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Nominating commissioners for SDPD oversight panel

 May 22, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, May 22nd.


Nominating commissioners for San Diego’s new police oversight panel.

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


Home prices in the county increased last month, for the second month in a row.

The median sale price of a single-family home in the county was 930-thousand-dollars.

The ratio of new houses for sale to new houses sold in the county last month was also higher, compared to March.

But, prices are still lower than this time last year.


San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped to 3-point-3 percent last month.

The rate dropped after two consecutive months where the rate was stuck at 3-point-7 percent.

But according to the state Employment Development Department, last month’s rate was still higher than April 20-22's rate… but not by much.

The unemployment rate in the county in April last year was 3-point-2-percent.

The recent data shows the county is doing much better than most of the rest of the state.

The statewide unemployment rate last month was 4-point-3 percent.


Two automakers are paying a 200-million dollar class action settlement over claims their vehicles are too easy to steal.

The problem affects about 9-million 20-11 to 20-22 Kia and Hyundai models in the U-S.

Thieves could use a U-S-B cable to start the engines on models that had turn-key ignition switches instead of push buttons.

The San Diego City Attorney was one of many cities to sue the automakers.

The settlement will provide cash compensation to customers who suffered theft-related losses or damage not covered by insurance, and more.

A software upgrade will also be provided to eligible owners.

According to reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the proposed settlement is expected to be reviewed in court for preliminary approval in July.


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


San Diego's city council will nominate a slate of commissioners to the city’s new, more robust police oversight panel today.

But there’s growing criticism of the process…after a recent KPBS investigation.

Reporter Scott Rodd has this story.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since San Diegans overwhelmingly voted for stronger community oversight of police misconduct. But the City Council is only now appointing members to the new, more powerful Commission on Police Practices. The City Council abruptly announced a plan to appoint new commissioners…but only after a KPBS investigation found the commission is barely functioning. Andrea St. Julian is an attorney and the co-chair of San Diegans for Justice. She says nominees were given only a few days to prepare. “Having it at such short notice is really insensitive to those community members who don’t have the luxury of just being able to take off from work whenever they want to.” The volunteer commissioners will have to complete extensive training before oversight of SDPD can restart. SOC.


A North County cafe is facing a federal civil rights lawsuit over sexual harassment allegations.

The equal employment opportunity commission says Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas subjected teenage girls and young women to a -quote- "highly sexualized work environment.”

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen has more.

The suit … filed in federal court last week (may 17)  … alleges that the company has had a “ pattern of hiring teenage girls as young as 16 years old based on their appearance and vulnerability.”the suit further alleges that manager john nolan created a hostile work environment by inappropriately touching young female employees and making sexual comments. in a statement to kpbs … swami’s cafe says the company denies the allegations and quote "will vigorously defend against this lawsuit." the equal employment opportunity commission says the hostile work environment was not limited to the chain’s original location in encinitas. swami’s has 10 locations throughout the county. the company also owns honey’s bistro. the suit seeks monetary damages for the alleged victims and an injunction to prevent swami’s from engaging in future discrimination.  an/kpb.


Winter is behind us and that means bats in San Diego have emerged from hibernation.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge visited their habitat, and spoke with local bat fans as they prepared for seasonal bat walks.

