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Charter school teachers vote to leave union

 June 8, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, June 8th.>>>>

We’ll hear from a local writer who wants under-represented kids to find their inner super-hero.More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy have voted to de-certify their union.

It was a 25-to-17 vote to leave the San Diego Education Association, which has represented teachers at the public charter school since 2019.

Cynthia Ornelas is one of the teachers who led the movement against the union.

“There’s definitely a lot more joy going to be in classroom than this burden of the union…making decisions for us, and us not knowing what they decided because they didn’t even communicate with the teachers.” 

The Gompers vote comes as the rest of the district’s S-D-E-A employees cast ballots on a new contract that includes a 15-percent pay raise over two years.

Gompers teachers will not be part of that contract.


The MTS Board of Directors will hold a special meeting this morning to explore its options as a strike by some contracted bus drivers drags on.

The work stoppage is largely affecting bus services in the south bay.

Union workers say they want higher pay and better access to safe and clean restrooms.The workers are employees of Transdev, a company that MTS hires to operate more than half of its bus routes.


It’s going to be a day of celebration and reunions at Naval Base San Diego.

The “U-S-S Makin (MAKE-in) Island” is scheduled to return at 11 this morning.It’s part of an “amphibious ready group” that served a 7-month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The Navy says some of that time included training exercises with military allies from more than a dozen nations.


A San Diego author finds his voice through a series of fantasy books designed to help children discover the reality of who they are.

“Q …stands for queer…so queer…Black, Indigenous, People of Color.”

More on that story coming up.


The city of Poway has voted on a measure to prevent homeless encampments.

We get more from reporter John Carroll.

On Tuesday evening, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance to forbid camping and storage of personal property on public land.  The law would authorize Sheriff’s deputies to first offer resources to people breaking the law, but if people refuse help, deputies could impound their property.  It’s not clear whether they would face arrest.  Longtime Poway resident Mary Mases thinks the ordinance makes sense but… “As for the City of Poway, I don’t see an issue of homelessness and tents.” Poway city councilmember Brian Pepin says he introduced the ordinance after hearing from moms of children at Pomerado Elementary and Meadowbrook Middle School who said people were camping in cars and RVs near the schools.  The council will have to pass it again at their next meeting, and if they do, it will become law in July. John Carroll, KPBS News.


It’s gotten harder to buy new homeowner’s insurance policies in California, now that Allstate and State Farm have stopped writing new ones.

KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado talked with the author of a historic change in California’s insurance laws.

Allstate says it stopped writing new policies in California “to protect current customers.” State Farm blames several factors including quote “historic increases in construction and rapidly growing catastrophe exposure.” They claim they’re broke. They actually took in 77 billion dollars more than they paid out in claims. Harvey Rosenfield, the founder of Consumer Watchdog says he’s not buying it. And despite the fact that California has suffered several record breaking wildfire seasons with damages and losses in the billions. Insurance companies are using climate change as an excuse to create an artificial crisis in the marketplace and bully their way into billions of dollars in rate increases. Rosenfield is also the author of Proposition 103, or the Insurance Rate Reduction and Reform Act. They are not complying with the law and the danger is that the commissioner won’t make them comply with the law. We reached out to insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara. He declined an interview with us, but recently told TV station KCRA he wasn’t planning to take action against the insurance companies, claiming he did not have the authority. If the commissioner does not enforce the law, we will take a legal action against him. Kitty Alvarado KPBS News.


Decisions about whether or not to raise the pride flag this month have stirred up controversy in cities across the state.

The city of Carlsbad had voted down flying the rainbow flag.

Tania Thorne tells us members of the lgbtq+ community raised their own flag, before delivering a strong statement at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community took it upon themselves to erect a temporary Pride flag outside of Carlsbad city hall Tuesday afternoon. The demonstration came after the Carlsbad city council voted down the motion to fly any commemorative flags at the city’s buildings last month. Following the flag raising, the group filled the city chambers for Carlsbad’s Pride month proclamation. Max Disposti with the North County LGBTQ resource center was set to receive it. “Queer lives matter. We appreciate you intent but we are leaving now and do not accept your proclamation.” The Carlsbad city council is planning on discussing raising the Pride flag again next week. Tania Thorne KPBS News.


Coming up… a film festival opening today that celebrates environmental filmmaking, with a focus on our oceans.

We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


A San Diego author is sharing his passion for writing fantasy and fairytales with school children across Southern California.

He started a book series for young readers that features characters who are daring and diverse in every way.

Education reporter M-G Perez tells us the story of the BIPOC hero.

