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Uber and Lyft Drivers Strike, The Next Recession, Ebola

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Ahead of Uber's initial public offering, drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies plan to strike. Also, can California count on Washington’s support when the next recession hits? And San Diego researchers help with the urgent effort to stop Ebola in Africa.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 A rally is set for this hour at San Diego International for Uber and Lyft drivers who are boycotting work today. The drivers have turned off their ride sharing apps and pledged not to pick up drivers for 24 hours demanding better pay and working conditions. This protest comes only days before the anticipated Uber initial public offering on Wall Street. That IPO is expected to bring the company up to $90 million. Joining me is Tina givens. She was recently an Uber driver and she's a co organizer with ride share drivers United San Diego. That's the group organizing today's strike here. And Tina, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:40 Thanks so much for having me Maria. And we're excited to be here.

Speaker 1: 00:43 Well you're at the airport for rallies going to get underway. Tell us how many drivers you're expecting.

Speaker 2: 00:49 Um, we're expecting, I'm approximating about a hundred, which for San Diego is a pretty sizable number. We're going to be doing our best to, to educate the passengers as they're coming and going from the airport today. And we're also making sure that we recruit and talk to new drivers. Um, we want to let them know that they're being represented and that we want to amplify their voice and we're out here to support them in case they haven't heard of our group yet.

Speaker 1: 01:12 So what are the main reasons why drivers are striking today?

Speaker 2: 01:16 Well, the reasons are aplenty. So the first one obviously is driver wages. Uh, Uber analyst have both steadily decreased drivers wages over the past few years. They make adjustments to drivers contract all the time without driver's knowledge. Um, they used to pay per mile, now they're paying per minute and Uber is now taking up to 70% of fares from the drivers. We also are out here demanding transparency. There are things that Uber does behind the scenes that are arbitrary and the drivers don't know about such as surge pricing and Uber Pool where what the drivers and what the writers and what Uber or Lyft yet are all completely different.

Speaker 1: 02:01 What does that change in pay pay scale for the drivers actually mean in real terms for over drivers.

Speaker 2: 02:08 So the minimum in California we are making just under minimum wage for driving something up to let's say 18 hours a day. We originally were getting paid around 80 cents per mile. Now we're knocked down to somewhere around 60 cents per mile and it's making a huge difference.

Speaker 1: 02:26 Do you have a list of demands for over?

Speaker 2: 02:29 We do. We want transparency, we want our voices to be heard and we want to be able to have a say and our working conditions. We want driver protection and we want a 10% cap commission from Uber and Lyft

Speaker 1: 02:43 in New York City. They've just enacted a minimum wage for over drivers. I believe it's $17 an hour after expenses. Is that something that you are demanding from Uber?

Speaker 2: 02:56 Absolutely. Thanks for what? We were so thankful. The New York half the alliance for everything they'd done. They have set a precedence for the rest of the country and they're standing out here in solidarity with us today as well as the employee rights center and the San Diego and imperial counties, Labor Council. But we have a lot of support and we are taking the precedence of all these amazing union and these coalitions that have formed to demand what we want. So yes, we are asking for the same provisions as New York has established.

Speaker 1: 03:28 Why did you first start driving for Uber and why did you stop?

Speaker 2: 03:33 I'm a full time student and student loans are great and they do allow me to pay for the necessities such as like food and books and things like that, but I needed something to supplement my income as I prepare for graduate school. I expected to be making the kind of funny that Uber and Lyft advertised when I started driving with them and I found out quickly that was not the case. Towards the end of driving with Uber, I did have an unsafe experience. There was no investigation, no report, no transparency in regard to anything that I had talked with them about. And so it wasn't too long after that, but I stopped driving and in recent months, um, because of the soaring gas prices and unfortunately the cost of living in San Diego here, I've actually had to let go of my car, um, and rely solely on public transportation. And I'm talking in, in that way. I'm lucky I'm talking to other drivers every day. I'm doing a lot of organizing calls with the drivers that are out here today. Some of them are actually renting their vehicles from Uber and left. They are living in their vehicles. They are driving 17 to 18 hours a day to make the uh, amount they need to pay for the rental and maybe have enough left over to reserve a room at like a Korean spa or hotel to spend the night and get up and start it all over again the next day.

