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Postmaster Halts Changes At USPS, East County Counter-Protest Movement, Sea-Level Rise Planning Should Continue During Pandemic and Children's Book Celebrates Chicano Park

 August 18, 2020 at 10:39 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 A rally in San Diego to stop changes that slow down the post office Speaker 2: 00:05 Political issue at all. This is about the future stake of the United States postal service. Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Ellison st. John. This is KPBS mid day edition, A movement to counter racial justice protests takes shape in East County. Speaker 2: 00:29 The story is right there on kind of the ranger Razor's edge of this culture war between the left and the right Speaker 1: 00:37 Another day of scorching heat in San Diego and the threat of rolling blackouts and a new children's book tells the story of Chicano park. That's a head on mid day edition In response to mounting pressure postmaster general Lewis did joy announced today that he is suspending policies he implemented that were blamed for causing mail delays. Part of that pressure came from San Diego this morning. All of the counties serving members of Congress gathered at the midway post office to join in what was billed as a national day of action against changes in postal operations that could threaten mail in balloting. This November here's San Diego Congressman Mike Levin, millions of Americans depend on the post Speaker 2: 01:34 Service to deliver prescriptions, social security, benefits paychecks, and yes, absentee ballots. Speaker 1: 01:40 How speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced her intention to bring lawmakers back from recess to vote on legislation aimed at stopping changes to post office operations. Joining me as the president of San Diego's American postal workers union local one 97, Eddie Cooper jr. And mr. Cooper, welcome to the program. Thank you. Thanks for having me now, the changes that have been taking place across the country include mailboxes and mail sorting machines being removed. What changes have you seen to post office operations in San Diego? Speaker 2: 02:15 Well, the changes in San Diego, unfortunately we've had some mail processing machines, uh, removed out of our processing plant here in San Diego, uh, which has resulted in some, some delays and mail being delivered. Uh, we've had six, specifically 60 mail processing machines removed out of our plant, but we've also just to be transparent. We've had six machines extended so that they can process more male than we've had a couple other of our male processing machines talk for the time being with hopefully the intention of doing the fall mailing season and the upcoming political season that those machines will be put back into action, but that has been limited, minimal rather, uh, delays here in San Diego to my knowledge, but the removal of those machines. And it does hamper the ability of postal employees to be able to do their mission, which is to ensure that the American public receives their mail in a timely, a timely fashion. Speaker 1: 03:16 Now, in his statement today, postmaster did, Joyce says that over time will continue to be approved. Had there been changes to overtime rules for postal workers? Speaker 2: 03:27 Yes. I wouldn't say changes to the rules, but changes in the authorization of overtime here in San Diego, as of late over the last few months. As a matter of fact, we had been quite a bit of overtime usage and just literally within the last four, three, four weeks that has been reduced drastically. And I mean drastically, uh, almost to the, uh, to the extent where there's hardly any overtime and our non-career employees who would average around between 35 and 45 hours a week, their hours have been reduced as of late till around 24 to 32 hours a week. So there has been a reduction, a significant reduction in the work hours of, um, uh, postal employees here in Sandy. Speaker 1: 04:16 And you say there have been delays in mail delivery here in San Diego, Speaker 2: 04:20 Very minimal. Whereas up until about three, four weeks ago, the postal services mantra was every piece of mail. A first class mail would have to be processed every day per per postmaster did joys directive about three, four weeks ago. Uh, the carriers were instructed to leave mail behind if it's not up and ready for them when they are tasked to hit the street. So that would result in them leaving their particular station without all of the first class mail. And what's left would go the next day. So that is a direct, uh, delay in the delivery of the mail. Absolutely. Speaker 1: 05:01 Now the postal service is suddenly right in the middle of a political fight over funding and mailing balloting. What effect has had that had on postal workers Speaker 2: 05:11 At the present time, it hasn't had any effect, but just the fact of knowing was hanging over our head in regards to, if we don't get that funding, what the catastrophic effects would be the way I understand it. If we do not get that $25 billion stimulus that we desperately need, the United States postal service literally can be out of money within the next four to five months. Now, what is going to result from that? No one knows. And it's