Skip to main content

San Diego’s Inflation Rate, Hunter’s Trial Postponement And Reelection Bid, California Ethnic Studies

Cover image for podcast episode

San Diego’s rate of inflation is the third highest in the U.S. Also, what does Hunter’s trial postponement mean for his re-election bid? A San Diego tenants union fights for refugees and other low-income renters, a draft of California’s ethnic studies curriculum stirs controversy, and Thumbprint Gallery presents the Hitchcock Group Art Show.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 On a day when the Dow Jones average tumbles more than 700 points. We learned that San Diego's rate of inflation is among the highest in the nation, and economists say turmoil in the markets, and rising costs are both signs of upcoming recession. Investors are looking at a global economy that's slowing down and today a major recession indicator from the bond market. Meanwhile, San Diego consumers are looking at the price of fuel, housing, and food, and what we're seeing isn't good. Joining me is San Diego Union Tribune, business reporter Phillip Molnar, and Phillip, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:35 Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1: 00:37 So you're out with a report on the inflation rate in San Diego. How does it stack up against other major metropolitan areas?

Speaker 2: 00:45 The Bureau of Labor Statistics came out with a report yesterday on how inflation rates were going in all the major metro areas based on the first six months of this year. So in that report we saw that San Diego's inflation rate was about 2.8%. Now that makes it about the third highest of around 20 metro areas that they study. That of course is sort of interesting in certain regards because we can see that the price of goods that San Diego are paying a has gone up. So if it's in your head that you're paying more than you were a year ago, it's actually correct.

Speaker 1: 01:22 What's causing the increase in inflation here.

Speaker 2: 01:25 So the biggest reason for a increase in inflation in San Diego is housing are one of the biggest factors. We saw that Gulf about 3.9% in the first six months. And then also rent, which is a separate index, but it includes Invia housing that was up 4% so that was one of the bigger ones. Obviously we can see a few other things that our usual culprits, gas prices up 2.8% fuel. Uh, and then also medical costs up about 2.6% so those all kind of factor in. But we actually saw, um, electricity costs going down. And a few things like apparel. Apparel was barely up at all, so it kind of balanced out, but it still gave us a rather high inflation rate.

Speaker 1: 02:09 No, the top three in this list were all California cities is a typical that California's largest cities will be the first to see an increase in the inflation rate prior to the rest of the country following.

Speaker 2: 02:22 Yeah. Historically speaking, it's true. California is usually the highest, you know, it doesn't always follow like we're the first, then they all kind of go. It kinda just stays that California is always going to be a little bit higher and that's because we pay more for gas and you know, our cost of living is a little bit higher out here, so it's fairly typical.

Speaker 1: 02:43 Although San Diego had one of the highest inflation rates on this list, it's still a little bit lower than the inflation rate in previous years. What could that be telling us?

Speaker 2: 02:54 The biggest thing is that even though housing costs are going up, it's not much as it was the last couple of years and we saw amazing rent growth in 2015 particularly where rents were up like 7.5% in a given quarter. I mean it was just massively growing coming out of the great recession. So I think that's one of the biggest things. And then also last year something that we had going on was like exploding gasoline prices and this year things are a lot more stable. So it just so happens that this year all the things are still kind of going up, just not as extreme as we had seen maybe the last three to four years. Now looking at the stock market today, we've seen it take another major tumble and the business news says investors have been spooked because the yield on the benchmark 10 year treasury note fell below two year treasuries.

Speaker 2: 03:47 Can you explain that to us? I'll do my best. When investors are spooked in the stock market and they don't think they could make as much money there, they'll start moving their money into bonds. And now when we go to the the 10 year treasury, there's this longstanding belief, and I can't say whether or not it's true or not or it's going to happen, but when you've got this inverted yield curve, at least the stock market anyways, they think that's a sign of a recession. So whether or not I'm saying it's a recession or an analyst agent's recession, I think it's sort of like a self fulfilling prophecy where the stock market actually believes, you know, it might be good or investors to get their money out of the stock market into bonds, just taking money out of stocks and putting it into bonds. It's just one of those factors we look for in possibly signaling or recession.

