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Del Mar's Horse Racing Season Begins In The Shadow of Santa Anita Deaths And More Local News

 July 17, 2019 at 2:42 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, July 17th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from kpps coming up. New research shows how climate changes fueling California wildfires, and there are concerns about how safe the track will be at del Mar this summer. One dead horses. Too many at any race track ever. That and more San Diego new stories coming up right after the break. Speaker 2: 00:29 [inaudible] hm. Speaker 1: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welch. After 30 horses died at Santa Anita Park earlier this year. There are concerns about how safe the track will be at del Mar. The summer KPBS report, or Matt Hoffman says officials are confident. Recent improvements will result in fewer horse deaths. Speaker 3: 00:53 The scene during a march race at Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles was gruesome, a horse going down with a broken leg as others. Thunder Speaker 2: 01:03 [inaudible] Speaker 3: 01:03 horse, which was later euthanized, was one of 30 horses that died after racing or training at Santa Anita del Mar. Thoroughbred club officials are hoping that doesn't keep people away from their track. Oh, I think that we've been very busy in the last month. Trying to tell everybody that we're not San Anita. Joe Harper is CEO of the del Mar thoroughbred clubs. There's a quarter of a mile to go. He says a rainy winter is likely what contributed to the number of deaths at Santa Anita. There is a point there where the tracking get over super saturated and you, when you see that make it harder, uh, and then have horses run on it. You're, you're probably asking for trouble. Del Mar has had its share of problems in the past. In 2016, 23 horses died after training or racing in del Mar making it one of the deadliest years ever. We had to take a hard look at the track. Harper says, it's not clear why so many horses died then, but one thing they did do was redo the dirt track. Re Bank the turns a little higher. We kind of, it's like picking up a carpet and fluffing it and putting it back down. This led to far fewer deaths. In 20 1712 horses died after training or racing in del Mar and nine were lost in 2018. Speaker 2: 02:10 Team Speaker 3: 02:11 first says, keeping a track safe is a science kind of dirt science. I mean, this thing out there, it looks like it's just a bunch of dirt, but it's alive. During the off season, the track made up of dirt and sand is compressed and sealed. Then tractors begin the work of rehabbing the dirt, Speaker 2: 02:26 right? Speaker 3: 02:27 [inaudible] says you want to have the right amount of padding so that the track isn't too hard without that cushion accidents and injuries can happen and after each injury at del Mar, horses are evaluated and examined by veterinarians. So then a decision is made as to whether or not the horse can be saved. Uh, if it's a bad break, usually they always, most your main thing is to euthanize the whole Speaker 2: 02:47 worse. After that, during Speaker 3: 02:50 the recent deaths at Santa Anita state racing officials will now require a pre-race evaluation of Delmar horses. State veterinarians will have the power to stop a horse running still something horses shouldn't be racing at all. Speaker 4: 03:02 What happened out at Santa Anita is not unusual. This happens every year at every racetrack, including del Mar. Horses are dying. They're for pure entertainment. Of the humans. Speaker 3: 03:16 Ellen Erickson regularly protests the races in Delmarva. Speaker 4: 03:18 We are fighting to ban horseracing. Speaker 3: 03:20 She says tracks can implement all the safety measures they want. If horses are still running, they will die Speaker 4: 03:26 there. No middle ground reform doesn't work. They've been trying to, for years. Speaker 3: 03:30 Erickson wants people to be more aware of the deaths and is hoping lawmakers will take notice too. Speaker 4: 03:34 I think, um, legislation has to happen. One dead horses too many at any racetrack ever. Speaker 3: 03:41 The Santa Anita deaths did get the attention of lawmakers. New legislation signed by Governor Gavin Newsome says rating may be suspended at any time to protect the safety of horses. Harper insist that the safety of horses is a top priority. There is no cruelty to animals going on here, you know, and uh, we just want to make sure that we're doing everything to, so we know that that horse is healthy enough to be out here. Jack officials say that the nine deaths in 2018 came as horses raced or trained on the del Mar track, an estimated 75,000 times. Harper says getting to zero deaths is a long shot. That zero is probably a difficult number, but it's one we're all striving for. Del Mar says in general, there are two types of people that attendance races. We have the hardcore track guy who comes out just to bat and look at the horses and then we have everybody else that comes out to wear hats and, and uh, have a party. Speaker 3: 04:31 And it's that casual patron that the race track is afraid of losing. We kind of expected some kind of negative impact from Santa Anita. Our, our sales are down slightly, um, seats and stuff. Some are up, some areas are up. Um, that, uh, it was less than I thought. [inaudible] says he hopes people will see that del Mar is doing what they can to prioritize horse safety. I have some good friends who say, I just, you know, makes me nervous to watch your race. You know, sometimes it makes me nervous to watch a race too. I want to get over that. I want to make sure we've done everything. So these horses are out here, you know, we all feel comfortable. Hey, they're good. Not Hoffman. KPBS news. Speaker 1: 05:10 There is more evidence that a warming climate is fueling devastating wildfires in California. