Campland Extension, Del Mar Gun Shows, Femicide In Tijuana
KPBS Midday Edition / June 25, 2019
The San Diego City Council voted to renew Campland’s lease despite opposition from environmental groups. Also, what a judge’s ruling on gun shows at Del Mar means for pending legislation, the VA is using video games as therapy for disabled veterans, Oceanside opens a new community kitchen to cut down on food waste, a film coming to KPBS tells the story of the race to put astronauts on the moon and a new book called “City of Omens” examines the dangers facing women in Tijuana.
Speaker 1: 00:00 The camp land recreational area at mission bay park will be around for a while longer to San Diego city council voted on Monday six to three to extend camp land lease for five years. The decision is opposed by environmental groups led by the Audubon society. KPBS reporter John Carroll joins me now with more. Welcome John. Thanks jade. So John, before we dig into this decision to extend its least remind us what and where camp land is.
Speaker 2: 00:26 So Ken plant is a 46 acre site in the northeast corner of mission bay. They've been there for 50 years. Uh, it provides waterfront access to campers and that's one of the reasons that the people who are in support of the camp land lease extension cited it as important for the city to vote in that way because they say it's hard for people to find affordable ways to camp and enjoy the waterfront. And this is like the only one that they have.
Speaker 1: 00:57 Hmm. And what are some of the other reasons they're in favor of this at lease extension?
Speaker 2: 01:01 Well, the big thing that the camp plan folks have been pushing is that they are going to clean up a fairly sizable portion of the neighboring Deanza Cov mobile home park. Uh, our listeners might remember a few years ago, after years of litigation, decades when the city finally, uh, was able to triumph and they evicted everybody who'd lived there. So they're all gone, have been gone for years. And now we have all these mobile homes just sitting there. A few of them will remove, but not a lot of them. And they're decrepit. They're falling apart. They, uh, are laden with asparagus. It is a complete mess. This is Jacob Gelfand. He is with camp land and he is going to talk about, um, the mess in that area.
Speaker 3: 01:49 Anyone who goes and walks that site cannot look me in the eye and say that it is not a crisis waiting to happen. And that this is not a, an embarrassment to the city as, as it stands, the, uh, the coastal bike and pastoring and path, uh, under this project would be made much safer, much more accessible for the public to enjoy.
Speaker 2: 02:11 So as part of the deal with camp land getting the five year extension, they've agreed to go in and clean up a bunch of these. But there's a catch as also as part of the deal, they get $8 million in rent credits from the city. So in other words, it's paying Peter to pay Paul is just one bit of money going this way and one going that way. And the contention from the folks against the camp plan proposal is that this is really ultimately all being paid for by the taxpayers.
Speaker 1: 02:42 Hmm. So then why do environmental groups oppose the lease extension?
Speaker 2: 02:46 Well, that's one of them, what I just said, but also, um, they say this is just putting off the inevitable that the longterm vision for Mission Bay Park is restoring it to something close to what it once was like a hundred years ago. Uh, and that means restoring the Kendall Frost Marsh area, all the wetlands around there, they say that, uh, this is something that is very important as it fits into the city's climate action plan. And to just postpone it is just meaning that it will eventually be more expensive. And also that the process of deciding the eventual plan for mission bay is still in process and they say you're just jumping in and sort of putting the brakes on it temporarily. And you brought a clip along? I did indeed. This is Andrew Meyer. He is with the San Diego Audubon society. They're the ones sort of taking the lead and a coalition of groups that oppose this and he talks about the main concern for the society being water quality
Speaker 4: 03:48 and this proposal before the city council today does nothing to improve water quality. That's the one, the one measure that they should be doing and they are not doing it. So we will let them know you've got to improve water quality through this proposal and needs to be improved. Do it through this proposal and do it through every proposal that you look at for this particular part of mission bay in the future.
Speaker 1: 04:08 And so the water quality around Deanza cove is bad right now.
Speaker 2: 04:11 It is considered the worst water quality around the bay because of its location. It doesn't get a lot of flew through a, so there's not a lot of flushing opportunities. Uh, the Rose Creek, uh, was diverted many, many years ago by the city and that led to the current situation with the more stagnant water in the DNC cove area.
