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San Diego 2020 Climate Goals Not As Rosy As It Seems And Saving Northern White Rhinos From Extinction

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San Diego reaches its 2020 climate goals ahead of schedule, but some goals remained elusive and some are not easily measurable. And, there are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, but the San Diego Zoo is trying to save the species from extinction through surrogacy and frozen skin cells.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:01 Good news and challenges in the city's climate action report and San Diego researchers work to save a species. I'm wearing Cavenaugh. This is KPBS midday edition.

Speaker 1: 00:24 It's Thursday, December 26th San Diego was ahead of schedule in meeting its climate action plan goals and those goals may get even more ambitious. A climate report released by the city this week found that the goal of reducing carbon emissions 25% by 2020 has already been reached and next year San Diego expects to release an updated climate action plan which could expand on the city's effort to reduce emissions, but there are still problem areas in the report including the city's waste reduction numbers and uncertain progress in combating the biggest emissions source traffic. Joining me is KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew, welcome. Thank you. Maureen. How did we reach the 25% reduction goal ahead of schedule? It was largely because of state laws and regulations and maybe some federal laws and regulations as well that have carried San Diego this far. One important one in California is the renewable portfolio standard, which required utility companies to gradually increase the percentage of renewable energy that they provide to their customers.

Speaker 1: 01:29 Another one was water conservation mandates from Jerry Brown during the worst years of the drought that allowed, uh, San Diego to avoid pumping in a lot of, uh, extra water from outside sources. That pumping, of course, costs energy and that causes emissions. Um, and California's fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. Those have led to more electric vehicles and hybrids on the road. It is still unclear exactly how much a San Diego's local actions have impacted the emissions inventory that we're seeing year by year. Uh, many of the actions that the city has taken a really long range goals, um, that take a while to really take root. But I do want to give a point of context about this 25% reduction goal. So the climate action plan actually only required a 15% reduction by 2020 and that was to reflect state targets. Um, and that goal was actually met before the climate action plan was even signed into law in 2015.

Speaker 1: 02:22 Again, largely because of state actions. Um, however, in the climate plan, the city predicted that a 25% reduction by 2020 was possible because of all of the actions that were included in the plan. And so that figure was not legally binding, but it was something that the city was reaching for. And that's the one that we hit two years early. So Andrew remind us what the climate action plan actually requires the city to do by 2035. That's the year that the city will have to cut in half its carbon footprint and um, it uses 2010 emissions as a baseline. Um, it does that through a number of actions, reducing car usage, uh, transitioning to a 100% clean energy supply for the city. And one big leap forward that the city took this year was it established San Diego community power, which is the new community choice energy agency.

Speaker 1: 03:12 It's a partnership between San Diego and four other cities in the County where local elected officials will soon be deciding where to source the city's electricity supply. However, it won't start serving customers until around 2021. So again, another local action that might take a little while to bear fruit in these climate action plan monitoring reports. What are some of the other bright spots in this climate action plan report? The city is really proud of its climate equity index. This is something it established this year and it says it's the first of its kind in the nation. I'm a bit of background. So equity is a portion of the San Diego climate action plan, um, that basically seeks to acknowledge that climate change is going to hurt the poor and the disadvantaged more than it will hurt the wealthy or the middle class. And so this index examines access to opportunity in cities and communities with the least access to opportunities, um, should be the first ones to receive investments in sustainability.

Speaker 1: 04:13 So for example, um, let's say a neighborhood has fewer trees than the citywide average. And you know, having trees in your neighborhood creates a cooling effect. Um, so that can help mitigate the impacts of climate change that we'll see like heat waves. And so the city is aiming to use this equity index to make decisions about where we should plant trees in the city. We've been talking about the good parts of this climate action plan report, but there hasn't been that much progress on some of the more difficult areas like transportation. What does the report say about our efforts there? It says that transportation is still 55% of our local emissions. That was exactly where it was at when it was created in 2015. Um, the climate plan. Um, and the biggest problem I think with our transportation measuring is just that we simply don't have very good data on it.

