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As COVID-19 Vaccine Nears, Many In The Black Community Are Wary

 November 23, 2020 at 11:19 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 Any new COVID vaccine needs to overcome a legacy of district. Speaker 2: 00:05 There's a history and also present day inequities that shape the issue for a lot of minorities. Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Alison st. John. This is KPBS midday edition, A glimpse into COVID nineteens impact on the San Diego city budget. San Diego is heavily reliant on tourism for tax revenue that comes from that both hotel tax and sales tax, San Diego groups asked for your help in creating a new vision to address hunger in the County and San Diego. Mayor's write a story about a butterfly to help fund domestic violence shelters. That's a head-on midday edition, Speaker 1: 01:01 Even as new COVID cases, continue to rise sharply in San Diego comes the good news that another vaccine is reporting good results of vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company. AstraZeneca and the university of Oxford is reporting 90% effectiveness in stage three trials, but not everyone is eager to get one of those shots, especially among communities of color in a recent survey by the public policy Institute of California, 43% of Latinos and 69% of black respondents said they either probably, or definitely would not get the vaccine. It appears that public health officials will need to overcome a legacy of distrust in those communities before any COVID vaccine can be effective. Joining me is Jonathan Rosen. He's the San Diego union Tribune biotech reporter, and Jonathan, welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. This may come as a surprise to people outside communities of color because Latinos and African-Americans have been hardest hit by COVID-19. What are the concerns that may keep people from being vaccinated? Speaker 2: 02:11 So I, I think many of the basic concerns are widely shared among people of all backgrounds, all races and ethnicities questions about to what role the push for a vaccine has been driven by politics, how safe the vaccine is, what the real contents are, whether people will have access to it. Um, yeah, at the end, once the government has approved a vaccine, but for many people of color, those basic concerns are amplified by a history of, uh, those communities being used in trials and various types of experiments. Uh, not always really with their consent or, or full information. And then on the backend, not being given access to treatments that have done been proven to be safe and life-saving, so I think the there's a history and also present day inequities that, that shape the issue for a lot of minorities. It was also just the general issue that the push for a vaccine has been driven by the government and driven by drug companies. And those are two institutions that, uh, many people are generally wary of and that don't have strong presence always in these communities. Speaker 1: 03:28 Can you give us more of a rundown of where this legacy of distrust of medicine comes from with certain examples from history in the black and Brown communities? Speaker 2: 03:39 Sure. So usually the, the one that everybody will point to is the Tuskegee study, which ran from 1932 to 1972, and essentially the U S government, uh, researchers were looking to track the progression, the natural untreated progression of syphilis and did that, and about 400 black men in the South who had syphilis as well as 200 who didn't and essentially just reported their symptoms over the course of 40 years. Despite the fact that those men thought they were being treated, they were not a couple of penicillin injections probably would have cured many of them, and we know dozens of them died. And so that was eventually brought to light in 1972. But, uh, that's one among many examples. You could talk about the founder of modern gynecology, dr. J Marion Sims who, uh, literally performed surgery on enslaved women without anesthesia. Uh, and part of the reason for that is this sort of sense that black people tend to not feel pain as acutely as white people. Speaker 2: 04:48 And now there's polling even today that suggests that plenty of people still have that belief. Uh, and you can look at present day disparities in terms of everything from who's been hit hardest by the virus to a groups of women are most likely to die in childbirth. And, um, you know, if you show up to the doctor's office and say that you're feeling pain, are you equally likely to get treated for it depending on your race? So the sort of underlying thread here has that there's a, a history that has continued and in different shapes and forms into the present, Speaker 1: 05:25 You spoke with an African American doctor in San Diego who did not want to solicit her patients to join in the vaccine trials. Why not? Speaker 2: 05:34 Yeah. So Suzanne Afflalo, who's at practice as a family physician for about 23 years, uh, through Kaiser. Um, I spoke with her as part of the story and, you know, her initial reaction was essentially, uh, not so fast and the way she explained that was that people have come into that community and past many time and wanted to collect data or do some kind of study that they then publish get grants for and, and move on from, uh, without any of that benefiting the community in some tangible ways. So, you know, she was coming in, I think, concerned about operation warp speed in the sense that, uh, we were moving too quickly with the vaccine, also wanting the process to be well explained to her. One of the things she said was, well, you know, you have to convince me before I'm going to go out into the community