Deportation Threat, San Onofre Nuclear Waste, Juneteenth And Reparations
KPBS Midday Edition / June 19, 2019
President Trump may have a hard time making good on his threat to deport millions of people living in the U.S. illegally. Also, San Diego’s mayor met with Trump at the White House, how safe is it to store nuclear waste at San Onofre? SANDAG’s vice chair discusses their new vision for transportation and the tradition of Juneteenth moves forwards as talks of reparations resume.
Speaker 1: 00:00 I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second
Speaker 2: 00:04 can term as president of the United States.
Speaker 1: 00:09 That was at a rally in Orlando last night. One day after he announced on Twitter that starting next week, immigration customs enforcement will begin deporting millions of immigrants living in the US illegally in San Diego. Immigrant communities are bracing for stepped up enforcement. Kate Morrissey covers immigration for the San Diego Union Tribune. She's been following the latest developments and joins us now. Kate, welcome. Thanks for having me. So what is your understanding of who would be affected by these mass deportations?
Speaker 3: 00:39 So what we know from other recent reporting separate from this tweet is that immigration and customs enforcement has been planning an operation that would specifically target families or people who have already received, um, final removal orders. So a judge has already said this person should be deported from the u s um, but for some reason they're still here. And so, um, immigration officers are, are planning something that would target that specific group? How many immigrants could be affected? That's a good question. We know that different numbers have been, have been cited over the course of the week up to, you know, a million Trump's tweets said millions with an s. Um, but what's, what's not totally clear is how many of these people would actually be, um, immediately removable if they were, if they were found by an immigration officer. So someone who has a final removal order might move to appeal that case or might say, you know, I didn't receive the court notice about when my hearing was. And so yes, I was ordered, deported, but it wasn't fair. And so there might be more legal proceedings that need to happen before that person can be removed. Um, another factor is what country they would be removed to and how long it takes to get the travel documents together, um, from that person's government in order to actually send them back to that country. And what is it,
Speaker 1: 02:10 the White House saying about why they're specifically targeting, uh, immigrants who skipped their court dates? What is the administration hoping to accomplish here?
Speaker 3: 02:18 From their perspective, it's been a priority since president Trump came into office. Actually one of his first executive orders, uh, reprioritizing who immigration officials would be targeting included people with final removal orders. And the thinking is that this group should be easier to move through the process more quickly because they have already been ordered removed by a judge. And so unless they make that move for some kind of appeal, they should be able to go ahead and get into the process of removing that person. Whereas somebody who doesn't already have one of those orders would, would have the opportunity to go before a judge before they are removed from the country. Does ice actually have
Speaker 1: 03:04 the resources to target millions of people living in cities? Far from the border?
Speaker 3: 03:09 Ice As far as we know is already well past its capacity in terms of detention space and while many of these people, if they're being removed from the country, wouldn't necessarily need to be in detention for long amounts of time. If they're not being returned to a contiguous country, which would be Mexico or Canada, we would expect them to spend some time in detention. Again, while those travel documents are sorted, while they're playing, arrangements are sorted before they're actually sent back to their country of origin. And so ice will need some amount of detention space in order to do this enforcement operation. Ice is also been saying that it does not have the resources to do, it's part of processing everyone who is arriving at the southwest border. And so it's not clear what resources they have to put into this other interior enforcement action sort of while they're already trying to balance resources and another part of their work. Is it clear to you whether this
Speaker 1: 04:11 Lolitas deportation threat is actually a change in US immigration policy?
Speaker 3: 04:16 That is not totally clear to me. Um, we have seen over the past two years a number of different increased enforcement moments in San Diego. We had one quarter of where we had specifically quite a number of arrests of people who did not have criminal records. I think we had the highest of any field office in the country. I'm in one particular quarter or early in the administration. And so, you know, we have seen ramped up enforcement at different points already. Um, and this sounds like another moment maybe maybe heading our way.
Speaker 1: 04:50 I've been speaking with Kate Morrissey who covers immigration with the San Diego Union Tribune. Kate, thank you. Thank you. Joining us now is Lillian Serrano, chair of the San Diego immigrant rights consortium. Lilian, welcome. Thanks for having me. First, what's been the reaction in the immigrant community here in San Diego so far to the president's deportation thread? We are talking about community that has formed for many years, even before the Trump administration came into office, has been living in fear, right? So as the new administration has been ruling now new, uh, enforcement methods, uh, we have been seen an increase on the anxiety and increase on, on the fear. So with this last announcement, um, rarely a day ago, we're starting to see people really worried, really trying to figure out what does that mean for them and their families. If it's, once again, the questions about whether it's it's worth staying here. If it's a time for, for them to start making plans or separating to prepare their families for possible separation.
