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Child Separation, Affordable Housing Policy Update, Hate Crimes Rising

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Despite a court order to largely curtail the practice, the ACLU says 911 children were taken from their families since June 2018. In a move to spur more affordable housing, the San Diego City Council on Tuesday narrowly voted to change the city’s “inclusionary housing” policy. Plus, nationally hate crimes rose 9% in 2018, the steepest rise since 2015 but San Diego “bucked the trend.” For thousands of years, the San Diego region has drawn people searching for wellness. A spa owner and San Diego boosters explain why the allure remains today. And it’s 92 days until Halloween. One sign that Halloween season is in full swing is the arrival of Midsummer Scream, a Halloween and haunt convention in Long Beach.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 In the last year, 911 more immigrant children have been separated from their parents by authorities at the US. Mexico border. Federal Judge Dana Sobre in San Diego ordered the government to end most child separations in June, 2018 since that time, the HCLU says the practice has continued and often for only minor offenses and miscommunications with parents. Here's ACO, you attorney legal learnt, you know for every type of criminal offense the criminal justice system punishes you, but we don't take away your children for offenses like that. I mean, can you imagine how many Americans would lose their children if a traffic offense or a disorderly conduct or a misdemeanor theft defense was, was it basis for taking away your child? ACLU attorneys are now asking judges abroad to clarify when the government is allowed to separate children from their parents at the border. Joining me by Skype is Elliot's Bagot San Diego correspondent for the Associated Press and he's been covering this story. Elliot, welcome warding marine. We just heard from the ACLU attorney that there are a number of different reasons like traffic offenses, et Cetera, that are causing children to be separated from their parents at the border. What are the reasons that border agents are still giving for separating kids from their parents?

Speaker 2: 01:22 Well, if these 911 children that were separated from June 26 2018 to June 29th of this year, uh, about two thirds, 678 to be exact, where for criminal criminal wrongdoing and it's very vague what those offenses are. Some of them are really minor. One of them, for example, was a, a damage to a property, uh, that that is valued at $5. Um, others, uh, you know, 300 of these 678 criminal violations were immigration violations. The rest were immigrations with some, some combination of, of a crime, but it's really unclear based on the filing. You know, what those crimes are. Again, some of them appear to be pretty minor, uh, there, uh, traffic offenses. In some cases there's DUI, there's other, other crimes that, that um, that, that seemed pretty surprising for. Is there a reason, reason to separate

Speaker 1: 02:13 now judge Roz order was meant to stop immigrant family separations at the border except in limited instances. What were those instances? According to the judge's ruling?

Speaker 2: 02:26 You know, I forget the exact wording, but what they, what they did basically it's the same as under Obama when a, when a parent has a serious criminal record, when there's doubt about whether the person is, is really the parent. When there's some question about child safety, it could be that the child is in danger of, of being ill or, or being harmed for some reason it's a little, there's a little bit of wiggle room in there, but uh, it has to be something serious.

Speaker 1: 02:50 And what can you tell us about the children who've been separated from their parents, their ages and so forth?

Speaker 2: 02:56 About half of them have more than half are under 10 years old. So that's a 481 children. And then at 20% 185 of them are under five years old. And then there were a number of a, there's a lot of anecdotal examples. This is a 218 page court filing. Uh, the, the most interesting part was this, this analysis that one of the ACL use data subspecialists did. And uh, there were a number of babies, two year olds, one years old, one year olds. Those, uh, examples of the, if those cases,

Speaker 1: 03:28 how did the ACLU come to have this information?

Speaker 2: 03:31 So there's really, you know, this is a long going case as your listeners know, there's really three buckets if you will, of three stages of the family separation. Uh, one was the, the we all know about was the 2,800, roughly 28 kids who were separated, uh, and in government custody as of June 26, 2018 when judge sobriety issued his order to generally help the practice, most of those kids, nearly all of them are reunified. Um, then we learned in July that there were, that this practice, unbeknownst to the public was happening way back and going back to July, 2017 and we still don't know how many kids were separated then. Um, the government, the, uh, internal government watchdog says it's in the thousands. Uh, so far as of last month, they had confirmed a 791, just shy of 800. Uh, and, and it's just, they're in the process of identifying them.

