South bay teachers plan walkout
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday January 12th>>>>
Some San Diego teachers planning a walk out
More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######
San Diego county public health officials reported more than 10,000 new covid-19 infections on Tuesday and 20 additional deaths as an unprecedented rate of cases and hospitalizations continue to roll in. 73 more people were hospitalized on tuesday. It follows a record-setting weekend where hospitals struggled to keep up.
nearly 50,000 new cases were reported over this past weekend. This latest surge is suspected to be driven by the omicron variant and holiday gatherings. it’s unclear when it could slow down.
scripps health chief medical officer dr. ghazala sharieff is hoping the state doesn’t opt to cancel all elective procedures.
we are managing literally on a day to day basis the cases that we can keep going on the ambulatory side we’re trying to keep those going so we don't delay care. we had a patient the last surge who was the sole driver and he was delayed for his cataract surgery and that really limits people. so we don't want to do that unless we have to.”
Even though hospitalizations aren’t as high as they were a year ago, this surge is particularly difficult because of staffing shortages – hundreds of health care workers are out with covid.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously elected Nathan Fletcher to serve as chairman for another year on Tuesday. They also unanimously selected Nora Vargas as vice-chairwoman and Terra Lawson-Remer as chair pro-tempore.
Meanwhile, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is scheduled to deliver his state of the city address today at 6pm. You can catch it streamed online at KPBS dot org.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
Students in most of the South Bay’s school districts returned to in-person classes on Tuesday after their holiday break. As we’ve seen, the new year continues to bring COVID challenges to schools across the county. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez says in one district teachers are planning a walkout meanwhile parents keep looking for more testing.
The playground is full of young students, again, here at Rosebank Elementary in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. While the students play, their teachers are working with an expired contract and they’re not happy about the district’s latest offer.
“We love our kids, but we need to feel that we are valued.”
Michelle Kohler is president of the union representing 14-hundred teachers and other school staff. The union is distributing this flyer encouraging members to walk out of school on-time every day starting Wednesday..no more after school meetings, planning, or volunteering until the district offers a reasonable pay raise and new contract.
Michelle Kholer/President Chula Vista Educators
“We don’t feel like the district deserves our time, if they’re not compensating us for it. We feel disrespected.”
Many parents feel overwhelmed as COVID cripples their family routines and threatens their health.
“han salido muchos casos positivos.”
Maria Garcia spent the first day of school after the holiday break with her children here at the Chula Vista Elementary School District testing center. A place that has processed thousands of rapid antigen and PCR tests since late last summer.
M.G. Perez/KPBS News
“The COVID home test kits promised by the State Department of Public Health are slowly trickling their way down the South Bay school districts, but even families lucky enough to get them have plenty of questions about what happens next.
“(how’s your daughter doing?) She’s doing fine. She’s at school today.”
William Smith’s 11 year old daughter tested negative…but his 16-year old son tested positive twice using the home tests over the weekend.
William Smith/Chula Vista Parent
“we’re all in the same household but he tested positive and the rest of us are fine. So, we’re just keeping up on it.”
As for the teacher’s contract negotiations, the Chula Vista Elementary school district Interim Superintendent said in a written statement that the District is unaware of any plans for a teacher walkout and he made no comment on the negotiations.
“quedamos en casa encierrnaditos ahi estamos mas seguros”
Maria Garcia says she and her family are staying home where they are safe and secure. Patriq Smith and his dad will stay home and wait, too.
Patriq Smith/Castle Park High School Student
“I haven’t had any symptoms of the COVID…I don’t know why I’m positive…I hope I’m negative.”
Back to school to another semester in the pandemic.
MGP KPBS News
Governor Gavin Newsom was in the Central Valley on tuesday to promote the health care portion of his budget proposal. He says it will expand access to health care and be more affordable, regardless of immigration status. KPBS Speak City Heights reporter Jacob Aere says immigrant rights advocates in San Diego approve of the plan.
In a $286 billion budget proposal outlined Monday, Newsom highlighted free health care for all undocumented immigrants in the state as a top priority.