Speaker 1: 05:58 Um, those are the conversations that we're having all over again. And have you already started receiving calls from people in the community concerned about possible raids? Yes, there has been already a lot of communication, not just with me but other immigrant advocates were all getting the calls, the emails, the texts of people being a concern. And like I mentioned, there has been fear in this community already so we will have already been doing a lot of um, educating the public around a know your rights. So we will continue doing that. Um, I know that some organizations might be start doing more community forums, um, social media, you know, just different ways in which we are able to reach out, um, community members so they can be prepared. You know, a former ice director who worked in the Obama administration has said, really any effort to deport more than a million people is a fantasy and it's still unclear if this is actually even set policy.
Speaker 1: 06:58 So how seriously are you and others here considering this thread? I think anyone that has a basic understanding of our immigration system will, will they agree that uh, the pouring millions of people within a matter of weeks will be nearly impossible. But I think that even if what we're, we'll be seeing is an increase on the amount of people who are being separated from their families. Even if one more family separated, uh, that should be a concern for all of us. What kind of impact do you think this announcement will have impact in San Diego as a whole, as a region? I mean, we are a very diverse, uh, county. You know, obviously we have a high number of Mexican immigrants given how close we are to the border. All of us know at least one immigrant in our lives, whether that is our neighbor or friend, our teacher, our cashiers at the grocery store, all of us will be affected.
Speaker 1: 07:51 The culture of our region will be affected. The economy of our region will be affect that the target population in an attempt to protect themselves. My goal farther in the shadows. What do you tell people who say, look, you know, there's, there's a significant increase in the number of immigrant families coming to the border of the highest numbers in the past decade. The US can't take everyone in and something needs to be done to address the issue. How do you respond to those kinds of concerns? I think we need to really take a step back. Migration has been a human phenomena for it for many years throughout history. So when we stopped looking at immigration as a problem, as, uh, something that we need to enforce our way out, right? Um, I think that will be the starting of a different conversation that will actually lead us to better solutions and solutions that are actually in the better interests of all of us as people, and that will protect people's human rights. I've been speaking with Lillian Sureno, chair of the San Diego immigrant rights consortium. Thank you.
Speaker 1: 00:00 While news headlines Focus on the president's threats to impose tariffs or conduct mass deportations. San Diego officials are focusing on improving trade relations with Mexico. San Diego Americ. Kevin Faulkner met with President Trump in the oval office on Tuesday and they talked about trade with Mexico among other things. Paolo Avila, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is also in Washington DC this week with the mayor talking about trade. She's at a conference of the board of Trade Alliance. Paolo Avila joins us now. Thanks for being with us.
Speaker 2: 00:32 Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: 00:33 So San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulkner met with the presidents and they talked about the u s MCA deal, the US Mexico Canada agreement to replace Nafta. They did not talk about immigration apparently. What do you think the meeting accomplished?
Speaker 2: 00:49 Well, to hear directly from the perspective of a mayor of of the eighth largest city, a city that has a Republican mayor and um, to hear directly about the importance of the US Mexico relationship and how much we rely on that relationship for our own local economy and, and strength. I think that was important. And hearing that I'm very loud and clear.
Speaker 1: 01:16 So I understand that you're expecting some big news about the u s MCA today.
Speaker 2: 01:21 Yes. We just met with the ambassador of Mexico to the u s Martha Barcelona and uh, she was reiterating the news that's expected. It's come out of Mexico City, uh, today, uh, where the Mexican Senate would be ratifying the trade agreement. Um, previously it was expected. The ratification might even be at by unanimous. So now it appears there might be a, a couple of dissenting votes, but it is still widely expected to pass. Uh, the Mexican Senate is the only body that is required to ratify the agreement. Unlike here in the u s it will require ratification from both chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. So this is great news and very timely. It helps us as we advocate here in Washington for the ratification by our own congress.
Speaker 1: 02:11 Who are you meeting with in Washington DC today? And, and what do you hope you can accomplish that will benefit San Diego?
