Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Who deserves reparations?

 January 28, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, January 28th>>>>

The eligibility for reparations

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

California Senator Alex Padilla is calling for a more aggressive push to get school-aged children vaccinated against COVID-19. He is joined in that call by the California Children’s Hospital Association. During a virtual press conference Thursday, the senator said 67-percent of California kids aged 5-to-12 remain unvaccinated… and it’s time that changed.

“scientists have proven with months of careful research that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids

San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital participated in the online event. According to Rady officials… the hospital has seen a 24-percent increase in COVID related cases in recent weeks… with most of those cases being unvaccinated children.


California State University, the largest-four year university system in the country, is considering scrapping SAT and ACT tests from its undergraduate admissions process. Critics say the tests are unfair to minority and low-income students. CSU’s Board of Trustees will vote in March on recommendations to end the testing requirements.


California state lawmakers have made significant strides to reduce tobacco use.

Erica Costa is with the American Lung Association of California which released its annual report card on [Wednesday].

“California does pretty well. We have five categories of grades in the national report. We got three Bs, an A and then an I, and the I is for incomplete.”

Incomplete, she says, because California has not yet implemented the ban on flavored tobacco products signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. The ban is facing a challenge from a referendum that will appear on the November ballot.


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

On Thursday California's reparations task force met for the first time in 2022.

kpbs race and equity reporter cristina kim says they took on the big topic of eligibility.

Ever since the California Reparations Task Force was first established in 2020… one of the thorniest questions it’s had to answer is WHO will qualify for reparations designed to address harmed caused by slavery.

On Thursday Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who authored the bill that created the task force, had her say on the subject. She made it very clear who she thinks should be eligible and prioritized.

“Reparations are for those who are the descendants of slaves first because of the hundreds of years they suffered of no wages or the ability to own land. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible.”

Weber says those who immigrated to the United States from Africa or who were enslaved in the Caribbean should not be considered for US restitutions. The task force also heard from experts on health disparities and discrimination related to technology. They have until 2023 to draft a proposal.

Cristina Kim. KPBS NEWS.


Both of the journalists killed in Tijuana this month had sought help from a Baja California program aimed at protecting those who report the news. That help never came.

KPBS Border Reporter Gustavo Solis tells us the toll their deaths are taking on the region’s cross-border journalists.

Lourdes Maldonado was the second Tijuana journalist killed this month and the third in all of Mexico. Margarito Martinez, a prolific crime photographer, was shot and killed outside his home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A week before that, Veracruz journalist Jose Luis Gamboa was brutally stabbed to death.

Mexico has long been among the most dangerous places in the world for those who report the news. But the slayings this month have brought the fear and outrage among journalists to another level. This week they took to the streets.

“Viva Lourdes Maldonado. Viva! Viva Lourdes Maldonado. Viva! Viva Margarito. Viva! Viva Margarito. Viva! Viva los periodistas de Tijuana y del país. Viva!”

The journalists are demanding more protections for living and justice for the dead.

“Justicia, Justicia, Justicia, Justicia, Justicia.”

Sonia De Anda heads a local journalist collective called Yo Si Soy Periodista – or Yes I am a Journalist. She helped Maldonado enroll in a Baja California program to protect journalists two years ago.

De Anda says that program failed Maldonado.

Most heartbreaking to De Anda is that Maldonado knew how vulnerable she was and foresaw her own death outside her home. She had told De Anda almost exactly how it would happen.

“Sentía que su momento mas vulnerable era cuando llegaba a su casa, se bajaba del carro y caminaba cuatro pasos para entrar a su puerta. Y casualmente es donde la matan. – lo sabia – Si, lo sabia. Has de cuenta que lo describió.”

She says Margarito Martinez had also asked for state protection last December. But the new governor who took office in November had not yet setup the enrollment process.

“El 17 de Enero, que lo asesinan, pues prácticamente me entero que nunca lo habían incorporado en el mecanismo porque el sistema estatal no se había instalado.

Jan-Albert Hooten is the Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists. He says Baja California’s protection program is woefully inadequate.

“The entire Baja California state mechanism is a hallow shell. It is not autonomous, it doesn’t have a budget of its own, it has maybe three or four people working for it. It’s knowledge of risk evaluation and applying protection is rudimentary at best.”

