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California Loses Key Military Project And Gains Funding For Wall Plus More State And Local News

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The California Air National Guard is losing an $8 million flight simulator as one of 127 military projects to lose funding to pay for border projects ordered by the Trump administration. Also ahead on today’s podcast: two Southern California congressman are rallying support to block new offshore oil drilling along the state’s coast, San Diego Unified is speaking out about the need to provide food to immigrants and a report from UCSD found plastic sediment in the Santa Barbara Basin has doubled every 15 years.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Thursday, September 5th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The Trump administration's decision to pull money from military projects we felt here in San Diego and a new study shows the amount of microscopic plastics found in the earth sediment doubles about every 15 years. When you think about that, that sounds like a huge number, but it's actually kind of crazier number when you think about how light plastic really is that and more coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:32 Mm.

Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh, the Trump administration's decision to pull money for military projects as consequences in San Diego KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the California National Guard will lose an $8 million project

Speaker 4: 00:51 throughout the military. 3.6 billion was taken from 127 military projects to fund construction along the southern border in California. The Air National Guard lost funding for an $8 million flight simulators scheduled to be built in the channel islands. Senator Dianne Feinstein says the simulator would've prepared a c one 30 pilots to respond to natural disasters in a statement Feinstein called the decision by the administration to divert money from military construction projects irresponsible. The money will fund three projects in California including pedestrian fencing near Oti Mesa and the Ducati port of entry. Two additional projects will extend a total of 13 miles of secondary pedestrian fencing around the El Centro port of entry. The projects will be built by the army, Steve Walsh KPBS News

Speaker 3: 01:39 San Diego residents will get more power over their online data next year when the California Consumer Privacy Act goes into effect. But as KPBS science and technology reporter Shelina Celani explains, it's still unclear whether consumers will use that power.

Speaker 5: 01:56 A March ACLA poll showed 90% of voters in the state support more consumer privacy protections from online technology companies, so California residents will likely welcome the new law says Emory Rhone of the nonprofit group privacy rights clearing house in San Diego. He receives numerous concerns from residents expressing concerns. Like

Speaker 6: 02:16 I just got a data breach letter I this business has my information, my debit card, and my social security number and my drivers license are out on the Internet. Apparently. What do I do and how did it get this bad?

Speaker 5: 02:28 He says the law will finally give consumers a chance to ask businesses to delete their data before these types of issues arise, especially in San Diego where he says there are a lot of students using applications for tasks like keeping up with finances, but he admits consumers might be wary of using this law because it could mean losing access to some online services that can only work if provided personal data such as social media sites. It's

Speaker 6: 02:54 a little early to say that consumers won't be interested in it. Will it be the of people certainly know.

Speaker 3: 03:00 Rune says consumers can use the legislation on a broad range of sites and not just the popular ones like Facebook, Shelina, trout, Lani key, PBS news. The San Diego Unified School district is still encouraging parents to apply for free meal programs and they're trying to reassure parents concerned about federal rule change. The rule could bar people from getting a green card if they use public assistance. KPBS pvs reporter Matt Hoffman has the story.

Speaker 7: 03:27 A new rule from the Trump administration is going into effect next month, which food assistance groups and San Diego unified says is leaving people confused. Officials gathered Wednesday to discuss the upcoming change and clear up misconceptions about the public charge role. Basically before someone is deemed eligible to enter the U s receive a Green Card or extended visa. Immigration officials look to see whether or not that person can support themselves or if they will need government assistance. If they do need assistance, their immigration status could be jeopardized. Part of the rule change next month, accepting food benefits like CalFresh or snap could put someone's immigration status at risk but free or reduced meals at school is not considered a public charge under the new rule. San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Martin wants parents to know so children don't go hungry.

Speaker 8: 04:10 Your message to our families, this will not affect your status in applying for green card. Did we have great food and nutrition programs? We don't want any of our families to have any type of fear or confusion in applying for that free or reduced lunch program.

Speaker 7: 04:23 San Diego unified school officials say they serve more than a hundred thousand free or reduced meals everyday for students. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 3: 04:32 Susan Davis who represents San Diego's 53rd district says this will be her last term in Congress, KPBS editor Tom Fudge reports on the Democrats decision to step down

Speaker 9: 04:44 at age 75 Davis is serving her 10th congressional term. She said in a press release. Her decision to leave reflected a desire to live and work at home in San Diego. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Davis moved with her family to northern California and attended college at Cal Berkeley. After moving to San Diego, she commenced a long political career serving on the San Diego School Board and in the California Assembly. Then in the year 2000 she narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray in the 49th district. Redistricting landed her in the 53rd district with its comfortable democratic majority. David serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Higher Education and workforce subcommittee. She said she hopes her successor in office will put public interest above self interest. Tom Fudge KPBS news,

Speaker 3: 05:36 a federal judge has declined to throw out a lawsuit against the California state DMV over a personalized license plate capitol public radio. Steve [inaudible] explains soccer fan. Jonathon Cotler wanted his license plate. They have the acronym c. O. Y. W. The DMV asked him what it meant and he replied, come on you whites not in California

Speaker 10: 05:58 knows what it means and everybody who does know what it means knows it's not a sense of [inaudible].

