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Asylee Back In Limbo, ‘Smart Streetlamps’ Help SDPD Solve Crimes, Gold Star Musical

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After obtaining U.S. asylum, a Honduran man may be sent back to Mexico by customs officials. Also, San Diego police are increasingly using streetlight cameras to help solve crimes despite privacy concerns, President Trump and others have sued California over a new tax return law, a quadriplegic veteran’s death at the VA may have been preventable, San Diego writers react to Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s death, a musical about a legendary recording studio premieres at the San Diego Rep, and The Globe's “Romeo And Juliet” is about more than star-crossed lovers.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 One reason president Trump is facing protestors on his visit to El Paso is the way he's handled the influx of Central American immigrants at the border. Many are waiting months in Mexico to make their claims of asylum in the u s only about 10% of asylum seekers win their cases and are allowed to live in the United States. But even winning may not be enough for one asylum seeker. An immigrant who was subject to the Trump administration's remain in Mexico policy spent months in Tijuana while his asylum case was heard this week. He became the first remain in Mexico asylum seeker to win his case. But even with that, when his attorney says prosecutors are threatening to send him back across the border while they decide whether to appeal the ruling, joining me by Skype is his attorney, Robin Barnard with the legal advocacy group, human rights first. And Robin, welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. Tell us about your client. Why is he seeking asylum in the US?

Speaker 2: 01:02 We're using the name Alec, uh, to preserve his privacy and, and protect him in case he is, um, sent back to Mexico. Uh, he's actually been granted asylum now, so he's recognized refugee under our laws here in the United States. He was seeking asylum based on his status as an evangelical Christian leader in his community in Honduras. Um, because of his work as an evangelical leader, uh, he was targeted by the gang Mara Salvatrucha or [inaudible]. Uh, he was shot. He was attacked and threatened with death on multiple occasions by the gang because of his work in the community, um, which included, uh, evangelizing youth that had been, um, in the gangs and he was actually successful in getting several gang members to leave that past and joined his church. And for that reason, he drew the ire of, um, ms 13, and had to flee to save his life. And an immigration judge actually recognize that that was a lawful basis for refugee status in the United States yesterday. The judge unequivocally granted him protection in the United States based on that religious status.

Speaker 1: 02:12 Now, Alec has been subject to the remain in Mexico policy while his case went through the legal process. What has that been like for him?

Speaker 2: 02:19 It's been incredibly hard. Eloqua is among the first group of asylum seekers that were returned to your wanna in January of this year under the remain in Mexico policy. And he's been waiting in Tijuana for six months for his day in court. Uh, he had no work permit issued by the Mexican government. He had no assistance from the Mexican government while he was waiting until Juana. He was entirely reliant on the charity of, of others. Uh, he had shelter at a church, uh, which was very fortunate to find, uh, because he had no means of income in Mexico while he was waiting. So as you can imagine, it was very difficult. And then he's also been fearful for his life while been waiting into your wanna. Uh, there have been instances of, uh, a kidnapping threat just recently. His room was, was broken into and his belongings stolen.

Speaker 2: 03:10 Uh, he also was threatened with deportation by Mexican police despite showing them that he had a temporary visa and was waiting for his unit u s immigration court hearing. He was told by the police in response, this is Mexico, not the United States. Um, so he's terrified to go back. Uh, and we thought that, you know, after waiting six months after filing hundreds of pages of evidence to support his claim and then spending hours in court yesterday testifying that after the judge granted him protection that his fight would be over and that he would have some relief to be here and safety. Um, and then immediately at the end of the hearing, the Department of Homeland Security Attorney announced that he would be taken back into custody while they decided whether to appeal that decision granting him asylum.

Speaker 1: 03:58 Do you know why prosecutors are considering appealing that ruling?

Speaker 2: 04:02 I don't, um, they don't have to give us any reasons at this point because they do have the right to appeal. Likewise, if the judge had decided to deny asylum, we would have the right to appeal that decision as well. But in this case, the judge decided that Alec met the standard for being granted refugee protection. Um, and he has a sponsor here in the community that is ready and willing to receive him and welcome him into the United States. He has an attorney who will vouch for his future appearance in court and more of the court and DHS have, um, cleared him French into the United States. There were numerous security checks that the department runs before a merits hearing like this. And yesterday the, the DHS attorney told the court that those checks had been run and that he was cleared, which means that there's no criminal record for his name for him here in the United States or elsewhere. Um, and the judge found him to be a credible witness.

