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San Diego to spend $37 million on stormwater system

 June 13, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, June 13th.


The city of San Diego plans to spend 37 million dollars to upgrade the storm water system in Mission Beach. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The San Diego City Council this week adopted a budget for the next fiscal year that restores some of the cuts proposed by mayor Todd Gloria.

Councilmember Kent Lee, who chairs the budget committee, presented a last-minute compromise.

It includes 3-million-dollars to pay for hotel rooms for victims of the January floods, and it increases funding for a program that gives rental subsidies to low-income households.

“As the cost of housing continues to increase, these programs are critical to keeping San Diegans housed before they fall into homelessness and to providing services for our unhoused community.”

There's still some uncertainty around Gloria's plans to convert a warehouse into a homeless shelter.

Funding for the shelter is in the budget, but the council has yet to sign off on leasing the property.


San Diego has a new fire chief.

Mayor Todd Gloria yesterday named Deputy San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Robert Logan the second, to take on the role.

The appointment is pending city council approval next month.

The current chief, Colin Stowell is retiring this summer, after 36 years of service with the SD-FD.

Chief Logan is currently the Deputy Fire Chief overseeing employee services.

He began his career with the SD-FD as an emergency medical technician in 19-99, then became a firefighter in 2-thousand.

Chief Logan is expected to take over in August.


An Excessive Heat Watch will be in effect tomorrow (Friday) through Saturday evening, in the county’s desert areas.

Forecasters say temperatures are expected to reach up to 115 degrees.

Temps in other parts of the county will also be on the rise through the weekend, but not as hot as the deserts.

Today in the inland and mountain areas, temps will be in the high 70s.

The weather will be quite different by the coast, though.

The National Weather Service says there’s a chance of patchy drizzle this morning, and temps will be in the mid 60s.


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


The city of San Diego is spending 37 million dollars to modernize the storm water system in South Mission Beach.

Reporter Katie Hyson says that’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s needed.

The money is a low-interest loan from the state. They’ll forgive 5 million of it, but the rest will be added to the city’s tab. The revamp will improve water quality. And help prevent future flooding, which Mayor Todd Gloria warns is a growing threat. With the impacts of climate change, we're going to be seeing more and stronger storms going forward. This makes this a very urgent issue. The city already directed 235 million dollars to upgrade storm drains in the Chollas Creek area, hit hardest by the January floods. Storm drain improvements are needed across San Diego. But the city is short more than a billion dollars. To help meet the gap, Gloria is backing a proposed property tax that would cost the average household about 20 dollars per month. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


In other city-of-San Diego related news… the city council's approved budget includes additional funding for traffic safety improvements.

Reporter Katie Anastas says advocates want the city to spend it on what they call “the fatal 15.”

City council members put an additional $785,000 toward eliminating traffic deaths in the next fiscal year’s budget. Council president Sean Elo-Rivera thanked road safety advocates for sharing their funding priorities with city leaders. SEAN ELO-RIVERA, DISTRICT 9 We’ve heard from spouses who’ve lost the loves of their lives to unnecessary traffic violence. We’ve heard from all parts of the city and all walks of life, and I think the common thread is love for community, love for their city, and a deep belief that things can and should be better. Advocates are hopeful transportation officials will spend it on improvements to the city’s 15 deadliest intersections for cyclists and pedestrians. They say projects like high-visibility crosswalks would cost about $100,000 per intersection. Katie Anastas, KPBS News.


Immigrants’ rights groups sued the Biden administration yesterday (Wednesday) over the president’s recent executive actions that restrict asylum to migrants who cross the border illegally.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis spoke with one of the lawyers who filed the federal lawsuit in Washington D-C.

President Joe Biden’s executive actions on June 4 make most of these migrants who cross the border ineligible for asylum. That is illegal – according to lawyers suing the Biden administration. “It is flatly contrary to the law.” That’s Melissa Crow – director of litigation for the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies. The ACLU, National Immigration Justice Center and the Texas Civil Rights Project are also part of the lawsuit. The suit argues that existing federal laws already allow migrants to request asylum – even if they cross the border illegally.“The immigration statute specifically states that an individual has the right to apply for asylum regardless of their manner of entry into the United States.” Crow says these new rules put vulnerable migrants in even greater risk of violence and persecution – the reasons they are fleeing their homes in the first place. “Our nation was built on being a safe haven for people who are in this very situation. It would be a betrayal of our laws and our values to let the new rule remain in place for one day longer.” Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


When describing the experiences of the class of 20-24, normal isn’t an option.

In 20-20, they lost their high school graduations and freshman years to the covid pandemic.

Now as they graduate, campuses are consumed with the war in Gaza.

Student reporter Katerina Portela spoke to UC-SD seniors about their unique journey.

