100,000 Evacuated After Silverado Wildfire Grows
In Orange county and parts of Los Angeles, more than 100,000 residents were evacuated on Monday due to the Silverado and Blueridge wildfires. Strong gusts pushed the wildfire down the Silverado canyon towards the city of Irvine. On Monday night it was estimated that one million residents were without power. Meanwhile in San Diego’s North County….More than 2500 residents in Fallbrook, Pala and Bonsall went without power on monday due to wildfire weather conditions-- namely heavy and dry winds. A red flag warning is in effect until Tuesday evening. They’re asking residents to be prepared in case of any evacuations. The first returns from the November 3rd Presidential election will be revealed in San Diego within a half hour of the polls closing… and this year, many more ballots will be counted early, thanks to a change in state law that sent ballots to every registered voter in California. It’s Tuesday, October 27th. 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. On Friday evening, Border Patrol agents shot and killed a Mexican citizen just feet away from the pedestrian port of entry in San Ysidro. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler tells us advocates are calling for a transparent and independent investigation into what happened. On Sunday evening, in a light drizzle, people marched in a slow procession to lay flowers near where Border Patrol agents shot and killed a Mexican citizen. According to a message posted by Border Patrol's San Diego Sector station chief, agents were apprehending a man as he was illegally entering the United States. They then shot him after what they call an "altercation." Customs and Border Protection says that the investigation into the shooting death will be led by the San Diego Police Department. But those who attended Sunday's vigil were skeptical that the investigation would be done without CBP's influence. Pedro Rios is with the American Friends Service Committee. We want those held accountable, to be held accountable, and we want transparency in this The San Diego Police Department says that as of Monday afternoon, it has no new updates on the investigation. Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS News. In a research study on incarcerated men, UCSan Diego committed an egregious privacy breach. Inewsource investigative reporter Brad Rac ino explains. RACINO: To understand the effects art has on incarcerated men, UCSD researchers interviewed inmates under a guarantee that their conversations would be private. But when prison guards asked the researchers to hand over those taped conversations, the researchers agreed. CAROME: "That was an egregious breach of confidentiality. It shouldn't have happened." RACINO: Dr. Michael Carome is a former associate director at the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections. CAROME: "The appropriate action for the researcher would've been to say that's not what we agreed to, that's not what we're telling the subjects when we get their consent to participate in this research, and so we can't agree to that." RACINO: The study was ultimately terminated in 2018 following that "intentional breach of trust," according to records obtained by inewsource. But the inmates were never told what happened. RACINO: Last year, we published a story about another UCSD research privacy breach involving HIV-positive women. In both cases, the university's review board, which looks after the welfare of human research subjects, wanted to disclose what happened. In both cases, university lawyers said no. RACINO: For KPBS, I'm inewsource investigative reporter Brad Racino. The was Inewsource reporter Brad Racino. Inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS. The 78th assembly district includes some of San Diego's most famous areas, including the Del Mar Fairgrounds, La Jolla Shores, Balboa Park and Imperial Beach. But the race for the congressional seat between two Democrats isn't earning widespread attention. KPBS’ Tarryn Mento reports. The tight contests for president and city of San Diego mayor have overshadowed the 78th race. But the winner will fight to bring state funds to the San Diego County district and help craft laws that affect all Californians. City Councilman Chris Ward says he has the legislative experience as a former chief of staff to a state senator. "I know that building those relationships and making sure that you understand the legislative process are paramount to success. Getting through sometimes six or eight different committees before a bill even makes it to the governor's desk is something I've had direct experience with" He says his budget priority will be ensuring dollars for homeless services. The other candidate — political newcomer and licensed midwife Sarah Davis says she brings a refreshing perspective. People who are passionate about climate right now, people who are passionate about housing and health care, are on the ground working with organizations, doing every kind of tactic, trying to make