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On The Roundtable: Vaccinations; Stadium Cost; Tax Hike

On The Roundtable: Vaccinations; Stadium Cost; Tax Hike
On The Roundtable: Vaccinations; Stadium Cost; Tax Hike
Measles, Stadium And Taxes HOST:Mark SauerGUESTS:Joanne Faryon, INewsource Dan McSwain, U-T San Diego Dean Calbreath, San Diego Daily Transcript

Thousands of parents refuse to vaccinate their kids. And can a new charges statement pencil out? This is "KPBS Roundtable" midday Friday. On today's roundtable roundtable, 8% of County kindergartners lack of proper immunizations. Not simple breakdown of a new stadium deal. And would voters go for a higher sales tax? Any review of some of the best news features heard on KPBS this week. A big health insurance deadline looms. Business is booming for shipbuilders, but golf course operators are feeling the squeeze. I'm Mark Sauer, KPBS midday edition Fridays next. But first, this news. From NPR news in Washington, a tribunal in London has ruled that the UK violated human rights laws when it used information from the US's national security agency. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports the program changed last year in response to those concerns. The investigatory Powers Tribunal was established in 2000 and this is the first time it has upheld a complaint about British intelligence agencies. For years America's national security agency has intercepted communications from people around the world including in the UK. British spy agencies used some of the information that the NSA intercepted and the tribunal says that information sharing violated the European convention on human rights, specifically parts of the convention relating to see. The existence of this information sharing program only came to light because of documents revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. US is investigating terrorist groups claims that a female American aid worker is dead. Militants calling themselves the Islamic state have released photos and an online statement identifying the captive. They play in the 26-year-old woman's death on Jordanian airstrikes launched against ISIS in retaliation for the immolation of a Jordanian pilot. US officials stress there was no evidence yet to support those claims. President Obama is touting steady economic gains including today's strong job reports as he supports his agenda. All told, over the past 59 months, the private sector has added about 11 million -- 1.8 -- that's almost 12 million new jobs and that's the longest streak of private sector job growth in our history. NPR says January employment reports -- reports show that not only are more people working, they are also earning more. Job growth topped analyst expeditions coming in at 257,000. It also turns out hiring accelerated in the final month last year with job growth at a 12-year high for November. Average hourly earnings rose $0.12, a large gain that shows employers are having to pay more to attract and retain talent. There is evidence of increased hiring may be drawing in jobseekers who had been discouraged but who are now more optimistic about their prospects. Last month more people start working or looking for work, which increased the labor force participation rate. But the larger pool of jobseekers also had the effect of pushing the unemployment rate slightly to 5.7%. NPR news Washington. Dow is down 93 points. This is NPR news. The measles outbreak in California shows collective immunity is at risk as many kids lack vaccinations. How the costs of the new stadiums for the charger pencils out for the taxpayers? You may be surprised. You may be asked to hike taxes for open space preservation next year. I'm Mark Sauer in the -- the "KPBS Roundtable" starts right now. Welcome to our discussion of the top stories this week in San Diego. I'm Mark Sauer. Joining me at the KPBS roundtable today our reporter Joanne Faryon from INewsource. Hi, Joanne. UT San Diego based -- business columnist Dan McSwain. Welcome. And Dean Calbreath of the San Diego daily transcript. Good to see you back. The recent outbreak of measles traced to an unvaccinated visitor -- is to Disneyland has broader problem into sharp relief. The risk by refusal of some parents to have children vaccinated on time or at all. Immunologists say it comes down to a choice between two fears. JoAnne, why are some parents now deciding not to have their kids vaccinated? You've got different reasons. You've got your hard-core anti-vaccinate us who believe that they don't want to inject their kids with so-called chemicals. Of course they are buying into propaganda. Also, a number of years ago there was a researcher, Andrew Wakefield, who linked autism to the measles vaccine. Of course that's been discredited. We know that's junk science. But that idea hasn't gone away. There's a small group who buy into this. We had people like Jenny McCarthy, a celebrity, kind of propagate this idea. You've got other parents who want to delay certain vaccines. They are on a different schedule, under vaccinating their kids. They think they don't want to overload the kids with all of the stuff all at once. A reporter this week, a surprising number of kindergartners in San Diego County are not vaccinated. Data journalists put these numbers together. What he found is that there are about 3300 kids in kindergarten, 8%, who are under vaccinated, not immunized at all. That's actually an increase over the past decade. Number was about 10% last year. There was a bit of an uptick -- down now but over the past 10 years we see this trend of the growing number of parents who are not vaccinating or under vaccinating. Remind us of the diseases we're talking about here. The CDC actually puts out a list of recommendations in here are all the vaccines we think kids ought to have. They are things like measles,polio, diphtheria, chipping -- chickenpox. Some of these diseases we never hear about anymore because everyone gets immunized. So some of them are these old diseases that you don't hear a whole lot about. There's been press coverage around the world of this measles outbreak in California here. Why is it so scary? A lot of us who are a little older thought is one of those diseases, everybody got it, what's the big deal? Absolutely. So if the complications. It's one of those childhood diseases that if you get through it, good for you. But there are the times when you can get anything from an ear infection to brain swelling to pneumonia. I think the CDC says for every 1000 