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Local Reaction To Beirut Explosion, Pandemic Impact On Moms’ Careers, Providers Affected By Pandemic, PPP Loans Deadline Approaching And Summer Music

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY HUSSEIN MALLA / AP

Above: A drone picture shows the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the city's port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.

The deadly explosion in Beirut is hitting close to home for San Diego’s Lebanese community. Plus, 25% of the women who have lost a job during this pandemic say it is because of a lack of child care. Also, for weeks, members of the Kumeyaay Nation have been protesting border wall construction in San Diego, saying their cultural heritage sites are being destroyed. Now, human remains have been found. And, the deadline to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program is this Saturday. Billions are still available for small businesses. Finally, in this week’s edition of the Summer Music Series is Israel Maldonado, a Tijuana-born guitarist.

Speaker 1: 00:01 A local vigilance plan to mourn the loss of life in Beirut.

Speaker 2: 00:05 Evan has been in turmoil and we did not need anything like this to happen. That kind of accessibility situation.

Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Alison st. John. This is KPBS mid day edition, lack of childcare during the pandemic may derail many women's careers. When a family loses childcare or they have to choose between expensive childcare and going to work. Usually this burden falls disproportionately on women. And so we're seeing that really on steroids. Now, a deadline is approaching to apply for small business loans and officials say there's still money left in San Diego. And on our summer music series, guitarist, Israel Maldonado talks about his love affair with the music of Brazil. That's a head on mid day edition.

Speaker 1: 01:01 Lebanese officials are still assessing the devastation caused by Tuesday's huge explosion in Beirut. The death toll now stands at more than 135 people with 5,000 injured and estimated 300,000 people have had their homes badly damaged or destroyed, and now lack adequate shelter. The tragedy has shocked the world, but has caused a deeper, more personal grief for people of Lebanese heritage. My guest Joseph's fire was born in Lebanon. He now lives in San Diego. He has many family members and friends in Lebanon, and one of his friends was killed in the Bay root explosion. Joseph's fire is also the president of the house of Lebanon in Balboa park and Joseph, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 01:46 Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for having me. How did you find out about the explosion? So as you know, nowadays, we are working from home and I was sitting in my desk in my bedroom working and, um, my daughter came up to me with, with her phone. She said that I just heard from my friend that there's a huge explosion in Beirut. And I said, Oh wow. Okay. So let's, let's take a look. And then I grabbed my phone, of course. And there was about maybe 10 texts and then WhatsApp text and, and that's how I heard about it. And then of course I stopped everything and then we'll go to the TV with all the social media and, um, and the bad news started to trickle in. And that's how I found out about it.

Speaker 1: 02:30 Were you able to speak to people, you know, who survived the blast?

Speaker 2: 02:36 Yes. We did speak to some of our friends in Beirut that survived the blast and, uh, and they were total in shock, totally in shock. They described it as if it was a nuclear bomb and they never ever experienced this as, as you know, Lebanon has gone through so many Wars and whatnot, and they've never seen anything like it before. How you find out about your friend's death? Well, uh, so when we started to, when I started to communicate and receive these messages, asking questions, so at first they sent us a clip video of where his office was and, and that clip video, people were starting to search for, uh, injured and injured people. And then there was a lot of dust in the air and whatnot, as you can imagine. And then I heard his name, they said, we need to take nozzle to the hospital, he's bleeding. So that was the first that I heard about it. Then they kept telling us, giving us updates. No, he's doing fine. He's then in the hospital. And then, you know, it didn't take more than 10, 15 minutes later. We heard also that he passed away.

Speaker 1: 03:43 I'm so sorry for your loss.

Speaker 2: 03:46 Oh, thank you. I'm so sorry for all the losses in Lebanon. I mean, because of the carelessness of the government, uh, this happened, and there was no reason at all for these people to, to die or get injured or lose their homes. Uh, it's, it's really a disaster. Now there,

Speaker 1: 04:03 Let me ask you a question about that. The explosion was apparently caused by tons of amyl nitrate fertilizer that was stored unsafely for years at the port of Beirut and accusations have been made that mistakes like that are a trademark of the present Lebanese government. And sounds like you agree,

Speaker 2: 04:22 Absolutely. This, this disasters falls squarely on the current government's shoulders. There is no excuse, no reasons, none whatsoever to say all while it's the manager's fault or whomever's fault, this port is monitored. And sir, and they have continuous surveillance by the government. What goes in and what goes out and they knew about it. And then the some security forces down there, they reported it to the government three years ago. They said, look, we have this huge amount of explosive sphere that are stored in the, in the port. They don't belong here. What do we do about it? And they kept not talking about it. They just ignored it until this disaster happened.

