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San Diego activists react to migrant deaths

 June 29, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, June 29th.

Local activists react to migrant deaths. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors yesterday (Tuesday) unanimously approved a more than seven-billion-dollar budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget includes 200-million-dollars in additional funding requests for wildfire reduction efforts, hiring more county employees and park or community center projects.

The budget includes funding for additional positions within the county’s mental health system, shelters for people experiencing homelessness and health care in county jails.

The new budget takes effect Friday (July 1).

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A bill which would allow Californians to hold gun manufacturers accountable is now awaiting the Governor's signature.

Local Assemblymember Chris Ward introduced the bill.

A-B 1594 would allow individuals, local governments and the California Attorney General to sue gun manufacturers for harm caused by their products.

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A San Diego County man was sentenced this week for taking part in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Philip James Weisbecker was sentenced to 30 days in custody and two years of probation.

In March, he pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor for joining the mob that entered the Capitol.

Weisbecker spent about an hour inside the Capitol building on January 6th 20-21..

Two additional San Diego County residents were previously charged in connection with the breach.

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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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Fifty one migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor trailer in Texas.

This is the deadliest human smuggling case in modern U.S. history.

Local activists told KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis that these border deaths are preventable.

Activists blamed the migrant deaths on border enforcement policies that block legal pathways into the U.S. while simultaneously making illegal crossings more dangerous Pedro Rios is with the American Friends Service Committee. He says policies like Title 42, which prevent access to asylum, leave desperate migrants little choice. Pedro American Friends Service Committee “When the US does not allow people to have their asylum rights recognized it forces them to make drastic and dangerous decisions like getting into a tractor trailer or crossing through the mountains or crossing through the oceans where the likelihood of injury or death increases. According to data from Customs and Border Protection, 557 migrants died while attempting to cross the border in fiscal year 2021. It was the deadliest year on record for migrant deaths. Alex Mensing is an activist with the Innovation Law Lab. Alex Mensing | Innovation Law Lab “This is going to continue happening. So this stark headline of at least 50 people died in a trailer, let it be a wakeup call for people not to say what a horrible thing happened but we need to do something to stop this from happening.” Here in San Diego, there has been an increase in drowning from people trying to swim or use a boat to enter the country. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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Tens of thousands of families throughout California are facing eviction in two days.

That’s when rent relief eviction protections expire.

KPBS reporter John Carroll says tenants rights groups are calling for action.

It’s been almost two years since California’s eviction protections went into effect. Over that time, there have been multiple eviction moratoriums… and more than three-and-a-half billion dollars in rent relief payments have gone out. But barring any last minute action from the state, the protection goes away on July first, leaving people like Imperial Beach resident Patricia Mendoza in a slowly building state of panic. This is not only very stressful for me, but it’s very unstable for my children. ... My son is going to 7th grade. He’s scared. What happens if we’re not gonna be living here?” Earlier this month, several statewide advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Housing and Community Development. The suit accuses the department of administering relief in a way that is opaque, denies applicants due process upon denial and disproportionately harms tenants on the basis of race, color or national origin. Whether a court will step in and help the tens of thousands of Californians set to be kicked out of their homes soon is anybody’s guess. JC KPBS News.

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San Diego City Council extended a safe parking program for people experiencing homlessness in the region.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere has more.

San Diego’s Safe Parking Program will continue through June 2023… And soon it will provide 24-hour housing, shelter and services for San Diegans experiencing homelessness at a Mission Valley parking lot. For the moment, the service is only available from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. On Monday, Natalie Raschke told the city council those hours didn’t work for her family, who have been living in a vehicle for the past few years. “Six of us are in a van, and that is more comfortable than going to some of the safe lots or shelters that the city has to offer.” Jewish Family Services runs the safe parking program which includes the Mission Valley site and two additional locations in Kearny Mesa. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

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California's 300-billion-dollar budget deal did not include an increase in wage replacement for workers who take time off for health reasons or to take care of an ill relative….. or to bond with a new child.

But as we hear from KQED’s Farida Jhabvala Romero, advocates say they're hopeful about further negotiations with Governor Newsom.

That was Farida Jhabvala Romero with KQED.

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Coming up.... We meet San Diego Unified’s two new student board members. That’s next, just after the break.

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Costco is coming to the Westfield North County mall.

Escondido’s city council on Monday approved leasing the former Sears building to the retailer..

In the last couple of years, the shopping center has lost some big names like Nordstroms and Sears, leaving empty storefronts behind.

Erik Bruvold with the San Diego North Economic Development Council says the addition of Costco is part of a pattern indoor malls everywhere are experiencing.

‘We’ve seen this all over the country, indoor malls are having to rethink themselves and redesign themselves. [CUT] one of the challenges that will be with the design is will there be a way for the Costco to integrate itself with the other parts of the shopping center.”

Bruvold thinks the decision to add Costco will create short term construction work, long term employment opportunities, as well as generate sales tax revenue for the City of Escondido at a time when their budget faces a deficit.

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San Diego Unified’s first-ever student school board member has graduated.

Last night (Tuesday) the Board welcomed two replacements.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez tells us who they are.

16 year old Lea is of the new San Diego Unified student board members. She’s an incoming senior at Scripps Ranch High School. 14-year old Matthew is the other new member– an incoming 10th grader at San Diego High School. They replace Zachary Patterson who helped create the student board member position he’s held for almost 2-and-a-half years. “we’ve had the climate strike, we’ve had protests against racial injustice…we’ve had protests calling out gun violence and recognizing massacres that are happening in our schools…and action has actually been taken.” Patterson heads to Duke University this fall where he plans to study government and be involved in student politics. MGP KPBS NEWS

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Wildsong Productions staged three shows before the pandemic shut the young company down.

But they return this year with a full slate of shows including Jekyll and Hyde, which opens tomorrow (Thursday) night at OB Playhouse.

It is a musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Victorian tale of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with actor Cody Ingram who takes on the dual roles of the well-intentioned Dr. Jekyll and his bestial alter ego.

That was KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaking with actor Cody Ingram.

Wildsong's Jekyll and Hyde opens tomorrow (Thursday) at OB Playhouse, and runs through July 10th.

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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.

Fifty one migrants were found dead in the back of an abandoned tractor-trailer in Texas. Meanwhile, thousands of families in California are facing eviction in three days. Plus, the San Diego Unified School District has two new student board members.