cases, one or two people will die. For kids under five or adults over 20, it's especially dangerous. So that's the thing. We had one scientist compare it to wearing seatbelts where most of the time, you're going to be safe in a car but you want to make sure it's not that one time where you are the kid who ends up with the brain swelling or your kid ends up with that horrible competition. We do have a clip from one parent who decided against vaccinations. She's from Imperial Beach. A colleague asked her what she would say to other parents about why she decided not to vaccinate her children. Let's hear that. Surely you know there are people out there who are going to be watching this. When they hear you say these things, they're going to think, she's a bad mother. She's endangering the life of her child. Or their child. Or their child. I've heard that one the most. What do you say to them? I just acknowledge myself for my choices. I don't say anything to them. If they are invested in their point of view, and that will be there point of view. And I'm not going to defend mine. All right. So that doesn't seem a very definitive or forceful answer here. I've heard some of the parents -- in the news or story, the other kids are vaccinated. So what's the big deal if my kid isn't? Here's where a lack of information out there. So one of the things we talk about in our reporting is herd immunity. First of all, vaccines are not 100% effective. They range -- maybe 70% effective, maybe 95% effective. You might get the flu shot but you might still get the flu. Open coffee is a good example of a vaccine that's not very effective. You might get immunized but still end up with whooping cough. Same thing with the measles. There are people who can't be immunized because of medical reasons. Chemotherapy, your immune system is compromised. You can't get vaccinated. But even if you are immunized, there's a chance you might get the measles. 95% effective. 5% can still get sick. So you actually do put people at risk. Herd immunity means enough of us are immunized that we keep the disease out of the herd. Out the collective. Once that number drops off to a certain point, where fewer and fewer people are immunized, we start to -- jeopardizing. You be chased -- you reach a tipping point. We ask a number of people and it varies depending on the disease. We had one medical researcher tell us with the measles it has to be somewhere at about 95%. Whooping cough at about 90%. You read a different research and the numbers fluctuate. Like polio, which we were talking earlier, I had as a child. It's unheard of in this country. Certain countries you hear of a few cases now, but is it possible something like that could come back? That's a good question. Measles basically was eradicated in 2000. This is why bring it up. What does that mean? We believed we didn't have it anymore. We don't have polio anymore. I don't think anyone has had polio in 30 years. If you have it somewhere else, that's really the danger. You want to make sure we keep up our immunization levels to certain points where we can't bring this disease back to the country. We did have another bite here. Immunology professor from UC San Diego. And here is what he is saying about this issue about ersonal belief exemptions." Most of those ersonal belief exemptions" -- the majority -- there's no solid numbers but it looks like the majority of those are parents who have decided they are going to just slowly vaccinate their kids so they kid finally gets immunized with everything by the age of 10 instead of the age of four. So the problem is really need them vaccinated fully by the age of four or two, depending on the vaccine so you can keep -- protect those kids, but also provide the herd immunity that keeps the diseases from spreading. All right. So he talked about personal belief. What's -- I think there's a proposal at change here. The law says there still is this so-called loophole that if you don't want to immunize your kid, as long as you talk to a healthcare practitioner about the risks -- was changed in 2013 -- you can still say no. I'll -- now there's a proposal that says let's get rid of that personal exemption, the way of people opting out of this. You still have the medical exemption because they are going to be people who can't be immunized. So that got introduced just this week. News this week. It was interesting because you were looking at who are the folks that parents who tend to not have their kids vaccinated? It was surprising. It's actually the affluent -- more affluent neighborhoods. People who are educated. They tend to be in clusters. If you look at searchable database, you'll find that private schools tend to have more personal belief exemptions. So it's kind of surprising. .org a story on NPR the other day. There calling these moms the so-called crunchy moms. Breast-feed longer, cosleeping, this cultural context to all of this as well. And we only have a couple seconds left here, but it seems like all of a sudden we're hearing about vaccinations lately. And it's been in the news lately and in the last couple years. Where did it come from? You mentioned at the outset that some of these folks had staying power by saying autism links and things like that. Is that the Internet? I think it's that and something else. We're working on another story for next week. I think it also has to do with the further away we get from these diseases like polio and everything else, that we forget how bad they are. There's a complacency. Exactly. We're not afraid of them. And I think that's partly why you see these immunization rates dropping off. So that's actually something we're looking at it for next week. We'll look forward to that story certainly. Moving on now, the San Diego Chargers have spent a decade of trying to make the case for a new stadium that would require a substantial amount of public funding. They still occupy Qualcomm Stadium, the team has called home for nearly 50 years. Now Mayor Kevin Faulconer is pushing to resolve the Stadium question with yet another task force. Dan, you look at what kind of deal this might be, how the costs might break down. How much money are we talking about? The charges have been asking lately for stadium costing about $1 billion. So it's a nice round number. 