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

Holiday help for San Ysidro

 December 27, 2021 at 9:02 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, December 27th

Border businesses and holiday shopping. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

According to the latest state figures, the number of people hospitalized with covid-19 in San Diego county rose by more than 20, for a total 355. meanwhile ICUs are taking care of a few less people.. County public health officials reported more than 2300 covid-19 cases in the county last Thursday. The county does not update case numbers on holidays or weekends. Meanwhile the county expects the first shipments of two oral antiviral drugs to treat COVID -19 in coming days.


It was a chilly and wet holiday weekend, and while there was some sunshine on Sunday, another storm is expected in the county today. That’s according to the national weather service. The San Diego region saw up to three quarters of an inch of rain in some areas over the weekend–up to an inch of rain in the mountains.. The NWS says temperatures will stay cold, and rain is expected today through Tuesday morning before things start to clear up again.


It’s time to take down that glittering Christmas tree. The city of Coronado is offering christmas tree recycling starting today. Trees can be dropped off into roll-off dumpsters at Glorietta Bay Boat launching ramp parking lots, or the Cays Park Parking lot through January 15th. More information can be found on the city of Coronado's website. In the north county, the city of Carlsbad is partnering with waste management to offer tree recycling. Through january 15th trees can be dropped off at various parks and other sites in the community. More information can be found on waste management's website.


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

Nearly 300 businesses in San Ysidro closed for good since the pandemic began in March 2020. KPBS Border Reporter Gustavo Solis visited one of the lucky ones – a shopkeeper who managed to stay afloat and reunited with old customers during the holiday shopping season.

About 95 percent of the customers who shop at the stores along San Ysidro Boulevard live south of the border.

So when the federal government lifted a non-essential border travel ban in November, shopkeepers began welcoming back customers they hadn’t seen in nearly 2 years.

“It’s like a fresh air you know. Last year was very depressing you can say that. But this year looks like Christmas.

That was Sunil Gakhreja. He owns Sunny Perfumes. Although his sales aren’t back to pre-pandemic levels, he says they’re much better than they were when the bordBOrderer was still closed.

It’s a common trend in San Ysidro. Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce says the holiday shopping season could not have come at a better time.

“It means we get back to living. We’re still not quite at 100 percent of pre-pandemic but we are certainly in a lot better space than we were in October.”


This week we’ll be airing a number of stories on new laws taking effect in California in 2022.First up is a new law mandating California cities provide organic recycling. That means eggshells, fruits and vegetable peels and other food scraps can be dumped in with yard waste to be recycled into compost.

But, as North county multimedia reporter Alexander Nguyen tells us … a majority of cities in San Diego county aren’t ready to provide that service.

When food scraps go into landfills … they produce methane as they decompose. Known as organic waste … it’s 20% of the state’s methane emissions … which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Come January first … a new law mandates cities and counties in California must provide curbside organic recycling.

The idea is that residents can dispose of their food scraps into the green yard waste bins. Those bins will be picked up with the weekly trash service.

But, in San Diego County, most cities are not ready to roll out the service come the new year.

Part of the reason has to do with contracts with the waste haulers for various cities.


A pair of new laws will make it easier to build duplexes and multifamily housing in California. CapRadio’s Ed Fletcher reports.

Duplexes, triplexes, and four-plexes could start popping up in neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family housing thanks to one of the bills.

Lawyer Rafa Sonnenfeld with Yes in My Backyard says it’s a return to a time before single-family zoning was used to exclude minorities.

SONNENFELD: “Duplexes are the gentlest way that we can add much-needed housing in a way that fits in with the existing character of a neighborhood. We already have lots of duplexes and smaller apartment buildings in our historic neighborhoods.” [14.8]

The other bill makes it easier for local government to build multifamily housing by bypassing much of the environmental review.

John Heath with Our Neighborhood Voices called the bills “bad policy” likely to result in unintended consequences. He says institutional investors will exploit loopholes … adding gas to an overheated housing market.

HEATH: “Being able to upzone on that property obviously makes it much more valuable as a commodity for those investors and developers that are seeking to capitalize on, you know, how many units can you squeeze per square foot or per single-family lot.” [14.8]

The laws take effect on January 1, but Our Neighborhood Voices is pursuing a ballot measure that would shift land-use control back to local governments.

Ed Fletcher, CapRadio News


Another new law taking effect in 2022 will require California community colleges to create a policing curriculum.