Speaker 1: 04:33 Okay. So despite those issues and the arguments being made, the city council went ahead and approved the five year lease extension. What are some of the other details of that?
Speaker 2: 04:44 So the lease extension allows cam plan first of all, the state where they are and then it allows them to expand. And this is an important part as well, not just cleaning it up. They get to expand into Deanza cove area, the mobile home park. And that's going to allow them to nearly double the amount of RV parking spaces that they now have. So it's not just cleanup, it's they get to use a big portion of that as well.
Speaker 1: 05:09 And the city council voted six to three in favor of this decision and not along party lines. And one of the points council members who supported the deal made is that it will take at least five years to analyze and come up with a redevelopment plan for the area. And can you tell me about that?
Speaker 2: 05:25 Right. So they're saying, look, yes, it's in the middle of the process, but the process of government is naturally slow. So why not take advantage of this offer while the city retains ownership of all that land and get the Deanza cove area, at least mainly cleaned up, which the city cannot afford. So that's the contention of folks on the positive supporting camp plan side on the council.
Speaker 1: 05:51 Mm. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter John Carroll. John, thank you very much. Thank you. Jade.
Speaker 1: 00:00 The del Mar fairgrounds effort to ban gun shows hit a roadblock last week a federal judge said the fairgrounds must continue to book gun and ammunition shows while a lawsuit filed against the band makes its way through the courts, the ruling will allow the crossroads of the West gun show to request the next available exhibit date at the fairgrounds, but it's not clear how the ongoing legal challenge to the del Mar ban will affect state legislation aimed at permanently banning the sale of guns and ammunition at the fairgrounds. Joining me as attorney and legal analyst, Dan Eaton, Dan is a former member of the del Mar fairgrounds board of directors, but he did not participate in the vote to ban the gun shows and Dan, welcome back. Thank you. Good to be with you. Maureen, the del Mar fairgrounds board of directors obviously thought they had the power to suspend gun shows at the site. Is this the kind of decision the board makes a lot?
Speaker 2: 00:54 Well when you say kind of decision at a world class facility like the del Mar fairgrounds, the demand for the facilities is always going to outstrip the supply. Oh, so the board of directors routinely makes decisions about home to allow to use facility and who not to allow. The question here is whether the reasons for doing that with respect to the gun shows is unconstitutional.
Speaker 1: 01:18 Now since this issue involves the sale of guns and ammunition, you'd think the court would be looking at it from a second amendment viewpoint, but that's not what this lawsuit is about. Is it
Speaker 2: 01:28 actually it's not the way the crossroads of the West and so forth and those who are brought this lawsuit or framed it is viewpoint discrimination that it's a violation to decision to suspend a, the gun shows is a violation of their first amendment rights to speech and assembly and a form of viewpoint discrimination. Specifically what they say at paragraph 49 of their complaint is that gun shows in general and the doll more show in particular are a celebration of America's gun culture. That is a natural and a central, a outgrowth of the constitutional rights that flow from the second amendment to the United States constitution. Close quote. Now there is agreement between the del Mar Fair Board and the people who brought this lawsuit that these guns show celebrate the gun culture of America. What the people who brought this lawsuit are saying is that the del Mar Fairport has acted because they disagree with the viewpoint that is at the very heart of these gun shows, namely promoting this gun culture.
Speaker 1: 02:27 And so they're large making it largely a first amendment issue.
Speaker 2: 02:30 It's entirely a first amendment issue. In fact, uh, when you look at the various causes of action that the hip claims, I don't know the del Mar fairgrounds would agree, the 22nd district agricultural association would agree that that's the right way to frame those. Their concern is not with the viewpoint that is expressed so much as it is with the sales themselves, which is a different issue altogether. They don't care about the views on it, they just want the sales to stop. But interestingly, there are no actual exchanges of guns. At the fairgrounds at these gun shows, what happens is that the paperwork is done preliminary, uh, to the sales, which ultimately the exchange of the firearms takes place off site later after background checks and the mandatory a 10 day waiting period. So there's some very interesting issues here, uh, that are at stake. But ultimately the constitutional one is not really at its core a second amendment issue. They're not claiming that the ban, uh, suspends or effects there are burdens. Their second amendment rights, what they are saying is it burns their first amendment rights.