Speaker 1: 05:07 Um, the data that we do have in this monitoring report is based on modeling. So it's not, uh, quite as precise as maybe some of the other areas that we're measured. Uh, and measuring emissions. And this report doesn't actually have any new transportation data. They used that modeling to sort of estimate where we were. We are where we were at in 2018 compared to the previous years and looking at trend lines and things like that. So the best available data that we have and that you know, that modeling is really the best that we have at this point is still telling us that vehicle travel is going up. And you know, the bottom line is is transportation is really hard to measure and it's also really hard to change. These are people's behaviors, their daily decisions that they make based on a number of different factors and you can't just completely re-engineer a city in a few years so that people don't have to depend so much on their cars.

Speaker 1: 05:56 You spoke to Cody Hoeven who oversees the implementation of the climate plan for the city. What did she say about the city's progress in decreasing emissions from transportation? Well, the city has taken a number of actions in recent years related to transportation and land use. Um, climate planning. Um, one was eliminating a minimum parking requirements for multifamily development in areas that are near public transit. Another has just been the, a number, the, the many, many different plans that the city has approved. Um, community updates, community plan updates that is um, that try to concentrate our future growth near public transit and also near jobs. So we're reducing the, the distances that people are traveling in their cars and those plans, as Cody told me, uh, take a while,

Speaker 2: 06:41 you won't see the impacts of those policy changes for several years because you now have to build things under that new policy directive. So it'll take some time, but I think we're going to see huge benefits from those policies that we've been moving forward lately.

Speaker 1: 06:55 Now, another really challenging area for the city is how much waste we're sending to the landfill. We were doing really well until the bottom fell out of the recycling industry. Tell us about that. Yeah. The city says that the biggest change that's happened in recent years is China limiting the type of recyclables that they will accept. And so the, the, the city had largely been relying on exporting a lot of those materials to China. And since it can no longer do that and cities across the country can no longer do that. The price of those materials has really tanked and so San Diego is no longer making any money from its recycling operations whereas it did before. In fact, taxpayers are now subsidizing the recycling that used to be a moneymaker for taxpayers. Um, the city is also trying to expand Miramar landfill to allow waste to pile up a 25 feet higher than previously planned.

Speaker 1: 07:48 So we do appear to be backsliding on zero waste. So there are pluses and minuses in this report. Are there are plans though to update the climate action plan entirely next year? Could the goals get even higher? That is one possibility. I think, you know, it's probably too early to predict exactly what the city is going to be doing with its updated climate plan. But we have a lot of advocates in San Diego that are pushing for [inaudible] for the city to establish a goal of carbon neutrality. Virtually every scientific study that has been published since the climate plan was approved in 2015 has told us that climate change is going to be far more severe and the need to reduce emissions is far more urgent than we ever realized. And the entire world has to really mobilize now, uh, to avert the worst impacts of climate change. And so, you know, I think we can expect that a lot of the advocates will be pushing for San Diego to raise the bar a bit. I've been speaking with KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew, thank you. Thank you. Maureen.

Speaker 3: 08:54 San Diego researchers

Speaker 4: 08:56 are making progress on a long running plan to revive a nearly extinct rhino species to rhino births this year were important steps KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson recently checked in on the newest baby at the San Diego zoo. Safari park

Speaker 5: 09:14 future is a month old baby and already about 200 pounds. During a recent visit, she was far more interested in playing with a plastic tub and the fact that she's playing a role in a critical rhino recovery effort. Futures, mom, Amani, and five other females were brought to San Diego in 2015 to be surrogate moms for Northern white rhinos. Only two Northern whites are still alive and neither can breed.

Speaker 6: 09:41 This is an animal that will be extinct in our lifetime.

