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Celebration of life for San Diego philanthropist

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Celebration of life for San Diego philanthropist


Good Morning, I’m Emilyn Mohebbi in for Debbie Cruz. It’s Tuesday, May 14th.

Local leaders pay their respects to one of San Diego’s leading philanthropists. More on that next. But first, let’s do the headlines.

San Diego’s next chief of police will officially take over June 7th.

Scott Wahl received final approval from the city council yesterday.

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He was chosen by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria to be promoted to the chief position after current chief David Neisleit announced his retirement.

Wahl has been with the department for decades and currently holds the position of Assistant Chief.

San Diego County leaders will spend this week talking about how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars.

This morning begins two days of budget presentations from departments like maintenance, roads, sanitation, flood control and fire protection.

County budgets for the next two fiscal years are expected to be in excess of 8-billion dollars.

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These meetings will help determine how to share that money among the various agencies and departments.

Today’s meeting begins at 10 a-m.

Another session will be held Thursday and these meetings are open to the public.

A prominent figure in San Diego sports during the 2000s has died.

A-J Smith was 75.

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His family says he spent the past several years in a battle with prostate cancer.

Smith was the San Diego Chargers general manager from 2003-to-2012 – a period that featured stars like LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates.

Smith’s teams won 98 games over 10 seasons… along with five A-F-C West division titles.

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

A celebration of life was held for the late Joan Jacobs yesterday.Reporter Melissa Mae brings us the remembrances.

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MM: Joan Jacobs was a champion for the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. Just a day after Mother’s Day the venue welcomed hundreds of community members to her celebration of life. Jacobs died on May 6th at the age of 91.

MM: San Diego Padres Executive Vice President Tom Seidler says the Padres are fortunate to partner with the Jacobs family. 

TS “They just set a high bar for how to lead in San Diego and give back to the community and so we’ve been fortunate to try to follow their lead and help make San Diego the best version of itself.”   

MM: Along with the Rady Shell, the Jacobs family has donated millions of dollars to the the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Symphony… Who is dedicating their 2024-25 opening season of Jacobs Music Center to Joan Jacobs. Melissa Mae KPBS News. 

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The Jacobs family are also major donors to us here at KPBS.

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If you’ve walked along the beach lately, you may have noticed clear, oval shapes dotting the shore.

Reporter Katie Anastas (a-NASS-tis) says they’re washing up all along the west coast.

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The round, translucent shapes have rings and a thin sail running down the middle. While they might look like plastic, they’re actually a kind of zooplankton [ZOH-plankton] called velella velella, or by-the-wind sailors.

Anya Stajner [sch-TY-ner] studies zooplankton at U-C-S-D’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 

Because of that sail they often get blown ashore in times of high shoreward winds and currents. 

Out on the ocean’s surface, velella have a bright blue ring around their edge. Their color fades away once they wash up on shore.

If you’re out there swimming or surfing you should keep your eye out. You can surf right alongside those little sailors. 

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Velella catch their prey with tiny tentacles dangling from their bodies. Their stings aren’t usually harmful to humans, but scientists recommend avoiding touching your eyes or mouth after handling them.

Katie Anastas, KPBS News.

In the meat industry, pink slime is known as pieces of cow steamed with ammonia and used as beef filler.

In media circles, pink slime is a term for websites that pose as unbiased local news providers but actually have a political agenda.

Investigative reporter Amita Sharma says two of these sites are in San Diego.

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“I know you want to Hildy, but you can’t quit the newspaper business. Oh? Why not? I know you Hildy and I know what quitting would mean to you. And what would it mean? It would kill you.” 

More than eight decades after that scene from the comedy His Girl Friday, the American public has largely quit newspapers. As a result, thousands of newsrooms have gone dark in the past two decades. Today, there are only about 1,200 daily newspapers left in the United States.

Experts say this is bad enough…making matters worse, there is now an equal number of so-called pink slime sites.

“A pink slime site is a news outlet that is presenting itself as a traditionally local-focused news publication, free of bias and free of political ties with human journalists on their team.”

But NewsGuard’s McKenzie Sadeghi says that’s not the full story.

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“They also mix in some very partisan content that promotes certain candidates or ideologies that favor the goals of their political founders or backers.”

There are two such websites in San Diego County: San Diego City Wire and sister outlet East San Diego News. At first glance, they look like a traditional newspaper site…with sections for local government, politics, business and sports. But look closer and there are striking differences. There are no human bylines. And a  lot of the articles are actually press releases or content generated by AI.