10 years ago they said a new stadium at the Qualcomm site would cost about $400 million. That's quite a bit more. It is. Big project construction indexes suggest that the number for that stadium would be close to $600 million a day. So they want a fancier stadium then they had envisioned 10 years ago, it appears. In combination with the convention center expansion? Regardless of site, that appears to be their price tag. Or their wish. And that's about what the Minnesota Vikings stadium -- that's essentially the cost for a brand-new stadium. Dallas Cowboys was a little north of that. And San Francisco. And the one in Los Angeles could be more than that. Is this a good or bad business move for the Chargers here? Aren't they making money where they are and the way things are? The Chargers have said for years starting in about 2003 that we need a new stadium because under the NFL revenue-sharing system, a new stadium can have more luxury boxes and fancy club seating and sponsorship opportunities and some other things that will generate more local revenue for the team itself that doesn't have to be shared with the league. And they said to compete we have to have more money. So I said, I guess a new stadium would produce more revenue. Is that sufficient to pay for a new stadium? I did a real simple spreadsheet that said, to borrow $1 billion for 20 years, 5%, interest rates are low, good news for anybody, whether it is the city or County or the Spanos family, the owners of the Chargers, that was down to about $80 million a year in higher costs. And so I called around the country to sports experts, finance experts, and they said the Chargers in a brand-new stadium could expect about $50 million a year more in revenues. And I'm from Kentucky but $50 million is less than $80 million. That's a pretty sizable gap year-to-year. It is. So to me as a business columnist, that explains why the Spanos family hasn't gone ahead and build one themselves already. Because it's not a good deal. Casual fans might say, go buy one. You are rich. Get some investors. Not only that, Qualcomm, the 50-year-old Qualcomm was upgraded with new luxury suites and club seating. And that increased their revenue. Their local revenue is on the order of $100 million this year. So in my view, the Qualcomm deal is so good that doing a new stadium compared to staying put is so far not a good business move. So breakfast on a little bit. You've got this billion dollars. Where would these big chunks -- give us the ball park figures. On where it would come from. How much from the Spanos folks. Maybe the NFL is kicking in something. In Minnesota, they went 50-50 with the team. Public and private in the rough. The state of Minnesota, city of Minneapolis, St. Paul, kicked in $500 million. A little more than that and NFL loan plus sale of personal seat licenses as they are called paid for the other half. So using that model, that was down to about $500 million from the public and $500 million from various sources from the team/NFL here. So I looked at that. And that was down to if anybody in the county -- every household in the county was asked to participate, that's about 1 million households so that's 500 bucks a household. Okay. That makes sense. Real simple. What does the city get out of this? Is this a good deal for public taxpayers? The city likes these huge construction projects. The city likes it because of the unions like it because it employs more workers because businesses like it's such as the Spanosfamily. Politicians contributors like it, the people who fund their campaigns. So this kind of projects are often popular among city officials. What they look forward to is the ability to draw a Super Bowl to San Diego or something which could be enhanced by this. But on the other hand, the question of how much public involvement is there for them combined with President Obama's comments this week about the need to crack down on public funding of stadiums, the idea of making less exempt from taxes and everything. Obama had that in his budget, did he not? So it wouldn't be such a good deal for investors and others? You may have mentioned that Mayor Faulkner has his task force now. Some people think the mayor just wants to get this issue out there, put the journey of the voters but he's not that invested in it so we did ask him here on evening edition I'm KPBS what he thought about it. Let's see that clip. We came together as a city and developed Petco Park. I think that works. We've seen the tremendous transmission of the east village. Getting grouped together that's going to look at best practices. What's the plan that makes sense for us? A financing plan that keeps the Chargers in San Diego and one that protects taxpayers. I'm confident we can do that if we work together. A lower priorities we're workingon. But that's important as well. The big question there and the mayor mentioned this is taxpayers. Depending on what they call this and how they structure it it's going to have to be a big chunk of folks who back the thing. Is their stomach for that here? That economics is real clear. If you already have a football team, building a stadium to keep them doesn't have much economic improvement for the -- doesn't generate new tax revenues. Super Bowl every four to 10 years is sure nice, but it certainly doesn't pay for a stadium. I think what's really going on here is the stadium project in Los Angeles. That raises the possibility that the charges could leave and go to Los Angeles. That is something that the city doesn't want to happen. Is that a real threat? Because we've been hearing about a new stadium for so long. What's different now? The Chargers may be going to LA. What has changed that suddenly we might have a decision? We now have -- my theory is that for the last 20 years the NFL has liked Los Angeles being empty because city by city across the country, teams could go to the cities and say if you don't build us a new stadium, we're going to go to LA. Now almost every team in the country has a relatively new stadium with skyboxes and club seats and all of the enhanced revenues. So that strategy has all most played itself out. Push has come to shove. Is that you're going to be writing about this more as we move along here. This Sunday I look at the dream team, the LA power couple behind the latest stadium proposal. And one half of it is the owner of the LA Rams. This is a genuine sports mobile. He owns six professional franchises. He has a TV network. He has ticket sales company. This is somebody who knows how to bring a sports team to LA. We'll certainly look for that one. Speaking of taxpayers, we make it into weigh in on a sales tax hike on the 2016 ballot. Or likely more than one. The San Diego Association of