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After 30 Years Building Life In America, San Diego Woman Deported Again To Mexico And More Local News

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A San Diego mother, Rocio Rebollar Gomez, 50, first entered the country illegally more than three decades ago. She was deported to Tijuana on Thursday, though her family fought for years to keep her in the United States. Plus, the city of San Diego plans to spend $100 million on sidewalk repairs. With a backlog of more than 81,000 sidewalk repair projects, the plan would make fixes within the next 10 years. And now veterans can also shop at commissaries on San Diego’s military bases.

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, January 3rd I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up after 30 years of building a life in the U S a San Diego woman is again deported at efforts to streamline community beautification projects are bearing fruit in local neighborhoods. We're talking about giving the communities enough tools so they can create an enhanced their own community. That more coming up right after the break, a mother from Mexico who first entered the country more than three decades ago was deported again to Tijuana. Thursday KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says the woman and her family have been fighting to keep her in the United States.

Speaker 2: 00:52 Rosio rebel yard Gomez is a mother of three who illegally entered the country more than 30 years ago. In the time sense, she's built a family, bought a home, pay taxes, and held a job. She was deported in 2009 and illegally reentered shortly after. Then in 2018 immigrations and customs enforcement or ice caught her. The agency tells KPBS she was informed last month. Her options to state were exhausted before she met with federal authorities. She pleaded, hoping for a miracle to stay in the U S

Speaker 1: 01:19 I'm asking for an opportunity. I'd like to stay with my family. Don't take me away because all of my family's here and my life is here.

Speaker 2: 01:26 This morning with her son and an attorney by her side. She walked into the downtown ice building. No miracle arrived though. Within an hour she was deported to Tijuana, Mexico. Rebel yard Gomez attorney says to fight to keep her in the U S was an uphill battle, but the end result wasn't shocking. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 01:43 The San Diego city council is considering a proposal to spend $100 million on sidewalk repairs. KPPs reporter Prius razor says the work would be done in the next 10 years. The city of San Diego has a backlog of more than 81,000 city sidewalk repair projects. Currently the city splits the costs of many sidewalk repairs in half with the property owner and the backlog to get your sidewalk fixed is more than a year. Councilman Mark Kersey says the city has faced millions of dollars in lawsuits from people who are injured on bad sidewalk.

Speaker 2: 02:16 What I would like to do is spend a lot less money on those claims and a lot more money on fixing the actual sidewalk problem.

Speaker 1: 02:23 The council's infrastructure committee will meet next month to see how they might fund sidewalk repairs in the future. Budget Prius for either K PBS news, the county's top election official is warning nonpartisan voters to act now if they want to vote for president and the March primary KPB as reporter Taryn mento explains that the registrar of voters is trying to prevent confusion before election day. This is one of the most complex elections that we have. Michael WGU says that's why his office is urging the counties 380,000 nonpartisan mail ballot voters to review their options. Now, do not procrastinate his sent them cards detailing how they can request a party's ballot or reregister their affiliation, but only 49,000 voters took action.

Speaker 2: 03:07 So we need nonpartisan voters to actively look at this card, fill it out, and get it back to us as soon as possible.

Speaker 1: 03:14 The office needs to know by January 6th coming Monday, so voters who want to vote for a presidential candidate are sent the correct ballot next month. Those office mailed info cards to all other voters so they too can review their preferences and make changes before the February 18th registration deadline. Taryn mento KPBS news beginning of this week basis around the country. We're open to millions more veterans and their caregivers so they can shop at the commissary. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says in San Diego, the Navy has had to figure out how to give them access.

Speaker 3: 03:49 The new law went into effect January 1st it greatly expands the number of veterans who can shop on base. They include purple heart recipients. Former pow is all veterans with service connected disabilities and family events in the VA's comprehensive assistance for family caregivers program. Amy Stingley, the access control manager for Navy region. Southwest says it's more than just groceries.

Speaker 4: 04:12 They can shop at the Navy exchange. They will have access to the commissary for groceries. The gas station that is just down the street. There is a movie theater that they would be able to utilize and they can also buy discounted tickets.

Speaker 3: 04:28 First they have to get on base, maybe region. Southwest also requires a background check. Steve Walsh KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 04:35 California wants to enforce its laws on worker misclassification, predatory lending and consumer data privacy, but some companies are fighting back by flat-out refusing to comply with new laws that they say don't apply to them. Capitol public radio has been Adler reports.

