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Longer Wildfire Season Could Mean Extended Academic Year For Some San Diego Schools And More Local News

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Schools in Julian could close again this week because of planned power outages as high winds raise the risk of wildfire. How these closures are affecting instruction. Plus, the trial of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, accused of killing a wounded detainee, ended in a debacle. The case has created an urgency to reform Naval military justice. Also, how is California going to solve the state's housing crisis? Well, 50 years ago, there was an idea — pre-fab housing. That housing breakthrough is back. And, San Diego State University has revised its offer to the city for its Mission Valley stadium property. The university is offering a lot more money

Editor’s Note: KPBS is a service of San Diego State University.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, October 30th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Schools in Julian could close again this week because of planned power outages and how are we going to solve the state's housing crisis. 50 years ago there was an idea

Speaker 2: 00:17 needed, was a way to eliminate or minimize these constraints to building a white a break through them

Speaker 1: 00:24 that more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break. Schools and Julian could close again this week because of planned power outages as high winds raise the risk of wildfire. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong spoke to school leaders about how these closures are affecting instruction

Speaker 3: 00:47 well, fire season getting longer each year. Julian union high school district superintendent Patrick Heflin says it's time to start thinking about short term and longterm solutions to the mountain communities. New reality.

Speaker 4: 00:59 I'm concerned that we were eventually need to extend the school year on well into the month of June.

Speaker 3: 01:07 High schools in California are required to be open at least 180 days each year. But if schools and Julian close again this week, it's likely Julian high school will exceed the four days that is allocated as emergency days and Heflin we'll have to ask the state to waive the 180 day requirement. Joel Hong K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 01:26 the head of the Navy is upholding the sentence of seal Eddie Gallagher KPBS military reporters. Steve Walsh says the war crimes trial shined a spotlight on problems with the seals and Navy justice.

Speaker 5: 01:39 In July, a Navy jury convicted Gallagher of posing with a corpse on a battlefield. The publicity surrounding the case attracted the attention of president Trump. Bob moon is a military law professor at the university of San Diego and a former Marine Jagger officer.

Speaker 6: 01:54 This allegations were very serious. They defense was able to politicize the court martial in many ways and so, um, I think that potentially could have longer term ramifications for how cases will be handled in the future.

Speaker 5: 02:05 Gallagher's attorneys have hinted they planned to seek a pardon after reviewing the case. The chief of Naval operations upheld the jury's decision Tuesday, including reducing the Navy chief by one rank. The case has already touched off as separate reviews of both the seals and Navy justice. Steve Walsh, KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 02:25 NCAAs top governing board voted unanimously yesterday to let student athletes profit off their name, image and likeness as Capitol public radio is Randall white explains the rule change comes a month after the state of California passed a similar law. The first in the nation.

Speaker 5: 02:42 This is California governor Gavin Newsom. Just before signing the bill on LeBron James, HBO show the shop,

Speaker 4: 02:48 the gigs up billions and billions of dollars, 14 plus billion dollars goes to these universities, goes to these colleges, billion plus revenue to the NC two a

Speaker 5: 02:56 and he says none of it goes to the athletes. That was also the concern

Speaker 7: 03:00 of the Bill's author, Senator Nancy Skinner of Berkeley. This was really started as a civil rights issue. It's going to, it says the move by the NCAA has been a long time coming, but her bill helped bring the issue to a head. California, we can thank ourselves for and being a very important catalyst. Um, but I think this decades of work and the overwhelming public support also greatly, greatly contributes. Skinner says she's watching how the national process will move forward, hoping there aren't arbitrary limitations on the student athletes. The NCAA declined an interview, but said in a statement as a national governing body, it can help ensure fairness and a level playing field. In Sacramento. I'm Randall white,

Speaker 1: 03:41 San Diego state university has revised its offered to the city for its mission. Valley stadium property KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, the university is offering a lot more money,

Speaker 5: 03:53 87 point $7 million. That's the new offer on the table for the 135 acres where SDSU wants to build a new stadium, a park along the San Diego river and a campus extension. It's almost $20 million more than the offer the university made just a few weeks ago. But the city felt that initial offer took some unfair discounts on the properties value. Mayor Kevin Faulkner said in a letter on Monday, the new offer represents a significant step forward. The city council is due to discuss the new offer next month but likely won't cast a final vote on the sale until February. Andrew Bowen KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 04:30 the County board of supervisors voted unanimously to approve a new behavioral health services hub in Hillcrest. KPBS has Annika. Colbert has more. The third Avenue hub will offer multiple services like crisis stabilization and inpatient and outpatient care. County supervisor Nathan Fletcher says the vote is about breaking the cycle of treatment and discharge from mental health services. He said, right now the only way for people to get into the system is to call police.

