State GOP Delegates Scrambling For 2020, Slavery Reparation In California, Gig Economy Inequality
Speaker 1: 00:00 With the battle cry of train campaign. When California Republicans got a pep talk from national leaders at their state convention over the weekend, the party lost seven congressional seats in the 2018 midterms and they're locked out of power in Sacramento with minorities in both houses of the legislature. President Trump's 2020 campaign manager, head of the convention, telling State Republicans that sticking with Donald Trump, we'll give them a chance to turn their losses into victories, but other republicans like San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulkner told the crowd they need to build a Republican Party for California. Join me as Saul Gonzalez cohost of the California report who attended the state GOP convention in Indian Wells over the weekend saw. Welcome to the program. Hi Marine. Thanks. It sounds like the atmosphere at the convention was upbeat despite the gops recent losses in California. What was your take? Speaker 2: 00:55 Yeah, yeah, exactly, and you know what? I think in a state like California that is blue and getting bluer, I think Republicans just like going to a place where they don't have to keep their party affiliation hidden. At least that's what I heard from a lot of just sort of rank and file Republicans who came like, oh, I can, I finally feel relaxed, uh, amongst my own kind here. So that, that came through very clearly. Speaker 1: 01:16 Did any concrete plans emerge to perhaps spring California's GOP out of the political wilderness? Speaker 2: 01:22 Well, you said it in your opening. I mean, Jessica Patterson is the new Latina female head, which is a first of the California Republican Party and she is all about winning and she's all about winning through organization and training. So they had like 35 training sessions. They're real meat and potato stuff about how to organize, how to reach out to others, how to convince people to start thinking about voting Republican. Um, it was really a kind of the, in the vineyards work that they focused on and she would like to see two to four Republican victories in Congress and maybe two to three victories in the state legislature that Senate and assembly and in Congress, they would love, the Republicans, would love to win back some seats in Orange County, which of course not so long ago was the Republican enclave in California. Speaker 1: 02:12 One of the headlines that emerged from this convention was when Trump's 20, 20 campaign manager told the audience quote that Trump's will be a dynasty that will last for decades, propelling the Republican party into a new party. I'm wondering what was the reaction to that? Speaker 2: 02:29 Well, he said it, no big room full of people who really love Donald Trump. So he got a great reaction to that line. Ah, that sounds like a great thing. If you get, have uh, another generation, you know, a generation or more of Trump influence in American politics, although I should say, you know, he made that statement and that got, you know, a big cheer and applause but was kind of equally interesting. Or, or, or more practically interesting was the campaign manager saying, we want 2 million people volunteering for the Trump here in California and we are not going to write off this state. We know we don't have a strong chance of flipping California a to Trump. That's probably not going to happen. But, uh, he still said we're going to have 200, 250 people on the ground here in California because, you know, it's a great place still to raise money for the president, even if it's not going to go for the president and the general election. And you know, you gotta think about those other races, right? The, the, the races for the state legislature and particularly for Congress. So I think you're gonna have a lot of focus on those campaigns as the Trump campaign. You know, gins up support and enthusiasm for the president at the same time. Speaker 1: 03:38 No, San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulkner was one of the keynote speakers at the convention. He had a kind of a different message. He told the crowd the California GOP could be the party of yes, Speaker 3: 03:48 yes to mental health services to get the sick off the sidewalk. Yes. To common sense projects like bridge shelters. So people have a clean place to sleep at night and yes, to building the housing that our state needs. Speaker 1: 04:02 What was the reaction to Faulkner's address? Speaker 2: 04:05 Kind of generally positive. I mean it wasn't a overwhelming response, but I thought that was a really interesting message that kind of hearkened back to the days of compassionate conservatism and kind of, you know, more mainline g GOP rhetoric about where the party that can do things where the party that can get things done. Right now in Canon California, he is kind of the Republican success story in that he managed to get reelected. Right. So I think he's kind of an interesting Berge a lot of Republicans for that reason and Faulkner really, you know, really pressed this line of being able to do practical good things in a city that's increasingly, you know, not Republican friendly, right. As, as San Diego is population changes, Speaker 1: 04:49 you know, along the lines of that thrust to get more congressional wins or at least praise preserve the seats that they have. Uh, you