“They use software that analyzes large sets of data. For example, campaign finance records or unemployment data and turn it into a report, making it specific and tailored to that specific county

San Diego City Wire recently ran stories about the number of local FDA inspections and political committee contributions…Then there are other stories … that reveal a political agenda…like pieces referring to undocumented migrants as “illegal aliens” or disclosing how many teachers in a district pledged to teach critical race theory. 

These are right-leaning news sites.”

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The San Diego websites have no phone numbers for their leadership, only a single email address. Emails KPBS sent seeking interviews bounced back. 

Longtime news analyst Ken Doctor, runs a Pulitzer-Prize winning digital news website called Lookout Santa Cruz. He says the ongoing decline of local newspapers has paved the way for pink slime.

“I fear we’re entering a Blade Runner era of the news business, given what artificial intelligence can do in the wrong hands. That is part of what is going to make this pink slime problem far worse very quickly.”

Especially in an election year.

“I fear we’re headed toward a dumpster fire.”

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Tim Franklin is a dean at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He says these are  treacherous times.

We have a hyper-partisan environment that we’re all living in. We have hotly contested elections coming up. We have growing news deserts and frankly we need reliable, accurate information to make informed decisions as voters. Pink slime is only gonna muddy the situation.”

Franklin says the antidote to pink slime is a national media literacy campaign to help people distinguish between news AND information designed to mislead.

Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

Mexico’s presidential election is less than a month away and KPBS wants to include our audience in our coverage.

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We will hold a virtual conversation later this month, answering your questions in English and Spanish.

To participate, go to KPBS-dot-org and look for the banner at the top of the homepage to click through and submit your question or topic.

Then be sure to join us on the evening of Wednesday, May 29th at 5-30 on YouTube or Facebook for the virtual event.

That’s it for the podcast today.

As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org.

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Tomorrow on the podcast a Mindfulness Expert will join me for a discussion on mental health as we mark Mental Health Awareness Month.

I’m Emilyn Mohebbi. Thanks for listening and have a great Tuesday.



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San Diego, CA

La Jolla traffic board wants San Diego to adopt practices allowing lower speed limits

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La Jolla traffic board wants San Diego to adopt practices allowing lower speed limits


An initiative that could lead to lower speed limits in parts of San Diego has unanimous support from the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board.

At its meeting May 21, the board considered a request to advise the city to adopt actions laid out in state Assembly Bill 43, which gives municipalities the authority to reduce speed limits on roads contiguous to a business district and others that are deemed particularly unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. They already were authorized to lower the speed limit in school zones.

The request was presented by Anar Salayev, executive director of BikeSD, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling and cycling infrastructure and safety measures. Salayev said reduced speed limits would be the first step in achieving traffic calming as well as improving road safety.

Supporters of AB 43 cite National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data that says if a person is struck by a vehicle traveling 20 mph, the person has up to a 95 percent chance of surviving, vs. a 20 percent chance if the vehicle is traveling 40 mph.

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“On the surface, [the speed] doesn’t seem like that much of a difference, but it’s actually exponential in the potential consequences and outcomes,” Salayev said. “Slower vehicle speeds make for a more comfortable and safer experience, not only for pedestrians but also for cyclists, for anyone in a wheelchair, for really anyone else on that road.”

AB 43 was signed into law in fall 2021, and since then, several California cities have taken a cue from the bill to reduce speed limits across hundreds of miles of roadway. Salayev said San Diego is “ripe” to follow suit, citing a memo in November 2022 from Councilman Stephen Whitburn calling for the city Transportation Department to use AB 43 to develop a list of streets recommended for speed limit reduction.

The memo asked that priority be given to “streets with a history of fatal and severe injury collisions” and that the department “conduct an outreach effort to hear directly from community members regarding suggestions for speed limit reductions.”

A city news release in February 2023 announced that San Diego — aided by a $680,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation — would develop a speed management plan identifying areas where lower speeds would most benefit pedestrians and cyclists.

“Cities have been adopting this,” Salayev said at the T&T Board meeting, “and it’s about time that San Diego does, too.”

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“The council members want a list of five corridors from every district where they can start rolling this out immediately,” Salayev said. “You all live and work and commute in La Jolla. You are the right people to let … the council know where you think speeds could be reduced.”

