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High rent burdens for Black San Diegans

 October 27, 2021 at 8:47 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, October 27th.

San Diego’s housing market is worst in the nation for black renters. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

Many recent news reports have focused on nursing shortages and on nurses leaving their jobs. But one physician says doctors are also leaving the profession.

Adam Dougherty is an emergency room physician at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.

With early retirement, with increased overhead costs in the community, with looming Medicare cuts to provider reimbursements, so a lot of similar trends we can see on our side.

Dougherty also says there are organizations that offer free psychological and peer-group counseling to help reduce physician burnout.


San Diego Law enforcement has launched a training program, called the “Help Stop Human Trafficking” Program.

The program is a series of training videos tailored to tourism industry employees. Here’s Harbor Police chief Mark Stainbrook.

“It has to something with that we’re in a tourism triangle between san diego , los angeles, las vegas, and being a border city in a huge tourist hub we see a lot of results of human trafficking here in many different ways.”

Workers who take part in the training will learn how to recognize signs of human trafficking and report suspicious activity.


The San Diego city council tentatively approved the Spaces as Places program on Tuesday. It allows restaurants to keep their outdoor dining areas that were put in during the pandemic. Councilwoman Mari von Wilpert described outdoor dining as [quote] ``one of the silver linings we've seen in what has been the horrible ordeal of the COVID pandemic.''


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

Rising rents and limited affordable housing are difficult for many San Diegans.

But KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim says the housing market is particularly challenging for Black renters.

San Diego is the worst place to be a Black renter in the whole country … according to a new study by Zillow, an online real estate company.

L3: Nancy Wu, Economist, Zillow

“We found that Rent burdened are the highest for black households in San Diego, and black renters in San Diego spend more than half of their income, or fifty three percent of their income on rent.”

That’s Nancy Wu. She’s the Economist at Zillow who led the study.

So...what exactly does it mean to be rent burdened?

It's If a person pays 30 percent or more of their income on rent. So Black people here in San Diego are on average VERY rent burdened.

That means they have a lot less money left for anything else… like saving to buy a home or a medical emergency.

Honestly, it's not surprising.

Gabrielle Hines is a school counselor in San Diego. She’s Black and grew up in the Skyline neighborhood surrounded by friends and family.

She and her family recently moved because they couldn’t afford the rising rents in Southeast. They found a more affordable option in La Mesa, but the rent is still expensive.

I was making 18 an hour, but I recently got my masters and I'm a school counselor now and I'm making 28 an hour. And it's crazy because it doesn't feel like it just because rent is so high.

Staying in Southeast would have meant spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. With the cost of daycare and other bills adding up, it just wasn’t an option for them.

And she says she’s not alone. She says a lot of other people in her once predominantly Black neighborhood of San Diego are also being pushed out.

It almost makes people feel like, you know, they're not good enough to live in the neighborhoods that they came from.

San Diego rents are expensive. And getting increasingly more expensive for renters across all demographics, says Nancy Wu from Zillow.

We've seen that in San Diego, for example, the pandemic has increased the rent burden across households during the pandemic from 2019 to 2021.

Latinos renters in San Diego pay 40% of their income on rent and Asian and White renters both pay more than 30 percent on average.

Still Black renters in San Diego pay the most at 53 percent. That’s about 18 percent more than the national average.

Affordability is the reason why we're seeing the biggest discrepancy in the biggest rent burden for black renters in San Diego.

Wu says these inequities are a reflection of historic racial discrimation combined with low household incomes and rising rents.

She found that Black renters in San Diego made an average of $3493.00 a month in August when the average monthly rent was $1835.00.

In a statement, Mayor Todd Gloria called the study results “ infuriating, but not surprising.”

“That’s why one of the first things I did after being sworn in as mayor was to make equity central to everything we do and every decision we make,” the statement said.

Mayoral spokesman David Rolland says the city has already invested in rental assistance programs and launched several business and youth development programs aimed at San Diego’s communities of color.

But these solutions take time.

And for now, renters like Gabrielle Hines are still paying a lot of their income on rent.

We're pretty stressed. You know, just because we are playing catch up on different parts of our life, you know, it feels like, you know, we're barely making it.

Cristina Kim. KPBS News.


The Wendy's restaurant on Mission gorge road in Santee was extra busy on tuesday. KPBS’ john carroll says an all-day fundraiser brought people from across the community to buy a meal - and to help the families whose homes were destroyed in the Santee plane crash earlier this month.

big lines inside and out at the wendy’s restaurant. people coming to get some food and help maria and phil morris, along with cody and courtney campbell. all four lost their homes when a 2-engine cessna slammed into them on october 11th. all proceeds from tuesday’s sales are being donated to the families. cody campbell says the show of support is overwhelming.

“there’s no words to describe this kind of support. thank you a thousand times doesn’t even come close.”

also today, the ntsb released a preliminary report on the crash. it shows an air traffic controller repeatedly telling the pilot to change course and climb. the larger investigation will determine why he didn’t. jc, kpbs news.