that uncertainty that have a lot of posts and employees nervous, anxious, scared all of the above. As you can imagine, if you don't know what's going to happen with your job, uh, that's very unnerving. Speaker 1: 05:55 Now the post office, everyone knows, has persevered during the pandemic with postal workers, becoming essential workers and keeping the nation going. If it were not for this injection of politics that may or may not be reversed. Now, according to the stance of postmaster to joy, how would the postal service be gearing up for this election? Because you already know there's going to be so more, many more mail in ballots than ever before. Speaker 2: 06:22 Well, we, up to we're up to the task of delivering the mail. That's what we do. We deliver millions of pieces of mail every day. So that wouldn't be anything different than what we have done and what we will continue to do. It would hamper the financial resources as far as being able to provide more over time and to pay for the overtime and everything else that's needed to continue what we've always done, but we feel very confident. The American postal workers feel very confident that we can get the job done with the existing infrastructure and resources that we have. Now, we just need for those infrastructures and those resources to be continued and available to postal workers, but we can get the job done. We can move the mail. That's what we do Speaker 1: 07:06 Now. Your union has endorsed democratic candidate, Joe Biden for precedent. Do you see your fight against the changes at the post office as politically motivated? Speaker 2: 07:16 Not at all. This is not a political issue at all. This is about the future state of the United States postal service. And again, I need to be clear about that. The postal service is a service. It's not a business. We are here to serve the American public and we oppose any action that slows down the mail we serve. The property is nothing political about it. Uh, we, we have endorsed, uh, vice president Biden and, uh, Kamala Harris as the vice president. That is true, but this is not a political issue. This is a postal service issue. This is a postmaster general issue. This is a public service issue. Speaker 1: 07:58 I've been speaking with the president of San Diego's American postal workers union, local one 97, Eddie Cooper jr. Mr. Cooper. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Thank you. Thank you. And once again, postmaster general, Louis did joy announced today that he is suspending policies that were blamed for causing mail delays. He says he wants to assure Americans that retail hours at post offices will not change mail processing equipment and collection boxes will remain no mail processing facilities will be closed and that over time has and will continue to be approved for postal service employees. Speaker 2: 08:43 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 08:44 The demonstrations in support of racial justice, police accountability and black lives matter have sparked a counter movement, which is showing up in disturbing confrontations in San is East County. Speaker 3: 08:56 A Facebook site called defenders County has recently swelled to over 20,000 followers, San Diego union Tribune reporter Andrew Dyer has written about the origins of the group and increasingly volatile face-offs between protesters and counter protesters in East County. Andrew, thank you for joining us. Thanks for having me. So why did you decide to research and write about the confrontations happening in East County? Speaker 4: 09:20 Well, I've had my eye on the group, uh, about since the beginning I was allowed into the group about a week after it formed. This is the defenders County group. Yes, it's a Facebook group called defenders County. It's one of several similar groups in San Diego. Uh, but it's, it's the largest that I've seen with with more than 20,000 members. Speaker 3: 09:43 It was started you ride after the Lamesa protest at the end of may, which turned very destructive. Give us an overview of the aims of the group and the posts on the site. Speaker 4: 09:53 It started as a very kind of grassroots reaction to the looting and arson and Lamesa community members, you know, business owners and other people in the community. You know, they did not want to see that happen again. So they kind of organized in order to kind of stand watch at businesses, you know, in Lamesa that night, I was, I was also there and there were a handful of businesses where people did go and stand in front of them, maybe the owners or friends of the owners. And they were largely untouched by looters. So I'm just having a person standing in front of a business. You know, it looked effective at least in the Mesa on, on May 30th. So that was how it started, but because it is a reaction to black lives matter, um, it also attracted another element of people who actively oppose the black lives matter movement and saw this as an opportunity to engage with, with the protestors Speaker 3: 10:54 About the person who created the Facebook group, Justin huh, Speaker 4: 10:58 Justin Haskins. He is, um, formerly of, of East County. He now is in Arizona where he's incorporated defender's County into an LLC. I spoke to him to the story and he doesn't see himself as a leader