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What California Lawmakers Did On Their Last Day Of Session, Some Prominent UCSD Faculty Want County To Slow Business Reopening, Police Aren’t Required To Release All Footage When An Officer Shoots

 September 1, 2020 at 10:45 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 State legislators hustle to meet a midnight deadline to pass new laws, Speaker 2: 00:04 Request unanimous consensus, suspend the rules to allow authors to take up the following bills today without reference to file for the purposes of occurrence of standard amendments, AB 1685 Reyes Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Alison st. John with Mark sour. This is KPBS Monday edition. Some San Diegans have major concerns about reopenings this way. Speaker 3: 00:28 If we can get those tools up and going say, William, don't have to close them down. We can then start thinking about opening up others. Speaker 1: 00:36 And as virtual school begins, what are teachers doing to bridge the digital divide? Plus in spite of economic shutdowns and hardships San Diego's house prices, just keep on rising that's all ahead. On day edition, Speaker 1: 01:00 It was a late night last night for the California state legislature, lawmakers scrambled to meet a deadline, to approve or reject hundreds of bills to send to governor Newsome's desk. Some of those bills are in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or the national call for police reform here to update us on what passed and what did not is Scott rod state government reporter with Capitol public radio Scott, welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. So you were up late last night to paint a picture for us of those final hours of the session. Speaker 3: 01:31 The last day of session is always a bit hectic, but this year it was even more so, um, and that's because they let lawmakers had less time to, um, you know, pass the people's business. And, uh, it was also complicated by Senate Republicans this year, having to vote remotely because one of their members tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. And so as they were navigating technical glitches and other sorts of complications with social distancing, you know, you could hear the urgency picking up towards the end of the evening and here's assembly member, Ian Calderon, reading off what business was going to be taken up at a very rapid clip. Speaker 2: 02:12 Mr. Calderon, you're recognized for your emotions. I request unanimous consensus to suspend the rules, to allow authors to take up the following bills today without reference to file for the purposes of concurrence of standard amendments, AB 1685 Reyes, maybe 15, 12, Korea, [inaudible] maybe four 34 daily, AB 1561. Christina Garcia, AB 1657, Eddie Garcia, AB 1731, Tasha born Horvath and AB 10 66 Gonzalez. Speaker 3: 02:35 And so you can sense that lawmakers were just breathlessly, trying to get through as much as they could. Speaker 1: 02:40 Let's talk about one of the major pieces of legislation that got through and was quickly signed by governor Newsome, and it would provide eviction relief to renters affected by COVID-19. That was a big compromise, right? Speaker 3: 02:52 It was a big compromise. So if someone missed a rent payment for related to COVID-19 in the first six months of the pandemic, uh, you will be safe from eviction, but starting in September, renters will have to start paying at least 25% of their rent. Um, evictions can start back up again in the first few months of the new year. Most notably there is not any rent forgiveness. So if someone missed a rent payment previously starting in March of next year, landlords can start taking tenants to small claims court to try to get some of that back. Rent payments, both sides, housing advocates, and landlords had to kind of grit their teeth and, uh, you know, come to the table on this one. And lawmakers throughout the evening were noting that this was not a perfect bill. It was a short term solution, and they're really hoping that the feds will step up in the beginning of the year and offer some additional relief. Speaker 1: 03:48 Okay. And there was also a strong push for police reform legislation, the session, you know, after the police killing of George Floyd and many of those bills failed. I understand, but first tell us about the ones that did advance to the governor's desk. Speaker 3: 04:01 There's a bill that would ban the carotid Holt, which is essentially a type of chokehold that, um, cuts off circulation to someone's brain. And that's raised controversy because it can have pretty detrimental impacts and even lethal impacts if it's not used correctly. And there's also another bill that would remove the handling of certain police shootings from local district attorney offices and hand that over to the state attorney general. And as you noted, there were a number that also didn't pass. Um, most significantly there was a bill that would de-certify police officers for committing certain crimes or for being fired for certain misconduct. And that was something that was kind of a marquee proposal from police reform advocates. And it just simply didn't get a vote last night. There was also a bill that would have limited and regulated the use of less lethal force during protests, uh, by, by police officers. And that includes things like rubber bullets and tear gas, which we've certainly seen in protests in recent weeks. Speaker 1: 05:09 Okay. And lawmakers also passed a couple of bills aimed at addressing systemic racism, including one by assembly woman, Shirley Weber of San Diego. Speaker 3: 05:17 That's right. The bill would create a task force to review reparations and what that would look like in California. And this is notable because it's something that has evaded lawmakers at the federal level for quite some time. And there was also a bill that would require greater diversity on corporate boards, specifically, uh, individuals from underrepresented communities based on race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Speaker 1: 05:43 What were some other closely watched bills that did not get