CapRadio’s Sarah Mizes-Tan has more.

The bill was introduced by Representative Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles.

It would require community colleges to create a policing curriculum and mandate all new officers be at least 21 years old.

Christie Gardner is a professor of criminal justice at CSU Fullerton.

GARDNER: So right now you have some cities that only hire officers with a college degree, those municipalities tend to be more highly resourced. So what this will do is it will more equitably distribute more educated officers across California.

The new curriculum, which would include ethnic studies, is projected to be introduced in 2025, with the first officers graduating in 2027.


Coming up.... Whether or not your home is at risk for wildfire is becoming an increasingly more complicated question to answer due to the effects of climate change. And critics say current state fire maps aren’t just outdated, but outright flawed. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

State maps may soon show even more homes and buildings at risk for wildfire.

After years of delay, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention says it’s almost ready to release new fire hazard severity maps.

CapRadio’s Chris Nichols explains why they matter.

When the Tubbs Fire burned his home in Santa Rosa to the ground, Brian Fies didn’t dwell on his loss: he rebuilt.

He didn’t know about CalFire’s color coded maps: orange, for zones of high wildfire risk — red, for very high. He was in the suburbs. He just assumed he’d be safe. Now he wonders whether that’s still true.

Feis Alternate Bite: “Climate change is making risk a moving target. Places that used to be safe aren't safe anymore, and firefighters need to understand and reflect that change.” (:11)

The state’s wildfires now regularly set records in size and destruction. Here’s CalFire Chief Thom Porter at an August news conference.

Thom Porter Bite: “Fires are burning in ways that nobody has seen before. Yes, I keep saying that. You keep hearing that. But it is absolutely true. (:08)

What’s also true is that it’s been 14 years since CalFire last designated zones where fire risk is high.

Critics like Rick Halsey of the California Chaparral Institute say CalFire’s existing maps aren’t just outdated -- they’re also flawed. He points out that in Santa Rosa, the Tubbs Fire returned to neighborhoods the state hadn’t deemed risky.

Halsey Alternate Bite: “This is what’s so tragic: That area burned twice before, virtually in the same footprint in the previous 100 years. And so why that history wasn't incorporated into the fire severity maps is a mystery to me.” (:15)

CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant says this time around, the state’s approach will be different. Old maps focused on geographic hazards -- forests and canyons where fire spreads.

New maps will reflect new science about climate hazards -- including extreme winds that push wildfire farther.

Berlant Bite ‘Get On It Sooner’ “The argument that we need to be mapping these areas and need to get on it sooner is real because we're seeing more of these wind driven fires that take embers into areas that historically not even designated with a fire hazard level.” (:15)

Berlant says incorporating the changing climate has been slower and more complicated than planned.

Berlant Bite: “We want the science right.” (:02)

CalFire expects risky zones to get bigger... especially in areas where homes and wildlands meet.

That could make it harder to build in forest and foothill areas, according to Staci Heaton. She’s an advocate for the ‘Rural County Representatives of California’. She says the new maps will hamper local governments already under pressure to solve the state’s housing crisis.

Staci Bite ‘Strike Balance’ “The state’s telling them they have to build so many housing units per year. Even in the high fire hazard severity zones, they have to strike that balance between fire mitigation and also building these low-income housing units.” (:14)

AND in these zones, new development needs wider roads, more fire stations and hydrant locations. New homes must have fire-resistant walls, decks and roofs.

And ALL homeowners in risky areas have to clear defensible space. Heaton says recent arrivals, people who moved to rural California in the pandemic, may not think about that enough.

Overall, more people are likely to live in new risk zones. In Sonoma County, Brian Fies says local officials should put the map in every mailbox.

Feis Push It: In my opnion they should push it. Not just passively provided, not just it's available on, you know, Page 312 of the county's website, but they should push it.” (:09)

Fies isn’t in a high risk zone yet. But like other homeowners who’ve lived through wildfire lately, he’s more eager now to see what the updated maps reveal.

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.

Ways To Subscribe
Roughly 300 businesses in the border community of San Ysidro have closed during the pandemic. Those lucky enough to stay afloat are welcoming their old customers back. Also, we begin a series on new California laws taking effect in 2022. Plus, as new state wildfire hazard maps are released in the next few months, more and more homes may be shown to be at risk.