that change happen. And so having politicians who are on the same page with them is one piece of that bigger picture. She says her top budget priority is the environment and will push to decarbonize the state's economy. Ward is leading the money race and has far more endorsements than Davis. But she says her experience in reproductive health would bring diversity to the legislature. Tarryn Mento. KPBS News. In North County, Mexican-American Marlene Herrera, a first-generation college student, is excited to be voting in her first election ever. As part of a collaboration with The World's "Every 30 seconds"— which looks at the young Latino electorate in the US -- KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler tells us how one voter fills out her ballot, and tries to empower her generation. RIVLIN-NADLER: For months, 18-year-old Marlene Herrera has been anticipating this moment. We're chatting over Zoom, and she's opening up the envelope sent to her from the state, revealing her double-sided ballot. HERRERA: It feels so weird grabbing it because I was like, ok, this is actually happening now. I actually have to fill in bubbles. It's filled with candidates for local races, local measures, and also, quite a few statewide propositions. She flips over her ballot, to see everything she's about to vote on. HERRERA: There's judicial, that's for Valley Center parks and recreation, board of directors I didn't know Valley Center had parks. It's her chance to have her voice heard, not only in this year's presidential election -- but on policies as far-ranging as labor protections for gig workers, affirmative action, and rent control. The first vote is the easiest for her — for president. After watching the first presidential debate, she says she's seen enough of President Donald Trump. HERRERA: He was kind of just let me talk let me talk, he should have been more respectful, he should have given him his two minutes, at least to talk. And then she was shocked when the president campaigned shortly after his COVID-19 diagnosis. HERRERA: He's putting other people at risk at this point. It wasn't handled correctly to begin with. Now he's returning to the White House without a mask on. Marlene has family members voting for Trump, and she's tried to understand why they're doing that. She recalls one conversation she had with a Trump-supporting family member, but was unconvinced by his argument. HERRERA: He's like "think about it this way," he's going to want to help his people first before he helps anyone else. I think that made sense to him, but for me, that line bothered me a lot. /cut/ If you're an American, you're an American. It shouldn't be, I'm going to look after my white people, that shouldn't be the case. That's racism. It's that racism that's made it hard for Marlene these past four years. She felt like she had to hide who she was while in high school. I went to a very white school. It made me so scared to speak up because I was a minority, and I think when he became president it made me watch what I said. I kind of just went into a corner where I didn't want anyone to be against me and see in a certain light. Looking back, I regret doing that. I wish I would have spoken more. She also wanted to speak out more about the treatment of migrant children in Border Patrol custody. You never want to see kids in that situation, ever. They're kids. They're people. They should have at least a toothbrush. Or toothpaste. Clean water, somewhere to shower and stuff… Marlene now sees her vote as half against Trump and half in support of Biden's policies. Biden was never really her candidate -- Bernie Sanders was. HERRERA: I'm very much hoping Biden holds true to his words. I don't want another four years of unfulfilled promises. Marlene wasn't able to vote for Bernie Sanders back in the primary. She was 17 when California's presidential primary took place, and ineligible to vote. Now she'll be able to help other first-time voters in that situation. A proposal on her ballot, makes 17-year-old's eligible to vote in primaries, if they'll turn 18 by the general election. HERRERA: This is me, this is me. As someone who was 17, for most of 2020, not being able to give some sort of voice, before the general election, was very frustrating. As a 17-year-old, I was keeping up with the presidential thing. Why wouldn't we be given that vote. In February, when I first met Marlene, she told me she was determined to make sure her vote had an impact. She now feels like it does. She wants young people to change the direction of the country. Over the next few days, she'll be able to track her ballot online all the way to the county registrar's office to make sure it gets counted. HERRERA: Wow, this has been a ride. Coming up on the podcast….. communities in the western US that have survived wildfires this year face a whole new set of problems after the flames are out. And the possibility of flooding is a big one. "Sometimes it's moving rocks that are the size of a Volkswagen. So these are boulders not rocks." (0:05) We