Speaker 1: 05:05 Lebanon was already in economic and political turmoil before this tragedy, from what you're hearing is the country prepared to recover from this.

Speaker 2: 05:14 Gotcha. Well, you know, um, back in, uh, October, 2019, uh, you probably, you probably know that we had the revolution and the revolution started because of the corrupted careless, not being able to be taking and not able to take care of the business and Lebanon to run the country. So the people revolted, they were like enough is enough. I mean, just imagine Beirut, you hear a lot about it. What it does not have seven 24 electricity, garbage is piling in the streets. Water sometimes is on. Sometimes it's off all the social services. Sometimes they are provided. Sometimes they are not. So people were fed up and they went to the streets and about a million million and a half people went into the streets, revolting against this government. Um, and of course the COVID-19 came in. Everything, you know, went down and now we have this disaster.

Speaker 2: 06:06 So yes, Lebanon has been in turmoil and we did not need anything like this to happen. That kind of exasperate the situation. So, um, it is really a disaster. And I can tell you now that the community in San Diego is not just sad. They are angry. We are just angry. We need help. We need United nations. We need NATO. We need whomever to come in and then take over the country, send all these politicians home, not home, send them to jail because I am pretty sure I'm very confident that they're going to be, they're going to be found guilty for all the, all the mishaps that happened, you know, for the past three years in Lebanon. And, um, and we need help. We need help desperately. Now, before yesterday,

Speaker 3: 06:52 Tell us about the fundraisers that you're over organizing here in San Diego.

Speaker 2: 06:56 So we have two, two fundraising activities that are happening. One of them that I'm involved with, one of them is through the house of Lebanon. You can go to house of Lebanon, uh, dot org, and then you will see on our front page a button where you can donate money and send to Lebanon. The other one, it's called a LPI charity on Facebook, a LVI charity on Facebook. You can go in and then you can also donate the money is going to NGOs down in Lebanon. They are distributing the monies to a number one families who have lost loved ones, um, to, to rebuild their homes and then three to pay for all the medical, um, uh, treatment that they're receiving down there. Okay.

Speaker 3: 07:41 Speaking with Joseph's fire, who is the president of the house of Lebanon in Balboa park and Joseph, thank you very much.

Speaker 2: 07:49 It's my pleasure. Thank you for reaching out to me

Speaker 3: 07:55 A quarter of the women who have lost a job during this pandemic sense because of a lack of childcare. And for those who are still working at home, the pressure of balancing care for small children with managing work responsibilities is crushing Alicia, assessor, modus studies, gender and labor market issues at the school of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern university. She surveyed over 2000 parents nationwide and may and June, and says the crisis in childcare could affect women in the workforce for decades to come. Alicia, thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. Now, you yourself are a mother. Tell us first about your experience of balancing work and childcare. During this pandemic, I have four children, the youngest of which is an eight year old, who just finished second grade. So she's a rising third grader. And when the pandemic first hit and school's closed for three weeks here in Massachusetts, you know, we, my husband and I juggled between us working from home and keeping her engaged and then schools closed for the rest of the year. And we put in, you know, some more structure around that. And we went with a remote learning and then over the summer, we've just been stitching together childcare, but all to say that with each extension of the lack of childcare or the remote learning that's happening with schools, it's just getting harder and harder for working parents to sustain these childcare arrangements that worked okay for three weeks or three months. But now looking at it for an entire academic year would be really difficult to pull off.

Speaker 4: 09:25 So you did this survey of a couple of thousand parents around the country. What was the main thing that you found that struck you?

Speaker 3: 09:33 Yeah, so along with two other colleagues at Northeastern university, when we did our survey, we set out to find out what working parents were struggling with and learn more about the kinds of strategies that they had been engaging in. And we were surprised just by the magnitude of the problem. So we found that 13% of working parents reported that they either had lost a job or reduce their hours solely because of childcare. And we were really surprised that it was more than one in 10 working parents. And then we also asked them all about their time that they spend during the week and how much they're spending on work during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic. And we found that on average working parents are losing eight hours a week or one full working day because they need to juggle childcare along with their work responsibilities.

Speaker 4: 10:18 And who did you find in your survey was feeling the worst brunt of all this?

