Gun Storage, ‘YIGBY,’ Kamala Harris’ Record
KPBS Midday Edition / June 5, 2019
A San Diego city Council committee approved a proposal requiring residents to securely store their guns. Also, “Yes In God’s Backyard” proponents want to put affordable housing on religious land, a San Quentin cooking class serves up the chance for a better future after release, questions raised about Sen. Kamala Harris’ criminal justice record and crime writer James Ellroy on his new book, “This Storm.”
Speaker 1: 00:00 A new gun safety proposal from the San Diego City Attorney's office is moving to the full city council. It was approved by the public safety committee this morning on a two to one vote. The Safe Storage of firearms ordinances aimed at reducing the number of suicides and accidental shootings in the home. It would require that department of Justice approved safety devices, which are included with gun sales in California be used in the home. Joining us is San Diego city attorney Mara Elliot, and welcome to the program. Thank you. What kinds of safety devices does this ordinance mandate and how would they be used? It would mandate either the use of it trigger lock or have a safe, and as you just mentioned, since 2002 when one would purchase a new firearm in the state of California, you're required to, you get with it, the firearm lock anyway. So what we're requiring is that it actually be used because the data supports that using safe storage mechanisms reduces harm to our children, reduces harms to our communities.
Speaker 1: 01:05 These safety precautions would be required in the home. So how would they be enforced by the city? Well, this is a proactive educational effort and I think there might possibly be a misconception that law enforcement will be knocking on doors and checking homes to make sure that people are properly storing their firearms and that is not the case. We equate this to what happened with seatbelts back in the 1980s when the regulations took effect and very few people about 25% we're actually using seat belts back then but with the educational effort in the laws in place, people became cognizant of the need to use the safety device and now most people use seat belts but nobody was being pulled over because they didn't have a seatbelt on. They were being pulled over for something else, like they were speeding or breaking a traffic law. So this is somewhat similar in that officers are not going to knock on doors to check.
Speaker 1: 02:02 What they will be doing is there are jobs which is responding to crimes that happen at home and if they observe that there is a firearm that has not been properly secured under the local ordinance, then it is a misdemeanor and we'd have prosecutorial discretion to determine how we wanted to deal with that. Would there be a fine, there could be a fine of up to a thousand dollars. Now what prompted you to propose this ordinance? We are a leader here in the city of San Diego, not just locally but nationally when it comes to utilizing California's red flag laws, which are referred to as gun violence restraining orders. And we've taught, uh, law enforcement throughout the state as well as nationally on how to use them. This seemed like the next logical solution in impacting what we're seeing as a growing problem here, even in San Diego, which is simple if you're going to have firearms, secure them in your home so that people who are not authorized users or shouldn't be having access to the firearms will not be able to do so.
Speaker 1: 03:03 So requiring the use of a safe or a trigger lock is very impactful and it doesn't impact somebody's ability to quickly access a firearm. A trigger lock for instance, can take two to four seconds to unlock. And there are many mechanisms that the department of Justice has covered on their website that indicates what you can use, whether you want to use your thumb to open them up or you want to put a code on it. So there's a lot of discretion that would rest with a firearm owner, but it's definitely needed because we were able to address, um, potential violence. But we want to, we want to take it home and we've had some horrible incidents even in San Diego county that could have been prevented had the firearms been secured. I was going to ask you, do you have statistics on how many accidental shootings there are in San Diego per year?
Speaker 1: 03:54 We don't have statistics on accidental shootings, but what we do have are some very compelling statistics on the number of suicides that are conducted by use of a firearm. Firearms are very effective. So most of the time if you're going to use a firearm, you're going to be successful. But using something else to commit suicide, not so much about 10% of those are successful. So we've studied the data and we have a lot of information that accompanied the measure that we brought to the public safety and livable neighborhoods committee this morning that really drills down on the data. This is not something we were lightly pursuing. We wanted to look at the numbers and make sure that this is a good law for the city of San Diego. So we're joining 15 other municipalities throughout the state of California that have enacted similar laws because although there is the California child access prevention law on the books, unfortunately it's punitive and it kicks in after a tragedy has happened.
