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San Diego Considers Crackdown On Street Vendors And More Local News

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Street vendors are seemingly everywhere in San Diego because there are no local restrictions on them. But now, the city is considering a crackdown. Plus, the GI Film Festival is officially underway at the Museum of Photographic Arts, we’ll preview the film “The Whistleblower of My Lai.” Also ahead, starting next week, all branches of military medicine will be under one command; hear how Naval Hospital San Diego plans to handle the transition. And, SDG&E wants to do away with seasonal pricing but the proposal doesn’t actually reduce rates for consumers.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, September 25th I'm Deb Welsh. And you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. SDG and D wants to do away with seasonal pricing, but does that reduce rates? And there could be a crackdown on street vendors across the city or it's a way of life whether it's illegal or not. If I can do it with an a means, it has to be done that more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Uh,

Speaker 3: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welch, San Diego gas and electric is proposing lowering average customer's summer bills by about $7 a month. But as KPBS science and technology reporter Shelina Celani found that caused, we'll come back to consumers.

Speaker 4: 00:52 Mindy spat of the utility reform networks as STG needs new proposal, his response to customer complaints about high summertime bills, but she says there's a catch

Speaker 5: 01:02 to be clear, this is not a reduction in customers' bills because the money that you don't pay in the summer months, you're going to pay in the winter months.

Speaker 4: 01:12 West Jones of STG knees has customers. Annual energy bills probably won't change, but he says reducing the seasonal charge will still meet customer's concerns.

Speaker 5: 01:20 Getting rid of that seasonal change is it will make more consistent bills throughout the entire year.

Speaker 4: 01:26 Joan says he thinks the California public utilities commission will give its stamp of approval. If that happens, his proposal will go into effect next summer. Shelina Jelani key PBS news.

Speaker 3: 01:36 You may have noticed more street vendors around San Diego this year. That's because there are currently no local restrictions on them. But KPBS reporter Prius rather says San Diego is now considering cracking down.

Speaker 1: 01:50 You do too. Louis Sierra and his friends have been selling jewelry and artwork on the pathway in front of ocean beach for years. People come here to vacay, to have fun, to escape and um, there's a lot of tourism here. People just really love when, when things are handmade, but most of the time he's been selling his natural stone jewelry. He's technically been committing a misdemeanor to a way of life. So whether it's illegal or not, if I can do it with an a means where I'm going to still be able to feed myself and those around me at night, it has to be done. Now with state law that went into effect January 1st has decriminalized street vending. The idea is to foster entrepreneurship. For now, cities across California are scrambling to create some regulations that will conform to the new state law. Robert VAK, he is the deputy chief operating officer with the city of San Diego. He says, cities have to manage issues from vendors who may dump trash or block access to bathrooms or bus stops. So in high traffic areas, you're to be limited as

Speaker 6: 02:59 to what you can do for vending. In the lower traffic areas, there's uh, you a lesser restrictions.

Speaker 1: 03:05 He says vendors will be more restricted on crowded sidewalks like in the Gaslamp district or the boardwalks in mission beach and LA Hoya vendors who break rules. Now we'll receive tickets ranging from 100 to $500 instead of criminal charges.

Speaker 6: 03:23 It's all about a balance. Um, you have to balance the health and safety, uh, of the whole versus the opportunities for the individuals. Uh, and I think that's what we're trying to do.

Speaker 1: 03:32 For instance, vac, he says instead of requiring aspiring business owners to pay for high insurance starting out, the city is decreasing their liability by limiting where they can operate. Sarah Burns heads up the business improvement district for Pacific beach. She says her organization along with most of the merchant associations across San Diego are supporting the proposed regulations.

Speaker 6: 03:55 I mean, you think, of course you want to be cautious if you own a coffee shop and now someone's allowed to open a coffee shop right outside your door. Um, of course there's going to be concern and questions with that.

Speaker 1: 04:04 But the new law says any city regulations can't be to stifle competition. They can only focus on public health and safety.

Speaker 6: 04:12 We didn't start on the sidewalk, but we started at, you know, like I said, farmer's market street fairs.

Speaker 1: 04:16 Bernard level is the owner of California sock company.

