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Stories by Amita Sharma

The Apple Watch Edition, the company's high-end...

Do You Have A Smart Speaker? A Smart TV? A Smart House? If So, We'd Like To Talk To You

Jan. 22
By Amita Sharma

We're looking for people who use a lot of smart devices in their homes, specifically smart speakers like Alexa, Apple watches, Fitbits and smart televisions. We're interested in speaking to you.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, center, smiles a...

Democratic Assemblyman Maienschein Faces A Challenger From His Former Party

Jan. 21
By Amita Sharma

Republican June Cutter says she entered the 77th Assembly District race, in part, because of Brian Maienschein's support for a bill that imposed tougher standards for use of force by police.

Juan Hernandez is trying to make a living in th...

Gig Worker Barely Scraping By In Imperial Valley

Sept. 9, 2019
By Amita Sharma

Amid high unemployment and hot weather, local workers are trying to patch together a living in the “gig” economy.

Juan Hernandez is trying to make a living in th...

KPBS Wants Your Help In Understanding The Gig Economy

Aug. 27, 2019
By Amita Sharma

The gig economy is transforming the workplace and fueling a debate about what kind of wages and benefits gig workers should get. We want to know your thoughts on the topic.

Kaye, who asked that we not use her last name, ...

Santa Monica To Ramp Up Rental Subsidies For Seniors

Aug. 23, 2019
By Amita Sharma

Over the last year, the city has experimented with sending rental checks to nearly two dozen seniors on the brink of homelessness. Now it plans to significantly expand the program.

Rancho La Puerta owner Deborah Szekely, 97, at ...

Health Spa Pioneer Recalls Her Early Years

Aug. 1, 2019
By Amita Sharma

Nearly 80 years ago, as World War II raged, immigration rules and a keen interest in health motivated Deborah and Edmond Szekely to get into the wellness business.

San Diego ads play up the region’s natural beauty.

San Diego Still Captivates Health Seekers

July 31, 2019
By Amita Sharma

For thousands of years, the San Diego region’s near constant sunshine, lush valleys and stunning coast have drawn people searching for wellness. In the final installment of a three-part series, a spa owner and San Diego boosters explain why the area’s allure remains.

Tuberculosis patients convalesce at Vauclain Tu...

How The 'Invalid Trade' Helped Build San Diego

July 30, 2019
By Amita Sharma

In the late 19th century, San Diego pitched itself to the rest of the country as a place to get well.

The Cupa Indians stop for a rest during their t...

San Diego’s Reputation As A Place To Get Well May Have Started With The Cupa Indians

July 29, 2019
By Amita Sharma

San Diego has a long reputation as a place to heal.

Tease photo for Business Report: Is Free College And ...

Business Report: Is Free College And Student Loan Forgiveness Possible?

June 28, 2019
By Amita Sharma

This week in business: Democratic presidential candidates talk free college and student loan forgiveness, Trump orders transparency for healthcare costs, and San Diego grocery workers vote to authorize a strike.

Seniors at Seacrest Village Retirement Communit...

Experts Cheer Newsom's Order To Create Aging Plan, Some Push For Interim Fixes

June 18, 2019
By Amita Sharma

Advocates say immediate attention needed on boosting funding for healthcare and long-term care costs for the elderly.

Roommates Eleanor Stone and Rose McGehee chat a...

Loneliness And High Rent Prompt California Seniors To Look For Roommates

May 13, 2019
By Amita Sharma

A growing number of California seniors are moving in together to deal with the state’s affordability crisis and the solitude that comes with the death of a spouse.

Gerda Govine Ituarte and husband Carlos Luis It...

Living The Dream, With The Help Of A Home And A Pension

April 26, 2019
By Amita Sharma

For middle-class seniors who bought their homes decades ago, the California dream remains well within reach.

Carl Russell sits next to his homeless friend, ...

A Senior On The Streets, With Little Chance Of A Home

April 25, 2019
By Amita Sharma

In parts of California, seniors are the fastest growing part of the homeless population.

One-hundred-year-old Ginny Davenport enjoys a c...

More Retirees Find Themselves Taking Care Of Mom And Dad

March 4, 2019
By Amita Sharma

People are living longer compared to decades ago, and that has spawned a trend: Senior citizens taking care of their very elderly parents.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer during an inter...

Faulconer Wants San Diego To Go From 'No' To 'Yes' On Affordable Housing, Helping The Homeless

Jan. 31, 2019
By Amita Sharma

Affordable housing plans rarely steal the spotlight at California’s city halls. But San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s unveiling of his vision last month to build more units that people can actually buy or rent has been called ambitious and the most aggressive in the state.

A sign points to the leasing office at the newl...

What Can Tenants Do When Rent Jumps?

Jan. 16, 2019
By Amita Sharma

It depends on where you live, but in many parts of California, there’s not a lot of recourse for renters who are priced out.

A for rent sign in front of a cottage in San Di...

Could Anti-Price Gouging Laws Slow Rising Rents?

Jan. 14, 2019
By Amita Sharma

California lawmakers are exploring new ways to limit skyrocketing rents.

