Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011 - Evening Edition

Uploaded by KPBSSanDiego on 27.09.2011

>> JOANNE: Coming up next on KPBS Evening Edition, thousands of inmates will be transferred
to county jurisdiction but some won't spend time behind bars, instead they will go home.
>> DWANE: Controversy over San Diego's roadside call boxes, the city is paying for for them
as they're getting less use. >> JOANNE: And the blackout was worse than
we had heard before. KPBS Evening Edition starts now.
>> JOANNE: Hello thanks for joining us, I'm Joanne Faryon.
>> DWANE: And I'm Dwane Brown, a U.S. economist has troubling news about the U.S. economy.
>> JOANNE: And higher suicide rates among middle aged men but first San Diego county
is getting ready for thousands of inmates to be shifted from the state prison system
to local jurisdiction. This realignment is response to a court ruling
about prison overcrowding in California. Allison St John has been covering the changes,
she joins us. Allison when these inmates are transferred
to San Diego well they go? >> Joanne one of the supervisors said it was
a historic change to the criminal justice system that the state has ever experienced
and some of them will be going to county jail but the whole focus is shifting so the people
who are nonviolent will not be serving time behind bars because it's too expensive and
there isn't room for them. The shift will be to find new ways to have
people who are known violent serve their sentences in the community, being monstered and here
is how the chief probation officer, Matt Jenkins put it.
>>> They will be either in a jail facility or it's possible that they can find themselves
actually in their own home after a period of time in custody with an ankle bracelet
or with a GPS device and we hope that what will be different is that there will be a
greater effort to give them intervention and rehabilitative services while they're in custody.
>> JOANNE: Allison there was concern about the payment for the transfer, who is footing
the bill, the state or the county? >> The county estimated that it could cost
up to $100 million a year and the state said it will give San Diego $25 million, however
the problem is there is no guarantee that the state will meet its commitment in future
years so the county is working hard to get a commitment out of the state that it will
keep paying in the future >> JOANNE: KPBS reporter Allison St John.
>> DWANE: There are questions about the emergency call boxes that you see on the side of the
highway in San Diego county, the number of calls has fallen significantly in the past
10 years but the private company that provides the boxes is making a lot more money.
You see them up and down the highway but did you know if you drive in San Diego county
you also pay for this emergency service? Whether you use it or not.
That's because the DMV charges you $1 a year in fees to support the call box service.
One of these emergency call boxes came in handy early this morning when a San Diego
woman's Prius was car jack and had she used one of these boxes to get help.
Emergency side calls have fallen 90% but the costs have nearly doubled at the same time.
We decided to go to the DMV in Clairemont to ask folks if they support this fee.
>>> A lot of times it's unsafe to exist your car exit your car to walk to the call box.
>>> The revenue, I don't disagree but at the same time they are necessary even though we
rely on cell phones.
>>> I've been stuck on the road before because I've gotten flat tires and my phone has gone
out of service so I think they're useful if you're stuck on the side of the road and you
don't have insurance. >> DWANE: The program is shared by the city
and the county, two members want to suspend the fee and look at ways to consolidate the
program. >> JOANNE: Two sewage spills caused by the
blackout were worse than we were told before releasing 3 and a half million gallons of
sewage into the Sweetwater river and the creek. A spokes woman says the first report was based
on field observations, the new number comes from a review of records.
A city committee will look at the numbers tomorrow afternoon, lawyers from San Diego
coast keepers will push for up grades to the system to prevent future spills.
>> DWANE: And the environmental group says San Diego's beach water quality was excellent
over the summer, scientists look at coastal pollution levels from Memorial Day to Labor
Day just a few days before the blackout and the report card shows nearly all "A's."
>> JOANNE: The USD index of leading economic indicators fell by 1 percent last month in
San Diego, the index is compiled by analyzing data ranging from stock values to permits.
He says it's been down two of the last three months make it go more likely that San Diego is headed
for a double dip recession, Gin puts the chances of that at 50/50
>> DWANE: Another economic report finds home prices are inching up.
KPBS Erik Anderson says the news is not as bright even though prices are up over all.
