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San Diego legislator proposes change to Medi-Cal

 April 22, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, April 22nd… Happy Earth Day!>>>>

A San Diego Assemblymember is proposing removing the requirement to prove Medi-Cal eligibility for children every year.More on the problem it’s trying to address, next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria will formally present his proposed budget to the city council today.

The more than 5.5 billion dollar budget for fiscal year 20-25 increases funding to address homelessness by more than 25 million dollars.

It also sets aside over 100 million dollars for resurfacing 75 miles of streets in the city.

That’s up from the 60 miles budgeted for this year.

The budget eliminates funding for the office of immigrant affairs and the community equity fund.

It also suspends contributions to the city’s reserves for one year.


The Disaster Recovery Centers set up in Mountain View and Spring Valley after the January floods will become U-S Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Centers starting today.

The move comes after the Friday deadline for flood victims to apply for federal aid.

The S-B-A outreach centers will provide information on loan opportunities.

The agency says small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations have until November 19th, to apply for an economic injury disaster loan.


City of San Diego residents can now apply for help paying for lead paint hazard removal services.

That’s because the city was awarded a 15 million dollar settlement after suing paint companies.

The city says that exposure from deteriorating lead paint continues to be one of the biggest environmental health concerns for children.

Exposure to lead can slow growth and development and can cause learning, behavior, hearing and speech problems.

For more information and to apply visit S-D healthy homes dot org.


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




Over 325,000 children in San Diego County rely on Medi-Cal, California's health insurance program for low-income individuals. Each year families have to prove eligibility or risk losing coverage. Health reporter Heidi de Marco says a San Diego assembly member wants to take that burden away from families.


Beatrice Fernandez found out her son lost his coverage days after he had heart surgery. FERNANDEZ (0:19) It’s scary. For me, it’s life and death. I mean, the follow up to the cardiology is crucial because I need to know what his echocardiograms like. They needed to make sure that his valve replacement, that the stents and everything was okay. With help from her son’s case manager, his coverage was reinstated the day before his check up. San Diego Assemblymember Tasha Boerner (BURNER) is asking Governor Newsom to fund continuous medi-Cal coverage for children in his May budget revisions. She also authored AB 2956, which seeks to stop Medi-Cal disenrollments for adults in California. Heidi de Marco, KPBS News


Proposition 1 aims to create more mental health support and housing for adults experiencing homelessness. But reporter Tania Thorne says some advocates fear the measure could divert funding from mental health support for kids.



if we really are serious about addressing mental and behavioral health needs across our county. We can't only focus on some of the most visible and some of the Mo. And and within the adult population. Erin Hogeboom is with San Diego for every child. A coalition of organizations focused on tackling child poverty in San Diego. We have to be thinking further up, further upstream we have to be thinking about. You know the experiences that children and youth are going through now, She says youth and children advocates fear Proposition 1 could take funding from mental health support for kids. Dr. Pradeep Gidwani is a pediatrician with the San Diego American Academy of Pediatrics. He says the number of children and youth dealing with behavioral and mental health needs has grown. I appreciate that all of us want to help those folks who are homeless. We wanna be safe on our streets.but if we don't start early, and if we don't get those investments in place and be consistent with it we're going to be paying for this in much greater ways. Can you imagine if we had invested in children's and youth, mental health 20 years ago, would we still be? Would we have the current homelessness problem? He thinks Proposition 1 has noble intentions but the execution of it could come at a cost for others. TT KPBS News


Food deserts are low income urban areas where fresh, quality food is not easy to find. A group of academics and community leaders are now attacking the problem in San Diego by re-imagining the local food industry. Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge has more.

FOODESERT   1:12   …soq. 

The project is called NOURISH, and the central idea is to develop businesses in food deserts that will be vehicles to bring the high quality food to residents. The principal investigator of the project is Laura Schmidt of UC San Francisco. She says they are not trying to convince stores like Ralphs or Vons to move into the neighborhood.“What we’re doing at NOURISH is trying to think of alternatives to stimulate small business development with local business owners in these communities. In low income communities in America you have a lot of recent immigrants who are really entrepreneurial.” The tool they hope will allow them to create a food business is an app. Infused with artificial intelligence, it will respond to questions by calling up information about food markets, supply lines, foot traffic and business licensing. Paul Watson is the president of a San Diego non-profit called Global ARC, which is a partner in NOURISH. “One of the things we’ve done over the past year is we’ve interviewed many many existing restaurants, and businesses, caterers, food trucks, already in existence to try to find out what kind of information they need when they first got started.” The test areas for the NOURISH business development model and the app will be food deserts in San Diego and in Imperial Counties. SOQ. 


