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California Reparations Task Force Grapples With Community Engagement

 July 12, 2021 at 2:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, July 12th. >>>> The state reparations task force and community engagement. More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### San Diego county health officials say they’re seeing an uptick of covid-19 cases, but that that’s expected with restrictions being lifted. They’re urging everyone who isn’t vaccinated yet to go get the shot. They say it’s the only way to prevent the more contagious delta variant from spreading. If you haven’t gotten your 2nd dose yet, well, Health and Human Services Dr Eric Mcdonald says one shot really won’t protect you from the variant. “ideally you want to get it on time but even if it’s been a month, two months four months you don't have to restart, you just need to get that second shot.” Health officials say the east county and rural parts of north county are where vaccination rates are the lowest. ……… Meanwhile, if your child is headed back to school this fall, state health officials says they will have to wear a mask.That’s despite new guidance from the CDC on Friday that says they don’t need masks inside. California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly say that not all schools can accommodate physical distancing of at least 3 feet or more, so the best preventive measure is wearing masks indoors. ######## Just as a recall effort was gaining momentum, Cori Schumacher (shoo-mawck-er) resigned from the Carlsbad City Council on Friday. In a written statement, Schumacher says she’ll be taking on an opportunity she can’t refuse... and will be attending a university outside of San Diego. Prior to her resignation, Schumacher was facing a recall effort organized by Reform California because of her plan to fine businesses that reopened during the pandemic. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to the San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. California is the first state in the nation to convene a statewide Task force on Reparations for African Americans. They met up on Friday, and Race and Equity reporter Cristina Kim says community engagement is a key to their efforts. the task force grappled with how they will target their community engagement efforts. In other words, “WHO” must they talk to over the next two years as they come up with reparations proposals. Vice Chair Dr. Amos Brown says they must center Black Americans first and foremost… L3: Dr. Amos Brown “The people who are the subject of the offene of racism and injustice are the community.” Lisa Holder is a task force member and lawyer from Los Angeles. She agrees that Black Americans that are descendents of chattel slavery must be prioritized but thinks that their work must extend to everyone. “I think it’s very important to define the community broadly so that people feel involved in that healing process…. So that as a broader multicultural community we can come out of this restorative process more enlightened and prepared for true and authentic reconciliation.” San Diego City Council Member Monica Montgomery Steppe is our local representative on the task force. She says task force members have to be on the same page on community engagement to make any proposals a reality. “Community is going to play a huge role in getting whatever we present across the finish line” the task force made a small but important decision regarding community input. They voted to move public comment to the beginning of all their future meetings and give speakers up to three minutes. We are dealing with people who are excluded so why do we have to be like the old system. The task force is scheduled to meet again in September and hear testimonies from experts on the subject and members of the public as well as public comment. And that was KPBS’ Cristina Kim. ########## Protests continued on Friday over a new contract for doctors and nurses at palomar health center in Escondido. Protestors say the new contract would give doctors less time with patients, but the hospital says that’s not true. KPBS North County multimedia producer Alexander Nguyen has the latest. Citizens to Save Palomar Health is composed of doctors, nurses, community members and staff. They say a new contract with Emergent Medical Associates, or E-M-A would impact patient care. “NEW SOUND HERE SOMETHING ABOUT HOW PATIENTS WOULD BE IMPACTED” The group believes the primary motivation for changing providers is to save money, not to improve patient care. The group also claims there was a lack of transparency over the new contract. They allege board members may have violated the Brown Act by holding informal discussions. The Brown Act forbids public agencies such as Palomar Health from such informal discussions. When asked about the allegations, Palomar Health officials refused to comment. Ken Lounsbery is the lawyer for Citizens to Save Palomar Health. He sent a letter to Palomar Health’s board - warning them of the alleged Brown Act violation. He’s asking the board to rescind the vote for the new contract. CG: Ken Lounsbery // Lawyer for Citizens to Save Palomar Health “It is a claim based upon facts provided to us that Soriana meetings took place, that meetings behind closed doors were conducted, that board members were convinced individually.” In an email to staff obtained by KPBS dated July 7th, Palomar Health CEO Diane Hansen says patient care is the top priority. Anything else to the contrary is false. She says *quote* “The District followed proper procedures and laws in reaching its decision to engage a new physician provider. We take seriously — and will investigate — any credible allegations to the contrary.” The hospital has also said any savings will help pay for new equipment such as CT scanners and MRI machines. In Escondido, Alexander Nguyen (WIN), KPBS News. And that was KPBS’ Alexander Nguyen reporting from Escondido. ########## It’s something we’ve heard from so many public leaders over the years -- something finally needs to be done to end homelessness in San Diego. “What is happening in downtown is wholly unacceptable for the residents and for the businesses of this community. But most especially for the people who are living unsheltered in encampments along our sidewalks.” That was San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria just a few weeks ago announcing a 100-million dollar partnership with the city and county. That money is being spent to get people into shelters, starting in the downtown area. So how’s it going? How is this effort any different from work done in the past? And more importantly, will it work? KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman checked in with those doing the one-on-one outreach required for this delicate and personal work. He spoke with KPBS’ Claire Treageser on the Roundtable. Here’s that interview…. And that was KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman, speaking with KPBS’ Claire Traegeser on the Roundtable. ########## Coming up.... the Biden administration is fighting a California law in court that aims to end for-profit immigration detention--that’s something the President Joe Biden himself pledged to do. That’s all next, just after the break. President Joe Biden has pledged to end for-profit immigration detention. But that’s what California aims to do with state law AB 32. Lawmakers say these detention facilities are major health risks, especially during the covid-19 pandemic. 71 people died at ICE centers between 2011 and 2018. That’s according to a new University of Southern California report that found detention center staff violated federal medical standards in more than three quarters of the deaths. Lisa Knox is legal director for the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice. “This is a longstanding issue, which during COVID has sort of been exacerbated. We’ve long known that detention is unsafe, and that particular the medical and mental health services that are provided in detention facilities are inadequate.” But in the meantime, the Biden administration is fighting AB 32 in court. KQED’s Farida Jhabvala Romero has more on the legal challenge. And that was KQED’s Farida Jhabvala Romero reporting. 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.

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The newly established California task force met on Friday to define what community engagement will look like as they move forward. Meanwhile, a new citizens group claims Palomar Health violated the Brown Act in awarding a new contract to a physicians' group last month. Plus, how is San Diego doing when it comes to housing the homeless?