of a group to him. This is just a community, a community forum. And he happens to be the person who started the group and who administers it. But, um, he, I describe him as kind of a reluctant leader. Speaker 3: 11:31 Well, this country, you know, encourages free speech and demonstrations and counter demonstrations are part of a democratic society. What is it about the confrontations that you've reported on that you find concerning? Speaker 4: 11:42 You know, among the counter-demonstrators, there are different trains of thought. You know, some of them only want to stand in front of businesses. They don't want to engage in counter demonstrating. They don't want to provoke protesters, but there is another group who sees this as an opportunity to express their first amendment rights and to, you know, bring, you know, there's a lot of Trump flags, American flags pushing back on, on the, the aims and perspective of black lives matter. So I, I want to make it clear that, you know, this, this group, you know, there are different trains of thought and there are different aims and goals. But I think in the August 1st protest in Lamesa, there were a group of people counter-demonstrators who, um, several videos from the protest show kind of ran into the crowd of black lives matter protesters and did engage in physical altercations. Uh, one witness said that they, you know, grabbed somebody's Bullhorn and throw it on the ground and grabbing people's signs. There were punches thrown, and one man was, was, uh, arrested. So, um, after that incident, after the August 1st protest or in violent, I decided to that it was probably time to take a deep dive into the group and, and talk about what is actually happening online, because now it is having a real world impact. Speaker 3: 13:09 No Haskins says that he's not a follower of the Q Anon conspiracy theories. Although he says in your article, that quote, it sounds like there is a lot of truth to Q Anon. What kind of conversations around it are happening within the Facebook group? Speaker 4: 13:22 Q Anon has really taken a foothold in the, you know, the conservative movement. And it's been, you know, the president president Donald Trump has retweeted Cunanan accounts. It's um, there are several candidates for higher office that have promoted Kiernan on their social media accounts. So this is, it's kind of a new tendril, I think, in the, in the conservative movement. I didn't see a lot of Q stuff in the defender's County Facebook group until very recently, a lot of Q Anon adherence have kind of latched on the, uh, save the children movement. Um, because part of the que conspiracy is this idea that there is a child sex trafficking ring among Democrats and Hollywood actors, including like satanic ritual and sacrifice and just a lot of conspiratorial, stuff like that. And so they've kind of found another movement to kind of sound like a gateway to Q Anon. It's not hard to get people to agree that child abuse is wrong. So they kind of take it a step further and give you this whole framework of a conspiracy around ritualistic child abuse. And so in mid July, there was the United nations save the children day. And out of that, I started seeing a lot more kind of Q affiliated chatter on social media, kind of co-opting that save the hashtag and they began to manifest and defend these County. Speaker 3: 14:56 So Haskins also denies that this Facebook group is racist. Is that credible? Speaker 4: 15:01 You know, I wouldn't call the group itself racist. It is a group where racist conversations take place though. So, you know, with 20,000 people, you know, um, many of them, you know, disagree with a lot of the stuff that is talked about in there. Um, but it is a place where one might find likeminded individuals, if, if you disagree with the black lives matter movement. Speaker 3: 15:32 So it sounds like there's quite a spectrum of opinions. Um, this group could be a gateway to more extreme opinions. East County is struggling, you know, to move away from it's fraught history. When it comes to race and hate groups, how is the community reacting to what looks like a reemergence of some of that culture that was well-documented in places like San Santi? Speaker 4: 15:53 You know, it it's a sore spot for people. And, um, you know, there are a lot of people that live in, in Santee and Oklahoma. You know, there are a lot of people who live there who are not racist, and they do not agree with this stuff. And it's painful for them to read over and over again about these incidents that, you know, bring up that history. You know, a lot of people do want to move on from it, but it also is true that there is a segment of the population, um, not just in East County, this is throughout San Diego County, but there is a small percentage of people who do hold extremist beliefs in the area. And it just so happens that those voices sometimes are the loudest. Speaker 3: 16:36 What kind of feedback have you gotten from people who've read your story. Speaker 4: 16:40 It's a mixed bag because you know, the story is right there on kind of the ranger Razor's edge of, of this culture war between the left and the right. So it kind of depends on where people land on that spectrum, whether they write the story or not. Speaker 3: 16:57 We've been