Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Pence Visit, Electric Car Rebates, San Diego Pride

Cover image for podcast episode

Vice President Mike Pence visits two San Diego naval bases. Also, a new California bill aims to raise electric car rebates, the San Diego gang commission recommends ending controversial gang injunctions, California Latino-families face hurdles reaching the middle class, a local archive space in University Heights is home to much of San Diego’s LGBTQ history, how the Stonewall riots influenced San Diego’s LGBTQ history, and challenging inequality in one of California's most divided cities.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Vice President Mike Pence is in San Diego. He and his wife Karen arrived in town last night to begin a tour of military sites and attend a fundraiser. Pence is not scheduled to visit the border. The vice president will be speaking this hour aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Monroe at the naval air station in Coronado and that's about a major seizure of illegal drugs. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman is also onboard the Monroe and he joins us now. And Matt, welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:29 Hi Maureen.

Speaker 1: 00:30 Now, what is the vice president expected to do and talk about while he's on the Monroe?

Speaker 2: 00:36 Yes, so the vice president is expected to speak sometime around 1230 this afternoon here at naval air station North Island. Basically the coast guard along with a bunch of other federal agencies are offloading more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana that was seized in the eastern Pacific. And now a lot of this I've been told is, are happening around near Florida. It's unclear of what exactly pence will be speaking about. Uh, we do have a hint though. A coastguard news release did mentioned that the ongoing about the ongoing fight against the drug cartels in the eastern Pacific, which he may touch on

Speaker 1: 01:05 now. Is this the vice president's first visit to San Diego since taking office?

Speaker 2: 01:10 Yeah, this, this will be the vice president's first visit since he and President Donald Trump did, did take office. Uh, he wasn't Calexico though. Uh, last year, uh, near the border, speaking about, uh, immigration issues

Speaker 1: 01:22 and says visit here in San Diego is part of a statewide tour. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Speaker 2: 01:29 Yeah, he's been in California for a couple of days. He was in Lamar, California yesterday for a Trump, a reelection campaign event. Then he visited a farm talking about the U S Mexico Canada trade agreement and how it's a good deal for American workers on Twitter. He's calling this visit Hashtag us mc nowaday and we actually have some tape of what he said there yesterday.

Speaker 3: 01:48 But I wanted to come here to California here in the San Joaquin Valley because you all understand the global impact of our agricultural economy and the need to have a trade deal here with our neighbors to the north and the south. That really puts American agriculture first and that's exactly what we've done.

Speaker 1: 02:05 Okay. So, uh, the vice president has stayed at the Hilton Bay Front Hotel last night and, uh, that baby Trump balloon was inflated in front of the hotel this morning. Is Penson countering any protests that you know about in Coronado?

Speaker 2: 02:21 Yeah, Morgan. So right now we are pretty deep inside the naval base. There's no civilians who are allowed in, in this area. Um, we are by the water. I don't see any boats in the water with the protesters or anything. Uh, we had to arrive here pretty early and we got here around eight o'clock and there wasn't anybody outside protesting with any signs. Uh, I'm not exactly sure right now if there's anybody near the front of the naval base. Uh, but there's really no indication. I don't think that, uh, the, uh, vice president is going to be speaking here. So I don't know if there's any right now, there weren't any this morning.

Speaker 1: 02:48 Okay. So where else is the pen going to visit where he, when he, while he's here in San Diego?

Speaker 2: 02:55 Yeah, he's going to obviously tour, uh, this, uh, US Coast Guard cutter here at Naval Air Station, North Island. And then after this, uh, there's a campaign event, uh, that he's going to be speaking at a reelection campaign event for him and Donald Trump. That's going to be some time later this evening. And then he's actually going to be, uh, on a plane heading to Texas.

Speaker 1: 03:14 Have there been any questions raised about why pence is not visiting the US Mexico border while he's here?

Speaker 2: 03:21 Yeah, so the vice president is not scheduled to visit the US Mexico border while he's here in San Diego, but part of his three day trip, he's actually visiting, obviously California, and then he's heading to Texas. He's going to be tomorrow, he said on Twitter, uh, visiting the border down in Texas, uh, potentially some of these migrant detention facilities. Uh, I haven't heard any criticism, um, of why that is. We may have a chance to ask the vice president, um, after he speaks today, why he, why he's not visiting the border down here, but he is scheduled to visit a border, uh, tomorrow in Texas.

Speaker 1: 03:51 Okay. So San Diego Anne's might encounter a motorcade on the roads today as the vice president goes from one point to another. When is he leaving town? Do we know?