Speaker 11: 06:03 That's Kotler his attorney. When far with the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, come on you whites is what fans of England's Fulham football club chat to cheer on the players who wear white jerseys. The DMV told Kotler the lettering has connotations offensive to good taste and ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit saying all vehicle license plates constitute government speech. The judge disagreed

Speaker 10: 06:23 the department's argument that this is somehow government's speech was so odd because the government usually doesn't ask individuals to supply the government with the meaning of the government's own speech.

Speaker 11: 06:35 The DMV declined our request for an interview saying it doesn't comment on pending legislation. Instead, the agency sent us a list of its criteria for determining whether a configuration is offensive, including any terms of prejudice, hostility, and vulgarity and anything with sexual connotations in Sacramento. I'm Steve Ne

Speaker 3: 06:51 to southern California. Congressmen are rallying support to block new offshore oil drilling along the state's coast KPBS environment. Reporter Eric Anderson says they argue this is not the time for new offshore oil platforms.

Speaker 12: 07:06 Congressman Scott Peters and Mike [inaudible] co-sponsored legislation aimed at blocking a Trump administration plan to sell new offshore oil leases and u s coastal waters. Offshore oil drilling could endanger the regions beach economy, which generates more than $8 billion in economic activity. Bob Keef works for the Business Alliance for protecting the Pacific coast.

Speaker 13: 07:28 We know that our beaches and our oceans in California are special places. They're part of the fabric of our lives here. For many of us. What we also need to remember is that our beaches, our oceans are the lifeblood of California's economy,

Speaker 12: 07:43 tourism and recreation alone account for a five point $3 billion economic impact and more than 96,000 jobs in the county. That more than doubles the estimated $2 billion impact linked to offshore drilling. Eric Anderson KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 07:59 Since World War Two, the use of plastics has soared in the United States and around the world. So it's not surprising that plastic pollution in the ocean is exploding as well. A new study from Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows how quickly plastics are accumulating near the California coast scripts. Microplastics biologist Jennifer Brandon was lead author of the study. She spoke with KPBS midday host mark sour. She talked about her research, which looked at the accumulation of plastics on the ocean floor of the Santa Barbara Basin.

Speaker 1: 08:34 The study went from World War Two to 2010 and I found this exponential increase in plastic. So it went from almost no plastic on the sea floor around the end of World War II to a huge increase and in basically modern day. And, and then when I tied that exponential increase to the exponential, an increase world plastic production over that same time, there's a very tight correlation. So what that means is the plastic we're producing on land and consuming on land is leaving a plastic imprint in our sedimentary record.

Speaker 14: 09:09 And you note that the surgeon microplastics in the ocean might serve as a marker for the great acceleration within the new geological epic known as the Anthropocene. Explain what that means.

Speaker 1: 09:21 So geologists believe that since World War Two we have so greatly changed and human civilization, human population and consumption patterns that we're truly creating a new geological epoch. We are changing where populations are, how big populations are, and how we consume materials that we really might be changing. MRG illogical signatures. And why plastics makes such a good geological proxy for this is that plastic lasts forever. It doesn't degrade. And so when I find it in these, in the sediment, it means that, you know, future civilizations might find plastic forever. As our kind of fossil record, we could really be known as the plastic age, like the ancient irony, age or copper age.

Speaker 14: 10:10 It's your study shows. Most of the plastic was found in the form of clothing fibers that might surprise most people who think of plastic bags and straws and containers, soda, soda bottles, so forth as making up the bulk of plastic pollution. How much plastic is in clothing and how does it get into the ocean?

Speaker 1: 10:26 We were more and more synthetic fabric these days. And so our clothes are actually being made of plastic. And then what happens is when you wear clothes that are made out of synthetic fibers, you wash them and little microfibers come off of them. They're too small to be filtered out at the waste water treatment plant. When you, you wash your clothes, they washed down the drain, they go to the wastewater treatment plant and they're too small to get filtered out. And so we did find the vast majority of our samples were these microfibers. Um, so yeah, you're not just littering on the beach and adding to this problem. Your clothes are actually adding to the problem too.

Speaker 14: 11:06 How can that be prevented?