speaking with Andrew dire, San Diego union Tribune reporter. Thank you very much for your reporting, Andrew. Speaker 4: 17:03 Thank you. [inaudible] Speaker 3: 17:18 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Alison st. John California's governor declared a heat emergency today in order to free up energy generation capacity KPBS environment, reporter Eric Anderson says, Gavin Newsome also wants an investigation into what led to rolling blackouts around the state Speaker 4: 17:39 Mandated power outages, Royal California residents. This past weekend as state power grid managers struggle to keep the lights on in the midst of a summer wave. Speaker 5: 17:50 It's the first time that's happened since 2001 and governor Gavin Newsome is not happy. Speaker 2: 17:56 We'll get to the bottom of it. And that's why that investigation to what happens and its implications for the future will be done swiftly and immediately. And we will lay out in detailed terms, what we're going to do to make sure this simply doesn't happen again. Speaker 5: 18:12 Newsome says the power grid operators failure to anticipate the spike in demand and to meet that spike with additional resources is unacceptable. And unbefitting of California. He says fires around California and a warming climate are not excuses. He says the state is moving to secure more emergency power. That includes allowing businesses to run reserve, generating facilities. Even if those facilities cause more pollution. Speaker 2: 18:40 And with all of that, uh, we are likely to fall short and we should see, uh, some episodic, uh, issues as it relates to supply and the coverage that you deserve. And you demand Speaker 5: 18:52 At a board meeting on Monday members of the California independent system operator called Cal ISO criticized members of the California public utility commission for not ordering them to buy more electricity energy analysts. Bill power says the current power delivery system failed California. He says, reserves on paper did not become reserves in real life. Powers is not optimistic. The governor's call for an investigation will be good enough. Speaker 6: 19:21 They peel back one or two layers of the onion, but they don't get deep enough to look at the institutional problems that expose us to these kinds of unexpected blackouts. It has nothing to do with climate change. Speaker 5: 19:35 It says the entire episode could have been avoided by better power management. Meanwhile, San Diego gas and electric officials say their customers can help relieve the pressure on the power grid SDG and E's spokeswoman. Denise Menard says conservation is the key Speaker 6: 19:51 Here at SDG, right? Obviously we know that it's really hot outside and we don't want people to be sitting in their homes without their AC on, but we are asking people to conserve in every way that they possibly can. So if that's setting your AC to 78, let's try to do it. Speaker 5: 20:07 Nard says if local demand can be cut, that'll have a real impact on how the state's power grid handles. The next few days, national weather service officials say the dome of hot air will likely sit over the region through Thursday, the power grid operators, Cal ISO decides when a region like San Diego will have to resort to rolling blackouts and how long those power outages will last STG any we'll track and report the location and duration of outages on their webpage. Eric Anderson, KPBS news, Speaker 6: 20:40 Cal ISO has ordered SDG and E and other utilities across the state to begin rotating outages this afternoon, as many as 100,000 SDG and E customers could lose power for about an hour. Speaker 7: 21:00 [inaudible] Speaker 6: 21:01 The immediacy of the COVID-19 pandemic has distracted California from what is a more serious existential threat climate change and sea level rise. The California legislative analyst's office has issued a well-researched report with sobering reminders of what sea level rise will do to our coastline, our economy, and to our public and private property. Rachel Eylers author of the report joins us to talk about why we would be better off preparing for sea level rise rather than waiting for it to hit. Rachel, thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me there. Not that long ago, we were talking about sea level rise in terms of inches, and now it's feet. It's not sometime in the future. And I would say it's in our lifetimes. What estimates did you decide are credible for your report? The latest guidance suggests with somewhat certainty that we will see about a foot of sea level rise by 20, 30 as the years go out, the uncertainty grows, but the latest recommendations from the state are suggesting to plan for 3.5 feet by 2050 and up to seven feet. Speaker 6: 22:06 By the end of the century, let's focus on San Diego County, economically San Diego has a huge port. For example, how would sea level rise affect that? Yeah, the economic impacts for San Diego are serious. It's not just residential houses along the coast. It's not just the recreation economy and the beaches, but also the port and the Navy base that are there along San Diego Bay and key pieces of the economic picture in San Diego and really quite at risk from sea level rise. So, and also the transportation networks that come from the port and