Speaker 1: 03:29 Yeah. Can you explain the concept of viewpoint discrimination a bit more? Maybe give us an example,
Speaker 2: 03:35 Maureen. We just had a great example of it yesterday with United States Supreme Court, which issued its ruling in a case called Brunetti, which dealt with a weather of the patent law, uh, could abandon the registration of material found immoral or scandalous. The United States Supreme Court said that was an invalid restriction on registration on trademarks and what Justice Alito said and concurring on that opinion is that quote at a time when free speech is under attack. It is especially important for this court to remain firm in the principle that the first amendment does not tolerate viewpoint discrimination. Close quote. Uh, that is really the question that is raised by this lawsuit and that is an example of very fresh example of a viewpoint discrimination by the government, uh, that uh, the highest court in the land has held is unconstitutional and impermissible.
Speaker 1: 04:29 Why did the federal judge say that she was allowing gun shows to continue at the del Mar fairgrounds? While the lawsuit is heard in the court, does this give us any indication about what the outcome of that lawsuit might be?
Speaker 2: 04:42 It absolutely does, Maureen, and here's why. Because Judge Bench Vango in granting the preliminary injunction by those that brought this said that they are likely to prevail in their argument that this constitutes unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. That the fair board is going to be unable to show of the compelling government interests that cannot be achieved by a more narrowly tailored basis. Then this suspension of the gun shows during this a year and she said, you've got to allow them to book fees. In the meantime,
Speaker 1: 05:10 a bill called Ab eight 93 sponsored by San Diego Assembly members, Todd Gloria and Tasha Burna Horvath would put a permanent ban on guns and ammunition sales at the del Mar fairgrounds. How could this legislation affect or be affected by court decisions?
Speaker 2: 05:27 Well, the question is whether the motive and intent of this bill is really viewpoint discrimination and it very well could be affected by a judgment of incomes ruling ultimately, although not directly, this would put an end to gun shows at the del Mar fairgrounds and any other property owned by the 22nd district, our agricultural, uh, association. So, uh, it, it very well could be affected down the line. Uh, the interesting thing is governor Brown actually vetoed similar. That would have prohibited these kinds of controls at the cow palace in San Francisco, saying that it was better left to these local district agricultural association. This bill is designed to reinforce, uh, the 22nd district agricultural associations decision, uh, at least to consider banning these gun shows. And it goes. If it goes into effect and it's ultimately upheld as constitutional, the band would go into effect in January of 20 to 21 assuming the 22nd district Agricultural Association does not act sooner than that,
Speaker 1: 06:27 do you think there's going to be a legal challenge to the assembly bill if indeed it does pass and get signed by the governor?
Speaker 2: 06:34 If AB eight 93 does ultimately pass and assigned signed by Governor Nuisance, there is absolutely no question that there will be a legal challenge to it and it probably will be proud on the same grounds of that this challenge is being brought, namely that it is an infringement on of those who would promote and a actually, people who attended these gun shows first amendment rights to free speech and assembly. Oh, where that goes. No one knows, but you can expect that at the very least, it would ultimately go to the ninth circuit and maybe United States Supreme Court.