Speaker 3: 10:22 Yeah, so certainly more vulnerable populations. So we found that the hours loss were greater for women of color women without a college degree women in lower income households. And a lot of that stems from holding an imperson job or an essential job where you actually can't be working from home like myself and my colleagues who are professors. And we've been able to conduct our research working from home. But if you have to be there in person, then there really becomes the point where the rubber meets the road and you have to choose between either childcare or being at work. And that seems to be where this is falling most disproportionately on those populations.

Speaker 4: 11:05 When you say that this is likely to affect parents, primarily women in the longterm. How so?

Speaker 3: 11:10 Sure. So our survey also revealed when we looked into the job loss piece of this, that among our sample, those who had become unemployed during the pandemic, we found that 25% of the women who reported becoming unemployed during the pandemic said it was solely due to a lack of childcare compared to only half, as many men reporting that they had lost a job to childcare. And so as with other points in time, when a family loses childcare, or they have to choose between expensive childcare and going to work, usually this burden falls disproportionately on women. And so we're seeing that really on steroids now during the pandemic where women are really bearing the brunt of. And I think, you know, it's one thing perhaps to pull back from the labor force for a few weeks or a few months, but now we're looking at an entire year of hybrid learning or remote learning in schools. We're going to find probably that more women are going to be dropping out over the next, you know, nine to 12 months as we continue in this pandemic. And that has really longterm implications for their ability to get back into the labor force for their earnings potential, to be able to stay on track in their careers.

Speaker 4: 12:21 Since your column came out, California has allowed daycare providers more flexibility in class sizes and staffing requirements. Do you think that'll stop this onslaught of daycare closures that you predict in California at least?

Speaker 3: 12:34 You know, I think it's helpful. I think the more that we learn about the virus and the science of it and the transmission among younger children that we need to act on that. And then the question becomes, which of these preventive measures are the most important? Is it the limitation on the number of children in a particular space and the social distancing, or is it the practice of wearing masks or is it hand or what combination of these gets us to the safest environment in the least costly way. And so, as we are able to learn more and loosen some of these restrictions, we'll be able to have more childcare slots open up, but that's a pretty rare thing for right now. And also we haven't had much funding support for the childcare industry, which has really been devastated in terms of their ability to have the same class sizes and enrollment that they did before be able to take in the same revenues. And at the same time, having additional costs put on them with additional cleaning, with additional staffing, uh, with additional toys that need to be purchased. So there's no sharing. So I think that it's a move in the right direction, but I worry it's too little too late, that there's already very, a very high number of daycare providers that are already heading towards bankruptcy, or I've already gone out of business.

Speaker 4: 13:46 You say too little too late has been done. What else needs to be done in your opinion?

Speaker 3: 13:51 So the first thing that needs to happen is in this package that Congress is considering there needs to be a bailout for the childcare industry. The childcare industry got $3.5 million in March, which was less than $2,000 per daycare center in the United States. What we really need to do is support the industry. And that would mean an investment of about $50 million. According to a letter of support that was circulated among economists we're over a hundred economists signed on, um, that Congress needs to be doing something to support the industry, but we also need to make sure that we support working parents. And so we need to get dollars to working parents as soon as possible for them to be able to put together, um, even informal care arrangements, especially as the school year starting. So with more of the move to hybrid school openings for remote learning, this is time that families had not budgeted for daycare.

Speaker 3: 14:45 This was time that was covered by public schools. And so there's a lot of families out there, right? For reforming schooling, pods, and other ways to be able to have their kids supervised during the day during this remote learning time, which are works out well for middle class and upper middle class families, but for low income families who had not budgeted for this, and don't have as many resources, we need to expand some kind of childcare support to those families, to be able to pay for someone, to supervise their kids so that they can get to work. Thank you so much for being with us. You're welcome. We've been speaking with Alicia, Sasser, modus, Dino who studies gender and labor market issues at the school of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern university. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh with Alison st. John four weeks. Members of the [inaudible] nation have been protesting border wall construction in San Diego County saying their cultural heritage sites are being destroyed. KPBS reporter max, roughly nether tells us human remains have now been positively identified at the construction site. And local tribes are preparing for legal action against the government.