through? Speaker 3: 05:47 Probably the biggest one was pro tem Tony Atkins bill that would allow duplexes on single family parcels. This was an effort to try to address California's severe Speaker 4: 05:58 Housing shortage. And it got through the assembly with three minutes to spare before midnight, but there just simply wasn't enough time to get it back to the Senate for a vote that widely was considered to pass easily. There was also a bill that would reduce single use plastic products that many environmental advocates were pushing for and environmentalists were watching closely, but that also simply just didn't get through. Now, the governor has until the end of the month to sign the bills. We've been speaking with Scott rod state government reporter with Capitol public radio. Scott, thanks so much. Thank you for having me Speaker 5: 06:37 Restaurants and bars, hair salons, gyms, places of worship, and many schools are reopening this week, inviting people back indoors as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. And that's a really bad decision right now. According to 11 medical and scientific experts at UC San Diego, they sent a letter to public health officials and County supervisors on Monday, urging them to reconsider dr. Robert schooly distinguished professor of medicine at UC San Diego is one of the people who signed the letter and he joins me now welcome to the program. Thank you. We'll start with a main concern. You and your colleagues have. Why do you want County leaders to hold off on reopening so many businesses and activities right now Speaker 4: 07:20 We've made great progress. Over the last six weeks, we saw a viral epidemic get out of control again, after a Memorial day weekend, the 4th of July with reopening of a lot of these indoor activities. Um, and, um, with the pullback that began in the mid July, we saw a major change, uh, with, uh, reduced numbers of new cases, fewer people in the hospital, fewer deaths. Um, and we've gotten to the point now we can begin to start. We opening things and we're anxious to reopen things that are the lowest risk first. And then as we see how that goes, then gradually reopened things that may be a bit higher risk. And right now the highest risk activities are things that require people to be without masks and doors. You highlight them Speaker 5: 08:06 The fact that though there's been a decline in the number of infections in San Diego County, that improvement has not been evenly distributed among various communities, right? Speaker 4: 08:16 That's right. There's some neighborhoods in San Diego County that still have relatively large amounts of our activity. And, um, large enough that if you happen to be in a, uh, indoor establishment with, um, a handful of people, uh, there's a good chance somebody who's going to be shutting bearers. Um, some parts of San Diego County, um, have gotten the abstinence down to a relatively low level. And the chance of running into somebody in doors, um, is substantially lower. Uh, we would really like to see it be low all over the County. So we don't disproportionately, but, uh, areas of San Diego County, um, that haven't reached these low levels at increased risk. Speaker 5: 08:58 And these would be a historically underprivileged zip codes, places like Sandra Seadrill, for example, lemon Grove. Speaker 4: 09:04 That's exactly right. These are areas that we have seen the most morbidity and mortality from, and we don't want to see that get restarted Speaker 5: 09:13 In your letter. You're talking about waiting til October 1st, what would that accomplish? Speaker 4: 09:18 Well, if we stay with what we've been doing, uh, the goal would be to see this, the number of new infections amount of our activity in the general population continue to decline, which would mean that you could have larger numbers of people in a group, uh, with a smaller chance of having viral sharing. It just makes the overall condition safer, uh, to begin to put people together in spaces that they may not be mass. I think some of the things that they want to reopen are relatively safe. I know I wouldn't mind going and getting a haircut. For example, if I were wearing a mask and I think of the density that was dealt with appropriately and people are mass churches might be an area that you could reopen sooner. Then you can reopen air, um, activities that really can't function without mass coming off like restaurants and bars. Speaker 5: 10:05 And the letter States that schools really should be the priority now and businesses. And some of these that you've mentioned can really wait, explain the reasoning behind that. Speaker 4: 10:14 Well, we need to get the schools open to be first of all, to educate the goods. And secondly, to be able to get business open more broadly, a lot of parents are stuck at home providing childcare. And if we can get the schools open safely, uh, I think we'll have a better chance of getting more people back to work sooner. Then we risk having to close down again, uh, three or four weeks into the school year because we've got a number of activities that are rekindling the epidemic around us. This is really a pro business position. From our perspective, we realize that some businesses will be more effective than others about this, but the broader business community will benefit by having the epidemic continue to decline. Speaker 5: 10:52 And of course, the question becomes, how do you reopen schools safely? Speaker 4: 10:55 I guess our perspective is if we can get those schools up and going safe, William, and, uh, don't have to close them down, we can then start thinking about opening up other things. But if we open everything at one time, we won't know whether to close the schools or close the restaurant or close the bars or just close everything. And that'll put us back to where we were in mid July and we'll be starting all over again and trying to figure out what to do in December. When we get back to where we had been at the end of August Speaker 5: 11:23 And many business owners argue that forcing them into bankruptcy and their employees out of jobs is as bad as getting sick with the virus. What's