Skip to main content

Prop B, State Redistricting, Harriet Tubman

Cover image for podcast episode

The San Diego city Council has sided with a coalition of labor unions to strike Proposition B from the city charter. Also, the California auditor is looking for people to help redraw state voting maps, while San Diego is trying to reduce its reliance on water from the Colorado River, states like Colorado are looking to tap every available drop, a local author tells the story of Harriet Tubman in a new novel and a career in movies matched an Oceanside retiree up with John Wayne and Elvis.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego City Council voted Monday to stop fighting a legal battle to preserve proposition be an initiative that changed the way the city paid its employees when they retired at stake is potentially millions of dollars in public money. This week's vote shows a majority of the city council siding with the labor unions who never liked switching from guaranteed pensions to 401k type retirement plans. Joining me to discuss this now is KPBS metro reporter and Ruben. Thanks for being here and yeah, my pleasure. What was the reason that the city decided to switch initially from the guaranteed pension to a 401k type plan? 401K style plan, which is a defined contribution plan, is kind of like a savings account. So you contribute to it, your employer contributes and you earn money through the growth and the stock market. And then when you retire, that's the money that you have to live off of for the rest of your life and a pension system or a defined benefit plan.

Speaker 1: 00:51 Um, you're also putting in money Europe, employers also putting in money, but when you retire your guaranteed income under the law until your death. So the risk of losing benefits, uh, because of a market crash or recession or whatever, it falls on the employee under the 401k system. Um, the risk falls on the city and taxpayers under our pension system. And public employees often make less than they would, you know, in, in income than if they were working in the private sector. Pensions are often less generous than a 401k retirement benefits. Not always, but sometimes. And so public employee unions often argue that the security, that a pension plan, uh, provides in retirement is one of the few, uh, things that, that cities have to attract the best kind of workers. So the proponents of prop, he had essentially argued that the entire idea of a pension whereby the city and taxpayers are responsible for pain. These retirement benefits up until an employee's death is unsustainable. I spoke to Scott Sherman who voted against the city council's action yesterday after the meeting. And here's what he told me,

Speaker 2: 01:54 they're going to try and force the city to go back to defined pensions instead of 401k plans, which is what took us to the bank that, you know, to the brink of bankruptcy here, not more than eight or nine years ago, but you know how quickly people forget.

Speaker 1: 02:09 So Andrew, you know, the market is upright now and so four one ks are doing relatively well. Is it true to say that this would be a much bigger issue to the general public if the markets were down? Possibly if we were in a recession or if the stock market suddenly crashed, uh, employees in that, those 401k style plans would potentially be losing a lot of money. And if they are close to retirement, that would be a really big worry for them. Um, it would also mean if there were more employees in the pension system that the city would be on the hook for paying out more money. So, uh, you know, ultimately the difference between a four oneK or a pension is who's taking on the risk. And, uh, who is, you know, granted that security. So the last time there was a crisis, you know, libraries would cuddle up to public services were cut as a result of the city trying to make up its pension fund.

Speaker 1: 02:56 Um, now this debate of ahead of fund retirement's for city workers is something that cities all over the state are struggling with. How many other California cities have switched to 401k plans instead of guaranteed pensions? Zero. And that was part of the, uh, argument it during the property campaign that if the city of San Diego, uh, makes this bold step into the new future and decides we're no longer going to be, you know, maintaining this unsustainable a system of pensions, other cities will follow suit. What happened instead is that the city made its change and other cities kept, uh, you know, offering pensions and, uh, the city has then developed a very difficult problem of recruiting and retaining the most talented workers. Someone might come to work for the city of San Diego, say as a, as an engineer or a, you know, a finance officer or whatever.