Speaker 2: 04:39 It, it's not always going to mean, it's not always a guarantee, but it's just one little piece of the puzzle. And I think that's part of the reason why I think the inflation rate is also sort of interesting to look at it. Just to bring it back around is that when the inflation rate goes higher in say San Diego or in the nation, that typically means that consumers have less buying power. If you're spending more money on housing and gas, you're not going to be able to stimulate the economy for other purchases as well. So there's a few things going on here just to bring it all together. But when you look at the yield curve, when you look at inflation going up, these are just all factors we look for in trying to predict a recession, which is never easy. What do you think the presidents on again off again, Chinese tariffs are doing to the markets?

Speaker 2: 05:25 Well they are according to most analysts not doing very much help for the market. Um, international particularly are very worried about this with these tariffs can mean, and recently I was working on a story just a few days ago about the housing market and one of the things people said was keeping buyers away cause our home sales are considerably down this year in San Diego County. And the nation is a general fear of the economy going south and because of the economy going south, the one of the biggest things they're seeing on the news over and over is this Chinese trade war and how much is it going to cost for more items. So I haven't seen a lot of reports that say it's good for the economy in any regard. Maybe sort of a longterm sort of deal. But so the, the trade tariffs are having a huge effect on investors getting nervous. Just your everyday buyers of maybe their first time home, you know, it could be like a $300,000 home and they're still scared to pull the trigger because economy might be going south.

Speaker 1: 06:27 Now if we do go into a recession, can you give us an idea of what it means for you and me and everyday people who don't work on Wall Street? What are the implications of a recession?

Speaker 2: 06:39 Well, the toughest thing for here in San Diego is we've done a lot of reports here. I know at KPBS and here at the Union Tribune about people struggling to make it in San Diego with our higher cost of living and other things that are higher as well, you know, such as even our fees at the DMV is one in particular that we all struggle with. And then also gas prices being higher. I mean a recession is tough because people in California are already stretched really, really thin. We're seeing that income gap between the haves and the have nots grow even further apart. And you might be seeing that like all over the nation, everyone's always talking about it, this country, that country, of course, the United States. But the important thing to remember for people on the lower scale, say if you're a working class or middle-class here in California, is because your costs are so much higher here than say Kansas or something.

Speaker 2: 07:32 You know, you'll be feeling the recession a little bit harder. And of course with recession, you know, in general just bad economics, you could also be, you know, if you lose your job, I dunno how you survive in California when you lose a job. That's got to be really, really tough. I mean, of course unemployment pay and all that kind of stuff, but in general, things are really tight for Californians right now, and that's why we keep seeing stories and seeing, reading the data of people moving outside of San Diego to Riverside County or moving to another state.

Speaker 1: 08:06 I've been speaking with San Diego Union Tribune, business reporter Phillip Molnar. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 3: 08:16 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego, Congressman Duncan Hunter won't go to trial for allegedly misusing campaign funds until next year. US District Court Judge Thomas Wieland changed the trial date from September 10th to January 14th after defense attorneys raised questions about whether an appeals court must first consider their motion to dismiss the case against their California Republican. What does this mean for hunter's reelection bid? Casey Domingez political science professor at the University of San Diego whose research includes congressional races and campaign finances. Join us now via Skype with answers. Casey, welcome. I thank you for having me. So what are your impressions of how this case is unfolding and what it means for Dunkin Hunter's political future? I think he's, uh, he's on trial. Um, so I, you know, this is a pretty serious situation for any public official to be in. It's, it's an unusual, very unusual situation for a public official to be in m and a very hard one to run for reelection during the course of a federal trial.

