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Racial Justice Activists Want More Action On Police Shootings

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A woman decorates her car in the San Diego Zoo parking lot before a car caravan protest calling for justice in police shootings, Jan. 18, 2021.

San Diego’s racial justice activists call on the District Attorney to prosecute police officers for past shootings. Meanwhile, local San Diego climate leaders react to the incoming Biden Administration’s climate action plan. Plus, the Trump administration is looking to remove protections for millions of acres of California desert.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday, January 19th.

A Call For The San Diego DA to Prosecute Past Police Shootings

We’ll have that next, but first... let’s do the headlines….

San Diego county health officials reported more then 2500 new coronavirus infections on monday, and no new additional deaths. California is now the first state to record more than 3 million known coronavirus infections. That’s according to a tally on Monday by Johns Hopkins University.

The grim milestone wasn’t unexpected, but the speed of it was. California had only just reached 2 million cases on Dec 24th. It added another million cases after that in a little under a month.

San Diego County announced Monday that people 75 or older are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible seniors can sign up online at sandiegocounty-dot-gov to get appointments at Petco Park and several other small county sites in the region. There was federal guidance to allow those 65 and older to receive vaccines, but right now there is not enough vaccine available in the county..Public health officials hope to officially expand to those 65 and older by the end of the month.

High winds are forecast for the san diego region today and tomorrow, creating dangerous fire conditions. Winds are expected to be between 30 to 45 mile per hour with gusts up to 55 miles per hour. San Diego gas and electric says it’s monitoring conditions and will be prepared to shut off power as a safety precaution against wildfires. There is also a chance of rain coming to the region, with snow expected in the eastern mountains.

From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Racial justice activists in San Diego used Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a time to call for more police accountability. KPBS reporter Claire Trageser says they are asking the district attorney to prosecute police officers for past shootings.

And a warning, this story contains graphic descriptions.

NAT POP Anthony Carolino. “Shot seven times, it's too much, that's a lot of hatred.”
Anthony Carolino’s brother Dennis was shot and killed by San Diego Police in 20-19. District Attorney Summer Stephan later cleared the officers for the shooting, saying it was justified because Dennis Carolino was armed with a shovel
“We have to correct this mistake in our generation.”
Activists say they want Stephan to bring justice to people like the Carolinos, who lost family members in police shootings. They’re asking the district attorney to revisit past shootings and prosecute the officers. Yusef Miller is with the San Diego Racial Justice Coalition.
“There are families in North County, East County, South Bay, Central San Diego, inland and coastal that have experienced the same thing, and all we hear over and over is officers are exonerated.”
“Officer-involved shooting reviews conducted by the District Attorney's Office are independent, objective and thorough. When the evidence and facts support criminal charges in a use-of-force incident, we file them.”
A spokeswoman for Stephan said in a statement that “Officer-involved shooting reviews conducted by the District Attorney's Office are independent, objective and thorough. When the evidence and facts support criminal charges in a use-of-force incident, we file them.”
She pointed out that last summer, Stephan charged a former Sheriff's deputy with murder after he shot a suspect who was fleeing the downtown jail
But Darwin Fishman, a professor at San Diego State who also is part of the San Diego Racial Justice Coalition, says that move isn’t enough.
“If you used that same standard she used, you'd have literally hundreds of officers who would have been prosecuted and arrested. So if it’s not a stunt, and she was serious about it, then she’d go back and look at these other cases.” A review of past cases is exactly what Fishman and other activists are hoping will happen. Claire Trageser, KPBS News

That story from KPBS Investigative Reporter Claire Traegeser. You can review KPBS’s database of police use of force records at kpbs dot org slash force.

The Superintendent of the state’s second largest school district is being called to Washington by President-elect Joe Biden. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman has more on today’s (Monday’s) announcement to name San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten the next US DEPUTY Secretary Of Education.

In a letter to students and families put out Monday Marten said “she has never been more optimistic about the future of the American education system”
During her annual state of the district message in November she asked president-elect Biden to implement changes within the first 100 days of office.. She says the pandemic is disproportionately impacting communities of color -- and schools play a role in addressing those disparities.
School counselors, social workers and other specialised support personnel must be able to address the emotional burdens and trauma that many students will be carrying. This fact makes additional funding essential
The Senate will have to take up Marten’s confirmation, in the meantime the board of education has named “district area 2 superintendent Lamont Jackson” as her interim replacement.. He’ll serve through 2021. Matt Hoffman, KPBS News.

With just a few days left in the Trump Administration, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed to remove the protected status of millions of acres across California’s deserts. CapRadio’s Ezra David Romero reports.

Back in 2016 a federal conservation plan was created to protect more than 10 million acres of California’s iconic desert landscapes. It also helped identify areas where solar and wind projects could be built.
President Trump now wants to strip protections away for around four million acres, and environmentalists say that could open California’s deserts to mining. They argue a move like this would threaten species like desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and Joshua Trees. They recommend the Biden Administration promptly stop this process after he takes office.
The California Energy Commission is opposed to the federal amendments, because the plan was created to help the state meet its climate goals.

The state is halting use of one batch of the Moderna vaccine, after a small number of people had an allergic reaction last week. KPBS’ Steve Walsh reports.

The state ordered a pause over the weekend, after San Diego County stopped administering a batch of Moderna vaccine, when fewer than 10 people developed an allergic reaction at the Petco Park site. Saying they were doing it out of an abundance of caution, the state put on hold 330,000 doses statewide, while the cause is investigated. Dr. Chris Longhurst with UC San Diego Health says people should keep the pause in perspective.Moderna 2A“ And even those folks who were having a reaction, were able to manage those. Nobody has had a long term impact. And it’s still a small percentage of the people we vaccinated.” UC San Diego runs the site at Petco Park. State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state are each investigating. Steve Walsh KPBS News

Coming up.... San Diego climate leaders talk about their reactions to the incoming Biden Administration’s Climate Action plan. That’s next, just after this break.

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president tomorrow. And this new administration means a new approach to the existential threat of climate change … a threat the new president calls [quote] “the greatest challenge facing our nation and the world.”

His plan connects the environment with the economy. It calls for: a 100 percent clean economy and net-zero emissions by 20-50; massive infrastructure investments in construction, water, transportation and energy production and distribution, And it also includes rallying the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change; taking action against fossil fuel companies and other major polluters who disproportionately harm low-income communities; help workers transition to new, clean industries.

As part of coverage from the KPBS Climate Change Desk, KPBS Midday Edition Co-Host Mark Sauer spoke with a variety of local leaders in climate for their reactions to the new administration’s climate action plan.

Those were comments by various San Diego leaders and experts on the ambitious plans by incoming President Joe Biden to address climate change….all speaking with KPBS Midday Edition Host Mark Sauer

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.

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San Diego News Now

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.