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Jury Deliberates In SEAL Trial, Border Policy, Wildcoast

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The jury is deliberating in the case of a Navy SEAL charged with murder. Also, the book “Sand And Blood” traces the history of U.S. immigration and border policies, a San Diego doctor is under investigation for allegedly using dirty needles on patients, how Redding became an unlikely epicenter of modern Christian culture, Imperial Beach’s Wildcoast is being honored for combating climate change and examining the racial stereotypes of 1932’s “The Mask Of Fu Manchu.”

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's all down to the jury now, closing arguments wrapped up yesterday in the court martial of navy seal chief Edward Gallagher. The trial has been a roller coaster of possible White House intervention, prosecutorial missteps, and surprise testimony. Now a military jury is deciding with a Gallagher is guilty of murder as charged for stabbing a wounded isis soldier. Joining me as KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh, Steve. Hi.

Speaker 2: 00:27 Hi Maureen.

Speaker 1: 00:28 I know that you near the courthouse in downtown San Diego, but what's gone on today?

Speaker 2: 00:33 So what's going on today is I'm sitting here at Naval Base San Diego outside the court room here, which is on the base and we are a patiently waiting. So far there has been no ruling. We did get a, this is tells you kind of the difference between military court and civilian court. The jury did want to hear some additional testimony, so they went all the way back to the beginning to the first witness called by the prosecutors. This is the second in command lieutenant McNeil. They wanted to hear his testimony. Now, interesting thing about McNeil is that he didn't see a stabbing when he also didn't see Gallagher shooting anyone. He basically a testify on that first day that he heard on the radio that Gallagher said that lay off, he's mine. That is w uh, when Gallagher races back to the compound and then he, uh, arrives there and there is the wounded detainees. Now the jury stopped though after, after, uh, McNeil testified that he saw Gallagher holding his own nuns in his hand over the dead prisoner. Now McNeil hadn't seen the prisoner alive when he came in and then have left and then came back and he saw Gallagher with a knife after the detainee was already dead. This was not considered really bombshell testimony on that first day, but it's something that's significant to the jury.

Speaker 1: 01:55 Now the prosecution had a major surprise on the stand during testimony in this trial when another seal said he actually closed the prisoners breathing tube killing the man after Gallagher stabbed him. How did the prosecution handled that in closing arguments?

Speaker 2: 02:12 Well. Yeah. So we have, uh, two seals who say that they saw actually delegate stamp him. Corey Scott, who gave that bombshell testimony that he was the one who closed off the breathing tube after gallacher stamped him. He said Gallagher walked away and then as a mercy killing, he closed off in our way. And we also saw Craig Miller, who is seen as one of the main accusers who said he saw Gallagher stab him with the knife and blood poured out of the neck. He said like a baby vomit. Um, you know, but on the other side of this, you had, uh, a a, a marine radio, uh, Raider Giorgio Carrillo who says he saw no stab wounds on the body and that's when he was taking the body to pose for his own photo. Within that detainee.

Speaker 1: 02:55 What is the defense positions on this case? What, what did they say to the jury?

Speaker 2: 03:00 So the defense is arguing that this is basically a prosecution that was out of control. They spend a lot of time talking about Joe work. Pinsky who, who's the lead investigator for NCIF who conducted this investigation or Pinsky had only been at NCIF for two and a half years before that. He had spent seven years of the border patrol. Um, that's not a very senior person for someone who is going to be covering what it became a nationally televised war crimes trial. They paint the, a, the prosecutors being sloppy that they didn't interview all of the witnesses and that this was essentially a vendetta against, uh, a young millennial seals against their much more experienced chief.

Speaker 1: 03:44 Now you made the point that military accord is not the same as civilian court. Who is on this jury and what does it take to convict?

Speaker 2: 03:54 So this is a journey of only seven. They started with, uh, well at the most. They started with 12 and they whittled it down to seven. And, uh, it only takes five of those members to convict. We've got five marines and two from the navy and one commander who's now the jury foreman and a, and actually at Abco and enlisted maybe field who was also on that jury. So they can do things that you don't really normally see in a revealing report. They can downgrade some of these charges. So for, um, the premeditated murder charge for the detainee, they can, they can reduce that down to a non premeditated murder all the way down to aggravated assault. Um, on these other charges, they can do many of them. They can do much the same. So it's, it's a little different. We've got a couple of different aggravated assault charges here. They could downgrade those as well. And we've got everything down to posing with a, the body, which is the, uh, the charge that carries the least potential amount of time, which is only four months in, in jail at a maximum.

