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How the state’s gas tax increase impacts San Diegans

 May 31, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, May 31st.


How the state’s gas tax increase will impact San Diegans. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


About one hundred San Diego residents are suing the city over damages caused by the January flooding.

Attorneys from the firms Aguirre and Severson and Gomez Trial Attorneys announced the class action lawsuit yesterday.

The lawsuit says residents have been affected by the city’s quote “utter failure” to maintain its Chollas Creek flood control infrastructure.

The lawsuit alleges the city misled the public about repair projects for the Chollas Creek's storm prevention infrastructure and that money designated for storm water maintenance was misused.

A spokesperson from the city attorney's office says they do not comment on pending litigation.


Today, is the last day for people impacted by the January floods to apply for financial assistance from two local realtor associations.

The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors and Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors received a nearly 1-point-2 million dollar grant to assist flood victims.

Mark Bretz is with the San Diego Association of Realtors.

He says the associations have received 130 applications and almost one million dollars is still available.

“We've given out around $120,000 in checks to local residents and that comes from people all across San Diego County. Most are in the impacted communities in Southwest San Diego, but we even had some people as far up as North County who needed to apply for this relief.”

To see if you qualify and to submit your application, go to s-d-a-r dot com-slash flood-dash-assistance.


Starting tomorrow, CalFire San Diego is suspending all permits for outdoor residential burning in the county, because of an increased fire risk.

A burn permit allows disposing of flammable plants by burning them outdoors in small piles.

The suspension temporarily prevents residential burning of landscape debris.

Cal Fire is urging San Diegans to prepare for wildfires by keeping a minimum of 100 feet of maintained landscape around every home and building.


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


The state’s gas tax is set to jump 2 cents starting next month, but one North County lawmaker is taking a stand against it.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen has more on why the tax is increasing.

Come July 1 … the excise tax will rise to 60 cents a gallon. On average Californians pay roughly $300 a year on state gas taxes. According to CalTrans … 80 percent of highway and road repairs are paid for by the excise tax. Changes to the excise tax happen yearly on July 1… based on changes in the California Consumer Price Index. San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond thinks the state should pause this year’s increase. Jim Desmond San Diego County Supervisor, District 5 “This is not the time. We've got people and businesses leaving California, and we are creating an environment where people don't want to stay here.” San Diego State University economist Joe Silverman doesn’t think that taxes alone account for high gas prices in California. Joe Silverman SDSU Professor of Economics, Business and Statistics “there's still about 50 to 75 cents a gallon that cannot be accounted for by the fact that we pay a substantially higher gasoline tax than they do in other States.” He thinks the oil companies are charging more to brace for the state’s mandate that all new cars sold in California will be zero-emission by 20-35. AN/KPBS.


A UC-SD professor says county officials retaliated against her by canceling contract work after she filed a complaint alleging that then county supervisor Nathan Fletcher sexually harassed a student.

Investigative reporter Amita Sharma has more.

Juli Beth Hines alleges, in a superior court lawsuit, that a female student told her about Fletcher’s behavior. At the time, Fletcher was also an adjunct professor at UC San Diego. Hines says she was instructed by a university official to file a TITLE 9 complaint against Fletcher. TITLE 9 is a federal civil rights law that protects people in educational institutions against sex discrimination. Hines says almost immediately after she filed the complaint, county officials canceled an outside consulting contract she had with the county. She is seeking damages of nearly $280,000. In March   2023, Fletcher resigned from the Board of Supervisors after a Metropolitan Transit System Employee Gracia Figeuroa alleged in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed by Fletcher. Earlier this year, Fletcher filed a counter suit, denying the allegations and accusingFigueroa of defamation.


Along California's un-inhabited coastal islands, biologists are seeing something that has them concerned... hundreds of dead sea lion pups.

Reporter John Carroll talked with an expert about what's happening.

Several weeks ago, scientists surveying the coastal islands, where California Sea Lions give birth to their pups, noticed way more dead pups than there should be… numbers approaching 300 when there should only be 5 to 10.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is studying the issue, but they say at this point, it could be due to El Nino, which causes prey species to move and pregnant Sea Lion females to swim farther and dive deeper to find them.  SeaWorld’s curator of rescue programs, Jeni Smith. “They’re swimming more, their body condition is less than ideal for having their pups.” Fortunately, the population of California Sea Lions is robust.  NOAA says there are about 250-thousand of them living along the coast. JC, KPBS News.


