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Ruling On Dispensaries Could Impact Housing, Improper Prosecutions, West Coast Statue Of Liberty

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The California Supreme Court found the city of San Diego didn’t properly analyze the potential economic impacts of its 2014 marijuana dispensary rules. Also, The New York Times Magazine explores how slavery created America’s wealth, the U.S. Attorney’s Office made thousands of improper prosecutions to achieve “zero tolerance”, why a group of San Diegans wants to build a West Coast Statue of Liberty, San Diego residents file a lawsuit challenging the state’s assault weapons ban, and T. Jefferson Parker’s new thriller, “The Last Good Guy” is a timely tale of terrorist plots and white supremacy.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 A state Supreme Court ruling could affect marijuana dispensaries and the New York Times launches its ambitious 1619 project. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm jade Hindman. This is KPBS mid day edition. It's Tuesday, August 20th the State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that San Diego did not adequately and lies the environmental impacts of its 2014 marijuana dispensary law. The decision could be far reaching and that local governments will have to analyze even the indirect environmental impacts when adopting new laws. David Garrick who covers city hall for the San Diego Union Tribune is here with more. David, welcome. Thanks for having me. This was a unanimous decision from the State Supreme Court. What exactly did the justices say about the city's dispensary law?

Speaker 2: 00:58 Well, the way it was adopted in 2014 and they say that the city needs us to do more environmental analysis. When they adopted it, the city had said they didn't need to do any, that it was exempt from an environmental analysis and the Supreme Court said the city was wrong.

Speaker 1: 01:12 And you know, they mentioned unforeseen impacts. Can you talk to us about what they mean by that?

Speaker 2: 01:18 Yeah. And the key is that they're, they're indirect unforeseen but reasonably foreseeable impacts, which is a wordy idea. But the, uh, the city said, we're going to allow these marijuana dispensaries in the city said having marijuana dispensaries in town isn't going to have any effect on the environment. It's not going to affect traffic. It's not gonna, you know, change the way the city operates. And the supreme court said there are reasonably foreseeable indirect impacts such as maybe new buildings will be built because you're going to run out of retail space. Maybe traffic patterns will change. And they say that the city had an obligation to analyze those potential impacts before they adopted the law.

Speaker 1: 01:55 And remind us about the marijuana dispensary rules at issue in this lawsuit.

Speaker 2: 02:00 Basically, medical marijuana was legal, um, starting in 1996, but cities and counties had at the discretion to decide whether to allow it or not. San Diego hadn't been allowing it. And then in 2014, they decided to allow dispensary's. Uh, but they had to be, there's lots of real restrictions. They had to be enlightened estriol areas and they had to be a thousand feet away from churches and schools and parks, but essentially they were allowed. They also put a limit on the number per council district that can only have four in each of the nine city council district.

Speaker 1: 02:29 Well, so there were a lot of stipulations, you know, why did the city of San Diego then determine it didn't need an environmental review? Uh, at the time it took up the dispensary law.

Speaker 2: 02:38 I mean, it's hard for me to put myself in the heads of the city staffers, but from the documents they produce, they said that because allowing these businesses wouldn't, as far as they could tell impact traffic or other environmental impacts, it wasn't going to be, they weren't going to be in an Indian burial grounds. They weren't going to impact the life of a salmon or the life of a tree. They decided it didn't have an impact. Unfortunately, they were, or I guess you could say fortunately, depends on your perspective. They were sued by a lawyer from Los Angeles who said the city needed to do an analysis. It's been winding its way through the courts for the last five years. And finally it got to the State Supreme Court and the State Supreme Court ruled the city was wrong.

Speaker 1: 03:16 So then what kind of impact might this ruling have on the city's 23 marijuana dispensaries?

Speaker 2: 03:22 Yeah, that's unclear. Um, the, the city changed their, their law when the s when State voters in 2016 approved recreational marijuana, the city updated its law to reflect that. So any of the marijuana dispensary's approved since then are in the clear, that's, I don't know how many that is, five, six, seven, somewhere in that neighborhood. But the ones that were approved beforehand under this old law that basically the supreme court ruled against yesterday, are they grandfathered in? You talked to the marijuana industry, they seem to think things are going to be fine, but there's some lack of clarity on the impact regarding those.

Speaker 1: 03:54 Okay. And I, and you know, I mean, it's, is there going to be an impact on future dispensary's

Speaker 2: 03:59 it appears that future dispensary's the city will have to come up with a law, um, that, that does analyze them environmentally. But there's an interesting element when the state voters approved recreational marijuana, uh, the state in order to encourage cities and counties to streamline the process said you don't have to do environmental analysis. Um, if you do it by July of 2019. So the city's law is probably in the clear in that regard.

