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San Diego City Council Looking At Democratic Supermajority And More Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, March 9th and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Democrats are eyeing an eight one majority on the San Diego city council after a strong showing in last week's primary election and a growing body of research is showing the value of peer counseling for military veterans returning to civilian life. The rapport that we've built with these veterans, you know, and the connection we make like talking about our experiences like man, I went through the VA and I had to wait two months for an appointment. That and more coming up.

Speaker 1: 00:36 Democrats are eyeing an eight one majority on the San Diego city council. After several wins in last week's primary elections, only two council races will have a Republican on the ballot. District five which covers Scripps ranch and Rancho Bernardo and district seven which includes mission Valley and allied gardens. Even in those races, democratic candidates won a majority. If you combine their vote tallies, San Diego County democratic party chair will Rodriguez Kennedy says an eight one majority could mean more progressive solutions to homelessness and affordable housing. With that type of mandate. The new council will have the ability to take bold action in both of those areas. There are a lot of issues that are sort of stalling at the council right now that we wouldn't have that problem moving into an eight one majority democratic assembly men, Todd Gloria is heavily favored to win the mayor's race in November, though with thousands of votes left account, it's still not clear who his opponent will be. Catholic parishioners who went to church on Sunday probably noticed something different or something missing. KPBS is Maya true? Boltsy explains what the church is doing to curb the threat of the Corona virus.

Speaker 2: 01:42 It's a reminder of the spiritual cleansing of baptism, but Holy water will not be available at mission San Diego de Alcala for now.

Speaker 3: 01:50 That being a place for bacteria could, you know, accumulate

Speaker 2: 01:53 the threat of the Corona virus has forced this church and others in San Diego to take steps to protect parishioners from the highly contagious virus we now face.

Speaker 3: 02:02 You know, we're looking out for their wellbeing and for the wellbeing of all the people that are here

Speaker 2: 02:07 in a statement to parishioners. Father Peter Escalante, detailed the changes. If you feel sick, stay home, nod, bow or wave. Instead of shaking hands. Eucharistic ministers will sanitize their hands before and after distributing communion and when receiving communion parishioners are urged to open their hands instead of their mouths.

Speaker 3: 02:27 I would never as a priest refused them communion, but you know, I'm just a little bit more careful as to how they do that.

Speaker 2: 02:34 The communion cup will also be unavailable. Father Peter says more traditional parishioners do have a hard time abiding by the changes,

Speaker 3: 02:42 but I think it's important that people feel as though there are some guidelines in place.

Speaker 2: 02:47 Maya treble, C K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:49 Soon residents across San Diego County will start receiving mailers for the upcoming census this year for the first time. It can be filled out online. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman tells us local groups are working to make sure everyone is counted.

Speaker 4: 03:03 Alliance San Diego has been on the ground for the census since October.

Speaker 1: 03:06 Vanessa green with Alliance San Diego says so far her team has knocked on thousands of doors trying to speak with hard to count people.

Speaker 4: 03:13 Hard to count as a folks who generally don't participate in the census. Folks who have been missed in the census. Green says she has noticed some trends so far. Well, right now it's a lot of our immigrant and refugee folks are scared to take the census because they, even though you say it's confidential, they, you don't, they don't trust the government. This point,

Speaker 1: 03:32 the Trump administration tried and failed to have a question asking if people were us citizens included in the census, billions of dollars in federal funding for schools. Hospitals and roads come from census data. By mid March, people should be getting census information in the mail. If you don't respond, expect workers to be knocking on your door. Come may Matt Hoffman. K PBS news measure C would raise San Diego's hotel taxes in order to expand the convention center, but it may have failed to get the support needed. KPBS is Sarah [inaudible] says, backers of the initiative are still hoping that the thousands of uncounted votes will be in their favor.

Speaker 5: 04:08 Measure C would generate close to $7 billion over the course of 45 years. 4 billion would go towards expanding the city's Bayfront convention center and the remainder would be set aside for homeless initiatives and road repairs, but it is still just short of the two thirds majority needed to pass. Mural COPEC was San Diego state and bottom line marketing says that the city could lose bigger conventions like Comicon if the convention center is not expanded.

Speaker 1: 04:34 Comicon was banking on on this vote because when the renewal comes in a couple of years, the pressure for them to be in one location is going to be huge.