spoke with a San Diego Republican, Darryl Eissa. Here's some of what he told you. Speaker 4: 05:03 We have a candidate in Dunkin hunter who I served with him and I serve with his father who, there's nothing wrong with his voting, but he is, uh, injured in a way in which he, uh, according to most polls I've seen all polls. I've seen he cannot win reelection. And as a Republican, I don't want to lose a seat that clearly is a seat that we need to have to get back to the majority. Speaker 1: 05:25 So He is running in the 50th district. Speaker 2: 05:28 He has a federal nomination that he says has been tied up in knots for too long. And basically he said, if he doesn't get, you know, positive word on this nomination going through, he will announce that he's in the running on November 3rd or shortly thereafter. You know, you heard them, they're basically hang on congressman hunter out to dry, right. Basically saying, this man is unelectable. And of course the subtext there is, I'm much more electable than, than hunter. If I run for this office. Speaker 1: 05:56 And meanwhile of you have governor Newsome who signed a bill to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns. So what would happen if president Trump is blocked from the 2020 primary ballot? Speaker 2: 06:10 You know, the Republican Party says that, but of course, and then that's, you know, there's constitutional issues there and legal disputes a plenty already around that. But of course, you know, that could be easily solved by president Trump releasing his taxes and then his neighbor assuredly would be there. But during the GOP convention, they voted to still send a contingent to the Republican convention, even if Trump's name doesn't appear in the 2020 election cycle here in California. Speaker 1: 06:39 So they are preparing for possibly not having Trump's name on the primary ballot. Speaker 2: 06:44 They are preparing for it. But I think it also has a practical effect to kind of, well earn money and to rally support. And a, and I think this is going to be a talking point along with the fact I should say, Gavin Newsome will increasingly be a tart talking point between now and the 2020 elections and, and the Republicans are really making this case, hey, if you're sick of homelessness and California is your, if you're sick of that, high real estate costs are housing crunch, think about voting Republican because the status quo isn't working out so well for a lot of Californians. Right now, Speaker 1: 07:20 I've been speaking with Saul Gonzalez cohost of the California report. He attended the state GOP convention over the weekend in Indian Wells. Saul, thank you very much. Speaker 2: 07:29 Hey Maureen, thank you. A pleasure. Speaker 1: 00:00 California is taking the first steps in discussing ways to give descendants of enslaved people, reparations, ACR one 30 heads to the state Senate today. After passing the assembly, the resolution calls on lawmakers to research what reparations would look like here in California and how best to fix inequity assembly woman Shirley Weber authored the resolution and joins me to talk about it. Assembly member Weber, welcome. Speaker 2: 00:25 Well, it's good to be here. Thank you very much for the invitation. Speaker 1: 00:27 If you could remind us what this resolution will do. Speaker 2: 00:30 Well, the resolution basically calls for California to begin to look at ways in which it can begin to address the issues of reparation in California. We've had research done that has not come forward and that there have been recommendations from, uh, obviously from different individuals concerning a California's bowl enslavery sort of acknowledgement that we played some role because oftentimes we don't think we have. And we played some role in the legislation and the laws and the, the things that took place that had a tendency to reinforce slavery in the United States and allows California to have over 2000 slaves when it became a state because of the laws that he's had written. So it calls upon us to acknowledge that, to recognize the fact that African Americans have contributed to the life of the United States, but also the life of California. And to ask us to begin the process of seeing what those recommendations are as how we can begin to have a conversation about reparations. Speaker 1: 01:28 And what inspired you to bring this before lawmakers? Speaker 2: 01:33 Well, a couple of things. One, this is the 400th anniversary of the first Africans who came to these shores, uh, in the Kayla, you before the Mayflower. So they came in 16, 19. And so there's been much, uh, celebration around the nation concerning 16, 19. So this was a part of the 16, 19 conversation that, uh, we wanted the, um, uh, the floor to celebrate the fact that African-Americans had been in a Cedric for 400 years and had contributed to the growth and the life of California as well as the nation. And then at the same time. But what does it draw attention to the fact that despite having been here for those 400 years in the United States and being in California for a couple of hundred years, there had not been really, uh, any addressing of the, the damage that slavery had done. And that we often think of slavery as east coast and everybody's raising these issues of reparations that African Americans have raised, but number of views and other groups have raised and gotten reparations and where the one group that has not, uh, so