Speaker 1: 04:27 Mm. And also what about other cities and counties who are considering rules for where and how marijuana businesses could operate? How would that they'd be impacted?

Speaker 2: 04:36 Yeah, that's, that's a, that's a huge impact. According to the sources I've, I've talked to about two thirds of the counties and cities in California have not yet agreed to allow marijuana businesses and they didn't do it by that July, 2019 deadline where you could do it without environmental analysis. And so now with this ruling, these have, you're a city that's going to move forward with marijuana laws. You're going to have to do an environmental analysis, which could make it a longer process, could make it more expensive and you know, might actually Dekert scourge the city's from ever moving forward.

Speaker 1: 05:08 You also write in your story that this decision could potentially impact housing regulations? How so?

Speaker 2: 05:14 Well, again, whenever the Supreme Court makes a ruling, lots of different lawyers and lots of different groups have lots of different opinions about what impact it's gonna have. This ruling came out yesterday, so I tried to get a quick reaction and we probably won't know the overall impact for awhile until we see it play out. But a lot of folks have said that they think this is, goes beyond marijuana dispensaries and has a longterm impact on environmental analysis. Basically saying that any decision that a local government makes, maybe they need to be doing these, this analysis of indirect and reasonably foreseeable impacts that the supreme court said San Diego needed to do on it's marijuana law.

Speaker 1: 05:50 Hasn't the city approved housing rules recently without conducting these environmental reviews?

Speaker 2: 05:56 Yeah, San Diego has and a lot of other cities have the state's a bit in the middle of a big housing crisis. And so a lot of cities have been approving a housing incentives, uh, ways to convince developers to build more housing. And a lot of the cities don't do environmental analysis. And this, this decision might mean that they've all been, you know, doing these things illegally and they have to go back and study them. So it could, it could have a negative impact on the cities, cities and counties efforts to sort of fight against the housing crisis. So has the city responded to the ruling at all? Uh, I asked for, for response and um, our Elliot's office just said they're going to study the ruling and see how it affects city, the operations. And they didn't go anywhere beyond that, so they didn't elaborate yet. So where does the case go from here? What gets kicked back down to the local superior court? That's a judge Woelfel uh, who ruled in the city's favor a few years ago. Um, and he has to decide what the next steps are. So that's often the way the state supreme courts handle it. Instead of saying, here's what's going to happen, they say, we disagree with what happened and we're going to send it back to the lower court and let them deal with it.

Speaker 1: 06:56 I've been speaking with David Garrick who covers city hall for the San Diego Union Tribune. David, thanks so much. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 07:05 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 07:08 as cities and counties across California continue to figure out how Monday's ruling may impact their efforts to address the state's housing crisis. The California report, Saul Gonzalez sat down with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulkner, they spoke about the housing crisis, which the mayor blames on too many regulations and Nimby thinking,

Speaker 3: 07:27 let's take the nimbys first. There's a lot of folks will say, Mr Marrow want more housing? I just don't want it here. Right? Don't build it somewhere else. This is not a partisan issue. This is what is the right thing that we should be doing for our future. And when you, when you phrase it in those terms and you actually put the policies in place that I think makes sense, that's how you start to get the momentum. But there's no doubt that the regulatory reform is incredibly important if we're going to achieve not just our housing goals in San Diego, but our housing goals across the state of California. You mentioned Nimby opposition, but you've called yourself a UNB mayor. You embrace that term. Yes, in my backyard meaning build a lot more in my backyard. Is that a problem to have that stance in San Diego, a city that views itself as suburban low rise, slow growth and it's almost in the DNA of the city.

Speaker 3: 08:17 We have to get more housing built. The right conversation is where do you want to build that and that's why I think we've had this, as we've said, it's not about building high rises and single family neighborhoods, you know, 20 miles outside of downtown. It's about how do we want that growth and development and that density to occur next to our major transportation corridors next to the trolley next to our bus rapid transit lanes next to the freeway. And I'm sure you talked to them that people who say, you know Mr Mayor, that's not San Diego. That's that's like Manhattan West. That's something else you want. That's the the dreaded Los Angeles, but it's not the city that I up in that I came to know and love. You must hear versions of that argument all the time. Well, look at our quality of life and that is unique to San Diego is something that I absolutely will always protect.