hear from a community that's bracing for potential damaging floods after a record-breaking fire season. That’s next, after this break. Major wildfires have burned through the Western U.S. this year. Fires can have immediate effects on air quality and nearby homes. But now, people are coming to grips with the lingering danger of wildfires, long after the flames are gone. Today, we continue our in depth look at where water and fire intersect in the West. As Aspen Public Radio's Alex Hager reports, people who live near burn scars can find themselves in a brand new flood zone. There's a creek running through Sue Lavin's backyard, about 20 feet away from the house. She lives alone and says the running water makes for good company. Sue (01:51) Corny as it sounds, I consider the creek my friend and live with it in a really lovely way every day and it's very relaxing. In the waning days of summer, that creek is just a low, gentle babble… slowly making its way into the nearby Colorado River. But Lavin has seen it get much higher and louder during peak runoff. Sue2 (04:12) You can't have a conversation anywhere near the creek. I belong to two book clubs and I can never have the meetings at my house because nobody would understand each other. Now, there's a serious threat that the cr eek could swell with water and debris at levels she's never seen before. Levels that could seriously damage her property.... Lavin's house in No Name Colorado, just a stone's throw away from the furthest reaches of the Grizzly Creek Fire, which burned more than 30,000 acres. And although the fire is almost entirely contained *now,* it'll have lingering effects for years to come. And one of those is the serious threat of flooding. Carol: (00:08) It's not a maybe. It's an absolute gonna happen. That is Carol Ekarius, who heads up a Colorado-based non-profit that helps communities respond to big fires. She says *severity* of flooding in No Name is hard to predict without a crystal ball. But she does know, there WILL be flooding… here and near burned areas across the West. The reason for that? Fire burns up vegetation and soil that usually hold water. Carol: (01:53) Basically soil and rocks will age in a high intensity fire like the equivalent of a thousand years worth of aging from just sun, wind, rain and ice. Then, when it rains – even just a little bit – that soil is charred and the water can't sink in. Instead, it just flows straight down hill. And because of the damage to the soil, it doesn't take *that* much rain to cause a *big* flood. Carol: (06:20) The one year storm does behave like a 10 year or greater event. And the 10 year storm behaves like a hundred to maybe 500 year event. And this isn't just clear rainwater that rushes downhill. Ekarius says it'll pick up all kinds of dirt and brush and rocks along the way. So a bad rainstorm could send a slurry of muddy debris speeding down a creek bed that just can't handle it. Carol: (08:38) Sometimes it's moving rocks that are the size of a Volkswagen. So these are boulders not rocks. Um, and when something, the size of a Volkswagen hits the side of your house, it is significantly damaging. That debris can also plug up culverts or narrow, windy parts of the creek and lead to pooling and flooding near homes. ** So in No Name, there's a team from the Natural Resources Conservation Service picking out spots to put sandbags and rock walls to help it handle increased flow. One summer afternoon, Stephen Jaouen was leading one of those teams and surveying the creek right behind people's houses and backyards. Stephen: (11:29) As we move up and down this Creek, we're looking at where the bends are, where the deposition is, where we're water is moving efficiently, where it might be pooling because that might be a place where things could gather. Jaouen says the No Name creek bed is actually pretty deep and could handle more water, but they're still preparing for that worst case scenario. Stephen: (05:55) We'll do some changes of the infrastructure a little bit, just to make sure that if something does get clogged, that it has a path of least resistance to go… that doesn't go into somebody's house. One of the houses that'll likely need some protection is Sue Lavin's. She's heard all the recommendations and is preparing for the worst… whether that be a one-time evacuation, or floods that get so dangerous they mean leaving No Name for good. Sue: (14:40) If things get bad enough, I will have to adjust my life. I will find that heartbreaking and even thinking about it as heartbreaking, but I'm not a fool. I will prepare for such an instance. And if I have to take it, I will take it. No Name hasn't seen a heavy rain or snow since the fire, but Lavin has already started cutting back the brush around her property for the day it comes. I'm Alex Hager in No Name, Colorado. This story is part of a series looking at where water and wildfire intersect in the West, produced by KUNC, KJZZ, KHOL, Aspen Public Radio, and Wyoming Public Radio. Support comes from the Walton Family Foundation.