Speaker 1: 07:07 I've been speaking with attorney Dan Eaton. He's a partner with Seltzer Caplan, Redman invitech here in San Diego. Dan, thank you so much. Thank you. Maureen.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Drug cartel violence and addiction across the border are often viewed as a largely male issue, but nearly two generations of women into wanna have been caught up in that violence and the hard choices they face. Battling poverty and illness experts have called the phenomenon of dead and missing women at the border of femicide. You've CSD, epidemiologist in we're up has been on a quest to find what's behind the femicide is research and conclusions are in his new book called City of Omens. A search for the missing women of the borderlands and Dan were up joins me now. Dan, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. You first started conducting research into wanna in 2013 which was primarily focused on the HIV epidemic. What led you to look at issues facing women into one a more broadly
Speaker 2: 00:51 so as an epidemiologist, you know, my job is to track epidemics to understand them and then hopefully work to try to prevent them. I came down to Tijuana to do research primarily on HIV as you said, cause that's what I was trained in. But when I got to HIV, I, it became abundantly clear to me early on that HIV was only one of the, what I describe as epidemics, uh, facing marginalized people living in Tijuana who were primarily and disproportionately women working in the sex trade and women who were injecting drugs. And often those two groups were overlapping,
Speaker 1: 01:28 overlapping and also pressured by a number of different, yeah,
Speaker 2: 01:32 yeah, absolutely. So, you know, what struck me immediately was the level of law enforcement and you know, this was people being roused from where they might be sleeping on the street or in the canal or you know, stories are really horrific stories of extortion, physical and sexual assault at the hands of police. But you know, when you start looking at the issues, it seems like the structures just keep getting higher and higher. So, you know, it's not just that the police are victimizing women, but that on the other side it's the cartels and when it's not the cartels, it's clients and when it's not any of those, it's the, the way that the border has hardened, which has made cross border traffic tourism to Tijuana, much more difficult and left women in a much more economically vulnerable situations.
Speaker 1: 02:22 The homicide rate in Tijuana is skyrocketing once again. How is that affecting the city's female population?
Speaker 2: 02:29 So as you said in the intro, it seemed, you know, we often think of the homicide rate is, you know, driven primarily by the drug trade and, and almost entirely among men. However, what I've noticed is that, you know, looking at the statistics over the past 30 years or so until wanna is that not only has the homicide or the murder rate, I should say in the city increased, but the proportion of women who are being murdered is also increasing. So recently, 2007 the murder rate among women was 1.8 per hundred thousand. But in the last few years it's increased to as many as 40 per hundred thousand.
Speaker 1: 03:10 What does the title of Your Book City Bowman's mean?
Speaker 2: 03:13 As an epidemiologist, I look at a number of different risk factors and some of them are, you know, engagement with police and some are as sort of distant as where people are living or where they came from and the kinds of jobs that they had. I'm always trying to think of ways to better communicate the kind of science that I do. And these risk factors to me often seem like omens. They might seem like sort of instinctive ways to follow a narrative that can lead you if you understand them correctly, to a certain kind of truth.
Speaker 1: 03:47 And all of this that you've compiled to all of these factors that lead to increasing danger for the women in Tijuana in particular. Are there any signs of positive change?
Speaker 2: 03:59 I am a natural optimist, so I always try to look for the bright sides. And really I think the struggle is to identify for individual women what their potential pathway out of their current situation is. So for some women that I interviewed in the book, they were able to navigate through the sex trade, avoid the drug trade, which is a major, an increasing source of income for women and also a violence and death and find a, uh, you know, a landing spot within Tijuana's economy. But that's not the case for everyone. And I think it wouldn't honor the women that I bet shared their stories with me to just suggest that there's a simple solution. What I do think is that increasing the militarization of the border, just assuming that we can punt our concerns about migration and immigration over the border and think that they're going to go away is a recipe for disaster for, you know, marginalized women for women who, um, historically have been working in the sex trade to serve American tourists and have now effectively been abandoned. So I think we have a duty to, to at least understand their stories and hopefully work towards policies that recognize the imbalance at the border and the vulnerability that we can produce, um, through our border policies.
Speaker 1: 05:20 I've been speaking with Dan [inaudible] and he'll be speaking about his book, City Omens, a search for the missing women of the borderlands tonight at Warwick's bookstore in La Jolla and Dan. Thank you. Thanks, Ron.
Speaker 3: 05:37 Yeah.
