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California to Study Reparations

 October 1, 2020 at 5:34 AM PDT

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Wednesday, mandating a study on how the state can make amends for its role in oppressing black people. The bill makes California the first state in the country to study reparations for the descendants of enslaved people. The state will convene a nine-person task force to put forward proposals for reparations, and who will be eligible to receive them. The bill was authored by state assembly member Shirley Weber of San Diego. Some of the options included in the bill for reparations are forgiving student loans, and paying for public works projects or job training. Newsom will appoint five members to the reparations taskforce, the other four members would come from the state legislature. The law says the taskforce has to have two people from “major civil society and reparations organizations, and at least one academic expert on civil rights. The task force will have its first meeting by June 1st of next year. San Diego Unified school district will bring thousands of high-needs students back to campuses starting October 13th. Richard Barrera is a school board member at San Diego Unified. He said teachers will make appointments with students to assess how much they've fallen behind. “Appointments can look different. We can make an appointment for you to come in for an hour and have an assessment, or it could be that we wanna develop a schedule with the student where they're essentially in class all day everyday.” Also, San Diego State University says a small number of in-person classes would start on October 12th. The university had moved all courses online after COVID case numbers soared among students during the first weeks of the semester. The County announced two more deaths from COVID 19 and 194 new cases, keeping San Diego in the red tier of Covid restrictions. County officials have focused attention on expanding testing sites for teachers and students. Nick Macchione with the Health and Human Services Agency says increase in testing is to improve safety as schools reopen. "All of them being no appointment drop in sites. Trying to make it as easy and accessible to San Diegans." 4 Designated testing sites for school staff will be available this week...starting in Chula Vista and San Diego today. You might have seen smoke yesterday from two wildfires burning in our region. A large vegetation fire is burning in Mexico, approximately 7 miles south of the border. And, to the north, A 50-acre fire is burning on Camp Pendleton. Firefighters report that they’ve stopped the advance of that fire, which is now about 20% contained. CalFire also reports another small brushfire has kicked up in Ramona. So far it is only one acre. Neither fire is threatening any homes. It’s Thursday, October 1st. Pumpkin season is officially here. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News...a daily morning news podcast powered by everyone in the KPBS Newsroom. I’m Annica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. There's a growing child care crisis in California. Across the country daycare centers closed due to new regulations and economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. KPBS reporter Claire Trageser says a union of domestic workers is asking the state for help. "For 5,000 providers, Monday never came." Lynn James is a childcare provider in San Diego. She and others in a union of childcare providers say businesses like hers need more help from the state government. "And from those 5,000, more children have no daycare. Those families, many are essential workers, have nowhere to send their children." State rules put in place at the onset of the pandemic have forced childcare providers to cut class sizes while costs for additional staffing and cleaning supplies have gone up. Now, nearly seven months later, many are going out of business. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors created a $25 million grant program for local childcare providers--the money is expected to be awarded soon. Claire Trageser, KPBS News As we get closer to the general election, political campaigns are heating up. And we already have campaigns accusing opponents of lying in their campaign ads. It’s happening in the race for the 53rd Congressional district where two democrats are squaring off. KPBS’ Matt Hoffman reports. meet sara jacobs A new ad for the Georgette Gomez campaign targets her Democratic rival Sara Jacobs - who is the granddaughter of Qualcomm Founder Irwin Jacobs. Disclosure - Irwin Jacobs is a major donor to KPBS. Here's part of the ad: "Sara is spending millions of her family's fortune to buy a seat in congress. Sara supports Trump's tax cuts for corporations" The ad cites an interview Jacobs did with the San Diego Union Tribune's editorial board in January. During that interview, Jacobs told the board she favored lowering corporate taxes... but: "I was not in favor of the Republican tax bill that raised our deficit...I agree that we should have lowered corporate tax rates - I think we lowered them too far..." - Sara Jacobs This week the Jacobs campaign called on Gomez to take down the ad, calling it 'false and 'misleading." The Gomez campaign says there's no reason to pull the ad -- saying the cornerstone of Trump's tax bill was cutting corporate taxes -- and Jacobs is on the record saying they should be lowered. Matt Hoffman, KPBS News. San Diego County officials are scrapping their legally-flawed climate action plan. They say they’ll work on a new one. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson says that’s good news for environmentalists. