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Implications Of Opioid Award In San Diego, Del Mar Horse Deaths, Racism And Hate Workshop

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The decision to hold a drugmaker accountable for the cost of opioid addiction is being closely watched by other plaintiffs including the city of San Diego which has a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and others. Also, fires burning through the Amazon rainforest continue to alarm the international community, one organization working to preserve the area is based in San Diego. Horse deaths are down at Del Mar but so is attendance, nearly 50% of young adult Californians live with their parents, a San Diego workshop is offering safe spaces to talk about racism and hate, and San Diego’s Latinx New Play Festival returns.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:01 An Oklahoma judge ruled Johnson and Johnson will have to pay $572 million to the state for their deceptive marketing of opioids. This is the first ruling to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for one of the worst drug epidemics in American history while Johnson and Johnson rejects the decision and will file an appeal. That case is being closely watched by plaintiffs and other opioid lawsuits, including the city of San Diego, which filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family along with other manufacturers and distributors. I spoke with mark and Korn chief deputy city attorney about how Oklahoma's ruling good impact San Diego's case. I started by asking for his reaction to the decision.

Speaker 2: 00:45 It's an interesting step in the right direction. Um, now it doesn't have a whole lot to do with our case in Cleveland because it was brought by the Oklahoma Ag and filed under Oklahoma Law, but one of the claims that they asserted there, which was the public nuisance claim under Oklahoma law, is very similar to one of the claims that we have in our lawsuit. So in a lot of ways it represents a good sort of test flight if you will. Um, a lot of jurisdictions around the country are watching very closely what these early lawsuits are doing and how those decisions are being taken care of.

Speaker 1: 01:24 And Johnson and Johnson has admitted no wrongdoing and says it's going to appeal the ruling. But if it stands, what do you think that means for the city of San Diego's lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and other similar lawsuits that are pending against opioid manufacturers,

Speaker 2: 01:39 it will set in a lot of ways set the market, uh, as to what the amount of, uh, abatement costs are going to be required and what the level of culpability are for various defendants.

Speaker 1: 01:52 And the amount was much lower than the 17 billion that they were actually seeking. What are your thoughts on that? Is 572 million enough?

Speaker 2: 02:01 Well, I can't speak for Oklahoma, so I'm not sure whether it's a enough for Oklahoma or not. I'm certainly the Oklahoma AG wanted a substantially higher figure from what I understand, approximately 17 billion. Um, but the judge ultimately balanced the evidence and came up with a different, a different number. Um, with respect to those public nuisance claims. What the ultimate remedy is, is injunctive relief. And so the, the finder of fact, which is the judge has to figure out how much it's going to cost to solve the problem. And it's a very difficult calculus. Uh, there's a lot of different factors that come into play, um, when deciding on, um, what's appropriate for relief, how to best solve the problem. Um, and that is, uh, an enormous topic of, of debate and concern, uh, between the jurisdictions, between the various interested entities. Um, the city attorney here, um, Mara Elliot is very committed to making sure that we have, uh, appropriate funding and sufficient resources to address the problem and think it's only appropriate that the people who caused the problem are the ones that have to pay for it.

Speaker 1: 03:06 Hmm. Is the city of San Diego pursuing a similar legal strategy to Oklahoma's

Speaker 2: 03:11 so similar in the sense that we also have a public nuisance claim? Yes, but we have a, I think a broader, a broader strategy. First of all, we have sued the individual members of the Sackler family who were directly responsible for creating the Purdue Pharma, um, mess, uh, how Purdue Pharma like just was, was predatory and, and went after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities for the last several decades. They almost single handedly created the marketing fraud and perpetuated and ongoing marketing fraud and the members of the Sackler family, or directly responsible for that because they occupied high board positions and leadership positions in that company. So that's the first difference. The second difference is we sued an additional number, not just Purdue Pharma, and not just Janssen, which is the subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. That was the target of yesterday's verdict. And we've also sued a number of other manufacturers.

Speaker 2: 04:13 And in addition to that, we've also sued, uh, distributors. So 85% of the opioid market is controlled by three major drug distributors. And they knew, uh, directly how the pills flowed from manufacturer to the doctors, to the pharmacies and kept track because we were required to under federal law in a big database called Arcos. Um, some of that was, uh, made, made public after it was under seal for the last several years and some of that data was made public last month by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal. Um, and so that is also part of our claim as well as the fact that we raise an additional state law claim and an additional federal law claim that was not seen by the Oklahoma AG.

Speaker 1: 04:55 Purdue Pharma was originally part of Oklahoma's lawsuit, but the company ended up settling without even a admitting any wrongdoing. Did that surprise you?

Speaker 2: 05:04 It, it didn't in the sense that we had been hearing for quite some time that Purdue really wanted to get out of this mess and kind of put a cap on it and figure out what they were going to do. Um, you know, it's been rumored for a while that Purdue for several months now that Purdue was headed for bankruptcy. Um, that hasn't happened yet, but they may be trying to get some, some of this prepackage before they go to the bankruptcy court to clean it all up. Um, that's, you know, I, I don't know. Uh, but it, it's an interesting comparison in the sense that if you think about that the population of Oklahoma's three and a half million more or less, and the population of San Diego County is about the same size. We're about three and a half, 3.6 million people. So it's, uh, in a way, the state of Oklahoma is a very rough proxy for the county of San Diego.