Robert Unser’s San Diego home, Sept. 27, 2018.

The Risks Of Energy Efficient Loans

Nov. 28, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Lenders are selling seniors on the idea of home renovation work; sometimes homeowners don’t realize they’ve taken on debt until it’s too late.

Pictured above is an undated flier sent out to ...

Pricey Real Estate Prompts Scammers To Target Senior Homeowners

Nov. 27, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Amid California’s record-shattering housing prices, the state’s senior homeowners are sitting on a gold mine. That’s made them marks for con artists.

California gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newso...

California Dream Takes Center Stage In Governor’s Race

Oct. 29, 2018
By Amita Sharma

The state’s affordability crisis has prompted vows from gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox to reignite the California Dream.

 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate John Cox po...

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate John Cox Blames California's 'Political Class' For Affordability Crisis

Oct. 16, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Cox said he would streamline regulations, end "frivolous litigation and lawsuits," and shorten the approval process to help resolve the state's housing crunch.

 Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom discusses pla...

Gavin Newsom Lays Out Plan For Resurrecting The California Dream Ahead of Monday's Debate

Oct. 5, 2018
By Amita Sharma

California Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox will square off Monday in a radio debate at KQED-FM. KPBS Investigative Reporter spoke with Newsom this week in Los Angeles about his plans to jump start the waning California Dream.

Cheryl Taylor talks about what it’s like to liv...

Homelessness: I Feel Your Pain, Or Do I?

Oct. 1, 2018
By Amita Sharma

As cities look for ways to tackle homelessness and the state pours half a billion dollars into finding solutions, KPBS Wealth and Poverty reporter Amita Sharma looks at the science of empathy.

San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated ph...

New Survey Shows California Dream Continues To Fade

Aug. 28, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Nearly half of working Californians are grappling with poverty, according to a new survey by the DC-based Public Religion Research Institute.

In this photo taken March 18, 2018, the ocean a...

Santa Monica Offers Cash To Seniors To Help With Rent

Aug. 27, 2018
By Amita Sharma

As senior homelessness spikes in some parts of the state amid a shortage of affordable housing, Santa Monica is trying out rental subsidies to help keep its seniors off the streets.

Angela George’s newborn Mateo takes a nap in he...

Do Housing Costs Deserve Some Of The Blame For California’s Plummeting Fertility Rate?

July 30, 2018
By Amita Sharma

The state’s birth rate has dropped to near-record lows, about 1.76 children per woman.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif and California s...

US Senate Candidates Differ On California Democratic Party Endorsement

July 5, 2018
By Amita Sharma

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants the party to be neutral while fellow Democrat state Sen. Kevin de Leon is pushing for an endorsement.

Retiree Rosanne Goodwin receives $2,060 a month...

A Dimming Dream Of Retirement In California

June 19, 2018
By Amita Sharma

California has one of the highest percentages of seniors living in poverty in the United States, behind only Washington D.C. Escalating rent and healthcare costs are forcing many of California’s elderly, especially women, onto a path of downward mobility.

Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk pictured here playing...

California’s High Rent Leaves Many One Crisis Away From Financial Ruin

May 29, 2018
By Amita Sharma

The state’s notoriously high housing costs are gobbling up paychecks, leaving many teetering on the brink of financial disaster.

Bill Bruick spent his last night homeless in 20...

Only City In California To Solve Veteran Homelessness Is On A Mission To Go Bigger

May 10, 2018
By Amita Sharma

The city of Riverside is the only one in the state to place all of its veterans in permanent housing, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

After finishing his first Uber/Lyft driving shi...

An MBA, Three Part-Time Jobs And Still Struggling To Pay For Housing In California

April 12, 2018
By Amita Sharma

California doesn't keep track of how many of the state's 134,000 homeless people work and still cannot afford a stable living situation, but KPBS caught up with an MBA graduate who works multiple jobs but lives between his car and rented rooms.

LeRoy Chatfield pictured with Cesar Chavez outs...

Friend of Cesar Chavez Sees Remnants Of Civil Rights Activist In Today's Protests

March 30, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Civil rights activist Cesar Chavez would have turned 91 on Saturday. As America honors his birthday, KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma spoke to LeRoy Chatfield, a retired educator who was a close friend and colleague of Chavez, about the labor leader’s legacy.

Tease photo for Where You Grow Up May Affect How Well...

Where You Grow Up May Affect How Well You Climb The Income Ladder

March 16, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Stanford University economist Raj Chetty says childhood environment can determine social mobility for adults.

Tease photo for California’s Middle Class Is In Decli...

California’s Middle Class Is In Decline, Despite The State’s Immense Wealth

March 15, 2018
By Amita Sharma

California’s $2.75 trillion economy makes it the world’s sixth largest and is a source of pride for the state but that impressive ranking disguises an economic fault-line: The decline of the middle class.

Former San Diego County District Attorney Bonni...

