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Justice for doxxing victims

 April 3, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, April 3rd.


Have you heard of doxxing?

If not, we’ll tell you what it is and how lawmakers are responding, next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The county’s emergency temporary lodging program will expire in a week for about 169 households displaced by the floods in January.

Those households have yet to contact FEMA for federal assistance.

If flood victims get denied assistance, they should ask FEMA why.

The agency says it could be because they are missing signatures on their paperwork or missing documentation or missed their appointment with an inspector.


A new program from the National Association of Realtors was announced yesterday for those struggling to find permanent housing after the flooding.

Applicants can receive money to cover one month of rent or a mortgage, up to 29-hundred dollars.

Jerry Hernandez was displaced from the flooding.

He told our partner 10News that the money helps, but there are other obstacles people like him are dealing with.

"We got funds from FEMA for rental assistance but unfortunately right now people are asking for 3x the rent, your credit score or I'm on Section 8. I'm having trouble too because either they don't accept Section 8 or they haven't heard about Section 8."

For more information and to apply for the grant program, visit "P-S-A-R dot-org-slash-flood-relief."


The county’s Health and Human Services Agency this week reported the second case of measles in the county this year.

A 47-year-old San Diegan who recently traveled overseas was confirmed to have the virus.

The last confirmed case in the county was reported in February, in an unvaccinated infant who had also been overseas.

The cases are not connected.

The adult is currently hospitalized, but could have exposed others at a few places in Encinitas and Carlsbad from March 22nd through March 30th.

The locations include Naked Café, Trader Joe’s and Ralphs in Encinitas, and Tinleaf Fresh Kitchen in Carlsbad.

Measles develops a week to three weeks after exposure.

Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a distinctive red rash.


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


California lawmakers are trying to strengthen protections against doxxing – publishing someone’s personal information online with the intent to harm.

Reporter Katie Hyson looked at a new bill that would let victims sue.

Doxxing started as a niche tactic among computer hackers in the 90s. Now, researchers estimate it affects millions of Americans. Doxxers publish someone’s private information online – like their address or social security number – to harass them. San Diegan Kathie Moehlig, a trans youth advocate, says her work made her a target. My family and I have felt the chilling effects of doxxing firsthand. We have experienced sleepless nights, the anxiety, the overwhelming sense of vulnerability.  Surveys find most doxxing attacks are hate-based. They target protected identities like sexual orientation, gender or religion. It’s already a crime. But the bill’s cosponsor says it can be hard to prosecute. This new act would give victims a way to seek civil justice – damages up to $30,000 and legal costs. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


Hundreds of thousands of Californians still use landlines for phone service.

But maybe not for long.

AT-AND-T maintains those copper-wire lines, and they’re telling the state they should no longer be required to.

But if landlines go away, what would take their place, especially in rural counties with lots of elderly people?

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge has this look at California’s telecom future.