Erik, what's going on? >> It's interesting in the fact that there
is good news about home prices, it's nice to see that prices having up for four months
in a row. That is encouraging but those numbers don't
tell the entire story. Other things that analysts are looking at
is the amount of home sales, thee declined during that period and there is cause for
concern there and then there is a look at how the prices compare to aier ago.
Analysts look at what the price was last July and what the price is this July, and in San
Diego that number is is getting a little bit wider.
Four months ago it was a 4% spread, prices were 4% lower this year, and in July it was
a 6% spread so it's growing a little bit along those lines.
>> DWANE: What are the analysts saying about the future of the housing market here?
>> They say it's sort of uncertain, a lot remains to be seen.
They're saying if the home sales are going up now, then why are they doing it?
Are they going up because the economy is getting better, because the housing market is is sprucing
up or are they just going up because there is a seasonal uptick in the numbers.
Many of the analysts who are look at the housing market now say it might be an indicator that
there is a small blip seasonally and the numbers themselves are not going to get better as
we go into fall and traditionally into the late fall and the winter is when home sales
slip anyway. >> DWANE: That's KPBS business reporter, Erik
Anderson. >> JOANNE: A biomedical engineering professor
from UC San Diego is getting one of the nation's highest honors, Dr. Su Chen is receiving the
national medal of science, he was chosen for his pioneering work in bioengineering and
his research has explained blood flow and its affects on certain diseases.
The award will be presented next month at a White House ceremony.
>> DWANE: A San Diego lawmaker has written a bill to allow teenagers to get certain vaccines
without parental consent. Patients say they should be part of a decision,
a talk with the bill awes author coming up. >> JOANNE: When you need a freeway call box,
they are priceless. Case in point the woman who used one early
this morning after being kidnapped and dumped on the side of the road.
But there is no denying that with the rise of cell phones, fewer people are using call
boxes, the San Diego "Union Tribune" reports calls are down by 90% in the last 10 years.
Up next are they worth keeping and at what price.
First, the set up. >> JOANNE: The number of calls in San Diego
county in 2000, 106,263 in 2010, 11,625. Today there are 1400 call boxes throughout
the county but it's expected there will be half that number in 2018.
Despite the cut in use and the number of boxes taxpayers are paying more to operate the boxes,
almost double over the last 10 years. Some concernsed citizens and politicians are
asking should we be paying so much? And even more pointedly should we abandoned
the system entirely, Lorie Zapp is a member of the board.
Thanks for being here, tell our audience about how this program is financed, how we pay for
these call boxes.
>>> There was legislation that started back in the 1980s and it was because somebody needed
some roadside assistance and that gave genesis to this call box system and it's funded across
the state of California with $1 of every vehicle registration, so if you own two cars, $3 a
year, so forth. >> JOANNE: How much money does the county
collect in this fee? >> We collect about $12.78 million a year
>> JOANNE: Is that the surplus that we have >> I'm sorry, we collect about 2.7.
Again those numbers, 2.7 million a year but right now coincidentally we have reserves
of around 12.8 million. >> JOANNE: The issue here is the number of
people using these call boxes has gone down dramatically but the cost of maintaining them
has increased. What do we do about that?
>> It's gone down 90% and that's because people are using their cell phones.
However, the infrastructure that was put in place many years ago continues to exist and
continues to cost money and actually continues to rise.
So we actually contract with a firm and the board recently approved not my vote, not my
colleague David Alvarez, but approved a budget where the fee would increase for 10% every
year at the same time about half the call boxes are slated to be taken out in the next
couple of years. >> JOANNE: So I think there are people at
home who will be surprised by a couple of things, we have $12 million sitting in surplus
what are we going to do with that money? >> That's the big question we have this small
group of people overseeing this money and they're trying to figure out what do we do
with all of this and it's difficult for me to sit through those meetings because this
is not their money. This is money that was supposed to go for
something specific. To start saying, oh, well, we've you got all
this money what are we going to do with it is just not right
>> JOANNE: Do we still need call boxes? >> Clearly we do in some areas, so I'm not
here advocate to go take out all the call boxes, I'm advocating restructuring the organization.
