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Tyshawn Cook settles into a new home

 November 26, 2021 at 9:03 AM PST

Speaker 1: (00:03)

Good morning. I'm Anna Cook Colbert. It's Friday, November 26th, the San Diego black home buyers programs first recipient more on that next, but first let's do the headlines.

Speaker 1: (00:19)

Mayor Todd Gloria says the city is working to make more shelters available for San Diego ans experiencing homelessness during cold and wet weather. He announced a collaboration between a number of advocacy organizations, including the city's homeless strategies and solutions department and the regional task force on the homeless to identify sites for more beds. Gloria says expanding shelter options ahead of the coldest and wettest months of the year is critical. And we're still in the midst of a red flag warning and heightened wildfire conditions over the Thanksgiving. Black Friday weekend around 3:00 AM this morning, San Diego gas and electric shut off power to about 4,500 customers as part of a planned response to the red flag. Warning affected communities include Alpine Boulevard. Campo reservation does Gonzo Fallbrook, Hummel Pitaro and Warner Springs. The red flag warning is set to expire at 6:00 PM tonight after being canceled in 2020, due to the pandemic Comic-Con is back today with a smaller show called comic con special edition. Jerry Levy is a restaurant owner in downtown who hopes the con will bring business back to his tin fish, eatery

Speaker 2: (01:33)

And center for Comic-Con. It's an influx usually of about three times. The amount of people that I'm seeing are more because the town downtown area is not active. It's not lively. There's not a lot of displays. It's really a toned down version.

Speaker 1: (01:47)

This Comic-Con is taking extra safety precautions for the event, including requiring either proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test from KPBS. You are listening to San Diego news. Now stay with me for more of the local news you need Here in San Diego. The cost of homes has risen dramatically over the past few years, but it hasn't climbed equally. Now there's a new grant program that aims to help close the racial wealth gap and KPBS race and equity reporter. Christina Kim caught up with the first recipient,

Speaker 3: (02:25)

Careful on the step. The first one,

Speaker 4: (02:28)

TaShawn cook has big plans for his newly purchased two bedroom, two bathroom condo in spring valley,

Speaker 3: (02:35)

The middle of renovating and everything. So the whole kitchen is going to get completely moved and destroyed. So the kitchen is actually gonna to come all the way out against this whole yellow wall, which is why it's not painted

Speaker 4: (02:47)

The 20 three-year-old is confident in his vision for his new home. Right now, his room is one of the few spots he's fully furnished and decorated with some of his favorite anime art, but he wants a more kitchen and he's working with his dad to remove the carpet and replace it with new flooring

Speaker 3: (03:04)

Once a week, if not once every other week, definitely going to home Depot, as he said, now, it's something that obviously beforehand I wasn't thinking about, but happens. I mean, again, I'm in the process of renovating so consistent. When if, if I'm not going to home Depot, I'm ordering things on Amazon

Speaker 4: (03:19)

As an SDSU college student and Navy reservist. In addition to working full time as a calibration technician. Now that he's also a homeowner, it puts him among a very small group of black San Diegans only around a quarter of all black people in San Diego city own a home. Meanwhile, more than half of all white and Asian San Diegans are homeowners. And the home ownership rate for black people is even lower in places near spring valley, like Lamesa and alcohol that's according to a newly released study by the urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization focused on economic policies.

Speaker 5: (03:56)

So the total amount of housing wealth held by white households is $129 billion for black homeowners. It's uh, less than $5 billion.

Speaker 4: (04:06)

Michael Neill was the lead researcher on the urban Institute study. He says, San Diego doesn't just have a racial gap in home ownership, but in home values as well.

Speaker 5: (04:15)

Uh, homeowners on average, their home value is $610,000. I'm about a third, less than the average value of a white mono.

Speaker 4: (04:25)

Neil says historic housing and employment discrimination, coupled with long-standing wage gaps and rising housing costs are at the heart of these persisting inequities. It's why a group of nonprofits and San Diego county supervisor Nathan Fletcher's office launched the San Diego black home buyers program. Last August, the goal to expand more economic opportunities for black San Diegans like cook, who was the first recipient of the program. And as supervisor Nathan Fletcher first set at the launch to try and level the playing field.

Speaker 6: (04:57)

We have such an obligation to ensure access to the American dream. There is no guarantee of equality of outcome, but there is supposed to be quality of access.