Speaker 1: 04:55 What kind of impact do you think today's strike is going to have?

Speaker 2: 04:59 We're really curious as to the impact tomorrow when Uber Analysis their IPO, we're really wanting to let Wall Street and the investors know that they can't expect to make profits off the backs of the drivers.

Speaker 1: 05:11 I've been speaking with former Uber driver, Tina, she's been speaking to us from the side of the driver's rally at the San Diego International Airport. Tina, thank you so much.

Speaker 2: 05:21 Thanks so much marine.

Speaker 1: 05:23 Joining us now to talk about what this all means for Uber is Kq ed, Silicon Valley reporter Sam, her net. Sam, welcome. Thanks jade and has to be here. So what are you seeing and hearing this morning? How is this strike going so far?

Speaker 3: 05:36 You know, drivers are saying what they've always said, which is that they're not being treated well by Uber Nor Lyft, and that's become harder and harder to make a living as the years have gone by. You know, the reason that this wreck has happening now obviously is because Lyft just had its multibillion dollar IPO and Uber's bet to have, it's even bigger, multibillion dollar IPO. And drivers really want to point out that there's an imbalance between what they're making and what the investors and the execs are making. And I'll say, yeah, you're, you're, there's, there's, it's protest and cities around the country, right. But there's a big problem with a strike, which is that, uh, Uber and Lyft and set up a system where there are hundreds of thousands of drivers, uh, signed up to operate this app and they can just flip it on at any moment. So it's really hard for organizers to get everybody on board and to not a scab as it were.

Speaker 4: 06:21 Right. Cause I was going to ask, are there some drivers who are breaking the strike? Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Speaker 3: 06:26 I mean, if you log on to Uber and Lyft in any city, you would still be able to get a ride.

Speaker 4: 06:30 I want to read this statement from Uber. A spokesperson said, quote, drivers are at the heart of our service. We can't succeed without them. And thousands of people come into work at Uber every day, focused on how to make their experience better on and off the road. So, Sam, hasn't Uber made some changes aimed at improving conditions for drivers? That's really different,

Speaker 3: 06:50 we'll have to say, I mean, what has been documented that is that the pay has gone down. Uh, both Uber and Lyft when they started, they were burning through their venture capital, uh, and giving drivers pretty good rates. And if you go back four or five years, like driver used to make 40, 50 bucks an hour driving for these companies. Uh, and that has gone consistently down over the years. You know, Uber and Lyft have been very clear from the beginning that they don't see themselves as transportation companies, where the drivers are the key part. They see themselves as technology companies where their apps and their technologies are the key part of the business. So I feel like there's a little bit of a, uh, a fallacy in that statement because really what these companies are saying to investors into the public, uh, is that the technology and the engineers who make the technology is the heart of the business.

Speaker 4: 07:31 How do you think the stripe will impact the IPO offering? Very little. Yeah.

Speaker 3: 07:35 So none, uh, immediately. I mean I think, you know, the strike wasn't super disruptive. People still took rides today. Um, I think what could have a bearing down the line on these companies is the question over employment status. You know, right now Uber and Lyft argue that their platforms, right, that connect drivers to riders and that they don't employ the drivers because transportation is not their number one business. That's what these companies can tend a, and under their framework, they argue that all of these drivers are independent businesses and independent contractors. Therefore they don't have to Gareth guarantee minimum wage. They don't have to pay over time. And that is the business model that Uber and Lyft is as used to, uh, grow their companies and in their IPO prospectus is both companies said if we had to categorize these workers as employees, then uh, our businesses would take a big hit. So I think the strike is signifying that there are some drivers and workers that are trying to organize and that might push for something like employee status. And if that actually gained steam, then the companies could be in trouble. And investors would be upset.

