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San Diegans Rush To Vote

 October 20, 2020 at 4:31 AM PDT

San Diego county registrar of voters Michael Vu says the number of ballots received at this point in the election cycle is up 300 to 400 percent from 2016. "Voters have been really wanting to vote, i think that the number of people have just been ready and have been just waiting for us to send them their respected ballots and now that they have them within their hand, we know that there are hundreds of thousands of these ballots that have come back this far and many more to go." Monday was the deadline to register to vote and receive a ballot in the mail for the November election. People planning to vote in person can still register up to and including on election day. Environmental leaders are meeting this week to brainstorm how to reach California’s ambitious climate goals. The California Energy Commission is hosting the online symposium. The state plans to spend about one and a half billion dollars over the next decade to help meet its climate objectives, including the goal of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2045. Democratic State Assemblymember Cristina Garcia spoke at the symposium. She represents part of Los Angeles County. “We need to be innovative in our way of thinking and our way of approaching our limitations. Our lack of equity shouldn't hold us back, but should help us innovate to make sure that we're lifting everyone up.” Hundreds of cleantech innovators are joining the discussion about electric vehicle charging, clean energy for cities, and how to store renewable energy. The annual event is the sixth of its kind. A new collaboration is taking shape to provide critical gun safety training for child welfare social workers. It will include training on gun violence restraining orders and the safe storage of firearms. Cecil Ashley says his agency has been affected by gun violence this year. "I'm thankful for training like this that are really proactive in equipping us not only to keep ourselves safe, to keep our families safe, but also giving them the tools they need to, outside of our presence, keep themselves safe." The virtual training on gun safety will begin next week and is expected to provide resources for nearly 800 social workers in San Diego County. It’s Tuesday, October 20th. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. I’m Anica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. Dozens of candidates in the city and county of San Diego are asking for your vote this year, but a number of them haven't always cast ballots themselves in past elections. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser gives us a rundown of the worst offenders. Using the searchable database at KPBS dot org, you can find out what Democratic Congressional candidate didn't cast a ballot for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in 2016. The answer is Ammar Campa Najar, who's running in the 50th Congressional district. Then there's Republican Jim DeBello, who's running in the 52nd. He didn't vote in the 2008 presidential primary, which John McCain ended up winning. And Georgette Gomez, running in the 53rd, didn't vote in the November 2000 election, when the U.S Supreme Court ended the Florida recount and George W Bush beat Al Gore. CT kpsb news Poway voters will be asked to decide what to do with a defunct country club with Measure P. KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says this is not the first time the owner of the property has purposely abandoned a golf course in San Diego county. The lot where StoneRidge Country Club resides is now overtaken by plants, covered in graffiti and full of broken glass. The property is owned by Michael Schlesinger (Sles-in-ger), who shut down the course after failing to get approval for a zoning change in 2017. In 2014, he had tons of chicken manure dumped onto his country club property in Escondido that failed to get rezoned for housing development. Chris Prine of Preserve Poway says the closure and decline of StoneRidge is a similar pressure tactic. "They're using this as a campaign issue. It's sort of like 'Vote for this measure, or you're in fire danger.' And to me it feels like blackmail … maybe that's a strong word." Approval of Measure P would allow a maximum of 160 homes on the property, in a development called "The Farm." It will also include at least 70.4 acres of permanent open space. The Farm's Erin McKinley says it's an opportunity for residents "This is their opportunity to keep it local. If it fails, then it will go back to being controlled by Michael Schlesinger." The developer says The Farm's open space and amenities would be available to all Poway residents. Jacob Aere, KPBS News. That was KPBS’ Jacob Aere. You can find his reporting and all of our election coverage on the KPBS Voter Guide. It has just about everything you’ll need to know about filling out your ballot. You can find it at KPBS dot org slash election. Despite San Diego’s beautiful coasts and stunning skyline, more than 33 miles of city streets… remain unpaved. . The same is true for more than 28-miles of alleys. KPBS reporter John Carroll says one city council member is trying to change that. Nearly 13-miles of city streets in Council District 8, and more than 10-miles in Council District 4 are not paved. The reason for that dates back to city policies enacted in the early 50's and late 70's… that prohibit the city from paving dirt streets, and people who live along the dirt streets are responsible for their maintenance! District 8 councilwoman Vivian Moreno says she was shocked when she found out about the unpaved roads. "It is really making a second class community in the City of San Diego and I as a council member will not stand for that." Moreno has introduced legislation to change the old policies which she hopes the council will vote on before the