Speaker 1: 00:00 When you think about all the challenges veterans face after they're injured in the service. Struggling to play video games may not be the first to come to mind, but some VA medical centers have realized helping vets get back in the game can also help with their recovery. Stephanie Calambini of the American Home Front Project reports from Tampa
Speaker 2: 00:21 26 year old Mike Montoursville is playing need for speed on an x box in a small room filled with flat screen TVs, virtual reality headsets and squishy blue arm chairs. It's as recreation therapist Jamie Kaplan's office at the veteran's hospital in Tampa Caplin's kicking back and one of those arm chairs, but month Orville is in his wheelchair. He jokes with Kaplan about the rundown state of the car he's racing with. They're going to be like, Oh man, this guy's driving a beat up Dotson's to 80 or 200 seat take games. Seriously, if you can beat people a back car [inaudible] that shows you're serious game room, the banter, the trash talk month or bill says those are some of his favorite things about gaming. The army veteran was paralyzed during training exercises and Afghanistan five years ago.
Speaker 3: 01:16 My spinal cord injury causes me to lac dexterity in my fingers and my wrists. When I learned about that, I was like, Oh man, how am I going to hold a controller came?
Speaker 2: 01:27 That's where Kaplan comes in. He taught mom or bill how to use the Xbox adaptive controllers. Microsoft recently donated to about two dozen VA medical centers. Montoursville uses his fists and risks to push oversized buttons and steel and attachable Joystick, but Kaplan says there's a variety of art
Speaker 4: 01:46 shins you can configure it utilizing switches, utilizing joysticks to allow everybody from an amputee to a stroke patient who are quadriplegic and the ability to gain
Speaker 2: 01:58 Caplin refers to recreation therapy, a sneaky therapy because patients don't realize they're working on things like motor and the brain function, but it's ultimate goal is to help veterans reconnect with the activities they love and the people they love doing them with.
Speaker 4: 02:14 I had a patient, his brother came in and they were able to game together for the first time in three years and he had tears in his eyes and he said, I never thought I'd be able to do this again.
Speaker 2: 02:25 Manorville has a different kind of memory with his brother who we recently competed with all mine
Speaker 3: 02:30 and he's like, dude, there's no way that you play on the other end because I was just dominate again. He's like, you sure when you actually show them that you can kick their butt. They're like amazed of what you can do.
Speaker 2: 02:41 Gaming doesn't just help that spend time with friends and family for Marine Corps veteran Dave crouse, it connected him with a virtual support system when no one else could reach him. The former bomb squad technician lost his left hand and I in 2013
Speaker 1: 02:57 at two 30 in the morning when I've woken
Speaker 5: 03:00 up with nightmares, um, re-examining every decision I ever made. That was where I turned to video games. The most
Speaker 2: 03:07 cross describes the modern came in community where strangers from all around the world can gain together and form relationships through chat apps and streaming services like twitch and discord. He works with stackup of gaming charity for veterans and active duty military. The group organizes meetups for gamers and even launched a suicide prevention program through its discord channel.
Speaker 5: 03:29 Had some very heavy conversations over the playing of video games. This amazing thing happens psychologically when you're just hanging out. A lot of those barriers go down because now all we're doing, we're just shooting digital monsters.
Speaker 2: 03:42 Adaptive controllers make that community more accessible to disabled vets, but how accessible are the controllers? Microsoft charges about a hundred dollars but that price climbs with various attachments. Jamey Caplan says the VA actually considers the controllers adaptive medical equipment and can purchase them for patients of justified. He says the BA understands it's not about just playing video games, it's improving the quality of a veteran's life. I'm Stephanie Calambini in Tampa. This story was produced by the American Home Front project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veteran's funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting.
Speaker 1: 00:00 A big new kitchen and food storage facility in Oceanside is ticking boxes in the fight to save food, feed the hungry and extend the life of landfills. Over the years, a number of food donation agencies have started reclamation programs in restaurants and other institutions to use food that would normally be thrown out and there are kitchens that focus on serving food from those reclamation programs. But the recently opened green Oceanside kitchen combines those activities in a onestop facility to reclaim foods store and serve it and also reach out to the community with food sustainability cooking classes. Joining me is Coleen foster and environmental officer for the city of Oceanside. She oversees the green Oceanside kitchen project and Colleen, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. Tell me about the things that make this kitchen unique.
