Heat Wave Threatens Sea Life, Refugees Cope With Substandard Housing, Midday Movies Kicks Off
KPBS Midday Edition / September 6, 2019
A heat wave off the west coast is posing a danger to sea life, including here in San Diego. Also, cockroaches, mold and broken windows are just a few of the problems one refugee family faced when relocated to housing in City Heights, and Midday Edition is launching a new monthly movie segment with KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando.
Speaker 1: 00:00 A huge mass of very warm water has formed in the Pacific Ocean. And if it doesn't dissipate soon, it could be damaging to the marine ecosystem all along the coast from Alaska to southern California. In fact, this one is on its way to rivaling the so-called blob that caused the massive toxic algae blooms and proved to destructive to marine life in 2014 in 2015 Andrew lysine is a research oceanographer with the southwest fishery science center in the Hoya and he joins us now. Andrew, welcome. Hi. Glad to be here. Um, first how big, how deep and how warm is this blob?
Speaker 2: 00:38 Okay, well, in terms of size, currently it is about the second largest event. We've noted over the past 40 years that we've had data to measure these things and it's right now clocking in at about 6 million kilometers squared. And to give you some reference, Alaska is about 2 million kilometers squared. So this is like three times the size of Alaska.
Speaker 1: 01:04 Oh Wow. And how deep is it?
Speaker 2: 01:06 Well right now, actually that's something that's a little bit different than the past feature that we called the blob. The current one is actually mostly, uh, within the surface waters as far as we can tell. So it does not go as deep as the past event. And that's kind of an important difference between what we're seeing now and what we saw in the past.
Speaker 1: 01:26 Hmm. So what's causing this ocean blob?
Speaker 2: 01:28 Uh, well we think mostly these features are a response to, uh, changes in atmospheric patterns. And so back when we had the, the first blob in, uh, 2014, 2015, if you recall, that was the result of what we called the ridiculously resilient ridge, which was a, a pattern of high atmospheric pressure. Uh, and now the current one is also, again, related to atmospheric patterns. Generally it's because the, when the atmosphere has a certain pattern that changes the winds, we don't get the normal mixing that you would in the surface. And so the water can heat up in the surface water.
Speaker 1: 02:04 Hmm. So is climate change a factor here?
Speaker 2: 02:06 Climate Change? Uh, we definitely have a sort of background pattern of ocean warming. And so when we go to identify these heat waves, uh, we use sort of a comparison between what's happening and what the average conditions are leg. Now, if the whole ocean is warming over time, when we compare it to that longterm trend, we're just going to start seeing more and more of what looks like a heat wave. But that's because it's a, you know, eventually everything is warming until it'll all look like a heat wave compared to average. So it's kind of a little bit of a complicated story because you've got this longterm trend, but we are attending to see now more of these events that are warmer than the average. Um, recent work has looked at whether we're having an increase in the frequency of these events. And if you actually take out that longterm background trend, it's not really clear that we've had an increase in the frequency of the event, but we're just detecting them more because of the background. A increase in warming.
Speaker 1: 03:10 Okay. And so we know that in 2014 and 2015, um, this blob was really destructive to marine life. Uh, how serious could it be this time? How serious could the impact be on marine life?
Speaker 2: 03:23 That's, you know, that's an open question right now. It is still mostly offshore and it is a, it hasn't reached our California coast yet. It could, but we, but the two big differences are that again, the water is not as warm to the depth that it was before. The other differences that back in 2014 and 2015 we actually had sort of the blob that was located up in the Gulf of Alaska area, but southern California was actually also undergoing its own heat wave in those, in the local waters. And eventually those two features actually combined to create the one big mega huge blob that we saw. Um, and this year we do not have all the offshore warming off of California that we had back in that previous time. So likely we will not have quite as large impact in southern California that we had before. We, we're not, we're not quite clear that that will happen, but there definitely should be some impacts from this feature given how large it already is, how strong it already is and the fact that it is, you know, it's, it's coming within close proximity to the shoreline, probably some point conception north. So we expect there may be some impacts but there likely be possibly different impacts than we had before.
Speaker 1: 04:42 Okay. And while there might be some impacts felt by marine life first, uh, what about the impacts on people who go swimming in the water? Or are there any concerns in terms of bacteria growth or waterborne illnesses?