Speaker 1: 05:52 Is the city anywhere close to engaging and potential settlement talks with? I can't comment on, on if there are or are not

Speaker 2: 06:01 any settlement negotiations going on right now with any entity that we've sued. Um, there are a number of things happening in the lawsuit. We're officially in sort of formally stayed. Um, while we're waiting for the track. One, uh, county is two counties in Ohio or they're on track one, they're going to court in the next month or so. And uh, everyone else in the pool is waiting to see how those cases come out as well. That's more directly relevant.

Speaker 1: 06:26 What can you tell us about the impact of the opioid crisis in San Diego?

Speaker 2: 06:31 It's been profound. Uh, one of my colleagues, uh, was, uh, on a ride along over the weekend, in fact with the San Diego Police Department. And we were chatting this morning and she told me that the, just in the few hours that she was, uh, with those police officers, they responded to two different calls that were opioid related overdoses. And these were not in inner city neighborhoods. One was in a very affluent, gated community. Um, so this, this is something that, that strikes from high to low, no matter what the economic circumstances are, no matter what the racial background is, no matter what kind of education people have or resources, it's, it's a crisis that is sweeping across our communities.

Speaker 1: 07:17 I've been speaking with mark and Korn chief deputy city attorney mark. Thank you so much. My pleasure, Tony. Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Smoke from the burning Amazon rain forest is so intense that NASA says it's being tracked by astronauts on the International Space Station. The number of fires in the region is the highest since 2010. Many are blaming the political leaders of Brazil for encouraging farmers to clear more of the rainforest. But hundreds of thousands of acres of the Amazon rainforest have been set ablaze for the last 20 or 30 years. One organization working to preserve the area is based here in San Diego. Joining me is Matt Clark, CEO of Nature and Culture International. And Matt, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:36 Thanks for having me. I'm glad to be here.

Speaker 1: 00:38 Now, some in the press have referred to the fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest in apocalyptic terms. Now, others say, what's now burning is not primary rainforest, but has already cleared land adjacent to it. So what is your take on the scale of what's happening in Brazil?

Speaker 2: 00:56 Um, I think there's truth in both of those statements. I think that what is happening in Brazil is very alarming. Um, particularly the recent uptick, uptick of deforestation, which is about 50% higher than it was, uh, for the same period, uh, last year. And so it's, I think there's truth to both of those statements, but I think that this is something that we should take very seriously.

Speaker 1: 01:19 What do we know about the causes of these fires? These fires,

Speaker 2: 01:23 ours are, are manmade, uh, and they reflect farmers, ranchers clearing land for crops in their cattle. And some of these are fires that are set on existing agricultural lands that are for weed control and things like that. Um, and as we know, being a Californians, uh, fires can quickly get out of control. So even if they're set on, on existing agricultural lands, they can encroach into primary forest and burn primary forest. And then in other cases, this is, these are fires that are set, that are clearing new lands, uh, to put into agriculture and cattle ranching. Almost a hundred percent of these fires are manmade.

Speaker 1: 02:05 Can you remind us about what the Amazon rain forest actually is? How big is it? What does it made up of?

Speaker 2: 02:11 The Amazon rain forest is a, uh, an ecosystem that is about the size of the continental United States. My don't have the, the exact acreage in front of me, but about the size of the United States and about 400 billion trees. So we're talking at about an immense, immense forest that is large enough that it actually generate and affects climate patterns, uh, across the world that generates cloud cover and ocean currents that affect us in literally affect us in San Diego. California

Speaker 1: 02:49 is some have described the rain forest as the lungs of the world, but others have countered and said, that's not really the case. What does that really mean? How much truth is there to that, uh, that [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 03:05 produces an estimated 20% of the planet's oxygen through the transpiration of its trees. Um, and so I think that that's a fairly accurate statement. Um, and you know, think about that. Your breathing, I'm breathing right now. We rely on from the moment we're born to the minute we die, every 20 seconds, uh, oxygen, which is being produced, uh, at a massive level by this ecosystem. So I think that that's not hyperbole to say that it is the lungs in the planet.

Speaker 1: 03:40 Some environmentalist's on the ground in the Amazon region. Say that? Yes, indeed. The Amazon rainforest produces a great deal of oxygen, oxygen, but it also uses a great deal of oxygen. So is there really that much that we get from the rainforest in terms of oxygen?

Speaker 2: 03:57 Not only does it produce oxygen, but it purifies the era that we breathe. So it provides purification services. Um, and then if you want to expand into other realms, it provides, uh, I think 20% of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon basin's rivers. So in hugely important for freshwater resources, hugely important it, um, uh, stocks billions and billions of tons of carbon. Um, and so hugely important as a mitigating factor for climate change. I already alluded to the fact that that it generates world, um, climatic patterns. And so I think focusing overly on the oxygen production I think misses our larger point, that it provides many other services that are important, not just for south Americans, but literally are important for, um, for Californians, for San Diego, ones that affect us directly. Um, so I don't want to get too hung up on the, on the oxygen, uh, part of it, which is clearly important. As I said, there are a lot of other values that the Amazon provides.

Speaker 1: 05:11 The Amazon rainforest is also been called the world's pharmacy. So what medicines have come from that rainforest?

Speaker 2: 05:18 Um, so the, the first comes to mind is the bark of the Cinchona tree, um, which is an anti-malarial which is saved thousands of lives, um, over the last a century. Another example, uh, is currere, which is a rain forest aero poison, but is used to derivatives of that are used in modern surgery and the anesthetics that are used in modern surgery.

