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Sanitation worker strike continues

 December 28, 2021 at 9:55 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday, December 28th.>>>>

The sanitation worker strike continues

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

Authorities have confirmed this morning that a small airplane that crashed last night in a neighborhood near El Cajon was carrying four people and no survivors from the plane have been found. At least one home has been damaged. The crash was reported just after 7’o’clock last night near the 1200 block of pepper drive and north mollison avenue. The area is a few miles east of Gillespie field airport, where the plane was scheduled to land. The crash also took down an unknown amount of power lines. San Diego gas & electric reported that 350 customers in the El Cajon area were without power. The federal aviation administration and national transportation safety board will be handling the investigation.


Coronavirus cases have been increasing since the Christmas holiday and some say it’s the beginning of another surge.

Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder says modeling shows hospitalizations peaking in January and says their system will be stretched.

“Every hospital has staffing shortages right now. There’s a huge amount of burnout, fatigue that our people have been fighting covid everyday for the last two years.”

He says the majority of the hospitalizations and deaths they are seeing are in the unvaccinated. San Diego county officials reported more than 2600 covid-19 cases on Sunday, more than 1200 on Saturday and more than 1600 for last Friday. The number of people hospitalized with covid-19 increased from 355 to 404 on Sunday according to the county.


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

Chula Vista and the neighborhood of Clairemont are overflowing with trash.

KPBS reporter Alexandra Rangel says that’s because sanitation workers are still on strike on monday.

“A fair contract? When? Now when?”

In bright yellow jackets with picket signs in hand, Republic Services workers in Chula Vista continued day 12 of their strike.

Demanding Republic Services to bargain in good faith with Teamsters Local 542. That union represents more than 200 Republic Services workers across the county.

Dohney Castillo has been a driver with the company for five years.

He says Republic Services and the union sat at the table on Christmas Eve, but the Christmas miracle they were hoping for didn’t come through.

Dohney Castillo, Republic Services Driver

“Yea it's not moving anywhere, but hey we are gonna be here until we have a fair contract on the table that we believe is fair for us.”

In a statement to customers Republic Services apologized for the inconvenience and gave residents the option to take their trash to the landfill.

In a statement, Republic Services says they're ready to go back to the bargaining table immediately, and that they pay drivers a fair wage that's in line with the local market.


San Diego Unified School District officials are not taking a break in their effort to prevent the spread of the COVID omicron variant. As students continue to enjoy another week of winter break, KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez tells us COVID testing and education continue.

San Diego Unified has partnered with the San Diego Latino Health Coalition and Alliance San Diego for door-to-door outreach to stop the spread of COVID 19. Community workers continue canvassing Logan Heights and targeting other predominantly hispanic neighborhoods where vaccination and COVID testing rates are low. It’s a campaign to deliver truth and facts about the latest virus variants.

The district is also offering free testing at its headquarters in University Heights this week for staff and students. Virginia Meza is a grateful parent.

SOT: “When they get sick or anything and can’t go to school. Who has to stay home with them? Mom…and I have to work and have to ask for days off to stay with our kids.”

Students were also given at-home COVID test kits to use before returning to school January 3rd. The kits are not mandatory but with the omicron outbreak growing they are strongly recommended. MGP KPBS News


The Naval hospital in San Diego is helping a civilian hospital in New Mexico overwhelmed by COVID. KPBS Military reporter Steve Walsh says it comes as more deadlines approach for troops to become vaccinated.

Starting in early December, the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command in San Diego sent a team of 20 to a hospital in New Mexico. President Biden announced another 1,000 service members would be called up to help overburdened civilian hospitals around the country.

This comes as the military continues to respond to COVID-19 within its ranks. A Marine spokesman says, as of this week, 169 Marines have been kicked out of the Corps for refusing the vaccine. Some exemptions are still being processed. Neither the Marines or the Navy have granted religious exemptions. The Marines have already formally rejected most of the 3,100 who applied.

The deadline has already passed for all active duty troops to be vaccinated. The next deadlines will be at the end of the year for the Navy and Marine reserves and the Air National Guard. Army National Guard troops have until June. Steve Walsh KPBS News


Attorneys suing over water or sewer rate increases will be racing the clock starting in the new year. CapRadio’s Mike Hagerty talked with one of the attorneys who helped the California State Legislature draft a new law limiting the amount of time for lawsuits.

Almost 100 public agencies supported the bill setting a 120-day limit on how long attorneys have to sue after a rate increase. Claire Collins is a water attorney with the firm Hanson Bridgett and helped write the bill.

[COLLINS: “Current law creates an incentive for what we call “bounty hunter lawsuits’. And these are where lawyers bring cases against water and sewer agencies in the hopes of recovering big attorneys’ fees. These lawyers do not challenge the rates before they’re adopted, when the agencies could actually make a change, but instead they bring these lawsuits after the rates go into effect.” (:18)]

Collins says it curtails abuses that gave little relief to ratepayers and big fees to law firms who’d wait years to let damages build before suing..

[COLLINS: “Sometimes up to a decade later. And these lawsuits, if they’re successful, result in mere pennies to the ratepayers, but the lawyers get millions. So the big insult of all that, too, is the ratepayers ultimately have to pay the attorneys fees.”

The 120-day limit on filing a suit will be spelled out to customers in notices of rate hikes.Those, by law, have to be sent to ratepayers at least 45 days before a rate increase takes effect.

Mike Hagerty, CapRadio News.]


Coming up.... Recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that personal income in San Diego rose at a record rate in 2020. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

Not too long ago the U.S. department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis found that personal income in San Diego rose at a record rate in 2020. It marked it the biggest annual increase for the San Diego metro area since the bureau began keeping track more than 10 years ago.

What caused that increase? and who really benefited from it?

Philip Molnar is a business reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune who’s been covering the story. He spoke with KPBS midday Edition host Maureen Kavanaugh.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Waste management company Republic Services and Teamsters Local 542 sat at the bargaining table on Christmas Eve but they failed to reach an agreement - thus waste is piling up in a few neighborhoods. Meanwhile, The San Diego Unified School District is teaming up with two community organizations as part of a public outreach campaign on behalf ofCOVID-19 vaccines. Plus, personal income in San Diego saw the biggest annual increase in 2020 since the U.S. department of Commerce began keeping track more than 10 years ago.