and tell people I trust that, that this really is a, uh, a safe and effective clinical trial to be part of that was what they were contacting her about. So she just essentially wanted to be able to ask some direct questions of the researchers before then going into the community and sharing that information with them. Speaker 1: 06:51 Now in your reporting, have you found that public health officials are aware that many people of color are hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine and what are they doing here in San Diego to try to reach out to people like this doctor and people in general who just have these concerns? Speaker 2: 07:11 So they're certainly aware of it. Uh, I know that the County, along with UC San Diego and San Diego refugee communities, coalition has been involved in coordinating focus groups and polling, uh, communities of color to try to get a better handle on what the issue is, what the questions are and how best to address them. And it's not something that I think we've seen the County talk about publicly too much lately, maybe to some degree, because we're right in the middle of dealing with the day to day spikes in cases and hospitalizations. But, uh, they, they definitely realize that we're getting to a point where it's a matter of when, rather than if we have a vaccine and for that vaccine to be effective, uh, we need a large number of people to take it. Speaker 1: 08:03 Mayor Alejandra Sotelo solace of national city has participated in one of the vaccine trials in the County, very publicly. And she's urging more people in her community to join is that kind of leadership needed to help convince people that the vaccines are trustworthy? Speaker 2: 08:22 Well, that's probably one piece, you know, one thing that the mayor told me I'm that, um, also some other doctors and other people have told me is that it's going to be important to have trusted members of the community that are, uh, the people can look to and say, this is somebody I already know. I already, uh, you know, trust them. And if they believe that the vaccine is safe and effective, then, then that sounds fine by me. And, uh, dr. Rodney hood is a part of a, both with the state of California, as well as the national medical association, which is a group of black physicians. Who's going to be essentially independently reviewing any approved vaccine. And part of that is to give a sense of independence and credibility to that process. So I think having those trusted messengers will probably be very important, I think will also be important, is having opportunities for people to ask questions of researchers, of public health officials, about how these vaccines work what's in them and what the various benefits and risks are. So I think it's a combination of the messengers, but also having opportunities to directly ask those questions, Speaker 3: 09:39 You know, to your point previously, Jonathan, I think a lot of Americans have a question in the back of their minds about what this vaccines, a wall hot, these vaccines are and how they could be safely produced so quickly. Should the government be more transparent about this whole process? Speaker 2: 09:57 I think so. I think in some ways the pharmaceutical companies have had to compensate for that. So we've seen a lot of these companies sharing their full trial protocols. These are giant hundred plus page documents that detail exactly how the trial will be conducted. What side-effects, they'll look for, what their measures of success will be. Uh, and they've had to come out publicly and say that they won't rush the trials until they meet those criteria and the protocol. And I think one of the reasons that they've had to do that is to combat the sense that, uh, that the government is looking to get as quickly as possible to a vaccine and, uh, lowering the bar in the process. So, yeah, I think that would be a helpful thing. Speaker 3: 10:45 I've been speaking with San Diego, Union-Tribune biotech reporter, Jonathan Rosen, and Jonathan, thank you. My pleasure. Thank you. The city of San Diego is projecting an $86 million budget deficit next year. It's early days in the budget process, but here to give us a glimpse into how the economic impact of COVID-19 could hit the city is David Garrick, who covers city hall for the San Diego union Tribune. Thanks for reading the city budgets and, and breaking them down for us. Speaker 2: 11:19 Thanks for having me. I'm glad to talk about it. Speaker 3: 11:21 How much trouble is the city of San Diego in? Speaker 2: 11:26 I think the city does the city does an outlook like this every year. And it always kind of looks a little grim because they don't know how things are going to look, but obviously the pandemic has had a huge impact. San Diego is heavily reliant on tourism for tax revenue that comes from that both hotel tax and sales tax. And that has plummeted during the pandemic because people aren't traveling to San Diego from around the world and around the country, Speaker 3: 11:50 Different cities rely on different kinds of taxes. What does the city of San Diego rely on most for its revenue, property taxes, sales tax, tourist tax, business tax. Speaker 4: 11:59 I think San Diego is still realized quite heavily on property taxes. Also these dudes, th the key is though other cities have almost no hotel tax take a city like San te or Poway. Don't have a lot of hotels and a lot of tourism. Whereas in San Diego, in addition to property tax, they have a huge chunk of money that comes from hotel taxes. And then that also generates more sales tax because the folks who go come stay in a hotel, go out to dinner every night, they're here and they're out shopping and doing things. So it increases both of