Speaker 1: 05:01 And this has been such a strange trial. Do you have any predictions, Steve?

Speaker 2: 05:05 Well, I have met him. You know, we, you've got the national media out here. Many of us have been here for weeks now. We were all become jailhouse lawyers here, speculating on what will happen. Um, it is almost impossible to tell you he could come out of there and be acquitted on all charges or because of the way the system work. It could be a whole range of different sentences. Now, we do know in this case that once they'll be, they will decide in a verdict if he's convicted on any of these charges, they'll just roll right into this sentencing phase where each side will bring in witnesses. The defense will bring in witnesses. We'll say that Gallagher, you know, the kind of person that he is to try to reduce that sentence. The prosecutors will bring in witnesses to point out the seriousness of events to try to get to the largest sentence possible for chief Gallagher.

Speaker 1: 05:54 I've been speaking with KPBS military reporters, Steve Walsh and Steve, thank you so much.

Speaker 2: 05:59 Thanks, Maureen.
Speaker 1: 00:00 The crisis at the u s Mexico border has led to a national debate over what to do about large numbers of Central American families coming to the u s asylum seekers are being forced to wait for their claims in Mexico as concerns over conditions at border detention. Facilities are growing, but to understand what's happening at the border. Investigative journalist John Carlos Frey says one has to look back at u s immigration and border policy over the last three decades. That history is part of his new book, Sand and blood America's stealth war on the Mexico border and John Carlos Frey joins me now by Skype. John, welcome to the program. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. You know, many people claim that what's happening at the border now is unprecedented and that the u s can't possibly accept all the people who want to take refuge here. Is that, in your opinion, the real issue at the border now?

Speaker 2: 00:57 It doesn't seem to be, it's difficult to tell the numbers or sort of theory will. At best, it looks like we have a very large spike of women and children that indeed is fairly new. Although the Obama administration had also seen a spike of women and children coming to the US Mexico border. But these are not record numbers. It is a large number and the federal government is having a very difficult time managing that large number. That is true.

Speaker 1: 01:22 You write in your books and in blood that the present situation is a continuation of decades of us immigration policy by both Republicans and Democrats. Can you talk about some of the events that you write about that helped us get to where we are today?

Speaker 2: 01:40 We have been sort of beating this drum of seal the border, get rid of immigrants, um, make it harder for them to come across a militaristic style approach to solve the very complex issues of migration. This started in the Reagan years with the amnesty program. Uh, there was a lot of backlash to that of seal the border because we just basically gave everybody a free pass. That was a decision that was made by his own fellow Republican lawmakers. And we started to see restrictive policies. Then thereafter we started to see bills, uh, like proposition one 87 in California with Pete Wilson, that four bid services to undocumented immigrants. Uh, the Clinton administration started to build the first border walls, operation gatekeeper operation hold the line that started to deter migrants from coming across. Obviously we can take a look at nine 11 as a flash point.

Speaker 2: 02:34 When the Bush administration built 700 more miles of border fence and restrictive policies followed up by the Obama administration. That was the first administration to put family detention on the map where women and children were housed together and Obama was the deporter in chief. And now we have Trump who is brash about his immigration policy. I guess the easiest way to sum up the last 30 years is that we've had restrictive policies on migration and there hasn't really been a comprehensive approach that the problems, why people are coming don't seem to be alleviating, but we are sealing them off more and more as time goes by.

Speaker 1: 03:16 So when president Trump says he's just enforcing the law and following the practices of previous administrations, are you saying he has a point?

Speaker 2: 03:26 He does have a point. The laws that he is enforcing are laws that weren't necessarily being enforced by previous administration. He has a whole bag of tricks that he can use with respect to how the executive branch enforces a border control and he's using almost anyone now, let's just say that he's also being creative. He has his, his own rendition or his own approach and style that no administration before him has used.

Speaker 1: 03:53 Now we've recently heard reports about terrible conditions in which children are being held in detention centers at the border. I know you visited detention centers for this book. What did you find?

Speaker 2: 04:05 This issue that we're all seeing today is nothing new. I have been reporting about conditions in detention facilities for well over a decade. Most of what we're hearing about, uh, kids being put in custody facilities has been a habit and a practice of the u s border patrol did. United Nations has condemned practices 10 years ago. The conditions are the same. I saw back then, poor conditions, too many people in a cell not being fed well being kept longer than the 72 hour. A restrictive policy that says that they have to leave after that. It's poorly managed. It's poorly run, and from my reporting, this is on purpose. The custody facilities along the border are meant to shake migrants up. They don't give them beds, they don't give them showers, they don't provide medical attention. In some cases, they take their medicine away and this is to send a signal to the migrants basically saying, don't try this again because you're going to be treated this way. This is our deterrent strategy that we have and it's coming to light today probably because there are so many children coming.

