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Debt ceiling debate continues

 May 31, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, May 31st.


A deal to raise the debt ceiling is still up in the air. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


San Diego ranks among the coolest in the nation, when it comes to housing markets. The area had one of the biggest year-to-year declines in home prices among major metro areas. The findings come from the Case-Shiller index, a real estate industry tracker. The latest numbers for March show home values dropped 5-point-3 percent locally, lowering the average price of a single-family home to 880-thousand dollars.

Only San Francisco and Seattle had larger declines over the same period. Miami is the hottest of the 20 markets measured, with a year-to-year gain of nearly 8-percent.


A 32-year-old woman died in the Santee jail this week.

Roselee Bartolacci was found unresponsive in her cell on Sunday.

Officials said she had been in custody since early April on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating her death.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s website says Bartolacci’s death will be the sixth in-custody death this year.


The final day of May will bring a mix of clouds and maybe a few showers. The National Weather Service is forecasting a 20-percent chance of rain by mid-morning before the sun comes out.Local highs will be in the mid 60s.Breezy conditions are sticking around with 20 mile per hour gusts. Patchy drizzle is also in the forecast overnight.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling still hangs in the balance.

Over the weekend, president Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy reached a compromise agreement … but that doesn’t mean the measure will pass congressional muster. That has one local food bank concerned about the ripple effects.

Reporter Kitty Alvarado has details.

The nation could still default on its debt …  And that’s something Robert Kamensky of Feeding San Diego is worried about … He says while the support they get from the government is minimal, this will trickle down to people on the edge   …   inflation has doubled some of their costs and has more people reaching out for food assistance  It started in the mid 80,000 household range in January. And last month we were at 94,000 He says big donors are reluctant to give as much during uncertain times so their donations  overall are down 25 percent But it’s donations that are priceless,that give him hope they will always have enough an unsheltered homeless individual …  generously gave what little he had, which was a $10 bill to say there are people who are worse off than me Kitty Alvarado KPBS NEws. 


One of the key elements of the debt limit negotiations is military spending, and whether any cuts would come from that slice of the federal budget. Some of that money is spent in the form of contracts to huge companies like Boeing, Raytheon and Northrup Grumman – all of which have a presence in San Diego.

But the military wants to get more small businesses in that mix, too - a goal that can be challenging both for the pentagon and the businesses themselves.

Eric Schmid reports for the American Homefront Project.

let’s start off with why the defense department wants to work with more small businesses. military leaders cast it as a national security threat and say without them, the dod risks withering supply chains and losing out on innovation. smaller companies have a key advantage compared to the bigger contractors the military has established relationships with. act 1 salinas “the biggest one is risk. they can take bigger risks, they can try different things.” col. martin salinas is the chief operating officer at afwerx, the air force’s innovation arm. he says it’s more likely that a small company will develop an entirely new solution for the challenges the military faces. with afwerx, salinas seeks those firms and works to bring them into the air force’s fold through things like the small business innovation research program. act 2 salinas “if we are funding that small american company, ideally our adversaries are not.” salinas says afwerx manages more than a billion dollars a year in these kinds of contracts. but the process for companies who want to tap this pool of cash can be daunting and cumbersome.patrick hitchins is the ceo of austin-based fitrankings, and first approached the military in 2018 about them using his company's technology around tracking data from wearable fitness devices. he says his proposal was well-received, but that didn’t make securing a contract any easier. act 3 hitchins “the systems in the military, the policies and the technology itself is the most frustrating… and the bureaucracy. and that started right away.” hithcins says it took months to register his company with the government, and his first application was denied. he says it’s gotten a lot easier since he first started, but there is still a challenge in overcoming how the military has traditionally handled working with outside proposals. act 4 hitchins “if you have a great idea and you want to work with the dod, if they don’t have a requirement for what you have, typically you can not work with the government.”companies can propose their own solutions to a problem the military hasn’t explicitly identified. hithcins says this so-called open topic route is the reason he was able to secure a military contract. for others going this route, it’s not clear what the military looks for in these proposals. ashish patel is a principal at dronedomo… also based in austin, which provides storage and charging for drones that’s autonomous. act 5 patel “there’s not much room for creativity to get the larger vision of the product across… you just don’t know who’s reading the applications on the other side, you’re unsure of ‘is this the right way to frame it?’” patel says he’s noticed how others who’ve won contracts have a stronger network within the branch they want to work with. it’s true for craig brooks, the president of… apes inc.… which develops ways to determine how long fleets of aircraft will last. ambi of inside the shop… inside a small shop in st. louis, he points out the hydraulic press simulating the repeated stresses a part on a military plane endures. ambi 6 brooks “the most damaging are the tension cycles.”-before he started his company in the 1990s, brooks spent decades consulting around the industry, and has worked with some of the bigger military contractors like boeing and mcdonald douglas. act 7 brooks“a lot of our… i guess i’d call it success has come from the fact that we know some of these people out there. or over the years they’ve seen or heard of our work.” still, brooks says it’s not easy because there’s so much turnover among the military ranks. act 8 brooks “you’re having to re-introduce yourself every few years, you have to re-educate them. they are in a constant motion.” in recent years the number of small businesses winning contracts from the dod has grown. military leaders say it helps with leveraging all the country’s assets to keep pace with its adversaries. i’m eric schmid in st. louis.

