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The Hom family home

 November 24, 2021 at 9:06 AM PST

Good morning. I'm Anica Colbert it's Wednesday, November 24th. How one Chinese American family pushed back on racial housing restrictions more on that next, but first let's do the headlines.

Speaker 1: (00:20)

The California highway patrol is ramping up operations tonight ahead of one of the busiest traffic days of the year, CHP will step up patrols for drunk and drug impaired drivers and other traffic violators. As part of their Thanksgiving weekend, maximum enforcement campaign, the increased patrols will start at 6:00 PM tonight and conclude at midnight on Sunday. Water has been restored in the east village after a weekend water main break, but as of Tuesday night, thousands who live in the east village were still under a boil water order area. And Collins is the public information officer with the city of San Diego. He says lifting the order is a process.

Speaker 3: (01:00)

We need to have two negative tests in a row, and it takes 24 hours before we can have the second test. If they both come back negative, then we take the information to the state. If they give us the all clear, we can lift the blow water.

Speaker 1: (01:11)

He says the pipes that are causing the most issues are 76 year old cast iron water mains, which will be replaced by 2025. San Diego gas and electric has sent out notices that they might cut power to certain areas tomorrow due to heightened wildfire conditions. The national weather service has a red flag warning issued for Thanksgiving morning through Friday evening for the mountains and inland valleys national weather service meteorologist Alex tardy says rural parts of the east county are ripe for fire

Speaker 4: (01:43)

For, for almost four weeks. So what makes this particular San Ana when different is that it's back to as if it's late September in terms of how dry it is. The back

Speaker 1: (01:55)

From KPBS, you're listening to San Diego news. Now stay with me for more of the local news you need For decades in San Diego and across the U S housing deeds with racist restrictions, blocked people of color from buying or renting homes. I knew source reporter Roxanna, Papa skew has this story about how one San Diego family pushed back.

Speaker 5: (02:25)

Tom Hom is at the door of the house. He used to live in 74 years ago, but no one's home. If Hom is disappointed, he doesn't show it. Actually he's all smiles. He's remembering the big attic bedroom he used to share with his brothers, family gatherings, watching fireworks from his upstairs bedroom.

Speaker 6: (02:42)

I have fond memories at this house here, all the dinners and things bring in friends over, and here's where the family grew up. His

Speaker 5: (02:54)

Family lived a good life here.

Speaker 6: (02:56)

I feel we're very fortunate to have spent all those days in this house. This

Speaker 5: (03:00)

Home would never have been his, if it weren't for his mother's courage, the year was 1947 and whomps mother and her 12 children needed a bigger house. They set their sights on this spacious fixer upper in north park, but there was a problem. The family was Chinese American and the house was in a neighborhood where many properties had racially restrictive covenants,

Speaker 6: (03:20)

A restrictive covenant is that they designate, uh, who can live there, who, who are not allowed to live there. And most of these covenant were against minorities.

Speaker 5: (03:33)

These racial restrictions were prevalent throughout San Diego on properties from Julian to point Loma. In fact, I knew source found racist language and more than 10,000 historic property records across San Diego county, Mary Jo Wiggins, a law professor at the university of San Diego says restrictive covenants were a powerful deterrent for both buyers and sellers. That's because neighbors could Sue. If someone sold a house to a home buyer who wasn't white,

Speaker 7: (03:56)

It was understood among the residents that these covenants were there. So that from day one, dis-incentivized any resident from selling their home, marketing their home, advertising their home to anyone who wasn't a member of the

Speaker 5: (04:13)

Group in 1948, the Supreme court ruled that racial covenants are unconstitutional. But a year earlier when Hamza family was trying to buy a home, they were still in full force to land a home. His mother fought back with friendliness. Hom describes her unusual way of winning over the neighbors.

Speaker 6: (04:30)

Uh, she went to house by house within four blocks and introduced herself and said that she had a number of children.

Speaker 5: (04:40)

I missed her kids would be well-behaved. And then she invited the neighbors over for tea, telling them

Speaker 6: (04:45)

Like you two, any time, come over the house and have tea with, with us. And so she may say she made friends and nobody complained

Speaker 5: (04:54)

At his current home in Chula Vista. 94 year old home pulls out old photos of the house and his family.

