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Calling Attention To Gun Violence

Cover image for podcast episode

ROLAND LIZARONDO

A pistol lies on the counter at San Diego Guns, June 16, 2020.

Mayor Todd Gloria decried a nationwide epidemic in gun violence on Friday, but he and other leaders offered differing solutions. Meanwhile, as the pandemic restrictions ease, airlines are eyeing San Diego. Plus, an examination of San Diego’s spending on outside agencies that handle public relations and social media.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, June 7th.

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Mayor Todd Gloria is raising alarms about gun violence

More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines….

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Hospitalizations in San Diego from the coronavirus have dropped to 91, nearly the lowest it’s been in a year. It’s the fourth time this year hospital cases have dropped below 100. SO far in San Diego at least two million people have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

And, just in case you’re counting, we’re eight days away from June 15th, when most covid-19 restrictions will be lifted in the state of California.

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Water agencies that serve the Fallbrook and Rainbow areas want to separate from the San Diego County Water Authority. They say rates have been rising without any real benefits to their customers. They want to join a Riverside water agency, which they say could save customers millions of dollars a year.

Tom Kennedy is the general manager of Rainbow water agency.

“We said well you know why don't we just change wholesalers.”

A panel of local officials are weighing the issue and a decision isn’t expected until the fall. Voters will then have a chance to make the final decision.

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A vigil to honor two San Diego Police department detectives was held on Sunday. The two officers were a married couple, Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park, who died in a wrong-way crash on interstate 5 on friday. The vigil was held at the park in the Harmony Grove Village neighborhood of escondido.

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

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

On Friday, a federal judge in San Diego overturned a 3-decade old ban on assault weapons in California. The judge ruled that, quote, the state’s definition of illegal military style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states.” The judge went on to compare an AR-15 to a swiss army knife, calling it the perfect weapon for home defense.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta called the decision “fundamentally flawed” and he says will file an appeal.

On that same day, in San Diego, Mayor Todd Gloria had joined police chief David Nisleit and other local leaders in City Heights…. To raise awareness about rising gun violence, both locally and across the country.

KPBS’ Max Rivlin-Nadler says while awareness about the issue is there, approaches to addressing gun violence differ.

At the onset of the pandemic, San Diego residents turned out in droves to gun shops… worried that the deadly virus would cause a breakdown of civil society…
While the worst fears of gun buyers weren’t realized, there has been a significant rise in gun violence here and elsewhere.
On Friday morning in City Heights, Mayor Todd Gloria marked Gun Violence Awareness Day, part of a national day of action meant to highlight the impact of gun violence on communities.
8:28
TODD GLORIA / MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO
Let’s be really clear. Gun violence is an epidemic in this country. In many ways it’s unique to this country. And that’s why we’re here. Because we know it doesn’t have to be this way. We want to see change in America.
Homicides in San Diego were up 35% in 2020 from the prior year, and two-thirds of the killings involved a gun.
On Thursday night, Chief Nisleit said a pursuit with a drunk driver ended with a recovery of a Ghost Gun in City Heights. A ghost gun is assembled with parts from multiple guns so it can’t be traced through firearm registries.
Approaches to stemming gun violence in San Diego have differed. City Attorney Mara Elliot has helped the county lead the state in gun confiscations under the state’s Red Flag Law, which allows law enforcement to proactively take guns away from people who are at risk of committing violence.
In 2020, county authorities confiscated guns in 483 separate instances.
Bishop Cornelius Bowser helps lead Shaphat Outreach, a San Diego faith-based organization that advocates for alternatives to the punitive approach law enforcement takes toward people likely to engage in gun violence.
For example, it works with active gang members to mediate disputes in a way that avoids violence
27:00
BISHOP CORNELIUS BOWSER / SHAPHAT OUTREACH
That’s how you prevent violence, that’s how you intervene in the violence. You go to those individuals that are involved in it and help them. Would everyone listen? No. But data and research has shown that you can have an impact and decrease violence if you reach that population that’s committing the violence.
Bowser is working with the city to allocate further funding for his group.,

That was KPBS’ Max Rivlin-Nadler.

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As the pandemic wanes, business is picking up everywhere. That includes air travel. KPBS’ John Carroll explains why a number of airlines think San Diego is a good bet…and they’re adding more services to our airport.

