Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Deportations to Haiti continue despite danger

 April 2, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, April 2nd.>>>>

Humanitarian organizations are urging the Biden administration to stop deportations to Haiti amid civil unrest.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

As of yesterday, the minimum wage for some fast food workers increased to 20 dollars an hour.

For workers like Sergio Valderrama … it means spending more time with family.

Me making four extra dollars on the minimum wage, it's going to mean that I probably have to work less hours, maybe finish around 10:00 or 11:00, instead of three o'clock in the morning like i usually do, and maybe take a day here and there so i can actually spend it with my family or with my kids.

Not all fast-food workers will see a pay increase.

The law increasing the minimum wage only applies to national fast-food chains with 60 or more locations.

It also excludes chains that have bakeries … like Panera … and restaurants within grocery stores.


There’s another twist in the sexual assault lawsuit against former San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

Amita Sharma reports that Fletcher has now filed a complaint accusing his accuser – Grecia Figueroa – of defamation.

Fletcher says Figueroa initiated contact with and pursued him.

And tried to force him to pay her millions of dollars.

He claims that when he refused, she tried to ruin his career with false accusations.

Figueroa called Fletcher's cross complaint an absurd act of intimidation designed to silence her.


The primary health care services contractor for San Diego County jails, NaphCare, failed to pay outside hospitals and other specialty providers.

That’s according to reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

They say it limited the Sheriff Department’s ability to send people in custody for needed treatment.

They also say Naphcare relied on unlicensed staff, ignored requests to repair or replace equipment and failed to fill hundreds of shifts.

The sheriff’s department has ordered Naphcare to fix those issues.


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


More than 400 humanitarian organizations are asking the Biden administration to stop all deportations to Haiti.

Experts told border reporter Gustavo Solis that conditions in the Caribbean nation are too dangerous right now.

Haiti is in chaos as armed groups have taken over the country. And Americans in Haiti are leaving. “People have been unable to really leave their homes. The schools have been closed for a very long time, people are unable to go to the hospital, they are unable to the market. It’s a level of insecurity that we have never seen in Haiti right now.” Guerline Josef is the executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance - a San Diego-based advocacy group. “It’s incredible. It’s unconscionable for deportations to be happening to Haiti.” Josef says the last deportation flight to Haiti was scheduled for February 29 – the last day of Black History Month. “We wanted to deport Black folks to the first Black independent country in the Americas, the one that fight for people to all people and that’s how we chose to close Black History Month.” That flight never took off because armed groups took over the Haitian airport. It remains closed but deportations continue by sea. Including 65 Haitians on March 7. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News


Oceanside and Vista are the next two cities to join the Clean Energy Alliance…

While C-E-A will be the cities’ new energy provider, S-D-G&E will still handle the transmission and billing.

But customers do have some options.

Two options, they can stay with Clean Energy Alliance and have these new renewable energy options or they can go back to SDG&E an investor owned utility and have less renewable energy options.

That was Katie Melendez, the co-chair of C-E-A and deputy mayor for the city of Vista.

She says customers won’t be seeing a big change to their electric bills.

But they can expect to see profits going back into the communities for cleaner energy.


Child care is a huge cost for many families—on average 16-hundred dollars a month for infants in San Diego.

Some families get help through subsidies, but they have to make a very low income to qualify.

As part of the special series “Where’s My Village,” reporter Tania Thorne looks at the subsidy chasm.

