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How farmworkers can unionize

 September 12, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, September 12th.
Farmworkers are waiting to see if the Governor will sign a union elections bill

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


The San Diego City Council is set to vote tomorrow on which team it wants to use to redevelop the Midway District.

The area will be the future site of thousands of homes and a new arena

Last Thursday, a council committee agreed with the mayor's choice of Midway Rising.

The vote will be the start of a two- to four-year negotiating period.

Once a deal is signed, the project will be built in phases over the course of a decade or more.


Our partners at inewsource are reporting on the results of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s recent efforts to police homelessness.

Since the start of the pandemic, arrests of people for blocking sidewalks and sleeping where it’s not allowed have not led to a single conviction.

According to data from the city attorney’s office, prosecutors reject two out of every three cases referred by SDPD.

And every single case that has been pursued has been dismissed in court.

The mayor, city attorney and public defender all declined interview requests.


The U-S Marshal Service is offering up to 40-thousand-dollars for information leading to the arrest of Leonard Francis.

The ex-Navy contractor - known as Fat Leonard - is at the center of the worst corruption scandal in the Navy’s history.

Last Sunday, federal law enforcement learned Francis cut his ankle monitor and fled home detention.

He was set to be sentenced later this month and faced up to 25 years in prison.


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






Si se puede, si se puede No que no si que si ya volvimos a salir (voice of Xochitl) Farmworker Xochitl Nunez proudly documents the last mile of her 335 mile journey … and leads a chant and a procession of thousands towards the Capitol in Sacramento on August 26th … Walking in lockstep with labor leader… Dolores Huerta… the  very icon who coined the battle cry “Si Se Puede.”  Nunez says she made the 24-day pilgrimage in the sweltering heat to get Governor Gavin Newsom to sign AB 2183…  Labor leaders say it would let farmworkers vote in union elections whenever and wherever they feel safe… and protect them from intimidation. But he didn’t sign it and Now she and  a few farmworkers remain at the Capitol… holding vigil and    hopes the governor will change his mind El próximo paso para mi va ser una huelga de hambre, porque el no sale a decirnos algo, si somos esenciales  para el  y somos esenciales y seguimos trabajando, demuestrelo She says: The next step for me is a hunger strike, because he doesn’t come out and say anything, if we are essential like he says we are, prove it Demuestrelo Nunez says she’s angry that while the farmworkers waited for their bill to be signed, the governor signed other legislation to protect fast food workers and raise their wages. They’re just asking for a safe way to vote for a union That’s Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher with the California Labor Federation. She and her husband San Diego County Board Supervisor Nathan Fletcher walked with the farmworkers for 35 miles. She says the bill is important because farmworkers are in a more vulnerable position than others who try to unionize. It is always scary for workers to join together and try to form a union, vote for a union but with workers like farmworkers who are even in a more vulnerable position when a boss wants to retaliate  they often deport these workers, it’s not just the potential of losing one’s job but it’s about being deported and livelihood so what they’re asking for is for a safe way, secret way by which they can vote and their boss doesn’t know We the farmers agree with three governors that have vetoed this same bill saying that the current laws already in place are adequate Al Stehly is the owner of Stehly Grow Management, and is on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Farm Bureau.  He grows avocados, grapes and tangos on his farm in Valley Center.  He has 30 employees. I’ve been in business over 40 years and some of my employees have been with me that long, Stehly says this bill takes away the rights of farmers. We the farmers don’t want to erode our private property rights by having to give  access to the unions to the property nor do we want to give up our free speech rights to be able to talk with our employees  about any union organization And he says it would lead to pressure on farmworkers. The mail in ballot or the card check delivered by union organizers is just a formula for intimidation and arm twisting Those arguments don’t make sense to Nunez, who has few moments of rest between vigils at the Capitol… and even then she’s praying and pleading with the governor Por favor se lo pido de todo corazón It’s there in brief moments she says she allows herself to dream  Nat sound de colores about what the passage of the bill  would mean for families like hers and the legacy left by her hero Cesar Chavez fuels her to fight on … Ese es el legado que a mi me  dejo Cesar Chavez que se pela hasta con el alma y con la vida si es necesario That’s the legacy Cesar Chaves left me that you fighting with your soul and if necessary Kitty Alvarado KPBS News  Nat sound de colores song fades 


Congress is considering legislation to streamline the immigration process for Afghan refugees… a year after the U-S pulled out of Afghanistan.

KPBS reporter John Carroll tells us much of the progress for those refugees is because of work done by San Diegans.