Speaker 2: 02:18 We met this morning with, uh, a series of, uh, of senators from across the country, from Arizona, Texas and Nebraska and have an, are now meeting with members of the House of Representatives. Uh, we do a series of meeting with the Republican members and then this afternoon we're meeting with a Democrat members. We're talking about USM, ca the trade agreement, and also hearing that from them where they stand on the agreement, we're asking for a yes or no, a position on the agreement. And so the response has been great, very positive. Um, they are reasonably optimistic about its ratification and have mentioned several times to building up the momentum, uh, and which could not have happened if the steel and aluminum tariffs were still in place or if the tariffs on Mexican imports had been implemented.
Speaker 1: 03:20 Are the negotiations effected by the threat still hanging over Mexico that the president could impose tariffs if immigration isn't slowed enough by Mexico's new initiatives?
Speaker 2: 03:31 Absolutely. If, um, you know, as, as those talks continue and like, you know, the ratification hearing begin if the tariffs were to be imposed on Mexico or, um, you know, that research, I see that as very problematic when we've heard that loud and clear. We haven't met with a single member of Congress who supports the terrorists. In fact, they'd been very vocally opposed. And, and, and in talking about, um, order management and, um, and, and immigration, the focus really is on making, you know, preventing from trade from being interrupted or our integrated supply chain. We have many hurdles that we have currently including, uh, more than, you know, around 300 CVP officers that have been lost from the southern border to help, uh, the, uh, border patrol at the tension centers. And this is increased border wait times. There are, um, you know, border infrastructure needs. There's tremendous work that still needs to be done. The USM ca helps us move forward among all of these other challenges.
Speaker 1: 04:44 What's a stake specifically for San Diego in these negotiations to agree on a new USM? Sia, you know, which specific industries stand to benefit or lose depending on how this shakes out.
Speaker 2: 04:55 It's really a industries across the board. Among the, the most important ones in our region are pharmaceutical or the largest medical device manufacturing cluster in the world. When you put us together as a bite national region, we have computer equipment, automobile parts, uh, electrical equipment, audio, visual, um, those components just to name a few. But aside from that, we, we must also consider a agriculture and produce, which we don't talk about in San Diego very much, but it is a very important to our region. Uh, the, the produce that we import import from Mexico, that includes that flowers, we import flowers and that's tremendously important to our region in San Diego. And aside from that are all the service related jobs that are supported by trade, the marketing, the finance, the legal, the consulting, the logistics and customs processing. There are millions of jobs that are supported cost, the country service jobs that are tied to trade and they have been created and grown because of the growing, uh, trade relationship. Those are all at risk.
Speaker 1: 06:09 No, this is an annual meeting of the board of Trade Alliance. How would you say it's different from previous meetings you've attended? What was the tone this year?
Speaker 2: 06:18 Uh, there's a lot of concern because there are so many different issues that we are battling in past years. You know, we've, we've continued talking about the lack of border infrastructure and increasing borders delays. That's something that we have faced for a very long time. Um, lack of CVP staffing that, uh, we have been requesting, um, you know, bringing more staffing up. But right now we're talking about tariffs were talking about the trade agreement, which, you know, in past years we, Nafta was not at risk and it adds to the uncertainties that the business community functions under which, and, and does create increased production costs. The upside though that I'll mention is, um, with this, uh, these meetings that we're having, we're meeting with, uh, members from across the country leadership. Uh, from here we head over to Speaker Pelosi's office to meet with her staff. Um, in some cases I'll say, we hadn't secured meetings like these with these members. Now there is greater understanding and concern from the members themselves and their interest in meeting with our organization.
Speaker 1: 07:28 I've been speaking with powder Avila, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Thanks for the update.
Speaker 2: 07:33 You're welcome. Thank you so much.
Speaker 1: 00:00 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm jade Hindman mls in Saint John and for Maureen Cavanagh, southern California Edison will soon was zoomed storing the spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre nuclear generating station. This comes a year after a near miss accidents when one of the canisters almost fell 18 feet. KPBS science and technology reporters Shalina Chet Lani looks into whether storing 1700 tons of nuclear waste on a beach is safe
Speaker 2: 00:28 at the Santa No free community engagement panel and Oceanside residents are concerned. They say the spent nuclear fuel at Santa, no Frey isn't safe on the beat.
