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Gallagher Insults, Identifies SEALS Who Testified In His War Crimes Trial And More Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, January 29th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Former Navy seal Eddie Gallagher strikes back at the seals who testified in his war crimes trial and candidates running for the South Bay board of supervisors seat have tough issues to tackle. We're getting dumped on literally in South San Diego County. That more coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:35 [inaudible] [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:38 in a video posted to social media Monday, retired Navy seal Eddie Gallagher lashed out at fellow Navy seals who testified against him in his trial for war crimes last year. KPBS reporter max [inaudible] tells us how Gallagher broke Navy policy in doing so

Speaker 3: 00:54 in the three minute video posted to Facebook and Instagram Gallagher rails against several Navy seals who testified against him after a tour in Iraq in 2017 during which Gallagher stabbed an ISIS prisoner. Gallagher was acquitted on the most serious charges by a military jury last year.

Speaker 4: 01:10 Even though I went to trial, expose all the lies that were said about me by certain cowards in my platoon and found not guilty. There are those to this day who refuse to accept that fact.

Speaker 3: 01:21 The video goes on to identify the names and positions of several members of Gallagher's former seal team. Each of the men identified testified against Gallagher. His disclosure violates Navy policy. A Navy spokesperson told KPBS that the Navy does not identify active seals by name or by any other manner due to the nature of their work for the protection of their teammates and their families. Since his acquittal in July, Gallagher has taken to social media several times to proclaim his innocence. Max Woodland Adler K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 01:53 The city council voted Tuesday to officially ban motorized vehicles on San Diego's busiest boardwalks KPBS. A Sarah [inaudible] has more on the city's crackdown on scooters by the beach. The council vote Benz vehicles like eBikes and dock lists, electrical scooters along the mission beach and Pacific beach boardwalks, the mission Bay park Bay sidewalk and the LA Jolla shores boardwalk. The measure was sponsored by council president Barbara Bree. She says the vehicles were making people afraid to walk on the boardwalk and are resulting in many injuries. The vote was close five to four and some council members say it would be hard to enforce. Bree argues enforcement will be pretty simple given the council's approach. I think it's easier to enforce a ban than it is to enforce speed limits because it's very clear that you're either on the boardwalk or off the boardwalk. Last year the city council passed regulations to limit the speed of motorized scooters in certain parts of the city like Balboa park, Sarah Katz, Yani, KPBS news. A few years ago the San Diego city council made it cheaper to build granny flats and to use them as short term vacation rentals, but I knew source investigative reporter or Cody Delaney found the law isn't being enforced

Speaker 5: 03:06 in September, 2017 council members were clear. None of these small new units were to be rented for less than 30 days, but I knew source used the city's own records to show staff allowed it to happen at least seven times and that only represents property owners who pay room taxes on their granny flats. The actual number could be much higher. Council woman, Barbara. Bree says the city has to do better.

Speaker 1: 03:31 It's against the law and it's embarrassing that the city isn't enforcing it.

Speaker 5: 03:35 Bree is running for mayor and supports restricting short term rentals. Some of the granny flat owners we interviewed said they didn't know about the 30 day minimum. For KPBS. I'm a news source investigative reporter, Cody Delaney.

Speaker 1: 03:47 I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS San Diego County. Health officials are awaiting word from the centers for disease control and prevention about whether San Diego has a confirmed case of the Corona virus. KPB has reporter Prius Schreder has more samples from a San Diego person who is exhibiting symptoms of the Corona virus and recently traveled to China, were sent to the centers for disease control and prevention. San Diego County public health officer, dr Wilma Wooten says they should know by the end of the day Tuesday whether it is the Corona virus.

Speaker 6: 04:22 When the person returned, they apparently developed symptoms in this particular case. Could be like either the flu or cold symptoms. The individual developed some mild symptoms, contacted their provider. They were seen at a local hospital evaluated

Speaker 1: 04:39 person is now an isolation at their home. While County health officials are working to contact the people, this person may have exposed Prius or either K PBS news. Income inequality is not getting any better in California Capitol public radio, Steve Millie has more on a report released Tuesday.

Speaker 5: 04:58 In the past four decades, incomes for California's richest families have increased by 60% for low income families. It's only 20%

Speaker 1: 05:05 this gap hasn't shrunk. It's persistent. It's it's something that we need to understand.

Speaker 5: 05:11 Sarah bone is vice president of research of the public policy Institute of California, the nonpartisan think tank that released the data. She says the job market continues to favor more educated workers. The median income increased by 30% for families where any member holds a four year degree or higher. For other families, it was stagnant. The numbers also show African American and Latino families make up only 12% of those with incomes above the 90th percentile.

Speaker 1: 05:35 Our state is made up of 43% of families headed by an African American or Latino, so they're really underrepresented in top income categories.