Speaker 1: 05:00 You've said forcing Alec to leave the country while an appeal was underway would be illegal and totally unprecedented. Why is that?

Speaker 2: 05:08 So? It's totally unprecedented because this is a brand new policy that's been implemented this year by the United States government. Uh, and Alec, as far as we're aware, is the first person under the policy to be granted asylum. And so there is no precedent for, for the situation. Um, however, you know, when we have people, clients in detention who are granted asylum, it is a matter of course that they're, they're released from detention that day in recognition of the court having granted them protection. Uh, similarly, Alec shouldn't be put into a detention cell or sent back to Mexico even while the government is appealing. Um, he's been found to be a refugee. The security checks had been cleared and he has council that is vouching for his, his appearance in the future. And so there's, there's no reason for him to have to be detained while this person's is way.

Speaker 2: 05:58 Where is Alec today and what do you expect is going to happen? As far as I'm aware, he is at a port of entry along the u s border and the custody of customs and border protection. Um, sometimes those sells a call to Alaras because they're usually small cells that, um, are very cold and are cement and there's no place to sleep or anything like that. So as far as we're aware, that's where he is still. Um, because we haven't heard from him and he, we have no way of contacting him while he's in CBP custody. Uh, I hope that the government will recognize that the judge's decision was, was correct and was true according to our laws and the evidence that was presented. Um, and I don't think he should be punished any further. He should be welcomed into our community as a refugee. I've been speaking with attorney Robyn Barnard with the legal advocacy group, human rights first. Robyn, thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego city police have discovered that video cameras installed on streetlights around the city of San Diego three years ago are proving helpful in solving crimes, but privacy concerns about how that footage could be used have surfaced and the city is holding workshops to get public input. Joshua Emerson Smith with the San Diego Union Tribune joins us to talk about this new technology and what protections are in place to protect our privacy. Thanks for being with us, Joshua. Good to be here. So now this is known as the smart city program. Tell us a little bit about the, the initial purpose behind these cameras.

Speaker 2: 00:35 Right. So they were installing led lights in the street lamps and the contractor General Electric suggested that they could do these smart street lamps, which included cameras, microphones, even, uh, nodes to record the temperature. And I think initially the idea was that this would help track traffic patterns and parking spots and help the city get a better handle on how it could kind of manage traffic in certain highly congested areas.

Speaker 1: 01:14 How many of them are there, Joshua, and how obvious are they?

Speaker 2: 01:17 They're fairly obvious. Like, if you look at the street lamp a, you could tell there's a camera there. If you look closely, there are more than 3000 and by next summer the city expects to have 4,200 throughout the city and they really are spread all throughout the city.

Speaker 1: 01:33 So now the initial program then was not necessarily intended for use by the police, but uh, the police have now discovered that they are being quite useful. Tell us a little bit about how they're using the footage.

Speaker 2: 01:44 Right. So last August they were investigating a shooting and the police officers on the scene, they were looking for cameras and then they realized, oh wait, the, the street lamp right above where the shooting happened, has a camera in it. And Law enforcement officials were kind of vaguely aware of the program at that point, but they had never used it. And then they took a look at the footage, they requested it from the city and they looked at the footage and they realized, wow, we could see the whole incident perfectly. And the guy who was arrested with a, with a handgun armed with a handgun was eventually the, the charges against him were dropped because the footage revealed that a, the person he shot was viciously attacking him. And so prosecutors, uh, decided that this was self defense.

Speaker 1: 02:39 Do the police have unrestricted access to the footage going back over time?

Speaker 2: 02:43 No. Right. So it deletes after five days. It overwrites itself after five days. So if there is an incident, law enforcement officials have to download that footage within that time frame or lose it forever. Now, once it's downloaded, it's of the evidence record and then it's kept into perpetuity.

Speaker 1: 03:02 And can they use it whenever they like.

