Rep. Davis Won’t Run In 2020, Where To Build New Homes, Local Reps Say No To Offshore Drilling
KPBS Midday Edition / September 5, 2019
Congresswoman Susan Davis is stepping down after ten terms. Also, a government report says family separation at the border left children traumatized, SANDAG looks at how to distribute 171,000 new homes throughout the county, local representatives are urging Congress to say no to drilling off the California coast and and San Diego bluegrass band Prairie Sky performs in the KPBS studio in the final installment of the Midday Edition summer music series.
Speaker 1: 00:00 The announcement came out of the blue during summer recess. San Diego, Congresswoman Susan Davis will not seek reelection next year. The 75 year old Democrat is calling a rap on nearly 20 years in Congress. That opens the 53rd district to any number of aspirins. I spoke with Susan Davis earlier about her decision. Congresswoman Davis, welcome to midday edition.
Speaker 2: 00:23 Hi, good morning. Nice to be with you.
Speaker 1: 00:24 Well, you wrote in a letter to constituents how difficult this decision was. What finally caused you to decide to leave Congress?
Speaker 2: 00:31 What's so interesting? I think about the decisions that members make and perhaps they do this in other areas, but I'm not sure I was having to make really a a four year decision, four, five year decision. And uh, at that time I felt that there's so much that I've learned about it's going on in San Diego and I often tell people, I wish I, you know, I, some day I'd like to be doing more of that and this is the time for me to try and do that. I still have, of course, 16 months in which I will be very engaged in many of the issues that we, we've already been working on. I chair a subcommittee, I, um, on three, three committees and I'm very involved, but I really felt that looking forward that this gives me an opportunity to, to serve in a different way. And there are many wonderful people that I'll be, I hope, uh, able to engage with beyond the time that I'm in Congress.
Speaker 1: 01:29 And, uh, explain the timing of your announcement here.
Speaker 2: 01:32 Oh, well I think we, we have an earlier primary this year and next year and that makes a difference in terms of people's decisions. And so, uh, is this the, so a little early compared to what members often started looking at at the the next few years, but I felt it was important to do that.
Speaker 1: 01:51 And can you talk about your years in Washington? What are some of the main achievements you're proud of and regrets you might have?
Speaker 2: 01:58 I don't have any grads actually. I even during some very tough times, the opportunity to work with some fabulous people and to, you know, to, to be so involved in working with my constituents has really been an honor for me and I, and I've loved it. I think when it comes to major accomplishments, one of the things that people often point to is I did play a very active role in the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. I had taken on the chairmanship of the personnel committee, the subcommittee in on the Armed Services Committee and, and started really engaging with a number of military leaders early on and then saw that through to what I think is a, is a, is a good conclusion and wonderful conclusion that people could serve openly. We have so many patriotic people who want to want to serve their country and we were making it very hard for them and, and that was not right. There are other areas, education, certainly in health care, even though we all, I think we're very focused on, uh, health care. Uh, I certainly was engaging in a number of areas there and often, you know, playing a role to bring people together and to talk about these issues.
Speaker 1: 03:16 Do you think president Trump has tended to gut some of your major achievements?
Speaker 2: 03:20 Oh, absolutely. I mean, just look at the affordable care act and I think that the importance of people with preexisting conditions feeling that they are able to get health care is critically important. And while a number of people may have that through their work, it sets a different tone. I've spoken to so many people who had a minor health condition and when they went to get health insurance, they were told that they weren't eligible. I mean, that's just, you know, outlandish and we, despite everything that's said though, the effort of our republican colleagues, unfortunately, and certainly president Trump has, has been to walk that back in such a way that people will not, would no longer have that ability to do that.
Speaker 1: 04:08 Now, how would you say the Congress has changed in your nearly two decades in the house? And the same question about democracy in general in America.