Speaker 2: 04:02 You know, it's unclear exactly when he's leaving town. I know he, like I said, he will be in Texas tomorrow. I don't know if that means that his flight is, uh, is, is leaving later this evening or if it's leaving tomorrow morning. Uh, but you're right, he will be on the roads. He is going to be going to a campaign fundraiser and obviously, yes, I get his meals, so he, he'll definitely be on the road. Uh, so if you see it, take some photos.

Speaker 1: 04:24 I'm in speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Thank you so much. Thanks, Maureen.

Speaker 4: 04:34 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 How does a rebate of up to $7,500 sound for buying an electric vehicle? Well, a San Francisco lawmakers bill assembly bill 10 46 could triple the rebate given for purchasing a zero emissions car. The bill is an effort to help California meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals to find climate change. And as part of our coverage for the KPBS climate change desk, California state assembly men fill teen, the bill's author joins me now from the floor of the state legislature. Phil, welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:30 Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1: 00:31 So tell us more about how the current clean car rebates work and how they would change under your proposal.

Speaker 2: 00:37 Well, she won't clean cars. You need clean air. And right now we have a goal to get to 5 million clean cars by 2030 and we're only at 600,000 so we need to make some serious changes. And the reason we need to make those changes is because we have very strict greenhouse gas emission goals to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately in transportation, which is 40% of those emissions, they've been going up not down like every other sector and 80% of that 40% is passenger vehicles. And so most of the emissions within the transportation sector comes from you and me driving to work you meet, go to the grocery store, dropping our kids off at school. So we have to change consumer behavior on clean cars. What we've seen is two major things are moving consumers on clean cars, which is one the carpal stickers and the amount of the rebates. We are very concerned because the federal government is reducing the tax credits for the two most popular clean cars in California. The test amount of three and the Chevy Bolt, e v so part of our proposal is to really just try to keep pace with the loss of that federal tax credit. In d c they have a $7,500 tax credit, don't be going away very soon

Speaker 1: 01:55 and the bill doesn't exactly a set the amount of the rebates. How would those rebates then be determined?

Speaker 2: 02:02 Well, what we ask is we ask the air resource board to really develop a plan so we give them some flexibility. They don't think they'll be, they should be higher than 7,500 but they could definitely say, hey, we don't need that higher rebate. We could go lower, use the money better and we want those rebates to be declining over time right now, but rebate for California is 2,500 today at 2,500 tomorrow. There's not really much of an incentive to move today when people know that the rebate is going to be going down. That becomes an incentive for people to change their behavior and to do something. So what we believe should happen is you set a higher rebate level that's declined over time as we hit certain targets

Speaker 1: 02:44 and my understanding right now is that there is a waiting list because the rebate funds run out. How would your bill address that dilemma?

Speaker 2: 02:51 The bill asked to every sport to have a plan and then what we do is based on that plan, identify how much money we would need to yet in order to fund this program for a number of years. What are the ideas that we had thought is if we could borrow some money up front or securitize money up front and then pay it back over time, this would allow us to really heavily invest in the early years of the program. 50 years one, two and three and watch that investment decline over time as more and more people adopt in cars.

Speaker 1: 03:24 And currently there's a $1,500 rebate for hybrids. Would hybrid still be eligible for those rebates

Speaker 2: 03:30 at this time? Yes. What I imagined is as money gets tighter and as technology gets better, they may get phased out over time. But at this point, the hybrids that plug in hybrids that get over 25 miles, 25 miles per charge [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 03:50 and as you mentioned earlier, California's goal is to have 5 million zero emissions vehicles on the road by the year 2030 where are we in terms of meeting that goal?

Speaker 2: 04:00 Well, we're still very far. We are at 600,000 vehicles now. We've made significant progress and we've made progress with very few cars to be able to purchase right now. If you think the most popular vehicles for people to buy our trucks, minivans and SUV is, and you can't get a clean card any of those. So as more and more quick clean cars get offered in those types of bottles, I imagined adoption will increase even more.

Speaker 1: 04:24 Do you think cost is a major barrier for car shoppers?

Speaker 2: 04:27 Absolutely. And costs right now, it's very cost right now high. It's very typical that when technology is first in its early adoption phase that the costs are higher than the typical. Some other typical technology. But what you see is once people move up to that technology, you see that price come down over time. I remember a time when calculators used to cost $500 a, I remember a time when you know, cell phones just to cost, you know, 500 or a thousand dollars just for a very basic cell phones. Again, as more and more people bought, calculators bought cell phones, we saw over time that price come down significantly. Same thing with personal computers. I think Quinn Carson's going to follow that same price trajectory

Speaker 1: 05:10 and your bill would prohibit the California air resources and control board from raising taxes or using vehicle fees to pay for the program. So how would the state pay for that program?

