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Whistleblower Alleges Coverup, Issa Vs. Hunter, Marines Accussed Of Human Smuggling, SDPD Back Tracks On Rape-Kit Policy And The ABCs Of Bees

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Intelligence Chief Joseph Maguire testified before Congress over his handling of the whistleblower complaint at the heart of an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. A former federal prosecutor breaks down what it means. Four Republican candidates for the 50th congressional district dropped out today as former Congressman Darrell Issa officially announced his bid for embattled Rep. Ducan Hunter’s seat. Plus, 13 Marines have been charged with human smuggling but that’s not the first time military members have been targeted by smugglers. Also, a day after the D.A. criticized SDPD’s rape-kit policy, Chief David Nisleit pledges full testing of rape-kits. And, a wet rainy season brought a bounty of blooms and a bumper crop of bees.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Acting director of national intelligence. Joseph McGuire testified before Congress this morning as a witness in the formal impeachment inquiry. He tried to explain why he failed to bring a whistleblower complaint directly to Congress, but instead alerted the white house and department of justice to the complaint. A redacted version of that complaint was released to the public. Today. In addition to talking about president Trump's call to Ukraine's president, the whistleblower also alleges an attempted cover up by the white house to quote lockdown all information about the call. Joining me to review this morning's events in Washington is former San Diego federal prosecutor Chuck Labella. And Chuck, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. What are some of your biggest takeaways from this morning's testimony? By acting intelligence chief Maguire,

Speaker 2: 00:47 it raises more questions than answers and I think, um, this is not the end of this inquiry, whether it's, um, the, the, the, the house and the Senate that take up this inquiry or, um, the FBI revisits its decision and the DOJ revisits his decision not to, not to investigate this matter because there seems to be a lot of there, there.

Speaker 1: 01:08 No. A declassified part of the whistleblower complaint was released this morning. From what you've been able to see so far is the complaint in line with what we've learned about the phone call between president Trump and Ukraine's president.

Speaker 2: 01:21 Yeah, it very much is. But what's clearer and what screams from, from the complaint is that there are witnesses that have to be interviewed and there's evidence that has to be reviewed before you can reach a decision that yes or no, there was not a quid pro quo. So I think there's, it will, what it, what it shouts to me is that there's more work to be done. Maybe the FBI has done it, maybe the DOJ has done it, maybe they've interviewed all the witnesses, maybe they have reviewed. If there is in fact an audio tape. And I'd be shocked if there's not an audio tape of this, uh, this conversation. Maybe they've determined that there's nothing there, but I think the American people are gonna want to know those, those answers to those questions.

Speaker 1: 02:00 If an investigation like that had taken place, wouldn't Congress be privy to that?

Speaker 2: 02:05 It depends. If it involves national security and foreign foreign intelligence, it could have been briefed to the, uh, to the hell, but, um, it doesn't have to be

Speaker 1: 02:14 acting director McGuire. He was attempting to explain why he turned over a complaint about the president and with references to attorney general William Barr to the white house and the department of justice. Does the explanation that the conversation was with a foreign leader, does that make sense to you?

Speaker 2: 02:33 It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it gives him some cover because you know, there, there is classified information that could have been discussed and, and so in an excess of caution, you would probably take that first step.

Speaker 1: 02:44 Is that chain of events though unusual with a whistleblower complaint? Isn't it supposed to go directly to Congress?

Speaker 2: 02:51 It is. And, and, and the reason is because you don't want anybody in the government to interfere with something that potentially an armor branch of the government because they have a vested interest in it. So yeah, it's a, it's a, a, a potentially conflicting situation. You're putting the white house, uh, N DOJ in, but I could see him doing it, but I, I, I can't see the justification for not releasing it to Congress. At the same time. Now, Republican members of Congress, uh, pointed out this morning that the whistleblower's allegations are based on second hand information from other us officials. Do you think that undermines the whistleblowers credibility? No, I think it, it, it actually, as I said before, I think it shouts very loudly that an investigation with integrity has to be done and objective investigation has to be done to determine what the facts are because yes, it is secondhand.

