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Increase in smuggling attempts by sea

 March 14, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, March 14th>>>>

Smuggling attempts by sea are increasing and people are dying. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The National City teacher accused of child sexual abuse pleaded not guilty, in court yesterday (Monday).

Jacqueline Ma, who was a sixth grade teacher, was arrested early last week after a parent reported that her 13 year old son was possibly having an inappropriate relationship with a former teacher.

After posting bail, Ma was re-arrested later in the week for additional alleged crimes.

She is also accused of trying to contact the victim while she was out on bail.

Ma is now being held without bail and faces up to 29 years in state prison if convicted on all charges.






The rain will be back today – but it will be light.

The National Weather Service then predicts that the coast will get moderate rain between midnight and 6 in the morning tomorrow.

They expect the mountain areas will get heavy rain during that same time.

It will also be windy, with the strongest winds expected tonight and tomorrow morning.

So if you’re driving during that time, be careful.

And good or bad news based on your feelings about the rain – this week’s is not the end for us.

The weather service says there’s a 70 to 80 percent chance that we have above normal rain in mid to late March.


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





Eight people died when a migrant smuggling boat capsized near Black’s Beach in La Jolla late Saturday night. KPBS Border Reporter Gustavo Solis says the tragedy comes as President Joe Biden faces increasing fire for his immigration policies.


Smuggling attempts by sea along the San Diego coast more than tripled between fiscal years 2019 and 2022.

Pedro Rios is an immigrant advocate with American Friends Service Committee. He says the deaths over the weekend at Black’s Beach fit a disturbing pattern. 

PEDROBOAT 00:00:20:22

“These maritime events are not a new phenomenon. They have been taking place now for over a decade here in the San Diego coastline. However, the trend has been picking up.”

Rios went on to say they  are the direct result of a prevention through deterrence policy that dates back to the mid-1990s. The goal is to make crossing the border so difficult and dangerous that it will deter would-be migrants from trying.​​​​​​​

PEDROBOAT 00:03:29:17  

But that hasn’t worked, and in fact what that has led to, is an increase in people who have died as a result of that.”

The tragedy happened before President Joe Biden visited San Diego to discuss a new security pact with Australia and the United Kingdom. He is facing more pressure than ever to address the border crisis. Conservatives say Biden is not doing enough to secure the border, while liberals say he’s broken campaign promises to roll back Trump-era policies.

Gustavo Solis, KPBS News


The President’s visit to San Diego was his second in five months.

Reporter Jacob Aere says President Biden met with the prime ministers of Australia and the U-K at Naval Base Point Loma to discuss global security on the high seas.


President Joe Biden and the prime ministers discussed an 18-month-old nuclear partnership known as AUKUS. It's a security pact between the three countries.

It comes amid growing concerns about China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden announced that Australia will purchase U.S.-manufactured, nuclear-powered submarines to modernize its fleet.

“Nuclear powered, not nuclear armed. Australia is a proud non nuclear weapons state and is committed to stay that way. These boats will not have any nuclear weapons of any kind on them.”

Biden’s trip to San Diego is his first stop on a three-day trip. He’ll discuss gun violence prevention in Monterey Park on Tuesday… and talk about his plans to lower prescription drug costs on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


It may be Equal Pay Day, but women are still earning less than their male counterparts. Reporter Claire Strong looks into why.

EQUALPAYDAY 1  :56   ...soq. 

2 months and 14 days. 

That’s how far into the year women have to work to earn what men made the previous year.

According to the Pew Research Center, the gender pay gap hasn’t changed much over the past two decades. Today,  they say women earn  82 percent of what their male colleagues make.

And women of color are hit the hardest.

Jess Whatcott’s an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University.

She says women need more support, as they often have to take unpaid leave to look after children.

“We don’t have enough quality childcare for working families, working parents, and what we do have is very expensive, especially for infants. So those two things, paid family leave and family care infrastructure would make a huge deal in allowing women not to take as much time off work”.

Equal Pay Day started in 1996 as a public awareness campaign to illustrate the gap in pay between men and women.

Claire Strong, KPBS News.##########

Coming up.... A North County man sets sail in a Viking ship … We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.




What do you do once you’ve finished building a Viking ship by hand? Why … you take it out to sea … of course.

That’s exactly what one North County man did and reporter Alexander Nguyen was there.

NATs “hip-hip hooray”

With lots of fanfare (horn), a Viking horde … a small gathering and a blessing from the gods … (“In the name of Odin, we name you Sleipnir.”) … Tom Kottmeier’s years-long passion project finally took to sea … or … in this case … San Diego’s Mission Bay on Sunday.

SOT 2493

CG: Tom Kottmeier / Viking ship builder

“So why did I build the ship in the first place? Well, I'll be brief, but 20 years ago, I was living in Vancouver, BC. And I've been a lifelong sailor. I've always sailed. And I heard about a group of Scandinavians at the Scandinavian Community Center who were building a Viking ship. So I said, what? I got to find out about this. So I got involved”

When he retired in 2018 … he wanted to build a ship of his own. The plans for the 33-foot Sleipnir was based on the ship he helped built in Vancouver … which was a replica of the Gokstad … a Viking ship unearthed from an ancient burial mound.

But before the ship could take to water … there were some last-minute fixes to make her sea-worthy.  

NAT POP “We’re a little nervous … it’s the first time.”

Ivar Schoenmeyr is Kottmeier’s partner in crime. He helped with the shipbuilding.

SOT 2485

CG: Ivar Schoenmeyr / Viking ship builder

“We have never used the rudder. We want to know how the ship behaves. And becomes comfortable with that.”

And with a push … Viking RE-enactors set off on the maiden voyage. They all had to sign a waiver forswearing any pillaging on this trip. 


CG: Alexander Nguyen / KPBS News

“After three years and countless hours of building. The Viking ship Sleipnir finally took to the sea and Tom Kottmeier said it’s everything he hoped it would be”

SOT 2507

CG: Tom Kottmeier

“It just feels … is this really real? Am I standing on my ship?”

Jeremiah Volk was one of the people on the maiden voyage. He says it was an experience to him connect with his Viking roots.

SOT 2509

CG: Jeremiah Volk / Viking reenactor

“ It was really cool to re-create the history and feel a connection to it and trying to understand what it was like for people back before …”

Up next for Kottmeier … sailing the ship in Sweden. But that’s …


“Next year … ’24”

In Mission Bay.  

NATS “Row … row … row”



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.

Amid an increase in smuggling attempts by sea, eight people died when a boat with migrants capsized near Black’s Beach in La Jolla over the weekend. Then, we bring you a piece on the gender pay gap on Equal Pay Day. Lastly, a North County man realizes his dream of putting his handcrafted Viking ship to sea.