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Public health crisis: Gun violence

 January 25, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, January 25th.

How the recent mass shootings in the state affect public health. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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With COVID cases dropping in number and severity, San Diego city officials are ready to end the local state of emergency next month.

The San Diego City Council also took the first step yesterday to end the city’s vaccination mandate for employees.

San Diego Police Officers association president Jared Wilson said 130 officers left S-D-P-D because of the mandate.

“At a time when officers are overworked, they’re underpaid and they’re responding from subpar facilities -- we really cannot sustain that loss.”

He says nearly 40-percent of officers were given religious or medical exceptions from the mandate.

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A strike by the janitors who clean the San Diego County administration building has been averted… for now.

The janitors are demanding better treatment from the company that’s contracted by the county to clean the building - NOVA.

Yesterday, county supervisor Nora Vargas got the janitors to agree to give the county two weeks to work with NOVA.

“You have my commitment.  No one, no one in the county of San Diego is allowed to be treated  inhumanely and disrespected. Not on my watch.”

NOVA said they cannot comment, but are working with the county.

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Funding for young adults transitioning out of foster care is being increased.

Nearly three-million-dollars in state funding will go towards housing and wraparound services for those 18 to 25.

With the increased funds, each participating young adult will get more than 3 thousand 7-hundred dollars a month.

That’s 900-dollars more than the current rate.

Every year, about 100 youth leave foster care in San Diego and rely on the program.

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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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There have been three mass shootings in California since Saturday.

Dr. Michael Rodriguez and Dr. Ninez Ponce are with the Fielding School of Public Health at U-C-L-A.

They joined KPBS’s Jade Hindmon to talk about the impacts of gun violence on public health.

Here’s their conversation.

Dr. Pawn-Say, can you explain the framing of this issue as a public health crisis for someone who might not think of it that way? 

There is no dollar amount you can put on lives lost and impacted by gun violence but what are the costs of gun violence from an economic perspective?

And Dr. Rodriguez, we’re talking about this because it’s a mass shooting and it’s so public, but in many cases gun violence is committed in private…talk about the more hidden aspects of this as a public health concern?

I want to ask you both how does framing gun violence as a public health issue change how we think about  solving or at least better addressing the problem? 

Do you think there is such a thing as safe gun ownership? 

That was Dr. Michael Rodriguez and Dr. Ninez Ponce, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Locally, the County released its first annual report on gun violence yesterday.

It showed that both homicides from gun violence and the number of ghost guns seized are down.

The county says the results show that its gun policies are working.

KPBS’s Alexander Nguyen has the details.

Tuesday’s report is part of a broader data-driven, policy-making effort in the county. The Board of Supervisors wanted to know if the county’s gun policies are working and where they could be improved. So far … they seem to to be working… says Supervisor Nathan Fletcher  "The Sheriff's Gun Violence Prevention pilot program, getting guns out of the hands of folks who legally can't own them is showing progress. The number of ghost guns has been exploding year over year. Last year it started to decline and the number of deaths in San Diego County by firearm declined ever slightly after a couple of years of increase." Last year … the Board of Supervisors passed an updated ordinance to ban ghost guns in the county and to lock up firearms when not in use. The board also voted to look at options to sue gun manufacturers for deaths caused by their firearms. AN/KPBS

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This next story is thanks to a tip from a KPBS audience member.

They discovered that the state of California shared links from an anti-immigrant hate group on its Department of Social Services website.

KPBS reporter Gustavo Solis looked into it.

The state agency’s web page is supposed to be a one-stop-shop for information about California’s refugee programs and other resources for immigrants. But until Monday, one of the links took visitors to the Center for Immigration Studies. This is an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as an anti-immigrant hate group. Caleb Kieffer is a senior research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They are one of the leading anti-immigrant think tanks in the country at the moment.” Keiffer says he understands how someone could mistake CIS for a legitimate source. The organization presents itself as an impartial think tank. But he says there are real consequences to sharing this kind of information. “When we do give groups like CIS a platform we kind of further mainstream this anti-immigrant, nativist and xenophobic rhetoric.” The Social Services department removed the links as soon as KPBS asked about them. But the agency has yet to answer questions about how long the links have been featured on the website or how they got there in the first place. KPBS plugged the website’s address into a popular internet archive. It showed that the link to CIS had been there since at least 2017. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

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Coming up.... A play about Leonardo Da Vinci is now on stage in San Diego, and the playwright gives us the inside scoop. We’ll have that story and more, after the break.

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Students at San Diego City College will now have the chance to earn a four-year degree for the first time in the school’s history.

A state board has approved City College’s full bachelors degree in cyber defense and analysis.

Classes are expected to begin in August next year.

David Kennemer is an Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems at City College.

“This is extremely significant for California for social justice, for equity for students who would never even have the opportunity to get into a traditional university…now they do.” 

Completion of the cyber defense degree could lead to a high-paying career as a security analyst in the field… making over 100-thousand-dollars a year.

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Leonardo Da Vinci may be better known for painting the Mona Lisa, than for writing thousands of pages of journal entries.

But playwright Mary Zimmerman was so intrigued by his writing, that she took his words and crafted “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci” in 19-93.

She’s now bringing the play to the Old Globe.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with Zimmerman about her decades-long fascination with one of the greatest thinkers of all time.

“The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci” runs through February 26th at the Old Globe’s main stage.

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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 day.

Two professors talk about looking at gun violence as a public health issue. In other news, the state of California shared links from an anti-immigrant hate group on its Department of Social Services website. Plus, a play about Leonardo Da Vinci is now on stage in San Diego.