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Mountain Lion Suspected Of Attacking Boy In Los Peñasquitos Canyon Killed And More Local News

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In today’s San Diego News Matters podcast, officials killed a mountain lion Tuesday suspected of attacking a 4-year-old boy. Plus, a new $35 million project led by a San Diego researcher will target deadly viruses, such as Ebola and mosquito-borne diseases, and City Heights is now home to a federal program that gives tax breaks for building in economically distressed areas.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 29th I'm Deb Welsh and you are listening to San Diego news matters. Wildlife officers have killed a mountain lion that they say may have attacked a four year old boy at the Los Penasquitos Canyon preserve. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman as more on the decision to put the animal down.

Speaker 2: 00:20 California Department of fish and wildlife, Lieutenant Scott Brickman says a four year old was ambushed by suspected mountain line. Monday jumped out of the bushes and the grass is really high and, and attack the kid. And most of the groups scattered. The Dad stayed, uh, threw rocks in the animal left while investigating the scene. Wildlife officers say a mountain lion approached them and didn't seem to be afraid of people. So they decided to put the big cat down. When the animal gets habituated to humans and is not scared of humans and we believe this is the animal that attacked the kid, it's a problem animal and we don't relocate problem the animal that apartment efficient wildlife is not certain. The mountain lion they killed was the one that attacked the boy. The agency will now use DNA analysis to see if the animal was responsible. Fishing wildlife officers say attacks by mountain lions are very rare and this is the first one in San Diego County and more than 20 years. Matt Hoffman, Kpbs News,

Speaker 1: 01:12 Rady children's hospital where the four year old was taken, says the boy is recovering from his injuries and is expected to be released from the hospital soon. The San Diego Food Bank Tuesday announced a $300,000 donation from the [inaudible] band of Luiseno Indians to help expand food bank activities in the North County KPBS North County reporter Alison Saint John says, there's growing demand for food aid in the region, food bank officials, and you need a quarter of north county households earn less than $35,000 a year and demand for food aid is growing. Bomas Eti chair of the Rincon Band of resent your Indians in North East San Diego County presented the Food Bank with a $300,000 check earlier. We had always been on the receiving end back when I was growing up and we never forgot the folks that came out to help us. And then with the passage of the gaming act and the citizens supporting us going into gaming that we get to help others, the donation will help the San Diego Food Bank expand from its 5,000 square foot warehouse in San Marcus.

Speaker 1: 02:14 They want to triple the size of that warehouse within the next three years. Alison Saint John Kpbs News, a new $35 million project led by a San Diego researcher. We'll target deadly viruses, KPBS reporters. Susan Murphy tells us as Ebola and mosquito borne diseases are surging. So too is the urgency for treatments. La Jolla Institute for Immunology Professor Eric Coleman Sapphire is leading a five year global effort to find treatments for viral threats including Ebola, lasa and mosquito borne diseases. Almond sapphires consortium is made up of 200 researchers from 19 institutes across the globe. She says they'll study antibodies in the immune system's ability to fight viral and destroy infected cells. So that's where we're going now is to not only figure out how to target these viruses, but how to enlist the power of your own immune system to clear those infections from the cell. And we think that's critically important because there are a lot of things in common there with every other virus you're infected with and also cancer and everything else, your immune system fights. The project is funded by the National Institutes of health. Susan Murphy, Kpbs News, imperial beach. His mirror is furious about the ongoing cross border sewage spills that have closed down beaches in his town. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson says the beaches are closed because of contamination

Speaker 3: 03:38 surge into, Dina says more than a hundred million gallons of sewage treated water has flowed into the Tijuana River estuary since April. He says he's not seeing any progress to fix the problem on either side of the border and the people of imperial beach are suffering. Just fix the problem. So I'm Mexico needs to fix their aging infrastructure. Stop dumping sewage and the Tijuana River and then um, south of the border on the beach as well as the United States government. The Trump administration needs to put that infrastructure in the Tijuana River valley to capture that those flows of toxic waste, toxic sewage, imperial beach, Chula Vista and the port of San Diego are suing to get the federal government to act. State pollution regulators and the city of San Diego have filed their own lawsuit and Surf Rider Foundation is suing as well. The Justice Department asked the groups to drop their legal challenges at a recent settlement hearing, but that request was rejected. Eric Anderson Kpbs News,

Speaker 1: 04:32 the 19 year old nursing student accused of opening fire and a Poway synagogue last month and killing one person pleaded not guilty in federal court. Tuesday, KPBS reporter John Carroll says John Ernest Attorney made one request of the judge.

