Roundtable: The Trump Effect, Trump U Lawsuit, Plaza De Panama Reboot
As protests continue Californians wonder what will happen to immigrants and the environment under President Donald Trump. The class action lawsuit against Trump University is back in the news. The bypass bridge around Balboa Park has been approved by the city Council again. I am Mark Sauer. The Roundtable starts now. Welcome to our discussion. Joining me at the Roundtable today are Matthew Hall, editorial & opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune . Jean Guerrero, Fronteras reporter, . Bianca Bruno . And growth & development reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune , who covers growth & development reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Donald Trump campaigned for 16 months and one an electoral college victory on promises to build a wall and drum Obamacare and ditch the Paris claimant agreement but the President-elect has been confounding leave vague when it comes to exactly how he will do all of it. So the question of what to expect from Trump especially here in California is vexing. Matthew your recent editorial took some staff about what might happen here. How do you see as we sit here? We do not know. That is a short answer. The three important words is everything is negotiable. Largely that is because he states on a different position and then three or five times in some editions came back. But while he was definite on. There are some issues that people need to be on the lookout for and one is the wall and one is illegal immigration and Obamacare. He did interview that said that the three top priorities for his first few days of office are going to be Obamacare, tax reform, and illegal immigration. He says that he wants to keep two big provisions of Obamacare which are the ability of kids to stay on their kids insurance and the ability of everyone with a pre-existing condition to get medical care. If I recall the negotiation and 2009 was that trade-off was that they got the guaranteed of folks will buy insurance or get a penalty for not doing not. He does not talk about that. This is a complicated negotiation that he has in front of him whether he can do it or not remains to be seen. He says he wants to and he has both chambers of Congress under GOP control so if it's going to happen, I think you will see it start to happen soon. I wanted to turn to you, Jean. Remind us what the initiative is and who was taking control of it. So it sounds for deferred action for childhood arrivals. It is a different deportation for people who arrived in the United States before they were 16 years old and a lot of of brought here as children by their parents. What allows them to do is get a work permit so a lot of them are able to get formal jobs for the first time and also with the Social Security number that they received they are able to apply for financial aid through the state or through universities to attend college. It allows them to pursue higher education in many cases. So we have a clip here of Diana Gonzales and tell us who she is. So she was brought to the you was from Mexico when she was two years old. So classic % who is eligible for DACA. more than 100 people were there protesting the Trump election. It is sad because the education system taught us not to speak Spanish and now they want to send me back to a country that I don't know anything about. I don't know with the president of Mexico is. Is that typical other folks you've talked to. Are you hearing similar stories? A lot of people fear that they will be losing their ability to pay for school or that they may be deported. In some cases they don't speak Spanish because they been here for so long. Although Trump said he will change priority towards deporting immigrants with criminal convictions. This is a recent statement that he made. Is not going to be going after all immigrants. He has said that he plans to repeal the actions which in Karen -- include DACA. If they don't face immediate deportation, they may still lose their funding for school in the work permit. I want to go back to something that you mentioned about the interview. He talked about two or 3 million criminals, but didn't Obama set a record here for deporting people. I don't know what the exact number is. You make a good point about Obama. A lot of people don't realize that Obama deported a lot of people. So when Trump talks about deporting two or three, I don't think he knows what the number is but when we are talking about criminals, is he going to do convictions or arrests? I think there is a lot of wiggle room. That is something for people to watch. I wanted to ask Matthew about the tax items. Tax reform and that brings up the question of infrastructure. He says he will build the greatest infrastructure in the U.S. infrastructure in the U.S. So how is that going to work? Where does the money come from? And how did the party members feel about that quick In California there are three more million votes for Clinton and I'm wondering just It's funny that you brought up California. There was a story to the that said to figure out what's going to happen in California, look at Texas. Texas in itself up for someone who was with the administration. You have an Attorney