Speaker 5: 09:45 Gene Loring is pioneering research that'll play a crucial role in the recovery plan. She's helping turn a dozen Northern white rhinos, skin cell samples into pluripotent or adult STEM cells,

Speaker 6: 09:57 so we have a total of nine now in the freezer.

Speaker 5: 10:02 Those STEM cells lines have the potential to become any adult cell in a rhino's body, something that's only been done before with mice. Loring hopes to eventually create rhino sex cells opening the door to creating a Northern white embryo.

Speaker 6: 10:16 We are seeing the first signs of development into sperm and eggs that they're precursors to sperm and eggs. Those are called primordial germ cells.

Speaker 5: 10:28 In a small lab at the San Diego zoo, Safari park, Marissa karate is helping draw up the scientific guidebook that'll show researchers the path from skin cells to rhino embryos. A lot of that work is just that work. It's routine culturing of cells. Karate's team adds different things to the cultures to see what pushes the cells down a particular path.

Speaker 2: 10:50 We give them the signals that we'll tell them to turn into whatever cell type we want, so it can be giving them growth factors or it can be using specific chemicals that will turn on or turn off different pathways. In the cell cycle,

Speaker 5: 11:03 karate was introduced to the project and gene Loring's lab and she was drawn in by the chance to help a species that is so good close to extinction.

Speaker 6: 11:12 This is an active active culture of this STEM cell. You constantly feed it, you keep it active.

Speaker 2: 11:20 We feed them every 24 hours, so if somebody is here seven days a week, if we don't feed them that frequently, that growth factor that makes them maintain their STEM cell state will break down. It's heat sensitive.

Speaker 5: 11:32 Those daily chores are occasionally rewarded. Karate pulls up a video that caused quite a stir recently. This collection of STEM cells is pulsing, actually expanding and contracting in a Petri dish.

Speaker 2: 11:46 So these are just responding. There's no pacemaker, so there's, they're not in sync as they would be if they were an actual heart. But yes, these are cardiomyocytes from Angela Angelina

Speaker 5: 11:55 who was the last male Northern white to live in San Diego. Developing those fledgling heart cells gives hope that sperm and eggs are not far off. You mean a Northern white embryo can be implanted in one of the zoos? Six surrogates, zoo geneticist, Oliver riders says the cloning of Dolly the sheep and then the subsequent STEM cell advances have opened a door

Speaker 7: 12:21 and if we can make rhinos, cells have babies and we can reconstitute a functional breeding population of Northern white rhinos, we can take a species that is functionally extinct and return it to its habitat. Once that's secure,

Speaker 5: 12:40 writer is standing in the San Diego zoo's frozen zoo. These nitrogen cold freezers hold genetic material from thousands of animals, some endangered, some not.

Speaker 7: 12:51 There's a great need to expand this effort on a global basis through regional centers and centers in different countries.

Speaker 5: 12:59 Ryder says this seed bank of cells idea is catching on and he thinks it's vital for the future of Northern white rhinos and possibly other species technology being developed in San Diego with the rhinos could have applications for other animals.

Speaker 7: 13:15 I have a constant sense of the March of time and the grim Reaper of species extinction,

Speaker 5: 13:23 but science writer says could be the key to undoing some of the manmade harm that's driving plants and animals to the edge.

Speaker 4: 13:32 Joining me is KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric, welcome. Thank you Maureen. Since there are a couple of white rhinos still alive, why aren't researchers attempting to clone the rhinos?

Speaker 8: 13:45 I think that technology is just as complicated and just as complex and has a whole different set of problems connected to it. They've kind of chosen to go a slightly different route, which is turning these frozen skin cell samples that they have in their frozen zoo, uh, into STEM cells and then turning those STEM cells into sex cells, which will allow them to create the embryo. I think that, uh, has a much more realistic chance, uh, of realizing success.

Speaker 4: 14:14 The idea is to take these STEM cells, have them develop into rhino sex cells, and in that way create a rhino embryo, which can be implanted in another species of rhino.