Speaker 4: (05:06)

Now that the program is set up, it needs to expand and help. More families says we got to the flood is he's the executive director of LISC, the organization that administers the programs funds

Speaker 7: (05:16)

We've created the program we've created the vehicle, got mortgages attached to it. Now we just need to, uh, to be able to provide

Speaker 4: (05:23)

More cases that can happen without too big of an investment.

Speaker 7: (05:26)

And the great thing is, so for a million dollars, you can get 25 families home ownership opportunities, which is obviously going to change their lives indefinitely.

Speaker 3: (05:35)

This is like the living room area, dining room area,

Speaker 4: (05:40)

And that's something that's already happening for cook. He used the nearly $50,000 grant to pay his closing costs. Now he's using the money. He saved to add value and equity back into his home. He hopes his condo will jumpstart his ability to build wealth and take care of the generations to come.

Speaker 3: (05:57)

All I know is that I wanted to give my children a better childhood. Not that mine was bad. Um, but in order for me to do that, one of the things that I want to be able to do is never tell my children no, because of money ever. Like if I tell him no it's going to be because I said, no, not because, oh my account's telling me no

Speaker 4: (06:15)

For now. He's enjoying his home scenic views of pink sunsets. And he's already planning on having his siblings visit and stay with him. Something that wasn't possible until just last month.

Speaker 1: (06:26)

And that was KPBS race and equity reporter, Christina Kim,

Speaker 8: (06:31)


Speaker 1: (06:36)

California took a major step this fall in recognizing and funding education to support native American healthcare KPBS education reporter mg Perez tells us about a UC San Diego effort to recruit native American student doctors and to provide resources, to bring health equity to indigenous peoples.

Speaker 9: (06:59)

Paul Michael Acosta is now wrapped in what native Americans call a blanket of knowledge. This is the first blessing and blanket ceremony held at the UC San Diego school of medicine. It honored eight native Americans transitioning from medical students to second year student doctors. Paul Michael is a member of the Airwalk nation.

Speaker 10: (07:20)

If you are treated by someone who understands your cultural values and respects them and is able to relate to them and kind of mesh those into high quality medical care, you get the best outcomes you possibly can for your patients.

Speaker 9: (07:31)

All UC San Diego was awarded $2.6 million in state money to fund medical student financial aid and development of programs to bring equity to healthcare for indigenous peoples Brie irons also received her blanket of knowledge, which she wears as a badge of honor and responsibility. She says she's been described as white passing a term, some use to refer to native Americans with light colored skin. She strongly against racist labels at the encouragement of her native grandfather. She actively supports her Chickasaw tribe and its younger generation.

Speaker 11: (08:07)

We need to, um, make changes in our education system. So more proactively, um, working against discrimination so that, um, the next generation doesn't encounter those same stereotypes.

Speaker 12: (08:20)

My skin is not very dark.

Speaker 9: (08:23)

Dr. Michael Alison is a professor in chief of preventative medicine. He is also a member of the Chickasaw nation, proud to lead more young doctors of his heritage into healthcare with a clear mission.

Speaker 12: (08:35)

So the reservations are being addressed, that they're being validated for what their needs are. Uh, as a, as a group that's been, um, under underrepresented and then healthcare,

Speaker 9: (08:46)

1% of all UC San Diego students are native American or Alaska native. This is also a land grant institution, which carries with it. Another special mission land grant universities receive government funding designed to be used for affordable and quality higher education for underserved communities. That hasn't always been the case. The new state grant money will pay to increase the UC San Diego medical school class size with room for six additional students next year, who will train to serve the native American community and produce many more picture perfect moments.

Speaker 1: (09:25)

And that was KPBS education reporter mg Perez Winters across the U S are getting warmer because of climate change. And in California, an increase of even a few degrees has serious implications for water supplies. KQBD climate reporter. Laura [inaudible] has more,

Speaker 13: (09:46)

Some cities such as San Francisco, Chico and Fresno are an average of three degrees warmer over the winter than they were 50 years ago. In other cities like Los Angeles and Palm Springs, winter temperatures are pretty much the same. Andrew Pershing is the director of climate science at the research group, climate central. He says the warm temperatures will likely mean more drought.

Speaker 14: (10:09)

That's going to continue many of the water challenges that California has been facing now for the last more than a year when the precipitation comes because of these warmer temperatures, it's more likely to come in the form of rain instead of,

Speaker 13: (10:20)

And less snow in the Sierra makes it harder to store water for the summer higher winter, temperatures will also likely shrink the ski season and deprive some trees like cherries of the cold. They need to produce fruit.