Speaker 2: 04:54 Uh, that I would die, can't comment on, but, um, the one that we will definitely, you know, people are, we're all monitoring for, not necessarily our agency, but other agencies, state agencies monitor for a harmful Algal blooms. The big one is the demark acid one that comes from pseudo nichey. So that's something that's actively being monitored and you know, warnings will be issued if that becomes a problem. But the bigger impact from that, the harmful algal bloom, I think you already mentioned it was, you know, closure to fisheries or causing toxicity in, in shellfish and other things that we would harvest to eat. That's kind of one of the bigger impacts on people.
Speaker 1: 05:32 And, and what is that impact like, uh, in terms of water, activities of fisheries, those things? W how, how deeply impacted are they by these blooms?
Speaker 2: 05:41 Well, back in the last time we had the large coast-wide bloom that we attributed somewhat to the last blob. Uh, you know, that had, that had pretty large impacts. We had to close many fisheries, uh, particularly hard hit was shellfish fisheries. Uh, those are are the kinds of things that they have the largest, the biggest impact really. And then the other impact of course we saw in southern California was straining of marine mammals. The females were leaving there. They leave their babies on the beach to go foraging and they couldn't find what they were looking for until they would just abandon their babies on the beach and head north to find better food. So that was something that a lot of people were noticing in the last event, but because we, we may not be getting that impacts in the south again this year, we were not sure if that will happen, but it could, it could happen again.
Speaker 1: 06:29 All right. I've been speaking with Andrew Lysine with the National Oceanic and atmospheric administration. Thank you so much, Andrew. Thank you.
Speaker 3: 06:40 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 Those hit hardest by San Diego's affordable housing crisis are often in the most vulnerable communities. Some feel they must accept unsanitary living conditions or lose their home, but what can be done about it? KPBS reporter pre Sri, either visit city heights where a few families are finding the resources to fight back up at noon by noon. Judy,
Speaker 2: 00:22 Oh, Lulu Crescendo. He came to the United States as a refugee from Congo four years ago with his wife and six children.
Speaker 3: 00:30 [inaudible] good America. I left my country to come to the u s because the mind, mind militia was hunting me
Speaker 2: 00:35 after a temporary stay at a refugee camp in Burundi, the [inaudible] ended up in San Diego. [inaudible] I felt very happy that I would get to live in peace in a away from those people that were hunting mines. No, but sadly, their problems didn't end there. Last year, the family moved into this home in city heights, their third home since resettling in the United States.
Speaker 3: 00:59 Do you mind if we do a tour of the house?
Speaker 2: 01:01 Since then? They've dealt with a broken window in their daughter's bedroom, mold in their son's bedroom, no trash bans and the worst of it all. Too much cockroach. Yeah. Oh, cockroach infestation.
Speaker 3: 01:15 Maybe we will do when we're cooking, they crawl into food. When we put the food on a plate and step away for a second to grab something out of the room, they'll find them crawling onto the plate. So you can see these are really unusable.
Speaker 2: 01:27 They say they've made numerous complaints to their property management company, prime asset management. But instead of addressing their complaints, the company began eviction proceedings against the Kush indies. They're among at least a half a dozen families who've said they're living in substandard properties, managed by prime asset management, tenants rights lawyer. Dan Lyrical is representing three of the families.
Speaker 3: 01:51 There is no doubt in my mind that the complaints that complaints had been made in this case about these problems, just the response was inadequate. Um, and now what we're hearing from management after these issues have been raised again, now that I've been involved is we never knew anything about this. And that's not true.
Speaker 2: 02:09 We reached out to the company's president, Jim Purdy, who said that he's unable to respond to questions due to pending litigation. Lyrical says tenants have more rights than they think they do, but they need to know the law.
Speaker 3: 02:23 California law would respect the tenant's decision to withhold rent if the repairs aren't being made, but it's something that needs to be done very carefully because you want to make sure that as a tenant that whatever problem is not being repaired is a serious violation of the warranty of habitability.
Speaker 2: 02:43 Another place to turn is San Diego's Code Enforcement Division. Tenants can make a complaint to the city by phone, online or in person. A building inspector will come do a home inspection about one to five days after you filed a complaint. Based on the seriousness of the case, Leslie Sennett is the deputy director of the city's Code Enforcement Division,
Speaker 4: 03:06 so we have three levels of priorities and our first priority is imminent health and safety for the next level of substandard conditions including mold vectors. We're going to respond within five working days.