Speaker 2: 04:15 The elections in during the primary season have kind of move people. Um, I think especially, especially on the right to, to not be as open and even as generous and they're thinking about legislation. We had an opportunity and a few years ago to vote on the cures act, a healthcare bill that would provide more funding for a number of diseases and really give us a far better opportunity to address the challenges in healthcare today. None of us, you know, have I, we all, I guess I would say have family that would benefit from that. And I had republican colleagues who would agree with the concept but would not vote for it because they were worried that somebody would challenge them in their primary. I think that that makes a difference for people today. And I'm not exactly sure how to address it, but I think that it's a reality and all members of Congress, I think would agree with that. It's created far more divisiveness than is necessary. I also think that that the president has definitely contributed to the tone today in Washington. There's just no doubt about that. And despite the fact that people may be uncomfortable with it, not be supportive of the kind of language and the way that the president has carried himself on a number of occasions. Nevertheless I think that they have gone along with it and it would be better if everybody together, um, that were less concerned about those things spoke up.
Speaker 1: 05:55 And what sort of reactions are you getting your announcement?
Speaker 2: 05:58 Well, people are, are actually, um, very supportive and uh, they are, you know, a little on happy I guess I could say. And I think it's because of the times, frankly, I think that people really wants to ability, they don't see it in their politics today. They don't see it for what they see in terms of not, not all elected officials of course, but just the, the issues and the way that they're being dealt with. And I think they saw me as someone who was dis well grounded and they appreciated that. So I'm getting a lot of feedback in those areas. And another people that are saying, you know, good for you. You know, you decided that you have something to contribute in a different way and you're willing to go for it.
Speaker 1: 06:46 And what do you plan to do once back in San Diego for good?
Speaker 2: 06:49 I don't know yet. That's, that's actually the nice part of it.
Speaker 1: 06:53 Any ideas about maybe getting into politics or a politically active once you're back in San Diego?
Speaker 2: 06:58 Well, I'm not certainly got to run for office again, but I, you know, I, I'm just open to a lot of different areas. I've had an interest in housing over the years. I've had an interest certainly in education in the military. I've loved the opportunity to work with the military.
Speaker 1: 07:14 Any ideas about who you'd like to see replace you? A Democrat, I presume?
Speaker 2: 07:18 Yes. Uh, I would like to see a democrat. I think that the district will certainly be ready for another democrat. I don't think it's a safe district, but in, in the, in the sense that it's not a possibility,
Speaker 1: 07:34 uh, regarding a specific folks who might run to replace you. Anybody in mind?
Speaker 2: 07:38 I'm not recommending anybody. Right. This is just day one after five after I made the decision. I'm hoping that they'll ruby a number of people who are thinking about it and come forward. Obviously I want someone who really cares about constituents, is really willing to take all of those meetings. I don't think we oddly ever turned down a meeting and I think this, this is a decision for the people to decide.
Speaker 1: 08:04 Well, I've been speaking with Congresswoman Susan Davis of California's 53rd district. Thanks very much. Thank you.
Speaker 1: 00:00 A San Diego judge this week, ordered 11 parents separated from their children at the border and deported can return to the u s to pursue asylum attorneys for one woman in the case say she was so distraught by the separation from her son that her face became paralyzed for days. Well now a new report from the U S inspector general finds that children who had been separated from their families are suffering from traumatic psychological impacts that something the American psychological association has warned about. Earlier I spoke with Dr Rosey Phillips Davis, President of the Association. I started by asking what she concluded from the report.
Speaker 2: 00:40 Well, we were delighted to find that the reports support it for the American psychological association has been saying for years that it actually retraumatizes children to separate them from their parents. As you know, these children have just been on a long hard journey and, and they've seen terrible things and so to be separated from their parents just retraumatizes them. And that's what the reports concluded.
Speaker 1: 01:12 And can you detail how they were being retraumatized?
Speaker 2: 01:15 They have seen terrible things. For example, many of these children and parents are leaving because of the violence that they have experienced in their home countries. Some of these young people have seen parents murdered, some girls have been raped. There've even been cases where girls have been raped and gotten pregnant. Children had been separated from their parents and or other relatives and they want to get to the United States thinking that they have reached a safe haven and in some ways they have and then for them to get here and unexpectedly be separated from their church, from their parents. They at least children don't know what is going on with them. They just know that they are not with their parents so they're already scared and frightened and now their parents have been taken away.