Speaker 8: 14:26 Yeah. The, what they've described to me is what they do is they take the cell and they basically a race, the memory of the cell, like, um, it's a skin cell now, but they say, look, we're going to erase the memory. We're going to use a combination of viruses and some other agents that, that do that and roll back the clock on this cell until it becomes a, what they call a pluripotent STEM cell, which is a STEM cell that can become any cell in a rhino's body. Once they get to that point, then they want to guide the cell to become a, a gamut, a sex cell, a sperm and an egg. Once they get to the point where they have a sufficient supply of eggs and sperm, then they can fertilize those in the lab and then implant them into a Southern white rhino.

Speaker 4: 15:07 Has there been any success in any species in producing an embryo from STEM cells?

Speaker 8: 15:13 Uh, yes. Um, in fact, a Japanese researchers have done this successfully in mice. It's obviously a lot easier to do in mice because the typical lifespan of a, a laboratory mouse is about seven months. So they go through that whole cycle a lot quicker. You can do it more often, but yes, they've had success doing this, uh, with mice tissue they've implanted and, uh, an embryo and that embryo has come to term and become a baby mouse. Uh, the problem with rhinos, uh, not only is, uh, the animal bigger, the timeline is much bigger. Um, once a rhino gets pregnant, gestation is, uh, you know, 16 to 18 months. Um, so it's not the kind of thing you're going to be doing, you know, every, every seven months or a couple of times a year. Uh, it's something that you have to do over time. So the timeline is a lot longer just like the animal is

Speaker 4: 16:02 just about how long has this research project been underway?

Speaker 8: 16:05 It's been underway since about 2015. That's when they first brought these six, uh, Southern white rhinos to San Diego to be surrogates for the critically endangered Northern white rhino.

Speaker 4: 16:16 And apparently if this effort is successful with the Northern white rhino, it sounds as if researchers are hoping to revive other extinct species.

Speaker 8: 16:26 Well, if it becomes proven technology. So if they are successful in doing what they want to do and they create a Northern white rhino that's carried a term by a Southern white rhino mom, uh, you know, that's, that's putting a member of this species back on, on the planet. There are only two currently living, both of them females, neither of them capable of breeding. Um, so you're putting a brand new rhino of the same species on the planet and you can replicate that with the other surrogates. But yes, if they do it with rhinos, it opens the door to doing it with other species. Now, there are some complications. One thing about the rhinos is they have enough genetic variety in the cells that they have frozen. They have 12 individuals, uh, that they're using currently and they provide enough genetic diversity so that if a small herd has created, uh, that herd can be self sustaining. Not all of the cell samples they have from endangered species have enough genetic diversity and stories. So it's, it's a little bit more difficult to do, but it does open up the possibility that yes, you can do this with other species if you're successful first with these rhinos.

Speaker 4: 17:38 Okay, so let's go speed forward into the future. And let's say they do create a herd of Northern white rhinos in this way isn't the reason that these rhinos are extinct in the first place because their habitat has vanished or can't support the species anymore.

Speaker 8: 17:56 It wasn't entirely habitat based. Why these rhinos were in trouble in the wild. Uh, it was much more closely related to human activity. And if you can control the human activity and you can put them in an environment where they'll thrive, um, and you, they have the genetic diversity, uh, and the numbers to support a small herd, theoretically, you could reconstruct that species into a, you know, a large functioning herd in the wild. I think there are some questions out there as to whether or not that point will be reached. Maybe the herd of Northern whites that you end up having are in captivity because they need to be protected because they're so rare. But it's possible because the habitat does at this point still exist.

Speaker 4: 18:38 Okay. Back to now. And this research is ongoing. When do they hope that they may get an embryo? What is the timeline for that?