those revenue streams beyond what they would normally be because of the tourists. Speaker 3: 12:30 So we've heard $86 million for next year. Uh, is this like a one-year stress on the budget or, or could the loss of revenue last longer? Speaker 4: 12:40 Yeah, they're looking at 86 million and the fiscal year that starts next July and then 75 million in the year after that. And then about 59 million in the year after that. So it looks like this could be sort of San Diego's first budget crisis since the great recession that began in 2008, where we have, you know, brownouts of fire engines and slashing of library hours. I don't want to say for sure those things are gonna happen, but those things are going to sort of be on the table when the council starts begging it's budget deliberations next spring. And when mayor elect Todd Gloria presents his first budget as the city's new mayor, Speaker 3: 13:12 Could money coming down from the federal government under a new Biden administration, make a difference Speaker 4: 13:18 For sure. I mean like the people who created this, which is basically the city's financial staff, there's a whole lot of unknowns. Um, you know, one thing is there could be more federal relief. San Diego got 146 million of direct federal relief last spring, uh, as part of the pandemic. And there's definitely a possibility, there'll be another package question is how big it will be, and whether it will include relief for cities and States, which has been a key sort of issue in, in Washington DC about whether it should include that and how much it should include that could really help the city. Uh, on the other hand, it could be far worse. The, the, that look that I'm writing about that I wrote about does not include any pay raises for employees over the next five years. Uh, it does include any critical, critical strategic expenditures, which is money spent for new fire stations and recreation centers and parks. The city just assumes they're not going to be building those parks and opening those fire stations as they had initially planned before the pandemic. So it could be worse. It could be better. Speaker 3: 14:10 So finance officers are warning that libraries and parks could be affected. They might be sort of shutting down on the weekends, that kind of thing, Speaker 4: 14:18 Right? Shorter hours is generally the way it goes. When, when cities are facing a budget deficit or projected budget deficits, they typically avoid cutting things like sewer and water and fire and police. And they typically cut things like libraries and parks and recreation, even though those are important things they're deemed sort of less essential than the other things. Speaker 3: 14:35 No, if the vaccine becomes widely available next summer, couldn't that change the, the budget outlook. I mean, people, people say that tourism, for example, should come roaring back. Have they taken that into account with this projection? Speaker 4: 14:48 Unfortunately, this already includes, so I think what someone called an optimistic perception, this assumes that a vaccine will be widely available in late spring. And that San Diego is a convention tourism, and that stuff will return to normal starting in may or June around that time. Uh, so if the vaccine doesn't work out as predicted that these numbers will actually get worse, Speaker 3: 15:09 How will that affect the average San Diego on a daily basis? Speaker 4: 15:14 Uh, that's a great question. Um, I think if you use your library a lot, if you lose your local park a lot, or your local recreation center a lot, you're probably have less access to them. I don't know if it'll get as deep where your, maybe your fire station will have an engine across town instead of one that's right in your neighborhood. I don't know if it'll get there, but those are the sorts of the things that spring to mind immediately. Uh, and in a less impactful way, the city as a climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gases, they're trying to put in place money for that will be more scarce. So they may move more slowly on that that'll affect people, but maybe not in a direct, tangible way. Speaker 3: 15:50 Right. That's disappointing for people who have been fighting for that though. Isn't it? And then the pension deficit is something that always gets talked about, well, let's make it even bigger than it is already. Speaker 4: 16:00 Yeah. That's one unfortunate thing about these recessions. If you remember back from 2008, is that unfortunately the pension system uses investments to cover some of the obligations. It has to retire workers. And so when the stock market struggles, uh, you know, the pension system actually gets in worse shape. So the city's pension payment is going to go up this year, maybe 24 millions from what it was last year, which is about maybe 10%, um, you know, based on the fact that the stock market, while it hasn't really plummeted that badly, it doesn't really gain this year at the same rate that it will be projected the city projections to gain about 6% every year. And it looks like it's going to stay about even this year, which is not what the city was hoping for. Speaker 3: 16:39 Now, Todd Gloria takes over as the new mayor next month. Are his budget priorities different from Faulkner's? When does his first budget due? Speaker 4: 16:48 His first budget is due April 15th. And we'll see if what they're different. I mean, I think he's, he's viewed as, as more of a centrist Democrat. So I don't think there'll be radically different. Um, but certainly mayor Faulkner, um, was much more focused on development and road paving. Um, not that roads aren't important to everyone, but I think Todd will focus on some other priorities. Um, you know, Todd