Student enrollment has dropped dramatically both locally and state-wide because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered the state to stop issuing fracking permits by 2024. And, we have a recap of last night’s Oscars.
San Diego sees steep drops in public school enrollment.
We’ll have more on that next, but first… let’s do the headlines….
California is among a number of states now considering resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. The J&J vaccine was put on pause after reports of extremely rare blood clots in people who had been given the vaccine. But, over the weekend both the CDC and the FDA said the vaccine can be used. San Diego County’s latest numbers show almost 45% of all eligible residents are now fully vaccinated, while about 66% have received at least one dose. The county’s goal is to vaccinate at least 75% of the eligible population.
California has a new Attorney General. Former Assemblyman Rob Bonta was sworn in Friday evening. The Alameda Democrat says he will focus on holding scammers and mass polluters accountable. He also hinted at working on criminal justice reform and prosecuting hate crimes.
We can repair our broken justice system and we can attack the forces of hate and white supremacy. As attorney general, these fights — your fights — will be my fights.
The San Diego Padres rallied to defeat the LA Dodgers on Sunday in 11 innings. The Padres overcame a 6 run deficit to win 8 to 7 at Dodger stadium. The two teams have met 7 times thus far this season and while the Dodgers are leading the National League west, the Padres hold a 4 to 3 winning game advantage against the World Series champs.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
Schools across California saw steep drops in enrollment this year as parents pulled their kids from the public school system for other alternatives amid the pandemic. KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong has the statewide and local numbers.
Public school enrollment has been dropping steadily in California for the past several years. That trend accelerated in San Diego and throughout the state during the current school year amidst the pandemic, according to newly published state data.
GRAPHIC 1: [“STATEWIDE ENROLLMENT DECLINE”, 5.5 million -> 5.3 million (3.2% Decline)]Statewide, overall enrollment dropped about 3% in the 2020-2021 school year. This compares to a drop of less than 1 percent during the previous two years. .
GRAPHIC 2: [“SAN DIEGO COUNTY ENROLLMENT DECLINE”, 423,473 -> 406,128 (4.1% Decline)]The drop was greater in San Diego County, where traditional public schools lost more than 17,000 students this school year. That’s about 4 percent of total enrollment.
GRAPHIC 3: (“SAN DIEGO UNIFIED ENROLLMENT DECLINE”, 102,270 -> 97,968 (4.2% Decline)]San Diego Unified, the county’s largest district, also saw a 4% decline. Richard Barrera is the president of the San Diego Unified School board.
BARRERA.mp400:01:11:09RICHARD BARRERA /// SDUSD SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENTThis was parents who wanted to find some alternative somewhere from what was primarily a distance learning program in our district for most of the year.
Barrera said the most significant drop was in Kindergarten, which is optional for students.
BARRERA.mp400:00:44:05RICHARD BARRERA /// SDUSD SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENTWe know that we had parents who just decided this was not the year that they wanted their students to start school. That was the biggest enrollment decline.
State funding for school districts is usually determined by enrollment. But thanks to federal stimulus and additional money from the state budget, San Diego Unified and other districs won’t suffer financially from the enrollment decline, at least for this year.
BARRERA.mp400:03:06:20RICHARD BARRERA // SDUSD SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENTThey are basing funding for school districts on the 19-20 year enrollment period. In a sense holding districts harmless for the enrollment decline as a result of the pandemic, and that’s in the governor’s proposal as well, the 21-22 year.
Barrera said as schools open up, he expects enrollment trends to go back to what they were before the pandemic, a steadier decline of about 1 percent each year. Joe Hong KPBS News.
That was KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong.
Governor Gavin Newsom is moving to completely phase out oil drilling in California over the next two decades. CapRadio’s Nicole Nixon reports.
Newsom directed state agencies to stop issuing new fracking permits by 2024, and to end all oil production by 2045… the same year as California’s 100 percent renewable energy goal.
The move follows months of mixed messaging from the governor on oil extraction.
In September, Newsom said he lacked the authority to ban fracking and called on the legislature to do it. But when the bill came out, the governor did not publicly support it. The measure failed earlier this month.
Still, environmental groups say the announcement is long overdue. Mary Creasman is CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters.
CREASMAN: This is first-in-the nation policy. So it’s a big deal. I would say this is kind of the beginning of the conversation about getting serious about transitioning away from oil and gas. >
Some environmental groups say Newsom’s timeline isn’t aggressive enough.
But oil producers and elected officials from the South Central Valley — where most of California’s oil is extracted — say the directive would cost jobs.
Cathey Reheis-Boyd is President of the Western States Petroleum Association. She says she’s exploring legal options.
REHEIS-BOYD: We are not opposed at all to the transition. What we are opposed to is mandates and bans that aren’t based on science, data and facts. >
According to industry groups, oil and gas production contributes billions to California’s economy and employs tens of thousands of people.
And that was Cap Radio’s Nicole Nixon.
