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Update on sexual assault lawsuit against Nathan Fletcher

 March 29, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, March 29th.


We have an update in the sexual assault lawsuit against Nathan Fletcher. That’s next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The brother of ex-Chula Vista City Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas was sentenced this week to 180 days in custody and two years probation.

Political consultant Jesus Cardenas and his sister, pleaded guilty to grand theft charges for fraudulently obtaining pandemic relief funds and unemployment benefits.

He also was ordered to pay 200-thousand-dollars to the Small Business Administration and the state's Employment Development Department.

Attorneys for both siblings say they will petition for the felony charges to be reduced to misdemeanors in the future.

Andrea Cardenas, who resigned from her council seat last month, is scheduled for sentencing in August.


San Diego is in store for a rainy, chilly – and in the mountains, snowy weekend.

A slow moving storm is set to move into the region later tonight (Friday).

We’re likely to see snow above 5-thousand feet by Sunday.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Tardy says it’s best to make plans for indoor activities… especially tomorrow (Saturday).

“It does look like a washout on Saturday.  Rain’s going to come in later Friday night, and all day Saturday we could have a pretty steady rain.”

Tardy says the storm is likely to leave anywhere between one to two inches across the county by the time it moves out on Monday.

But after that, he says we’ll see sunny skies with much warmer temperatures.


And just a heads up… all county offices, public health clinics, family resource centers, libraries and animal shelters will be closed Monday for Cesar Chavez Day.

But county parks, campgrounds and neighborhood day-use parks will be open.

Essential services, including law enforcement and emergency animal control, will be available through the holiday.

All county offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday.


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


An update yesterday (Thursday) in the sexual assault lawsuit against former San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

A judge ordered Fletcher's accuser, Grecia Figueroa, to preserve all potential evidence on her electronic devices.

Investigative reporter Amita Sharma says Figueroa is looking for a new lawyer, her third one on the case.

Nathan Fletcher’s lawyer Sean McKaveney is seeking to recover messages between Figueroa and Fletcher that he says were flirtatious. He also wants Figueroa to turn over messages between her and her friends. He claims the communications will exonerate Fletcher of sexual harassment. He says Figueroa is either deleting or concealing them. LAWYER INTERVIEW “Plaintiff has acknowledged in sworn discovery that she recorded her messages with Mr. Fletcher and  there are certain messages visible in the recording she later admitted to un-sending.” Figueroa’s former attorneys say she never admitted to destroying evidence in the case.    Judge Matthew Braner Figueroa why she hadn’t turned over messages from her friend as part of discovery. COURTROOM “Because the documents are with communications with my friend and counselor. So I need to see, because I think that communications are privileged.” Fletcher’s lawyer was skeptical. He said the friend Figueroa claims was a mental health counselor is someone she traveled to Peru with and had pool parties with. The judge has given Figueroa time to find a new attorney, She parted ways with her second set of lawyers last week. She declined to state why other than to say they separated amicably. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.


This week, our newsroom is exploring mental health in schools.

Reporter Katie Hyson visited an El Cajon school to see how they’re addressing the issue head-on with their curriculum.

Lemonade, iced tea, Coca-Cola , Pepsi . . . EJE charter school students, kindergarten through eighth grade, play in the schoolyard. Brrrrrr . . . Buenos días! [kids echo] Good morning! Principal Ariana Gonzalez gives the morning message. Today, it’s about self-discipline. The students discuss. I think self-discipline means when you’re like, thinking about what you’re going to say like let’s say someone is acting mean to you, you don’t try to like act the same way, you try to act like, very nicer . . . At EJE, students learn these social emotional skills every day. It’s baked into the curriculum. entering classroom . . . In Jennifer Turner’s 3rd grade classroom, they circle up to share what color they’re feeling that day. One student says he’s in the blue zone. I’m tired, you can see blue in my eyes. Oh, you didn’t have a good night sleep? No . . .   Celiz Gonzalez is in the yellow zone. Because I feel silly. You feel a little bit silly? . . . They talk about what they can do to get into the green zone – calm and ready to learn. The whole class decides to take a brain break, and dance. Last one compañeros, last one, get those wiggles out! Celiz tells me she likes circle time. ‘Cause I like to talk about my emotions, and I also like to listen to other children's emotions to support them. I ask her what she does when the emotions feel big. There's this place called Safe Zone, where like, if you're like feeling like really sad or something, you can like sit there. And you can just like calm down there and like calm down yourself, and so then, when you’re, when you feel calm, then you can just come back and start learning. Turner also teaches tools like asking yourself, how big is your problem? And the third graders use them. Even on her. I came in and I told the students, like, I'm really frustrated because my car got towed, and you know, I was really angry. And they're like, how big is that problem? Is someone in, like, is someone in danger? And I was like, no, you know, it can be solved. *laugh* Celiz’s mom, Melissa Gonzalez, says Celiz brings these tools home with her. Her ability to articulate her emotions has improved a lot. And she can sit down and talk and um, sometimes go on and on a while about how she's feeling, which is really good. At EJE, social emotional learning looks different at different ages. They’ve incorporated an entire middle school class on managing stress. Underlay NAT . . . In Cyanne Fairley’s 8th grade classroom, they brainstorm what they’re most stressed about, and how they might handle it. Jailynn Maldangesang writes that she’s most stressed out about social media, tests, Fortnite and what she calls drama. To cope, she might go for a jog, talk to someone or take some deep breaths. I’m definitely focusing on my breathing and how to stop that stress and that really helps me while I'm doing my homework. Research backs what Jailynn is describing. That social emotional learning improves academic performance. And other things too, like attendance and behavior in class. Fairley doesn’t think of it as something extra she’s asked to do as a teacher. But as a foundation of teaching. It may seem like a lot, but I think it's totally worth it. And I can't expect my students to be in the class and willing to participate and to learn if they're not well. She says the need for social emotional learning became even more apparent during COVID. Because they were at home, they didn't really get to see their friends. They had classes over Zoom, but it wasn't the same. The school created a new role, Dean of School Culture, and hired Paulina Isidro. I ask her how common this kind of social emotional curriculum is in schools. Overall, this is a trend that we're seeing in education. Um, but here at EJE, I think that we, the reason why this school was born and built was truly for that, for supporting students that were historically not served. Concerned parents created the school 30 years ago. Schools in the area were being shut down because of low performance. But she says the real issue was a lack of bilingual education. Many of the displaced students were Spanish-speaking. EJE’s 8th graders, like Jailynn, will have to bring all their tools to their new schools next year, to overcome the racial disparities that remain. The neighboring district, San Diego Unified, fails to graduate Hispanic students at a rate three times that of white students. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


