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Wholesale water rates increase

 June 23, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, June 23rd.


Water rates are going up. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


It’s officially summer – a busy time for the region’s tourism industry.

It’s one of the area's top industries, bringing in big bucks to our local economy… and creating many jobs.

A report released this week by the San Diego Tourism Authority found that in the city of San Diego, tourism supported nearly 214-thousand jobs last year, and brought in nearly 23-billion-dollars in business.

And nearly 29 million visitors came to “America’s Finest City” last year.


Today’s weather won’t feel like summer.

The National Weather Service says some patchy drizzle and cloudy skies are expected in the morning, before the sun comes out in the afternoon.

It’s also expected to be windy, with gusts as high as 20 miles per hour… and temps are expected to be in the high 60s.

But it’s expected to warm up over the weekend.

And by the end of next week, temperatures are expected to reach average temps for this time of the year.

And if you love catching the sunset like me, forecasters say sunsets will happen around 8 P-M for a few more days.


With warmer temperatures on the way, so is the increased risk for wildfires.

Cal Fire San Diego Captain Brent Pascua said Tuesday gave us a look at what could be coming.

“We’re not going to just slowly transition into peak fire season we had five fires that day and a few did threaten some homes.”

The fires were all fully contained.

Pascua says if you still have brush to clear around your home, now is the time to do it.


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


The San Diego County Water Authority voted yesterday to raise wholesale water rates by 9-point-5-percent for its member agencies in 20-24.

Reporter Melissa Mae was at the meeting and brings us this update.

MM: Water Authority General Manager Sandra Kerl, says this is the most challenging budget cycle in more than three decades. The increase, she says, is due to large energy bills and extreme inflation that is driving up the cost of everything. MM: The actual impact of the rate increase will vary by agency based on its  use of the Water Authority’s system and actual water purchases…which means water rates paid by residents and businesses will also vary. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


San Diego has abruptly halted plans to install traffic calming measures in Pacific Beach.

Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says it's unclear when, or if the project will move forward.

AB: One week ago, the city put out a press release announcing Diamond Street in Pacific Beach would be getting new traffic diverters at two intersections. Diverters can improve safety by reducing cut-through traffic on quiet neighborhood streets. But days after the announcement, the city reversed course and halted the project indefinitely. Ryan Stock of the nonprofit BeautifulPB says he's disappointed. RS: We're talking about two intersections where you can no longer take a left turn in a private vehicle. That's it. And that's like the bare minimum we can do to encourage more biking and running and other users of the street. AB: The delay was requested by Councilmember LaCava after he met with project opponents on Tuesday. Some of them threatened to lay down on the street to stop the installation from happening. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.


A group of UC-SD graduate student workers is facing allegations of assault against the university’s chancellor.

Education reporter M.G. Perez explains.

UC San Diego student workers interrupted an alumni event where Chancellor Pradeep Khosla was speaking last month. The group alleges the university has refused to implement new contract requirements for thousands of graduate and post-graduate employees.…and now…the Office of Student Conduct is investigating each of the protestors for assault, making threats, and obstructing a school activity. Maya Gos-STELLA  is one of them. “I honestly thought it was a mistake when I saw it…there was no contact of any kind…certainly not physical assault.” // “there is no involvement of the police…so UC is the prosecutor and the judge in this case.” The university told KPBS News that “calculated disruption of official university business is never appropriate." MG Perez KPBS News.


In other education-related news… community members filled a high school auditorium to hear the Carlsbad Unified School District’s plan on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Adoption of the plan was on the agenda, but the vote ended up being postponed.

That didn’t stop dozens of people from speaking both in favor, and against the district's D-E-I-B plan.

Here’s Maddy Ward, a former Carlsbad student.

“Looking back, I really wish I had that curriculum and perspective earlier that I think the DEIB curriculum will bring. And I think that it will allow a lot more students to become better humans, better students, but also gain a better understanding of themselves and the people around them.” 

If passed, the plan would be phased in over 3 years, and cost 85-thousand-dollars the first year for staff training.

The vote will be scheduled for a later meeting.


Coming up.... A new mural in Chicano Park depicts the fight against a tool that left many farmworkers permanently disabled.

“I can remember one worker telling me, well, you know the slave owners had whips or guns they used to keep workers working and here they have the cortito.” 