Speaker 8: 18:46 I think there's still a, a some time away. Um, they could have a breakthrough in the next year, uh, that might bring them close to that. But if you look at the other half of the equation, not the stuff that's going on in the lab, but the stuff that's going on, uh, with the six rhinos that the zoo brought in from South Africa, uh, they still have to train them. They want all of all six of those rhinos to be impregnated by artificial insemination and carried a term. So far, only two of the six have done that. All six have that done. Uh, then they're ready to try with the Northern white embryo. It's complicated. Right. But the timeline means that that's probably gonna take a, a number of years to do maybe four, maybe six, maybe eight years to do.

Speaker 4: 19:28 Okay. Well, I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric, thank you. My pleasure.

Speaker 9: 19:50 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 19:55 a deadly gang shooting is still having an impact in Southeast San Diego nearly 17 years after it happened in the shooting outside dr J's liquor store, two women on their way home from church were killed. The case was the topic of a KPBS podcast released last February by investigative reporter Claire Traeger. Sir, as she explains in the second part of her series, that horrific story led to a surge in police presence. This is a six part specialist series called dr J's. I'm KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trigere, sir. Yesterday I told you about a gang shooting that happened just after midnight on new year's Eve. Two women were on their way from church

Speaker 10: 20:47 and stopped at dr Jay's liquor store in Lincoln park. They were caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting and killed even though it happened more than 15 years ago. The impacts of that horrific crime are still being felt today. On a Friday night, late last year, a big group was gathered in the auditorium at the Jackie Robinson [inaudible] in choice view, well known people were there, assembly woman, Shirley Webber, newly elected council woman, Monica Montgomery and Tony Gwynn jr the son of the Padres, legend catering staff were passing around trays of appetizers and almost everyone was dressed up. That includes Armand King who always look sharp, even if he's just wearing a tee shirt, he'll have on sneakers in exactly the same color. That night he was wearing a red tuxedo jacket and black and red shiny pants and he was stressed out. It was his event, a graduation ceremony for his nonprofit paving great futures and everyone had questions for him. When should we open the doors? Why isn't the music working? Where are the pens? But he seemed to relax as he took the stage to talk about his programs, which work with students at lower income schools and train people in culinary skills.

Speaker 11: 22:08 And there's some people out here that are being neglected, not recognized, and oftentimes shut. So use us, not you. I hate the word use. Let's change it. But you weren't utilize us to get to the people that need the help. The most.

Speaker 3: 22:27 [inaudible]

Speaker 10: 22:27 one by one. People who completed his training classes went to the stage to get a diploma, but when one particular young man was called up, King hopped back on the microphone.

Speaker 11: 22:39 Well, hijacking the stage real quick. I hope you don't mind. This gentleman right here is an example of what we're trying to do. This die alone is probably stopped boring gang feuds and unnecessary homicides and will ever come out there in the news and people like him will probably never get recognition for the work he's doing in the community every single day. So although you'll never see him on the news, you'll never see him get recognition mainstream. That's why we're here, because we're going to give them recognition and we also got some important guy right here that he had no idea you're going to get the big fake check.

Speaker 3: 23:15 [inaudible]

Speaker 10: 23:16 King pulled out one of those giant novelty checks. It was written out for $1,000 the man receiving it was musalla. Abdul Huffys is hyphenated and he used to be in the skyline gang in Southeast San Diego. When we met, he was wearing all red, which are Skyline's colors, but said he isn't in the gang anymore. He was living in the neighborhood when the two women were shot outside. Dr J's liquor and remembers it well [inaudible]

Speaker 12: 23:46 when God let that happen to them. Old ladies, it's signed the light on Southeast San Diego. What I'm saying? What's really what's going on out here? You know what I'm saying? Why? Why is all these shootings? Why are these people dying? Ain't nobody going to jail because the police don't care. Abdul half he said after the shootings it was different and not in a good way. It was like now in Ferguson, there was rolling around and tanks and stuff like that. Big military truck. There's run around here like that. It was operation shut. Shut down skyline. There's a war against scholar community. A scholar.

Speaker 10: 24:17 There weren't actually tanks in the street, but policing did change in the area. Soon after the shooting, the police chief added a new team of eight patrol officers to the Southeastern division and made sure the department's gang units spent more time there.

