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Coronado Thumbing Its Nose At State Housing Law

Good Morning, I’m Kinsee Morlan in for Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, July 21. *** California's debate over how to solve the affordable housing crisis arrives in Coronado. We’ll learn more about that city's fight against state housing mandates later in the show… But first...let's do the headlines… *** A guilty plea has been entered for murder and other charges in connection with the 2019 deadly shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway. The 22-year old gunman entered his plea yesterday in San Diego Superior Court. The plea means he will avoid the death penalty but faces a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. The victims' families were in the courtroom but did not make any statements. Sentencing is scheduled for September 30th. *** For the first time in 16 months, 30,000 students in the Chula Vista Elementary school district return to the classroom today. Per state guidelines, masks will still need to be worn inside classrooms but can be taken off while outside. There is still a virtual option where parents and kids can choose to do online classes. But school officials say the vast majority of students will be returning to schools for in person instruction. *** Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's campaign to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in the upcoming recall election is in a dispute with state officials about how he’s listed on the ballot. Each candidate is listed with a current job title or other descriptor, but they are not allowed to use the word “former.” Faulconer’s campaign says they want him listed as San Diego’s “retired” mayor… Faulconer, of course, left the mayor’s office in 2020, and referencing his prior role would help boost his name identification. But state officials say Faulconer has continued to work as a government adviser and college professor since leaving office and should use his current title. A campaign spokesman said they plan to sue the Secretary of State's office. *** From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. MIDROLL 1 Coronado is a lot of things… But affordable isn’t one of them… With its beautiful beaches and historic hotel, Coronado is one of California’s top tourist destinations. But for the many low-wage workers who keep the Island running, living there is next to impossible. State officials last year ordered the city to plan for the construction of a lot more affordable housing. But as KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen explains, the city is not on board with that change. EP: Bye. Nos vemos en la tarde. Te portas bien. AB: Evangelina Preciado kisses her 10-year-old son Ricardo goodbye as she leaves for work. 7:40:35 Car door closes, ignition starts AB: Preciado lives with her husband and three kids in a small mobile home in Chula Vista. She works as a room attendant at the Hotel Del Coronado. She says she'd love to live in the community where she works. That would let her ditch her commute across the bridge and bike or walk to her job. 8:40:40 EVANGELINA PRECIADO HOTEL DEL CORONADO EMPLOYEE EP: I love this place. This is beautiful, it's quiet, clean. We have the beach. So everything is awesome here. AB: Add to those perks Coronado's low crime, good schools and parks. But on a hotel worker's salary, there's no way Preciado could afford to live in Coronado, where finding a two-bedroom home for less than $3,000 a month is a steal. As soon as she's off work... 46:19 EP: I just feel that – I have to leave and come back to my home. But this is like my second home, because I pass more hours in the island than my home. But I cannot live here. I just come and work, and I have to go back. AB: Preciado’s circumstance is hardly unique. Coronado is one of many high-end tourist destinations in California where low-wage workers staff pricey hotels, shops and restaurants but can't afford to live where they work. State lawmakers have tried to fix this by requiring cities to zone for dramatically more housing than ever before. Last year, the state ordered Coronado to plan for 912 new homes over the next eight years. More than half those homes are meant to be affordable for low-income households. 