Mexican Billionaire-Linked Donations To Dumanis’ 2012 Mayoral Campaign Higher Than Thought

Jan. 23, 2018
By Amita Sharma

Even though a Mexican businessman convicted of illegally pumping cash into San Diego campaigns went to prison in October, his shadow may linger over an upcoming county supervisor’s race.

San Diego County Sheriff Gore: 'Expeditiously' Investigating Sexual-Misconduct Claims Against Deputy

Dec. 21, 2017
By Amita Sharma, Brooke Ruth

Eleven women have accused sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer of either groping, fondling or hugging them inappropriately.

Four of the 11 women who have accused San Diego...

San Diego Sheriff’s Deputy Accusers Describe Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Dec. 15, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The number of women who have accused San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Fischer of sexual misconduct is now at 11. Fischer is on administrative leave while sheriff’s officials investigate.

University of San Diego economist Alan Gin disc...

USD Economist Predicts Republican Tax Overhaul Will Make It Harder For San Diegans To Buy Homes

Dec. 5, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Economist Alan Gin said limiting mortgage interest deductions poses another hurdle for San Diego home buyers who are already grappling with high house prices.

A sign on SDG&E's headquarters appears in this ...

Regulators Vote SDG&E, Not Ratepayers, Must Pay For 2007 San Diego Wildfire Costs

Nov. 30, 2017
By Amita Sharma, Associated Press

California regulators rejected a request Thursday from a San Diego utility to force customers to shoulder $379 million in costs from deadly blazes ignited by power lines in 2007 — a decision seen as possibly precedent-setting for cases in which devastating wildfires tore through wine country this fall.

The door of the San Diego County Sheriff's Depa...

Six Women Accuse San Diego Sheriff's Deputy Of Sexual Misconduct

Nov. 29, 2017
By Amita Sharma

A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Deputy Richard Fischer has been placed on “administrative assignment” pending a criminal investigation on sexual misconduct charges.

The disputed doorway at the McDonald's trolley ...

Judge Tentatively Orders MTS To Unblock Doorway At Bus Terminal In San Ysidro

Nov. 6, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The blocked doorway forced travelers in San Ysidro, next to the border with Mexico, to take a long detour to and from the bus terminal and the McDonald's trolley station building.

Power lines make their way over a freeway towar...

Appeals Court Orders State Regulators To Submit Key San Onofre Emails For Possible Public Release

Oct. 31, 2017
By Amita Sharma

San Diego Consumer lawyer Mike Aguirre has long asked for the communications on grounds they may reveal how ratepayers got saddled with a $3.3 billion bill for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's closure following a radioactive leak.

Mexican businessman José Susumo Azano Matsura, ...

Mexican Billionaire Drops Potential Bombshell Against Former DA Dumanis One Day Before His Sentencing

Oct. 26, 2017
By Amita Sharma

A Mexican billionaire convicted of illegally funneling hundreds of thousand of dollars to San Diego candidates said he informed Bonnie Dumanis that he was a foreign national during her 2012 mayoral campaign.

A sign on SDG&E's headquarters appears in this ...

San Diego Business Owner Suing CPUC Over Its Handling Of SDG&E's Request To Bill Ratepayers

Oct. 25, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Ruth Hendricks, owner of "The Huddle" restaurant in San Diego, is suing the California Public Utilities Commission over its handling of San Diego Gas & Electric’s request to bill customers $379 million for the 2007 wildfires.

Three firefighters brace themselves from explos...

State Regulators To Consider SDG&E's '07 Wildfire Cost Reimbursement Thursday

Oct. 25, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The question of whether San Diego Gas & Electric’s shareholders or customers should pay $379 million in costs related to the 2007 wildfires goes before state regulators Thursday.

The remnants of a Rancho Bernardo home burned d...

San Diego Firefighters Amass New Technology To Prep For Wildfires

Oct. 16, 2017
By Amita Sharma

To help ensure the region does not see an encore of the 2007 wildfires, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has created an arsenal of data and technology.

Tease photo for John Witherspoon, Public Broadcasting...

John Witherspoon, Public Broadcasting Pioneer, First General Manager Of KPBS, Dies At 88

Oct. 13, 2017
By Amita Sharma, Pat Finn

John Witherspoon, who helped create the Public Broadcasting Act 50 years ago, was KPBS’s first general manager and the first president of the board of National Public Radio, has died.

Flames from the Witch Creek fire light up the e...

SDG&E Lobbies Regulators To Reject Judges' Decision On 2007 Wildfire Reimbursement

Sept. 27, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Documents show San Diego Gas and Electric representatives met with staffers from each of the five California Public Utilities commissioners this month and bashed the judges' decision that concluded the company should not be allowed to collect $379 million from customers to pay for costs related to the 2007 wildfires.

Lucy Olango poses for a photo with her brother ...

One Year On: Alfred Olango’s Sister Describes His Life Before He Was Fatally Shot By El Cajon Police

Sept. 25, 2017
By Amita Sharma

One year ago this week, it was Alfred Olango’s sister who called El Cajon police to say her brother was having a mental health crisis in the minutes before he was shot and killed by an officer.

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