Speaker 1: 01:00 And right now the trial is set for January. That's right around the corner from the march primary. Does the delay help or hurt his campaign that, that close to the primary? I think it probably poses challenges for his party. Um, you know, his, his strategy is probably the same. As long as he's running for reelection, he's going to maintain his innocence and, uh, you know, try to get his message out to the public and rally has his supporters. And, and what about the political implications for hunters? Opponents? There's Democrat and Mar camp in a jar along with five other Republicans, including former San Diego city, Councilman Carl de Mio, you, you mentioned those tough decisions having to be made earlier than, uh, thought or expected. You know, it would be one thing if we had a different kind of primary system, our primary law, but w what we have is, is the top two primary in March.

Speaker 1: 01:51 Um, and the way that that law is written, sort of the only way that the general election ballot is, is through that primary. Um, and so if I'm our camp and a jar is the only Democrat running, you know, chances are very good that he will get on the November ballot. Right. Um, especially because he came so close to winning that seat last time. I think that the question for Republicans is how comfortable are they with the possibility that they could end up with hunter on that ballot. Again, if the trial goes, you know, not in hunter's favor. Um, and how would that affect their possibility of keeping that seat? Um, which of course they desperately want to do and it's a republican seat and, and they, they, they probably have every expectation of keeping it. Um, but you know, having a, if the trial goes badly for hunter, that's not great for the Republican chances of keeping that seat, especially because there aren't good ways to remove him from the ballot later.

Speaker 1: 02:43 So they have to think about whether they want to kind of rally around someone else. And that's certainly from the party's perspective, that's what maybe you would expect them to do in a situation like this. But you know, it's all up to individuals to make those decisions. So then, so the Republicans would really be better off with an earlier verdict. They would have more certainty, um, with an earlier verdict. They would know, how did the trial come out? Um, do we want to, you know, if, if, if he's convicted, do we want to try to push them out of the race at that point? Um, if he's declared innocent, then it then, then, okay, no problem. Rally around him. He's the incumbent. But, uh, I think they, they have, they have sort of a tougher decision now without the certainty of knowing how that trial is going to come out.

Speaker 1: 03:25 In terms of, of campaign strategy, you know, congressman hunter has said the allegations against him are all part of a political witch hunt. Could that message be effective in, in a campaign strategy? Well, we have some evidence about that. Um, he, he basically used that strategy after the indictment came down. He ran for reelection in 2018 and he won. Um, but he didn't win by very much in a very republican area. Um, and I, I, I think if I were a republican strategist, I would wonder how a conviction would look to voters given that they almost, you know, two percentage points or so elected Democrat, um, based on the basis of the indictment. So I think it's, it's a risky situation for the party. No, hunter, you know, he's held the 50th Congressional district for more than a decade. And before him, his father was the congressman. What impact historically have criminal charges had on congressional reelection campaigns?

Speaker 1: 04:21 You know, usually a candidate in this situation will be sort of, doesn't run for reelection. We don't have a ton of cases where people run for reelection while facing a federal trial. Um, and in part because their, their party pushes them out and says, yeah, you, you're not going to be our best candidate here in our very partisan polarized era right now. You can expect that Republicans are going to vote for the Republican no matter what. And there aren't. There aren't really that many swing voters these days. And so that, that makes it a more unique situation. I'm not sure. There are a lot of great comparisons for the situation we're in right now. If hunter is convicted, could he still serve in Congress? Yes. Uh, the house has the ability to expel him if he, if he does not resign upon conviction. Um, the house has the ability to expel him from office.

Speaker 1: 05:12 So that would be up to two thirds of the House of Representatives and still there could continue to be delays in the, in the case past the primary. So in the meantime, with Duncan Hunter being stripped of his committee assignments, can he still be an effective lawmaker? Well, uh, that, that, that's a good question. I mean, to the degree that being in the minority party means that you're not going to have a lot of influence on the, the course of events in the house. It makes it more difficult for him to act on behalf of his constituents. But on the other hand, minority party members have relatively little power in the house, but, but certainly not being able to ask questions and committees and vote on, uh, an amendment stability is a, that's not a recipe for effectiveness. I have been speaking with Casey Domingas political science professor at the University of San Diego. Casey, thanks so much for joining us. You're welcome.