SOUND UP FULL (rolling carts hallway NATS) John Wells, III is a man on a mission, wearing a back pack and loaded with boxes of his books. On this day he is traveling the halls of Harvest Hill Steam Academy in Riverside County. A school of 13-hundred students in T-K through 8th grade. First stop is a third grade classroom where Wells starts his storytelling with an unexpected personal confession. “I hated reading! (shocked reax)...I hated it!” Not to worry. That changed for Wells after he attended his first book fair in elementary school and found fantasy - the genre that inspired him most. “I did tell all the students in the third grade…that I had powers…super powers!” He never lost those super powers in his imagination, eventually motivating him to start writing as a young adult in college. There’s something else about this San Diego author he wants you to know. He is part of the BIPOC community. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color. He desperately wanted to see himself represented in the pages of the books he read.“I’d always seen those characters as the best friend, the comic relief, even the villain sometimes…but never as the hero.” (Wells reading from book) “I’m telling you Kalib..there’s something weird about that guy…Tristen said.” Wells began writing the Kalib Andrews Chronicles…as the COVID pandemic proceeded in 2020. In the first book The Last Angel Warrior…we meet the hero, Kalib, a 16 year old adopted bi-racial teenager struggling with his identity. There are two more books now that Wells reads to children who can see themselves in the story. “It’s so important for us to continue to stand out and stand up and show the world that …hey, we’re here…we matter…our stories matter…how representation matters.” The message is being received by students like 9 year old Kreed Abrams. “Books like these inspire me to do different things…and think about it a little bit more.” “I like to read anime books, fantasy books, and romance books a little bit..” 9-year old Jada Brooks is another third grader who sees herself in the pages of The Angel Warrior. “I like that part in the book where they find this stranger in the dark alley…it kind of adds up and gives the book a little something…something.” John Wells keeps reading and writing. “...the stranger looked at me with terror in his eyes.” He plans another 4 books in the Kalib Chronicles series and he’s adding more diversity in characters…along with another letter from the alphabet. “Q …stands for queer…so queer…Black, Indigenous, People of Color.” Harvest Hill Steam Academy is home to students of several ethnic and economic backgrounds…they are also survivors of the COVID shutdowns and learning loss. Principal Phil Suttner agrees that escape through fantasy books helps in healing. “A lot of our kids suffered greatly during that time…not just from the seclusion and being out of school, but a lot of them endured trauma…they lost loved ones and they had a lot of things happen to them that shouldn’t happen to kids.” “I heard the sound of footsteps as if someone were walking behind me…(Everybody do this) …stomping on floor.” Wells is happy to help in the healing through his series of books that will end in a meaningful way. “I won’t call it happy…I won’t call it sad…but I will say that the ending that is planned is the ending that the story requires.” That is the last word for now. MG Perez, KPBS News.


The San Diego County Fair is now open.

We have a bunch of pics and video for you at KPBS-dot-org and on our Instagram page.

North county reporter Alexander Nguyen was there for the fun.

The day started with a ribbon cutting and Chula Vista's Hilltop high school band & color guard welcoming guests to the 139th annual San Diego county fair. For the Lopez family, attending the fair's first day is a family tradition. “The boys are excited about it, and it's the first year I feel like they're actually going to enjoy it and remember it.” But what the Lopez boys are looking forward to most are the rides. “scary rides” But the fair would not be complete without fair food. There are your staples, corn and turkey legs, and of course new concoctions by Chicken Charlie. “Every year we got to try to outdo the year before, and this year we got fried s'mores on a stick." This perfectly matches this year’s theme to explore the great outdoors. In the exhibit halls, park rangers will guide you through some of California's natural wonders. Alexander Nguyen, KPBS News.##########(MUSIC BUMP - BLUE WATER WRAP)The fourth annual Blue Water Film Festival kicks off today and celebrates United Nations' World Oceans Day.

Film critic Beth Accomando has this preview.

Blue Water Film Festival is a festival with a cause. It's committed to the preservation of the planet and the need to nurture the next generation of environmental filmmakers. And those filmmakers are inspiring audiences to see the world in new ways. In the documentary Patrick and the Whale we are taken to the underwater world of sperm whales to appreciate their close knit community, threatened status, and to hear them communicate. Then in the short film Generation Impact: the scientist we see how issues such as climate change are motivating teenagers like Emily Tianshi to activism. Opening night of Blue Water Film Festival is at the museum of photographic arts and then it moves to multiple venues through sunday. It showcases dozens of shorts, features, and documentaries designed to make us more aware of the world and the water around us. Beth Accomando, KPBS news.


It’s another boost for San Diego’s growing reputation as a soccer destination.

German club team Borussia Dortmund will take on San Diego Loyal at Snapdragon Stadium this summer.

The friendly is scheduled for July 27th and will be the Loyal’s first ever match against a European club.

San Diego will be the first stop on a three-city U-S summer tour for Dortmund.

General admission tickets will go on sale via ticketmaster Friday morning.


That’s it for the podcast today.

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 Thursday.

Teachers at Gompers Preparatory Academy have voted to de-certify their union. In other news, the city of Poway has voted on a measure to prevent homeless encampments. And, a San Diego author writes a book series for young readers that features characters who are daring and diverse in every way.