It's very hard trying to get food for twins, clothing. People always ask how it deals with twins and tell them it's two babies at once  so it's double the diapers, double everything. Masada Ellis is a father of 4. Just last night, both twins went to potty, and I'm done. So then you got to go and wipe one, go wipe the other. His youngest, Manar and Mihir are 5 years old. They go to a head-start program in San Diego—free childcare for families who qualify. It's helped a lot because we can't afford it right now. Masada’s twins were able to get into the program when they were 2 years old. It helped his family even more after COVID shuttered their event planning business. So when they came to head start. It helped them learn how to adapt to the world and be familiar with people. Families like Masada’s can get funds for childcare—but they have to make a low income to qualify. That leaves many families in a chasm. They make too much to get help, but not enough to actually afford childcare. I would say the system is not ideal. There are many, many legislated hoops that parents have to jump through to be able to access the dollars. Kim McDougal and Courtney Baltiskyy advocate for child care for the San Diego County YMCA. We're seeing more, at least state legislators who are willing to understand what some of those hoops are and at least try to dismantle some of the cumbersome systems that are barriers for families. Just over a third of kids in California met the criteria in 2020. But there’s just one bar for the entire state—which means in expensive places like San Diego, far more families likely need help. They cannot pay for it and they cannot access the subsidy. Advocates have worked to reduce the fees families have to pay, even if they get subsidized care. And make the process of signing up much easier. One of Head Start’s barriers of entry is simply optics: Some families who would qualify for the program just don’t know it exists as an option for them. Masada has seen this first hand. Just last year in I believe February I went to a conference and I was out eating with my spiritual Mom and Dad and they told me our waiter, they see him all the time. And they say, “He’s such a great person.” he talked to me and he told me he had a 2-year-old and I was like, “Wow.” And he was like, “Yeah, but it’s hard out here.” And I told him about Head Start and early education and he had no idea about it. He started crying. And I was so shocked that he was crying because he understood that now he could have help and he didn’t have to worry about working so much. It’s hard for a lot of people out here. It’s very hard for a lot of people out here. In San Diego, families can go to childcaresandiego.COM to check their eligibility for subsidies. The experience with Head Start has been so positive for Masada and his children that he’s now fighting for an expansion of the program. It was just natural to want to give back and see all the families that they help. My kid goes to school and he starts counting, and I'm like, that's not Spanish and it's Tagalog. And I'm like, whoa, you know how to count the ten in Tagalog? Okay, wow. Then he counts the ten in Spanish, and I'm like, okay, that's cool. My kids have friends that are African, they have friends that are Dominican, Puerto Rican, all kinds of Latin, different friends. And they don't know anything. They just know that they speak a different language. And it's so cool that they want to learn it, too. He’s gone as far as Washington with his message. I was in Washington advocating and I text a friend and she said. What are you doing? I said, I'm in Washington advocating for early education. And she said, could you tell Congress that there are people out here who. Are standing abusive relationships because they can't afford to live single out here in San Diego only by themselves or with. A child or two? It's very hard. So my message is, to anyone who’s listening, to always look into early education and to—let’s make this world better for all of us. I felt like I have a voice. And I can use my voice and my platform to be heard and seen by people that need to hear and see other people who can’t be heard.


Coming up....a center in Julian helped an endangered wolf come back from near extinction. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


On Thursday, the California Wolf Center in Julian will send three of their male wolves to Chicago's Brookfield Zoo.

It's part of the captive management program that's helped Mexican gray wolves rebound from near extinction.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge has the story.

There are 23 Mexican Gray wolves that live at the California Wolf Center spread over 50 acres in Julian. It may seem like plenty of room but when males get to be one and a half years old the place gets kinda crowded. Ciera MacIsaac, the wolf care coordinator at the Wolf Center, says males that age get the desire to leave and start their own pack, a process called “dispersal.” “And we have a pack of wolves where they are… it is mom and dad and seven boys. And so these brothers are starting to have a little bit of tension but what is awesome is we are able to have that natural dispersal.” Transporting the wolves this week to the Brookfield Zoo is done to imitate the natural process of dispersal of young males. Mexican Gray Wolves, native to the American Southwest, were down to only 13 in the wild in the late 70s. But the latest census, by US Fish and Wildlife, shows there are at least 257 Mexican Grays in the U.S. The California Wolf Center is part of a program that breeds the wolves and moves captive pups to wilderness dens so they can be raised in the wild.


As part of our Spring arts guide we're introducing you to some of the creative people sharing their art with San Diego.