Speaker 1: 03:43 And to gain a few years of experience and then move on to La Mesa or the county of San Diego and, uh, get a much more favorable retirement plan there. So the city is basically back at square one. How much is it spent in legal costs over this whole battles to date? Because the city lost this case all the way up at the Supreme Court. It has been ordered to pay the legal fees and the expenses of the unions. Uh, they put that cost at about one point $3 million as of March 31st, although that's a somewhat incomplete figure. Um, so the costs are likely higher and they will continue to grow as this legal battle continues. Now the council voted yesterday to support a quote Warren tow process. What does that mean? Yeah, it's a relatively rare process, but it's the process by which the courts will be able to or would potentially invalidate proposition B. So the unions, uh, the first step is the unions have to go to the attorney general, the State Attorney General, and ask for permission to sue the city of San Diego on behalf of the state of California.

Speaker 1: 04:44 A little bit of background. So San Diego is what's called the charter city. We have a city charter and that allows it a little bit more autonomy in some areas, but they have to maintain a charter that complies with the superior state law. Um, and so given that the city broke state law with, uh, enacting this charter amendment, the unions will attempt to act as the lawyers for the state and say that the state has to step in here and order the city to correct its mistake. Uh, it abused. It's privileged as a charter city and the charter has to be corrected. So Andrew, do you expect any legal challenges to this lawsuit that would lead to the removal of the pension roof? We'll measure from the city charter. I think it's likely that the proponents of prop B, we'll, uh, we'll agree that this lawsuit, um, you know, that's quo would run to proceeding.

Speaker 1: 05:29 Should continue because that's where they're going to make the argument that property should be preserved. Um, but what would probably happen is that because the city essentially decided yesterday, they are going to be arguing, although they're the defendants in this case, where they would be the defendants in this case, there'll be arguing the same thing as the plaintiffs, the state of California, and this, the, the unions. So a, the proponents of prop B could attempt to intervene in the lawsuit and basically say, you know, we, we want our due process here and we want to act as, as a third party of interest. Um, and we should argue in favor of property. Thanks for bringing us up to date, Andrew. Yeah. Thank you, Alison. That's Kpbs Metro reporter Andrew Bowen.

Speaker 3: 06:07 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Taking the politics out of drawing district lines and maintaining an independent process. That is what California says it is doing as it opens the application process for the next citizens redistricting commission for 2020 Elaine Hell is California state auditor who oversees this commission and she is joining us with details. Elaine, welcome. Thank you so much for having me. Tell us more about the citizens redistricting commission. Why was it created and what does it do? It was created by initiative. The voters approved an initiative back in 2008 prop 11 and basically what that initiative said is the in the people of the state of California wanted citizens to be drawing the district lines for not only legislative districts but congressional districts as well. And then we have board of equalization districts. So what this commission, it's a 14 member commission. They have a huge responsibility. They take census data, other information and essentially determine what the districts will look like for our state legislature, both the Senate and the assembly, our congressional districts.

Speaker 1: 01:00 And as I said, the Board of equalization districts and before the independent commission was created, the legislature was responsible for drawing the district maps. Uh, why was it important to give ordinary citizens this authority? I think the initiative drafters felt that some of the districts were being gerrymandered. They were being drawn in such a way to guarantee a election of either party, Republican, Democrat Cetera, and the voters really felt like we need to have the power to elect who we believe should be representative of the people of the state of California. So they felt the best way to do that would be to have regular citizens hopefully, uh, apply and serve on this commission to draw district lines that really made sense and reflected the communities throughout California. What sort of criteria does the commission consider when drawing district lines? Well, the criteria that what we're looking for in commissioners is the ability, very strong analytical skills because they have to use census data and that census data, we'll tell them what the communities look like throughout the state.

Speaker 1: 02:01 So they really will need to consider that information. But really very important is to hear from the people of the state of California. So the last commission spent a lot of time, uh, hosting public meetings, uh, up and down the state hearing from different communities to see, you know, what their perspective was. Let's keep communities of interest together. Let's not split people up into a different districts so that the districts again really do represent the various regions in the state. So what was the outcome of, of the first redistricting commission? Did it actually lead to more fair electoral maps or more competitive elections? Absolutely. A resulted in more competitive elections and uh, I believe, and I think the commission, the existing commission, the 2010 commission would, would suggest that the district lines that were drawn by that commission and approved by that commission really make more sense for the state of California that you don't have districts that are really kind of oddly shaped too to keep certain, um, political parties or residents residing in particular communities.