14:41 RB: We are essentially trying to comply with an absurd and not sensible state law. AB: The order from Sacramento to add more housing was not well received in Coronado. Mayor Richard Bailey and the city council last month voted to draft a smaller housing plan. On Tuesday it unanimously approved a plan with about a third of the homes that are required. Bailey said at last month's council meeting that the number the city picked is realistic … 26:16 RICHARD BAILEY CORONADO MAYOR RB: It's not based on a pie in the sky number from the state, which had no basis in reality whatsoever, did not take into account our existing land use, size, not take into account available space, our existing infrastructure, our sewage, etc etc etc. This number does that. AB: Coronado sued to get a smaller housing allocation, but lost. It's currently appealing that decision. But, in the meantime, Coronado thumbing its nose at state housing law carries risks: The state can sue the city into compliance. JW: And so what happens in San Diego is going to be a little bit of a foreshadowing of what happens throughout the state. AB: Jon Wizard is with the San Francisco-based nonprofit YIMBY Law, which sues cities to enforce state housing laws. He says small, wealthy cities across California are preparing similar fights to get out of their housing obligations. But San Diego County is the first to go through that planning process. That means Coronado could be a test case for how aggressively the state cracks down on scofflaw cities. For Wizard, it's not just a question of following the law. It's a question of fairness and equity. 29:51 JON WIZARD YIMBY LAW JW: When Coronado says we don't have to do what the state told us, we don't have to do our fair share, we don't have to pull our weight but everybody else does, what Coronado is saying is that we're special and that you don’t deserve to live here. AB: Evangelina Preciado, the hotel worker who can't afford to live in Coronado, has a similar message for the city's leaders. 47:04 EP: I would say to them that everybody deserves a very nice home. Because we are working hard, and our families deserves a very good place to live, too. That story from KPBS metro reporter, Andrew Bowen. *** Mask-wearing isn’t required for vaccinated people under California’s COVID-19 guidelines. But more and more counties are asking EVERYONE to cover up when they’re indoors, because of the spread of the delta variant of the virus. UC Merced virology professor Juris [yurr-ee] Grasis [grahss-iss] says that’s a good call. “The virus wasn’t gone, so there are still infection rates going up and we have this new variant … So now it’s a matter of how we mitigate that situation.” He says since children can’t be immunized right now, we all have a part to play in preventing public spread. The state says it doesn’t plan to change the current guidance. Instead, they’re putting it in the counties’ hands to make stricter policies. Capradio’s Sammy Caiola has more. If you aren’t immunized, you should wear a mask anytime you’re in public. If you ARE immunized, the state health department says you only need to mask up when you’re in specific settings like jails, schools, or hospitals. But many counties are pushing for masks in any indoor setting where not everyone’s vaccine status is known. That means grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops. Experts say there’s a reason for that: People who’ve had their shots are pretty well protected, but there’s still a small chance they can contract it and then give it to unvaccinated people. With the delta variant spreading rapidly amongst the unvaccinated …masking is a step we can take to slow the spread. *** Just as predicted, California is in the midst of a destructive wildfire season. KPBS reporter Melissa Mae tells us about a program that is helping San Diegans protect their homes. The Defensible Space Assistance Program helps low-income seniors and physically disabled persons follow defensible space rules… by getting their property cleared of brush… for free. Sheryl Landrum of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County says funding is currently provided by a grant. CHIPPING 1 (:17) “California is really focused on wildfire prevention and there are a lot of funds coming down from the Governor’s office right now to do this type of work. A lot of these people have been in their home for years, they have maybe lost a spouse. They need help.” There is also a No-Cost Chipping program for any resident who clears their own defensible space. After piles are made, contractors will come out and chip the cleared vegetation for free. *** Critics of Governor Gavin Newsom say his COVID-19 restrictions were unfair and damaging especially to small businesses across the state -- thousands permanently closed during the pandemic. KQED politics reporter Guy Marzorati says despite that criticism, Newsom is now emphasizing his small business roots as he faces a recall election in September. No transcript available. *** A former San Diego Museum of Art employee, Zelina Gayton, has filed a complaint against the museum. She alleges museum officials allowed sexual harassment towards female employees and racial discrimination against employees of color. Gaytan had worked as a museum attendant since mid-2017 but resigned earlier this year. She told KPBS Midday Edition about sexual harassment she experienced and witnessed at a party held by the museum, where alcohol was served with no portion control. “These parties, even though they fund the arts, it’s done in such an unethical way because it compromises the safety and wellbeing of its workers.” The museum would not comment on pending litigation, but they say they’ve hired a third-party investigator to look into these allegations, as well as conducting diversity and equity training for staff. Gaytan questions the museum's efforts, saying they took far too long to address her concerns. *** Coming up.. YOU WON’T HAVE TO WAIT IN ANY LONG LINES FOR PANELS AT COMIC-CON THIS YEAR. ONCE AGAIN COVID-19 HAS PROMPTED THE POP CULTURE CONVENTION TO GO ONLINE. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM COMIC-CON AT HOME … AFTER A QUICK BREAK. MIDROLL 2 Comic-Con International, the massive summertime celebration of pop culture, has once again been forced to substitute an online version of the show for an in-person one. The online event begins this Friday and runs through Sunday. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accamando sat down with spokesperson David Glanzer about what people can expect from the virtual Comic-Con. Speaker 2: 00:20 David, Comicon is doing their second virtual edition. So how does it feel going into it this time? Do you feel like you've learned anything or applied any new ideas to the online experience? Speaker 3: 00:34 It's, uh, a lot less stressful, which should not be confused with not stressful, but now we have, we learned a lot, I think in our last iteration. It's interesting because when we first started last year, I think we were probably in terms of, uh, fan-related events are probably one of the first that really mounted something like this. And, uh, now that the pandemic seems to be lessening, you know, we may very well be one of the last, so we kind of bookend it. So we're excited. We think we have some cool stuff coming up and, um, fingers crossed that people have a good time. Speaker 2: 01:10 And how are people going to be able to access it this year? Is it also going to be free? Like it was last year Speaker 3: 01:15 Free. One of the things that, uh, we have done is a lot of the sponsorship involves, so that has really defrayed the costs of the hard dollar costs of what we've had to do. So it'll, it'll be free again, they can go to our website and there are portals there to take them to whichever part of the, uh, event they want to attend. Speaker 2: 01:34 And is it going to be like last year in the sense that panels would start at a specific time, but then become available afterwards for you to like check back in with later? Speaker 3: 01:45 That is the plan right now. One of the great things about being, um, virtual was, uh, and we'd mentioned this last year, you know, during a real show about, I don't mean real show, but real in-person to show, uh, you have to decide sometimes, you know, what do I want to see? The great thing about being virtual is that you just have to decide what you want to see first. So the plan is again, to have times when the panels drop, but those panels should remain online for, you know, a period of time. The Speaker 2: 02:13 First time in my life, I went to 70 hours of panels with the virtual Comic-Con and it was, it was wonderful. Actually, I have to say, Speaker 3: 02:21 And we got a lot of contact from people, you know, globally. Who've never been able to attend comic con who were very grateful to be able to see, uh, what some of the excitement is about. And I, for one was able to actually attend the Eisner awards, which falls under my department, but I usually have to be in bed by the time the award ceremony gets underway because I have to be up so early the next day. And it was wonderful to be able to watch the ceremony, blind Speaker 2: 02:44 People, the Eisners are considered the Oscars of the comic industry, and they will again be online this year and explain to people what these are. So Speaker 3: 02:53 This is, uh, an acknowledgement and recognition of people who work in the comics and related comic book, industry, people who do graphic novels. I think there's a, the web comics, things of that nature. You know, it's interesting because the in-person shows some times can, can run long. It's a, it's a great time for, uh, people within the industry, their peers to, uh, acknowledge their contributions in their work. You know, some people have said, oh, you should really, you know, eliminate some categories or reduce the timeframe. So it's, you know, it's, it's, uh, it doesn't take as long. And the reality of the situation is it's. I think it's completely appropriate to acknowledge those people who oftentimes people don't know who they are, and this is their one time really in terms of, you know, uh, peer acknowledgement that they get to bask in the glow of, of that. And so I think it is as long as it needs to be, it's, it's an amazing event. I, I I'm, I'm trying to figure out once we get back to in-person shows how I can maneuver actually attending the Eisner. And I was supposed to still be able to get up, you