TAG: That story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans.


Coming up.... Two school teachers in Escondido are suing their district over its pronoun policy. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


Carlsbad High School students walked out of class yesterday to protest what they say is a lack of support for the L-G-B-T-Q community…

North County reporter Tania Thorne has the story.

The students were protesting recent actions by their vice principal… and the Carlsbad Unified School District. Earlier this month, Vice Principal Ethan Williams spoke at Mission Church in Carlsbad… and urged the audience to attend meetings about the district’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging plan. He encouraged the church audience to call for no sexual identity or gender ideology curriculum, groups, or celebrations on public school campuses. Ash Bering is a Junior at Carlsbad High School. I do not feel safe at my school. Not only because of VP Williams but because of all the other students and the harassment that I face on the daily. What has that been like? The constant slurs, mocking. I’ve been handed a piece of paper that say ‘Free VP Williams, freedoms of speech.’ He does have freedom of speech just not as VP Williams. Bering says the second hit to the LGBTQ community was when the Carlsbad school board decided to postpone its vote on raising the Pride flag. TT KPBS News. 


Some school districts are facing First Amendment challenges to their inclusion and protection policies for L-G-B-T-Q-plus students.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen looks into the issue at one school district.

Two teachers at Escondido Union School District are suing over the district’s policy requiring teachers to refer to students by their preferred pronouns and not disclosing students' gender identities to parents without their permission. The teachers claim this violates their religious freedom and free speech rights. David Loy with the First Amendment Coalition says that may not be the case here. “That is most likely going to be considered speech pursuant to official duties for which public employees do not have constitutional protection. They must follow the directions of their employer to do their job as the employer has instructed them.” Loy says there could be professional consequences for those teachers if they choose to violate the policy. As for the religious freedom aspect … the court has allowed for some religious exemptions within reason but that is not as clear cut. AN/KPBS.


San Diego Wave F-C are back at Snapdragon Stadium tonight. The team will host Seattle’s O-L Reign.

First-kick is scheduled for 7.Tonight’s match is part of the in-season Challenge Cup tournament, with first place in the division up for grabs. Paramount-Plus will carry the livestream.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us tomorrow for your daily local news, plus, hear about mental health programs helping youth through difficult times. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

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The U.S. government still faces economic peril as the debt ceiling debate remains unresolved. In other news, Carlsbad High School students walked out of class Tuesday to protest what they say is a lack of support for the LGBTQ community. Plus, some school districts are facing First Amendment challenges to their inclusion and protection policies for LGBTQ-plus students at school.