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Public health emergency in Chula Vista

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, January 14th

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Piles of trash and a public health emergency…More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

The San Diego county District Attorney’s office is warning residents to avoid buying at-home covid-19 test kits not authorized by the FDA. With test kits in short supply, the DA’s office is anticipating fake test kits hitting the market. The DA says you should check online to make sure the tests are FDA approved, and research the seller before purchasing. If you believe you were scammed, you can report it online at report fraud-DOT-FTC-DOT- gov, or to the DA's consumer protection team at consumer@s-d-c-d-a-dot-org.

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The national traffic safety board released it’s preliminary report on the plane crash that killed four people in an el cajon neighborhood in late december. …

NTSB’s Peter knudson says they’re looking into all potential causes.

“lighting conditions as well as the weather the cloud conditions things of that nature so all of that is what we’re going to be digging into more deeply.”

The report does say that the Learjet 35 struck a set of power lines prior to the crash, A final report on the crash is expected in about 24 months.

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An annual analysis of global temperatures released on thursday showed 2021 continued the decades-long trend of global warming. The annual report from the federal agencies noaa (noah) and nasa, showed that air temperatures last year put it in the top ten for warmest years. Russell Vose is chief of the climatic analysis branch of noaa.

“the past seven years have been warmer than anything we’ve seen over the past century. we are probably warmer than anything we’ve seen in the past 2,000 years at least.”

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

A public health emergency has been declared in Chula Vista as there is no end in sight to the Republic Services labor strike. The work stoppage has led to an overflow of garbage that the trash hauler hasn’t been able to keep up with.

KPBS reporter Alexandra Rangel has more.

Trash cans filled to the brim can be seen street after street in Chula Vista.

It’s been nearly a month of trash piling up. Tito Mays says it’s become a health hazard.

Tito Mays, Chula Vista Resident

“The infestation of all that trash just piled up in one place, we talking magnets, animals coming around and just the air being polluted in this little space.”

He lives in an apartment complex near East Orange Avenue and says he and his neighbors are taking a proactive approach.

They're getting tired of seeing their kids play outside right next to an overflowing dump.

Tito Mays, Chula Vista Resident

“We’re gonna try and put our money together. I'll call my buddies and we’ll try to haul it out to the landfill.”

The building next door is also dealing with the same issues.

Rene Dominguez says they’ve been paying an outside company to haul their trash to the landfill.

Rene Dominguez, Maintenance Worker

“It’s become a health problem for everybody.”

This is why city councilmember Jill Galvez says a public health emergency has been declared by the city manager.

She issued a twitter statement on Wednesday saying the city would be invoking the self help clause of their contract with republic services.

She says city workers have started to pick up overflowing trash at multi-family housing complexes and a plan for vector control will be put in place.

The declaration is expected to be ratified at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Nearly 250 Sanitation workers at Republic Services are still on strike. They say they’re not going back to work until they get a contract they think is fair.

Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News.

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Labor unions and essential workers are urging lawmakers to once again provide COVID-19 paid sick leave. KPBS Healther Reporter Matt Hoffman says advocates argue without it, people may be going to work sick to stay afloat--

The public health research is clear, when workers have the option to isolate and not lose their earnings, transmission goes down

Tia Orr leads California’s Service employees international union or SEIU.. She says two weeks of COVID-19 paid leave is needed during a record surge in infections and rising hospitalizations--

Tia Orr, SEIU California Interim Executive Director

If you or your children are sick or have been exposed you need to make sure not to pass it on and that means staying at home but unfortunately if you have to go to work in order to pay rent or put food on the table you might not feel like you have a choice,

Rheannon Ramos works at Stater Bros grocery store and says she ended up testing positive for the virus, but didn’t have enough sick time to cover her quarantine. Now she says she’s out of sick days through next August--

Rheannon Ramos, Stater Bros. SoCal worker

I had the choice, to ignore my results and continue to work as money was very tight just coming off disability but I stayed home and I made the decision to protect my coworkers and customers

Labor unions including the United Nurses Associations of California, which represents more than 9,000 San Diego healthcare workers, are calling on employers to provide sick leave right now.. Registered nurse Jeffery Nuguid is currently isolating at home after testing positive.