Speaker 4: 04:48 Ernest was led into court and a dark blue jumpsuit wearing shackles and handcuffs. He wore his hair in a buzz cut and only spoke once to judge Michael Berg. Quietly affirming his plea of not guilty. One of Ernest's attorneys asked the judge to allow Ernest to appear in court without shackles and handcuffs saying she had received assurances from us marshals that he was not a threat. The government disagreed citing the seriousness of the allegations. The judge sided with the prosecutor and refused the request. Earnest faces 113 counts, including 50 for each of hate crime allegations and interfering in the exercise of religious belief. The government has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty. He's due back in court. On June 24th John Carol Kaye Pbs News,

Speaker 1: 05:38 the federal government has launched an opportunity zone program. It's designed to give tax breaks to investors who want to build an economically distressed areas. San Diego has 35 senses. Tracks designated it as opportunities zones. KPBS reporter Prius rather says that city heights,

Speaker 5: 05:58 this is city heights. It was designated an opportunity zone by the US Department of Treasury because of its poverty business activity and geographic diversity opportunities. Zone investors get attacks discount after five or seven years and ultimately pay no taxes on capital gains after 10 years.

Speaker 6: 06:18 Really simple example. You have $1 million that you've made in the stock market. You take that $1 million and you rolled into one of these funds rather than paying taxes next year, you don't pay taxes until 2027.

Speaker 5: 06:29 Steve Glickman is a former Obama administration, economic adviser and architect of the opportunities zone program.

Speaker 6: 06:37 And in the meantime you can take that million dollars and invest in something new like in an affordable housing project and whatever profits you make on that project, as long as you've held your, your investment for 10 years or more. And now tax freedom.

Speaker 5: 06:48 But the policy is purposely written broadly. There is no restriction on what investors can develop. And that's something critics of the program say worry them.

Speaker 6: 06:57 An accepted definition of gentrification is outside capital and um, um, more affluent people moving in from outside of the area into an area.

Speaker 5: 07:06 Eric Tilke Meyer from the city Heights Development Corporation says he worries longtime city heights. Residents will get priced out of their neighborhood.

Speaker 6: 07:15 You know, you'll look at the legislation and it's designed to bring outside capital into, um, under invest in communities. So that's a perfect recipe for gentrification and displacement.

Speaker 5: 07:24 A recent study by Zillow economic research says home sales in areas that received opportunities zone designations increased 20% year over year compared to single digit growth in areas that met opportunities, zone qualifications but didn't receive the designation. The gentrification concern is on the city of San Diego's radar to Louie. So Heda is with the Economic Development Department of the city of San Diego.

Speaker 7: 07:51 Gentrification is a real issue. Um, and then also this placement and sometimes both of them go hand in hand. We have to think about those issues. Um, Susan set up policies that, um, incentivizes and promotes, um, the ones that are doing the potential positive outcomes such as increasing gobs, um, creating affordable housing and housing.

Speaker 5: 08:13 The city currently has no way of tracking opportunity investors and online portal. We'll show investors federal and state incentives to help them invest in economically distressed communities in a positive way. Sasha Feather Lucas says opportunity zones can be transformative, but the investments must be handled carefully.

Speaker 6: 08:33 It also has the ability to be done wrong. And when a paper money goes into economically distressed areas, there's a process to it and you have to really involve the community and give, uh, in order for the community to be supportive. And a lot of these areas aren't ready to be built.

Speaker 5: 08:54 He's the cofounder of coal place accompany that activates underutilized real estate and opportunities zones. Right now they're converting a 7,000 square foot lot in city heights. This property is zoned for ten one bedroom, 600 square foot apartments. But because the cost to build is so high, he says he'd have to rent the units for $1,800 a month.