bringing those issues forward and making sure that California recognizes that it had a role in slavery despite the fact that it was not fully a slave state. Speaker 1: 02:39 What type of legislation do you think will follow this resolution? Speaker 2: 02:43 Well, what would have happened is obviously to form a commission to began to look at the work that has been done and to, uh, and then have that permission to report back to the legislature about what recommendations they would have based on the information that we're going to get from various that have already done the research. Some of them have done it and have yet to report to us exactly what the outcomes were and what the recommendations would be to begin to address the inequities that African Americans have in California. Speaker 1: 03:11 And so what do reparations look like to you? Uh, in the state of California? Speaker 2: 03:16 Well, you know, different individuals have different perspectives on what for reparation should do. What we've done in the past, and this is that, you know, whether it's the Japanese or whether it's Jewish community more recently, uh, people have asked for additional resources or the returning of their property or whatever it may be that they're, you know, that as an educator, when I look at reparations, I think about how can you help a community that often has locked out of access to resources, getting those resources like everyone else. And I think education, I think about education. I think about whether or not we want to make sure that the African American kids are well educated. We want to make sure that if they apply and get in and qualify for the universities they get into California universities. A reparations could mean anything. Reparations could mean that African-Americans qualify for University of California paid no tuition and no fees until that group reached parody with other booths in the state. Speaker 2: 04:10 You know, there are a lot of things that can happen. I think people focus only on money. Uh, I look at other things that, that are much more sustainable and longterm and can actually move that, uh, the population forward. And for me, obviously education is important, but others may think of the businesses and, and the building wealth in that way. And that comes with education as well. So, but the t pieces that we have never really had a conversation in California about California's bones, like how California benefited. Uh, there was even efforts, uh, research done in the insurance industry. Uh, and we're calling up on that to bring that board in terms of how California benefited from insuring slaves, uh, throughout the nation. And so we're looking at ways in which California benefited from slavery. And when we look at the chronic conditions of African Americans in the United States and in California as well, that you have high levels of poverty, you have a low level of engagement in at our higher ed institutions, and you'd have a high level of incarceration. Speaker 2: 05:09 So, uh, as a result, what are the, what is, what is the impact that this long history we've had but impact has on all of those kind of negative conditions. And then how, what do we do as a state to acknowledge it, not just to apologize cause we get lots of apologies, but really to do something that's more than apologies, it's really began to address these ongoing chronic issues that don't seem to go away because of having, um, basically having a, a start that was a start that never allowed African-Americans to really, uh, engage and participate in the economic life and the educational life. Uh, we get some folks who are successful out, you know, I can't complain about it myself, but we also know that, um, that basically, uh, there's a, is a difficult start and it's not reinforced. When we began to look at what benefits might exist in terms of the African American community to help it to grow and to become competitive with other communities in California. Speaker 1: 06:05 What type of challenges do you foresee in terms of getting reparations in California? Speaker 2: 06:10 Well, I think challenges we would face is, is one of, you know, who really deserves it, who really gets it. People are talking about those who are descendants of slaves in the United States and those are the ones who should oftentimes those who come from other places, other countries come into the United States come with an advantage of being, having come from somewhere else with different kinds of resources that are Africans that are African or from some of the islands and that the realities are very different. So the questions would be identifying those who are truly the ones who should benefit from it, from reparations and then figuring out what reparations look like. Uh, like I said, some folks talk about giving some money, others talk about some system changes and some things that we can basically measure that there is a sense of progress as yourself. Speaker 2: 06:57 I think if it is done and done well, it would not just everybody gets $5,000. I mean, it would not be something like that. Uh, that would probably do very little to total the wealth gap and a whole lot of other things that exist in, in, in the United States. So I think a thorough examination, um, uh, could be a very instructive and it will be difficult because think about, um, basically providing some level of reparations for a group that people have