Speaker 13: 24:31 I returned here to Southeastern division, which I considered a returning home where I started my career.

Speaker 10: 24:36 Lieutenant Manny Del Toro has been with the San Diego police department for almost 30 years and spent a lot of time in the Southeastern division. He said he's heard the criticism before that after a shooting, like the one at dr Jay's, there were too many police officers and too many arrests.

Speaker 13: 24:53 Let's say we're investigating a gang crime and the particular suspect is believed to be from one of the local gang areas. That, and I'm very open and honest with them that yeah. Where that area is going to be flooded with, uh, with officers who are looking for witnesses, uh, looking for other potential victims and, and looking for some type of, of cooperation.

Speaker 10: 25:17 He said police rely on lots of arrests because that can be the only way they get to talk to anyone.

Speaker 13: 25:23 Uh, we don't get a lot of cooperation in the gang cases, so it forces us to, at times take extra enforcement action in a particular area.

Speaker 10: 25:32 But Del Toro also said that for every person who's complaining about over-policing, there's also someone who's complaining the police don't do enough.

Speaker 13: 25:41 I asked them to put themselves in the shoes of the, of the community member who is a good kid was, it was a victim, uh, was really an innocent bystander. Don't we owe it to that person as well who would maybe even say that they're under policing or that we don't care enough to put a lot of effort into it.

Speaker 10: 26:00 And that's what happened after the dr J's shooting. Some people saw it as flooding the streets with officers, arresting everybody. Others actually became more willing to work with police.

Speaker 6: 26:13 I was in tears and I said, you know, we've got to do something. This is out of hand.

Speaker 10: 26:23 Abdur Rahim Hamid is the founder of the black contractors association in San Diego. He said the shooting was a tipping point of already escalating gang violence. After it happened, he joined up with other black leaders from the area and started a group called black men United.

Speaker 6: 26:40 I'd put out a flyer, you know, asking for information and a reward. And I said, brothers don't kill brothers and they damn sure don't kill mothers.

Speaker 10: 26:48 [inaudible] black men United had multiple approaches. Some members went out to meet with gang leaders to ask them to call a truce and stop the violence. They worked on finding jobs for people who were in gangs and wanted out. And the group also started working with the police, which created a generational divide

Speaker 6: 27:14 and it really to some degree turned the young people away from being a close with black men United because, uh, they didn't want to be involved with an organization that appeared to have an Alliance with law enforcement.

Speaker 14: 27:33 Well, we had a lot of elders from our community that we're now reaching out to law enforcement to. What they would say is, please come stop the violence.

Speaker 10: 27:42 Armand King, the snappy dresser who gave out that big check said the generational rift about whether to work with police still exists today.

Speaker 14: 27:52 That was kind of like the green light to law enforcement to come in and just smash on black and Brown individuals that, that fit the description of a gang member. Um, and their excuse was the community is reaching out for us to do it.

Speaker 10: 28:12 Whether people liked it or not, there was more police presence and more community cooperation. It's hard to draw any direct correlations from this, but after the shooting crime did start to go down. Two years later, the violent crime rate in the area had dipped, and in 2017 the rate was down by almost half, along with boosting police presence. The police chief also did something else. He started a task force to solve the murders of the two women, but for many years it didn't look like they were going to have any success in a newspaper article. A year after Carol waits and Sharon Burton were killed, the pastor of their church said, we don't have any closure. If it had happened in LA Hoya, we'd have closure by now.

Speaker 4: 28:59 We will be playing the entire six segments of the dr J's podcast on midday edition over the next two weeks. You can also find the dr J's podcast@kpbs.org or wherever you get your podcasts. Looking back over our reports this year, we found a story that challenges the notion that San Diego beaches are for everyone. KPBS reporter Prius Schrieffer traveled with a group of kids who rarely go to the beach because there's no way for them to get there for them. A couple of hours in the sand and surf was extra special. Here's the story. First broadcast, last summer,

Speaker 10: 29:37 it's around 1:00 PM on an August afternoon and dozens of from the city Heights

Speaker 15: 29:42 area have gathered at the El Cahone Boulevard transit Plaza. They're going somewhere. They rarely go to the beach.

