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County to spend $3 million more to help migrants

 December 7, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, December 7th.

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The county will spend another 3-million-dollars to help migrants and asylum seekers. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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A wind advisory in the county’s mountain and desert areas will go in effect at 10 this morning.

Forecasters say gusts could reach up to 60 miles per hour.

The wind advisory will be in effect until 4 A-M tomorrow.

We’ll also see cooler temps across the county today.

It’ll be in the mid 60s in inland areas, high 40s in the mountains, and in the deserts, temps will be in the high 70s.

By the coast, temperatures will be in the low 60s, where a beach hazard statement is in effect to warn of dangerous swimming and surfing conditions through tonight.

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Businesses that cook and sell food from their home kitchens can continue to do so permanently.

The county Board of Supervisors, this week, voted 4 to zero to approve

an ordinance that will permanently allow micro-enterprise home kitchen

Operations, also known as MEHKOs.

Last year, the board approved a two-year pilot program for MEHKOs that got positive feedback from home-kitchen operators.

They say benefits of the ordinance include increasing access to healthy and affordable food options, and enabling home cooks to generate income.

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The San Diego City Council this week unanimously voted to recommend the city use nearly 10-percent of its annual Transient Occupancy Tax revenue to fund arts and culture.

That’s nearly double the current amount.

The money comes from a tax on hotel stays in the city.

Councilmembers say arts and culture activity is critical to the quality of life for San Diegans and the economy of the city.

It’s also expected to help people in the arts and culture industry stay in San Diego, instead of moving to other cities for better opportunities.

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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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County Supervisors this week (Tuesday) voted to spend another 3-million-dollars to help migrants and asylum seekers.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis says this new round of funding comes after county officials first spent 3-million-dollars on migrants in October.

“Chairwoman Vargas that motion passes with Supervisor Desmond voting no, all other supervisors being present and voting ay.” The 4-1 vote sets aside more federal COVID relief money for people who arrive in San Diego. Most of those migrants only stay in San Diego for a day or two before moving on to their final destination. The funds are managed by the South Bay nonprofit SBCS. County Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer, praised their work. “I also want to say that SBCS and the partners that have been out there, have done an extraordinary job.” However, several nonprofits criticized the way SBCS is managing the money. Community leaders asked the Supervisors to distribute this new round of funding to other organizations. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

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San Diego's affordable housing agency is getting a new C-E-O.

Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the San Diego Housing Commission has been searching for a new leader for almost two years.

AB: The Housing Commission administers the city's homelessness and affordable housing dollars. The nominee to run the agency is current executive vice president Lisa Jones. She's been at the commission for six years, overseeing multiple contracts with nonprofits that provide shelter and assistance for the homeless. She says she'll tell policymakers and the public the truth — even when it's bad news. LJ: And I really look forward to sharing our priorities and our areas of focus as we move forward and try to develop more person-centered solutions to serve families that are facing housing instability. AB: Recent data show more people are becoming newly homeless than are being housed. Jones has to be confirmed by a vote of the City Council. That's scheduled for next Tuesday. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.

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Chula Vista officials on Tuesday openly reprimanded councilmember Andrea Cardenas.

South Bay reporter Kori Suzuki says Cardenas has lost a prominent seat on a regional board.

A month after being charged with fraud and grand theft, Councilmember Cardenas has lost one of her most influential positions. The City Council voted not to reappoint her to SANDAG. That’s the agency that oversees transportation across the county. Here’s Mayor John McCann. “Given the reality of our colleague facing serious criminal charges, I believe it is inappropriate to appoint her to the outside agencies at this time. Maintaining public trust is a critical element for all elected officials. I believe this approach is the appropriate reassertion to assure the public.” The decision to take away the seat was part of a routine vote on the city’s SANDAG appointment – something that happens every year. But there’s also been growing pressure to remove Cardenas – from residents and from the SANDAG board. At their last meeting, several board members said they were worried that the charges against Cardenas would undermine trust in the agency. I certainly respect her right to not resign from the City of Chula Vista Council. Board member and Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz. But service on outside boards is a privilege that is extended by the memb do ers on that council. So it is disappointing that she's here. The City Council voted to give Cardenas’ seat to fellow Democrat, Carolina Chavez. Cardenas was actually present for the vote – the first City Council meeting she’s been to since the criminal charges were announced. And she said she understood the decision. But on the same day, Cardenas also filed to run for reelection next year. Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.

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The Pentagon’s watchdog says that while the military is effectively documenting investigations into extremism in the ranks, the data is incomplete.

Military reporter Andrew Dyer has more.