governments, SANDAG, is floating the idea of a half sent sales tax increase. Dean, start by telling us what these additional funds would be used for. Well, there's so far no specific about what they will be used for but the general categories are projects to reduce traffic congestion through mass transit or expansion of existing freeways. Roadways. To either do that or to protect wetlands and open spacecommitments, as well as to do other projects, to increase the ability in the city, introduce bike lanes, get transit or close to people's houses and everything. These quality-of-life proposals are part of the TransNet tax introduced in 1988 and reaffirmed in 2004. But part of that reaffirmation said you have to do these quality-of-life proposals eventually. You have to introduce them and SANDAG has been waiting for the opportunity to do this. Postponed. It was thinking about going to the voters back in 2008 to do this. And it postponed that because 2008 was a massive financial crisis. Terrible time. Along with our horrible drought, getting people behind anything is maybe not a hard sell but this other touchy-feely stuff, open space, the beaches and Mission Bay -- Quality-of-life tax. It's a great way to sell it. You've got to sell it but is that enough? We're not talking about 50% vote here, right? We're talking about two thirds. Part of this quality-of-life stuff is from considerations. The state is putting pressure on them for open space. So they have to meet these commitments. And that was part of their 2004 passage. We're going to meet these commitment with a separate funding bill. Now they've really got -- the pedal is hitting the metal in terms of going to move on this. And they are beginning to talk about -- to figure out the best strategy to get voters to support them on it. Now, what is the strategy? Two elections in that 2016 presidential year. The June primary and the general election in November. How do you pick and choose? Does it matter whether the Chargers have to have something before voters or some other thing for the convention center? That's big concern. Every four years it's kind of like what they call the World Cup of tax initiatives. Because every four years, the voters come to vote for the president and as they come to vote for the president, then all of these tax initiatives come out. When cities and counties -- we've got the necessary voters -- let's hit them with taxes. So there's going to be a laundry list of taxes in the 2016 ballots, possibly including the Chargers, possibly including a convention center. Undoubtedly including infrastructure taxes from the city of San Diego and from other cities around as well as school districts and other entities. So you've got a whole bunch of people who want to get support for their taxes. If there's a laundry list, there's a good chance voters are going to say know to all of them. I don't have time to sit through which ones I like and which ones I don't. Dan, do we pay enough taxes now? Will simply be turned off by this whole laundry list as we say? And paying high enough now? Other players in -- other places in the country have cheaper sales taxes. I live in North County and we have caught the short end of the tax hikes. The original plan that added half a cent to the countywide sales tax was supposed to turn Highway 76 into a regular freeway. And instead it's not. And it's really crowded. And -- We hear reports every day. Most of the money happened down in San Diego. The 52, 56, so other than from North County's perspective, other than the interstate 15 improvement, down yonder has gotten most of the money. Along with transit. So I think it needs -- for North County to come on board again, which is the essential to get a two thirds majority, it has to be billed as an environmental quality-of-life. Has been talk on -- off and on about beaches and replenishment which I know business owners like. Although some environmentalists and Surfrider's do not like sand replenishment typically. So I think if it's greened up, it has a better chance. Problem is going to be is two thirds majority. You will always have a certain segment that votes against all tax increases, no matter what. Right? Politically that's what they believe. Reaching that two thirds threshold, we saw what happened with the school propositions where they lowered it. So you could have a school tax after the -- A lot of taxes get majority level support. Two thirds. What are the polls saying? Any gauge of this yet? What's on the ballot. Of the polls they were looking for last year were polls of people who actually were invested in quality -- polls on how much voters were invested in quality-of-life. And 75% of people or so were saying that that's very important to them. They really appreciated the quality of life in San Diego. So if voters can be persuaded that this is a quality-of-life issue, then they'll support it. That's their theory. I know we're going to hear a lot more about that going forward and all these taxes and all these propositions as we move forward into 2016. That does wrap up another week of stories at the "KPBS Roundtable." I'd like to thank Joanne Faryon, Dan McSwain of UT San Diego and Dean Calbreath of the San Diego daily transcript. A reminder all the stories we discussed today are available on our website, I'm Mark Sauer. Thanks for joining us today on the roundtable. I'm Mark Sauer. Coming up, we bring you in-depth reports heard this week on KPBS including a big health insurance deadline looms and NASSCO enjoys a building boom. Is 12:31 and you are listening to KPBS midday edition Friday. Coming up on revealed, today high-speed broadband is not a luxury. It's a necessity. Not so in many towns all of the US. I'm seeing one patient every 10 minutes. Right in the middle of looking at their record, workstation will pause. You have nothing. Duking it out over high-speed Internet on the next revealed from the center of investigative reporting. Join us for revealed Saturday afternoon here on KPBS. The weather forecast calls for patchy fog near the coast today, 64 for the high, mostly sunny inland and in Calexico, 76 for the high inland, 85 for the high inCalexico. KPBS, where news matters. Welcome back to midday edition Friday. Here's the latest from the KPBS newsroom. American employers added 257,000 jobs in January, which is where up and many discouraged jobseekers reentered the market. Revised figures made 2014 the strongest year for job gains since 2009 according to government figures released today. And a jewel of