Speaker 5: 16:08 It stretches for 14 miles along rugged terrain. The quickly rising wall now cuts through areas that the [inaudible] nation, a collection of native tribes based on both sides of the us Mexico border consider a major thoroughfare for their people. It was used for generations before white settlers arrived, burial sites, former villages, and other culturally sensitive sites dot the landscape. But members of the Cooma AAC that customs and border protection, which is helping manage construction on the site has ignored evidence of the cultural heritage sites. They're now building a top of

Speaker 6: 16:41 They're using ten-year-old surveys to try to say that there aren't sites in certain areas. And when we've gone out there to protest, we've seen Midland soil, which is signs of cremation. We've seen flakes, tools, grinding stones. We've seen everything out there. And, and that's an areas that they say that aren't artifacts

Speaker 5: 16:58 28 year old. Cynthia Parata is a tribal council member of the LA Posta band of mission Indians. She and other young [inaudible] women have been leading the protest movement and the searing heat of summer and the Laguna mountains. They've been standing in front of construction equipment and blocking access roads. Parata says the government is breaking the law by disregarding the native American graves protection and repatriation act known as NAGPRA Congress enacted it in 1990 to protect and safely relocate native burial sites

Speaker 6: 17:29 Just want them to do it right right now they're waiving the laws that protect our remains, which is through NAGPRA. And they're waving a lot of other laws as well, which is we're just not okay with because we fought so hard to get those laws to begin with. And now they're waving them and just blowing through with the work

Speaker 5: 17:44 Last week, members of the [inaudible] nation were accompanied by a forensic anthropologist who says she identified what was most likely a cremated human bone in the past customs and border protection has reached out to native groups to determine what to do with the remains and engage in a government to government consultation about the best way to move forward with construction while preserving cultural heritage sites. It usually does this months before the beginning of construction, but this time Parata says the government began construction without doing any of that.

Speaker 6: 18:15 I actually just heard about it. And we went out there to see if it was true. And we see in the construction we're getting done. And that's when we decided to take action, because we didn't know about it. We never received any information about it.

Speaker 5: 18:27 The QA say a representative from the army Corps of engineers told them the DOD is allowed to waive laws regarding burial sites because the wall construction is a matter of national defense. The money used for the wall construction is being redirected from the Pentagon's counter, narcotic budget, a transfer of money. That's currently being challenged in court. Now with further proof that CBP and the DOD are moving forward with the project without following the law, the [inaudible] are preparing a loss to it to try to stop the wall construction.

Speaker 6: 18:57 They're creating new access roads. They're creating new storage areas for their equipment. And none of those areas were monitored.

Speaker 5: 19:04 CBP says it had several discussions with [inaudible] leadership and members of various tribes since June to address their specific concerns, Kuma protesters, and especially younger tribe members say those meetings have gone nowhere.

Speaker 6: 19:18 I don't feel that we're protesting. I feel like we're just out there simply protecting the land, protecting the history.

Speaker 5: 19:24 19 year old, Brooke Bains, who grew up on the Manzanita reservation has been juggling her first cashier job with helping organize the protests

Speaker 6: 19:33 Cool me or a woman or strong group of women. So I would say it's really important that the young women are leading it because a lot of things in this world are ran by men and older men at that

Speaker 5: 19:45 Bain says, that's why they have to continue direct action to keep going to the wall, to try to stop construction

Speaker 6: 19:52 Prayer while I'm out there. I'm praying the whole time that I'm out there for safety of my people for protection, for the desecration to stop. So I'm not really thinking about me in myself and my body. I'm I'm praying. Joining me is KPBS reporter, max Rivlin, Nadler, and max. Welcome. Good to be here. Now, in your report, you described the area of the wall construction as rugged terrain. Can you give us more details about what that area looks like?

Speaker 5: 20:22 Yeah. So I was actually just out there a few hours ago. It is, um, you know, mountainy we're way up in the Laguna mountains. We're in right where they're building the wall right now. It's a bit of a Valley there's exposed rocks. There's um, low-lying shrubs. It's very peaceful. Of course there's always been for the past, you know, couple of decades or so infrastructure there there's a power line that runs right along where the wall is going

Speaker 7: 20:48 To go. So it's not as if it's untouched. Uh, but during those projects, uh, multiple surveys were done of the, of the area to make sure that culturally sensitive sites were not being, uh, tampered with an, if they were that precautionary measures were being taken to make sure that that burial sites weren't being desecrated

Speaker 1: 21:06 And are the QVI protests taking place right there, right where the construction is taking place.

Speaker 7: 21:12 Yeah, they have been for the past couple of weeks. People have been waking up earlier, you know, they meet up extremely early in the morning. They head out to block these access roads where these construction vehicles are coming and going. I saw just this morning, um, you know, back and forth of water, trucks, trucks, carrying gravel trucks, carrying, uh, dirt out from the area. Uh, they've been blocking those. They've been blocking the actual construction vehicles themselves that have been leveling the ground. These activities are ongoing and stretch well beyond the wall itself, right? Cause it's not just the wall that's being built. It's these access roads that are being used by these really heavy trucks that need to get through. So that's one thing that the protestors and people who are rallying around them, where they want to point out is what's happening here is not just wall infrastructure, but everything that's needed to make the wall itself.

