Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

COVID-19 Invisible Victims: Homeless And Hungry, MTS’s Public Transit Expansion Plan Hits Pandemic Skid, Global Hunt For Antibodies To Coronavirus, California-vs-Trump Politics Softens During Crisis And TCM Film Festival Home Edition Preview

 April 13, 2020 at 11:19 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 The makeshift system to feed the homeless is disrupted by COBIT 19 and big decisions await transit officials amid mid the pandemic. I'm Mark Sauer along with Alison st John. This is KPBS mid day edition. Today is Monday, April 13th. Governor Newsome were present details tomorrow on a plan to ease the strict stay at home order amid the Corona virus pandemic. Speaker 2: 00:33 Uh, we will be driven by facts, will be driven by evidence, will be driven by science, will be driven by our hub public health advisors, uh, and will be driven by the collaborative spirit, uh, that defines the best of us at this incredibly important moment. Speaker 1: 00:50 In addition to announcing the forthcoming plan for California Newsome stress cooperation at his daily press conference, he also said he is greatly encouraged by the spirit of collaboration and cooperation with the governors of Oregon and Washington regarding easing stay at home restrictions across the whole region. The governor also said some $43 million has been allocated by the legislature to bolster County programs from foster care and family support to telemedicine and other aspects of health and human services. Our top story on mid day edition, the approach to feeding the homeless gathered in downtown San Diego's East village and other places in the County was for years haphazard at best, but with the state ordered lockdown and mid the Corona virus pandemic. Most efforts to feed societies least fortunate have all been shutdown. Joining me is Lisa Halverstadt, a voice of San Diego reporter who covers the homeless beat throughout San Diego County. Lisa, welcome to midday. Speaker 3: 01:48 Thanks for having me. Speaker 1: 01:49 We'll start by describing how these drive by makeshift setups to provide meals to the homeless. As you described them in your story, how did they work? Pre pandemic? Speaker 3: 01:58 Well, I like to describe this as almost like an underground network that was in place before that basically shut down overnight. So you had an array of groups that would help feed homeless people living on the streets. Everything from the restaurant owner who may be at the end of the night had some extra food and we'd give it to people living in his or her neighborhood. Um, or who may be quietly just said, you know, no charge for the bagel and coffee. Um, you also had a number of groups that would do organized feedings downtown where they would be handing out burritos and sandwiches on a regular basis. Um, and then just a lot of just ad hoc individuals who might see somebody panhandling or standing outside of a store who might just, you know, stop by McDonald's, go through the drive through and then hand that person some food. So this was really a pretty disorganized effort. But what I've learned is just how significant this was. Speaker 1: 02:53 And what's the situation on the streets right now? You report the few services remaining are really swamped him. Speaker 3: 02:58 Yeah, as I said, Speaker 1: 03:00 a lot of these feeding operations and even just individual do gunners just sort of halted overnight as restaurants were shut down and people were ordered to stay at home. And so the groups that have stepped up to try to help have just been inundated. So the best example is there is a, an organization, a Duaria consciousness foundation that saw that there were a lot of people who were going hungry and a lot of other operations that shut down. And so they set up this bright orange trailer downtown at 16th and Imperial, um, and started doing this every weekday. And what they found is they were serving about 400 people a day within a week and a half of starting this in mid-March and they're serving vegan burritos. So there was just a great demand. And there have been some other groups too who just shared with me that, you know, the lines are just incredibly long. They have never seen so much interest in, in food as they're seeing now just because of all of the other things that have shut down. And what are the homeless people saying about the situation, the folks you've interviewed since the pandemic struck? Speaker 3: 04:07 It's really just so much harder for homeless people to have their basic needs met. There was one conversation that I think honestly will stick with me for the rest of my life. I met a man named Brian leaving the bat ball park area, um, last Monday and he told me that sometimes he and his friends who typically stay near the San Diego river area are sometimes going days without eating now. And really, you know, he expressed to me that he even thinks he's lost some weight in the past few weeks just because it's been so hard to get food. And he said his friends were just crying and exhausted out of hunger. Others I've talked to have said, you know that a lot of people had counted on the sort of ad hoc efforts before and so people are struggling. And in the foundation that I mentioned also that had had put together this food truck, they said that they are hearing similar stories to what I'm hearing, that people are coming up to the food truck and sometimes asking for a couple burritos because they're saying that they hadn't had anything to eat for a few days. Speaker 1: 05:13 Now the city opened a temporary shelter at the convention center. Father Joe's continues to have its meal service downtown, aren't they able to fill some of this void left