Speaker 6: 04:20 We fit 500 styles in 10 feet by 10 feet.

Speaker 1: 04:23 He started out as a street vendor in San Diego at farmer's markets and has now moved on to own two stores in Pacific beach and at the fashion Valley mall. While he is personally seeing the business benefits of starting small, he also thinks that vendors should have the same rules as brick and mortar store owners.

Speaker 6: 04:40 I would like everybody to have and have to pay the same taxation as everybody else. Same permits, same permitting process, same taxation, a brick and mortar versus street vendor.

Speaker 1: 04:50 The new regulations will require street vendors to get a $30 permit once a year. They will also have to remain within a certain distance of various intersections and loading zones, comply with hours of operations and parks and pushcarts can't be larger than six by four feet. Food vendors would also have to get a County health permit, but many street vendors like Ryan Gilmore say they haven't really been part of the discussion about new regulations and they're not even sure where to find the information on the rules. They would have to follow.

Speaker 6: 05:20 There's really no current, um, public information for street vendors. You know, the only way you're gonna know is if they come up to you and start to tell you to take your step down.

Speaker 1: 05:32 The proposed regulations are set to be heard by city council in October. Many vendors think they shouldn't be heavily restricted. That us being out here is what brings people to OB. It's not just the beach, it's an atmosphere. It's a people. It's a way of life. Lucky for Luis, he can keep that way of life because OB is not on the list of places for vendor crackdowns. Prius assure K PBS

Speaker 3: 05:58 news, the fifth annual GI film festival. San Diego continues at the museum of photographic arts. KPBS arts reporter Beth Huck Amando will be moderating a panel tonight for the film. The whistle blower of me lie. Here's her

Speaker 7: 06:14 preview. If you expect the GI film festival San Diego to only be films about soldiers in war. Think again. It's much more showcasing 34 shorts, documentaries and features plus 13 panel discussions with filmmakers and experts on a broad range of subjects. There are films buy in about soldiers, but also about growing up gay in the 70s as well as about composing a new music opera to process the horrors of the MI Lai massacre that happened during the Vietnam war.

Speaker 6: 06:44 I mean, I'd heard about beeline, I'd never heard about him.

Speaker 7: 06:49 A whistleblower have me lie screens as part of the healing arts sidebar and exemplifies the amazing diversity of the festival. That GI film festival San Diego continues through Sunday. Beth like Amando KPBS news

Speaker 3: 07:02 starting next week, all military medicine will be under one command. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh talked to one of the leaders about the transition.

Speaker 8: 07:11 The change has been coming for a few years, but starting Tuesday, all Navy and Marine hospitals will be consolidated with army and air force medicine under the defense health agency, DHA, assistant director, air force, major general Lee Payne was recently at Naval hospital San Diego. Our belief is that this integrated system of readiness and health is not going to change and we're going to continue to support the war fighter and the war fighters families after the transition. So I wouldn't expect any different. He says, San Diego is expected to remain a hub for the combined command. Naval hospitals at bell ball park and camp Pendleton will become part of medical forces. Pacific paint acknowledges that there have been discussions of cuts once everything is finalized. No cuts had been announced. Steve Walsh KPBS news

Speaker 3: 07:58 increasing staff while engaging communities. That's the goal for the San Diego County fire authority. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says the fire authority unveiled his strategic plan for the next five years.

Speaker 6: 08:11 We've outlined a plan, you know, to continue to increase, um, staffing not only on fire engines, but we've grown from five paramedic engines to 17 paramedic engines,

Speaker 9: 08:21 County fire chief Tony Meacham says the County is also focusing on outreach to communities and high-risk fire areas.

Speaker 6: 08:27 We've got to start looking at it from a new lens and that's not just responding to fires, but we have to start preparing the communities before that fire occurs.

Speaker 9: 08:35 That includes doing more inspections to make sure homes have a defensible space.

Speaker 6: 08:38 People have a responsibility to kind of protect their own property and stay engaged.