Speaker 3: 00:38 Shelby's talk about halfway the nuclear waste, et Cetera, some of those quickly. But solving the 24,000 years
Speaker 2: 00:44 local resident Peter McBride worries, the canisters are too thin and they'll corrode. Others say rising ocean levels could smother the canisters and water.
Speaker 3: 00:55 Other areas of the country faced the same kind of irresponsibility with such a sense of potential, potentially disastrous material. And now I'm worried about our children, my grandson. Okay.
Speaker 2: 01:06 But at the sooner I know friend nuclear generating station, which jets right up to the beach chief nuclear engineer, Randall Grannis isn't worried. He says any danger would come right after the rods are removed from the reactor because they are extremely hot. That's why they are put in wet cooling. Yeah.
Speaker 4: 01:24 After five years we can basically, then we can transfer it into this dry storage system.
Speaker 2: 01:30 Sure. It's cooled spent. Nuclear fuel is still highly radioactive and part of that radiation can go through materials like aluminum and human beings, but it can be stopped by concrete and steel. Still, it can take years for this radiation to become less of a problem.
Speaker 4: 01:47 If you had no shield in between our fuel and yourself, it could be fatal. Right now if you fast forward several hundred years from now, you can walk up to one of those fuel assemblies and for a short period of time and you'll be fine, but we can't fast forward
Speaker 2: 02:04 and that's what's got residents worried. What would happen if this shielding suddenly went away at Santa? No phrase, a large spent fuel site, a thick concrete slab acts as a 35,000 pound lid and it sits on top of a 20 foot crevice where the fuel canisters live official, say the system can withstand massive amounts of stress. But back in January we interviewed physicist Tom English at the Santa No Free State beach. He's very skeptical the system could hold up in an ocean environment.
Speaker 5: 02:37 So they're going to store it a few inches above the ground water table. As the sea level rises, what will happen is the bottom of the containers will correct
Speaker 2: 02:45 Jim Conka, a nuclear waste storage consultant for, so cal Edison says there's little risk of a breach. He was on the Santa No free tour.
Speaker 5: 02:53 Well these are totally fireproofing and fight is that can do anything to this, um, flooding. Is it going to do anything and you think to this, terrorism is the least issue because there's these, each of these weighs 150 tons. It's not like getting a pack back up, pickup truck cut through the fence and throw this in the back of the truck and drive away. One other concern has been earthquakes. Yeah. The, these are ready for earthquakes. There's some concern about sea level rise. That's good. Take a long time for that sea level to rise anywhere near this.
Speaker 2: 03:21 I also asked about corrosion while we were at the plant. Much of the exposed metal have rust which can cause it to break apart caucuses. The fuel canisters are made of a special steel that resists Russ, but to check Edison's claims, I talked to Ted Quinn, he's the former president of the nonprofit American nuclear society.
Speaker 6: 03:40 The NRC has stated that there is no credible action at did it cover with our dry casks with the age of the fuel, which is older now.
Speaker 2: 03:48 But he says there's still a caveat. Santa no freight wasn't built to store spent nuclear fuel in the longterm. The role, yes.
Speaker 6: 03:56 Shannon or for you is done. Yeah. It's being taken down and the only thing that'll be left will be the canisters. Yeah. And there's no reason for them to be there if the federal government fulfills their role
Speaker 2: 04:08 back at Santa. No fray. Conka agreed saying there needs to be permanent storage underground.
Speaker 5: 04:13 And that's because, you know, I love the pyramids. They are great. But that's the only thing humans have made that lasted, you know, anything approaching geologic time, 10,000 years,
Speaker 2: 04:23 the federal government was supposed to provide a solution decades ago, but it still has it. So these nuclear experts say what's preventing a permanent, safer solution for Santa? No Frey and plants around the country is less scientific and more political. Joining me now is KPBS is new sitech reporter Shalina Chet Lonnie, thanks for joining us. Shelina thanks. Glad to be here. Okay, so now you mentioned in your piece about the pyramids, which are about 5,000 years old. How long would a building have to last in order to protect nuclear waste from uh, being radioactive and harmful in the community? Yeah, so it would take tens of thousands of years for spent nuclear fuel to be less radioactive. So they should be put in long term storage and, and not be exposed to human beings, but they'd have to last longer than the pyramids, essentially, right? Yes. They would have to last longer than the pyramids.
