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How to reduce border wait times

 June 6, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, June 6th.>>>>

What to do about border wait times

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

California's primary election is tomorrow.

you should have received a ballot in the mail if you registered to vote before May 23rd.

Political strategist Paul Mitchell said on Thursday that roughly 10-percent of the more than 21-million ballots that were sent out last month– have been returned.

He says that's lower than previous elections.

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As covid-19 cases spike, San Diego county health officials are urging residents to mask up in public places.

weekly case counts have tripled in the last month.

Here’s UC san diego health infectious disease specialist Dr. francesca torriani

"THE NEW NORMAL IS NOT THROWING AWAY AND NOT THINKING ABOUT THIS BECAUSE WE CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE, BUT IT’S MORE GETTING INTO THAT SYSTEM OF OK, RATES ARE UP, BETTER MASK."

Health officials encourage those testing positive to seek out available treatments.

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The president of San Diego State University says she is heartbroken about what a published report says happened to a girl at the hands of five Aztec football players.

The la times report published friday says the players raped an underaged, unconscious girl at an off-campus party…

.. and it says the university has not investigated or taken disciplinary actions.

In a letter to the campus community, university president Adele de la Torre says San Diego police asked the school not to investigate because it could jeopardize the police department’s inquiry.

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

Experts say long cross-border wait times are a drag on our regional economy.

A group of binational business leaders are trying to change that.

KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis has more on these efforts.

This is the busiest border crossing in the country.

Roughly 90,000 people cross the San Ysidro Port of entry every day. But before crossing many have to wait. For a loooonnnnggg time.

It’s not unusual to lose three hours waiting to cross the border. Tijuana residents who work in San Diego leave their homes as early as 5 a.m. to get to work on time.

County Supervisor Nora Vargas says all of that waiting costs a lot of money and keeps both San Diego and Tijuana from reaching their full potential.

“The economic potential of this region I think is really something that we haven’t really maximized yet. I think there is so much unknown.”

The border region’s best and brightest have spent decades trying and failing to make crossing through the port of entry more efficient.

They realize now that they have to be more creative in their thinking

“We need to find ways to make easier to cross the border. So we need to innovate.”

That was Kurt Honold. He is the former mayor of Tijuana and is now the Secretary of Economy and Innovation for the state of Baja California.

He was one of dozens of academics, economists, business leaders, and government officials at a cross-border business forum last week hosted by the South County EDC.

It was at this forum that Honold laid out a vision for alternative border crossings.

One includes a special border crossing for people who ride the trolly. It is essentially the same idea as the popular Cross Border Express, or CBX. A border crossing exclusively for people who fly to and from the Tijuana airport.

“The Trolly CBX, what that means is, we will have a bridge in the Mexican side and San Ysidro that will land at CBP installations and they can go to the trolly right away. In order to reduce people who are making lines two to three hours every day.”

Another idea is for a ferry to take people from Ensenada directly to San Diego. Honold says the ride takes 2 hours. But that’s still faster than crossing.

These aren’t pie in the sky ideas. Honnold says he’s actively talking with private investors and government officials in San Diego.

“So we will have less people traveling on the highways, less people crossing and less people also using the highways in the United States, in San Diego. If that goes through, like we believe, we are working with a partner in San Diego to sign an MOU to see if we can do a test in the summer.”

Economists say such innovations are especially needed in an era of supply chain bottlenecks.

Mexico imported $47 billion in goods to California in 2020 alone. Experts say that number could be even higher if trucks didn’t have to wait so long at the border.

Jim Dolan is a Regional Investment Director at U.S. Bank. He says the pandemic showed us just how crippling supply chain disruptions can be.

“On the supply side, the story is supply chain. The disruptions in the supply chain due to COVID, the backlog of goods that are just not reaching the demand causing all of this inflation..”

Which is why he and others say finding ways to shorten border wait times needs to be a top economic priority.

Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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There is an aggressive new initiative to protect Californians from gun violence.

It’s a response from Governor Newsom as the legislature debates new laws.

