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San Diego’s mayor talks housing

 August 5, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, August 5th.

We’ll hear from San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on housing and more.But first... let’s do the headlines….


Ahead of its fall semester, SDSU will again require students, faculty and staff to wear masks in classes regardless of vaccination status.

The requirement goes into effect next Monday and will be in place for at least a month.

The college’s semester begins on August 22nd.

This comes as San Diego County remains in the CDC’s high covid transmission tier.


The San Diego Police department announced yesterday that it has completed its investigation into the sexual assault of a young woman by five SDSU football players.

No one has been arrested in what police are calling a very complex case.

Now it's up to the San Diego County District Attorney on whether or not criminal charges will be filed.

The alleged assault happened at an off campus house party last October when the woman was 17.

Earlier this week, SDSU announced that it has launched its own investigation.


The La Jolla Music Society’s former director of finance was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in prison for embezzling more than $650 thousand dollars from the nonprofit.

Chris Benavides stole the money over nearly a decade and used it to pay his mortgage, credit cards, utility bills and more, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

At the sentencing, the organization’s president said Benavides was making a six figure salary when he stole from the nonprofit.

The judge also issued a preliminary order for Benavides to pay 650 thousand dollars in restitution.


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 now has an updated climate action plan, and city leaders will consider a new proposal to increase housing.

Both initiatives have been presented by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

Gloria joined KPBS'S Maureen Cavanaugh yesterday (Thursday) to discuss these issues.

MC: This week,  the city council unanimously approved an ambitious update to the city’s Climate Action Plan.. It includes plans to electrify the city by banning natural gas in new construction and retrofitting most homes that use gas to electricity. Why is the move away from natural gas such a big part of this update? MC: This week you unveiled your second housing package in an effort to create more affordable homes for low-income and middle-class San Diegans. A big part of this plan involves getting innovative about where to develop new homes …for instance - can you explain how this plan would develop housing on underused commercial spaces? MC: Yesterday, you met with Mayors across San Diego County to talk about homelessness. Is there an effort to create a regional strategy on homelessness?

That was San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Cavanaugh.


Border officials are pressing pause on construction at Friendship Park.

KPBS reporter Tania Thorne tells us more about the decision.

It's the response Friendship Park advocates had hoped to get: A temporary hold on construction of two 30 foot tall border walls. Customs and Border Protection announced the pause on Thursday in order to engage with community stakeholders and discuss the planned construction. Part of the announcement from CBP also included an update on the reopening of Friendship Park…,saying upon completion of construction, they are committed to preserving access to the park and commit to opening it a minimum of two days each month. John Fanestil with Friends of Friendship Park says that’s less access than there used to be.. and he hopes solutions can be reached at an upcoming summit. “the need for genuine and broad consultation is very real, because there are so very many people who are engaged with and who care about friendship park.”Fanestil says the stakeholder summit will be held in September. 


Many South Bay beaches are closed because of sewage contamination… but people are still choosing to get in the ocean.

KPBS Reporter Melissa Mae got reactions from beachgoers.

MM: Signs next to the Imperial Beach pier warn people to stay out of the water. But we found people swimming in the ocean anyway. MM: Alexander Bergmann is visiting from Austria and said he wasn’t worried about swimming in contaminated water.AB (:04) “No, not at all. So, I think that it should not be much of an issue.”   MM: While local surfers are also braving the water they’ve been surfing for years… Some tourists have mixed feelings about the warning signs of sewage contamination.Sue Pleger from Colorado and is in town visiting family. SP (:08) “I was just kind of surprised and amazed. We came for vacation here and we’re not going in the water.” The county’s Department of Environmental Health and Quality tests bacteria levels at about 45 beaches every day… and posts the status online at MM KPBS News.


Coming up.... Journalist sees similarities between monkeypox and H-I-V-AIDS response. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


Federal officials have declared a public health emergency for Monkeypox, a viral disease that spreads through close physical contact.

KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge has more.

Health and Human Services director Xavier Becerra said the U.S. was  taking its response to “the next level” to stop the spread of Monkeypox. That next level was the decoration of a public health emergency. Becerra said there are at least 66 hundred cases of Monkeypox in the U.S., up from fewer than 5,000 last week. In San Diego County, 59 cases of Monkeypox have been confirmed. All of the cases were men, and the majority were men with male sexual partners. The commissioner of the FDA, Robert Califf, said available vaccine doses could be increased five-fold if a skin-deep injection, using a much smaller amount, proves to be effective.  “In recent days it’s become clear to all of us that given the continued spread of the virus we’re at a critical inflection point dictating the need for additional solutions to address the rise in infection rates.” So far, about 4 thousand doses of monkeypox vaccine have been received in San Diego County. Thomas Fudge, KPBS news.