Speaker 8: 04:58 And then there's only two options for them to take you. They take you to jail, they take you to the emergency department, we treat you well, we get you well, we discharge you. Where do we just charge you? Generally back to the condition you were before and we wait for you to have another episode and call nine one and so the notion of recreating that entire model where the right person is getting the right treatment at the right time and an integrated coordinated system truly flipped the paradigm.

Speaker 1: 05:20 The new hub includes support from UC San Diego health and Scripps health to streamline coordination of services. Another hub is planned for the campus of Palomar medical center in Escondido and a covert KPBS news. Opponents of a ballot measure calling for changes in the way the County approves large developments in the back country rallied in front of the County administration building. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson has details

Speaker 7: 05:45 save our San Diego countryside. Backers put a measure on the March ballot that will allow residents to decide whether to approve major back-country developments. Tonya costume Castanedo calls it a bad idea. I think it's fundamentally,

Speaker 9: 05:59 um, a bad idea to have voters very far away from something, be able to vote on it. It's not going to be near them. It's not going to affect them

Speaker 10: 06:06 right now. San Diego County supervisors can grant exceptions to the general plans, development guidelines, something they've done repeatedly. Critics of the measure say making land use development decisions at the ballot box is a fundamentally bad approach. Susan Baldwin says, letting developers plan is just as bad.

Speaker 9: 06:24 California for the past four or five days is burning down. And the kinds of projects that are threatened by the fires are these kinds of projects.

Speaker 10: 06:35 That's how I support her. Say sprawling back country development carries its own economic and climate costs. Eric Anderson, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 06:45 one an outside the box solution to California's housing crisis. Think Lego's really, really big Legos. Some California companies believe they can build apartment buildings cheaper and faster by assembling them in a factory and stacking them on site. One factory made building was erected last month in Oakland in just 10 days as part of our California dream collaboration. Cal matter reporter Matt Levin has the story,

Speaker 11: 07:13 so you're at station one. This is where we actually build the floor of the residential unit. Larry Pace is giving me a tour of a construction site, kind of. We're in a 258,000 square foot factory in Valeho on the outskirts of the Bay area. They used to build submarines here during world war II and they build one floor approximately every two and a half hours. It's fast. Tics are one of those general motors plants in Detroit where a car is put together in an assembly line except instead of a Buick and a conveyor belt. Carpenters and hard hats and goggles are assembling 156 unit apartment building for development in Oakland. Once it goes to station two then we do the mechanical, electrical and plumbing rough. There was a station for cabinets and a station for roofing and a station for toilets all the way through station 33 which looks like a furniture showroom, not quite ready for the floor paces. The code

Speaker 12: 08:06 founder of factory OLS, a modular housing manufacturer that opened this plant last year. They're just one of several companies in California and across the country trying to revolutionize how we make housing.

Speaker 10: 08:17 The particular unit you're getting a washer dryer unit or refrigerator arrange in a microwave. It's pretty good. I don't have an in unit washer dryer. Well you would if you lived here.

Speaker 12: 08:27 Pace has been working in the construction industry for 40 years. He used to do what's called stick construction. The conventional method where you prep the foundation and then you wait for the carpenters and then the plumbers and then the electricians.

Speaker 10: 08:38 So we believe that without a shadow of a doubt, we can demonstrate there's at least a 20% savings to your overall construction budget.

Speaker 12: 08:44 But the idea of building homes in a factory has been around for a while,

Speaker 11: 08:48 which brings us to the real problem providing housing for that many new people each year. We just

Speaker 2: 08:56 haven't been building that much.

Speaker 12: 08:57 That's an infomercial from the department of housing and urban development from the early seventies at the time, the Nixon administration was facing problems that might sound eerily familiar to today's

Speaker 2: 09:07 California needed was a way to eliminate or minimize these constraints to home-building a way to break through them a new way of dealing things, a housing breakthrough.

Speaker 12: 09:19 Alex Anderson is a professor of architecture at the university of Washington.

Speaker 13: 09:23 Operation breakthrough was really a big and pretty expensive failure and really quite an embarrassment for the, for the Nixon administration.

