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California gas rebate checks on the way

 October 7, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, October 7th.

Billions of dollars in relief checks are going out to eligible Californians starting today. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is unlawful.

Jess Hanson is a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center.

She says people who are already in the DACA program can still renew their status.

“While the Fifth Circuit largely upheld the lower court ruling that did find DACA unlawful, the Fifth Circuit will also allow renewals to continue temporarily and has sent the case back down to the district court.”

This decision could impact the legal status of nearly 600-thousand DACA recipients in the United States, and more than 10-thousand living in San Diego County.

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The average price of regular gas in San Diego County finally dropped after a run of price increases over the past 33 days.

The average price rose more than one-dollar-and-20-cents since last month.

But yesterday, the average price of regular gas dropped slightly to a whopping six-dollars-and-42-cents a gallon.

It’s about two dollars more than this time last year.

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Residents in Santa Ysabel are busy trying to keep more than 100 designer pet pigs healthy and fed after finding the pigs abandoned on the side of a busy road last week.

Several of them were killed by passing drivers and others have been taken in by local residents.

The animals were found on tribal land belonging to the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians.

The Mesa Grande Band and local organizations are working to get the rest of the pigs sheltered and fed.

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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.

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Beginning today, 9-point-5 billion dollars in so-called Middle Class Tax Refund payments will start going out to millions of eligible Californians.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says some people could get refunds of up to One-thousand-fifty-dollars.

The Middle Class Tax Refund (MCTR) is a one-time payment to provide relief to Californians. But you have to have filed your 2020 tax return by last October. The payments will range from $400 to $1,050 for couples filing jointly and $200 to $700 for all other individuals. But will these checks significantly add to inflation? San Diego State University Professor of Economics Hisham Foad (HE-sham FOE-ad) doesn’t think so. “I think as long as you’re continuing to see these increases in interest rates by the federal reserve, then I’m not that concerned this one time thing is going to have a huge impact on inflation.” An estimated 8 million direct deposits will start arriving in bank accounts from October 7 through November 14, and about 10 million debit cards will be delivered from October 25 through January 15. JA KPBS News.

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A candidate for the 76th Assembly District in San Diego has sued over two six-year-old boys who she claims were bullying her son at school. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser looks into the unusual case.

When Krisite Bruce-Lane felt her six-year-old son was being bullied at school, she took two aggressive, and unusual, steps.

First, she filed a lawsuit seeking more than 48 million dollars in damages. She sued the school, the head of the school, and the mothers of the six-year-old boys she thought were bullying her son.

Then, she did something even more unusual, according to legal experts – she put the boys’ full names in the lawsuit. That means the legal action will likely be in the public record for the rest of their lives.

“It certainly is unusual to have schoolyard bullying result in a lawsuit.”

Dan Eaton is a legal analyst.

“Disciplinary problems are usually handled at the school level, and that's why this is so extraordinary.”

Bruce Lane’s son Luke attended the private and pricey San Diego French American School in La Jolla beginning when he was two.

In the complaint filed last April, Bruce-Lane claims that when her son entered first grade, he was punched, pushed and called “stupid” by two classmates. She says she filed -complaints with the school and nothing happened.

Then, the school said her son was not welcome back the next year because she and her husband “prevented a positive or constructive relationship” and “seriously interfered with (the school’s) accomplishment of its educational purpose,” according to court documents. Bruce-Lane filed the lawsuit a month later.

In court documents responding to the lawsuit, the school argued it “repeatedly addressed complaints about the alleged bullying over a period of ten months.”

The school’s efforts included: “The formation of a Behavioral Response Team, separating the involved children, exchanging numerous emails with the parents, meeting with the parents in person and multiple offers to set up Zoom meetings,” the documents state.

The school’s response goes on to say that Bruce-Lane and her husband refused to cooperate with the school and became abusive and threatening to teachers and staff and demanded the school “completely ignore their own son’s misbehavior.”

“That is an extremely strange choice.”

Attorney and former City Council candidate Will Moore says regardless of whether the lawsuit is successful, it’s probably bad politics.

“That is an interesting political choice.”

Bruce-Lane is a Republican running on an anti-tax, anti-government platform against Democrat Brian Mainschein.

Neither Kristie Bruce-Lane nor her attorneys responded to multiple requests from KPBS for comment prior to this story being FIRST aired and published.

Bruce-Lane and her husband never attempted to contact the mothers of the boys before filing the lawsuit. So says Douglas Jaffee, an attorney for Dima Saab, one of the mothers being sued.

