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City Heights Refugees Cope With Substandard Housing Plus More Local News

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Cockroaches, mold, and broken windows. The Kashindis, who immigrated from Congo as refugees, say these are just a few of the problems they’ve had to deal with since moving into a home in City Heights. Also, Congresswoman Susan Davis sat down with KPBS to discuss her political career after announcing she won’t be seeking reelection in 2020, a new mental health clinic offers transportation and childcare to help veterans, plus what California’s new data privacy law means for you.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, September 6th. I'm Deb Welsh. And you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. A new mental health clinic offers transportation and childcare to help veterans. And some city heights residents say they're living in conditions that include cockroach infestation.

Speaker 2: 00:18 Maybe we will do when we're cooking a crawl into food. When we put food on a plate and step away for a second to grab something out of the room, you'll find them crawling onto the plate. Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:26 More San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 3: 00:32 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Mental health needs that are unmet can lead to suicide, especially among military veterans. KPBS health reporter Tara and Minto says a new San Diego clinic is bringing them help. Navy veteran Martin Pollack says he knows how difficult it is to get mental health care and stick with it. He says he's been in and out of treatment since his three deployments.

Speaker 2: 00:57 You realize you need help at some points. Um, and you try to find a, but you don't always find the right resource. So we want to be that right resource for people.

Speaker 1: 01:04 He's now the outreach manager at the newly opened Stephen Aiko and military family clinic. The Mission Valley facility treats post nine 11 veterans and their families, but also offers childcare and transportation to help eliminate access barriers. And for those without insurance treatment is free. Taryn Mento KPBS news, the clinic is one of 14 facilities across the u s and the only one in California technology businesses across the state, including many in San Diego are securing their data assets to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act, which goes into effect next year. But as KPBS science and technology reporter Shelina Celani explains that process could be challenging

Speaker 4: 01:46 every stroll through Facebook or Instagram and seen an advertisement for, well that thing you looked up on Google just two minutes earlier. Consumer privacy advocates say a targeted advertisement is just one experience on the Internet that can make people feel like they don't have control. But as just teen Phillips, a data privacy law attorney in San Diego explains

Speaker 5: 02:06 until CCPA was here, this was a wild west type world. You were allowed to amass data. Um, there was unregulated data

Speaker 4: 02:15 and now Phillip says the CCPA or California Consumer Privacy Act gives California residents the right to ask businesses to delete their personal information. It has businesses trying to figure out how to manage all the data assets they were allowed to collect in the past. Phillip says the law is vague and could be difficult for companies to comply with and even those that don't necessarily fall under the scope of the law could be held accountable but may not have the money to deal with it.

Speaker 5: 02:42 This is going to be a trickle down effect to organizations that may not just have the size to justify a large dedication of resources.

Speaker 4: 02:51 Phillip says that includes many businesses in San Diego because the city is home to a major tech industry. Surely niche out Lonnie KPBS, PBS news

Speaker 1: 02:59 with

Speaker 5: 03:00 school back in session, local law enforcement and drug abuse officials are trying to raise more awareness about fentanyl. KPBS as Annika Colbert says, officials met up at San Diego State University to talk to students about the opioid. So far this year, 50 people have died from the opioid in San Diego and imperial counties. Fentanyl is said to kill and doses as small as a grain of salt district attorney. Summer Stephan was one of the people who spoke to San Diego state students on Thursday to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

Speaker 6: 03:31 What is happening is the drug dealers in order to cut their costs are lacing other drugs with a little bit of fentanyl and that fentanyl dose is causing many, many deaths.

Speaker 5: 03:45 It's the current pace keeps up. The region is looking at more than 130 deaths by the end of the year. That would be a 47% increase from last year and a covert k PBS news.

Speaker 1: 03:56 California Republicans gather for their day party convention starting today with new leadership and nowhere to go but up, but as capitol public radio has been Adler reports the party faces a tough balancing act ahead of next year's presidential election. We down, at least in part by president Trump, the California Republican party lost every prominent race in last year's midterms. They now hold zero statewide offices, seven of 53 congressional seats, a quarter state legislative districts in 23.6% of registered voters. Jessica Patterson vowed to change that when she was elected as the state gops first ever female and Latina Party chair earlier this year, yet the party's convention this weekend. Feature speakers likely to appeal to the gops base. Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The convention site is Indian Wells near Palm Springs in the height of summer with temperatures forecast the top 110 degrees that prompted this tweet from conservative activists. John Fleischman quote, it's an allegory for the political state of the party. We've gone the hill and at the state capitol. I'm Ben Adler. Those hit hardest by San Diego's affordable housing crisis are often in the most vulnerable communities. Some feel they must accept unsanitary living conditions or lose their home, but what can be done about it? KPBS reporter Prius, shree there visit city heights where a few families are finding the resources to fight back up on noon, noon by noon. Judy,

Speaker 5: 05:26 a Lulu Christian di came to the United States as a refugee from Congo four years ago with his wife and six children. [inaudible]. I left my country to come to the u s because the my mind militia was hunting me after a temporary stay at a refugee camp in Burundi. The [inaudible] ended up in San Diego needed UC [inaudible]. I felt very happy that I would get to live in peace in a way from those people that were hunting mines. No, but sadly their problems didn't end there. Last year, family moved into this home in city heights, their third home since resettling in the United States.