raises minimum wage. Uh, he got the climate action plan passed. So I think he does have different priorities. It'll be interesting to see Speaker 3: 17:14 The state of California apparently overestimated the budget shortfall by billions of dollars. You know, the legislative analyst announced last week that the state has a $26 billion surplus, largely due to tax revenues, unexpected tracks revenues from the wealthiest residents who didn't start working during COVID-19. In other words, they overestimated the collapse in tax revenues could anything like that happen for the city of San Diego, Speaker 4: 17:41 I suppose it could, but when they don't have income tax, San Diego doesn't have income tax. So it wouldn't be the same way that it happened at the state. San Diego is based on sales tax, hotel tax and property tax. Those are their three main revenue streams, and it appears that their projections to me, as a, as a novice, they appear pretty, pretty reasonable and pretty accurate. And I don't see a mistake like that. Having any impact for the city's budget. Speaker 1: 18:04 Well, thanks for doing so much work to look into this day. Speaker 4: 18:07 I appreciate it. Thanks. We've been speaking with Speaker 1: 18:10 David Garrick, who covers city hall for the San Diego Speaker 4: 18:12 Union Tribune. Speaker 1: 18:19 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Alison st. John the pandemic. Won't be the only reason for empty seats around the Thanksgiving table. This week with president Donald Trump, still refusing to concede the election. Many families remain fractured. KPBS is Amelia Sharma reports on how some San Diego clans are coping as Trump's tenure draws to a close. Speaker 5: 18:45 All it took was talk of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases for Jonathan Hanson and his brother-in-law to get into a desktop. The brother-in-law defended president Trump's pandemic response, Hansen disagreed. Speaker 4: 18:58 He started raising his voice. I raise my voice. I said a curse word Speaker 5: 19:03 All in front of their kids. Hansen says he reached for his shoes to leave when his brother-in-law Speaker 4: 19:09 Do you grab the shoes, check them out the door, and then just punch me out. Speaker 5: 19:12 Hanson says his sister then appeared and hit him too. He called police. Speaker 4: 19:17 I was in shock. It was my sister who I love dearly. It's my brother-in-law who I also loved dearly Speaker 5: 19:22 Family fights continue to IRAP nationwide as siblings, parents, and children and couples divide over Trump riffs have developed over the president's comments about immigrants, women, and minorities, the sexual assault allegations against it. His administration's caging of migrant children, his handling of the pandemic, and now his false voter fraud claims in the race. He lost to president elect Joe Biden. This month. Speaker 6: 19:49 I regularly hear people sharing about the pain they have, that they can't talk with their brother anymore. Speaker 5: 19:55 David Peters is a San Diego marriage and family therapist. Speaker 6: 19:58 Their parents won't talk with them anymore. The family just can't relax together. People are afraid. People are hurting. People feel shamed and bitterness is rising. Speaker 5: 20:11 Peter says science explains how emotions get so charged Speaker 6: 20:15 Politics in the mind sits in the same space as religion. It's that deep because it has to do with which tribe I'm with Speaker 5: 20:24 Housing. A real estate contractor says he's puzzled that his siblings and parents all more men have supported a president whose conduct contradicts their religion. Speaker 4: 20:33 That's not what we were taught. Growing up to love one another to turn the other cheek, to be more compassionate and empathetic. Speaker 5: 20:40 He also wonders why his mom, a nurse has been reluctant to wear a mask. Speaker 4: 20:44 She'll go off on, Oh, that's overreach of the government Speaker 5: 20:50 Has this. As the cognitive dissonance is unbearable. Speaker 7: 20:53 We can't talk. We can't even hang out together. It's too incendiary Speaker 5: 20:57 Tired teacher and Trump supporter. Diane Pearson says political arguments with her youngest child, Benjamin Goodwin, a senior at UC Davis have cut deep. Speaker 7: 21:08 I was even moved to tears several times. I was so sad that after several years of college, that he seems to have so far become pretty close minded. Speaker 5: 21:20 Here's some. So she likes Trump because he opposes abortion rights. She also favors his immigration policy Speaker 7: 21:27 Is a good idea and more than a good idea, because essentially Speaker 5: 21:29 As for Trump's disparaging tweets, she gets the criticism. Speaker 7: 21:33 But at the same time, he's got a certain decisiveness and power in making decisions that I agree with Speaker 5: 21:39 Goodwin, doesn't get what he says is his mother's unconditional backing of Trump. Speaker 7: 21:44 And this isn't just my mom. I feel like this is most Trump supporters. No matter what, they will find a way to it. Speaker 5: 21:51 Goodwin is half white and half black. His mother is white. He believes Trump is a racist. He says race forums, the crux of the gap with his mom. Speaker 7: 22:00 I see things from a boat like a black and white perspective. My mom can only really see things from a white person's perspective, Speaker 5: 22:07 Family therapist. Peter says he counsels his clients to apologize for heated exchanges, refrain from talking politics and not to give up. Speaker 1: 22:17 You can do is cut off relationships with family members, Speaker 5: 22:20 Jonathan Hanson, and his girlfriend, crystal Coleman hoped to mend fences with his siblings and parents. But she says they wrestle with