It’s starting to look a lot more like 2019 at San Diego International Airport these days…
Arrivals and departures are rebounding to their pre-pandemic levels. But San Diego International, the third busiest airport in California, did not escape the darkest days of the pandemic. The starkest comparison is found comparing April of 2019’s numbers to April of last year.
“Last year in April of 2020 we were down 95%.”
We’re still not back to where we were before COVID hit, but Airport Spokesperson Sabrina LoPiccolo says… we’re getting there.
“Currently we are down 38% if looking at the 2019 numbers.”
The ground lost during the pandemic is being made up partly by airlines adding new service to San Diego. Take Allegiant Air for example.
CG: Hilarie Grey/Allegiant Air
“We started today to Bozeman, Montana. We know they’re going to be people that live in Montana that can’t wait to get to the beach in San Diego. And we also know that there’s gonna be San Diego residents that have been locked down in the pandemic that would love to go see some national parks.”
Allegiant will launch a non-stop to Des Moines, Iowa beginning in July. Southwest continues to be the dominant carrier in San Diego with the most flights. It’s launching new non-stop service to Maui beginning this weekend… and they’re adding another daily flight to Honolulu.
CG: John Carroll/KPBS News
“But Alaska Airlines now serves the most destinations than any other airline in San Diego, including a big recent addition… JFK.”
“There’s great demand both to San Diego and from San Diego, and we see an opening for a carrier like Alaska to come in and to make sure there’s nonstop service to all the places people want to come from and go to.”
Like their competitors, Alaska has done something that might seem counterintuitive - they’ve added routes during the pandemic. But Brett Catlin says Alaska is thinking about the long-term picture.
“These may not be markets that turn a profit immediately, but we see long term potential and it was a great time to invest and to rethink about how we want to serve the community.”
It’s thinking like that that’s very reassuring to the people that run this airport… an airport that anticipates beginning construction on a major project next year… a replacement for the aging terminal one.
“We do anticipate eventually getting up to pre-pandemic numbers and even more passengers than that, so this is really planning for the future.”
A future that, despite its space constraints and single runway… looks to be a bright spot for post-pandemic San Diego.

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California's population is declining … in part because there’s been more deaths, fewer births and more people moving out of state during the pandemic.

Capradio’s health care reporter Sammy Caiola has more.

birth rates did go down during the pandemic, but it’s part of a longer-term trend.
the public policy institute of california says in recent years women in their 20’s are having fewer babies …. largely because they’re living with their parents for longer. that’s related to california’s high housing costs.
the ppic’s new report found that between 2007 and 2020, birth rates in california fell faster than birth rates nationwide … which also dropped.
authors say in the past, dips in birth rate have been countered by people immigrating into the state … but that’s not the case anymore. soc

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For the past year, students and alums throughout California have been using Instagram accounts to share stories of trauma they’ve experienced in high school. Many are graduating this month. But they say they’ve created lasting platforms for future generations of students to be heard. Holly Jay McDeed had this story for the California report.

Holly Jay McDeed for the California report.

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Coming up.... A look at how San Diego has been spending money on outside public relations agencies, plus, the so-called “bottle bill” and how it will change bottle recycling in the state. Those are next, just after the break.

Whether you live in San Diego, North County, East County or South Bay, there’s a chance your city is spending an increasing share of public dollars not on public workers, but on outside public relations agencies. They’re hired to perform a wide spectrum of tasks from police recruitment to social media management. Voice of San Diego found that millions are being spent on these projects, despite many of these cities having staff that in the past handled this kind of work.

Sofia Mejias-Pascoe is the reporter on the story and she joined… Claire Trageser on the KPBS Roundtable. Here’s that Interview.

That was Sofia Mejias-Pascoe, a reporter for the Voice of San Diego, speaking with Claire Traegeser on the KPBS Roundtable.

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The California Senate passed a bill last week that would dramatically change the way bottle recycling works in the state. Senator Bob Wieckowski [why-KOW-skee] of Fremont wrote the bill … because he says the current system isn't working … and hasn’t for years.
He joined CapRadio Afternoon News Anchor Randol White to explain how the new system would work.

Senator Bob Wieckowski [why-KOW-skee] of Fremont … author of California’s new “bottle bill” … speaking with CapRadio's Randol White. The legislation now heads to the Assembly.

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.

San Diego News Now podcast branding

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.