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson says, a new study finds heat and a lack of rain are creating dangerous conditions. Average summer temperatures are climbing and rain is falling less frequently in California's mountains. Researchers say that's creating conditions that allow for larger damaging wildfires in the state. Alexandra Gershwin of of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a study coauthor, he says, the report is further evidence that wildfires are getting larger and more destructive. Speaker 5: 05:46 We're also seeing the decrease in precipitation specifically in the fall and spring, so that spells a longer dry season. In California, Speaker 6: 05:57 version of says the effects of climate change vary greatly from year to year, but it is clear the risk of large damaging fires is growing as the climate warms. The findings are published in the journal Earth's future. Eric Anderson, KPBS news, Speaker 1: 06:11 the transfer of was spent nuclear fuel and to dry cask storage at Santa know fray is resuming this week. KPBS science and technology reporter Shelina Celani says southern California Edison got the go ahead from federal regulators months ago. Speaker 7: 06:27 The utility halted transfers nearly a year ago after a near miss accident with one of the canisters, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Socal Edison to hold off until they could review the incident and other safety concerns. And that review ended in May when the NRC gave the utility the greenlight to resume in a press release Monday. So Cal Edison says it didn't begin resuming transfers then, so it could focus on training staff and getting technologies to monitor the process. The NRC has said the canisters are safe, but some residents around San [inaudible] say they're concerned the canisters won't last on the beach. In the longterm, there are 44 canisters remaining that will be moved. Shelina Celani KPBS news Speaker 1: 07:10 voters in Tucson, we'll decide in November whether the city will become Arizona's first sanctuary city from KJ is Fronterra is desk in Tucson. Micelle Mariska reports the initiative made it to November's ballot. Speaker 6: 07:24 The term sanctuary city has long been a nuanced one. In Tucson. It will mean just how much local law enforcement can work with federal immigration agents to enforce federal laws. For example, Tucson police will be prohibited from checking a person to immigration status at a courthouse or church or school. They won't be able to ask about that status during some traffic stops called pretextual stops. Ziba Libya is executive director of the People's defense initiative, which got to proposal to the ballot, Speaker 5: 07:54 putting in roadblocks and protections to make sure that our police department and our city government is here to protect and provide justice. Speaker 6: 08:04 The Pima County Republican party vowed the sued to check the authenticity of the 18,000 or signatures that opted to put it to a vote from Tucson. I mean she chiton muddy school Speaker 1: 08:15 Tuesday afternoon in federal court in San Francisco. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration's overhauling of asylum law. On Monday. KPBS reporter Max Roseland Adler was in Tijuana yesterday as asylum seekers came to terms with a rule change that Mike Cutoff their route to the u s Speaker 8: 08:36 a little after 6:00 AM migrants began crowding around a parking lot next to the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana. They came to hear numbers called from an unofficial list that holds their spot for the few admissions the u s accepts for asylum processing each week. Some people had been waiting for months for their number to come up. Carla, who only gave her first name, had been waiting for four months in Tijuana with her five year old son seeking asylum from Venezuela. She was frustrated with the different laws regarding asylum seekers on both sides of the border. Speaker 9: 09:07 How can you please your [inaudible]? [inaudible] sacrifice has a hard time. They're stuck here for one month, two months, four or five months, and the law doesn't say one way or the other. Then it's just lost time. Speaker 8: 09:24 According to the guidelines given to asylum officers and obtained by NPR, many of the migrants and Tijuana could be deemed ineligible for asylum because they traveled to the u s through another country without applying for asylum there. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a lawsuit against the new rules claiming it violates U s law. On Tuesday, seven to eight people were allowed through the border checkpoint for processing in the U S Carla was not one of them. Max Riverland Adler k PBS news Speaker 1: 09:54 during his run for Governor Gavin Newson promise to launch college savings accounts for all incoming kindergartners in California, capital public radio's politifact reporter Chris Nichols is tracking the governor's campaign promises and has this update. Speaker 10: 10:09 Newsome pledged a cradle to career approach towards education and made the promise about savings accounts on his website and in this campaign video. Speaker 11: 10:17 So I'll emphasize prenatal care. Early childhood programs and universal preschool in kindergarten will focus on college savings accounts for every child. Speaker 10: 10:27 We found Newsome still has a long way to go, but he's taken a $50 million step forward. That's how much he included in his first budget to expand existing savings account programs. Democratic Assemblyman, Kevin McCardy of Sacramento says thousands of kindergartners will benefit Speaker 12: 10:46 families that have money. First for college, go to Fonda College, whether it's $1,000 or $100,000. Any family that has a savings account with a kids name and it for college is about eight times more likely to go to college. Speaker 10: 11:01 We'll track how many accounts get started and whether Newsome continues to fund them before this can be considered a promise kept for now we read it in the works in Sacramento. I'm Chris Nichols. Speaker 1: 11:15 Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPBS podcasts, go to

The summer racing season kicks off Wednesday in Del Mar after 30 horses died earlier this year at Los Angeles' Santa Anita Park track. Plus, new research from Scripps Institute of Oceanography shows how climate change is fueling California wildfires, Trump’s new asylum law leaves migrants in Tijuana desperate and confused and nuclear fuel transfers at San Onofre resume this week following a near accident last year.