Despite a moratorium on evictions in San Diego county, some landlords are still forcing renters out. Meanwhile, that moratorium is set to expire in the fall and many others could face eviction. Plus a 12-year-old in City Heights is taking it upon himself to raise awareness about poor drinking water quality in local schools. And, the San Diego Unified School Board voted unanimously to fund an expansion of ethnic studies and anti-racism training, prompting some debate in the community over how much racism should be confronted in the classroom.
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, June 25th
Renters evicted despite the Moratorium
More on that next, but first… let’s do the headlines….
At least 16 cases of the Delta Variant of Covid-19 have been confirmed in San Diego county.
Dr. Abisola Olulade at Sharp Rees-Stealy says the variant remains a concern because infection rates are high for the delta variant even among vaccinated people. And….the Delta variant has a new mutation called delta plus.
“The virus is going to continue to mutate and change and it’s doing it very efficiently and rapidly which is very concerning. And that beta variant has been found to be the cause of more infections in the Seychelles, which has been the highest most vaccinated nation.”
Political leaders from across San Diego county are calling for an end to travel restrictions at the border. They say the restrictions are hurting businesses that rely on cross border traffic. Right now, only so-called “essential” employees are allowed to cross. Here’s Supervisor Nora Vargas.
“As of today 198 businesses have closed their doors……72% loss for the region.”
The San Diego county environmental health department closed the Tijuana Slough shoreline on Thursday due to sewage runoff from Mexico. They’re urging everyone to stay away from the water. The closure includes all beaches from the international border to the south end of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. They will remain closed until water testing meets state health standards for use.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
As soon as this Fall, the county eviction moratorium may come to an end. Some San Diego renters who struggled to make payments during the pandemic may face eviction. Race and Equity reporter Cristina Kim introduces us to one man who has already lost his home.
I felt that I had let my kids down as a man, being able to support them, keep them, keep a roof over their head.
Gabriel Guzman still remembers the fear he felt when he was evicted from his home in Chula Vista last December. He’s worried about the impact it’s having on his children.
And even my youngest daughter, my three year old, would always ask when we were going home. She’s like, I go home. She would cry. And even now she’ll go from her room at night and cry, cry and two and kind of check to see whether we’re there. We’re in the same place. Eviction moratoriums were supposed to keep people housed during the pandemic. But Guzman missed paying rent for a few months. And his landlord didn’t renew his lease… Gilberto Vera is a senior attorney at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. He says Guzman never should have been evicted.
In a normal situation, that’s not something that a tenant could be evicted under the state protections.
It shouldn’t have happened, but Guzman’s experience is not unique. Even with the moratorium,
landlords were technically able to evict tenants if they moved in to the property themselves, sold the property, or wanted to withdraw the property from the rental market.
[00:08:16] in February, that probably had been about almost a thousand sheriff lockout since the beginning of the pandemic. [00:08:27][10.6]
Now with protections set to expire in the coming months and rental relief money only just beginning to trickle out, advocates and city officials say there will be more evictions. …
is a local landlord. She says that even if all the rental assistance is fully disbursed …. She expects major turnover in the rental market due to surging housing prices. In some cases landlords are incentivising tenants to leave.
“You give someone cash and you ask for their keys. You incentivize them to leave, give someone $2,000 or $3,000 to leave… If you can increase rents so in the next 12 months, you can make an additional $4,000, it’s worth it to you.”
San Diego is particularly vulnerable to evictions because it doesn’t have an established housing rights culture. So says Grace Martinez, director of ACCE San Diego, a tenants rights organization.
“In LA, if a tenant receives an eviction notice, they’ll think, ‘how do I fight this,’ whereas in San Diego, they’ll think, ‘where will I find my next place to live…
Martinez says San Diego needs to create a culture where people know their rights. A big part of that is having access to legal help. According to the left-leaning Center for American Progress, nationwide only 10 percent of tenants have legal representation in court cases, compared to 90 percent of landlords. Vera says without legal help tenants can find themselves out on the street, fast. Eviction cases are one of the fastest moving lawsuits through the court systems. So a tenant can. Can without if they don’t respond quickly and meaningfully, they could be evicted within two months from when the landlord filed the eviction. Earlier this month the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved a draft plan that would allocate 15 million dollars of federal money to provide legal services and counseling for tenants. That still might not be enough….Guzman,the Chula Vista resident, was able to hire a lawyer, but was STILL evicted.
Governor Newsom has a plan to pay all back rent. Guzman says without that, …it will propel people into a cycle of housing insecurity.
Because then they’re there in a situation where not only are they being displaced, but they’re also saddled with these this mountain of debt that they might not be able ever to recover, which which impacts their ability to be able to rent in the future.
Guzman is uncertain what the future holds once all the protections are gone.
I understand what people are going through. They want to get back to normal life, but we’re going to pay the price.
Guzman was able to find a new place to live and is looking for work… but even now he is worried he’ll be evicted again. Cristina Kim. KPBS News
KPBS Investigative Reporter Claire Trageser contributed to this story.
A 12-year-old in City Heights is raising awareness about poor drinking water quality in local schools.
KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler spoke with the incoming 7th-grader about why he spent the pandemic focusing on this public health issue.
Sully Jenkins remembers when his elementary school began handing out bottled water, after it was determined the tap water was no longer safe to drink.
“So like, for the longest time, we had to drink from water bottles, like half the year, we couldn’t drink from the fountains, just because it was really unsafe, the amount of lead.”
So when it came time to do group projects this year, Jenkins looked forward to looking into the issue of drinking water…. And when he looked closely, he didn’t like what he saw. Specifically, how common lead is in school drinking water.
I was surprised at first, but I realized as I searched, some other places, had the same problem. My other school, had the same problem. So as I searched, I realized after not that long, that this isn’t good, but it’s not normal. It shouldn’t be, but it’s normal.
So Jenkins created a Youtube video and a Change.org petition, to raise awareness of what’s happening with drinking water in low-income communities… and the danger that contaminants like lead present.
Jenkins has already shown the video to the San Diego City Council and has taken his research to the streets, tacking up flyers across the neighborhood to raise awareness.
It’s so fun, as I was putting those up, I went out on my skates and stuff, putting these up, even on college.
He says the solution is in replacing the infrastructure surrounding schools, to get rid of corroding pipes and the lack of filtration.
We need different plumbing, materials like corrode contains lots of lead in them, there’s a lot of old pipes where their soldering is rusting. And finally there’s also lead paint.
Jenkins said he wants to continue his activism and research in the coming years…. As he continues to push for cleaner water in City Heights.
Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS News
Coming up…. the School Board approves a plan that will integrate anti-racism and ethnic studies education into its curriculum. Plus, a fact check on claims by Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall election tv ads. All of that’s next, just after the break.
Earlier this week, the San Diego Unified School Board unanimously approved a plan that will integrate anti-racism and ethnic studies education into its curriculum. Before the vote, there was a protest of roughly two dozen people who were opposed to the integration – with some equating the new curriculum to Critical Race Theory.
It all comes at a time of heightened racial awareness in San Diego, when many are thinking about how racism should be talked about in the classroom– this, especially after several recent racist incidents at local high schools.
San Diego Unified Board President Richard Barrera spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host jade Hindmon about the new curriculum. Here’s that interview.
Speaker 1: 00:47 Increasingly common to see people conflate elements of multicultural education initiatives with critical race theory. What will this new ethnic studies and anti-racism training cover? And why do you think some in the community are equating it with critical race theory?
Speaker 2: 01:05 Well, you know, the most important thing that we’re doing to move forward Jade is, you know, we are absolutely committed as a district that the barriers that people have faced for generations as a result of racism, that we want to equip our young people to be able to move beyond those barriers and not simply pass down the same problems that we inherited as, as, as prior generations. And in order to equip young people to combat racism, we need to have very honest and deep conversations in our courses about our history as a country, our history as communities, why we’re at the place that we’re at now and motivate our young people to believe that they can actually make change and make things better going forward. And so, you know, ethnic studies for instance, is really about young people learning that their own history is incredibly relevant and has produced so many positive contributions to our country that often have gone overlooked, but also that the situations that young people understand that they’re living in day to day are the product, you know, a long history, uh, that, you know, includes, you know, racism and racist practices all over our country and here in San Diego as well.
Speaker 2: 02:38 So what we know Jade is that when we are able to speak honestly and directly and clearly with young people about our history, good and bad young people get very engaged and very motivated and want to learn more and want to be on the front lines of making our community going forward. And what are you
Speaker 1: 03:01 Hearing from educators within San Diego unified about the need for ethnic studies?
Speaker 2: 03:06 Educators are strongly in favor of ethnic studies. And I, you know, when we hold professional development for teachers around ethnic studies, we get great response. You know, teachers want to, uh, uh, learn a new ways of teaching new ways of engaging students, new content that they can share with their students. And the ethnic studies training that we’ve done over the past couple of years has been incredibly well received by our teachers because here’s what our teachers know when they’re able to teach content that is relevant to students and teach it in a way that engages students. They see better attendance, they see more motivation, uh, of young people to do assignments, better grades, better academic performance, but also a bigger sense on the part of young people that they can actually contribute to the world and be part of change going forward. And that’s very motivating, as you can imagine to teachers, how have
Speaker 1: 04:08 Parents of children enrolled within San Diego unified reacted to the approval of this curriculum? Expansion
Speaker 2: 04:15 Parents have been overwhelmingly supportive, you know, three quarters of the students in our district are students of color. So we have parents, you know, that for decades have been saying, look, we need, uh, what our students learn to be more relevant to their own lives and to our families, uh, histories. Um, but parents of, you know, white students have also been incredibly supportive of ethnic studies because they don’t want their students to go forward in a world where, uh, racism affects everybody. You know, I think one of the, uh, you know, stories that certainly we can take out of this incident at Cornado high school is that had the students, you know, at Cornado high school, been better equipped, uh, to understand what was going on. You know, when an adult started to pass out tortillas, you know, to throw at the other players, I think the students would have been in a, in a, in a better position to, you know, to say, that’s not who we are.