“There was never any approach by Ms. Bruce Lane to come to Ms. Saab, parent to parent, indicating any problem

More shocking, Jaffee says, is the decision to include the boys’ full names.

“It puts, unsupported in our opinion, allegations out there against a minor with that minor name that shouldn't be there.”

The school has filed for a summary judgment to dismiss the lawsuit, and a hearing on that is set for April 2023. If the suit goes forward, a trial is scheduled for June 2023.

CT KPBS News

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Another San Diego County jail inmate has died.

The sheriff's department says 52-year-old Raymond Vogelman died Wednesday after being assaulted by other inmates at the George Bailey Detention Center.

Social justice advocates say this is the 19th in-custody death this year.

Yusef Miller of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition is questioning conditions inside the jail.

“Where was the intercom and were they working? Where were the video cameras and were they working? All of these things were outlined in the audit that the Sheriff's Department underwent.”

The Sheriff's Department says Vogelman has been in custody since March, and was transferred to the Bailey Detention Center last month.

The Sheriff's Homicide unit is investigating, and the citizen's law enforcement review board has also been notified.

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For the fifth time this year, a client at Veterans Village of San Diego’s main campus has died.

Veterans Village has come under heavy scrutiny this year following numerous reports of unsafe living conditions at its facilities near Mission Hills.

An inewsource investigation in June revealed widespread drug use, multiple overdoses, a litany of health hazards and a severe staffing shortage were plaguing the institution and posing risks to clients.

inewsource investigative reporter Jill Castellano has more.

"Forty-year-old Marcus Mondrigon died on October 1, marking the fifth death of a Veterans Village campus resident this year. The cause of his death is still unknown. Incidents like this are supposed to be reported to state officials, but the state says they were never notified and will now be opening an investigation. Throughout the year, veterans village has faced accusations of unsafe living conditions and widespread drug use at its campus on pacific highway. The county is no longer admitting clients there due to safety concerns. For KPBS, I'm my new source, investigative reporter Jill Castellano."

inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.

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Coming up.... Twitchcon is happening in San Diego this weekend. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

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San Diego County has a new “top crop.”

But production of another long-time staple of local agriculture has plummeted…

KPBS reporter John Carroll explains.

For the first time in 12 years, the county’s annual crop report shows a new leader.  No longer is it ornamental trees and shrubs.  In 2021, production of bedding plants, perennials, cacti and succulents moved into first place.  Grower Fred Ceballos of First Step Greenhouses in Temecula says they’re having trouble keeping up with demand. “In the last two years during the pandemic, interest in gardening has just increased so much, people have been buying more bedding plants, succulents, landscape plants.” On the other side of the coin, annual avocado production fell under 100-million dollars for the first time since 1996.  An avocado farmer told me that was because of a few blisteringly hot days during 2020, which impacted the crop for 2021.  JC, KPBS News.

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TWITCH CON is happening in San Diego this weekend at the downtown convention center. 

It’s the convention for the live streaming video platform TWITCH.

Approximately 30-thousand people are expected to attend each day of the three-day conference…

And one of the headliners recently announced for the TWITCHCON party is Grammy-winning rapper Megan Theee Stallion. 

KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen joined KPBS’s Maureen Cavanaugh with more on TwitchCon.

That was KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Maureen Cavanaugh.

And before you go…

We have some weekend arts events worth checking out, thanks to KPBS’s Julia Dixon Evans.

The San Diego Symphony will be performing twice this weekend.

Anchoring the program is Beethoven's instantly recognizable “Symphony Number 5.”

The performances will be tonight at 7-30 at The Rady Shell and tomorrow night at 7-30 at the California Center for the Arts Escondido.

Plus, you can head to La Jolla for a two-day arts and wine festival.

It will showcase works from 160 artists and galleries, along with music performances, beer and wine.

The festival will be along Girard Avenue tomorrow and Sunday from 10 a-m to six p-m.

You can find more details about the arts events mentioned, and more, at kpbs-dot-org-slash-arts.

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That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast was produced by KPBS Senior Producer Megan Burke and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. We’d also like to thank KPBS reporters Andrew Bowen and Erik Anderson for filling in this week. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

More than $9 billion in gas rebate payments will start going out to millions of eligible Californians Friday. In other news, a candidate for the 76th Assembly District in San Diego has sued two six-year-old boys who she claims were bullying her son at school. Plus, some weekend arts events worth checking out.