Speaker 1: 05:42 Now your organization, nature and Culture International, which is based here in del Mar, has been running since about 1996. And what has your organization been doing to help preserve the Amazon ecosystem? Our mission is to conserve nature,

Speaker 2: 05:58 so to conserve rain for us and other, uh, irreplaceable ecosystems, primarily in South America. Also in Mexico, we help to legally designate new protected areas. So putting new lands into conserved status and then help to create the structures so that those protected areas are effectively managed. And so the, that could be something like ensuring sustainable financing for the management of a park, um, ensuring the monitoring systems to, to prevent additional deforestation, provide capacity and training to local peoples to be effective managers, effective park guards. And in the last 22 years we have conserved 20 million acres. It would be an area from, from San Diego, almost to Phoenix, and then north south and area from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

Speaker 1: 06:53 And what do you see as a way to resolve what's going on in the Amazon rainforest? Now lots of people are calling on the political leaders in Brazil to do something. What do you see as the answer?

Speaker 2: 07:04 I certainly think that that part of the solution, so Brazil in the mid two thousands did a really remarkable job of reducing deforestation and so it can be done. I think that I would like people to take away that this is not an intractable problem. Um, but it will require political will and it will require international support that will require policies of greater enforcement monitoring processes to support, um, indigenous peoples in managing their lands as they have for hundreds of years. And then I think there are the things such as, um, supply chains for soy products for cattle that commit to, um, zero deforestation, I think would be very positive. Uh, and then I think there are things that, uh, that individuals can do, educate themselves about the issues, make small behavioral changes.

Speaker 1: 08:00 I've been speaking with Matt Clark, he's CEO of nature and culture international and Matt, thank you very much.

Speaker 2: 08:07 Thank you, Maureen. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the opportunity.

Speaker 3: 08:16 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 08:17 [inaudible] [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The del Mar thoroughbred club is on track for one of its safety, safest years on record. But 30 horse deaths in six months at Santa Anita Park have cast a shadow over the entire industry. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, while safety has improved at del Mar, this summer attendance is down.

Speaker 2: 00:25 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 00:25 it's been a slower than usual season for the del Mar thoroughbred club.

Speaker 4: 00:28 Yeah, I knew we were going to be impacted obviously by, by the bad publicity

Speaker 3: 00:32 club. CEO Joe Harper says attendance and revenue are down at the race track

Speaker 4: 00:37 right now. We're off about, uh, about 8% in, in, on track attendance and uh, and about probably 14 to 50% in handle.

Speaker 3: 00:46 The racetrack says in recent years, it has seen a small decline in attendance with betting revenue steady, but has been hit especially hard this year after deaths at Santa Anita.

Speaker 4: 00:54 You know, there's obviously a, an impact. Uh, nobody wants to come out and think they're going to see a horse being killed or sobbing. So

Speaker 3: 01:02 there's also another impact from the high number of deaths at Santa Anita. Fewer horses are available to raise.

Speaker 4: 01:07 When San Anita and I had so much trouble, many of those horses over a couple hundred, maybe 300, went somewhere else, mainly back east. They didn't just turn around and come back when when we started

Speaker 2: 01:24 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 01:24 less horses means fewer races.

Speaker 2: 01:28 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 01:29 uh, normally we'd run an eight to nine races a day and we're running seven on Wednesdays and Thursdays and then trying to bring it up, uh, on the weekend.

Speaker 3: 01:37 That means less people betting at the track. Del Mar thoroughbred club President Josh Rubenstein says they felt the drop. Um, our perse account is overdrawn. We are paying out purses, um, more than we are generating handle

Speaker 2: 01:54 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 01:54 with less racers you obviously have less profit. So that's no surprise. Yeah.

Speaker 5: 02:02 Let's say that the industry yes is on decline.

Speaker 3: 02:04 Rick Baedeker is executive director of the California horse racing board, which regulates the sport in the state,

Speaker 5: 02:09 but the game is healthy. Uh, and uh, but it's only going to stay healthy if, if the things that, uh, were talked about today are implemented and that, you know, the public is, is convinced. That is matter of fact, everything's being done that can be done to care for the race wars

Speaker 3: 02:25 this year. There are new safety measures in place at del Mar. All horses are reviewed by state employed veterinarians before racing.

Speaker 5: 02:32 This probably has been the most effective. We have a panel of experts, veterinarians and our safety stewards who scrutinize every entry every day. And um, they have, uh, prohibited horses from running

Speaker 3: 02:46 through mid August. The state says more than 600 horses had been evaluated before racing and 20 had been polled.

Speaker 5: 02:53 BW is simple. Just continue to reform the sport until it's absolutely the safest it can be.

Speaker 3: 02:58 But rights activists,

Speaker 6: 03:00 like Ellen Erickson say, if horses are racing, there will be deaths. There's no middle ground. Reform doesn't work. They've been trying to for years. What happened out at Santa Anita is not unusual. This happens every year at every race track, including del Mar. Horses are dying there for pure entertainment of the humans.

Speaker 3: 03:21 Since the deaths at Santa I need at the California horse racing board has been given the power to stop racing at any time and are implementing new rules like no more whips during races

Speaker 5: 03:29 because of this crisis and the kind of the media hysteria surrounding it, which is understandable. Uh, it's put more pressure on the board, but as a matter of fact, there are things that the board has been able to do because of this pressure, uh, that maybe it wouldn't have been able to do before because there would have been too much resistance to it.

Speaker 3: 03:48 Harper says the industry is embracing change.

Speaker 4: 03:50 I see a lot of that the old time guys saying, oh, well, I guess it's not business as usual. Um, you know, I'm glad I, I probably shouldn't brought, brought that horse down so I'm not gonna run him a little. Things like that, that they're telling me that they're, they're getting it, you know, that, that they know that, that this, this, this business has to change.

Speaker 3: 04:11 With less than a week left of racing. There had been four horses that died after training in del Mar this summer. Thoroughbred club official say that's on track to be one of the safest summer meats ever.