Speaker 1: 05:12 I'd like to ask you about something else in the news today. There's a report about a secret Facebook group where current and former border patrol agents are making derogatory comments about members of Congress and the recent migrant deaths. How does this story square with some of the conversations that you've had with border patrol agents? This squares

Speaker 2: 05:33 right along. I have inside sources within the u s border patrol who tell me that this comes from the top down. There is a culture of cruelty. It's okay to slur racial epitaphs that migrants, it's okay to say negative things about them. There is somewhat of a good old boy society who is kind of happy in and a little bit sadistic about how they treat it is acceptable within the ranks of the border patrol. I have reported on this in the past, abuses by border patrol of migrants and people they come across. This is common knowledge for us journalists to report on border patrol and I'm not surprised by this behavior.

Speaker 1: 06:14 Now in your book sand in blood, I'm wondering do you have any lessons, I mean do you, do you outline anything that we've learned from previous waves of migration that could help the u s address what's happening at the border today?

Speaker 2: 06:28 It seems from my reporting and being here for as long as I have a, I'm not a policy expert obviously, but, but those individuals who are say that we need to alleviate the pressure, why people are coming is not necessarily a focus of the Trump administration. There are no summit's what's Central America and the United States to try and figure out why people have to leave their homes. Mexico and the United States are sort of battling back and forth with whether or not they're going to get a tariff. There seems to be a pressure from the u s to these countries basically saying, don't come. As opposed to saying, why are you coming? How can we work together? How can we keep you in your country? That seems to be the piece that's missing here. Border Security by most experts is important, but it's not the remedy to all.

Speaker 1: 07:15 I've been speaking with John Carlos Frey, author of the new book, Sand and blood, America's stealth war on the Mexico border, and John, thank you very much. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 07:27 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 A San Diego pediatrician is under investigation for allegations that he used dirty needles on children. KPBS reporter Priya [inaudible] says the California medical board just looking into the case. San Diego pediatrician, Bright Gerber or was arrested in 2013 for possession of ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms during a traffic stop on his way to the burning man festival. According to documents from the medical board of California, Gerber entered into a six month diversion program that would allow him to keep a clean criminal record, but it did have an impact on his medical career. Gerber was investigated by the State Medical Board and placed on a two year probation that required him to undergo random drug testing and to stay out of trouble. Carolyn Olstaad took her oldest son to Dr Gerber from 2010 to 2012 before he was caught with the drugs. I was shocked, um, because he always seemed super buttoned up, you know, so I, it definitely changed my perception of him.

Speaker 1: 01:04 She says she understands doctors can make mistakes in their personal lives. It's when that behavior crosses into the doctor's office that she has a problem. If he wants to go out and party and stay out till two in the morning like I, that's totally up to him. If he's doing it and then coming and seeing my baby, then I'm going to have a problem. You know, for if, if he seemed under the influence or anything like that, yes, I would have brought it up. The drugs incident happened away from his office, but that's not true with the dirty needles. A few years later, a medical assistant reported seeing Dr Gerber use expired and unauthorized needles from a box that contained dead insects and what appear to be rodent droppings. According to the assistant, he used them on a two and 10 year old patient. The incident allegedly happened while Dr Gerber was working at Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Hillcrest. In a statement, the scripts clinic in Hillcrest said quote, when it was discovered that he had brought in nonstandard needles from home, a full investigation and disciplinary actions were taken, which included removing him from patient care. Scripps also reported the issue to the California Medical Board. Carlos via Toro is with the state medical board. I reached out to him to find out what happens when doctors get in trouble

Speaker 2: 02:22 and every disciplinary um, decision that the board makes is tailored around the facts of the case. So there is a no one size fits all answer for uh, for discipline.

Speaker 1: 02:33 Vittorio says there are no red lines in the process. Nothing a doctor can do that will automatically cause them to lose their license. He says the Attorney General's office makes a recommendation to the medical board on how a doctor will be professionally punished. Ultimately, the board has the final say.

Speaker 2: 02:53 The board's discipline can be as severe as licensed revocation, however, it can include probation and a

Speaker 3: 03:00 public letter of reprimand.

