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New safe parking lot for homeless San Diegans

 April 27, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, April 27th.

The county’s newest safe parking site offers help for more unhoused San Diegans. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


Some riders of M-T-S minibus and “Access” services can’t get the rides they need right now.

That’s because drivers are striking against the company M-T-S hires to run the services – First Transit.

The strike here is in solidarity with First Transit drivers in El Centro.

Jaime Vasquez is a principal officer with the Teamsters union.

He says working conditions and wages for the El Centro drivers are terrible.

“$15.60 an hour.  I mean, it’s just ridiculous.  And having to wait over 20 years to get the top rate, and that top rate is only $23 an hour.”

In a statement, First Transit says they’re actively negotiating with the union and are hoping to reach an amicable resolution soon.

You can find out which routes are affected by going to


San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe this week announced she will be running for the county supervisor seat that will be left vacant when Nathan Fletcher steps down next month.

She is one of several candidates seeking the District 4 vacancy.

Fletcher plans to resign on May 15th, following a lawsuit accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The other members of the board will decide at a meeting on May 2nd whether to hold a special election, appoint a successor to fill out the remaining three and a half years of his term or appoint a temporary replacement until a new supervisor is elected.


The San Diego Unified School Board this week voted to officially recognize five new girls high school sports.

Those include girls' beach volleyball, flag football, and competitive and stunt cheering.

With the decision, half-a-million dollars will be added to the budget to pay coaches and expand these programs.


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


The safe parking program is a part of the city of San Diego’s action plan on homelessness.

Reporter Melissa Mae tells us how the newest site offers those who are homeless a safe option to transition into more stable housing.

MM: Michael Johns and his family of 3 moved to San Diego for a job, but he says he was laid off and that started the family’s spiral into homelessness. MM: Thanks to a donation from the State of California, the Johns family will soon move into one of the 12 camper trailers on site. The lot in Clairemont is the first to include trailers that come equipped with beds, bathrooms and showers.  MJ “It’s very hard to raise a 15-year-old in a vehicle. So, we're grateful for the opportunity to be in a trailer, used as our home base because it's a great transition to go from something like this back into housing.” MM: People who want to take part in the program can contact Jewish Family Service for more information. Visit J-F-S-S-D dot org slash safe parking or call (858)637-3373. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


April is National Donate Life Month, and this week Rady Children’s Hospital held a special ceremony celebrating successful kidney transplants.

Health reporter Matt Hoffman was there with teary-eyed nurses and families.

Whoo (walking down the hall) Since last year 13 young lives have been transformed thanks to kidney donors.. This week kids and their families got their chance to ring Rady Children’s ‘transplant bell’ -- celebrating successful operations.. Brooklyn ringing bell Six year old Brooklyn All was born with one kidney and it had a tumor nearby.. After undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy the tumor  was removed but it left the kidney damaged.. That’s when her dad Andrew stepped in to give her one of his. Andrew All, kidney donor & brooklyn’s dad This is kind of like the last part of our journey so to be able to ring that bell was amazing Now Brookyln doesn’t have to go through dialysis, which is a regular procedure to remove toxins.. And She can focus on being a kid again.. She loves playing chess, eating popsicles and– Andrew She loves mazes so my wife is really good at making crazy mazes, crazy ones! In the driveway Music --MH KPBS News.


Baseball is a big part of the San Diego-Tijuana cross-border culture … and San Diego is the only M-L-B city that can truly be called a border town with Mexico.

Reporter Jacob Aere says recent investments in the team have not only led to sellouts at Petco Park, but have also helped the Padres bolster a fanbase south of the border.