Speaker 1: 04:52 But like seatbelt laws, we want to make sure that people are cognizant of their responsibilities and they're doing things right at the beginning. Can you explain to us how the use of a lockbox or a trigger lock would decrease the number of suicides? Yes. Um, so what we found in particular and as a mother of two boys, one of whom is a teenager, teenagers in particular, are very impulsive and when they make a decision to kill themselves, it happens within a matter of minutes. So that was one of the reasons that we were concerned. But if they have to slow down and unlock the gun, it requires them to think before they act. Now, San Diego County gun owners pack executive director Michael Shorts, told 10 News that this ordinance would take the control away from the gun owner.
Speaker 2: 05:39 So whether or not you have a child, maybe you're a single woman who lives at home and now she's taking away a number of choices that a single woman has to be able to defend herself in her own home.
Speaker 1: 05:50 What's your response to that concern? I don't believe he understands what we're trying to achieve with the local ordinance. Nobody's going to lose their access to firearms. In fact, as I explained, when you buy a firearm at least beginning in 2002 to now, it comes with the trigger lock or a locking device so that it's securely stored. An authorized user of a gun is not inhibited at all. So if they have it in their controller on their person, the law does not apply. Our concern is unintended firearms that can be accessed by people like children or those who have mental issues or um, dementia or Alzheimer's, Ptsd. Those folks probably are not authorized and we want to make sure only authorized people are having access to firearms. What's the next step for this ordinance? The next step will be to go to the full city council and I'll again present the safe storage, want this time to the entire body. I suspect we'll have a more robust discussion at that point and we believe we'll have a lot of the same individuals who testified this morning we had people from the medical community. I'm from our school system speaking to it, um, veterans, um, safety groups. So I suspect we will again see a lot of support for a common sense measures such as this. I've been speaking with San Diego city, attorney Mora Elliot, and thank you so much. Thank you.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Kamala Harris is running for president as a progressive Democrat, but how does her record as a prosecutor and attorney general stack up to the progressive initiatives of today? Nicole Allen and attorney and freelance journalist who wrote about Kamala Harris is criminal justice record in the California Sunday magazine. Joins us now via Skype to talk about it. Welcome Nicole.
Speaker 2: 00:21 Thank you. I'm glad to be here.
Speaker 1: 00:23 The title of your story is the unknowable Kahmilah Harris. Yet Senator Harris has a long record in public service from her time as da in San Francisco and attorney general of California. So why do you think she remains unknowable?
Speaker 2: 00:37 It's true, jade, that she does have a long record in public service as district attorney and attorney general, but it's really the inconsistency is between what she says and what she does or really more importantly, what she doesn't do. That I think make it a little bit difficult to know what her real priorities are. So for example, the death penalty, her stance on the death penalty as one of the best examples of this, Senator Harris has long been personally against the death, the death penalty. And one of the first issue decisions that she had to make in that role was whether or not to seek the death penalty for a man who killed the San Francisco police officer. And she chose not to seek the death penalty and it was a very big deal at the time and she faced a lot of blow back. But years later, once she had become attorney general, she chose not where she chose to defend the state's death penalty system.
Speaker 2: 01:30 See, one part of the attorney general's job is to defend California laws in court, but this isn't technically a requirement. And Harris, for example, had chosen not to defend proposition eight which banned gay marriage in California because she personally opposed the law. But when she was faced with the decision of whether or not to defend California's death penalty system in 2014 which a federal judge had recently found was unconstitutional, she chose to defend it despite her stated opposition to the death penalty. So it's decisions like that that contrast with what she had said and what she continues to campaign on that I think make her a little a little bit difficult to understand.
Speaker 1: 02:11 And aside from the inconsistencies that you point out there in your piece, you also point out that she refers to herself as a progressive prosecutor in her 29 team member. What can you tell us about what you think she means by this and what the term means to the Progressive Prosecutor Movement more broadly?