telling them that everyone makes mistakes and that Trump's supporters were misled by his lies. Speaker 7: 22:35 And the other part of me goes, how could you not realize what he was doing? How could you not see it? How could you not hear it? And your silence was your consent, if nothing else. And how do we get past that? Speaker 5: 22:46 What has said knows for sure is I Speaker 7: 22:48 Miss sitting with my mom and having tea with her, laughing, talking about her grandkids, Speaker 5: 22:55 Amica Sharma KPBS news. Speaker 1: 22:57 Joining me is Steven Dinkin, president of the national conflict resolution center in San Diego. Stephen, welcome to the program. Speaker 7: 23:05 It's a pleasure to be here, Maureen. We just Speaker 1: 23:07 Heard about a family torn apart by political disagreements. One of many facing that same situation, even though extended families have always had different beliefs before. I can't remember it being this bad. How did we come to this? Speaker 7: 23:21 This is a very challenging time. I there's a confluence of events that is occurring right now with regard to the pandemic or we're in an economic crisis and in this post-election environment. And on top of that social media and the bully pulpit of the presidency are exacerbating the situation. So we're in unprecedented times, is it best just to avoid Speaker 1: 23:46 Talking about politics with friends and family, you know, that you don't agree with Speaker 8: 23:50 At the national conflict resolution center, we always advocate whenever possible to engage in a conversation. Uh, the problem is that if we avoid conversations, we end up, uh, remaining in our own silo in a sense, and reinforcing our own ideas and those ideas become more and more whole arrised. And so it's, it's important that we engage in the conversation, but do it from a place of being constructive, as opposed to antagonistic, Speaker 1: 24:22 You recommend starting to have a constructive, Speaker 8: 24:26 We believe it's very important to, uh, have a conversation, begin that conversation by listening and engaging the other individual and then acknowledging, uh, their point of view. That doesn't mean that you're agreeing with what they're saying. You're just acknowledging so that the other person feels heard and that deescalates the situation, as opposed to coming into the conversation from a antagonistic perspective where you dehumanize that person, you, you tend to assume that they have motives that are not the same modes that you have. So it's important to have a constructive conversation by beginning to engage and acknowledge what their perspectives are. Speaker 1: 25:10 Now, it takes two to have a relationship or resolve a dispute. How can you tell if the other person is open to finding common ground? Speaker 8: 25:19 You know, that's a challenging situation, but you enter the conversation with an open mind and if the other person is hostile, uh, what we teach is to take a step back and maybe start with something that is less controversial, uh, maybe try to find a topic, uh, where you do have common ground and then slowly move into, uh, the more challenging discussion Speaker 1: 25:45 And what would be examples of common ground. We heard from one of the people in the report that, you know, he would just like to speak with his mother about the kids and, uh, sit down with her and have a lovely conversation about his children and her grandchildren. Speaker 8: 26:01 Sometimes it's challenging to find common ground with strangers, but when we're having a dispute with a family member, uh, it's much easier to find common ground because there's so much history we have with our family members. And, uh, perhaps, uh, go back to a memory that you had, uh, when you were growing up or a holiday years ago when it was very pleasant, uh, or a family vacation that you took. So, uh, there are a lot of opportunities to, especially with family, uh, to find common ground Speaker 1: 26:33 Longer version of a [inaudible] report. One of the people she interviewed remembers the words of Austrian philosopher, Karl popper, and he wrote quote, when we extend tolerance, those who are openly intolerant, the tolerant ones end up being destroyed and tolerance with them, unquote. So can you give up too much just to have a nice dinner? Speaker 8: 26:56 I think it's always important to, to try to have the conversation, if at all possible we are really in a very difficult situation as a nation we're facing unprecedented problems with regard to the climate, with regard to the economy, uh, with regard to our own democracy. And if we are all avoiding the conversation with family members, with friends, with colleagues, then we're not going to be able to find the critical solutions that are needed to move the nation forward. So whenever possible, uh, let's engage in the conversation, but let's do it in a constructive way. And there's a lot of techniques. We teach, uh, a training called the art of inclusive communication. And there are techniques where people can, uh, be actively aware, be respectful when they respond and to work through solutions together and using these techniques, oftentimes we can get through the controversy and find solutions to these really tough problems. Speaker 1: 27:59 Now, most of us will be communicating remotely with relatives outside our household, this Thanksgiving. Do you think that's going to make it easier to maybe get along and avoid arguments? Speaker 8: 28:10 I think the remote environment might make it a bit easier than all being around the kitchen table or the living room, dining room table. However, we're now becoming more and more comfortable with the zoom environment. And so, uh, where once, uh, disputes from muted now they are coming