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Rep. Peters Authors Bill That Ties Federal Transit Funds To Housing And More Local News

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The bill proposed by Congressman Scott Peters would require state and local governments applying for federal transit money to show that housing will be located near planned mass transit stops. Plus, California’s frequent wildfires are hurting efforts to stem climate change, according to a key finding from the non partisan think tank, Next 10. Also on today’s podcast, Jennifer Doudna, the co-founder of CRISPR, a technology that can edit or alter DNA and genetic traits, was in San Diego this week and sounds off on the future of gene editing and the ethical concerns surrounding it. And, apprehensions of people at the southern border dropped for the fourth straight month in September, hear what's behind the shift.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, October 9th. I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. San Diego. Congressman Scott Peters, author is a bill that ties federal transit funds dowsing and to look at the future of gene editing and the ethical concerns around it, I think it's important to separate fact from fiction. Of course, storytellers love to, uh, you know, scare us. That and more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break. Thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Congressman Scott Peters is offering a bill aimed at incentivizing transit projects near housing KPBS reporter Prius Sri. There has more, the build more housing near transit act would require applicants interested in federal transit funds to demonstrate that housing would be located near proposed transit stops. The money would come from the new starts program, which funds transit projects like the commuter rail and the mid coast trolley. Congressman Scott Peters says this bill will help address San Diego's housing shortage and help the environment.

Speaker 2: 01:11 They should be asking, what are you doing to build housing to make sure that we get ridership, that we get people out of their cars and that we get the environmental benefits of transportation.

Speaker 1: 01:20 Congressman Peters has recently been criticized by climate activists for not supporting the green new deal, a plan to slash the nation's carbon emissions Prius for either K PBS news. California's frequent wildfires are hurting efforts to STEM climate change. KPBS environment reporter Eric Andrews and says, that's a key finding in a new report from the nonpartisan think tank. Next 10 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 01:46 fornia needs to triple its greenhouse gas reduction targets if the state hopes to stay on track with its emission goals by 2030 a new report says that fires are putting a lot more carbon dioxide into the air. Devastating wildfires released 45 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018 that's nine times more emissions than the state reduced that year. Next tens, no, Perry says that's hurting the state's chances of hitting its aggressive climate goals.

Speaker 4: 02:16 We thought it was important just to highlight that. That is another challenge that we as a state will face over the coming years.

Speaker 3: 02:24 The report urges political leaders to dramatically increase greenhouse gas reduction efforts to help the state stay on track. Eric Anderson KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:34 This week's national mental illness awareness is an educational campaign to shatter the stigma and empower people struggling to get help. KPBS health reporter Terran Minto tells us the resources to find those mental health services are likely already within reach. San Diego can look to their primary care doctor or even through their job. Catherine Nocari Carrio is the CEO of the Alliance on mental illness or NAMI San Diego. She says patients should ask their physicians or most employers have an E a P that's employee assistance program,

Speaker 5: 03:11 which is a confidential part of the benefit and you can call the EAP line and get help

Speaker 1: 03:15 if you are unemployed, uninsured, or want more assistance. NAMI, San Diego's helpline has information on support groups, classes, and other services. The number is (619) 543-1434 Taryn mento, KPBS news, apprehensions of people at the Southern border dropped for the fourth straight month in September. That's according to customs and border enforcement. KPB has reporter max Rylan. Adler explains what's behind this dramatic shift.

Speaker 6: 03:45 The number of people encountered at the Southern border has dropped about 65% from a peak in may when the number Crested at 144,000 it's September 52,000 people were either arrested by CBP or denied admission into the U S at the port of entry. Well, these numbers usually dropped during the summer month. Trump administration officials have credited stepped up enforcement and central American countries and Mexico. Many of these countries have signed recent deals with the Trump administration to STEM the flow of migrants across their borders in order to avoid punishing economic retaliation from Washington. The officials also credited recent Trump administration policies that would deny asylum to the vast majority of migrants as having a deterrent effect. Max Woodland Adler K PBS news

Speaker 1: 04:30 national university announced plans Tuesday to expand with the help of a major donation from a local philanthropist KPB as education reporter. Joe Hong has more on how the private university hopes to grow.

Speaker 7: 04:43 National university announced that it plans to double its student body and cut tuition costs in half over the next five years. Thanks to a $350 million donation from local philanthropists. Denny Sanford, the university which serves mostly adult learners, will also be renamed Sanford national university after its benefactor. Sanford attended the big announcement at the universities LA Jolla cannon.

Speaker 5: 05:06 That's the plan right now is to at least double the size of the university. We're currently 45,000 students and we're going to over 100,000 we're sure

Speaker 7: 05:16 tuition at national university currently costs more than $13,000 a year. The university hopes to expand campuses into other States. Joe Hong K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 05:26 More than a year after Earl McNeil died following a struggle with police the County.