Speaker 6: (05:01)

That's my mother and the James is my brother because brother

Speaker 5: (05:07)

Moving into that home change, the course of Tom life and many other lives in 1963, he became San Diego's first minority city council member. And as a real estate agent, he knocked on doors, just like his mother did to help Asian-Americans buy homes in segregated neighborhoods. He says his mother was brave and determined and taught him the value of community connections.

Speaker 6: (05:29)

My mother of course, was an immigrant, but we were raised in the city of San Diego. And, and, and so we're as American as anybody else,

Speaker 5: (05:40)

Actually, society caught up with the Supreme court and racial covenants fell out of fashion. More recently, a new law was signed in California in September. That will make it easier for homeowners to look up restrictive covenants and erase them. Hom says that while amending covenants is an option, it's more important to ensure that people

Speaker 1: (05:57)

Welcomed and not just on paper, that was, I knew source investigative reporter Roxanna, Papa skew. This story was co-produced by Cody Delaney and Mary Plummer. I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS.

Speaker 2: (06:13)


Speaker 1: (06:18)

A key member of president Biden's cabinet was in Tijuana this week to talk about the regions cross border sewage issues, KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson has

Speaker 8: (06:29)

Michael Regan says the solution to the cross-border pollution issue will require significant investment from both the United States and Mexico.

Speaker 9: (06:38)

And it's an urgency because of the economic loss, the lack of access to our beaches, um, that we want to look at all of the tools in our toolbox.

Speaker 8: (06:48)

The U S has set aside $300 million to start expansion of the existing international sewage treatment plant just north of the international border and to build a new water treatment facility. Next door. The plan also calls for a sewage plant south of Tijuana and other improvements. Regan huddled with top Mexican officials, including Mexico secretary at a foreign affairs, Roberto of Alaska, Alberta,

Speaker 9: (07:13)

Both countries are really concerned about the public health threats of this pollution, but we also see a tremendous opportunity that if we leverage our resources and make strategic investments, that will be more resilient than the past, that this will create an opportunity for economic development jobs and the protection of public health.

Speaker 8: (07:33)

A joint statement from the two countries recognize the importance of solving the issue for people on both sides of the border.

Speaker 10: (07:39)

The fact that we have president Biden's cabinet member here leading VPA, putting a focus on these issues and putting together organization to address these issues well, for the short-term it's all as for the longer term is in itself. I think a very historic day,

Speaker 8: (07:56)

Us officials only have about half the money. They need to implement all parts of their comprehensive solution. If everything gets built more than 95% of the cross border flows will be captured and treat.

Speaker 1: (08:09)

And that was KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson COVID-19 relief funds meant a $6 million boost for hundreds of small businesses in San Diego. KPBS speaks city Heights, reporter Jacob air has more,

Speaker 11: (08:26)

More than 1000 local businesses have benefited from the newly announced small business relief grant program, Makina Gargan, who is one of the local business owners who received funding. She owns an entertainment company that was hard hit by the ripple effects of COVID-19.

Speaker 12: (08:40)

It's been a blessing because, um, my event planning company was extremely affected by it. Um, because I had to shut down all pretty much my operations, you know, uh, I actually did my first live event, uh, party almost a week and a half ago. And

Speaker 13: (08:55)


Speaker 11: (08:55)

Months later this year, an additional $6 million of funding will be distributed to qualifying local nonprofit organizations.

Speaker 1: (09:03)

And that was KPBS speak city Heights, reporter Jacob bear Coming up comic con international is back with an in-person event called Comicon special edition, but it'll look a little different.

Speaker 14: (09:18)

I have a feeling that those people who remember Comicon from some years ago may see some similarities to

Speaker 1: (09:26)

That. We'll preview it next just after the break, The pandemic forced comic con international to cancel its live event two years in a row. But now it returns as an in-person event. This Friday with what it's calling comic con special edition, it'll be a smaller show, but still at the San Diego convention center, KPBS arts reporter, Beth Armando has this preview. The exhibit

Speaker 2: (10:10)

Hall is now open to attend.

Speaker 13: (10:13)

It's been more than two years since I've heard those wonderful words. And this Friday, I get to hear them again, as Comicon special edition kicks into gear. But this year, instead of lining up to get a hallway to wristband, attendees will need to queue up to prove their vaccination status before picking up their badges.