Speaker 5: 05:43 Bones has only Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, and the district of Columbia have wider income gaps in California and Sacramento. I'm Steve [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 05:51 for term democratic. Congressman Scott Peters has fended off multiple Republican challenges over the last decade, but now a fellow Democrat wants to unseat Peter's over his stance on a major environmental initiative. KPBS reporter Amica Sharma has more.

Speaker 7: 06:07 Peter says he appreciates the enthusiasm that the proposed green new deal has generated. The plan strives to get the U S economy off of fossil fuels and create lucrative jobs in clean energy, but Peter's doesn't support it because he says the deal does nothing to build a consensus with Republicans. That's why fellow Democrat in California, food and agricultural board member, Nancy Cassidy is challenging Peters for his 52nd congressional seat. UC San Diego political scientist, fad Couser says, Cassidy's goal is a long shot. Even though the progressive left is becoming a stronger and stronger voice within a democratic party, it would still be incredibly surprising if a popular incumbent in a fairly moderate seat is ousted by a liberal Peter spaces to other challengers, public finance banker, Ryan Cunningham and Republican businessman Jim DiBella with a 35,000 democratic voter advantage. Kazu says the 52nd congressional district is no longer competitive. Donald Trump has really changed the image of the Republican party, made it much less friendly to California voters, and it was a very hard for any Republican candidate to escape the shadow of Donald Trump. Right now, the district stretches across much of coastal San Diego County. I'm Eva Sharma KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 07:21 The San Diego County board of supervisors has long been a conservative body with a tight grip on millions of dollars in reserve funds, but at least one of the four red seats is set to turn blue this election. KPBS reporter Taryn Minto says, democratic candidates is handy ego South Bay are raising nearly a million dollars to win the seat in district one and maybe tap into the saved up dollars.

Speaker 8: 07:46 The birds and squirrels on San Diego side of the Tijuana river are soaked with Mexico's polluted water. Nearly every time it rains, the flow brings trash closes. Beaches and County supervisor candidate Rafael Casta Yanos says residents are,

Speaker 9: 08:02 we're getting dumped on literally in South San Diego County.

Speaker 8: 08:07 [inaudible] is campaigning to change that. He's one of the three leading democratic candidates, jostling to replace the current Republican supervisor who was terming out after more than 20 years. Casta yanno says a top priority will be curbing the cross border sewage that has made federal employees.

Speaker 9: 08:24 It's the biggest ongoing, uh, water quality and environmental justice issue in the entire country. And it's happening right here in South San Diego County.

Speaker 8: 08:32 Real estate attorney wants to spend County reserve funds to begin development on sewage control projects that officials have already identified.

Speaker 9: 08:40 The County can just move forward with those projects and can seek reimbursement from the federal government, including in court if necessary. He wants the County to Sue the federal government by joining lawsuits that have been filed by local cities, the state and the San Diego

Speaker 8: 08:56 unified port district where he's a commissioner. His opponent, nor have Argus says diplomacy is better for that problem and resources should be focused elsewhere.

Speaker 10: 09:05 What we need are the basic resources that our communities need to be able to provide. Healthy South Bay

Speaker 8: 09:10 communities have some of the worst healthcare access in the state. Varga says she has personal experience with this problem. She says her mom was denied Medicaid while battling cancer before the affordable care act was approved.

Speaker 10: 09:23 That feeling of hopelessness, I never want anybody else to feel

Speaker 8: 09:26 the former planned Parenthood executive and president of Southwestern community colleges governing board says she's looking at using reserve funds to better support community health groups and expand outreach efforts to enroll more people in public programs.

Speaker 10: 09:40 I've done this work and I know that when people from our communities are out there sharing what resources are available, people will make sure that they have access to them.

Speaker 8: 09:49 Costa Yano says he too wants to boost enrollment in public programs that bring reimbursements and he also plans to tap reserves to add more staff. To do that work.

Speaker 9: 09:57 We need to prioritize this in the budget and that really comes down to making sure that we have the right number of people, that they're not burnt out, that they're properly staffed.

Speaker 8: 10:06 And while Casta Yanos is focused on water pollution, Vargas says she's looking at air quality,

Speaker 10: 10:12 try to get more people out of their cars, but we can't do that unless we have better transportation, right? We have to make sure that we create initiatives like I really do believe that everybody should be able to ride a bus for free,

Speaker 8: 10:23 both concerned about the housing problem that exists County wide. Gus, the pianos put forth a four point plan that calls for cutting regulatory hurdles and includes a $1 billion bond to offset infrastructure costs that he says developers pass on to buyers and renters.

Speaker 9: 10:38 Based on my experience as a land use in real estate and finance, attorney

Speaker 8: 10:42 Fargus hasn't proposed a formal plan, but says she supports building more homes and wants to help keep people in the ones they already have.

Speaker 10: 10:49 And I think the County can create a tenant rights, a part of their housing authority. Creating a tenant rights, uh, advocacy piece.