Dulce Garcia, Executive Director of Border Angels, says undocumented immigrants will no longer have to ignore health problems out of fear of owing thousands of dollars in medical bills, or missing work
Dulce Garcia | Border Angels Executive Director
“Adding the younger folks onto this proposition, and really including all undocumented immigrants to have access to medical care in San Diego County will mean thousands of families will be able to see a doctor for regular check ups, diagnosis and treatment.”
The state began covering undocumeneted immigrants 26-years-old and under in 2019, and those 55 and older last year.
Now, Newsom wants state lawmakers to cover the remainder of people, those 27 through 54 years of age, starting no sooner than Jan. 1, 2024.
Lupe Flores of the Chicano Federation says she’s celebrating the historic proposal.
Lupe Flores | Chicano Federation
“I think this will increase trust. And that's very important with the undocumented population. Now they can go get these preventive care appointments or even have access to doctors and they're not going to be as scared.”
The most recent expansion to cover those ages 50 and up will eventually cost taxpayers about $1.3 billion per year.
Dulce Garcia | Border Angels Executive Director
“We know the governor is looking at implementation in 2024, and so that's why we are going to push for implementation sooner than later, because the need is here today. With this variant, there's still people at risk, there’s still people dying.
Newsom plans to start the program with $614 million in funding. Every year after, the price will be more than $2 billion. At this point, it’s unclear how Newsom plans to pay for the additional health care costs. And this is a first draft of the budget… it will be revised in May. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.
A Chula vista man reached a lifesaving milestone by donating his 100th gallon of blood on tuesday.
kpbs reporter kitty alvarado says the donation comes at a critical time, just as the american red cross announced a national blood crisis.
DAVID CARROLL JUST ARRIVED FOR HIS REGULAR VISIT TO THE SAN DIEGO BLOOD BANK IN CHULA VISTA … HE DONATES PLATELETS EVERY TWO WEEKS
Hi! How are you?
BUT THIS VISIT IS NOT TYPICAL. YOU SEE TODAY, DAVID IS DONATING HIS 100TH GALLON OF BLOOD. THAT MEANS HE’S DONE THIS OVER 500 TIMES …
Superdonor that just kind of lit my fire up I said, ‘oh alright superdonor?’
IT TAKES ABOUT THREE HOURS FOR THE WHOLE PROCESS TO BE COMPLETED …
BUT 100 ISN’T JUST A NUMBER OR MILESTONE … HIS DONATIONS SAVE LIVES.
THE WAY HE SEES IT … ONE OF THOSE LIVES HE’S SAVED HAS SURELY GIVEN BACK TO HIM AND OTHERS.
Donors get to give and the recipients get to receive … and things I don’t know that they’ve done that have benefitted me and I guess we all benefit
GINA SORENSEN FROM CHULA VISTA DONATES REGULARLY TOO,
I’ve probably donated 20 to 30 times over my life not as many as David over there, something to strive for
THEIR DONATIONS COME AT A CRITICAL TIME … FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER THE AMERICAN RED CROSS DECLARED A NATIONAL BLOOD CRISIS …
DR. GHAZALA SHARIEFF, SCRIPPS HEALTH CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER SAYS SHE’S WORRIED IF THIS CONTINUES IT WILL COST LIVES
we had two patients at the same time who needed massive transfusion protocols and literally we had to scramble trying to get blood place to the other … that is not sustainable
CLAUDINE VAN GONKA WITH THE SAN DIEGO BLOOD BANK SAYS EVERY COMMUNITY IS STRUGGLING FOR DONORS BECAUSE OF COVID AND FLU SEASON.
People are canceling blood drives, we see a low donor turnout now people are maybe, possibly afraid to come out and donate
SHE SAYS DONATING IS SAFE. BUT IF YOU’VE HAD COVID OR HAVE BEEN EXPOSED YOU MUST WAIT FOUR WEEKS TO DONATE BLOOD. HOWEVER THERE'S NO WAITING PERIOD IF YOU HAD THE COVID VACCINE.