by the popup feeding operations? Speaker 3: 05:24 What I would just emphasize is that this disorganized network that existed before was really doing more than anyone realized and it was doing a lot of work in a very distributed sense. So you might have, I'm a restaurant owner in mission Valley helping someone out, um, with just a quick meal. Um, you might have folks even in, you know, more far-flung areas like Claremont who might see that there are a handful of, of homeless individuals that are, you know, hanging out in the park and are giving them food. That sort of stuff isn't happening. And so even as the city is opening up the convention center, um, and father Joe's and other groups are rallying to continue to provide services, this is a real loss that's having very real impacts on people. And one thing I would add too is that it's now even harder than usual to get into shelters. One gentleman had told me last week that he has been trying for three weeks to get into a shelter. Even as a lot of the existing shelter clients are being moved into the convention center and shelters are trying to practice social distancing. It's just really hard for people to access shelter who want it right now. Speaker 1: 06:37 As you mentioned, many of the homeless who were sheltered at one of the city's bridge shelters were moved to the convention center. Do we know when they'll start accepting people off the streets into the shelters? Speaker 3: 06:47 It's not clear yet. Um, I was trying to get an update even just before I hopped on this call with you today. What they have said, um, the city has said is that initially they need to move all of these folks from various bridge shelters and other shelters, um, that the city funds into the convention center and then assess the capacity for unsheltered individuals. There may be an update on that as soon as this week. Speaker 1: 07:11 Okay. And food banks aren't able to meet the need because they don't provide prepared food. What did they say they need to do in order to be part of the solution? Speaker 3: 07:20 So both major food banks, the San Diego food bank and feeding San Diego told me that they would be willing to step up, but they would need to adjust their offerings a bit as you said. But what both really emphasized to me is that the key is they would need to partner with homeless service providers who have expertise on how to get that food out and who needs that food Speaker 1: 07:40 and how are churches and nonprofits and just well, meeting individuals trying to patch together a system to keep getting meals to homeless people. Many services are trying to ramp up efforts to reach the homeless where they are, right? Speaker 3: 07:52 Yes. So, uh, for example, voices of our city choir and the living water church of the Nazarene, uh, and East village have teamed up to try to provide, um, more frequent food distributions. And I know up in North County, some advocates are taking packaged meals from the O side kitchen collaborative to unsheltered people in the area. Um, and that kitchen is trained up at services. And I would imagine that this sort of thing is happening around the region as people become aware, but so much more help is needed and it's really difficult. Um, right now, even for people who want to help, you know, they acknowledge it's actually more difficult than ever to find some of the people in need because as parks shut down, which you know, had often been a commonplace for a homeless individual to sleep or stay during the day, it's actually harder to find those individuals in need as well, even as their need grows. Speaker 1: 08:42 You interviewed a senior director at the San Diego hunger coalition. What's her idea about the homeless, uh, how they can get food quicker and more directly. Speaker 3: 08:50 She really emphasized that homeless San Diegans who do not now have food stamps should try to seek them out. And she noted that the application process has been streamlined a bit now and the County family resource centers are actually taking applications outside. Um, so even an individual that doesn't have a cell phone could potentially go to one of these locations. Those who do have cell phones can call two, one, one to try to get signed up. Speaker 4: 09:17 All right, well we'll be looking for followup stories on this. It's a critical need in our community. I've been speaking with voice of San Diego reporter Lisa Halverstadt. Thanks Lisa. Thank you for having me. Speaker 5: 09:30 [inaudible] Speaker 6: 09:33 those of us who use public transit will need to check schedules carefully this week. The metropolitan transit district has cut back on weekday Boston trolley service as of today, but the COBIT 19 pandemic is not only threatening current service, multibillion-dollar future plans to expand public transit and are hanging in the balance. Joining us as Joshua Emerson Smith who covers the environment and transportation for the San Diego union Tribune. Joshua, thanks for being with us. Good to be here. So now MTS has decided to cut bus and Charlie services this week by how much? Speaker 4: 10:05 Uh, roughly 25%. Uh, the service cuts will mostly be focused on bus service, so routes will continue to operate. All routes will continue to operate, but many of them will see reduced frequency as well as on the blue line trolley, which was the frequency was recently bumped up to, uh, to come every seven and a half minutes. And now that's going to go back to 15. Speaker 6: 10:33 Why did they do this? Was it lack of riders or shortage of staff? Speaker 4: 10:37 You know, I think they did this because a lot of transit agencies around the country have seen their bus and train operators get sick and MTS was very concerned that they could