La Jolla is represented by District 1 Councilman Joe LaCava.

Salayev also suggested that the La Jolla Community Planning Association write a letter to the mayor’s office outlining specific streets the group feels would best be served by lowered speed limits.

When asked about the effectiveness and fiscal impact of the implementation of AB 43 in other cities, Salayev acknowledged that the programs are relatively new and that not enough substantial data has been produced to make firm conclusions.

Some Traffic & Transportation Board members said any speed limit changes need to be accompanied by active enforcement.

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“If it’s not going to get enforced, or if there is no mechanism to enforce it … it’s just not going to change the behavior of people who don’t care anyway,” member John Bauer said.

Board Chairman Brian Earley said there is a relative lack of police presence in La Jolla compared with the speeding violations that happen regularly.

“We’re missing enforcement,” Earley said. “We’d really like to see enforcement of surface street speeds, and I don’t know why they can’t park the car, pull out a radar gun and pull people over. We all know the Police Department needs funding. They could increase their revenue and solve a lot of their financial issues in a week.”

California has based speed limits on a process known as the 85th percentile, in which speed surveys conducted by local governments on busy streets every 10 years or so measure the speed at which drivers were traveling, and speed limits are set to reflect what 85 percent of motorists were driving at on a given section of road.

However, in many cases when the 85th-percentile method called for raising speed limits, local officials in San Diego declined to update the limits because of neighborhood opposition and concerns about pedestrian injuries and deaths.

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That made the existing speed limit unenforceable, meaning the city had to give up issuing tickets using radar or other electronic devices.

In 2019, The San Diego Union-Tribune, citing data obtained through a public records request, reported that of the 656 streets where the city was responsible for setting speeds, 103 had stretches where police were not allowed to enforce the speed limit by radar — totaling more than 110 miles of roadway.

Streets in La Jolla where that applied included parts of Calle de Oro, La Jolla Parkway, La Jolla Boulevard, Nautilus Street and Via Capri.

San Diego police Officer Jason Costanza said at the time that “complaints about traffic safety are one of the forefront complaints. When we don’t have the ability to enforce the speed, it’s difficult to explain the situation to the public. That’s frustrating for us and the community.”

AB 43 modifies the 85th-percentile method so that motorists’ driving behavior doesn’t need to be the dominant factor in establishing speed limit recommendations.

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Board member Tom Hardy brought up automated cameras as a way to get motorists to obey speed limits.

“The streets aren’t safe,” Hardy said. “When pedestrians and cyclists go out in this neighborhood, they’re taking their lives into their own hands.”

Salayev said enforcement likely would come after the establishment of corridors in need of traffic calming.

“This would be a first step to help identify those corridors and roll out this program while working on creative long-term changes down the line that would actually reduce speeds in a significant way,” Salayev said. “What we want to see from there is self-enforcing streets. That could be anything from cameras to … other sorts of infrastructure later down the line.”

Salayev pointed to Assembly Bill 645, a law signed by the governor in October that established a speed camera pilot program in six California cities.

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Resident Michael McCormack expressed a desire for reduced speed limits in La Jolla Shores.

“This is just like cigarettes in bars in 2000,” McCormack said. “Everyone used to say ‘That’s just the way it is.’ Well, we’re the same way with speed as a community. The speeds are too fast.”

Board member Bill Podway asked about the cost of implementing lower speed limits, adding that the city of San Diego is “dead broke.”

Salayev said the cost of changing speed limit signs would be minimal and could be bundled with another project.

Following the discussion, the board voted to support use of AB 43 by the city. The decision is expected to be reviewed by the Community Planning Association at its meeting in June.

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Meanwhile, the San Diego Association of Governments, the county’s regional planning agency, is working to pinpoint high-risk areas for cyclists and pedestrians in its first regionwide “Vision Zero” action plan.

Vision Zero is a road safety concept adopted by 90 U.S. cities, including San Diego, that aims to reduce traffic deaths to zero, even if it slows traffic.

SANDAG is creating two maps as part of its plan. One shows where crashes typically have happened in the past, while the other tries to guess where they will happen in the future.

The first map indicates that 6.1 percent of non-freeway local roadways account for more than half of fatal crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

The second map shows locations with the most risk factors that typically predict crashes — such as number of lanes and proximity to apartment complexes or commercial districts.

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Sam Sanford, a SANDAG senior regional planner, said the agency also is gathering public input, including through an online survey where nearly 3,000 people singled out potentially dangerous intersections.