Speaker 1: 03:02 If through the course of the investigation, investigators believe a doctor has broken criminal law, they would contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to pursue criminal charges. Gerber now off probation for the prior offense is being investigated again through the medical boards process. While it's been years since Carolyn Olstaad has taken her son to Dr Gerber, it has made her think a little more about how much research she should be doing before she chooses the doctor. You expect that the medical community would have gotten rid of the doctors that aren't any good so you can trust that whenever you walk into a hospital that you'll be cared for and while the board says it's their top priority to investigate any complaints and discipline doctors who violate the medical practices act, they say there are ways you can look into your doctor too. The board has an app you can download that will notify you if your doctor, his medical license has been changed in any way. There is a toll free number you can call where representatives from the board can answer any questions you have about your doctor's credentials and you can go onto the medical boards website and search for your doctor to see if any disciplinary action has ever been taken against them by the board.

Speaker 3: 04:18 Jeremy May is KPBS reporter, Prius Schriefer and prio. Welcome. Thanks. Now the allegations of this doctor using dirty needles on patients is shocking. Do we know if there was any contributing factor, like maybe substance abuse that may have caused his behavior?

Speaker 1: 04:33 Right. This story is so bizarre and shocking that that's kind of the number one question I've been getting from people ever since they heard it. Um, I obviously don't want to speculate. Um, what we do know is that he had been in trouble before, um, and he had gotten arrested as I said in this story with um, some psychedelic mushrooms and ecstasy. I'm on his way to the burning man festival and you know, he was able to avoid a criminal charges on his record because he entered into a diversionary program. The Medical Board put him on probation for two years and he did actually violate that probation in March of 2018 after failing to provide bodily fluids for a drug test. So he was fine. $350 for that. And then fast forward a few years and now we're with these dirty needle allegations.

Speaker 3: 05:23 Script's coastal medical center. It says it reported the issue to the State Medical Board. So what's happened since they reported it.

Speaker 1: 05:29 So this happened back in 2016 and that's when they reported it to the state medical board. They did fire him after that and take him out of patient care. Once a cause of care complaint is filed with the medical board, it ends up being reviewed by a physician in the same field as the doctors. So in this case a pediatrician. Then it goes to investigators from the consumer affairs health investigation unit. Those are sworn peace officer. So law enforcement agents, if they find that this doctor violated the medical practice act, then they refer the case to the office of the attorney general and then they file the formal charging document. At that point, the doctor or the accused doctor has 15 days to request a hearing or they can enter into a settlement. If they do decide to request a hearing, they go in front of an administrative law judge. And that judge basically comes up with a proposed decision that includes the disciplinary actions and then it goes to the medical board who then votes on whether or not they want to accept that those disciplinary actions or try to change it. And those disciplinary actions can range from going on probation, getting a formal letter of reprimand a site and find program or getting a license suspension.

Speaker 3: 06:44 And how long has this been going on so far?

Speaker 1: 06:47 So that's also interesting because uh, as I mentioned, it was filed back in 2016. Um, but that process can take a while. So the complaint process can take an average of 98 days. Um, that was in, in the years 2017 to 2018. The investigation process takes an average of 510 days and then the filing of the accusation, and that's where we are now. That can take 63 days. So just right there, we're talking about a year and a half on average. And then the legal process, which is the process where the hearing happens. And, uh, you know, the discipline, the recommendation for the discipline, uh, that can take another 322 days. So we're talking years

Speaker 3: 07:30 and, and because there's been no final judgment on the case, there's nothing posted publicly and the doctor can go out and get another job as a pediatrician.

Speaker 1: 07:39 So yes, theoretically they can, um, it isn't posted publicly until you get to the filing of the accusation. So that's how this situation is in public domain right now because the accusation was filed. But when the complaint was filed, um, that was never posted publicly anywhere. So even if the employer where the, you know, allegations happened, decides to not employ this doctor anymore, uh, he, he or she could just go to a different, uh, medical practice and there's no way that they can really see that these complaints were filed. And it kind of makes sense because, you know, obviously anybody can file a complaint against a doctor and they want to make sure that it's thoroughly vetted, um, before it's entered, you know, into public domain. Like I said, but you know, then because the process takes so long, like I said, oftentimes years, many of these doctors could theoretically practice for years after a serious complaint. Like this one is filed.