Speaker 2: 03:45 And if you look at this manuscript, which is basically the handwritten notes of, of someone who was told about the, um, um, the conversation, there's enough there I think, uh, predication to, to commence an investigation. And once that's done, you've got to determine by talking to all the witnesses, including, you know, was there a conversation between the attorney general and, and, uh, Rudy Giuliani. Um, was there a conversation between the attorney general and the president about this? What was the substance of those conversations? Whether it's substances, substantive conversations in the department of justice about this, what happened. So all those questions need to be answered. And I don't think any of this answers those questions. It just, it's provocative, but we don't have any answers yet. And you are, however, talking about a criminal investigation press into this, what would it be? The underlying crime that would be investigated?

Speaker 2: 04:37 Well it would be a quid pro quo. It would potential conflict of interest and there potentially mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery statutes, that all could be implicated. You just don't know until you get dig down into the facts. But it certainly is on it's face provocative. It has been reported that the department of justice has passed on any criminal investigation into this matter. But if you were investigating this matter for either Congress or the DOJ, what would you want to look into next? I'd want to look to, um, the interview all the witnesses who were there present for the conversation. I'd want to determine if there is a audio transcript or is an audio tape of the conversation so I could listen to it myself. And, and, and that, I think any prosecutor would want to do that. Then you'd want to interview the, the percipient witnesses, the people who were actually in the room at the time.

Speaker 2: 05:25 What is their recollection and what's the context of the call? And then you've got to chase the military aid because what we know from it's been reported in the press that the aide was halted. I mean, it was, you know, stopped for, for, for a period of time before the call, and then at some time after the call it was released. But I'd like to know the conversations that surrounded why the military aid was halted. Was there a legitimate reason for it, or was it just out of nowhere? And again, I, you know, I've worked with the department of justice for 20 years, and I've worked with the FBI. I'd be shocked and amazed if they closed an investigation without driving that to ground. I've been speaking with former San Diego federal prosecutor check Labella Chuck. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 06:12 Uh.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The race for the 50th congressional district seat got a lot more interesting today when former representative Darryl ISAT threw his hat in the ring at the district, which encompasses much of Eastern San Diego County and part of Southern Riverside County is currently represented by indicted Congressman Duncan. Hunter Hunter is facing a trial next year on a variety of corruption charges surrounding the misuse of campaign funds here to talk about all of it is political science professor at LA Mesa college. Carl Luna. Carl, welcome. Good to be here. So let's begin by listening to some sound from ISIS news conference this morning.

Speaker 2: 00:35 The 50th congressional district does deserve to have the ability to retain this as a conservative district and quite frankly, to have a member who can show up and take all of his committee assignments. Yet

Speaker 1: 00:47 now that SA has thrown his hat in, how does that change the race in the 50th congressional district?

Speaker 3: 00:53 Well, Jay, it adds another dimension to the movement by the establishment and the party that made me move away from Dunkin Hunter. The way you introduced him and indicted Congressman, that's never good. So the fear of the party's threefold. One Hunter becomes the nominee, he goes to the election and he loses because he's indicted. Possibly just as bad though for party establishment figures. Carl de Mio, the populists, former San Diego council member who's been trying to be a big name in the state, moves on and becomes the, the, the nominee, uh, or you divide the race up. So much company czar, the Democrat actually may have a chance of winning this. So ISIS opposed to solidify the support and be the good, safe alternative.

Speaker 1: 01:32 And you mentioned de Mio, former San Diego city councilmen and radio show hosts there. Carl de Mio had already announced his candidacy for the 50th, uh, today. He held the news conference a few feet away from ISIS news conference and he went directly after ISO. Let's listen to that now.

Speaker 4: 01:49 This is a politician who epitomizes what is wrong with career politicians. He spent 20 years in DC, he neglected his constituents, and then he lost the support of his district and he failed to put up a fight.

Speaker 1: 02:06 Uh, so how much trouble do you think [inaudible] candidacy poses for Eissa?