have a wave of illnesses among their transit operators. Speaker 6: 10:56 Yes, New York transit workers were so heavily affected and many have died as a result of not having enough gear early on. Is there any evidence this has been a particularly dangerous job in San Diego so far? Speaker 4: 11:07 Not particularly dangerous. Although when they announced the service cuts last week, they also announced that they had their first driver test positive for Corona virus. But yeah, NCTV took a, a SIM, similar precautions by basically eliminating coaster service on the weekends and then dramatically cutting service during the week. Although we should say the sprinter is still operating. Apparently that was for very similar reasons. Trying to protect the staff and just reduce the, you know, the potential exposure that these drivers have cause it's a dangerous job. Right. Like at this point, uh, with the pandemic, they're coming in contact with a lot of members of the public and this is an essential service for a lot of people, right? They rely on it. A lot of people don't have cars. And so if we had a situation where all of the bus and train and trolley drivers got sick, then that could be, that could be really bad for the region as a whole. Speaker 6: 12:01 Apparently ridership had plummeted in the last couple of weeks, but before the coronavirus outbreak, wasn't transit ridership actually going up? Speaker 4: 12:08 Yes. Yeah. And MTS was, uh, very, uh, optimistic about their future. They had seen ridership increase after, uh, years of declining ridership, which we should say has infected affected transit riders, uh, all across the nation. Right. But then recently MTS had posted some gains in ridership and we're very excited about that. Obviously this turns back the clock on that pretty dramatically. Speaker 6: 12:37 Well, let's talk about the future here. MTS is meeting later this week. I understand to decide whether to go ahead on a long planned half cent sales tax initiative that was planned for this November. And this was considered crucial to keep sending and moving in the future. Might this be derailed? Speaker 4: 12:55 I would be pretty surprised if it went forward at this point to be honest. Um, they're are going to have to decide whether or not to go forward and put a half cent sales tax on the November ballot. This is the, the tax proposal that they've been working on for roughly a year now. It includes all kinds of upgrades including a trolley extension to the airport, even a like a sky tram between Sorento Valley and university city. So lots of stuff that they've been planning and designing for months on end. Now all of that could be put on hold and definitely specifically because this was considered a key window for MTS to kind of pounce on this with the presidential election. A turnout was expected to be high and uh, generally that's considered a time when these types of agencies go from massive increases in revenue like this. Speaker 6: 13:53 But it was already iffy, right? I mean, we saw the tax for the convention center expansion narrowly miss, it's two thirds objective last November. Speaker 4: 14:01 You know, that's a really good point. Yeah. You know, that's a really good point. Like the MTS polling had showed that it really was just right on the line of having the required two thirds voter support. So even before all of this, it wasn't clear whether it was going to pass or not. And now there's concern that there might be, um, skepticism about riding public transit with the pandemic being what it is, but also the elected officials that are on the MTS board and all of the staff members at the transit agency, but just don't really have the time to be working on a major initiative like this. They're just scrambling to keep everything running, you know, as best as possible. Speaker 6: 14:47 Congress passed this enormous stimulus bill in response to the outbreak. Will transit agencies get any money from that? Speaker 4: 14:54 Absolutely. I mean, that is a kind of a big lifesaver for MTS and NCT. D the region totally gets more than $300 million. The region totally gets about $325 million in the stimulus package. So that will go a fair distance towards keeping their budgets from just totally imploding, but for how long? Right? Like that's what we don't know. Speaker 6: 15:23 And in fact, in terms of the current sales tax that is already being used to expand public transit, could that be decimated by this economic downturn? Speaker 4: 15:33 Yeah, it's just one piece of bad news after the next, I mean, so right now they're dealing with declining ridership, which means declining revenue from fairs. We have to remember that, uh, the metropolitan transit system here in San Diego relies on fair revenue for nearly 40% of its budget. That's pretty high for a transit ridership of its size. So they're taking a huge hit there. But then on top of that, the other piece of public funding for this is the Transnet sales tax, which is also, uh, now headed for steep declines in coming months. So they could get hit twice here as well as local governments. Right. Like the local governments are going to be dealing with the same thing. Well. Joshua, thank you so much for your perspective and your reporting. Absolutely. You're welcome. Pleasure to be here. Speaker 6: 16:21 That's Joshua Emerson Smith who covers the environment and transportation for the San Diego union Tribune. Speaker 1: 16:27 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Mark Sauer along with Alison st John. There's a new international effort to find a Corona virus treatment and it's headquartered in San Diego. Researchers at LA Jolla Institute for immunology are leading a global hunt for antibodies. KPBS health reporter