never felt deserved. And that's, you know, that with all the different groups that have gotten reparations in this country, Africans have not even, uh, early in at the end of slavery, there was going to be 48% of, you know, we can only imagine what would've happened if black families, when slavery had been given 40 acres, what that would be well worth today, you know, but they never got 40 acres and a mule to start a new life. And, um, and that has been the poverty piece that has existed over and over again. And then we still see the impact, though. Speaker 1: 07:56 I been speaking with assembly woman, Shirley Webber, Dr Webber, thank you so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 08:01 Thank you for the invitation. Have a good day. Speaker 1: 00:00 The imperial valley consistently has the highest unemployment rate in California. The online gig economy driving for Uber and Lyft might seem like a solution for workers facing few job prospects and traditionally low wages in this agricultural valley. As part of our California Dream Collaboration KPBS as Amica Sharma reports on how much of a boost gig jobs are providing drivers in the valley. Speaker 2: 00:31 Lyft driver, Juan Hernandez is a few rides into his shift. All right. Just keep driving around until someone messages me or I tell I get a notification. The 21 year olds accounting students started this job only six days earlier that I get to meet new people. He spoke to me in a mall parking lot. I love giving rides, I guess, but the work isn't bringing in much income. Sometimes I could travel from El Centro to Brawley, drop someone off and they only pay me three bucks and that's like 20 miles wasted. Hernandez turned to Lyft driving as one way to patch together a livable monthly income. The $800 he earns each month working part time at Lowe's combined with the $300 his pregnant girlfriend makes from working as a McDonald's cashier aren't enough. I got a child support now. It is what it is. He has bigger aspirations. Speaker 2: 01:23 He wants to be a screenwriter and an accountant, but for now he's driving through this hot, dusty land, dotted by huge forums, tract homes, and big box stores with the Imperial Valley lacking better and greater opportunities. This is the only opportunity I can get. You know, Hernandez, his frustrations reflect the challenges facing the valley's larger economy in the summer months. Unemployment here is nearly 20% but the region's boosters argue that rate isn't as dire as it appears at our highest, and then that completely flips in the winter time. Tim Kelly is the valley's Economic Development Corporation CEO. He says that high unemployment is due to a largely seasonal agricultural economy, but admits he's never seen the unemployment rate budge out of the double digits. He hopes that will change as the valley capitalizes on its biggest asset. We're in California, right? Everybody wants to be in California. Even. He says, if the weather climbs into the triple digits as it can four months out of the year, but he argues there's plenty here to market. Speaker 2: 02:27 We have land. It's very competitively priced. We have water at the lowest price in the United States. We have the lowest cost electricity rates in California, or we've got a labor force that's ready and willing to work. And when you look at housing, Imperial County has very affordable housing. A typical home costs $212,000 in the county and attractive price for Californians shut out of coastal markets. Imperial Valley aspires to be a renewable energy hub and is already a leader in geothermal, solar and wind energy, but they don't hire a lot of people. Kimberly Collins has studied the valley's economy. She's a public administration professor at Cal State San Bernardino. Speaker 3: 03:09 Once you build out the solar plant or once you have a geothermal plant working, they don't have a huge staff. Speaker 2: 03:16 Colin says the imperial valleys. Downsides remain hurdles. Speaker 3: 03:19 You know, it's in the very corner of California. It's very hot down here. It's very flat. It's not always, you know, visually appealing to be here for Speaker 2: 03:28 Lyft driver, Juan Hernandez. Those drawbacks may be getting less important. I do see it growing bigger, bigger, and I do see more people coming, but he adds a caveat for people like me working minimum wage jobs is, it's a struggle. It's a real frog here. Even so, Hernandez who was born in Imperial Valley believes he's better off than his grandparents. He used to pick vegetables in the valleys, fields he wants to move, but he says he'd stay if the valley offered more opportunities. In the meantime, he's looking for a third job. Joining me is KPBS investigative reporter Amica Sharma. Amit, the welcome. Thank you. It's good to be here. We just heard your story on a Lyft driver in the imperial valley who's trying to cobble together a living through multiple jobs as a way to engage our listeners in the reporting we do. We put out a question asking listeners for their thoughts on the GIG economy. Speaker 2: 04:24 So what did you hear back? Well, so one of our listeners wrote in and basically said, look, there is no difference between what we today call the Gig economy and what we all for years have called Paul parttime work. To the listeners point, there has always been part time work, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, you know, we'll do little side hustles, little