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Renters Raise Concerns About Rent Hikes, The Saga Of Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher Continues And Movies To Be Thankful For

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Imperial Beach residents raised concerns at a town hall Thursday about increasing rents ahead of California’s rent cap law, which goes into effect Jan. 1. Plus, the Navy risks a showdown with President Trump over the future of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and whether he is fit to be a SEAL. And, our film critics picks of current releases and older film titles to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 A town hall and IB hear stories of rent hikes before the new rent cap law kicks in and mid day movies offers up movies to be thankful for. I'm wearing Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid day edition.

Speaker 1: 00:23 It's Friday, November 22nd a law that controls rent increases in California officially goes into effect on January 1st the tenant protection act of 2019 caps yearly rent increases to 5% plus inflation on apartments built before 2004 it also protects tenants from being evicted without good cause, but reports from around the state including San Diego indicate that some landlords are hoping to get a jump on the rent cap by raising rents now sometimes more than 50% last night in Imperial beach, a town hall addressed the concerns of renters and mobile park residents. Journey me is IB city council woman Poloma Gary, who was a host of the town hall and Poloma. Welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 01:10 Thank you so much for having me, Maureen,

Speaker 1: 01:12 about what percentage of the population of Imperial beach are renters as opposed to homeowners?

Speaker 2: 01:19 Most of our residents, over 70% of our residents in Imperial beach are renters. And unfortunately more than 50% of them are overburdened, which means that they're paying more than 50% of their monthly income towards rent. Uh, I just finished my first year in office, so about a year and a half ago I was campaigning and it was, if not the number one, the number two issue that I continued to encounter every day that I knocked on doors. Um, I encountered situations where there were, uh, three bedroom apartments where there were up to three families living there because they couldn't afford a rent costs. I, for example, I met a woman, her name was Maria, that she's lived in impro beach for over 40 years and she was one rent increase away from being displaced from the town. She's grown to love. So it's, it's a big issue in impro beach. Definitely.

Speaker 1: 02:11 So you're hoping this new law could make a big impact in IB?

Speaker 2: 02:15 Absolutely. Absolutely. Uh, just last Saturday, um, we cohost of this town hall with ACE, uh, the Alliance for Californians for community empowerment. And we went door knocking last Saturday. I wanted to meet some of the renters in the area and just two blocks down the street from more of the town hall was held. Uh, I met a woman who had just had her rent increased by 25% in the last four months. So, um, the danger of this new law or the, the vulnerability for our residents that are renters is that it is retroactive back to March of this year. So, um, we are finding incidents is not specifically at this plan and pro beach, but other areas of the state where people or residents, tenants are being asked to, um, to be evicted, uh, to avoid those penalties. Now.

Speaker 1: 03:05 Well, what are some of the stories that you have heard from people, especially at this town hall last night about their situation?

Speaker 2: 03:12 They're heartbreaking stories. Um, I've been, um, aware of, especially this situation with the siesta mobile park, um, uh, tenants, uh, where we've heard several cases of elderly people on fixed income or disabled people who have lived there for a long time, that are, um, you know, in danger of being displaced that have nowhere to go. And they have actually been told, well, you know, if you can't afford rent here in the U S maybe go to Mexico. And we've had those reports. And, um, the, the most heartbreaking stories for me last night were, uh, cases of the elderly being so stressed that they've passed away. Um, ACE reports to us. They've been working with this group that there've been a couple of, of, of folks that have passed away. Um, they believe because of stress.

Speaker 1: 04:01 What was the atmosphere at the town hall like last night and how many people would you say attended? What, what, what was it like? It was packed. It was

Speaker 2: 04:09 the, a formerly United Methodist church. Uh, I would say maybe between 60 and 70 people. The room was packed. Um, I would say it was a combination of, uh, being, um, empowering but also somber because a lot of folks, I mean this is a reality. A lot of folks are one paycheck away from, you know, being displaced if, if their rents are increased. So I was there primarily to listen to our residents, to listen to my community and hear what their concerns were and what their thoughts or ideas were for us to take action at council.

Speaker 1: 04:42 Well, one idea you have is hope you're hoping to create a housing specialist position in Imperial beach. What would that person do?

Speaker 2: 04:50 That person would be, um, they're full time on staff to provide, uh, information to our residents. Uh, resources. Um, for example, this town hall, we had an expert from community law center who came and explained the 12 listed reasons that are just under just cause eviction, Kurt, right? So, um, this housing specialist would be able to build a bridge between our resident tenants and the resources that are out there because a lot of them don't know what their rights are or may not even be English speakers. And I just want them to feel that in the city of Imperial beach has their back. Is that something that you're going to propose to the council? We actually approve the job description. Last council meeting, which was this past Wednesday. Um, our next council meeting on December 4th, we will bring before the council for consideration the sources of funding for this position. And I'm very grateful with our staff who've been working on this for about a year when I raised it. Um, at last year's a council meeting.

