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Violence In Mexico Driving Renew Migration To The US And More Local News

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Two deadly shootouts between Mexican law enforcement and cartels last week underscore how the country’s drug war continues to rage on, driving more Mexican migrants to seek asylum in the United States. Plus, scientists in San Diego are looking at a way to stop an age old problem — marine gunk sticking to the bottom of a boat. Hear more about how science is being used to tackle this costly issue. And, San Diego city officials are warning people to be alert about wildfires under Santa Ana conditions. Last week’s Fairmont Fire is a stark reminder of the threat.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, October 22nd. I'm Priya Sri there, and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up to deadly shootouts between Mexican law enforcement and cartels last week underscore how the country's drug war continues and scientists in San Diego are looking at a way to stop an age old problem.

Speaker 2: 00:20 Uh, it starts with the, you know, a slime or small algae, uh, and then progresses to the, to the harder, more complex growth

Speaker 1: 00:26 that and more San Diego news stories coming up.

Speaker 3: 00:31 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Pria. Sure. Either two deadly shootouts between Mexican law enforcement and cartels last week underscore how the country's drug war continues. KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler says this reverses a long decline in the number of Mexican migrants coming to the U S

Speaker 2: 00:51 Monday 13 police officers were killed in an ambush and the Mexican state of Michoacan when they tried to serve as single warrant on Thursday, the city of Coolio ICAN in Sinhala became a war zone after a failed military attempt to capture a son of El Chapo Mexico's notorious drug trafficker. These were extraordinary instances of violence says university of San Diego professor of need, but they aren't typical of recent drug violence in Mexico. Instead, violence has been focused on members of civil society like politicians and activists. Meat has studied peace-building efforts amidst the drug war, ordinary civilians and particularly people who are doing any kind of civic activity that seeks to reinforce the rule of law. They've become targets in a way that they weren't 10 years ago. As the violence has become more distributed throughout society in Mexico, the number of Mexicans arrested at the U S Southern border has steadily risen, bucking a years long decline and some of these rural communities, I think people just feel incredibly vulnerable. You know, we've had more than 80 mayors killed in Mexico, you know, since the drug war intensified. Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is facing calls to intensify his response to cartel violence. Max or Lynn Adler, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:01 The San Diego fire department has made changes to staffing and equipment in response to high temperatures and low humidity levels. The heat and dry conditions combined with Santa Ana winds means the danger of fire is high and it will be for the next several days. San Diego, mayor Kevin Faulkner urge residents to be on high alert. San Diego fire rescue department, spokeswoman Monica Munoz spoke to KPBS midday addition about the city's fire preparations. Under these conditions, we staffed several of our brush engines, which are the off road vehicles that we would use in a brush fire or Canyon fire type environment because they can go off road, but they're not always staffed, so we added of crew of four firefighters to each of those breasts engines. If we do get reports of a vegetation fire, then we're able to send those brush engines immediately. Munoz says additional helicopter pilots will be staffed 24 hours a day. San Diego city officials are warning people to be alert about wildfires as the weather gets warm. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson says last week's Fairmont fire is a stark reminder of the threat. Firearm

Speaker 4: 03:05 officials say the blaze was likely sparked in a homeless encampment despite tense moments. No homes were touched by the flames. San Diego. Mayor Kevin Faulkner says, residents who are paying attention to the canyons can help

Speaker 5: 03:17 if you see something suspicious to please let the police department know right away. Uh, if you see an encampment to use the get it done app. Uh, so we can send workers out to get folks help to get them services and to get them out of a dangerous, unsafe, unclean environment in our canyons.

Speaker 4: 03:38 Fire chief Collins DOE well says city residents need to pay attention, especially if they live close to a Canyon that has lots of fuel. He says quick action can help save property and lives. Eric Anderson, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 03:51 Californians registered as no party preference, won't be able to vote for a presidential candidate and next year is March primary unless they specifically request a party's ballot. And that's just for three of the States, six qualified political parties as Capitol public radio is Ben Adler reports. California's top two primary system doesn't apply to the presidential race. So if you're registered is no party preference and want to vote for a presidential candidate, you'll need to ask for that party's ballot. That's easy enough to do. If you vote in person, but many California counties now send everyone a vote by mail ballot. That means you'll need to watch for a postcard from your counties elections office and send it back with your request or you can exchange your no party preference ballot at a polling place or vote center. The secretary of state's office has now confirmed that only the democratic libertarian and American independent parties will offer what California calls crossover voting, which is essentially what other States call open primaries.