Taryn mento finds out how it will all work. Speaker 7: 16:48 First things first, what are antibodies? The LA Jolla institutes, Erika Oleman Sapphire explains they're your own personal defense system. I reached her over zoom, so they are what your own immune system makes to attack a foreign invader like a virus and destroy it and to signal the rest of your immune system that there's a threat there. So neutral. She's leading the newly launched Corona virus immunotherapy consortium or Kovac to find the best antibodies to create a treatment. She's done it before and response to the Ebola outbreak. This effort is funded by the bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The goal of the collaboration is to sift through antibodies created in labs, but mostly those produced by humans who have survived the virus. Speaker 8: 17:31 How are we actually going to be able to take antibodies from humans who have beaten the virus and use that to study how we can manufacture it for widespread distribution? Speaker 7: 17:45 What we're going to do is receive those samples and do what's called blinding meeting. Everything gets given Speaker 8: 17:50 a code name to make it very fair instead of the antibodies real name, but they're all going to be called Kobek one two three 548 then we're going to send identical box sets of the world's array of antibodies out to different participating analysis labs. Each of them are using a different kind of technique. Speaker 7: 18:07 Some may examine how antibodies attached to the virus while others look at how they deactivate it. Sapphire says the Institute will assess results from dozens of partners, but so far they've only publicly announced Duke university and companies in the Bay area and Canada. The Institute will then pick the best antibody therapy and recommend it to funders like the world health organization or the Gates foundation. It sounds simple, but the LA Jolla institutes, Shane Crotty says it is an easy word. Speaker 9: 18:34 How do you figure out the best antibody which, which ones are uh, are the best and a really good antibody is a thousand times better than an okay antibody. Okay. There there's, there's enormous range of functionalities. Speaker 7: 18:50 Even when they do find the right antibodies and create a therapy that treatment doesn't last forever. Speaker 9: 18:55 The antibodies only last a while after the injection. Just like any drug essentially, right? There's a, there's a time window where it, where it acts and antibodies are, are great, uh, great drugs cause they'll, they'll last for three weeks or more. Um, so they can really, it's not like taking a Tylenol that you know, works for like four hours, but it's still a short term solution. Speaker 7: 19:17 So while Sapphire is working on injecting antibodies as a treatment, karate is tapping into that research to develop a vaccine. That's what teaches ourselves how to make our own antibodies. Speaker 9: 19:27 It sounds like Erica is working on the short term way to address Corona virus and you will be participating in the consortium by looking at the longterm way to address coronavirus. Yeah, that's right. Um, generally speaking, Speaker 7: 19:43 on the flip side, Sapphire says vaccines take much longer than antibody therapy to provide protection against the virus. Speaker 8: 19:50 You get your immunity four to eight weeks after receiving the vaccine. Well, that's great for a virus that you expect to encounter four to eight weeks from now. But if you need to meet any now, delivering it in this way can do that for you today Speaker 7: 20:03 still that today is months away at least she says the earliest a partner will begin testing antibody therapies on humans is June and the Institute plans to review results from all of the labs to find the very best treatment. Speaker 9: 20:18 I'm joined now by KPBS health reporter Taren mento. Hi Taryn. Hi Mark. So first off, how common is antibody therapy? Speaker 8: 20:27 Right? So I asked Shane karate about this. He's a virologist and immunologist at the LA Jolla Institute. And for treatment, injecting antibodies. He says that we've been doing this for more than a hundred years, about 120 years. And he says the first Nobel prize was actually for injectable antibodies. And then for vaccines, it's also really common. He said there's about 28 licensed vaccines. Um, and about 20 of them are based on antibodies Speaker 1: 20:54 and who could be treated with antibody therapy. Speaker 8: 20:56 So Erica Allman Sapphire at the LA Jolla Institute, she's leading the consortium. She said it could be used to protect healthcare providers, people really on the front lines to, to prevent them from actually contracting it, give them immune immunity immediately, um, or a close contact of someone who has Corona virus or is suspected of having Corona virus or maybe even someone that's already sick with it. Speaker 1: 21:19 And what success have we had with antibody therapy treating coronavirus patients? Speaker 8: 21:24 So in the U S there's a lot of institutions that are really just starting out, uh, using this and the Mayo clinic. And then here locally, the blood bank is collecting plasma from survivors and as possibly working with some local hospitals. But there was a report, uh, coming out of China. Um, they used, uh, this, this, uh, plasma or antibodies from survivors on five critically ill patients and they noticed them. And these were people who were really, really, um, just very critically ill and they, they did notice that like body temperature started to regulate after like about three or four days. So they did see success there. But again, it's only five people. Um, so there's a lot more, uh, findings to come out of these studies that are