Speaker 5: 04:44 The city's hotel tax was last increased in 1994 since then, there've been four more attempts to boost the tax, but each failed at the ballot box without a two thirds majority. COPEC says the city could go to court and argue that only a simple majority is needed. Sarah Katz Sianis KPBS news

Speaker 1: 05:03 as part of a campaign promise. Governor Gavin Newsome has released his 2018 tax returns. The documents show he and his wife earns more than one point $2 million that year. Capitol public radio is Nicole Nixon reports

Speaker 5: 05:16 the tax returns are from Newsome's final year as Lieutenant governor. In addition to a state salary, he reported more than $800,000 in earnings from his businesses that manage upscale wineries, hotels, and restaurants around the state. Newsome put the companies in a blind trust before he was sworn in as governor. Last year, the couple paid nearly half a million dollars in state and federal income taxes in 2018 they reported $25,000 in charitable donations as a candidate for governor. Newsome released six years of tax documents and pledged to keep that going if he was elected in Sacramento. I'm Nicole Nixon.

Speaker 1: 05:53 A growing body of research is showing the value of peer counseling for military veterans returning to civilian life programs where former service members support each other have become common around the country and in some cases have been shown to be more helpful than traditional mental health treatment from Los Angeles. Alyssa John Perry, reports for the American Homefront project.

Speaker 6: 06:14 When Robert Hernandez got out of the army in 2004 after doing a tour in Iraq, he moved back to the LA area. The adjustment back to civilian life was hard.

Speaker 7: 06:24 I was sleeping on a futon in my parents' living room working at home Depot. It was pretty much every day, if not every other day that I was drinking.

Speaker 6: 06:33 This went on for about 11 years until a friend who he served in Iraq with som struggling. His friend called him up, asked if he wanted to work with bets in LA County through a program called battle buddy bridge. It's a vet to vet pure program where vets go through a week long training to become peer support specialists. After that, they can help other vets get connected with services like housing, military benefits, and even mental health care. Hernandez was sold. He became a peer support specialist and now as a program manager of battle buddy bridge for him being around other military folks felt familiar.

Speaker 7: 07:13 The rapport that we build with these veterans, you know, and the connection we make, like talking about our experiences. Like, man, I went through the VA and I had to wait two months for an appointment. Like, dude, I get it.

Speaker 6: 07:25 That's about support isn't just for the mentee. It also helps them mentor. Like Hernandez, in order to be a peer support specialist, you have to be enrolled in school. So Hernandez quit his job at home Depot, signed up to take classes at the local college and stopped binge drinking. His life has a purpose now he says, so that's helping other vets is what makes this program unique. That's according to dr Shelley Jane, she's a psychiatrist with the VA, Palo Alto and Stanford medical school and she studies peer support programs. The P is

Speaker 1: 08:00 well who have a lived experience with PTSD, but they're further along in their recovery. The idea is they share their personal story of recovery and they self-disclose about a lot of the obstacles and the issues that they faced.

Speaker 6: 08:12 Sharing your own personal journey and struggles is something that regular mental health professionals don't do. But dr Jane's research shows that vets really benefit from working with each other.

Speaker 1: 08:25 They report being more socially engaged, more hopeful and empowered about their futures and they're more engaged in their mental health care

Speaker 6: 08:32 still. She says it's not clear. Peer support programs actually help treat PTSD. Dr Jane is studying that now in the back room of a large drafty office building. Hernandez leads a training session for mentees who want to be peer support specialists. That's where our two reflection workshops are about. Thinking about one of his tips. Reflect back on your own experiences so you can be better equipped to help others. Joe a Gary is one of the mentees in attendance. He spent 26 years in the army serving several tours in the middle East. When he retired, he enrolled in classes at a local LA college. That's where he met a peer support specialist from battle buddy bridge.

Speaker 8: 09:16 I felt comfortable talking to her about certain things, whereas I didn't with other people. So it is relieving. Um, I could just come in anytime.

Speaker 6: 09:24 Now. He says he's looking to be the guy that vets come to for help, but he wants to learn more from experienced vets like Robert Hernandez for Hernandez. He's been working on battle buddy bridge for five years now. Next up he says a master's in social work so he can continue his work with vets.

Speaker 8: 09:45 It's like a little motivation for them to see like you know, there is hope out there. There are people out there that want to help us

Speaker 6: 09:51 and sometimes that help comes from the people who have lived through the same experiences in Los Angeles and Melissa John Perry.