Speaker 2: 00:56 Well, I believe it's the first example of a, a public investment in developing a state of the art facility for specifically food recovery and preservation of our food resource resources as well as the facility is designed to support a sustainable food system in the region. And then again to support the community through culinary training as well as job development training.
Speaker 1: 01:18 You know, as I said, there are several food reclamation and kitchens popping up in the county. Is that the range of services offered by green ocean side kitchen that makes it different? I believe it's
Speaker 2: 01:30 the range of services and specifically the investment by the city. So the city, instead of just developing infrastructure for recycling and or disposal, we're looking to develop infrastructure on the front end. So ensure the highest and best uses of our resources. So the facility taking the step forward to invest in food recovery and building a kitchen that can serve a, a larger community.
Speaker 1: 01:52 Yeah. Where does your food come from?
Speaker 2: 01:54 So the green ocean side kitchen will be sourcing, um, in partnership with Osa kitchen collaborative. There'll be specifically sourcing from agricultural surplus, um, cosmetically imperfect produce. Um, agricultural seconds as well as gleaning operation.
Speaker 1: 02:12 Can you tell us what that is?
Speaker 2: 02:14 Gleaning is recovering food from whether it's our local farms or whether it's from a farmer's market. So basically gleaning is the harvesting of excess produce from those entities. So from your residential fruit trees too, you know, the end of the farmer's market to leftover the has not been purchased. I'm from local farms that has excess surplus that has not been picked or um, it's not a value for harvesting. Gleaning organizations come to those types of entities and glean the produce we work closely with produce. Good.
Speaker 1: 02:47 No, there's actually state legislation that's pushing this kind of food reclamation effort, isn't there?
Speaker 2: 02:53 Yes, there is. Um, the state of California has passed landmark legislation that not only drives mandates the diversion of organics, material food for recycling, it also mandates that 20% of edible food, um, be rescued. So essentially it's looking to develop, encourage the development of infrastructure and programming to support food recovery.
Speaker 1: 03:16 How did Oceanside pay for this facility?
Speaker 2: 03:19 So we paid for it through our solid waste and recycling program, um, and fund. So businesses in our community who are going to be required to provide for food recovery services as part of their rate, they are supporting the infrastructure to support food recovery.
Speaker 1: 03:36 Are you hoping that the uh, green Oceanside kitchen pays for itself?
Speaker 2: 03:41 Uh, definitely. Um, the way we've set up the kitchen is we have put the investment in the infrastructure and we've partnered with a local nonprofit organization, the Oe side kitchen collaborative. Um, they already have a decent reputation for their catering services as well as their community give back programming. So the Osa kitchen collaborative aims to not only provide high end catering services that source from food recovery, but to also provide programming in community training.
Speaker 1: 04:07 You just talked about the gleaning operation that you had that brought in so much produce to a green ocean side kitchen. You've been able to get a number of partner organizations to join you in this effort. Tell us about that.
Speaker 2: 04:20 That's been key to this project. Um, the green notions, that kitchen is not only a kitchen to serve the community, it's a kitchen of the community. And over the past four years if we, as we've developed this program and this infrastructure, we really strive to bring everyone to the table so we can serve every need. So we work closely with our local feeding agencies, with catering arts programs as well as food recovery organizations and our chefs in the local community.
Speaker 1: 04:46 And the facility we had just had his grand opening, right?
Speaker 2: 04:49 Yes, yes. We had over 400 people at the grand opening and the people at the grand opening are in the feeding system, whether it be from a food recovery perspective and agricultural perspective, Agri tourism, um, high end restaurants. Um, so you name it. Anyone involved in the, in a sustainable food system, um, is a part of the green notions I kitchen initiative and projects.
Speaker 1: 05:12 And what are these organizations looking to this kitchen to find out
Speaker 2: 05:17 if you're a food recovery organization, you're going to be looking to partner with the greenery, the kitchen and the outside kitchen collaborative to be able to receive meal product. Um, if you are a farmer, you may partner with the Green Ocean side kitchen to provide produce agricultural surplus that you would otherwise had to pay to dispose of. Um, if you're a local chef, we might work with you to have you host a community cooking class. Um, and if you're somebody that's a veteran looking to redefine their career, um, you might be a part of the program by joining one of our job training program.