Speaker 3: 09:07 Um, you know, our clean beaches, our air, our oceans, our bays, our views, and that's why we've made so much effort to say it's not about putting things haphazardly, it's about going through the community plan, update, getting community buy in to say we're going to keep San Diego, that special place that it is. We're also going to ensure that San Diego is, can afford delimits San Diego. Could you mind if I stop you there because I looked up the numbers that the median household income in San Diego is in the mid sixties there's no one who earns that. Who can buy a home in the city of San Diego, right? It's, it's, it's incredibly difficult. The issue of, of Housing and homelessness, those two combined issues are the issues I spend the most time of his mirror. And rightfully so. We need to add units. We need to make sure it's affordable and if we're going to continue to grow good quality jobs and continue our, you know, the economy in the innovation economy and what we need to be doing, we have to be competitive when it comes to housing.

Speaker 4: 10:02 That was San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulkner speaking with the California reports. All Gonzalez

Speaker 5: 10:18 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 10:19 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 10:27 school textbooks tell us the simple facts about slavery, that Africans were stolen from their homelands and forced to work as slaves in the American south. Then we learned that the slaves were freed by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war and for many of us, that's about as much history as we ever learned about slavery in America. Last Sunday, The New York Times magazine published a comprehensive series of articles that frame slavery as the institution that fundamentally shaped this country. The essays outline how slavery was a primary instrument in America's wealth and growth and document how the ongoing struggle of black Americans for full equality can be seen as the redemption of America's original ideas. The effort is called project 1619 marking 400 years since the first African slaves landed in the American colonies. Joining me as Jasmine Hughes with New York Times magazine and Jasmine, welcome to the program. Thank you so much for having me. It seems from reading these essays that there has been a hunger to bring this information to the public for some time. What besides the 400 year anniversary gave the times the push to launch this series now? I mean I think that there are so many things. So this entire project was cooked up by a staff writer for the magazine, so mean Nicole, Hannah Jones who covers race quite largely throughout her beat. I think she would describe herself as like a historian of sorts, right? This is something that she's

Speaker 6: 11:53 been personally obsessed in. And the great thing about the final product of the magazine is the myriad ways in which the foundation of slavery continues to affect American life on a day to day basis. So we did have the 400 year anniversary, which is like a useful framing, I guess in some ways from a magazine perspective. But it really, it is something that we interact with and touch every single day. And the idea that slavery could affect every single part of our life unknowingly is I think a huge reason why we decided to not only pursue this project but go about it so robustly. Can you give us an overview of project 1619 for those who haven't seen the series in print or online? So six and 19 a is a production by the New York Times Sunday magazine and it's in two parts. There is an actual issue of the Sunday magazine with about a dozen writers who have picked various ways of American life and sort of explain how these institutions have its roots in slavery.

Speaker 6: 12:53 So for example, Wesley Morris wrote about American music and how so much of what we would call cultural appropriation or just like mixing and matching and borrowing from different genres or cultures or what have you. How so much of that has its roots in black creative, um, production. The magazine itself also issues several creative works, several original creative works from poets and novelists and writers who in an attempt to add more to the, uh, to the American creative Canon about like the legacy of slavery and the black experience in America. Um, people submitted many, many like wonderful creative works. The other part of the project is a special section of the paper which thinks about how inadequately slavery was taught in schools. I mean, so a big reason for this project is sort of like the gross miseducation of what slavery really was and how so many people, myself included, to some extent have this idea of slavery.

Speaker 6: 13:53 That is, that like begins with Harriet Tubman and maybe ends with Frederick Douglas and everything. And the civil war was one, they met, spatial proclamation was, um, disseminated and everything was fine. Right? So the opening essay of the special section is by a reporter called Nikita Stewart, who spoke with many like textbook authors and educators about exactly how they teach the concept of slavery. And there was a study that goes in ranks several textbooks about like really the veracity of the way that the subject is taught and then it considers the myriad ways in which lots of things are left out. And the section that I worked on is I'm a collection of objects that were selected by Mary Elliot who was a curator at the National Museum of African American history and culture through which she and I tried to tell a fuller more robust story of what slavery really was. Well you know the information that's contained in project 1619 weaves together connections that aren't usually made mainstream histories about slavery for example, how slavery helped Create Wall Street.

Speaker 6: 14:56 Exactly. Slavery helped Create Wall Street. Slavery has led to like the modern day understanding of mortgages or like homeowners insurance, like you know, these sorts of things go back to the protection of property, which 400 years ago meant the production of people that various people owned. I think part of the reason why the sub this project has had such an outsized response is because it is a hugely different way of teaching slavery against the, like, it's not something that only takes up four pages of your history of textbook. It's not something that's just a couple of questions in your AP us history tests, like there are ways again in which the foundation of America and the institutions that we hold dear and know familiarly today are touched by what we call in the issue like America's original sin. I think it will come as a surprise to many people that the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln did not believe that blacks and whites could live together in America and urged freed slaves to go back to Africa.

