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Stories by Amita Sharma

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

Oct. 16
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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San Diego Will Send Lifeguard Rescue Team To Texas After Dispute Over Hurricane Harvey Assistance

Aug. 30, 2017
By Amita Sharma, City News Service

San Diego will send its river rescue team of lifeguards to Houston following a public spat between the city’s fire chief and the head of the lifeguard union.

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San Onofre Settlement Deal Could Be Headed To Court

Aug. 17, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Consumer lawyer Mike Aguirre has asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to send his lawsuit to San Diego federal court to overturn the settlement over the nuclear plant.

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Letter From MTS Board Member Could Be Key In Lawsuit Over Blocked Doorway At Border Transit Center

Aug. 4, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The letter from MTS board member and San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez asked the agency's CEO to put a disputed contract out to bid, a position that is part of a lawsuit against MTS.

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Roundtable: Trump's Tweets, Housing Crisis, Trouble For Snopes

July 28, 2017
By Amita Sharma, Pat Finn

President Donald Trump suddenly tweets a major policy change for transgender troops. There's a housing crisis in San Diego, made possible by, well, all of us. And a website that debunks fake news is in real trouble.

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San Diego Lifeguard Union Leader Sues City Alleging Retaliation By Fire Chief

July 18, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Ed Harris said he was threatened with a formal reprimand and investigated three times after he was critical of Fire Chief Brian Fennessy's push to have firefighters handle water-related emergencies.

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California State Bill Would Ease Burden Of Traffic Ticket Fines On The Poor

July 13, 2017
By Amita Sharma

State lawmakers are reviewing SB 185, which would allow judges to reduce ticket fines up to 80 percent based on a person’s income.

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San Diego Police Lt. Carole Beason Talks About Violence Against People Who Are Homeless

July 12, 2017
By Amita Sharma

California led the nation in 2016 in attacks against people who are homeless, and San Diego accounted for 5 percent of those assaults, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.

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Invisible But In Danger: San Diego’s Homeless Are Targets For Attacks

July 11, 2017
By Amita Sharma

California led the nation last year in attacks against people who are homeless, and San Diego accounted for five percent of those assaults, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.

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California Attorney General's Office Faces Scrutiny Over San Onofre Inquiry

June 27, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Questions are again being raised about the California Attorney General’s investigation of how consumers were left with a $3.3 billion bill for the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station.

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Nuclear Expert Slams Edison's San Onofre Nuclear Waste Storage Plan

June 27, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Environmental expert Tom English calls the plan "ridiculous" and contends it makes the storage site at the shuttered plant vulnerable to terrorism.

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Bid To Learn Why Former US Attorney Duffy Was Recused From Azano Case Fails

June 2, 2017
By Amita Sharma

A federal judge has refused a defense request to release information on why former U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy recused herself from the illegal campaign-giving case against Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura.

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Rising Seas Could Swamp The Shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Plant By Next Century

May 31, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The plant’s majority owner, Southern California Edison, does not believe it should have to worry about rising sea levels beyond a couple of decades from now, even though millions of pounds of waste might still be stored at the site.

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Coastal Commission Met Privately With Edison A Year Before Public San Onofre Waste Storage Vote

May 30, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Documents reveal Edison representatives met with Coastal Commission staff at least three times and traded scores of emails more than a year ahead of a public vote on where to store radioactive waste from the shuttered nuclear plant.

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Former Prosecutor Seeks Interim DA Post And Promises Not To Run For The Job Next Year

May 1, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Adam Gordon is asking other interim applicants to also promise not to pursue the office in next year's district attorney's race.

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Customers May Never Know How They Got Stuck with $3.3 Billion Bill For San Onofre Shutdown

April 27, 2017
By Amita Sharma

The California Public Utilities Commission once again refuses to release scores of emails it exchanged with Governor Jerry Brown’s office over the plant’s closure.

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San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis To Step Down In July

April 20, 2017
By Amita Sharma

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Thursday she is resigning in July. The district attorney said she is being encouraged to run for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

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Azano's Lawyer Wants New Trial In Campaign Corruption Case Citing Prior Defense Incompetence

April 20, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Defense lawyer Knut Johnson said Jose Susumo Azano Matsura's previous attorney never used the only defense available, which was that the businessman was ignorant of U.S. campaign law.

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New Documents Show San Diego DA And Former US Attorney Texted About Azano Case Despite Recusal

April 18, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Former U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis exchanged texts and a phone call that referenced the trial of a Mexican billionaire even though Duffy was recused from the case and Dumanis was a witness in the trial.

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Parties In Challenge To Nuclear Waste Storage At San Onofre Headed Into Settlement Talks

April 7, 2017
By Amita Sharma

Next week's trial to determine the legality of a plan to store 3.6 million pounds of deadly waste from the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near the sea has been postponed to enter settlement talks.

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