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County transportation plan won’t meet climate goals

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday October 22nd

Missing the climate goal mark.
More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

For two months, the median price of a home in San Diego has trended downwards. That trend has come to an end. The latest data from corelogic/dqnews shows the median home price rose to 740-thousand dollars after falling in July and august.

USD economics professor Alan Gin says the reason is simple - supply and demand.

“there’s been more supply of houses on the market, more houses were made available. and so when supply increases, then that puts a little bit of downward pressure in terms of prices.”

Gin says he expects prices will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. He says that could be a problem for the local economy if companies aren’t able to pay the kind of salaries that high quality workers would need to be able to afford to live here.

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The Newsom administration took a step on [Thursday] towards banning new oil and gas wells near homes, schools, and health care facilities. The state Department of Conservation is proposing a regulation that would prohibit the digging of new wells within 32-hundred feet of those so-called exclusion areas.

Here’s Governor Newsom.

if you want to understand the magnitude of this — This rule making impacts roughly 30 percent of oil operations in the state of California

Environmental advocates applauded the announcement, but said more needs to be done and soon.

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On Thursday at around 10am, we had The annual “great shakeout” earthquake drill. Since 2008, the shakeout has reminded us how to react to an earthquake. People can download the free myshake app to receive warnings on their cell phones as soon as seismic waves are detected in their area.

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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.

San Diego is going to fall short of its ambitious climate goals, according to a report released on Thursday.

KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says success hinges on getting people out of cars.

AB: The county's planning agency, SANDAG, is months away from adopting a new regional transportation plan that aims to invest heavily in a network of new and improved bus and rail lines. But that plan will only get San Diego about halfway to its goal of slashing automobile commute trips in half by 2035. That's the conclusion of Thursday's report from the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign. Noah Harris is the group's transportation policy advocate.

NOAH HARRIS

CLIMATE ACTION CAMPAIGN

NH: Unless the city and SANDAG work together to expand upon the proposed network in the regional plan, we're not going to achieve our climate goals for the transportation sector.

AB: Cars and trucks are San Diego's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing car trips with biking, walking and public transit is central to the city's Climate Action Plan. Harris says city leaders will have to double down on strategies to reengineer San Diego's suburban-style, car dependent neighborhoods to be denser and more walkable.

NH: We really want this report to serve as a reality check for local elected officials that SANDAG is taking a great first step towards a more sustainable, a more equitable transportation future, but there's more work that needs to be done.

AB: The report was based on modeling from SANDAG. That agency's board of directors is expected to adopt its new regional transportation plan in December. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.

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A new report by the Bulosan [boo-low-sahn] center for filipino studies says the mental health of filipino-americans has suffered during the pandemic. And filipino-americans make up a large number of the state’s nurses and front line workers.

KPBS' Kitty Alvarado reports.

ED NAVAL FROM SAN DIEGO HAS BEEN A NURSE FOR YEARS 13 YEARS , SIX IN THE ICU … HE’S A PROUD FILIPINO AMERICAN… WHO COMES FROM A LONG LINE OF HEALTHCARE WORKERS

BUT DURING THE PANDEMIC, HIS PASSION TO SERVE OTHERS MEANT BEING EXPOSED AND POSSIBLY EXPOSING HIS FAMILY TO A VIRUS THAT COULD KILL

We were scared, I was scared I literally told my family, ‘you know what I might not be able to come back healthy ...

NAVAL SAYS FAITH AND FAMILY HAVE HELPED HIM COPE. VHE HOPES THE REPORT FROM THE BULOSAN CENTER FOR FILIPINO STUDIES LEADS TO MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES THAT ARE CULTURALLY RELEVANT FOR FILIPINO AMERICANS WHO ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY RISKING THEIR LIVES FOR A LIVING …

It took its toll and that’s part of the reason a lot of nurses did suffer from general anxiety and PTSD so the biggest challenge is what are we going to do about it

KITTY ALVARADO KPBS NEWS

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A Chula Vista man accused of killing his wife was arraigned in court on (thursday).

Larry Millete was charged with first-degree murder in the death of maya millete.

She has been missing for more than nine months.

KPBS’s Alexander Nguyen has more.

“At this time we would like to enter a plea of not guilty”

Larry Millete was stoic in the courtroom Thursday as his attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Prosecutors alleged he killed his wife .... Maya Millete … on or around January 7. She was reported missing two days later. Her body has not been found.

Larry Millete faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

He remains in custody without bail until his bail reviewing hearing November 4.

AN/KPBS

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The far-right group Defend East County burst onto the local scene last spring in response to racial justice protests. KPBS’s Amita Sharma says now the group is trying to be a player in San Diego politics, despite being associated with racist ideology and conspiracy theories.