Speaker 2: 06:08 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The ongoing housing affordability crisis impacts nearly everyone in California, but few are hit harder than the refugee community. A tenants' union was formed late last year to protect the rights of these vulnerable residents and other renters. KPBS reporter Prius Sridhar takes a look.

Speaker 2: 00:20 Yeah. The Lone Loma family came to San Diego in 2016 from a refugee camp in Tanzania. They say since moving to their two bedroom apartment in city heights, they've dealt with a broken stove and refrigerator and cockroaches in their apartment.

Speaker 1: 00:37 Luck. This is to go back in Africa. We thought America was heaven. [inaudible] America is not [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 00:43 bedroom over here and this is where the mold is still come in.

Speaker 2: 00:46 On a recent afternoon, Katherine [inaudible] came to visit the SLM was and other families living on Polk avenue. She's a community organizer with the San Diego Tenants' union.

Speaker 3: 00:56 A lot of them are refugee and immigrant status or non citizen status. Um, a lot of them have resettled and I've just gotten acclimated with what it, what it's like to live in America as far as the routine, the schedule, and a lot of them aren't aware that there are rights with living in a home

Speaker 2: 01:17 and the toilet was leaking on us. They came and they repaired that on the ceiling. Nicole Johnson lives downstairs. She called the tenants union after getting eviction papers for not paying her rent. She says the people living here have been dealing with awful conditions and the manager's responsible for her property or doing nothing to help.

Speaker 4: 01:36 We don't have a working stove. We don't have a working frigerator there. Their toilet was not on the ground properly so where you can move it, the water, the feces, water was leaking from silly I me and my daughter

Speaker 2: 01:50 Mendoza says it's a common problem she sees with low income and minority tenants, especially when there is a language barrier like with the SLM was, she says one of the top priorities of the tenants union is to notify renters of their rights.

Speaker 3: 02:03 People need to think of it more as a contract between two parties versus a landlord that is deciding everyone's fate. It's a mutual contract when you pay each month that means you and the property manager, landlord, et cetera excepts that contract.

Speaker 2: 02:20 The tenants union also tries to serve as an advocate for renters when they have issues with their landlords. In this case, the properties on Polk Avenue are managed by prime asset management. We reached out to the company after hearing about the residents' complaints. The owner made a site visit but left before our scheduled interview. He told me over the phone that he hadn't received any work orders from the upstairs tenants and that the issues with Nicole Johnson's apartment had been resolved. He said their company has an online work order system but acknowledged that it might be difficult to navigate for tenants who don't speak English. Refugee resettlement agencies regularly have to deal with situations like these. Donna Dooven is the executive director of the international rescue committee in San Diego. The agency that resettled the Salaam was.

Speaker 3: 03:09 I do think there's an element of of this sense too that if they are expressing concerns about their living environment and if that isn't well-received, then that also is risking the safety and stability of their families.

Speaker 2: 03:22 She says during the first six months after placing a family and housing, they see them almost every day. Sometimes case workers make home visits, but usually the families come to the IRC offices. Dooven says the IRC tries to educate families about their rights, but it's often hard for them to understand that as tenants they can speak up about housing problems. Christopher Ridgway is a real estate attorney. He says he frequently deals with habitability issues with tenants and that it's a landlord's responsibility to resolve most problems in a timely manner. He says a landlord could be sued if they don't, and what is the population that they're dealing with isn't likely gonna sue them. What then? Then it becomes a moral question. Really it's, it's any of their business question or moral question. What's gonna motivate somebody back on Polk Avenue? Men Don says says legal help is among the services the tenant union offers as part of a $25 a year membership.