Speaker 1: 22:04 Now, what kind of artifacts have already been found in that area before the wall construction began?

Speaker 7: 22:11 So for a long time, this has been an area of study. People found shards of pottery, other signs of habitation, where villages were, you know, it's kind of clear once you're up there, why a group of people would habitate there or stop there on their journey. It is again in this Valley, it kind of cuts through the mountains and sends you on your way into Mexico. So there's a lot of signs of habitation for many generations there. And, um, unfortunately, you know, archeologists are really still kind of in the beginning phases of learning about pre-Colombian habitation in California. There's a lot we don't know. And a lot less to study

Speaker 1: 22:50 If the usual procedure had been followed and there had been consultation with the tribes for, for construction, would that have created a major delay in building?

Speaker 7: 23:00 I don't think it would result in a year's long delay, but it would certainly slow things down.

Speaker 1: 23:06 How have these protests been greeted? How have the protesters been treated?

Speaker 7: 23:11 So, you know, because the native groups themselves have the right to establishment, they have the right to practice their religion. And these are what they consider sacred sites. Border patrol, at least at first was not moving them off the land. A lot of the areas that one could use to get close to the, um, construction sites are public lands. People have the right to be on them. It's only right when you get to the wall itself, does that become a quite tricky? So initially they were, you know, being greeted by border patrol, being told, please don't block the construction equipment, but you know, no rest made nothing like that. Only recently when construction did get halted for a few days in a row, did they take a more adversarial role? They blocked protesters from even reaching those access roads. They interrogated them. And then more recently there had been a group of counter protestors, some who live near the wall itself and really do want to have this wall built, um, greeted protestors and things got pretty heated between them and border patrol. You know, essentially had to make sure that nothing disastrous happened. So active protests at the site are ongoing, but we'll see if they, they keep being able to stop construction and construction as of this morning is ongoing as, as quickly as possible.

Speaker 1: 24:31 And how could the reported discovery of human remains at the site add strength to a Kumi eye case against construction?

Speaker 7: 24:40 Right? There is the law NAGPRA, which protects remains of native Americans. That's was passed by Congress in 1990. It allows for the, the safe removal of remains that are found and I'm returning it to the tribe that those remains most likely belong to. So that's, you know, that's in, uh, the law and if that's being violated, obviously at least federal authorities or state authorities have the right to, um, move on that. Uh, but of course, to find any injunctive relief, they're going to have to bring this case to court, which they haven't done yet. Um, already the lawsuits that were challenging the wall in terms of the money that had been redirected from the department of defense for wall construction have been, um, given a stay by the Supreme court, which essentially is allowing lower court rulings, which are repeatedly finding that the Trump administration couldn't legally transfer these funds. The Supreme court says, well, let the construction keep going until we get a chance to review it, which at this point will most likely now be until next year.

Speaker 1: 25:44 Okay. Then I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max Revlin Nadler, max. Thank you.

Speaker 7: 25:50 Thank you.

Speaker 4: 25:54 For many small businesses, the pandemic has been a crushing blow. Billions of dollars in loans and grants are coming down the pipeline to help them, but is the money getting to the right places? San Diego, small business development center says the deadline to apply for one major source of money is this Saturday. And there's still money left in the pot here to talk about what's being done to reach small businesses is Danny Fitzgerald, who is the acting regional director with San Diego and Imperial counties, small business development center network. Welcome Danny, thank you for having me on. So now this week is the deadline on some of the federal loans available for small businesses, how much money remains to be distributed in San Diego?

Speaker 7: 26:32 It's a national distribution and there's still a little over $110 billion left from the paycheck protection program. That was the program that was created with the cares act back in March. It rolled out with

Speaker 8: 26:44 A lot of headlines in April and then had a second round of funding in, in late April. And that second round of funding still has money.

Speaker 4: 26:51 How much money has your center distributed already in the case?

Speaker 8: 26:54 So we've helped folks access, uh, here in the County, just under a hundred million dollars between the paycheck protection program and the economic injury disaster loan, and the overall it's about $1 billion that has been accessed here in San Diego County. Um, and a lot of that of course also has done not just with our assistance, but just by the companies themselves

Speaker 4: 27:14 As the STBC being overwhelmed with requests for assistance.