the response to that argument. Speaker 4: 11:32 We haven't done a very good job as a country and supporting these business owners and these employees, we were a bill was discussed in Congress, passed by the house of representatives, but then was not acted on by the Senate. We should be supporting the businesses that are disproportionately affected by this as we did in the spring. So that when we're ready, they're here to back to business. Speaker 5: 11:54 I think we've simultaneously agitated to open them, but also turned our backs on them as a society. And I think that's not fair to them. Well, and you bring up the point that we can't really talk about science here without discussing leadership and politics. And this dilemma, the tension between shutting down the need to keep businesses and workers solvent has been with us since the start of the pandemic some six months ago. Uh, and you'll note that the Democrats in the house passed a second stimulus bill months ago. We're not hearing so much about that right now, Republicans in the Senate and president Trump refused to take it up. Uh, there's nobody talking. Uh, the, the, Senate's not even in Washington right now, but what's the response from your medical, uh, group, uh, on the vacuum of leadership? Well, the vacuum of leadership has hurt us a lot. Speaker 5: 12:40 Uh, we would have not been having this discussion about, uh, bars and restaurants that people had put on masks in the spring and, and gotten this epidemic, uh, under control without the second way we had all summer. So this lack of consistent leadership, the lack of, of, uh, science-based policies, uh, and the lack of policies that support businesses in the midst of all of this, uh, have had our country's response be one that, uh, I think it has to be held up as the worst in the world, uh, which is why we've had the largest number of deaths, the largest number of cases, uh, and you know, at the outset with the most insight into what's going on the best science in the world. Uh, but the worst adherence to scientific, uh, knowledge, uh, has gotten us to where we are. I've been speaking with dr. Robert schooly distinguished professor of medicine at UC San Diego. Thanks very much. Thanks very much. Have a good day. Speaker 1: 13:42 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Alison st. John with Mark Sauer, police departments now have to release videos within 45 days. Every time an officer fires their weapon or uses force that causes great broadly injury. But the Lord does not say all the video KPBS, investigative reporter, Claire triggers her phone. This has created an opportunity for a private contractor to produce edited video packages. And it's raised questions from activists and right to know advocates, one warning. This story contains graphic audio. It had been less than a month since the nation erupted in protest. Following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. When on June 27th, San Diego officers shot a man in downtown almost immediately. The news was up on social media and protestors gathered at the scene and called for the release of the officer's body camera and other video of the shooting until last year, such calls would often fall on deaf ears police agencies. Weren't required to release video in a specific timeframe. Speaker 6: 14:52 So in many cases they would keep it secret indefinitely, but a new state law AB seven 48 requires release of these videos within 45 days. In this case, the San Diego police department released a video within 24 hours stop. But the video didn't include all the raw footage of the shooting. Instead, the department paid a private contractor, $5,000 to produce a package, chronicling the event, the complete digital evidence of the shooting, which could include body camera, footage, surveillance video from nearby stores, video from smart street, light cameras and witness cell phone video hasn't been released yet. And likely won't be for at least a year or more when the full investigation into the shooting is complete. This approach does not violate the law, says police spokesman, Lieutenant Sean tech. Speaker 7: 15:49 What it says is released video essentially to, to the public so that the public understands what occurred. It doesn't say release of all video. It doesn't say release of all raw images. It's essentially just enough information to the public. So the public understands what, Speaker 6: 16:05 But some open record advocates and activists like Tasha Williamson. Aren't satisfied Speaker 7: 16:11 If we're going to talk about transparency, I called chief in his light, the chief of transparency, because he's not Speaker 6: 16:17 Right. So for me, yeah, Speaker 7: 16:19 If he's the chief of chest PRC, then release all the video Speaker 6: 16:22 Tech UT disputed any suggestion that the department would produce misleading videos, Speaker 7: 16:27 The video isn't isn't about really seeing what's the best the video releasing the video is about what happens. Speaker 6: 16:32 It was produced by a Vacaville based critical incident video, former TV news journalist. Laura Cole started the company last year and now has contracts with about 100 police agencies statewide. We're going to review the body cam footage. We're going to ask for the nine one one call. If there was one we're going to ask for witness statements, we're going to ask for any cell phone footage that might be taken by a bystander, we're going to ask for surveillance video, anything that would help bring context to the situation. She then creates productions that usually lasts for about 10 minutes. San Diego's videos often start with a message from police chief David Nisley describing the context of the shooting Speaker 7: 17:13 Move slowly. And then an officer saw him reach for a gun. Speaker 6: 17:16 The video uses maps audio from nine one, one calls and onscreen text to give more information before showing footage of the actual shooting. Cole says she produces objective accounts of the incidents, but she acknowledges that she's being paid by the departments. And they have final say over the version that is released to the public. Obviously at the end