Decades before monkeypox, another virus was predominantly affecting gay men … HIV / AIDS.      Reporter Hank Plante was at ground zero for the epidemic… San  Francisco. With Hank Plante reporting It sounds strange but its kind of a gift for me to be an openly gay man and a reporter working in San Francisco and so I was able to tell the story from my own perspective and seeing that it was affecting my friends so it was always more than a story to me and I wanted to get it right. And getting it right was not easy – especially when many, including government officials, didn’t think it was an important issue. The subject came up at a press conference at the White House when Reagan was president and in the press room the press secretary was asked about this new disease, AIDS and the room laughedAt the time, Plante says there was little to no information about the virus. So his station made a real commitment to cover it … So we were going on the air every night telling people how to not get the disease, what was new with treatment, were any of the drugs working and remember this was at a time when the Reagan administration was barely talking about it Still he says the lack of information led to fear and abuse of the gay commumity   living in fear themselves. people were being kicked out of their apartments, people were being fired, there were no legal protections back then,  so it was really awful it was terrible Plante says by the time President Reagan said the word AIDS for the first time, 23 thousand Americans had died of the virus. There are a lot of parallels to the beginning of AIDS there was was inaction by the government back then (just added this to break up) He says the current monkeypox emergency is giving him flashbacks to those early days when he covered AIDS.there were a lot of gay men who were being scapegoated and blamed for AIDS back then and you can bet that there are men, gay people being blamed today for this, there’s a lot of fear in the gay community that that’s going to get worsePlante urges health and government officials to get out front and once and for all and explain exactly how monkeypox is transmitted , and do everything they can to get vaccines  to people to stop the spread Plante earned every award imaginable for his AIDS coverage including a Peabody, but his goal back then was to save lives.He also believes reporters have an opportunity to make a positive impact. I think there is some fear particularly among straight journalists that they don’t want to offend the gay community  by saying it you’re getting it fom gay sex, it’s not a sexually transmitted disease but  it’s the close contact. And I think that journalists have to tell the truth about it and not worry about the backlash. He learned a lot from covering AIDS, a lot of it about himself once you slay your dragons in life it makes you stronger and so that was my big fear when I was growing up, like a lot of gay kids, and once I came out I just started to relax and enjoy life.  Kitty Alvarado KPBS News 


California schools need more counselors… and the state Department of Education has launched an effort to attract 10-thousand of them to school campuses.

That includes offering 20-thousand dollar grants for students to complete advanced degrees and then work in K-through-12 schools.

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond says the social and emotional growth of children has suffered in the pandemic.

“Our students deserve and need to have more support and we’re grateful to have resources we can use to help them. We recognize it will take time to build out many of these resources…that’s why we’ve embarked on such a big number.”

184-million dollars is included in the new state budget to cover the teaching grants and other efforts to recruit more counselors and clinicians.


In other education news, thousands of San Diego community college students could end up being able to save money on textbooks this fall.KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez explains.

San Diego congressman Scott Peters delivered the ceremonial check for 9-hundred-75-thousand dollars.It’s federal grant money that will be used to create hundreds more classes that use free textbooks and online resources…at three community colleges in his 52nd District.That includes Miramar College…and City and Mesa College, too.Emily Smith is a Miramar student who was on the task force to get more federal funding.“when you have zero-cost textbooks in a classroom, it just makes accessibility to education so much more affordable. You can go back to college easier. Continue in college easier and you can graduate easier.” Students at the three community colleges are expected to save 3-million dollars combined in the coming school year. MGP KPBS News.


And before you go…

We have a few weekend arts events to share with you, compliments of KPBS arts producer Julia Dixon Evans.

Dreaming of Paris?

Well, you can visit paris-themed concerts this weekend to feel like you’re there.

The La Jolla Music Society’s Summer-Fest is hosting ‘A Weekend in Paris’ starting today.

The concerts will showcase Paris’s history from the mid 18-hundreds to the mid 19-hundreds.

The performances will include works by French artists and composers.

You’re listening to André Caplet's Cohn Fan-taas-teeke

You can hear it at today’s performance.

The three days of concerts will be at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall at The Conrad in La Jolla.

Today’s and tomorrow’s performances start at 7-30 p-m.

And Sunday’s show starts at three p-m.

This weekend is your last chance to see local playwright Charles Borkhuis’s new play, “Blue Period” at the Onstage Playhouse in chula vista.

The play is about the life of Picasso, when he and his close friend left Spain for Paris, which led to tragic events in their friendship that launched Picasso’s famed “Blue Period.”

The remaining performances are today and tomorrow , at 8 p-m…

And 2 p-m on Sunday.

You can find more details about the arts events mentioned, and more, at kpbs-dot-org-slash-arts.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by KPBS Senior Radio Producer Brooke Ruth and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. 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 weekend

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San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria talks about the city's updated climate action plan and housing and homelessness in the city. In other news, border officials are pressing pause on construction at Friendship Park. Plus, monkeypox cases in San Diego County are on the rise.