Speaker 8: 27:17 The first 60 days that we certainly were overwhelmed with requests, um, we were able to ramp up quickly, of course, like everybody else. We had to shift all of our services online. Um, we have a staff of about, uh, about 120, uh, throughout the, uh, throughout the region. Most of those are, um, our, our business advisors that, uh, that we pay. They've been able to do the business advising either on the phone or virtually like this via zoom and be able to assist with assistant about almost 9,000 businesses between webinars and one-on-one services.

Speaker 4: 27:48 Now, there are so many small business programs out there that it's quite difficult for the smaller businesses to know what to apply for. And KPBS has reported that, uh, businesses South of eight have received fewer loans than businesses North of eight. Why do you think that is?

Speaker 8: 28:03 Well, I think you said it in the question it's confusing and w you know, that's been one of our primary efforts, a large, large amount of our focus is, um, you know, is for services for minority owned businesses. We provide services in up to 15 different languages. I think that's been a huge difference. Uh, we have, uh, one center that does provide services in, in Arabic, for example. And in that we're so unique with that. We've been able to serve not just people in the San Diego County, but nationally, just because it's virtual.

Speaker 4: 28:31 What kind of outreach have you done to small businesses who have traditionally had little experience of working with banks and getting loans from banks?

Speaker 8: 28:40 So we work, you know, so some of our partners, one of our contracted partners, our sub centers is the international rescue committee. For example, um, others include, uh, the, uh, Alliance of the three ethnic chambers of commerce, Hispanic chamber, the Asian business association, and the central San Diego black chamber of commerce. Um, we've worked closely with, um, many other, uh, neighborhood organizations in particular business improvement districts, um, that it would include, for example, the diamond business improvement district, the ELCA home business improvement district, and city Heights business improvement district to really try and reach those communities the best we can.

Speaker 4: 29:14 And we've seen some people say that sole proprietors, you know, owner operators don't qualify. Is that true?

Speaker 8: 29:19 No, that's absolutely not true. We've helped hundreds of sole proprietors, self employed individuals get the PPP loan. Um, it's based on what your, your, your 10 40 schedule C your net profit was. So the net profit that you had for your 2019 taxes, um, you divide that by 12, you times that by two and a half, and that's your loan amount. And so, as long as you showed a profit on your 2019 tax return, then you're eligible

Speaker 4: 29:45 Talk about the different kinds of loans. There's three different kinds. I understand,

Speaker 8: 29:49 Oh, there's, there's many kinds, actually, there's more than three, but the three primary, the two primary federal ones are the paycheck protection program. That was the one, of course that came out with a huge, huge bang and a con, and has had, you know, a great success helped a lot of businesses, um, where it's weaknesses is, if you don't have significant payroll, it's not a significant loan. Uh, the other program that's federal is the economic injury disaster loan, um, that came out and right as the disaster was declared because it already existed. The trick with that is of course that there've been over 8 million applications. So of course there's been been some delays. Then there's been some, a number of different local programs. Uh, the city of San Diego has had their small business relief funded and had a couple of different rounds of that. We've helped a number of businesses apply for and receive that. And now, uh, San Diego County, uh, they have two programs. One that's kind of been going on for a little while through Axion of San Diego for unincorporated areas. And then also the new cares grant program that you apply with your specific supervisorial district, and we're helping a number of businesses do that application

Speaker 4: 30:51 With the federal money. Is it a problem that a small businesses with just a couple of employees are competing with businesses of up to 500 employees for this money?

Speaker 8: 31:00 It's not a problem that they're competing. I think it was initially, but what it does do is it impacts the total dollar amount. Since the loan is based on two and a half times, your average monthly payroll, if you don't have a significant payroll, you're not getting a significant sum of money and certain businesses that operate, maybe not with a lot of employees, but do have other significant overhead costs. And that's a common issue, uh, with businesses that are South of the age, they, they're not gonna, you know, the PPP is not enough money for them.

Speaker 4: 31:30 So what are the main barriers that you're seeing to businesses getting accessing the money? You see this money sitting there, what is it that you feel is needed to get it to the right place?

Speaker 8: 31:40 The main thing is to, is to apply with the lender that will work with them. We've seen the nonprofit lending organizations such as like CDC, small business finance, uh, industry, um, opportunity fund. Those are three very good nonprofit lenders here in California, CDC, small business finances headquartered here in San Diego. They've done an amazing job, uh, working with them, uh, some other small, you know, local community banks have done that. And even some larger banks such as us bank of adjusted their operations to help more and more businesses be able to access it. So I think, um, it took time for banks to, to do this. The whole program rolled out in six days and banks being large conservative organizations that they are, they can't turn on a dime like that. And I think that caused a huge amount of the barriers and the confusion early on.