Speaker 2: 04:24 At that point there was really no tracking systems, so a very, very inadequate tracking system. So it's really, a lot of them are probably back with their parents or, or with close relatives, but we just don't know. They haven't, you know, 800 had been identified, but there's more out there that they're chill trying to identify. And then there's this, this new group that we first learned about yesterday, the ones who are separated after judge surprise order of June, 2018. And you know, the, the, the, the government has been under court order to provide information to the ACU. They've been doing it every month. I think about 150 200 names a month, but this is really, this court filing. Yesterday was the first time we got, you know, a really, really in depth look at who these kids are, these 900 plus

Speaker 1: 05:07 speaking about these new separations. Do we know details about where the separations took place at the San Diego Mexican border?

Speaker 2: 05:16 I did not see any breakdown of that like that on that, on that level. But you know, it's safe to say that most of them occurred in Texas, in Rio Grande Valley and an El Paso just because that's where most of the of the of the people are crossing. But I'm sure that there were some in San Diego and some in Arizona and some in Calexico. Uh, they've been, there is a seat. We can get somewhat of a sense of where the kids have gone. About. A third of them were, uh, sent to Catholic charities of New York. The goes about 300, eight of the 991. The rest are, are just sent. There's a fair amount too, a in southern California in Chicago. I'll really all over the country.

Speaker 1: 05:56 Now. The ACLU filed that motion in court yesterday asking to block the Trump administration from continuing family separations, or at least delineate those specifically those reasons why families can be separated, if at all. When might we hear more from Judge Sabra?

Speaker 2: 06:17 You know, he's tended to move very quickly. We, they know this, this filing was just made yesterday. The ASLU asks for an in person hearing to discuss this, so we're all kind of just waiting to see what the judge, how the judge responds. I'm sure there'd probably be a, maybe who will ask the government to issue a, to, to file some kind of briefing and response. And then we'll have a hearing, maybe, I'm guessing was sometime over the next few weeks.

Speaker 1: 06:40 I've been joined by Elliot [inaudible]. He's the San Diego correspondent for the Associated Press and Elliot, thank you very much. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 06:55 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego City Council members voted on Tuesday to approve a change in the city's housing policy to make developers pay a larger share of the cost of providing affordable housing in San Diego. The proposal by council member Georgette Gomez nearly doubles the fees developers pay to avoid including low income homes in their projects and mandates. The developers who build affordable units reserve them for lower income households and charge lower rents. Joining me is Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew, welcome. Thanks jade. So tell us about the new rules for developers. What's the change?

Speaker 2: 00:36 Well, you kind of gave a brief overview of it already. The city already does have an inclusionary housing policy. This is again called inclusionary housing because you're including, or you're aiming to include low income housing with a market rate housing. So right now most developers have two options. They can either set aside 10% of the units in their project for low income households or they can pay a fee and that that fee subsidizes affordable housing elsewhere in the city. The change, as you mentioned, is to raise the fees. So it's currently a little over $12, and this would be phased up over three years to $22. And also the 10% set aside for affordable units, targets, uh, lower income groups. So that would mean that developers would have to charge those families or households, slightly cheaper rents making less back in revenue. And thus that the developers are putting in a greater subsidy for affordable housing. It also introduces some new options for developers to comply with this rule. So you could donate land to be dedicated for affordable housing elsewhere or sometime in the future you could rehab, Rehab, existing housing and, and make it a rent restricted for affordable units. So there are several things in this proposal. Um, some were, uh, kind of, uh, developers were okay with other things. They weren't.

Speaker 1: 01:53 Um, this bill is from council woman, Georgette Gomez. Here's what she told you about her bill. But I do believe right now that what I'm proposing is something that aid's not going to kill the market. Uh, and B, it's, it's responsive to the crisis. So, so Andrew, what is she saying in terms of her, the response that she's received from developers?