Speaker 2: 04:53 Facebook says it doesn't need to change its web tracking service when California's new data privacy law takes effect in January, Uber has insisted its drivers can still be classified as independent contractors. Despite lawmakers caudifying a state Supreme court ruling that suggests their employees and money lenders are partnering with out-of-state banks to get around a newly passed interest rate cap loans between 20 $510,000 everyone has to calculate what their risk tolerance is. Margarita Thompson served as press secretary for former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's not going to be something that companies can ignore because the courts, while you can challenge it, the courts can also enforce it. In some cases, voters will have a say, two measures that would expand data privacy rights and allow good companies to keep their drivers classified as independent contractors are likely heading for California's November ballot at the state Capitol. I'm Ben Adler.

Speaker 1: 05:44 The remain in Mexico program has long been in effect in California and Texas. Now it's come to Arizona. Asylum seekers are being sent back to Nogales, Sonora as their appeals proceed through the U S from the front terrorists desk and air Maseo KJ zzz Kendall blessed reports for the first time Thursday U S customs and border protection send 18 asylum seekers back to Nogales Sonora to wait for their cases to proceed. It's part of the migrant protection protocols or the remain in Mexico program. CBP spokeswoman Meredith Mingledorf says the agency decided to expand the program because it believes migrants were crossing the border into Arizona to avoid being sent back to Mexico.

Speaker 5: 06:25 They wanted to take that away and say, okay, that's not going to be an option here anymore. If you come here and you're eligible, then you will be returned to Mexico.

Speaker 1: 06:33 More than 56,000 people have been sent back to border cities in Mexico since January, 2019. I'm Kendall blessed in air mossinio the last two years have not been kind to the Monarch butterflies living along the West coast KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson first brought you this story in June last year. He says, the population of the iconic insect just plotted below 30,000 is ex future prospects appear dim.

Speaker 6: 07:04 Front yard is a certified natural habitat.

Speaker 1: 07:08 If it's not food, it's not in the yard, it's gotta be food for somebody. Uh, whether it be a butterfly, a certain type of butterfly, a bee birds. Um, it really needs to be either a host plant or a nectar plant.

Speaker 6: 07:22 Ramy Zamosky embraces the tranquil activity that surrounds her home.

Speaker 1: 07:25 It's just my little, everything's okay spot

Speaker 6: 07:29 sprinkled among the colorful plants are different kinds of milkweed. That's important as a Muskie because Outback, Hey, watch the little critter via duck. She's got an entire greenhouse devoted to raising and releasing Monarch butterflies. She separates eggs from tiny caterpillars, separates tiny caterpillars from larger ones just robbing us. Once the caterpillars have finally eaten enough, they look for a place to hang and form their colorful Chrysalis. Then zoo musky waits for the orange, black and white butterfly to emerge.

Speaker 1: 08:01 Yeah, so this guy's got a little more ways to go and, and with the cooler, uh, darker weather, he might light a little bit longer.

Speaker 6: 08:10 Musky welcomes a couple hundred Monarch butterflies into the world every month. She says caring for the iconic insects consumes her weekends and she's willing to spend enough money to make sure there's plenty of milkweed on hand for the process. Monarchs are probably one of the most, if not the most valuable insect in the world. Bryce Simmons works at the Scripps institution of oceanography and San Diego. People spend a lot of money to plant Monarch gardens. They pay a lot of money to go see monarchs in Mexico and overwintering or in the eucalyptus grows here and they have very strong values. Simmons helped develop a model that predicts the health of the Monarch butterflies populations both in the East and Western United States. It turns out that the models that we use to describe how a population changes through time are the same as if we're modeling fish or Monarch butterfly.

Speaker 6: 09:00 Those models show a steady and dramatic decline of monarchs on the West coast. The population topped 1.2 million in the 1990s and salmon says the number of migrating monarchs is currently on a perilous purge. What they use is an is that an extinction threshold or a point at which the population would hit it and most likely it would now be in a vortex and extinction vortex where it won't be able to pull out. And they used as a number 30,000 individual, 30,000 monarchs. Well just this last winter we were below that pesticides, storms and now even climate change are posing problems for the colorful butterfly. And what was once a friendly habitat is turning more hostile because in really dry, hot a years, milkweed doesn't grow so well across the range of where it normally would. And they're obligating breeders on milkweed, they have to have milkweed in order to reproduce.