Speaker 2: 05:23 But you know, there is a caveat to this, which is that nuclear fuel becomes less and less radioactive over time. The 10,000 years is or longer than that as a timestamp, um, for making sure that it stays safe, but over time it becomes safer and safer. I guess it's a question of how much time, right? How much time? No, you got a tour of the site, which is up there, uh, just north of San Diego off the I five freeway. What did you see? You describe what you saw in terms of the, the uh, nuclear waste storage. Sure. So, um, it's quite an interesting site. It's called the SPOC pad and it's this thick concrete pad where you'll see a bunch of cubes basically that are popping up from the top. And those are the 35,000 pound steel and concrete lids that are on top of these steel canisters where the spent fuel is being stored.
Speaker 2: 06:17 And that's right next to the beach. You can watch the surfers from the site. Yeah. So now in your story, it isn't chief nuclear engineer. Randall Granice says that you could walk right up to one of those canisters without too much in effect and several hundred years. How long are these stainless steel canister is actually designed to last? Do we know? So the ones that are here are designed to last 30 to 40 years according to permits. But in the interview that I had with the socal Edison consultant, the nuclear waste expert, Jim Conka, he said they could last hundreds or 200 years. The real issue is making sure that we can inspect those canisters to make sure that they're still okay. Have they developed a system to reliably inspect those canisters. So about last year there was a near miss accident with one of the canisters where it nearly fell 18 feet.
Speaker 2: 07:14 Um, and that prompted some evaluations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, um, including the way canisters or are being lowered into storage. And as well as looking at scratches on the canisters. And because of that, socal Edison went through a process of actually taking out some of the canisters, putting them in and taking them out before there's any fuel in it and looking at the scratches to see if they were too deep. Um, if it could cause a breach and they, nuclear regulatory commission said it was fine. That was actually something that was released a few weeks ago where they said they feel fine about the scratches. So I believe they have not taken any of those canisters out of the storage, concrete storage bunkers once they were full. No, no, they'd be left in there. Have they developed a way to inspect the cannabis when they're in there so that over time in the future they can see if they're still maintain their integrity?
Speaker 2: 08:08 That I'm not entirely sure about. I think that's a point of contention that's often brought up at the community engagement panel on Tenino Fray. The concern that once you put them in there, um, what exactly is so cal Edison and going to be able to do to take them out. Because you know, once you put them in, there's a 35,000 pound lid on them. It's a whole operation. So that I'm not entirely clear on. And one of your sources mentioned is that the sea level rise is not going to get there anytime soon, but a fairly conservative estimates suggest sea level could rise by several feet by the end of the century. I believe. Is it true that these canisters are in bunkers that are only inches above the water level? They are above the groundwater table. That's true. Um, but there are also encapsulated in concrete above the ground water table and also blocked by a seawall. So it would probably have to take more than a several feet of water to completely flood these canisters.
Speaker 1: 09:09 How could water be a problem with storing nuclear waste?
Speaker 2: 09:13 Well, some scientists, uh, like physicist Tom English say that the concern is that groundwater, because their salts, particularly if it's close to the beach, could potentially corrode the bottom of the canisters. And the answer to that or the, the retort to that is that the canisters are encapsulated in so much concrete that that would take a lot of corrosion for that to happen.
Speaker 1: 09:41 And Ted Quinn of the American nuclear society who argues that there's really no credible evidence that there could be something harmful, it would harm the community outside the confines of that site. Even he is worried about the idea that they might be left there long term.
Speaker 2: 09:55 Yes. I think that's a, um, consensus among the scientific community and the scientific experts that I've talked to you is that they feel fairly confident about the storage capabilities that have been developed but spent nuclear fuel, but recognize that none of it can stay on sites that weren't built to store the fuel. Sandino fray wasn't built to store nuclear fuel, um, spent nuclear fuel. It was made to produce energy. And the main concern that's coming from Ted Quinn is that, you know, a hundred years down the line, where will there be the personnel with the expertise to inspect these canisters? So that's the major argument for why it's not a good idea to keep it on the beach.
Speaker 1: 10:40 Edison actually begun moving the remaining spent fuel rods that are still in the cooling ponds into the concrete bunkers now that the NRC has given them permission to go ahead.