Speaker 1: 03:03 So the, the districts that were drawn by that 2010 commission were very successful and very representative of the state. And I think part of the success of the commission, uh, is reflected in the fact that California has now become a model for a lot of other states to consider something similar for their states. Do you still see the potential for outside interests to disrupt what is supposed to be an independent process? There certainly is the potential for that, but that's one of the things these commissioners have to be able to handle. His hearing from a variety of different people, variety of different perspectives certainly may feel some political pressure, but ultimately be able to make a decision, the ability to be impartial, the ability to make a decision that is in the best interest of the people of the state of California. That's what the 2010 commission did.

Speaker 1: 03:48 And I believe that's what the 2020 commission will do. Are there policies and practices in place to prevent that from happening and to sort of guard against it? Um, the commission itself establishes its own rules and regulations as to how they're going to carry out the process. The last commission did, they hired consultants. They hired experts to assist them. So it's ultimately up to them to decide. Now the legislature cannot go in and make any modifications to the initiative as it was written by different interest groups that put got the initiative on the ballot in 2008 so that really, that has been protected from any outside influence from that perspective. And as you know, the u s supreme court is set to rural in the next coming weeks on two partisan gerrymandering cases and also on whether next year's census should include a new and controversial citizenship. Question. Do you have any thoughts on how that question may impact the census in California and as a result impact California's district maps?

Speaker 1: 04:46 Well, the decision certainly if it's decided that it's included on the, the census w will certainly have an impact on people being honest and forthright and including themselves in the census. So that will have an impact on the ability of the commission to really draw lines that make sense for California. Um, we really don't have an opinion on what the Supreme Court's going to do, but certainly that's something that commission is going to have to take into consideration. What would you say is at stake with the formation of this commission? Uh, the future of the state of California. That's why we named our website for this selection process, shaping California's future because this 14 member commission will be drawing district lines that will exist for 10 years until the next, the 2030 commission has established. So that's several election cycles for the assembly in the Senate and certainly several election cycles for congressional districts and, and the Board of equalization district.

Speaker 1: 05:40 So it's about the future of our state. This commission has a major responsibility. What sort of lessons were learned from the first citizens redistricting commission process? I think the biggest lesson that was learned is that it was a resounding success, uh, that ordinary people, ordinary citizens who want to be civically engaged, who really care about our state. And I hope there are a lot of people out there who are interested in applying this time really can make a difference for our state because the districts that were drawn are truly reflective of the communities in California. And we're hoping that that continues with this next process and to go back, are you personally responsible for selecting the 14 members of the new redistricting commission and what's that process like? It's actually a pretty lengthy process. I mean the initial applications, as we said started yesterday, June 10th and that continues through August nine to 60 day window.

Speaker 1: 06:32 Very easy application to a complete online on your phone. You can go to a public library if you don't have a computer. Supplemental application starts on August 12th goes through September 11th a little more rigorous and then the applicant review panel, which has staff in my office, three individuals, one Republican, one Democrat and one not affiliated, have to call through all those applications. And we're hoping there are thousands like there were last time to identify the top 120 individuals. Then they will interview those hundred and 20 and those will be live streams. So people, if you don't apply or you, you don't make it to the final one 20 you can still be engaged in this process and provide comments about the finalists. I have been speaking with Elaine, how California state auditor who oversees the states independent redistricting commission. Elaine, thanks so much for joining us. Oh, it was a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 2: 07:24 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The Colorado River provides more than 70% of San Diego county's water, but it also supplies a total of 40 million people in the southwest and the river is running short on water. This is pushing some states to tap into every available drop before things get worse. In the first of a series we're calling the final Straw, k u n sees Luke Runyon reports on a controversial effort to make one Colorado Reservoir bigger

Speaker 2: 00:25 Tyson long drives his black pickup truck in the foothills outside boulder, Colorado. The narrow dirt road twists and turns through pine forest and past houses with yard signs that read stop gross reservoir expansion. This is a good vantage point. We are at the corner of long and his wife, April Lewandowski, live near the reservoir in an area called Cold Creek Canyon. As we get closer to the dam, they imagine trucks full of building materials barreling toward us. People are going to get in car wrecks and people are going to get killed. I'm convinced that's going to happen and that's why I keep hitting the safety nail on the head that those trucks could become a reality. The utility that owns the reservoir, Denver water wants to increase the size of the dam by 131 feet and fill the human made lake with more water from the headwaters of the Colorado River from an overlook. The dam is a deep wall of concrete situated between the tree lined canyon walls.