of the day, this is their video. So they could take something out or add something in that they want it. Cole says San Diego police and other departments will tell her what footage they want redacted before she starts editing. But she's never had a department order changes to a video after it's been produced. And she says she would drop a department as a client. If she felt it was operating in bad faith, Speaker 8: 18:02 Okay. Hand us and said, we want you to say this video or make us look good. I wouldn't take on that project because that is not going to build community trust. Speaker 6: 18:10 Cole says it's important to her that the videos she produces tell the full story. She calls the people who work for her transparency, engagement advisors. Speaker 8: 18:20 They are being hired and paid right by the police department. Speaker 6: 18:25 Bailing shot is the Dean of the college of communications at California state university Fullerton. She says that doesn't make the company a truly objective outside source. Still. She says producing a video can be helpful Speaker 8: 18:40 By framing the information it's potentially helpful because all of us are so inundated on a daily basis with information that having that information framed for us and contextualized for us is helpful to our understanding. However, because in some communities, there has been a history of mistrust between community members and law enforcement. This is where you run into a challenge. If there is a perception that somehow information may be framed in a way that is not supportive of people being able to fully and accurately draw their own conclusions. Speaker 6: 19:26 The critical incident videos are also produced in a way to tell a story from the police. Department's point of view says, Jeremy Ru, he's the associate Dean at UC Berkeley's graduate school of journalism Speaker 9: 19:38 Set up this, you know, this narrative arc, if you will, of the piece, uh, one of the things that they do, and this is a very popular, um, technique and fiction storytelling, uh, is to set up the scene initially to preface your video or your content with some context. So by contextualizing the video before you even see it, you've already been equipped with certain knowledge, and that's what you see in movies. That's what you see in commercials. That's what you see in all kinds of creative media. You know, they opening narration that sorts of sets up the scene. Speaker 6: 20:15 Ru also noted that the San Diego police department is making redactions in some videos, which is an editorial choice. For example, when officers shot Toby Diller on January 24th in the Oak park neighborhood, after a struggle where Diller reached for an officer's gun, the audio is redacted immediately after the officer shoots text in the video, it says that portion is redacted quote because of graphic audio. That was a result of the gunshot wound to mr. Diller. We, that audio Speaker 8: 20:48 Disturbing and it's released in this form would be disrespectful and gratuitous. Speaker 9: 20:53 If I had more trust in the police, you know, and I, and I felt that they were entities that are more transparent and held themselves accountable and, um, and had a degree of humility about the way they go about doing things. Then I might see that in my degree. Okay. That's I appreciate that they didn't, uh, you know, uh, put out audio of someone dying in agony. Uh, and, and I might accept that. Um, but I think in this age, just seeing all of the instances where, um, of, of, of police malfeasance and, and, and unjustified shootings it, um, that redaction comes across with a lot of skepticism. Speaker 8: 21:33 San Diego police ever released all the videos of their officers, shooting people in the past year, except one that should show an officer shooting a woman in her apartment in the East village on May 23rd tomorrow, we'll explore the reasons why it hasn't been released. Claire Trek, Asser, KPBS news, Speaker 2: 22:02 Going to school via a computer screen at home is a challenge for any student, but that's compounded when the student doesn't speak English and whose family is poor one in five San Diego students returning to virtual school this month, our English learners, KPBS border and immigration reporter max Rivlin Nadler has this story about how teachers are bridging the digital divide to reach these students. Sylvia Miranda is a first grade teacher at Nickoloff elementary school, which is part of the South Bay union school district. This district serves 7,000 students just over half of them are English language learners, meaning they don't speak English at home. So when the pandemic hit in March during your crucial stage of development, these students' language acquisition dropped off. Speaker 8: 22:47 It was a huge challenge. First, the wall, many of them don't have internet access. They're just, you know, low income. So internet is too expensive for many of them Speaker 2: 22:57 Miranda handed out some hotspots for her students, but gone were the one on one conversation she had with them to develop their language skills, Miranda scrambled, to shift online while her students and their parents grappled with the immediate shift to virtual learning. Speaker 8: 23:11 I don't think I can even count the number of hours that I had to spend just to figure out the new platform on how to do lessons online, how to download videos. It was a lot of work just to get things going. If he was challenging for me, matching touchdown to the West, where my parents, Speaker 2: 23:30 After a summer of preparation, Miranda's virtual class opened on Monday. All students in the district have been given a laptop and internet access, but many of them will be without parental assistance. While in class, Speaker 8: 23:42 They cannot afford just to stay home. Like we, they have to go and work. So our students are kind of, um, sometimes on their own with older siblings, Speaker 2: 23:52 Miranda explains there will be virtual breakout groups for more personal instruction, along with the use of prepared videos, to demonstrate concepts and individual work. But it's going to be tricky for teachers to reach these