Speaker 6: 09:53 And so to some extent, wherever the milkweed isn't, the monarchs can't be, but someone says it's the migration behavior that's likely at risk of going extinct, not the butterfly itself. Volunteers count the migrating butterflies when they gather it over wintering sites, typically a Grove of eucalyptus trees near the coast, but many historic wintering spots in San Diego County and elsewhere, no longer attract monarchs. The ones here we're pretty sure are not migrating at all. John Merriman runs butterfly farms in Encinitas and he raises monarchs to share their story with local children. He knows that the colorful insects face challenges, especially early in their lifecycle. When other insects like flies, pose a threat and there's bacterial infections, there's viral infections that they get in a mold or mildew or fungus that's gonna probably kill them. Uh, so there's, there's a lot that can go wrong and that's before, that's before any predators even. But he says monarchs are also good at survival. The milkweed they eat makes them noxious to most birds and they're persistent. Friendly. Social behavior might be why the term social butterfly remains popular. It's a really prolific butterfly. Uh, they're serious about reproduction. While the monarchs are resilient, they do require a milkweed for their survival, but fortunately for them, there is plenty of milk weed in Southern California. Eric Anderson KPBS news

Speaker 1: 11:16 last year, San Diego changed its laws to encourage place-making. That's an urban planning term that describes temporary changes to public space, like installing bridges tables or planter boxes to create a sense of place. And community. KPV has Metro reporter Andrew Bowen for his brought you this story in fall of last year. He says advocates are embracing the reforms but still want to see some improvements.

Speaker 6: 11:47 It's a hot afternoon and five men are sitting in the shade of some eucalyptus trees at a new gathering in city Heights.

Speaker 7: 11:59 They're playing the do a board game that's popular in East Africa one year ago. The nonprofit city Heights community development corporation installed the benches and tables here at 50th and university. Since then, it's become a popular gathering space for the neighborhood Somali community.

Speaker 4: 12:16 And when you see people here, there's a lot more dignity brought to the community.

Speaker 7: 12:21 Anastasia Brewster's spearheaded this project which was approved under the city's new placemaking ordinance. She says, when the community first approached the city with its idea, there wasn't any formal process tailored to small and simple projects.

Speaker 4: 12:35 It would have had to go through and typical development permit, which would have been upwards of $20,000 to insult picnic benches on city-owned right away. And that was completely out of our budget. Um, and also just frankly not fair and inaccessible.

Speaker 7: 12:53 The permit under the new placemaking program cost only $1,500 in city Heights. CDC got reimbursed under a city grant program. Brewster says the city does celebrate these kinds of projects and recognizes their value, but she adds the process could still be simpler. Her team had to hire a consultant to help with paperwork and the decided not to include art in the project to avoid an extra bureaucratic hurdle.

Speaker 4: 13:20 The way that the current code is written, it doesn't allow for art to be installed in a place making project without a secondary permit through our commission for arts and culture and that is just another hurdle to just very simple community driven work, which I think that with a creative solution we could, we could change that

Speaker 7: 13:41 Elizabeth Studebaker overseas place making in the city's economic development department in the year and a half since the ordinance was okayed, three placemaking projects have been approved. Another four are in progress. Studebaker says the city will be studying the ordinances effectiveness, but that the application process is the way it is for a reason.

Speaker 8: 14:02 Most of that review process is ensuring that the applicants have a plan and they can tell us what materials they're using and they can tell us what the design is going to be before we do the ministerial issuance of a permit. That's all that review is, is like, okay, we understand you want to do something. Give us the detail. We're talking about giving the communities enough tools so they can create and enhance their own community.

Speaker 7: 14:31 Barry Pollard is executive director of the nonprofit urban collaborative project. Four years ago, his group attempted a placemaking project at the blinded intersection of Euclid and Imperial in Lincoln park, installing benches and planter boxes, but city officials ordered them removed saying he hadn't secured the proper permits. When you get the engineers, it's

Speaker 9: 14:52 no, you can't do this. Nope, can't do this. You need this for a permit. You can't. And as I left, every time I felt defeated,

Speaker 7: 15:01 the ordeal kickstarted the creation of the city's placemaking ordinance. Pollard ended up turning his efforts to a vacant lot, one block away. It's now a community gathering space, which Pollard says has empowered the Lincoln park community.

Speaker 9: 15:15 This has been a traumatized community, so things like this is what makes them feel better about themselves and gets the families involved in it.

Speaker 7: 15:25 With only three permits issued so far. Pollard says he'd like to see the city do more outreach to encourage placemaking, and you want city officials to see the successful projects in person so they can more deeply understand their value. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news,

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