happening. Speaker 1: 22:08 And you mentioned the San Diego blood bank collecting plasma from survivors. Uh, are they a part of this effort? Speaker 8: 22:14 They are not formally a part of the effort. No. Um, but Erica Allman Sapphire, she says that, you know, any results coming out of these efforts will help, you know, inform their work as well. So that'll be some additional data that they could incorporate as they're looking at results from people who are a part of the consortium and doing these experiments in these studies. Speaker 1: 22:34 You mentioned the LA Jolla Institute. We'll be working on a vaccine too, but they're not the only company. Not even the only local company. What progress have we made it all on a vaccine. Speaker 8: 22:44 So globally there's more than a hundred institutions working on a vaccine, but uh, there's only about five that have actually progressed to testing in humans. And one of those is a Novio pharmaceuticals. They just announced that they injected, um, their first human volunteer this week. Uh, there was another company that was just ahead of them last month, but that other company actually didn't even do, um, animal testing before human testing to kind of doing it at the same time. And Novio did do some animal testing ahead of time and saw some positive results. So we're still waiting to see progress on those five, including the one with the Novio. Um, but there's, there's, there's more than a hundred and in progress. Speaker 1: 23:27 And you said in your story, the earliest the LA Jolla Institute will begin testing the antibodies in humans. Is this June and the big question, of course, any idea how soon we'll know if their efforts are successful. Speaker 8: 23:38 That is the main question obviously that everyone wants answered. The Mo, the positive note is that a lot of scientists that I've talked to about this have said that they are, they are confident that we will get a treatment and not even just a treatment but also a vaccine. Uh, you know, when everyone kind of says it's not clear who's it'll be, but everyone's making progress on and, and working really well and they w they know they will achieve it. But yeah, the question is, is when, and that's something we'll have to be looking for and progress will be made when they start testing in June and hopefully LA Jolla Institute will report out some results not too long after Speaker 9: 24:15 I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter Taryn mento. Thanks Taryn. Thanks Mark. Speaker 10: 24:28 Now we're going to take a look at how the covet 19 pandemic is affecting people inside state mental hospitals voted Lee Romney brings us that story. Speaker 9: 24:36 So it says, dear friends and family of TSH Patton's patients, the following are precautionary measures. Speaker 10: 24:42 It could be Hernandez last got a letter from patent state hospital on March 20th filling him in on the Corona virus response. Speaker 9: 24:49 Staff are directed to stay at home if they're sick. Speaker 10: 24:52 Hernandez happens to be a respiratory therapist, so he gets what? Coven 19 the illness caused by the Corona virus can do. He and his wife have a 24 year old son at the San Bernandino County facility and they're worried that it's only a matter of time before infection starts to spread. Speaker 9: 25:10 It's just a ticking time bomb waiting to explode Speaker 10: 25:12 like almost all patients in the States, five mental hospitals, Hernandez, his son was sent there through the criminal courts in his case, after attacking his parents during a psychotic episode. He's been doing great lately on medication and with regular visits from mom and dad a month ago. Those stopped. Speaker 9: 25:31 There's so many families that are just going bananas right now. I mean already because we haven't been able to see our kids to keep them going while they're in there. Speaker 10: 25:40 The department of state hospitals has been scrambling to protect patients and staff in other ways too, including by screening. It's 13,000 employees before they enter the hospitals, but some staff members say the measures don't go far enough. Speaker 9: 25:54 There's waxes for the staff members and there's lapses for patients where there's all these areas that the virus can seep in. Speaker 10: 26:02 That's Chuck Garcia chapter president of the California association of psychiatric technicians at metropolitan state hospital in LA County. He's one of half a dozen staff members interviewed for this piece who say more patients need to be isolated and tested. As for staff who shown symptoms, many have not been able to get tested in the community. Speaker 9: 26:23 You send me home, I call my doctor. They say South quarantine, but I don't know if I've actually had it or not. If I am positive, I've exposed to people at work, but we'll never know who Speaker 10: 26:34 hospitals only recently started giving workers one surgical mask. Daily wearing them has been voluntary. As for the Hernandez family, they're making do with calls just like the rest of us. We're not naming his son to protect his medical privacy. He tells his dad that each unit gets yard time alone now with plenty of space, but inside social distancing isn't happening for patients or most staff treatment groups and most patient jobs have been suspended. Still he's doing okay. Speaker 11: 27:07 I like to play a guitar on the unit. I like to exercise. I like to read books. Speaker 10: 27:11 Others though are fairing worse. Like this friend, Speaker 11: 27:14 he is staring at the ceiling, you know, on his bed and isn't talking to himself. Speaker 10: 27:19 The department of state hospital said officials are following state and federal public health guidance and working hard to adapt to quote rapidly changing circumstances. They declined to share how many of the systems. 