And it isn’t just in Baja California. Crimes against reporters are rarely punished in Mexico.

“The principal factor that fuels these attacks is the impunity in Mexico. In practice in means that 95 percent of all crimes against press in Mexico are never actually prosecutes. Meaning that, bluntly put it pays to commit a crime in Mexico because there is a very small chance that you’ll get caught.”

It has been five days since Maldonado’s murder and local authorities have not made any arrests.

Tanya Navarro, a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, says the last time she saw Maldonado was at Martinez’s memorial less than a week ago.

“Unfortunately we were here last Friday, four days ago. I didn’t know, but it was the last time I would see Lourdes. A fellow coworker, a fellow reporter that had a long experience here in Tijuana. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello to her because she was actually working.

Maldonado was a veteran broadcast journalist who had covered Tijuana for decades. Navarro says she was an inspiration to young women in the news industry.

“That’s how I remember her. As a hard worker and an example for many of us who started journalism when she was already a big reporter here in this town.”

Longtime journalist Vicente Calderon says the two recent murders bring back memories of similar crimes against reporters in Tijuana more than 30 years ago. He remembers marching in 1988 after the murder of Hector Felix Miranda.

“Unfortunately, when you live in a city with a lot of organized crime, with a lot of police government corruption it is very dangerous to do our job.”

He worries that the younger generation of journalists will leave the industry altogether.

“When you see this climate, many people will think twice. I’ve been talking to a lot of my colleagues, especially the younger ones. And they say that their relatives are the first ones to tell them, why don’t you get away from that profession? Why don’t you choose a different line of work? Why don’t you come back to another city where it wasn’t as dangerous as Tijuana. So it has a toll.

The killings this month have already had a psychological impact. Local reporters are second guessing which stories to cover and when to leave the house. They travel in packs for protection.

Journalist Yolanda Morales says the entire press corps. is looking over its shoulder.

“Yo creo que ahorita, todos nosotros estamos con miedo. Salimos a la calle con miedo. Y quizás suena reiterativo pero eso no sucede en un país democrático en un país justo, en un país libre. Eso no debe de suceder.”

I think all of us are scared. We leave the house scared. This shouldn’t happen in a democratic country, she says.

De Anda says journalists will not succumb to the fear.

“Continuamos sabiendo que nuestra sangre se puede derramar, pero no vamos a dejar ni de trabajar, ni nos vamos a esconder, ni nos vamos a ir del país.”

They won’t hide, flee from the country, or stop working. Even knowing their blood could be spilled.

Gustavo Solis KPBS News

The Consulate General of Mexico’s San Diego office is hosting a vigil for Maldonado and Martinez tonight at 6 p.m.


The sanitation workers’ strike may be over but Republic Services is still under fire … they’re being sued in federal court for charging customers despite the lack of sanitation services during the strike. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado has more.


I’m not surprised at all by that lawsuit



this is going to be litigious there’s no question about it, unless Republic steps up and does the right thing.




San Diego has installed bike counters on two streets with new protected bike lanes. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says they'll soon be a trove of data.

AB: San Diego hopes protected bike lanes, like the ones on 30th Street in North Park, will entice more residents to bike instead of drive. The bike counters here were switched on less than a week ago, and they've already logged more than 1,700 trips. Stephan Vance of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition says that data is debunking the myth that bike lanes are wasteful because no one uses them.

SV: And as we build out the network and build more and more of these really high quality facilities like that, we are certain that more and more people will start riding. And so we'll be able to measure that progress. And if we aren't seeing that progress, then we'll be able to make a course correction along the way.

AB: The city plans on installing more bike counters along key bike routes, but hasn't settled on specific locations yet. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


Coming up.... the return of an art house cinema this weekend in San diego.

After maybe 20 months of not screening films here we are in our new venue and I'm really excited.

Digital Gym Cinema reopens for a preview weekend at its new location in East Village and hosts three days of Sundance Film Festival events. That’s next, just after the break.

Digital Gym Cinema has been closed for 20 months. But starting Friday, it will be hosting a preview weekend at its new location in East Village.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando visited the new venue, which will be holding in-person events all weekend as a Sundance Film Festival Satellite Screen.

