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Eviction moratorium in place for storm-hit areas

 February 1, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, February first.

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An eviction moratorium is in place for areas impacted by last week’s storm. More on that, next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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Heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected to hit the county today, mid-to-late morning, and again this afternoon… with the potential for lightning.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy says rainfall could reach up to three quarters of an inch an hour.

“It's enough rain to cause flooding, street flooding, urban flooding, small creek flooding and it also will send the San Diego River back up to flood stage Thursday afternoon and Thursday evening.”

The city says workers have cleared or inspected more than four miles of channels in areas that flooded last week around the Chollas Creek watershed.

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County officials are sharing tips on how to stay safe during today’s stormy weather.

Here’s a few, stay home if you can, don’t walk, swim or drive through flood waters; don’t touch any downed power lines or broken gas lines.. and if you see any, report them immediately to the police or fire department.

You can also sign up for emergency alerts at alert san diego dot org.

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The San Diego County Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board has recommended the Sheriff's Department conduct body scans of all staff entering county jails, to help prevent drug deaths and overdoses.

But the sheriff's department has rejected the proposal twice.

Sheriff's officials say they’ve reduced drugs getting into jails to “almost zero,” through things like searches, investigations, and drug-detecting dogs.

Review board officials say they’ve seen a decrease in the number of in-custody deaths between 20-22 to 20-23.

But that there were still nearly 150 suspected overdoses in county jails last year.

The Review Board will discuss the issue at its meeting on February 13th.

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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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The county Board of Supervisors this week voted 4 to 1 to approve an eviction moratorium. Residential evictions without “just cause” will be banned, and there will also be a delay in some residential rent increases.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the eviction moratorium will last 60 days and apply to eleven ZIP codes, including, Logan Heights, Spring Valley, National City, Rolando, North Park and Kearney Mesa.

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During last week’s deluge, many people suffered extensive damage to their homes, apartments and vehicles.

Reporter John Carroll tells us what may be in store for those who now have no way to get around.

More than a week later, and the scene is still one of devastation in the Southcrest neighborhood, next to Chollas Creek.  But now, most, if not all of the damaged vehicles have been towed away.  Some of those vehicles are beyond repair.  But some are fixable.  The Insurance Information Institute’s Janet Ruiz says it’s important to have an expert check the vehicle out. “It’s important to take it to a reputable repair place and ask them to check it out.  Are there repairs that can be made to fix it?” Ruiz says if you carry comprehensive coverage, your insurance company should pay to fix the vehicle if that’s possible, or pay you what it’s worth if it’s not.  But, if you only carry liability, you may want to file a claim with the city or the county for assistance.  JC, KPBS News.

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Last year, the Biden Administration introduced a mobile app called C-B-P One, that’s aimed at helping asylum seekers.

But the initial version was riddled with errors.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis checked back a year later to see what has changed.