to the forest. So even in a virtual environment, uh, challenging situations can occur. And if you get involved in a conversation that is very controversial and there's a lot of people around, maybe it's the time to just change the conversation and then circle back to that individual a day or two later when you're just by yourself, as opposed to in a large group, which oftentimes intensifies the emotions and the feelings Speaker 1: 28:57 You mentioned that, you know, the families, uh, are almost a microcosm of the kind of rift that we're seeing in the entire country. And I'm wondering how long you think it could possibly be before we find some area of facts that we can agree upon and, and heal this, this rift in our society. Speaker 8: 29:17 I think you've touched on a very important point in that. Oftentimes what we're finding now is that we're dealing with a different set of facts, and it's challenging enough to have a conversation when the facts are known. But when we all are arguing from a different set of facts, that makes it so challenging and the way our society is set up right now with social media and the different sources. I don't see that challenge ending anytime soon. So we're going to have to learn how to navigate through this noise of the different, uh, media stations that are just reinforcing our polarized beliefs. And we're going to have to, as a society, you know, figure out how to find common ground during these challenging times Speaker 3: 30:08 With Steven Dinkin, he's president of the national conflict resolution center here in San Diego. Stephen, thank you very much. And I hope you have a happy Speaker 8: 30:17 Thanksgiving. Thank you. Same to you, Maureen. Speaker 3: 30:27 This Thanksgiving week is a week when good food and plenty is at the center of our celebrations, but something is out of balance. When we see longer and longer lines at food banks and learn that here in one of the richest countries in the world, hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing food insecurity and San Diego County. That means they're going hungry. A consortium of over a hundred organizations in San Diego is working on a plan, a kind of paradigm shift, a new vision of how to make sustainable food sources more available to all San Diego ones. They want your feedback on the plan before Thanksgiving joining us to talk about the idea is Sona DSI, who is associate director of the San Diego food system Alliance. Sona, welcome to midday. Speaker 9: 31:12 Hi, Alison, thanks for having me. Speaker 3: 31:14 So Sona, why do we need a new food vision for San Diego? Speaker 9: 31:19 Right now? We have a food system that does not work for everyone. In simplest terms. We have over half a million individuals in San Diego County that are hungry and this was pre pandemic post pandemic. That number has doubled. So now we're looking at close to one in three San Diego ones that are going hungry. Speaker 3: 31:39 We've seen lines on food banks this year, but pumping more food through food banks is not really the solution that we're looking for. Is it Speaker 9: 31:47 It's part of the solution. You know, food banks play a really critical role because we need a safety net and that's what food banks provide. They provide that strong safety net at the same time, we also need more. We also need to create new systems that will change the way that people are able to access food and who is able to access food. Speaker 3: 32:09 So when you say change systems, what do you mean by that? Speaker 9: 32:12 Right now? You know, the food system is really, you know, the power is concentrated in the hands of few. And so those, you know, those that are most impacted by the food system tend to be the ones that are more powerless and, or they don't really have the means for them to be able to create and define the food system that works for them. Something that is actually going to be healthy, provide them the, the ability that they need to be able to food, prepare food, serve food. Speaker 3: 32:41 Now you've been engaged in, in 18 months of collecting ideas from people on, on re-imagining the food system here. What, what have you discovered what specific ideas are emerging? Speaker 9: 32:52 So earlier this summer, as you mentioned, we did have a robust community engagement opportunity where we had over 2200 San Diego ones that we heard from, and 60% of them were individuals that live in areas that are the most impacted by food system or are essential workers. So those that are actually working to, to produce and prepare and serve our food. And you know, what we, what we heard a lot of what we heard is, is access to healthy, affordable food is a challenge. There's a lot of challenges associated with reducing and or addressing some of the racial and ethnic disparities that exist within our food system. And then for workers, a lot of the challenges are, you know, low wages inability to make a living, you know, profit margins in farming, fit fisheries, food businesses are really low, historically low. And so there's a lot of challenges for businesses to really be able to, you know, continue to stay afloat. And we saw this also during the pandemic this year, you know, where we've had over 50,000 jobs, food system jobs that have been lost in this in the past year, Speaker 3: 33:59 How big a share of our economy is, is the food industry. There's still a little bit, Speaker 9: 34:03 The more that we're doing to really fine tune those numbers, but roughly we're looking at about 10%. Speaker 3: 34:10 Now, one of the things that you mentioned in your reports is that, um, the thousands of small farmers in San Diego County are threatened by the increasing cost of water and not to mention the cost of land and