Speaker 3: 08:37 This statement in your report that in these investigations there is no standard red line. A doctor can cross. That means an automatic loss of license. That statement is pretty amazing. There's no statutory violation that could end a doctor's career.

Speaker 1: 08:52 I asked that question explicitly to the person that I spoke with from the board and he said, no, there is not. Um, I said, is there a number of times you can be on probation before your license is revoked? Um, and he said, no, there is no definitive, you know, if you're on probation three times, you will automatically lose your license. Now, what I can say is that if the charges go through the criminal system first, this went through an administrative system and they did tell me that, you know, if they find that criminal, uh, there was potentially a violation of a criminal law, it will then go to sort of the regular civilian court system and be referred to a local law enforcement agencies. So theoretically, you know, or hypothetically I should say if something like murder was to happen and a doctor was convicted of murder, they would go to jail. And so, you know, obviously they're not going to be able to practice, uh, medicine from jail. Um, but you know, in these situations where it's more of an administrative process, um, it can take time

Speaker 3: 09:52 for investigations that have been completed. You mentioned that there's an app people can download to check on the status of their doctor's license. Can you tell us how that works?

Speaker 1: 10:00 Yeah, so it's just called the medical board of California app. You can go into your app store and look for it and you can actually put about a dozen doctors that you want to track. So these can be all of your doctors and any change in their license, uh, that happens through the medical board. You'll get a notification on your phone.

Speaker 3: 10:18 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Priya Schriefer and thank you very much. Thanks. KPBS reached out to Dr Gerber for comment on this story and didn't hear back from him.

Speaker 4: 10:31 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 California is big in many ways and it is big into religious faith of many varieties. We've got more mega churches than any other state. Pentecostalism was born here and today. One Small California city has become an unlikely global epicenter of Christian culture as part of our California dream collaboration. Kate QEDs, Vanessa Ranconyo reports,

Speaker 2: 00:25 Redding, California is the kind of place you learn your way around. In a day or two. Downtown is just a handful of blocks, but walking around this city of 90,000 you can meet people from a dozen countries in a day

Speaker 3: 00:37 from Australia, from the Netherlands, New Zealand. I'm from England, Manchester.

Speaker 2: 00:41 They're not here for the fly fishing or the views of Mount Shasta. No,

Speaker 3: 00:46 God is what brought me to Redding, California, specifically

Speaker 2: 00:49 glee. God brought Galena Yamanaka to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

Speaker 3: 00:55 You were called to shape history. The fall asleep

Speaker 2: 00:58 produced Promo video for the school shows people mostly young hip looking people raising their arms in worship. While a band plays on stage, they place their hands on a forehead, a shoulder and knee. A man hands over his crutches and walks freely. Will you say, yes,

Speaker 3: 01:18 we are a supernatural school, so we believe that healing is for today.

Speaker 2: 01:23 Crandall oversees first year students at the school of Supernatural Ministry where students are taught through prayer. They can manifest the power of God to heal.

Speaker 3: 01:32 We believe that God is still speaking and, and he can speak to his kids and he does.

Speaker 2: 01:37 The school was founded 21 years ago by a pastor who heads up Bethel church. It started with a few dozen local students. Today the schools, 2,500 students represent more than 70 countries. It enrolls more international vocational students than any other school in the country.

Speaker 3: 01:55 Treat on a Monday morning, 1201st years file into class. Norms are tied together in the name of Jesus. Amen. The students are studying worship music and you've got homework due on Wednesday. Glebe Yamanaka was still in England when he encountered Bethel's teaching at his church in Manchester. At first he wasn't feeling the whole miracle thing. My internal response was, this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of in my life. But then when you pray for someone, a complete stranger on the streets and they get healed of a leg injury and they say, what the heck have you done? To me, that kind of changes the way you look at things.

Speaker 2: 02:28 Bethel wants to be more than a school with international pole more than a mega church with 11,000 members. Richard Flory is a university of southern California sociologist who studied Bethel and says their objective is nothing short of cultural transformation.

Speaker 4: 02:44 Let's get the right kinds of Christians in the right kind of public sectors of American society, politics, economics, Hollywood, whatever. Through their efforts will bring about the Kingdom of God on earth in the here and now,

Speaker 2: 02:56 but some writing residents don't want to be of the experiment. Reading is their test case of turning a city that is a democracy into a theocracy. Laura Hammons is a member of investigating Bethel. A Facebook group with more than a thousand members. Hammons is one of a dozen members of the group meeting at a writing park. One afternoon, another member Donna's Ebola is passing out stickers. Some say don't drink the Koolaid. We've handed them out, you know, just freely because you know we want to get the message out there. Some people are afraid to put them on their car, afraid. She says, because the church's influence feels like it runs through the core of the city writings. Mayor is a Bethel. Elder. Bethel peed the salaries of several police officers. When the city couldn't afford to Bethel, his influence was central to getting a direct flight from lax to Redding and there's $150 million Bethel expansion underway that will triple church capacity and allow the school to grow by a thousand students.