Speaker 3: 01:28 What do you mean you look at how the land splays out. I mean you can see why they want to do that. Is it just, it's so much wider all the way around.

Speaker 2: 01:37 If the expansion goes through, this would be the tallest dam in the state and where we're standing would be underwater. Like there's nothing that we get from this. Like we don't get the water from it. We don't get a better, like we've never been told we were going to get a better road or wider road.

Speaker 3: 01:54 It is a major construction project. There's, I don't want to gloss over that. It will have impacts to the local community.

Speaker 2: 02:02 Jim Lochhead is the CEO of Denver water that utilities been pushing for the expansion since 2003 that's when a lack of snow caused the agency to nearly run out of water and one of its service areas.

Speaker 3: 02:15 This is a project that's needed today to deal with that imbalance and that that vulnerability and to give us more drought resiliency.

Speaker 2: 02:24 Safety concerns are just the beginning of the projects. Opposition environmentalist are suing, arguing the expansion will harm endangered fish. A group of local activists say the additional water will spur unsustainable population growth and the utility is now sparring with Boulder county officials over a land use permit. No one wakes up in the morning and says, Gee, I hope there'll be a seven year damn construction project in my backyard, and a Mcdermott also lives near the banks of gross reservoir. She spoke about that permit at a public meeting in March. This project represents an effort by Denver Water Board to actually grab water while they can before federal legislation and management of the Colorado River basin is imposed. What Mcdermott is referring to is a disconnect in the watershed states downstream. Like Arizona and Nevada just signed a new agreement that keeps them from becoming more reliant on the river. Meanwhile, upstream in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, the opposite is happening. There really isn't unused or excess water out there. That's University of Colorado water policy researcher Doug Kenney.

Speaker 4: 03:33 So every new water project we build is undercutting the reliability of every other water project we've already built.

Speaker 2: 03:41 A longstanding compact gives upper basin states the legal cover to continue developing projects like the gross reservoir expansion. Kenny says that adds additional pressure to the river.

Speaker 4: 03:53 I think that limiting factor would be the co, the economic cost to these projects, but, but currently there's little evidence to suggest that's what stops these things. You know, it's politics and it's uh, it's how well mobilized the political opponents are to these projects.

Speaker 2: 04:10 Meaning to justify the costs of these big builds water managers throughout the Colorado River's upper basin have to convince a skeptical public. They're absolutely necessary. I'm Luke Runyon in Greeley, Colorado and that was k UNC repo to Luke Runyon who joins me now with more. Luke, thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. Now. In the Intro, we pointed out that San Diego is trying to reduce its reliance on water from the Colorado River. How is it that California is trying to reduce his demand and states like Colorado where you are, are planning to build dams to increase the water use. It's really a story of a tale of two basins. So the Colorado River is divided into Al upper basin and the lower basin and that was um, because of a 1922 agreement called the Colorado River compact that divided those two basins up and it divided the river's water equally.

Speaker 2: 05:05 And so states like California and Arizona over many decades have been using above and beyond what they were allocated in that compact. So right now they're trying to reign in their water use in order to, um, be more compliant with what the Compact actually says. Whereas in the upper basin, the opposite is true states up here in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico haven't grown nearly as quickly as states in the lower basin. And so they've been under the amount of water that they were allocated under that compact and they've been spending the last several years trying to figure out how they can use their full allocation. Would you say that stories like the one that we just heard gives extra urgency to California to find alternative sources of water? I think it because you have states like Colorado and Utah and Wyoming that are saying, you know, we've left enough water in the river that California has been using our surplus water for years and years and we want to level the score and we want to claim some of the water that's, um, that's legally ours to, to use.