The Pentagon inspector general says more than a hundred service members were investigated for alleged extremist activity in fiscal year 2023. The finding is part of a series of congressionally mandated reports the military is required to produce in the wake of the Jan. 6 2021 Capitol insurrection. Chapman University sociology professor Pete Simi says tracking and accounting for extremists in the ranks has been an issue for years. “literally decades — knowing this is a problem and still really not having a good sense of how much of a problem is part of the problem.” Simi, who studies political violence, extremist movements and hate crimes, says he’s concerned another Trump presidency would end the Pentagon’s efforts on extremism and further politicize the services. He notes Trump has threatened to use the military domestically. “We could be in for something that it's really hard for us to I think even imagine how threatening the scenario could become very quickly.” The Pentagon acknowledges the challenge it faces compiling this data and the inspector general made 90 recommendations to improve its policies. Andrew Dyer, KPBS News.

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Coming up.... The health care industry is vulnerable to hackers... like this guy, who parked a car across the street from a hospital.

  "And I was able to connect to their Wifi and communicate with a heart monitor on their network from across the street. All because they hadn't configured their Wifi correctly." 

We'll hear more from a man who calls himself an ethical hacker and tries to be a step ahead of the bad guys. That’s coming up, just after the break.

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Cyber attacks are a threat to people and businesses… and good cybersecurity is vital to prevent you from being impersonated online or having your bank account raided.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge spoke with a man who is devoted to staying a step ahead of cyber criminals, and teaching the next generation to do the same.

The Internet is a tough neighborhood and Niko Behar is a hacker. But he calls himself an ethical hacker. In other words, he works for groups that need protection from criminal hackers trying to break into their vaults of valued passwords and data. “A lot of people when they think about hackers they think about people in hoodies. But there’s a movement in the industry that’s trying to change that narrative and show that hackers aren’t necessarily bad.” As a protective hacker Behar says he wants to think like a hacker. When he works for a client he tries to break into their system to spot vulnerabilities. One example. He was able to hack into the system of a  hospital client. “So what I was able to do was park across the street in my rental car with a special antenna. And I was able to connect to their Wifi and communicate with a heart monitor on their network from across the street. All because they didn’t configure their Wifi correctly and it was leaking outside the building.” Another example. He was working for a hedge fund and got into their building after hours. He jumped over a cubicle wall to find two unlocked computers. “So we demonstrated that we would have been able to make a $5 million trade without anybody really noticing because there’s a cubicle that’s supposed to be secure and the wall of the cubicle doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling. And the stuff in the cubicle is not locked or encrypted.” So who are the hackers? Sometimes they work for national governments that want to pose a security threat to the US. Sometimes they’re just looking for money, and that’s why they target people like you, and your personal information. “First name. Last name. Social security. Date of birth. And then you take all that data and you can sell in bulk to the highest bidder.” Christian Dehoyos is a cybersecurity architect for Lenovo who leads San Diego’s chapter of the group OWASP, which hosts cybersecurity training. Whatever a hacker's motivation, there are a lot of them. Dehoyos cites a study that shows that on a global scale we’re four million people short of having enough qualified cybersecurity professionals. That’s despite the fact that the workforce is growing by ten percent every year. “The takeaway is that the defense side is not growing at the pace that the offensive side’s capabilities are growing.” In a classroom at the University of San Diego Niko Behar lectures to students in a class on Cybersecurity, presenting a series of steps to contain and eradicate a cyberattack. Students here tell their own stories of being hacked. Seeing unknown charges placed on their credit cards. Maya Morales, a masters student in cybersecurity engineering, said she had to counsel her grandmother after her online accounts were hacked.  “So I’m like okay, here’s what happened. (laughs) You clicked on something. You answered a call. You put in your bank information. You put in your password on a fake website that you thought was your bank or you thought maybe was Facebook.” Yup. Anyone can be a target. Like I was. “The computer lock is meant to stop illegal activity. Please call our support immediately….” While working on this story, I was using my laptop when a window with a Microsoft Logo appeared, locked my computer and made this announcement over and over. They claimed to be a Microsoft support team, but it was a scam, fishing for personal or workplace data. Behar says so many of the things that underpin our society are run on systems that are, quote, archaic, arcane and are still online, and they can be pretty easy to hack. “So airport. Train station Factory. Anyone of the big industries you’re going to have old systems that are running the show.’ He adds that if you want to be good at stopping hackers, it helps if you’re into it. The kind of person who wants to get together with your buddies and talk about the latest hacks. And if you are like that, cybersecurity almost certainly has got a job waiting for you. SOQ. 

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That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s local news, plus, our KPBS arts editor and producer joins me to talk about upcoming holiday events to check out. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

San Diego County supervisors on Tuesday voted to spend another $3 million to help migrants and asylum seekers. In other news, the San Diego Housing Commission is getting a new CEO, after searching for a new leader for almost two years. Plus, a profile of a local man who calls himself an ethical hacker.