Speaker 1: 04:20 Joining me is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman and Matt, welcome. Hi Maureen. Your report paints a sorry, picture of this del Mar season from your reporting. Is this decline all because of Santa Anita?

Speaker 3: 04:33 If you talk to people at the race track, uh, the CEO, he definitely thinks that it's because of Santa Anita before the season. They expected a definite drop in their revenue and attendance and they're, they're seeing that, um, the public is obviously very aware about these deaths now, so they think that that's a big contributor to what's going on this season.

Speaker 1: 04:51 So revenue and attendance were both down this year at del Mar. Is that a trend? I mean, have numbers been going down for the racing seasons here for a while or is it just this year?

Speaker 3: 05:01 Right. So in, in recent years, the tracks says that they have definitely seen a small decline, uh, in attendance. Uh, and, but they say the betting and revenue has stayed pretty steady. Like they've sort of found a niche there. But this season it's down in, in double digit numbers for both in terms of percentage. Now they wouldn't give us a number of what that means when they say, you know, beddings down 14, 15%. They wouldn't give us a number of what that means, you know, is that $5 million? Is that $500,000 a but it's definitely down. And uh, so I mean they're basically seeing a much bigger impact from the news of Santa Anita than they would in a normal year.

Speaker 1: 05:36 What does the executive director of the California horse racing board mean when he says the horse racing industry is in decline? Because then he also says the game is healthy.

Speaker 3: 05:46 Right? And to be fair, I, I, I asked him the question if he thought the industry wasn't declined and he said yes. Now he cited like gambling at casinos as part of that decline. But when he says the game is healthy, he means that he said that it's, they, they've kind of like reached a niche where they can still make a lot of money there. It's still a billion dollar business in the state of California. So he said, he's saying the game is healthy in terms of they, they have their niche and they have people that go, um, but he definitely agrees that it is on the decline. Just last weekend there was an altercation between demonstrators for and against horseracing at del Mar. What can you tell us about that? Right, so the Damar thoroughbred club spokesman, he told me that basically there was, and this is a common scene this this year, is that they have, uh, these animal rights advocates out there protesting.

Speaker 3: 06:30 They want an end to horseracing. Uh, but this year we're seeing for the first time, according to the pro, the animal rights, um, protestors that they're getting these counter protesters, people from the horse racing industry and lots of them. Um, and the spokesman for the Del Mar thoroughbred club tells me that there was an altercation, uh, a woman pushed a man to the ground. Uh, one of the pro horse protesters was pushed to the ground. Um, and police ended up coming out and citing that woman and arresting her. Um, I don't know specifics on what happened, but that's, that's pretty much what, what we have. So do the anti racing protesters, do they want horse racing to be declared illegal? I don't know about illegal, but they want it banned. I mean they want it gone. Um, I mean, whether that's making it illegal or not, they definitely want the California horse racing board to step in and say, hey, this is done.

Speaker 3: 07:14 Shut it down. Um, or at least limit the number of races. But yeah, they want it gone. It seems that the very fact that horse racing supporters are out demonstrating at del Mar where there is horse racing going on indicates they may feel threatened. Is there a fear that horse racing could go the way of, let's say the Shamlou shows at seaworld? Right. And if you talk to the anti horse racing protesters, they say, look, look there, they're really their backs up against the wall. They're sending out these people to come out and confront us. I think, I mean I've, I've talked to a lot of these people, um, off, off camera, off Mike. They won't say that they're afraid of it going the way of the shampoo, like kind of like sea world. But you can tell that there's, there's definitely a fear and a lot of that fear too comes from, hey, we employ thousands of people that work here and what are we going to do if this has gone?

Speaker 3: 07:59 I think that they, they sort of see the writing on the wall, but everybody just is this, right now it seems like they're trying to stop the bleeding and the del Mar thoroughbred club thinks that they can have a rebound season next year and they, I mean they think that right now the public's kind of under this Santa Anita hangover and once people get over this, they think that there'll be back back to business as usual. So there are good expectations for the fall season at del Mar this year. And it's sort of interesting how the fall and the summer season works. The summer season Damar says that they get a lot of those people who are just like casual fans, people who go to the track maybe once or twice a year, they not necessarily going for the horse racing. They don't, they go to just hang out with friends, have some drinks, plays a couple bets. Um, and those are the fans that Delmar's afraid of losing. Those are the people that they say see this news about deaths at Santa Anita. And they say, oh, that's horrible. I don't want to go to the races. And the fall season, they say the attendance is much lower and it's mainly people who are local. San Diego is people who really care about horseracing, so they don't foresee a big dip in attendance or a big dip in revenue the fall season like they have so far this summer season, I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, thank you very much. Thanks, Maureen.

Speaker 2: 09:04 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Nearly 40% of California, 18 to 34 year old still live with their parents. And that's not a shock to anyone with adult children struggling to afford rent here. But what's it like to date when you're in your twenties and still living at home and where do you get intimate if your mom and dad are just down the hall? As part of our California dream project? Cal Matters reporter Matt Levin asked Younger Californians how they're adapting to this new normal

Speaker 2: 00:29 [inaudible]. It's a Saturday night at Patsy's Irish pub and mission Ba ho a wealthy part of Orange County. No, no that's, this looks like a lot of other California bars in 2019 off key karaoke accredit people vaping outside in loads and loads of 20 and 30 year olds who still live with their parents. I'm here right now getting drunk and my mom Jacob Timer timers 24 he lives with his mom and Stepdad, so does his wife, who right now is on the dance floor with the rest of his family. We had an apartment here for two years, but I was spending like 30 k a year in rent and I could have, I could have had that in my savings or now in this part of Orange County, 55% of 18 to 34 year olds live with their parents. One of the highest rates in the state dropped an IPA randomly inside Patsy's and you're bound to splash and millennials still living with their parents like remi.