Speaker 2: 03:18 She says, once an inspector identifies the violation, they will contact the property owner to issue a notice of violation or an administrative citation. The property owner then has a certain amount of time, anywhere from a week to a month to bring the property into compliance. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, if the property owner doesn't make the necessary changes or repairs, the case can be forwarded to the city attorney's office. Senate says at any given time in San Diego, there are about 3,500 open code enforcement cases being worked by 15 inspectors back in city heights. A Lulu [inaudible] speaks philosophically of his struggles. [inaudible] see what the reality is, but I just have to love and live in this country that gives me peace. [inaudible] he hopes that with help, he'll be able to find some resolution with his housing problems. Pria, Sri, there k PBS news.
Speaker 5: 04:27 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:07 [inaudible].
Speaker 2: 00:07 We are starting something new today. A monthly segment called midday movies with KPBS film critic Beth DACA, Mondo and movie Wallace is film critic Yazdi Pathoglobin. Each month we will look at new films or themed topics or film festivals. Welcome Beth and Yazdi. Are you all the day? Good to be here. Okay, I'm glad. I'm glad and maybe still a little chill. A little frightened from a, a certain movie that you guys saw. I mean, the only chill was from the air conditioning. [inaudible] okay. Alright. I don't know. Look, first up we have it chapter two based on Stephen King's book. Here's a clip from the trailer
Speaker 3: 00:51 [inaudible] you see the losers? We made a note, I swear [inaudible] if it isn't dead, is it ever comes back? We'll come back to you. We didn't stop it. Can you use the cloud? We can let it happen again.
Speaker 2: 01:25 That remind us of the history of this Stephen King Story. Sure. It was first a mini series back in 1990 which was really notable for Tim Curry's brilliant performance as the clown pennywise. But two years ago we had the first part of a remake and that focused on the story of the young kids and the kids are dealing with some very real world whores, things like abuse and bullies and things like that. But they also have to face this kind of shape shifting monster that appears mostly as a clown. And so they attempt to defeat it. And of course they make a pack that if it ever comes back they will join forces again. And that first one was kind of a mixed bag. I felt like it really got the real world horrors right. But everything else wasn't too scary. Right. And Yazdi how did you think the sequel played out?
Speaker 2: 02:16 Is it good? Is it scary? So I'm the [inaudible], I don't like [inaudible]. I don't like horror movies and I'm happy to report it wasn't particularly scary, I think. Really? Yeah, for all the whistles out there. So the sequence sees the same characters that we saw in the first movie. Come back as grownups and as they had decided previously and now that the terror of pennywise is back, they regroup and decide to take it on. I think this movie plays more like a blockbuster horror films. It's really big on spectacle and not as much on true psychological terror, which was just usually what scares me. And I wish the movie would've spent a little bit more time to get into the characters and give more insights about them. Because like, like Beth said, there's a lot with each of those characters, what they have suffered through as children.
Speaker 2: 03:02 Right. So may, so the clown wasn't necessarily a metaphor for those things you guys don't think. I wish it was. I think that's what the book really had, but the films, the two films haven't really made that connection and I think that's a shame. It is scary in one way in that everybody towards the end does really stupid things. Like in horror movies, you know, they go into the dark in the middle of the night and the, the climb down the sewer and trip and fall. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. All right. Both of you were disappointed with the film, but was there anything you did like, I thought the acting was really strong and some of the directing was good. I just think that the horror that's in the film is the real world stuff and there's a great opening scene that's just terrifying. That deals with some gay bashing and that was scary, but nothing else in the film really was.
Speaker 2: 03:51 I did like the fact that the movie has some really good transitions as it goes from the younger characters to the older characters back and forth. That's done with a lot of craft. And I liked the fact that the movie has two very interesting cameos. One bio previous famous director and another by a famous writer. All right, there we go. Now the poster has the tagline. It is, will this be the last we see of pennywise? If this film makes money, it will not be the last we see of pennywise and he'll either come back and haunt some other town or uh, we'll get the origin story. Yeah. Yeah. So there won't be an entire generation scared of clowns as a result of this movie? I, I don't think so. No. Okay. All right. A very different film is Brittany runs a marathon. This is about a young woman who decides to change her life after a visit to the doctor. Let's take a listen to the trailer.