Speaker 2: 03:04 So it is up to the discretion of the police department, although the police department is saying it has its own protocols for who's allowed to use this and they're restricting it to investigators of homicide, uh, robbery, sex crimes, internal affairs and traffic. But the police department stresses this is only supposed to be used for really serious violent crime or traffic incidents in which someone was hurt severely or killed.

Speaker 1: 03:36 What sort of concerns have people been expressing about privacy now?

Speaker 2: 03:40 Well, the ACL Q and a sin in the San Francisco Electronic Frontier Foundation have very similar concerns. They say, well, no one's watching the police department, elected officials. Uh, the city council should have some kind of rules in place that govern the use of this footage and that there should be annual audits to find out if there was any misuse of the cameras and how it was handled. And then they also raised the concern that a, there could be data breaches that, uh, and uh, criminals could hack into the system and use it for all kinds of nefarious purposes. San Diego Mayor Kevin Falkner, uh, declined an interview for this story, but one of his spokespeople send over a message that said, rules are quote under development.

Speaker 1: 04:31 And I understand there's a meeting next Tuesday at the central library at five 30 for people to give their, their input on this. It would that be something that the city would consider while developing their regulations?

Speaker 2: 04:42 Absolutely. And that's what they say. They say they're getting, getting all this public feedback before they draft rules or an ordinance around governing how the footage is used and how the, the use of the footage is monitored. Now, the police department has been very thoughtful, uh, when it comes to this because they are, uh, very excited about these cameras. They say it's really helped them in a number of cases. It's been, it's been crucial. And they were not shy about giving us access to investigators to talk about how they've used the cameras in the recent past. And so they're also at the meetings explaining to the public exactly what they're using the footage for, what they're not using it for, what the limitations of it are. So in one sense, these public meetings are about gathering input from the public to draft rules perhaps. We'll see. On the other hand, it's about the city law enforcement and city officials kind of trying to put people's concerns at ease.

Speaker 1: 05:48 Well, Joshua, thanks so much for shedding some light on this. Happy to be here. That's a reporter, Joshua Emerson Smith with the San Diego Union Tribune.

Speaker 3: 06:00 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The Trump campaign has filed suit against the new California law that requires presidential candidates. Julie's five years of tax returns to qualify to be on the state's primary ballot. This sets up a standoff between Trump and California. It means that if the law is upheld, Trump would not appear on California's primary ballot in March unless he releases his tax returns by an November deadline. Here to explore the legal ramifications of this is our KPBS legal analyst, Dan Eaton, a partner with the San Diego law firm, Seltzer Caplan McMahon. Invitech. Thanks for joining us, Dan. Good to be with you Alison. So on what grounds is the campaign suing but primary grounds or these are one. They're saying that the new law all constitutionally adds another qualification or for a presidency beyond those of being 35 years of age and a natural born citizen. The other ground concern, the first amendment that is a, it is interfering with the president's first amendment right, a t access and also was in retaliation for uh, his, uh, statements as to say that he says that the Democrats in the legislature are out to get him and are retaliating kids to minute acting this law, even though it applies to Kennedy, to both parties because they just don't like what he says, they point to certain comments from Gavin Newsome and the major sponsors of the law.

Speaker 1: 01:21 The final basis on which the challenge, the a president's challenges based is a vet. It violates a, in effect, it tries to Trump, if you will, the ethics in government act, which requires presidential candidates to issue broad financial disclosures. And they say by asking for more specific information for the purposes of a allowing voters to determine of whether a president of Kennedy has a conflict of interest, they are interfering with the federal law that's in effect that is to the same purpose and that federal law preempt or trumps this state law that's designed to accomplish the same purpose. So on several grounds, but it's not the only lawsuit against California's new law. Who else is suing to overturn it? That's right. Uh, the Republican National Committee and several Republican voters in California are also suing and there is also a separate, a lawsuit by an advocacy group. And those are, uh, those largely traced the president's comments, but uh, or challenges of, but they are from the perspective of a voters access to, uh, being able to vote for the candidate of their choice. In this case, uh, Mr. Trump, they also raised an interesting argument that it, a, it's a violation of equal protection because this law does not apply to independent candidates that are not registered with any political party. As you mentioned on the president's lawyers are saying that this is overtly political because most, for example, former governor

Speaker 2: 03:00 Jerry Brown of California declined to support a similar law in 2017 whereas governor Gavin Newsom has signed it. Do you think it would stand a better chance of holding if it were not so overtly political?