Speaker 3: 02:11 Well before it was how much trouble did it pose for Hunter? And now icy came in and like we said, basically to give you an alternative to the, to a, I think it's substantially a problem for Carl de Maya. You'll see his problem and it reminds me of the old musical 1776 where Benjamin Franklin sings to John Adams. You're obnoxious and disliked. That cannot be denied. That's how a lot of people in the party tend to feel about Carl DeMaio. Don't forget, he's the guy. Nice, gentle Jerry Sanders dropped an F bomb on once because he's so annoyed him. So a lot of people in the party would just assume, put ice back in, even though he'd bailed on his old seat because he thought it was going to lose. He's got the money, he's got the resources, and he can maybe keep this safe until you get somebody who can now continue the dynasty into the 21st century.

Speaker 1: 02:54 So let me ask this, good. Eissa in de Mio ended up splitting the Republican vote.

Speaker 3: 02:58 Oh, they're going to split the Republican

Speaker 1: 03:00 vote. And don't forget you've got Mr. Jones running. You've got that not alone. So the campaign is Yarra, could well come out in the primary as the front vote getter and then have Republicans are mad enough about things and turn out in droves. Then the Republicans win, but they can be so disgruntled. Uh, those who didn't see their guy get across the line, stay home and suddenly the Democrats have purple ISED East County. And you mentioned Brian Jones who announced on Wednesday that he's running for the 50th as well. And that brings the number of Republicans running against Hunter to five. Uh, who do you think will get the party's endorsement?

Speaker 3: 03:32 Well, you've seen several people who are running pull out of the race to Nell support Darrell ice up. It's going to be Eissa who gets the endorsement. He's got the, the, the gravitas within the party. It will definitely not be DeMaio. Uh, Mr. Jones, he ran against Duncan Hunter once in that district when he was back at San T before he went to the state and he lost like 70 to 13, 14%. So I don't see him really having the base to rival. And I saw even a DeMaio who brings his listeners and a lot of money to the campaign.

Speaker 1: 04:01 And I know that Hunter has that word and dieted before his name, but you know, even though a Hunter has been indicted D do you think he's still a viable candidate in the 50th

Speaker 3: 04:11 well, that's becomes the interesting dynamics here because he is still a Hunter and he's got the East County based behind him. He'll have his Roy loyalists still stay with him. And you could see the party being split three ways between the establishment, ISO, the a hundred loyalists and the populists to Mio. And if they can't put it back together after the primary, well, you know there's a major upset that could be in the making

Speaker 1: 04:32 and Hunter's 2018 democratic challenger, Amar Campanas Yara lost by less than four percentage points last time around. Is there concern for Republicans that this seat could go blue this time?

Speaker 3: 04:42 Well that's why'd Wister Eissa popped into it? He got to think that the fellow is rich. He doesn't have to work for a living. He walked out of of of politics when his party was in the majority and he had made sure committee assignments. If he goes back, yeah they'll give them back to the seniority. He can be on committees, but he's going to be a minority, a party member with very little input to the way things are going or particularly the impeachment process sucking all the air out of the room. I think he's taking one for the team.

Speaker 1: 05:09 Should demographic shifts among voters in the 50th concern, the Republican party at all.

Speaker 3: 05:13 Oh statewide. That Republican party has to worry about this. The even East County is becoming a little bit more purple. You're seeing the County at large starting to move toward a democratic independent majority cities. San Diego is is blue and you can't rely on that older vote cause older votes disappear from the scene and the younger voters coming in and the area is more dynamic. It's more demographically diverse. Lots of different communities that aren't going to vote the old traditional way they've done since the fifties sixties and seventies

Speaker 1: 05:41 and I know during a Hunter's last campaign you said the 50th won't flip. Do you still feel that way?