Speaker 1: 05:50 I've been speaking with Coleen Foster, she's environmental officer for the city of Oceanside, and we've been talking about the new green Oceanside kitchen project and Colleen, thank you so much. Thank you, Marie.
Speaker 3: 06:05 Hmm.
Speaker 1: 00:00 It's been nearly 50 years since American astronauts from NASA, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a new film coming to KPBS television. The summer tells the story of the race to outer space and all of the research that has come from that exploration. It's called Jason the moon and it's part of the ongoing PBS series American experience
Speaker 2: 00:20 that will be the greatest and most complex exploration in man history are you're going down the ladder now shop. They had a piece of it and they did
Speaker 1: 00:34 a sneak preview along with a panel discussion with leaders in space exploration and technology is happening tonight in San Diego. One of those leaders on the panel is Major General Charles Bolden Jr who led the development of the space launch system and the Orion crew capsule. Bolden was also the first African American administrator of NASA. He's joining me in the studio to talk about the breakthroughs happening out of this world. Major General bolden. Welcome. How you doing? Good to be here and call me Charlie, please, Charlie, you've got it. Thank you so much. Hate. You know, it's been 50 years since the moon landing. What are some of the biggest myths surrounding that breakthrough? Oh, probably the,
Speaker 3: 01:14 the biggest myth is the fact that the American public was in rave support of the, uh, of the moon landing and that nothing could be farther from the truth. I was, uh, I was a young flight student at the time and Meridian, Mississippi, and I can tell you the American public was everything but excited about, uh, about Apollo. Most people, especially people of color at the time, President Nixon was constantly besieged by Martin Luther King Jr about expenditures for the space program when there was so much left to be done here in [inaudible]. The questions have not changed over those 50 years, but we were literally, if people, most people listening to this probably weren't alive then, or if they were, they're not aware of the Chicago Democratic National Convention when there was fighting in the streets. And in the convention, uh, we were killing each other on the streets of, of the United States. We were deeply involved in the war, um, you know, in Vietnam. And, uh, it was not a happy time for the nation. And, and it, it causes me to tell people if they're worried about right now. Um, they should be, but it's not the worst we've ever seen in the nation. Uh, we've been in worse dams.
Speaker 1: 02:24 Ella, it sounds like there was a lot of unrest, uh, during that time. Why do you think films like chasing the moon are so important for [inaudible] for people
Speaker 3: 02:31 to see? I think it's critically important because it will help to educate the, the generation that doesn't have any clue. And, and actually, I hate to say this, but probably could care less about America landing on the moon. I have three granddaughters and, uh, my three granddaughters never saw me fly on the space shuttle. I, you know, I, I flew my last flight in 1994. The first of them was born in, um, 2000 and so I now try to tell them a little bit about what it was. They got an opportunity to see some of the last few flights of shuttle because I had become the NASA administrator and they were living in the DC area at the time. And so I would try to make sure that we got them down to the Cape to see shuttle launches and landings. So, so that they, it wouldn't be foreign to them, but, but seeing, chasing the moon is critically important.
Speaker 3: 03:18 I've not seen the trailer yet, but I will see it. My guess is they'll talk a little bit about the geopolitical imperative of, of getting to the moon before the Soviets. And, and you know, you asked me what's really different or what, what some of the myths are. Um, another myth is the fact that there was some altruistic reason to go to the moon science and everything else that didn't have anything to do with it. It was actually we have to beat the Soviets. We cannot allow, they had already beat us with, with Sputnik. So they were the first orbit a spacecraft. And it scared the living crap out of everybody because we realize that this was a nation that was our adversary that had now orbited something. If they could do that with a, with a satellite, they could put a weapon up there and we were doomed.