Speaker 1: 02:07 Can you talk to me a bit more about how that trauma manifests in, in these children,
Speaker 2: 02:12 young children just being separated and their routines uprooted, traveling long distances and struggling with food and shelter and then coming to these places where they don't have the same routine. They are not in homes, they are not in their regular be it. They're in crowded facilities with people that they don't know. And if you imagine what happens to young people when they are suddenly in a situation where they don't know anyone, the routines are different, they are scared, they're frightened and sometimes they, so they'll have PTSD or sometimes they will just have lots of anxiety, lots of fear. And sometimes these children will even experience things like Ah, ah, the salsa tube disorders that is that they just, it's almost like out of body experiences. And so the costs, children need a stable, harmonious environment even in the best of time.
Speaker 1: 03:16 MMM. And the reports were released on Wednesday after the policies that they are reporting on have been largely done away with. Correct.
Speaker 2: 03:24 Some of those policies that I'm aware of, and example would be, they used to require when, when they went to that zero tolerance policy, they would require all of the adults, including the parents to have fingerprints and they would send them away and they just got banked up. And so, so many more of those children were in those immigration facilities. And so they did away with that kind of policy. And some of the others that they have just rescinded. For example, one of the ones that I'm aware that they rescinded was one where they were requiring background checks on the workers who were taking care of the children and sometimes they would give waivers for those because they couldn't get all those done. Well they did away with that kind of policy too, but they still haven't been able to re reunite all of those children. So they still have a ways to go. And I believe these are all good people trying to do the right thing. It's just that they're overwhelmed.
Speaker 1: 04:25 Hmm. And the APA also said that there weren't enough mental health providers at the shelters. What was the reasoning for the shortage?
Speaker 2: 04:34 What the report indicates is that they cannot find enough people to do the job. And so my understanding is that their ratio was one to 12 but sometimes they'd have as many as one provider to 25 children. And when you're dealing with a child, for example, a child who's crying and inconsolable, you can't decide that you can spend a half an hour with that child and move on or an hour and move on. So it's not easy to get enough hours for the workers to have even a regular case load, let alone one that is overloaded. And then they suffer from having low compensation for the mental health workers and they have long demanding hours. And another part of the problem, because this is such a surge and they are recruiting people who may be, haven't even had enough experience with this kind of Fama and yet they're trying to do that work. And so that's very hard on some workers. If you're not used to doing that kind of work and dealing with children at that level was that kind of trauma, then it can be tiring on the worker. So the demands of the job, so people are competing for those individuals who can pay more and with few hours and less Pharma to deal with
Speaker 1: 06:00 and going forward. What would the American psychological association like to see done to correct these problems?
Speaker 2: 06:06 Couple of things that we like to see. One, we certainly would like to see them do more research to know exactly what they ought to be doing for those children. And we certainly hope that they will recruit people that actually are better able to deliver the services. We also would invite them to look at some of the resources on the APA website because there are some there, uh, saying that, um, that will, that will prevent us from training. We hope. The other thing is that they will get case loads that are more manageable. And then I think if it's, if they would work harder just to attract and retain some of the workers, maybe they need to look at increasing compensation for doing the jobs that they do.
Speaker 1: 07:02 I have been speaking with Rosie Phillips Davis, president of the American psychological association. Dr. Davis, thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 2: 07:10 You're welcome. Glad to be with you.
Speaker 3: 07:15 Mm.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Elected officials from around San Diego County will be making a big decision tomorrow on the future of housing. Cities must plan to build enough housing to accommodate population growth. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the housing crisis has changed the conversation about where that growth should be happening.