You’re unable to get COVID through blood transfusions, COVID is a respiratory virus
AS A THANK YOU, DAVID RECEIVED A SPECIAL RECOGNITION. HE WILL ALSO GET TO UPGRADE HIS 75 GALLON SWEATSHIRT AND BECOME THE 37TH MEMBER OF THE GUARDIANS CIRCLE …
BUT THE BEST GIFT IS PRICELESS BECAUSE EVERY TWO SECONDS, SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE IN THE U.S. NEEDS BLOOD TO SURVIVE. LIKE SIX YEAR OLD QUINCY WHO JUST GOT THROUGH BEATING LEUKEMIA AND NEEDED PLATELETS AND BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS WITH EVERY CANCER TREATMENT.
HIS MOM, THERESA BERGDAHL IS GRATEFUL
There’s just not really anything else that I could do but give you a virtual humongous hug and thank you for caring for people that you don’t even know
At one level that’s the whole point, excuse me, of being able to give is that it helps somebody else live
KITTY ALVARADO, KPBS NEWS
Coming up....the Omicron variant has created another speed bump on the road to economic recovery nationwide. But is the economic picture brighter here in San Diego than other parts of the country? We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.
The Omicron variant is posing challenges to the country's economic recovery. December job growth came in much lower than expected, but unemployment is down to almost record levels. Meanwhile, the great resignation seems to be continuing.
Professor Alan Gin is an economist at the University of San Diego. He spoke with kpbs Midday Edition Host Maureen Cavanaugh.
Now, what do these recent reports tell us about the state of the economy?
Speaker 2: (00:57)
Well, I think it shows that, uh, the labor market right now is pretty tight. The economy's doing pretty well, but, uh, what we've seen then is, uh, slower growth in terms of employment now. And I think that the cause for that is not that employers are not wanting to hire people, but it's just simply the, the fact that they're just not enough workers now to go around. So that is a better situation than if employers is, we're just not wanting to hire people. Now, how can
Speaker 1: (01:25)
Job numbers be lower than expected? Yet unemployment is way down.
Speaker 2: (01:30)
So what's happened is that a lot of people have left the workforce. For example, retirements are up, it was projected that over the time period of the pandemic, that about 1.5 million people were gonna retire. It turned out that 3.6 million people retired instead. So that's more than 2 million extra people retiring. So they have left the job market. On top of that, we've lost about another million people at COVID. Uh, some people have died, some workers have died as a result of COVID. And then we have a large number of people who are in, uh, what it called the, the, the COVID long pollers. They have the disease and side effects and they're basically disabled. And so they're gonna be out of the out of the workforce. And then finally, uh, we also have, uh, a lot of women who have left the workforce due to childcare issues. And so if you add all that up, my estimate is that we've have more than 4 million people then who have left the, the labor, uh, labor market, therefore that reduces the, the size of the labor force, which accounts then for the decline and the unemployment rate, while at the same time, job growth is, uh, slow.
Speaker 1: (02:33)
Is this entire picture economic picture brighter here in San Diego than other parts of the country?
Speaker 2: (02:39)
I think we have a mixed, uh, situation here in, in San Diego. We have a lot of industries that were strong, that were resilient. For example, research and development was able to keep on going despite the pandemic cuz people could work remotely. But then on the other hand, we have a big, uh, leisure in hospitality industry that was, that was hit hard, uh, by the pandemic. So restaurants, hotels were hurt by the fact that people were not eating out or traveling, uh, for, for business purposes. And so, because that is such an important part of the local economy, uh, San Diego was suffered then in, in that particular sector. And that's that sector's also having the, uh, the most difficulty in terms of people quitting their, their jobs as well. The highest quit rate is in the restaurant and hospitality industries, almost 7% of people in that industry nationwide quit their jobs in November, but all those people leaving the, the, the labor market that I talked about earlier, just created openings, uh, all through the labor market. And so that gave people the opportunity then to leave their jobs for better, better opportunities.
Speaker 1: (03:43)
How do you expect the OCN surge will affect our economy?