feed into the port with the train tracks you saw in Del Mar in December, the cliffs eroding had to shut down the train passageway for a period while there were repairs because the cliffs, the road erosion was so close to the track. So really pretty serious regional impacts that are going to need to be addressed. Speaker 6: 23:03 How do you estimate economic damage to this part of the California coastline? Say by 2050, there have been some funded studies just around economic impacts in San Diego County. And they're pretty sobering. They suggest that with three feet of sea level rise combined with a large storm, it could impact 15,000 jobs and $2 billion of regional gross domestic product. So PR pretty large numbers and really a lot of it focused around the tourism and recreation industries. So who is responsible for planning for sea level rise? Is it mainly up to local government? Yeah, it really is because most of the land use decisions are made at the local level. Most of the funding typically comes at the local level. Most of the public property along the coast is owned at the local level, but the state can play and should play a really important role helping in particular fund some pilot projects that we can learn from Speaker 3: 24:01 When your coastal commission has been urging local jurisdictions to come up with adaptation plans, is there actually money to help cities put those plans into practice though? Speaker 6: 24:11 Some we, the state has, has some funding primarily through voter approved bonds. There was a lot of discussion in Sacramento, the beginning part of the year about putting another bond on the ballot, but statewide for voters to approve that really focused on climate change and climate adaptation and climate response. Uh, those plans were put on hold due to the pandemic and other priorities Speaker 3: 24:34 Here in San Diego. One of the major barriers to planning is resistance from private property owners who don't want their property values to go down, understandably, what can be done to overcome that? Speaker 6: 24:45 Well, one of the biggest steps we can take is just greater public understanding of what's coming. We, none of us want property values to go down and none of us want our houses to, to be threatened or lost, but what's coming is coming. The science is relatively clear about that. We have some uncertainty about the degree and timing of sea level rise, but we know it's coming and so we can prepare for it or not. Um, so our, our advice to our bosses in the legislature and to the public is, is to start preparing. And one of the big ways to do that is for people to understand it's not going to happen tomorrow, so we don't need to change things tomorrow, but, but it is coming. And so how can we be thoughtful about what is coming and what the best ways to prepare for it are that minimize harm and impact to people and our natural resources. Speaker 3: 25:36 I understand one of the possible measures would be to require that coastal flooding disclosures are part of any real estate transactions. Speaker 6: 25:43 You know, the state has disclosure for real estate for threats like wildfires and earthquakes. There's actually more certainty about what's happening with what will happen with sea level rise in the flooding. Then there is about earthquakes, which we don't know when they'll come or even wildfires. And so we think as a public policy measure, it makes sense for buyers and investors to have a fully informed decision when they're making a decision like buying a house, which is usually the largest purchase that a family will make. Speaker 3: 26:16 You actually say three main strategies for tackling rising seas just quickly as a thumbnail. What are they? And which are we using so far? Speaker 6: 26:24 Uh, yeah, there are three. One is to protect, which is building seawalls or building up a wetlands or piling rocks to try and keep the waves from coming. Uh, we can also, uh, adapt or modify, which is the actions like raising buildings or structures to allow for periodic flooding. And then we can relocate. We can move out of the harm's way of where the flooding will come. And so it's going to take a combination of all three of these strategies, certainly to respond to the challenges that we're facing. Um, we've done quite a bit of protecting so far and that's probably appropriate given we haven't had the degree of sea level rise yet, but that won't be the only strategy upon which we can rely in the future. We're going to need to look in a situation by situation basis and decide, which is the most appropriate and use all three. Speaker 6: 27:19 So what do you hope issuing your report? Now we'll do our goal with this report was really to help deepen the understanding both for our bosses in the legislature, but also within the public about the threats that sea level rise pose, because we won't make any progress on our adaptation actions without understanding what the problems are. And so that that's really our goal here, that it broadens understanding and starts to help support some further actions to begin preparing. We've been speaking with Rachel Ehlers who's author of the report. What threat does sea level rise pose to California? Thank you so much, Rachel, thank you for having me. Speaker 7: 28:11 [inaudible] Speaker 