Speaker 2: 00:18 Hi Lois. Hi. It's so nice to meet you. Lois son. Richie is 72 retired and a long time resident of Encinitas. Well, this is
Speaker 3: 00:28 studio apartment and I'm a story collector and have a little nonprofit and this is my office and my [inaudible]
Speaker 2: 00:35 home son. Riches walls are lined with books, mostly memoirs and 250 diaries filled with her own writing. These are all of your journals,
Speaker 3: 00:45 these and those up there and then in the closet over there and
Speaker 2: 00:51 Sunridge is lucky. Years ago a patron helped her pay off this 400 square foot condo, but with little saved for retirement. Her living situation still wasn't stable. She looked into selling and moving into a subsidized rental apartment, but in a city where 80% of the land is zoned for single family homes, affordable housing is nearly impossible to find. Much less build.
Speaker 3: 01:14 One of the difficult parts about being in the conversation about housing and Encinitas is that we have created laws that have made it more difficult for us to build housing.
Speaker 2: 01:28 That conversation continues Friday when local leaders will gather to decide how much housing each city in the county will have to plan for over the next decade. Encinitas. Mayor Catherine Blake Spear was one of the elected officials who came up with a methodology to guide that decision. She says in the past, cities including her own could get away with blocking any growth from happening and the State perceives that that is what has created the housing crisis, so we have a lack of supply of homes because so many cities have said, we're not interested in more homes here and we got ours. We're going to close the door after us. Under the new methodology, a city's housing allocation is determined by two factors, how much public transit it has and how many jobs there are. The goal is to allow more people to take transit to work or if they have to drive, at least it's a shorter commute.
Speaker 2: 02:19 Although the methodology and concept make sense, it doesn't take into account the nuances of each individual city. Richard Bailey is mayor of cornetto. If leaders approved the new housing methodology, his city would have to plan for a thousand new homes. That's not much compared to other cities, but it's 20 times what cornetto was asked to plan for it the last time around. Bailey says the methodology should take into account some of his city's jobs are actually overseas in the military, and he says the city of core Nado has authority over only a fraction of its own land. Then the question comes down to, well, who who's responsible for stepping up and throughout the bay region, many
Speaker 4: 03:00 cities have already stepped up, including Cornado and so I think it's important that we take a a look at what cities have already done historically and make sure that all the cities throughout the region are stepping up to do their fair share.
Speaker 2: 03:12 I mean, I'm not sure that that's really a legitimate position. Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blake Spear says the methodology for allocating housing throughout the county has to be fair and explainable to the public. I think that every city has their particular reason that they think their numbers should be different and lower. I, of course, really like my colleagues on the San Di Board and the cornetto mayor, but I don't know if he has a different methodology that would apply to everybody or he's just asking for our carve out. I have been extremely fortunate back at her studio and Encinitas low, as Sunridge says, she's now getting by thanks to the charity of friends and colleagues, but she knows others aren't so lucky. She says, the way things are going, only the rich will be able to live in the communities where they work are going to be segregated. We're not going to all come together and live together and, and I, I'm, I'm really not wanting to have that kind of city is my hometown. Elected officials are scheduled to vote Friday on a draft methodology that will guide its housing plan, whatever they settle on it. We'll also need approval from the state.
Speaker 1: 04:18 Joining me now is KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Welcome. Thank you. So Coronado's mayor says adding 20 times more units than previously required while harm the character of his town. And we'll get to that in a minute. But what are some other cities in the region going to be required to add?
Speaker 2: 04:36 The city of San Diego has the greatest share of housing and that's probably what you would expect being the largest city. Um, it's about 108,000 and that's also up from the previous cycle that this happens. Lemon Grove has about four times its previous allocation around 1400 imperial beach close to the same number. That's more than five times its previous allocation. Uh, a couple of cities or jurisdictions are getting fewer numbers. So San and the unincorporated county, um, are getting just a fraction of what they previously had. And that's just a reflection of the fact that they have very little transit and little and few jobs. Um, but these overall, these, these are, we're talking overall numbers here and built into these overall numbers are targets for very low, low income and moderate income housing and factored into the calculation is what's called an equity adjustment. So if you're a a low income community, you don't have to build as much low income housing as higher income communities.