Speaker 2: (03:46)
That's, that's a big unknown at this point. I don't think that we're going to have the closing down of the economy like we had in March and April of, of, uh, 2020. So I think, uh, this may, that may slow thing of people will be more cautious, but I don't think that it's gonna have the big impact that the pandemic had at, at, at its beginning.
Speaker 1: (04:07)
Now, governor Newsom presented his new budget proposal yesterday and apparently California is still a wash in surplus funds. Where is this money coming from?
Speaker 2: (04:18)
Well, I think, uh, we, we've got a couple of things going on here. Uh, number one is that, uh, you know, the stock market's doing pretty well. And so, uh, I think a lot of people had, uh, made some, made a lot of capital gains. A lot of people in the high tech industries for example, were able to keep working throughout the pandemic. So they're continuing to, to earn money and, and pay, uh, pay income taxes. And then finally on top of that, people have been spending money during the pandemic. In 2020, people had to stay home. They couldn't go out, they couldn't travel. And so as a result of that, they ended up saving money. What economists are calling a COVID piggy bank? Uh, it's been estimated that $1.6 trillion was saved, uh, nationwide, uh, during the pandemic. And so now, and people can do do stuff. They're gonna go out and spend some of that money. And that's earning, uh, the, the state, uh, some sales tax revenue.
Speaker 1: (05:08)
What stood out for you in the governor's proposals that could benefit San Diego's economy?
Speaker 2: (05:14)
I think, uh, the emphasis on housing and dealing with the homelessness is, uh, one of the bigger aspect in as far as the, uh, budget is concerned. Uh, we have a serious housing problem in California in terms of affordability. It's just really expensive to live here. Housing prices did not go down, uh, during the pandemic. And, uh, it costs a lot then to buy a house and, and even to rent. So a lot of people are, are in tough spots then in terms of what that was spend on housing. And so I think, uh, the proposals then to boost construction of housing then will help and also think, uh, you know, we have a serious homelessness problem. And so I think the proposals then to deal with homelessness are gonna be significant,
Speaker 1: (05:55)
You know, as you referred to, uh, there were reports that came out at the end of the year about overall individual income in San Diego rising last year, despite the pandemic, yet there seems to be a popular notion that the economy is not doing well. Why do you think there's this disconnect?
Speaker 2: (06:14)
Yeah, that's, that's an interesting question. Uh, you know, I, I think, um, unfortunately that there's just these days that there just a lot of misinformation going on, uh, spread by, by the internet. Uh, and, and as a result of that, uh, people think the situation's actually worse than it is. You know, I saw the, for example, how the media portrayed the job report on Friday and is just almost universally negative. Whereas, you know, my view is that, um, the unemployment rate is thinking below 4% with just a positive development. And, and again, that, that slow job growth is the result of, you know, people leaving the, the labor force voluntarily. And so as a result of that, uh, that's not a, as of not as big of a negative as, uh, it might otherwise be.
Speaker 1: (07:00)
Do you think the pandemic has caused permanent changes in San Diego's
Speaker 2: (07:04)
Economy? I think it has caused some permanent changes. Uh, for example, I, I think the popularity of outdoor eating has made that something that, that is going to continue then in the future, uh, both the public and the, the restaurant, people like that. And, and, uh, you know, we have the weather in San Diego then to, to carry that on. But I think, uh, this big retirement wave that we saw is gonna have lasting impacts at least, uh, for, for several more years down the line. I think the labor market's gonna continue to be tight and, and wages will be continue to rise then for, for the next few years. And then, uh, that will allow, you know, more of this job switching, the great resignation people, quitting their jobs then, and moving on then to, to, to better opportunities.
And that was Professor Alan Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego. He was speaking with KPBS Midday Edition Host Maureen Cavanaugh.
And one more story before you go…
In honor of what would have been actress Betty White's 100th birthday, the San Diego Humane Society will be waiving adoption fees for all adult animals this week. The organization hopes to find forever homes for 100 pets before what would have been White's 100th birthday on Monday, Jan. 17.
The beloved 99-year- old television legend and animal lover died on Dec. 31 just a few days short of her 100th birthday.
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.