Speaker 2: 02:28 So in the past three or four years, largely in response to the black lives matter movement and to a building bipartisan consensus around the need for criminal justice reform, there's been a wholesale rethinking of prosecution in the United States and people like Kim Foxx in Chicago and Larry Krasner in Philadelphia have successfully run as progressive prosecutors. And what they mean by this is that someone who thinks that the current criminal justice system gives prosecutors too much power. So these people identify as progressive prosecutors want to shrink the role of the prosecutor's office. They want to seek less money, bail or forego money bail altogether. They want to funnel more resources to public defenders offices, things like that. But when Harris uses the term progressive prosecutor to describe her own record, I think what she really means is a focus on crime prevention, uh, which is all well and good, but it really does not envision a smaller role for the office. And in fact, throughout her career as a prosecutor, Harris has made decisions that have traditionally, or that have actually expanded the traditional mandate of the prosecutor's office. Um, for example, her work on reducing truancy in San Francisco and later statewide in California where she actually introduced new criminal charges for parents whose kids were chronically truant.
Speaker 1: 03:51 And we should mention Senator Harris, who's campaign did not speak with you for this story, but she has addressed questions that have been raised about her criminal justice record. Here she is speaking at a CNN town hall earlier this year.
Speaker 3: 04:03 I've been consistent my whole career. Um, my career has been based on an understanding one that as a prosecutor, my duty was to seek and make sure that the most vulnerable and voiceless among us are protected. And that is why I have personally prosecuted violent crime that includes rape, child molestation and homicide, and I have also worked my entire career to reform the criminal justice system. Understanding to your point that it is deeply flawed and in need of repair.
Speaker 1: 04:31 Now Senator Harris went on to say that there's a lot more work to do and that she wished she could have done more. Could it be that the positions that she took as a prosecutor were progressive at the time that she was da and an attorney general, but are are just not considered progressive by today's standards?
Speaker 2: 04:47 I think that's a very fair point. When Senator Harris first took office as district attorney in San Francisco in 2004 2005, the Progressive Prosecutor Movement as we know it today, did not exist and her focus on crime prevention at that time was pretty novel and she did receive a lot of positive attention and praise for the way that she was thinking about. Uh, for example, antivy recidivism. She started a program called back on track in San Francisco that I'm essentially rerouted low level, first time drug offenders from criminal charges into education and counseling. So it is true that she has acknowledged the flaws in the criminal justice system and the need for reform throughout her career. However, I think her use of the term progressive prosecutor today for example in her book, which she published this past January, it really has a particular meaning today of someone who, as I was saying before, really envisions a smaller role for the prosecutor's office and I don't think that that's exactly the way that Senator Harris was thinking about her role as a prosecutor through her multiple decades of prosecutorial experience. Okay.
Speaker 1: 06:00 In addition to the back on track program that you mentioned, supporters also point to her work on implicit bias training and she's been recognized for addressing a backlog in the testing of rape kits. What else do you want voters to take away from your story?
Speaker 2: 06:13 The main thing to take away from my story, I'm from Senator Harris, says, multi-decade career as a prosecutor, is that while she has really made a name for herself and the Senate, uh, and has accomplished quite a bit as a senator, the vast majority of her experience in public service is as a prosecutor. And she made thousands of decisions every day that tell us a lot about what she values and what she prioritize. So while criminal justice is just one issue of many that voters should be evaluating leading up to the Democratic primary, I do think it's fair to evaluate her record on criminal justice in order to get a sense of how she makes decisions on the ground and how those decisions line up with her statements while she's campaigning.
Speaker 1: 06:58 And I should mention we reached out to Senator Harris, who's campaign as well for common and did not hear back in time for this interview. I have been speaking with Nicole Allen and attorney and freelance journalists. Nicole, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you Jane.
Speaker 1: 00:00 You might call it an inspiration. San Diego housing advocates in some local faith leaders have come with an come up with an idea to create more affordable housing by building it in the parking lots of churches, synagogues and mosques. Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says they've got a name for their idea. Yes, in God's backyard
Speaker 2: 00:22 along here would be a courtyard area for you to the departments to have an outside place on the first floor or a balcony on the second floor.