Speaker 2: 10:50 Not yet. So, uh, so cal Edison is taking its time. I'm going through some more training and you know, getting their ducks in a row basically before they start moving the fuel again. It's been nearly a year since the NRC put the ban on there being able to move the fuels. So, uh, it seems like they're really trying to make sure everything is in place and that employees know what types of procedures they need to be following so that there aren't any other potential mistakes that happen. Yeah.
Speaker 1: 11:20 And you've been on the site, so what would be visible once they decommissioned the side and the domes are gone? What will people be able to see about this law, this, uh, a nuclear waste storage site from the freeway,
Speaker 2: 11:32 from the freeway? Um, what's most prominent is, is honestly the domes. Um, you may, you may not be able to see the spent nuclear fuel pad unless you kind of go around to the, uh, to the state beach and look over and see the SPC pad.
Speaker 1: 11:50 So they will be effectively invisible to most people. Wednesday varied.
Speaker 2: 11:55 Yeah. You'd really have to be looking
Speaker 1: 11:57 Shelina thank you so much for telling us about your visit. Thank you. That's a KBS is new. Sitech Ibotta. Shelina Chet Lani.
Speaker 1: 00:00 One of the biggest challenges facing the San Diego region in the next few years will be how to invest in ways of getting around. Everybody wants to avoid worst traffic gridlock on the roads and for our own long term survival we have to cut carbon emissions. Catherine Blake Spears, a mayor of Encinitas and the vice chair of Sandag, the agency responsible for planning all the transportation. That's the San Diego Association of governments, a mouthful of a name for the group of political leaders from all 18 cities in the region and the county. Mayor Blake's spear. Thanks for joining us.
Speaker 2: 00:32 Well thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: 00:33 So now this is becoming a hot political potato and candidates are already taking positions on, on a new vision for how we keep San Diego moving. And some people are describing this debate as a battle between investing in roads versus in public transit or between the city of San Diego and the surrounding suburbs or some people said it's a battle between liberals and conservatives. Now, what would you say is wrong with that picture?
Speaker 2: 00:59 Well, I don't think we should see this in terms of either or. I think what we really need to do is to look forward 50 years, this is what the agency is actually doing, looking forward 50 years and saying what type of transportation network do we want to see in this county? And we are in the process of doing that. So that's basically what a regional plan is for transportation. And undoubtedly the ultimate plan will involve improvements to roads and freeways as well as to transit trains, bus lines and active transportation like biking and walking.
Speaker 1: 01:34 Do you think it's going to be possible to keep politics out of it in order to focus on what's best for the, for the county?
Speaker 2: 01:40 No, I think that the public policy discussion we're having is really important, but I think politics will definitely be part of it. You already see that happening because there can be political value and demonizing one side or over simplifying. And I think what really, what we need to do is to let the SANDAG agency come up with a plan that meets state law and then discuss the different options that we have within that plan.
Speaker 1: 02:09 We've already seen some fairly harsh words being exchanged between longtime county supervisor done and Jacob and the new director of Sandag, Hassana Karata Jacob wants road improvements in the back country. The crowd was hired to craft this whole New Vision. Do you think that crowd is somewhat brash? Style could be a liability for Sandag and the coming debate,
Speaker 2: 02:30 I think very highly of our executive director who we've only recently hired, so he's been with the agency about six months, maybe a little more than that, and he comes with a wealth of experience from having run the largest similar type of agency in the entire country, which was in the greater Los Angeles area. I think that he's a straight shooter and that he knows his stuff in terms of being an engineer and being involved, the transportation policy debates for many years. So I in some ways I think that he's unapologetic and just saying it as it is. I don't think he's engaging in an emotionally heated type of discussion. I think he's just saying it straight and sometimes people don't like to hear the truth. I will say that supervisor Jacob is not on the SANDAG board. So I'm just more involved in who's on the Sandag board because those are the decision makers. So sometimes, uh, press conferences and press releases from other people, it doesn't, it seems as if that might be more of a political theater than it is actually a discussion about what it is that we can and we'll see in the county when it comes to transportation. So from my perspective, I'm less engaged in that part because I think it's important that we do sit down with the decision makers and try to hash it out.
Speaker 1: 03:51 Well, let me just ask you, what would you like to see people who have disagreements or concerns with the crowd as vision do?