6: 28:14 A number of wildfires are currently burning in California this week. We're exploring how assisted living facilities are preparing for emergencies in a special series from our colleagues at KQBD called older and overlooked. The investigation found that across the state 37% of these facilities are located in areas at heightened risk for wildfire. It's a little higher in San Diego County at 41%, but in Nevada County, 100% of facilities are at risk [inaudible] health correspondent, April. Demboski traveled to grass Valley in Nevada County before COVID-19 to see how assisted living facilities for the elderly are preparing for wildfire season. April tells us a new law aimed at helping these facilities prepare for disaster is falling short, Speaker 7: 29:09 Continue on California, 49 South for nine miles. Speaker 6: 29:14 Randy dinning spends most of his work week in his black Honda fit. He's a longterm care ombudsman for the state department of aging, which means he drops in at residential facilities for the elderly to check on the quality of the food or the care. But on this shift for the first time he's asking about disaster preparedness Speaker 7: 29:35 Off, we go Speaker 6: 29:37 First stop of the day is Sierra view manner. This is assisted as opposed Speaker 8: 29:42 To skilled nursing, which is overseen by the state department of public health assisted living is nonmedical. It's overseen by the state department of social services. So overall the rules here are weaker, but Randy, isn't the enforcer as an ombudsman, he's more the tattletale to the enforcers straight away. He has to talk to the boss. Speaker 9: 30:01 The boss, ladies around Speaker 8: 30:03 Administrator of Vanessa Lely, tennies comes out and as Randy tries to ease into questions about disaster planning, she interrupts to say, we are the best. Speaker 9: 30:12 Well I'm going to brag right? From the beginning, Speaker 8: 30:14 She begins listing the virtues of her generator, cover the entire buildings in their evacuation plan within seven minutes and the go bags they prep for each resident Speaker 9: 30:23 Just do drills and stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah, we do those. We do evacuation drills. Oh yeah. I have often, probably every quarter, every quarter, Speaker 8: 30:33 But the conversation gets awkward when Vanessa reveals, they only have one employee on staff overnight caring for 46 residents. If wildfire strikes, she says the folks at the skilled nursing facility next door, we'll take them in Speaker 9: 30:47 And they can have 46 beds over there. No, Speaker 8: 30:53 She says maybe they'd take them to the local high school, but we're never going to Speaker 9: 30:57 Have one of those kinds of emergencies I insist. Speaker 8: 31:03 But that's exactly what happened nearly three years ago in Santa Rosa, when wildfire swept through in the middle of the night, two assisted living facilities had only a handful of staff and they left about a hundred elderly residents behind for relatives and police to rescue one facility burned down as did eight others across the state that year, that was a real eye opener for us. And that staff weren't trained Pandic FOSS is the enforcer. She oversees licensing for assisted living facilities for the department of social services. She says the new law that took effect last year was a direct response to what happened in Santa Rosa. These fires identified the need for the entire area to be evacuated. Instead of being prepared to escape a kitchen fire as the older law outlined facilities now need to have options of where they'll go to shelter locations for how they're going to get their plan for transportation and who will be responsible for what this bill really strengthened the requirements in an emergency plan. Speaker 8: 32:07 But state data indicates the department is reluctant to enforce them in 2018 state inspector cited, just 62 facilities for having an insufficient disaster plan. Last year, when the law took effect, they cited 239, but that's still just 3% out of nearly 7,600 facilities across the state. Dick Fosse says inspectors, see themselves more as consultants rather than disciplinarians. It's really a collaborative effort across the state between the providers, the advocates and the department, but that's not how some advocates for the elderly see the department. It's the provider protection agency, not a consumer protection agency. Chris Murphy runs an advocacy group dedicated to assisted living reform. She and her colleagues have been asking regulators for better evacuation plans and training for a decade. They will rarely come down on the side of the consumer. She says the new law was written by the assisted living industry and doesn't do nearly enough to protect residents. For example, it requires portable evacuation chairs at the top of every stairwell, but facilities are still required to have just one employee on duty overnight for every 99 residents. I don't care how many little evacuation chairs you have. If you have one person driven to do that, nobody's getting out. Murphy says the law also fails to acknowledge how complex president's health status has gotten. Two decades ago. Assisted living was meant for people who needed a little bit of help. Now more and more are bedridden or have dementia Speaker 8: 33:47 At the cascades of grass Valley assisted living facility. 