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Preparing for this week’s storm

 February 6, 2024 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, February 6th.

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How the city and the county prepared for this week’s storm. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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The brunt of the storm that has been impacting much of the state, is expected to hit San Diego County today, bringing as much as 2 to 3 inches of rain.

A flood watch is in effect, until 10 tonight.

Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency Sunday for eight counties in Southern California, including here in San Diego County.

The emergency proclamation includes provisions authorizing a California National Guard response if needed, unemployment benefits for impacted residents, and allows out-of-state contractors and utilities to help repair storm damage.

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The county confirmed late last week that a 1 year old who was recently overseas, contracted the measles.

It’s the first confirmed case since 20-19.

The infant was not vaccinated against the measles.

County health officials are warning that people may have been exposed last Sunday at the Super China Buffet in La Mesa and the Hilton Head County Park in El Cajon.

Or at Grossmont Pediatrics in La Mesa last Wednesday, or Rady Children’s Emergency Department last Thursday.

Measles symptoms develop one to three weeks after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a red rash.

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California senator Alex Padilla is speaking out against a border deal released Sunday by a bipartisan trio of senators.

The proposal would block access to asylum when unauthorized migration spikes, add billions for border enforcement and deportations, and raise the bar for initial asylum screenings.

Those who pass could work legally right away.

And the bill allows more legal immigration.

But Padilla notes it has no path to citizenship for Dreamers or farmworkers, and he says it would dismantle the U-S asylum system and - quote - cause more chaos at the border, not less.

The plan is tied to funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

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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 National Weather Service says today (Tuesday) we’ll feel the biggest impact of the storm, that's been soaking much of the state.

Reporter John Carroll says the city of San Diego and the county are working together to make sure residents impacted by floodwaters have what they need.

While the north county got pounded by rain all day on Monday, the city of San Diego and points south escaped the heavy rain for much of the day.  But heavy rain is coming for the entire region… make no mistake about it says National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Tardy. “We’ve been messaging two to three inches of rain for several days now and the rain is probably coming in a little slower than originally forecast.” The city and county of San Diego are working to provide assistance for residents impacted by the storm.  You can access help at either the Jackie Robinson YMCA at 151 YMCA Way, or the Municipal Gym in Balboa Park.  JC, KPBS News.

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Swiftwater rescue crews are on high alert in the region.

Here’s Captain Mark Bales of Cal Fire:

“The majority of our target hazards here are any of our flood control channels. So any of our city areas like Escondido here that has their large flood control channel that comes from the foothills all the way down through Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest – that's a big target hazard, we've had rescues there in the past.” 

The county is reminding people to not drive through a flooded roadway if you can’t see the pavement.

They say even a few inches of water can sweep a vehicle off the road if it's going fast enough.

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City of San Diego officials say there are some 200 drainage channels that need attention, but there’s only enough funding for crews to work on four a year.

City workers have put a significant effort into clearing the Chollas Creek area in the two weeks since flash flooding damaged homes.

The city’s Kris Mcfadden says workers can’t fix every issue between storms, but there is a plan.

That could include buying homes in floodplains.

“The main goal is to be able to do capital improvement projects.  That means building things.  That means widening the channel.  And we actually have the Chollas Creek master plan which identified all the locations where we have to make improvements.”

A city report released last month says it will take one-point-six billion dollars to fully fund all the stormwater repairs that are needed.

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Late last year, the Navy launched an investigation into a San Diego SEAL accused of having ties with extremists.

Military reporter Andrew Dyer has more on what the SEAL is accused of, and the latest in that investigation.

