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San Diego ties to Jan. 6 insurrection

 December 26, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, December 26th.

There are San Diego links to the January 6th insurrection. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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COVID and flu cases were trending down right before the holiday weekend in San Diego County. and the amount of R-S-V cases are continuing their steady decline too.

That’s good news.

But, San Diego county’s public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten says we don’t know what will happen over the holidays – in past years we’ve seen surges in all three respiratory viruses.

“So once we get on the other side of the new year hopefully -- and we know hope is not a strategy -- we anticipate those numbers to decline.”

Last December, the amount of COVID in San Diego’s wastewater was spiking up, but this year officials are seeing a downward trend.

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The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl game is happening this Wednesday.

The University of Oregon will be playing the University of North Carolina at Petco Park.

The Bowl game will be the first football game ever played at the stadium.

It will be the first Holiday Bowl played since the pandemic started.

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A federal judge ruled that two movie fans -- one from San Diego -- can allege false advertising against Universal Pictures in a lawsuit.

They say the studio tricked them into renting the 20-19 film “Yesterday.”

The romantic comedy’s trailers featured actress Ana de Armas -- but she was not in the movie.

The class action lawsuit is seeking five million dollars for fans who were deceived.

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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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There are San Diego links to the House Select Committee’s report on the January 6th insurrection.

KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma has more.

The newly released report mentions five-time failed San Diego political candidate Peter Navarro. He was also former President Trump's economics adviser. Navarro refused to testify before the House Select Committee and turn over documents related to January 6. He is awaiting a criminal trial for contempt. The report also cites SDSU grad Christina Bobb as one of the Trump lawyers who went along with the quote “baseless and extreme claims of election fraud.” And the report notes that San Diego-based One America News Network ran a segment stating that Dominion Voting Systems had switched votes from Trump to Biden in the 2020 election. The network is facing a defamation lawsuit from Dominion. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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California is facing a statewide shortage of police officers – and rural departments stand to feel the squeeze the most.

CalMatters’ reporter Nigel Duara has been following the story and says there's a pecking order to California law enforcement.

DUARA: There's big departments at the top like L.A. and San Francisco. And then there's the little ones, like in far northern California like Tehama County. And what Tehama County says is that they can't afford to keep their own people because L.A. and San Francisco and other  departments come in and pay more. So they are going through a staffing shortage that's led them to stop all daytime patrols in the county. So they've been hit hard. And it's indicative of a larger trend that could honestly be coming to rural departments across the state where they're losing people and they're not getting new people. So this is all happening at a time when there's already a lot of disillusionment around policing, especially with young people, and there's fewer people who are interested in work as police officers. 

That was CalMatters’ Nigel Duara.

This year, the number of officers certified in California is the lowest it's been in a decade.

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When people drive under the influence, it can be more than just alcohol.

With some help from state funding, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department is creating a process to test more than a hundred intoxicants.

KPBS sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge has more.

At least half of all drivers arrested for DUIs have more than one drug in their system. So says Jennifer Harmon, director of the San Diego Sheriff’s department crime lab. She says blood tests show there are many things that can make someone dangerous behind the wheel. “The most common drugs we find in a person who is stopped, in addition to alcohol, is cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl. We also see Xanax, which is a prescription medication.” She says a million dollar state grant will help her crime lab ramp up blood testing to determine what’s making people impaired. Harmon says by summer next year they also want to bring all the toxicology tests in-house to their lab. Blood tests can require a warrant, sometimes when stopped drivers refuse to submit to a blood test or a breathalyzer. SOQ. 

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Coming up.... We revisit one of our favorite stories from this year… about two locals documenting the history of surfing in Mexico. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.

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A local program has given out four-hundred e-bikes and will soon go statewide.

But as inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman explains, it’s struggling with low participation.

Pedal Ahead has been distributing e-bikes across San Diego County since 2020. And next year, with the help of a ten-million-dollar grant, it will expand to the rest of California. But inewsource found many riders aren’t logging enough miles to meet the program’s rules … and despite claiming to prioritize residents who make less than fifty-thousand-dollars, some participants work in local government with salaries surpassing that. Pedal Ahead says it takes in other factors beyond income and is working to improve mileage. For KPBS, I’m inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman.

inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.

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Families across San Diego County this weekend have been opening gifts … and the spirit of giving has extra meaning for some San Diegans.

KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says one of the region’s toy drives brought some gifts right to people’s doorsteps.

Tis’ the season … for family, food and gifts. But not all San Diegans are able to afford the cost of the holidays. 19 year old Lamar Canady Jr. decided something needed to happen. Lamar Canady Jr. Organizing Toy Drive “Me and my team, Lionmade Entertainment got together and decided to do a toy drive this year for Christmas for less fortunate kids.” They dug into their own pockets to buy a wide range of gifts, and then got some more from some local organizations. Then, they put them into some customized toy bags for kids of all ages and delivered them right to people's homes. Canady lost his own father back in 2014. “He was an entrepreneur, he was murdered in his business. But growing up with entrepreneur parents they always told us to be ambitious and when you get in a position where you're blessed and you can give back, to give back. So just taking that negative and turning it into a positive, that's what we're doing here today.” Canady Jr. says they promoted the drive toy drive on social media, and got a bigger response than expected. They were able to provide the toy bags for roughly 80 kids throughout San Diego county. He says they plan on doing an even bigger next year with the help of other organizations. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

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Ensenada is the birthplace of Mexican surfing.