Speaker 2: 05:20 Well, bring out the state pays for it. Out of our greenhouse gas reduction from $200 million a year to greenhouse gas reduction fund is paid for by people who pull in the industries that pollute, put money into a fund. And that fund is used to go over to screencasts. And so, uh, we can under seek to have a greater greater funding out of that fund or we can identify other types of funds to go after as well.

Speaker 1: 05:45 I'm curious if you own a clean energy car you bought

Speaker 2: 05:49 up doesn't it for over two years? I got it when they first started offering it in California and an ecstatic. I love my car. I love my car.

Speaker 1: 05:58 And a couple of years ago you proposed banning all gas powered cars. Do you think that's still a good idea?

Speaker 2: 06:03 Yeah, I think absolutely down the road that was a, what we did is you wanted to ban any new gas cars after 2014 and what you see as since we introduced that legislation years ago, more and more countries have followed suit. You have England, you have France, you have Norway, you have India. Um, you have China and Germany talking about the more and more companies and more countries. Absolutely going in that direction and I believe at some point we definitely need to move in that direction as well.

Speaker 1: 06:33 I have been speaking with state assemblyman filled ting. Phil. Thank you.

Speaker 2: 06:36 Thank you

Speaker 1: 06:37 for more coverage from the KPBS climate change desk. Go to back slash climate change.

Speaker 3: 06:44 Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:00 For two decades. Law enforcement in San Diego have used a tool called a gang injunction to limit the activities and travel of people they believe to be members of gangs, but critics have questioned their effectiveness and fairness. Now the San Diego Commission on gang prevention and intervention has recommended an end to all gang injunctions in the city following the lead of cities like Los Angeles and Oakland KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Adler has been covering this story and joins us with more Max, thanks for being here. Thank you. Take us back to 1997 when they first started issuing these injunctions. What was happening and how were these injunctions supposed to help?

Speaker 2: 00:38 The injunctions are part of a larger nationwide trend to really crack down on what law enforcement perceived as gang criminal activity. Crime had been rising steadily since the 1970s and especially in cities like San Diego. You were seeing higher violent crime rates, so they were kind of looking at every tool in their toolbox as it were to stop people from being able to associate with other individuals that they believed were members of gangs. This was also part of a larger nationwide, um, focus and possible hysteria on gangs because, uh, one didn't necessarily correlate to another when it came to violent crime.

Speaker 1: 01:18 So the gang injunctions kept people out of certain neighborhoods. What else did they do?

Speaker 2: 01:23 So the rules are you are confined to a certain area that you are not allowed to associate with people in certain areas. So you have instances where people were unable to go to maybe their cousin's birthday party because they would be associating with people in a specific area. A, you're not allowed to where quote unquote, where gained clothes. So that's again, up to law enforcement decide what our clothes, whether there's certain colors like that. Uh, if you're a juvenile, you had to abide by a certain curfew. Uh, you couldn't make loud noises. So it was really all of these behaviors that they considered to be somehow associating you with gang activity, even though we know that a lot of those things are just part of daily life.

Speaker 1: 02:04 So how did they identify people to put on the gang injunction list?

Speaker 2: 02:08 So the injunctions were part of these kind of long indictments where they would list um, you know, 20 to 30 to 40. Even sometimes you know well into the dozens of people and saying all of these people belong to the specific gang. We're going to point you to their criminal activity and for the duration of this injunction, which we will give no end date to, they will not be able to associate with one another. This is our way of breaking up the gangs. And if they were to defy this injunction, well they could face jail time, they could face a civil penalty, a things like that. So it was their way of trying to break apart what were either gangs or social networks.

Speaker 1: 02:49 Here we are more than 20 years later. Did that actually help

Speaker 2: 02:52 the effectiveness of the gang injunctions is arguable. We don't know. We don't know whether there's any correlation between the gang led to a decrease in crime. We know that over the past 20 years in the United States that crime has plummeted and that San Diego just last year was deemed the safest big city in America. When it comes to violent crime, it also had the lowest murder rate of the country's 10 largest cities. So it's really tough to actually tie law enforcement activities to correlate with these actual global trends that are, um, violent crime is just rapidly decreasing. It's unclear whether they were effective, but what we do know is that they were incredibly effective at limiting what these people could do or who they could associate with.