UCSD senior Destiny Okoronkwo started worrying in early May. Protests against the war in Gaza had been building on campuses across the country for months. Then she got a call from her brother, a student at USC. He told her USC’s main graduation had just been canceled because of the protest encampment on that campus.  DESTINY OKORONKWO UCSD GRADUATING STUDENT So as soon as I heard that, I called him. I was like, How could they do that?… Especially as someone who didn't have a high school graduation, because I was class of 2020, I was a bit fearful that they would take away our graduation. I was like, damn, not again. A week later, UCSD canceled the popular Sun God music festival. At this point, UCSD senior Jenny To was sharing Okoronkwo’s fear. JENNY TO UCSD GRADUATING STUDENT And it would have been a shame just because you know, it for a lot of us, for a lot of the class of 2024, it would have been our 1st time walking on a stage because 4 years ago it was kind of the height of the pandemic so a lot of us didn't really get to graduate high school either. In May, UCSD became a hotspot for protests and demonstrations. Some students marched with signs on campus and in front of the chancellor’s home. They also spoke out on social media and participated in a large on-campus encampment. On May 6th, police shut down the encampment and made a number of arrests. Despite the unrest, graduation ceremonies will be held this weekend … albeit under tight security. But all the turmoil has left To feeling ambivalent. Especially because the university might not allow some students involved in the encampment to walk at graduation. This is just me, but I think the whole situation has made me a little bit apathetic towards graduating in the first place... I think any source of maximal pride that a student could feel going through that type of ceremony, it's definitely been dampened by the events of the past month and the months before it. In a statement to KPBS, a UCSD spokesperson defended the university’s actions against protestors. The statement said the encampment “Violated campus policy and the law and grew to pose unacceptable risk to the safety of the campus community.” Everyone on campus has been impacted by the protests and the university’s response …  even in the classroom. And I was in class. I could hear them walking around, chanting, doing that whole thing. And I feel like since then, the protests have been pretty consistent on social media. I always see flyers talking about when the new protests are, what time, when everyone is meeting. Okoronkwo added that professors broached the topic of demonstrations on campus differently. Some encouraged students to demonstrate. Others allowed discussions in class. And some acted like nothing was happening. I had a few professors who were straight up like, Hey, guys, this big protest is happening. You guys should attend. Just very supportive. And then I had other professors just not mention it at all. But through it all, To says she’s noticed a sense of community that wasn’t there before. I think particularly this year, you see a huge undergrad movement where people are making the active choice to learn about what's happening on campus because it it's not always that you have a movement that provokes so much kind of conflict and violence but also at the same time solidarity and kind of care for your peers. Okoronkwo agreed saying UCSD’s campus environment has undergone a significant shift. Honestly, especially because I started UCSD during COVID, the environment on campus was very dead. And to be honest, being a fourth year, just honestly, looking back at everything, I feel like I could understand why people call us UC socially dead, because I feel like there really is no school spirit. There's no unity, no togetherness. (Exclude part where she starts sentence and then says she thought it glitched) But I think that changed, honestly, this last year, seeing everyone come together and stuff, which is great. Now, To, Okoronkwo and their peers are bidding farewell to their undergrad experience. One thing they can say for sure – it won’t be forgotten. Katerina Portela, KPBS News.


Finally … the San Diego County Fair kicked off its 20-day run at the Del Mar Fairgrounds yesterday (Wednesday).

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen gives us some of the sounds of opening day.

The fair is going Retro this year … From the back to the future  to the classic hot rods Opening day is a tradition for Brenden Pache … who’s been coming every year for the past few years. Brenden Pache San Diego County Fairgoer  “Oh, man, opening day. That's where it just begin. It feels fresh. New, like you feel that energy. It feels just new. “ The retro theme is evident throughout the fair … from the exhibits …  to the decor … And even the roaming entertainers. “This is pretty cool” Maximus Neisingh seems to be getting a kick out of the outdated technology from the late 1900s … as the kids call it. Maximus Neisingh San Diego County Fairgoer What’s the best thing you saw in the exhibit so far? “probably this one, because I was kind of confused how it is. I’m just interested in that.” And after a long day of food … games … and rides …You can come and relax here … “Welcome to Destination Unknown. Hope you guys can find us” …It’s the fair’s speakeasy … but you gotta get an invitation first. North County Transit District and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System are offering a round-trip ride to the Fair with your admission ticket. AN/KPBS.


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 Thursday.

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The city of San Diego is spending $37 million to modernize the storm water system in South Mission Beach, but that’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s needed. In other news, immigrants’ rights groups sued the Biden administration Wednesday over the president’s recent executive actions that restrict asylum to migrants who cross the border illegally. Plus, the class of 2024 is graduating in a time of campus protests unmatched since the 1960s. Some UC San Diego students say they are looking forward to graduation, but with heavy hearts.