know, the next morning at three o'clock. And Speaker 2: 03:59 One of the great things about the Eisner awards is it really gives you a great reading list. I mean, once it's over, you can just compile a list of all the nominees and go out and seek these from your comic books. This Speaker 3: 04:10 Is a great way. If you're new to the medium, if you want some pointers, it's a great way to start. I hear stories of people who ended up, you know, reading a comic because it was an Eisner nominated comic or one in Eisner. And then they discovered that, you know, that artist or that writer, they liked their work. So they looked at additional stuff that, that may have been produced by those people. So it can be a really great gateway to understanding and really appreciating a really, really very cool art form. Speaker 2: 04:41 Now you mentioned artists, so in this virtual edition, is there also going to be a virtual version of the dealer's room and exhibit hall? There Speaker 3: 04:50 Is. So, uh, one of the things that we'll have again this year is, um, our exhibit hall again, which is great because you'll be able to, you know, shop and, and, uh, contribute to helping those people who've really been affected by COVID. I mean, we all have, uh, but this is a way to, you know, help us support them a bit. We're, we're using a bunch of different platforms. I think last year we used a Tumblr, YouTube, I think discord scenar, but it's an opportunity for people to take part in various aspects of Comicon and on various platforms. Speaker 2: 05:22 That was much fun. As I had doing the virtual panels, I of course missed the in-person event and Comicon we'll be doing something in person in November. So what can people expect or what do you know about what's going to happen in November at this point in time? Speaker 3: 05:38 Now that again, the pandemic has seemed to, you know, be slowing down a bit and, and a lot of the restrictions are lifted. We're, we're going to have an event in November. It'll be over Thanksgiving weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We like to say, you know, spend Thursday with your family and then spend the rest of the weekend with, with your fan family. Uh, it'll be a much smaller event. It's more of an intimate event. I don't want people to confuse, um, the special edition. We're calling it a comic con special edition with the July show, but it'll be an opportunity for us to kind of dip our toes back into the community interaction. I, there are so many friends that I miss seeing in person. I will have the opportunity to do that. There'll be panels and exhibit floor. Some of the things that, uh, you know, our conventions are known for, um, I expect that, uh, it'll be similar to our WonderCon show that we do in Anaheim. So it'll be a smaller show, a more intimate show, but, uh, it, I think it will be a lot of fun. I'm, I'm looking forward to it. Speaker 2: 06:38 And at this point, do you know if you'll be using the whole convention center and satellite hotels as well, or is it still in Speaker 3: 06:47 A lot of planning of that we will be at the convention center. I think, you know, depending upon, um, any number of factors, we'll, we'll be, we'll be determining what it is and how much space we use. You know, when we first, uh, discussed this, we didn't know if there would be a space restrictions, if there would be social distancing, all of those things. So it's, it continues to be kind of a fluid situation. So we don't have specifics. We do know that we'll be at the convention center. We do know that we'll have programming and exhibit four space. Uh, we, you know, we'll be utilizing some of the hotels, at least certainly, uh, for room blocks and whatnot, whether there will be outside meetings and stuff offsite, we really don't know yet. I anticipate that we probably won't. I think most of them, we probably contained within the walls of the convention center, but it's certainly enough that things can change and it could expand. Uh, I think the, uh, what we've learned over the course of, of this whole situation is, you know, be flexible and, uh, that's what we're trying to do. And that was David Glanzer talking with KPBS arts reporter and “Cinema Junkie” podcat host Beth Accamando. Comic-Con returns this Friday through Sunday with a completely virtual show. Speaking of shows….that’s it for this one. Anica is back tomorrow. Have a great day.

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State officials last year ordered the city of Coronado to plan for the construction of a lot more affordable housing. But the city is not on board with that change. Plus: A guilty plea for murder and other charges in connection with a deadly shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway in 2019. And 30,000 students in the Chula Vista Elementary school district return to the classroom today for the first time in 16 months and more of the local news you need.