High school students are demanding they be protected from the dangerous contamination of South Bay beaches and water.

Education reporter M.G. Perez talked with the young organizers of a protest rally, yesterday (Thursday), on Coronado beach.

15 year old Daniel Vinegrad is a sophomore at Coronado High School…and president of the school’s ‘Stop the sewage’ club—an organization of 50 classmates working to accelerate the remediation of toxic sewage from Mexico choking their communities. “as we’re sitting in class everyday…the air is just flowing into our classroom…and studies have shown that pollutants are in the air from the sewage.” 16-year-old Sean Wilbur is vice president of the Coronado High Club…and  a former junior lifeguard… “we haven’t been able to swim at our own beaches.” He says they have recruited teens from other South Bay student-led join their campaign for the attention of adults with the power to get federal money for a complete coastline cleanup. “us students are going to be a large voice going into elections in the future…and we want to see action by the elected officials. MGP KPBS News.


Coming up.... It’s been a big week for San Diego sports teams. We’ll have updates, plus more, after the break.


The San Diego Padres play the San Francisco Giants again tonight (Friday) in the second of a four-game series.

The game starts at 6-40.

The Padres won their home opener against the Giants yesterday (Thursday)... 6 to 4.

San Ysidro residents Vicento and Karla Martinez were in the sold-out crowd.

They have high expectations for the home team this season.

“All the way to the championship. We need that World Series ring. We need that parade. We got the belt. We’re ready!” “Let’s do this for Peter. He wanted us to get a championship. Let’s get it for him.” 

The Padres are honoring late owner Peter Seidler with a heart-shaped patch with his initials on the players' uniforms.


In other sports-related news… It's the end of an era for the San Diego Sockers.

Tomorrow (Saturday), they’ll play their final home game of the regular season at Pechanga Arena.

North County reporter Tania Thorne says next season, they’ll be in their brand-new home in Oceanside.

Construction at Frontwave Arena is moving along… But before the Sockers move in, they will wrap up the regular season this Saturday with their final home game at Pechanga Arena. We won 12 championships in Pechanga Arena so it's a little bitter sweet. Coming up to playing the last game of the season here. Sean Bowers is the team’s general manager.. He said the decision to move to Frontwave Arena was an easy one… and one that he’s been looking forward to since he took on the job. Because we don't get the dates, number one, at pechanga arena but number two is, the biggest cost in our budget is rent. And so for us, its kind of two fold. But they also hope the move means growing their fan base… Frontwave Arena is expected to open in September.  Fans can catch the final home game for the San Diego Sockers this Saturday at Pechanga Arena before they head to the playoffs. TT KPBS News. 


It fuels many of us each morning … with an extra rush of energy, coffee!

But how did that magical brown drink become so common?

Reporter Jacob Aere says one San Diego restaurant is providing clients with traditional coffee ceremonies… and a history lesson.

From no frills black … to lots of cream, sugar and flavorings … coffee can take many forms. But the birthplace of the drink traces back to one area …“This is traditional Ethiopian coffee. This is a coffee ceremony.” Thats where husband and wife Fekadu Engedaw and Alem Dange are from … and their Addis Restaurant recently relaunched its traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremonies. “They sit down around me so I have to roast the beans. I have to introduce about the coffee, a little about Ethiopia and then we start from there.” The couple says coffee ceremonies are an important daily ritual in Ethiopia. It's a way to slow down … gather with family and friends … and it's sort of like group therapy. “Discussing every issue, anybody's issues… You bring it here, everybody discusses and they'll give you suggestions from their experience.” It’s a slow three-cup process meant to fill the senses … and to be savored alongside Ethiopian snacks at each step. The first cup has a powerful kick. “Stronger – so this is like four times Starbucks.” Reservations are recommended for the ceremonies – held every Saturday in San Diego on El Cajon Boulevard. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by Emilyn Mohebbi and edited by Brooke Ruth. We’d like to thank KPBS web producer Brenden Tuccinardi [Tu-CHIN-ar-DEE] for helping the podcast team this week. 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 weekend. It’s a long weekend for me, Cesar Chavez Day is on Monday. I’ll be back in your feed on Tuesday.

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We have an update in the sexual assault lawsuit against former San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher. In other news, we hear about how an El Cajon school is addressing mental health head-on with their curriculum. Plus, the San Diego Padres play the San Francisco Giants again Friday in the second of a four-game series, after beating the Giants in Thursday’s home opener.