Speaker 1: 10:00 This story was produced by the American home print project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. The California report has been hosting a series called start the conversation. The goal is to bring together people on different sides of America's political and cultural divide. Here's one of those conversations. It's between San Francisco Bay area journalists, Lacey, Jane Roberts, and her grandfather Tom Tyler, who lives in Bozeman, Montana. He joined Lacey from a radio station there. Lacey, of course, works in journalism. Her grandpa doesn't believe the media can be trusted.

Speaker 8: 10:39 Tell me a little bit about how you grew up grandpa. I grew up in a very strict democratic environment and I changed after Jimmy Carter was president there. One thing, interest rates went from 5% to buy a house at 19 20% and I couldn't afford to be a liberal anymore. I think Donald Trump is the best thing that happened for awhile. Tell me why he's doing things, you know, and, and people complain about his Twitter. I love his Twitter because I'll tell you, he can't come out and say he was taken out of context. He can't say that because he's putting it out himself.

Speaker 5: 11:18 You and me have always gotten along and I think that we've always been a lot alike. So I'm wondering what, what did you think that I would grow up to be?

Speaker 8: 11:29 Hmm. Not a journalist, that's for sure.

Speaker 5: 11:32 Mm. Because like you didn't watch the news or

Speaker 8: 11:34 you know better than that. Well that's all I do is watch the news. No, I keep it on till noon and then I put on the old Western movies at noon. Why? Why do you keep Fox news on til noon? Well, I got to find out what's going on in the world. I'm kind of stuck out here in the Hicks, you know, not that I can change, it's just that I like to know what's going on.

Speaker 5: 11:55 So what do you see that's going on in the world right now that, that you care the most about?

Speaker 8: 12:00 I wonder about, you know, your journalism is, I think a tougher job than it used to be a few years ago. Yeah. Because lying seems to be a normal anymore. And as a journalist you're going to have to figure out who's lying to you and who's telling you the truth. And that's not going to be easy.

Speaker 5: 12:17 Do you think that the media is doing a good job of that right now?

Speaker 8: 12:21 No, I just don't. I don't believe anything in the media says nothing. They've put one thing out and then it comes out later that it was a, was it a lie? See, you think the media is biased. I think they're crooked. I think they're liars. They report what they want to report and it don't fit their agenda. They don't report it. What do you think about me being a journalist? Well, honest answer, uh, you don't get no participation trophies from me. Uh, you know, when I, when I see what you do, I'll answer that question and I've, if it agrees with my agenda, you'll be okay. If it don't, we'll end maybe give you one star instead of two.

Speaker 5: 13:02 See, this is what I'm afraid of is that, is that there's multiple different versions of the facts depending on who you talk to. I want to make things that you know, are closest to facts regardless of if you think that it's something you disagree.

Speaker 8: 13:17 I agree with w what are the facts? How do you know it's a fact? I mean this might be something you believe, but can you actually say it is an absolute fact.

Speaker 5: 13:27 Journalism isn't an art. It's a practice, right? Like you source things from multiple sources until you can confirm it from as many places as you possibly can. You know, you try and get at it from every angle so you can zero in on

Speaker 8: 13:42 what's true. Yeah, I'll tell you, I'm just skeptical of everything anymore. The media that they're in a world, all our own. There are no hope for it. Like no hope whatsoever. None. Zero. I guess that comes down to you believe what you want to believe. And I'll believe what I want to believe. I know you believe in it or you wouldn't put all effort into, into going to school and I believe you'll do a good job. I just, you know, I, I guess I should be from Missouri cause my attitude, they show me. Okay, well I will do my best to show you grandpa. Okay? You're going to get a little more credit probably than you deserve. You're not going to get an a plus unless you earn it, except from grandma. Grandma gave you an eight plus for everything.

Speaker 5: 14:38 Okay, grandpa, I, um, I love you. Drive safely home.

Speaker 8: 14:42 I'm going to the bar. No, you're not.

Speaker 9: 15:12 [inaudible].

Success in the primary election could mean Democrats will get an 8-1 majority and a Democratic mayor. Also, Catholics modify the Mass in response to coronavirus. And a San Francisco Bay Area journalist speaks across a cultural divide to her grandpa in Montana.

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San Diego News Matters

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