Speaker 6: 15:59 And the project 1619 makes the point that it was then wasn't it? That former slaves claimed America as their country? Yes. So in the process of researching this project, I took many visits to the National Museum of African American history and culture, which I've taken up to calling the black Sonian because it is a little bit of a lengthy name and there's a quote on the wall and these slavery and freedom floor that I'm going to butcher. But essentially the gist of it is that is from a formerly enslaved person talking about how America is his home and that he feels a birth rate to be here because of the toil and labor that he contributed to the foundation of this country in the toil of labor of his ancestors and their answers as ancestors and so on. And I think that, you know, as a young African American woman, as someone who was more than likely to send it of slaves working on this project for me, gave me, I guess my first real opportunity to feel real ownership and loyalty to this country and to really understand processes through which my ancestors likely contributed to its foundation and a great thing about this project.

Speaker 6: 17:09 And they think that everyone worked really hard to ensure this is that it's, it's not a project of sorrow, right? It's not something that's very pitiful. It's atrocious. It's heartbreaking. It's often stomach turning at times, but it also really speaks to the resilience of black people or people who have descended from slaves and how incredible that is and it really does. As I think Nicole Hannah Jones, his opening essay does a great job of doing really cement us in the foundation of American history. I've been speaking with Jasmine Hughes with the New York Times magazine and we've been talking about New York Times Project 1619 jasmine, thank you very much. Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 5: 17:49 I can.

Speaker 1: 18:04 California's firearm laws are among the strictest in the country and now some gun owners want to challenge that saying the state's assault weapons ban violates the second amendment and now a gun rights group has filed a lawsuit to block the state's ban, but will this latest legal challenge to California gun laws stand up in court? Dan Eaton is a legal analyst and partner at Seltzer Caplan McMahon. Vitek. He joins me now. Dan, welcome.

Speaker 7: 18:30 Thank you Jake. Good to be with you.

Speaker 1: 18:31 So who are the plaintiffs in this lawsuit and why have they filed?

Speaker 7: 18:36 Uh, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are actually three, a San Diego, a gun owners who own, uh, guns with fixed magazines as required under a California law who wants to use large capacity magazines that are otherwise prohibited under the state's current assault weapons ban. And Jade, it's important for me to define what that term magazine means cause I'm going to be using it quite a bit during the segment of the, under the complaint that the uh, plaintiff's filed in a different case, Dunkin, uh, which uh, was heard a couple of years ago. Uh, in a footnote, they indicated a magazine is a quote device that holds ammunition, cartridges or shells and along with other parts of the firearm, it feeds the ammunition into the chamber for firing close quotes. So when I use the term magazine, that is what I am talking about.

Speaker 1: 19:28 And Dan, what is it that this group is seeking to accomplish with this lawsuit?

Speaker 7: 19:32 Oh, the plaintiff's, these individual con owners. And the gun owners political action committee want to use the large capacity magazine that Judge Roger is here in San Diego. He's a federal court judge here in San Diego, ruled earlier. Uh, they could possess under current California law. They can't use it because it's a crime, uh, using it would render the guns that these individuals have as assault weapons says to find, they desire to use these large capacity magazines with their respective firearms for purposes of defense in the home and for other lawful purposes such as target shooting and training. That's a direct quote from the complaint. The only feature of their weapons that would make them assault weapons under the laws plaintiffs are challenging would be the insertion of a large capacity magazine.

Speaker 1: 20:25 Um, you know, does this group have a better chance at finding success with their lawsuit by filing it in San Diego?

Speaker 7: 20:30 They clearly are trying to take advantage of a judge. Beneatha's is very lengthy ruling, which is now on appeal to the ninth circuit. Then what's interesting is the same day that they filed the complaint, uh, it was assigned to a fee to federal judge John Houston. The plaintiffs also filed a notice of related action the same day seeking to have the case transferred to judge [inaudible] saying it would result in judicial economy. Since he had already ruled in the earlier Duncan case.

Speaker 1: 21:04 And I want to pull directly from, from the lawsuit here, you know, the lawsuit said the term assault weapon is a politically concocted pejorative term for weapons lawfully used in virtually every state and argues that California is barring law abiding citizens from getting firearms for purposes like self-defense and hunting. Do the plaintiffs have an argument here?