In early June, Mexico will hold federal elections – the largest ones in its recent democratic history. With tens of thousands of candidates, one of the main concerns for public officials is how to keep the electorate well informed. From K-J-Z-Z’s Mexico City Bureau, Rodrigo Cervantes [rod-REE-go sir-VAHN-tehs] reports on a social media effort to try to bring unbiased data to the voters.
CityCERVANTES: More than 80 thousand candidates are running for public offices in Mexico this year, from congress to mayors and governors.Sergio Bárcena is a political science researcher and founder of Buró Parlamentario, a non-partisan, non-profit organization analyzing electoral data.BÁRCENA: “Recently, we have seen the highest levels of ideological and political polarization in the Mexican electorate”.To fight misinformation, his organization developed a social media app in which voters may compare candidates, check their background and interact with them.Bárcena says these elections will be particularly relevant because the lower chamber’s majority is at stake.Rodrigo Cervantes, KJZZ News, Mexico CityI’m Rodrigo Cervantes in Mexico City—- CC —-CERVANTES: More than 80 thousand candidates are running for public offices in Mexico this year, making it the largest election in the country’s modern history. Sergio Bárcena (SIR-he-oh BAR-zeh-nah), a political science researcher, says one of the main challenges will be misinformation.BÁRCENA: “Recently, we have seen the highest levels of ideological and political polarization in the Mexican electorate”.Bárcena says the elections in Mexico in June will be particularly relevant as the lower chamber’s majority is at stake.
And that was KJZZ’s Rodrigo Cervantes reporting from Mexico City.
Coming up…. The guilty verdict in the trial of the officer who murdered George Floyd was a landmark, and a result much different from the trials three decades ago of the officers involved in the Rodney King case…. Both in verdict and public reaction.
“After the acquittals in 1992 there were five days of rioting in Los Angeles and more than 50 deaths.”
We’ll have more on that and then a recap of the Oscars last night, that’s up next just after the break.
Video and police abuse played key roles both in the Derek Chauvin trial and in the trial involving four Los Angeles police officers and Rodney King nearly three decades ago. But the outcomes were vastly different. PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols spoke with anchor Mike Hagerty about the two cases in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment.
ANCHOR: Chris, remind us what the officers were accused of doing to Rodney King?
CHRIS: CHP officers pulled over King, who was black, for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway back in April of 1991 … King tried to elude officers but eventually stopped near an apartment complex.
From there four Los Angeles Police Department officers, three white and one Latino, took charge of the traffic stop … and they were captured on video kicking and beating King dozens of times after he was on the ground — the video sparked outrage across the country.
But in the trial the next year, the officers were acquitted of almost all charges, including felony assault.
By contrast this week, Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts, including second degree murder, in the death of George Floyd.
ANCHOR: We saw a great sense of relief among many community members after the Chauvin verdict. But that wasn’t the case after the trial involving Rodney King …
CHRIS: That’s right. After the acquittals in 1992, there were five days of rioting in Los Angele and more than 50 deaths. That included 10 people shot and killed by LAPD officers and National Guardsmen.
More than 2,000 were injured … there was widespread destruction in South Los Angeles, where residents set fires and destroyed grocery and liquor stores and other shops.
ANCHOR: You spoke with Sacramento State criminal justice professor Shelby Moffatt about the Chauvin case and the case from 1992. What did he have to say about them?
CHRIS: Moffatt is a professor who also spent 20 years as a police officer in Sacramento.
Here’s what he told me about the two trials:
01Moffatt: I think the outcome of the Rodney King trial had a lot to do with the outcome of this trial. They say if you had had this trial, their children’s trial in nineteen ninety two, you might have had a similar outcome because people were not ready to make the change then.” (:16)
In both trials, Moffatt said defense attorneys tried to put the victims on trial, to assassinate their character.
02Moffatt: “They said very similar things about Rodney King in his trial. That he was a black man, that he was big and that if he got up we were scared of him. And these are the tropes that have been used for several hundred years.” (:14)
ANCHOR: One of the differences in the trials was the make-up of the juries. Tell us about that.
CHRIS: We know the jury in the Chauvin trial was more diverse: Six were white, four Black, and two identify as multiracial.
In 1992, the trial was moved to Simi Valley, a nearly all-white city almost 30 miles from where the beating of Rodney King took place. The court decided it might not receive a fair trial in Los Angeles due to all the publicity.
That jury ended up with no Black people and only two people of color.
ANCHOR: Finally, Chris, there were eventually federal charges brought against the officers for violating King’s civil rights. What happened with those?
CHRIS: Two officers were convicted on those charges and sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison. The other two were acquitted. And nine years ago, King, not long after releasing a memoir, tragically drowned in his own backyard pool. He was 47 years old.
And that was CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols speaking with anchor Mike Hagerty.
Last night was the Oscars, and KPBS FIlm Critic Beth Accomando was there to watch the whole thing. She spoke with KPBS’ Deb Welsh about last night’s winners. Here’s that interview….
That was KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando, speaking with KPBS’ Deb Welsh. You can find a full list of winners as well as more commentary on the Oscars on Beth’s Cinema Junkie blog at K-P-B-S-dot-ORG.
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.