Running a micro-cinema is tough and it’s made even tougher when you lose the lease to your venue in the midst of a pandemic. Digital Gym Cinema has not only survived but come back new and improved, says exhibitions manager Moises Esparza.

MOISES ESPARZA: It's a totally new vibe and energy. We're in the East Village now, really close to the Trolley Station. Same type of content, but just a different setting…

A different setting that includes a new projector, better sound, a full fledged concession stand, and more bathrooms. Regulars from the old El Cajon Blvd. venue may rejoice in no longer having to enter at the front of the screen and pull the door closed behind you from the improvised handle near the floor.

MOISES ESPARZA I'm just really excited to share the space and it's been truly astounding to see the progress that we've made in just a matter of months.… but I think we're ready to screen movies.

The cinema is ready but not the entire building. The cinema is located inside UC San Diego’s new four-story extension facility at Market and Park, and much of it is still under construction.

MOISES ESPARZA The first level has a grand staircase that's still being worked on. There's kind of a theater space downstairs. It's still under construction.

That’s why this weekend is being billed as just a preview of what’s to come. Construction and completion of the cinema has been slowed by various supply chain issues. Even the new projector was delayed and only arrived last week.

MOISES ESPARZA: This pandemic has taught us that maybe patience is the most important thing of all… And at some point you just stop obsessing over these little details and just focus on coming up with plan B and plan C and plan D…

So the exit sign is still too bright and the seats you sit in this weekend may be changed before the official opening in a couple months. But this weekend, Esparza is excited that the cinema’s ready to assume the role of a Sundance Film Festival Satellite screen.

CLIP Music from Sundance trailer

MOISES ESPARZA We're part of only a small handful of independent cinemas throughout the United States that were selected by Sundance to host these in-person screenings outside of Park City. But Sundance is fully virtual now, so the satellite screens are the only in-person screenings for Sundance.

The big day this weekend will be Saturday.

MOISES ESPARZA So Saturday is going to feel like, I think, like a Sundance day… we're going to have a really big festival vibe [00:05:19.050] We're going to do a small reception outside. We'll have a photo booth, red carpet step and repeat. The filmmakers love screening their films in front of audiences, and they want that response, that in person response.

Esparza also loves that communal experience of sharing films in person. So he’s looking forward to taking a break from virtual events and staging a live Q and A with the filmmaking team behind Sirens, a documentary about the Middle East’s first all-female metal band.

CLIP Are you ready… music starts

MOISES ESPARZA The response to our film screenings has been largely positive, and we've sold quite a bit of tickets for the weekend.

There are still tickets for Esparza’s favorite of the festival, Mars One on Sunday. The Brazilian film looks to a lower middle class family and the young son who dreams of being an astrophysicist.

CLIP (in Portuguese) young boy talking…

MOISES ESPARZA The film really touched me because it takes this idea of dreams deferred and the obstacles that present themselves. But how when things don't go right, there's still a path forward. And the film left me feeling really hopeful and really caring about this family…

With COVID still a concern, Digital Gym Cinema will be requiring proof of vaccination and asking attendees to wear masks. But if watching films inside the cinema is not for you then there will be free short film screenings outdoors in the adjacent courtyard. Esparza hopes there will be something for everyone.

MOISES ESPARZA I think it'll give even casual supporters of the Digital Gym Cinema an idea of what the type of programming and film activations that we're going to conduct here that we're going to produce here at our space on a year round basis.

As someone who has programmed films at the old Digital Gym venue, I’m excited to see the rebirth of this micro cinema. And enough San Diego cinephiles share that excitement to have already sold out one screening this weekend.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

Digital Gym Cinema will be hosting three days of Sundance Film Festival screenings this Friday through Sunday at Market and Park.

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.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber authored legislation creating the first-in-the-nation task force to study and recommend reparations. She’s now made it clear who should be eligible. Meanwhile, the two Tijuana journalists murdered this month had sought help from Baja California’s journalist protection program. The help never came. Plus, Digital Gym Cinema makes its comeback as a satellite screen for the Sundance Film Festival.