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Morning Report: State Targets More Docs on Vaccine Exemptions


Illustration by Adriana Heldiz

Five more local doctors have been charged by the Medical Board of California for improper vaccine exemptions, following a Voice of San Diego investigation from 2019

The investigation revealed that dozens of doctors were writing exemptions for San Diego Unified school children that did not comply with medical guidelines, our Will Huntsberry reported. 

In total, 16 doctors named in Voice’s story have been charged. Four have lost their licenses. Five were placed on probation. And charges against seven are still pending. Statewide, there have been 28 doctors charged, Medical Board records show. 

The exemptions were frequently written for children based on a history of autoimmune conditions. In extremely rare cases, people have come down with autoimmune conditions after being vaccinated. (A person must be genetically predisposed to an autoimmune condition. It can then be triggered by an external event, such as an infection.) Studies show, however, that the virus a person is being vaccinated for, such as measles, is far more likely to cause an autoimmune condition than the vaccine itself. 

“Making decisions about vaccines is an equation. You have to have every part of the equation to make accurate decisions,” one infectious disease expert said. “People only quoting one side of the equation are not doing the math right.”

The American Academy of Pediatricians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recognize a family history of autoimmune conditions as a reason to skip vaccines. The risk of not getting vaccinated is far greater, they say.

Read the full story here

Expats Have Called Rosarito Beach Home for Years. The Community Is Growing – and Helping

Longtime border reporter Sandra Dibble headed to Rosarito Beach for this week’s Border Report to spend some time with the coastal community’s expat community.

Expats in Mexico have been under scrutiny in the press in recent weeks, especially as economic forces in San Diego make living there more attractive, but the influx of retirees and remote workers pushes up prices in some places.

What Dibble found in Rosarito Beach, though, was a varied and growing community, which spends an awful lot of time volunteering for nonprofit groups like the Red Cross.

From holding spay and neuter clinics to fundraising for orphanages or rallying support for families who lost their homes to fire, the expat community Dibble found is mostly an older generation that’s building strong ties.

“The Americans who live here, who have their houses here, they are now Rosaritenses,” said Sergio Hernandez Tovalin, president of Cruz Roja Rosarito.

Read the rest of this week’s Border Report here

Residents Question Encinitas Candidate Jeff Morris After Leaked Email to Blakespear

Jeff Morris, an Encinitas mayoral candidate and outspoken political adversary of Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, is facing widespread criticism after a leaked email he sent to Blakespear.

Morris has been a harsh critic of Blakespear, who is running for the 38th State Senate seat, since before his campaign began. But in a March 10 email obtained and authenticated by The Coast News, Morris indicated his support for Blakespear.

“We have far more commonalities than you know, and I am not against most of your decisions,” Morris wrote. “Maybe we can work something out where you get elected to senate and be on good terms with Encinitas residents.”

The longtime Encinitas resident has publicly blamed Blakespear and other council members for homelessness, rising crime rates and more, now his supporters are questioning his intentions.

Read more about what kind of impact this could have on Morris’ campaign.

Dam! Pure Water Costs Rise Another $20 Million

San Diego’s $1 billion wastewater-to-drinking water project has already hit a major construction snag that will cost at least another $20 million. 

The city of San Diego blamed a contracting consultant for underestimating how much underground water would spill from a dig site where workers are building a sewage-pump station. That water started flooding the construction site, so the City Council had to OK another $20 million to build a dam to keep that construction site as dry as can be, writes David Garrick for the San Diego Union Tribune. 

San Diego barely began building Pure Water, a once controversial now celebrated project that should produce half the city’s drinking water by 2035. If the city didn’t build Pure Water, the city would have to upgrade its Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant for an estimated $3 billion. That’s because the plant isn’t built to clean sewage to the standard newer plants currently are, so it’s technically dumping under-treated sewage into the ocean.

As climate change threatens to dry-up water resources of the West, San Diego’s Pure Water project is now seen as a critical step in securing drought-proof water supplies for the region. But mistakes like these means the price-tag of the project tacks extra costs onto city water and sewer ratepayers.

In Other News

  • KPBS news director Terence Shepard began his tenure Monday. Shepard had been news director for an NPR affiliate in Miami since 2013. He cited his eagerness to cover the border and the immigrant experience in a KPBS story marking his start.
  • The $369 billion climate package making its way through Congress could send funding to San Diego to combat pollution at the port, expand electrical vehicle charging stations and build more rooftop solar, according to a Union-Tribune analysis.
  • Undocumented immigrants who are victims of a crime and cooperate with police in investigating the crime can receive a special residency and work visa. But the local police department that investigates the crime has to approve the request, and a KPBS review shows the San Diego Police Department rejects those applications at a much higher rate than other local police departments.
  • The U-T got a hold of documents police gathered as they were investigating the mysterious fall of a woman and her toddler from a terrace at Petco Park, killing them both. With the documents, reporters landed an interview with the father of the toddler killed, his first discussion of the event. He’s convinced it was a murder-suicide.
  • The city is asking residents of Bay Park, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Linda Vista and Tierrasanta to avoid non-critical water usage, after a broken transmission pipe has led to diminished water pressure in the area. (NBC 7 San Diego)
  • Three female detainees at a private detention facility in Otay Mesa have sued the company that operates it, CoreCivic, alleging that a guard sexually assaulted them and his supervisor threatened them with solitary confinement if they reported them. (CBS 8)