Speaker 1: 06:18 So San Diego relies on the Colorado river for, for more than 70% of its water supply. How much of Colorado's water supply comes from the river?

Speaker 2: 06:27 It's a considerable amount. Um, the state uses a network of, of Trans Mountain diversions. These are tunnels that were dug through the mountains from western Colorado to eastern Colorado. Um, it's, it's a considerable amount of water that um, the Colorado river basin supplies not just in Colorado but in Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, and even a portion for the country of Mexico.

Speaker 1: 06:55 Right. So the upper basin, you were talking about the two basins, the upper basin, where you are, how long do the estimate it'll be before you need more of that water?

Speaker 2: 07:06 Well, that's why these dams and diversions are being talked about now because the water managers here say that the need is right now. Um, the, the story that we just heard about gross reservoir expansion that serves Denver Water and Denver water says in dry years, portions of its service area are already close to running out of water. And so they would say that the need is, is right now, and that's due to a temporary drought, but also the longterm trends of climate change, which are going to reduce the reverse flow, um, and population growth, which is happening in quite a few pockets within the American southwest.

Speaker 1: 07:46 Well, California is looking at spending a lot of money on finding alternatives like diesel you up in Colorado are looking at ways to damn the Colorado River and use more of it.

Speaker 2: 07:56 Yeah. And uh, you are starting to see some proposals in certain parts of the basin that are, you know, some people would Mike considered kind of outlandish. Um, there's this long idea of augmentation, which basically means bringing in fresh water from other areas, whether that's desalination or other river basins throughout the United States and building massive pipelines to pump that a freshwater into an area like the Colorado River Basin, which is short on water. Um, so I think we're reaching a point now with water scarcity in the southwest where no idea is being left off the table

Speaker 1: 08:31 and there's a lot of debate about how this agreement should be reached. How close are all these seven states to, to reaching some kind of an agreement on how to manage the water before maybe federal or a government regulations step in.

Speaker 2: 08:48 I guess the way that water managers function on the Colorado River is through an ongoing series of agreements. It seem like the management is ever going to be fully complete. Um, but just recently you had a congress and the president sign a drought contingency plan. Um, this is basically trying to keep the rivers largest reservoirs from crashing to levels where you wouldn't be able to push any water through them. Um, and that's requiring cutbacks in states like California and Arizona and Nevada. Um, and then water managers are going to start up a whole new series of negotiations here pretty soon. Um, they're looking at re upping some guidelines that they had agreed to in 2007 and that's going to be a much more wide ranging negotiation than we saw in the drought contingency plan. They're going to be leaving no stone unturned during those negotiations to figure out what the future of the Colorado River actually looks like. Well, thanks for bringing us a perspective from further up the river. Like thank you. That was k UNC reporter Luke Runyon. And His story is part of a collaborative series from the Colorado River Reporting Project at K U N C K e r in Salt Lake City and Wyoming public radio.

Speaker 5: 10:03 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's the story of an icon who shaped America in ways. Many have never heard parts of Harriet Tubman's life. Novelized giving her bravery, its rightful place in history. Her story is told by New York Times bestselling author and native San Diegan, Elizabeth cobb's. The new book is called the Tubman Command. And Elizabeth joins me now. Welcome. Really pleased to be here. Jane. Thank you for having me. So this book gives us a novelized account of Harriet Tubman's life and service to America. How closely does her story in this book parallel with the facts of history? It's very closely parallel because I'm a professional historian, so to me it's, it's, you know, it's always kind of a challenge, like a little puzzle. How much of their real facts can I stuff into something without people thinking, Oh, I'm reading a history book. You know, I want them to not just know Harriet Tubman better.

Speaker 1: 00:49 I want them to feel what it was like. You know, this amazing spy in American history, this know crusader for justice. And there she is with her literally feet in the swamps of South Carolina trying to, you know, turn the world around and trying to make sure that the civil war turns out like we think it ought to. And so why, right Harriet Tubman story as a novel rather than a chapter in the history books. I mean, she's such a great hero of American history that people kind of know her name, but what they know they could write on the back of a cocktail Napkin most folks. And so I think it's a real challenge. And to me a real service, I hope to the nation to help people again, sort of feel her story, to have it come alive in the imagination so that everybody understand, you know, why this woman would be the great woman to have on the American currency.