Speaker 2: 03:58 Well, I th I think the most important thing would be to have a straight dialogue. One to one with any board member who has concerns, needs to spend some serious time working through what those are so that it's really clear in, in depth. And I think ultimately solutions and compromises will need to be made. And so we have to be able to get beyond the soundbites that come out from the dueling press releases or that kind of thing. So, so I think that's the first thing. And in some ways that's about being just a responsible adult about how do you make a change, how do you affect the levers of power you do involve, involve yourself in the deep dialogue about things. And then I think the other thing is just to really understand what drives a regional plan. Because we do work within a system, so we're not just operating out here on our own.
Speaker 2: 04:53 We do need to comply with the state's requirements when it comes to greenhouse gas reduction requirements. So it's not optional for us as a county to say we don't care about climate change. I mean, speaking personally, I care a lot about us doing what we can to address climate change. And also about us having a transportation network that provides more real transit options than we currently have. But it's, it's also just we have to be clear eyed about the fact that state law is what it is. And so the transportation network needs to meet those goals. So s so understanding the depths and nuances of, of that whole area is really important as well for, for all the board members, but particularly anybody who might be concerned about the direction that we're going.
Speaker 1: 05:41 Well, just for the average person in the street who's trying to get to work on time, you know, um, I encourage people to look up the five big moves, which is a grat as the outline of, of the vision that has, that Sandag is considering, which is quite a different way of getting around. And it complete corridors that will connect to a mobility hubs. And I quote, we'll provide travel as a true alternative for traveling to work home and major destinations as fast or faster than driving. Now this is a huge shift from how we get around now. Do you blame people for being a bit shocked? And, and having a hard time accepting that this is really possible.
Speaker 2: 06:18 Well, you know, it's interesting because one of the things that strikes me so much is that the people who prioritize roads and the people who prioritize transit all agree that we need complete corridors because complete corridors essentially means that the modes work together. Because a lot of people do use multiple types of ways to get around and a lot of trips will obviously continue to be taken in a car. So we need to have the road network be as efficient as possible. And also we need to do what we can to reduce congestion. And every person who moves onto the train from the freeway is no longer clogging up the freeway. So it does actually reduce congestion to have more people taking transit. I think that's really important to remember. So, so when we're moving forward with a plan, the plan has to include all the different modes of transportation. And I think fundamentally all of the Sandag board agrees with that as, as mostly, I mean, does the public. So it's really about being able to see what that plan looks like. And I think that's another really important point is that in many ways, a lot of the controversy seems premature to me because we haven't actually seen a plan. So we don't have anything that we can respond to yet.
Speaker 1: 07:30 My Blake's Peter, thanks so much for joining us. Well, thank you very much for having me. That's Catherine Blake sphere, the mayor of Encinitas and vice chair of Sandag.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Today is June teenth a day to celebrate freedom and independence. The holiday marks the day when union soldiers finally made their way to Galveston, Texas to announce the abolition of slavery two years after it had been abolished. Today also marks the first time in a decade, Congress held a hearing on reparations for the descendants of slaves. Here's testimony from National Book Award Winning Author Tena Hasi Coats who made the case for reparations this morning.
Speaker 2: 00:28 It was 150 years ago and it was right now typical black family in this country has one 10th the wealth of the typical white family. Black women die in childbirth at four times the rate of white women, and there was of course the shame of this land of the free boasting, the largest prison population on the planet, of which the descendants of the enslaved make up the largest share.
Speaker 1: 00:51 Again, that was ton of Aussie coats at today's hearing in DC on HR 40 which calls for a commission to study and develop a reparation proposals. Meanwhile, here in San Diego, June teenth has been observed by the Cooper family foundation for the last 50 years. With an annual celebration. Joining me via Skype is Sydney Cooper of the Cooper family foundation. Sydney, welcome.
Speaker 3: 01:13 Thank you so much.
Speaker 1: 01:14 Your family has hosted the Juneteenth celebration right here in San Diego for a half a century. Tell me about why and how your family took the initiative to celebrate this day.
