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Rep. Scott Peters optimistic about infrastructure bill

 October 29, 2021 at 9:02 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, October 29th.

What the federal spending debate means for San Diego. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is ordering a review of all planned road widenings in the city. The order came after KPBS reported on the widening of El Cajon Boulevard -- a project that activists say conflicts with the city's larger goals of reducing car travel to fight climate change. Construction on the project began last week after city officials decided it was too late to stop. But Gloria ordered the review of similar widening projects to prevent them from reaching the same point of no return.

"What we want to do is look at everything that's currently in the pipeline to make sure that it's consistent with my administration's vision for our city as well as our Climate Action Plan. This does not mean that you may not ever see them ever again, but my hope is that we'll do them on a much more limited basis."

Considering that San Diego is a sprawling city with nearly 3,000 miles of streets, the review is a massive undertaking likely to last many months.


Prompted by lingering port backlogs, state and federal officials on Thursday announced a partnership to speed up work to modernize California's supply chain infrastructure.

John Porcari is the Biden administration's port envoy.

He says the administration is making loan money available to the state intended to kick-start improvement projects.

"The kind of projects that may not get as much attention but are really crucial for goods moment both within the ports and importantly beyond the fence line of the ports."


The San Diego Padres have hired a new manager, according to MLB dot com. The Padres have agreed to a three year deal with Bob melvin. Melvin has been manager of the Oakland A's for the last 11 seasons. He led the team to three American league west titles and as many division series.


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

The latest version of president biden’s economic plan has cut some anticipated social benefits and does not repeal the ten-thousand dollar cap on state and local tax deductions passed back in 20-17. That was a Trump era tax reform measure that hurt California and other states with high state taxes.

kpbs reporter kitty alvarado spoke with a local congressman about how this will affect san diegans

there’s been a lot of back and forth on president biden’s domestic policy plan... that includes infrastructure spending… and a one-point-75 trillion dollar social agenda …

congressman scott peters who represents the 52nd district says this is a big task and he doesn’t expect a bill to be finalized today or tomorrow.

rep. scott peters/(d) ca-52

it’s historic and i wouldn’t have expected this to be easy or quick i think it’s going to take a lot of give and take i think it should take a lot of give and take this is a lot of money we’re investing we should do it right

the revised plan eliminates several items including free community college and paid family leave… which is already offered by the state of california. but peters says a federal leave plan would not be redundant.

i think californians would still benefit from it because i think it could take some of the pressure off our own pocket books if the federal government were supporting it.

also out, lifting the 10,000-dollar cap on deductions for state and local taxes... known as salt. peters says this is big for californians, who pay higher state and local tax bills.

california is invested in the future. investments cost money that’s why we have higher taxes and the system has always been there to abate that on your federal tax payments since the beginning of the income tax. we think we’ve been singled out unfairly with a few other states, we’d like to get that benefit back.

despite the emphasis on the tug of war, and what’s in and out, peters is optimistic

I think we’re going to come out of it with something really really great and something we can be proud of as americans and as a congress


Last season, the football rivalry between San Diego's Lincoln high and cathedral high school was marred when a racist image was spread online by cathedral players. Lincoln cancelled their scheduled game tonight against Cathedral, and took a forfeit loss as a result.

KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim explains how the incident has sparked a larger community conversation.

In a meeting Wednesday night with a large group of coaches, parents and community members, Lincoln football Coach David Dunn said he appreciates the conversations he’s had with Cathedral coaches and staff. BUT, he said so far the restorative efforts haven’t felt genuine and the healing process is far from over.

We’ve grown to accept and just continue on, but that don’t make it okay. So I just wanted to raise awareness of things that are taking place and we all have to do better. I am not saying Lincoln is perfect and I am not saying Cathedral is imperfect. We are ALL imperfect.

So while the Friday night lights won’t be shining tomorrow, this all-important conversation around racial inequities will continue because this is about more than just football.


San Diego County’s largest solar farm is moving towards construction in Jacumba Hot Springs, but neighbors still want more out of the developer and the county. inewsource reporter Camille von Kaenel explains.


Diana Sherwood’s motor home at the edge of Jacumba would be a little over a football field away from the 600 acre solar farm. It lies closer to a residential community than any solar farm of similar size in San Diego or Imperial Counties. Sherwood wants the developer to do more to protect her health from the heat and dust she fears from the project.

SHERWOOD: We can't stop it, but it might be good to improve it a little bit, so it's not so hazardous to us. (00:06)

The pushback on the solar farm showed local climate advocate Matthew Vasilakis (VAW sill AWK iss) that San Diego County officials need to do more to smooth talks between rural communities and the developers of big renewable energy projects.

VILASAKIS: I think that they can look into developing some best practices and some policies, to at least try and get some alignment on how to go about these activities. (00:08)

County officials are now working with a local group to allocate 4 million dollars the developer has agreed to provide to the community as a condition of getting a permit.

That was inewsource reporter Camille von Kaene. inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.


San Diego zoo geneticists have revealed the first ever case of condor reproduction by just a single parent.

KPBS environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

Testing revealed two young condors, reared by two separate mothers, only had one parent. Zoo geneticist Oliver Ryder says the bird’s eggs were not fertilized by male sperm.

“It hit us in the face. We weren’t looking for it. We didn’t expect it.”

Genetic testing of the captive and wild population of California Condors is a regular occurrence as researchers work to maintain genetic diversity. The species almost went extinct 30 years ago. Zoo researcher Cynthia Steiner says the genomes of the mothers and offspring are the same, confirming the findings of asexual reproduction.