Speaker 2: 02:15 So there was a coalition of groups, the including the Building Industry Association, the Regional Chamber of Commerce that did engage with uh, Gomez through a six month outreach process. She held meetings, uh, trying to get some feedback on our proposal and some of their suggestions were actually incorporated into her final proposal. Ultimately, some of them were saying that at the council meeting said this is simply the wrong approach and they would not, uh, you know, they didn't like it at all. Others said that they could live with maybe some changes, uh, to the inclusionary policy. But Gomez proposal went too far. Gomez, his response was effectively, we've already moved to this proposal much closer to the center. We've made compromises with developers and this is my final offer and you can take it or leave it. And you talked with architect, developer, Barry Varo about the plan. Here's what he had to say.

Speaker 3: 03:04 Perhaps some of the bigger developers are going to choose to go elsewhere. I think that a carrot is far more effective than a stick. So yeah, I think we could be looking at ways to incentivize more development, more affordable development rather than penalizing someone for not doing the type of development that we need.

Speaker 2: 03:26 And what do housing advocates say about this? Bill Progressive's, uh, say that it's reasonable. It doesn't, uh, unduly burden a market rate developers and that it simply won't kill the housing market. They point to a study that a consultant provided, or was that was hired by Gomez office completed. And that study found that most projects in the city could absorb the added costs of this new policy without getting totally derailed. A council member, Chris Ward, as spoke during the meeting, he acknowledged that this policy is not free. We're not just getting, you know, unlimited amounts of money from a developers. The city is asking them to pay more, but he said that the market has already been asking low income households to pay far more than they can afford. And that that has to change. It's time for the city to step up and say, well, this is what we're going to prioritize.

Speaker 2: 04:18 And to developers you're just going to have to pay a little bit more. And how did the vote go? Any surprises? Passionate speeches. There were not a whole lot of surprises. Ultimately it was a five four vote. I would say the biggest surprise or not necessarily surprise, but um, the most noteworthy vote on the council was Vivian Moreno. So she represents district eight which includes Barrio Logan, Logan heights, Sherman Heights, and she a was the only Democrat to vote no, she basically was sympathetic to the concerns from developers that adding extra costs to building will do more harm than good. It would chill the market and the cost of complying with a stricter policy will ultimately be passed onto to renters and home buyers in the middle income households that the market is also not serving right now. Um, her vote, her, her no vote is extremely significant because mayor Kevin Faulconer is under pressure already from supporters in the building industry and his allies on the city council to veto this proposal and the council, if they want to override that veto would need six votes.

Speaker 2: 05:18 So someone is going to have to change their mind if that veto does actually happen. Gomez will have to offer some kind of amendment to convince either a Vivian Moreno or someone else on the council to get onboard. And from what you know, is this rule change likely to result in more affordable housing? Uh, Gosh, if I knew that I would be making a lot more money than I do now. The, the, the bottom line is I don't think anyone knows for certain, um, other cities have changed their inclusionary housing requirements and they have seen very negative outcomes. San Francisco is an example that a lot of developers point to. Um, you know, if you, if you add so much to the building of market rate housing, then that market rate housing simply won't get built. And when market rate housing doesn't get built, then you also lose affordable housing dollars that then support, you know, the, the construction of below market rate or affordable housing.

Speaker 2: 06:13 So will this higher fee make up for, for those, you know, any chilling of the market? Um, some very smart people disagree and they have a evidence to point to their side that supports their conclusions. So I think that ultimately, if this proposal does become law in the city, we'll have to wait and see. So what do you think the mayor will do? Yeah. You know, he, he's been pretty quiet on this proposal. He's been part of the negotiations from the beginning, essentially, or his office has. So if, if he vetoes it, I would expect we would hear about that in the next couple of days. Um, hard to predict. I've been speaking with KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew, thank you so much. Thank you, jade.

Speaker 4: 06:56 Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:00 A new report from the center for the study of hate and extremism at California State University. San Bernardino shows hate crime is up in 30 cities across the country here to talk about what's driving it and how it can be stopped. His director, Brian Blevin. Brian, welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:17 Thank you so much for having me. Jade.

Speaker 1: 00:19 So we know there's been a steady increase in hate crime, but what did this recent report reveal? How big is the increase in, how was how to San Diego a factor into all that?