Speaker 1: 03:38 So the San Diego Commission on gang prevention and intervention passed a resolution to end all gang injunctions in the city. What led to that decision

Speaker 2: 03:46 for a few years now, members of the commission have been questioning the effectiveness of these gang injunctions, especially now that for the most part, they are 15 years old, especially in the city of San Diego. So these are impacting individuals who are in their late thirties, early forties, especially if you know they were, were teenagers when these injunctions came down, just from a pure sociology standpoint, they've aged out of committing violent crimes if they were in the first place. And you bought a clip with you about this, right? Yeah. So this is a Genevieve Jones, right? She's a commissioner on the commission who brought the motion that led to the recommendation here was her explanation of gang injunctions inadequacies.

Speaker 3: 04:26 They haven't used gang injunctions for a very long time and our gang membership is down, gang crime is down and violent crime is down. And so there is no point to having gang injunctions on the books that only serve to harass people, to keep people from certain neighborhoods and being with their families and also in some cases from having good employment and housing.

Speaker 1: 04:53 Genevieve Jones, right ran for district attorney. Summer. Stephan won that last election. But Max, I want to know from you how many people are under gang injunctions in San Diego. So as of yet

Speaker 2: 05:03 18 and the city of San Diego in the county of San Diego, there was 788 people. The district attorney has been slowly removing people from that list. They've been arguing a much slower approach. So there have been 332 people were removed earlier this year from the list. That's county wide. Uh, we don't really have a, a number of how many people have been removed in the city of San Diego, which is what the commission and the city council has jurisdiction over. But the number remains in the hundreds. And again, these are people who have been living under these injunctions for well over a decade.

Speaker 1: 05:36 What's the demographic of the gang injunction list?

Speaker 2: 05:39 So the foreign junctions in the city of San Diego are centered on southeast San Diego as well as Linda Vista going down the names overwhelmingly, if not exclusively. These are black and Latino individuals who are placed on the list.

Speaker 1: 05:53 How much of the population in San Diego does that demographic?

Speaker 2: 05:57 San Diego is around 30% Hispanic, Latino, and around 6% black. So obviously a large disparity there.

Speaker 1: 06:05 You saying the last 15 years there haven't been any more gang injunctions issued. How has that impacted gang activity? Has San Diego seen a rise or fall and gang crime within that time period?

Speaker 2: 06:16 Right. So the, there has not been a gang injunction in the city of San Diego over the past 15 years. And again, all of the, uh, criminal statistics that San Diego keeps show a marked decrease in violent crime, um, and, and gang activities is way down. There are less last year, less identified gang members this year as there were last year. And that's been trending down for, for well over a decade.

Speaker 1: 06:41 And what has district attorney Summer Stephan said about the commission's recommendation

Speaker 2: 06:45 cause she voted against it and that sh because she's also a member of the commission, but that she's going to stick with the review on a case by case basis. Her office said in a, uh, emailed KPBS and said that 97 people on the list had been arrested between September, 2017 and September, 2018. But arresting somebody who doesn't really note the severity of it, especially because these are areas that do face, um, disproportionate policing. We know that they are focused in these areas. And so what happens next? So the San Diego Commission on gang prevention and intervention clearly makes recommendations. They don't have the authority to actually unilaterally take action on this. A, all of the recommendations goes to, um, the public safety. And Livable neighborhoods committee, which is chaired by Monica Montgomery at the city council. Her office told us that the recommendation has not been docketed yet, but they expect to hear from the commission this fall and that will most likely be brought up then and then it will be up to council woman, Montgomery and other members of the city council on whether to take action or not.

Speaker 1: 07:52 All right. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Adler. Max, thanks for joining us. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 California's Latino middle class is expanding, but many families still struggle. The census says 17% of California's Latino population is still below the federal poverty line and traditional paths to financial stability are becoming increasingly difficult today. In the second of two stories for the California dream collaborations, k p CC's, Leslie Berenstein Rojas introduces us to a family for whom the dream remains out of reach.

Speaker 2: 00:31 About a hundred people are waiting for groceries at the first Christian Church in Downey. It's a Saturday morning when the church does its weekly food giveaway. The hall is packed. Jeanette Perez sits on a folding chair. Her baby boy in her lap, her six year old son plays a couple of feet away. It's their first time here. I was told through my job that they were donating food here at the church. Do I came by to see what they could give me a, since we're struggling right now, especially after I've just had the baby Perez and her husband both work, he installs car stereos. She works in nutrition at a headstart preschool, but even with two incomes, they're just scraping by. It gets to her. It's really difficult. Our Brennan's like 1375 and our car payment is, you know, almost $500 so we can't afford anything right now. The hole is filled with families in similar circumstances. The wages are too low. They say the rent is too high. Some like Perez live in nearby communities. Others live right here in Downey. A city regarded as a haven for the Latino middle class, but it isn't that for everyone, especially these days.

