Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

New plea deals in Navy corruption case

 September 7, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, September 7th.

The cost of child care could increase as federal funding for centers expires this month

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

Four U-S Navy officers who were once convicted for roles in the “Fat Leonard” bribery scandal will not serve any jail time.

Instead, the group pleaded guilty yesterday (Wednesday) to misdemeanor charges, in a deal that vacates the prior convictions.

A federal judge fined each officer 100-dollars.

None will be ordered to serve probation or pay any restitution.

Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors withheld evidence and prepped witnesses to give false testimony.The central figure in the case, Leonard Francis, pleaded guilty, but left the country prior to sentencing.

He was arrested in Venezuela and is awaiting extradition.

San Diego Police will pay respects to one of their own today.

A private memorial will be held this afternoon in Serra Mesa for “Sir.”The police K-9 was killed when it was shot during a call near Mesa College last month.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Police Chief David Nisleit are planning to attend the memorial, which is closed to the public.

Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion nationwide yesterday (Wednesday).

The decision comes two years after a ruling that removed criminal penalties in one northern state.

Until now, Mexican states handled the abortion issue on a state-by-state basis.

Our neighbor, Baja California, is among 12 Mexican states where abortion is allowed up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.15 years ago, Mexico City became the first jurisdiction to allow a person to medically end their pregnancy. Wednesday’s ruling at the national level follows a trend of Latin American countries loosening restrictions on the procedure.

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

Federal emergency funding helped keep the childcare industry from collapsing during the pandemic.

Those funds are set to expire this month.

Reporter Tania Thorne explains what that could mean for parents and providers.

The $24 billion dollar Child Care Stabilization Program passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021. It gave funding to more than 200,000 child care programs across America, a quarter of them in California. Now, Those funds are set to expire by the end of this month. That could mean more staffing shortages and higher cost for care. “Fast forward to what's gonna happen after this is that number is gonna increase. And we've been working to decrease it. And this will be an automatic like, you know not just 2 steps back, but 5 steps back.” Arnulfo Manriquez is the CEO of MAAC. His organization provides child development and early education programs in San Diego. He says many providers used the funds to increase their staff's pay and keep the care affordable for parents. Child Care Aware of America is a non profit organization that advocates for policies that improve childcare. Susan Gale Perry is the CEO.  “We are seeing some bright spots around the country, and some States that have really stepped up.” She says many states have started to invest more in childcare outside the federal funds. Tania Thorne, KPBS News.

For children, after school is a time for play, homework, and snacks.

For working parents who rely on after school care to keep their children safe, it can mean stress and costly program fees.

But KPBS’s Katerina Portela tells us that’s changing for some families this year.

So I remember the exact moment that I found out that they had been accepted into the program, and I was jumping up and down for joy. Deniece Hasson remembers it vividly—the day back in June when she found out her three boys got into the free afterschool program. I got three separate emails back to back for each kid, and that just really released a lot of anxiety for me because I was able to feel like I had some breathing room financially. Hasson’s boys go to Marvin Elementary school, which just added the free program called Primetime this year. Hasson says it’s going to save her a lot of money. “so I did do the math and over nine years of having my three children in daycare, it came up to just over  $174,000. So, nine years, three kids, and that was just the childcare.” This year, San Diego Unified is using a state grant to boost Primetime—adding the program to eight more schools and increasing the number of students at each site.  So Hasson and other parents will now be able to enroll their children in afterschool care for free. Christiane Trout-McPhee is manager of Primetime for San Diego Unified. “With the additional Extended Learning Opportunities Program grant, it gives us the opportunity to expand the program and serve as many students as we can possibly serve.” San Diego Unified contracts with several childcare providers to run Primetime. Brad Lupien is CEO of one of them, called ARC. “Now there's additional state funding called Expanded learning Opportunity Programs, and that dramatically increased the number of spots and number of students. As an example, for San Diego Unified, we saw the target number of students for us double over the past couple of years.” Lupien says more spaces means helping more families. Last year, there were nearly 2,000 students on Primetime waitlists. This year, there are half as many.  He says the programs aren’t just about play. So there's homework help and academic intervention. There's enrichment, and there's recreation or physical activity are the three primary components. And then every program by state law must also provide snacks or supper or both. Kim McDougal is executive director of the YMCA’s childcare resource service. She says Primetime’s expansion is just the first step in more accessible childcare across the state. “I think it is the future of aftercare is that in communities where resources are needed to support after school time care that they're provided by the State and being able to staff it all is the next piece.” For Hasson, the free care for her boys is a big relief for her entire family. Being able to alleviate that part of the budget was just a breath of fresh air to know that we have room to save, to do other things and not have to worry about sort of paycheck to paycheck, making sure that we are able to cover these costs. For KPBS, I’m Katerina Portela._________TAG: The deadline to apply for Primetime has already ended, but parents can apply in the spring for next year. Details are at kpbs-dot-org.