Speaker 1: 11:07 It can be prevented on a variety of ways. You can actually do things at your individual household level. You can add a filter to your washing machine, you can wash your clothes in specific microfiber catching bags, but it can also be, um, prevented at the larger level of companies looking at how they make their clothes. And then at the much larger level as us working on engineering, different ways to catch microfibers at waste water treatment plants. And that is much harder to do. But there's some engineers really working on that.

Speaker 14: 11:39 The study is among many regarding plastic pollution in the oceans. What are some of the key findings regarding the number of tons of plastic entering oceans each year and at what depth is plastic being discovered?

Speaker 1: 11:50 So one of the main studies that talks about how much plastic is entering the ocean each year kind of gives it a rounded estimate of four to 12 million tens entering the ocean per year. And when you think about that, that sounds like a huge number, but it's actually even a kind of larger, crazier number when you think about how light plastic really is and how much of that plastic are these tiny microplastics. So to get a ton of microplastics and microfibers is literally trillions of pieces. So we are adding a ton of plastic to the ocean. It is a kind of mind bending problem when you think about it.

Speaker 3: 12:31 Scripts, microplastics, biologist Jennifer Brandon was lead author of a study that looked at the accumulation of plastic waste off the coast of California. Elected officials from around San Diego County. We'll be making a big decision tomorrow on the future of housing. Cities are tasked with planning for enough home building to accommodate population growth. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the housing crisis has changed the conversation about where that growth should be happening. Hi Lois.

Speaker 15: 13:03 Hi. It's so nice to meet you. Lowest son rich is 72 retired and a longtime resident of Encinitas. Well, this is my studio apartment and I'm a story collector and have a little nonprofit and this is my office and my home son. Rich's walls are lined with books, mostly memoirs and 250 diaries filled with her own writing. These are all of your journals,

Speaker 1: 13:29 parties and those up there and then the closet over there.

Speaker 15: 13:35 Rich is lucky. Years ago a patron helped her pay off this 400 square foot condo, but with little saved for retirement. Her living situation still wasn't stable. She looked into selling and moving into a subsidized rental apartment, but in a city where 80% of the land is zoned for single family homes, affordable housing is nearly impossible to find, much less build.

Speaker 3: 13:58 One of the difficult parts about being in the conversation about housing and Encinitas is that we have created laws that have made it more difficult for us to build housing.

Speaker 15: 14:12 That conversation continues Friday when local leaders will gather to decide how much housing each city in the county will have to plan for over the next decade. Encinitas. Mayor Catherine Blake Spear was one of the elected officials who came up with a methodology to guide that decision. She says in the past, cities including her own could get away with blocking any growth from happening and the State perceives that that is what has created the housing crisis. So we have a lack of supply of homes because so many cities have said, we're not interested in more homes here and we got ours. We're going to close the door after us. Under the new methodology, a city's housing is determined by two factors, how much public transit it has and how many jobs there are. The goal is to allow more people to take transit to work or if they have to drive, at least it's a shorter commute.

Speaker 15: 15:03 Although the methodology and concept make sense and doesn't take into account the nuances of each individual city. Richard Bailey is mayor of core Nado. If leaders approved the new housing methodology, his city would have to plan for a thousand new homes. That's not much compared to other cities, but it's 20 times what Cornetta was asked to plan for it the last time around. Bailey says the methodologies should take into account. Some of his city's jobs are actually overseas in the military and he says the city of core Nado has authority over only a fraction of its own land.

Speaker 16: 15:37 Then the question comes down to, well, who who's responsible for stepping up and throughout the South Bay region, many cities have already stepped up including Cornado and so I think it's important that we take a a look at what cities have already done historically and make sure that all the cities throughout the region are stepping up to do their fair share.

Speaker 15: 15:56 I mean, I'm not sure that that's really a legitimate position and Encinitas mayor Catherine Blake Spear says the methodology for allocating housing throughout the county has to be fair and explainable to the public. I think that every city has their particular reason that they think their numbers should be different and lower. I, of course really like my colleagues on the sandy board and the cornetto mayor, but I don't know if he has a different methodology that would apply to everybody or he's just asking for our carve out. I have been extremely fortunate back at her studio in Encinitas low, as Sunridge says, she's now getting by thanks to the charity of friends and colleagues, but she knows others aren't so lucky. She says, the way things are going, only the rich will be able to live in the communities where they work.

Speaker 3: 16:43 We're going to be segregated. We're not going to all come together and live together and, and I, I'm, I'm really not wanting to have that kind of city is my home town.

Speaker 15: 16:53 Elected officials are scheduled to vote Friday on a draft methodology that will guide its housing plan, whatever they settle on it. We'll also need approval from the state. Andrew Bowen KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 17:04 Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. If you'd like to show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

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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.