Speaker 2: 05:18 That’s not what we do. Unfortunately. Now, you know, students Coronado high school and orange Glen high school are both having to, uh, you know, live in the aftermath of an incident that they wouldn’t have wanted to be involved in. So, you know, that’s a small example, but on a larger scale, I think, you know, what we’re seeing from parents of all of our students is a sense that we don’t want to continue to live in a world where racism is such a limiting factor to everybody. We want to equip our students with the ability to move forward and make a better world. What about
Speaker 1: 05:53 That incident with the tortillas being thrown? Do you think, do you think that the students involved in that were that innocent and that they just didn’t know what they were doing was racist?
Speaker 2: 06:03 No, I think, I think they were acting in a, in a, in a way that was racist. And that’s the problem, you know, the, the problem is why are we putting young people in a position, whether they’re victims of racism or perpetrators of racism to be either, you know, why aren’t we equipping people to move beyond that and, and move past, you know, the, uh, you know, the way of thinking and the way of acting, that’s been a burden on adults for generations and generations. So yeah, of course it was a racist act, but why aren’t we educating our young people, not to perpetrate racist acts and why aren’t we educating our young people, uh, to confront racist facts when, when they happen, you know, a constant
Speaker 1: 06:52 Refrain against this kind of teaching is that, uh, children are too young to confront the horrors of racism or they’re doing so with some, so some sort of racial division. Um, what can you tell us about that?
Speaker 2: 07:03 Young people understand that we already have racial division and that we already experienced horrors and incredibly negative, uh, you know, uh, situations as a result of racism, young people live that every day, what they wanted, what they want to know is why are we in this situation? Why is the world the way that it is and how can we make the world better? So, you know, young people, they’re not coming at this in a way that, um, that they’re not already experiencing problems associated with racism. Uh, they want to not be trapped, uh, in a situation where they are going to move forward in a world that hasn’t addressed these problems and pass these problems on to future generations.
And that was Richard Barrera, President of the San Diego Unified School board. He was speaking with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindmon.
A TV ad supporting governor gavin newsom in the recall election claims the governor is “getting 65-thousand homeless californians into housing.”
Capradio’s politifact california reporter chris nichols fact-checked that claim in this week’s can you handle the truth segment. He spoke with capradio anchor randol white.
ANCHOR: Chris, this ad was produced by a group called “Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom Committee.” Tell us about that organization and the claim you fact checked.
CHRIS: Hi Randol. This is a group formed by Democrats supporting Newsom. They’ve produced several TV ads that talk about how the governor is helping Califorinans. Things like the state stimulus checks he approved, but then they also make a claim about homlessness that caught our attention.
TV AD: “Governor Gavin Newsom has California roaring back. What does that mean for you? Newsom is delivering money to your pocket. Cleaning up our streets and getting 65,000 homeless Californians into housing.” (:13)
ANCHOR: 65 thousand homeless Californians into housing. That’s a big number. But is that really happening?
CHRIS: This claim really needs some context. Newsom has proposed spending a record 12 billion dollars on homelessness. The big focus is on housing people. But that’s a plan that stretches over the next three fiscal years — and the 65,000 figure is a goal, not something he’s already accomplished … or anywhere close to accomplishing.
ANCHOR: For some more context, the end of the ad says Newsom ‘is just getting started on this.’ But based on your reporting on homelessness, we also know that housing people who live on the street is not something that’s easy to accomplish.
CHRIS: That’s right. It’s not easy and it’s mainly the job of cities, counties and nonprofits to do this challenging, time-consuming work, though state funding and technical assistance do help.
ANCHOR: You’ve covered the state’s Project Roomkey initiative. How successful has that been in housing people?
CHRIS: That program has helped more than 40 thousand homeless Californians. It provided them with temporary shelter in motels during the worst of the pandemic. But of those who have left the program only about 30 percent have gone on to find permanent or temporary housing.
So, Newsom and local governments have a big challenge ahead to house that 65,000 number talked about in the campaign ad.
Host: Thank you Chris. Now, Governor Gavin Newsom says he will keep the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration active, even as California reopens. But does he have the power to do that? PolitiFact California contributor Sasha Hupka [HUP-kuh] joins us to sort out the confusion. Sasha, what did you find?
Sasha Hupka: We saw claims online that Newsom can’t extend the state of emergency and that it expired last year, but that’s simply not true. In fact, he’s already extended it several times. The laws which govern such things say very clearly a declaration is ended either by him or by concurrent resolution in the legislature.
H: What is a concurrent resolution?
SH: It’s used to resolve issues that pertain to both the Assembly and Senate. Legal experts say it’s a check on Newsom’s power, because it means both he and a majority of the legislature have to agree … the declaration should continue. Experts say there is also a check in the form of public opinion. This is especially true for Newsom, who is facing a recall election.
H: What does the ongoing state of emergency do? Why keep it?
SH: It allows officials to address the crisis, which could be important if cases spike again. It also unlocks funding California usually wouldn’t have access to.
H: So how did PolitiFact rate this claim?
SH: PolitiFact rated this claim False.
That was CapRadio’s PolitiFact California contributor Sasha Hupka [HUP-kuh] and reporter Chris Nichols, speaking with anchor Randol White.
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.