Coming up.... a long-running homeless shelter in north county is losing a major financial backer. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.

The Escondido city council recently decided to pull funding from Haven House, a long-running homeless shelter in the city.

Interfaith Community Services runs the shelter.

Reporter Alexander Nguyen spoke with the organization’s C-E-O.

The city council made the decision last month. Interfaith Community Services CEO Greg Anglea says the city expressed concerns about the population haven house serves. “One of the concerns they shared is that our shelter was not serving a high enough portion of people – residents – here who became homeless here in Escondido.” According to interfaith’s internal data … more than 60% of residents at Haven House are Escondido residents. Haven House was expected to receive $50-thousand from Escondido … roughly the same amount it has received in the past decade. While $50-thousand dollars is a small part of the shelter's budget … it speaks to the larger issue that funding for homeless services is dwindling, Anglea says. Escondido Mayor Dane White has yet to respond to a request for comment from KPBS. Alexander Nguyen, KPBS News.##########

(short music break) A consumer advocacy group is calling on California's attorney general to investigate the recent trend of homeowner insurance exits from the state.

Reporter John Carroll says a recording of an insurance company lobbyist is at the heart of the matter.

Insurance companies that write homeowner policies have been pulling out of California for months. Others have put restrictions on their policies. Last week Jamie Court, who works for the group Consumer Watchdog, was on a flight between la and sacramento.  He heard a passenger across the aisle from him speaking to a flight attendant about legislative matters.  That man was Michael Gunning, who works for lighthouse public affairs, a group that lobbies for insurance companies.  The audio quality is good enough to play on radio, but gunning told the flight attendant, quote, “so, we’re trying to jam a bill in the last three weeks of the year.” Court says gunning was talking about a piece of legislation that his group hoped to get through in the waning days of this legislative session, that would raise premiums.  “So, we believe that constitutes price fixing.  if a company is pulling out of a market that they’re profiting well in, and they’re doing it in concert with other companies to jack up premiums, isn’t that price fixing?” Consumer Watchdog has asked Attorney General Rob Bonta to conduct an investigation.  A spokesman for Lighthouse Public Affairs says their employees are always willing to answer questions from flight attendants.  ag bonta’s office had no comment on any potential investigation.  John Carroll, KPBS news.##########(music break)Surf’s up in Oceanside this week for the annual U.S. Open Adaptive Surfing Championship.

Reporter Jacob Aere says the competition proves people of all abilities can professionally surf at the highest level, regardless of what life throws at them.

This week at the Oceanside Pier, professional surfers from all over the world are taking on the waves and fellow competitors for the 6th Annual U.S. Open Adaptive Surfing Championship. Charles Webb is the founder of the event and Tour. He explained how the boards differ from traditional surfing. “They adapt it. They gotta put some handles on it, they gotta put some different fin structure. They gotta put some different stuff on it, my waveski has a backrest. I surf with a paddle.” Over 100 adaptive surfers  from more than 17 countries will compete for accolades and cash prizes at the event. The competition runs from now through September 10th. The general public is invited to come and watch on the sand and volunteers are welcome to sign up. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.##########

FilmOut San Diego is now underway.

Now in its 23rd year, the local LGBTQ Film Festival opened last night in Balboa Park.FilmOut runs through Sunday, and KPBS cinema junkie Beth Accomando has a story right now at kpbs-dot-org previewing the festival.

You can also hear that story on Wednesday’s episode of San Diego News Now.

That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us tomorrow for your daily local news and a story on the effectiveness of local curfew laws. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Navy officials will avoid incarceration in the latest twist involving the ‘Fat Leonard’ bribery scandal. Also, some financial assistance for child care centers will run out in the days ahead. And, an adaptive surfing event comes to Oceanside.