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San Diegans are watching the police

 May 4, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, May fourth.

Some San Diegans are policing the police. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The F-D-A yesterday announced its approval of an R-S-V vaccine called arexvy for adults 60 and older.

RSV is a respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can be serious for infants and older adults.

Dr. Eric Topol is the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.

“There was work over more than a decade to find the protein that could be manipulated, so called pre-fusion protein to stabilize it, to make for this really potent rsv vaccine and that's what setup for covid.”

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, R-S-V causes about 14-thousand deaths in the U-S per year among adults 65 and older.

The C-D-C is expected to weigh in next month.


Sewer-system rates will soon be increasing in eight unincorporated communities in the County.

Residents in Alpine, Campo, East Otay Mesa, Julian, Lakeside, Pine Valley, Spring Valley and Winter Gardens will see a nearly 6-percent increase each year, over a five-year period.

The first increase will take effect on July first.

Officials said county sanitation district fees are reviewed every five

years to make sure funding is available to maintain the system.


The San Diego Rescue Mission this week unveiled its newest shower trailer in National City.

In addition to providing a place to shower, operators will also connect unsheltered South Bay residents to other resources, like shelters.

The nonprofit plans to operate the shower trailer at up to three locations in the South Bay.

It estimates it will serve 75 people per week.


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


San Diegans are banding together to watch the police.

Reporter Katie Hyson joined the Southeast San Diego Accountability Unit, for an inside glimpse into their efforts.

San Diego Police data show officers are much more likely to stop and use force on Black and Latino residents than white residents. And KPBS has found that many records of officer misconduct are missing any information on disciplinary action. Some San Diegans are volunteering their free time to create more police accountability. San Diego Police Department did not respond to requests for comment. My name is Malcolme Muttaqee. Born and raised San Diego. A descendant of enslaved Africans in America trying hard to survive. Mutaqee helped form a cop watch group about five years ago. For decades, there have been cop watch groups all over the country. This is just a continuance of a long, long legacy. The participants of this one, in Southeast San Diego, say it’s breaking generational curses by crossing deep divides. People who may not otherwise team up – Crips, bloods, Black Panthers, Muslims and Christians – all meet on a Thursday night at what used to be called the Four Corners of Death – a notorious site of gang violence. They pile into cars, together, to monitor the police, whose salaries they pay with their taxes. The windows are down. The cars communicate by walkie talkie. Phone call tips and a police scanner tell them where to go. The mood feels light. They joke and laugh as they search for police stops. *fade under: selection from laughter* I ask them if it’s because power in numbers lets them feel comfortable around the police. They’re quick to correct me. Michael White says they laugh because they have to. “We’re traumatized.” *fade under* Some of them have criminal records, but they say the trauma is not just from the police. It’s that they watch their friends get shot down on a corner one day and they come back the next with candles and flowers, hanging out like nothing ever happened. Though they’re from rival neighborhoods, White says this shared struggle binds them together. We think we’re enemies, but when you really look at it, the police and the system is the real enemy. We’re all getting oppressed the same. We’re tired of getting shot and killed and locked up for nothing. So we put them differences to the side. The dozen cop watchers divide roles – notetakers, recorders and talkers. They park by stops and approach the scene, maintaining some feet of distance. Their shirts say “We are not afraid” on the front and on the back “Don’t shoot, just filming.” Cop watcher Koran Fields says the simple act of observing – a legal right – changes police behavior. You see the energy shift, right? Now they got some customer service. Now they, you know, they out there shaking hands, “sorry we had to bother you, but in the State of California . . .” We stop a few times. At the first stop, police appear to be detaining a man who walking in the street. *fade under nat sound of event* But cop watcher Muslah Abdul-Hafeez recognizes the man from the community. He says the man is not drunk, but deaf and intellectually disabled, and offers to walk him across the street. Alright come on, come on, come on, let’s sit down because they’re going to take you to jail if you go back in the street.* The cops let him go. *fade out nat sound* At another stop, police question a man whose license they say isn’t valid. Muttaqee prevents the car from getting impounded by driving the man home himself. Back in the car, I ask the cop watchers – Are y’all ever nervous doing this? Nah, I’m more nervous for not doing this! They admit it’s risky, especially for those on parole, but say it’s worth it. Besides observing stops, Muttaqee says they connect people to bail funds, give civil rights trainings and help people file complaints against the police – hundreds since the group began. The San Diego Police Department promised two years ago to reduce racial disparities in stops. But while the number of stops decreased, racial disparities increased. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


Yesterday I told you that a license is required to operate a short term vacation rental in the city of San Diego.