Speaker 2: 00:29 Well, San Diego bucked the trend. It was unchanged with with 41 hate crimes lives. Let's just a concert in San Diego just for a second cause it's a city that we look at quite a bit. Race or ethnicity. We're responsible for 22 of the hate crimes who San Diego followed by sexual orientation at 14 and anti-religion at six and again, San Diego, interestingly enough, was flat. We fled to pretty much the rest of the state because California as a whole in 2018 was actually down slightly. But the attorney general's numbers, I don't really capture some of the outlying areas that haven't been participating enough. And it also did not include three homicides or which took place in Orange County and La County. Now nationally, this 9% increase, again, deepest rise since 2015 and if it translates into the FBI's national data, which it may not, I think the trend May, but not necessarily the, the rate of increase. If it did though, and we're not saying it is, but if it did, it would be the worst year since 2001 which was a record year for hate crime. Obviously the terror attacks

Speaker 1: 01:43 just this past weekend, the mass shooting in Gilroy that left three people dead and it doesn't injured, may have been connected to white supremacy. That report says that while told the total number of extremist homicides decreased, a white supremacist homicides increased. Can you explain that?

Speaker 2: 02:00 Yeah, absolutely. We saw a cratering, uh, in violent Salafist Jihad as killings. There was only one last year and it was by a young person who was a congregation who stabbed somebody. In the meantime, we saw white nationalists homicides and we specifically curate to those that are motivated not a crime by a white nationalists or white supremacists, but one is motivated by, it jumped from 13 in 2017 to 17 in 2018 and there were, there were, uh, about 22 homicides nationally. Interestingly enough, the majority of these homicides took place around election time. Uh, so, so that's something as well. And we had the worst act of antisemitic mass murder there was targeted to Jews leaving out nine 11, uh, uh, with, with respect to the, uh, the attack of tree of life. Even, even as we see hate crimes gets Muslims, instance go down. And even the, uh, the ADL in their study showed that, uh, antisemitic instance went down largely because of that 150, some odd, uh, bomb threats that took place from one to Salem. The violence associated with religion based hate crimes is still high. What do I mean? Even with the declines anti Muslim in 2017 nationally according to the FBI had more assaults and even with the decline in assault than he did in 2001 and antisemetic uh, even though ADL showed a decrease compared to our are increased, now they're decreasing includes incidents that aren't crimes. So there's a little bit of a difference there. But bottom line is we both have our studies show an increase in violence and that's something that's scary.

Speaker 1: 03:46 You mentioned a divisive election season, you know, you predict this trend will continue. Why and how can it be stopped?

Speaker 2: 03:55 We need leaders to tone it down and we've clearly seen, listen to this, when Bush spoke six days after nine 11, if Islamic senator DC about tolerance to people who harass Muslims should be ashamed themselves. He crimes dropped by two thirds the next day and two thirds of next year. However, when, when, uh, candidate Trump spoke about the Muslim ban proposal that month for anti Muslim hate crimes was the, was the third worst. You only have to go back to the nine 11 time. So I think we have to tone it down. And I think what we're seeing is flashing yellow whites, international conflicts, a polarized political season as well as demographic changes, particularly with young people. You're talking about. We had two 19 year olds in California who appear to be influenced by a, by hate on the Internet. So what we're seeing is even though hate groups have imploded, you're inspiring people because of the web presence. And there's a 24 hour hate rally and bookstore available on an on a mat, and we think that have influenced these younger people.

Speaker 1: 04:57 I've been speaking with the director of the Center for the study of hate and extremism, Brian Levin. Brian, thank you so much for joining us,

Speaker 2: 05:04 jade. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The San Diego Association of governments has been working to rebuild credibility since a scandal that broke out in 2016 the regional planning agency got a new executive director, has sonic grata and state lawmakers reform the agency's governing structure. They also created a new position, independent performance auditor, KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen sat down with a woman hired for the job to talk about how she'll approach her position.

