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Transitional kindergarten concerns

 January 30, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, January 30th.

We have an update on the rollout of transitional kindergarten in San Diego.

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


Congress approved two changes recently that’ll help reduce cross-border sewage flows in the San Diego region.

More money was added to a border pollution clean-up fund and lawmakers authorized 300-million-dollars to be moved to the agency that’ll build sewage treatment facilities near the border.

The mayor of Imperial Beach says pollution ruined last year for I-B, because beaches were closed a lot… but she is hopeful that federal officials will start expanding the international wastewater sewage plant near the border.


A new study by the C-D-C reports that the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters add protection against the new variants of the virus.

And another study showed that the bivalent vaccine also protects against severe disease.

Health officials recommend a bivalent booster for everyone six months and older.


California voters will weigh in next year on a law aimed at improving working conditions for fast food employees.

The measure passed the legislature, but opponents launched a referendum.

Corporate giants Chipotle, Starbucks and In-n-Out Burger each donated two-million-dollars to stop the law from taking effect and let voters decide.

The secretary of state certified that the referendum had enough valid signatures to go before voters next year.

The law will be postponed until then.

Labor groups say the law would ensure food workers are protected from exploitation.

Businesses say it would raise their costs, and their prices.


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


It’s a typical morning in this classroom of 4- and 5-year olds in San Diego.

They’re wrapping up their 20 minutes of recess and are lining up to go inside.

Next they’ll work with their teacher on practicing letters and sounds.

It sounds pretty similar to kindergarten—but this isn’t a kindergarten class.

It’s a new grade called Transitional Kindergarten that is being expanded to all four-year-olds across the state.

KPBS reporter Claire Trageser has been following the progress of this expansion, and all of its bumps along the way.

And she joins me now.


A San Diego court dismissed tickets against two unhoused people for blocking a sidewalk.

As inewsource reporter Cody Dulaney reports, it marks another development in Mayor Todd Gloria’s effort to hold unhoused people accountable for refusing shelter.

A scheduling error and a San Diego police officer’s fumbled testimony. That’s how it ended for what appears to be the first two unhoused people to contest citations since San Diego police increased efforts to break up homeless encampments.Last year, Mayor Gloria promised consequences for those who refuse help. The city has since seen a dramatic spike in arrests without any convictions to show for it.A police spokesperson said officers will continue responding to community complaints and addressing unlawful behavior. For KPBS I’m inewsource investigative reporter Cody Dulaney.

inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.


The point in time count took place last week.. But for homeless outreach workers, that count continues.

This time for people living in R-Vs or cars.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne joined outreach workers in Escondido.

After the volunteers have gone home, the work continues for outreach workers like Sergio Cardonas. This morning we’re focusing on counting RVs. He is a homeless outreach worker and case manager for Interfaith Community Services in Escondido. While the point in time count took place on Thursday, outreach workers get additional time to count more people experiencing homelessness. Cardonas says he has seen an increase in the number of people living in recreational vehicles in Escondido. At times it feels overwhelming. Earlier this month, the city of Escondido considered passing stricter RV parking regulations. The ordinance was rejected and will return to city council when more information and options are put together by city staff. TT KPBS News 


There’s been a long-running legal fight over how much money San Diegans with housing vouchers can get.

KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser has details.

There’s a $1 million legal fight over who gets credit for the higher amounts. The fight started back In 2019. The San Diego NAACP and San Diego Tenants Union sued the Housing Commission. They claimed the commission didn’t give people enough money to live in neighborhoods with better amenities and better schools. Then, in 2022, the Housing Commission raised its voucher amounts significantly. So the plaintiffs declared victory and asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. Their attorney Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi says the increases were a direct result of their lawsuit. Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi Plaintiffs’ Attorney “The substantial change the Housing Commission made constituted nothing short of a leapfrogging over years of woefully inadequate payment standards for high opportunity neighborhoods. But the Housing Commission objects to that idea. Interim CEO Jeff Davis says the agency raised the vouncher amounts because it succeeded in getting more money from the federal government. Jeff Davis San Diego Housing Commission CEO “Our methodology for determining payment standards each year has not changed. Despite what some have implied, no litigation had any effect on these changes whatsoever.” The issue isn’t just about who gets credit for the bigger vouchers. It’s about money for lawyers. A judge says the San Diego Housing Commission has to repay the attorneys’ fees for the plaintiffs—more than $1 million. But the legal battle may continue. The Housing Commission Board of Directors recently voted to instruct their attorneys to explore further action. CT KPBS News


The city of Carlsbad saw a 233-percent increase in collisions involving bikes and e-bikes since 20-19…

So officials declared a local emergency, and increased enforcement on the roads.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne says now, they’re asking all of Carlsbad to create safer streets together.

The city of Carlsbad is asking people to take its “Safer Streets Together” pledge. The goal is to keep Carlsbad’s streets safer for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians. “We’ve made it very easy. Just visit carlsbad - ca- gov. And enter your name. But thats just the start” Carlsbad council member Teresa Acosta says the second step is to share the pledge with friends and family. And then there’s education: The city will partner with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and Circulate San Diego for community workshops. The first one is scheduled on February 9th. The “Safer Streets Together” pledge can be taken on the city’s website. TT KPBS News 


Coming up.... Efforts to get more people to become child psychiatrists appear to be paying off. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


A UC-SD program to support children’s mental health seems to be working.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has more on the grant that’s funding it.

In 2020, the U-C-S-D medical school received a 4-million dollar grant from United Health Group to attract more students to jobs in child and adolescent psychiatry. DR. YOUS-ra ben-HA-leem is the national United Health Group medical director. She says….two years into the grant program…administrators now report a significant number of medical students enrolled in the work have committed to become psychiatrists to help children traumatized by the COVID pandemic. “A program like this can demonstrate the value of creating an opportunity that connects people that they can not only learn but they get excited.” UC San Francisco was also given the 4-million dollar grant two years ago…with a similar program to increase the number of child psychiatrists in Northern California. MGP KPBS News

In other mental health related news… Veterans in immediate suicidal crisis can now receive free emergency care wherever they are.

KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman has more.

We want to provide care to any veteran who’s in need Niloofar Afari is associate chief of staff for mental health at VA San Diego.. She says thanks to the Compact Act -- veterans experiencing acute suicidal crisis can now go to any hospital’s emergency room -- VA or otherwise -- for free. Really the intent here isn’t to do anything differently clinically -- the intent is to provide the clinical services for suicidal care -- without a cost to the veteran Under the new policy veterans don’t have to be enrolled in the VA system to be covered..Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide can dial 988 to access the suicide and crisis lifeline.. It’s available 24 hours a day. MH KPBS News


That’s it for the podcast today. 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 day.

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Some parents and school faculty voice concerns about the progress of transitional kindergarten in San Diego. In other news, we have details on a long-running legal fight over how much money San Diegans with housing vouchers can get. Plus, efforts to get more people to become child psychiatrists appear to be paying off.