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Reopening California

 April 7, 2021 at 5:12 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, April 7th. >>>> The road to reopening California More on that next, But first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### San Diego County moves into the orange tier today . This means businesses, like gyms, movie theaters and zoos can open at higher capacities. Here’s county public health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten. “Our numbers are looking good. So, I think it’s the appropriate time, but we cannot just let up and throw everything to the wind." she says, the county is lifting the 10 pm curfew for restaurants and bars, and they don’t foresee any new restrictions in the near future. ######## La Mesa City Councilwoman Dr. Akilah Weber, the daughter of now-secretary of state Shirley Weber, is coming out ahead in the early results of the 79th assembly district’s special election. Weber's mother held the district but resigned in January to succeed Alex Padilla as California's Secretary of State.. Dr. Weber holds 52% of the vote for now. If that number drops below 50% as counting continues, she’ll face Republican Marco Contreras in a runoff on June 8th. ######## Officials in Long Beach voted Tuesday to join San Diego in temporarily housing unaccompanied migrant children at the city's convention center. The City Council unanimously approved a plan to work with the federal government to establish a shelter for as many as 1,000 children.. The contract will start in a few days, and last until August 2nd. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Governor Gavin Newsom says he plans to fully reopen California's economy in June if current coronavirus trends continue. Capradio’s Nicole nixon reports. California has administered more than 20 million COVID-19 vaccines, and supply is still ramping up. Newsom says as long as that continues, and if hospitalizations remain low, the state’s color tier system for business restrictions can end. NEWSOM: We’ll be moving past the dimmer switch, we’ll be getting rid of the blueprint as you know it today. That’s on June 15 if we continue the good work. Masks and other health measures will still be required in public. Last week, the state indicated that some businesses could begin requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to get in. Dr. Bob Wachter chairs the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco. He says even with covid variants, this is good news. WACHTER: Most of the signals are positive and I think there’s a very good chance we’ll be in an excellent place and it will be appropriate to return not quite to normal, but to normal-ish <<:10>> Wachter says the vaccines have been remarkably effective at staving off the virus. His only advice for people looking to return to their favorite activities this summer? WACHTER: Get vaccinated. Number two would be get vaccinated, and number three would be get vaccinated. <<:06>> And every Californian over the age of 16 becomes eligible April 15. SOC ######## A 2020 tax measure to fund an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center has been in limbo for more than a year. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the City Council voted 6-3 today to rescue it. AB: Could the decade-plus quest to expand the Convention Center soon be over? In March 2020, the citizens initiative Measure C won overwhelming support from San Diego voters. But it fell just shy of the two-thirds majority that special taxes have historically needed in California. The measure increases the city's hotel room tax to fund an expanded convention center, road repair and services and housing for the homeless. City Council members on Tuesday voted 6-3 to declare the measure approved, based on recent court decisions finding special taxes only need a simple majority if they're proposed via a citizens initiative. Measure C supporters say it will speed up the city's economic recovery. TG: And this is a great way for a lot of us employees to be able to pick up extra hours. I'm pretty sure that I speak for a lot of coworkers and myself when I say that we're very eager and very excited to get back to work. AB: Opponents of Tuesday's action point out the city's own ballot materials told voters Measure C needed a two-thirds majority to pass. CW: If you vote to change the threshold one year after voters have made their decision, no matter how close it may have been, you're betraying the democratic principles you swore to uphold. You'll be proving that you do not listen, you do not care and you do not respect the voice of the voters. AB: San Diego will now ask a judge to validate its decision. If and when that happens, the city will start collecting the extra taxes from San Diego hotels. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news. And that was KPBS Metro Reporter Andrew Bowen. ########## San Diego Unified School District expects about half of its students to return to in-person instruction next week, but those numbers could change as more parents feel comfortable sending their children to school. KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong has more. Getting an accurate number of returning students will be important for determining how many days a week students can be on campus. If a high number of students want to come back, physical distancing rules require they be split into two smaller groups, with each group on campus twice a week. But if fewer students return, they can be in the classroom up to four days a week. Richard Barrera is the president of the San Diego Unified School Board. Right now it looks like about three-quarters of our schools will be offering four days, and the remainder of our schools will either in be two days or they’re a combination. There may be some grade levels at the schools that are at four days and others are at two days. Barrera said district officials will try their best to be flexible if more students decide to come back in the coming weeks or months. But, if on April 12 a particular school allows four days of instruction per week, the district does not plan to reduce the number of in-person days at that school to accommodate more students. Joe Hong KPBS News. That was KPBS Education reporter Joe Hong. ###### SOUTH BAY OFFICIALS ARE RUNNING OUT OF PATIENCE OVER THE CONTINUED CROSS BORDER sewage flow coming from the tijuana river. KPBS ENVIRONMENT REPORTER ERIK ANDERSON HAS DETAILS. The pollution warning signs have been up most of the year in Imperial Beach. Last week, the pollution flowed north to Coronado, forcing beach closures there. Imperial Beach mayor Serge Dedina is fed up. “Mexico is still using the Tijuana River as an open sewer and residents of San Diego, IB and Coronado are suffering as a result.” The Surfrider Foundation’s Gabriela Torres is disappointed with the slow pace of change. She says legal action is waiting if there is no concrete progress by mid summer, “Our lawsuit is on a 12 month stay, which started last July. So in July, the lawsuit will be opening up again. Surfrider, the state, the port and several municipalities put their lawsuits on hold because it looked like there was movement last year in the effort to stop the cross border flows. Erik Anderson KPBS News ########## Coming up.... Following last summer’s racial justice protests, San Diegans approved the creation of a new Commission on Police Practices. Now, the commission is recommending changes on how the San Diego Police Department handles protests. We’ll have more on that next, along with the story of what was behind a deadly crash in the imperial valley in march, just after the break. Last November, in response to the racial injustice protests San Diegans voted to create a Commission on Police Practices,.Now, that commission is recommending changes to the San Diego Police Department’s protest policy. They want the SDPD to clarify when a protest can be declared an unlawful assembly, and they want changes to how body-camera footage from protests are used. Commission chair Brandon Hilpert spoke with KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen on Midday Edition about how these recommendations came to be and how SDPD is responding to them. That was Brandon Hilpert, the chair of San Diego’s new commission on police practices, speaking with KPBS’ Andrew Bowen on Midday Edition. In the early morning of March 2nd, an SUV packed with 25 people was hit by a big rig when the driver of the SUV ran a stop sign. The crash in Imperial Valley is one of the deadliest border-related crashes in recent decades. Those in the SUV paid a smuggler to help them cross into the United States. The suspected smuggler was charged with organizing a human smuggling attempt that caused serious injury. This tragedy highlights a humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Miriam Jordan is a New York Times reporter based in LA. She reports on the impact of immigration on the society, culture and economy of the United States. She spoke with KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon. Here’s that interview. That was Miriam Jordan, a reporter for the New York Times, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and 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.

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Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan on Tuesday to reopen California by mid June if Covid-19 trends continue. Meanwhile, San Diego moves into the Orange Covid-19 tier today. Plus, Measure C, the hotel tax increase measure aimed at funding a convention center expansion, gets a second chance.