6,000 patients have been tested for the virus. But internal records show that count at 30 as of last Wednesday. Only one of them at Patton. None have tested positive though. Two employees both at Patton have so have three outside contractors working at metropolitan. I'm Lee Romney, Speaker 5: 27:53 [inaudible], Speaker 7: 27:55 California governor Gavin Newsome and president Donald Trump have ditched the regular politics during the cruel nevados crisis as Capitol radios. Nicole Nixon reports they're normally Tensen combative relationship looks a lot different these days. This was governor Newsome in February on ABC's the view after Trump's state of the union address Speaker 2: 28:14 because he lost by four plus million votes in the last election. We are the most and Trump state in America. We're also the most diverse state in America. Speaker 7: 28:23 And this was Newsome in March, talking about a phone call he'd had with president Trump about the Corona virus. Speaker 2: 28:29 He said everything that I could have hoped for, uh, and we had a very long conversation. Uh, and every single thing he said they followed through on Speaker 7: 28:39 well, others have blamed the president for not taking the threat of the Corona virus. Seriously. Early on, Newsome has avoided any criticism even when given a chance. The democratic governor has acknowledged his own shift in tone and says in emergency isn't the time for politics. Speaker 12: 28:55 We're in 68 lawsuits with this administration. And so I don't, and I've not held back, but I got to tell you, I, I'm just, I'm not interested in trying to pick apart arguments and take cheap shots. Speaker 7: 29:09 Rob Stutzman is a Republican political strategist who says, Newsome's change in tone on the president is likely a strategy. Speaker 12: 29:15 You definitely get more cooperation from the president if you're praising him. Uh, because he responds well to that type of, of sycophancy. Speaker 7: 29:25 Stutzman also points out this isn't a new strategy. Newsome refrain from politicizing or criticizing Trump during the devastating California wildfires in 2018 just before he took office as governor? Speaker 12: 29:37 Yeah, I think for both reasons. One, to get optimal cooperation. Secondly, that he, uh, is going to rise far above politics as a, an emergency manager or probably why we have heard him be so deferential to the president and complimentary Speaker 7: 29:52 and Newsome strategy seems to be working so far. Well, Trump has singled out some governors and says they're not being appreciative enough. The president has welcomed the praise from one of his regular critics. Speaker 2: 30:04 Gavin Newsom has been a really good, Speaker 7: 30:06 Trump acknowledged that he and Newsome have clash on many other issues like the border and wildfires. But now Speaker 2: 30:14 here we are getting along very well. So, uh, and I appreciate his nice words. I really do. I really appreciate it. Speaker 7: 30:20 And Newsome has gotten what he's asked for from the feds. A Navy hospital ship is docked in Los Angeles and FEMA has sent field medical stations that add another 2000 emergency hospital beds to the state's supply. But at the same time, Newsome seems to recognize that he may not get much more than that from the Trump administration. He told the view last week that the state has given out tens of millions of masks, but only 1 million of those have come from the federal government. Speaker 2: 30:48 That's not a cheap shot. That's not finger pointing. It's just reality. And so when you ask, uh, are we going to rely on the federal government or are we gonna rely on ourselves? We're going to rely disproportionately on ourselves. Speaker 7: 31:00 Still. Experts say the economic impacts of the Corona virus could linger for years, and Newsome has said that's where California will need help from the federal government in the future in Sacramento. I'm Nicole Nixon. Speaker 6: 31:13 You are listening to mid-air edition. I'm Alison st John in with Mark Sauer. The TCM classic film festival was scheduled for this coming weekend, but the order to shelter at home has forced all film festivals and theaters to close. But unlike most festivals, TCM classic film festival had a cable channel it could use to create an alternate experience. KPBS arts reporter Beth, our commando speaks with Charles Tabish. UCFD on them and senior vice president in charge of programming at Turner classic movies about what to expect from the TCM classic film festival, home edition Speaker 13: 31:47 Charles, the TCM film festival was scheduled for April and you guys had to make a very tough decision while you're waiting to find out what kind of mandates the government was going to make. So what was that process like of trying to figure out what to do with the festival? Speaker 9: 32:04 Things were sort of happening pretty quickly and even before we decided to cancel it, there was a sense that this might not happen. It was getting worse and worse. And, and I think there was a week when a lot of the people from Atlanta were, were in LA and we were meeting and talking about what to do. And I think it just came to a point where we decided we needed to cancel it and we knew that was the right decision. I mean the idea of putting a lot of people, especially older people and crowded movie theaters or any getting them on airplanes to come in and join us just didn't seem like a responsible to do. Speaker 13: 32:40 Now, unlike a lot of film festivals, which exists solely in a real venue with a physical space, you guys did have an option that a lot of festivals didn't have because you have the TCM channel. So