Jeffery Nuguid, fountain valley medical center RN

Right now while I’m off I have to use PTO also known as paid time off, if i run out of this PTO I will not be getting paid unless I go on medical leave.

Earlier this week Governor Gavin Newsom suggested that he’s onboard with re-upping the sick leave which previously expired last September, just before the current COVID surge.

Newsom

IT’S MANAGEABLE, BUT IT’S CHALLENGING IT’S DIFFICULT BUT NO MORE CHALLENGING THAN FOR OUR FRONTLINE EMPLOYEES AND THESE NURSES AND DOCTORS THAT HAVE JUST BEEN OVERWHELMED. ….

WE ARE IN DISCUSSIONS WITH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS AROUND OUR SICK LEAVE POLICY AND WE BELIEVE IT’S IMPORTANT TO VALUE THOSE WORKERS AND PROVIDE THEM SICK LEAVE PROTECTIONS

Teachers are also calling for lawmakers to act quickly.

Toby Boyd, teacher & California Teachers Association

I can speak from experience, I like most educators receive a finite number of sick days per school year, when those days are gone they are gone.

MH KPBS News.

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The Chula Vista Police Department is using Chinese-made surveillance drones the Pentagon says might pose a national security risk. KPBS’s Amita Sharma spoke to privacy and technology experts about what that might mean for the city located seven miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

The United States Department of Defense says drones produced by Chinese manufacturer DJI pose “potential threats to national security.” Eight of the 10 Chula Vista Police Department’s drones are made by DJI, according to the city’s website.

“When a product is so bad for privacy that even the Pentagon is refusing to use it, I think that should be raising alarm bells.”

Albert Fox Cahn is executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.

Motorola Solutions provides software for the Police Department’s real-time operations center. Among other things, the center serves as the department’s clearinghouse for its surveillance, which includes drones, license plate readers and other technologies.

In its contract with Chula Vista, Motorola Solutions disclaims any liability for DJI’S use of the data it collects through the drones.

KPBS reached out to the Chula Vista City Council and Mayor Mary Salas, who approved the contract, but they refused to comment. Also refusing to comment were City Manager Maria Kachadoorian and City Attorney Glen Googins, both of whom signed the contract with Motorola.

San Francisco lawyer Will Cooper specializes in contractual disputes.

He says there’s good reason why Motorola would want that

limitation on liability.

“The more risky it is, the more sensitive it is, the more likely the parties to that agreement are going to want to get the most protection they can.”

DJI is among the world’s leading drone manufacturers, accounting for more than half of the global market. But in recent years the company has been flagged by several federal agencies for security concerns.

In 2017, the U.S. Homeland Security Department stated that “DJI Science and Technology is providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.”

Chula Vista began its drone program in 2018 and purchased DJI drones as recently as 2020.

“....People don't realize the depths of Chinese espionage and the fact that they use any opportunity.”

Jim Lewis is a researcher at the DC-based, bipartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies. He says the U.S. is engaged in the biggest espionage battle with China it’s ever had.

The way people engage in espionage has changed. It's moved largely to technology and digital devices.”

So how could the Chinese government get data from a drone in Chula Vista?

Technology experts say it starts with the fact that DJI can still access a drone’s software even after it’s been sold. Lewis says just like your cell phone carrier has access to your data, DJI and by extension the Chinese government could view drone footage by tapping into the software when it’s being updated.

Chula Vista’s contract with Motorola says the police department requested the DJI software. DJI declined an interview request, but referred KPBS to a statement it made last year. In the statement, the company said it has done nothing to warrant the suspicion. “DJI has done nothing to justify being placed on the Entity List. We have always focused on building products that save lives and benefit society. DJI and its employees remain committed to providing our customers with the industry’s most innovative technology. We are evaluating options to ensure our customers, partners, and suppliers are treated fairly.”