Speaker 16: 29:49 Look, looking forward to playing volleyball and swimming.

Speaker 15: 29:52 11 year old, Tina Lou has only been to the beach three times even though she's lived in San Diego her whole life.

Speaker 16: 29:59 Yes, it's inconvenient for my family and um, I have a lot of activities that I do.

Speaker 15: 30:04 This will be the first time she makes the 11 mile Trek from her city Heights home by public transportation. It will take two buses in about an hour and a half to get to Pacific beach. 14 the kids board, the two 35 North bus. Approximately 15 minutes later they arrive at a bus stop in Kearny Mesa. After walking across the street, the group waits 20 minutes for the 27 bus to Pacific beach scheduled to depart at one 51

Speaker 16: 30:39 my favorite moment in the beach was getting sand thrown at me.

Speaker 15: 30:42 They make some introductions to pass the time, the next bus rolls in, but it's having a few maintenance problems.

Speaker 16: 30:53 [inaudible]

Speaker 15: 30:53 wait, continues about 20 minutes after it was supposed to leave the bus finally heads out 3:00 PM almost two hours since their journey began. They've,

Speaker 16: 31:09 we went here by bus. It was my first time going here and my bus, eh, it was, and it was my first time being on the bus ever. So it was very like, I was very nervous. It was like a little bit too cramped. But um, I think it was, it was really good though.

Speaker 15: 31:32 Ten-year-old Allen [inaudible] and most of his friends had few complaints despite the long commute. But sitting on a crimped bus for two hours isn't acceptable. Says Randy tourist van black. He's with the city Heights community development corporation. They organize the trip to highlight what they say are inequities in ocean accessibility for minorities and low income people. In San Diego.

Speaker 17: 31:57 There's a lot of folks in our neighborhood and in city Heights, but want to be able to go to the beach, but because of different access issues, affordability, it's not really a feasible

Speaker 15: 32:08 according to sandbags, regional plan, minorities and low income people in San Diego are more likely to live farther than 15 minutes away from the beach by both car and public transportation. MTS spokesperson, Rob Shupe says that there are a lot of considerations that go into planning bus routes and their frequencies.

Speaker 11: 32:28 You know, San Diego is a spread out community. We have over a hundred buses that are a hundred bus routes. We've got 800 vehicles out there including over a hundred trolleys, so it's well-designed but, but San is a challenging area to get people where they want to do go. We people live here in a working way over here and vice versa.

Speaker 15: 32:49 Back at the beach, the kids are enjoying their time in the sun and the water. They plan to stay for about an hour before they grabbed some tacos and board the bus again to make the trip home. Jonathan Burgos is one of the chaperones for the kids. He says all kids should have a chance to take advantage of the beach

Speaker 11: 33:08 to, to be here, to watch a sunset, to even like have a smores on the beach. You know those are things that sometimes I took for granted. You know, growing up. A lot of times when the students have that, it's just, it's such a game changer. Like to know that they hadn't had that in their lives and like I just want that and we should want that and I think everyone should have that opportunity.

Speaker 15: 33:30 11 year old, Randy Thorne says the beach is his happy place.

Speaker 18: 33:34 Beach. I can explore like learn more new things.

Speaker 15: 33:40 Prius assure either K PBS news

Speaker 9: 33:48 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 33:50 what did the Jackson five the Allman brothers and the beach boys all have in common. They were all family bands with that distinctive blend of similar voices during midday additions, summer music series, we hosted a San Diego family band, the sea monks. The group was started by two brothers who love playing rockabilly, joined by their dad and a guitar player. They couldn't help but call uncle the sea monks performed live in our studio. Here they are with their version of Amos, Moses

Speaker 19: 34:51 [inaudible]

Speaker 20: 35:49 [inaudible] [inaudible] merger. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] mobile bathroom call name is [inaudible]. [inaudible].

