Advocates Fear A Blow To Affordable Housing (San Diego News Now)

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The San Diego-based Conrad Prebys Foundation sold nearly 6,000 apartment units to the private equity group Blackstone. Housing advocates fear the deal will be a blow to local affordable housing. Meanwhile, a group of parents and advocates gathered in front of the Coronado Unified School District offices on Tuesday to apologize for a recent racist incident at the high school. Plus, Los Angeles Times Op-Ed Columnist Jean Guerrero talks about her recent column that discussed San Diego’s history with white extremism and the local right wing news outlet, One America News.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, July 28th.

Protests against a large sale of San Diego apartments to Blackstone

More on that next, But first… let’s do the headlines….

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California state workers will have to be vaccinated or get weekly COVID tests starting Monday. Healthcare workers and those in high-risk congregate settings will face the same requirements later in August.

UC Hastings law professor Dorit Reiss is an expert in vaccine law and policy. She says the new vaccine rule is a “soft” mandate.

“An employer can say, ‘Get the vaccine or you’re fired,’ that’s a very strong mandate. A mandate that says vaccinate or we’ll put in place requirements for you to reduce the risk, such as testing or masking is a softer one. The consequences are not as bad.”

Many businesses have stayed away from requiring proof of vaccination because of the risk of backlash. Meanwhile, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce agrees with the state’s decision. Jerry Sanders is with the chamber.

“Right now, safety of all of our business owners and their patrons is of paramount importance.”

The Chamber is urging people to get vaccinated and they are advising their members that masks create an additional level of safety. The chamber says the alternative is a shutdown that could stifle the current economic recovery.

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The California State University system says it will require all students and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to take any in-person classes in the fall. The CSU system had previously announced plans to require vaccinations, but only after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to at least one of the vaccines. All current vaccines are being administered under an “emergency use” authorization.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Earlier this year Conrad Prebys Foundation announced it was planning to sell 66 residential complexes across San Diego County to the private equity group Blackstone. And the price tag? One billion dollars. Now tenants in some of these properties say they fear they will be displaced.

KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim has more on the story.

“Fight fight fight, housing is a human right.”
Standing in front of the Golden Tree Apartments…Anne Marine McKellob has called the Golden Tree Apartments home for the last three years. It’s one of the 66 buildings the foundation is selling to BlackStone for a total of more than $1 billion. Most of the proceeds will go toward the foundation’s many philanthropic efforts in San Diego, including KPBS..
Mckellob — who is also a member of the tenants rights organization ACCE — says she’s worried what will happen to her family when Blackstone takes over.
“I am pretty much afraid that we got to move out. They aren’t in favor of us, they are in favor of themselves and growing their money higher.”
The New York City-based Blackstone has been buying up low-income and moderate-income housing complexes across the country. In a statement to KPBS, Kathleen McCarthy the Global Co-head of Blackstone Real Estate wrote
“We expect that a resident making 80% or less of AMI will continue to find the majority of units affordable. We plan to make substantial capital investments — exceeding $100 million — to address unaddressed resident requests.”
McCarthy also wrote Blackstone’s renovation of the apartments will generate 500 jobs.
McKellob, who says she pays $1,400 a month for a roach-infested 1 bedroom apartment, , doubts she’ll benefit from any upgrade.
So they maybe they try to give up something because you know that’s what they do to make a more bougie apartment and then maybe, maybe the amount that they give isn’t even enough for where we want to go, depends…”
National City Vice Mayor Jose Rodriguez says he’s not confident that Blackstone will keep any promises it’s making. And he is warning Blackstone that a strong tenants rights culture is growing in the San Diego region.
The good thing of doing these public actions is to ensure that this new prospective buyer knows what they are dealing with and they are dealing with tenants that are organized with elected officials that want to make sure that we represent everybody and everybody’s interest and so they know this is going to be fight once the sale goes through.”
Blackstone Group expects the transaction to close later this year.
Cristina Kim. KPBS News.

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A group of parents and advocates in Coronado are seeking to make amends with the Escondido community, following the tortilla throwing incident at a basketball game in June.
KPBS reporter Alexandra Rangel has more on the journey to healing they’re hoping to start.

“We are deeply sorry.”
InclusioNado is a group of parents and advocates. They gathered in front of the Coronado Unified School District Tuesday, to simply say sorry.
Despite an ongoing investigation, the group wanted to apologize for the tortilla throwing incident that hurt and offended not only the players of Escondido Orange Glen High School, but the latino community.
Marely Ramirez, Inclusionado Advocate
“Escondido we see you, we hear you, and we stand by you.”
Merely Ramirez, a parent on InclusioNado’s steering committee, says it’s time to move forward.
Marely Ramirez, Inclusionado Advocate
“Escondido, we would like to embrace the opportunity to build a bridge of respect between Coronado and escondido.”
The championship game between Coronado High and Orange Glen, that resulted in tortillas being thrown at Orange Glen athletes, has caused much controversy.
It has also led to the stripping of Coronado’s championship title by the CIF board.
Thomas Anthony Morelli, Coronado Resident
“How can it be that there are so many educated people, captains of industry, that would allow that to happen.
Thomas Morelli, a Coronado resident, spoke at Tuesday’s public apology. He says healing needs to happen far beyond the school districts.
He’s had neighbors of color who have experienced racial discrimination and he’s willing to do his part to foster inclusion.
Thomas Anthony Morelli, Coronado Resident
“We want to bring inclusion in this city and we pray that we can do that.”
Alexandra Rangel KPBS News.

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The San Diego City Council finalized a deal ON TUESDAY to move the annual Holiday Bowl to Petco Park. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the bowl had been searching for a new home since the Mission Valley stadium was demolished last year.

AB: The Padres’ downtown ballpark seemed like a great fit for the Holiday Bowl. But the 1998 ballot measure that created Petco Park included a prohibition on football games. Council members voted unanimously to remove that restriction to ensure the bowl game stays in San Diego. The Padres will share in the revenue from the game and the CEO Erik Gruepner says the team is covering the upfront renovation costs.
EG: Reconfiguring the ballpark will take some work — work that we have largely already done with the exception of finalizing permitting and construction, and we have a team that’s working hard on that as I speak.
AB: Gruepner says when retrofitted for football, Petco can hold about 50,000 fans. The Holiday Bowl is scheduled for December 28. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.

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Coming up…. San Diego’s history with white extremism and the locally based One America News Network.

On Tuesday morning, lawmakers in Washington DC heard testimony from capitol police officers during a hearing on the January 6th insurrection. In their own words the officers described how they came face to face with what they described as a violent mob of rioters subscribing to lies, conspiracy theories and white extremist ideas. In fact, one of the people who died participating in…

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