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New affordable housing in City Heights

 March 25, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, March 25th.


There’s two new affordable housing projects in City Heights.

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


Passenger rail service between Orange County and San Diego is expected to fully resume today (Monday) after being closed for nearly two months.

The tracks were closed on January 24th due to a landslide.

Workers have been building a 200-foot-long retaining wall to protect the tracks from falling debris.

In recent weeks, some slow-speed freight trains were able to move through the affected area at night.

And earlier this month, Amtrak began offering limited passenger service in the early mornings and late evenings.

Full service resumed this morning on both the Metrolink and Amtrak line.


The rain is over for most of the county.

But, there’s still the chance of rain in the mountain areas.

The National Weather Service says other areas are expected to be mostly sunny, but it could get cloudy at times.

It’ll be the warmest in the deserts today… temperatures will be in the low 70s, and in the mountains, it'll be in the mid 40s.

In the inland and coastal areas, temps are expected to be in the low 60s.

And by the coast, there’s a High Surf Advisory in effect until noon, when waves can reach up to 10 feet.


The Padres are wrapping up spring training today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday)… and then the official M-L-B season is back this week here in San Diego!

They’ll be playing the Seattle Mariners during their final exhibition games at Petco Park.

Then, the Padres home opener is on Thursday.

They’ll start the season with a game against the San Francisco Giants.


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


There are two new affordable housing projects in City Heights.

Developer Wakeland Housing held a grand opening for City Heights Place and City Heights Plaza Del Sol, Friday.

Reporter Melissa Mae says with the huge need for affordable housing, there are already wait lists to move in.

MM: Hundreds of City Heights residents are now calling the two new affordable housing communities home. MM: Rent for the 135 two and three-bedroom apartments ranges from $930 to $2150 dollars a month. MM: Rebecca Louie with Wakeland Housing and Development says residents have to earn less than 60% of the median income - about 82 thousand a year for a family of four.  RL “This is home to the people that are like the backbone of our society. These are the people that work in our hotels, that work in our restaurants, that work in our transit jobs, really the people that keep San Diego moving.” MM: The units are completely full, but Louie says Wakeland already has a few more properties in the works. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


The child care crisis has been going on for a long time, and covid only made it worse.

There aren’t enough child care slots to go around, and care is expensive.

At the same time, providers aren’t paid enough.

Last week, reporter Tania Thorne joined the podcast to talk about her new series, “Where’s my Village.”

Here’s a glimpse of it, where she looks at where the challenge is the hardest… infant care.

It's like there's so much prep before the birth, for the birth, for all of the gear, and then you leave the hospital and you have this baby and. Okay, good luck. Bolling and Murray Keogh are new parents. They have all the gear ready for their new baby. But childcare is the part they haven't figured out. I don't even know what our baby's name is or what the gender of our baby is. And I'm stressed out that I am behind on figuring out their childcare. Bolling says the price is one stressful factor… The average cost for infants in San Diego is around 16-hundred dollars a month The other factor is hoping there isn’t a waitlist. There are about twice as many young kids in San Diego County as there are childcare spaces available. And in some parts of the county, less than a fifth of kids have an available spot. But to be complete honesty right now, looking at the math of having a baby in childcare, either I will probably maybe stop working for a little bit to stay home and take care of the baby, or I've kind of started looking at other jobs. Bolling says she doesn't know what resources are available to families just starting out. together, our income is above the threshold for the assistance for my job and for the state subsidy, and so we don't qualify for a lot of those. Well, the childcare system, unfortunately, is very difficult to access. It is expensive for parents, and oftentimes the hours that are available don't meet the needs of families. Kim McDougal and Courtney Baltiskyy are with the San Diego County YMCA. They hear of families like the Keogh’s on a daily basis. at a time when this family bonding should be a priority, it's one of the most  stressful times for a family. They say the childcare system has been in a crisis for a long time. The pandemic made it worse…and showed how essential childcare is. As everything collapsed during the pandemic, it became very apparent that childcare providers are essential infrastructure for our economy, for our families, for our community. And without them and without access to this type of care, our entire system is really greatly impacted. Many childcare providers didn’t make it out of the pandemic. One in eight closed between 2020 and 2022. Narrowing the search for many parents even more. Here in San Diego county, people are leaving the field. Centers are closing. Family childcare homes are closing because it's not even something that you can choose to do and just make a little bit of money. You have to run your business at a loss. The centers that did survive, then many of their four year olds moved to universal transitional kindergarten funded by the state. Four year olds need fewer teachers than infants—so they’re cheaper to care for. Kim says it’s time legislators turn their attention and funding to infant and toddler care. There needs to be a larger supply of infant spots. And we don't see the supply increasing until we really get that infusion of federal or state funding. Or until we have paid family leave that allows parents and caregivers to be constantated, to stay home, to do that critical work and make a choice on what's best for them in a way that doesn't compromise their income. But none of those solutions will likely happen any time soon—definitely not in time for growing families like the Keoghs. So they’re left weighing options. It could mean leaving San Diego. it's kind of wild that, you know, it's such a natural process and something that we're hardwired as humans to have kids and to procreate, and then there's this big barrier. 