Speaker 7: 21:24 Well, the, the essential argument that they are making is that the term assault weapons does not have a fixed meaning. In fact, as a plaintiff's point out in their complaint, it's gone through several, several evolutions in California law itself. Since the issue was first addressed in the 1980s. It is a now a defined as a semiotic Madec center fire rifle or pistol with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds. And what plaintiffs are saying is that we have a fixed magazine that is attached to this, but what we want to do is used a fixed magazine that has a larger capacity and given that the mere possession of a large capacity fixed magazines has been struck down as unconstitutional, we want to be able to use that large capacity fixed magazine as well because the right to possess includes the right to use.

Speaker 1: 22:26 So does California define assault weapon differently, uh, from, than other states?

Speaker 7: 22:33 Yes. Uh, there are a variety of different, uh, definitions in the roughly handful of states around the country that ban so-called assault weapons. Some use of the definition that was in the 1994 legislation sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein on the federal level, which expired. And some use a different definitions all tend to focus on whether these, uh, firearms have detachable magazines. California ultimately said it has to have a fixed magazine, but even the definition of fixed magazine has changed. A south at a fixed magazine now means that the magazine can only be removed and therefore are reloaded with ammunition if the firearm is just assembled.

Speaker 1: 23:23 And do you know when this case will be heard in court?

Speaker 7: 23:25 No. The interesting thing is right now, as I said before, the case is under review by the clerk's office as to whether it ought to be transferred because the plaintiffs have filed a notice of related case. Once that is decided, whether it goes to judge Benita's or stays with judge John Houston, you will see some as far as a case scheduling and so forth. Ultimately, I suspect that the case will be resolved on motions rather than full on trial because there is a very discreet legal question involving the second amendment and the facts are essentially not in dispute.

Speaker 4: 24:01 I have been speaking to legal analyst, Dan Eaton. Dan, thank you so much. Thank you, jade.

Speaker 5: 24:09 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 24:11 last year, the u s attorney's office began criminally charging thousands of people crossing the border illegally in July of federal court. Found that over 4,000 of those convictions were improper and should be tossed out in court. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Nadler looks at the, into the decisions that led up to this disastrous outcome for the u s attorney's office in the southern district of California.

Speaker 8: 24:36 It was may of last year when then US Attorney General Jeff sessions came to the border wall here in Santa Cedric to announce the Department of Justice's new zero tolerance policy.

Speaker 9: 24:47 If you crossed the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It's that simple.

Speaker 8: 24:53 Previously, the US Attorney's office had not made much of a priority of prosecuting misdemeanor illegal entry by the time of session's announcement. However, prosecutions for illegal entry had already begun decline in the district, overwhelming the courts in nearby federal jails with people who had previously been quickly turned over to the custody of immigration and customs enforcement. It was then that the chief judge in the district finally allowed for the creation of operations, streamline a fast track prosecution program that aims to arraign convict and sentenced border crossers in a matter of minutes. So starting last July, some people caught illegally crossing the border. We're brought to a converted garage beneath the federal building to meet with their attorneys before being brought to a courtroom to plead guilty and mass to misdemeanor illegal entry. At first, prosecutors were charging upwards of 50 people a day, but last month, the ninth circuit ruled that almost all of the prosecutions during the first year of the program were improper prosecutors. The court found had charged individuals under the wrong statute. Chuck Labella is a former US attorney in the district who's now in private practice.

Speaker 9: 26:02 I sympathize with the prosecutors. I sympathize with what they're, oh, they're up against and what they're being asked to do. But you've got to, you gotta fly, right, that you know, just because we want to shove these people through the system, we don't, we don't cut corners in the criminal justice system. You just don't do that.

Speaker 8: 26:17 The mistake that prosecutors had made according to the ninth circuit, was that they charged misdemeanor illegal entry under a subsection meant to only apply to people who allude inspection at ports of entry, not between them. The vast majority of people caught crossing the border. Do so by hopping over a border fence or crossing through the desert. The US Attorney's office did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story. A source close to the office, however, tells KPBS that the decision to charge under the wrong law was made by prosecutors concerned about defendants arguing that because they were being watched by border patrol agents when they crossed the border, they didn't actually allude inspection proving that a border crosser wasn't being watched generally requires border patrol agents and other officials to testify using the other section of the law. They wouldn't have to prove that Ruben Camper con was the executive director of the federal defenders of San Diego until shortly after operation streamline was installed in the district last summer. He believes this charging decision is one of the many ways prosecutors have tried to deprive immigrants of their right to a fair shot at justice.