KPBS News Reporter M.G. Perez has more.

The Governor’s plan is to give 5-million dollars in state grants to community-based domestic violence organizations. The groups will use the money to educate their clients and provide resources for restraining orders under what’s known as “red flag” laws.

The orders temporarily remove guns and ammunition from individuals who are at risk of harming themselves or others.

Meanwhile…state legislators continue debate on outlawing “ghost guns” that can’t be traced…and a bill that allows gunmakers to be sued and held accountable for deaths caused by weapons they produce.

Ari is with the Giffords Law Center monitoring legislation.

“at a certain point with lawmakers who stand in the way of progress..and have continued to not change their minds….at a certain point we will change who we elect instead of changing their minds.”

California’s ban on assault weapons remains in effect…despite a conservative judge’s recent attempt to block it. MGP KPBS News

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The defense in the so-called Fat Leonard case starts its closing arguments today in the corruption trial of the last five indicted Naval officers.

KPBS Military reporter Steve Walsh says it is expected to go to the jury this week.

It’s been 14 weeks since the trial got underway in federal court of five officers accused of accepting bribes to help contractor Leonard Francis defraud the Navy of at least $35 million.

Each of the defense attorneys is expected to make closing arguments, before the case goes to the jury early this week. The defense has successfully limited testimony of convicted naval officers who accused some of the remaining defendants of sleeping with sex workers, at parties hosted by Francis in Hong Kong andSingapore

For years, Francis provided port services for Navy ships throughout the western Pacific, until his arrest in San Diego in 2013. Francis and more than two dozen officers have already pleaded guilty in this wide-ranging corruption probe. Steve Walsh KPBS News.

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Coming up.... A new way to save money on your power bill. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.

you could save some money on your power bill this summer...

if you're willing to reduce your energy use on days when the statewide grid is stressed by high energy demand.

more from kpbs reporter john carroll.

SDG&E IS LAUNCHING A NEW ENERGY INCENTIVE PROGRAM THAT WILL REWARD CUSTOMERS WITH CREDITS FOR DOING JUST THAT. THE "POWER SAVER REWARDS PROGRAM" COULD BE ACTIVATED ANYTIME BETWEEN NOW AND OCTOBER 31ST WHENEVER THE CALIFORNIA INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OPERATOR - CAL-ISO, ISSUES AN EMERGENCY ALERT WATCH OR A FLEX ALERT. IF YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR ENERGY BETWEEN FOUR AND 9 P-M BELOW YOUR TYPICAL USE LEVEL, YOU'LL RECEIVE TWO-DOLLARS OF CREDIT FOR EACH KILOWATT HOUR. THE AVERAGE SDG&E CUSTOMER USES ABOUT 400 KILOWATT HOURS OF ELECTRICITY PER MONTH. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT SDG&E'S WEBSITE, SDGE DOT COM. JC, KPBS NEWS.

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31 mail carriers were bitten by dogs while delivering mail in San Diego last year.

That makes us the 11th worst city in the country for dog attacks on mail carriers.

This week is dog bite awareness week.

In Mission Valley’s Civita park on Thursday, the U-S Postal Service showed how carriers are trained to avoid getting bitten.

In addition to dog repellent spray and using their mail satchel as a shield,

San Diego Postmaster Lisa Baldwin talked about other ways carriers keep safe.

“Resist the impulse to scream and run away if approached by a dog… Avoid eye contact with the dog. Once the dog has calmed down, they are to back away. Carriers are trained to rattle the gate before entering a fenced yard. They must never assume that a dog won’t bite.”

About six-thousand mail carriers are bitten in the United States every year.

That’s it for the podcast today. 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.

A binational group of academics, business leaders and government officials met in Chula Vista last week to discuss one of the region’s most pressing issues – long border wait times. Some of the ideas include a cross-border express trolley and a ferry that would transport people from Ensenada to downtown San Diego. Meanwhile, there’s an aggressive new initiative to protect Californians from gun violence. Also, a new way to save on your power bill this summer.