Speaker 3: 00:29 Pastor John do little is walking me through the parking lot of his church, Clermont Lutheran, which sits between a residential neighborhood and a shopping center for the past few years. Do little and his congregation have been exploring how to build affordable housing here
Speaker 2: 00:43 so it would go along our back property line and then the same apartment structure on two levels.
Speaker 3: 00:50 Do little shows me a site plan, one of two design options. The church is exploring. The idea is to build housing over the parking lot. He says houses of worship are in a unique position to help with San Diego's housing crisis.
Speaker 2: 01:02 Churches have the resources, they have the property, they have the ability to provide the space and the place for these kinds of structures to be built. Jesus told us to, to clothe the naked, to provide shelter for the homeless. So here we are doing that in a real tangible way, making sure that our resources are put to good use as part of the ministry for the good of the world.
Speaker 3: 01:23 Most congregations don't really need all of their parking spaces outside a few hours, one day a week, even still, San Diego's parking regulations have been a stumbling block. City code decides how many parking spaces at church needs based on the square inches of pew space.
Speaker 2: 01:40 So that formula was used, uh, to say that we have a deficit and that we needed to do a parking study to see what our actual parking use was
Speaker 3: 01:49 for a month. Congregants went out and surveyed vacant parking spaces and the church lot and the neighborhood four times a day. Do Little says that survey showed a surplus of parking, but that city officials still weren't satisfied and asked for more analysis. That plus the possible need for an environmental study have made for a lot of headaches,
Speaker 2: 02:08 so it's been one, one frustrating meeting after another. The Churches' mission is to help the less fortunate
Speaker 3: 02:16 a few months ago do little end. His congregation got a helping hand in the form of Tom Tyson. He's a retired attorney and former chair of the regional task force on the homeless Tyson and a few other advocates have been working to encourage more faith communities to consider building affordable housing on their land instead of the movement. Yes, in my backyard or [inaudible] they're calling it [inaudible]. Yes. In God's backyard.
Speaker 2: 02:41 I cannot tell you how many faith communities have come to me and said, what can we do to address homelessness and I have real hard time at telling them to go out hand out blankets or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or that type of stuff. They're looking for a way to be relevant and to do something that really makes a difference and building housing really makes a difference.
Speaker 3: 03:00 Tyson says the genesis of [inaudible] actually came from a list of properties designated for religious use in San Diego County. They represent more than 2000 acres spread across the county. Now Tyson and his partners are talking to about 15 faith communities. They're also analyzing different construction types and financing models and
Speaker 2: 03:20 we've been meeting with the city, talking with them about zoning requirements, figuring out how we can do this without getting bogged down in years and years of zoning and red tape in order to make this happen because the idea is to solve this problem now, not five years from now, it could be
Speaker 3: 03:35 still in its infancy. Tyson is hoping Claremont Lutherans pursuit of affordable housing can serve as a proof of concept that can be replicated elsewhere. Pastor do little says churches like his have a decades long relationship with their community and can avoid some of the backlash that often derails new housing.
Speaker 2: 03:54 It's our calling. It's our responsibility to be, to be neighbors to those who are around us and to be neighborly to those who need a hand up. And so we as a community of faith want to say yes and, and always as God always says yes to God's people. We too need to say yes to those who are in need.
Speaker 3: 04:10 The church is to design options, would create between 16 and 21 new affordable homes in Claremont. But given the roadblocks he's faced so far, do little hesitates to predict when that housing might be complete. Joining me as Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Hi Andrew. Hi Maureen. Now Church property is exempt from taxes, isn't that right? Yeah, they are exempt from property taxes, income taxes as well. Uh, but some of those same exemptions also apply to traditional affordable housing developers. There's a welfare exemption. So, uh, but that being said, developers often have to purchase the land up front and then they're paying their mortgage and sometimes their property taxes while they're going through the approval process for their PR, for their projects. Uh, churches by and large already owned their land. Uh, so there are some financial barriers that they would not have that a more traditional affordable housing developers would face.