Speaker 1: 05:54 Is it really you concerned that Imperial beach is becoming unaffordable to many longtime residents?

Speaker 2: 06:00 Absolutely. I mean, we are a working class community. We're a predominantly community of color, over 50% Hispanic. We're one of the last remaining coastal communities that is still affordable. Um, we've also seen a lot of progress. Uh, I don't know if you're familiar with the history of impro beach, but way, way back in the day, it was a totally different town. Now it's very safe. We have the, one of the safest, uh, we're one of the safest cities in the County. Uh, we've had a lot of economic development, a lot of economic progress. Uh, but with that comes, you know, changes in the market and, and I don't think this is an issue specific turn pro beach. I think it's an issue that is statewide. We have a housing crisis in California and I want to make sure that an Imperial beach, we do everything we can to protect our residents.

Speaker 1: 06:47 I've been speaking with Imperial beach city council woman Poloma Geary and I want to thank you so much for coming in and speaking with us. Thank you. It was a pleasure to be here. The Navy is attempting to remove seal Eddie Gallagher and three others from special operations, setting up a potential show down with president Trump. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the problems in Naval special operations go beyond one case.

Speaker 3: 07:20 The seals have an almost mythical reputation, one that's been a powerful recruiting tool. Just listen to this promotional video from 2013 their actions are typically Swift and decisive striking with surprise, speed and appropriate use of force. But that reputation has been tested by, among other things, the Gallagher case. The Navy seal was accused of murdering an unarmed detainee in Iraq. During the trial plagued with misfires. He was found not guilty of the most serious crimes. Last week, the president restored Gallagher to chief petty officer in a seeming rebuke of the white house. We are Admiral Collin green has begun the process to remove Gallagher in three others from the seals Thursday. The back and forth continued when the president tweeted that Gallagher will not lose his Trident. But this is also just the latest example of a storied military institution in crisis. After the Gallagher trial ended in July, green issued a letter to his commanders writing. We have a problem.

Speaker 4: 08:20 We haven't done enough to have moral conditioning when they come in.

Speaker 3: 08:24 Green ordered seal commanders to read the book, a tactical ethic by Dick couch. The author of Vietnam era. Seal himself says he and Admiral green have discussed the challenges faced by today's seals.

Speaker 4: 08:36 You know, you gotta be tough. You gotta be smart, you gotta be professionally proficient, but you also have to be morally intact. You are an American warrior.

Speaker 3: 08:44 President Trump was tweeting and support for Gallagher last summer. Green had another disciplinary problem on his hands. The Admiral recalled another platoon from seal team seven from Iraq over allegations that included drinking and unprofessional conduct. He removed seal team seven's top three leaders again, former seal Dick couch.

Speaker 4: 09:03 I think there's a lack of leadership and the insistence or right moral conduct. That's the key thing and that has to be changed and turned around and those falling short have to be separated. Excommunication is a wonderful thing.

Speaker 3: 09:16 Admiral green ordered seals to ditch unofficial insignias and get back to Navy haircuts, but there are larger issues like lengthy deployments, special operations command made an effort to shorten duty tours, but couch believes that some of the damage may have already been done.

Speaker 4: 09:32 The more senior guys that have seen an awful lot of combat and a couple of them seem to be damaged by that and that bleeds into the younger guys.

Speaker 3: 09:42 To truly restore Navy seal culture, the focus will probably have to extend beyond disciplinary actions. Dr Pauline Kerryn teaches professional military ethics at the Naval war college.

Speaker 4: 09:53 If everything is centered on the discipline issues and there's no discussion of of culture or broader ethical issues to me that would be a red flag.

