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Higher home insurance rates

 March 15, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, March 15th.>>>>State Farm is raising its rates for home insurance by 20 percent. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

A San Diego federal judge approved a settlement yesterday (THURSDAY) to address prolonged delays in immigration court cases.

This comes after a 20-17 lawsuit argued immigration detainees often spend weeks or months in custody before their first appearance in court.

The settlement now requires a series of protocols for detainees. These include the opportunity to appear before a judge within 11 days of entering ICE custody.

And, the settlement requires the border patrol to process detainees who reside in the U.S. within three days.

Plaintiff Jose Cancino Castellar spent over a month at the ICE detention center in Otay Mesa while awaiting his court appearance, despite being allowed to live in the U.S. because of DACA.


The M-T-S board of directors yesterday (Thursday) approved a 243 million dollar capital improvement budget.

It’s the largest in the agency’s history.

The biggest chunk of the budget will go towards maintaining M-T-S’s bus and rail system.

It will also fund 64 projects including rail infrastructure improvements, buying new electric and natural gas powered buses and installing charging infrastructure for the buses.


Ben Evans is the county’s new spelling bee champ.

He’s an eighth grader at Twin Peaks Middle School in Poway.

Evans was one of the more than 80 students who competed in the 2024 San Diego County Scripps Regional Spelling Bee yesterday (THURSDAY).

He’ll represent the county at the National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. in late May.


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





California’s largest insurance carrier is raising homeowner insurance rates. Reporter John Carroll has more on that, and the efforts underway to stabilize the insurance market in the state.


INSURANCE S/S                        1:13                       SOQ

State Farm has the greenlight to raise rates it charges California homeowners by 20-percent.  That’s only possible because the hike was approved by California’s Insurance Commissioner. Jill Epstein is the CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California.  She says she understands the position State Farm and other insurers here are in.

“We have a regulatory environment that has not modernized with time. //CUT TO 1:33//  It’s going to take some time to undo the situation we’re in right now.”

Michael Soller with the California Department of Insurance says they’re working on the problem… introducing a new regulation designed to make sure insurance companies continue to do business in the state.  Several have left or are no longer writing new policies.

“To restore options for people to improve availability of insurance, and that’s really gonna help to drive down the cost of insurance because right now we have areas where people cannot even get an insurance company to call them back.”

But updating the state’s antiquated regulatory system will take time.  In the meantime, homeowners here and across the state need to buckle up for more expensive rates to come… if they can get a policy at all.  JC, KPBS News.


The C-D-C estimates that about 7 percent of American adults have long covid, which can afflict people for years. This week, Scripps Research Institute announced they were kicking off a study aimed at helping them. Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge tells us more.

TRACKERCOVID 1  1:08   …soq. 

The Long Covid Wearable Study will ultimately include 500 participants who have long Covid. They’re still being recruited. Julia Moore Vogel, the director of programs at Scripps Research, says each of them will monitor their health every day with a special wristband. 

7:02 “Which takes into account your sleep, your heart rate, your heart variability and your step count, and puts it all together in one metric.”

The goal of the study is to find out if that monitoring can help people with long COVID to pace themselves. There is currently no medical treatment for long COVID. But Moore Vogel says people can better understand how much stress they’re putting on their system.  She says people with long COVID have what she calls an energy bubble.

9:09 The idea is, can we use this guidance to help people stay within their energy bubble. And therefore decrease the symptoms because they’re not going off that cliff, making things much worse. 

She hopes the study shows that proper pacing will allow people to expand that energy bubble and live a better life. Moore Vogel has long COVID herself, and she’s suffered fatigue and frequent headaches for three and a half years. SOQ.


A property in Del Mar, owned by the city of San Diego, is caught up in controversy, and a lawsuit, for events happening on its fields.

Reporter Jacob Aere says some local residents and organizations say Surf Sports Park is being misused, and the issue may end up being settled in court.


**nat pop of fields/lawnmower**

The well-manicured soccer pitches and facilities of Surf Sports Park are surrounded by nature preserves … and high end homes.

But there's trouble in paradise.

SOT 2693

Larry Pollack | Resident near Surf Sports Park

10:59:12 - 10:59:24 (:12)

“Over the course of a year we’ll have 400,000 to 500,000 people coming to this place with traffic congestion, noise problems, pollution.”

Larry Pollack (PALL-ick) lives near the park. He says the fields don't feel like an open, public space anymore … especially since 2016, when Surf Sports took over the site from the San Diego Polo Club.

SOT 2693

SOT 2693

Larry Pollack | Resident near Surf Sports Park

10:58:47 - 10:58:52

“What they've done here is they've decided to make this almost like a west coast headquarters.”

**BUTT TO **

SOT 0741_01

Brian Enge | Surf Sports COO

4:04 - 4:14 (:11)

“We've put about $5 million into the property to transition it from being a horse property into the premier youth sports facility in the country.”

Brian Enge (EN-gee) is COO of Surf Sports, which currently operates the site under a 28-year lease with the City of San Diego. 

The Surf Sports website says they host 35 events in San Diego each year, hosting people from all over the country.

**nat pop of fields in use**

It’s the number of events that’s upset its neighbors… 

And the Fairbanks Polo Club Homeowners Association is suing the city of San Diego because of it. 

Pollack isn't part of that lawsuit, but agrees with what it stands for.