It can be done for much less cost, much more efficiently.
Just our call box answer center, it only costs us about $53,000.
To run the call box center outsource each other and we're collecting $2.8 million.
All of the administrative costs, all of the call box maintenance, everything is only about
$760,000 a year >> JOANNE: What about this dollar fee then,
everybody is paying a dollar on their registration fee every year for each vehicle that they
register. Should the city or the county or the state
say let's put a hold on that fee we've got plenty of money for these boxes or what do
you do? >> My colleague, David Alvarez and I put forth
the motion and we said look, we have money in the bank to run this call box system for
about 15 years, so why do we keep collecting a fee when we're collecting far more than
is needed. Times change, technology changes and every
time we start a government agency it just seems impossible to put it to bed.
Maybe we need another fee over here for something else but we can't just keep piling on a dollar
here, 50 cents there, whatever, and keep piling it on and say it's just a dollar.
That one dollar is $2.8 million a year. We need to retire some of these fees when
their time is up. >> JOANNE: That was rejected in terms of you
proposing suspending the fee so what happens next?
>> We're working with a state legislator, this is a state organization that was enabled
by state legislation so it's going to take state legislation to do something and what
we're proposing is what I'm propose issing to consolidate it it with an existing organization
such as sandag that can have one employee over seeing this and you can get rid of the
extra infrastructure because they have a building and insurance and all of the existing infrastructure
and we don't need to duplicate it. >> JOANNE: Council member Zapf, thanks for
being here. Ew thank you.
>>> >> DWANE: People between 45 and 54 have the highest suicide rate in the country, and
doctors say depression is the number 1 risk fact for for suicide and tough economic times
can also play a role, KPBS health reporter Kenny sells us there appears to be a relationship.
>>> For Imperial Beach are not Kayla Vanderside, some of other fondest memories took place
on this beach so it was ironic in 2008 when she got a call from her aunt.
>>> She said, you know, your dad was found in the backyard of his home with a self inflicted
gunshot wound to the head and I guess the words didn't register because I remember asking
her "is he okay?" And there was a long pause and she said "no,
your dad is dead." >>> It was only after he killed himself that
she found out her father had suffered from depression for decades.
A year before his suicide right at the beginnings of the recession, Nick Vanderstod lost his
job and his health insurance >>> That hit him quite hard and struggling
with depression already that impact made it worse and it put him in a position that, you
know, I've had it explained to me it's like a black cloud and that cloud gets bigger and
bigger and it gets so big and dark that you can't see outside of it and that's unfortunately
what happened to my dad. >>> Traditionally, suicide rates rise during
economic crises, in fact, they peaked in the United States during the depression in the
1930s, job loss is another risk factor for suicide.
>>> A job loss that be an enormous stressor and maybe one of those events that may tip
the balance in somebody who otherwise has other suicide risk factors.
>>> UC San Diego psychiatrist, Sidney Zisok says suicide rates have gone up.
>>> They have concerns about retirement and benefits and their ability to maintain themselves
when their health may be failing. >>> The recession has left millions unemployed
and poor. In fact, the census bureau says nearly 3 out
of 5 Americans living in poverty are of working age.
So what can people do to prevent someone from going off the edge?
Mental health professionals say family members can play a key role, look for the warning
signs, like a sense of hopelessness, increased substance abuse and failed threats, family
therapist David Peters says people need to speak up if they're concerned.
>>> It's okay to ask your loved one, "are you okay?
What's going on in your mind, are you thinking of hurting yourself?"
"Do I have to worry about you committing suicide?" Those are questions we don't ask but if you
don't ask you don't know. >>> Jessica says her dad became closed off
before he killed himself three years ago. Looking back she wishes she would have known
those were red flags. >>> When you don't have those signs you don't
realize that is a cry tore help. >> DWANE: That story by Kenny Goldberg, KPBS
reporter. Jessica was so influenced by her father's
death she works for the American foundation for suicide prevention.
>> JOANNE: A relatively new vaccine has been making waves lately, it's the HPC virus.
It protects young women against HPV a virus for cervical cancer.