Speaker 14: (10:32)

See if he was really a primary concern of ours, oh, everyone will, will need to be wearing a mask and have been vaccinated or proof of a vaccination or negative. Uh, COVID

Speaker 13: (10:42)

That's David Glanzer spokesperson for Comic-Con international

Speaker 14: (10:46)

Comic-Con is an excess of 135,000 attendees. And I think this, this show will be much smaller. Uh, probably half the size, maybe a little bit smaller. Still. I have a feeling that those people who remember Comicon from some years ago may see some similarities to that.

Speaker 13: (11:03)

It means you may actually be able to walk freely up and down the exhibit hall without being shoulder to shoulder with other attendees. You may also be able to get into panels without camping out overnight that's because haulage won't be hosting any Hollywood panels. Instead it's being used as the staging area for registration, but the lack of Hollywood products might mean that people will discover smaller panels like one on an open world video game about the untold mythical tales of ancient Mexico called Micklin

Speaker 15: (11:36)

[inaudible] in algebra [inaudible].

Speaker 16: (11:42)

We have a team of archeologists that were working with

Speaker 13: (11:46)

That's. The kind of information you'll get from the panel says Jose material got the games, environment, concept artist.

Speaker 16: (11:53)

One of the things that we want to share with people and what we will be showing at the panel is, is the process. Cause a lot of people that play video games might not be aware of what the process is. When, when a video games gaze gets created, you only see all the backstory after it's released and this case we're doing it differently. We're showing you the process. You're, you're riding along with us. So you're seeing how we're developing things, why we're creating things. And that's where we want to showcase on the panel as well. Like show a little bit of the process, what we do

Speaker 13: (12:24)

Similarly on the exhibit floor, you won't find big companies like DC and Marvel, but their absence leaves room for new players like Patricia [inaudible], Elsa we'll be promoting his film and comic book lumpia with a vengeance

Speaker 17: (12:39)

Motives of the lumpia manner, still unknown. Well, definitely it is an opportunity for us independent creators to be seen and heard by the masses. But I also think it's a return to really what the, I leave at the core of what comic con is, right. It's always been about the creators. I think Comicon is literally are the audience that we've always wanted to attract. And, uh, this is our big opportunity. I've literally having to wrap my head around what's happening this

Speaker 13: (13:06)

Like a screening of the film that he's hosting on Friday, but attendees will find a robust artist alley and small press in the exhibit hall, as well as familiar faces like Scott Shaw and Kevin Eastman Comic-Con special edition will also feature a soft reopening of the Comicon museum says, Glenn,

Speaker 14: (13:25)

What are the great things we've been able to do is to look into having a museum that will do pretty much what Comicon does throughout the year, which has focused attention on areas of popular art. That a lot of people may not even realize is art because of the pandemic we're opening up later than we had really originally hoped our grand opening will actually be in 2022, but we're having a soft opening the same weekend as a comic con special edition.

Speaker 13: (13:50)

I'm a con special edition. There will be exhibits on scifi, visionary, gene Roddenberry, cartoonist Charles Adams, eight decades of Archie comics and Pac-Man arcade. The good news is you don't need to have a badge to attend the museum. It's open to everyone con special edition. We'll be gathering the nerd tribe in person to celebrate the popular arts. And that's something to be thankful for.

Speaker 1: (14:15)

It was KPBS arts reporter, Beth haka, Mondo Comicon special edition runs Friday through Sunday. That's it for the podcast today. We'll be off tomorrow for the holiday, but we'll be back before you know it in the meantime, be sure to catch KPBS midday edition at noon on KPBS radio, or check out the mid day edition podcasts. You can also watch KPBS evening edition at five o'clock on KPBS television. And as always you can find more San Diego news I'm Annika Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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Racial covenants shaped San Diego housing for decades. Our partners at inewsource bring us the story of one Chinese-American family that managed to purchase a home in 1947 despite racial restrictions. Meanwhile, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency was in Mexico this week discussing how the two countries will stop the cross-border sewage flows that are increasingly polluting south bay beaches. Plus, Comic-Con returns for in-person events with Comic-Con Special Edition this weekend.