90% of the residents have some form of dementia. Hi, ms. Betty. Hi, Clita administrator. Petsy Pittman. Rest her hand on the shoulder of a resident sitting by herself at the kitchen table. Are you ready for lunch for lunch? I'll pause here for breakfast. Research shows that people with dementia are more likely to die after a disaster, but the new law is silent on how to prepare this population. Fire drills. Aren't really an option loud sounds and changes in routine. Put people with dementia at risk for wandering off. We don't want to overstimulate them. We don't want to make them anxious for advice on this Pepsi confers with other facilities in town like atria assisted living down the road. When a brush fire broke out next to Atreus building last fall and they had to evacuate 110 people stopped, told the dementia residents, they were going on a field trip. Speaker 6: 34:43 You act like it's just another day and we're going for a bus ride Speaker 8: 34:48 General vice-president Andrew Levine says they took everyone to the crown Plaza hotel in Sacramento. Their teams got to work, making the room safe for people with dementia. Speaker 6: 34:57 We go in, we take out all the coffee machines. We take out the iron, the soaps, why the soaps, uh, because we don't want them to eat it. You know, we take out everything that potentially could be harmful. Speaker 8: 35:08 Beyond safety staff went about recreating life at atria at the hotel games, karaoke dancing. It was a little mini vacation. It was fun. I think I won three bingo games, Betty Johnson and bud Paul are both 94, three days later when they came back to grass Valley staff were in the driveway, shaking Palm and pouring champagne. They were greeting us all lined up, welcome home, and you really felt it. But all these efforts Speaker 9: 35:38 Were possible because atria has a Speaker 3: 35:40 Corporate office that can mobilize teams. Speaker 9: 35:42 People, most facilities are smaller and can't afford that. And together the industry lobbies to keep these kinds of best practices as recommendations rather than law. I'm April Demboski KQBD news. Speaker 3: 36:09 You're listening to KPBS Mendez edition. I'm Alison st. John, along with Maureen Kavanaugh, Chicano park celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. And to Mark the occasion, a new children's story tells the history of the park through the eyes of two children who move into body or Logan it's author via Teresa Maura called Chicano park quote, a symbol of a community that found its voice with its powerful murals painted on concrete pillars under the interstate five freeway, the book, which is called the spirit of Chicano park inspired, beautiful illustrations by illustrator Mito Mesa B three, Maura joins us now. Welcome Beatrice. Speaker 9: 36:47 Good morning. Nice to be here. Speaker 3: 36:49 Illustrator mighta Mesa is also with us. Thank you for being with us. Speaker 9: 36:53 Thank you for having us. Speaker 3: 36:55 You were born in burial, Logan and have become a long time community organizer. What inspired you to write a children's book about the founding of the park? Speaker 9: 37:03 Well, actually I was born in Barrio Logan and, uh, shortly after my birth, my parents moved to Los Angeles where I was raised when I came back to San Diego as a young adult. Um, I first became acquainted with Chicano park and I fell in love with the park. The first time I stepped foot on, on the land, I think learning about the history of a community that in many ways had been overlooked. Um, but they came together in unity and, uh, they worked hard. Uh, they found their voice and they asked that San Diego city of San Diego help them build a park. So I was amazed at their fortitude and their resilience and the fact that they had been so successful in accomplishing their goal Speaker 3: 37:53 About the story. It's one of struggle. And one that includes a part takeover that lasted 12 days in a protest against the construction of a CHP patrol station. Right. How did you explain this, this history to young kids in your book? Speaker 9: 38:06 The most important thing is to, to be honest and yet not complicate the dialogue too much. And so I want the children to understand that this community had been a vibrant community for many, many years. Um, it was, uh, a burial that the folks who live there felt so proud to live there. They had everything they needed and, um, it was a vibrant neighborhood. And then when I five came through and the Coronado bridge was constructed, um, about 15,000 residents were displaced through the laws of eminent domain. So I thought it was important for children to understand that this park, uh, is a symbol of so much more than a lovely park to come and visit and enjoy. But it's also a symbol of a community's voice and their efforts to, um, restore their community and to, um, develop more self determination. So Speaker 3: 39:11 It's a little bit about Betty and bunkie. The, the two, um, main characters in your book. Speaker 9: 39:17 Well, Betty is a young girl who is not all that happy to be moving. Uh, once again, and this time though, it's different because her parents have actually purchased a home and they plan to make body a