Speaker 1: 05:34 And how is this process different this time around than in past decades?
Speaker 2: 05:39 So what I, what Mayor Blake Spirit told me was that in previous, uh, cycles when this, when the SANDAG would go through this process, typically what happened was the, a local jurisdiction, the city or the county would come up with their own general plan. They would zone for housing, different parts of their town and the SANDAG generally defer to those local decisions. Uh, and you know, maybe make some adjustments here and there. Many cities just chose not to add any new housing in their local plans. And so no housing actually ended up getting built. And this is where the state came in and basically said, no, you have to, um, make these goals a little bit. You have to give them a little bit more teeth. And also you have to base them. They have to be furthering the goals that we have as a state to reduce vehicle travel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaker 2: 06:26 So that's why SANDAG came up with this formula that says, the more jobs you have and the more trains that you have, the more homes you have to plan for. Right. And it seems odd for some cities to balk adding a more housing after all. Doesn't that add up to more tax revenue, revenue boost in the local economy? Yeah, well sometimes is the short answer. Um, let's also remember prop 13 basically freezes the taxable value of a property in place and only adjusts it really just for inflation. Um, and only when that property is sold is it reassessed and then the city can get more tax revenue from that, uh, that property, retail and commercial properties, however, bring in additional revenue for this city, like sales tax. Um, so a lot of the experts in the state say that this is part of why we have this big imbalance of jobs and housing in many of our communities because cities are incentivized to add those jobs.
Speaker 2: 07:19 Um, but they're not as incentivized to add the housing that that would allow those people who work the jobs to live near those jobs. Um, and another thing is that new development gets people angry. So when the neighbors show up to city council meetings, worried about, you know, the apartment building that's going up across their street, they're talking about traffic, they're talking about infrastructure. They're not necessarily thinking about the city's bottom line. So nimbyism at work there, no answer. Anita said resisted having a housing plan is mandated by the state. A judge in December ordered won't be adopted. What's the status of that though? Yeah, well a little bit of backgrounds of voters in Encinitas passed a local law that requires at public vote every time the city wants to increase density on a piece of land. Um, the, the city failed to have a, uh, housing element that was compliant with state law, um, but was trying to get a new one approved and, and it put that a plan to the voters twice.
Speaker 2: 08:15 And both times voters rejected that plan that would have brought the city into compliance with state law. Uh, last December, a judge basically, um, you know, as you mentioned, suspended this local law requiring a public vote. And so now as of, I believe it was march, the city has a legally compliant housing element or in the state calls for adding 171,000 housing units throughout the county. And preliminary estimates have corn auto getting about a thousand. Cornell. Those mayor says that means drastically changing is Shitty, destroying its charm, requiring major overhaul of zoning rules. Then there's the suggestion of cornetto getting other cities to take on more units instead. How might that work?
Speaker 1: 08:56 A corner have something to trade? You're going to see a big negotiation here of Brexit system [inaudible]
Speaker 2: 09:02 well, this, this kind of speaks to how things were done in the past and how SANDAG is really trying to change the conversation here because they can't just keep deferring all of these decisions to local leaders. So, um, mayor Richard Bailey told me that he wants a weighted factor to apply for each city's number that would calculate, uh, or take into account the city's existing density. Um, and so that, you know, cities that have done more to build dense housing in the past should be given credit for their, um, their work. In other cities that haven't, um, should be asked to do more. Uh, he says that core Nados density is actually quite high when you factor out, um, all of the land on the, on the island that belongs to the state or the federal government or the port of San Diego. Um, but those, that is also somewhat true to an extent for a lot of other cities in the county.