Artist Tarrah Aroonsakool [tah-ra ah-roon-sa-kool] is one of those people.

She has a new solo exhibit on view at the Athenaeum [ah-thuh-nee-um] art center in Logan Heights.

Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans says it’s an immersive maze that explores assimilation, the American dream and racism.

With the sunlight behind it, Tarrah Aroonsakool's massive, suspended maze glows white and nearly translucent. A closer look reveals all sorts of strange, found objects affixed to the white panels hanging from the ceiling — there's tea bags… there's dried ramen noodles… there's human hair — but from afar it looks ethereal and delicate. "I wanted to build an interactive maze. I think that's something that I've learned since I was in high school is: given a canvas or any space is to take as much of it as possible and create as much with it as possible" The maze takes up plenty of space at the Athenaeum Art Center in Logan Heights. And that crisp, delicate white material? It's mostly toilet seat covers and tissue. The objects woven into and stuck to the maze represent assimilation, particularly for Asian immigrants and their families, and the balance they have to strike between pursuing a fragile, misleading American Dream and hanging onto pieces of home. Aroonsakool wants visitors to experience the unsettling conflict and disorientation of assimilation within the maze. Food is an undeniable part of the immigrant experience, anchoring families to both old and new lands. Food also serves to bring the art to a level that's easier to understand. I think that food is something that everyone can relate to … It's all over the maze. "There's like some Lay's chips here that have like, it's Thai Lays chips, and it's things that we can identify with, but there's a lot of influence of every culture in every culture, I think. Nothing comes from nowhere." Aroonsakool wanted the maze to speak to how susceptible American society is to racism — in her own experience as a first generation Thai-Lao American. "Essentially it's about structural racism and, personally speaking from my experience, is the assimilation of Asian culture into white American society and what that means for each narrative and so each sheet in this maze kind of represents that." As visitors make their way through the maze, they'll see more prominent tufts of hair, and even plastic cockroaches. Aroonsakool wanted to explore how anti-Blackness has historically thrived in Asian American communities. She knew this could mean a ramped-up sense of discomfort. "The hair you see here represents a lot of different things and different cultures, but I definitely think that hair is something that we all try to maintain in some certain way, so that kind of represents an anti-Blackness, too — as something that we always have to check ourselves on"  Tucked away within the maze are some altar-like groupings. There's loose white rice on the floor, with suspended sculptures hanging above them. These groupings were inspired by the formation of rock in caves, and the way minerals are redeposited — and they interrupt the flow of the maze. “Structural racism sort of goes unseen unless you’re confronted with it directly, or affected by it." Aroonsakool shares a North Park studio space with a handful of other artists. There, works in progress hang alongside previous sculptures, like a life-size pig carcass constructed from paper. Her studio is tidy but bursting with creativity and color. When asked how she knows a work is complete, she reflects on the process of making the maze panel-by-panel — 48 giant panels in total. "When it's done, it'll tell me .. Because if I just keep on working on one the whole time, I will never be done with it." Christopher Padilla manages the gallery and curated the exhibition. He said that Aroonsakool's art is both alluring and in-your-face. "It was nice to be able to bring it in here and just blow it up to a scale where you are forced as a viewer to essentially walk through a massive piece." As unsettling as some of the maze is, the beauty in Aroonsakool's work is not unintentional, and it's not beside the point. "I think that a lot of people need things to be sort of picturesque so they could digest it a little bit more. I think my purpose of this installation is so people could be engulfed and feel comfortable enough — like I said, I use household items — so people would be more open-minded to step in" Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS news

You can find more of our spring arts guide at kpbs dot org slash spring arts guide.

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 top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Tuesday.

Ways To Subscribe
Humanitarian organizations – including the Haitian Bridge Alliance in San Diego – are urging the Biden administration to stop all deportations to Haiti, where armed groups have taken over large parts of the country. Then, starting this month, the cities of Oceanside and Vista will be getting their power from the Clean Energy Alliance. Plus, a look at the subsidy chasm for childcare in San Diego.