Speaker 3: 01:42 The California of today does not hold the same kinds of opportunities that it did 30 years ago.

Speaker 2: 01:49 USC sociologist Jodie, ages by year hose says some of the very opportunities that allowed previous generations of Latinos to reach middle class status in California are becoming more elusive. It used to be saving up and buying property was one of the main ways that dino families built wealth. Even on modest incomes these days, it's harder to do. While the median income for us Latinos is going up in California, it's not nearly enough.

Speaker 3: 02:15 It's not just the fact that home ownership costs are high. Even just having to pay high rents can prevent people from saving to buy a home

Speaker 2: 02:23 waiting for her groceries. Jeanette Perez says she wishes her family could afford a home of their own so my children can have somewhere to live, so they won't struggle the way we did, but it feels out of reach. She says with your overhead, they just can't save. Neither she nor her husband have a college degree. Their wages are unsteady. Perez says this summer will be tough because she won't get paid until school starts. Cal State Fullerton, sociologist Anthony [inaudible]. Russ says unreliable hours are also a big problem for Latinos in lower earning jobs.

Speaker 3: 02:54 We still do see high levels of what we would call income volatility hours.

Speaker 2: 03:00 They get cut from week to week or month to month, make it hard to accumulate savings. Other obstacles, many Latinos, especially the first generation are underbanked. They lack access to credit. As for the second generation, extended family obligations can eat into their finances. Let's say

Speaker 3: 03:17 your brother or sister has had a mishap with their car and they need three new tires.

Speaker 2: 03:24 If you earn more money, your expected to help out, he says, and then you can fall behind. Also, for some, there's a very big obstacle. Legal status. The population of unauthorized immigrants in the u s has declined, but getting legal status has gotten more difficult with the pathways to the middle class becoming rockier will future generations of California's Latino families have a harder time cracking the ceiling by your process? Maybe, but there's also reason for hope. California has immigrant friendly laws. It's enacted recent policies like raising the minimum wage and expanding healthcare, widening the social safety net if we can make it

Speaker 3: 04:02 and accessible for all. If we can invest in things like access to capital and helping to ease people's housing burdens, all of those things could really help to promote economic stability.

Speaker 2: 04:16 Before she left with her groceries, Jeanette Perez told me she and her husband have thought about leaving the state, but they realized they're better off than some Californians, and I told my husband, you know what? We at least have somewhere to live, and they're grateful for that. In Downey, I'm Leslie Berenstein Rojas.

Speaker 4: 04:39 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 This weekend. The San Diego Pride Festival celebrates pride and respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities here and across the world. KPBS reporter Claire [inaudible] found a local archive space that stores LGBTQ history, including artifacts of discrimination the community has overcome.

Speaker 2: 00:20 This is the archives. We, this is our little mini exhibit area.

Speaker 1: 00:24 Walter Meyer welcomes visitors to the lambda archives.

Speaker 2: 00:28 We are the LGBTQ historical society of San Diego. Um, we collect, preserve, and teach the history of San Diego and imperial counties in northern Baja, California. Mexico

Speaker 1: 00:40 Meyer is the manager of the archives, which officially opened its doors as a nonprofit back in 1987. Right away, visitors to the archives are greeted with a big variety of memorabilia from an all leather outfit worn by the singer Rob Helford, who lived in Hillcrest.

Speaker 2: 00:58 If you're a Judas priest fan, you recognize the name. When he came out as gay, he took a lot of grief,

Speaker 1: 01:04 four to a banner with a bright red heart in the words blood sisters.

Speaker 2: 01:08 Let's just use, we're a group of lesbians who in the early days of aids stepped up to donate blood for their sick gay friends.

Speaker 1: 01:14 In fact, there are many pieces of history at Lambda Archives that remind visitors about the aids crisis. For example, an artifact from Auntie Helen's, a store in north park that originally helped people with aids do their laundry. It was run by local activists, Gary [inaudible].

Speaker 2: 01:33 They found a notebook that they thought they have lost and it just a notebook in which you wrote the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people for whom he was doing their laundry, doing their grocery shopping, get your dog to the vet and almost every entry in there has in the right margin. A note with a death date pass to the Lord. Ten six 86 I'll love you forever, Gary. You know, next line, you know Bubba and just line after line. I think there's 138 names in there and about 110 of them have death dates.