Speaker 2: 09:50 Not every city has complete control over every piece of land in its jurisdiction or within its boundaries. So, uh, you know, if, if the SANDAG board takes, um, the mayor as suggestion, um, the end result could end up being that cities in the back country or the unincorporated county could end up getting more, um, housing allocations and that kind of conflicts with the state goals that the requirements that, that this, that there be more infill development and more development around public transit. Um, so I think we can expect some policy debate about this formula on Friday. Um, and ultimately the board will, the SANDAG board will have to find something that the majority agrees with and that the state will be able to accept.
Speaker 1: 10:35 Well, a lot of people waiting and wondering today about how these 171,000 housing units are going to be parsed out. I've been speaking with KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowlin. Thanks, Andrew. My pleasure, mark.
Speaker 5: 10:49 Uh.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Democrats who run California and are running for president agree that the fight, the climate crisis, we need to stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible. But a proposal for robust offshore oil and gas drilling and all federal waters makes a mockery of that clean energy goal. Leaders in California and all along the west coast are fighting back. Joining me to discuss that battle as KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric, welcome. My pleasure. Well, you covered a press conference yesterday focused on the resistance to the Trump administration's push for offshore drilling. Who was there? Well, a congressman, Mike Levin and Scott Peters were both there. And what they were trying to do is highlight, uh, their opposition to a Trump administration plan that was put forward last year that would basically reopen a lot of the, uh, areas off the coast of the United States to offshore oil drilling. Uh, they both think this is not a very good idea and they're looking around for ways that they can, uh, move legislation on Capitol Hill, uh, to keep it from happening.
Speaker 1: 01:04 And what they've come up with is, uh, co-sponsoring a bill that's been put forward by a member of the house from South Carolina, conservative Republican Law Maker, uh, in a state that was, uh, overwhelmingly voting for Trump in the last election. Uh, but that measure would put a permanent ban in place on offshore drilling along all us coastal waters. And they're hopeful that this bipartisan, uh, Bill, uh, actually gets up for a House vote soon and then gets consideration in the Senate. And, uh, we mentioned that congressman Lebanon was their Congressman Peters, both Democrats, of course, from this area. What were the main points made, uh, by these folks specifically in terms of, of the dangers facing the potential for catastrophe out there? Well, I think what they're trying to bring up is the fact that, uh, you know, California's coastal economy is a $23 billion economy. It's, there are hunt more than a hundred thousand jobs tied to that economy. And our lifeblood here in southern California is linked to a good clean environment along the coast. And offshore drilling kind of endangers that. Uh, and this was a point that, uh, congressman Scott Peters pointed out, uh, very specifically
Speaker 2: 02:14 last year, president Trump, uh, his department of Interior proposed to allow oil and gas drilling right here off California's coast. Think about that. The federal agency tasked with protecting our ne our country's natural resources, has proposed the rollback of critical environmental protections designed to keep oil from filing our oceans, which could lead to devastating effects for our environment and for our economy. 50 years ago in 1969, an oil rig off the Santa Barbara coast experienced the blowout resulted in oil slick 35 miles long. At that time, it was the largest oil spill in history. And to this day, it remains the largest spill to occur in the state of California. Crews were literally throwing hay bales into the ocean to try to soak up the oil that killed thousands of marine animals, caused a suspension of commercial fishing, and led to a huge drop in tourism, uh, as you might expect in California's coastal communities.
Speaker 1: 03:17 A congressman, Peter said, uh, that's why he wants to oppose the offshore drilling. Uh, because San Diego's economy can't absorb that kind of an impact, a negative impact from an oil spill. It puts more than an $8 billion economy in peril if something were to happen. And what specifically is the Trump administration's proposal? This is over several years and they're talking about really opening up old big area to a lot of drilling. A, they want to open up the, uh, the ability for the federal government to sell these oil leases off the coast. And of course, if you sell the oil lease to a developer, an oil, an oil company, they want to be able to put a rig out there to begin extracting the oil. And they want to do that all along the coast of the United States. Although it's probably worth noting that, uh, the state of Florida with the Republican governor, conservative governor, I did get an exemption from, from this policy, but California democratic state did not get that exemption. And here in the, along the west coast here in California. How much oil are we really talking about? Yeah, it's a not considered to be a, a huge, immense amount of oil. We talked to Michael Torty, who's with a Surfrider foundation's, a San Diego chapter, and he said, you know, the benefits we would get from that are relatively small,
Speaker 2: 04:35 all of this irreversible damage for what, 16 and a half months of oil reserves off the California coast. Why bother? Was such a risk. Images of oil, marine life, soiled coastlines, a massive oil slicks have been permanently etched into our hearts and minds over the years as ecological tragedies. American needs to conserve energy, protect our natural resources, and look for innovative ways to build a sustainable energy portfolio.