Speaker 2: 00:30 Mary coach mass. Rob, thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you. So you were hired in February after a pretty long recruitment process. What have you been up to since

Speaker 3: 00:38 she started? Oh, my actual start date was April. So it took a little time for me to get 'em acclimated and move to San Diego from Sacramento, but I've been up to a lot. Part of the responsibilities of an auditor when they take on a new organization, especially one that has not had the position previously, is to really gain an understanding of the organization and perform a risk assessment. So that's really what I've been doing along with creating some policies that will be coming to the board shortly. That will bring some accountability and transparency to the agency. Uh, working on my two year audit plan says a where is the risk at that I can see thus far. And uh, really just getting into the habit or the environment and getting to understand it.

Speaker 2: 01:21 Your position was created after SANDAG went through a scandal and that involved revenue forecasting, but your position now really goes beyond just finances. You're also asked to look at program effectiveness management structure is really the fundamental issues of this organization. Where do you start?

Speaker 3: 01:40 Absolutely. And that's where the risk assessment comes in. And you're right, it's kind of like a, a big bundle of, okay, now, now what? Right. And so though there's a lot of external auditors that look at SANDAG and they look at the fiscal aspects of it and pieces of it. And then we do have an internal auditor here at SANDAG, uh, that looks at the internal controls and compliance and performance types. But my job really is to look at the riskiest of those areas and fill in the gaps where, uh, external auditors and the internal auditors are not looking at or considering. And there are a lot of risk and as a result of a lot of missed forecast revenues and such, that in itself is a big risk moving forward. We have a lot of unknowns, right? We have the five big moves that are kind of unknown and there's an unknown price tag to that. So me and Hassan have been working closely and needless to say, I'll be on him the whole step of the way to make sure that those projections and forecasts are more accurate and have really considered everything that we possibly can consider. So we're on target a little bit better.

Speaker 2: 02:48 You brought up the five big moves. Now this is sand x framework for the next regional transportation plan. And there's a really, um, strong debate going on right now at the board, a about what the future of transportation in this county should be, should SANDAG continue with freeway expansion projects, should it shift focus and invest more in public transit. Now that's a policy debate, but there are also some risks involved with, with both paths. So tell me just, do you see it as your job to get involved in that?

Speaker 3: 03:18 Absolutely. And I'm at every board meeting listening to those debates, I pull up every article that has Sohn participates in, in that all the board members are participating in. Cause I want to again, learn all those perspectives, understand all those perspectives and then also learning myself, gaining understanding myself. Uh, but the nice thing is I don't have to get into the politics of it. I don't have to get into the, uh, the, okay, here's what we're gonna do with the money of it. It's really just me providing additional information for decision makers, right. And helping them identify their risk and helping them and making recommendations for them to mitigate those risks.

Speaker 2: 03:55 What makes a good auditor?

Speaker 3: 03:57 Ah, integrity. Um, a willingness to really not back down as long as it's supported. Um, you have to be unbiased. It's not about personal, it's not about an opinion unless it's a professional opinion, which should be based on facts and evidence. Um, so I think just the willingness to look from both perspectives that have an auditor, um, that is management, but also that of the public.

Speaker 2: 04:23 Well, Mary, coach, Mash. Rob, thank you so much for speaking with.

Speaker 3: 04:25 You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego has attracted health seekers for generations. People lured by the sun and coastline as part of the California dream. Collaboration. KPBS is a Meta Sharma looks at how that promise continues to shape the city.

Speaker 2: 00:15 The San Diego Tourism Authority leans in to San Diego's reputation as a place to [inaudible].

Speaker 3: 00:20 I feel great today

Speaker 2: 00:28 in an ad. People play on the beach. They surf kids frolic, they hit volleyballs. The promos as communications director Candace Eley taps into the fundamental Akil at San Diego. She calls it Sun Vibes. They get this good vibe, this good healthy feeling. When they're here. They feel like they're their best self when they're here. 35 million tourists come to San Diego each year. They spent more than $11 billion in 2018 as they walk outside of the airport, they just say they feel a difference in the air. This is tourism authority. Chief operating officer carry Verbeck cabbage. They actually say it makes them feel better in different immediately upon coming into the city and in spite of rising housing costs, people keep coming. My Los Angeles County lost people last year. San Diego County added nearly 18,000 to its population in 2018

Speaker 4: 01:25 I think it's natural. Beauty is the main thing right away and then I think everything is sort of surrounded by the sun and the weather and the coastline.