Speaker 1: 02:00 Meyer says something like that shows the history of the LGBTQ community much better than reading about it. In a book.

Speaker 2: 02:07 It's mute testimony to the horrors of of the early days of aids and this poor man who is he himself is sick, is trying to take care of so many his friends and so many of their needs

Speaker 1: 02:17 men. What Meijer really likes best. This is the actual archive actual artifacts from local LGBTQ history.

Speaker 2: 02:27 We have banners, every dyke march, aids walk, et Cetera. We get the banners, we get the posters.

Speaker 1: 02:32 That includes a stop Larouche banner from 1986 opposing proposition 64 a state ballot measure backed by Lyndon Larouche that some feared would have led to quarantines of people with AIDS.

Speaker 2: 02:45 This was the no on 64 initiative, one of the many attempts to make life difficult for the LGBT community.

Speaker 1: 02:54 They also have yard signs from LGBTQ political candidates like Christine, Kiko, Bonnie Demanis and Steve Petia plus old gay bar signs like a stain glass window from Baucus House in North Park Club that closed 10 years ago.

Speaker 2: 03:11 You identified 168 gay bars that have come and gone at the peak was 1986 40 were open at once and then weather aids took its toll or just they hit saturation point like a neighborhood can only support so many dry cleaners until some of them have to go out of business. Uh, but we are now down to about 14,

Speaker 1: 03:29 but while older libraries and archives often receive family heirlooms, like old photos or newspaper articles or books, Meyer said that hasn't happened much at lambda.

Speaker 2: 03:40 And you can imagine that if, you know, John Smith died in this family came out from Wisconsin to look at his stuff and they found stuff like this that burn it.

Speaker 1: 03:47 That's part of the challenge of running an LGBTQ archives when it comes to older photos and memorabilia. Meyer says there aren't that many

Speaker 2: 03:57 because the world was so closeted back then. Um, we don't have a lot of really early stuff, right, of this eighties and nineties. Really, most people didn't want their picture taken in gay pride or taken in a gay bar. It could ruin your life.

Speaker 1: 04:10 That's why it's important to store what they do have and items from more recent history to remind people in the future that LGBTQ discrimination wasn't that far in the past. Claire Triglyceride KPBS News,

Speaker 3: 04:30 uh.
Speaker 1: 00:00 This year. San Diego Pride is not only celebrating the 50th anniversary of the stonewall riots, but it's also saluting how far local pride has come from the humblest of beginnings. Now the San Diego Pride Parade and festival draws more than 200,000 people. And one of the people who's been there from the beginning is Jerry dill know who helped plan the first pride parade in San Diego and is one of the community grand marshals for this year's parade. And Jerry, welcome to the show. Hi, good to be here. What was that first official pride march like in San Diego back in 1979? Well, um, I think we must've had about three or 400 people. We met downtown at a place called Hobo Park, which is now a condominium, but down, down near the foot of Broadway. And we walked up sixth avenue and came up to the park and, uh, had a little stage and uh, had a couple of guest speakers, uh, nationally known.

Speaker 1: 00:56 Actually. Uh, Barbara getting, so was a, a pioneer in the LGBT movement and Alan Spears, who at the time was an openly gay senator from the state of Minnesota, a state senator. So, uh, we had pretty good speakers and, um, people just sat around on the grass and we had a picnic and sang some songs and that was about it. Was it hard to get a permit? Uh, no, it wasn't that hard, but it was, the city of San Diego hadn't, did not have a civil disobedience unit like many other large cities did. And this was in the 70s where a lot of protests were going on. So when we went down to, to get a permit, and I had, I'm a San Diego native, but I had been living in Philadelphia and, and had worked on a parade there and they had, you know, whole civil disobedience department, but they didn't have anything like that here in San Diego.

Speaker 1: 01:46 And so we went down there and they were looked a little confused and we told them we wanted to have this March and they, uh, they finally figured it out and we ha we got on a permit now 75 was a few years after the stonewall ride in new, yeah, yeah. Was 69 with a run now, where were you back in 69. And what was your reaction when you heard about the uprising? Well, I was actually still living in San Diego. I moved to Philadelphia in 1970. I don't think I really heard much about it here on San Diego. But when I got to Philadelphia, which was closer to New York, and that was also part of my political coming out, I started going to some, um, LGBT classes and met Barbara getting, so there's a nationally known leader and some people from New York came down and said, you know what, we need to have these marches in all major cities.