Speaker 10: 27:25 You know, if there's anything that would be more exemplary of a denial of due process and denying somebody the substantive defense that the law allows you, I can't think of it.

Speaker 8: 27:36 Over the past year, more than 4,000 people were charged in properly. According to the ninth circuit's decision for over 400 immigrants convicted under the wrong subsection, who are now appealing their cases for charges can most likely be quickly dropped after a request by their lawyer for the thousands who have not appealed their cases. The Path ahead is much more complicated because they've already been deported today. Operation Streamline has slowed down considerably and operates it nowhere near the prosecution rates once envisioned by former attorney general Jeff sessions. But the impact of these decisions by both officials in Washington and prosecutors in San Diego, we'll leave a mark on the u s attorney's office, says former office chief labella.

Speaker 9: 28:17 It's a blemish. I'm law enforcement when a court of appeals reverses saying you're using the wrong statute and you're using the wrong statute because it's easier rather than it's the right statute. Um, yeah, it's an embarrassment for law enforcement.

Speaker 8: 28:30 The US Attorney's office has until September 6th to appeal the ninth circuit's decision. Max Riverland, Adler, k PBS news.

Speaker 11: 28:41 Uh,

Speaker 1: 28:42 San Diego could soon be home to a west coast version of the statue of Liberty. Right now, there is a fundraising campaign to raise $1 million to build a 40 foot monument of Mary mother of Jesus. As Lady Liberty organizers say, it will stand as a symbol to welcome a new generation of immigrants and refugees coming to the U S it's a move that sits in sharp contrast to messages coming from the White House. Here's acting director of US citizenship and immigration services. Ken Cuccinelli on NPRs morning edition last week, revising Emma Lazarus, his famous words on the Statue of Liberty,

Speaker 12: 29:19 give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.

Speaker 1: 29:25 Cuccinelli was speaking about a new rule that targets legal immigration. Joining me or Jim Bli snare the artist and sculptor for this west coast monument and Ashley Servantez with the San Diego organizing project, which is leading the effort to build the statue. Welcome to you both. Thank

Speaker 13: 29:42 you. It's a pleasure to be here. Okay. So Ashley, first a, I want to get your thoughts on Cuccinelli's comments. What was your reaction when you heard Cuccinelli's revision of the famous inscription? So when I saw it, I thought that this is a joke and um, it felt like an attack, especially to my community. You know, just like you have to make the comments and differentiate people like split them up, which is not what America is. And Jim, can you describe the design of the statue for us and how you developed it? Uh, the welcome, the stranger sculpture. It's a memorial to the international migrant and their struggle, the body, the turgid forms of the robe a symbolize the struggle that the migrant experiences in searching for safety and opportunity and the scattered colors on the robe represent moments of ripples and comfort along the way they uplifted.

Speaker 13: 30:38 Torch in the right hand is a symbol of hope. It mimics the statue of liberty and it pays attention to the poem by Emma Lazarus, the new colossus, which specifically states that the flame is the imprisoned lightning and her name is a mother of exiles from her beacon hand glows worldwide. Welcome her mild eyes command a. So Emma Lazarus had the worldwide oppressed in mind as did the sculpture who created the statue of Liberty and uses the torch as a beacon of hope. Why Mary? Mother of Jesus as Lady Liberty, Mary mother, like we said, mother of Jesus, I don't think is there is anything else more pure than a mother's love in the Catholic faith and me being Catholic, we turned to Marion moments of hope, moments of depression when we just need that small little glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. I was actually, before coming here, we were talking about this and I told him, it's like when you leave home you come back and you look for your mom, you know, so Mary represents that, that warm love, hope for all of us.

Speaker 13: 31:53 I was commissioned by the San Diego organizing project to explore the concept of welcome the stranger to change the narrative on the border. It sits on the border, it overlooked Tijuana River valley and you can see all of two. One are from the campus. And as we listened to the members of the congregation, it became clear that they were personally familiar with the experience of the migrant. And that emotional dialogue was what led to us doing the design. And of course, uh, in that culture, uh, Mary is almost cold terminus with the statue of Liberty in terms of, uh, how it resonates, how it creates and how it manages to invoke hope in the, of despair.

Speaker 1: 32:39 And you know, as you, as you said, it's to change the narrative. And also the purpose behind this new statue is to welcome, you know, a new wave of migrants and refugees coming to this country, but doesn't the national monument already do that? Um, why do you think a second one is needed right here in San Diego?