Speaker 4: 08:34 And I was going to ask you about that because in California, a state Supreme Court decision narrows the definition of who can be classified as an independent contractor. And the legislature, uh, is also considering a bill that would have reclassified gig economy workers. How will that affect Uber's business model?

Speaker 3: 08:50 Uber and Lyft are extremely scared about, uh, the Supreme Court, uh, California court case that would make it easier for a gig workers to say their employees. This would have a big impact on their business model. Uh, and again, you know, these companies have, have profited by, uh, having these workers as contractors which are cheaper for the company so that that is a big factor. And if, if in California, uh, workers are successful in arguing that their employees and, uh, our legal framework allows them to win that battle, Uber and Lyft are going to be in big trouble.

Speaker 4: 09:22 And so what's the chance California will address the issue drivers are striking about through this legislation and regulation?

Speaker 3: 09:27 It's tricky to say. Uh, one of the biggest issues here is that every single driver and every single writer for that matter that drives for Uber or that interacts with Uber and Lyft signs a r a arbitration agreement, which says that they're going to resolve any dispute with the company and Arbitration as opposed to in court. So Uber and Lyft are actually sued, uh, every day by drivers who are claiming that their employees and those cases get those, uh, claims get settled behind closed doors and we don't know what happens. So those arbitration agreements is really a great buffer for Uber and Lyft from having to deal with this issue out in the open. So until that, the arbitration clause issue changes, it's hard to say exactly how the Supreme Court case or in legislation would affect these companies.

Speaker 4: 10:11 Looking into the future. Now Uber has invested in self driving cars. Is that Uber's goal?

Speaker 3: 10:16 I mean, there's been a lot of talk about that and I've been following the self driving car thing for years. And to be honest, it has, it's seeming more and more like a distant fantasy. These companies have been investing heavily in that technology with the idea that it would replace drivers and bring the cost down for these companies even more. But there's no indication that we're, we're going to have self driving cars on city streets anytime soon. So really investors got to think, you know, that could be a very, very, very longterm play. Uh, in the meantime, you know, they've got drivers who are requesting living wages.

Speaker 4: 10:48 I've been speaking with Kq ed, Silicon Valley reporter Sam Har Net. Sam, thanks for joining us. Thanks, jade.

Speaker 5: 11:02 Yeah.

Speaker 1: 00:00 On the eve of the May revise. Californians are anticipating very good news about the state budget. Governor Newsome will release his updated budget proposal tomorrow, which apparently includes a hefty revenue surplus, but there are voices warning against US spending free for all in Sacramento. In fact, the longer the state's economic expansion continues, the more likely a recession is around the corner. And California may not be as prepared for a downturn. As many expect. Joining me is reporter Judy Lynn, who covers the economy for cal matters. Judy, welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. Can you give us an overview of this state's finances right now? How's California's fiscal health? It's extraordinary. Um, in July we will hit the longest economic expansion in, in state record. Um, and our finances are better than they have been in decades. Uh, not only do we have a rainy, rainy day fund, um, that's about 10% of the budget.

Speaker 1: 01:05 We have billions more on top of it as a surplus. So we're in really great shape. So the things are so good. Why are we even thinking about a recession? Well. So a lot of, um, the staff that are up here in Sacramento, they came from, they, they grew up in a sense, um, during the great recession and even going back to 2000 ones, uh, uh, post nine 11 recession. So there's deep experience and knowledge in Sacramento and a lot of Newsome staff that he ended up taking on. And, and um, he, his advisors are telling him that we need to proceed with caution because a lot of California's money that's coming in, a lot of this is one time funds from capital gains, especially the stock market and the performance of the rich. Now, during the last recession, the great recession that you just mentioned, California got a big boost with funds from the federal government.