Speaker 3: 04:19 This is a beautiful community. It is so diverse with how many people of different backgrounds live here and they deserve the same living conditions as anybody else living in the u s regardless if they know it or not.

Speaker 2: 04:35 Since we started working on the story, prime asset management says they're not going to evict Nicole Johnson from her apartment. The IRC has also offered to find new housing for the east. Salaam was joining me is KPBS reporter Priya Sharifa and Pria. Welcome. Thanks. You say the San Diego tenants union was just formed late last year. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Like who got the ideas started? Sure, so it was a group of activists and they actually started a organization called San Diego tenants United back in 2015 but late last year they got a big grant from the California endowment. So they're in the process of turning it into a five oh one C3 and renaming it the San Diego tenants union and making it more of a, what you would think of as stereotypical union. And it was a kind of interesting concept to me cause I think most of the time when we think of unions, we think of labor unions and this is obviously a little bit different.

Speaker 2: 05:31 Can anyone who rents in any area of San Diego join? Absolutely. So they're based in city heights and they have a focus kind of on low income renters or minority renters because that's where they're seeing a lot of the problems. So right now a lot of their members are based in city heights, but they're open to people joining from anywhere really in San Diego County. What do tenants get for their membership? So it's about a $25 a year membership. And some of the things they offer are legal services for issues that might arise between tenants and landlords. People who might be able to look over leases if there are payment disputes, um, habitability issues. They also serve as an advocate. Someone who can potentially talk to your landlord or your property manager. And they also try to just educate you about your rights. What are your landlord's responsible for when it comes to the amenities of your apartment or house or the conditions of your house.

Speaker 2: 06:30 And then on the flip side of that, they're also doing a lot of political advocacy. You know, we obviously talk about affordability of housing here in San Diego. And one of the things that they're pushing for strongly is a rent cap here in San Diego. And that's something that really doesn't exist in most of California. How much leverage does this union have with landlords? So one of the things that they've found to be the most successful is actually doing what they call a rent strike. And this isn't necessarily just encouraging people to not pay their rents, but what they're seeing a lot is that rents are being increased, sometimes doubling with just a 60 day notice period. Or I actually did a story recently where the rent went up about 75% and the people who were living in that building only got a 60 day notice. And so oftentimes they're seeing that in these buildings.

Speaker 2: 07:21 Um, the conditions aren't really that great. So they're encouraging their tenants to only pay the standard rent that they had agreed to in the original lease and not paying any sort of difference until conditions have been met. And according to them, it's actually been a pretty successful tactic. If the conditions were as bad as described by the tenants and your story, couldn't they contact the city and, and have the landlord sided? Absolutely. There are laws, there are property rights ordinances. Um, there's a code enforcement division in the city, but oftentimes people aren't really aware of these things and you have to keep in mind that, especially with this particular story, there was a language barrier. So these people don't really know where their resources are or what their rights are. And to be perfectly frank, I even didn't know a lot of what my own rights were until I really started researching this story.

Speaker 2: 08:13 But through that research, I found that there is the food and housing division within the county of San Diego. And if you do a simple, I'm having housing problems in San Diego county, Google search, a list of phone numbers for everywhere in the county comes up and they have a, the county actually has the department of Environmental Health, food and housing division and they'll come and do essentially investigations or site visits if you have complaints. And then housing disputes are settled by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. If you're having mold issues, it's the California Department of Health Services. So yes, there are different agencies, governmental agencies that deal with all of these issues. But of course that's very bureaucratic and it can take a long time. And if you're living in mold, you kind of want it to get resolved pretty quickly. And the introduction to this report, you mentioned the housing affordability crisis.