an estate atop La Jolla with a panoramic view -- with a panoramic view is on the market for $25 million. The state with 22,000 square foot French manor built in 1959 belonged to one of San Diego's most prominent families. The copies who published the San Diego Tribune for well over a century until they sold it in 2009. Taxes alone which features seven bedrooms and 10 baths figured a top $300,000 a year. Stay tuned to KPBS from his updates throughout the day. This week on KPBS we learned about a looming deadline for those who lack health insurance. Get it by February 15 or risk paying a fine. KPBS health reporter Kenny Goldberg explains. At the old town office of the nonprofit San Diego and for healthcare coverage, Rob Keller is trying to shoot to choose a health insurance plan. Every two weeks based off of -- Determining Keller's annual income from his job as a waiter is key to finding out whether he is eligible for free Medi-Cal coverage or a discounted California plan. I've had health insurance in the past because it was with my company. But I never really used it or needed it. I don't go to the doctor that much. Even so the February 15 deadline caused him to get with the program. I didn't want to have a penalty for getting nothing. I might as well pay money to have health insurance. Over $17 million -- 17 million Californians get health insurance through the jobs. For the 6 million Californians who don't, February 15 looms large. By that date they must be enrolled in a plan or they will face a federal tax penalty on next year's return. The penalty will be $975 per family or 2% of annual household income, whichever amount is greater. San Diego State professor of accounting Stephen Gill says that's not a lot of money. Would rather pay nothing than something, but it's unlikely that anyone would have to go bankrupt because they ended up having to pay the penalties and fines associated with Obamacare. Gill says the law prohibits the IRS from pursuing civil or criminal penalties to collect the Obamacare fine. The IRS isn't really going to pursue you with any rigorous enforcement even if you don't pay it. The IRS will simply subtract the penalty from any future refunds. But that's not really the point, says Jan Spencer who directs San Diegans for healthcare coverage. The biggest penalty is not having coverage and not having access to care. She points out no one knows when they are going to be sick or have an accident. She says without insurance, one trip to an emergency room can mean financial ruin. People really need to understand there's value in insurance. Limits your liability, it gets you free preventive care and it also makes sure that you don't have small things turn into large things. Nonetheless, local banking executive Toby Hayes and his wife have decided to roll the dice. Their six kids aren't covered and Toby gets insurance through his job but Stephanie is uninsured. Toby says it was just a matter of finances. For the basic bronze level plan for Stephanie, it was going to be $4000 for the year. $334 a month versus what we pay on the penalty which is $763 for the year. They are aware that penalty will be higher in 2015 but Toby says it's still cheaper than buying health coverage. Stephanie doesn't think she is taking a big chance by being uninsured. I've always been a very, very healthy person. If tomorrow I come down withcancer, we're going to figure out something when we get there. But I hate wasting money. For people who believe health insurance is valuable and wants to avoid a tax penalty, the deadline for enrolling in a covered California plan is less than two weeks away. Otherwise, whatever health issues crop up, people have to wait until the next open enrollment period to sign up. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS news. Reporter Susan Murphy told us that businesses are booming in the NASSCO should building yards. The company has 10 contracts for government and commercial shipping and with work stretching to at least 2017. At NASSCO shipyard on San Diego Bay, workers are fusing together a record half-dozen massive multimillion dollar ships. The two ships and three eco-tankers and then MLP that we're finishing up. General manager Kevin Grady says his 10 commercial and government ship orders stretch out through 2017 and beyond. He says the company's success stems from delivering ships on time and under budget. We keep our accuracy within a millimeter so it's a very, very tight tolerance. And that's key for us. I think we're somewhere around several thousand parts a week. Based on the pace of production today. The booming ship business is a stark difference from a few years ago during the recession. That's when the company, the largest ship built on the West Coast struggled to find work and was hit with layoffs. Now NASSCO is on a hiring binge. The average journeyman makes nearly $80,000 a year in wages and benefits. What it means is we end up with 3800 good jobs for our folks and we can sustain that over the next three years. He says a project he's especially proud of is the development of mobile landing platforms called MLPs. Three of 800-foot long Navy vessels have been designed by his team. What our folks came up with was an idea to reuse an existing commercial tanker design where we carved out the cargo tanks that normally would carry oil. They replaced the entire cargo section with a long flexible platform. That makes the vessel more versatile. As the program is developed, we're finding the Navy and Marine Corps are coming up with pretty inventive ways to take a platform like this and use it in interesting and different ways than originally conceived. The ships will serve as forward deployed see bases allowing troops to respond quickly in transferring equipment from ship to shore during a crisis. Says the design is so adaptive that what started as a $1.3 billion Navy contract to build three ships has turned into a deal to build a fourth and possibly a fifth. It's kind of a hybrid. Auxiliary ship. It has the capabilities of amphibious in some cases but also can carry aircraft. So it's a little bit of a Swiss Army knife. The first two MLPs, John Glenn and Montford point, have been built and launched from NASSCO docs, the shirts don't third ship named after the most decorated Marine in history is an extended version of MLP. Upper flight deck and accommodations for 250 troops. It's exciting times for San Diego and NASSCO to have the ships being built here right in our backyard. Navy Lieutenant Commander Brian take with