Speaker 1: 02:08 How much did Washington help in the last recession? It's in the tens of billions of dollars. If you think about how much a Washington sent to states and in particular California to backfill its Medicaid program, which is known as medic cow. Um, you saw re you may recall a shovel ready projects to help, uh, build, put infrastructure in place and put people back to work. Um, there all sorts of things like that. Um, and even in the classrooms, you know, if you think about just funding for states to help keep teachers in the classrooms and, and think of how much worse it would have been without this money. And some of your, uh, the people who have been here in California may remember that there were as many as 30,000 pink slips during the depths of the recession handed out. And is there speculation now that things would be different with federal aid?

Speaker 1: 03:04 In other words, it wouldn't be as much of it the next time around. Yeah. So the legislature's budget analyst, he's um, his name is Gabriel pedic and he comes from the SNP analyst world and he joined in February and he gives a macro view of things and says that the state may not be able to count on DC at the next recession. One because, uh, the, the federal deficit is high. I'm at in India, in Washington, DC. You know, as a national debt load, it's growing. Um, you know, we may, we may choose, Congress may choose or be unwilling to take on more. Um, and then on a second level he talks about the federal reserves ability to affect the markets is interest rates are so low right now. And so those are some of the macro considerations to think about. Um, and that he's advising La lawmakers as they proceed on the new budget.

Speaker 1: 04:04 How about all those lawsuits that California has filed against the Trump administration? Yes. Yeah. There are other things that play too. There's the, um, affordable care act challenge. And then there's also the census question about a citizenship. Um, that is a concern for the state's finance director, Kelly Bosler. She mentioned that there is concerned that if people don't, uh, fill out their census, that affects how much the state gets in draws from Washington. So those, those again have, have rippling effects on state finances. So in a recession, which state programs would be hardest hit? So from the federal level, it's going to be healthcare. It's, it's mostly, um, the, it's, it's mostly Medicaid for the poor, just by virtue of how much a support the federal government gives to states to expand healthcare. And then beyond that, you also see impacts to food program, food assistance programs, um, well, uh, grants for working parents in California.

Speaker 1: 05:19 It's known as a calworks, um, those, uh, dollars would be reduced and, and it's not clear if the state can a backfill or, or, you know, meet all the demand on its own. Now under governor Jerry Brown, California started planning ahead with a sizable rainy day fund. Is Governor Newson committed to adding to that fund? Yes, very much so. So we are, we are filling up our day rainy day fund. It's a, it's a requirement of roughly about 10% of the general fund. In addition, there's another safety net reserve that's being pushed by lawmakers and, and Newsome. And this money is being set aside for in an effect essentially at an additional reserve, uh, for when the, when hard times hit that uh, the state can tap that money and use it to keep safety. That program's going on. Another note, governor Newsome announced yesterday that he supports ending state taxes on diapers and tampons.

Speaker 1: 06:30 I had of his may revise announcement tomorrow. Any other idea that we can expect to hear from the governor are expecting good numbers. We think that the $21 billion plus surplus will probably materialize just because the, the tax revenue figures that have been coming in, especially from tax filings and April, have been coming in very robustly. Um, we expect him to stick to his course of a three pronged approach for savings, paying down debt and putting money aside for the rainy day. Um, but he definitely has been out front in pushing a parent's agenda. He wants to expand parental leave, he to hope eventually six months. Um, that's three months, uh, for each working parent, but he's going to start with that by expanding the current six weeks, leave to eight weeks. And that will start in July. I've been speaking with reporter Judy Lynn, who covers the economy for cal matters and Judy, thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 2: 07:40 Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Urgent efforts are underway in Africa to stop another deadly Ebola outbreak in San Diego. Scientist are working on a cure. KPBS health reporter Susan Murphy talked to one researcher who says the outbreak is very concerning and so are the five other strains of the highly contagious virus. A growing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than a thousand people since August. The World Health Organization reports the rate of new infections is climbing substantially. Nearly half of the deaths have occurred in the last eight weeks,

Speaker 2: 00:35 so we're flying from San Diego to Congo with eight crates of supplies to go and do our laboratory research there and bring the data back here.