side gigs on the weekend working for neighbors or what have you. Um, and then there are teens who babysit in the neighborhood or wherever and people who mow other people's lawns. That's always gone on. That's correct. But if this person's point is that Gig work is no different than part time work that people have always done for businesses. That's incorrect. I checked in with Ken Jacobs. He has the Center for Labor Research and education at UC Berkeley. He says that there are some key differences. If you work part time for a retail store, the employer pays into social security, the employer pays into unemployment insurance, all of that. What is different about these new labor platforms like Uber and Lyft is that even though the company has the power in the relationship, visa vi the workers, the companies determine the price and how much of that the driver will get. In other words, all the hallmarks of employment. Yet the driver has no right to paid sick leave, meal breaks, rest breaks and workers' comp. Speaker 1: 06:02 Another of our listener comments was from a person who said he'd worked as an independent contractor for 15 months doing mapping and then he got laid off and was told he could apply again for a job after 90 days. He's and this person said they felt like a broken light bulbs so easily replaced. How common is dispense ability in this work? Speaker 2: 06:24 It's very common. Again, Ken Jacobs at the Labor Center at Berkeley says that's another challenge for independent contractors who we've discussed so far. There is no job security. They can essentially be deactivated, let go at any time. The other aspect of many of these kinds of workers is that they are subject to customer reviews. They may be doing everything they can to please a customer, but one bad review can lose some business or get them fired. It could be that they encountered a passenger who was drunk or rude or even tried to sexually harass them. And if that's the case, there's very little recourse for these workers. Speaker 1: 07:07 Now during uh, your feature that we just heard you told us about the struggles of unemployment and low wages in imperial valley, where do most of the jobs come from in Imperial County? Speaker 2: 07:19 Well, Imperial County is predominantly an agricultural economy. It's about 85% of the economy. So even though people say, look, when we grow stuff here at year round, there is still some seasonal work. So there are people there who are looking for part time work a lot of the time. The gentleman I profiled in the piece that we just heard, he's a college student and he also works at Lowe's and he's looking for a third time job because he can't afford rent and also has his girlfriend is pregnant and so he can't afford paying rent and utilities and car insurance and all of that. And he says that a lot of his friends were doing the same thing. They're working two to three jobs, Speaker 1: 08:05 as you said, cobbled together an income from the people you spoke with in Imperial County. Is there a feeling that there's sort of a wealth of untapped potential in the area? Speaker 2: 08:17 That is a huge feeling out there. Um, for the boosters of the Valley of the county, they say, look, we're still in California. People can come and make their dream here. They really want businesses to move there and set up shop. They really want to diversify their economy and they say, look, what's not to love. We've got cheap land and a lot of it we've got water, um, an abundance of it and it's cheap and we've got cheap electricity. Um, you know, and they poopoo questions about the weather. It, it's in the triple digits about four months out of the year and they say Las Vegas is hot four months out of the year. Palm Springs is hot four months out of the year. So why are we any different? They see a lot of potential. Whether that potential ends up ever being tapped is not clear. I mean, you've been covering the financial struggles of Californians for nearly two years now. Speaker 2: 09:13 How does this discussion that you weave, we just heard in this feature, how does that fit into your coverage? Well, this whole debate over ab five is happening in a state where nearly half of Californians are grappling with poverty. A survey done by the nonpartisan public or religion research institute last year was really telling. It found that 42% of Californians had delayed medical treatment for financial reasons, and about the same number had scaled back meals. So they're not eating to save money. About a third of working Californians are having a tough time paying their rent or mortgage. The survey also found that more than half of the state's residents don't think that hard work ensures any kind of future for them. So that's the backdrop of ab five and those stats say what they say. I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter Amica Sherma Amika thank you. Thank you, Maureen. Speaker 4: 10:12 [inaudible]. Speaker 1: 00:00 A new book explores racism and inequality in our society. Challenging the way many think about it, how to be an antiracist by Ebrum candy makes a case for people to actively stop racism with critical self reflection and acknowledging racism. Impact. Dr Ebrum Kandi is the founding director of the anti-racist research and Policy Center at American University and the author of how to be an anti-racist. Dr Kendi. Welcome. So first I'm going to start by asking what is an