military Sealift command Pacific in point Loma oversees mobile landing platform operations. He says ships are ushering in a new era of Navy Sea operations. It's a float forward staging base and concept, so they will be able to tie in communications, special operations, missions to be more versatile with helicopter landing decks and the small boat operations. He says the -- increase the military presence in using joint military forces. United States Navy and Marine Corps and merchant Marine all working together to meet the needs of the Navy for a successful future mission. NASSCO wants to be included in future Navy missions. Randy says the defense contractor is competing against a top East Coast shipbuilder for will be its biggest project ever. A $3.5 billion amphibious warship, the LHA 8. Somewhere between 10 and 15 million man-hours to build. It will be a big job for us but I believe in our abilities. The has plans to fund 48 ships in the next five years according to the defense budget released this week. Susan Murphy, KPBS news. PGA returned to Torrey Pines this week and golf course operators hope excitement surrounding the tournament will lower duffers to the links. KPBS North County editor Alison St. John reports that more than 1 million Americans gave the game up in 2014 and a drought in California makes Outlook even bleaker. More than 1 million golfers in the United States gave up the game in 2014 and golf courses are trying new tricks were players back to the greens. A golf course in Rancho Bernardo has putting greens withholds 15 inches in diameter. Putting is usually one of the most difficult parts of the game for a beginner. And because it's so much bigger it's just a lot easier to get the ball in the whole. [Laughter] Lloyd Porter is head golf pro. Rather than the traditional 18 holes, the course is divided intothree, nine whole courses. Something that's going across the country now to try to make golf easier and faster to play. And to attract more new golfers. In today's busy world it's easier to find three hours to play nine holes than five hours or more to play a championship course. John McNair, president of Southern California's PGA says the biggest decline is in office between the ages of 18 and 40. On a national stat, 13 years ago about just shy of 12% of the population golfed. Today it's about 8.8%. Spending the weekend at the golf course doesn't cut it anymore for today's fathers, McNair says. The role of the male in the family, going to soccer games and doing more things with their children which is a great thing. What would like to do is more those people out to play golf rather than going to other activities. McNair says in the draw big names doesn't do the trick. The so-called Tiger effect is limited. It integral golfers that much. It grew people watching golf on TV and it was great for TV ratings and for the purses of the PGA Tour pros but it did not have the same effect for the number of people getting out to play golf. Two golf courses in San Diego's North County have closed in the past couple of years. The course was built in 1960s but it closed last year after its owner said it was losing money. In Escondido, the greens of the country club are now Brown. The developer who bought it out of bankruptcy shut it down saying it was no longer financially viable. It's a tough time for the industry. It really is. Chris Heman the championship course at Rancho Bernardo. He knows escalating water bills to keep the turf green are a second major threat to golf. His course invest almost too much in a new state-of-the-art sprinkler system designed to cut water use by 30%. And he says spraying green paint on the fairways is as effective as seating more turf in the winter. So we've gotten away from over seating and gone to painting our fairways as a lot of courses in San Diego County have done. So a good example would be our first fairway here at Rancho Bernardo Inn, you can tell if that's a painted fairway. Other golf courses have resorted to different strategies. Rancho Santa Fe has replaced 18 acres of turf by taking advantage of $1.6 million in rebates from the Metropolitan water District. To keep the number of players from drying up, the PGA is starting a next-generation early. Second-grader Calton is already learning how to swing a golf club after school. I liked it. It was really fun and I got to pot and that was kind of fun. -- to the skate. My biggest concern is 20 years from now when that demographic isn't playing as much has dropped quite a bit in the last decade, and boomers are not golfing at all, that's when they challenge cup coming about. Escondido course is not the only one that has succumbed to falling patronage recently. Some courses have been bought out of bankruptcy and revitalized but McNair thinks that won't solve the long-term problem. We need more golf courses to close in order for the ones that are left to survive. He picks three more golf courses in San Diego will close soon though he won't say which. Alison St. John, KPBS news. Coming up after the break, Saturday Night Live veteran Darrell Hammond brings his one-man show to the La Jolla Playhouse. You're listening to midday edition Friday. Today on to the point, flashbacks and bad trips in the 1960s led to bans on LSD and other psychedelics. But they are making an unlikely comeback as treatments for anxiety and depression. Does putting your brain on drugs have benefits after all? Join us for to the point, this afternoon at 1:00 here on KPBS, where news matters. Welcome back to "Midday Edition Friday." I'm Mark Sauer. As the longest-running cast member in the history of Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond is known for his impressions. Eastham Al Gore and Sean Connery and most famously Bill Clinton. Hammond has long struggled with deep-seated trauma. Angela Krohn says Hammond is now putting his life story on the stage in a one-man show at the La Jolla Playhouse. Darrell Hammond often gets asked to do Bill Clinton. Ever since Saturday Night Live skits like this one from 1998. Good evening. I come before you tonight not to talk about the important business of running the country, but rather to specifically address this huge document. He's holding a 700 page found deposition from the public Jones lawsuit. My fellow Americans, I have read this thing cover to cover. And folks, it's good stuff. [Laughter] Hammond's flawless Clinton has come in handy for the veteran comic. Sometimes it unexpected -- at unexpected times. In an early scene from his one-man show