Speaker 1: 01:35 That's not why I started the book, but it's certainly become a crusade since. And what aspects of Harriet Tubman's life were you able to explore in this novel that we don't often read about in history books? You know, I think, well first of all there's the just her spy career with the, with the Union army in the civil war and this amazing raid that she led that is, people don't often talk about. And I think, you know, women in history, people of Color in history, DNA, we tend to, they tend not to get into the big scenes. And yet this is like a crazy big scene of the American civil war. And so it's very fun to write about that. And then the other thing I think people don't appreciate about her is just, you know, she was a person, she was a daughter. She had four sisters and four brothers and parents.

Speaker 1: 02:18 She helped her rescue from the south. She, um, was a mother, and you mentioned it early that there's not a lot that people know about Harriet Tubman. You know, what's taught, um, about her in many history books is that she freed slaves, uh, through the underground railroad. But we don't hear much about the role that she played during the civil war with union troops. What can you share about her role? She was sent south by the governor of Massachusetts, John Andrews. So a man, very high up, obviously in Massachusetts thigh. She's a person who's going to be very valuable to the union cause and she went at government expense to South Carolina in 1862 and while she was there, she served in a variety of roles, one of which she served as a nurse. But she, I think more consequentially for the role. She was an interpreter. She was a person who was kind of a go between, between slaves who are escaping into the union lines.

Speaker 1: 03:11 We didn't trust a white face, but those were people who had, you had this stuff that became the basis for military intelligence. He also, believe it or not, helps to lead to American gunships. I mean naval warships up the rivers of South Carolina and in this spectacular, right. And then she's doing it. And yet, you know, she's a person like us. She has people she's loved, she has people who didn't fulfill her expectations. She made mistakes, she has regrets. And so understanding how somebody can be so human and at the time, same time, such a hero is does I think. Fascinating. What do you think inspired Tubman's bravery and encouraged? Absolutely. It is a kind of a weird thing. How does one person who sees things that everybody else sees but just decides to take it upon themselves to, to right a wrong. And that's something that is a question that faces at every moment in history.

Speaker 1: 04:06 It paces us today who, who stands up, who does stuff. And if you one time brave it, if you one time make that Ron, if you get yourself free, then you suddenly see, oh maybe this is feasible, maybe it's possible. And then once you know that something's possible for some people they just, they can't give it up. Is that what you hope people take away from your book? Yeah, I hope so. I mean, I hope that they feel about Harriet Tubman as I do, which is just an outstanding American patriot. And um, you know, she's part of all of us. You know, she worked for all of us to make our country a better place. And she did you say she's an outstanding American patriot and yet we learned so little about her and our history books in school. What do you think that says about our history books?

Speaker 1: 04:54 I think we're just very short sighted. You know, sometimes that's the thing of the month and you know, and, and so Harriet Tubman does get worked in where as maybe she didn't get worked in at all and she gets a sentence or two, but we don't really probe deeply. And, and for me that is one reason to write fiction, to try to take these minimal facts and kind of really liked them and put a spotlight on him so that people walk away going, Oh gosh, now, now I really get it. And I understand you launched an initiative to organize historians, to lobby the treasury secretary to put Tubman on the $20 bill. Why was that so important? I think, you know, that whole campaign, which I wasn't a part of initially took place in 2015 was really all about trying to honor the fact that women are half our population and in a democracy.

