The Morning Report
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Students, families and professionals across the county continue to lack reliable, affordable access to high-speed internet, a year after the pandemic made such access a simple requirement of modern life.
Government agencies across the region either have no plan to address the problem, or no money to enact their plans.
In a new story, Kayla Jimenez outlines why 82,000 San Diego households continue to struggle without internet, from the expense of building out broadband to rural areas, to marginalized communities being left out of cities expanding 5G networks.
“We found that the main drivers in terms of inequity of the digital divide really stems from cost affordable internet,” said Dennis Gakunga, Chula Vista’s chief sustainability officer. “Not just affordable internet, but affordable and quality internet.”
The San Diego Association of Governments is now gathering leaders from cities and school districts to build out a list of all the region’s problems from the digital divide, so the agency can then seek state or federal funding to address them. Agency leaders are trying along with activist groups to marshal support to begin treating broadband access like a utility.
How the Vaccines Work
One of the great things about San Diego is we live next to a lot of internationally renowned scientists. And so if we have questions about things like viruses and the human body’s immune system, we don’t have to look very far for an expert.
We had a lot of questions last week about the vaccines being distributed. What are the differences between them? What about pregnant women and kids?
Scott Lewis sat down for a special podcast interview with Shane Crotty, who leads the Crotty Lab at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, to answer some of these questions. Crotty’s team did groundbreaking work on the virus, SARS-Cov-2 and what the body does when it detects it.
Crotty explained that it was all a race. The body races to create the antibodies and T-cells it needs to fight while the virus races to reproduce. If the virus wins, it will make its way into lungs, leading to hospitalizations and deaths.
Regardless of their efficacy, all the different vaccines approved for use have been proven to give the human body a head start in that race to beat the virus before it gets to the lungs. Now, we just have to win the race between the vaccines and the virus as they spread through the population.
On that front: The county’s vaccine allotment increased 10 percent, or by nearly 100,000 doses, this week, and local residents newly eligible for vaccination are scrambling for appointments with the help of automated Twitter bots that alert them to availabilities. (Union-Tribune) NBC 7 San Diego reports that new vaccine sites are opening up.
Convention Center to House Migrant Minors Seeking Asylum
Unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum will soon move into the San Diego Convention Center, after city and county leaders reached a deal with the federal Department of Health and Human Services to turn the facility into a temporary shelter, KPBS reported.
For the next three months, the building will act as a temporary shelter, after thousands of minors have traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks, and the federal government has struggled to find a solution. The Department of Health and Human Services plans to keep children there for about a month, and will offer them food, medical care and a safe place to shower and sleep.
“These are children. And they have a legal claim and right to be here,” Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher told KPBS.
Turnover: Homeless residents are moving out of the Convention Center, just as migrant children are scheduled to move in, and the Union-Tribune talked to a handful of the homeless people who’ve been living in the Convention Center for the last year.
Introducing our new Border Report writer: Gustavo Solis, a former Union-Tribune reporter, has taken over our bi-weekly Border Report, and in his first installment outlined how he plans to handle border coverage.
He highlighted reporting on the sprawling tent cities south of the San Ysidro port of entry, growing because of the Migrant Protection Protocols, a federal policy that’s forced migrants to wait in Mexico as their cases are resolved. He also highlighted what his newsletter won’t be, pointing to a Washington Post column by a cable news talking head who referred to the Migrant Protection Protocols as a “practical policy,” ignoring the over 1,500 reported violent encounters migrants have experienced while awaiting resolution at the border.
In Court with San Diego Unified
Nearly three years ago, Voice of San Diego filed a lawsuit against San Diego Unified School District over a number of extreme delays in responses to public records requests. Will Huntsberry did a Q&A with lawyer Felix Tinkov as we enter a new phase of the litigation.
“There is no other public agency in my experience in doing this public records work over the past decade that comes close to the district’s failure to comply,” he said.
On another matter: The district was not pleased with a recent story by Huntsberry on how funds were spent at Lincoln High School compared to how the community wanted them spent. Here is the district’s response.
In Other News
- The final standing piece of the former Jack Murphy Stadium has come down.
- “California’s revenues were $3.8 billion ahead of projections in February. California is now $14.3 billion ahead for the year,” says AP writer.
- As March Madness rages, local sports fans were worried that SDSU’s successful men’s basketball coach, Brian Dutcher, would take a job leading the University of Minnesota’s team. He will not. (Union-Tribune)
- Elizabeth Fitzsimons, who has been in charge of LEAD San Diego and a top manager at the Chamber of Commerce will now head Episcopal Community Services as its CEO.
Monday’s story about backlash over rent hikes at UC San Diego misspelled Alli Carlisle’s name and misidentified her source of income. She’s employed by the student workers union and no longer receives a university stipend.
The Morning Report was written by Andrew Keatts, and edited by Scott Lewis.