Speaker 3: 05:47 Oh, now this time, I mean again, indited, Congressman and we are living in strange times anyway. Look everything from the local to the national to the international, uh, I can see an age of stranger things. This could possibly occur. How do you think this trial will impact, uh, this, this race? Well, some speculate, and I think this may be part of it. The reason Dunkin Hunter has staying in his, he needs leverage. Should this go to a trial? The other trial comes up in January. If it starts moving badly for him, he can try to make a deal. I will give up my seat without any difficulty. I get some break in whatever's coming down. He might still be hoping that since he was an early endorser of president Trump, the president will come in with a wild card. Pardon? At some point. But president Trump a, has his own problems, and B, he's kind of fickle when it comes to helping his friends.

Speaker 3: 06:35 So, uh, I think he will hold onto it until he can't. And then he will either lose in the primary or it'll be forced out by the members of the house voting to basically expel him. I hear people saying that the 50th congressional district is one of the more exciting races in the entire country right now. Yeah. That's one of those things about the Congress that 435 seats in any given time, 20 to 40 might be really in play. A lot of those flipped in 2018 so you don't anticipate a huge shift this time around in 2020 so when you look at it, you've got all the drama, you've got crime, you've got sex because of what sort of some of the money was spent on. You've got political drama. Let me, this is our local game of Thrones and generally in a slow news cycle, this would be the headlines today across the nation. Now it's a page seven presidents being impeached story. I've been speaking as a Carl Luna political science professor at LA Mesa college. Carl, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Four years. The San Diego police department has opposed the national movement to test all rape kits saying the practice was misguided. But this year a voice of San Diego investigation revealed the city's crime lab moved forward to analyze dozens of rape kits, but they did it using a less rigorous procedure to quote check a box. Now the district attorney is speaking out against that policy, all of this from Andrew Keats and assistant editor and senior investigative reporter with voice of San Diego. Andrew, thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. I'm since your report, the city has changed its policy on how they test rape kits. How was the department previously testing kits and how would they be tested moving forward? Sure. So starting in at the beginning of 2018, the city came up with the policy that they would test six swabs from every kit. That was their broad plan moving forward for new kits as well as testing the backlog of old kits.

Speaker 1: 00:58 After doing so, they, in March of this year, uh, instituted a less rigorous policies for dozens of very specific kits, kits that the suspect had already had. An arrest warrant issued for them or that the district attorney had declined to prosecute and for those kits specifically few dozen kits. They tested only one swab and it's in those kits that crime lab employees told me that they were instructed that they were doing so only to check a box and registered that the kits were tested. That policy had been canceled in August a day after I first approached SDPD about the policy with the document demonstrating that I was aware it was in place. The announcement yesterday by police chief and a slight was that they were never going to do that again. All kids going forward would get the six swab testing, the full testing and that specifically the 1700 remaining untested kits that were still in the backlog in their possession that they had been trying to go through.

Speaker 1: 02:03 They had created this working group with representatives from the DA's office, the crime lab and sex crimes investigators, a and a victims advocate and they had been going category by category of these kits selecting which ones would be tested. Sort of prioritizing them. They have now decided that that practice is going to be over and they were going to send all 1700 of their kids to private labs for testing from them, which is a practice that had already been adopted by the district attorney's office along with the Sheriff's and the 11 other police departments in the County except for SDPD. There were 40 kids tested using the, the one swab methods, uh, that, that previous procedure, the department told you the kids were part of a, of a cases in which the da declined to prosecutor, which an arrest warrant had already been issued. What is the argument for testing all six swabs in such?

Speaker 1: 02:59 Well, their argument is that you might find DNA for them. Um, so you do not necessarily have a DNA sample from the [inaudible] just because you know, the suspect does not mean that you necessarily have a DNA sample for them. And specifically if it de da declines to prosecute a, then you've sort of that, that's become the end of the line there. And so it circles back to the, the fundamental argument that was in place at the beginning, which SDPD had always made, which was different than what other departments around the country had been saying. So SDPD his argument has been that there is no value in testing kits if you know who the suspect is a, their point being, the point of testing a kit is to find a DNA sample and therefore find out who a suspect may be. And if we already know who the suspect is, then there is no point to test the kit.