General that filed lot 30 lawsuit against the federal government. That is astounding so there was this thing taken place and now the shoe is on the other foot. You are going to have California as a big power play against the federal government and the big question to watch is who Jerry Brown want to point for Attorney General. When we join up with Oregon and Washington -- [ Laughter ]. Let's move back. Someone said you had interviewed other minorities that have expressed greatest concerns. Tell us about Mohammed. Let's hear his bite and hereby his concerns. People are going to think that they can do anything because it is Donald Trump. That scary. Being African American around the age of 19. So what was his overall concern? He feels he's already been seen a lot of discrimination and looks at the police shootings that we been seeing across the country and this has been under President Obama who is an African-American president. He feels that this is going to increase. Of course, not everything a person of color feels the same way but a lot of people I've been interviewing our expressing fear on what trumps does Trump mean to them. A lot of harassment in schools and they believe that this is because his comments about Mexicans and Muslims in the way that he talks about inner cities they believe that this has fueled hatred. We are seeing a lot of protest. We stand against hate. On wording how the climate will change. I do want to shift gears to another topic climate change is a huge consideration. We have a commander-in-chief that is climate change denier and has a bunch of allies amongst leaders in Congress. [ Indiscernible - multiple speakers ] That is something to watch and Governor Brown has stood up with his back straight and said the policies in place in California are being done for the right reasons and so there may be some tension points there but that's one of many big issues. So the governor will continue to be a leader but who knows what will happen. They were talking about 200 nations have signed under that. The Paris agreement is something to watch. He does have the ability to announce that on day one but it's not so simple and he can't throw it monkeywrench it. That is a pretty complex thing to unwind. We will see what happens. Very quickly before we leave this topic I did want to talk about the affordable care act. Speaker the house Paul Ryan this we talked about Medicare and will go to a voucher system. How does not play with the working-class folks with finisher careers and relying on Social Security and Medicare. Trump said one of the few definite things he said will not touch Medicare and now they said we are going to a voucher system. This country is predominantly Republican. There might be some tension between speaker of the house and the Senate and Trump. Trump has said we will not touch entitlements. Trump went after the Republican establishment. Another Trump really destroyed the President-elect faces lawsuits here and and you were accusing him of fraud and another first for a President-elect. Looks like we may have a settlement today that is days before the trial was to commence against Trump and his Trump University here before District Judge Gonzalo Curiel . What we know now a lot of reports across the nation today this morning that there is a settlement or hearing this afternoon. There is probably a settlement reached that will likely be discussed this afternoon in federal court. The settlement reported to be between about $20-$25 million and it would be a global settlement. It would apply to all three cases two of which are in San Diego. Reminders what are the plaintiffs alleging here. These were folks that went to Trump University and try to get some expertise and marketing. All the cases rely on the same fraud claims. The case in San Diego that was set to go to trial was filed by Sonny low who is a senior citizen. There is a final -- elder abuse case as well. They insisted that the case get either settled or go to trial after Thanksgiving. It's been a while. It's been almost 7 years. The old thing is justice tonight. They are claiming that there are Desha was just fraud and they would have the expertise and Trump was going to bring his long development to teach these courses. So the two major claims of this case that we decide that were decided upon in court is that Trump handpicked the instructors himself and that the title University was basically a way to deceive students into believing that it was our credit or on par with major business schools. Turned out that Trump was had little involvement. His attorneys say that they relied on sales and advertising to capitalize on his name to get people to purchase the program. So there think that amounts to fraud and basically sold a bill of goods. What does Trump and his attorney say about that quick As you mentioned earlier he has been adamant on the campaign trail this year including when he came to San Diego. The claims are basically bogus and that if the students were unsuccessful with what they learned from Trump University it was because of their own feelings that it wasn't the school's fault. So he's really stuck by that. It is surprising to hear that there could be a settlement today. He was adamant that he was going to see