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Local Reaction To Biden, Harris Projected Win

 November 9, 2020 at 4:16 AM PST

Supporters of president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president elect Kamala Harris, flooded the streets across San Diego on Saturday. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler was there. And he says there were also protests in support of President Donald Trump, who is still contesting the election results. Out front of the County Administration building, dozens of supporters gathered to wave at drivers, holding high their Trump 2020 flags. The group included Joshua Cantor from El Cajon. I'm here today to stand for an election of integrity, where everyone's vote is counted. There are significant concerns that need to be addressed. Cantor says the shift of mail-in votes in Biden's favor, as opposed to election day votes, which tended to favor the president, made him concerned the vote was somehow fraudulent. But despite the president's claims, and those of some of his supporters, there has been no evidence of voter fraud in an attempt to change the outcome of the presidential election. At a Hillcrest celebration of Biden's victory, Melanie Stark broke into tears. Overall, America says my marriage is valid. My health care is valid. My right to adopt and foster, is valid. My right as an American citizen is valid. Today I have hope. In his victory speech Saturday night, Biden touted the fact that he's won more votes than any presidential ticket in history, calling his win "a victory for the people." Meanwhile, in San Diego’s East County Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar conceded the race for the vacant 50th Congressional District seat. Campa-Najjar tweeted that he spoke to his opponent, former republican Representative Darrell Issa, and congratulated him on a hard-fought race. Issa was leading on Friday with about 53% of the vote, according to results from the California Secretary of State's Office. It’s Monday, November 9th. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. I’m Annica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. We’ll find out tomorrow if San Diego moves into the state’s purple, most restrictive covid-19 tier. Last week the adjusted positive coronavirus case rate for san diego county was past the state’s threshold for moving into that tier. If we report similar metrics this week, the county will see more restrictions on business operations. KPBS business commentator Miro Copic (MEE-roe COE-pick) is the founder of Bottom Line Marketing. He says retail businesses could be affected the most with the holiday shopping season so close. "Retailers that are deemed non-essential go from 50% capacity indoors to 25%, which means that a lot of small businesses may go under." If the county enters into the "purple" tier, Copic added that businesses with indoor traffic such as restaurants, salons and gyms may have to move outside again, even as temperatures drop. Sending every registered voter in California a mail-in ballot might become a permanent feature of future elections. The practice was put in place by Governor Gavin Newsom to reduce risk during the pandemic. State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins says it worked smoothly during last week’s election. She says Democrats in the Senate and the Assembly are likely to take up the issue of making it the new normal next year. UC San Diego students, staff and faculty can use a COVID-tracking program on their phones to tell them if they've been exposed to the virus. As KPBS reporter Claire Trageser tells us, the plan is to make this tool available statewide. The COVID App program is one tool meant to help keep cases at bay. It's being piloted at UC San Diego and UC San Francisco, with the eventual goal to expand to other UC campuses and eventually the entire state, says Dr. Christopher Longhurst, the chief information officer at UC San Diego. "It's meant to be an augmentation to manual contact tracing, which works great for households and best friends. But contact tracing falls apart for people you don't know, for a stranger at a bar, restaurant, or college party." The university is going to great lengths to protect users' privacy, to the point where it's hard for the school to know whether the program is having much impact. "We don't know who has turned the app on, but we know who clicked on the website where you can download the app, and that's about 14,000 users. Any given day we have about 25,000 people on campus, so we can say more than 50 percent of people are using this." The only thing UC San Diego does know is that so far about 12 people have reported a positive case through the program. Claire Trageser, KPBS News The California Coastal Commission is adjusting its focus to put more of an emphasis on rising sea levels as the agency moves forward. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has details. The agency that monitors hundreds of miles of the coastal zone in California voted to approve a new strategic plan. The new guiding document strengthens the focus on coping with sea level rise. Surfrider Foundation’s Jenifer Savage says the issue is tough because the commission will have to balance the needs of property owners and the public. The new plan also considers environmental justice issues. “For the past few years, a number of agencies have really gained a deeper understanding of how environmental justice is in their day to day operations.” Savage says the commission will also continue to make sure developers and property owners don’t close off public access to beaches. That has long been a focus of the agency. Erik Anderson KPBS News California voters decided to legalize cannabis for recreational use back in 2016. But the governmental structure for legal sales and possession wasn't put in place until 2018. Now, two years later, Chula Vista is finally getting its first legal dispensary. KPBS reporter John Carroll explains why it took this long. Two years ago, voters in Chula Vista approved Measure Q, authorizing commercial cannabis retail, delivery, testing, cultivation and manufacturing in the city. Deputy City Manager Kelley Bacon says city officials were surprised by the volume of applications the city received… about 140. She says the city wanted only