youngest students for these language learners. Any instruction time lost, could reverberate with them for years. Magali lavenders is a professor of English learner research at Loyola Marymount university. She runs a program that creates curriculums to promote equity for English language learners. She's worried about how a general drop in instruction time, which will vary district by district will impact English language learners Speaker 8: 24:26 At the learning loss that we fear is going to be true for all children because of the pandemic is then going to be inequitably magnified for English learner students. Speaker 2: 24:37 And she says, virtual classrooms at the end of the day are still no substitute for in-person language instruction. Speaker 8: 24:43 Part of the exacerbation is that people are even with the best of internet technology are still disconnected from each other, Speaker 2: 24:52 Still teachers and students in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, especially Latino communities have found ways to deepen their connections. Speaker 8: 25:00 It really has emphasized and what the depth and breadth of the needs of families are. Speaker 2: 25:06 Well, teachers are trying to be there for their students emotionally during this time, it's no replacement for the social cues that a teacher can pick up on for English language learners in the classroom, Speaker 8: 25:17 Because kids who are English learners, just imagine that the conundrum here of understanding what the teacher is trying to explain to you. She is basically right in front of you and only a box Speaker 2: 25:27 Jorge Cuevas Antionne is San Diego counties coordinator for multi-lingual education across multiple school districts. Even as the County has provided ready-made curriculums support and specific standards to teachers. He's not downplaying the challenges this year poses for teachers and their dual language students, especially as conversations between students play such a large role in language acquisition. Speaker 8: 25:50 You can imagine that for our really young kids at TK, pre-K kinder, it's really tough to expect the kids to be managing conversations and to easily gather all their attention back up. Speaker 2: 26:03 Everything's made all the more difficult as teachers try to battle through barriers of language technology and just general bureaucracy over the weekend with classes set to start in just a few hours, parents and teachers in the South Bay posted in Facebook groups about the lack of class assignments log in credentials and zoom links all setting up a first week of school like no other, especially for students who need the attention the most. Speaker 5: 26:28 And joining me now is reporter max Rivlin Nadler, max, welcome back to the program. Good to be here. Well, it's clear why the challenge is so great for these students, teachers and parents and max, our school administrators discussing tutors for, for such kids focus on their English skills. Now that schools are partially reopening or after the pandemic subsides, when all students are back at school. Speaker 10: 26:51 So a lot of these students do get small group instruction in a regular setting where they'll have other teachers or instructors who are specialists in English, language, learning and acquisition who work with children who need that extra help. We need that one on one attention, and that's even going to keep happening in the virtual setting. They're going to do these breakout groups virtually to, to kind of, um, get children who are a little bit behind up to speed, and really try to focus on one on one, because that's so important. Um, in terms of actual one in-person tutors, of course the pandemic places have a bunch of barriers in front of that. And not only that, but just in terms of, um, human power, right? Teachers are already stretched pretty thin. We get into this feature, um, basically about how many hours per day and how, how long of a process this is for teachers to really try to get everything prepared for digital presentation. Of course, as we're learning right now, everything is so much easier to do, especially language learning and language teaching. When you're in person, you could show somebody an object and you could have them connect to a word it's just that much harder virtually. And of course, anybody who's acquired a language later in life will tell you living somewhere where that language is spoken, just makes all the difference. Speaker 5: 28:05 You interviewed a professor of English learner research that was at Loyola Marymount. Uh, she talked about the disparities being magnified by the pandemic for English learners. Can you expand on that? Speaker 10: 28:18 Yeah, so we know in terms of people who are learning English, they're already at a great disadvantage, right? Um, or they, they haven't had as many opportunities that other people have had to pick up the language from their parents. So they're really, um, basically not only acting as a bridge between their parents and the English speaking world, um, they're trying to, to find their own footing as well. That comes along with all the other parts about being, um, especially in the South Bay, being a binational family, um, being, uh, immigrants to the United States is that you have to, um, you know, basically make up for things like technological gaps. The internet is still incredibly expensive. Um, you know, 30 years after we created it for whatever reason, it's still a lot of money. And these are really tough things for families that, um, a lot of whom are essential workers, um, that have been stretched thin by the pandemic. Speaker 10: 29:12 People who, um, are falling back on rent. So we already have disparities even going into a pre pandemic world. And of course, as we're finding out through the course of this pandemic, these are being widened by the pandemic itself and kind of exposing the inequities in society. And it, it gets right even down to the classroom level where if you miss out on those kinds of vital years of language acquisition, because kids are not just like learning to speak a language they're learning to have over it and use