antiracist? Speaker 2: 00:34 Well, by definition in anti-racist is someone who is expressing in anti-racist idea or supporting anti-racist in anti-racist policy with their action. And when I say anti-racist idea, I mean notions that the racial groups as our equals that nothing is wrong with a particular racial group. And when I say anti-racist policies, I'm talking about policies that are leading to racial equity. Speaker 1: 01:04 Hmm. And with that then can you define what a racist is? Speaker 2: 01:09 So a racist is the very opposite. And so it's someone who is expressing a racist idea or supporting a racist policy with their action or even inaction. And, and so if an anti-racist idea connotes racial equality, then racist ideas could no racial hierarchy that certain racial groups are better or worse, superior or inferior to another. If anti-racist policies lead to racial equity, racist policies lead to racial inequity. And if someone is doing nothing in the face of racial inequity in the face of racist policy, then by default they're supporting that status quo. Speaker 1: 01:57 And so in that, there, there really is no gray area. Either you're anti-racist or racist. Uh, there is no, I'm not racist. You say, um, why is that? Speaker 2: 02:09 Well, I say it for a number of different reasons. You know, obviously by definition there is no gray area between equity and inequity between hierarchy, racial hierarchy and racial equality. But then also historically when, when people have been charged with saying or doing something that's racist, the typical response has not been, well, you know, maybe what I said is racist, you know, limby, you know, investigate, let me inquire, let me self reflect. Let me self critique the typical response and almost almost a flippant response of Americans even well meaning Americans has been, I'm not racist. And so breaking that down, it's been, I'm a not racist and, and I've never really been able to find any meaning in the term, not racist other than as a defensive sort of term of, of denial. Speaker 1: 03:05 Is it important for people to be able to define racism and be specific in identifying it Speaker 2: 03:13 without question. I mean, when we look at, for instance, the political winds of, of the summer where, to give an example, when the president of the United States was having this big public debate with Congress, Congressman Elijah Cummings from, from Baltimore, and both were calling the other racist. Um, even though both have very distinct ideas about race, both are pushing different types of racial policies. And so they can't both be racist. And so in a way they were debating like Americans have been for quite some time the definition of a racist. And they were both. And I think many Americans define racist in a way that exonerates them. And we should not be doing that with any word. Um, let alone the term racist Speaker 1: 04:01 in many newsrooms, for example, many journalists have a difficult time describing people or their actions as racist because there's this thought that you have to know intent in order to do that. How important is intent to defining racism? Speaker 2: 04:16 So I think what would many journalists don't realize, and, and you know, this is again even well, meaning journalists is the frame of intent to define racist person or even a racist policy was actually created by racist themselves to exonerate their racism. Because it's very, very hard to figure out what is in someone's bones or what's in someone's heart or what is someone's intent. But it's not hard to figure out the outcome. It's not hard to ascertain what they say, what policies they support. And so that's why intent for me is an irrelevant descriptor when it comes to describing someone as racist because that concept was created by racist themselves to basically exonerate themselves. Speaker 1: 05:06 And the first few pages of your book, you highlight a point in time where looking back now you've realized some of your ideas, uh, that you held were racist. Can you tell me about that? Speaker 2: 05:17 Yeah, so I came of age in the 1990s, meaning when I was sort of during my teenage years and if there was ever and a decade in American history where black youth in particular were denigrated in which black youth were told there was something wrong with them, that they were ruining black America, that they were ruining America. It was the 1990s. And, and so in many ways I consumed some of those ideas that black youth didn't value education, that black youth were too often getting pregnant. That black youth were the most feared in society, that they were super and it was their fault. Speaker 1: 05:59 And how important is, is critical self reflection, uh, for everyone in their process of identifying racism. Speaker 2: 06:06 If the heartbeat of racism is denial, then the heartbeat of anti-racism is confession. And so being self reflective and self-critical is absolutely essential to being anti-racist. It is what separates the anti-racist from the racist who fundamentally and always will deny, um, what they've said in what they've done. Speaker 1: 06:32 I've been speaking with doctor Ebrum, Candi, director of the anti-racist research and Policy Center at American University and author of the book how to be an anti racist. Dr Candy, thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 06:44 You're welcome and pink. You Ave on the show. Speaker 3: 06:54 [inaudible].