The genesis of Defend East County is this….

It launched in the late spring of 2020 after a band of mostly White men pledged to protect La Mesa businesses from Black Lives Matter protesters. Soon, the group, known as DEC, morphed into this

And then the group’s founder Justin Haskins live streamed from the January 6th insurrection. At one point that day, he called it our constitutional duty to overthrow a tyrannical government.

“Yes, I was at the Capitol on January 6th. No, I did not take part in it. No, I do not agree with it. And I'd rather just move on from that.”

But the 37-year-old construction manager still doesn’t believe President Joe Biden was legitimately elected. And he believes false Q-Anon theories.

”....If you're asking me if I believe that there is a group of elitists in Washington, D.C. and in Hollywood that run a pedophile ring. Absolutely. “

At least one DEC member has openly discussed violence against Black people. Federal prosecutors say San Diegan Grey Zamudio bragged in a text about pulling his Glock on a Black person, he called the n-word” and smashing on some BLM. Zamudio is serving a two-year sentence in federal prison for firearms violations.

Local Black activist Tasha Williamson says some DEC members have made racially-tinged, violent threats against her and her son.

“They put this out on social media and people are calling for my lynching.”

And then there is this undated video on Twitter of Haskins

“What plantation were you on?”

Haskins claims the comments were taken out of context, but wouldn’t elaborate.

Despite all this, DEC has proven to be relevant in mainstream San Diego County politics. At one point in 2020, DEC boasted a Facebook following of more than 20,000 members. The platform eventually suspended the group due to violent racist rhetoric on its page. But by then, both Republican Darrell Issa and Democrat Amar Campa Najjar had sought DEC’s endorsement in the race for the 50th District Congressional seat.

Brian Levin is director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

”....These social media platforms like Facebook have enabled people who would just be banging the kettle on the corner somewhere to use the power of symbols, names and videos to create fear and anecdotes and identify villains….”

Haskins insists DEC’s main purpose is simply to promote traditional conservative values.

“We want to protect the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion. We want to protect the Second Amendment. You `know, we want to keep the government out of our homes with the Fourth Amendment.”

And that DEC wants to get like-minded people elected.

”....Every local candidate that we supported won.”

He says they include Santee Mayor John Minto, Santee Councilmembers Dustin Trotter and Laura Koval, and Cajon Valley Union School District Trustee Jim Miller.

KPBS reached out to them and other G-O-P leaders such as Paula Whitsell, chairwoman of the Republican Party of San Diego County. They either declined comment or didn’t return calls.

Mesa College Political Science Professor Carl Luna believes their silence is an acknowledgement that DEC’s radicalism has gone mainstream within the party. He calls the strategy dangerous.

“You call out your crazies and you don't bring them into the coalition.”

As local Republicans avoid addressing DEC, a more militant offshoot of the group has materialized. It is called the Exiled Patriots and led by another local resident Mike Forzano, who did not respond to interview requests. Haskins says he condemns the Exiled Patriots because of their violent rhetoric.

“That is literally everything I have tried to avoid and make sure that we have never gone down that path, never will go down that path.“

Even so, Luna says January 6 shows DEC is a gateway group to that path.

Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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Coming up.... A Poway man wants his community to call him if you find a rattle snake on your property. And no, he won’t kill it.

“I don't want to take its life just because of what it is. I mean, it's here for a purpose, that he has a right to be here, has a right to live.”

But relocating live rattlesnakes is a bit more complicated than simply moving it. We’ll have more on it next, just after the break.

If you came face to face with a rattlesnake on your property, what would you do? Who would you call? A Poway man wants his community to call him if or when they find a rattlesnake on their property. But as KPBS’s Maya Trabulsi found out, relocating live rattlesnakes is not quite as simple, or legal, as some might think.

NAT: “You know part of the perks I like about being a handyman is that you work in different locations every day. You meet people all day long.”

VO: Painting, drywall, carpentry. Poway handyman Patrick Brady does it all.

NAT: *Phone rings*,

VO: But he is also known as someone else.

PAT: “Morning, this is Pat.”

VO: To the residents in his community, he is Trapper Pat. And they’ve been relying on him to do what most people would not. Catch rattlesnakes.

NAT: (walking up to home) “How ya doing?”

VO: He answers the calls day or night, and prides himself on being where he is needed in a matter of minutes. All free of charge.

PAT: Everybody seemed to have the word trapper Pat on the tip of their tongues all the time. And I would go places in the trapper Pat, your trapper Pat.

NAT: “It’s a pretty good sized one, too.”

NAT: “There he is.”

NAT: (rattles in bucket) ”Did you want to check for some more?”

PAT: “You know, I have to tell myself all the time. Is today the day you're going to get bit. No, I'm not getting bit today.”