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to start over. The latest plan was approved by the board in 2018 and then rejected by a judge late last year. The court agreed with people who said the plan violated the California Environmental Quality Act and didn’t account properly for greenhouse gas emissions created by new developments. The Sierra Club’s Richard Miller says he is hopeful that the county will finally get it right. “They are going to really have to press developers to make sure that they are doing everything they can to reduce their carbon.” The county’s latest plan was the third one rejected by the courts. County Supervisor Diane Jacob says she hopes the county finally gets it right. Erik Anderson KPBS News The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted Califorina’s shortage of health care workers. Experts are hopeful that a bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom this week could help fix the problem. The bill expands the authority of nurse practitioners. These professionals have more education and training than registered nurses, but they currently need physician sign-off to diagnose and treat patients. Ileana Meza is a nurse practitioner in Los Angeles. “If my patient’s having pain after chemo, I can give her narcotics but I cannot order her a wheelchair.” She says being able to do those things on her will make care more efficient. “Instead of the patient coming back and taking two or three buses just to get this form that I’m going to complete myself and then I’ll have my supervising physician sign, then I can do it myself.” She says she’ll still be collaborating with physicians when she needs advice. Physician groups have historically opposed this change, citing concerns about quality of care. The San Diego Padres are in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. KPBS Reporter Jacob Aere says the Friars began their first round of the playoffs last night. They’re playing against the St. Louis Cardinals for the Wild Card round at Petco Park. It's a best-of-three series which started Wednesday just after 2 p.m. While fans are not allowed in the stands, the team is hosting drive-in watch parties at the Lexus Premier Lot near the stadium. Fans also gathered at local bars and restaurants to cheer on their team. George Rogers is a San Diego resident and Padres fan. He says supporting his team from next to the ballpark is an experience with mixed emotions. "It is awesome to see them back in the postseason, it is a bit bitter sweet because I would give anything to be inside Petco, but I will be very close, within a block rooting them on as loud as I can." With the 60 game shortened MLB season, the Padres are one of 16 teams to play in the 2020 MLB playoffs. Jacob Aere, KPBS news. That was KPBSs Jacob Aere. Final score, Cardinals 7 Padres 4, we’re down one game. Proposition 16 is asking California voters to bring affirmative action back to public schools and government work. California eliminated the policy in 1996 by passing another proposition - Prop 209. KPBS reporter Shalina Chatlani explains that supporters of Prop 16 say it would help balance the scales, but some critics say it could hurt. ------- PROP 16 4:18 soq In the 1950s, when she was a young girl assemblywoman Shirley Weber's family moved from Hope, Arkansas to Los Angeles. They had to. Her father - a sharecropper - had a target on his back. WEBER: He was going to be lynched. The talk of the town was that he was one of these uppity negroes... he fought for himself. Here on the San Diego State University Campus, Weber recalls escaping persecution …and eventually helped start SDSU's Africana studies department. She was driven by her desire to work hard and fight like her father… but she had help. WEBER: I went to grad school because I was a black student. they took my race and gender in consideration. So that was an affirmative action program for a poor kid like me. Weber says when California banned affirmative action in 1996, poor underserved minorities were left behind, because state institutions could not develop programs specifically for them. WEBER: everybody tells us we need teachers who look more like our students, yet we can't develop a teacher training and a program of recruitment for new teachers based on race. we can't say we need to get more black teachers, more Latino teachers. We can't do that yet. And the improvement of my schools is contingent upon getting teachers who understand the kids. So this Prop 16 is critical. Proposition 16 asks voters to strike the non-discrimination language in the state's constitution. But critics say that won't help with inequality. In the years following the civil rights movement, affirmative action was seen as a next step to reverse centuries of racism. But California passed Proposition 209, which said public institutions and government work should grant no preferential treatment based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin. HERRIOT: you can't give preferential treatment to one group without discriminating against another group. Gail Heriot is a professor of law at the University of San Diego and she says she's one of the lead donors to the No on Prop 16 campaign. NAT POP: KNOCK ON DOOR "Hello" We met at her home in Kensington. HERRIOT: Come on outside The yes on Prop 16 campaign argues recent protests against police brutality reflect how law enforcement treats black and brown people differently. But, Herriot says you can't solve discrimination with discrimination. HERRIOT: just go cold turkey, you're not going to fix things by saying, well, we used to discriminate this way. Now let's discriminate that way. And she says underserved communities have done better. It's true, the UC california system has seen an increase in students of color. Since 1999 percent of latinos has doubled and the black population has gone up by just under 1 percentage point… She says it's not helpful when students are admitted into schools they aren't prepared to compete at. HERRIOT: It's a good thing when students attend colleges where their academic credentials put them in the ballpark with the rest of students. PART 4: Just a start But, there are still disparities… While Latinos And Blacks are around 46% of California's population, they