Speaker 12: 09:30 HUD spent 190 million trying to get private companies to jumpstart factory built apartments and single family homes. Much of the housing ended up being uninhabitable after a few years and Congress pulled the plug pretty quickly. Modular housing technology has improved a lot since the early seventies but Anderson says issues that confounded operation breakthrough still haunt the industry to this day

Speaker 13: 09:52 there, but all kinds of interesting experiments but not a lot of economic successes in this

Speaker 12: 09:57 part of the market. Factory LS is confident this time will be different. For one, the sticker price in these apartments will be market rate 3,704 this is a two bedroom unit. Jessica Goldbacher is the project manager at the first factory OS West project that's actually standing. We're in that furniture showroom from that last station in the factory except now it's on the fourth floor in Oakland.

Speaker 1: 10:20 I think what's different about what this is is we can make a whole building basically erect in 10 days.

Speaker 12: 10:27 That's how long it took cranes to stack these apartments. This summer gold box has that produces economies of scale. You can build thousands of apartments a year, not just single family homes. Housing experts say in the long run, building housing more quickly will eventually cool. California sizzling housing market, whether modular housing can turn the long run into a sprint remains an open question. In Oakland. I'm Matt Lebon,

Speaker 1: 10:50 the trial of Navy seal Eddie Gallagher accused of killing a wounded. Danny ended in debacle. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the case is created an urgency to reform Naval military justice

Speaker 5: 11:03 during the weeks long trial of seal Eddie Gallagher. This summer, the Navy's judge advocate general office took a beating, a very public one outside the courtroom. Perceived missteps were fodder for Gallagher's attorney. Mark knew Casey,

Speaker 13: 11:16 I think today you saw what not to do if you want to have criminal investigation done with integrity. You saw sloppiness, you saw shadiness, you saw negligence

Speaker 5: 11:31 when the summer began, six seals were set to go on trial for war crimes in San Diego. By the end of the summer, the Navy dismissed five of those cases, Gallagher, the most high profile among them was acquitted of the most serious charges. The lead prosecutor in the Gallagher trial was removed over allegations of spying on the defense. To top it all off. President Trump tweeted support for Gallagher both before and after the trial. Navy secretary Richard Spencer ordered a review of the Navy and Marine judge advocate programs. Looking at everything from how Jags are trained to how many people try cases. One key factor of military justice is it's a commander, not a prosecutor or judge who actually decides who goes to trial. That raises the potential for bias. As David Sleeter, a former army JAG officer who now teaches military law at st Mary's university,

Speaker 14: 12:23 unlawful command influence is the mortal enemy of military justice and it's difficult to root out because even the best intention commanders can unintentionally signal to subordinates that they're looking for a particular result.

Speaker 5: 12:36 President Trump was looking for a particular result when he tweeted about Eddie Gallagher that put the independence of military justice in question says Rachel van Landingham, a professor at Southwestern law school in LA. She's also a former jagged Lieutenant Colonel with the air force

Speaker 14: 12:52 tweeting publicly, therefore sending signals down the ranks of his commanders of a, if you do something in this military justice field, I don't like, I'm going to be publicly shaming you. I mean, that's really dangerous.

Speaker 5: 13:05 She says that part of the solution may be taking certain types of cases out of the Navy's hands. While the Gallagher war crimes trial was going on in San Diego a few miles away, federal prosecutors were six years into trying one of the largest scandals in Navy history. It's been quietly effective. A Malaysian contractor dubbed fat Leonard bribed high ranking Navy leaders would trips, dinners and prostitutes leading to a string of federal indictments. Congress has also debated whether to move cases involving sexual assault into federal court. Vanlandingham says using federal court maybe the solution for certain types of cases like sexual assault or crimes or different.

Speaker 1: 13:47 Most commanders realize if there, there's an individual in their unit whose there's a credible allegation, will war crime against that if they don't take appropriate action, there goes their entire mission.

Speaker 5: 13:58 Congress recently limited the role of commanders in military court law. Professor David Sleeter says, the Navy has to restore confidence in JAG.

Speaker 14: 14:07 You have to avoid even the appearance of evil. So when I talk to young Jags, I talk with them about be sure that when they contribute to the military justice system that the world is watching and that they shouldn't cut corners. They shouldn't even think about taking actions which might later reflect poorly, not only on them, but on the system itself.

Speaker 5: 14:24 The results of the secretary of the Navy's review are expected later this year, Tuesday, the chief of Naval operations upheld Gallagher's conviction on his one remaining charge, reducing him and rank and handing out a four month sentence with time served. Steve Walsh KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 14:41 This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. Do as a favor. And if you appreciate the podcast rate or review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you.

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