it in an academic setting. And that's much harder than just, you know, again, you are me learning the language Speaker 5: 29:48 And the professor also talked about the importance of human connections in a time of virtual learning. How are teachers working to deepen the emotional support and make connections with families at this time? Speaker 10: 30:00 Yeah. I spoke with one teacher in the South Bay, Sylvia Miranda. She's been a teacher, I believe at this one school for 26 years. And she, you know, through this virtual platform, she's been getting messages from her students, maybe 10 30, 11 o'clock at night saying, I miss you. I wish I was in class, things like that. So, and she's responding to them. So I think the teachers are acting, especially for these younger ages, you know, K through five, um, as kind of, you know, still their conduits to the outside world. Cause their world kind of got really small in a hurry and that's really tough for, for little kids. Um, so, you know, they are finding new ways to kind of connect to the emotional world of their students as well as being their teachers. Because if you think about, you know, early childhood development, your teacher was kind of that, um, emotional guide as well. They weren't just teaching you things. They were leading you on adventures. They were listening to your concerns. They were talking you down when you had a breakdown, you know, these things aren't just not happening right now. So it's, it's just another thing that a teacher will have to deal with virtually. Speaker 5: 31:05 Finally, do you get a sense from teachers that the loss learning time these students are experiencing now can be made up later or is this just an experiment born of necessity and it's going to play out and nobody really knows what long lasting impacts this is going to have. Speaker 10: 31:20 Yeah. We don't know the long lasting impacts. What we do know is that it kind of surrounds these students on all sides, right? You lose the learning time during this crucial developmental stage. And then the school district that you're attending school in could have serious economic consequences from this pandemic as well. So maybe you have less teachers in the future. Maybe you don't get those tutors that you needed. Maybe this technology that came in over the past few months, maybe that gets old and outdated. Um, so I think, you know, basically we need to be, or teachers need to be really on their guard to make sure that the things that were lost during this time, those losses aren't compounded by other losses, um, that could happen to school districts that have nothing to do with these kids, um, and everything to do with basically the fact that we are in an economic downfall right now that will reverberate at the state and local level and really hit children who have tried extremely hard so far to learn language and, and catch up with their peers. Um, the hardest Speaker 5: 32:25 I'm sure this will be studied and looked at for a long, long time to come. Well. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max Ribble and Nadler. Thanks max. Thanks. Speaker 8: 32:38 Some economic effects Speaker 1: 32:40 Of the pandemic are surprising in spite of job losses and high unemployment. The median price of a resale single family home in San Diego County is still rising and it hit an all time high of $700,000 in July here to explain what is going on and what this means for San Diego. Homeowners is Phil Molnar who covers residential real estate for the San Diego union Tribune. Welcome, Speaker 11: 33:03 Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 1: 33:05 Why are residential home prices still going up when we're also hearing about so much economic uncertainty and financial hardship in the community, Speaker 11: 33:13 Right? And even confuses and surprises me month to month. So one of the biggest things we have going on right now in San Diego County is we have very few homes for sale. Normally San Diego is a market without a lot of homes for sale, just because we're not really building a lot. And people that live here want to stay here. But what has been happening recently is a lot of people with good reason, do not want to put their homes on the market right now, if they had been planning to sell. Part of the reason for that is you don't want to potentially drag COVID-19 into your home. A bunch of people looking at it and whatnot. And also during times of uncertainty, such as a recession or in this case, a pandemic slash recession thing. People really want to stay where they're at. Speaker 11: 33:59 They don't want to move at the moment. So because of that, we don't have a lot of homes on the market, but the people in San Diego home buyers or potential home buyers that really want a home right now, they're getting into these crazy price Wars that are driving up the price of homes in San Diego County. So that's why we saw in July home prices. Overall median hit all time high of 634,000, which is just, it's kind of baffling to me because for so long, San Diego County was the one place in Southern California that never hit that 600,000 Mark. And not only did we hit it in June, we've now blown past it by a $34,000 jump. So it's pretty wild stuff. Speaker 1: 34:42 So that's 634,000 includes single family homes and condos. Right, Speaker 11: 34:47 Right. And newly built homes. But we really don't have a lot of newly built homes. So it's sort of statistically, incidentally. Speaker 1: 34:53 Hmm. No, despite there being fewer homes on the market, not only are prices up, but sales are up. Why is that? Speaker 11: 34:59 So it's weird. Sales have been down really, really sharply, like the biggest drop in 10 years, a few months ago. But what has been happening lately though, has been what we're seeing is people willing to pay more and more for homes. So I think it's sort of increasing the number of sales because earlier the pandemic people weren't really willing to take that huge leap to really go that much over their asking price. But now we've started to see more of a softening of that in that people are willing to make multiple offers on different properties. So I