Speaker 3: 01:19 My older sister and her boyfriend also live with us and my son

Speaker 2: 01:23 is this 28 remys 25 and says her parents invited her and her boyfriend to live with them and her sister and her sister's boyfriend, even though it's a pretty full house for him. He say she and her boyfriend can be intimate pretty much like any other couple.

Speaker 3: 01:37 We have a downstairs bedroom. Everyone's upstairs. They really stay out of our way and don't really like care. What we do

Speaker 4: 01:44 in my day when never took a boy home, never.

Speaker 5: 01:47 Helen Fisher is a senior research professor at the Kinsey Institute who studies love and sex. She says parents are a lot more permissive these days.

Speaker 4: 01:55 Some people will be very pleased with it because they get to know their child in a new way and they get to know some of the people that they are going around with their helicopter parents.

Speaker 5: 02:03 But not every parent is okay with it, which means some young Californians living at home are resorting to a tried and true form of privacy. A Hyundai Sedan,

Speaker 1: 02:13 small, very small come that really

Speaker 5: 02:18 Vicky and her boyfriend Logan stand in a parking lot at Sacramento state university across from the football field. Vickie and Logan aren't their real names. We changed them for obvious reasons.

Speaker 3: 02:27 When we first started dating, I guess, um, we would spend a lot of time here. We would park, we've probably stayed to like three in the morning

Speaker 5: 02:36 in Sacramento County, about a third of 18 to 34 year old, still live at home. Vicky is 22 in college and her parents are uncomfortable with the thought of Logan staying over for the night.

Speaker 3: 02:46 I would say I was studying and I dunno, they probably think I'm such a good student.

Speaker 5: 02:51 Vicki Logan's parking spot is actually the exception, not the rule. Sex Researcher Fisher says public sex is likely down among millennials and generation z because sexist just down for those age groups overall and in an expensive state like California moving out is no guarantee. Your love life. William

Speaker 2: 03:08 crew, Ian Baker works two jobs here in Orange County, one of them at this bowling alley. He's 29. Uh, I've been out of my mom's for a little over a year now. And how many dates have you gone on in that year? Absolutely zero. Ian has two roommates. He pays about $700 a month in rent living with my parents. It actually wasn't that hard to try to meet girls and whatnot. Honestly, it became harder when I moved out just because of the fact that in order to move out, you know, I had to start working two jobs. The irony isn't lost on Ian, but he does have a step up on one of his roommates. The one who lives in the living room. Well, I mean, like I said, at least I have a door. He doesn't. So I think it's a little bit harder for him in Orange County. I'm Matt Levin.

Speaker 6: 03:53 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The del Mar thoroughbred club is on track for one of its safety, safest years on record. But 30 horse deaths in six months at Santa Anita Park have cast a shadow over the entire industry. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, while safety has improved at del Mar, this summer attendance is down.

Speaker 2: 00:25 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 00:25 it's been a slower than usual season for the del Mar thoroughbred club.

Speaker 4: 00:28 Yeah, I knew we were going to be impacted obviously by, by the bad publicity

Speaker 3: 00:32 club. CEO Joe Harper says attendance and revenue are down at the race track

Speaker 4: 00:37 right now. We're off about, uh, about 8% in, in, on track attendance and uh, and about probably 14 to 50% in handle.

Speaker 3: 00:46 The racetrack says in recent years, it has seen a small decline in attendance with betting revenue steady, but has been hit especially hard this year after deaths at Santa Anita.

Speaker 4: 00:54 You know, there's obviously a, an impact. Uh, nobody wants to come out and think they're going to see a horse being killed or sobbing. So

Speaker 3: 01:02 there's also another impact from the high number of deaths at Santa Anita. Fewer horses are available to raise.

Speaker 4: 01:07 When San Anita and I had so much trouble, many of those horses over a couple hundred, maybe 300, went somewhere else, mainly back east. They didn't just turn around and come back when when we started

Speaker 2: 01:24 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 01:24 less horses means fewer races.

Speaker 2: 01:28 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 01:29 uh, normally we'd run an eight to nine races a day and we're running seven on Wednesdays and Thursdays and then trying to bring it up, uh, on the weekend.

Speaker 3: 01:37 That means less people betting at the track. Del Mar thoroughbred club President Josh Rubenstein says they felt the drop. Um, our perse account is overdrawn. We are paying out purses, um, more than we are generating handle

Speaker 2: 01:54 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 01:54 with less racers you obviously have less profit. So that's no surprise. Yeah.

Speaker 5: 02:02 Let's say that the industry yes is on decline.

Speaker 3: 02:04 Rick Baedeker is executive director of the California horse racing board, which regulates the sport in the state,

Speaker 5: 02:09 but the game is healthy. Uh, and uh, but it's only going to stay healthy if, if the things that, uh, were talked about today are implemented and that, you know, the public is, is convinced. That is matter of fact, everything's being done that can be done to care for the race wars

Speaker 3: 02:25 this year. There are new safety measures in place at del Mar. All horses are reviewed by state employed veterinarians before racing.

Speaker 5: 02:32 This probably has been the most effective. We have a panel of experts, veterinarians and our safety stewards who scrutinize every entry every day. And um, they have, uh, prohibited horses from running

Speaker 3: 02:46 through mid August. The state says more than 600 horses had been evaluated before racing and 20 had been polled.