Speaker 2: 03:55 They have this really well organized program to innovate everything with with their influence. David Boon, another member of investigating Bethel. You get this feeling that they know they're a sort of virus, but they think they're the good buyers that we all need for some in writing, the very [inaudible] integrity of their city is at stake. Others see Bethel as a positive force. They say it makes the city more vibrant, diverse. It's good for the economy. Either way. Bethel's outsize influence on this little city is unavoidable. Redding has become a new type of Christian Mecca in writing. I'm Vanessa Ranconyo.
Speaker 1: 00:01 And Environmental Group from Imperial Beach is getting recognized for its effort to combat climate change. The nonprofit wild coast was recently awarded a 2019 keeling curve prize for its mangrove forest restoration. And it's a project off the coast of Baja California as part of KPBS climate change desk. Midday edition host Jade Heineman spoke with conservation director Zach plop or about the project.

Speaker 2: 00:27 Well, Zach, welcome to the program. Thank you. So first tell me what is a mangrove? So mangrove is a, it's a blue carbon ecosystem. So it's a ecosystem that grows in a, in a saltwater environment, um, either subtropical or tropical areas. It's a tree and it's very unique to some certain parts of the world. Northwest Mexico being one of those.

Speaker 3: 00:46 So how are they able to remove carbon from the air and store it?

Speaker 2: 00:50 So just like any plant, CBC, it intakes carbon, but with mangroves have, and especially these desert mangroves in Mexico is this root system, very intricate root system and a large soil substrate around it. So it takes the carbon in through its leaves deposit. It's through its root system into this sediment below it. And it has these vast areas of the sediment around them where it stores all this carbon. That's why those ecosystems, those mangroves in northwest Mexico are so effective at carbon sequestration. And the science shows that these mangrove desert mangroves in Mexico sequester up to five times more carbon than tropical mangroves. Hmm. And so how important are mangroves to climate change policy? So in terms of policy, not enough yet. We're just learning how effective that these ecosystems are. We're trying to integrate them into policy in Mexico. And then there's similar ecosystems like seagrasses and salt marsh in California that actually can also play a big role. We're trying to integrate those into policy as well.

Speaker 3: 01:45 Do you have a sense of how much carbon a, this mangrove off of the coast of Baja California is actually taking in?

Speaker 2: 01:52 Right. So the 39,000 acres of mangroves that we've looked at in the Gulf of California and, and Magdalene Magdalena Bay and Southern Baja California store about 19.5 million metric tons of carbon. That's Oklahoman CEO, about 1 million peoples annual carbon emissions.

Speaker 3: 02:07 Wow. So while coast has been working with the Mexican government on this restoration project, what does all of this entail?

Speaker 2: 02:14 Right, so we've been working with the Mexican national government, federal government and the Mexican National Park Service essentially since 2008 to set aside these mangrove areas for conservation. So they can't be owned and by law they're actually protected. They can't be cut down. That doesn't mean that they're not cut down. And that doesn't mean that there's land uses around these mangroves that can have an impact. So we're buffering these areas. We're actually getting concessions for these mangroves to put them under the management of the park service, essentially creating protected areas where these mangroves are, where they weren't protected as well. We're also working with Griffith University in Australia to do all the science. So it's a tri national effort between wild coast, which is a u s in Mexico based organization, the Mexican National Government and institutions in Australia to do the research, to show how much there is and to show what it would mean if we stopped the degradation of these forests.

Speaker 2: 03:03 And there's also an economic component to this project too, right? Yeah. So the, the amount of carbon that that is stored here and that would continue to be sequestered if we can leave these mangroves alone. So about half a million dollars on the voluntary carbon market. And they're also, these mangroves are also a basis for commercial fisheries for ecotourism. So there's a lot of other benefits other than the carbon sequestration value of them. So Zack, aside from taking in carbon, what are some of the other benefits that mangroves a have? Right. So they have incredible benefits for wildlife and that's really why we got started protecting these areas. They, a lot of these areas are the world's last end developed California gray whale breeding lagoons. They're critical stops in the Pacific flyway for migratory birds. They're feeding areas for sea turtles. They're also at the basis of a lot of commercial fisheries that go to international markets in the context of climate change.