Speaker 1: 03:12 Well, yeah, clearly it would stand a better chance. But here's the interesting thing about governor Brown's veto, and when you look at the complaint that was filed by the Republican National Convention and the California voters, they point out that Jerry Brown himself declined to release his tax returns when he ran for president. Uh, some decades ago. The president in his lawsuit specifically has a, a provocative paragraph that reads, the Democratic Party is on a crusade to obtain the president's federal tax returns in the hopes of finding something they can use to harm him politically in their rush to join the crusade. California Democrats have run a foul of these restrictions on state power over federal elections. Closed quote, the Republican National Committee's a lawsuit, uh, in turn, uh, calls the act a quote, naked political attack against the sitting president of the United States. Close quote,

Speaker 2: 04:03 do other candidates for the California primary ballot for is for Congress, for example, do they have to release their tax returns?

Speaker 1: 04:09 No. This, uh, uh, those for governor, by the way, do under SB 27, but, uh, not for a congress. And that's really the issue is whether this a regulation which is designed to ensure greater transparency and, and more informed electorate is really about ballot access or whether it is a substantive, uh, additional qualification, uh, for the presidency. That's unconstitutional. Uh, Larry tribe, the preeminent constitutional scholar at Harvard law school has weighed in and said that these laws are constitutionally okay, uh, because they really are more in the nature of are regulating ballot access, which states are allowed to do as opposed to imposing substantive qualifications because it's a relatively minor. That's how professor tried characterizes it, uh, element of a requirement to get access. All they have to do is released their tax returns. But ultimately the courts are going to have to decide this. And president Trump and his campaign have very, very strong arguments as to why this law cannot stand.

Speaker 2: 05:13 How, what is your take on whether it could possibly be settled by this November deadline?

Speaker 1: 05:17 Well, they're going to move on expedited briefing. The interesting thing is normally when laws are passed, they don't go into effect until January 1st of the following year. The California legislature treated this as an urgent matter and therefore made it effective immediately, the matter is going to be settled one way or the other. My guess is that a court is going to decide whether to enjoin or not this law within the next couple of months, and this ultimately could be decided by the Supreme Court depending on how the lower court rules

Speaker 2: 05:49 historically. Has there ever been a situation where the incumbent presidential candidate did not appear on the primary ballot of a major state like California?

Speaker 1: 05:57 No, this is,

Speaker 2: 05:58 we are really in uncharted territory, both in terms of tradition and in terms of, uh, the constitutional question when you're talking about additional qualifications. By the way, uh, the area where this came up was in 1995 supreme court case called Forton. Oh, we're a state in this case, Arkansas wanted to impose a term limit for their congressional candidate or prohibiting a candidate who had served a certain number of years in Congress from appearing again on the ballot in the Supreme Court said, no, no, no, you're adding a qualification for Congress. So this hasn't even been tested in the presidential realm. Another thing is that when you're talking about a tradition, the tradition only goes back to the early 1970s when President Nixon released his returns. President Ford did not release his return. He released a summary of them. But ever since then, every candidate, uh, from a major party except for a president, Trump has released their tax returns. So we're dealing with very uncharted territories, and the courts are going to have a very interesting time sifting through these constitutional and statutory questions in the case of the ethics. Well then, thanks so much for helping us come to grips with this. All right. Thank you, Allison. That's our KPBS legal analyst, Ben Eaton, a partner with the San Diego law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon, and by tech

Speaker 3: 07:21 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 An investigation into a death at San Diego's VA hospital last year has found lapses in training and procedure. The VA's office of Inspector General issued a report on the death of a 68 year old quadriplegic veteran who died when his breathing and speaking devices malfunctioned. The inquiry found a tragic sequence of events led to the veterans being poorly monitored when his ventilator accidentally disconnected. Joining me is I knew source reporter Jill Castillano and Jill welcome. Thank you. The name of the veteran who died has not been released, but what did the report tell us about him? Right. His identity has been kept private for the sake of the family, but we do know like you said, he was 68 years old. He was Samoan and in the summer of 2017 he was in American Samoa trimming a tree when he fell and that resulted in paralysis in his arms and legs.

