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‘Ban all offshore drilling. Period.’

 October 6, 2021 at 6:46 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Kinsee Morlan in for Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, Oct. 6.

More on that massive oil spill off our California coastline…Plus... Local leaders' efforts at putting an end to offshore drilling.

That’s later in the show. First, let’s do those local headlines…


The 101 Ash Street saga continues…

Investigators with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office served search warrants yesterday at the headquarters of Hughes Marino and Cisterra Development.

Both of those real estate brokers have been linked to the city's much-debated lease-to-own deal for the 101 Ash Street building in downtown San Diego.

****Last night..The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a local plan for Afghan refugee housing and resettlement here.

The plan was proposed by Supervisor Joel Anderson…

The board also directed the county to work with Congress to use frozen Taliban assets to pay for Afghan refugee resettlement efforts. An estimated 58,000 Afghans are expected to arrive in the United States in coming months.

***More eviction protections are on the way…

The San Diego City Council approved Mayor Todd Gloria's proposal to establish a $5 million legal defense fund.

The fund will help struggling tenants potentially facing eviction due to non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legal aid program was approved yesterday and will come from federal Coronavirus Aid funds.


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


A waiting game is underway.

It involves that massive oil spill .. drifting south from the ocean off neighboring Huntington Beach.

KPBS reporter John Carroll looks at the chances the spill will make its way to our coastline here in SAn Diego.


Thousands of people… on the beaches, on and under the water… have been working night and day to try and collect as much oil as possible.

As of this morning, nearly five-thousand gallons have been recovered - six of nearly 16 miles of oiled beaches have been cleaned up. Far fewer birds than first thought have been impacted.

Still - the environmental director of the Surfrider foundation’s San Diego branch, Pete Stauffer - says this is a major ecological disaster.“We have over 140,000 gallons of oil in our coastal environment and it’s a major threat to wildlife, birds, to fish.”

In an afternoon news conference, members of the Unified Command in charge of dealing with this disaster… said fisheries as far south as San Clemente are now closed. So, is there a chance the oil could make its way down to San Diego County?

“It certainly could. That’s gonna depend on wind and currents in the coming days and also will depend on how effective the current efforts to contain the spill are.”

“As we wait to see if any of the oil makes its way down here to San Diego County - an obvious and pressing question. What can be done to prevent this from happening again? Pete Stauffer says there’s a simple answer; stop any new offshore drilling and begin the slow process of removing the rigs that are here now.”

“There actually is legislation in Congress that would permanently protect the California coast // CUT TO 8:35 // Really what we need to do is move forward with decommissioning these existing oil platforms as swiftly and safely as we can.”

A process that will no doubt receive pushback from big oil, accompanied by the realization that if we do nothing, a disaster like this is bound to happen again.

***And on that note of ending off-shore oil drilling -- at least here in California -- that was the focus yesterday for a local congressman whose district stretches north, not far from the spill zone.

Here's KPBS' Alexandra Rangel with more on Congressman Mike Levin's proposal:


VM: “Ban all offshore drilling period.”

AR: Representative Mike Levin says it’s time to pass the American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, a bill he introduced to congress back in May.

At a Tuesday press conference at Moonlight Beach, Levin said traces of toxic oil from the Orange County oil spill could eventually affect North County beaches.

VM: “It’s inevitable that as the oil moves south that some de minimis amount will get down here, but the question is how much and when.”

AR: Levin says it’s time to phase out existing drilling along the west coast as it also poses a threat not only to the environment but to hundreds of businesses along the coast.

So...this oil spill off the Orange County coast hasn't just covered our nearby beaches with tar balls, it's also threatening to destroy ecologically sensitive areas.

KPCC science reporter Jacob Margolis has more.



Could have their life cycles disrupted.

And that story from KPCC science reporter Jacob Margolis.


So...San Diego is the only major city in California that offers free trash pickup for single-family homes.

KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says one councilmember hopes to change that and save the city millions of dollars.


AB: San Diego apartment buildings and businesses have to pay for private trash and recycling pickup while single-family homes get it for free from the city government. That's because of a century-old rule called the People’s Ordinance. It can only be changed by voters. A recent report found the system will cost taxpayers 235 million dollars over the next five years — money that City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera says should be spent on higher priorities.

SER: That can be ensuring that we have streetlight repair that meets the speed and efficiency that San Diegans want. It's ensuring that our parks and libraries aren't on the chopping block at budget season. This isn't going to fix all of our budget problems, but it's an important part of it.

AB: Elo-Rivera is willing to touch what has long been a third rail in San Diego asking voters to approve fees for trash pickup.





40-year old Brad Christian Davis and 34-year old David Hott are former teachers at the Christian Youth Theatre campus in El Cajon.

Both are now charged by the San Diego District Attorney with felony sexual abuse of students there in incidents dating back to 2010.

Loxi Gant is a former CYT student and teacher now advocating for victims.

SOT :11 “We do believe this is a start at what was really going on behind the scenes at CYT…(and what was going on?) ….a whole bevy of abuse.”

CYT has five other campuses in San Diego county and locations nationwide. These charges only concern the El Cajon headquarters, and police are asking any other victims to come forward.





The San Diego Convention Center is the backbone of the city’s tourism industry, but the facility was an early casualty of the Covid Pandemic.

TOURISM 1A 09:46:14 – 09:46:25 “We haven’t had convention business since the spring of 2020 until is resumed again in august of 2021. In that interim period, what you saw was something unprecedented.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria says the facility served as a homeless shelter, and then as a safe haven for migrant girls captured while trying to cross the US Mexico border. The taxpayer owned structure wasn’t generating tax revenue for 17 months. San Diego Tourism chief Julie Coker says the shutdowns were devastating for the hospitality sector

TOURISM 1B JK 09:45:02 – 09:45:15 “It’s not going to be an overnight fix. We’re definitely in for the long haul before tourism returns but we definitely know that San Diego is in a much better position than other cities and we’re poised for a great return.”