Speaker 1: 02:33 So [inaudible] people in Philadelphia have to have a march. We said a lot. So I was involved in the planning of the first march in 72 and Philadelphia and, uh, we, uh, March down broad street and down to the Independence Square and we had a about five or 600 people. So that was, that was sort of my direct relationship to, to stonewall. Um, that my first experience and I, as I say, was really out more as an activist at that time. Now, what was the atmosphere like back then here in San Diego for the people organizing and participating in San Diego Pride and I'm going to 1975, 76, that kind of, well, a lot of people thought we were crazy, that we were going to be out in public. San Diego has at least at that in that time period had a reputation of being a very conservative city and they just, people were all worried about their jobs and things like that.

Speaker 1: 03:26 And, uh, I was working at the center at the time, so I didn't have to worry about my job, but, uh, you know, so trying to get people, first of all to get the information out. We didn't have, we tried to do it by radio and TV and nobody would interview us. So we had to do it primarily by word of mouth, going out to the bars and other gatherings, places with, with flyers and talking to people. And, uh, most of them looked at us like, you gotta be kidding, I'm not gonna walk down Broadway Street. So, um, uh, but we did manage to get, oh, I would say upwards of 200 to 300 people. Now was there a backlash? No, I don't, I don't recall that there was any, any strong backlash. Um, people on the Saul's coming down Broadway were kind of, I dunno, amused or, you know, they, they had never seen such a thing and it wasn't like a, you know, like you have today with cars and floats and all that.

Speaker 1: 04:22 It was just a group of people walking down the street with the signs, handmade signs. And so some people cheer this Mo and most people just kind of looked and stared and seemed a little surprised. Now, now, nowadays San Diego Pride is one of the biggest events in San Diego of the year. When did things start to turn around with the larger community supporting the parade? It was sort of a gradual thing. It's hard to pinpoint one particular year, uh, but just each year it got bigger and better and uh, uh, bell ballpark had a, some revisions going on and they, because of a rock and roll race and everything, they didn't want to have a lot of things going on in the summertime in the park. So they have a moratorium now that goes from a Morial date, uh, to, um, labor day that no, no, no new events can happen and uh, and no large events can happen and three groups were grandfathered in and one of them.

Speaker 1: 05:18 So that shows you that we had been gaining some, uh, credibility. Now as the pride festival has grown and grown, are you concerned about any aspect of that growth? For example, activists in New York? I have complained that all the corporate sponsors for pride are diluting the real message of the parade and festival. Well, I think that's a problem across the country with the sort of the corporate influence. But I don't think we've had that difficult to hear in San Diego yet. And we might. But, uh, we have regulations about what kind of corporate person can, uh, be in the parade. They have to be a company that gives back to the, for instance, Qualcomm, uh, donates money all year long to, uh, very to the center and various other activities. So, and they have a huge gay and lesbian organization within their own company. So, you know, we don't, we don't let people in just because they're going to sell something.

Speaker 1: 06:16 But, uh, you know, I personally feel that if there are, uh, a company that supports our goals and, and is willing to back that up with financial contributions, then I think they, they should be allowed to march. But we don't, we don't allow them to do advertising, you know? I mean, it's not like a promotional thing for them. Now. The LGBTQ community has had so many successes in recent years from same sex marriage rights to a major presidential candidate now who is openly gay with all those gains. Why is it important for private events to continue? Well, uh, you know, why is it important to have Columbus Day parade? Why is it important for the St Patrick's Day? I mean, it's a celebration. It's a, you know, it's become a big weekend of fun and celebration as well as, uh, it has a political side to it. Uh, we, we are going to be, uh, highlighting the fact that the government will not allow transgender people in the military. So that's, there are still issues that we have political issues that we have to address. Uh, and not as maybe as not as many before, but uh, certainly there are things that we try to educate people about. I've been speaking with Jerry deal, no, one of the community grand marshals for this year's pride parade. Jerry, thank you so much. Oh, you're welcome. San Diego Pride officially kicks off tomorrow at six with the spirit of stonewall rally in Hillcrest. The San Diego Pride Parade is on Saturday, beginning at 10 for more information about pride events, you can visit

Speaker 1: 00:00 Violins, trumpets, guitars. Those are the traditional sounds of Mariachi, along with songs about love and heartbreak. Now, Amanda in Los Angeles is creating a space for Queer Mariachi musicians. USC students reporter, Hey Zeus Alvarado has the story.

Speaker 2: 00:18 How you're holding you back is fine though. [inaudible] it's time for rehearsal. Samaniego is Sunni has violin. He's in the living room of a friend's house and he stole Ley. He's bringing chatroll pants. The slick black hair is partly to the side and on top of it it's a velvet sombrero.