Speaker 13: 32:57 I think that it's very important to have one in San Diego because we are a border city. And, um, with everything that has been going on in these past few months, this past year with the attacks on the community, the deportations, the splitting the families apart. Um, just to me having gone through that as well, personally, I think there was no option when it came to having something, a symbol of hope. It's a message that deserves to be restated according to you and data. There's between 150 and 200 million people waiting in limbo, uh, trying to escape oppressive environments, oppressive governments, oppressive economic circumstances. That's nearly three fourths of the population of the United States sitting in settlement camps. The severity of the problem justifies and requires a restatement of what our national policy is. Our national policy isn't ethnic stratification, which is what came out of the presidents staff's comments. It's about being able to listen to and do what you can within your means within your national means to respond to this, this need and that statue, that meaning that hope should be stated and restated over and over again. And we're hoping that, uh, the sculpture will, we'll do that.

Speaker 1: 34:31 Let me ask you both this, uh, what do you say to those who believe this country is a nation of immigrants, but it's simply can't welcome everyone.

Speaker 13: 34:41 That's true. That's true. Uh, it can fill up. The economic resources aren't infinite. We have to balance that against the economic potential that immigrants represent. Uh, we have to be aware of that and build it into modified immigration policies. You know, we also have a responsibility to deal with circumstances in the countries where that oppression's happening. And uh, you know, immigration policy just doesn't start and stop at the border. Adding on to what he says. I also think that there are, um, I agree there, there are ways to go about it though as well. And um, a way to go about it. It's not, for example, having a family that is here that by one reason or another, it hasn't been possible for them to be able to get residency and splitting them. I don't think that's a way to go about it into like, oh, we don't all fit here, you know, because they deserve to be here just as much as we do. And once you start breaking families apart, then it's kind of like a domino effect.

Speaker 4: 35:50 So Jim, talk about the fundraising effort and how is it going? When do you expect to break ground?

Speaker 13: 35:55 Welcome the stranger.us is the place to donate a, we're selling bricks. We're building a beautiful patio at the base of the sculpture. It's costing as much as the sculpture and probably accounts for most of the permitting that we've had to do. We've been going through an exhaustive intensive permitting process with the city and what the Federal Aviation Administration. We didn't just want to build a piece of art, a sculpture and set it at the corner of the parking lot. And so we have designed a patio. We will light it at night. It will be visible all across [inaudible], uh, from the Ocean to OTA Mesa. You, you'll be able to see this beacon of hope and um, we hope to break ground by two months, three months. We're ready to go.

Speaker 4: 36:47 All right. I've been speaking with Ashley Servantez and Jim [inaudible] who are both working to build a statue of Mary as lady liberty here in the West. Thank you both for joining us.

Speaker 13: 36:59 Thank you. Thank you for having us.

Speaker 5: 37:03 Um,

Speaker 4: 37:09 the latest book by Crime Thriller, author t Jefferson Parker opens like a 1940s detective novel, a beautiful woman comes into a private i's office and asks him to find her sister. But the story that unfolds is an incredibly timely tale of abduction, terrorist plots and white supremacy. The setting is San Diego County and its environs and the main character is once again Parker's ex marine x sheriff's deputy current private eye, Roland Ford. The book is called the last good guy. And joining me is New York Times bestselling author and fall work resident t Jefferson Parker. Jeff, welcome. Thank you. Nice to be here. Why did you choose to open the novel with that classic Femme Fatale asking for help?

Speaker 14: 37:52 I just couldn't resist it. It just been done so many times and so classically, and it's kind of what we remember about the beginning of, of those newer movies and novels from, you know, the forties on and, uh, I couldn't let it go. And My, my goal in the book was to kind of start with the past, the Knorr trope, if you will, of that pie sitting in his office and, and move him swiftly into the, into the present.

Speaker 4: 38:15 Now that your private investigator, Roland Ford, is he the last good guy of the title?

Speaker 14: 38:20 Yeah, I think so. Tell us a little bit about him. 38 years old when the series opened two books ago. Um, as you said, former marine battle of Fallujah, one former sheriff's department, um, deputy big man, six, three to 10, physically capable and um, uh, he's, he's not a ta, he's not a mean guy though. He's, he's kind of sarcastic and Kinda got a little bit witty but not a wise cracker. Uh, he's a good hearted fellow, I think mainly, you know, he works hard on behalf of his clients and he kind of specializes in locating missing persons. And he is empathetic with anyone who has his losing his lost someone, uh, important to them.

Speaker 4: 38:57 Now your two previous role in Ford novels had to do with the aftermath of the u s war on terror overseas. This book is about home grown perversions and terror plots. Why that switch?