Lewis says DJI company representatives have told him it does not turn over data to the Chinese government.

”....It doesn't matter because they don't have the right to say no in China under Chinese law. “

Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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Coming up.... KPBS film critic Beth Accomando looks back on what 2021 brought to the screen.

“By the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes… “

We have her list of 2021’s 10 best films. That’s next, just after the break.

Although the pandemic has not gone away, more cinemas have reopened allowing more opportunities to see new releases in theaters.

KPBS Cinema Junkie host Beth Accomando spent hundreds of hours in the dark watching films in 2021 in order to compile this list of the year’s best movies.

Any year that gives me a pair of slackers trying to train a giant fly and a hell demon controlled by a bratty little girl is a year to rejoice in.

CLIP I will bathe in your blood… Don’t worry… Worry.
OK, neither of those films made my top ten yet they both have a place in my heart. But here’s what did make my list starting with number ten…

CLIP Bond theme
I saw No Time to Die four times in theaters and fell in love with Daniel Craig’s final Bond appearance. As a lifelong Bond fan, I felt the film delivered all the action you expect from a 007 movie but with unexpected emotional weight.
Coming in at number 9 is an audacious turn by French director Julia Ducournau. With Titane she delivers another body horror tale that’s both gender and genre bending as it takes one strange turn after another.
At number eight is Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho.
CLIP Music

This film made me swoon with its stylish use of music, editing and visuals. It’s a ravishing valentine to the movies and to London in the 60s.

At number seven is Val, one of last year’s many outstanding documentaries.

CLIP My name is Val Kilmer…

Kilmer’s son provides the voiceover narration since his father struggles to speak after a battle with throat cancer. Created from decades of the actor’s videos, it’s a heartbreaking and inspiring documentary that also serves up a compelling portrait of the artist and his creative process.

And I found my number 6 film This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection on Amazon Prime.

CLIP Music
We don’t get many African films released here in the U.S. so I was thrilled to find this one and was dazzled by its unique narrative style and seductive imagery.
At number 5 is Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. Campion tells this western revenge tale with unexpected nuance and elegance. I love her confidence in creating a riveting and tense film made up of silences and minimal action.
At number 4 I have a second documentary, Flee.
CLIP Clapper board then Amin speaks
It’s the true story of Amin who reveals a secret he’s been hiding for two decades. The audio of Amin’s interview, where he recounts coming to Denmark as a child from Afghanistan, is brought to vivid life through animation and archival footage.
Then at number 3 is Joel Coen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
CLIP Is this a dagger I see before me...

This is another film that’s simply intoxicatingly cinematic. Coen’s claustrophobic and horror tinged imagery perfectly match Shakespeare’s tale of a man who feels more and more trapped by fate and his own bad choices.
At number two is another film I just recently found streaming on Amazon called Nine Days.

CLIP You are being considered for the amazing opportunity of life

Actor Winston Duke excels in this feature film debut of writer-director Edson Oda. The inventive, visually poetic film proves to be less about the human souls applying for life on earth and more about Duke’s character being reminded that life is made up of small, wondrous moments that offset the pain.

And at number one is Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car.

CLIP What do you think?... I think the director should decide...

The Japanese film doesn't show its hand as it seems to meander about but your patience is richly rewarded with an exquisitely crafted story about grief and loss, and finding human connections.

Many of these films can be found on streaming platforms, and a couple are still in cinemas.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

You can find more of Beth’s picks for the best and the worst of 2021 on her Cinema Junkie Blog at K-P-B-S-dot-ORG.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

There is no end in sight to the Republic Services labor strike and a public health emergency has been declared in Chula Vista as trash cans overflow. And – a few weeks ago we had a story about the use of surveillance tools in border cities like Chula Vista. Now, in part 2 of this KPBS investigation, we report that privacy and technology experts are concerned about the use of Chinese made surveillance drones by the Chula Vista police department. Plus, KPBS Cinema Junkie Host Beth Accomando’s ten best films of 2021.