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Stories by Amita Sharma

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Gig Worker Barely Scraping By In Imperial Valley

Sept. 9
By Amita Sharma

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

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KPBS Wants Your Help In Understanding The Gig Economy

Aug. 27
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.

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Santa Monica To Ramp Up Rental Subsidies For Seniors

Aug. 23
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.

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Health Spa Pioneer Recalls Her Early Years

Aug. 1
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.

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San Diego Still Captivates Health Seekers

July 31
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.

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How The 'Invalid Trade' Helped Build San Diego

July 30
By Amita Sharma

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

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

July 29
By Amita Sharma

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

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

June 28
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.

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

June 18
By Amita Sharma

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

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Loneliness And High Rent Prompt California Seniors To Look For Roommates

May 13
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.

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

April 26
By Amita Sharma

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

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

April 25
By Amita Sharma

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

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More Retirees Find Themselves Taking Care Of Mom And Dad

March 4
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.

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

Jan. 31
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.

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What Can Tenants Do When Rent Jumps?

Jan. 16
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.

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Could Anti-Price Gouging Laws Slow Rising Rents?

Jan. 14
By Amita Sharma

California lawmakers are exploring new ways to limit skyrocketing rents.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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SDPD Releases Statistics On Bites By Police Canines In Wake Of July Arrest

Sept. 18, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The city released numbers Monday regarding the use of police canines from 2013 to July of this year. Since 2013, there were a total of 223 police dog bites.

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As San Diego Rescue Team Continues Efforts in Houston, City Lifeguards Stay Home

Aug. 31, 2017
By Amita Sharma, City News Service

The 45 members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team sent from San Diego County to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey were working in the Cy-Fair region of the northwest Houston suburbs Thursday, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

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