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Local school board elections cause controversy

 October 20, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, October 20th.

The upcoming school board elections are causing controversy.

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

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A new SANDAG report released yesterday found the majority of juvenile arrestees report using illicit drugs.

The report examined drug use among detained youth in 20-21.

Some of the findings from the report include 95-percent of the youth interviewed reported ever trying an illicit substance, and about three in five youth interviewed in detention tested positive for at least one drug.

Illicit drugs include alcohol, tobacco, marijuanna, powder cocaine, meth and more.

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People in government offices, businesses and schools throughout San Diego County today will stop everything for a minute to "drop, cover and hold on," during a statewide earthquake preparedness drill.

The 20-22 Great California ShakeOut will happen at 10-20 this morning.

The annual drill is an opportunity to learn and practice safety during an earthquake, and to be aware of potential hazards after one.

You can register at shakeout-dot-org-slash-california.

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The Padres beat the Philadelphia Phillies eight to five in yesterday’s Game Two of the National League Championship series...

The game was a nailbiter for fans who managed to make it in for the midday game.

The Padres are heading to Philadelphia for the next three games of the series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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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.

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The November election will have a significant focus on local school board races.

Although candidates for those campaigns have usually been listed at the bottom of the ballot, KPBS Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us the on-going pandemic continues to fuel high emotions and interest in how school districts are run.

“I’ll speak quickly…I’ve listened to all these ‘woke’ (shouts) …well I’m sorry it’s not ok…” It came fast……and furious…“from hell’s heart I stab at thee!”  Those are voices from school board meetings in San Diego County at different times during the COVID pandemic of the past two and a half years.  Hostility and hatred directed at those elected board members whose job is  running school districts and spending taxpayer dollars…this is from a board meeting in May in the San Dieguito Union High School District… “I want the money of the district to be spent wisely.”  (shouts) “this is my time…shut up…and let me speak, ok!?” …then there’s this from a meeting of the Sweetwater Union High School District in 2020…  “you want a fight? You want a war? We’re coming and we’re not going to take it anymore” Parents and teachers and community members have shown up like never before to blame and berate school board members about everything from mask mandates and vaccine requirements to critical race theory ….and LGBTQ representation. “if we don’t start from an established set of facts, then it makes it very difficult to have any conversation beyond that.” Evan Crawford is a political scientist at the University of San Diego. He studies trends in school boards across the country. “most of the job is what we would probably all still agree is non-partisan…we have a certain budget…are we going to construct a school here…we got to set bus routes, we’re hiring personnel.” There are more than 13-thousand school boards in the U-S…1-thousand of them here in California, alone. They are supposed to be non-partisan ..solving very localized problems. But…COVID created universal chaos in education…along with deep rooted political lines…which means your ballot for the November election has candidates with big party support …even if there is no capital R or D next to their name… “strong Republican or Democrats who have these passionate partisan feelings and now see the school board as a partisan body that might now be attractive to them.”  “It’s a hidden giant with so many opportunities to get people in and have some say in their local school boards.”  Shawn Steel is a life-long Republican. He chairs the California Republican Party and is the state representative on the Republican National Committee. He has been at work recruiting and training candidates for school boards…in a program called Parent Revolt. “I don’t care how much experience they have…if they are parents and they love their kids…and they’re reasonable…I would support them..and that’s including non-Republicans.”  “I would tell students in San Diego and across the country that your voice matters and you can make a difference.” Shiva raj-BAHN-dari is on the other side of the aisle and a couple of states away. He is 18-years old, a high school senior, and in September he was elected to the Boise, Idaho school board…defeating an established incumbent candidate who accepted the endorsement of a local far-right paramilitary group known as the Idaho Liberty Dogs. “the only way we can stand up for our schools is to put our foot down and say ‘No’ …enough. That extremism has no place here; everyone is welcomed to participate in decision making regarding our schools…but hate and violence have no place here in Boise or anywhere else in the country.” Shiva’s historic election is one solution to the unfolding political problem that is gripping school boards everywhere. It also provides a teachable moment… “We will not consent! We will not comply!”  That lesson will not go quietly.  MGP KPBS News

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San Diego voters are being asked to fill two vacancies in the San Diego Superior Court system.

KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says there's a resource that can help.

AB: Since 1978, the San Diego County Bar Association has been evaluating judicial candidates. Races for judge often have little public information, leaving many voters at a loss for which candidate to support. The bar association does confidential interviews with the candidates and rates them based on their qualifications. Association president David Majchrzak says the criteria include impartiality. DM: Compassion and understanding. The decisiveness of the person. Their knowledge of the law. Their professional reputation. All factors that go into who is it that, ultimately, if you had to walk in a courtroom you would want to be judging your case. AB: You can find the Bar Association's judicial evaluations at sdcba.org. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.

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California utility regulators are mulling a rate-hike request from S-D-G-AND-E.

The utility is seeking to increase rates starting next year.

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

A regulatory filing submitted by the San Diego utility asks the California Public Utilities Commission to raise the cost of delivering electricity by about eight percent.  Local gas rates would jump by just under six percent.  It is unclear  how the rate hike request will impact local power aggregators which are buying power for tens of thousands of customers in San Diego County.  SDGE’s Scott Crider told city officials this week that will likely be figured out next year. “Once San Diego Community power determines its rates for next year, if there’s any change then we can do a full bill forecast.  But we wanted to share what the delivery rates are going to be for SDGE.” SDGE has already filed for a nine percent rate hike in 2024.  State regulators are not commenting on the rate hike requests. Erik Anderson KPBS News

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Coming up.... A 19-60’s horror film will be screening on 16-millimeter in San Diego. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.

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THE CITY OF LEMON GROVE HONORED A PIONEER OF BROADCASTING WILLIAM TAYARI HOWARD YESTERDAY, WITH A TREE PLANTING CEREMONY …

KPBS REPORTER KITTY ALVARADO HAS THE STORY.

During his 50 years as a radio personality in San Diego, Tayari Howard’s smooth voice reached far beyond the county. He played a pivotal role in getting Black music on the airwaves … but he had to broadcast from Tijuana to get his own voice heard and Black music played. when I came to san diego in 1970  I couldn’t get a job outside the military especially as a broadcaster so I didn’t give up and I think what happened was  over 50 years of broadcasting at 8 different radio stations one tv station here in San Diego, they got the message Howard raised nearly 2 million dollars for nonprofits and mentored dozens of youth. Kitty Alvarado KPBS News 

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In 19-68, George Romero's ‘Night of the Living Dead’ revolution-ized horror by defining the modern zombie and placing the genre in a modern context where social commentary could be made.

Tomorrow, Digital Gym Cinema will pay tribute to the film with a 16-millimeter screening.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with Michael Aguirre of ‘See It on 16-Millimeter’ about what it takes to tour the state with a projector and 16-millimeter print of the Romero classic.

That was Michael Aguirre of ‘See It on 16-Millimeter’ speaking with KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando.

He will be screening ‘Night of the Living Dead’ on 16-millimeter tomorrow night at Digital Gym Cinema.

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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.

The November election will have a significant focus on local school board races, and as the on-going pandemic continues, many parents are interested in how school districts are run. In other news, SDG&E is seeking to increase rates starting next year. Plus, a 1960s horror movie will be screening on 16-millimeter film in San Diego Friday.