Speaker 2: 09:07 Did the people you spoke with indicate that that crisis is affecting how landlords treat their properties and their tenants? So one thing I found kind of fascinating was both the Union and uh, the real estate lawyer that I spoke to said that unfortunately here in San Diego County, in so many situations, housing has turned into more of a business rather than a right or a moral obligation. And that's sort of the lens that we're looking at it through that instead of thinking of this as a right for all of the city's residents, that, you know, people are trying to just make a buck. And I think that can oftentimes be exacerbated when you look at people who are on government assistance, when you have people who are getting section eight housing vouchers and that's how the landlords are getting paid. Sometimes they don't necessarily view the tenant as the person who's paying the rent.

Speaker 2: 09:56 And so it seems like there's a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunications, especially in those scenarios. Did you find out if the Salaam was found a new place to live? So what's interesting is the executive director of the IRC said that they were trying to find them new housing, but the SLM was actually turned it down. And in my head I thought, well, how could that be possible? But she said, you really have to understand the mentality of refugees, that they have been moving sometimes for decades with war zones and completely hostile situations. This particular family went from Congo to a refugee camp in Tanzania, and finally were able to settle here in San Diego in 2016 so for them, this is the first stability this family has had in decades. So they simply don't want to move. They just want to make this work. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Prius. Sure. Ether. Thank you, Priya. Thanks.

Speaker 5: 10:51 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 A draft of California's ethnic studies curriculum is out and critics are calling for changes right now. The public comment period on the proposal is open through tomorrow while the legislature considers a bill that would make the ethnic studies a graduation requirement for high schoolers. Statewide. Nina agro wall is an education reporter with the Los Angeles Times. She's been covering this. Nina, welcome. Thank you for having me. So first, for those who aren't familiar with ethnic studies courses, can you explain what they are generally?

Speaker 2: 00:31 Sure. Ethnic studies courses offer instruction on the experience of minority groups in the u s and traditionally these have been framed around four minority groups, Latinos, Asian Americans, African Americans, and indigenous peoples and supporters say that these courses really are meant to provide a counter narrative to the dominant narrative that's provided in a kind of Eurocentric curriculum.

Speaker 1: 00:56 So then give us a sense of what the proposed ethnic studies curriculum looks like.

Speaker 2: 01:00 Sure. While the curriculum is hundreds of pages. So it offers some description on the overview and the need for these curriculum. And it also offers some sample courses and lessons which focus on these four groups that I described and as well as including coursework specific to Arab Americans, Pacific islanders and Central Americans. There is a glossary, um, attached with the curriculum and it, you know, breaks down some of the language that is used to define kind of specific terms using this creek in, in this field. Um, so for example, instead of history history or h x, r, s, t, O, r y, um, which are both meant to provide a more gender inclusive framework for teaching history. Also the term CIS Hetero Patriarchy to describe a system of power that is based on kind of the dominance of men who identify, uh, as the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Speaker 1: 02:04 And So San Diego unified, for example, wants to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement by 2022 and at least two schools currently offer ethnic studies. Is the idea for this draft curriculum to be used as a guide by districts who are in the process of developing their own programs?

Speaker 2: 02:23 Yes, basically. Um, it's a model curriculum. It's not a requirement yet. It's meant to be a guideline for districts that are interested in offering an ethnic studies curriculum. This would provide them with a curriculum. Um, if they already offer some other standards based curriculum, they could offer that. And if they want to integrate some ethnic studies lessons into existing social science coursework, this would also offer a way to do that.

Speaker 1: 02:49 Now, Jewish lawmakers and a number of other groups are coming out against the draft curriculum. What are they saying?

Speaker 2: 02:55 Yeah, so the Jewish legislative caucus wrote a letter to state education officials in which they criticize their curriculum and they said they felt it was antisemitic and excluded Jews and important minority in the u s um, from this curriculum. And specifically they honed in on the inclusion in the curriculum of a definition and lesson material related to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, and also the exclusion of the term antisemitic or antisemitism from the glossary. There's also criticism just on the, along the lines of this is politically motivated and will indoctrinate students within a specific ideology, you know, that it's anticapitalist and that the focus will not be on instruction or on the experience of these communities, but more on promoting a specific, uh, political ideology.