how fast was that decision to kind of try and create something that was in the virtual Speaker 9: 32:58 around it was pretty fast. I can't remember exactly when it came up with the first thing a couple of people had said to me, Hey, why don't you do that? Instead of just doing the film festival this year, you know, in LA and Hollywood, why don't you do it on the channel? And the first thing I thought of was, well, there are some significant differences. One, the channel is still one movie at a time. The film festivals, five or six movies at a time to the rights to the movies are very different. You can't, the rights to what you have, the rights to play live is different than what you have to play on, on television. And part of the festival experiences, the people doing the introductions and the pieces that are produced in the tributes and all that sort of stuff. So the first part of it was like, that's a great idea. Speaker 9: 33:43 I don't know how we're, how we can do that. And then talking about it and thinking about it, it was determined that, you know, the Hey, we'll instead of, instead of just trying to take this year is don't festival and transpose it onto television, which isn't really practical for the reasons I just mentioned. Why don't we take all the stuff that we've done over the last 10 years, put a lot of those movies on that we have the rights to that are, that were big important movies that played at the festival or that had then you premiere of a new restoration or had a key guest or had some meaning meaningful, um, place in, in the history of our 10 years surrounded with a lot of the things that we've created over those years in terms of interviews that we've tanked with big stars or directors tribute pieces that have, were produced and then make it feel like something that is capturing the flavor of the tone of the festival in a way that, that we could only do by kind of taking from what we've done in the past. And so putting that together was, uh, you know, I wouldn't say it was easy, but it, it fell into place. Decided to start with the, the very, some, some of the programming from the very first film festival Speaker 14: 34:53 did back in 2010 start kicking off with the first movie. That was the restoration of the star is born. When something like this happens to you, I'm not going to lie to you and tell you, I didn't keep hoping it would happen. All the speeches that you've made up in your bedroom or in the bathtub go out of your mind completely and you find that out of all the words in the world just to stick in your mind. Thank you. Speaker 9: 35:26 And then follow that up with metropolis where we had the U S premiere of the new restoration with the footage that was discovered in Argentina and, and an interview that we did with Louise Reiner. Um, so you know, some of the key things from that first year and we wanted to end it with some of the things that we're planning for this year. Some of the people that we're paying tribute to. So Thursday night is sort of the first year, Sunday night is sort of devoted to this year and some of the programming that was planned. And then everything in between is just kind of trying to get that mix of, of what we've done historically. Um, the right mix of big blockbuster movies, but also discoveries and interesting nuggets that people might have never seen. Or like I said, interviews with, with stars or uh, you know, a mix of genres and an era's and, and try to give people a sense of what the programming is that you get when you go live and get an idea of what it would be like so they could see it on television and, and hopefully, hopefully we'll accomplish that. I know a lot of people behind the scenes are working really hard to put together at the last minute pieces that they've shot over the years and get, we're getting footage that, you know, is, is rare that we can plug into, you know, in between some of the films so that it's not just a bunch of movies that it's a bunch of movies with a lot of context and texture. Speaker 13: 36:46 And for this online or home version of the festival, it's essentially 24 hours a day for those days. Correct. Speaker 9: 36:53 Yeah, it's 24 hours. Exactly. So, and it starts in, typically the festival starts on Thursday night and this does, and then it ends Sunday night as as this does Speaker 13: 37:03 now, TCM has created this kind of social media community where there's a lot of people who do Twitter parties, watch their films on TCM. How might that help kind of make this online festival a little more engaging and capture some of that flavor of the real festival? Speaker 9: 37:22 Yeah. Well that's a, that's a great point because one of the key things about the film festival is it gets people together. It's people from all over the country. They come together and share their love of the movies and talk about it with each other. It's so great that now we can do that virtually. We can do it through social media. And so I think our hope is that a lot of that that will happen online on various social media platforms where people will, will share and talk about the movies that they like or the stars or the directors that they like and, and kind of engage with each other virtually as opposed to live but still in a meaningful way. Speaker 13: 38:00 Now in terms of the films you look to, to program for this, it seems like there's two ways you can go in terms of, you know, people are being quarantine, we're dealing with this Corona virus pandemic. You could go with films that kind of tap into the fears and anxieties that that creates or you can offer like escapism. Are you doing a little above? Speaker 9: 38:19 I would say a little of both. And, and that was sort of in the back of my