Speaker 4: 32:26 Who do you want to reach, who you think is not being reached at this point with the help,

Speaker 8: 32:31 Um, in particular, very small businesses that maybe don't have access to a lot of marketplaces, you know, so they may not have, uh, be receiving. They may not

Speaker 1: 32:40 Be seeing them

Speaker 9: 32:40 Different information, but it's ones who think they try to get the loan and work denied, turned away from their bank in April. Please come see us. We can help you find a lender and get a loan.

Speaker 1: 32:51 We've been speaking with Danny Fitzgerald. Who's acting regional director with San Diego and Imperial counties, small business development center network. Thank you so much, Danny.

Speaker 9: 33:00 Thank you.

Speaker 1: 33:06 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Alison st. John concerts are on hold this summer, but not the KPBS summer music series. We've contacted some of San Diego's best known and best loved musicians to talk about what they do and play us some music on today's installment. We welcome to one, a born musician, Israel Maldonado. He's known for his unique take on Latin and Brazilian music as a classical guitar player, vocalist and percussionist. He's toured with bands, Agua, Dulce, and solely Mar and fronts, his own bands, Israel Maldonado band, and Pawlenty. Israel joins us today to talk about his musical journey from Tijuana to San Diego. And our interview started with some music

Speaker 9: 34:40 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 34:40 That was the song, came a esta pasando by Israel, Maldonado and Israel. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 9: 34:47 Hi, Maureen. Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1: 34:49 Have you been playing shows during this pandemic?

Speaker 9: 34:53 Yes. I've done a couple like socially distant parties where like people are having dinner, like kind of far away. And I'm in the corner playing the guitar. Nothing much since the shutdown. It's a little depressing, but,

Speaker 1: 35:07 Well, it's depressing. Cause people can't mingle. Right? They can't dance to music. Yeah.

Speaker 9: 35:12 Like I played at the cafe, I played it at cafe Sylvia like a couple of weeks ago and it was, I was like, wow, cool. I'm going to get to play again on stage. I'm super stoked. But then they tell you, you can't mingle with the people in the crowd and then you can't get people in the people can't dance. And it's just a lot of restrictions and it's like, it's not fun. You know? And the thing for us, it's like when we're performing, it's like a feedback thing from the audience. We get zero now. So it's a, it's a whole different thing

Speaker 10: 35:38 Right now.

Speaker 1: 35:38 A whole different thing. Indeed. You started out playing in bands. Now you perform mostly as a solo act. How, how different is that for you?

Speaker 10: 35:48 Uh, you know, the solo act. I, I do it because with the band, you have to split the money with everybody. And usually with the band, it's usually like club gigs or things that don't really pay that much. You know what I mean? So, so you have to split your, you have to split the money with everybody, but I figured out how to play shows by myself so I can make a living actually playing music in. And I mean, I like it because I can actually sound like two people if I'm playing by myself.

Speaker 1: 36:13 So how do you sound like two people

Speaker 10: 36:16 Is a thing called looping. So I'll do a demonstration right now on a really simple two core loop. I will push the pedal like one, two, three, four, so then that's a loop right there. So I just did that right now on the spot. So it's basically when I figured it out, I was like, wow. So you can actually play chords first, lame down and then play lead guitar on top like this.

Speaker 1: 36:53 That was just a really great example. Thank you. Thank you very much for that. I was speaking with guitarist, Israel, Maldonado, and we're talking about how he creates his looping and how he is performing now that everybody's indoors with this pandemic. And do you prerecord the looped background tracks that you,

Speaker 10: 37:17 You can do it pre recorded, but I want to build it in front of people so they can see how I'm building it in. And people get a kick out of that. At some point, sometimes people don't even know what I'm doing. They think it's all prerecorded, but it's not, it's all being done on the spot.

Speaker 1: 37:30 You're creating it all live.

Speaker 10: 37:32 Yeah. Yeah. It's all right there. And that's, that's the thing. That's what people can call me back because it's like, Whoa, like I just, you know, like the risk, you know, it's cause it's a risk, you know, you, you don't loop it. Right. It's gonna sound bad. But I know if I, if I don't do loop ride, you have to know like plan B, plan C, you have to, you know, plan ahead. You know what I mean? Cause you know, sometimes you do kind of screw up a little bit, but

Speaker 1: 37:55 Did you grow up wanting to be a guitar?