Joshua Hart lives in Plumas county,California on the Nevada border. It’s a county the size of Delaware that’s home to fewer than 20,000 people. Lots of them, like Hart, only have landlines serving their homes.  Hart speaks to me via Zoom from a nearby library because it's the only handy place he can get broadband Internet. He says if AT&T abandons copper landlines, he and his neighbors will suffer. “And so while AT&T claims to be bridging the digital divide and working on these advanced technologies, a lot of people in urban and especially rural areas are really being left behind without alternatives.” All over California, including San Diego and Imperial Counties, AT&T is called the “Carrier of Last Resort. That means they supply and maintain the landline technology that dates back to the days when they were called Ma Bell, and they dominated the market. AT&T has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission to no longer be Carrier of Last Resort. Deregulation, competition and new technology have made today’s phone service landscape very different from the days of Ma Bell. AT&T says only 5 percent of its California customers still rely on landline connections. “Continuing to upgrade and maintain and build out that network for only a very small customer base is very expensive.” Tedi Veriheas (ver-HAY-iss) is vice president for external affairs with A-T-and-T, California. “So every dollar we continue to invest in the copper network prevents us from putting that money into advanced services like fiber and wireless.” People who understand the telecom industry and its new technology say AT&T’s request to the CPUC makes perfectly good business sense. The problem here is that having a phone today is not really a choice you can make. In a sense it’s a utility that people need to communicate with loved ones or to call 911. Michael Kleeman is a research fellow at UC San Diego in Global Policy and Strategy. He worked most of his previous career as a telecom consultant, including for AT&T. He says of the prospect of not having access to reliable, affordable phone service…. 724 “This would be the same as saying, ‘Oh, you live in a rural area. We’re no longer going to give you postal service, because you’re more expensive.’ Right?” But AT&T has said, and Kleeman acknowledges, they are not planning to abandon landlines in all areas. Again, Tedy Veriheas with AT&T. “As long as somebody needs their landline, we will not be discontinuing service to them.” AT&T’s promise, spelled out in its application, is that landline service would continue where there are no alternatives for voice service. Still, critics wonder what kinds of options would be considered acceptable by the company and the CPUC. Greg Hagwood is chairman of the Plumas County board of Supervisors, who couldn’t speak on tape. He gave the example of Starlink, the satellite service. It is available in the county and AT&T may call that an alternative.  But Hagwood considers it expensive and doesn’t think old folks on fixed incomes could afford it. He adds that while he has cellular service in his home, go six miles west and it disappears. On the subject of Starlink, UCSD’s Kleeman adds that satellite service is a problem in places like Plumas County.  “If you’re in a rural area that has a lot of trees, it's difficult because Starlink is a set of satellites in the sky that move, relative to the earth, so the antenna needs to see a big swath of the sky in order to have reliable connectivity.” On the bright side, California and the federal government are now spending tens of billions of dollars to bring broadband Internet and fiber optic connections to unserved areas. Providers like AT&T can apply for the state and federal funds to build those technologies. Kleeman adds that there are technologies that are well suited to serve rural areas. Like fixed wireless connections, where an antenna on your home makes a strong link to a cell tower. “So there’s a lot of substitute technologies. You just have to get those in place before you take the copper out.”  Opposition to AT&T’s proposal is strong in many parts of California. At a recent public hearing, the CPUC heard speaker after speaker,  many of them elderly, oppose the company’s plan to stop maintaining landlines. The Plumas County Board of Supervisors have approved a letter of opposition to the company’s plan to stop maintaining copper landlines. The Imperial County board was going to vote on a similar letter of opposition last month. It was pulled from the agenda for further discussion. SOQ.


The county will release weekly reports on stomach illnesses… based on data from South Bay hospitals and health clinics.

Investigative reporter Scott Rodd says the monitoring is tied to concerns about ocean water contamination from cross-border sewage.

Joel acedo goes surfing in imperial beach almost every day. he says he’s willing to take his chances. but he won’t let his young grandchildren in the water. “in the morning they’re always like, ‘abuelo let’s go to the beach, let’s go to the beach.’ they’re five, six and three years old. so i’m really, really worried that they can get sick any time.” san diego county already monitors and publishes data on water quality. now, it will track and release data on stomach illnesses in the south bay. the weekly reports will show patient symptom data collected from 17 emergency departments. the county will also provide monthly updates on confirmed cases of communicable diseases. so far, the county says the data shows no clear trends for increased hospital visits or confirmed illnesses. in imperial beach, scott rodd, kpbs news.


San Diego wants a lot more high-density housing in University City.

Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the city is out with a new draft update to the university community plan.

AB: University City is a major employment hub. But the neighborhood has nowhere near enough housing to accommodate its workforce, meaning most people who work there have to commute long distances. The University Community Plan update envisions much denser housing, especially around the neighborhood's six trolley stations. UCSD student Leana Cortez says that's more sustainable and inclusive than the status quo. LC: By maximizing the recent transit investments in University City such as the Blue Line, and orienting development around it, I think a lot of young professionals and students can actually remain in the city and not get priced out. AB: The draft University Community Plan update still restricts most of the south of the neighborhood to single-family homes. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


Coming up.... A sneak peek to La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW festival kicking off tomorrow (Thursday).

“The audience gets to explore freely or with a little more intimacy. it gives the audience a little bit of a shake up and you find yourself … surprised!”

We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


Four coyote pups were recently turned over to the San Diego Humane Society after they were discovered under the deck of a home in P-B.

Reporter Alexander Nguyen says it’s pupping season for coyotes.

The Humane Society says they will be raised in captivity until they’re old enough to be released in the wild. “coyote breeding season is late January through early March” Andy Blue is the campus director for the Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center. Blue says it’s not unusual for the pups to be left alone during the day because both parents are out hunting. It is rare but if you do see them in the wild … he says it’s best to leave them be. “We all have good intentions, and we think we should pick it up and bring it to Project Wildlife. But in most cases, you can call us and we can advise you on the best way to go with that.” And with the parents out hunting … there might be increased sightings of coyotes. Blue says not to worry. Coyotes are everywhere in San Diego … so it’s not unusual to see them out and about, even during the day. AN/KPBS.