Judy Bailey Savage, Savage Ranch “It’s probably one of the best views in the whole place is right up on top of the hill.” Judy Bailey Savage drives her side-by-side ATV along the fence of her ranch in Temecula, California Judy Bailey Savage, Savage Ranch “There’s Big Bear over there, there’s the other range, Lake Skinner…” Atop a hill overlooking Temecula’s wine country, Savage points out the expanse of Savage Ranch. “The Savage Ranch goes from back here all the up past there and the lot in front of it. So it’s fairly large.” She says because the ranch serves as a refuge for queer people, she’s been threatened. In the spring of 2023 the Temecula Valley School board rejected the California state social studies curriculum over its material covering gay rights. The moves mobilized LGBTQ activists as well as those on the far right. Among those, active duty Navy SEAL Bryce Henson, who’d began traveling up and down Southern California speaking at school boards and city councils against critical race theory and LGBTQ issues. Henson often attended rallies and meetings alongside members of the Proud Boys and other extremist groups. In November the Navy launched an investigation into him. But Savage says she told the Navy about Henson months earlier after he allegedly threatened her during a late night phone call. Judy Bailey Savage, Savage Ranch “I asked him, why are you stalking me? Why are you calling me? Stalking me after he came unhinged, like, the second time. And he goes, well I've already surveilled your property.” Savage isn’t the only activist who says Henson’s threatened them.Last month, Henson sent a video of himself in his Navy uniform shooting guns to an Instagram account called The Charty B. The owner of the account says she took it as a threat and spoke to us on condition of anonymity.“TheChartyB” “It’s scary having somebody send you threatening messages when they’ve been trained by the US military to be a killing machine. “TheChartyB” “It felt very threatening. It’s, to me, it’s clearly threatening. He said ‘share with your friends’ was his message with it and he had sent me other messages before saying ‘show your face.’” Bishop Garrision is a senior fellow with the National Security Institute at George Mason Law School. He led the Pentagon’s working group that helped craft new rules on extremism in the military. While he did not comment on Henson specifically, he says it’s important for the Pentagon to investigate allegations of extremism among the ranks. Bishop Garrison, National Security Institute “This activity has a direct outsized impact…” “Not only can you can you deteriorate unit cohesion, not only can you disrupt the good order and discipline of units, people get hurt.” He says policy on extremist behavior is written broadly. For more to be done other action is needed. Bishop Garrison, National Security Institute “what we need is for, um, elected. Congress to stand up and and make some very specific laws and rules around what our expectations of this type of behavior, really, truly should be.” Back at Savage Ranch, another Temecula activist, Pastor Rachel Dennis, says Henson and his thousands of followers have people in the LGBTQ community scared. Rachel Dennis, pastor “Because we see that extremism and the language on his Instagram, which can then produce the violence in in some people, you know. And so sometimes, you know, we're sitting out here scared honestly.” In an emailed statement, Henson didn’t comment on the allegations. Instead, he writes that he’s a father who’s being smeared.. The Navy classifies Henson’s investigation as administrative and says it won’t comment on any action it takes. A Navy official with knowledge of the case says the investigation into the SEAL found he didn’t violate the Pentagon’s extremism rules but did find he’d engaged in threatening behavior. The official says Henson could receive minor punishment but could also face more serious repercussions, such as being kicked out of the SEALs or the Navy altogether. Andrew Dyer, KPBS News.

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In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you information on some of the local races on the March 5th primary ballot.

First up is the Chula Vista city attorney election where reporter Gustavo Solis says restoring the public’s trust in government has become a key issue.. He spoke with the candidates about why it’s become so important.

Last year federal prosecutors charged Chula Vista Councilmember Andrea Cardenas with fraud. City Attorney candidates say those charges cast a dark cloud over Chula Vista’s political system. “Currently the biggest issue is that people are just sick and tired of the political corruption in the South Bay.” That’s Bart Miesfeld. He spent 20 years working in the Chula Vista City Attorney’s Office and served as City Attorney between 2018 and 2020. He wants to increase transparency and accountability. Marco Verdugo currently serves as deputy city attorney in Coronado and Solana Beach. He has an anti-corruption plan to allow the City Council to suspend any member with felony fraud charges. “I think, right now, the trust between our city leaders and our residents isn’t’ there. So, the job of the city attorney is to bring back that trust.” Mail-in ballots have already been distributed. The primary election is March 5. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

TAG: Starting today, you have more options to cast your ballot.

Official ballot drop boxes are now available across the county.

To find a drop box closest to you, go to our KPBS Voter Hub, at kpbs-dot-org-slash-voter-hub.

We’ll be talking more about our newsroom’s voter hub on the podcast this week.

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That’s it for the podcast today. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great Tuesday.

From clearing drainage channels to swift water rescue teams being at the ready, a look into how the  city of San Diego and the county prepared for the latest storm. In other news, late last year, the Navy launched an investigation into a San Diego SEAL accused of having ties with extremists. We have more on what the SEAL is accused of, and the latest in that investigation. Plus, restoring the public’s trust in government has become a key issue in the Chula Vista city attorney election. We hear from candidates about why this issue has become so important.