Speaker 1: (10:33)

And that was KQBD climate reporter. Laura [inaudible] Coming up, California is set to close its very last commercial nuclear power plant. We'll have more on what that means next just after the break, California is on track to close Diablo canyon. That's the state's last remaining commercial nuclear power plant. The facility sits on the central coast in San Luis Obispo county and it's owned by Pacific gas and electric. It's been operational since 1985, but Diablo canyon was already controversial years before it opened, partly because of a 1979 nuclear accident that happened on the other side of the country. Here's the late and great Walter Cronkite reporting. It was the first time.

Speaker 15: (11:50)

Um, but a nuclear nightmare government officials said that a breakdown in an atomic power plant in Pennsylvania today is probably the worst nuclear reactor accident.

Speaker 1: (12:00)

Diablo canyon is now scheduled to completely close by 2025, but should it close and can California afford to lose its power? Saul Gonzalez of the California report has this story, which starts in 1979.

Speaker 16: (12:16)

The partial meltdown at the three mile island nuclear plant underscore the concerns of Diablo, canyons critics. They worried about radioactivity that could be released if an earthquake damage the facility and all the nuclear waste generated by the plant in 1981, nearly 2000 people were arrested when they staged a blockade of Diablo canyon. Those arrested included singer Jackson brown who's interviewed by MTV news when he was released from jail.

Speaker 17: (12:44)

Yeah, I do think we're going to make a difference. I think we're going to turn it on and see already the nuclear power industry is really it's all over for them. There are no new plants being ordered. You know, I hope that it won't take, uh, an earthquake and a disaster done with Kenya ever shut down.

Speaker 16: (12:59)

No, it didn't take a disaster to prompt the decision to shut down the plant. Just years of activism, the changing economics that the nuclear industry and a growing political consensus that atomic energy is time had passed. Diablo canyon is now scheduled to completely closed by 2025. But here's the thing. The plant is still really important. It supplies about 8% of California's electricity and all that power generates doesn't produce greenhouse gases that in a state that's championing the fight against climate change. So when Diablo canyon does close, can California replace the energy it produces without turning to dirtier sources of power. Yeah.

Speaker 18: (13:41)

And that's, that's the question that I've, that I've been, that I've been thinking a lot about and advocating about

Speaker 16: (13:48)

That's mark SPECT and energy analyst at the union of concerned scientists who studies Diablo canyon,

Speaker 18: (13:54)

You shut down Diablo canyon, something is going to replace it. We still have electricity demand. People still will use the same amount of electricity the day after Diablo canyon goes offline. So something will replace it. And the problem is that if we didn't do anything, it's natural gas, power plants that would replace it.

Speaker 16: (14:12)

Those natural gas power plants would spew a lot of pollution into the atmosphere. The equivalent of adding 300,000 cars to California's roads that according to research by the union of concerned scientists, spec says, even if precautions are taken, there will be an inevitable uptick in pollution. When Diablo canyon closes,

Speaker 18: (14:34)

What's going to happen pretty much, no matter what is that when Diablo canyon shuts down, there's going to be a little spike in greenhouse gas emissions because the day the plant shuts down the next day, it's going to be DAS plants that fill the gap. That's just how the grid works.

Speaker 16: (14:48)

But spec says to prevent that short-term from becoming a permanent one more, much more has to be done now to get green power sources online, to replace the carbon-free energy currently generated by Diablo canyon.

Speaker 18: (15:03)

Absolutely. Yes, there is no time to waste. It is 2021 and Diablo Canyon's first unit shuts down in 2024. And the second unit shuts down in 2025. We're talking about three, four years and then the power plant goes offline and building new clean resources takes years. Folks have to be working on this right now to make sure that we're replacing the power plant with clean energy.

Speaker 16: (15:28)

Although SPECT supports the closure of Diablo canyon for safety reasons, other energy experts, and some environmentalist's have another solution. They argue atomic power should be accepted as a way to fight climate change and plans to close Diablo canyon and other nuclear plants should be shelved.

Speaker 1: (15:49)

And that was Saul Gonzalez with the California report. That's it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS midday edition at noon on KPBS radio, or check out the mid day to shim podcast. 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 Anika Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a wonderful weekend.

Ways To Subscribe
The San Diego Black Homebuyers Program helped Tyshawn Cook buy his first home. The program provides grants to help with down payments or closing costs. Cook is putting equity back into his new home by investing in renovations, something that's only possible because of the money he saved with the grant. Meanwhile, the state of California has given $2.6 million to UC San Diego to recruit Native American student doctors. Plus, California is on track to close its very last commercial nuclear power plant.