Speaker 1: 05:03 And of course, he weighs this against the potential economic impact from the oil industry that, you know, could add $2 billion to the, to the California economy. Uh, but the argument there is, is that's far outweighed by the impact on California's coastal economy, which is worth around $23 billion and a, the position of the Governor Gavin Newsome. Uh, when it comes to oil and Glen, I guess, platforms in the Pacific. Uh, he has not really said much about it. He's, he's been a little bit coy on this position, and it's not something that he's talked about publicly. So we'll see if he weighs in on this as this thing moves further along, especially with this federal legislation she had been talking about. Well, I've been talking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Thanks Eric. My pleasure.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Summer is swiftly flying by and today marks the final installment of mid day additions. First summer music series this week, the concert is hosted by Maureen Cavenaugh, palm trees, surfboards, and Mexican food. Don't exactly conjure up images of Appalachia and dueling Banjos, but if you look hard enough, you'll find a thriving bluegrass music scene right here in our backyard. Today we're joined by one of San Diego's finest bluegrass vans, prairie sky. Here they are with the song. Don't you hear Jerusalem Moan?
Speaker 2: 00:32 Well, I got a home on the other shore, don't you? He Jerusalem. Whoa. Ah, no. Well, they have been forever more [inaudible] don't you hear [inaudible]? Don't you hear [inaudible] thank God doesn't haven't any ringing him. I told him my soul said, free. [inaudible] Mon ran a sister. Mary. She, you. Where's the chain? Don't you? He do this alone and on every link is a Jesus name. [inaudible] Noun. Don't you hear Jerusalem? Don't you hear this alarm? No, thank God I haven't had a ring in my soul and my soul said free. Don't you hear Jerusalem know whether the devil wears a hypocrite shoe? Don't you hear [inaudible] Noun. You don't watch out. He gonna step on and you don't, you're here in Jerusalem, mom. Don't you hear Jerusalem loud? Don't you hear Jerusalem Mowing [inaudible] heaven and it ringing and my soul and my soul said, [inaudible] listen, lamb bone. Now the Methodist preacher is a mighty fine man. Don't you hear Jerusalem noun show when us away to the promise land [inaudible] bone. Don't you hear [inaudible] don't you hear Jerusalem? Noun that God. There's a heaven and a ringing in my soul and my soul set free. Don't you hear every salon bone? Don't you hate Jerusalem, mom? Don't you hear this alive? Let God in a ring in my soul and my soul said, please don't do it here. [inaudible]
Speaker 3: 02:11 [inaudible]
Speaker 2: 02:14 hmm.
Speaker 3: 02:19 Uh,
Speaker 1: 02:22 prairie sky is Ramona alt on guitar and vocals. Dwight warden on upright bass and vocals. Avery Ellis Min on Mandolin, fiddle and vocals. Jeff Smith on guitar and vocals. Thanks for joining us for midday edition. Oh, we're happy to be here. Now. Did prairie sky begin right here in San Diego? Jeff?
Speaker 4: 02:40 Yes, it did. And what year? 2010 yeah. Oh, we been together for 10 years and believe it or not, we actually all still like each other. We all met in the local bluegrass scene. There's a San Diego bluegrass society and jam sessions and get togethers. And pretty much that's how we met.
Speaker 1: 02:55 Now, you know, bluegrass musicians are among the best players in the world. How do you learn how to play this? How did you learn how to play Avery?