The crowd-sourced online historical marker database has 375 entries for San Diego County. Most chronicle Spanish colonial, early American settlers and U.S. military pasts. Just a handful mention the millennia-old history of Native Americans in the area. Amita Sharma looks at just a speck of what Kumeyaay life once was here.

MARKERS (AS)                                                        SOQ: 4:17 LIVE TAG

Ambi of birds chirping The tranquility near Antonio Garra’s grave on a recent morning belies? the Native American resistance leader’s violent end. He was convicted of murder and theft in January 1852, and soon after…. 1:54 “They took him out, blindfolded him.” Kumeyaay Community College President Stan Rodriguez is standing next to Garra’s final resting place inside El Campo Santo Sanctuary in Old Town San Diego – a historical marker. He describes what came next. 2:02 “They walked him up the street to this freshly dug grave, had him go on his knees. His hands were tied behind his back.” Garra was asked if he had any last words. 2:17 “And he said, ‘I wish to apologize for the things that I’ve done in the past. And I wait to hear the same from you.”1:26 “He didn’t hear it. They shot him and then he was buried.” The 1852 execution is a snapshot of the cruelty and injustice local tribes endured. First, under the Spaniards, who came to stay in 1769 and started the San Diego Presidio, Rodriguez says. They were forcibly converted. Families were split and turned into servants. Rodriguez says the Americans continued the brutality. The first governor of California Peter Burnett issued bounties on the heads of native Americans. [00:14:59] “$0.50 for a child, $2.50 for a woman, $5 for men. Over $1.5 million was paid off. Our numbers prior to California becoming a state were over 85% native to 15% non native. Within 20 years, the numbers had dropped by over 80%.” Before the invasions, the Kumeyaay and other tribes lived here for millennia or since time and memorial, as Rodriguez puts it. [2:16] “We see this place old town. Very few people realize there was a very large Kumiyai village here. [2:33] “There were communities all through San Diego, all through the bay, all around on the Silver strand, Coronado National City and downtown.” He says men, women and children in the villages rose before the sun. They’d make tule - boats to fish. They’d harvest salt, torrey pine nuts and plant oak trees. They did control burns. They created mosaic patterns. But scan a Historical Marker Database and there’s scant mention of the rich and sophisticated Kumeyaay history.  The database is assembled by the public, and has 375 entries for San Diego County. [31:37] “Crowd-sourcing and those kinds of sites are a really good reflection of American culture and how we look at cultures.” San Diego historian and archaeologist Richard Carrico says academia is working to correct the perception that history begins when the Europeans arrived.The database does include markers for an old Kumeyaay natural kitchen, pictographs and an ancient Kumeyaay village Panhe.  But it omits the tribe’s at least 4,000 year-old history in what is today called the Ramona Grasslands Preserve. [0:58.536]  “This is a Kumuyaay village site. It's called Pa’mu, which probably means gathering place or place of the singers because they had a lot of music and singing in their culture.” The area had two springs, a female creek and a male one. Standing at the site, Carrico says if a Kumeyaay woman wanted to have a son, she would drink from the male spring and vice versa. The land’s oak trees’ acorns were a major food source for the tribe. They traded shell beads. [1:48.963] “If you could go back in time, you would see huts sitting out here. They were doing a lot of tool manufacturing, and they were importing  lithic material, stone material, from as far away as Mammoth, coastal hot springs and from Baja, California, and from the Salton Sea area.”Steve Banegas is chair of the museum committee at the Barona Cultural Center and Museum. He says leaving out whole histories of ethnic groups, whether in databases or classrooms, robs people of knowledge and understanding of who we are collectively as human beings. [00:21:42.506] “They're missing a big chunk of humanity, a big chunk of spirituality, a big chunk of time.” He adds the omissions not only doom us to repeat history, but keep us in the dark about who and what remain. A sign in the museum is a reminder of that message. It says of the Kumeyaay: “We’re still here.”   Amita Sharma, KPBS News

TAG: This story is part of NPR's special series this week on historical markers.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Monday.

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Each year families have to prove eligibility for Medi-Cal or risk losing coverage. A San Diego assembly member wants to take that burden away from families. Then, some advocates fear Proposition 1 could divert funding from mental health support for kids. And, a group of academics and community leaders are now addressing food deserts by re-imagining the local food industry.