Speaker 1: 00:54 Since then he's been developing a lot of health problems and he needs, he needed a ventilator to help him breathe and an eating tube to help him eat among other things to help him function on a regular basis. And was there any particular reason that he was at San Diego VA hospital this time around? Yes. So he had private care at a nursing home, but his situation was really complex and he developed pneumonia over and over again and he had a lung collapse and it resulted in him being transferred to the hospital for more intensive care. So at the time of his death he was staying in the spinal cord injury unit at the VA Hospital. When did things start to go wrong leading to his death? The morning of his death, a respiratory therapist entered his room and was using a PMV device on him. This is a special device for ventilator patients that can help them eat and speak.

Speaker 1: 01:49 It redirects air flow from their ventilator and because of the way the device works, it creates this issue where the patient's alarm goes off unnecessarily. This is an emergency alarm that's supposed to go off when there is some kind of real problem with the ventilator, but it was going off when it didn't need to be. So the nurse turned down the volume on this alarm then left the room and throughout the next few hours nurses and staff members came in and out checking in on him one time. Shortly after noon they come in and they realize that his ventilator had disconnected and the alarm did not go off to alert anyone and he was unresponsive, unfortunately died shortly after that. And is that because they didn't really know how to correctly use the PMV device? They weren't trained to use the device, but also staff had told investigators when they came to interview them that it was actually standard for them to turn the volume down on the alarms when this device was being used.

Speaker 1: 02:48 The problem with that of course is if there is a real problem with the ventilator, there's no one who's going to be notified. So the report concluded that that was not a proper thing to do and at the very least someone should have been with the patient if no one was going to be notified in case of an emergency. Do we know how the ventilator got disconnected? Unfortunately, because nobody was with the patient at the time of his death. We can't say for sure, but we do know it's possible that it spontaneously disconnected or if he moved and adjusted his position, it could have become disconnected either way because of how severe this patient's disability was. He would not have been able to reconnect it himself and he would have needed help from a nurse or a staff member at the hospital. Well, we're the inspector generals findings about this incident.

Speaker 1: 03:38 You know, one of the most troubling things is that in the course of investigating, they found that people who have worked on the care team for this patient had experienced this before, that his ventilator has disconnected in the past, so they knew this was a problem and they never reported it through the patient safety reporting system, which was required by hospital policy. Then if you factor in that nobody was with him at the time and they turned his volume down on his alarm, you can see as the report concludes, that they created a real risk for this patient that they didn't mitigate. They didn't protect against this risk at all. And the report concludes that they may have contributed to his death what it's been, the response from the VA hospital about this death and its aftermath. So the response according to the report has been prompt and appropriate. They lauded the way that the staff handled it after the event occurred. Um, the staff decided to shut down any new spinal cord injury patients with ventilators from coming in to their unit to make sure that they could ensure the safety of all of those patients. They also trained new staff members. Um, they're, they train staff members and they started using new equipment so that way they could prevent these kinds of ventilator disconnects from happening in the future. Hopefully, I've been speaking with I new source reporter Jill cast. Alana, Jill. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 2: 05:08 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Readers and writers around the globe. I'm mourning the loss of Nobel Prize winning author Tony Morrison. We spoke to to San Diego writers about the influence that Morrison had on their work and lives. Here's Tia Meredith who lives downtown. Her first encounter with Morrison's writing was in middle school and she read the bluest eye, a story of an African American girl growing up during the great depression, the girl was regarded as ugly because of her dark skin and yearned to have blue eyes.

Speaker 2: 00:27 My Dad is black and I will say black because I grew up in Missouri. We don't say African American and you know, that's just cause the climate of what I grew up in. I had a white mother and she had blue eyes and there was a lot of conflicting feelings in myself growing up of looking at my mother and she's, you know, blonde haired and blue eyed. And that's kind of set as the, the picture of beauty. And that's not what I look like at all. You know, I have very curly hair, nearly kinky. I have dark eyes and you know, darker skin. I'm not dark skin, but darker skin, especially for a biracial child. So that book was very impactful on many, many levels.