Speaker 5: 02:53 BW is simple. Just continue to reform the sport until it's absolutely the safest it can be.

Speaker 3: 02:58 But rights activists,

Speaker 6: 03:00 like Ellen Erickson say, if horses are racing, there will be deaths. There's no middle ground. Reform doesn't work. They've been trying to for years. What happened out at Santa Anita is not unusual. This happens every year at every race track, including del Mar. Horses are dying there for pure entertainment of the humans.

Speaker 3: 03:21 Since the deaths at Santa I need at the California horse racing board has been given the power to stop racing at any time and are implementing new rules like no more whips during races

Speaker 5: 03:29 because of this crisis and the kind of the media hysteria surrounding it, which is understandable. Uh, it's put more pressure on the board, but as a matter of fact, there are things that the board has been able to do because of this pressure, uh, that maybe it wouldn't have been able to do before because there would have been too much resistance to it.

Speaker 3: 03:48 Harper says the industry is embracing change.

Speaker 4: 03:50 I see a lot of that the old time guys saying, oh, well, I guess it's not business as usual. Um, you know, I'm glad I, I probably shouldn't brought, brought that horse down so I'm not gonna run him a little. Things like that, that they're telling me that they're, they're getting it, you know, that, that they know that, that this, this, this business has to change.

Speaker 3: 04:11 With less than a week left of racing. There had been four horses that died after training in del Mar this summer. Thoroughbred club official say that's on track to be one of the safest summer meats ever.

Speaker 1: 04:20 Joining me is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman and Matt, welcome. Hi Maureen. Your report paints a sorry, picture of this del Mar season from your reporting. Is this decline all because of Santa Anita?

Speaker 3: 04:33 If you talk to people at the race track, uh, the CEO, he definitely thinks that it's because of Santa Anita before the season. They expected a definite drop in their revenue and attendance and they're, they're seeing that, um, the public is obviously very aware about these deaths now, so they think that that's a big contributor to what's going on this season.

Speaker 1: 04:51 So revenue and attendance were both down this year at del Mar. Is that a trend? I mean, have numbers been going down for the racing seasons here for a while or is it just this year?

Speaker 3: 05:01 Right. So in, in recent years, the tracks says that they have definitely seen a small decline, uh, in attendance. Uh, and, but they say the betting and revenue has stayed pretty steady. Like they've sort of found a niche there. But this season it's down in, in double digit numbers for both in terms of percentage. Now they wouldn't give us a number of what that means when they say, you know, beddings down 14, 15%. They wouldn't give us a number of what that means, you know, is that $5 million? Is that $500,000 a but it's definitely down. And uh, so I mean they're basically seeing a much bigger impact from the news of Santa Anita than they would in a normal year.

Speaker 1: 05:36 What does the executive director of the California horse racing board mean when he says the horse racing industry is in decline? Because then he also says the game is healthy.

Speaker 3: 05:46 Right? And to be fair, I, I, I asked him the question if he thought the industry wasn't declined and he said yes. Now he cited like gambling at casinos as part of that decline. But when he says the game is healthy, he means that he said that it's, they, they've kind of like reached a niche where they can still make a lot of money there. It's still a billion dollar business in the state of California. So he said, he's saying the game is healthy in terms of they, they have their niche and they have people that go, um, but he definitely agrees that it is on the decline. Just last weekend there was an altercation between demonstrators for and against horseracing at del Mar. What can you tell us about that? Right, so the Damar thoroughbred club spokesman, he told me that basically there was, and this is a common scene this this year, is that they have, uh, these animal rights advocates out there protesting.

Speaker 3: 06:30 They want an end to horseracing. Uh, but this year we're seeing for the first time, according to the pro, the animal rights, um, protestors that they're getting these counter protesters, people from the horse racing industry and lots of them. Um, and the spokesman for the Del Mar thoroughbred club tells me that there was an altercation, uh, a woman pushed a man to the ground. Uh, one of the pro horse protesters was pushed to the ground. Um, and police ended up coming out and citing that woman and arresting her. Um, I don't know specifics on what happened, but that's, that's pretty much what, what we have. So do the anti racing protesters, do they want horse racing to be declared illegal? I don't know about illegal, but they want it banned. I mean they want it gone. Um, I mean, whether that's making it illegal or not, they definitely want the California horse racing board to step in and say, hey, this is done.

Speaker 3: 07:14 Shut it down. Um, or at least limit the number of races. But yeah, they want it gone. It seems that the very fact that horse racing supporters are out demonstrating at del Mar where there is horse racing going on indicates they may feel threatened. Is there a fear that horse racing could go the way of, let's say the Shamlou shows at seaworld? Right. And if you talk to the anti horse racing protesters, they say, look, look there, they're really their backs up against the wall. They're sending out these people to come out and confront us. I think, I mean I've, I've talked to a lot of these people, um, off, off camera, off Mike. They won't say that they're afraid of it going the way of the shampoo, like kind of like sea world. But you can tell that there's, there's definitely a fear and a lot of that fear too comes from, hey, we employ thousands of people that work here and what are we going to do if this has gone?