Speaker 7: 06:03 Do you mind if we do a tour of the House

Speaker 5: 06:06 since then? They've dealt with a broken window in their daughter's bedroom mold in their son's bedroom. No trash bans and the worst of it all. Macho garage. Yeah, a cockroach infestation.

Speaker 7: 06:20 Maybe we will do when we're cooking, they crawl into food. When we put food on a plate and step away for a second and grab something out of the room, you'll find them crawling onto the plate. So you can see these are really unusable.

Speaker 5: 06:31 They say they've made numerous complaints to their property management company, prime asset management, but instead of addressing their complaints, the company began eviction proceedings against the Kush indies. They're among at least a half a dozen families who've said they're living in substandard properties, managed by prime asset management tenants rights lawyer Dan Lyrical is representing three of the families.

Speaker 7: 06:56 There is no doubt in my mind that the complaints that complaints have been made in this case about these problems, just the response was inadequate. Um, and now what we're hearing from management after these issues had been raised again, now that I've been involved is we never knew anything about this. And that's not true.

Speaker 5: 07:14 We reached out to the company's president, Jim Purdy, who said that he's unable to respond to questions due to pending litigation. Lyrical says tenants have more rights than they think they do, but they need to know the law.

Speaker 7: 07:28 California law would respect a tenant's decision to withhold rent. Yes, if the repairs aren't being made, but it's something that needs to be done very carefully because you want to make sure that as a tenant that whatever problem is not being repaired is a serious violation of the warranty of habitability.

Speaker 5: 07:48 Another place to turn is San Diego's Code Enforcement Division. Tenants can make a complaint to the city by phone, online, or in person. A building inspector will come do a home inspection about one to five days after you filed a complaint. Based on the seriousness of the case, Leslie Senate is the deputy director of the city's Code Enforcement Division,

Speaker 8: 08:11 so we have three levels of priorities and our first priority is imminent health and safety. For the next level of substandard conditions including mold vectors, we're going to respond within five working days.

Speaker 5: 08:23 She says, once an inspector identifies the violation, they will contact the property owner to issue a notice of violation or an administrative citation. The property owner then has a certain amount of time, anywhere from a week to a month to bring the property into compliance. Depending on the seriousness of the violation. If the property owner doesn't make the necessary changes or repairs, the case can be forwarded to the city attorney's office. Senate says at any given time in San Diego there are about 3,500 open code

Speaker 1: 08:56 enforcement cases being worked by 15 inspectors back in city heights. A Lulu [inaudible] speaks philosophically of his struggles. [inaudible] I see what the reality is, but I just have to love and live in this country that gives me peace. He hopes that with help he'll be able to find some resolution with his housing problems. Prius or either k PBS news. Susan Davis will have served 10 terms in Congress when she retires next year. The Democrat announced on Tuesday that she'd be stepping down. Davis is 75 years old. She came to KPBS yesterday where she spoke about her political career with Mark Sauer. Carter swirling. Davis, welcome. Thank you. Good to be with you. You wrote to your constituents about how difficult this decision was. What caused you to decide to leave congress. Now

Speaker 9: 09:51 My, my final decision since I went back and forth, as you can imagine a few times was had really more to do with my own clock, uh, and my own interests and the feeling of having accomplished I think a great deal in the congress and, and feeling comfortable with, uh, new people coming in and that I have the opportunity now to work on in some way and I don't know what that is yet in San Diego and really put my teeth into it to work, whether it's a nonprofit or an interesting, uh, area of policy that I had been involved in, which I haven't had a chance to do all these years. You know, you, you end up being pretty, uh, limited in terms of being able to really get into issues and I just took a look at it.

Speaker 1: 10:45 So time to do other things back here in San Diego that won't include running for office again, that would include running for office. No, we'll talk about your years in Washington, nearly two decades. There are some of your main achievements and he regrets, well,

Speaker 9: 10:58 I don't have many regrets at all. I mean, the hardest part is the travel. I think at the beginning, you know, I just took it in stride, but after, after you know, 15 years, you're going into 20. Yeah. It starts taking a toll. But I think that there, there are a number of achievements. Part part of it is important votes that one takes. And for me, uh, saying no to the Iraq war turned out to be a very important vote. And it was one of those votes where I actually initially had written out to two different opinions because I was struggling with that as were all of my colleagues. But in the end, I really believe that at that time the Bush administration was not prepared for the aftermath. There was no plan, there was no understanding of the country of where people were there and how we would be, uh, taken.

Speaker 9: 11:56 And so I, in the end, I just felt that that wasn't together well enough when it comes to those issues that I'm just feel good about was the conversations I began around the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. I was in this position, uh, as the PR, I became personnel chair of armed services, partly because nobody else wanted the job. I never planned to run for Congress ever. But I had had seen how my, my voice and the opportunities that I had, uh, could resonate with people and that I could try and help and be their voice. And so it's really a privilege to be in that position. And so I, I wished people well out there. I'm certainly willing to talk to folks about the job and what I think it requires. And above all I am saying to people, I just, you know, you got to put the public interest above your own interest and you sometimes don't make the choices, um, even for your family in terms of your time, you, there are some things that are just expected of you and I think that that's what you signed up for.

Speaker 1: 13:07 Well, Congresswoman Davis, so welcome back to San Diego and good luck to your best of luck in the feet.

Speaker 9: 13:12 Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: 13:13 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.