Speaker 3: 05:05 Okay. So you mentioned the Digby proponents are exploring different construction types and financing models. Tell us more about that. Most affordable housing is made of wood and steel frame a structures there. They cost upwards of $400,000, often more a to build per unit. Uh, the UK folks are looking at actually recycled shipping containers. This is something that's been done before. It's not entirely new, but it is a less conventional, certainly they're stackable units. Um, they've got full plumbing, heating, air conditioning, etc. And because they're prefabricated, they're costs can go down to about $150,000. I'm also, they're looking at a different kind of financing you mentioned. So most affordable housing is financed through government tax credits and those are extremely competitive, affordable housing developers often need to cobble together a of different funding sources and it takes them quite a while. So the Higbee folks are also looking at a private financing.
Speaker 3: 06:04 So a separate agency would master lease this property. Uh, so the church has guaranteed income that they can use to pay off their mortgage that they're using to purchase the, the, the units and that agency. Then the outside agency subleases the apartment. So they're able to pay their costs with, uh, the rental income from the tenants. And this is also a very new and experimental model. What about after the units are built? Would the occupants be selected from the church community? They would not necessarily so that it would depend on, you know, typically churches would contract with a private property manager. Uh, that could be a nonprofit. It could be, um, perhaps the San Diego housing commission or a public agency. Um, because generally churches don't have a whole lot of experience in collecting rent and things like that. How has the FBI dia been received so far?
Speaker 3: 06:53 They gave a presentation to the community planners committee in April. This is the chairs of the various neighborhood planning groups across the city of San Diego. And, uh, I spoke with the chair of that committee and he said that they got a pretty positive reception. Um, they told them basically to continue with their phase one operations, exploring these ideas a little bit more and to come back to the committee for a requesting an endorsement, uh, when they have something more concrete to propose. Um, and I think that's a testament to the good faith, uh, no pun intended, that many churches have built in their communities. And also the scale of these projects would be pretty small. We're talking about, you know, a dozen, two dozen units, maybe two, two or three stories. And so it's maybe less likely to have the kind of big impact on, on the neighborhood that, um, some of the larger projects are larger, um, ideas for upzoning neighborhoods might, might, uh, create.
Speaker 3: 07:47 Now, you spoke with the pastor of Claremont Lutheran Church. The neighborhood of Clermont in particular has been the center of multiple fights over housing recently, hasn't it? Yes. Last December, uh, the city, uh, initiated a process to ups on the site of a former county crime labs. They moved their crime lab elsewhere. So this property is now out of use and the intent is to a ups zone it or allow increase the allowable density and to uh, build affordable housing there that drew a lot of opposition in the community. There's also a plan to create, uh, a number of permanent supportive housing units, um, and that has a in Claremont and that is also generated a lot of opposition. I'm also, Bay Ho is part of Claremont, so there's the whole discussion around the height limits near those future trolley stops along the interstate five freeway. And I did ask the pastor a pastor doodle a little about all of this activity that's happening in Claremont and what it's like for him just to kind of watch it while he's got his small project going on.
Speaker 3: 08:45 And he said that he knows some of those folks who are opposed to all these plans and he thinks that there'll be more amenable to what his church is planning for their property. And when it comes to complaints, let's talk for a minute about a parking, because if, if the churches lose their parking lots or at least what portions of them to affordable housing units, what about the surrounding communities who are already sometimes impacted unfavorably when the churches have meetings and on Sundays there's not enough parking. So I think every, every church is different. Uh, you know, they, some churches don't have any parking lots right now. Uh, so it depends on the churches size, the size of the parking lot, the size of the congregation. Um, but there will probably be cases in which a church might be losing some parking and some of the people who attend will be parking on the streets.
