I'm more damaging.

Speaker 1: 02:25 Wave arrives. Holly Porter is the director of the county's office of emergency services. From a public perspective, just having seconds of warning can allow you to duck cover and hold on. Um, you can pull your car to the side of the road to safety. Porter says, county officials will survey around a thousand residents on how long it took them to get the alert or whether some places were left out. Shelina chat, Lani KPBS news, the defense of the war crimes trial of seal chief Eddie Gallagher painted a different picture of his last tour. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh has been covering the case at Naval Base San Diego.

Speaker 4: 03:04 But the fence, it started Wednesday with a marine, a general in charge of the task force in 2017 Colonel Andrew Christian says Mozal was the worst of fighting he had ever seen. Sealed Petty Officer Josh [inaudible] said he never saw Gallagher take a shot. That wasn't necessary. It was Gallagher's a spotter in Iraq in 2017 and he disputes the prosecution with this who says Gallagher shot and elderly civilian marine raider guttery. Sergeant Josh Vanderpool says he liked Gallagher. He said Gallagher had an aggressive marine mindset. He also said his younger platoon was increasingly frustrated with him. Thursday, we expect to hear from the Iraqi general who was in charge in 2017 Steve Walsh KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 03:49 the digital restoration of Paris is burning. Opening it digital Jim's Sanama offers a perfect companion to the legendary drag queens exhibit at the San Diego History Center. KPBS film critic bath. Like Amando says, the Award Winning 1990 documentary about Harlem Drag Ball remains relevant and inspiring. Filmmaker Jenny Livingston took audiences into the Harlem drag scene of the 1980s to explain where voguing came from and how to properly throw shade. She spent seven years getting to know the African American and Latinex members of Harlem's drag houses to create an intimate portrait of how they confronted racism, homophobia, transphobia in poverty with a defined sense of style and inspiring artistry. The film is out. The challenges in its first seen. Someone recalls his father's morning, that being black male and gay means you start with three strikes against you.

Speaker 5: 04:42 This is it. If you're going to do this, you're gonna have to get stronger than you've ever imagined. The

Speaker 1: 04:46 film features Willi, Ninja Pepper, Labeija, Octavia St Laurent and Venus Extravaganza who all share their personal stories and dreams. I want to get married in church and white. I want to be a complete woman. I want to be a professional model behind campus in the high fashion world. Venous never saw the finished film she was murdered and her killer never found highlighting the dangers that gaze and members of the Trans community faced then and sadly still face now as pride approaches. It's good to remember the past to see how things have changed and how much more still needs to be done. Beth, like Amando KPBS news, cigarette butts is straws are among the top 10 single use plastics collected on beaches. Capital public radio is as we're David Romero, reports to state bills aim to dramatically reduce their production. The big idea is to stop companies from making single use plastic products in the first place. Ashley Blake out Drager of the environmental group. Oceana says doing so could help improve the health of waterways and humans. An average person could be ingesting approximately five grams plastic every week, which is the equivalent of one credit card. These broad measures call for reducing single use plastic packaging and products manufactured or sold in California by 75% by 2030 Democratic Senator Henry Stern says, part of the deal is that China doesn't want our plastic. That means

Speaker 6: 06:15 we're going to have to overhaul our recycling system in the at the same time.

Speaker 1: 06:20 The bills are likely to get a lot of push back. Earlier this year, cal chamber found fault with the proposals criticizing unrealistic timelines and a lack of clarity over what products will be included in Sacramento. I'm Ezra David Romero, Tri city medical center in North County has agreed to negotiate with the county to open more beds to treat people suffering from a mental health crisis. KPBS reporter Allison say, John says, taking that on could put the hospital in a crisis of its own. Some San Diego County supervisors berated Tri City for closing. It's crisis stabilization beds last year while other hospitals kept their eyes open. But health care consultant, Nathan Kauffman says hospitals like UC SD have revenue sources like specialty cancer treatments they can use to subsidize psychiatric crisis care. He says currently tri city is just breaking even financially.