end of the year. It won't be cheap… depending on the level of upgrades… paving all the dirt roads and alleys could cost anywhere from 300 to 900-million dollars. JC, KPBS News Distance learning is a struggle for many California families. But a pair of new polls suggest most parents don't want to send their kids back to school yet. CapRadio's Nicole Nixon reports. A survey by the Education Trust — West shows only 35 percent of California parents say their child's distance learning has been successful this fall. That's way down from 57 percent at the beginning of the pandemic. But an unrelated poll commissioned by the California Teachers Association shows only 10 percent want a full-on return to classrooms. Forty percent want hybrid learning and half say schools should be fully remote. Remote education has been particularly difficult for some families. More than six months into the pandemic, majorities of Latinos and low-income parents still report issues with internet and technology access. SOC The need for spaces to house people experiencing homelessness is at an all time high. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne takes us to a motel in Escondido that will soon be a place of healing for the homeless. In a commercial zone in the City of Escondido, a motel that had been listed for sale since 2019 will soon serve as a tool to combat homelessness. It will be run by Interfaith Community Services. Interfaith, and other organizations throughout San Diego, have steered towards purchasing distressed hotels… as a way to provide a safe and effective space for people in need of housing. Interfaith graduate Jennifer Kacizak(Ka-Cee-Zak) calls them "healing hotels." "It's impossible for people to go from street to something like this or the place I'm at now. Kazicak (Ka-Cee-Zak) was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. The physical and financial burden of treatment took a toll on her, causing her to lose her home and job. "The chemo kinda made me have brain fog a lot, so it was really hard to get a job afterwards or something similar to what I was doing before. So I just kind of gave up, didn't pay rent, didn't pay my car, maxed credit cards, depression pretty much. Being broke because of cancer." She says the Interfaith program made all the difference in helping her get off the streets and into a place she can call home. "It's amazing they have these programs, and the fact that they're for people coming out of the hospitals and they can recuperate, I think that's fantastic." Greg Anglea (Angel) is the CEO of Interfaith Community Services. He says cases like Jennifer's ring the bell for the need for spaces for people to recover and get back on their feet. That is what led to the recent purchase of this motel in Escondido. "We're so excited to turn this now empty motel into a place of healing and transformation. We've been working on this project for more than a year, we have the support of our San Diego County Board of Supervisors who approved a $6M grant to go towards this purchase. Ultimately it'll be a $10M project." The motel will provide beds for a mix of recovering and graduate Interfaith clients. "We will help people who are exiting hospitals without housing and we'll also help people who are on the streets to be able to have a safe place to go while they move forward in their lives." Anglea says the need for these beds has never been greater in North County. "There are thousands of people experiencing homelessness on any night in our County, the reality is there are not enough shelter beds, not enough graduate lodging beds or recuperating care beds like we will provide here. The trend of purchasing hotels to serve as housing for the homeless has been gaining momentum. The San Diego City Council recently approved the purchase of two hotels to serve as permanent housing, a move that Mayor Kevin Faulconer says is leading California in the right direction. "By converting these hotels into housing and continuing to navigate folks into other housing, our region will continue to lead the state on solutions to reduce homelessness." Interfaith Community services continues to provide food, employment, addiction treatment, case workers, and counseling support to those in need. The purchase of the motel now means the expansion of services they can provide. "Every room here will be helping another person move forward in their lives." In Escondido, TT, KPBS News That was KPBS’ North County Report Tania Thorne. This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Coming up….live opera makes its return in a San Diego parking lot. Our Arts Reporter Beth Accomando interviews the people putting it together, that’s next after this break. Live opera is back but with a twist. San Diego Opera will be staging La Bohème in the parking lot of Pechanga Arena San Diego. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with San Diego Symphony's Rafael Payare about his conducting debut with the Opera and about working with COVID restrictions. That was Beth Accomando speaking with conductor Rafael Payare. San Diego Opera's drive in production of La Bohème starts this Saturday. Before you go, KPBS is still hoping to hear from you on what your plans are for this Halloween. If you have a moment, please call (619) 452-0228‬ and leave a voice memo with your name, your neighborhood, and then whatever your plans might be. Again the number is (619) 452-0228. We’re looking for your pandemic Halloween plans or ideas. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening and have a great day.

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The registrar of voters says the number of ballots received thus far in the election cycle is up 300 to 400 percent from 2016. Plus, climate activists are meeting online to figure out how to meet California’s ambitious climate goals and social workers are being offered gun safety classes for the first time.