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A call for a public health crisis over border wall injuries

 July 3, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Emilyn Mohebbi, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, July 3rd.


Migrant advocates declare a public health crisis over border wall injuries.

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


Almost five years after Elisa Serna died at the Las Colinas Detention Facility, a 15-million-dollar settlement with the family has been reached.

Serna's family sued the county over the in-custody death of the 24-year-old pregnant woman who was left to die while under medical isolation.

Here's Paloma Serna, Elisa's mother.

“Despite the settlement the fight is not over. We saving lives in custody of CA will continue to fight for justice. For Saxon Rodriguez, Omar… (lists names- fades).”

Those were the names of others who have died in county jails.

The medical group that treats people in county jails will pay one-million-dollars.

The rest of the 15-million-dollars will be paid by county taxpayers.

The settlement also has a list of conditions, including compassion and medical training for sheriff's deputies and jail medical staff.


More than one-thousand acres have burned in southeast San Diego County since Monday.

Officials say the fire started when a car rolled over and caught on fire on interstate 8 near McCain Valley Road, sparking a vegetation fire.

Late yesterday, the evacuation order for the De Anza Spring Resort area was reduced to an evacuation warning.


There’s a lot going on in the world of weather for the rest of the week.

If you’re planning to head to the beach to celebrate the 4th of July, a Beach Hazards Statement will be in effect from 11 A-M tomorrow (Thursday), until 5 P-M Sunday.

Forecasters say there will be an increased risk of rip currents and dangerous swimming conditions.

But temperatures in the coastal areas will be comfortable… in the high 70s the rest of the week.

In the inland and mountain areas, temps will be in the high 80s today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday).

But from 11 A-M Friday, through Saturday night, an Excessive Heat Warning will be in effect.

Then, temps could reach up to 104.

And if you’re planning a trip to the desert, an Excessive Heat Warning remains in effect until 9 Tuesday night.

Temperatures there could reach up to 122 degrees.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


Migrants desperate to seek asylum in the U-S are increasingly scaling the border wall due to limited access through ports of entry.

Health reporter Heidi De Marco says the life-threatening injuries sustained by some migrants are prompting advocates to declare it a public health crisis.

Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee, spends most mornings providing aid to migrants awaiting immigration processing between the two fences that make up the U.S-Mexico border wall near San Ysidro. Rios says he’s seen countless injuries since the barrier wall between the U.S. and Mexico was raised from 18 feet to 30 feet in 2019. RIOS Some of those injuries might be cuts or lacerations because of the concertina wire. Their injuries are bruised parts of their bodies because they have struck that part of their body against a wall or broken limbs because they have fallen from the border wall. Joseph Ciacci is a neurosurgeon at UC San Diego Health. He says it has definitely put a strain on the capacity of the trauma center. CIACCI It is a crisis. There are limited resources. There are limited hospital beds, there are limited providers, there are limited funds. Rios says that despite the expectation that increasing the wall height would deter people from crossing the border, it has only created a new health issue. RIOS Greater numbers of people are arriving with life altering injuries that we should really be considering the construction of border walls as a public health crisis. Heidi de Marco, KPBS News.


Chula Vista voters will decide whether to renew a major tax that provides funding to repair basic city services this fall.

South Bay reporter Kori Suzuki has more.

The citywide sales tax, known as Measure P, was originally approved by voters in 2016. It brings in around $25 million a year – a significant chunk of the city’s main operating budget. And has provided money to repave streets, renovate storm drains, revamp some public parks and upgrade public safety equipment. Now, that tax could wind down in less than three years – UNLESS residents decide to keep it going. Last week, the Chula Vista City Council voted to put a measure on the November ballot. That will give voters the option to renew Measure P for another 10 years. “This special tax is not addressing new activities. It is taking existing, sometimes 50-year-old facilities, and bringing them up to standard to serve the community. Chula Vista City Councilmember Jose Preciado. “If the taxpayers do not want to support this, that is their choice. And it will be something we have to contend with.” Chula Vista does have one of the highest tax rates in San Diego County at 8.75 percent%. Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.


Can civility be restored to public government meetings?

Investigative reporter Amita Sharma says it’s a question many are grappling with across the country, as public discourse hardens.

A warning, this story contains offensive language.