mind while putting it together, both of those things. And at the same time the priority was still just trying to capture a variety of, of great films and, and, and meaningful that played. So for example, we are playing the seventh seal on a Friday morning, which plagues, you know, movie. But that's, that's not throughout in any, in any sense. And it was very conscious to put in feel good movies like seeing the rain and Casablanca, Speaker 15: 38:51 Ooh, must remember, this is, uh, QC. Still key is just a [inaudible] movie theater Speaker 9: 39:03 comforting that we know and love. But I also wanted to make sure we, we played obscurities like Vitaphone shorts that we played at the film festival a few years ago or pre-code movies that were the people have gone to and loved and, and we want it to be a place a weekend where people not just sort of fall into the comfortable films, but also discover maybe things that they hadn't seen before. Like we'd like, like we hope for it at the light film festival. So it was really mainly about variety and variety in all sorts of ways. Speaker 13: 39:36 Now film often offers an escape for people and I was just doing a podcast about screwball comedies in the early thirties you know, being an escape for people going through the great depression. But you know, at that point in time people actually could congregate in a theater and have that community sense of other people laughing right next to them. How does kind of like what film offer changes when kind of the whole way we're used to seeing films is, Speaker 9: 40:08 is her difference. No, you're right and I look, the truth is it is a different experience seeing a film live with an audience and feeding off of that energy of everybody there. And I don't want to pretend like you're going to get that same experience no matter what on television or through TCM. I mean it's, it's different but, but when you have to be home or you want to be home, it's a great place I think to go in and enjoy a lot of these films and as we were sort of discussing a minute ago with social media, you're able to connect with people and even though it's not the same as why we're talking to them face to face, it's there is a way that you do it and engage. I think that is then is special and and is now part of the world we live in. I'm thankful for that. I think a lot of film fans are thankful for that. So it's not the exact same, it's something different, but it's still, it's still good and it still has a lot of the same qualities that you might get even if it is a little bit different or a lot different. Speaker 13: 41:08 And are there any parts of the program or any films in particular that you'd like to highlight for people? That's Speaker 9: 41:13 a good question because I, I, there are a lot, there's a lot that I really, I had fun kind of putting together or Reno remembering like metropolis when we, you know, the, the premiere of the film, the first film festival is such a special experience or when we premiered in a hard day's night and you hear the first note of the, of the song when the movie starts and the audiences, just so you know, enthralled from the very beginning. Speaker 5: 41:52 [inaudible] Speaker 16: 41:53 those are a couple of examples that just jumped. Speaker 9: 41:55 So mine pre codes, like I said, I think the movies that for the live audience, that sort of people I heard the most about where the pre codes that we played. So red headed woman is such a great, a great film that, uh, played in the film festival a few years ago. This year. We were planning to play for the first time at the film festival Babyface with the, with the edited footage put back in. So movies like that I think are going to be maybe discoveries. Oh, the Vitaphone shorts, like I mentioned before. I mean, they're fun and entertaining and people rarely see them and I'm super excited about that. Oh, one other thing in prime time on, on Friday night, Harold, Harold and Lillian, a Hollywood love story is a, it's a documentary that I think is, that's a, just a feel good fun, engaging such a well made a film by Daniel rein, which, uh, I'm hopeful that a lot of people will sort of stumble upon to that and fall in love with it and the people in it. Speaker 9: 42:47 But then beyond that, you know, I mean, again, North by Northwest and Casablanca and some like it hot and those sort of comfort films that a lot of us know and love, but you can watch over and over again. And you and I, and I love all of those. And so to me, uh, it's great to have to have those that you can, you, you don't have to. The discovery is great and important and key, and it's throughout the weekend. But there are also some times to just, okay, I'm comfortable and relaxed. I know the story. I, I just want to settle. Speaker 16: 43:18 I think there's plenty of them too. That was KPBS odds reporter Beth echo Mandos speaking with Charles [inaudible], senior vice president in charge of programming at Turner classic movies, passion.

4.13.jpg
The approach to feeding people experiencing homelessness in San Diego County has been haphazard at best and the novel coronavirus pandemic has all but shut down most efforts. Plus, MTS had planned to put a multi-billion-dollar bond on the November ballot to expand public transit. Now, that plan hangs in the balance due to coronavirus. Also, the La Jolla Institute is looking for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to study their antibodies as a possible treatment for the disease. And, the usually tense relationship between the White House and California has softened during the health care crisis. Finally, we have a preview of the TCM Classic Film Festival, which moved its programming to cable in response to the pandemic.