Natalie borchardt stands on the edge of the san diego river in mission valley as she describes the “bat walks” the san diego river park foundation hosts every spring and summer. warm weather and the insects that come with it have brought bats out of hibernation. one cool thing about bats? they navigate and hunt using echolocation, where their high-pitched squeak bounces off bugs in their path. natalie 1 “it’s like when you stand in a canyon and you say, echo!! and you hear it back? that’s exactly what the bat is doing. they are sending out a frequency, and based on what they get back they can tell how far away that bug is.” bats live all over san diego. they’re fond of roosting under freeway bridges. twilight bat walks are very popular, in fact borchardt said they’ve had to cap attendance. she chose this part of the river for a walk due to a good supply of river bugs and condo buildings with red tile roofs on either side. bats squeeze between the tiles for cover. it’s part of their urban habitat. borchardt says her group wants people to engage with  bats. natalie 2 “so one of the projects that we offer is for scouts to design and build their own bat boxes.” one of those scouts is 17-year-old tai cassel ingen. he built six bat boxes to earn his eagle scout rank, and three of the boxes are now installed near the san diego river’s edge in julian. a bat box looks like a very large bird house with entry slats below. asked why he became interested in bats, cassel explains it’s because they’re bats. tai 1 “they’re mammals that can fly! oftentimes we get caught up in that fantasy of flying. it seems mystical to have that kind of superpower.” then there’s that creepy, gothic allure of the bat. tai 2 “beyond batman there are a lot of witchcraft elements that are involved with bats. and you have characters like dracula. these vampires that can also turn into bats and shape-shift you know. and those are really cool popular elements that are kinda adapted from bats.” before she created bat programs, natalie borchardt said she used to be terrified of bats. “i still get a little nervous when they divebomb my head! i have heard that because i have light-colored hair, the insects reflect well off of the hair, and so the bats come very close to you.” don endicott points out the bat is not aiming for your head. endicott 1  “there are a lot of myths about bats. they attack you?  well, they don’t. they’ll get in your hair? nope. they drink your blood. well… there are three species of vampire bats. none north of central mexico, so none here.” endicott is a retired engineer, a self-taught bat expert and a guide at many local bat walks. he said san diego has a terrific biodiversity among its bats. of the 45 bat species in north america nearly half of them can be found in san diego county. the greatest threat to bats, he says, is a deadly disease called white-nose syndrome that’s spreading east to west in north america. that and the heavy use of pesticides that wipe out their prey. the only true danger bats present to us is rabies. like skunks and raccoons, they can be vectors for the disease. endicott 2 “county health requirement is if there’s human contact with a bat it has to be tested for rabies. that’s an invasive procedure. the bat has to be euthanized and it requires sampling brain tissues.” so… never touch a bat. even if it’s not rabid it must be captured and killed after that. bats are nature’s insecticide, helping to make san diego fairly bug free. bats populations can eat literally tons of bugs every night. endicott says they are pollinators of native plants such as the agave. and though they are fast and elusive, endicott recalls one instance when he camped in joshua tree national park, and was riding his bike near twilight. endicott 3 “and on the way back – it’s after dark – and i have my headlamp on. it’s a weekday so nobody is on the road. and i look to my left and there’s a bat flying like my wing man, right off my shoulder, following me down the road because i’m bringing up insects to the light.” one more thing about bats. they are not flying rodents. they are members of the chiroptera (kai-rop-te-ah) family and they bear a closer relation to primates than they do to mice. soq.


Coming up.... A historic change for the lowrider community in National City. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


Veterans seeking medical aid in La Jolla will now see the name of a Navy captain who helped open doors, hatches and scuttles for women to serve on warships.

Military reporter Andrew Dyer has more.

Navy captain kathy bruyere was part of the landmark lawsuit in the 1970s that overturned a law barring women from serving on combat ships. now, a wing at the jennifer moreno va medical center bears her name. “it allowed me to find a career that i fell in love with.” that’s (heres) retired rear admiral sandy adams. “i never would have been able to serve on a ship, any type of ship, at the time. women who were flying at the time could not even land on a ship. even though they could fly a helicopter over the ocean and go by the ship they were not allowed to land on the ship. it was crazy. bruyere is one of two san diego military women memorialized recently. in december, the medical center was renamed for army captain jennifer moreno, a san diego high school grad from logan heights who was killed in afghanistan in 2013. bruyere died in san diego in 2020. andrew dyer, kpbs news.


Members of the United Low-rider Coalition last week removed the last trace of a 30-year ban on cruising in National City.

The simple act of lifting the sign reading “cruising prohibited” off its bolts symbolizes a new beginning for low-rider enthusiasts like Victor Ayala.

“It means everything to me. i’m actually building my own car right now. this is my dad’s car, it’s a ‘59 impala convertible. i’m building a 1960 impala convertible. i will be out real soon, me and him, the rest of my family will be cruising!”  

Last week, the National City city council unanimously voted to host and pay for three low-rider caravans this summer.

The first will be held on June 17th.


Some Oceanside high school students are learning the art of producing a Ted Talk.

Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us the international video platform famous for spreading ideas and inspiration …now wants the input of young people.

“The main character of my book Math from Me to you illustrated and writer by me.” 14 year old Katelyn Ho is a 9th grade student at El Camino High School in the Oceanside Unified district. She is learning how to be a TED TALK-er. Delivering an 8 minute presentation to hundreds of classmates about her passions …math and reading…she handled it despite being nervous…“I handled it by thinking about how proud I am of my work..and how much I wanted to share it with others. I also practiced in front of a lot of different types of people.”  El Camino High School was chosen as an official TED ED campus…an honor that included access to the video platform's extensive curriculum and library. 150 freshmen enrolled in an entrepreneur class also received online instruction from TED TALK teachers. MGP KPBS News.


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 Monday.

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San Diego's city council will nominate a slate of commissioners to the city’s new, more robust police oversight panel today, but there’s growing criticism of the process after a recent KPBS investigation. In other news, winter is behind us and that means bats in San Diego have emerged from hibernation, and some local bat fans are preparing for seasonal bat walks. Plus, some Oceanside high school students are learning the art of producing a Ted Talk.