The family of a scripps ranch high school student is suing the san diego unified school district claiming religious discrimination over the covid 19 vaccine mandate …

KPBS’ Kitty Alvarado spoke with their attorney.

the 16-year-old student is only being identified as “jill doe.” she claims san diego unified’s vaccine mandate violates her religious rights, because she believes the vaccines are tainted with aborted fetal tissue.

the vaccines do not contain such tissue, but the family’s attorney paul jonna also points out… religious exemptions are allowed for teachers, and that other exemptions are allowed for students.

if they’re going to offer any exemptions like medical exemptions there’s other groups of people that are not required to take the vaccine right away and then they also have to offer religious exemptions

representatives of san diego unified did not want to comment, stating it’s the district’s policy never to comment on pending litigation. kitty alvarado kpbs news


California’s unemployment agency is implementing reforms after a disastrous response to the challenges of the pandemic.

But at a special legislative hearing the agency said that some problems could take years to fix. CapRadio’s Nicole Nixon reports.

The Employment Development Department is widely seen as one of the state’s biggest failures of the pandemic. It was unprepared for a crush of people who lost work and needed assistance. It also paid out an estimated 20 billion dollars in fraudulent claims.

A pair of state audits from January detailed the problems and recommended fixes. Ten months later, about two-thirds of them have been adopted.

But Bob Harris with the State Auditor’s office told lawmakers there’s still more to do.

HARRIS: If EDD doesn’t continue to follow through on some of the initial positive first steps it’s taken, then it won’t fully realize the benefits for Californians that need its assistance. <<:09>>>

The legislative oversight hearing was originally scheduled for august but delayed multiple times.

EDD director Rita Saenz says many of the agency’s biggest problems are structural — like its decades-old software — and could take years to fix.

SAENZ: It is not the people. It was the systems that EDD was operating under that created the problem.

But lawmakers and the state audit laid much of the blame on Saenz’ predecessor, who retired last year, for poor planning and management.



Coming up.... The San Diego Asian Film Festival is back and in person.
It's a little eerie, which may be appropriate for Halloween.
We have a preview next, just after the break.

The San Diego Asian Film Festival is back in person this week– with 130 films from 20 countries screening at 4 venues.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview of the 22nd Festival.

The pandemic forced us to play it safe by staying at home for the past year and a half. To celebrate the fact that we can can now return to cinemas, San Diego Asian Film Festival is all about taking risks with its programming. Take Terminal USA.

CLIP Hands up who wants to die…

BRIAN HU: It's the kind of movie you'd watch on a dare.

Artistic director Brian Hu is daring audiences to take a chance on this restored print of Jon Mortisugu's 1993 film.

BRIAN HU What it does is it shows that there's a certain kind of stereotype of Asian Americans being this model minority, or at least of being kind of, like, non-offensive. And he really wants to show how one that it's possible that they're not. But then it's also possible that under the surface, even of very normal looking Asian American families, you don't want to look under the hood. And so there's something so gratifying about that.

In the documentary Inside the Red Brick Wall, it’s the filmmakers who are not playing it safe as they document 2019 protests in Hong Kong.

BRIAN HU The filmmakers are amongst the protesters. While this is all happening, no one knows what's going to happen. People are talking about, we may not see each other again, because this may be like Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong but also getting a sense of the courage of these filmmakers to persist because they see these protesters are, too. So they need to be there to document it all. This is historic.

Then Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy takes risks in its narrative structure with a trio of stories about chance.

BRIAN HU It's such a joy to see a director know how to squeeze every ounce of drama from unexpected directions, not in any melodramatic or scandalous way, but in a way that really cuts to the moral stakes or the possibilities of tension on screen that's really masterful.

Master filmmaking is also on display in the newly restored 70s melodrama Execution in Autumn from Lee Hsing.

BRIAN HU He passed away in August. now we really must show this movie in part because I think Taiwan cinema is known for is associated with some of these art films from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. But let's talk about what happened before. And this is also kind of a juicy drama of ethics and family that really stretches our definitions of family.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes stretches a single take into a quirky film about a guy who discovers a two minute delay between a security camera and what he sees on his computer, and this leads to some time travel shenanigans.

BRIAN HU There's something about the single take in a single location now, especially since we've been at home all this time. I think it has a special meaning. And I just love seeing people who make so much out of so little.

Making a lot out of a little is also at the heart of Lumpia, a film that director

Patricio Ginelsa says was inspired by El Mariachi.

PATRICIO GINELSA If that movie was about a Mexican hero that used a guitar as a weapon, what would be the Filipino version? The best thing we could think of was about a Filipino guy who just throws lumpia.

Ginelsa shot the film on an eight millimeter camcorder starting in the 1990s says Hu.

BRIAN HU It became like something of a cult hit amongst Filipino Americans because it spoke directly to their cultural uniqueness. But from the perspective of not necessarily like historical trauma, but from, like, let's have fun with this. Let's go in the theater and celebrate each other through a superhero movie.

Now there’s a crowdfunded sequel called Lumpia with a Vengeance. Both screen at the festival. And Ginelsa has this disclaimer about the movies.

PATRICIO GINELSA We didn't waste any real lumpia in the film. We made sure that any real lumpia was eaten properly. But anytime that it was thrown, it was actually a fake prop.

So check out the buffet of films being served up by San Diego Asian Film Festival and enjoy some cinematic treats.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News

San Diego Asian Film Festival runs Thursday through Nov. 6 at multiple venues.

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 great day.

Black renters are more rent burdened in San Diego than in anywhere else in the country, according to a new study by Zillow. Meanwhile, the family of a Scripps Ranch high school student is suing the San Diego Unified school district for religious discrimination over the covid-19 vaccine mandate. Plus, San Diego’s Asian Film Festival returns as an in-person event.