It’s a rich history that many people don’t know about.

KPBS Border reporter Gustavo Solis talked with two local surfers trying to preserve and spread that history.

The Baja coast has always had amazing waves. But when Ignacio Felix was growing up in Ensenada during the 1960s, surfboards were a rare commodity. Ignacio “No es como hoy ustedes en dia ven tablas por todos lados. Nosotros de vez en cuando veiamos un Americano llegar a Ensenada con una tabla en el techo.” Felix says it wasn’t like today in Ensenada with surf boards everywhere … he’d only see them when American tourists with boards tied to the roof of their cars came to town. Felix was among a group of curious children who spent hours on the beach just sitting on the sand and watching the surfers catch waves. As he grew older, Felix’s curiosity turned into a passion and he became one of the original co-founders of the Baja Surf Club. Which is the oldest club in Mexico. He remembers being starstruck when surfing legends he’d only seen in magazines came to Ensenada for a contest he helped organize. “Comiensan a lleguar figuras como Mike Doyle, Mikey Munoz, David Nuega, hasta Mikey Dora llego. By the time Pete Torres first picked up a board in the 1970s, surfing was becoming more popular in Mexico, but still had a stigma. He says it was mostly associated with long hair, hippies and drugs. “Si tu le decias a tu mama voy a empezar a surfear, tu mama ‘No, es un deporte de bagos, son marijuanos, era muy mal visto.” Yet, Mexico has thousands of miles of coastline and several world class surf spots. Thanks to these natural gifts, it also has a rich surfing history – full of adventurers who discovered new waves and evangelized the sport down the country’s Pacific coast. They also fought a federal government that didn’t want them around. But it remains a little-known history. Torres and Jesus Salazar are trying to change that. They started documenting the origins of Mexican surfing through a podcast and Instagram page called Memorabilia del Surf Mexicano. Salazar says that places like Acapulco and Puerto Escondido are known around the world, but stories of the individuals who developed the sport are still relatively unknown. “That’s the main objective, you know, to talk about surfing culture, Mexican surfing culture and to start to give it an identity to Mexican surf because there is none.” The project has taken them to famous beaches of Mazatlan, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Nayarit. They’ve tracked down historic photographs and interviewed the pioneers of Mexican surfing. “It’s amazing to see, to hold the history in your hands you know.” Torres and Salazar say one of the most important moments of Mexican surf history happened in 1970. Felix and other teens from the Baja Surf Club had performed well in the 1968 World Championships in Puerto Rico. They put in a bid to host the tournament in 1970. Against all odds, they were awarded the bid ahead of surfing heavyweights Australia and South Africa. Felix says nobody expected them to actually get the World Championship. The governor of Baja California and mayor of Ensenada couldn’t believe it. Ignacio “La cara de ellos fue de ahi caray. Como que nos apoyaron creendo que eramos unos chamacos que estabamos medio locos que no ibamos a traer nada y de pronto aqui esta el munida. Orale.” They had even secured a broadcasting deal with ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The event was going to put Mexican surfing on the map. But the cultural upheaval of the late 1960s was in full swing … Woodstock had just made international headlines. The Mexican government wasn’t interested in a south-of-the-border version of that chaotic scene. So they canceled the contest. Ignacio “Pero el gobierno Mexicano dijo no queremos que Ensenada se combierta en un lugar donde los hippies de California bengan y lo adopten. Felix says they didn’t want Ensenada to become a campground for California hippies. That decision derailed the development of competitive surfing in Mexico. Mexico wouldn’t go to another World Championship until 1988 – the year Torres was on the team. Salazar says it’s very important for those who lived the history to tell their own stories. “Americans have come a lot and made they make all kinds of stories about surfing in Mexico, and they tell very little about Mexicans. We feel it’s important to get stories about Mexicans out there.” Their efforts are starting to pay off.  Salazar and Torres helped research an article on Acapulco’s surf culture for the latest edition of The Surfer’s Journal. They see their collaboration with one of the most widely read surf magazines in the world as recognition of the important work they are doing. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

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At 68, Japan's Godzilla is nowhere near ready for retirement.

The iconic monster that was born out of an atomic blast is poised for a cinematic rematch with Kong in 20-24.

Plus, he is the topic of a new coffee table book.

In an excerpt from the Cinema Junkie podcast, KPBS's resident Godzilla fan and arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with author Graham Skipper about “Godzilla: The Official Guide to the King of the Monsters.”

That was author Graham Skipper, speaking with KPBS’s Beth Accomando.

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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 Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

The House Select Committee’s report on the Jan. 6 insurrection, released last week, has connections to San Diego. In other news, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department is creating a process to test more than a hundred intoxicants. Plus, a local program has given out 400 e-bikes and will soon go statewide, but the program is struggling with low participation.