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Lack of funding could shutter San Ysidro migrant aid center

 October 4, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m John Carroll, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, October 4th.


A migrant aid center in San Ysidro could shut down because of lack of funding. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


San Diego County public transit operators are celebrating Clean Air day today by offering free rides

All M-T-S bus and trolley fares will be waived.

As well as buses, the coaster and sprinter operated by the North County Transit District.

Vista city councilmember Corinna Contreras, serves on the N-C-T-D board.

She says the train can be a fun way to explore new parts of the county.

“And if you're curious about public transit, October 4th is the best time to not only celebrate clean air day but to take transit to somewhere maybe that you've never been or ever thought of going.”

You can plan your ride at s-d-m-t-s-dot-com, or go-n-c-t-d-dot-com.


The city of Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego this week broke ground on a 21-acre park along San Diego Bay.

Sweetwater Park is the first park space to be completed as part of the Chula Vista bayfront redevelopment.

The park will incorporate the already-complete Sweetwater bicycle and pedestrian path.

With several projects in the works for the bayfront, Chula Vista mayor John McCann says they’re expected to create thousands of jobs, and jumpstart the economy for the western side of the city.

“It's going to help elevate and upgrade the older community where i grew up. And we always wanted to have public access, and we always wanted to have newer things. now we're making that a reality.”

The park is expected to be ready to use by the end of next year.


The San Diego Humane Society is offering free microchipping for pets with an appointment this month.

The process is similar to a routine shot.

Officials at the San Diego Humane Society say the busy holiday season can be stressful and scary for pets, who are more likely to run away.

You can sign up for a free chipping and registration at s-d-humane-dot-org-slash-microchip.

The humane Society charges 15-dollars if you don’t make an appointment.


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


A migrant aid center in San Ysidro may have to shut down because of a lack of funding.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis has details.

“It's been an incredible challenge.” lindsay toczylowski is the executive director of the immigrant defenders law center. one of a handful of nonprofits helping migrants at a makeshift aid center in san ysidro. she says some migrants end up on the street with nothing and no idea of where they are. “they’re being dropped, some of them, with little more than the clothes on their backs.” the aid camp run by casa familiar is located in san ysidro community park. most of the migrants have relatives or friends in other parts of the u.s. volunteers help them get in touch with family and give them rides to the airport or bus terminals. “these are their first moments in the united states and so, for san diego, it’s important for us that they remember those moments as someone who gave them a helping hand and made sure that they were safe.” but money is running short. a spokesperson for casa familiar told kpbs that the nonprofit may have to shut down. gustavo solis, kpbs news.

TAG: KPBS journalists Matt Bowler and Marielena Castellanos contributed reporting for this story.


Oceanside's downtown is changing, and new housing developments are being proposed, but how dense those developments will be…is up for debate.

North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us the city council is voting tonight (Wednesday) on setting a density cap despite state law.

In recent years, Oceanside’s downtown has exploded with new developments. With more on the way, city council is considering setting a density cap for new housing developments. Now there is no density cap, so someone could build as dense as they'd want to. Council member Eric Joyce says state density bonus laws prevent the city from turning down dense developments. This is a really important safeguard so that we can make sure that new developments that come into the downtown area meet our housing needs while creating more affordable housing but don't overly drastically change a downtown area. The cap being considered Wednesday evening  is 100 housing units per acre with incentives for developers to include more affordable units. TT KPBS News. 


The future is uncertain for a biodiesel plant that’s been a flashpoint for neighborhood activists in San Diego's Barrio Logan neighborhood.

Newleaf Biofuels recently shelved plans to upgrade its facility, and neighbors hope that means company leaders are considering moving.

Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The conflict flared up when the Barrio Logan company moved their oil processing operation into a building near Sicard Street.  Turning used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel is a smelly business and neighbors began complaining to local air quality regulators.  Citations were issued and the company sealed up the building and installed an activated charcoal air filtering system.  Last December NewLeaf’s Chris White showed off the expensive new system to regulators a day after it was installed. Chris White, NewLeaf Biofuel “So this is exactly how it looked yesterday afternoon with everything connected and in its proper place. (fade under) You’ll notice that on the top is another ring on the carbon vessels and I’ve just put the white arrow there to give a bit of the scale. It's 11 feet tall. The vents fans and 11 foot tall carbon filters worked as advertised.  The overwhelming pungent smells were largely eliminated, but the business still creates an odor.  Neighborhood advocates say it is the wrong kind of business for this area. Nicholas Paul, Environmental Health Coalition. “A heavy industrial biodiesel plant in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  We have single family homes right behind me here.  An affordable senior housing complex to my right.  And a preschool right around the corner.” But company officials say they only located their business here because of state and city incentives designed to revitalize the enterprise zone in the Barrio Logan census tract.  Company founder Jennifer Case said in a statement that the firm got along with neighbors and won awards from local officials. “to make a positive impact on the world by displacing petroleum diesel with biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil. The fuel made at New Leaf’s facility is the lowest carbon diesel alternative fuel in the state – 85% better than petroleum.”-Jennifer Case But Case concedes the expansion caused odor issues.  The filters helped but the company suggested building a pipeline under Sicard Street so oil wouldn’t have to be moved on trucks.  That plan was shelved after the community complained, complaints Case heard directly at a public meeting in August. “For many many years industry has operated in Barrio Logan in a way that’s dismissive of community concerns for their quality of life.  To be there.  To hear. To take that input from residents, even if it was uncomfortable, I’m sure it was for her to hear.  And then internalize that and take an action, withdrawing the permit, that’s a big step.  And it’s a step towards the healing of the neighborhood.” New Leaf officials insist they’ve been good neighbors and were responsive once concerns were raised about the odors.  Case’s statement says the company only has positive intent for the neighborhood. “In the meantime, we must also consider our thousands of restaurant customers, our ultra low carbon biodiesel users, and our dedicated team of over 50 employees.” – Jennifer Case The company is asking air quality officials and the environmental health coalition to give them time to make improvements while they find a new place to process the cooking oil.  Maria Fernanda Corral has lived in a senior apartment complex across the street from the plant for eight years.  She says the last three years have been horrible and she wants the plant to move. Maria Fernanda Corral, Barrio Logan Resident “We know for sure we do not have the 10 years they’re asking for.  And most of us, we don’t. so it’s a matter, for us, it’s a matter of business, money, and probably greed.” Corral says she and her husband locked themselves in their apartment during the pandemic in an effort to escape the smell.  She says the filters do help. “It did get better.  You know we have days that we can leave the windows open.  My door is always open when we do have a good day.  But then it always comes back. Specifically, evenings and weekends.” Corral and others in the Barrio Senior Villas apartment complex are suing NewLeaf Biofuels. They are asking the courts to award monetary damages and to keep the plant from expanding further. Erik Anderson KPBS News.


Coming up.... California wants to triple the sale of electric vehicles over the next few years. What needs to be done to prepare the state’s power grid for increased demand?

“There certainly are some measures we have to take to be able to do that in an economic way and in a reliable way on the grid.”

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


Last summer, heat waves prompted state officials to issue Flex Alerts.

Californians were advised to conserve energy to reduce pressure on the state’s power supply. That happened shortly after the state announced it would ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 20-35.

Millions more electric vehicles are expected to be on the road because of this.

So, if a heatwave and the use of air conditioners strains California’s power grid… what will it take for the grid to be prepared for the demand added by more electric vehicles?

Jan Kleissl is someone who’s researched answers to that question.

He’s an engineering professor and director of the Center for Energy Research at U-C-S-D.

He spoke to my colleague Jade Hindmon.

What impact will moving to all new zero-emission vehicles by 20-35 have on California’s energy grid? 

Are there manufacturers of zero-emission cars working on models that could put less pressure on the power grid? 

What infrastructure changes are needed for the grid to meet higher energy demands in the future?

What else can consumers change their energy use to reduce strain on the grid?

TAG: That was Jan Kleissl, professor of engineering and director of the Center for Energy Research at U-C-S-D, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon.


California State University student workers have been given state approval to schedule their vote to unionize.

Education reporter M.G. Perez has more on what happens next.

There are 20-thousand CAL-STATE student assistants working jobs that include I-T support, dorm security, and custodial work…at all 23 campuses. In April they filed a request with the California Public Employment Relations Board to hold an election to unionize……and PERB has now said yes to that request. Leah Baker is one of the student assistants fighting for better working conditions. “the CSU needs to pay us real wages. We do the work of union staff …we’re paid minimum wage, get no sick days or any other benefits…and that’s why I’m looking forward to voting for a union.”  Now with the state’s approval, the students can schedule a vote to join the established Cal-State Employees Union…which is supporting their effort. CSU administration has 15 days to appeal. MGP 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, including a look at why neighbors are frustrated by a lack of progress, on building a new DMV office in Hillcrest with affordable housing. I’m John Carroll. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

A migrant aid center in San Ysidro may have to shut down because of a lack of funding. Then, the battle over a biodiesel factory in Barrio Logan that is pitting industry against neighbors. Plus, California State University student workers have been given state approval to vote to unionize.