Speaker 9: 08:42 Meacham says this, summer was unusually slow for wildfires, but dry and strong standard. I need a winds could contribute to large fires. This fall. San Diego County fire consists of 35 stations covering 1.5 million acres. Matt K PBS

Speaker 3: 08:56 news. If you're a taxpayer, you're helping to pay for medical California state run health system and healthcare advocates say you're not getting your money's worth. Capitol public radio's Steve. Melanie explains from prenatal care to breast cancer screenings. A review of trends in the quality of care provided by Medi-Cal managed care plans finds a lack of improvement.

Speaker 10: 09:18 What it reflects is that we are not getting the value out of the program that we should be getting.

Speaker 3: 09:23 Ron is with the California healthcare foundation. The Oakland based nonprofit group released a study looking at statewide quality trends from the last decade. Among their findings recommended well child visits for two to six year olds fell from 86% in 2012 to 84% in 2018

Speaker 10: 09:38 that's a 2% has dropped. That might seem like a small amount, but first that affects tens of thousands of children. It means tens of thousands of children aren't getting the well child visits that they should be getting. And second, we should be expecting quality to improve over time, not fall flat or in this case declined.

Speaker 3: 09:55 He says California could improve quality of care by setting up financial incentives rather than just penalizing managed care plans that are underperforming. The state department of healthcare services, which administers medical did not immediately respond to our requests for comment in Sacramento. I'm Steve [inaudible] like Cincinnatus. I've returned to the plow that tweet about the Roman dictator who voluntarily gave up his power to go back to his farm. Came from Jerry Brown. He came with a photo of him and his dogs on his family's Calusa County ranch, but making all [inaudible] oil is far from the only thing the former California governor is up to during what he hates to call a retirement. On Monday, he announced his new California China climate Institute at UC Berkeley. In an interview with Brown last week, Capitol public radio. Ben Adler asked why California and China can learn from each other

Speaker 11: 10:48 for China to continue and strengthen their requirements for electric cars. Uh, zero mission vehicles as well as, uh, more renewable electricity that helps the world. But it also helps California how to implement a cap and trade program. China has not done it at the level of California. So I think there's ways California can help and China has far more money going into new battery technology, uh, that will make more electric cars possible, cheaper, go further. And also we'll be able to run more cities on wind and sun because when the wind stops and the sun goes down, we'll have adequate storage, which we don't have today. So I'm going to use my experience as a leader, political governmental to push these issues, uh, through this climate Institute and given the rising tension animosity competition with China, and it's all the more important that California in China forge open communication pathways of working together and dialogue.

Speaker 11: 12:03 More important than ever. Governor, I'd like to ask you about the, the widespread and even by partisan questions over China's seeling, American research, trade secrets, intellectual property. You're inviting them onto the Cal Berkeley campus, you're giving them a foothold at one of the nation's most prestigious universities. Do you have any concerns that, that China might see this as a way to, to gain a competitive edge over not just the U S as a whole, but, but California in particular? There's plenty of issues between the U S and China, South China sea, Taiwan, intellectual property hacking, you name it, but climate change is not waiting for politicians to work out their various problems. And China is a major player, biggest polluter, biggest investor in renewable technology. And I think California can profit from partnering with them. And so can China profit from partnering with us? Yeah, there other issues. I'm sure we'll get into them and, and see them as we go along.

Speaker 11: 13:02 But just sitting on the sidelines throwing rocks or issuing trumping tweets goes nowhere. We must roll up our sleeves, work with our Chinese partners and uh, really get a handle on what is a major threat to billions of people on this planet. If I were to ask you what you missed about the governorship, you would probably give me a pithy answer. Let me try a slightly more pithy question of what don't you miss about being governor? What don't I miss? Let's see. Good question. I, I like my freedom. I definitely enjoy that, but I have, I enjoy being governor and I didn't get too caught up in the, um, venality of Google tutorial ceremony. I'd concentrated on interesting substantive issues and working with a very extraordinary group of people, including, uh, leaders in the legislature and I'm sure you didn't miss working until 3:00 AM on the final night of session earlier this month. Oh, that was kind of fun the final night. But you know, when you step away from these bills, um, they don't seem quite as important.

Speaker 3: 14:09 Former California governor Jerry Brown speaking with capital public radio has been Adler. 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.