Speaker 3: 04:01 Then they had beat us, uh, with the first human to go to space and Eureka Guardian. And not only had he just gone to space, he had actually orbited, uh, and it took us a while to do that. Alan Shepard went on a suborbital space flight, so wow. That was a major accomplishment for the United States when President Kennedy went before the American people in the Congress, um, and announced that we were going to the moon, we had had one flight of less than, oh, about 15 minutes. So it shows you the, the guts and a, and the strong belief of President Kennedy and something greater than himself and greater than the nation in announcing that we were going to do this and hopefully chasing the moon. We'll talk about that. Getting back to you though, uh, you know, saying you're well traveled is an understatement, right? Since you've, as you mentioned, you've actually flown on for space shuttle missions as an astronaut.
Speaker 3: 04:50 What are you most proud of? Are there are a lot of things. Um, if you can, I break it down into what am I most proud of as a person. It's, um, it's the birth of my two children in and Kelly, uh, it's, it there the pride of my wife and me. So I guess I'm next to being most proud that my wife said yes when I asked her to marry me when we were at, when I was at the Naval Academy and she was at Spelman, but, but the birth of our kids, uh, and then that's led to the three wonderful, beautiful granddaughters that we have who spent most of their life out here in San Diego. Um, when you talk about the space program, if you talk about my second time there, uh, I think I'm most proud of the fact that, that our employees were recognized for their excellence by being named the best place to work in the federal government six times now.
Speaker 3: 05:34 And, uh, so we're waiting to see what happens this year, um, to see if they can hold that title. That's a big deal. And it, and it puts a target on their back and it makes them the target of every other federal agency that wants to be like NASA. And if you go back to my time as the marine in the, in the active Marine Corps, um, that's, that's really kind of hard. But I think again, it would be my, my time out here as the commander, the third marine aircraft wing, when we put together a campaign plan that really focused on our marines and was called putting marines first and it was, um, a planet
Speaker 1: 06:08 take care of them and their families prior to prior to going into war. Yep. Yeah, that's probably it. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. You piloted space shuttle Columbia. Yeah. In 1986 and space shuttle Discovery in 1990, which was huge. And that, that was the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. You're enough with so many missions in space exploration, breakthroughs under your belt. What's been the biggest challenge to accomplishing those milestones?
Speaker 3: 06:36 You know, I guess, um, that's a, that's a really hard question because the time of the shuttle, uh, I got there in 1980 so I was in the second group of people selected specifically to fly the space shuttle. We were supposed to have flown in 1978. I got there in 1980 and we weren't even close to flying. Uh, we were still working on the issue of, uh, keeping tiles on the vehicle and then worrying about damage to tile on orbit. So the first year for me was almost like being at the very beginning of a program where we were just trying to get flown. So it was an exciting time, a frustrating time and everything.
Speaker 1: 07:12 Uh, what do you hope to see happen in your lifetime in terms of space exploration?
Speaker 3: 07:16 Oh, at this point in the immediate future, like sometime before the end of this year, Eh, nothing would make me happier than to see Boeing and space x fly with cruise. The next thing would be the flight of Orion on the heavy lift launch vehicle that NASA has to get us back to the moon. And then eventually onto Mars. But that's what I hope will happen in my lifetime also. And then an aeronautics. Since you can't forget that I really do want to see us, NASA right now. Here's four explains that they're hoping to continue work on. My favorite is the what's called quest. It's a quiet supersonic airplane that if successful and I'm confident we'll be because Boeing, Lockheed, a lot of the major companies are working on now, but it'll go faster than the speed of sound you'll go from, from San Diego to London in a matter of a couple of hours, go around the world in a couple of hours. Um, and that's in development under a NASA's leadership and uh, and I'm excited about that.
Speaker 1: 08:13 The possibilities are fascinating and yeah, and so are all the advancements that I've been speaking with Major General Charles Bolden, former NASA astronaut. He will be speaking with a panel tonight after the excerpt screening of chasing the moon, six 30 at the fleet science center. For more information, go to k, pbs.org. Charlie, thank you so much for joining me.
Speaker 3: 08:35 Thank you so very much. It was awesome. Thanks a lot. Good to be back out of KPBS has been a long time.