only make up about a third of the Undergrad system. And the number of pell grant recipients, or low-income students on scholarship, has steadily decreased since 2015. Autumn Arnett says that's because - with our without affirmative action - we live in a racist society. She's an independent education equity researcher in Austin, Texas. ARNETT: we know that across industries, whether education or employment, that white women have been the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action. One 1995 California Senate Committee study found that after decades of affirmative action, it was white women who ended up gaining most managerial jobs, not the people of color who were supposed to be elevated. ARNETT: we know that black and brown people have still not been able to see their levels of representation increase proportionate to their population numbers. Arnett says it's one thing to create a policy to give people of color more opportunities, but once they get to the school or get to the job, they have to be given the support to succeed. So, with affirmative action, she says… ARNETT: the benefits, I think, are that people are absolutely getting more opportunities. Like you absolutely can't say whites only college. Right. The detractors, though, are that maybe we didn't help the people that we set out to help as much as we needed to Arnett says real progress can only happen when everyone commits to moving toward a more equitable society. Backers of Prop 16 say passing the proposition doesn't mean the work is done, but it's certainly a start. Opponents say affirmative action isn't necessary, and the work to level the playing field can continue. Shalina Chatlani, KPBS news. That was KPBS Science and Technology report Shalina Chatlani. Up next on the podcast….a fact check on a viral photo showing ballots thrown in a dumpster in California. We’ll have the latest episode of “Can you Handle the Truth” from our partners at Cap Radio, after this break. A photo went viral on social media falsely claiming that more than a-thousand California ballots were recently found in a dumpster. To get to the bottom of this, Cap Radio’s Steve Milne [MILL-nee] spoke with Politi-Fact California reporter Chris Nichols for this week’s “Can You Handle The Truth?” A weekly conversation about mis-information and Chris' latest fact checks. Here’s that interview... BODY 3:12 [STEVE:] Tell us about what happened with these ballots in Sonoma County. [CHRIS:] Posts started spreading rapidly last week both on Facebook and on conservative websites, showing what allegedly was a photo of unopened vote by mail ballots from the 2020 election … The posts said the ballots were found in a dumpster at a county landfill. Sonoma County election officials pushed back against this pretty quickly -- They took to social media and asked users to help stop the spread of this false information. The County’s Registrar of Voters Deva Proto explained to me what was actually found at the landfill, She said they were ... “... old elections materials that were taken to be recycled per the California elections code. All the materials had nothing to do with the current election.” Proto said these materials were from 2018 and 2019. They included old voter information guides, ballot envelopes, what she called test ballots, unused ballots and probably some voted ballots. But she said those do not include a person’s name, and there is no way to tie a ballot back to an individual once it’s been discarded. [STEVE:] Chris, it’s possible leading up to the election that we may see more questionable photos on Facebook or Instagram. Is there something the public can do? [CHRIS:] Proto urged people to contact their local election officials if they have questions or see something strange. She also had this really good advice: “Check and see if it’s been fact-checked. And, if you’re unsure, check it yourself. Most of the information we got about the false posts was people speculating.” [STEVE:] There are 12 measures on the statewide ballot this fall and Chris, you’ve also been fact-checking some of the claims made by the campaigns for and against those measures. Tell us about the one you checked by the No on Prop 15 campaign. [CHRIS:] Prop 15 would raise property taxes on large commercial and industrial properties. And the No campaign says it would also be a massive property tax increase on solar in California. To fact check this, I spoke with UC Davis tax law professor Darien Shanske. He says that statement is deceptive for 2 reasons. 01Shanske: First, it’s misleading because the claim suggests it applies to residential solar, which it clearly does not.” Second, Shankse says California approved a new law this year that actually protects the commercial solar industry from any new property tax increases … should Prop 15 pass. Opponents say that new law will be challenged in the courts, but even the solar industry says it is confident that Prop 15 won’t lead to higher taxes for its industry. [STEVE:] Chris, what else is on your plate this week? [CHRIS:] Next Tuesday, October 7th, we will be fact-checking the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris, who is of course Joe Biden’s running mate. We will be focused on statements that Harris makes about her record here in California.] Politi-Fact California reporter Chris Nichols speaking with Cap Radio’s Steve Milne [MILL-nee]. You can find all of Chris’ fact checks at Politi-Fact-dot-com-slash-California. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Thursday that makes California the first state in the nation to study the issue of reparations for the descendents of enslaved people. Also, As many as 5,000 childcare providers have already closed statewide after the onset of the pandemic. Child care workers are calling it a crisis for the industry.. Plus,as elections heat up, we have fact checks on campaign ads. Also, will California voters decide to bring back affirmative action in public schools and government jobs?