Speaker 1: 03:50 That sounds logical enough on its face, I think. Uh, and there was a time when they weren't alone, but as this movement has developed across the country, uh, they've basically lost that argument. They've lost that argument at the state level where laws have been passed, mandating testing. They lost that argument at the city council level where the money was budgeted to make sure all kids could be tested. And they lost that argument at the national level where the department of justice instituted guidelines instructing all law enforcement agencies to test all kits. The reason is you don't know what else that person may have done previously or what they may do in the future. And if you can get a DNA sample from them by testing the kid, then you can put it into the federal database tracking a rape suspects that have come up in other kids.

Speaker 1: 04:40 So that might connect this case to previous cases. So Ida may have declined to prosecute based on the particulars of one case, but if it connects backwards to two, three, four cases, you may have found a serial rapist. And in cases that we know these people to be raping somebody that they know it. Maybe it's a domestic violence case, maybe it's a date rape case. It is not far fledged to think that maybe this is a pattern of behavior, that these are there. There are serial rapists who are behaving in the same way over and over in different jurisdictions and then therefore getting away with it. And likewise, law enforcement wants to build this database to be as robust as possible so that in the future, maybe there is a stranger case, maybe you have a rape where you don't have a known suspect, but you do have a rape kit from that stranger case.

Speaker 1: 05:29 Well now if you test it, maybe it pings back to this known suspect that was from this previous case. So that is why across the country law enforcement agencies have gotten on board with the idea that you simply test every kit without exercising any discretion, without trying to differentiate and come up with ways to prioritize them. And SDPD has dragged its feet on that end of things. And I think this one, swab testing was a Relic of that old belief that they have stated on the record numerous times. Both crime lab director, uh, Jennifer Shen and former police chief Shelley Zimmerman saying this is a waste of time. I, I think the connection between those statements and the statements from crime lab employees I spoke with who told me that they were instructed to do this, to check a box. That's the connective tissue between those two things.

Speaker 1: 06:20 Now, what is district attorney summer Stephan sang about this less rigorous protocol? Yeah, so I talked to the district attorney summer Stephan, or I should say that a voice of San Diego did. She was a guest on our podcast. And during that she said two things. One was that her office was never made aware of this policy change, and that is contradictory of what was told to me by an SDPD spokesperson who said that the one swab testing had been run by her office. She says simply that is untrue. Not only did she not approve of it, she didn't even know about it. Uh, so that's one. She also says that it's wrong and it never should have happened. And moreover, she, she kind of even more broadly than that, rebuked the entire SDPD PD approach to testing kits. So when SDPD didn't test one of these kits, they put it in one of 18 different buckets describing why it wasn't tested, why it was in this untested backlog.

Speaker 1: 07:21 One of those buckets was district attorney declined to prosecute. And so this sort of working group that they had put together with different representatives from different law enforcement agencies, what they were doing was going through each of those buckets and saying, okay, now let's look at this bucket. Which kits should we test? Now let's look at this bucket. Which kits should we test? Summer Stephan told me that entire idea is wrong on its face and that she disagreed with it from the beginning and that she was conflicted, but ultimately decided to put one of her staff members in the working group because they figured it was better to be at the table advocating for all kids to be tested than to be removed from the process entirely just because they disagreed with it. But she said at the time that she had hoped that SDPD would decide to abandon that working group process that they had embarked upon and instead join up with the Sheriff's department and the other 11 police departments in the County to send every kit indiscriminantly to a private lab to be tested on Tuesday.