Speaker 1: 04:45 The Republican green and peace and freedom parties will hold closed primaries at the state Capitol. I'm Ben Adler. The County of San Diego has agreed to pay nearly $100,000 to settle a lawsuit over open records. I news source investigative reporter Cody Delaney has more little more than a year ago, the County district attorney's office refused to turn over detailed records of sexual harassment claims against its employees. The first amendment coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to government transparency responded to that decision with a lawsuit. In July, a San Diego judge ordered the documents released and the County board of supervisors voted last week to settle the suit by paying $97,500 in fees and costs to the coalition. The documents provided to I news source yesterday outlined five incidents that occurred in the DA's office between 2013 and 2017 they range from sexual comments and unwelcomed physical contact to taking nude photos in the workplace. For KBS, I'm I new source investigative reporter Cody Delaney. Jury details of the sexual harassment claims go to I news source.org I knew sources and independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. Local scientists are looking at a problem that has been plaguing since ancient times. KPBS science and technology reporters Shalina Chut Lani spoke to the San Diego state university researcher who may have found a way to stop Marine gunk from sticking to the bottom of boats

Speaker 6: 06:09 at appear in mission Bay diver Brian Hall and his colleagues zip into their wetsuits. They look put themselves with sponges and in the tight space between a boat and the dock. They plunge into the water. The bottom of this boat suffers from something known as biofouling. The hole is caked with heavy crusty white tube worms and these two divers have been hired to scrub them away. Brian Hall is the owner of a boat Hull cleaning business.

Speaker 7: 06:38 No, we'll end up with oysters and clams and mussels that grow on these boats. Uh, it starts with a, you know, a slime or small algae. Uh, and then progress is to the, to the harder, more complex growth

Speaker 6: 06:49 hall says the average boat owner can spend around $1,500 a year just to get rid of these invasive and heavy Marine species. And if the boat owners do nothing, this Marine Gunks still cost them money because it decreases fuel performance.

Speaker 7: 07:04 The new boater is often shocked. We get people that purchase new boats three or four months later, then we get an emergency call and they've got a forest down there and they tried to go to Catalina and realize they were going half the speed.

Speaker 6: 07:14 Could be biofouling isn't new since ancient times. Boat owners have used paints with toxic materials like tin to prevent Marine life from building up. Some of these paints have been banned because they hurt Marine life. The need for solutions has caught the attention of not only boaters, huddles. So scientists in his lab on the San Diego state university campus, Marine microbiologists, Nicholas Shikumen, points to a Petri dish bubbling with water inside is bacteria and a small colony of whites, cylindrical two birds. He's looking at how the bacteria and tube worms interact.

Speaker 8: 07:48 Lots of these rain organisms, um, decide where to stick to the bottoms of ships based on whether there's a friendly bacteria on the bottom.

Speaker 6: 07:58 For years, Shikumen has been investigating why this bacteria attracts Marine gunk and he's figured out one reason why

Speaker 8: 08:05 the bacteria actually produced this syringe structure that, um, turns out in Jax, a stimulatory protein into the tube worm baby and then causes it to stick to the bottom of the ship.

Speaker 6: 08:19 Picture a stinger on a bumblebee. The insects use stingers to repel enemies and so do bacteria on the bottom of boats. But the problem is tube worms ended up liking it so they stick around to get more. Tacoma says in the future these bacteria could be genetically modified to be less attractive to tube worms, but he says that's still theoretical right now. Still he's not the only scientists coming up with ideas. In fact, the U S Navy has been funding labs across the country to address this issue, including HSA koumas. There are, um, now coatings available that have less toxin in which is a positive for the environment. Uh, and we believe as we continue to do the research that we'll only get better. Linda, Chrissy is with the office of Naval research. She says biofouling the Navy around 200 million a year in lost fuel and cleaning the Navy uses paints that are less toxic than before.

Speaker 6: 09:13 But these pains still have some heavy metals like copper and they don't last long. So it doesn't prevent tube worms in the longterm. And so that's why studying their behavior in the biology is important. If we can recognize what types of features of a surface, make that an unappealing surface. We're halfway there in terms of having a coding that is both friendly to the environment as well as helping the Navy solve its problems. The research program has been going on for a while and it will continue, but with discoveries like those from Chakota, she believes in the next decade, the Navy will come closer to developing an effective commercial product. One that's based on nature. The fact that an organism like the tube worm would come to rely on a bacterium to develop, I think is pretty cool. Back at the pier boat cleaner, Brian Hall, is it worried the research will put them out of business? That's because boats require care and a lot of different ways. You know, anything that helps prevent bio Fallon's is a good thing. Ultimately, if anything, he says, finding a solution for a centuries old problem may encourage more people to get a boat. Andy says it means less toxic chemicals for the Marine environment. Shalena Celani KPBS news.

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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.