labor. Is that part of the new vision? I mean, most of our food is currently imported from out of the County, but could we be producing more of our own food locally? Speaker 9: 34:33 Absolutely, absolutely. This is really a core, a core element of food vision in 2030. You know, we saw this year, you know, with the, with the pandemic, when people would go to the grocery store and you would see the shelves empty. Now, all of a sudden there was, there was this awareness and re you know, renewed, um, acknowledgement that we actually are an agricultural producing County here in San Diego County. We produced food and local farmers and local food businesses are really the ones that were able to step up during this time when you might not have been able to get what you wanted from the grocery store. And so there's a, a real big need to create a stronger local food economy. That's really gonna allow us to weather, weather, these storms, you know, now, and also those that will come in the future, Speaker 3: 35:22 Right? I've seen some initiatives to plant fruit trees instead of ornamental trees, for example, is there something simple that each one of us can do to support a more sustainable food system in our community, just on a daily basis? Yeah, absolutely. You know, there's, um, Speaker 9: 35:38 You know, the first, the first three that always come to come to mind for me are, are supporting farms and fisheries. So really supporting those local local businesses. And there are many directories available. Um, I know edible San Diego also has a directory for supporting local farms and fisheries. Of course, the San Diego County farm Bureau as well. That's one, the second is also supporting those local food businesses. So local restaurants, you know, this is a challenging year for local restaurants and food businesses. So all the more today is a really good day where, you know, you can go out and you can order a takeout, you know, but it support those businesses because if we don't support them today, they might not be here tomorrow. And then the other, the third thing I would say is that as we, as we started with this, with this interview around food insecurity, there is a growing need for food banks to really be able to provide food for those that need it right now. So there are several donate relief funds. There's also several opportunities to volunteer and support those food banks to really be able to allow them to get food to those that need it. Most right now Speaker 3: 36:42 I've tells with the idea of food waste, which, you know, when you hear the figures, it's quite shocking how much food we waste every day in San Diego County. Speaker 9: 36:50 Yes. You know, Alison it's actually pre pandemic levels. We had 500,000 individuals that were food insecure, and we were throwing away approximately 500,000 pounds of food. So you can see, you know, that there's, there's really, if that food could be, if we could reduce the amount of food that we waste and really divert that and move that, make it available to those that need it and get food to, to really either for those that need it, or even other mechanisms for addressing food waste from composting and animal feed are also other mechanisms, but it really is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and honor the resources that go into producing food and really make sure that we use, use them to the fullest and get that to people that need it and, or the resources that might need it Speaker 3: 37:38 Once the results of the survey come out next year. What's the next step. Speaker 9: 37:42 Yeah. That's a great question too. So we hope to have the results out by January in January of 2021. And then we really want to spend the first half of 2021 going back to those that we spoke with in this process. So a lot of the workers, a lot of the individuals that we connected with through the, through this 18 month process and figure out how are we going to mobilize to make this vision happen? Speaker 3: 38:08 We've been speaking with Sona, decide who was associate director of the San Diego food system Alliance. And if you would like to take their survey, it's open until Thanksgiving, just Google San Diego County food vision 2030, and you'll see the link. So, no, thanks so much for your time. Speaker 9: 38:25 Thank you, Alison. Really appreciate you having me. Speaker 1: 38:37 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen, Kevin all with Alison st. John Mayer's of several San Diego cities have collaborated on a children's book, all in an effort to raise funds for domestic violence shelters around the County. The book is the brain child of a nonprofit organization called the purple project, which donates supplies to the shelters. The book is called Penny's adventure in San Diego, and it follows the flight of a butterfly around the County visiting some of San Diego's most beautiful and beloved landmarks. Joining me is Jordan canola, founder of the purple project and Jordan, welcome. Thank you very much for having me now tell us about the book. What is it about Speaker 7: 39:20 The book is compiled by 14 different mayors of San Diego County, who all wrote a chapter in the book playing as penny, the butterfly in their city and bringing joy to sad animals and children. So the books basically is about a butterfly migrating from Colorado to Mexico because it's getting really cold and, uh, Colorado and on her way, she's getting tired. So she decides to rest and explore our beautiful city. Speaker 1: 39:41 Now, what, what are some of the landmarks in the book that the butterfly visits on her way to Mexico? Speaker 7: 39:47 You know, honestly there there's some pretty good ones. Um, in ocean side, you have the ocean side pier lemon Grove, they