“Knowing that this is not a random individual we found, this is two individuals, from two separate families that were able to be generated using parthenogenesis we might think this is not as uncommon as we thought before.”

The California condor is the largest flying bird in the world with wingspans that can reach nine feet. The population shrank to 22 birds in the 1980’s. There are now more than 500 living condors.


Coming up....World leaders and scientists are gathering in Scotland next week to talk climate, and the ocean is part of the discussion

“93 percent of the heat that’s been generated from greenhouse gasses is in the ocean. 93 percent.”

Just ahead San Diego researchers weigh the impact the climate conference could have. That’s next just after the break.

San Diego researchers are traveling to and watching Scotland online next week as scientists and world leaders gather there to talk climate. Wildfires, drought and damaging storms are heightening the sense of urgency to ramp up efforts to slow climate change.

We have KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson again... He tells us what local research will bring to the climate change debate.

U-C San Diego master’s student Gabriella Berman holds up a jar that contains what appears to be a stringy white plant.

“And this is a piece of bone, so they grow in that. And I study the animals.”

Yes, animals. Those noodle shaped fronds are worms. And they are unique because they live on bones in the deep ocean. Bones like this chunk of whale vertebrae in a saltwater tank in the Rouse lab.

“It’s kind of old now. I think it’s from 2019, but it used to have Osedax…Osedax is the name of the organism that I study, growing out of it.”

Osedax don’t have mouths or guts like other animals. So they rely on roots to draw nutrition from bones that settle on the sea floor.

“They colonized the bone. It’s both a home and a source of food.

A whale backbone, like this one photographed on the off the California coast recently, provides a boost of nutrition in a place where food can be scarce. Berman’s deep ocean samples live in a fridge in the lab until she can process, photograph and sample the animal’s genetic blueprint. She’s helping establish a baseline for the species.

“A lot of what we’re looking at now is new, completely new information about where they are and how they are distributed in the ocean.”

But Berman worries the push to mine the ocean floor for scarce resources puts the species in harm’s way. And she’s concerned about an ocean that’s changing as the climate warms. That’s one reason why she plans to go to the climate conference in Glasgow Scotland.

“That conference and the deliberations of all the nations that are a part of it really rely on science in order to form the way that they approach the problem of climate change.”

Margaret Leinen is the director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She says the ocean is finally an important part of the climate discussion.

“93 percent of the heat that’s been generated from greenhouse gasses is in the ocean. 93 percent. So it has really protected us from far greater impacts on land.”

A recent UN climate report concludes that the world isn’t moving fast enough to change in the face of climate change. The UN Secretary General says time is running out to meet the Paris Climate Accord’s greenhouse gas reduction targets and the UN chief Antonio Guterres says there is a leadership gap. But Leinen remains optimistic that the scientists and world leaders will make progress at COP 26, the conference of the parties gathering in Scotland.

“The role of advocacy is to say, do this as rapidly as we can. And the role of the sort of pragmatic negotiators is to say this is how fast we can do it without killing our economy and somewhere in between is actually what gets put on the table at COP.”

“If we’re going to save the world, we’re going to do it with batteries.

Michael Ferry is the director of Energy Storage and Systems at UC San Diego. He says batteries are uniquely positioned to help decarbonize two of the economy’s largest and most important sectors.

“The first is the power sector, which is electricity production and supply. And transportation which is of course how we move ourselves. How we move our goods, our food and all of the other necessities of our modern world.”

Ferry says electric cars and utility scale battery storage is getting better and more efficient. He says advances in the past five years prove the technology is already mature enough to have a positive impact. He says California hit a milestone this past June, when, for about ten minutes, four percent of the state’s electricity was supplied by batteries. Ferry will be in Glasgow next week to huddle with other scientists. He says he looks forward to seeing the United States reestablish itself as a leader in addressing climate change.

“I think that it’s incredibly important and I think we have to be optimistic. We have to be bold. And we’ve been doing that in California for the last 15 years when it comes to climate change. And we have results to share with the world.”

Ferry says if it can be done in California, it can be done elsewhere.

Erik Anderson KPBS News


And before you go off and away for your spooky weekend…there’s going to be a mini comic-con happening tomorrow with some fandom invasion. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview of what’s happening at Escondido’s California Center for the arts.

Fandom Invasion takes inspiration from Comic-Con but it’s on a much smaller scale likely to attract hundreds rather than tens of thousands of attendees. But like the massive pop culture convention, Fandom Invasion is fueled by passionate fans. The inaugural event takes place Saturday in North County says organizer Shawn Richter.

SHAWN RICHTER It's a celebration of all of the fandoms, whether you're a DC or Marvel or Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who… it's got a little bit of everything for everybody.

The event grew out of the Sci-Fi Coalition, a fan club made up primarily of cosplayers who dress as characters and attend conventions and partake in community work says vice president Richter.

SHAWN RICHTER From the very beginning, one of our goals was to have the show be very cosplay centered and cosplay heavy, there’s a huge cosplay community in Southern California.

That’s why the convention takes place in the fall when the weather’s cooler and more cosplay friendly for people whose costumes can be elaborate and warm. Things you’ll find at Fandom Invasion will be panel rooms, a vendors’ hall, a 24-foot long gaming truck, and a focus on young cosplayers and artists.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

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 wonderful weekend.

Congressman Scott Peters weighs in on the never-ending negotiations over an infrastructure bill in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, Lincoln high school will not be playing Cathedral in their scheduled football game tonight. Lincoln cancelled the game and took a forfeit loss as a result. Their Coach, David Dunn, says more needs to be done towards healing the damage done after a racist incident last April. And, San Diego researchers will be traveling to Scotland next week to participate in the upcoming climate summit.