Speaker 1: 05:39 And in fact, in every other world, democracy, no large democracy in the world. Women do figure on their currency. And so I think that, um, what was interesting is that Harriet Tubman in a huge nationwide vote was voted by 600,000 Americans. A lot of them school kids as being, yeah. The woman who most merits it. What was your reaction when you heard the Trump administration was, was putting that on the back burner? Yeah. Now that the, since then the Trump administration has said, um, the secretary of the Treasury has been, Mnuchin has said, you know, we're just, it's not even going to be while he has this guy's in office, we're not considering remotely. In a way, I wasn't surprised, but I am horrified and mortified and ashamed of us as Americans. I'm also proud, I'm really proud of what we've all done as Americans to try to further the cause of freedom. Harriet Tubman is just one of our best examples of that. I've been speaking with Elizabeth cobb's. Her new novel is called the Tubman Command. Elizabeth, thank you so much. Thank you, Elizabeth. COBB's. We'll be speaking about her book tonight at seven 30 at Warwick's in La Jolla.

Speaker 1: 00:00 In a retirement home. In Ocean side. There's a man with a story straight out of a movie KPBS report or Matt Hoffman tells us about a former actors, Hollywood history. So come here and welcome to my cottage here. 87 year old ed Faulkner is taking us inside his room at Brookdale Oceanside. He sits down and pulls out a photo album full of candidates from old movies. This is from a current stock where I hit punched and go down in the mud slide.

Speaker 2: 00:27 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:30 Faulkner has appeared in many Hollywood films, including John Wayne's 1963. Mcclintock this was a fight sequence from McClintock pat. We, so we are, and of course he beats me up. I never wanted to fight. Yeah, it was always a bad guy.

Speaker 2: 00:49 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:53 Faulkner grew up riding horses in Kentucky, which he says gave him an edge for Westerns. That's how I got it started with, you know, they were doing a lot of western series and uh, you had an advantage if you wrote a horse. She's telling the truth, Mister the clinic, we wasn't doing nothing. Well, that's not important right now. They called John Wayne Duke and Faulkner was in six of Duke's movies. Yeah.

Speaker 2: 01:16 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 01:20 even played a leading role in Wayne's 1968 Vietnam war movie. They were going to cast it themselves and it was called the green berets. So I saw Julie Christus out, how am I gonna work this? I'd done one movie with me. So, uh, it sounds Corny, but I wrote a letter and I said something like a deer. Duke like yourself. I want to say that's as long enough. How about a change your hats? Maybe baret

Speaker 2: 01:50 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 01:55 Faulkner says over the years he and Wayne became friends. I played literally hundreds of games of chess with him. And as I tell people, I occasionally let him win. Wayne even cast Faulkner and his family and the 1969 western, the undefeated is there, came up bases. How are these your girls as his, yeah, he says a luster. Luster. Bayliss was, was wardrobe. He loved, it was great. He was wardrobe. He says, bottom in wardrobe that came out, you know, just, and it was a period piece and that's how they got to, oh, are you per chance in the warm Mr. Thomas? Yes. Captain I was, Faulkner also shared the screen with the king of Rock, so I turned to go loose. He was in to Elvis movies, including tickle me in 1965. Shop it or I'll drop your sister, Mr. He was really nice.

Speaker 2: 02:49 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 02:52 I enjoyed him. He's a good guy. Before he was on the silver screen, Faulkner was acting in TV shows in TV. When I got started, it was, uh, in, uh, 61 years ago, which would make it 19, uh, uh, 58. When I started, the daily rate was $80 a day. Faulkner was in dozens of movies and hundreds of television episodes, but he says they weren't all classics

Speaker 2: 03:19 maybe versus unlike monsters

Speaker 1: 03:21 was the weirdest one. I think it was. The script was no crash. It was a past career too. It was terrible.

Speaker 2: 03:27 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 03:34 Faulkner says, looking back on his career, I've just been blessed in my life. Faulkner now lives in a retirement home in ocean side so he can be closer to his youngest daughter, Leslie, at the senior center. He enjoys sharing movies with friends. Whatever, three, four months, I'll pull out one of my movies and, uh, we'll advertise it, you know, and I'll go down and I'll tell him this, this movie was made 52 years ago. I was 35. Oh, we made it. They say, is that you? Yeah. After the 1970s, Faulkner's scaled back his acting. I've done what I wanted to do. I'd made some nice buddy. He hopes when people see movies he's been in, they have a good time. Oh, I hope they have fun. Enjoy the movies. We have a good time making the film. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 2: 04:22 [inaudible].

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.