Speaker 1: 00:43 Erica Oleman Sapphire is a professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. She also directs a consortium of Ebola researchers from 40 labs on five continents. She says the difference between this Ebola outbreak and the outbreak in 2013 that killed 11,000 people is a candidate vaccine that is currently being used in the region. It could help stop the spread of the highly contagious virus, but there are challenges.

Speaker 2: 01:09 Challenge, the stopping it. It's going to be all the civil unrest. There were multiple groups, multiple militia groups are significant distrust of institutions of governments, significant distrust of foreigners, so it's really hard to come in there and say, here, take this vaccine or let us take care of your people.

Speaker 1: 01:29 She says approximately 100,000 people have been vaccinated. Out of the nearly 8 million people who live in the region, most of the vaccinated have been health workers and people who have come into contact with an infected person.

Speaker 2: 01:42 It looks so far like only 15 of those have become sick. The data that we don't have is how many of those hundred thousand have been exposed and that will tell us how effective the vaccine is. If 100,000 have been exposed and 15 got sick, that's a really good vaccine, but if only 20 were exposed and 15 of those 20 got sick, that's not a very good vaccine.

Speaker 1: 02:04 According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus spreads quickly and is usually fatal. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and internal and external bleeding. Omen sapphires team is studying samples from people who have been vaccinated and samples from people who have come into contact with an Ebola patient.

Speaker 2: 02:24 Students, postdocs and technicians in my laboratory or from the La Jolla Institute of immunology had been rotating in and out of Congo all year using the molecules that we make and that we engineer here to identify cases, understand what kinds of immune responses have been elicited by the vaccine and how broadly protective the vaccine may or may not be.

Speaker 1: 02:45 She says the currency Ebola outbreak is deeply concerning because the virus is spreading in a dense and highly mobile population near the border with Uganda and Rwanda, but she says even more concerning, there are at least five other strains of the Ebola virus that have equally deadly pandemic potential.

Speaker 2: 03:02 We're looking at people that have survived. We're looking at elderly people with a lifetime exposure of hunting, of eating bushmeat or of health care work that are now immune to all of these different species and we're looking at what their immune system has come up with, protect them.

Speaker 1: 03:15 She says studying the antibodies Ebola survivors have made is key and finding a treatment. There are six different

Speaker 2: 03:23 kinds of Ebola virus and there are about 50% different in the sequence that spells them out. So the vaccine is only protective against one. We call this the Zaire kind. Well there's also the Sudan Chi, the Blue Bujo kind, the bone, Bali kind, lots of cons and each one of them has equivalent pandemic potential, but we don't know what's going to emerge next.

Speaker 1: 03:44 She's mapping the viruses molecules using high resolution photographs to understand where the virus is vulnerable and where to target a therapy or vaccine. She compares it to military intelligence photos

Speaker 2: 03:57 when we know how to drop a bomb on a particular bad guy in a particular chair sitting in a particular room and figure it compound without collateral damage. It's because we had those high resolution photographs that tell us exactly where to hit. This is what my lab does against viruses like Ebola

Speaker 1: 04:12 for almonds, Sapphire, and her team. The Congo outbreak and the potential of related viral outbreaks has renewed her urgency to find a cure.

Speaker 2: 04:20 And so we need to be prepared for what might come at us for the next outbreak. We need vaccines that are broadly protective and we need treatments that we can mobilize for whatever people might've become infected with.

Speaker 1: 04:32 Omen Sapphire is planning to return to the Congo to study Ebola the summer. Susan Murphy Kpbs News. As you just heard in Susan Murphy Story, the World Health Organization is sounding an alarm as the Ebola epidemic and the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to claim hundreds of lives. That alarm is being heard here in San Diego. While researchers try to find a vaccine, local hospitals are preparing for an outbreak at Rady children's hospital. Teams of doctors and nurses have been practicing Ebola drills. Joining me to talk more about that is Megan Medina, a registered nurse who is the infection control coordinator at Rady children's hospital. Meghan, welcome. Hi, how are you? Good, thanks. Now this Ebola epidemic is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Why is it so important for a hospital here in San Diego to be prepared?