Speaker 3: 07:59 I think that they, they sort of see the writing on the wall, but everybody just is this, right now it seems like they're trying to stop the bleeding and the del Mar thoroughbred club thinks that they can have a rebound season next year and they, I mean they think that right now the public's kind of under this Santa Anita hangover and once people get over this, they think that there'll be back back to business as usual. So there are good expectations for the fall season at del Mar this year. And it's sort of interesting how the fall and the summer season works. The summer season Damar says that they get a lot of those people who are just like casual fans, people who go to the track maybe once or twice a year, they not necessarily going for the horse racing. They don't, they go to just hang out with friends, have some drinks, plays a couple bets. Um, and those are the fans that Delmar's afraid of losing. Those are the people that they say see this news about deaths at Santa Anita. And they say, oh, that's horrible. I don't want to go to the races. And the fall season, they say the attendance is much lower and it's mainly people who are local. San Diego is people who really care about horseracing, so they don't foresee a big dip in attendance or a big dip in revenue the fall season like they have so far this summer season, I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, thank you very much. Thanks, Maureen.

Speaker 2: 09:04 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 There's an ongoing dialogue series that gives residents here in San Diego county a way to express concerns and hope in challenging times. It's called a path forward. The talks organized by the national conflict resolution center are designed to help connect and heal the community after the Habod of Paoli shooting as hate crimes and mass shootings continue to touch communities across the country. How impactful are the conversations being had here? Joining me to talk about that is actually virtue of the national conflict resolution center. Ashley, welcome. Hi. Thank you for having me. Thanks for being here. Um, first let's talk about the need for these conversations. Why is the NCRC hosting leas and what do you hope to accomplish? Well, as you mentioned, really the reason we created this series of path forward was in response to the terrible shooting that happened in our own backyard in Poway at the Habad.

Speaker 1: 00:53 And so we, we did what I think a lot of communities have done, which is have this awareness of hate crimes and intolerance happening in other places in the u s and feeling like we need to respond to that. But then really feeling a sense of that coming home to our own backyard when it happened in Poway and thinking, you know, as the national conflict resolution center, we do things on a large scale, but San Diego is home to us. That's where our roots are, where we've been founded and, and we need to be able to respond to things happening here as well and really provide opportunity for the community to heal. So that's where the idea came from. And, um, and it's just been an amazing process since then. So can we actually talk our way through racism and hate? You know, that's a great question.

Speaker 1: 01:38 And in fat, ugly I answer yes we can. Um, because you know, what's the alternative if we're not talking our way through it, what are we doing that's positive? Right? And so I think that we are afraid to have these conversations sometimes because we've seen them go badly, but if we can tackle tough topics and racism is absolutely a very tough topic. If we can tackle tough topics in the right way using words and conversation in the right way, then it's absolutely the way that moves us forward. And we've seen that through history with great leaders who have used the power of words to move important issues forward. Um, we just sometimes forget how to do that and the strategy to do that. And really, I mean as the national conflict resolution center, that's kind of our goal is to bring those strategies back to people so that we can have these conversations.

Speaker 1: 02:38 So what can people expect when they attend these conversations? When people come into these conversations, they can expect really to experience two parts. The first part of the conversations we kind of describe as the curiosity part where we encourage individuals to come in and really be curious, be about others, different perspectives and even how they represent their own identity and perspective on issues. Then the second part of the conversation is about action. It's really looking at what can we do next? How can we improve society, improve our own lives in this way? And so there's that space to really be curious about one another and our own identity. And then there's the moving into the action piece of it where we can say, alright, now what do we do to actually have a positive impact? And so who attends these, these workshops and conversations? Well, the workshops are completely open to the public so anyone can attend.

Speaker 1: 03:37 Um, really, you know, we just hope that the individuals who show up are ready to be open, uh, ready to be a little bit vulnerable in a sense to, um, sharing their own perspectives on things. And then also hearing from others. Uh, we hope that people sitting around having these conversations honestly don't agree with one another because if we're all sitting around talking to preaching to the choir, basically talking to the same people who are, you know, agreeing with us all the time and in our own spheres of influence, are we really having an impact. So we want diverse perspectives to show up, have the conversations, and we really encourage everyone to come and attend. So with that, with, you know, sort of asking people to really be open, how important is it for, for people to feel like they're in a safe space when these conversations are being had?

Speaker 1: 04:25 The safe space is key really to the whole thing working. So our facilitators are really skilled at this piece of it and it really, you know, can't be overstated how important that is because the whole idea is that you're walking into a physical and psychological safe space where you can express differing points of view and feel heard and respected. Um, I think nowadays we don't give ourselves that space to be in conversation with people that don't think like us. Um, we tend to villainize one another. If you don't think like me, you know, you don't have the same values that I do. You're not as good of a person as I am. And so bringing people together to say it's okay to disagree, um, we're going to treat each other respectfully as we hear each other's perspective. And it doesn't mean that we're going to agree.

Speaker 1: 05:17 It doesn't mean that you need to sit there and say, I agree with your stance on immigration, a really hot topic, but it does mean that you're going to sit and listen and dialogue and that is how we end up finding common ground and moving forward. So do you get the sense that people walk away from these conversations feeling more connected because you know, because I think that's what helps to build empathy with people. Right. Um, do, do you get the sense that that happens? Absolutely. Again, they find common ground and they say, oh my gosh, this individual walked into this conversation thinking I could have nothing in common with this individual and come to find out, we actually have more in common than we have different. And that happens over and over and over again as we realize that, you know, we, we all, we all have oftentimes more in common than we don't. So how can people get involved and participate in these workshops? People can sign up on our website, which is NC r c online.com backslash community circles or just on our homepage. You'll see a path forward there. Um, and it's open. It's free to the public. So we encourage anyone who's interested to sign up. I've been speaking with Ashley, virtue of the National Conflict Resolution Center. Ashley, thank you. Thank you so much. And the next community dialog called be brave is happening on Wednesday, September 4th at Bayview Baptist Church. For more information, go to kpbs.org

Speaker 2: 06:38 okay.