think that's a big part of the reason sales are going up. And also we are starting to get, even though inventory is still really low, it is starting to go up a little bit from those first couple months that pandemic. So some people, a few hundred, at least in San Diego County are feeling a little more comfortable putting their homes on the market, but just keep in mind, that's still lower than it's been the past couple of years. Speaker 1: 35:55 Who are the buyers? I mean, now these investors from out of the County or people moving around internally. Speaker 11: 36:02 Oh, actually it's interesting. Not seeing a lot of investor traffic yet. The assumption right now with a lot of venture capital funding is a lot of big firms are sort of gearing up for say the home market go crashing down in December. If, and when that happens, um, and buy a property sense. We're not seeing a lot of traffic right now. What we're seeing right now is either people moving to the area or it's people that have lived here in San Diego for a long time. And they're seeing the value of home ownership. Now, maybe more than ever just saying, forget it, I'm going to do it. Speaker 1: 36:36 And our price is rising faster at the top of the market. You know, the luxury homes or also for your average family home, Speaker 11: 36:43 Our luxury market is on fire. Ever since the pandemic started, there have been tons of record breaking purchases. I think back to bill Gates, buying a home in Del Mar back in March, all these kinds of things and a lot of sales happening in Rancho Santa Fe, a big reason for that is affluent. People really want to get away from hot zones like in New York city. And they want to get a lot of space. San Diego County. When you look at the numbers has very few COVID cases compare to some of those dense areas and we're more spread out. So that made the luxury market take off. That was one of my first bigger stories around March. April is just all these huge sales. But what we're also seeing is on the lower end, the lower end too, you know, a lot of people try to dissuade me from writing about the price being so high and say, Oh yes, well, we're getting all these big ones, but you can see it at the low end. I mean, just take a year ago, there were still homes on the market for 350,000 in city Heights, Logan Heights, those areas in the city of San Diego. But now you can't find them anywhere. It's all at least 400,000. I think that that kind of sums up that it's all parts of the market. Speaker 1: 37:59 So there's always this fear that we could be entering another bubble phase. Like the one before the 2006 crowds housing crash. Could that be a risk? Now? Speaker 11: 38:07 I want to say it's still could be a risk, but I think what's happening now. And what I've hear a lot of experts telling me is the reason we're seeing so many home buying things going on right now is people are taking advantage of low mortgage interest rates. So in that sense, they're sort of acting rationally. Whereas we can see back around 2005, 2006, when that housing boom was going on, people were acting irrationally. They were taking out loans on homes would be very difficult Speaker 12: 38:36 To pay back. Whereas now credit restrictions are still kind of tough. So these people that are actually buying these homes right now for really high amount of money and taking advantage of mortgage interest rates, they are actually possibly, and arguably making a rational decision based on these interest rates that this might be a good time for them to buy. So, um, in that sense, we have a lot of financially secure people buying homes right now, the low end workers, the low income workers that have lost their jobs because of that, the endemic, they couldn't buy a house before and they sure as heck can't buy a house. Now, Speaker 13: 39:14 Phil, thanks so much for keeping us up to date on that. Speaker 12: 39:17 Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 13: 39:18 We'll be speaking with Phil Molnar who covers residential real estate for the San Diego union Tribune. Speaker 12: 39:36 Hi Mark Sauer with Alison st. John you're listening to KPBS midday edition, horrible imaginings film festival kicks off its online event. Tonight it's dedicated to horror and fantasy genre films, KPBS arts reporter, Beth Armando speaks with festival, founder and director Miguel Rodriguez about showcasing horror in the midst of a pandemic and social unrest Speaker 13: 40:01 For full disclosure. I've been working with horrible imagining since it began a decade ago here in San Diego, the cost of venues here in town forced you to move the festival to orange County. And now with COVID, you're taking it online. So Miguel, how does it feel to be launching this festival this year online in the midst of a panic? Speaker 12: 40:21 That's a loaded question right off the top. You know, what, what I'm most excited about is I've started. I've been able to use the skillset from the, from the education world, because for the last several months I've been working at UC San Diego, helping instructors to teach remotely and what, you know, some of the best practices of that are. And I've been using that to think about how we want to do a remote festival. So that has been interesting. Speaker 13: 40:50 And what can people specifically expect from the online experience from horrible imagining Speaker 12: 40:56 This year? This has always been a community event for me. So how do I maintain the community aspect when you know, we're sitting in our homes and you know, also full disclosure, I was able to practice by having a mini event back in June called campfire tales. And we did that remotely. So I was able to get data from that and apply it to how I do this, including this is going to cost a lot more than I was expecting it to, but also what are audiences expecting? What do they want? And also what can we offer filmmakers if we can't offer them like in person networking opportunities or chances to connect with the audience in the same room. So I've been trying to build opportunities for community building in the virtual environment. And also I've had to let some things go. There