Logan, their permanent residence. So she's, she's been through this, people were, and she's not so happy about leaving her school and her friends. Um, and then her mom has a great idea to take both bulky and, but the down the street to the, to a park that she had seen and, um, as they visit the park, they begin to realize the richness of the culture, the richness of the Barrio, and, um, the enjoyment that people have, uh, being part of this park and identifying with the park and in the end of the story, they realize that they have a lot to be proud of and that the park represents not only their past or their future. And they're happy that to be a part of Barrio Logan, Speaker 3: 40:27 I know the, the artwork in his book cause as colorful as some of the murals in Chicago park itself, did you turn to those murals for answers? Speaker 9: 40:35 Yes, absolutely. I will both be at grace and I both felt strongly about the murals is it tells a history. Um, it tells the struggle and, and that was definitely something very, very important to include in the book, along with all the names of the well, most of the people that did some, some murals that we have some interviews at the back, uh, that are very important to include them, include a vector, Victor Choa, and some of those, uh, those big shots that are, that got to experience, especially Victor got to experience, um, the takeover and the murals is just, if you walked through them, you could just, it tells a story. You don't need anything to be printed. You just walk through it. And, and it tells you the story of the struggle of the community and the victory that we all, we all get to experience, which is why it's so important to continue, continue this, and to inspire the youth, to learn about the takeover and everything that took place and be trees. Speaker 3: 41:41 You know, the publishing industry has long been criticized for, for lack of diversity in children's books. And you actually self published through Toltec out press this book, which is bilingual. How do you think that having books that reflect your own culture affects a child? Speaker 9: 41:56 Well, I think it's paramount when they have literature in front of them where they can connect when they can see themselves in the book, it comes to life for them and becomes real. It becomes an inspiring moment for them to understand that education is for them too. And so to me, I've always felt I'm a former educator and I've always felt that it was really important for kids to, um, to see themselves not only in the, in the books and the literature and the movies that they're learning about, but in their teachers, in their role models in the community. And to know that they can have a positive impact in their world and that some of the negative stereotypes that dominate the media and in other venues are not the whole picture. They may be a slice of who we are, but they're certainly not all of who we are. So I'd like to ask Speaker 3: 42:48 Both of you, how do you think parents can use this book to teach kids about today's current protest movements against racial inequality? Speaker 9: 42:57 Well, I think the book demonstrates that, uh, a community that felt unempowered a community that felt that no one would listen to them, spoke up organized and realized that if they, they were persistent, if they persevered that they would be successful. And I think the current climate that we're living in, we've been dealing with these issues for forever, all of my existence, but coming to culmination of the black lives matter, that basically means that all lives matter. And that means all voices matter in this country. I use this book a lot. I teach classes online and a lot of our painters are our children. So I'm very excited that a lot of them got to have this in their hands and enjoy it. And you can, you can learn so much from it. It's just important that we continue to teach our children that, um, it's important to speak up for ourselves, for our communities and to learn about our culture and to stay involved with our culture as well. Speaker 3: 44:04 The name of the book is the spirit of Chicano park. And we've been speaking with its author, Beatrice Zamora. Thank you, Beatrice. Thank you. And the illustrator, Myra Misa. Thank you, Myra. Thank you.

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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that he will suspend controversial changes he made to the Postal Service to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” Plus, a Black Lives Matter counter movement called “Defend East County” has swelled to more than 20,000 followers on Facebook and has contributed to the increasingly volatile faceoffs between protesters and counter protesters. Also, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants an investigation into why state power grid operators called for rolling blackouts amid the pandemic and heat wave. In addition, a new report urges local and state governments not to ignore the threat of sea-level rise during the COVID-19 crisis. And, a new law meant to help assisted living facilities in areas with a heightened risk to prepare wildfire is falling short. Finally, a new children’s book on the “spirit” of Chicano Park is being released on the 50th anniversary of the park’s founding.