Speaker 21: 37:59 Thank you so much. That was Amos Moses performed by this sea monks and the sea monks. Our dad, Jason kept chin ski on base. Noah Kapcinski vocals and guitar. Ky Kapcinski on drums and uncle air quotes. Jeff Houk on guitar then. Welcome to you all. Thanks for having us. Now let me ask you guys, Noah and Kai, did dad start you guys performing when you were kids? Well, we had been doing a thing as a, as a duo for a while playing elementary school craft fairs and we really felt like we needed a bass player to fill out our sound. So we asked our dad to join and uh, he eventually decided that he wanted to and began taking bass lessons and bought a bass. Didn't know how to play the bass. I did not. In fact, I almost said no at first cause I was intimidated but I'm real thankful.

Speaker 21: 38:46 I said, you know, I have to tell everybody they wouldn't know by listening. But Noah, you're just turned 17, right? Yes. And Kai, you're 13? Yes. 13. What got you into play music so early on? Well my dad got me guitar lessons and got me a guitar cause I was kind of interested in. But then when I really got into was when I first heard Johnny Cash, I heard him do Folsom prison blues and I kind of just immediately knew like that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to be like Johnny Cash. So I'm just trying to chase that. And Chi did you want to be like Johnny Cash or did you want to be like Noah? I um, originally started off with violin lessons cause that's what my dad used to play when he was a kid. And I thought he was like really cool cause it, my dad did it.

Speaker 21: 39:26 I didn't like it as much as I thought I was. So then I went to guitar mandolin and then finally ended up at drums. So, yeah, I've always liked rock and roll kind of now really liking rockabilly, starting to like country more and more. And a lot of the old hip hop stuff. I like to sew. Well, speaking of country, you performed Amos Moses, which was a big hit for country singer Jerry Reed back in the day. Do you guys perform mostly cover songs? Mostly, but we're working on more and more original material. And then you guys are gonna be performing a song for us that you've written. Can you tell us what that is? Oh, this song's called gasoline and it's one of our originals. Okay, thank you. Let's hear it.

Speaker 20: 40:26 I don't know. Glad [inaudible] walks away. [inaudible] [inaudible]

Speaker 21: 42:26 thank you. Gasoline performed by the sea monks. Thank you so much. Now Jason. A lot of times, I mean I just heard this, I don't know actually, but siblings don't get along with each other. I mean sometimes, sometimes sometimes happens. Does that happen in your family band?

Speaker 22: 42:45 These guys do pretty well for the most part, but just like any family there, of course there are. There were moments and I would say early on there was a little, I was a little bit of a referee, although I'm sure they'll tell you sometimes it was me. That's being the pain in the neck too, you know. But it's also just created a comradery that I think is really special.

Speaker 21: 43:01 What are the benefits that you see in working in a family band? Like what else has it done

Speaker 22: 43:07 as we've been doing this a few years now, I see the boys responsibility level going up where they, where they're now helping me more with like packing the gear and loading up without being asked as much. And I think, um, they're learning a lot about a work ethic, you know, here we are, we, we worked, we lifted stuff, we set up or we're singing, we're sweating and people are putting money in the tip jar because we worked hard.

Speaker 21: 43:28 And Kai, what have you learned? You know, I've learned to, uh, not argue as much with the guitar player and also like we were saying earlier, like seeing the money go in the tip jar. It definitely makes me want to work a lot harder. Like you see me playing at home a lot more, setting up my drum kit, just jamming out in the garage for a long time. So it definitely, definitely makes me want to work harder and go rehearse more and do all that. That was San Diego rockabilly, bam, the sea monks. You can see them perform this Saturday at the stats coffee house and Monday at the house of blues.

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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.