Speaker 1: 01:05 Meredith has published a children's book and writes fiction, specifically magical realism. Richard feral lives in point Loma and his debut novel, the falling woman will be published in May. He writes literary fiction. He says Morrison's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech inspired him to become a writer.

Speaker 2: 01:22 She talks a lot about storytelling and the importance of storytelling and and how it's cross cultural. So I'm a white writer and you know her experiences certainly weren't my experiences, but she spoke beyond the individual's capacity to experience the world that way. The passage that cheats is, she's talking about his old blind storyteller and two children have come up to her and they've asked her to tell them a story and she doesn't want to. She thinks that they're trying to trick her with a riddle. And then this is the part of the speech that really got to me. She said,

Speaker 3: 01:53 stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particular eyes. World make up a story. Narrative is radical creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grass.

Speaker 1: 02:19 Morrison died in a New York hospital on Monday following a brief illness. She was 88.

Speaker 4: 02:28 Um,

Speaker 5: 02:33 um.

Speaker 1: 00:00 This weekend, the old globe theater opens its production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet KPBS arts reporter Beth, how commando speaks with artistic director Barry Edelstein about how to tackle one of the Bard's most popular plays and still find new shadings.

Speaker 2: 00:16 So you're going to be directing Romeo and Juliet this summer for the first time. The hamlet you did recently was the first professional directing that you had done of that, these are two of kind of Shakespeare's standards. What is it that maybe has taken you so long to decide to tackle them?

Speaker 3: 00:34 Well, a couple of things. I, I, first of all, I've had an abiding interest in the minor Shakespeare's. I've done a lot of them because I thought, I know the ones that I know, I know a midsummer night's dream. I Know Hamlet, I know King Lear. I want to do the ones that I don't know anything about. And so I kind of gravitated to time and of Athens and the winter's tale and assembling and some of the really sort of strange outliers that people haven't even necessarily heard of. But the second reason is that I can't really direct one of these plays unless I feel some kind of personal emotional connection to them. Otherwise it's just a job. When my father passed away a few years ago, may he rest in peace. Hamlet was very much on my mind, uh, as the sort of great statement in Western literature about what happens to a son when his father dies.

Speaker 3: 01:22 And the play just rushed into my mind when my father passed away and it kind of told me I need to work on this play Romeo and Juliet, I've been thinking an enormous amount about the thing that the chorus says at the very, very beginning of the play. This guy comes out, or a person or a woman or I don't even know how I'm going to do it yet. This speech happens that says there's these two great households and they're having a feud. And the only thing that's going to end this few does the deaths of their own children. And that's the first thing that you learn is, oh my God, there's going to be children who die because of this family feud. And it made me think about the whole question of the legacy that we grownups leave for our children in terms of the politics of our world, in terms of the climate of our world, in terms of the culture that we build that gets transmitted to our children. Shakespeare's actively asking the question, how do the choices that grownups make come home to roost a generation later in the lives of their children? And it's been much on my mind as I've watched my own young children grow up and I thought Romeo and Juliet is a great opportunity to for me to think about that and explore that a little bit

Speaker 2: 02:31 now with a player like Romeo and Juliet that has been filmed repeatedly gets performed a lot and kind of how do you tackle that?

Speaker 3: 02:40 It's a, it's a great question and it's something I've been thinking about a lot. Yes, the place so familiar. I mean I've seen great productions of Romeo and Juliet that make me think, well what do I have to add? Hey, that's perfect. That was perfect version of that play. Perfect production. Why on earth would I come along and try to add something new. But that's the great thing about the theater is that these enduring works survive and ask for yet another group of artists to come together and grapple with them. And the joy of going to see Romeo and Juliet yet one more time, is to see what this particular group of individuals at this particular moment are going to find in it. Now, as a guy whose job is to think, how am I going to do that balcony scene? The fact that I've seen it 15 times is a challenge because you think, well, I know the way one is supposed to do it.

Speaker 3: 03:30 So one trap is to say I must do something original. Because if it's not original, then it's somehow no good. And you know, sometimes the tried and true method is the best thing to do even though you've seen it 15 times, you've seen it that way because it works. So that's one trap to be avoided. The other trap to be avoided, just to copy some other artists' work without particularly delving into it in a personal way. But on the other hand, the fun about Romeo and Juliet is just to say, look, there are definitive versions out there. My job is to come in now with this particular group of people who are incredibly talented and just see what it is we think we can find and trust that it will resonate with audiences in its own new way. And what do you feel that you're particularly connecting with in, in terms of some of the famous speeches and monologues in this?