the trial and the truth will come out. He was and he said he would come and testify in person, which has been up in the air the past two weeks. I that people are happy with the education that they received a. That is an interesting part of the reason -- case. There was a hearing in federal court over motions to exclude evidence. So trumps attorneys wanted the students and distraction surveys to come in. He said there was a 90% satisfaction level. Obviously, that may not be untrue but they wanted that to come in and there was a fight with him and the judges attorneys over it and he ultimately ruled he would let those surveys come in. He also wanted to exclude a lot of statements and media reports that were made during the campaign. What did the judge say about that quick He is also allowing those to go win if it goes to trial it seems that it won't but there will be a settlement announced this afternoon. If it does go to trial, his attorney -- the plaintiffs attorney can bring in all this information over tweets and what he said on the campaign trail including an San Diego he talked about the judge famously said he could be biased because he's Mexican descent. A lot of Republican leaders came out against it. So all of that is fair game if it goes to trial. Let's talk about the other suit which is a newer one. It is not near trial it was filed in 2013 and the same fraud claims as the other case. There is a racketeering claim that has higher stakes and it was the racketeering act was created to basically prosecute the Mafia and organize crime. It is a high-stakes game to use that and it would have triple damages and attorneys fees if you was found to have abused that. As you said we don't have details yet. What is it likely in these lawsuits are we going to get a lot of details or get Mr. Trump and his attorneys admitting some sort of guilt in this regard quick That would be one of the conditions of the settlement. So he would that's would admit to any wrongdoing and no fraud. I imagine a lot of the terms will be private. They will not be released publicly. There will be a gag order. There was 10 hours of testimony of Donald Trump so that will not see the light of day. That was a major fight over the summer. Media outlets got involved in the case and led by the Washington Post and they wanted to get access. We will see what happens here and what the settlement may bring and move on. A plan that spawned a lot of press and a big fight has quite is thus quickly been revised. That deal with to get vehicles out of the center of the Balboa Park. Six years and plenty of fighting it looks like it is going to happen. Will start with what does city Council do here. We heard a lot about it and now it's back. It is an idea of removing cars from the Panama another areas in the central Mesa. He was going to pay for most of it at the time estimated at about $45 million. A group sued the city and the Jacobs committee one but that it was overturned on appeal so now it's come back. At that time he walked away from it and said I don't want to be involved. Then we had two it Mayers later came back to life and Faulkner talked him into stepping up again so now the project is back in the city Council voted in favor of bonds on Monday to pay for a parking garage. The downside is it is now seven $9 million and the city will cover most of the cost. So we went from $45 million it is now seven $9 million and the city will cover most of the cost. So we went from $45 million-$79 million. What happened? I did ask the guy who worked on the numbers and he said that the estimate was not raised on anything at the time. A little more detail so we will have this test the bridge comes in over 163 in this will be a spur of that bridge to go to a big area, which is now a parking lot street level. So to get the cars out of the middle, you have to put them somewhere. So they will build this for hundred foot bypass called Centennial Bridge at the end of the Cabrillo Bridge. You go through the garden parking lot and to the Spreckles Organ Pavilion where the new garage will be. And then that will free up all the spaces there taken over by cars and become plazas and walkways and it will be landscaped and there will be a park on top of the garage. So it will be quite beautiful. The objections were from people that they didn't like changing the historic look of the Westside of the park. They did not like paid parking. They said that we can do all this without spending all this money. The city Council said we haven't been convinced. That is a big change. I guess the reason why was because still most of 80% of the space will be free. I think the question mark on this project among other things is will people use the parking garage? Will they pay up to $12 a day to park in the park you of all this free parking nearby. They're worried that if it doesn't pay the way the city Council has to get the general fund to pay the difference then they will make other parts for paid parking. You can see that parking should not -- there is a price for the parking and the price is all of the asphalt, traffic, or parking management and in a big city, parking is not free anymore. That's the nature of society. I will be surprised if you don't see more places charging for parking. I