Speaker 2: 03:49 We're also seeing that these mangroves buffer coastal communities against more intense hurricanes and sea level rise. So mangroves are helping sequester carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. But our mangroves also at risk because of climate change itself. Absolutely. So in areas that mangroves don't have in place to migrate to. So with sea level rise, we're going to see coastal ecosystems move if they can, if there's development or agriculture or other land uses right up against where these mangroves are, they will not be able to migrate and they will actually be squeezed out by sea level rise. So it's not only important that we protect the mangroves that are there now, but areas around it to allow them to move over time. If mangroves can be restored as you're doing in Baja, does that mean they can also be planted anywhere in the world to help guard against climate change?

Speaker 2: 04:35 Maybe not anywhere in the world. They grow in very particular particular climate. So it needs to be warm. There needs to be certain levels of salinity. But what we're looking at is restored reforestation projects in Mexico. So we just got a grant from the United Nations Development Program to restore about a hundred acres of degraded mangroves in a place called San Ignacio Lagoon. That's the world's last undeveloped California gray whale breeding ground, also home to these mangrove ecosystems. So we're actually looking to reform a certain areas and that project's very scalable to other areas in Baja, the Gulf of California and throughout, um, tropical parts of the world where these mangroves grow. So what does this keeling curve prize award mean for wild coast? So this keeling curve prize shows recognition of our project. We're onto a great idea. We're getting a lot of exposure because of winning this award, but we're also getting $25,000 in funding.

Speaker 2: 05:22 Then it's going to help us advance the protection of these mangroves. It's going to allow us to continue to do the science and then we're also gonna use that funding to go through the accreditation process. We have a project that's accredited and the voluntary carbon markets, we can actually work with the Mexican government to sell carbon credits that can then be reinvested in the management conservation of these areas. All right. I've been speaking with Zach plop or conservation director at wild coast. Zach, thank you so much. Thank you for more coverage from the KPBS climate change desk. Go to k change.

Speaker 4: 06:00 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 KPBS film critic Beth Aka Mondo is co hosting a screening of the 1932 film, The mask of Foo man shoe as part of a pre-code Hollywood film series. It stars Boris Karloff as the evil Asian title character and that raises issues of racial stereotypes to place the film in an historical context. Beth spoke with Brian who artistic director of PAC arts, San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Brian, I'm going to be co hosting a screening of the mask of Fu Manchu, which stars Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy as Asian characters. This is a pre-code Hollywood film. Can you provide a little bit of a context in terms of when this film was made? What was the social and political climate like for Asian Americans or Asians coming to America? This is at the heels of the Chinese exclusion acts, which were enacted in the late 19th century as a result of fears that Chinese people were taking American jobs and as well as the fact that they were afraid that Chinese people were bringing certain kind of immorality. They were not Christians and they were in Indie CD Chinatowns where we're not really sure what's going on. They were afraid of trans people bringing women because they might be prostitutes. And if there aren't women here, then they're not going to have families.

Speaker 2: 01:21 And now how can I have children? These are laws that were enacted to try to keep the Chinese out. And so these films which treated Chinese people as villains trying to take over the world kind of fit within that ideology of wanting to, to maintain a certain kind of racial purity in the United States. To put that master across his wicked eyes in debt, got shimmer into his bony curoil and all your writers, you're gonna declare himself gangas can come to life again and he lead a hundreds of millions. Amanda, sweep the world, not my friend. Just watch you. We've got to prevent the mascot. Fu Manchu was based on a book and this is one of many film versions of the book. What does this kind of reveal about Hollywood and about American in terms of how they were looking to Asians? Well, I mean, I think first of all that the pre-code period is a period where the forbidden was able to find its way to the big screen somehow.

Speaker 2: 02:17 And we used to think about the forbid in terms of sex and violence, but also race was a part of this. There was some kind of ratio of forbidden racial types and storylines including miscegenation. So this stops sexual relationships between white people and Asian people in this case. So yeah, these were forbidden topics, but they also created a certain bit of forbidden satisfaction and enchantment. So yeah, you would have people who were crazy about these movies and food man Manchu was very, very popular in this time. This is a period of time where there was prejudice against Asians. People were afraid of them on certain levels, but the Hollywood films also reveal a certain fascination for them. And this kind titillation about something exotic. So how does that play into this? What's also important to note that as stereotypes work just more generally, you always have positive and negative stereotypes.