We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


A new mural in Chicano Park depicts the successful fight to ban the use of the short-handled hoe on California farms.

Reporter Katie Hyson looked into the story behind the mural.

As cars whiz by on the freeway above Chicano Park, Mario Chacon, the lead artist of the El Cortito Mural, gives a sneak peek to a curious family. So you have the past, the consequence, the struggle, and then at the bottom the victory. Dividing the mural in two is an arched spinal column that mirrors the backs of the farm workers toiling in the fields above. The guy on the far right is Mo when he was young. The little girl looks over at a white-haired man standing a few feet away. He’s looking up at an early 70s version of himself – full head of brown curls and a bomber style jacket. As a lawyer with the California Rural Legal Assistance, Maurice “Mo” Jourdane led the fight against El Cortito, the short-handled hoe used by farm workers in California. The workers called it “el brazo del Diablo.” The Devil’s Arm. Its eight-inch handle forced them to stoop over all day. Jourdane says Cesar Chavez told him he should fight against el cortito. But it was a chance meeting in a Salinas Valley pool hall in 1970 that convinced him. One of the farmworkers had a bad back and I asked him what happened and he told me it's just from using the Cortito. The farmworker went to his truck and brought back the cortito. Jourdane agreed it seemed bad, but the worker challenged him. To know how bad it is you have to go use it. And so after some encouragement, pressure, I went to the field to use the Cortito and I remember driving down the Salinas Valley at dawn . . . and spending the day bent over hoeing . . . And I realized that day it was a torture and we had to do something to get rid of it. Jourdane went to the law library and found no laws around the cortito. I learned that from doctors that it was worse than just the pain, that farm workers’ backs were being destroyed. Together with co-counsel Marty Glick, he filed a lawsuit. Doctors testified that farm workers were retiring young with destroyed backs, often permanently disabled and in wheelchairs. Stooping over degenerated the discs in their spine until they ruptured. Jourdane says growers claimed the short handle was needed for efficiency. But when Jourdane and Glick surveyed growers across the country, they found the same work was being done with a long-handled hoe everywhere but Arizona and California. Jourdane has another theory: El Cortito was about control. I can remember one worker telling me, well, the slave owners had whips or guns they used to keep workers working and here they have the cortito. The cortito kept workers bent low at a time when Cesar Chavez and others were trying to unionize them to stand up. And it made them easier to supervise. You could have one supervisor . . . supervising 50 or 60 workers when you knew who was resting were those who were standing up. Farm workers organized across the state, including at Chicano Park. They risked their livelihoods to testify during the years-long legal battle. The Supreme Court of California banned the short-handled hoe in 1975. Remembering the win moves Jourdane, but he puts it in perspective. We got rid of the cortito, but that's just one little part of a farmworker's life.  Now retired, he still speaks of all the work left to do. Farm workers in California are still dying in the field of heat exhaustion, a preventable illness. What we have to do is get beyond the belief that farmworkers are just tools and it doesn't matter that something is harmful. At the mural, Jourdane poses with the family. Instead of saying cheese, the children say “Si se puede.” Yes, it can be done. Jourdane and Glick will speak at a public unveiling of the mural on Sunday, June 25. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


And before you go… arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans chatted with my colleague Jade Hindmon about arts events happening this weekend.

First up is some visual art from the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and 40s. What is the Works Progress Administration? 

And the Dijkstras also have a music collection too that is particularly celebrated during Black Music Month.

Le Salon de Musiques will have a tribute to three women composers who didn't get the attention they deserved during their lifetimes. Who are these women? 

It's closing weekend for the musical "Destiny of Desire" at the Old Globe. Tell us a little bit about this one.

TAG: That was KPBS arts editor and producer, Julia Dixon Evans, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon.

You can find details on these and more arts events, at KPBS dot ORG slash ARTS.


That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast is produced by KPBS Producer Emilyn Mohebbi and edited by KPBS Senior Producer Brooke Ruth. We’d like to thank KPBS editor Joe Guerin and KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman for helping out the podcast team this week. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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The San Diego County Water Authority on Thursday voted to raise wholesale water rates by 9.5% for its member agencies in 2024. In other news, a new mural in Chicano Park depicts the successful fight to ban the use of the short-handled hoe on California farms. Plus, we have details on some weekend arts events happening in San Diego County.