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Supervisor Fletcher Breaks Silence On Troubled COVID-19 Hotels

 September 10, 2021 at 5:48 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, September 10th. >>>> San Diego’s troubled COVID-19 Hotels More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### President Biden says all employees of the federal government must be vaccinated within 75-days. and all employees of contractors that have 100 or more people who work for the federal government must also get the shot... or submit to weekly testing. San Diego legal analyst Dan Eaton says lawsuits will be filed… “the scope of the executive order concerning vaccination mandates is going to be carefully parsed to see if it overreaches.” Biden's order also covers healthcare facilities, entertainment venues and more… all in an effort to stop the spread of covid-19. …….. COVID-19 booster shots could be available to all Americans within the next two weeks, but there is still more research being done on who exactly needs them– Dr. Eric Topol is director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute-- he says data shows boosters will benefit those over 60 and health care workers.. But we still don’t know about younger adults. What about younger people younger than age 60 who are otherwise healthy they don't have a compromised immune system that’s where we don't know yet and we should know that in the weeks ahead Topol says the pfizer booster shots are ready to go and more data is being collected from Moderna about their effectiveness. ######### Heat advisories from the National Weather Service are in effect today for the San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego county mountain and valley areas until 9pm tonight. Temperatures are expected upwards of the high 90’s and the 100’s in some areas. ########## From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Overdoses. Suicide. Security issues. These are just some of the problems playing out inside COVID-19 quarantine hotels that are being run by San Diego County. And as INEWSOURCE’s Cody Dulaney reports, officials have been slow to fix issues with a problem contractor. DULANEY: For five weeks, county supervisors ignored emails and interview requests about mismanagement at hotels used for people with COVID-19. An inewsource investigation found serious gaps in care by poorly trained staff. Those issues were confirmed in a report by San Diego State. And this week, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher broke his silence: FLETCHER: “We are reviewing the results of that report and trying to figure out everything we can possibly implement to do better. Can you tell me if there’s any interest in reviewing the contract with this company that’s been called unqualified, doesn’t have proper training for employees? The only thing I can say is we’re assessing every legal option we have for how we can do better.” DULANEY: The hotels were supposed to be a safety net, but some residents say they became a nightmare. Shera Beem is staying at one hotel managed by the problem company. BEEM: “ A lot of people have dependency issues. A lot of people have PTSD. There’s a lot of mental health issues here and they are not equipped or trained to take care of anybody here.” DULANEY: The company will continue running the hotels through December. And that was inewsource investigative reporter Cody Dulaney. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. ########## Recently we had a report on a North County daycare ignoring state masking rules and instead allowing parents and kids to choose whether to wear masks. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us after the story aired, the daycare changed its policy. On August 12th, Children’s Paradise Preschool and Infant Centers sent out an email stating they would be adopting a quote ‘parent choice and staff choice’ approach to masking. But that policy violated the state's child care licensing rules. After the KPBS story aired, the school changed its policy. It now says masks are required for all kids ages two and up. The state department of social services says it’s investigating the daycare. And another backer of the school, MAAC Head Start, says they contacted the school after the KPBS story aired. Arnulfo Manriquez, is the CEO. “we did contact them and informed them that their preschool operations needed to meet all the guidelines that Community Care Licensing operates under.” He says that all daycares and preschools working with any government funded programs have to follow state licensing rules... or lose funding. ########## A bill has been passed to create a process to strip California police officers of their badges if they’re found guilty of certain crimes or serious misconduct. Now, it's one step away from becoming law. CapRadio’s Ed Fletcher reports on a bill [Ed] Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature is the final step in the legislative process for the measure identified as one of the top police reform priorities that surfaced in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Absent the legislation, officers convicted of certain crimes or fired for misconduct could still be hired by another department. And under certain circumstances -- such as an officer convicted of wrongful death -- the bill would no longer shield cops from civil lawsuits. In Sacramento I’m Ed Fletcher ########## A plan by two county supervisors might pave the way for people to start selling food from their home kitchens. KPBS reporter Alexandra Rangel has more on the business concept they’re hoping to bring to San Diego. AR: County Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nora Vargas are hoping to make it possible for MEHKO’S to operate in San Diego County. MEHKO’S also known as “microenterprise home kitchen operation” , allows people to sell food straight from their kitchen. Anderson says MEHKO’s would be regulated through local food agencies. VM:“At the end of the day we’re taking people that would normally operate in the gray. We’re giving them a path to operate legally and lift their community.” AR: The home made food concept is possible thanks to the passing of AB 626 and AB 377 in 2018. Permits and licensing to operate are granted on a county by county basis. Anderson and Vargas will be introducing MEHKO’s to the board of supervisors at its next meeting. Alexandra Rangel KPBS News. ########## Coming up....As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11th, how might our response to those attacks inform this moment in history? this is an era of political warfare that leaves America more starkly divided than any era we've seen before. It almost makes it impossible to imagine that we could come together in the way that we did as a nation after 911.” 