TAG: That piece was reported by Tania Thorne.

To see the full series, go to kpbs dot org slash wheres my village.


Plastic products and packaging eventually break down into tiny pieces.

Even so, petroleum-based microplastics don’t degrade and become part of the environment.

But plant-based, biodegradable plastics do.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge reports on the latest findings.

Plastic containers, bottles and flip flops end up in our waste stream. Weather and erosion turn them into tiny particles. Microplastics are typically too small to even notice. But they are all around us, in our food and in ourselves. But a research team led by Michael Burkart, professor of biochemistry at UC San Diego, has now proven that plant-based microplastics degrade and disappear in a matter of a few months. They ground up plant-based plastic materials into very small bits and tested them in several natural environments. BURKART “After 120 days we couldn’t even find the particles. They completely disappeared.” The plant-based plastics are consumed by bacteria and other microorganisms. Burkart and some colleagues at UCSD have founded a company called Algenesis, to try to create consumer products made from plant-based plastics. SOQ. 


Along the edge of San Diego's freeways, patches of wildflowers are bursting to life.

But reporter Kori Suzuki wondered, are they a sign of the superbloom? Or something else?

It's late March, and that means parts of California's freeways are springing to life with wildflowers. Another super bloom has officially begun – a silver lining of this year’s fierce winter storms. But these flowers along the freeway are actually a little less wild than they might seem. In the mid-1980s, we were required to plant, to throw seeds. We just call it wildflower seeding. Stephen Alvarez is a senior landscape architect with Caltrans. He says many of those flowers are actually what’s left of a decades-old federal program. Led by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. It really came out of the environmental movement in the '70s. And Lady Bird Johnson really wanted to limit and beautify the highways. The flower program also served a practical purpose … the plantings helped to limit soil erosion and keep mud from sliding into the road or clogging rivers and streams. But Alvarez says the program had its own environmental issues. Some of the flowers weren’t native species and turned out to be invasive. Many of them also weren’t built to survive droughts. So, in the 90s, the government pulled the plug. Today, Caltrans still seeds the freeways … Now, they focus on native plants. Which Alvarez says are just as beautiful. Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.


Thanks, Kori. I learned something new today. That’s it for today’s podcast. 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 Monday.

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There are two new affordable housing projects in City Heights. Developer Wakeland Housing held a grand opening for City Heights Place and City Heights Plaza Del Sol Friday. In other news, we hear a preview of a new KPBS series about the child care crisis in San Diego. Plus, along the edge of San Diego's freeways, patches of wildflowers are bursting to life. We learn about the history behind why there are so many blooms on highway medians.