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San Diego Catching Shade For Tree Planting Efforts And More Local News

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An ambitious effort to boost the number and size of trees in the city of San Diego faces a difficult timetable. The city’s climate action plan hopes to soften the impact of climate change by tripling the city’s tree canopy. Plus, the San Diego County Medical Examiner has determined the cause of death for a San Diego State student who died after attending a fraternity party. The university has now formed a task force on student activities and safety and another on alcohol and substance misuse. Also ahead, the Supreme Court justices heard arguments Tuesday from the Trump administration on why it should be allowed to cancel DACA. Hear what's at stake locally for young immigrants.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, November 13th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. San Diego state university forms a new task force following the death of one of his students and the push is underway to expand. San Diego's tree canopy trees are actually cleaning the air and making it healthier for families to breathe as they're walking down the sidewalk that more San Diego do. Stories coming up right after the break,

Speaker 2: 00:33 the San Diego County medical examiner has determined to San Diego state student died of blunt force injury to the head. The student's death followed a fraternity party. The university has formed a task force on student activities and safety and another on alcohol and substance misuse. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong has more.

Speaker 3: 00:55 SDSU suspended 14 Greek organizations after 19 year old Dylan Hernandez died after attending a fraternity party. Bob bodily is an education lawyer in San Diego who provides legal services to fraternities. He said the university needs to have more surveillance and security at SDSU affiliated fraternities to prevent underage drinking. Well, if we've determined it's not safe and we know the university has a rule prohibiting underage drinking, so the university will say we've already enacted a rule and you have to enforce it. Auto Lee said his own fraternity at Stanford university banned alcohol in 2012 which reduced incidents of injury almost immediately. He said tighter enforcements would help fraternities go back to what they were intended to be. Leadership and service organizations, Joe Hong K PBS news,

Speaker 2: 01:40 24,000 SDG and D customers lost power. Tuesday KPBS reporter Prius Schreder has more right around noon. On Tuesday, a bird flew into an SDG and E substation in city Heights and knocked the power out for thousands in the college area and mid city. The outage wreaked havoc on traffic and businesses in the area and led to the canceling of classes at SDSU. Michael Sachs is a junior.

Speaker 4: 02:05 When the power went out, I was in the library actually working on a computer and it just shut off and um, a lot. You heard a lot of size. Unfortunately what I was working on wasn't super sensitive to having to be saved. So

Speaker 2: 02:19 nine San Diego unified schools were also affected. Pria Sri, their K PBS news at the Supreme court. Tuesday, the nine justices heard arguments from the Trump administration on why it should be allowed to cancel DACA. Deferred action allows over half a million young people to live and work in the U S legally KPBS reporter max for [inaudible] looks at what's at stake locally for young immigrants.

Speaker 3: 02:44 The 2012 Obama executive order known as DACA or deferred action for childhood arrivals is what allowed young immigrants to legally work in the U S without the threat of removal in San Diego County, there are more than 40,000 young people who receive DACA or are DACA eligible. The conservative judges on the Supreme court hinted at allowing the Trump administration to end the program. Chief justice John Roberts said ending the program would not put DACA recipients in danger of removal. San Diego attorney and DACA recipient, Dolce Garcia disagreed. She told KPBS rescinding DACA would have a huge impact on the local community,

Speaker 2: 03:17 so this impacts not only the the economy, but also our day to day. I'd impacts patients and children that go to school that, uh, are who I'm being taught by Docker recipients. Um, so it's the disruption that causes in American lives, uh, that we believe is unfair.

Speaker 3: 03:36 The Supreme court is expected to issue a decision this June max of Adler K PBS news,

Speaker 2: 03:41 an ambitious effort to boost the number and size of trees in the city of San Diego faces a difficult timetable. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson says the city's climate action plan is to soften the impact of climate change by tripling the city's tree canopy.

Speaker 5: 03:59 Okay? Until now. Landscaper Narcisso Gonzalez unwinds the hose attached to a tank in the back of his white pickup truck. He's in this mid city neighborhood to water dozens of young trees planted here three years ago. Okay, I'm going to water this Bay. The water for the hose goes into the green bag, wrapped around the base of the tree. That bag can be filled in minutes, but it takes hours to drain and allows the fledgling tree a chance to soak up the water before it runs off and saw it as delivered water every week. The first year after trees were planted here

Speaker 6: 04:37 on the thick and your, uh, twice a month. And this year is the once a month,

Speaker 5: 04:43 although he does make extra stops during the hottest part of the year. These young trees are part of a Cal fire grant or the city of San Diego. I'll welcome present for the city's official Forester, Brian Widner. He's in charge of managing the city's urban forest and he says, more new trees are on the way.

Speaker 6: 05:02 We're planning to, uh, put in about 1100 street trees this calendar year. Um, and then in addition to that, up to 400, uh, additional trees and park locations.

Speaker 5: 05:12 The young trees are an important step toward broadening the urban tree canopy. But wouldn't our says success won't be reached by adding just small new trees. He also wants to see existing trees get bigger,

Speaker 6: 05:25 protect them, maintain them better. Um, we did some analysis of our tree canopy cover back in 2015 so we know what areas of the city might need additional tree planting or additional tree maintenance in order to help us get to that goal.

Speaker 5: 05:44 Would an hour has the daunting task of tripling the city's tree canopy in just over a decade. That's important because trees pull carbon out of the air, they cool the urban landscape and they filter pollution. Trees are a significant part of the city's plan to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases. And that's why there's a push for more to get from 13 to 35%. Yes, it's going to be very challenging. Um, I think that we could do it, but again, we have to be able to focus in on the resources that we think are important and able to get to that goal. So what does a 35% tree canopy look like? Oh, it looks a lot like Balboa park, which has more than 15,000 trees, but not every city neighborhood enjoys that same environmental benefit. So if he Wolfram works with the climate action campaign, she's standing on university Avenue in city Heights.

Speaker 1: 06:41 So down this way we're looking toward the I 15, and you can see that there is, um, kind of a smattering of trees here and there. Um, and this is where we have the potential to invest in taking care of our existing canopy, which really needs to be the top priority. It's the fastest way to grow the urban canopy.

Speaker 5: 07:05 The street has one of the city's busiest bus routes and she says it's a prime location for both more young trees and bigger older ones. She says using trees to cool this urban heat Island will benefit a community that already faces economic challenges and more for him says the clock is ticking.

Speaker 1: 07:26 You've got one year to up the tree canopy by 2% that's a huge beat. And then we have until 2035 to nearly triple the tree canopy or the urban forest in San Diego. So it's going to be a big topic.

Speaker 5: 07:39 And she says the only way the city can keep up is to hire extra staff

Speaker 1: 07:44 meeting any of our climate action plan targets is going to be a question of political. Well, we know that we have a roadmap, we have a way to get there, but we need to invest in staff resources and we need to make all of these strategies of priority. We can get there. We just have to say we're going to do it and we have to consistently invest.

Speaker 5: 08:02 Well from says San Diego hasn't made that commitment yet and she is sure those aggressive climate goals will be unattainable without it. Eric Anderson KPBS news,

Speaker 2: 08:13 thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you like the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and families to subscribe. Thanks.

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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.