11 secs. That’s next, just after the break. 9/11 launched two wars, spawned intense fear of foreign terrorism and unified Americans against a common foe. KPBS’s Amita Sharma explores the collective trauma of that day...and how it might inform this moment in our history…. First, came clues that horror was on its march that September 11th morning 20 years ago. ”The cockpit is not answering our phone. Our number 1 has been stabbed and our 5 has been stabbed.” Then... disbelief and shock as the first World Trade Center tower was hit by a plane hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists. ...sound and video of plane into WTC-5 secs When the scope of the attack came into view....there was sadness, anger and a warning by then president George W. Bush that America was ready for retribution. “The search is under way for those who were behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.” “The thing that left America so shaken and left me so shaken about 9/11 was was not just this horrendous loss of life that we all watched live on TV, but where it happened. It happened on American soil.” UC San Diego political science professor Thad Kousser says the collective trauma bonded the country. It brought people across political divides together…in many ways, he says, our collective response to that day showed our resilience…. “Americans felt more United and more like citizens of a country that had sure brought together by this shared trauma.” But that sense of collective action...of all-in-it togetherness has been elusive during this pandemic…. Even though COVID has killed more than 650,000 Americans. And ...even though the pandemic has been a much more collective experience with school and work closures, and people getting sick and dying. “If you look just purely at the numbers, we had more people die during many single days at the winter surge, then died in all of the September 11 attacks combined.” Kousser says the contrast in reaction exposes a difference between who we were then and who we are now. He says we’re in an era of hyper-political polarization… this is an era of political warfare that leaves America more starkly divided than any era we've seen before. It almost makes it impossible to imagine that we could come together in the way that we did as a nation after 911.” UC Irvine psychologist.Roxanne Cohen Silver says another reason 9/11 unified Americans is because the threat was foreign.. ....”Those bad people did something to us. Now, we're all perpetrators of the infection. America is fractured today...even though the threat is far bigger. Another reason, says Silver, because we’ve lived through trauma after trauma after trauma over the past 20 years. The mass shootings, climate-driven weather catastrophes, the political scandals of former President Donald Trump’s administration, the killing of George Floyd, the Jan. 6 insurrection and of course the pandemic. She some level people are exhausted… ... “People do become numb to the numbers. But I don't think we became numb to the tragedy.” The cascade of tragedies has changed how we view 9/11 today, says Kousser. ....”It may be easy to look back and say, really, that puny event, but on the other hand, 9/11 wasn't just one day it's set in place a series of things, the war in Afghanistan, our longest war, the war in Iraq.” He says as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the country might take a lesson from the unity back then, however brief, to navigate its current divide. “It's an opportunity to remember what brought people together at that time. And whether we can get over some of the differences in how we want to lead our daily lives, whether we want to wear a mask, all those things get back to that renewed sense of joint purpose.” Amita Sharma, KPBS News. ########### Shortly after the attacks committed by Al Qaeda terrorists on 9/11, President George W Bush told the American people: CLIP“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” Bush was applauded for his words at the time, but they did not stop a wave of hate and harassment directed at Muslims across the US. Hate crimes in California jumped more than 15 percent that year, and the number of hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs in America has never returned to pre-9/11 levels. Many local members of the Muslim community found themselves becoming spokespeople for their faith and their community in the years after 9-11. Ten years ago, on the anniversary of the attacks - KPBS Midday Edition spoke with Marwa Ab-dalla- a young mother in San Diego who has since gone on to make a career of building understanding between non-Muslims and the Muslim-American community. And they recently welcomed her back to the show. Here she is, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Maureen Kavanaugh. That was Marwa Abdalla, now a doctoral student at UC San Diego in the department of communication. She was speaking 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.

After weeks of silence following a scathing independent review of the county’s COVID-19 hotel sheltering program, Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher conceded Wednesday that improvements are needed. Meanwhile, a plan by two county supervisors might pave the way for people to start selling food from their home kitchens. Plus, the election of former President Donald Trump and all that followed ushered in a new era, that marked a break with post 9/11 unity and foreign policy.