Speaker 7: 07:11 Well, I've just looked at the general numbers. They could have a huge impact on its overall ability to provide general acute care because it could generate deficits that would impact the overall care provided to other patients.

Speaker 1: 07:26 Kauffman says reimbursement rates for psychiatric care typically 60 to 70 cents on the dollar. He says even as a county contributed 14 million to build a new crisis care facility at Tri city. The cost of operating it would likely run into many more millions every year, threatening the hospital's ability to keep providing other services to the community. Alison, Saint John Kay, PBS news, if you live outside the city of San Diego, they're likely have been changes to how you elect city council members. All but five cities locally switched to district elections. Instead of letting the entire population vote on all the council members. The change was supposed to increase diversity. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trekkers for found. That hasn't always happened.

Speaker 8: 08:07 Yeah. Congratulations. I'm so excited. So when is the due date? November. Okay. November Escondido City Council woman. Consuelo Martinez is making the rounds in a busy neighborhood park. It won't be hot then. It will be nice. No, it's up to get through the whole summer. He chats with a young couple eating ice cream then stops by a group gathered at picnic tables for a birthday party. She can't walk a few feet without running into someone she knows. Yeah. I'm not talking about perfect timing. I'm like, I always went into people at the park and that's the point of council districts to have someone like Martinez represent her neighbors. Escondido used to elect it's council members city wide, but in 2014 the city drew a district map and created one district that had a very slight majority of four years later. Martinez was elected in that district, but she wouldn't have run without district elections because campaigning citywide was too expensive.

Speaker 8: 09:06 The representatives would be spread out and therefore you would have attention. Hi, you would have attention, um, being given throughout the city. In her first six months in office, Martinez moved to city council meetings to 6:00 PM so working people can attend and got a water treatment plant slated for her district, moved to an industrial area. One of her constituents, Daisy's Evolla says Martinez makes her feel like she's being heard now that there's someone in office that like understand like the struggle of like, um, being born in minority and like being raised as a minority. Like I feel like she just has like a better input. Before Escondido had council districts, there was one Latina on the city council and three white men. Now there are two Latinas and a democratic majority, but in other cities, switching to district elections has an increased diversity. KPBS did an analysis that found five of the 10 cities that switched to district elections and have had elections have not seen increased diversity. Three of those councils are all white. Another four cities have boosted their Latino representation and Carlsbad now has one nonwhite representative for district elections. To increase diversity, you need certain criteria including that the city actually draws districts that have a significant minority population. That's according to Douglas Johnson, the president of National Demographics Corporation, which helps cities draw. District maps

Speaker 9: 10:42 actually needs to be, yes, diverse but a pocket. It has to be kind of geographically concentrated

Speaker 8: 10:48 and even if you have districts and minority candidates run, you still then have to win the election. That means you need a viable minority candidate. Johnson says Modesto finally drew districts after a long legal battle

Speaker 9: 11:02 and no Latina ran, well one ran, but he had a myspace page that was half. Why I love Sandra Bullock movies and half white. I'm running for city council. We're over 50% Hispanic and this can be don't know what type of businesses are you going to get?

Speaker 8: 11:18 Ed Gallows stands in a busy shopping center in Escondido that's filled with Mexican restaurants and a market catering to Latinos. This used to be his district. He lost last year to Consuelo Martinez, but he says other minority candidates such as council woman, Olga Diaz, were able to win seats in citywide votes.

Speaker 9: 11:37 How did that happen? I can tell you how it happened. She worked hard again, because that's what it takes.

Speaker 8: 11:44 He worries. Having Council members represent individual districts means they won't be looking out for the good of the city.

Speaker 9: 11:51 You're involved in the entire city and decision you make

Speaker 10: 11:54 doesn't just involve people in your additional get involved. Everybody in the city

Speaker 8: 11:58 making sure that, uh, the east part of Escondido is not forgotten, was very, it's very, it's still very important to me. It can swell on. Martinez says her role is to look out specifically for her district. She says before she was elected, no one was doing that. Claire Traeger, Sir Kpbs 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.