chose their lemon was the top of Mount helix. Um, she goes to the wave waterpark. Speaker 1: 39:59 Now you say that mayors of most cities in the County participated in writing the book, they got a chapter each, how did they coordinate with one another? Speaker 7: 40:08 So basically what we did is the per project. We wrote the beginning and we wrote the end and we gave them marries essentially the meat of the story to write as where the butterfly goes and how she helps people. Speaker 1: 40:19 Okay. So they were given some prompts on that. Now your nonprofit supports domestic violence shelters. How does it go about doing that? Speaker 7: 40:27 So we do a lot of fundraisers and we sell items off our website. And with that money that is raised, we purchase items of need. So for example, the Y WCA reached out to me and they said that they needed kitchen and cooking supplies. So what I did this weekend is with the money we sold from our water bottles, as I bought them kitchen supplies and had it shipped to their shelter. Speaker 1: 40:45 Now, why did you choose to help the shelters in that way? Speaker 7: 40:50 I chose to help the shelters just because grants are grants. Aren't always guaranteed and donations might not be enough, especially with such a great need. And unfortunately the amount of cases we have in our community. And I want to provide a way that we could build up support for those who are actually helping those that are going through domestic violence. We could have just, I guess, supported one local shelter, but I wanted to come up with a system where we could be most effective. Speaker 1: 41:14 Now we've heard reports that the COVID shutdowns have increased instances of domestic violence, have shelters around the County, experienced that to your knowledge, Speaker 7: 41:24 To my knowledge, there have been, yes, there have actually been three cities that have experienced quite a bit of an uptick in domestic violence. And that is Santi alcohol and national city. So has Speaker 1: 41:36 Your organization seen, uh, requests for donations increase as some of the shelters become more crowded? Speaker 7: 41:44 Um, we definitely have had more, um, shelters reaching out to us in the beginning since we've been around for a little over a year now in the beginning, it was us reaching out, asking people what their need is. And lately I've found it's more people messaging us, which is wonderful. It's what we want, you know, so it's just another Avenue for us to provide support. And I'm willing to take on that challenge. Speaker 1: 42:04 What do these shelters need? What do they tell you that they're running low on? Uh, is it, is it something different all the time or is there a one or two particular things that they always need? Speaker 7: 42:16 It's quite different each time because our goal at the purple project is meet the most basic need. And sometimes it's diapers, sometimes it's food sometimes as it is this case, it's kitchen and cooking supplies. So there's never the same thing that we buy twice in a row, but there's a consistent list. Speaker 1: 42:34 Why create a children's book as a fundraiser? Speaker 7: 42:36 I thought it would be the best way to bring the community together, as well as raise money, without having to ask people who don't have it to give. Speaker 1: 42:45 And of course you must have a impediment in that you can't have an actual fundraiser these days where people get together. Uh, so the book is like almost like a substitute for that. Speaker 7: 42:55 Yeah. So it's our goal to get it into local book bookstores and to some preschools and no one from the purple project gets paid. No one's on salary. All the money that comes in, we just use to support our local shelters. Speaker 1: 43:09 And as I said, you could, can't do an in-person fundraiser. Why not do a virtual event, Speaker 7: 43:15 Do a virtual event, um, a couple months back, uh, may the fourth be with you, which was really fun, but I just got the feeling that a lot of people don't want to do any more virtual events. Since a lot of people are working with zoom as their nine to five. Now it's just very draining. It feels Speaker 1: 43:31 Who, who do you think this book would be good for? Speaker 7: 43:33 I honestly think it would be good for children as young as four to probably even 10. I would have really enjoyed this book growing up, just seeing all the landmarks and places that I've been with my family and my friends. It's just really heartwarming. Speaker 1: 43:47 Okay. So people listening to that, they want to help out and they also want to find out what happens to penny, the butterfly. Um, how can people get ahold? Speaker 7: 43:57 So if you go to thinking, um, you'll be able to order off the website and we're currently working on getting it on Amazon and local retail stores as well. Okay, Speaker 1: 44:07 Great. Okay. So I've been speaking with Jordan kennel, founder of the purple project and Jordan, Speaker 7: 44:13 Thank you. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

As a vaccine for COVID-19 nears, memories of past injustices and present-day inequities in medical treatment, many in communities of color remain wary. Plus, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the city of San Diego’s budget and as a result Mayor-elect Todd Gloria’s budget priorities. And, even as President Trump’s time in the White House comes to an end, many families remained fractured over his policies. Also, a consortium of more than 100 San Diego organizations is rethinking its approach to hunger and food insecurity and wants your input by Thanksgiving. Finally, the mayors of nine San Diego cities collaborated on a children’s book to raise funds for domestic abuse shelters around the county.