Speaker 6: 09:17 And so if I were to build those units, yeah, I don't, I don't know who would live there, uh, who could afford to live in them based on the cost of living.

Speaker 5: 09:26 Glickman the author of the Opportunities Zone Program says rising housing prices is a tradeoff for investment cities might never have had otherwise.

Speaker 6: 09:36 For most places their biggest trigger for displacement is too little investment, not too much. It's the fact that people have to leave to find jobs and to build businesses and to, you know, find a kind of a vibrant place to live in.

Speaker 5: 09:51 Well, it might be too early to tell. Most stakeholders and community leaders are hoping the program will help stimulate the economy of distressed neighborhoods in San Diego like city heights precursor. Sure. Either K, PBS News, California Law requires sexual harassment training for supervisors in most workplaces, including state government, but a capital public radio investigation found dozens of agencies have failed to comply with the law. In recent years, reporters got, rod has the story.

Speaker 4: 10:21 The me too movement did not spare. California government. Several lawmakers resigned to mid sexual harassment allegations while others faced investigations. Female staffers, lobbyists and consultants also brought their message directly to lawmakers because, but everybody here knows is that we have rapists in this building. We have molesters among us, anxiety, panic attacks for years because of the harassment and assault that I experienced there in the system. Because as long as the punishment is greater for the victim coming forward, you have a broken process. The State Capitol became a lightning rod for their frustration, but the problem goes beyond the legislature. A Cap Radio Review of state records found dozens of agencies fail to provide sexual harassment training to supervisors in violation of state law. Since 2016 state audits identified nearly 1800 supervisors who did not receive the necessary training. Suzanne Ambrose is executive officer of the State personnel board and oversaw the audits. Supervisors who aren't aware of those requirements or don't know how to identify sexual harassment, you know, we can assume they're not in their proactively addressing it. Last year, about 60% of the agency's surveyed by the board did not provide sexual harassment training to all of their supervisors. That can lead to a toxic workplace culture says Attorney Jessica stander with the group equal rights advocates

Speaker 5: 11:46 when you have an employer not taking seriously their obligation to provide sexual harassment prevention training. That trickles down and shows employees and supervisors alike that an employer doesn't necessarily see this as an important problem to take. Seriously.

Speaker 4: 12:01 Some agencies failed to train hundreds of supervisors. The Department of corrections top the list by a wide margin. Failing to train nearly 700 the agency says that implemented a new training system and has since reduced the number of untrained supervisors to about 80 Democratic Assembly woman, Laura Friedman chairs a sub committee on sexual harassment prevention. When I presented the findings of our investigation, she bristled at the numbers.

Speaker 8: 12:25 It's inexcusable that particularly government agencies aren't taking their responsibility seriously.

Speaker 4: 12:32 She adds that failing to train supervisors can be costly for the state,

Speaker 8: 12:36 certainly places them at legal risk placing taxpayer dollars in jeopardy. And in case there's a lawsuit, because supervisors are often the front line of adequately dealing with the harassment complaint.

Speaker 4: 12:48 Case in point, California has paid more than $15 million in recent years to settle sexual harassment complaints against the department of corrections alone. So with all of these agencies, failing to train supervisors is in charge of enforcement. Well, it's complicated. The Department of fair employment and housing is responsible for penalizing agencies that don't provide sexual harassment training, but it has never issued a violation director Kevin Kish claims his department lacks the tools to proactively enforce the law. Instead, he says, the department often finds out about the failure to train supervisors only after someone files a sexual harassment complaint. Sarah race is the former assembly woman who wrote the Law on sexual harassment training in 2004 she insists lawmakers need to take action.

Speaker 8: 13:37 I would appeal to legislature that they shine a light on this, that they audit these state agencies and they bring them before them and say, why have you been out of compliance?

Speaker 4: 13:48 According to Ray, A's, lawmakers didn't support a strict penalty when she first introduced the statute, but she says the state's failure to follow its own law means it's time to put some teeth in it.

Speaker 5: 13:58 Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more k PBS 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.