Speaker 3: 09:35 And so I think that what has to happen probably is that the community has to weigh its options and the costs and benefits of, of the, these types of projects as they come forward. If they do continue to come forward. What is more important to a community? Is that the availability of free on street parking? Uh, or is it our affordable housing shortage? The former chair of the regional task force on the homeless doesn't want to wait five years for these units to be built as we just heard him say, but don't let us like this usually take at least that long, at least. Certainly. And their hope is that with their, a sort of less conventional ideas about modular housing, you know, shipping container units and maybe private financing, that they can get these things to go along a lot faster. They're perspective is that the status quo simply isn't working. The system is unable to meet the housing needs of the poor in our community. I've been speaking with Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew. Thank you. Thank you, Maureen.
Speaker 4: 10:31 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 Another way to help people find housing is to help them find work at San Quentin state prison in northern California. A group of inmates just graduated from an inhouse culinary school. The graduates hope to beat statistics that say former prisoners are five times more likely to be unemployed than the general public. Kq Edis, Mary Franklin Harvin reports.
Speaker 2: 00:23 It's going to be beef short ribs and then there's going to be shrimp skewers. Chicken. On this trip, half they have that Cayenne pepper,
Speaker 3: 00:34 same quitting inmate carry red list. The menu for the Clinton kicks graduation dinner instead of a cap and gown. Red's wearing a crisp white chef's jacket. He's standing behind a huge cooktop that's crackling with rows of bread coasting on the grid or red says it's his time with the guys in the class that will stick with,
Speaker 2: 00:52 yeah, that's like a bonding experience. Chief of weird is happening in the prison because you think that Christian is like really like I can like tough and Moscow
Speaker 3: 01:00 when hooks is a 16 week program and one of the benefits of the course is that the men don't have to pay for this. Serves a food handler credential that many states, including California, require of restaurant workers, the certificates valid for three years, which is why the courses geared mostly towards men who will be out before it expires so that they're able to then, you know, save on costs and the educational piece for both themselves and the employer and can go right into him. A food handling position. Lisa Dombroski is a former chef who cofounded Quintin cooks with Laney Melnitz sir, a wholesale bakery owner. They both thought the food industry, it would be a good place for former inmates to get jobs, one where people won't judge them for their past or their tattoos. The instructors teach to the inmates culinary interests in meat. Dairy Brown is bald with a goatee and glasses. He talks about some of the things he's learned in the class,
Speaker 4: 01:53 excepting a criticism constructively, um, and join the food that they cooked. And um, yes, so the highlight would be making the cheese and the mayonnaise.
Speaker 3: 02:04 Brown and his classmates learned to make cheese from scratch. He's one of eight inmates graduating shortly before their sentences are up Melnitz or starts helping them find work in the food industry. That's how Joelle McCarter, a former Quentin cook, found his current job in a barbecue shop in Berkeley. He came out to root for the men on graduation night. Mccarter's been working in restaurants since his release in 2070
Speaker 2: 02:28 [inaudible] ask you for a second chance, but it was still cool. Cooking is always there for you. I got you to come on and just reach for it and take it in. They was a blessing. We've been blessed in my life.
Speaker 1: 02:43 That was Kq Edis Mary Franklin Harvin.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Sometimes it takes more than one book to tell the whole story, especially when that story involves mid century Los Angeles crime writer James Ellroy has already peeled back the curtain on Las secret history in the post war years in his La Quartet series, most famously in the novel La confidential. Now he's out with a second novel of this second La Quartet, a novel about Los Angeles, its police force, it's culture and corruption during World War II. It's called this storm. James Ellroy is an internationally bestselling author, winner of numerous awards and accolades and the self-described demon dog of American literature. He'll bring his book to her, to San Diego this weekend. Mr L Roy, welcome to the show. How are you? I'm quite well, thank you very much. You know, uh, in looking at this storm, the timeframe is new year's eve, 1941 to May, 1942 the month just after Pearl Harbor. What are some of the ways Pearl Harbor and the start of the war changed? La La
Speaker 2: 01:06 got electrified La Libido ISED people were terrified. La was under eminent threat of Japanese sea and air attack. And in researching the storm, I came across a great deal of newspaper coverage on parties, parties in nightclubs on the swing and sunset strip parties and private homes and one must assume a great deal of unwanted pregnancies and a great deal of unwanted, unplanned for kids expected in the fall of 42 it was a swinging time. It was in many ways in Los Angeles, defined by the grinding shame of the Japanese internment and since I wasn't born there and since I write historical novels for a living, for me it was a gas.