SOT 2694

Larry Pollack | Resident near Surf Sports Park

11:13:36 - 11:13:52 (:16)

“I think the city of San Diego is as accountable – maybe even more – because they understand and have acknowledged what's in the lease. And they are allowing Surf Cup to violate that lease.”

The suit says the violation is in hosting events too often… up to 200 days a year. It says the lease only allows 25 days of events per year.

Enge couldn't provide exact numbers of days of events per year, but said they let other groups use the park too, and talked about the overall impact.

SOT 0741_01

Brian Enge | Surf Sports COO

10:13 - 10:30 (:17)

“We create hotel rooms, jobs, economic impact, by bringing people into the city here. And we help kids chase their dreams. I have a hard time figuring out what's wrong with that.”

Pollack is concerned the park has turned into a major event complex, which falls outside of what the grant deed allows… “non-commercial recreational uses” that don’t involve large gatherings of people or cars. 

SOT Phoner

Maggie Brown | Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley 

8:29 - 8:34 (:04)

“It should be essentially used as a park.”

Maggie Brown is president of the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley, which unsuccessfully sued the city in 20-16 over use of the fields.

Brown says there's sensitive wetland habitat all around the area. 

SOT Phoner

Maggie Brown | Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley

23:45 - 23:58 (:13)

“The wildlife corridors have all been cut off by the fencing that's there. The birds stay away from it, it really is very damaging to the environment.”

She’s concerned about the current and future use of the site… 

SOT Phoner

Maggie Brown | Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley

26:13 - 26:25 (:12)

“The things they have done there represent intensified commercial use, which is specifically not allowed by the grant deed on the land they're on.”

**b-roll soccer, surf cup sports area, documents of land lease**

Enge says the size and intensity of the events have not increased over time … and that they strive to comply with all aspects of their lease.

SOT 0741_01

Brian Enge | Surf Sports COO

8:20 - 8:31 (:11)

“We've had the same number of fields for many, many years. It's the same size of property. You can't fit more teams onto an event in the same time of daylight in the same type of fields.”

**b-roll soccer, surf cup sports area, documents of land lease**

Since 2022 some of those fields are also being used by the San Diego Wave F-C, and the lawsuit says that has added to the problems on site.

Enge says the concerns are coming from a “small, but vocal minority” who want “peace and quiet in their neighborhood.”

SOT 0741_01

Brian Enge | Surf Sports COO

11:16 - 11:24 (:08)

“We don’t start our events too early, we don't make them too late. We let them know when they’re having events. We want to be respectful, good neighbors.”

**b-roll soccer, surf cup sports area, documents of land lease**

The park is in Joe LaCava’s city council district. We reached out to him, the mayor’s office, and the city attorney's office but they all said they could not comment on pending litigation.

The city attorney’s office said a trial date has been scheduled for March 14, 2025. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


Researchers from S-D-S-U and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance are using new technology to study snakes.

Here’s North County reporter Alexander Nguyen.

RATTLESNAKES   TRT    1:17   (soq)

On this bright, sunny day … San Diego State graduate researcher Emma McAndrews … with a snake grabber in hand … is on a mission.

NAT POP “we're going after to locate one of our snakes”

She’s looking for M-43. 

NAT POP “We've been monitoring this male, number 43, for almost a year now.”

The red diamondback rattlesnakes that McAndrews is studying like to hide in rocks and tall grassy areas … and that makes them hard to observe and study in the field.

The red-diamond rattlesnakes are listed as near threatened.

NAT POP “Yep, sounds. So she has a male that we marked last week but we didn’t have an accelerometer with so we’re gonna catch him up, hopefully.”

Jeff Lemm is a conservation program specialist at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Jeff Lemm // San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance conservation program specialist

“They are very important in the food web in general. So they eat a lot of the smaller animals and a lot of larger animals, such as bobcats, coyotes, hawks, birds of prey eat them.”

Accelerometers have been used to track animals in the wild before, but they tend to be bigger and bulkier — not ideal for snakes.

But, the improved technology used by the San Diego researchers is smaller and easier to attach to snakes.

That makes it easier for researchers to know what the snakes are doing … even if they’re hiding in the grass. 



Last night, the 31st annual San Diego Latino Film Festival kicked off its ten-day celebration of latino cinema, arts and culture. Maria Paula Lorgia [pow-la lore-hee-uh] is the festival’s new artistic director. She says it’s exciting to program for a festival that is on the border.

SDLFF 1A  :27

You can walk, and in 20 minutes you're in Latin America, and then you walk, in 20 minutes you're in the United States. And I think it creates a lot of dialogs. There are crews of films that have citizens in both countries. So this makes you reflect a lot on how borders have no sense and how we are all humans and we have to, as programmers or creators or directors, to question all of that political frontiers.

More than 100 shorts and features will be screened as the San Diego Latino Film Festival continues through March 24th at AMC Mission Valley and Digital Gym Cinema.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by Emilyn Mohebbi and edited by Brooke Ruth. Thank you to Erik Anderson, John Carroll and Nic McVicker for helping the podcast team this week. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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State Farm has the green light to raise the rates it charges California homeowners by 20-percent. Then, Surf Sports Park in Del Mar is caught up in controversy, and a lawsuit, for events happening on its fields. Plus, researchers from San Diego State University and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance are using new technology to study snakes.