Regular public commenter Jason Robo was on a venomous rant at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting in November (2)2021. To then Supervisor Nathan Fletcher he said: Nov 2 2021 “Nathan you should kill yourself....Let’s see you blow your bird brains out.” To Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, he said: “....Remer, you’re a monkey, I want to see you hanging from a tree.” And to then county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, who is Black, he said: “Wooten, you’re f***ing “Aunt Jemima.” While the comments may have felt threatening, supervisors had few remedies to stop them..“For a threat to be unprotected by the First Amendment, it has to be that it is reckless in causing a person to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety.”Constitutional scholar Erwin Chermerinsky says Robo’s comments are certainly offensive…. “But under the First Amendment, speech can't be stopped or punished just because it's offensive. Profanities are protected.” UCSD political science professor Thad Kousser says this reality leaves lawmakers in a tricky spot.. “How do you get the choir voices or the voices who can't be there to have a government serve their interests and make sure that it makes decisions without everything being drowned out by one voice?” Supervisors tried after Robo called Dr. Wooten Aunt Jemima. They cut the time people could comment if there are 10 or more speakers. And if those sessions turn disorderly, Chairwoman Nora Vargas pauses the meeting and the unruly person is removed. Supervisor and Vice Chairwoman Terra Lawson-Remer is unimpressed.”....if I was running these meetings, this would be very different.“ She says she’d further reduce the time someone can speak and issue only one warning to disruptive speakers before ejecting and barring them from addressing the board in person again.“You can still have your voice heard, but you can call in and participate remotely.” But that would be a problem, says David Loy of the California First Amendment Coalition. A person can be kicked out for being out of control but cannot be barred from all future meetings based on that prior disruption. But he suggests supervisors use their bully pulpit and say….“ We do not like this speech. We do not think it's acceptable. We have to allow people to say what they have to say because that is their first amendment right. But we do not want this to impact other people's right to be heard. “Keith Allred of the National Institute For Civil Discourse says reminding the public at meetings that the rowdy people don’t represent the majority of San Diegans might help too. “If I were a supervisor, I would keep putting that in context. I am so grateful that so few of the 3 million people who live in San Diego conduct themselves that way.” The rest of the onus in restoring civility at local government meetings may lie with many of those three million San Diegans.“We've got to show up ourselves and we've got to say, You know what? I care if the JV football team has pads. I care if our kids' history books Stop at Chernobyl. I want you to get back to governing.”John Porten is a research manager specializing in peace-building and resilience at USD’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.“That is getting to the core of using speech to reorient ourselves to what we think is important and acceptable for our communities to move forward.” And when policy disagreements occur, both elected officials and the public could borrow from community organizers.  University of Connecticut sociology professor Ruth Braunstein says they see no friends, no enemies when working with others to solve problems. “Because you might have to work with that person next week on a problem, and you're going to be much less likely to call them a murderer if you think you might have to work with them on another issue.” San Diego Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna says doing nothing isn’t an option. Democracy is like a relationship. It demands conversation and compromise to tackle basic problems and move forward. Without it, institutions look worse.“....And those who want to just burn it all down get a better opportunity to do so.” ….which he says is a death toll for democracy. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.


The U-S Olympics skateboarding team was announced this week at a training facility in Vista.

Reporter Scott Rodd says the San Diego region is well-represented.

The dozen skateboarders on the U.S. men’s and women’s national team are looking for vindication at the Paris Olympics later this month. It’s only the second time skateboarding will appear in the summer games. At the Tokyo Olympics, the U.S. took home just two bronze medals. 17-year-old Ruby Lilley is one of several skaters who call San Diego County home. “It’s a dream come true. It’s been a long journey.” When she’s not in school…she’s at the skatepark. “Seven days a week, and I skate about four to six hours a day.” The first skateboarding event kicks off on July 27th. Until then, the team will be training…and grinding…for the gold. SOC.


What an exciting time for our local skateboarders! I’ll be cheering them on! Well that’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Emilyn Mohebbi. Our newsroom will be off tomorrow (Thursday) for Independence Day, so the podcast will be back on Friday.. Thanks for listening… I hope you have a great Wednesday, and a Happy and safe 4th of July tomorrow! Talk to you all again on Friday!

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Migrants desperate to seek asylum in the U.S. are increasingly scaling the border wall due to limited access through ports of entry, and the life-threatening injuries sustained by some migrants are prompting advocates to declare it a public health crisis. In other news, Chula Vista voters will decide whether to renew a major tax that provides funding to repair basic city services this fall. Plus, the U.S. Olympics skateboarding team was announced this week at a training facility in Vista, and the San Diego region is well represented.