He said that could help cities discover problem areas that local officials aren’t aware of.

Other T&T news

Event chairman Howard Zatkin (standing) presents proposed parking space closures for this summer’s Concerts by the Sea at La Jolla’s Scripps Park.

(Tyler Faurot)

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Concerts by the Sea: The board also voted unanimously to support the closure of six parking spaces along Coast Boulevard at Scripps Park during the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s Concerts by the Sea series this summer.

The spaces will be reserved for musicians to unload and load their equipment.

Four free Sunday concerts are slated for the series, all from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Scripps Park.

The schedule:

• July 14: Atomic Groove (variety dance band)

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• July 21: Jimmy Buffett cover band

• July 28: Betamaxx (‘80s music)

• Aug. 4: Big Time Operator (big band music)

Next meeting: The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets (pending items to review) at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.

— San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer David Garrick contributed to this report.

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Crews Halt Brush Fire Near U.S.-Mexico Border

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Crews Halt Brush Fire Near U.S.-Mexico Border


SAN DIEGO, CA — Firefighters halted a brush fire Monday in southern San Diego County.

The blaze, called the Cameron Fire, sparked around 1:30 p.m. off Cameron Truck Trail in Lake Morena, which is close to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Cal Fire.

Crews stopped the fire at 5.28 acres, according to Cal Fire. There were no injuries, but five outbuildings were destroyed.



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San Diego police officer Anthony Hair resigns after locking himself in backseat with female detainee: ‘Are you single?’

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San Diego police officer Anthony Hair resigns after locking himself in backseat with female detainee: ‘Are you single?’


A San Diego police officer has resigned after he was caught locked in the backseat of his squad car with a female detainee who propositioned him for sex last year, newly released bodycam footage showed.

Officer Anthony Hair left his post about a month after a probe was launched into the August 2023 incident and one day before he was to meet with investigators for his second scheduled interview.

Hair, who had been with SDPD for two years, found himself in the vehicle with the female suspect after he arrested her on suspicion of stealing a car outside of a convenience store, according to CBS 8.

A San Diego police officer has resigned after he was caught locked in the backseat of his squad car with a female detainee. SDPD

The suspect, who has not been named, was one of two people wanted for car theft. She also had a bench warrant out for her arrest.

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After Hair arrested her, he was supposed to bring her to police headquarters and later to the Las Colinas Detention Center in Santee, Calif., for questioning.

In bodycam footage released by the SDPD, the suspect was heard propositioning the officer for sex after asking him if he was married.

“You’re not too bad. What’s it gonna hurt me if I work the system, you know what I mean? That’s the way I see s–t,” she told Hair.

“Are you single?” she added, to which he responded, “Yeah, but you’re not.”

“I’m down to f–k right now,” she told him, before he interrupts, “Don’t say that right now…Don’t say that right now because everything is being recorded right now.”

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The female suspect propositioned the officer for sex last year, bodycam footage showed. SDPD

As the pair approached the detention center, Hair can be heard asking the female suspect what she was doing in the backseat.

Hair turned off his bodycam and slowed his vehicle as he drove onto a residential street, the outlet added.

About 20 minutes later, Hair called for a fellow officer to help him out of the police car over the embarrassing mishap.

“I asked him if he was okay. He said, yes, and then asked if I had my patrol car key with me…I asked why he was asking and what did he need,” the unidentified officer said of Hair, describing him as panicked. “Officer Hair then asked me If I could go meet him.”

The officer turned his bodycam off after pulling into a residential street with the female detainee. SDPD

“I asked him his location and he said, near Cottonwood… I asked him why he needed me, and he said he would tell me when I got there. He said he was really embarrassed.”

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Investigators reported that Hair believed the woman was suffering from a medical emergency, according to NBC San Diego.

Hair and the woman denied anything untoward happened, as the officer claimed he was “checking” on the suspect in the back.

Officer Anthony Hair left his post about a month after a probe was launched into the August 2023 incident. SDPD

“When I was waking her up, that’s when I noticed that this door closed on me. That’s when I was trying to kind of open the door,” Hair said in the clip.

San Diego police found traces of semen on Hair’s belt, CBS reported.

“He wanted to get with me when I was done with the warrant or whatever I got arrested for,” she said.

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It’s unclear if he faces any criminal charges over the ordeal.

The Post has reached out to the San Diego Police Department for comment.



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