Speaker 1: 08:21 That story published with a summer Stephen's comments on Wednesday, chief nights sled and announced that he'd be doing just that. But there was someone from her office in that working group, there was somebody in the working group, and this is so this is what she said. She went into some detail with this on this with us. She said there was somebody in the working group, but the working groups practice was going through the kits category by category, deciding which ones to test. She says they were not making technical scientific decisions about how to test the kits and that she had simply presumed. Of course, once we decide to test a kit, we'll give it a full and rigorous testing that we give every kid. And she said that that working group would not have been asked those sorts of very technical questions in the first place and more of our says they were not asked. So again, one of those two statements is the truth, but they're completely contradictory. I have been speaking with Andrew Kate's assistant editor and senior investigative reporter with voice of San Diego. Andrew, thank you so much. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 I don't know what kind of a year it's been for you, but it's been a pretty good year for bees in San Diego. The winter and spring rains brought a bounty of blooms around the County and that led to a bumper crop of bees and it's about time. Nature brought bees a little good luck. They've been dealing with declining populations and mysterious hive collapses for years. Even so despite what they've been through, many people still think of bees as well. Bugs Johnny me is a San Diego woman who's using her bee expertise to enlighten the world about these remarkable creatures. Hilary Kearney is the founder of girl next door, honey and educational beekeeping business in San Diego. She's just out with two new books, the little book of bees and illustrated guide to the extraordinary lives of bees and queen spotting. Meet the remarkable queen bee and discover the drama at the heart of the hive.

Speaker 1: 00:56 And Hilary, welcome back to the show. Thanks for having me. Did the weather conditions this year really make it good, a good B season? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. It's huge. You get, you know when you're keeping these, you get way more honey on a year at when there, when there's rain and the bees are a lot healthier. Is San Diego's bee population bouncing back? You know, it's not really about the populations being low. It's about their death rates. So losing 40% of the highs every year. So at any given point we might have a high or low population but it doesn't change the fact that there are these things happening to the bees that are weakening them and making them vulnerable to collapse. So that hasn't changed. But you know, obviously when we have good nutrition that makes a big difference for their health and you know, temporarily at least if we can keep having good rain than it, it will be good for the bees.

Speaker 1: 01:44 Now we spoke several years ago about your business girl next door honey and about the proper way to deal with bees. How did your business inspire you to write these two new books? Well, one of the cool things about my businesses that I get to meet a lot of people in the community because I'm going out and I'm interacting and doing bee removals. I'm doing community talks, I'm visiting classrooms. And so I get to see firsthand, you know, people's fears and anxieties and misunderstandings about bees. And so I really took that and put that into the book to try to alleviate some of that and to try to, I saw that people, when they learned about bees and how fascinating they are, a lot of those anxieties went away. A lot of that fear went away and it actually changed to Revere really an excitement. So sometimes I think of it as like, I'm rebranding bees.

Speaker 1: 02:30 So I, I tried to make it look interesting and pretty and be accessible and easy to read. And so I took all that and put that into the books. Let's talk first about Queens spotting. There's a bit of a where's Waldo concept to tell us about that. Yeah. So on my social media, I had started playing this game, which I called queen spotting where it basically it put them in an image of a lot of bees and you have to try and find the queen bee who looks slightly different. So it's kinda like playing where's Waldo. But with bees, and I had the idea of turning this into a book because I could use this as a kind of segue into teaching people more about B. So the game kind of gets you interested if people really love it. A lot of non beekeepers really love playing the game and it brings a fun element for kids too.

Speaker 1: 03:13 So it's something that parents can do with their kids. You know, every night before they go to sleep they do a queen spotting challenge. They read a little bit about the book and they learn about the fascinating lives of bees. So yeah, it was just kind of like a hook I guess. But it's also, it is really fun and it's useful if you're a beekeeper because you do have to be able to find the queen. And building that skill by practicing in the book is really helping people find their Queens in real life. Why do you have to find the queen if you're a beekeeper? Well sometimes you just want to show off, but also because sometimes we do something called re queening where we have to replace the queen that's in the hive. And this is really especially true of San Diego because we have the Africanized bees here.

Speaker 1: 03:51 So what can happen is your colony can turn a little defensive and you have to replace the queen in order to change them docile again. So you have to be able to find her to replace her. The common assumption about the queen bee is that she rules the hive. What she says goes is that really the way it works? Not really. Um, the colony is a super organism. So even though there are these individual bees in there, they're kind of living as one big collective animal. And that's also how they make decisions. So the Queen's not ordering the other bees around. She's, she's helping to organize the colony with sense and, and pheromones really. And they're kind of making these collective decisions together and is a true, there can be only one queen. Um, no, there are actually circumstances when there can be more than one.