Every day about 400 migrants line up on the Tijuana side of the San Ysidro border crossing. Bags are packed. Passports in hand. Hopes are high. They’ve all secured appointments to enter the U.S. through the CBP One app. The excitement here is palpable. Some of these people waited 6 months for the appointment. For them, this is literally a dream come true. Lisette Moreno Asylum Seeker “Llegar aquí es como un sueño. No pensábamos que se hiba ser realidad.” That’s how Lisette Moreno feels. She fled Cuba with her 12-year-old son because of political persecution. They waited four months for their CBP One appointment. All so her son can live in a free country. “Quiero que mi hijo crezca en un país libre de pensamiento político.” People from Cuba are especially vulnerable, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. The researchers found that Cubans who criticize their government risk criminal prosecution. – without due process protections like a fair trial or public hearings in an independent court. In Tijuana, more than one hundred thousand migrants have used CBP One to enter the U.S. since the Biden Administration began using the app in January 2023. It is the federal government’s preferred – and sometimes only – method for asylum seekers to enter the country legally. Experts like Dara Lind, from the American Immigration Council, say the app has become a focal point of the asylum system. Dara Lind American Immigration Council “In general, what we think of as the standard process for asylum where you come into the U.S., you are allowed to pursue a court case if you can demonstrate a credible fear of persecution in your home country, the only way to do that right now – the only way to guarantee it – is to use this CBP One app.” The app was controversial from the start. Immigrant advocates said it exacerbated existing inequalities in the asylum system. Many called it the Ticketmaster of asylum – because migrants all had to log in at the same time to secure a very limited number of appointments. That meant that people with the best internet connection got most of the appointments. Another major problem was the app’s photo feature. Migrants have to submit a picture of themselves to secure appointments. But CBP One struggled to capture images of migrants with dark skin tones. Those issues have been addressed. It is no longer first come, first serve. People sign up throughout the day and enter a lottery. “I think the U.S. government deserves a lot of credit for listening to the initial wave of reports and acting pretty quickly to address them. The photo facial recognition issues regarding darker skinned enrollees in particular we stopped hearing reports that that was a problem after a month of two.” While the app has improved significantly, migrants are still forced to wait months to secure appointments. “Of course, the underlying concerns about how do you support yourself for an indefinite amount of time in Mexico that’s going to fall harder on people who have less money.” Officials in Tijuana say the phone app brought order to the asylum process. Before CBP One, thousands of migrants would sleep outside by border crossing just waiting for a chance to cross. Enrique Lucero is head of Tijuana’s Migrant Services Department. Enrique Lucero Tijuana Migrant Services Department “Esa fila virtual que está en el CBP la tendrías físicamente en la garita. Y tambien tendriamos gente esperando horas, días y meses ahi.” CBP One creates a virtual line. Without it, you’d have people sleeping outside for weeks and months. Lucero says it takes an average of 4 to 5 months for migrants in Tijuana to secure a One appointment. Desperate migrants who cannot wait that long are choosing to cross the border illegally. “Entonces si, claro, contribuye la large espera a la desesperacion de los migrantes.” The long waits are making migrants more desperate. And Mexican migrants tend to be the most desperate. That’s certainly the case of Ricardo Martinez – an asylum seeker from the Mexican state of Michoacan. The U.S. Department of State currently has a Level 4 – Do Not Travel – advisory there. It is the highest advisory level. Just last month, 11 villagers were gunned down by a local gang for failing to pay extortion fees. Martinez left behind a home, several plots of land, and his own business … was a car mechanic with his own garage. “A pedir quota y si no pagas te empiezan a intimitar que te van a matar. Amenasar.” He says local gangs extort everybody. And threaten to kill anyone who doesn’t pay. “Y no namas a uno. Si no se llevan con toda la familia.” And it’s not just him. The gangs threaten his entire family. It took six months for Martinez to get a CBP One appointment. He has mixed feelings about traveling to the U.S. He’s obviously happy to be safe. But misses everything he left behind. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

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More than a hundred Chula Vista High students are asking the Sweetwater School district to protect their arts program.

They rallied outside the district offices earlier this week.

Reporter Kori Suzuki has more.

The talent of Chula Vista High School’s band was on full display Monday evening. But this wasn’t a concert or sports game. The band was in a parking lot outside the Sweetwater School District building. there with hundreds of students, teachers and parents to rally support for Chula Vista High’s legendary arts program. Marriane Agonos  I play the flute, the piccolo I used to play, I used to be in jazz band playing on bass and piano. Chula Vista senior and band president Marriane Agonos. It's really special because it taught me how to be responsible with everything. It taught me to be the best version of myself. Agonos and others say recent decisions by the district may be putting the future of the arts program in jeopardy. Including leaving schools to cover salary increases for certain types of teachers. And rumored changes to the school schedule. We're in danger of cutting seven of our 14 or 15 teachers in the creative and performing arts, which is what brings 400 students to transfer to our school. Maria Galleher teaches at Chula Vista High. Our kids deserve the same opportunities as other students who are getting the benefit of the eight period schedule and the funding for the teachers that go with that schedule. The district declined an interview request. In a statement, they said Chula Vista High’s schedule is, quote, under administrative consideration. Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.

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The James Beard Awards announced this year’s semifinalists for their esteemed culinary awards, and only one San Diego-area chef was among the nominees.

Tara Monsod... executive chef at Animae in downtown San Diego was selected a semifinalist for best chef in the state.

Monsod said she’s loved food since childhood… and instead of watching cartoons as a kid, she would watch the Food Network.

She said she’s honored to now be one of the semifinalists for the James Beard Award.

“It’s a great thing for San Diego. I don’t think San Diego gets enough love in the culinary world and I think just to represent San Diego and my team, I know it says my name on it, but I look at it as a team win, and I think it’s something really really great for us.”

She said she thinks San Diego’s food scene will soon get more popular, thanks to tourism and local restaurants and chefs being noticed more.

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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. In tomorrow’s podcast episode, we’ll fill you in on how to make the most of Museum Month. And of course the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening, and stay safe during the storm!

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors this week voted 4-1 to approve an eviction moratorium in 11 zip codes. In those areas, residential evictions without “just cause” will be banned, and there will also be a delay in some residential rent increases. In other news, last year, the Biden Administration introduced a mobile app called CBP One, that’s aimed at helping asylum seekers. We check back a year later to see what has changed with the app. Plus, the James Beard Awards announced this year’s semifinalists for their esteemed culinary awards, and only one San Diego-area chef was among the nominees.