Speaker 2: 01:37 That's real estate agent Joe for Raj at the beach in del Mar. He says many home buyers he works with come for the promise of the San Diego lifestyle

Speaker 4: 01:46 that is really appealing to people. And then when you come here and you experience it, you'll see people you know doing paddle board Yoga, you'll see people surfing.

Speaker 2: 01:58 You can tell he's made this pitch before.

Speaker 4: 02:00 See people kayaking. There's so many things to do or you can just see them meditating. It really inspires people

Speaker 2: 02:09 and the appeal has helped health resorts thrive in the region

Speaker 4: 02:13 with the first fitness spot in the world where the original one, and we have had all kinds of wars as the best in the world.

Speaker 2: 02:23 That's Deborah Zay, Kate. She and her husband Admin started Rancho Libretto ted back in 1940 in nearby to Cottey Mexico in the 1950s they opened the golden door spa in San Diego County. Both still operate today. Deborah credits the beauty, the sea, the climate, but there's something else she can't name.

Speaker 4: 02:44 I wish I knew. It just is. But the Indians, you know who settled here, had quite a high degree of culture and had the sense to pickets. So I mean, it's always been a place of t people select

Speaker 1: 03:04 in San Diego. I'm, I'm Etha Sharma and this story is part of our California dream collaboration. It's the last of a three part series on how San Diego developed a reputation as a place where people go to feel good and healthy. You can read, watch, and listen to the complete series@kpbs.org

Speaker 5: 03:33 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 It is 92 days till Halloween. And we know this because KPBS arts reporter Beth OCHA, Mondo is counting down to her favorite holiday. One sign that Halloween season is in full swing is the arrival of midsummer scream, a Halloween and hot haunt convention in Long Beach. Beth speaks with event organizers, David Markland and Claire Dunlap about what to expect from a convention devoted to thrills and chills.

Speaker 2: 00:30 David, you are about to have the fourth midsummer scream convention. Just before we start talking about your show, I want to ask you what you think about this petition that has started that would like to move Halloween to the last Saturday of the month. Are you in favor of this?

Speaker 3: 00:48 No. No. I mean the, the fun of Halloween is, you know, I remember sometimes it'd be on a school day, sometimes it'd be on a weekend. Yeah. It sort of kept or used a little interesting mix things up a bit. How Aileen, you know, I, I don't think it's the kind of holiday you try to sanitize. It's the one taboo holiday out there and trying to like make it safer. Um, it's already a safe holiday. You know, it has a perception of being unsafe, but it's moving it to a weekend to make it more convenient. No, let's uh, let's keep it October 31st.

Speaker 2: 01:17 All right. I happen to agree with you on that. I think it should be left as it is now midsummer screen for some people kind of announces like we are now getting serious about entering the Halloween season. So for people who may not be familiar with your convention, what can you find there?

Speaker 3: 01:33 It's an event made for people who love Halloween, whatever that may mean. We have a dozen haunted houses set up for people who want to get, you know, get a little scared pretty early. We have all of the major theme parks from around southern California coming and doing a presentation about what they have planned for this year. Like Halloween horror nights we believe is gonna reveal what one of the themes of their mazes are and a lot of different talks on different topics around a whore. We have one on a going to talk about mental illness and whore. Two people talking about creating different TV shows for people who like Halloween or spooky things that range from just being a little eerie to full on bloody horror horror type stuff. Plus we have, you know, 350 vendors selling decor tee shirts, props, promoting their own projects all across this giant show floor.

Speaker 2: 02:23 And it seems like Halloween has taken off in the past, maybe like five to 10 years in terms of people really wanting to do home haunts or decorating their house to a higher degree than it used to be, say 10 years ago. Have you seen that as a change that's been happening?

Speaker 3: 02:42 Yeah, that seems to have definitely spiked over the past 10 years with, um, I think it may be partly the advent of Youtube and people being able to share skills plus getting excited to see what people are doing across the country and just getting excited with the whole idea. I think that's probably one of the biggest impacts on the holiday.