Speaker 3: 01:24 Yeah. My father actually is from redbird, Oklahoma and so he took that seven tradition of celebrating Juneteenth and brought it to San Diego. Uh, my father was a small business owner, um, on imperial avenue. He had us barber shop. My mother had a beauty shop and we had a little fruit stand. So it was a big part of the community at the time. And what he would do is just use our back lot and he would feed the homeless and he would celebrate the day. And He, my father was a veteran. So you had a lot of people who that were his friends that were, um, uh, veterans and uh, they would get together and play music and, and since we had a fruit stand, we would cut up watermelon and then they would barbecue. And whoever came by, 29, 73 imperial avenue at the time would be able to get a free meal, listen to some music. And then we would have, um, political types like George Stevens who was a city councilmen and some political leaders that would speak on Juneteenth and try to educate the community.
Speaker 1: 02:24 Right. And, and so when we talk about, you know, the 4th of July, for example, fireworks are a traditional part of the celebration. So what are some of the Juneteenth traditions?
Speaker 3: 02:33 Uh, well, some of the traditions, uh, I would say is a lot of times it's the, uh, the food. So Barbecue, um, watermelon that, that, that, that was huge in term because it's a southern tradition. So a lot of times you're looking at southern cuisine in terms of the celebration. Um, other traditions would just be, um, learning the history of, of, of, um, of Juneteenth and what it's taken for people who came before us. Um, and what they sacrificed in order for us to be free. So it's a big educational component. The celebration is probably more or less the southern cuisine that is, that is actually served, uh, during the celebration.
Speaker 1: 03:20 No. Why is it important to commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth?
Speaker 3: 03:24 Well, we, we, my father used to say it's just like July 4th. It's, it's our independence. Um, um, and if we don't celebrate that, um, uh, an acknowledge that, then who will, so he always used to say our communities to celebrate Juneteenth Rikers to July 4th. Um, not that we shouldn't celebrate July 4th. We should. Uh, but also we should be celebrating Juneteenth because it's, it's our independence day.
Speaker 1: 03:50 Do you think the holiday is as important for African Americans to celebrate as it is for all of America to celebrate?
Speaker 3: 03:57 I think, I think it's, I think it's as important for, for all Americans to celebrate it. It's, it's, it's something that's, um, a part of our history, um, and, uh, something that happened in America that people struggle for on all sides. So, uh, it's definitely, uh, an American holiday and I, as that's how I see it, and I think that everybody's participate, everybody should know about it and to learn about it. Um, just as if we liked July, July 4th,
Speaker 1: 04:28 in 2017, California made Juneteenth a state holiday. Uh, still it's not a national holiday. Do you think more should be done to commemorate this day?
Speaker 3: 04:38 Absolutely. I think I fall in the, in the, in the, um, the, the, the philosophy and the dairy on my father that we all should celebrate that day and that day should be a national holiday. So I, I'm definitely falling in that camp and that's because I've been celebrating it. If this sounds a kid, so I don't know. Anything else.
Speaker 1: 04:59 And since your family has been spearheading this celebration here in San Diego for many years, you know, do you have a sense of whether this holiday is growing and being celebrated more, or is there a concern that it's getting lost in history?
Speaker 3: 05:12 No, I think that it's picking up some momentum. Um, I actually, um, just took a job, I'm sorry. I in Oregon, so I was there this weekend and, and I, I've been to Oregon for like three months. And so when I got back yesterday, I was walking through downtown and they had a Juneteenth celebration that was given by the Shakespeare Festival, uh, in Ashland, Oregon. Um, and it was very nice. Um, it wasn't as big as ours, but it was very nice. It was well attended and it was well orchestrated. Um, so I, I do think that it does pick up momentum. And now I'm like, when I talked to different people about Juneteenth, I don't have a lot of people giving me blank stares about what am I talking about. So a lot of people are starting to recognize, uh, the significance of the day and this what Juneteenth means.
Speaker 1: 06:04 And I know the Cooper family held a Juneteenth celebration this past weekend. Uh, what will you be doing though on this Juneteenth Day?
Speaker 3: 06:13 I will probably be in prayer, just that, uh, I'm able to carry on this tradition from my father and that, you know, us as a family, we were able to kind of come together and carry this tradition on a lot of times as children of, of significant leaders. But I would definitely put my father in the category of a leader in the community. We don't carry on traditions, and so I'm thankful that our family carries on this tradition and legacy of my father and celebrate Juneteenth and just try to educate and celebrate the day
Speaker 1: 06:45 I've been speaking with Sydney Cooper, with the Cooper family foundation. Sydney, thanks so much for joining us. Thank you so much.