Speaker 5: 05:32 This is law enforcement review board is going over findings that a deputy involved broke department policy. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman explains the review boards. Investigators found a deputy improperly placed a shirt over McNeil's face that might've contributed to his death. Investigators found this violated the Sheriff's use of force guidelines which says a person's mouth and or no shall never be obstructed. McNeil's family is suing the officers involved in death. Their attorney

Speaker 8: 05:58 Doug Applegate says these citizen reviews are key.

Speaker 9: 06:00 If you want some transformational change in how law enforcement polices your communities, you have to show up when there's a question of whether or not police officers, Sheriff's deputies acted appropriately.

Speaker 8: 06:16 District attorney summer Stephan cleared all the officers and deputies from criminal liability. The Sheriff's department issued a statement to KPBS saying, in part it does not see enough evidence to support the finding that McNeil shirt was used in a way that affected his breathing. The citizens review board voted on whether to adopt the investigators finding yesterday in closed session. The results will be released soon. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 06:38 the co founder of CRISPR, a technology that can edit DNA came to San Diego this week. KPBS science and technology reporters. Lena Celani got a chance to speak with Jennifer Doudna. They talked about the future of gene editing and the ethical concerns surrounding it

Speaker 10: 06:56 at the Scripps institution of oceanography on the UC San Diego campus, biochemist Jennifer Doudna has just arrived. She's sitting in a brightly lit room with the doors that open to the seashore. Well, it's great to be here and to have an opportunity to share the world of CRISPR and genome editing, uh, down here in San Diego. Doudna co-discovered CRISPR CAS nine, a gene editing tool with her colleague Emmanuel sharpen TA in 2012 in a nutshell, CRISPR is a protein that can go into a cell or tissue in any biological organisms. So plants, animals, humans, and like scissors, cut open a string of DNA. And when that happens, DNA coding can be altered. What type of potential does it have? What I'm excited about is the opportunity to cure genetic diseases. Things like sickle cell anemia or Huntington's disease, potentially in the future, something like cystic fibrosis. And what CRISPR technology does is to provide a strategy for correcting or at least mitigating those disease causing mutations.

Speaker 10: 07:57 And that's not a, not a fantasy. It's not, you know, 200 years in the future. It's something that I think over the next decade we will see those kinds of cures coming to fruition. This past July, doctors for the first time in the United States officially use CRISPR to treat a patient with sickle cell anemia, a disease that creates to foreign blood cells and can cause a shortened lifespan as well as some painful conditions. The doctors use CRISPR to give the patient her own but modified blood cells and she's now being monitored. But while examples like these show promise, some ethicists have raised questions, especially since CRISPR is widely deployed around the world. What do you have to say about some of the potential negative side effects of this? Well, you know, I think anytime there's a powerful technology that comes along, it, it, it often comes with both the opportunities to, you know, create great value and benefit to society, but also risk.

Speaker 10: 08:50 For example, being able to change the DNA in developing humans in germline that would create changes to DNA that affect not only an individual, but also can be inherited by future generations. So that's something that I've been working on for several years with my colleagues to educate people about that possibility and to really a welcome it, a global discussion about how to appropriately regulate this technology. A simple Google search of gene editing brings up stories on the potential, like genetically modified crops that can resist climate change. But these stories exists alongside headlines on designer babies and super soldiers for the military. A new Netflix series titled unnatural selection considers these scenarios. It also makes it seem like CRISPR technologies fairly easy to access. Doudna says, while gene editing is widely available, it still requires biochemical expertise to use. There are a lot of folks who say it could lead to a Frankenstein individual, but obviously that's not the case.

Speaker 10: 09:52 I think it's important to separate fact from fiction. Of course, storytellers love to, uh, you know, scare us and, and, and bring up ideas that are sort of fantastical. And, and I think that's, that's true for this Netflix series. But I think that it's important for people to understand that, you know, those of us that are actually working in the field appreciate that this technology has tremendous positive potential. Donna says there's a lot of next steps with this technology, but for now she's working on a genetic research nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay area. The goal she says is to take practical biomedical ideas off the ground and make sure gene editing is equitable. I don't personally want to create a, a cure for genetic disease that's only affordable by the 0.001% down has funding for science for the sake of curiosity is a huge part of making sure the research can happen. Why should the public support, uh, you know, curiosity-driven scientific research. And the reason is that that's how science is, is that we don't know where it's going in the future. And every now and then you, you know, you turn over a proverbial rock and you find something that you couldn't have imagined was there. And that's true for CRISPR. Doudna is there a sippy int of this year's Nierenberg prize for science in the public interest from the Scripps institution of oceanography? Shalina Celani

Speaker 1: 11:10 key PBS news, thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you're not already a subscriber, take a minute to become one. You can find San Diego news matters on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to 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.