Some states are mandated the vaccine, and that got presidential hopeful Rick Perry in
hot water. Assembly woman Toni Atkins wrote the BAB 499
bill 4 B 899, what does it do? >> It gives minors access to the vaccine.
They have exposure to treatment and adding prevention in allows for new technologies
that have come into being since this law was put into affect decades ago
>> JOANNE: When you talk about prevention you're talking about vaccines, specifically
which would they be able to get without their parents' consent.
>>> The HPV have comes seen, hepatitis B and medications that could help with exposure
to HIV. If you receive the antibiotics soon off exposure
to HIV or AIDS, it could protect you from acquiring the virus itself.
>> JOANNE: Why did you write this bill? >> I think this is a huge public health issue.
We have seen every single year in the country and in California people under the age of
18 are roughly about 25% of the sexually active population and they are acquiring more than
half of the new sexually transmitted diseases. Clamidia, and others, exposure to HIV and
aids >> JOANNE: What about parents at home saying
the government has crossed a line this is my kid you're talking b I don't want them
to get that vaccine, what do you tell them? >> I understand, having helped raise a child
myself, I would hope that he would come to me, it's just not the real world.
We've seen that from experience. I would hope medical professionals are the
ones that are going to have access to help my child be safe, that's what this is about.
Public Health and Safety of our kids. >> JOANNE: Shouldn't these conversations be
between a parent and a child not necessarily between government or even a doctor and a
child? >> I guarantee you they're not going to be
talking to government it will be doctors and nurse practitioners, but I get your point.
In the perfect world, yes, we know that in many cases young people do actually seek the
advice of their parents, but in many cases they don't.
They're afraid to tell their parent, they're afraid of the ramifications and in some cases
the young person doesn't have supportive parents who would help them.
So we're trying to step in because there is a public safety issue.
>> JOANNE: I want to read you a comment from Becky Estep the director of communications
from the Elizabeth Birch center for autism, a local group out of Poway that say vaccines
can be dangerous and with reference to this new law she says that 12 years old are not
equipped to make medical decisions on their own, this is bill is not like requiring people
to wear motorcycle helmets or children to ride in car seats, informed consent is a topic
that preteens and teens may not understand. What do you say in response?
>> I understand her concern I have it as a parent.
These are young people that are engaged in activities that could hurt them, make them
infertile, cause great harm and in some cases death, 70% of all cervical cancers are due
to this exposure so I would hope that clinics, medical professionals which is what we're
talking about have access to help provide that informed consent, which they do, for
my child. This is about safety.
>> JOANNE: We know that governor Jerry brown, this bill is sitting on his desk so he has
the ability to veto it or approve it and he has said in past weeks that not every social
problem requires a law. How do you think he's going to go on this?
>> I'm optimistic, I don't think this is a social problem, I think it's a public health
issue and we are seek to go close a small gap in existing law so we're not creating
something absolutely brand new, there is precedent for providing healthcare to minors under the
age of 18 without parental consent if needed. And sexually transmitted diseases are reportable
to the county and we need to make sure they're going to be safe
>> JOANNE: Thank you assembly woman Atkins for being here.
>>> Thank you. >> JOANNE: Welcome to evening edition's public
square. Last night we asked whether you would contribute
to an election campaign this year and whether campaign fundraising would be affected by
tough economic times. Here is what you told us, rich people will
always have money to make things happen for them, the rest of us will have to copy.
As long as Ron Paul is running I will be donating, economy or not.
And another comment, no politicians will. We will keep you updated, new figures will
be released at the end of the month. Now another question about the economy, given
some grim census figures last month, 15% of San Diego natives live below the poverty line.
We want to know what does poverty look like to you, send us a photo or a comment.
Here is how to reach us, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or email us, we would
love to hear from you. >> DWANE: Recapping tonight's top stories,
San Diego county supervisors have approved by man for bringing inmates under local jurisdiction,
thousands of inmates are going to be shipped starting Saturday.
And the economic indicator dropped a full point last month there is a chance for a double
dip recession. You can watch any of the stories you heard
tonight on our web site, www.kpbsearlyedition.com. >> JOANNE: Here is a look at the local forecast.
>> DWANE: Good night.