Speaker 5: 03:05 The tradition for bluegrass music is basically an oral tradition by ear. For example, the fiddle was an easy instrument to carry and so it was ubiquitous, played in lots of different countries, but a lot of the people were not schooled, even educated enough to read and certainly not necessarily related to read music. So we basically learned one person to the other learn the tunes. And one of the joys of playing it by ear is that you start to improvise on the theme and you're encouraged to improvise in this kind of music.
Speaker 1: 03:33 So Jeff, you just sort of pick it up?
Speaker 6: 03:36 Um, I, it depends on, you're asking me and I don't feel like I've ever picked it up. So we kind of agree, uh, in, in this pan, I'd, I'd focus more on singing and strumming more than being an outstanding bluegrass picker. Cause those guys, you're right, they're incredible and they spent their whole life, you know, a good play in blue grass.
Speaker 1: 03:56 And Ramona, what about you? What uh, what is your affinity with the picking up the singing style and the music of Bluegrass?
Speaker 7: 04:03 The singer that I remember being turned on by is Joan bias. She was playing a lot of the Carter family, bluegrass, you know, the beginnings of Bluegrass. She's the one that I fell in love with and wanted to learn guitar because I heard Joan Baez,
Speaker 1: 04:20 now you're going to play another song for us right now. And it's called the fiddler Avery. What's the song about?
Speaker 5: 04:27 I was influenced by and moved by some older people who I saw playing the fiddle. It was as if their years were irrelevant and they could've just as easily been 16 as opposed to 86. So it's kind of my way of, of calling attention to the beauty of music and how it cuts across the ages.
Speaker 1: 04:45 Here's prairie sky with their song, the fiddler
Speaker 8: 04:58 [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] man.
Speaker 9: 05:57 [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 06:18 [inaudible]
Speaker 9: 07:07 [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 07:29 [inaudible]
Speaker 9: 07:46 [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 08:04 [inaudible]
Speaker 9: 08:21 [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 08:37 [inaudible]
Speaker 1: 08:40 that was prairie sky performing the fiddler. Thank you once again. Really, really nice. So joy, you were telling me about the way that the bluegrass community in San Diego gets together. Tell, tell me more about that. How big is the community here? It's surprisingly, I think the reason is there are a lot of immigrants, people who came here from Appalachia and brought the music with them and there's a very active nonprofit scene specifically promoting bluegrass and activities and Avery runs a fiddle camp. So basically every week there's two or three bluegrass events that you can participate in going on somewhere in San Diego. So ever. Tell us more about the Julian family fiddle camp. What's, what can you tell us about that?
Speaker 5: 09:21 We're going into our ninth year. It's called the Julian family fiddle camp. We have about a hundred people who come for a four and a half day period in April up in Julian. And uh, the community wrapped its arms around it and it's become quite a popular event. We have great instructors who come in and because the quality of the camp and experience is so good, we have two, three generations of people who come to spend that extended weekend to learn music, dance, and enjoy the beauty of what a music provides us.
Speaker 1: 09:49 You're going to perform one more song for us. What's that going to be? It's going to be man of constant sorrow from the a movie o brother where are out there with George Clooney. Well, I want to thank you before you start prairie sky. Thanks for stopping by the our summer music series today. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having us. Yeah, we've had fun.
Speaker 8: 10:15 [inaudible]
Speaker 1: 10:16 prairie sky performed Sunday, September 15th at the Train Song Festival and Poway. For more information, go to kpbs.org/summer music series.
Speaker 8: 10:28 [inaudible]
Speaker 9: 11:08 [inaudible] Rambo. I am not [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 11:41 [inaudible]
Speaker 9: 11:41 yeah, that's bare. The weight lover [inaudible] in some [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 12:54 [inaudible]
Speaker 9: 12:57 I think [inaudible]
Speaker 10: 13:22 God, go there. Show,
Speaker 11: 13:29 uh,
Speaker 8: 13:40 [inaudible].