Speaker 3: 00:41 [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 00:42 Carlos is the director of Mariachi at Queens or Los Angeles or Mariachi Rainbow, the first of its kind and the world.

Speaker 4: 00:53 [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 00:54 said, oh, wouldn't it be cool if it was like an old game? I'd let you go. Can you do that? So then I said, oh crap, what did I just say? Goggles grew up in Lausanne. Hillis surrounded by Mariachi music. He listened to hit artists like new Chavaya, one guardian and Roseo. Dorika

Speaker 4: 01:17 [inaudible].

Speaker 2: 01:19 He also

Speaker 1: 01:19 grew up a closeted gay teenager in the nineties I take pride in kind of kicking him out of the closet. Yeah,

Speaker 2: 01:26 that's his best friend Natalia Melendez. She's tall, has blonde hair and he Colgate welcoming smile.

Speaker 1: 01:32 I think it's important for everybody in this role to have an ally, whether it be family or friends.

Speaker 2: 01:37 Natalia mccardles when they were teenagers and they both played music with Mariachi was in Mexico. She helped him come to terms with his sexuality. She was on her own journey as a trans woman. Eventually goggles went off to cal state la where he invited Natalia to help plan the campuses annual pride event. One of the events was going to be a mock wedding in protest to the fact that same sex marriage was illegal. They all knew that I played Mariachi and they said, why don't we get Mig since this is a very Latino campus, Mariachi is always at a wedding. In fact, the idea of an awkward Mariachi band caught the attention of the manager of club Demple, a gay Latino Club in Hollywood.

Speaker 4: 02:22 [inaudible].

Speaker 2: 02:22 He offered us a job, buy it on the spot, so then we continued having my dad Sciatica Edis. After that for a few months, I was really young and inexperienced and as a director, so it died out after, after a few months at the time, goggles in Italian thought Madea chat. Could we decide to come to an end? They both graduated college. Natalia went to work in a lab drawing blood samples, warn the auto

Speaker 5: 02:50 [inaudible] does he eat it?

Speaker 2: 02:53 Got Lost on the other hand, moved to Italy and pursued a career as an opera singer. Then to New York. He played the violin with other Mariachi bands, but they didn't approve of him being out as a gay man. The mariachi world is very much east a, our Mexican culture is very much Easter. You'll always hear comments like, Oh, you know that don't be a fag, or did you see that queer over there? I felt like, well then I can't come out to them, but I also felt like it was unfair, you know, because they can talk about their girlfriends or about their wives. That's the exact feeling that inspired Carlos to find his own tribe and recreate Mariachi, ATPCO Edis in 2014 after settling back in La, I needed to have a safe place for Mariachi musicians that identify as LGBTQ plus to come together and rehearse and perform our music that we so much love, which is Mariachi music. What? Free of discrimination? Free of bullying, free of being made fun of you can be who you are. Here in this group. The group is open to anyone. [inaudible] not done yet. Performing at club temple. She's the first person gallows asked to join the rebirth of Maria [inaudible] today. She's the first transgender musician in Mariachi history. It's like an outer body

Speaker 1: 04:06 filling for me and I take it so strongly and it just feels beyond me at times. I love my music. I love what I do. I'm trying to be a good role model and just to know that I can give that to somebody. It means the world to me.

Speaker 2: 04:21 She gets messages from LGBTQ people living in rural Mexico who listened to her story and music on Youtube.

Speaker 1: 04:28 He quando [inaudible], Joe [inaudible], Joe [inaudible].

Speaker 2: 04:35 People write and to tell her how much it means to them that a transgender woman can represent their community through her passion for music.

Speaker 1: 04:42 If we can transcend to Mexico and we can have that affect on people over there, regardless if we don't live in Mexico, it's allowing them to know. It's just giving them that little oomph of, hey, maybe I can do it. Maybe there's hope.

Speaker 2: 04:56 Oh, you're [inaudible] Mario. We did started out with only five musicians, including Carlos and [inaudible], but it's now expanded to 11 all of them queer la natives of Mexican descent. They recently put out their first album. [inaudible] Carlos wants to take it a step further. I want our Mariachi GD international, you know, I want us to go and travel the world and perform everywhere and be on the same level as in terms of getting the shows that these big mariachis gets is gonna get [inaudible] competitors because we're of that caliber, we still need to be more accepted within the [inaudible] achieve world. But before they hit the international stage, Mario, chuck, we, these will continue to play every Sunday night at club tempo. When it all started as well as summer pride, festivities. NLA I'm missile Salvato and Los Angeles.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.