Speaker 4: 04:47 I had a friend, she was prescribed Adderall and now she's very alert. You know, some people abuse Adderall. Let's get you healthy. I want you to try losing 55 pounds.
Speaker 2: 05:01 Husky, you want me to pull a medium size working dog off of my body? That in the current social and political climate, how does a story about a person getting thinner and into shape play out? Well, it's a fun, upbeat story and the actress is very good. Jillian Bell, but at the same time we're in this period of extreme political correctness. So I feel like there's a bit of this tension between how do you tell a story about someone who's overweight, who decides to exercise and lose weight as a means of feeling better and looking better, but then not be criticized for not being accepting of kind of all body types. So I felt like instead of just telling her story, they kept making these stops to kind of say it is okay to have a few extra pounds and be happy and all that. So I feel like it's a little difficult to tell this story and and be able to just tell it kind of like they were trying to not body shame yet during this whole thing.
Speaker 2: 05:56 Exactly. And so they also check off a lot of other like politically correct boxes with making sure that they have some representation representation from people of color and different gender orientation and things like that. So Yazdi did you feel it was, it was just a self-empowerment film or was it more than that? I think it was more than that. The trailer would lead you to believe that it's about this woman who betters their life by running a marathon. And actually what I liked about the movies, it's so much more than that. It's really more about emotional growth as much as her physical betterment. And you know, she's a very closed off person. She doesn't let anybody else inside very easily. And I think the movie, especially in the latter half, spends a lot of time devoted to her emotionally taking accountability for her life. And it does, it doesn't happen instantaneously. It takes a long time to get there. Just like a marathon. And there you go. Now there's a scary thing running a marathon. All right, well this is September and time for most students to return to school. So to go out to, do you have any, uh, back to school films to recommend? Yes. I know people tend to go towards kind of cult comedies and films like that, but the one I go to is a very dark but hilarious film, which is election.
Speaker 5: 07:10 Who cares about this stupid election? We all know it doesn't matter who gets elected president of carver. Do you really think it's going to change anything around here? Make one single person smarter or happier or nicer.
Speaker 6: 07:29 Okay.
Speaker 5: 07:29 The only person it does matter too is the one who gets elected the same pathetic charade happens every year and everyone makes the same pathetic promises just so they can put it on their transcripts to get into college. So vote for me because I don't even want to go to college and I don't care. And as president I won't do anything. The only promise I will make is that if elected, I will immediately dismantle the student government so that none of us will ever have to sit through one of these stupid assemblies again, if you want to
Speaker 2: 08:05 saying something about high school social dynamics and even get a little insight into what might cause a school shooting, but also be able to laugh at some very acerbic humor election is the film for you. Okay. And Nice mix there I suppose. Yes. I am a huge, huge, huge fan of election. Uh, my s my pick is a movie called eighth grade, which came out last year. And I think it's different from most back to school kind of movies because usually back to school movies are comedies like the one from the eighties and Napoleon dynamite and all of those. Um, or they are, you know, true horror movies like Carrie was. And this particular movie looks at the actual horror of being an insecure teenager going to middle school. And the central character year is somebody who, who lacks a lot of self confidence and the movie looks at her with a lot of empathy in terms of how a person actually just going into middle school has to survive. It's a survival, you know, just getting through the days. So I really liked that film. Hey guys, it's Kayla back with another video.
Speaker 7: 09:08 So the topic of today's video is being yourself, being yourself can be hard. And it's like, aren't I always being myself? And Yeah, for sure. But being yourself is like not changing yourself to impress someone else.
Speaker 2: 09:23 I really like the fact that the movie treats her with a lot of empathy. And you can kind of realize, you know, how much we have forgotten about how horrifying high school was. Wow. Interesting. And I would recommend school days. Yes. Oh yeah, go. It's college though, but not high school. It's, you know, it's spike Lee too. There you go. You, you addressed social issues and even class issues, all of that in, in one movie, but a, a distinct choice for films that address all of those, some real problems in school. Thank you both. And we will be talking to you in October for the next mid day movie show.
Speaker 1: 10:04 [inaudible].