This month is Autism Awareness Month, and there is a new show opening this weekend that recognizes the lives of people on the spectrum.

Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us it’s a production with puppets.

“I can sing Old MacDonald has a farm…la na something…” That’s Leo... a precocious boy…who happens to be a puppet…brought to life by a puppeteer who gives him movement and a voice…  (Leo) “I just call it a magic jacket because it makes me feel special…and when I wear it…it makes me feel safe.” “LEO AND THE MAGIC JACKET” is a new show now in rehearsals at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in Balboa Park. The title character has autism and gets support from his classmates when he needs it. Heather Whitney is the playwright “it came from my experiences with family members who have autism…and I’ve worked in school districts with kids who have autism and other special needs.” Whitney uses her experience to bring audiences a lesson in acceptance and an example of a child’s success. MGP KPBS News.


Performance art is taking center stage at La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival.

Reporter Jacob Aere says the event takes art outside of a traditional theater and brings it into unconventional spaces… this year across a local university campus.

Unexpected, beautiful and thought-provoking … get ready to be WOW-ed … by La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival. Bridget Rountree | Animal Cracker Conspiracy “This is a fox and a stag and that is a sea dragon. We love mixing different animals together to create mythological creatures.” This year the programming will take over three different hubs at UC San Diego. A local group called Animal Cracker Conspiracy is putting on a dream-like show called, Spectrum … Society of Wonder: Iain Gunn Animal Cracker Conspiracy “It's like an awesome bedtime story for all ages.” They're performing with a string quartet from the San Diego Symphony Orchestra … and giant, handmade puppets that will glow in the night. Iain Gunn | Animal Cracker Conspiracy “This is actually going to be more of a sit down show where the audience is participating as a star cluster and these are representations of constellations that are brought to life.” Another local group is Blindspot Collective. They're staging theater performances at Che Cafe – a center on campus known for its punk music scene and art. Blake McCarty | Blindspot Collective “At any given moment both inside and outside of this facility, four short plays or musicals – all of which were developed for this production – will be performing simultaneously.” Since its inception in 2013, the "WOW" Festival has been staged at various places around San Diego … and become one of the biggest don't-miss theater events in town, says festival producer Amy Ashton. Amy Ashton WOW Festival Producer “The audience gets to explore freely or with a little more intimacy. It gives the audience a little bit of a shake up and you find yourself … surprised!” The festival features more than 20 local, national and international artists that specialize in theater, dance, puppetry, music and spectacle events. Blake McCarty Blindspot Collective “This piece will be showcasing the work of 21 performers and about 15 local playwrights, composers.” Many of them think outside the box. One of Blindspot Collective's plays occurs in a bathroom. Shellina Hefner Blindspot Collective “So the audience will kind of come in and stand in various spots and the play will happen right here by the sink.” For Spectrum: Society of Wonder, it's about refreshing the mind with the help of some large, inanimate creatures… to find the beauty and joy in life. Bridget Rountree Animal Cracker Conspiracy “For us, it shifts our perspective of what the world can be and what's possible in the world. And that's really a large part of what the show is about – is how we perceive the everyday.” Ashton says there is something for people of all ages and backgrounds at the festival, and that traditional theater rules don't apply. Amy Ashton WOW Festival Producer “This is our chance to kind of completely blow up those rules and say this is a place where everyone is welcomed, hopefully you will find a spot you feel comfortable in – and if you don't let us know because we want to fix it.” Blindspot Collective says they'll cover a wide range of issues through their theater performances … Shellina Hefner Blindspot Collective “They're all about student activism and they're all about student experience. And they're also all set from the lens of people who may work or volunteer here in the Che Cafe.” And Animal Cracker Conspiracy is trying something new this year, which poses big risks and rewards. Iain Gunn Animal Cracker Conspiracy “Its going to be either absolutely stunning or kind of crazy, chaotic unfolding of a story.” This year’s Without Walls Festival runs from April 4 through April 7 … with exhibits during the day and evening. All of the performances will be presented free to the public, but some shows need reservations. More information can be found at Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

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California lawmakers are trying to strengthen protections against doxxing, which is publishing someone’s personal information online with the intent to harm. We learn about a new bill that would let victims sue. In other news, lots of people still rely on landlines for phone service, especially in rural areas. But there's a motion before the California Public Utilities Commission that could mean the end of them. Plus, April is Autism Awareness Month, and there is a new show opening this weekend that recognizes the lives of people on the spectrum.