Speaker 10: 37:58 No, actually I, my very first record, my vinyl record was kiss dynasty. So I used to be a little kid in like, uh, set up, uh, like woodblocks and set 'em like as a drum set. So I was always, always wanted to be like Peter, Chris, you know, like the drummer and uh, cause I just, I would always put the music on, on my record player and just play with it and I just loved it so much. And then my mom got me a guitar and I was really bummed out and she's like, no, you're going to learn how to play guitar. I'm like, I'm going to be a drummer. She was like, no, you're going to play guitar. Cause we can't afford a drum set. So I started playing classical guitar when I was 10 and that's why my dream went away for being the drum for kiss. That was it pretty much long story short.

Speaker 1: 38:42 Now your family moved from Tijuana to Carlsbad during your freshman year of high school. Tell us about that. Was that a difficult transition for you?

Speaker 10: 38:51 Yeah, it really was. I mean, just leaving all your friends, especially with, at the age where like all the quinceanera parties were gonna start happening. Like all, you know, it was like, it was just a kind of a crucial time for us, you know what I mean? But that was the only time that we could move to the U S because, um, and my mom ended up marrying my, my stepdad and um, and they were, they were together for a long time, but they just decided to get married. Um, and then so he's like, we're going to go to Carlsbad. So I went to Carlsbad and you know, I had a mustache, everything, you know what I mean? It showed up there, you know, I was, I did not fit in, you know what I mean? It was like, who was this guy? Not even with the Mexicans either.

Speaker 10: 39:28 You know what I mean? It was like, I was just completely, it was like, I was like the odd man out there. I didn't really speak English that well, that's why, you know, sometimes you hear me fumbling the English screen when I'm speaking is so I was in ESL classes and I, so I actually learned how to speak English by playing beach volleyball every day. I remember just practicing, you know what I mean? The English, you know, and I got a little bit better. Uh, but it was, it was hard. What got me through the was marching band and I kind of fit in with the kind of like the kind of the geeks and stuff. You know what I mean? That's kind of more of my, my speed. So, and that's how I got good at the, at the snare and the quads and I, and I, and I studied, you know, like drumming, you know what I mean? It was really cool. So that's why I got my training.

Speaker 1: 40:11 Let's hear some more music. This is Oh, code by Israel Maldonado.

Speaker 9: 40:34 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 40:43 That was the song. Oh, co by Israel Maldonado. Now, Israel, you were accepted at Boston conservatory for classical guitar, but you decided to go to San Diego state university that could have people scratching their heads. What made you decide to do that?

Speaker 10: 41:01 Uh, I knew my parents couldn't afford it. It was just really expensive. And I went to state, I stayed local and the good thing, if I would have gone to the conservatory of Boston, I would have just been a classical guitarist and probably never been a musician. You know what I mean? Cause I wouldn't have been exposed to the, to the Brazilian thing. And I've been in the Brazilian band. I took the Brazilian Samba class at San Diego state with Mark Lamson and it fit perfectly with what I was doing with the classical, my technique and everything. So it ended up being the right choice. And my mom always was always

Speaker 9: 41:34 Giving me crap for that because she wanted me to go to the conservatory. But I was, I always told her that if I went there, I probably wouldn't have learned how to speak for two years and how to like, you know, got into Brazilian music. I probably wouldn't have been a musician.

Speaker 1: 41:47 How many languages do you speak?

Speaker 9: 41:49 Uh, I speak three languages. My first language is Spanish and a second one is English and a third one is Portuguese.

Speaker 1: 41:58 Now you grew up as you've been telling us with mentors and music teachers, uh, from, uh, uh, Brazilian music to classical guitar. And now you yourself are teaching music. Do you enjoy that? Do you enjoy teaching?

Speaker 9: 42:13 Yeah. I actually teach at the high school. It's called set high school of entrepreneurship and technology. I teach pretty much all the time. Like during school year I teach every day. I love teaching. I love performing, but I love showing people how to play, how to play music

Speaker 1: 42:28 Is Maldonado. Thank you for joining us.

Speaker 9: 42:31 Thank you, Maureen. Thank you so much for having me [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 43:03 To hear more of Israel Maldonado's music and to see a video of him performing go to kpbs.org/summer music series. Our KPBS summer music series continues next Thursday.

Speaker 9: 44:28 [inaudible] [inaudible].

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.