The North County L-G-B-T-Q Resource Center is kicking off Pride month with their annual pride by the beach event tomorrow (Saturday).

It will happen in downtown Oceanside, with speakers, entertainment, and resources for the whole family.

Roxanne Detherage is the director of the event.

“This year our theme is our stories, our power. It couldn't be more timely. In a world where it's easy to feel isolated by challenges and differences, our stories have served as bridges connecting us through shared experiences and mutual understanding. Each story told is a spark of hope illuminating the way of those who may feel lost or alone.” 

The street festival drew over 20-thousand people last year, and continues to grow.

It will be from noon to 6 p-m near the Oceanside Civic Center.


And as it prepares for Pride by the Beach, the Resource Center is also getting ready to grow.

North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us what’s on the horizon.

Welcome to our little center that could. We called it like that many years ago because from such a small space we had so many dreams happening everyday. Max Dispositi is the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource center, which runs out of a 24-hundred square foot space in Oceanside. People come here for any kind of reason. We go from people stopping by because they want to have access to our library, or resources or sometimes because they have just been surviving sexual assault attack… trafficking… any kind of trauma that people might experience out in the streets. 27 staff members run the center… and space for them, and the clients being served… is tight.  We provide behavioral health just right here in the room. We have telehealth and in person behavioral health. Its free mental health services and we serve about 86 people per week at the moment.  The same space is shared with youth services. This is our slash everything space youth space. Also we do a lot of services working with schools. Lately there's been a lot of conversations around book banning. Our youth are organized together to create prom events and experiences where they can feel safe, awards. Also we go through the schools in north san diego county to make sure that our  kiddos are safe and supported. Disposti says a lot of their work and education also happens on the outside of the center. now government agencies, non profit institutions and for profit corporations are reaching out to us because they want to do better. They want to make sure their employees their family are treated with dignity and respect And bigger projects have come out of the small space. Like unicorn homes and villages for homeless LGBTQ youth. North County’s first Pride event, pride by the beach. Food distributions for all community members.  And supportive advocacy on the front lines for a range of issues throughout the North County. So while they've made the small space work, something bigger is on the way. This is 1919 Apple St. which is the place that we just entered escrow into. We're really excited. It is a transformational step for us and for the services that we provide at the center. The majority of the 18,000 square foot property on Apple St is empty and in need of repairs. But the site  already has a history of serving those in need, from temporary shelters to food banks. it's a space that has a lot of promises because we are literally walking distance from the train station that brings people from Escondido to our center. For us that was the most important thing. The majority of people that we serve, 67% of them, are taking public transportation. The price tag for the property is $4.5 million dollars. The center needs to come up with an $800,000 down payment  by the end of the year to purchase the property. We're asking the community to come forward because this is a community center not just an LGBT center… so we’ll be here for everybody, not just LGBT community. This is the building to host with a lot of love and care and make it look a little more colorful it's going to be the building that provides services to everyone. Disposti knows not everyone may be supportive of the expansion. I invite them to ask the questions. All our books are open. We know where the money goes. We are supported by county, state, federal, and local city. So we invite people to be even critical about the resources we provide because we're here to improve them. So you know where your $20 bucks of 200,000 dollars went to because this is your space too. The North County LGBTQ resource center hopes to move in as tenants in September and finalize the purchase by the end of the year. TT KPBS News. 


If you're looking to add a four- legged member to your family, then you're in luck.

The first California Adopt-a-Pet Day is tomorrow (Saturday).

The day is meant to help ease overcrowding of shelters in the county.

Adoption fees will be waived for all pets adopted at the county’s two animal shelters in Bonita and Carlsbad.

All pets will be vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and micro-chipped.

And if you live in the county service area and adopt a dog, a license is included too.

If you can’t make it to the shelters tomorrow (Saturday), adoption fees are always waived for senior adopters, senior pets and pets that have been waiting for their forever home for 30 days or more.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast was produced by Emilyn Mohebbi and edited by Joe Guerin. We’d also like to thank KPBS producer Brenden Tuccinardi for helping the podcast team this week. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again on Monday to start the week off with the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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California’s gas tax is set to jump two cents starting next month, but one North County lawmaker is taking a stand against it. We learn why the tax is increasing. In other news, a UC San Diego professor says San Diego County officials retaliated against her by canceling contract work after she filed a complaint alleging that then county supervisor Nathan Fletcher sexually harassed a student. Plus, as the North County LGBTQ Resource Center prepares for Pride by the Beach, it’s also getting ready to grow.