Coker hopes convention center business will lay the groundwork for a solid year in the hospitality industry.


Coming up….

A program called SDSU FUERTE has received a 15 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to research and find solutions to Latino community health disparities.

That story, after a quick break.

Midroll 2

The Latin X community is disproportionately impacted by health disparities.

From environmental injustice, to a lack of healthcare access…

longstanding issues have created health challenges like obesity and even cancer.

Now a program called SDSU Fuerte has received a $15 million grant from the national institutes of health to research and find solutions to those health disparities.

María Luisa Zúñiga (zoon YEE ga) , a professor at the SDSU school of social work, joined KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon to talk about the effort.


Can you tell us more about the SDSU forte program and why the national institutes of health said they selected the program for this grant?


I think go state university has a very strong track record in health disparities research to promote Latin X and minority health. So over the course of many years, uh, our researchers have devoted many hours and time to reducing health disparities and really understanding some of the nuances that are, are important to Latin X and minority health. So, uh, we're very proud where there, which means strong in Spanish faculty United towards excellence and research and transformational engagement. We were funded by NIH because we're also home to Latin X cancer, disparities researchers, uh, specialists in environmental health, obesity, and addiction and HIV. These are all the types of areas and health problems that deeply impact Latinos, both at regionally and nationwide in

Speaker 1: (01:45)

Search online. Next disparities will be conducted by a group of 11 new faculty members. Talk to me about the reasons for recruiting new faculty members to do this research.


Absolutely. So this is, uh, probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to select and reach out to some of the best researchers across the nation with a passion for Latin X health and their research focus area in the areas of either cancer, uh, environmental health, nutrition, um, activities and health disparities in Latin X help. So it's really a golden opportunity to elevate the work that we've already been doing by hiring a group of individuals who will come in and be part of our community. My role will be to help provide the supports that researchers need, including researchers from underrepresented groups. And there's a tradition and it's unfortunate but many times, uh, because there are fewer researchers from underrepresented groups, Latin X, black, other underrepresented communities. We need to make a stronger effort at supporting these researchers to succeed, especially because of their specialization in minority health and reducing health disparities.

Speaker 1: (03:11)

Three of the faculty members will be working from the universities Imperial valley campus do Imperial valley, Latin X residents face more health disparities than those in other areas,


The disparities they face are different because of their environment. So environmentally, we, you know, when we should really think about, uh, San Diego state university's program will be across the border, which is very exciting. Imperial valley is an agricultural area and it is next to, uh, the capital of Baja, California, Mexico. So the dynamics and the region itself is different. That exposure as well, the environmental exposures may be different in this area, so that a focus on environment will allow us to really understand better where might be the best places to intervene and support the best health of individuals and communities living in the Imperial valley

Speaker 1: (04:10)

And 85% of Imperial county residents identify as Hispanic or Latino. How big is the community in San Diego county? And is it growing?


Yeah, so San Diego county is about a third Latino, 34%, according to the last census estimates. And we're just under the California, uh, which is almost 40%. So 39% Latinos in San Diego, we are growing. And also, I think there's an important element of the vibrancy of being a border community. So we have a very vibrant relationship with Tijuana and our institutions to the south and just that cross border mobility is part of who we are as well. So really understanding that not only as Latin X health in the region, uh, impacted by our own our, or the communities, but that our community has really broader.

Speaker 1: (05:07)

What are some of the disparities among Latin X households across both counties that we know exist?


So certainly we learned if nothing else that COVID exposed, but the pandemic COVID 19 pandemic exposed, and it sort of took this blanket off of what health disparities is really looking in. And what are some of the issues of health disparities in Latin X communities? So regionally we have high levels of uninsured, uh, nationally about, uh, half of Latin X families have private insurance compared to 75% in Latin X whites. Uh, we have high levels of obesity and low physical activity in both parts of the region. Imperial valley suffers tremendously, uh, diabetes and other, uh, chronic diseases that can be prevented through better lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise. Um, we also have a disproportionate number of, uh, cancers relating to stomach and liver cancers among Latinas in Latin X women in our region. We also have a high level of human papilloma virus and cervical cancers. And this is very concerning because it has to do with a lack of access to care and low participation in screening for cervical cancer. Uh, so this, in addition to asthma, and as you'd mentioned, environmental exposures, these are all areas of incredible need for research and interventions to improve community health.

Speaker 1: (06:51)

And overall, how do you hope this fund will have an impact on Latin X health disparities, regionally, nationally, and globally?


Well, this is very exciting because it is an opportunity to bring a group of individuals that in and of themselves have a lifelong passion towards reducing health disparities in the Latin X community. So if we can think about this as energizing and working in synergy with the foundation that San Diego state university already has in addressing health disparities and, and our high level research capacity, this is just an opportunity to really launch and make a significant step towards bolstering our efforts to promote the full health of Latin X and other underserved communities.

And that was María Luisa Zúñiga (zoon YEE ga) , a professor at the SDSU school of social work, talking with KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon about the SDSU fuerte program.

And that’s the show...I love making cameos in this podcast feed, but if you want to keep up with me, make sure to find and follow the Port of Entry podcast I produce for KPBS...we’re gearing up for a new season that kicks off on Oct. 13!

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Local leaders are calling for the protection of Southern California's beaches and diverse ecosystem by putting an end to offshore drilling. Plus: More on that massive oil spill off our California coastline, the push to put an end to free trash pickup for single-family homes in the city of San Diego and more of the local news you need.

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