Speaker 3: 05:23 Well, Ebola is a definitely a scary disease, not something that we expect to see here or want to see here, but there are a lot of other highly pathogenic diseases out there are emerging diseases, novel viruses that we want to be prepared for. So it's really more about being prepared for more than just Ebola. Hmm. And what happens during any bola drill at Rady children's hospital? So we have a couple of different levels of training that happened. Our first line of training is a, with all of our staff nurses, just being able to quickly identify patients who might have Ebola or be suspected to have Ebola and them quickly. Our next level would be donning and doffing training. And this is kind of our bread and butter and this is the highest risk situation that we deal with, um, when we take care of patients with highly pathogenic diseases.

Speaker 3: 06:10 So we want to make sure that people are putting on their personal protective equipment carefully, appropriately. And then also removing it carefully because that's the highest risk of contamination is when you're taking off a personal protective equipment. After that, we start to do some skills focused training. So we'll have our clinicians wearing their personal protective equipment practicing skills. So practicing ivy starts intubations, central line placements, um, even just basic nursing care that would be different from when you're just providing that care on a daily basis. And then finally we have our full scenario drills where we actually will admit a patient run through that process, make sure all of our systems are in place, see how quickly we can get our, uh, special infectious disease unit put in place and just run through all of our processes. How long have you guys been doing these Ebola drills and preparing for this?

Speaker 3: 07:01 So we were designated as an Ebola treatment center about four years ago. And so that's when we started developing our program. And we've been doing drills, um, ever since. And I know the hospital has already taken steps to deal with Kawasaki Disease and the possibility of a measles outbreak. And what systems, like, you know, isolation rooms for example, are in place to specifically deal with Ebola or, or are they all the same systems? So a, we do have negative pressure rooms throughout our hospital to admit patients with infectious diseases like tuberculosis or measles. And we do use those on a routine basis. Um, throughout the year. Our Ebola unit is actually a, a unit that we set up in the event that we have a special infectious disease patient come in. So we will set it up. We have two different areas that we can set it up in and we do that pretty quickly and that's where we would provide care for these special infectious disease patients.

Speaker 3: 07:52 You know, and it's one thing to control the spread of the virus among the general population, but how do you keep medical professionals like yourself safe from contracting and even spreading such a deadly disease? Yeah, that's a great question. And that's exactly why we do these drills. It's really about keeping our staff safe when they're providing care to our patients. Um, so use of personal protective equipment is key. So our providers will wear things like tyvek suits, booties, a coverall, I'm that's impervious to blood or other body fluids and also a papper. So a an air purifier that they were to help filter the air and protect them from anything that might be airborne. When Ebola emerged a few years ago in Texas, a medical professional who was treating a patient contracted the disease, a breakdown in communication was blamed for that. What have medical professionals learn from that situation as we all face an epidemic, I think that's what's really made it exciting for us to get involved as an assessment center is it gives us the opportunity to prepare and practice and make sure that we have processes in place so we don't have those communication breakdowns and our staff are protected when they're taking care of patients.

Speaker 3: 08:57 What is the risk of of that, uh, disease making its way to San Diego? Luckily now after the outbreak a couple of years ago, we do have a lot of really good systems in place to track travelers that are coming here and since San Diego, you don't really travel directly from Africa. We are limited and in the possibility of us getting an Ebola patient directly here without having some sort of former knowledge. We have really good communication. In place with our local health department. And so that helps. So if there ever is a patient out in the community that they're monitoring, that might have been in an area that has Ebola, the health department typically knows about that patient and they're communicating with us to let us know this patient's out there and we're keeping an eye on them. They, they could potentially be coming in. So we at least have that for knowledge as well.