Speaker 2: 02:59 And what

Speaker 3: 03:00 led you to want to create a Halloween convention and think that it was something that could actually be popular and grow? Um, it's my favorite holiday and, um, you know, I was at, at the time I started doing this or you had a blog called creepy la and I was just talking all about Halloween or spooky things happening in the La area and it seemed, and it was also producing events at the same time. And so it seemed to lend itself as a good theme for doing an event. And there's nothing else really like it where people could go just to meet and mix and mingle, um, around a common, uh, loving interest in this massive event or massive holiday called Halloween.

Speaker 2: 03:42 Now, Claire, you were in on this at ground zero and have been with the Convention for four years. David mentioned that there are hundreds of vendors there, so can you give people a feel for like what kind of things they can find there? What's the kind of diversity or expansive of Halloween items you can get?

Speaker 3: 04:01 Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have anything from doggy clothes to baby clothes to adult clothing, all hollering Halloween inspired. We, there's also a plethora of different artists that come and give their different variations where you can buy prints, for example, original prints, all Halloween inspired, some horror inspired. We'll have mask vendors, people that where you can go and purchase masks. There are also handbags, jewelry, everything that you can think of that you would possibly want to purchase. You can most likely purchase with a Halloween theme at mid summer scream through our vendors. There's also, you know, people that are selling props, things that you can decorate your home with. I mean truly everything. We're also going to have a tattoo vendor this year. So if you want to get a Halloween inspired tattoo, there's really, really, I mean, everything you can think of, it's pretty bad test.

Speaker 2: 05:00 Well, I have to say I'm a home hunter and uh, I have been depending on midsummer screen for I think the past three years to find some big prop items. I did a Cathol lose haunted house where I found a vendor who had absolutely fabulous tentacles. So, um, cool. So do you see that there are a lot more people that are kind of coming there to kind of up their game on haunted houses or just decorating their homes?

Speaker 3: 05:31 Absolutely. I think there's definitely a draw for people who are looking to get more involved in the Halloween aspect, but we also have in terms of whether that be decorating their home or decorating their bodies really. So we have people looking for costumes, we have people looking for home decor a, the thing about our audience is very often it's not just for Halloween. People live Halloween as a lifestyle, you know, as we all do to a certain degree, you know, I mean obviously one of the things that David and I have in common is our love for Halloween and the holiday. And by the way, I need to put my 2 cents in on that moving today. It must stay on the 31st none of this, none of this trying to move it if they want to move Halloween and tell them to try to move Christmas to you. That's what I say.

Speaker 2: 06:22 And you mentioned that there are panels. What kind of topics do you feel that you need to cover in this? And Are you there to help the person who wants to create the great costume or create a better haunted house or no legal issues about opening your home?

Speaker 3: 06:40 Yeah. Hey, you know, it varies. It varies from year to year what type of content we have in regards to panels and classrooms. So this year we do have, we have a psychologist talking on the psychology of fear type thing, which is an interesting, I think on some level everybody enjoys being scared as long as it's there being scared in a safe environment, you know, we all have a side of ourselves that is that dark side and Halloween and horror are ways that we can express and experience those things while staying.

Speaker 2: 07:16 Great. So when you first started this, did you have any sense of how popular it would become? Cause you have expanded each year, haven't you?

Speaker 3: 07:26 We have, I mean a, the first year of midsummer screen we had 8,000 people throughout the weekend. And I think this year we're expecting 30,000 people. And, uh, to answer, no, I had no idea. Like I, I knew there was an audience for it and that's why we did it. But every year, uh, seeing it grow is always, um, a nice surprise. You know, one thing you know, we make an effort to do is to try to find the people who are not just directly involved in necessarily horror, but maybe they have an interest in makeup effects or maybe they are DIY people who are excited that they can use those DIY type skills to do something different and neat to people who like, you know, heavy metal who typically may not think that at work convention or a Halloween Convention would be their thing. But we try to find a way to bring all these people in and to build this general community around Halloween.

Speaker 2: 08:16 That was Beth Armando speaking with the midsummer scream organizers. David, Mark Lynn and Claire Dunlap. The Halloween convention takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Long Beach Convention Center.

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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.