Speaker 1: 04:39 But the common thing that people say is that there's only one. But I write about this in the book. There's some really fascinating times when you might end up with more than one queen in the hive, especially when they make a new queen. Um, they'll make multiple Queens in those Queens will battle to the death. Um, so, um, there's certain situations where you'll end up with more than one queen in the high, but typically just one. Hillary, can you read us the dedication to the second book we're talking about here? The little book of BS? Sure. Yeah. This book is dedicated to anyone who has rescued a B from their pool given sugar water. Two attired be planted flowers in their garden or told a friend not to SWAT. Thanks for caring. I hope this book inspires you to do even more for our be friends.

Speaker 1: 05:24 I think that dedication is really remarkably sweet. I, but I'm wondering, what do you find that there is to admire and care for about bees? Well, they're just really important to our ecosystem because they are pollinating. And that essentially means that they're helping plants to reproduce. And for us, it also means that they're playing a role in our agriculture. Someone who we're growing food. The food has to be pollinated first. So an Apple starts out as a flower. It has to be pollinated before it turns into an Apple. But other than that, they're just very cute. I think they're fuzzy. They have these beautiful eyes, especially some of the native species have these gorgeous marble, the eyes that are bright blue or green. We're lucky enough to have a species here called a metallic green sweat bee that is this beautiful metallic green. Um, if you want to see those in your garden, you can plant sunflowers or cosmos.

Speaker 1: 06:18 And so, yeah, I think they're beautiful. And I also think they have some fascinating behaviors, especially the social bees. Like honeybees and bumblebees, just the way they live is so incredible. Speaking about the way bees look, you have some beautiful illustrations in the little book of bees. How did they come about? Um, we got to work with this really talented illustrator named Amy holiday who's in the UK and she does watercolor. And so it was really fun making the book for me because I was, um, I got to work directly with her and kind of tell her exactly what I wanted her to do. So I was sending her reference images and telling her, you know, I want, I want this color B and I want this one. And um, so it was really fun working with her and seeing, you know, these incredible, um, illustrations come out.

Speaker 1: 07:02 And I actually have an art background. I studied art at UC Santa Cruz, but I have a hard time illustrating these because I want to make them so technically accurate and then the cuteness just doesn't come through all the time. But she was able to really capture that. And my favorite thing is she illustrated actually some pupa, um, which is developing bees. And they kind of look like aliens. Like they're a little creepy looking, but somehow she made them look cute. So even the pupa look cute. Are your two books geared towards kids? I think so. I mean we didn't officially gear them towards kids. The writing is not at kid level, but to me I wanted to make them something that kids could read, um, with parents present, you know, and, and that something they could do together and the illustrations in the little book of bees and the game element and queen spotting was meant to be inviting to both kids and parents.

Speaker 1: 07:54 But definitely older kids can read it. What can people do to help be survive? Okay. So there's a couple of things that you can do at home that are really simple. The first thing is to plant for them. So planting flowers, sunflowers, anything in the sunflower family is an easy to grow flower, especially in San Diego. We can grow this kind of things all year. But also planting trees. A lot of people don't realize that trees are one of the biggest providers of nectar and pollen for bees. And they also help combat climate change, which is another problem that bees are facing. So planting a tree, even if you don't have space to do it, if you're an apartment or something like that, there's some wonderful programs in San Diego that plant trees. Um, so you can volunteer with groups. Um, you can do citizen science work, um, you know, volunteering with different or conservation organizations, but in your own yard, just really planting and not using pesticides is the two best things that you could do. Hillary Kearney of girl next door, honey, we'll be speaking about her two new books, the little book of bees and queen spotting tonight at catapult books in South park. Hillary, thanks so much. Thanks for having me.

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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.