at the La Jolla Playhouse he described being taken to a crack house in New York City. Some people there thought he was an undercover cop. Until the matter was cleared up. From across the room came's off of a crack pipe. A topless woman went, that's Clinton. [Laughter] There are a lot of laughs. And over 60 voices in this show. Is also a lot of tragedy. Diagnosed with at least six major mental illnesses incorrectly. Put on 13 cycle pharmaceutical medications that I did not need. And this went on for 30 years. I was trying to find out what was wrong with me. Show follows his search for the source of his demons. Despite achieving his dream of getting cast on SNL where he had a successful 14-year run, he was often afraid. He drank a lot. At 19 he started cutting himself. Sometimes with a razor, other times with a knife. It's a way of creating a more manageable crisis than the one going on in your head. You are feeling these flashbacks, feeling this terror. Well, you just make a little wound and you have to attend to it and bandage it and clean it. In the process of doing that, the terror goes away. The terror was rooted in childhood trauma. Including abuse at the hands of his mother. She was a talented mimic and the only way Hammond connected with her was by doing voices. Whole point what I was doing wasn't to entertain. The point of what I was doing was classic shape shifting, definition of shape shifting which is you become like your enemy soldier enemy has no one to attack. From the time he was a young boy, Hammond attached voices two different colors. First you get the color, then you get the voice. Then if you don't get no color, you ain't getting no voice. Ted Koppel is blue. Martin Luther King, he says, is all the colors at once. He learned to Bill Clinton by reading John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech with a southern accent. He also watched tapes of Clinton. And I would see as he got a little tired, they would be a crinkling his voice. And I factored that in. Affected all those things in. Hammond takes his character -- caricature seriously. And doesn't shy away from the former President's inclinations. Let me see you naked. There would be no more racism. Angela, let's let freedom ring. Let's let freedom ring. From the prodigious hills. Hammond has been good at comic relief. At this stage of his life, he is also learned to master thedarkness. Angela Krohn, KPBS news. The big centennial celebration will draw many thousands to Balboa Park's zoo museums and theaters in 2015. KPBS news anchor Sally Hixon told us this week about another attraction that could enjoy a surge in business. On a typically sunny San Diego day, you might be drawn to the sites, sounds of the elbow Park carousel. As you approach you see there aren't just courses but also frogs, dogs and pigs bobbing up and down. And this is a special carousel. Most of us who grew up in San Diego took a spin at one time or another and it also has a history that predates the 1915 exposition. The carousel is a 1910 carousel. And it was made in New York and shipped to California. Bill Stein is the owner of the carousel and said it was initially sent to Los Angeles and then to tent city in Coronado in 1915. At the same time Balboa Park was growing into a popular spot so the original owner decided to place by the fountain on the eastern edge of the park. They finally settled down in the park in about 1922. And it was in that location by the fountain. And it remained there until 1968 when it was moved up to this location. In the park. This another reason why this Balboa Park carousel is so important at least to me. My grandfather started working there in 1925. My parents bought it in the 1950s. I got to ride endlessly as a child in the 1960s and I spent many days in the 70s sitting in the small white box selling tickets to help put me through college. So that move from the fountain in 1968 stands out in my mind as the city asked my mom to move her carousel three blocks to its present location near the San Diego zoo to make way for the Rubin H Fleet science Center. Now 92, my mom owned it for nearly 30 years and was always proud of its unique features especially the fine craftsmanship on each animal. I know the kind of work, from the linden trees in London England. Many of the horses on the carousel have real horse tales which raises an interesting story for both my mom and me. The zoo is very kind. And they kill horses when they are old and feed the meat to the tankers and -- to the tigers and lions. They would cut off the pretty tales. What my mom didn't tell you is that she hated to see the bloody tales that had just been removed from the horses. So I went with her and took the tales to the Tanner where I watched them clean them up for thecarousel. Was a kid and I didn't care. I didn't care though, that the merry-go-round had an added feature for kids. The ring toss with a surprise for a lucky writer or two. Again, Bill Stein. If you catch the ring, get a free ride. And I believe we're the only active ring toss game west of the Mississippi. Almost everything on the carousel is original. Including the band organ and the hand-painted murals above the animals. As you can well imagine the upkeep is extensive and that's why will -- my mom calls it a year-round labor of love. It's a well loved merry-go-round. And I'm so glad there's a variety of animals. Tigers and lions and pigs and cats. Because I painted the animals. If they were all horses, I would have been very bored. Bill Stein agrees. It's been 35 years of loving care and carrying on the fine traditions that Virginia and Clarence Welk and her dad set up for the merry-go-round. Little has changed over these 90 years that the two families have owned or operated the merry-go-round. So as you head to Balboa Park to separate its -- celebrate its history, take a spin on the carousel, which truly can take you back in time. Sally Hixon, KPBS news. Be sure to watch KPBS evening edition tonight. Evening edition at 5:00. And again at 6:30 tonight on KPBS television. You can view the Roundtable on KPBS TV tonight at 8:30. Join Maureen Cavanaugh Monday for discussions on San Diego's top stories on midday edition at noon on KPBS FM. Midday edition is produced by Megan Burke, and Patty Lane. Midday edition roundtable is produced by Pat Finn. Our senior producer is Natalie Walsh. And our technical director is Emily Jankowski. Or his assistants Arduino in and Matt Loughlin. I'm Mark Sauer. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