Speaker 2: 03:11 So in this time we have, um, sort of the evil Fu Manchu, but we also have like the docile, sweet Asian-American men like [inaudible] Kyla, who was the, probably the biggest Asian star other than Bruce Lee in history of Hollywood. So it wasn't just the Asians were always the bad guy. So, but both the positive and the negative stereotypes were reinforced. Asians as different, as exotic, as perpetually foreign, but also just the object of fascination. There's also the period in where just Americans started to know the world better. National Geographic and cinema was the way in which you could see in 24 frames per second the rest of the world. So yeah, these, these representations were often very negative, but it was part of a general desire to know and then perhaps to know and to kind of own the rest of the world. If we know it, then we can better travel there, we can better to trade with them. And we could better just in our own sense, in our own heads and kind of control the seemingly uncontrollable, the inscrutable. That was the Asian, this is the 1930s. So we have white actors playing Asian characters.

Speaker 3: 04:13 10 to be my father. My daughter explained to this gentleman 30 ward. That might be his point out to him. The d light survived a lovely country. The promise about beautiful women

Speaker 2: 04:29 a certain level. You can kind of understand in the 1930s this happening, but Fu Manchu is a film that's remade repeatedly and on into the 60s you still have these white actors playing these Asian characters. How do you view that as someone who's a scholar of film? It doesn't surprise me. In the 1930s the at a time in which even in California, um, there were anti miscegenation laws. By having white actors play the Chinese, you can, it makes it for the audience a little bit more acceptable that Asians are meeting with white people or having sex with them. So casting white people as Asians has always had this, has, has long history of making Asians acceptable. And we see that throughout the 1950s and sixties and even to today, you have cases of Scarlett, your Hansen making her eyes a certain way to play. An Asian person goes in the shell, you'll have to, in the case of Emma Stone with Aloha.

Speaker 2: 05:22 So, so these things are still happening today so that it happened in 1960s and seventies it's not at all surprising to me. So in looking back at these films, should we ban these movies? Should we not let them be shown because they have controversial elements or or negative stereotypes? Or should we be able to watch them in some sort of context and learn from them? Because on a certain level, I feel like if we erase these films, we don't know where we've come from and we don't know how far we've traveled. We should not ban these films. These films reveal so much about how we think about America as and how we would try to maintain a certain kind of racial purity in America is so relevant today. These films are setting the stage for a lot of the ways we think about race today.

Speaker 2: 06:02 There's so much we can learn from them. And yeah, these are very exaggerated versions of fear of the other. But today we have more subtle versions that are still kind of part of the same ideological desire for racial purity that we see in these films. So what's important to me is understanding that history, knowing kind of the production context that what, what did, what was it in Hollywood that created these kinds of films? So the context is is is most important. And then of course we shouldn't just play these songs anywhere. These songs can play in a certain kind of context that would be incredibly destructive for America even to today. There's certain kind of white supremacist contexts where down I would not want this film to be shown. So finding the right audience for them, an audience that is receptive to understanding that history.

Speaker 2: 06:44 I think that's the best way for us to continue to remember these movies. To counter the images portrayed in these films. Would you have a couple of films that you'd recommend that people go out and watch to provide some balance to this? Well, so, so around the same time that we met, she was happening. There was also Charlie Chan, so that, so Charlie Chan was also created all kinds of stereotypes for Asian Americans growing up in the 1960s and seventies so I think it's especially cool that in the early 1980s there was a film called Chan is missing checked out by Wayne Wayne, who is inverting a lot of these stereotypes of Charlie Chan into a bizarre little comedy indie film set in San Francisco Chinatown that is very much about giving voice to Asian Americans and Chinese Americans in this period. Still phone like that obviously is as a nice corrective to to these Hollywood representations.

Speaker 2: 07:32 But Charlie, China's missing also is given a certain status as inaugurating an Asian American independent cinema, um, that after that film, Asian Americans realize, wait, we can tell our own stories too. And that are miles away from the kinds of either pitiful characters in the good earth or these treacherous villains in the, the Fu Manchu films or these like dragon ladies that you see throughout the history of Hollywood were sexual oversexualized Asian woman. All right, well I want to thank you very much for talking with me anytime. Thank you. That was KPBS film critical backpack. Armando speaking with PAC arts. Brian, who about the mask of foo man show which screen Sunday at 1:00 PM at digital gym cinema.

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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.