Speaker 3: 09:42 And what's the first thing you look for in a patient who comes to the hospital? So, um, anytime we have a patient present, we quickly triage them to see if they have any symptoms of an infectious disease in general. So we ask about fever, rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, all of those things. That's just our triage every day for our patients. Um, and then we also ask questions about travel history. So when we're talking about Ebola, we're, we're interested in African countries that they may have traveled to. But you know, in a case of measles we might be interested even in just domestic travel. So we kind of tried to adapt that travel screening best we can to whatever we're seeing out there in the community. And what should people do on their own to help prevent the potential spread of Ebola or anything else.

Speaker 3: 10:23 And how can people prevent a pandemic in general? Just good basic infection control practices. I think making sure you're washing your hands, making sure you're getting vaccinated, especially if you're traveling to international countries. It's essential that vaccinations are happening. And then I'm just being aware of who you're interacting with that may have traveled outside of the country. Even just having that knowledge when you present to the hospital, it can help. I've been speaking with Megan Medina, a registered nurse, who is the infection control coordinator at Rady children's hospital. And Megan, thank you for joining us. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The average age of California farmers has climbed to 59 that's according to the USDA is latest census as this generational wave of farmers age out of the fields. They face big decisions about whether to sell the farm, pass the business onto family members or find an alternate path. As part of our grain, California series capital public radio's Julia metric brings us the story of a farming couple who struck a balance between their desire to stay on the farm and the financial calculus of retirement. River Hill farm is nestled below a steep ridge in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I internalize this whole place. Alan hate knows his farm by heart, even with his eyes closed.

Speaker 2: 00:47 I know every change in the pitch of the ground. I know where the best soil is. I know where the outcroppings are. I know where the buried rocks are that are too big to move that I avoid hitting with the tractor.

Speaker 1: 01:01 Alan and his wife, Jo Mc, proud came to farming as a second career in their forties together they built up a business selling organic vegetables, lettuce, and fruit to folks in Nevada city. And the hard work was worth it to them. The watering, the constant weeding, the sweaty summer harvest. But Joe says it took its toll pushing through those hard times. Was it doable? Through our fifties and then as we got into our sixties just the lack of sleep, the physical stress on our joints, you're not as resilient physically. We're getting older. The couple wanted the farm to continue beyond them. They also needed to draw an income for retirement. So they started scoping out the regional farming scene for a younger successor. They found Antonio Garza. I was looking for a longterm opportunity. I had been farming for, I think it was seven years at that point.

Speaker 1: 02:01 Antonio and his partner Daylen, we'd Crouch in the field picking Broccoli Raab and it's lesser known cousin. What does it again, the Spigarello, you got Riello Spigarello. Rob Spigarello is, uh, as also a leaf Broccoli. And it's also starting to flower this big Ariello. We'll go on pizzas at a local restaurant. As Antonio took the reins as farmer, he inherited local customers and clients that took Alan and Joe years to cultivate as part of a two year lease. He has use of the land and equipment in return. He pays the retired couple rent each month. They all expect this to grow into a longer term relationship chip. It's our baby and our passion and our life and if we were here watching it wither and die, it would be really heartbreaking. It would be terrible. Instead, the farm successions along smoothly, Joe and Alan live on at their house overlooking fields in orchards.

Speaker 3: 03:07 I have to say, you know, it's an icy snowy morning and looking out and seeing Antonio and Daylan out doing the harvesting the Brussel sprouts this morning and I was pretty happy with my cup of coffee and they have,

Speaker 1: 03:23 there are other perks to retirement. Alan and Joe get to spend time with their first grandchild. Allen's planning five backpacking adventures this summer and the couple's going on a bunch of road trips. They'll cherish time spent together. Not talking about the farm in Nevada city. I'm Julia metric.

Speaker 4: 03:47 Okay.

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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.