the best operators and that meant a lengthy vetting process. "They had to submit their business plan and their operating plan and it took quite a bit of time going through all those things." The first dispensary, Grasshopper Delivery will only operate as a delivery service for now. Bacon says they'll have a brick and mortar operation open early next year. Chula Vista allows 3 cannabis businesses per city district, two retail stores and one delivery operation. Bacon says available licenses are all taken, but it's not clear when those businesses will open. JC, KPBS News. Coming up on the podcast...It's been more than six months since the death of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen. Critics are saying the military still isn't doing enough to address sexual assault and harassment in the ranks. "I have yet to see somebody get kicked out for sexual harassment or sexual assault and that is an absolute problem." That story next, after this break. Critics say the Army isn't doing enough to address sexual harassment and sexual assault in the ranks. The outcry comes after the killing this spring of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen (GEE-un). Her family says Guillen's alleged killer had been harassing her, but she was afraid to report it. Army leaders say they ARE addressing the issue. From San Antonio, Jolene Almendarez reports for the American Homefront Project. Thousands of people have joined forces online and in protests across the country to make their voices heard about rape, sexual harassment, and assault in the military. San Antonio Army veteran Sarah is one of them. She says she experienced everything from sexual comments to attempted rape. It started in basic training and then got worse. SM: "That's when everything else started happening like the guys slapping my ass and then making comments about the things that they would do and it went all the way from Privates to Master Sergeants and Lieutenants." Sarah, who asked that we not use her name because she fears harassment or revenge. She says those kinds of sexual comments were normal in the Army. SM: And I guess at the time it was just the way I saw it and I look back and think, well that wasn't right. You work in an environment as a female and it's a predominantly male environment and men talk, you know, men say things they shouldn't say and it's just a joke. I mean we had guys come in and tell us about what they did to their wife last night. Sarah says a sergeant sexually assaulted her after a night of playing pool and drinking. He took photos of her and showed other soldiers they worked with. She says later, a lieutenant tried to rape her at a friend's apartment. The Army says none of that is supposed to happen. In 2006, it launched the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, called SHARP. Jim Helis oversees the Army SHARP Program. JH: These are issues of critical importance not only to our readiness but to taking care of soldiers. It is an item of importance to every commander up and down the chain of command. This is how he says SHARP is supposed to work: Soldiers who are harassed or assaulted can file either a restricted or unrestricted report. Restricted reports allow them to get medical help and other services, and are withheld from the chain of command. But they can't seek legal action against the perpetrator. Unrestricted reports allow legal action but the soldier's chain of command is told about the investigation. Soldiers can change reports from restricted to unrestricted but not the other way around. According to the Defense Department, nearly 25 percent of women in the military reported sexual harassment in 2018. The numbers increased about 10 percent the next year. Reported sexual assault increased about three percent. But the Army doesn't necessarily think that's a bad thing. Helis says it's a sign that the SHARP program is making a difference. JH: What we've seen in the last few years is we've seen increases in the number of reports and the percentage of cases that are being reported is women. And I take that as there's increasing confidence in the chain of command and a confidence in the system to report incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment. There's no way to know if the increased number of reports are because the SHARP program is working well or if more people are being victimized. But there's a gap in what is being reported and what people are experiencing. For instance, Sarah never reported the comments, sexual assault or attempted rape. SM: I had other friends that I would talk to and they would tell me, like, "Oh I made a SHARP complaint but nothing ever got done about it.' And her experience in the Army isn't unique. DB: Oh, gosh. I can't think of one woman that can say she's never experienced sexual harassment. That's Deshauna Barber, CEO of the Service Women's Action Network, known as SWAN. She's been an Army reservist for around 10 years. Barber said Army culture lacks a basic understanding of what sexual harassment means, despite regular training on it.. And she says even when sex crimes are reported -- perpetrators aren't necessarily discharged from the Army or even prosecuted. DB: I see soldiers get kicked out of the military so often for DUI and drug-related offenses.I have yet to see somebody get kicked out for sexual harassment or sexual assault and that is an absolute problem. There are efforts in Congress to take on some of the barriers soldiers face when reporting sex crimes. But unless the military culture changes, activists say that might still not be enough. I'm Jolene Almendarez in San Antonio. This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening, and have a great day.

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Celebrations erupted across San Diego County on Saturday after the Associated Press and other news organizations declared former Vice President Joe Biden the projected winner of the 2020 Presidential election. Meanwhile, in the East County, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar conceded the race for the vacant 50th Congressional District seat and congratulated his opponent, former Rep. Darrell Issa. Also, once again, San Diego awaits data this week that will tell us if we’ll be moved into purple, most restrictive covid-19 tier or not.