Speaker 1: 02:05 As you're describing your book, this storm is multilayered and multilayered again with all the things you just mentioned, plus stolen gold Nazis, communists, murders on this book tour, how are you describing the book to the people who come to your signings?
Speaker 2: 02:22 Well, I'm trying to get new converts to the Ol Roy Cannon and I described this dorm as a historical romance. You got hard charging Americans over the World War Two generation. The stakes were very high in each and every one of the protagonists in this book are in there occasionally empathetic, occasionally not empathetic ways. War profiteers. They see the war as an opportunity. Do you see any heroes in the book? Of course, yeah. There's Elmer Jackson. He was, he's a real life character though. Co-Opted fictionally. Elmer had the dubious distinction of having invented book call girl you Elmer, shame on you. But I go to his deep molten passionate human core in this book.
Speaker 1: 03:21 Now this storm is both a sequel and a prequel. Well it has many of the same characters that you had in the first book of this series per video and who started in your La Quartet series about La after the war. What is your process and keeping their storyline straight?
Speaker 2: 03:40 Well, there's the original La Quartet, which I wrote a good many years ago, and for novel set between 1946 and 1958 followed by the underworld USA trilogy three novels set between 58 and 72. And what I've done is take characters real f in fictional from the first two bodies of work and place them in La during World War Two, uh, significantly younger people. And I had to go back and reread my own books and compile fact sheets and chronologies so that I didn't write myself into it
Speaker 1: 04:16 error. Have you already envisioned the complete relationship up for the entire two series? Is that already something that exists in your mind?
Speaker 2: 04:25 In my mind, yes. And I'm still working out the overall plot for the third book.
Speaker 1: 04:32 Anybody who's read your novels knows that your written word has a definite rhythm and pacing to it. Is it important to you, what's your pros? Sounds like?
Speaker 2: 04:42 Yes, I do everything deliberately and the outline for the storm as 465 pages and having a superstructure that detailed means that I can ride gigantic books dramatically. Inviolate character in violet, very, very detailed police investigations and having such a superstructure allows me to live improvisationally in a the language that you just commented upon and then be the overall improvisational quality of the individuals saying so you've got a very, very, very controlled fever dream. So it's like jazz. Yeah, to a bebop kittens
Speaker 1: 05:28 now in recreating the dark places of La during the forties you use a lot of racial and sexist slurs that are from that time. Our culture is getting more sensitive to those attitudes and to that language. So do have you run into any problems about that with your editors or your readers?
Speaker 2: 05:46 Nope, I have not. It's 1942 and I don't pay attention to the culture today. I ignore it. I've never used a, I don't watch television or read newspapers or magazines. I have no cell phone as far as I'm concerned. It is 1942 and it's this immersive quality to my language and to my great curiosity about that time that gives the books the power that they possess.
Speaker 1: 06:20 What does the title this storm refer to? Is that Churchill's the gathering storm
Speaker 2: 06:25 in a sense. It is, yes. It's a crib together. Half Ellroy, the title of the novel, the storm, and then this savaging disaster, which is part of a letter that the great British poet w h od and wrote to his friend Christopher Isherwood, also a great writer. And I patched the two together in fictionally because you can do that. It's got the big F on the spine for fiction, and it's about the passion of the protagonists of this book. It's about the passion of the bad sides, the evil access powers fighting roll toward to the the Soviet Communist. They're the bad guys. And then you've got a, a merry band of ex-officio Los Angeles policeman and a couple of the women that are in love with, and they're the good guys. And Man, this is a big cast of passionate human beings.
Speaker 1: 07:30 James Ellroy will be speaking and signing copies of his book, this storm, this Sunday afternoon and mysterious galaxy bookstore and Mr l Roy, thank you so much for your time,
Speaker 2: 07:41 Liz. Kevin, it was a blast.