Speaker 1: 03:49 And generally what are the benefits of ethnic studies courses.

Speaker 2: 03:53 So there has been a fair amount of research, um, which shows that, you know, this can improve achievement, especially for, you know, diverse learners. But on the individual level, you know, I spoke to several students who really said that ethnic studies, they're either they're high school or college coursework really was the first time that they felt represented that they felt that their stories and their own histories mattered, that they felt they could connect to their learning. Um, and so for many students, that is a very powerful experience. I mean, I think the reason there's a lot of interests or one reason there's a lot of interest and support for this curriculum at this time is because of, or a lot of racially motivated violent attacks and the concern that people really don't understand one another's experiences. And that, uh, curriculum that helps students understand the experience of other, um, minority groups may help bridge some of those gaps.

Speaker 1: 04:49 State Superintendent Tony Thurman to address some of those concerns this morning. Uh, has he talked about making changes?

Speaker 2: 04:57 Um, you know, I'm not completely sure what the superintendent's plans are. I know the board of Education has said that they will be revising the curriculum substantially. It is a draft and it's a open for public comment now, but then after the instructional quality commission reviews it, it would be going to the board and the, um, they're not scheduled to approve a version until next spring. So there's plenty of time for drafts revisions.

Speaker 1: 05:23 I've been speaking with Nina agro, wall education reporter with the Los Angeles Times. Nina, thank you so much. Thank you so much.

Speaker 3: 05:36 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Alfred Hitchcock's films continued to delight and terrify audiences decades after he died. This Saturday thumbprint gallery holds an opening reception for its Hitchcock group art show as subterranean coffee boutique in Hillcrest KPBS arts reporter Beth Haka, Mondo previews the exhibit with guest curator Jennifer Cooksey. But to begin, here's Hitchcock in the trailer for his film, Psycho

Speaker 2: 00:28 the bathroom. Well, they cleaned all this up now. Big Difference. You should have seen the plot a home. The whole place was, well it's, it's too horrible to describe Greg. And I'll tell you that's a very important clue was found here. Well, the mantra is cheat, right? Inhale berries, ferry across the shower was on. There was never sound. And uh,

Speaker 3: 01:07 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 01:12 Alfred Hitchcock is a director who is very iconic people. When you mentioned his name, people immediately think of these tens exciting, sometimes horrific films. So you are going to be curating an art show dedicated to Hitchcock of what is it about Hitchcock that you think inspires people's imaginations? And especially artists. Um, his work is very visceral. It taps into a very, um, profound kind of view of, of the human experience in terror. I mean we can all, we all share similar fears and he understands that like no other director and the way he frames each scene and the tension he builds. That's incredibly inspiring for artists. I think. Um, you could look at any one of his frames and go that's, that's a piece of art right there. What can people expect coming to this show? They can see some of Hitchcock's greatest like psycho rear window.

Speaker 4: 02:07 So I imagine my artists will be going the spectrum of his film. So Vertigo, some really interesting kind of black and white and kind of, you know, contrast it with some stark colors in there. I think we're having some really exciting pieces. I know my artists are really thrilled for the show. So this is a show put on by thumbprint gallery. What kinds of things do you guys do? Because that tends to tap into pop culture a lot. Yeah. Thumbprint gallery really focuses on pop art and they've been kind enough to give me the subterranean coffee locations in Hillcrest, in North Park. So monthly they have shows there. And I definitely kind of focus on pop art and themes that are popular in popular culture, like television shows, movies, music, stuff that's happening in books. So we, yeah, we would try to stay on top of really what's happening currently and also kind of give a nod to nostalgia because that's kind of really big right now.