Speaker 3: 04:18 Well, again, it comes back to this idea of the choices that parents make settling in the lives of their offspring in sometimes toxic ways. That's what I actually think the play is about. That's what I think Shakespeare's trying to tease out. What I've often found in my work in Shakespeare is that there's some crazy little corner of the play that's not celebrated and not famous at all. That reveals itself to me and uh, and, and reveals a, a kind of central concern of the piece. And there's this wonderful scene. I mean, spoiler alert, right? They, they die at the end. Romeo and Juliet, sorry about that. Folks who are listening. Um, so, and the way they die as this complicated thing, Romeo and Juliet are, are the children of rival families and they're not supposed to fall in love, but they do. And so there's a Fryer who is involved, uh, a man of the cloth.

Speaker 3: 05:08 And he advises these two young lovers on how to be together in the face of their parents' opposition. And he hatches this crazy plan that involves a sleeping potion. They think she's dead. They don't know that it's a secret sleeping potion from which she's going to wake up. The fryer comes to the House and the family is screaming keening over the loss of their daughter. The fryer knows she's not dead because it's his secret sleeping potion that is responsible for it. And he begins to berate them for the way that they raised their daughter, screams at them. All they wanted was for her to marry a rich guy. All they cared about was her reputation. All they cared about was her promotion, this amazing speech. And you think, I don't know how a pastor does that to a family who's in morning, you know, and it's such an odd detail that this fryer who has been responsible for the whole situation that we're watching takes advantage of the opportunity to make a political point to these parents even when he knows that he's the one responsible for the situation.

Speaker 3: 06:10 And I n actually that's one of those moments you go, oh, that's what the play is about. This strange little detail. Why is this guy doing this? The reveals the entire kind of, um, inner structure and life of the piece. And it's interesting you point to that because I believe that's the same that's often cut out. It is often cut out because it's so crazy. It's such a strange, wonderful detail this furious for Roche, this attack on the values by which the parents live their lives. I'm looking forward to both the summer Shakespeare plays and uh, thanks for talking with me. It's always a pleasure to talk Shakespeare with you. Bet. Thanks.

Speaker 1: 06:46 That was Beth Armando speaking with the globe's artistic director, Barry Edelstein, Romeo and Juliet opens this weekend. And runs through September 15th at the low Davies Festival stage.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Recording music is a whole lot easier now than it used to be. A quiet room, some good software and editing apps, and you're on your way. That's not the way it was. Back in the day of gold star recording studio in La. Technician's worked with some of the biggest names in music to roll out, hit after hit, creating each performance. Unique Sound Gold Stars, the studio where Phil Spector developed his famous wall of sound technique. As you can hear

Speaker 2: 00:27 in the Ronnettes. He my baby and [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:51 Gold Star is the studio that's at the center of a world premier musical playing at the San Diego Rep journey. Me Are Brad Ross, the son of Gold Star Cofounder Stan Ross and Brad, welcome. Thank you very much. Great to be here. And his friend John Rosenberg. John, welcome. Thank you very much. These are the two San Diego's who are behind the musical 33 and a third house of dreams bread. Were you able to be in gold star studio when some of the hits were being made?

Speaker 3: 01:20 I was, I was able to witness a number of different recording artists that came in. Um, probably the most unfortunate sessions I wasn't able to attend was Phil Spector. And uh, Phil Spector liked his sessions real loud and I was pretty young at the time and my father didn't want to risk damage to my ears. Plus I think there was a little bit of erratic behavior going on that probably he didn't want me around either.

Speaker 1: 01:44 No, I know there was so many, but can you give us some idea of the hits recorded at goal?

Speaker 3: 01:48 Oh, sure. Well, we can start with Tequila by the champs. Richie Valens La Bomba. Come on, let's go. Um, there is, um, Sonny and Cher. Of course. I got you babe. And the beat goes on the righteous brothers. You've lost that 11 feeling that beach boys, good vibe.