is a group of people out there, a segment of the audience who are fine, just watching things at home and, and like the flexibility of being able to watch it whenever they want. Speaker 12: 42:04 And then there are also a segment of the audience who want this to kind of mirror the festival experience and watch it the same time as their friends and be able to talk about it at the same time. So I've combined the two, um, I have a schedule that has suggested what we're calling co watch periods, where we're for the festival audience, only a special zoom meeting that we're calling the lobby, where they can come and get tech support and hang out and talk about what they saw. Um, and it's all just about building opportunities to connect over what we saw and building opportunities in where people can on their own collaborate and coordinate and watch at the same time and live, tweet it and write reviews on letterboxed. And you know, one of the nice things about the virtual space is a person can with one click of a button now say, say, I really liked this short film lenses. I want to share it with Twitter and they can just click the Twitter button and push it out. And that's not really something you can do very easily in person don't really want your phone out in the middle of the movie. So you could definitely do that now. And I'm, I'm encouraging that Speaker 13: 43:19 You are running shorts and features, but talk about how you do your programming blocks for the shorts. Cause it's not going to be just like animated films or together or foreign films or in one place it's more thematically divided. Speaker 12: 43:32 You know, this year I was wondering what we were going to start seeing thematically from the pandemic. And certainly that started to rear its head, but we stopped taking submissions around may. So there wasn't really enough time to get a lot of submissions that were all about people being isolated in indoors with a, an illness going around. But the thing about genre in particular horror, fat, dark fantasy science fiction is first. It works really well in the short film format because it's, that's why I call the quarterly series campfire tales. It really is like these kind of campfire tales or urban legends, where we are talking about the things that scare us or, or our anxieties airing our anxieties. And also we're afraid of something for reasons. So you start to see these really cool, you know, shared themes start to pop up. And for example, one of our themes is called twisted in a sense where you have these characters who are either children or cute fuzzy animals or things like that. And they show a very dark side challenging. It's really interesting to see when different voices can share a same thread, even though their films might be radically different. It might be scary. It might be funny. It might be animated like you said, but they are expressing the same kinds of things. Speaker 13: 45:18 As the name implies horrible imaginings is about horror and you've mentioned genre films, but what role can horror play at this moment in time when we're quarantining at home, we're facing a pandemic there's social unrest. There's a lot of just general anxiety and Ken horror help us through this. Speaker 12: 45:39 Yes, I I've found myself recently kind of questioning my role as a film festival director and why I'm doing this and how I can keep it up. When I still see people being shot by the police and protests happening and counter protesters arriving with automatic weapons. And, you know, the world seems just awful right now. You know, why would you want to watch you hear this all the time? Why would you want to watch this? The world is scary enough. And to some degree, I understand why they're asking that, but my answer has always been, I want to watch it because the world is scary enough. Like the purpose is, is to express these feelings, get them out there and also share them and let it be like a way to have conversations with people about things that are uncomfortable. You know, for me, it serves the purpose of exercising, dark feelings and providing that moment where it's an opportunity to have conversations about things that are not comfortable. And you know, it shouldn't be comfortable. This is not a comfortable genre. Speaker 13: 46:48 The features you have is actually a documentary and it's your closing night film. If, if we can call things closing night anymore online. Um, but it's hail to the deadites Speaker 12: 46:58 Documentary talks about the subculture of evil dead fans, which has included not only, you know, people who dress up as the characters or buy the toys, but also things like evil, dead, the musical, and some of the other just wild pop culture stuff around it. So I do think that for people who like that series and more specifically, the people who like it to such a degree that they'll, I don't know, make a pizza NAMEC on, um, might be something that they can relate to. Speaker 5: 47:33 That was Beth Huck. Amando speaking with Miguel Rodriguez of horrible imaginings film festival, the festival streams. Tonight through Monday, you can hear more about the festival on Beth's cinema junkie podcast tomorrow.

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On the last day of session Monday night, California lawmakers passed bills for eviction relief, police oversight and accountability and COVID-19 aid. These have been sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for approval. Plus, some UC San Diego doctors and scientists are urging county officials to delay reopening more businesses. Also, a 2019 law mandates California police departments must release videos when an officer fires their weapon. However, the videos are edited and don't contain all of the footage. And South Bay teachers are trying to bridge the digital divide for English language learners as the school year begins with distance learning. Plus, the median home price in San Diego County is rising despite widespread unemployment. Finally, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival kicks off its online event tonight. The festival is dedicated to horror, sci-fi and fantasy genre films.