But how will the city enforce it?

Here’s Reporter Kitty Alvarado with that answer.

The city has given out fewer licenses than it had expected.. we anticipated and had a cap at 5,400 we didn’t even meet that Venus Molina is chief of staff for San Diego City Council member Jennifer Campbell, whose district includes Mission Beach. That’s the only place that’s out of licenses. STRO licenses are so coveted there, they had to assign the area with its own tier and  hold a lottery. The lottery was weighted … operators in good standing were entered more than once … that’s where one licensee got caught … they counted a previous owner’s time That's not the way it works. You, as the individual you're responsible. Maybe the previous owners were responsible and they ran it great but you might not …  that's one circumstance that we encountered where …  they revoked their license A third party is being contracted to make sure all complaints are checked out and the companies that list the rentals also have agreements with the city not to list homes without a license and fines will come down for those who are caught. Kitty Alvarado KPBS News.

TAG: Operators without a license face fines up to a thousand dollars.


Coming up.... Do you know what bacteriophage is? A group of 5 high schoolers did. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


A tiger was used in a roadside zoo, then left caged and abandoned.

It’s the kind of tragic story that’s very familiar to the folks at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine.

Reporter John Carroll says, the tiger now faces some major, expensive surgery.

She has to have a CT scan first, but then the tiger named Kallie will likely go right into surgery this weekend. “This will cost at least $15,000. And then of course, we’ve got the aftercare when we get her back home.” That’s Lions, Tigers and Bears founder and director Bobbi Brink.  Over the years since she opened Lions, Tigers and Bears, they’ve helped dozens of big cats and bears.  But their mission goes beyond that.  Brink’s goal is to shut down the trade of exotic animals. I don’t think people realize it’s second to drugs and weapons and human trafficking in our country, and these animals are just bought and sold for nothing more than profit.” Lions, Tigers and Bears survives primarily on donations.  We have a link on our website for information on how to help them out.  JC, KPBS News.


The high school Academic League Champions of San Diego County have been crowned…for the first time since the pandemic.

Education reporter M.G. Perez has more on the students who had the winning knowledge.

The San Diego County Office of Education runs the competition which is compared to an educational lightning round of the classic Family Feud game…combined with some elements of Jeopardy. The championship came down to this science question…“final bonus…any virus that replicates within a bacterium…bacteriophage…we have ou answer…bacteriophage…correct…good!” Bacteriophage…the winning answer from the 5-member team of Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School Disitrct. Students practiced for months…with some scrimmage games studying dozens of topics on everything from literature to history, math, music and science. Tom Swanson is the Del Norte High School coach. “it’s really neat to see their knowledge grow…..their confidence grow…especially when you see them as freshmen…finding their voice…and by seniors …they have found it pretty clearly.” The county Academic League runners-up were students from Olympian in the Sweetwater Union High School District. MGP KPBS News.


Today is Star Wars day!

An informal commemorative day observed each year on May 4th, when fans celebrate the Star Wars media franchise.

To mark the occasion, the 4S Ranch Library is holding an event this afternoon for the whole family.

Enjoy some storytime and photo opportunities with Star Wars characters from the Imperial Sands Garrison.

There will also be crafts and games.

The fun begins at 3 p-m.

Also, Mmm…Cakes in Chula Vista is hosting a Star Wars celebration tomorrow.

There will be Star Wars-themed food, drinks and desserts.

Plus, there will be music and Star Wars trivia

The party starts at 5, and runs until 9 p-m.

And ...may the fourth be with you!!!


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Come back tomorrow for your daily dose of local news, plus, we have you covered with some ideas for the weekend. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

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The Southeast San Diego Accountability Unit is a group of volunteers who have banded together to watch the police. In other news, how the city of San Diego will enforce the license requirement for short term vacation rentals. Plus, the high school Academic League Champions of San Diego County have been crowned for the first time since the pandemic.