The State Of The City
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday, January 14th. Mayor Todd Gloria gives his first state of the city address. That story’s next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. San Diego county public health officials reported more than 3200 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and 54 additional deaths. The state of California today authorized immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines for all residents aged 65 and older, following new guidance from the federal government. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores projects that retail pharmacies can meet demand for 100 million vaccines in one month across the United States when such supply is available. The state will also be rolling out a new system for people to register for notifications regarding vaccine eligibility next week. The San Diego Foundation pledged 3-hundred-thousand dollars in covid-19 relief funding for small businesses in black, latino and asian communities on Wednesday. The will be distributed evenly between three groups…. the san diego black chamber of commerce…. the local initiatives support corporation of san diego…. and the asian business association of san diego. From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. The Pandemic, Homelessness, Social Equity , Budget deficits and Climate Change were top of mind in San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s first ever state of the city address. The speech was jam packed full of proposals for tackling the various issues he laid out. He spoke at a library in San Ysidro, here are some highlights. In terms of the pandemic Gloria said we still have a few more months to go. For San Diego’s Zero traffic deaths goals, he proposed creating pedestrian promenades in HIllcrest and in Downtown. For homelessness, Gloria echoed proposals made by County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher on expanding access to mental health services. Gloria said mental health services should be the first point of contact for homeless individuals. Gloria also discussed law enforcement reform, following a summer of protests for racial justice…. Gloria promised to work closely with the san diego police department. Gloria also committed to building an office of race and equity at city hall with support from council member Monica Montegomery and social justice leaders. Gloria says he’ll be creating a climate equity fund for sustainability projects in vulnerable communities. You can find the full 30 minute version of Todd Gloria’s speech at KPBS’ youtube channel or on our website at KPBS dot org. San Diego’s Democratic congressional representatives were on Capitol hill on wednesday making their cases for or against the Impeachment of Donald Trump. All Democractic congressional representatives voted to impeach, saying Trump must be held accountable for last week’s insurrection at the Capitol. “many of my colleagues have said that it’s time for healing and unity and i agree after four years it is -- but you can not have true unity without accountability. we had a decision to make today whether or not we would stand against this or look the other way." That was 49th District Representative Mike Levin. East County Republican Congressman Darrell Issa cast a no vote. “ The fact is, today we’re trying punish trump for four years of what he did, not for what happened last week.” (0:08) 20 thousand National Guard troops have since been deployed to protect the Capitol ahead of next week’s inauguration ceremony. Congressman Scott Peters has this to say about the security in DC. In San Diego county top state and federal prosecutors warned today that any violence within the county related to inauguration-related protests would result in prosecution. It was a joint Statement from San Diego county district attorney Summer Stephan and US Attorney Robert Brewer. The statement followed an FBI warning that armed protests were being planned at state capitols across the country for inauguration day. Members of the public have been encouraged to report any information related to planned violence. Meanwhile, President Trump released a video on the White House twitter account denouncing any violence or criminal behavior. This week, Uber and Lyft drivers, along with labor unions, filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 22 which allows some gig companies to not give drivers the same benefits as employees. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler says delivery drivers here in San Diego are already feeling its impacts. Last month, delivery drivers at a Vons in San Diego were called in for a meeting with managers…These drivers had been working serious hours during the pandemic…. Delivering groceries in refrigerated trucks to older people and people with kids stuck at home… people who didn’t have time to get to the grocery store… The drivers thought maybe they were getting a bonus or a raise after a difficult year….. Instead, they were told their jobs were being eliminated… and that they were going to be replaced by third-party gig workers at the end of February. One of those workers was 27-year-old Matthew, who did not want his full name or his voice used in this story because he’s still employed by Vons, which is owned by Albertsons. Matthew told us he struggled to tell his mom and disabled father for a few days…. That the person who had been supporting the household… will be laid off in the middle of a pandemic. Orly Lobel is a labor law professor at the University of San Diego. ORLY: It’s clearly a monetary incentive. In the end, all of these corporations are acting out of bottom-line cost-cutting and what’s happening is Albertsons has decided that a deal with Grubhub will be more efficient in terms of their liabilities and cost of delivery. She said businesses like grocery stores are now emboldened to use gig workers after the passage of Proposition 22, which was passed by nearly 60% of California voters in November…. After gig economy companies spent over $200 million supporting it. The proposition provided a carveout from several state court rulings and a new state law, that made companies like Uber, Lyft, or Door-Dash hire many of the people that found full-time work through their Apps….. Instead, transportation-based companies are now exempted from having to do that.... Saving them millions of dollars. If they had to fully employ or deem their delivery people employees, all of them,it would increase costs in such a way that they would maybe fold and leave California. That was their claim. But Albertsons contends Prop 22 had nothing to do with the changes it had made to its business model. In a statement, it told KPBS that the decision would allow the company “To compete in the growing home delivery market more effectively.” LOBEL thinks it’s irrelevant whether Albertson’s chalks up the change to prop 22, because the whole industry is now embracing the model. ORLY:With delivery there is an efficiency argument that we’ve seen with companies like Instacart and Grubhub where the same person who’s working this gig is serving both restaurants and delivering from grocery stores, and in this way, they can divide their hours and times and human energy into many more tasks they’re filling throughout the day. Advocates for Prop 22 say for delivery and transportation services, it provides flexibility for workers who might not be looking for a full-time job…. Or want to make their own schedules But union leaders like the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 Chief Todd Walters thinks this will just lead to the erasure of good-paying jobs… Every employer in the state of California is looking at this and drooling over this because these app-based drivers, the companies are not paying unemployment, disability, social security, they’re not paying the taxes. The independent contractor pays for that. You look right now how much we depend on unemployment and state disability because of COVID, imagine the more companies that go independent contractors, those social networks are going to get hit really hard. Matthew, the Vons driver, was making $18/hour after over two years on the job…. Vons did offer to reassign him… to a fulfillment center in Irvine. He says he won’t be taking them up on that and couldn’t understand why the company was letting him go, at a time when its profits have been shooting up. He says with thirteen deliveries a day, he hasn’t had time to think about what he’ll do when he becomes unemployed….. When the country will still be in the midst of a financially punishing pandemic. Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS News Coming up....a few weeks ago KPBS brought you the data of coronavirus community outbreaks per zip code. What happened with that data and what’s to come, that’s next just after this break…. About a month ago, KPBS brought you the story about where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, with a breakdown per zip code and establishment. That information was not available to the public until KPBS published it. A lot has changed in a month and joining me now to talk about that story and what happens next is KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser. Claire, welcome to the podcast….. …..I’ve been speaking with KPBS Investigative Reporter Claire Traegeser. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.