Speaker 8: 10:56 The other leading candidate is state Senator Ben waySo. He canceled an interview with KPBS and did not respond to follow what messages, but he told the San Diego union Tribune editorial board that quality of life was San Diego's biggest issue.

Speaker 11: 11:09 We need good leadership, good government to represent the interests of the people locally. What do they want? They want to have clean beaches. They want to have jobs.

Speaker 8: 11:17 Wait, so is second in the money race. He raised just over 200,000 while Casta Yanos raised 450,000 Vargas is third with around 150,000 but she still has a few more days to file details of additional contributions. The three were invited to a forum next week, but way so declined gusta Yanos and Vargas will be joined at the forum by a fourth Democrat Sophia Rodriguez who has received about $7,000 in contributions. Taryn mento KPBS news one Republican who received nearly $2,000 from the County party was unable to provide an interview by deadline for

Speaker 1: 11:54 more election coverage. Go to kpbs.org/election San Diego is tourism industry is hoping to convince city voters to approve a tax hike to raise money for a major convention center. Expansion. KPBS is Eric Anderson reports. Measure C also promises money to fight homelessness and pave local roads.

Speaker 12: 12:16 The yes on measure C kickoff event happened across the street from the San Diego convention center last December.

Speaker 12: 12:24 Tourism officials, politicians, and union workers hailed the potential economic windfall of a new hotel tourist tax that could raise billions. The money would go for convention center expansion, homeless programs and street repairs. I've been involved in a lot of campaigns and ballot measures. I have never seen more diverse and stronger coalition that cuts across all portions of San Diego because we need this funding source. Kevin Faulkner is the mayor of San Diego and a big backer of the initiative. We need a permanent source of funding for homeless services. We need to expand our convention center and the dollars. This will mean for road improvement. These are the issues that San Diego has care about. Faulkner has long pushed for a convention center expansion, but several attempts to make it happen in recent years have failed. Just getting this measure on the ballot stumbled two years ago when the first petition drive didn't collect enough valid signatures.

Speaker 12: 13:17 Faulkner says, the city deserves this redo. It's the first time that it's actually going to be on the ballot and I think that's why you're seeing so much enthusiasm. Measure C asks voters to boost the city's hotel room tax between one and a quarter to three and a quarter percent depending on how close the hotel is to the convention center, which is a tax that visitors pay when they come to stay in San Diego and they stay in one of our hotels. Carol Kim sits on the convention center board and works for the building and construction trades council. She says the tax hike would raise more than $6 billion over the next four decades and the tax hike doesn't expire. We're telling voters upfront, we're saying we're not just going to raise this tax and let anybody do what they want with it. We're going to raise this tax and spend it specifically on three things to be specific buckets, the convention center, expansion, homelessness, streets and roads, but that plan doesn't sit well with everyone. Community advocate, Donna Frye says people have to remember they're voting on a new tax and they're getting only limited input on where the money will go.

Speaker 13: 14:21 If you had $1 billion in new tax revenue, do you think the best use of that would be to expand a convention center or do you think that it should be used for other purposes?

Speaker 12: 14:36 Fry says people should not be misled. The bulk of the money raised by the hotel tax, 59% will pay for the convention center expansion and then the operation of the facility. Fry says that's a huge tax subsidy.

Speaker 13: 14:49 What they've done is they've to combine it. The hotel guys have tried to combine it with homelessness and roads and make it sound like it's really for homeless people and for roads when there is no guarantee, there is absolutely nothing in the measure that says any housing mobile built for the homeless.

Speaker 12: 15:07 The measure doesn't outline how any of the money raised for homelessness will be spent. Instead it relies on the city council to decide whether it will fund services or housing or some combination of the two. San Diego tax fighters founder Richard rider says San Diego already has too many taxes on the books and he's not a fan of bundling issues together. Lovey attacks, what the voters decide on that tax based on what it is being used for. If we're going to have a separate tax for the homeless, okay, put a separate tax for the homeless on the ballot. Don't try to fool people into thinking this will pay for everything. Writer says the tax will create billions in new revenue for the city, but he worries city officials are playing a shell game by creating dedicated revenue streams for the convention center. Homelessness and road repair. The city frees up general fund money. We spend a tremendous and ever increasing amount of our money on pensions. So when we spend more money on on the homeless here, it frees up money for what government's number one priority is, which is paying for the pensions. And retiree healthcare because measure C is a dedicated tax increase. The ballot measure needs a two thirds majority vote to pass. If approved, the initiative would raise the hotel tax rate and allow the city to borrow money for the convention center expansion. Eric Anderson KPBS news

Speaker 1: 16:32 again, to see all of our election stories go to kpbs.org/election thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you liked the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

Former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher posted a video on Instagram calling the men who testified against him liars and cowards. Plus, the San Diego City Council casts a final vote to ban electric scooters from the city’s beach boardwalks. And as San Diego is encouraging the construction of granny flats, they are being illegally used as short-term rentals.

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