Speaker 14: 39:10 Yeah, it just seems to be so around us right now. You know, when I was hatching that book a year ago, roughly, it was around the time of Charlottesville and in that whole nasty white supremacists stuff rising, it's it raising its ugly head again. And then the, the beginnings of the me too movement and the in the long histories of, of so many women and, and, and girls sometimes being uh, you know, sexually abused. And so when you, when you hear about things like that so much, you react to it, you want to, you, you want to make it a part of your, uh, of your book. Those things woven together and some other things are, are kind of the fabric upon which the story is, is painted, if you will.

Speaker 4: 39:49 Right? How much research did you have to do into the world of hate groups for this novel?

Speaker 14: 39:55 You know, I'm less than you might think. I've been, um, studying if you will hate groups for my whole adult life and I've written about them before. Um, I've written about a lot of different things, but that's one of the, one of the kinds of evils that has always intrigued me because, uh, it's interesting stuff and now, you know, I mean, none of the hate groups that I've, uh, come to know or, or, or read about or in interview are, are shy. You know, they want publicity, they like to be in the limelight. And that's why they do these things often. So it's not hard to find these people, especially in the age of the Internet. There's bunches of them. You know, California has more white racist, you know, a supremacist groups more than any other state in the union. And yet we are, we're the liberal bastion, right? Well not quiet.

Speaker 4: 40:40 I know that you always like to sort of weave a message into the thrillers that you write. And I'm wondering if this book is in some way meant to be a warning, sort of maybe like a wake up call that these groups are a growing danger.

Speaker 14: 40:55 Well, I guess, yeah. Again, I think that the, the, those groups are like, like everybody these days is so, so willing to, to sacrifice their privacy and their anonymity. They want fame, they want notice. So in a book like the room of white fire, you know, I was kind of saying we should take a hard look at enhanced interrogation and if that's a moral or not in this book I'm throwing these supremacists, these violent big, it's out there and I think people, the readers will have no problem at all judging for themselves that the, these are, these are bad people and the less we tolerate them the better.

Speaker 4: 41:30 And of course without giving too much away, there's a nightmarish

Speaker 14: 41:34 element to what these people are planning. Yeah, that was a scary one. That's a scary one. I think it's, it's kind of a little bit plausible even I think you could do it. So I don't even want to go there for San Diego is one of the delights of your novels are all the locales that we travel to and we know them all. Can you give us an idea of where this novel takes us geographically? Just kind of on the map? Well, let's see. Starts in Fallbrook on main street and Fallbrook, which there is one of a, and I shop there and Roland's office is there in Main Street America, uh, Fallbrook in this case. And then a move swiftly to a private and upscale private high school, uh, Academy, uh, in Carlsbad, not based on a real one. Uh, and move swiftly from there to a kind of a teen nightclub in Oceanside.

Speaker 14: 42:23 Um, I've been to a few in the vista and then this one I put notions side and then, and then again, quickly out to the desert, uh, to a, um, a mysterious, uh, date palm compound, uh, where Roland is confronted with some very mysterious activities and, and he just, he and he gets beaten to within an inch of his life for going out there and asking a few simple questions. So, um, it goes all over the place and then back to a Rancho Santa Fe and, and it Kinda reaches its, its, its, its final extravagant conclusion in a, in Oceanside. Now the last good guy is the third book. In your role in Ford series, do you have an overall storyline figured out for the entire series or do you have an odd story arc for Roland Ford Himself? No, neither. Um, [inaudible] and so every time I sit down to write the next one, I feel like I'm kind of reinventing the wheel in a way.

Speaker 14: 43:13 I know I'm gonna I'm gonna write about Roland, you know, and I, I intend and hope to write about rural and more and often, you know. Um, but as far as having things hatched out ahead of time with any kind of accuracy, I, I don't, so each book is a new experience for you as well as everybody else. Are you already working on your next book? Yeah, I am. I'm, I'm, I'm finishing it up and it'll be out hopefully this time next year. Wow. Yeah. T Jefferson Parker will be speaking about his book, the last good guy tonight at Warwick's in La Jolla, and he'll be featured at the San Diego Festival of books this weekend at liberty station. Always. So good to see you. Thank you for coming. Oh, thank you. Back at Ya.

Speaker 4: 44:00 Coming up on KPBS evening edition at five on KPBS TV, San Diego state decides to limit the use of electric scooters on campus and join us again tomorrow for KPBS mid day edition at noon. And if you ever miss a show, you can find the midday edition podcast on your favorite podcast app. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

Speaker 5: 44:36 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 44:41 okay.

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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.