wanted to mention another issue that came up during the election, which is measure I to make the high school a permanent school site. It is on park Boulevard on the other side of interstate. It is in the park itself and never been legal there. It was put on their as a -- it was put on when nothing was in the park so the voters approved the idea that the city could have a lease with the school district and the question is whether school district be anything for this lease? They did not want to pay anything. That will come up next year. Getting back to the core of the area give us bullets on the numbers there. How much will it cost? How many car spaces? There are 797 parking spaces, three levels on the garage, there are handicapped spaces and Valley spaces. -- vallet spaces. Outside the museum on the west side that will be turned into a very nice outdoor patio where they could have events and food and even dinner. So it will be kind of like Central Park in New York City where the cars are hidden away and a lot of open space for the public. All this money going to this project doesn't do anything about the structure we talked about and buildings in disrepair? The estimates of deferred maintenance is a 1989. I think the problem here is all the big donors one away from the park. We don't have anything to do with it. So maybe they want to figure out how to cash this happens, the doors will be open. We will see if that'll happens. Before we close today, I wanted to know the passing of a journalist and widely admired American. They earned her the respect and admiration of journalists and citizens across America. For four decades of interviews and reporting have enriched our lives. I am proud our show patterned after her we can review and followed her on KPBS TV on Friday nights. We will all miss her wisdom and great sense of fairness especially in these turbulent times. She was just 61 when she died of cancer this week. That does rub up another week of stories at the roundtable. I would like to thank Mike cast Matthew Hall, Jean Guerrero, Bianca Bruno, and Roger Showley. Thank you for listening.
So ... Donald Trump — now what?
Most Californians are decidedly not on the same page as President-elect Donald Trump on any number of issues.
Climate change, for instance. Mass deportations of immigrants who are living in the country illegally. The need for environmental regulations.
And as for Obamacare, it works better in a large state like California than in many smaller states.
Many Californians are concerned about their future, particularly immigrants currently taking advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA..
The Obama administration granted temporary relief from deportation to immigrant children brought here illegally by their parents. Many who responded to this executive action by working or attending school are now frightened because they came out of the shadows, and now the government has all their information.
Will Trump really abandon NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Will he eliminate the Department of Education, build a wall, dump NATO? Or are these his opening gambits?
In the face of all this uncertainty, some Californians are talking secession.
Trump U class action
Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel was scheduled to rule Friday on whether to delay the trial of the Low v. Trump class action lawsuit slated to begin Nov. 28.
There are reports that settlement talks are ongoing.
The Low class action was one of two suits currently on the San Diego federal docket alleging Trump University students were victims of fraud. The other, Cohen v. Trump, also alleges violations of the federal racketeering act, or RICO.
Trump’s legal team has asked that the Low trial begin after the Jan. 20 inauguration. The plaintiffs responded that they are ready and that if Trump could set aside a date after Jan. 20, he could certainly set aside a date in December, especially since he didn't have to testify in person.
Plaza de Panama plan approved again
The lawsuit against the plan to completely reconfigure Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama was resolved when the California Supreme Court declined to take it up. So the plan, proposed in 2010 by Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and others, is back and has been approved once again by the San Diego City Council.
It is scheduled to open in 2019.
The now $79 million plan championed by Jacobs (it was $45 million six years ago) calls for getting cars out of the plaza via a bypass around the Museum of Man. The bridge would lead to an underground parking garage — and rooftop park — where the Spreckels Organ Pavilion parking lot is now.
The plaza would then be car-free.
Save Our Heritage Director Bruce Coons still objects to the plan on aesthetic grounds, and he's calling for donations to another defense fund.
But Coons’ arguments did not impress the City Council, which voted 8-1 to go ahead. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who objects to paid parking in Balboa Park, was the lone dissenter. If revenues from paid parking don’t meet projections, the city’s general fund may have to fill the gaps.
The whole plan could disintegrate if construction bids are too high or donations too low.