VO: But Brady doesn’t believe rattlesnakes should be killed. Preferring to relocate them nearby.

PAT: “Haven't killed one yet.”

PAT: “I don't want to take its life just because of what it is. I mean, it's here for a purpose, that he has a right to be here, has a right to live.”

VO: Stories of his brave endeavours echoed their way up to state government. In a letter, assemblymember Brian Mainschien, thanked him for his work. Ironically, Brady used the official envelope to write down the address to his next emergency snake call.

VO: From the beginning of the year, Brady noticed something interesting. Every snake call resulted in the removal of the Northern Pacific rattlesnake, and only babies. He called the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to share his data. A lieutenant called him back and that, he says, is when everything changed.

PAT: “He said, Mr. Brady, you need to cease and stop what you're doing right now because you're not qualified to be doing what you're doing and, you know, there's rules and regulations. You're breaking laws in California and codes.”

VO: Fearing legal trouble, Brady stopped posting his stories on Nextdoor and social media. He took down his website and asked the community not to draw attention to him.

PAT: “And I felt bad because I felt like I was letting the public down.”

PAT: “So there's a lot of things going on that suddenly came to a halt on that because I wasn't sure what to do.”

VO: So, what are the laws when it comes to rattlesnakes? To begin with, it is perfectly legal to kill any rattlesnake found on your property.

FOY: “No license, no permit, no authorization, nothing. That's just their right as a property owner.”

VO: Captain Patrick Foy from the Department of Fish and Wildlife says when it comes to moving snakes in order to let them go, the law gets a little gray.

FOY: “They never really accounted for the person who might think I don't want to kill the rattlesnake. I want to remove it and take it someplace else and let it go.

So that was never really clearly made apparent in the regulation in the legislation. So now here we are today. Now we're having a different conversation.”

VO: California Fish and Game Code stipulates you can “take” up to two live rattlesnakes per day, with no license required. In order to release any captured snakes you need to have the department's written approval. (Not a necessarily swift and easy process.) This ensures the wellbeing of the snake and the local wildlife. In some cases, this means applying for a scientific collection permit.

FOY: “If I could have rewritten that law, I probably would have tweaked it a little bit to make some changes to accommodate that type of request.”

VO: (Foy says there is current discussion on changing the regulation because of the ambiguity of the law.) Captain Foy says there is something else to consider.

FOY: “I would not call an unlicensed, unbonded, uninsured person to my house to remove a rattlesnake, because if that person gets bit, you're going to own it.

Our recommendation is to go ahead and hire a permitted licensed bonded wildlife trapping type of a company.”

VO: But the options are few and almost always mean destroying the snake. Some pest control companies charge hundreds of dollars to answer snake calls. Unaffordable for many.

FOY: “They do charge high fees, but they are paying for that insurance. They are paying for that training.”

GANLEY: “Out of sight out of mind for some people.”

VO: Chief William Ganley says the San Diego Humane Society answered almost a thousand rattlesnake calls in the past 6 months - spread over 13 cities. Their team is trained to catch and release nearby.

GANLEY: “We prioritize rattlesnake calls as a priority one for us. So it goes to the top of our triage, and we respond within half an hour if they're a threat to humans by their location.”

VO: Considering the volume of rattlesnake calls in the county, he considers Brady to be an ally.

GANLEY: “I've never met Pat, but I've only heard good things about him.” GANLEY: “I believe he's an advocate of humanely handling and releasing the snake. So that's such a good thing in our book”.

GANLEY: “I think that every law should be reviewed periodically to make changes that are more reflective of what's happening out in the county or the state. So I wasn't aware of that with Trapper Pat, and I hope that he's able to obtain the proper training to be able to continue to do what he does in the community.

VO: Pat Brady’s case has sparked internal discussion within the Department of Fish and Wildlife, as they try to interpret the regulation. They told KPBS, with a special permit, there could be a path for him to continue, which might include working closely with them to find suitable places for release.

VO: For Brady and the residents of snake country, how easy that path is still remains to be seen.

PAT: “My small little contribution in life in this little corner of the world that goes on”

VO: Maya Trabulsi, KPBS News.

That report from KPBS’ Maya Trabulsi. The Department of Fish and Wildlife also told KPBS, because of this story it is considering implementing changes in California code to make it easier for those who wish to relocate rattlesnakes. We are told that process could take about a year.

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 wonderful weekend.

Big investments in new and improved public transit services are in the latest SANDAG transportation plan. But those likely still won't be enough to achieve San Diego's climate targets of shifting commuters away from using cars. Meanwhile, a far-right group called Defend East County is trying to go mainstream in San Diego’s local politics. And, one Poway man wants you to call him if you find a rattlesnake on your property, but relocating a live rattlesnake is not as easy, or legal, as you may think.