They might be called the San Diego Padres … but fans of this team stretch well beyond the city … and county … and across the border  into Tijuana. Omar Parra lives there and has been a Padres fan for decades. He says baseball, much like soccer, is part of the fabric of Tijuana … and teams like the Xolos (CHOLOS) soccer club and Toros baseball team have been supported by local fans for many years. Omar Parra Padres Fan from Tijuana “I would say Mexico is not quite divided, but there is two sports. One is soccer and the other one is baseball.” This weekend marks a new chapter for baseball in Mexico  … with the Padres playing a two game series against the San Francisco Giants … in what will be the first Major League Baseball games played in Mexico City. This comes as the Padres have made a big push to embrace the cross-border culture. You see it in the team’s new teal, yellow, and pink jerseys inspired by Baja-California and mariachis that play on the home jumbotron … And in Tijuana  …Omar Parra  Padres Fan from Tijuana “I would say 5, 10 years ago you would mostly see, I would say 90% would be Boston hats, Yankee hats, Detroit Tigers …  So now it's kind of turned around and 60 or 70 percent is San Diego hats. So I do see a change.” On the U.S. side of the border, San Diego’s South Bay is arguably where baseball passion … and the heart of Friars fandom beats the loudest. The area has produced a trio of little league world series teams in the past decade alone …. and murals of Padres players and mascots pepper Chula Vista’s Third Avenue. Liz Baltazar Padres fan going to Mexico City Series “What’s honestly made us bond a lot more too, it's made us closer – is baseball” Thats where Padres season ticket holder Liz Baltazar spoke about the significance that the team holds in her life … and to her family. Liz Baltazar Padres fan going to Mexico City Series “It's just the love that we both have for this team that makes it worth it. It doesn't matter what the price is, we will pay whatever we can to show our support as well.” The Rancho San Diego resident and her husband Jorge are traveling to Mexico City for this weekend’s games. Liz Baltazar Padres fan going to Mexico City Series “I'm excited just to be in the environment. Being in the cultural environment, to trying out all the different food items, and just expecting baseball in a different community, a different culture.” The team’s revenue has increased along with its growing fan bases on both sides of the border. That's mainly because majority owner Peter Seidler has been on a spending spree, signing stars like Manny Machacho and Fernando Tatis to big, long-term contracts, says USD professor of economics Alan Gin. Alan Gin USD Professor of Economics “And San Diego is having more and more fans. That includes fans in Mexico. We might get some people crossing the border to watch games. Those who can't afford to come to games will be watching on television and they might buy some merchandise.” Over the past few decades, the Padres have played in Mexico a handful of other times – in the city of Monterrey. But with this Mexico City series, they're stepping onto a bigger stage. Alan Gin USD Professor of Economics “They're going to the capital, they're going to the biggest city and so that's going to draw a lot of media attention in Mexico. And so that's definitely going to help promote the Padres brand in Mexico. And the Padres have been making efforts to do that all along, and this will just give a boost to those efforts.” Baltazar says this series may be far from her current home … but it's worth the journey… Liz Baltazar  Padres fan going to Mexico City Series “The Padres is the one team that has my heart for sure.” … plus the games are still close to what matters most. Liz Baltazar  Padres fan going to Mexico City Series “My side of the family, my grandparents, are from Guadalajara. And same with his family, they're close to that area. It means a lot.” And in Tijuana … Parra hopes to see the Padres influence continue to grow. Omar Parra Padres Fan from Tijuana “My dad and some other relatives in other parts of Mexico now are saying ‘I want to go to the Padres game.’ And I send them gear and all that stuff, so I like that. I like the fact that the Padres are representing.” Over the next few days KPBS will share the sights and the sounds of the Mexico City series … including coverage of the baseball ties between the two regions … and stories of Padres fans from both sides of the border who made the trip for the historic event. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


Coming up.... the Without Walls Festival kicks off today. We’ll have a preview and more, just after the break.


Thousands of high school students in the San Diego Unified School District will go online this morning to vote.

Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us…It’s an election for the new student members on the School Board.

There are five high school candidates running for two student positions on the San Diego Unified Board of Trustees.  They have been campaigning online and in person at schools across the district. Now students are casting ballots through a secure email platform. With results expected early next month. The positions are non-voting …and unpaid. But Board Trustee Richard Barrera says it’s time for that to change. “this is real work and students have real needs and so we have to elevate that conversation for adequate compensation for these young people and the service that they give.” Assembly Bill 275 has been approved and passed on to the California senate for consideration. The proposal would give school districts the option of paying student trustees…it would not require compensation or set a specific pay rate. MGP KPBS News.


The San Diego Music Awards held its 32nd annual ceremony earlier this week, to recognize the achievements of local musicians — think the grammys, but for local music.

Web producer Lara McCaffrey tells us who the top awards went to..