The Rise Of Measles

While measles may be highly contagious and quite dangerous, almost no one, including physicians, had seen a case in recent memory, until this winter.

That’s because the disease was all but wiped out in the U.S. by the 1960s thanks to mass immunizations. Ironically, a measles-free America gave parents who fear vaccines their own sort of immunity ... to decline or delay vaccinations for their children.


The current measles outbreak began in California in late December. As of Jan. 30, there were 102 confirmed cases over multiple states. In San Diego County, 8 percent of kindergarteners are lacking one or more immunizations against measles, polio and whooping cough. That's down from a high of 10 percent last year, but up from the 6 percent rate of a decade ago.

Half of those children are not up to date because of “personal belief exemptions,” an option the state legislature is considering eliminating.

It is extremely difficult to convince parents who fear the rare side effects of vaccines that immunizing their children will not cause harm. Meanwhile, collective immunity may disappear.

Penciling Out A New Stadium

The Chargers want a new stadium. More luxury suites and club boxes mean more local revenues – currently $100 million -- for team owners. San Diego seems to want the team to stay. So would building a new stadium be a good business decision for the Spanos family, which owns the Chargers?

Dan McSwain did the math – using estimates, as the Chargers have not released financial statements. One estimate of local revenues from a new facility is $150 million. The players would get some of that increase.


For a new $1 billion stadium, at 5 percent interest, the annual payment would be $80 million. The $50 million increase in local revenues won’t cover the debt service, which makes staying in Qualcomm a better business deal.

So if there is to be a new stadium, who’s going to pay for it, and where’s it going to be? Mayor Kevin Faulconer has appointed an advisory group to come up with some answers. But others are critical of both the make-up of the task force and its lack of transparency.

Tax Increases? Really?

Last week the San Diego Association of Governments board and other local officials discussed adding a “quality of life” half-cent-sales-tax increase to the June, 2016 ballot to improve transportation and preserve wetlands and open space.

Polling shows a majority of San Diegans favor such a measure, especially to assure a better water supply or traffic fixes. But any such measure must be approved by a whopping 66.6 percent of voters.

The TransNet tax passed in 1988 and extended in 2004, included a provision that SANDAG would have to pass additional taxes to fund environmental concerns. If the increase goes on the ballot, it could have competition from tax measures on the Chargers stadium and Convention Center extension.

And there are already predictions that the hurdle is so high that this measure will sink like a concrete life-preserver, to mix a few metaphors.