Speaker 4: 02:06 Good vibrations by the beach boys. That's the one. Yeah. Yeah,

Speaker 2: 02:14 she's in meeting [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 02:38 she's close. So yeah,

Speaker 3: 02:41 they were over 120, top 40 hits over 120 top 40 hits that were recorded at gold star.

Speaker 1: 02:48 No, I know that there is a lot of music in 33 and a third, a house of dreams. But Brad was the storyline.

Speaker 3: 02:55 Well, we wanted to have the audience explore what it's like to be inside the walls of Goldstar. So the story begins back in 1946 where Stan gets his first job out of high school in a recording studio, um, called the letterbox and he learns the trade there and ultimately becomes inspired once he pairs up with his partner Dave gold to open up his own recording studio 1950. And what we're able to do is we're able to track not only the creative and the pioneering effects that they were able to do in both your equipment and the design of the studio, um, during the play, but we're also able to have go through the timeline of gold stars existence, which ended up being 33 and a third years. [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 03:43 you know, there were other famous recording studios like the Beatles Abbey Road in London, Sun Studio in Memphis where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all got their start. Brian, why isn't Goldstar better known

Speaker 3: 03:57 by the public? Well, I think it's always been something that my father, his wish was to share his story. And that's what we're doing. Um, Goldstar is significant. Um, it, it helped move the music business from the east coast to the west coast. Part of the revolution with rock and roll and gold star was right in the middle of it. Um, because it's on the west coast, sometimes it's ignored on the east coast mean we had Jersey Boys. Great Story. Have you learned a lot about the east coast music scene? Um, our, our plan with our play is to be able to tell the west coast story, the west coast sound, the transition from, um, the music from the fifties all the way to the eighties and gold stars history is amazing from the aspect of how it created it's wall of sound. It productions with Phil Spector, which really did put gold star on the map. Right

Speaker 1: 04:48 now you can still visit Abbey Road in London. You can still visit sun studio. Does Gold Star still exist?

Speaker 3: 04:55 No. Gold Star. Um, the property was sold in 1984 and shortly thereafter Goldstar, the building itself caught fire. Um, it was going to be torn down in the future anyway for a strip mall unfortunately. But uh, at the corner of Santa Monica and vine, the gold gold star building burned down. Um, it's part of our play. We have [inaudible], we have real footage from K T la that we're able to show and um, the building itself was emptied already. Um, the property had been sold so there is no gold star anymore, but there was an employee at the time in the 50s now he's passed away now. That was very good friends with my father and Dave gold. And would you believe it? There's a replica gold star studio here in San Te called twin star. It's over and cool. Yamaka and prospect, Dave Golden. Stan Ross gave Lou Manta Zara, who is the owner at the time, the plans to build a studio, even though it was next to Gillespie filled and inside a metal building, didn't think it was going to work. They built a control room. Stan and Dave went down there, listened, could not hear the planes, heard, no interference says go for it. And so we are using that studio as a place for some of our interviews now with our guests are coming down from Los Angeles and other places to be able to come see our play. We are recreating the, the music business in Los Angeles here in San Diego.

Speaker 1: 06:26 Yeah. Brad, this is the story obviously of a pivotal time in popular music and gold star was in the center of so much of it. What do you want the audience to take away from

Speaker 3: 06:36 the musical? I want the audience to understand that the people that are supporting the major artists were very important. They may not have gotten the credits. Look at the wrecking crew, the wrecking crew musicians were there all the time at Goldstar recording multiple artists many times. They never ever got a credit. Um, my father was on a few credits for over the years, which is great, but ultimately Goldstar was right there to support these artists. And we share that information with a new generation, but we're also creating a, basically our play is at the soundtrack of Stan's life and, and really my life as well. So we enjoy that.

Speaker 1: 07:18 Let's go out with one of the most famous hits recorded at Goldstar Studio La Bomba

Speaker 2: 07:23 by Richard [inaudible],

Speaker 1: 07:43 the world premier musical 33 and a third house of dreams runs through August 25th at the San Diego Rep in Horton Plaza. And I've been speaking with Brad Ross and John Rosenberg, co creators of the musical. Thank you both so much. Thank you, mark.

Speaker 2: 07:59 Pleasure.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.