The San Diego Music Awards started at SEVEN P-M Tuesday night at its usual venue — Humphrey’s concerts by the bay in Shelter Island. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY artists were nominated in TWENTY-SEVEN categories of multiple music genres such as hip hop, rock, folk and jazz. The big winners this year were … Daring Greatly, who took home “song of the year” for “Never A Goodbye" Jazz musician Gilbert Castellanos won album of the year. He expressed gratitude for still being able to play music. I went through a four year medical roller coaster where I had three surgeries on my mouth and to be able to play is a privilege. And thank you, San Diego, for your love and support. And, Jeff Berkley won Artist of the Year.  Lara McCaffrey, KPBS News.


La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival kicks off today.

The four-day event showcases immersive and site-inspired dance, music, and theater, by local, national and international artists.

Arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview.

Prepare to be wowed as the Rady Shell hosts La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls or WOW Festival. PATRICK MUELLER CONTROL GROUP PRODUCTIONS The festival as a whole takes over the Rady Shell area. Our show is unique in that we are taking people away from that lively, exciting environment. Passengers will board the bus right in front of the shell, and we will then leave and head through four different sites and see some things out of windows, do plenty of fun things on the bus. Patrick Mueller is the artistic director of Control Group Productions and the director of The End a bus tour of San Diego's climate future. PATRICK MUELLER I am sitting in our apocalypse renovated school bus at one of our sites. I probably shouldn't name it because part of the fun of the show is showing up to places that you may know and you may not. And the route that you took there got you so lost that you're surprised that you showed up there, whether you recognize it or not. And that’s what the WOW Festival is all about, taking you on an unexpected journey to experience theater in an exciting new way. PATRICK MUELLER Immersive interactive, site based and audience mobile experiences all help us into a place of deeper empathy, transformational, impact. I find that very important. PATRICE AMON / TU YO THEATRE  The WOW Festival allows us to break out of the traditional boundaries of the theater, so we get our audiences up and moving. Maria Patrice Amon is co-artistic director for Tu Yo Theatre, which is presenting Las Cuatro Milpas, a love letter to the oldest Mexican restaurant in San Diego. PATRICE AMON -When we look at the history of our indigenous folks coming into Latinx heritage, we don't have many documents to go off of, and those documents are these old ancient codices. And we wanted the audience to feel like they were able to walk through and traverse history, to see that legacy from our ancient past into our contemporary folks today. In site specific or immersive theater, the audience is a part of the storytelling. They are a character in your show. They are collaborative with you in generating the script. Our actors have their script and they have their dialogue, but there is a responsiveness. So when the audience says something to the actors, the actors have to improv and they have to think on their feet and respond in real time to the audiences. And audiences can expect to provide   their own kind of improv when preparing for The End. PATRICK MUELLER The audience will be recruited to take different sort of job assignments during the show with tasks that help us on our journey. And the basic conceit is that passengers have booked a one way ticket to the refuge because they realize that a climate cliff is imminent and it's time to run for cover. And so the bus is trying to get us all there, gathering the things that we need to show up with in order for the refuge to be a sustainable community. There’s a tastier destination waiting for audiences at Las Cuatro Milpas. PATRICE AMON So our WOW piece is very user friendly, so when they come and join us. Audiences can come up to our tents. There can be large nine foot tall walls of fabric, all painted in the style of an aesthetic codex with murals. We've got about 200ft of murals inside the space. Audiences will come in and they'll be able to watch short videos with some puppets, with some animation, with some live action. And then in the very last space, they'll be able to engage with some live actors. The actors will guide the audience to a very special and delicious treat. Whether it is through your taste buds or through seeing the familiar with fresh eyes, WOW is all about engaging the audience. PATRICK MUELLER I find that experiences that interact with me and that surround me, I can relate to in a different way. We're so used to looking through screens and it's standard theater is basically that it's a big rectangle frame that you look through to see the action that you are excluded from. And so I think there's a big, just a fundamental value to being part of the experience you are having. La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival runs Thursday through Sunday at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. All shows are free of charge but you are encouraged to make reservations. Beth Accomando, 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 to stay in the know about the top local stories of the day, plus, we’ll have details on this weekend’s San Diego Book Crawl. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

The safe parking program is a part of the city of San Diego’s action plan on homelessness, and the newest site offers those who are homeless a safe option to transition into more stable housing. In other news, how recent investments in the Padres have not only led to sellouts at Petco Park, but have also helped the team bolster a fanbase south of the border. Plus, we preview the Without Walls Festival that kicks off today.