Speaker 3: 10:02 She says modeling ethical behavior starts at the top. Seals are also watching to see who wins the back and forth battle between their command in the white house. The Victor is likely to set the tone for special forces going forward. Steve Walsh, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 10:18 rear Admiral Charlie Brown, chief of information issued a statement Thursday saying the Navy follows the lawful orders of the president. We will do so in case of an order to stop the administrative review of Edward Gallagher's professional qualification. We are aware of the president's tweet and we are awaiting further guidance, old films, new films, and a holiday week ahead here with some good reasons to mingle movies with your Turkey day is midday edition host Jade Heinemann

Speaker 5: 11:09 as we head into Thanksgiving, midday movies decided to ask our critics to talk about films they are thankful for. Once again, we have KPBS film critic Beth Armando and movie Wallaces. Critic Yazdi put Babylon on hand to talk about films. Welcome you both. Thanks. Thank you. So let's start by discussing a pair of films to be thankful for that are currently in theaters. Beth, you recently had director, dr

Speaker 1: 11:31 Robert Eggers on your cinema junkie podcast to talk about his film, the lighthouse. You said this film will make your a 10 best list and it is a current release that you are thankful for. Yes. So Robert Eggers also directed the which, which is another film that I love. And the thing about him that I really like is he has this amazing ability to transport you to different place in time.

Speaker 6: 11:54 I like to think of it like that film somewhere in time where Christopher Reeve transports himself through self hypnosis to a different time in the past and he's able to stay there until he sees this modern penny. So Robert Eggers creates this way to go back in time, but you'll never find that thing that's out of place. Everything is just perfect. So for the lighthouse, which is his new film, he takes us to 1890s new England where two men keep a lighthouse on this isolated rock of an Island. Let's hear a little from the trailer from the lighthouse. He believed that there was light

Speaker 7: 12:38 [inaudible]

Speaker 6: 12:43 [inaudible] so why are you thankful for a film like this? I think what I'm most thankful for is a filmmaker who has this meticulous sense of craft. So he talks about how you need to feel the musty, crusty, rusty, dusty newness of the lighthouse of Willem Defoe's beard of everything that's going on and you really do. And for people who don't know, this is a film shot in black and white. It's shot in an old boxy kind of movie tone aspect ratio. So everything about it transports you to someplace else. And it's an amazing film that has this kind of hallucinogenic quality, but also this kind of gritty realism. And I just highly urge people to go see it in a theater and appreciate that you also liked the film I did. It's just so odd. We don't really see something so different these days in the cinema.

Speaker 6: 13:37 It's truly an experience. And like Beth said, you get sucked into this world, into this time, into this place with these people. And not just with the people, but with their heads. And the movie kind of at one point just completely dissolves between what's real and what's imagined. And that's, that's the feat. And Yazdi you also have a recent film you're grateful for parasite. Tell us about this film. So parasite is a South Korean film from director bong Joon hall. This is a movie which won the top prize at the Cannes film festival. It is from South Korea and it has a good chance of winning a best picture nomination this year. Mind you not for best foreign film, best butcher. And I just love it when a movie comes out of nowhere. And just by virtue of being so extra ordinary, it just kind of blows all the doors away.

Speaker 6: 14:28 And you know, I, I hesitate to say much about the film, but it works primarily as a thriller and even as it's so busy trying to make sure that you have the right of your life, it's making all this, all of this commentary about nothing less than human beings as a species about greed and disparity and weld but never at the cost of amazing in terms of what you're seeing visually on the screen and being thoroughly entertained. What more can you ask for? I know Beth, you liked the movie too. Yes I did. And you know it's funny cause we had a week where all the films were amazing. It was the lighthouse, it was parasite, it was Jojo rabbit, the Irishman. I mean we had them all packed into one week and yeah, the parasite is amazing. This is by the director who also did the host, which was kind of a horror horror film monster creature film.

Speaker 6: 15:19 And what he's so good at is kind of blending all these Sharas together, but he just slips in and out of different kinds of storytelling tropes. And just when you think you've got it figured out where this thing is going, it makes a complete left turn. And again, he too has this real sense of craft and, and also just that you feel like you're in the hands of a master that someone who has great assurance that he knows where he's taking you. You know there's some films that feel ambiguous and you feel like the filmmakers don't know where they're going. But with this you, you're willing to go wherever it takes you because you know you're in the hands of someone who is just crafting a amazing experience. And then another thing about the South Korean films is that I really find even in there like pop entertainment films, you get this real sense of social commentary and politics going on.

Speaker 6: 16:13 And this real sense of what really informs a lot of their films to me is the sense of it's a country divided and that the people on the opposite side are not necessarily villains are evil. And you know, we have a lot of films recently like ready or not, we're rich people are the villains and they're out to kill you and they're just despicable and evil. And in this you have a much more layered and kind of complex way of looking at that. There's a real sense that it's more complicated layers and textures to that when it sounds like you can still find parasite and the lighthouse in theaters this weekend. So go check them out if you want to hear more films. Our critics are thankful for. Look for the midday movies podcast@kpbs.org [inaudible].

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.