Speaker 1: 00:00 From a surreal shopping channel sale to a soul searching ice agent from comedy to drama. The San Diego Rep once again presents a new series of works by Latin x playwrights. The festival returns this weekend for a third year. It's a chance for up and coming Latin x artists to feature their work in this annual festival of staged readings. Joining me is festival producer Maria Patrice Amun who was a professor of Latin x theater studies and Patrice, welcome to the program. Hi Marine. Thank you for having us and play right Eliana pipes whose work dream house will be presented at the festival. Eliana, welcome. Thank you so much for having me. But Theresa, you've said these plays represent some of the most exciting scripts being written in the u s today, right?

Speaker 2: 00:45 Why is that? They represent some of the most exciting scripts being presented because they are speaking to the truth of humanity in a way that is grounded and authentic, but also very approachable and accessible. They are tools and are challenged to make our communities closer together, to bring us together through stories to bridge understanding and connect people. Now there are four new plays and they were chosen out of 93 submissions. What were some of the specific qualities that you were looking for in a play to feature it in this festival? Yes, there were over 90 submissions and it took a long time to read all of them. Um, but we have a wonderful team of readers. We were looking for plays that were dynamic, um, plays that were challenging plays that really had characters that you fell in love with that you wanted to see more about. Readings are interesting because it's not a fully staged production. Our actors will be standing at music stands and reading from the scripts on the page. So for a very successful reading, you have to have a story that pops, a story that really pulls the reader in. And Eliana, can you

Speaker 1: 01:59 give us an idea since you got one of the selected readings is going to take place at the festival? What your play dream houses?

Speaker 2: 02:07 Sure. A dream house fellows, two Latinex sisters who are selling their family home in a gentrifying neighborhood and they choose to do it. And HGTV style reality TV show. And the show takes a huge left turn. One sister really gets plunged into the family's past. The other becomes fixated with the family's future. And the is asking questions about how culture can be bought and sold and what the cost of upward mobility is in America. And what was the inspiration for the play? The inspiration for the play was really two fold. One was sort of grappling with my own gentrification story. The neighborhood that I grew up in changed a lot as I grew up in my family left when I was about 13 and on one hand I lost my hometown. But on the other hand that move changed my family's financial future for the better.

Speaker 2: 02:53 And so sort of grappling with the complication of that. And the other motivation was that as I've sort of moved into the professional of playwriting, there's a market around plays by diverse playwrights and in the creative arts experience is a commodity. And I felt like I was being asked to sell my culture for money and I wanted to. And so this play has really been a space to sort of grapple with what that meant for me. That's fascinating. Retreats. Tell us about some of the other plays that are going to be presented at the festival. So we have a broad range of plays. We've got a comedy in Alexis shares, laughs in Spanish about a young woman who owns an art gallery in Miami during art basil and all the paintings go missing. We have a denomic heart wrenching story in David Davila's, Aztec pirates and the insignificance of life of Mars.

Speaker 2: 03:41 It really investigates what it means to be a Latin x person within the border patrol and to be facing the challenge of daily immigration dealings with people who look very much like you and in Jordan Ramirez pockets to saints and stars. We have a really endearing story about two best friends, two girls who have been best friends since they were small children and now have grown up and find themselves as that at a crossroads. One is an astronaut preparing for a major mission and the other is the wife of a pastor who has to decide what her family is going to look like in the future and they find themselves diverging while they still really want to connect with each other. Eliana, what has being in this festival done for you as a playwright? Does it help you develop as a playwright, as your play goes through all the iterations and speaking about it and working with it?

Speaker 2: 04:38 Absolutely. I mean, first of all, getting to be flown across the country to have a reading is a gift for a playwright at any stage. And so the fact that San Diego Rep is dedicating these resources to underrepresented playwrights is incredible. And being able to work with this play with a new set of collaborators has been fascinating. You really learn new things about the play every day. And specifically in this process we have a Dramaturg, which is a huge gift. I've been so excited. Um, and getting to see what a new set of actors bring to the piece changes it every day. Even after our first rehearsal yesterday, we went back and we have some new script changes for today. There's always something new to think about in addition to the four stage greetings that you're going to be having. A, you're going to ha be presenting an older play.

Speaker 2: 05:22 The festivals main showcase production is 57 Chevy. What does that story about? Patrice 57 Chevy has a really funniest story. Um, it's about a young man played by Rick Salinas from culture clash and he is growing up in the La Valley and his family moves from a very predominantly Latino community to a suburban, um, wider community and he finds himself sort of in a new world, in a new cultural exposure. Um, it investigates some of the cultural moments from the 1960s as well as the resonances that play through to today. This was the third year of the Latin next playwrights festival. Patrice, how have you seen this festival grow? Oh, it has grown exponentially in just three short years. We started in our first year sorta scrappy, hoping to get this thing up off the ground. I'm in the second year. We grew to I think over a hundred place submissions and that while this year we are down to 90.

Speaker 2: 06:28 That's nothing to sneeze at. It's still a lot of plays. And this year is the first year that we actually get to bring in artists from across the country, which has long been a goal for us. Having the playwrights in the space with us really allows us to investigate the work to develop and grow the pieces. Have any of the previous festival readings gone on to have full productions? Oh yes. Um, so last year we featured Herbert sequences better embrace good wives and it's actually going up in our rep season. It'll be opening in October, the very next show in our season. That's exciting. But third annual San Diego Rep Latin Nick's new play festival opens Friday and runs through September 1st at the San Diego Reps lyceum space theater. I've been speaking with festival producer Maria, Patrice Amun and playwright Elliana pipes. And thank you both so much. Thank you for having us.

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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.