Speaker 4: 02:59 Things that we've grown up with and things that people love and make them happy stuff that they're passionate about. So what kind of opportunity does this afford? Local artists, while it's all about supporting local artists. So it basically gives them an opportunity to work because what I kind of found was as a pop artist, it was hard to find a venue and a time to show. I would be in different shows here and there, but this is a monthly opportunity to show and the shows are themed and so it kind of keeps you on top of a theme and can, you can really build your body of work, Barbara, by participating in these shows. So when you set these themes, does that also tend to inspire artists to create something new to fit whatever the show is? Absolutely. Yes. Um, most of the time my artists are making new things for the show because we'll discuss, um, we'll discuss the body of work that uh, that were our topic is on and they get really excited, especially if they're passionate about it or they are big fans of the movie or the director or you know, whatever piece where we're tackling that month.

Speaker 4: 03:59 So yeah, I see a lot of new art coming out of the artists. It's very exciting. And this art that's on display, it's also for sale, correct? Yes, absolutely. So everything is for sale. It's all on view for about three weeks. So we try to give you a little bit of time to check out the show. But it's a lot of fun. And what is subterranean like in terms of a venue for people to see things? They're absolutely wonderful. So Jean and Kelsey who own a subterranean, they are our biggest cheerleaders. They let me poke holes in their walls and they let me put up the art. So they're wonderful. They're very flexible and they very much kind of let me go with my crazy ideas. They're like, go for it, do it. So having that kind of support in the community is wonderful. And what kind of range of art can people expect?

Speaker 4: 04:44 Is there going to be work that's done completely digitally in Photoshop and other software? Is there paintings? Is there a sculpture? So it's wonderful. We actually kind of run the gambit of artists. We have digital artists, we have sculptors. I myself am a sculptor, we have photographers, so we have a bunch of different mediums. So there is a big variety of mediums of art kind of tied in with one subject. So it's cohesive in that it's one topic, but it's very different. So we kind of get everyone's taste and interest representative and talk a little bit more about them. Print Gallery, I'm not sure how familiar people are with it. They do these shows at different venues, but they also have a home base as well. Yes. Thumbprint gallery has a home base in La Hoya, which they do wonderful, beautiful shows with very exciting artists. Like they are very much focused on up and coming artists and and kind of really promoting what the San Diego art scene is all about.

Speaker 4: 05:40 So they have different venues where they'll have different shows. They support independent curators and artists like myself. So they'll give us venues and they kind of let us go. They give us quite a bit of freedom and a lot of support. So there are wonderful. And how many artists are usually involved in these shows? I'm anywhere between probably about 15 to 30. Sometimes I'll get more if I have a little extra room, but if the artists want to go big with their pieces, sometimes I have to limit my, uh, my, my numbers of participants. And you mentioned that you are an artist herself. So what has inspired you in terms of this Hitchcock show? I'm a big horror fan. Like I'm, I'm all about horror films. And growing up. I adored Hitchcock like I wanted, I loved what he did, I loved how he made everything look, the boundaries that he pushed.

Speaker 4: 06:30 I just found him incredibly inspiring. And so I've kind of had it in my head for a while to do a Hitchcock show. So this is a fantastic opportunity to kind of jump on that. And what piece of art have you created for this? Can you reveal? Yes, absolutely. So I went with psycho cause that was actually my introduction to Hitchcock. So I painted am I sculpted a mother piece. And so you know, she's, she's lovely, very skeletal and gross and you can see her in all of her glory this Saturday. And how do you prepare for creating a piece of art like that? Oh, I have the best research ever. I watched the movies and I sit there and I'll pause frames and I'll kind of get ideas for composition and how to design the figures. So it's fantastic. It's the best kind of research ever. Thank you very much for talking with me. And let's go out with some of Bernard Herman's music from psycho. Alright. I can't wait. Thank you.

Speaker 5: 07:33 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 07:33 and that was Beth Armando speaking with guest curator, Jennifer Cooksey. The Hitchcock group art show opens this weekend and runs through September 6th at subterranean coffee boutique in Hillcrest.

Speaker 5: 07:48 [inaudible].

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

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.