“We have a shared commitment to helping Afghan allies who’ve stood with Americans for 20-years, through our longest war.” That’s San Diegan Shawn VanDiver.  The navy vet founded the non-profit Afghan Evac a year ago after the fall of Afghanistan.  The group’s goal is to get people out of the country and relocate them to the U-S.  Most of those people helped the U-S during the 20-year war.  VanDiver says the Biden Administration’s new policy called Operation Enduring Freedom is helping in the effort.  Now, he says it’s incumbent on Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act. “No longer will Afghans arrive here in a temporary status.  They’ll arrive in a durable, long term status and a pathway to becoming full American citizens.” The legislation was first introduced last November, but it still awaits passage in both the House and the Senate.  JC, KPBS News.


A new homeless shelter in the midway district is set to open today.

KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman says the opening comes as more unsheltered residents have moved into the area.

An unassuming tent structure in the back lot of the county health complex is where the city and county’s newest homeless shelter is located.. It’s 150 beds and is similar to other shelters downtown with rows of bunk beds, an eating and entertainment area with bathrooms and showers outside. The city is paying for it’s operation, while the county is providing the location and onsite mental health services. Homeless service provider alpha project has been tapped to run the new shelter.. CEO Bob McElroy has been doing outreach in the midway area, getting ready for Monday’s opening. McElroy We already know who most of our folks are out there, they know that they’re coming in and we’re going to go literally find them on monday start welcoming people in Couples and pets will be allowed at the midway shelter... MH KPBS News.


Coming up.... How the British community in San Diego is reacting to the U-K’s new king. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


British subjects across the globe now have a new King – a first in 70 years.

The death of Queen Elizabeth the second, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, marks a seismic shift for the country, and passing of the crown to her son King Charles the third.

He spoke publicly Friday for the first time since her death:

We wanted to hear reaction to the queen’s death from former Britons living here, so we reached out to Craig Tolson, the President of the House of England at Balboa Park’s Hall of Nations.

He spoke with KPBS’s Jade Hindmon.

How are British expats in San Diego reacting to the news of the Queen’s death?

What kind of presence has Queen Elizabeth had in your own life?

Queen Elizabeth was monarch for 70 years beginning just after world war two – and for many people she represented stability… can you talk a little bit about what she means to regular Brits? 

The queen died just days after appointing a new prime minister – Lizz Truss, to lead parliament. But the power of the monarchy is largely ceremonial, what role does the British Monarch have in the modern day?

Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son is now known as King Charles the Third. What are your thoughts on the new monarch?

There’s been some talk and suggestion that new King Charles - now 73 - could or even should abdicate so that the younger Prince William can assume the throne. Do you think that the monarchy needs a younger face, or do you think the change would still be largely ceremonial?

You mentioned this earlier - but, Americans and American media have long had a fascination with the British Royal family - why do you think that is?

That was Craig Tolson [tole-son], the President of the House of England at Balboa Park, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon.


More than nine-hundred-thousand new college-aged students have been registered to vote in California this year.

The Secretary of State was in the South Bay Friday to motivate even more.

KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez was there.

Dr. Shirley Weber is California’s first African American Secretary of State…she’s also the daughter of sharecroppers who fled the South to California to be able to vote without intimidation. Her message to students at Southwestern College, Friday, was direct. “This is a democracy…It’s the only way you’re going to be heard effectively…is to vote. When you don’t vote you give up your power.” Weber is on a college tour across the state…in hopes of registering a-million new young voters in time for this November’s election. The last day to register to vote this year is October 24th. MGP KPBS News.


A healthy body means a healthy gut - or microbiome.

A San Diego biotech is trying to get parents to donate their infant’s poop, so they can learn what babies have in their gut and what else they may need.

KPBS Science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge has the story.

At Persephone Biosciences bacteria samples are removed from a steel cask where they’re stored at minus 200 degrees celsius. Company CEO Stephanie Culler calls them  her company’s assets, and the bacteria is collected from infant poop samples, donated by parents. The company gathers the bacteria to examine the gut biomes of a diverse group of babies, and compare them to possible health problems they have in later years. “We know there has been a substantial increase in the last two decades of food allergies. A lot of that can be coming from the microbiome.” Culler says modern life has caused a lot of health problems, related to having little fiber in the diet and the extensive use of antibiotics. Other modern inventions that Culler  says can shortchange a child’s gut health are C-section births, and formula feeding. The study will compare those kids to ones, born vaginally and who are breast fed. “We wanna come up with a product that can work for every baby, no matter how they’re born. No matter how they’re fed. We want them to  have the right microbes for health success.”  Parents interested in being part of the study can go to SOQ.


That’s it for the podcast today. 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 day.

A group of farmworkers held a vigil at the state capitol, hoping to convince Governor Gavin Newsom to say yes to a bill that would allow farmworkers to vote on unionizing by mail or by card check. In other news, Congress is considering legislation to streamline the immigration process for Afghan refugees. Plus, a San Diego biotech is asking parents to donate their infant’s poop, so they can learn what babies have in their gut and what else they may need.