Skip to main content

Mail Ballots Ready, Measure B, County District 3 Race, Tijuana Tacos And Brain Exhibit At Fleet Science Center

Cover image for podcast episode

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego County registrar of voters talks upcoming elections and we hear from both sides of the Newland Sierra and development debate. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid day. It's Tuesday, February 4th the Iowa caucuses turned out to be a mess, which makes the California primary on super Tuesday next month even more important than the democratic presidential race, but it's not only that national race being decided in San Diego County, there's the city of San Diego's mayor's race, city council seats, County board of supervisors races along with a hotel tax measure to expand the convention center and more on the ballot County registrar voters. Michael WGU is here to tell us how prepared we are for all this voting in California's new early primary and Michael, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 01:02 Thanks for having me Marine.

Speaker 1: 01:03 I have to start out by asking you about Iowa. The caucuses fell apart apparently because an app that was supposed to count votes malfunctioned as a registrar voters, somebody who's used to running elections and counting votes. How do you look at this situation?

Speaker 2: 01:18 Well, I look at the, the election as in all elections is that anything can happen. And so you have to expect the unexpected. And, uh, certainly that is something that Iowa is feeling today. Uh, with everything that has occurred, occurred there. Not only is it going to be things like a glitch or some type of technology issues, but anything could happen during an election. And I always say that, you know, Murphy's law as, as a result of elections is, is because if there's going to be something to happen on election day, it's going to occur and you might as well expect it and prepare for it as much as you can.

Speaker 1: 01:52 Are there any lessons California can learn from what happened in Iowa?

Speaker 2: 01:56 Yeah, I think there's always going to be lessons learned whenever you hear from other experiences that have occurred. Uh, certainly we are being watchful for, for stuff that's happening in, not just in Iowa, but any, any other state before it hits California. And, um, certainly our primary here in San Diego County as well as in the state is very complex. It only happens four years where the presidential, uh, par, uh, primary occurs and the parties dictate who gets to vote on their respective presidential candidates. And for San Diego County voters, there are 12,000, 560 different variations of the ballot because you have to multiply all of the different party ballot types that we have times that by the total number of qualified political parties. And then you have to multiply it by the total number of federal languages that we have to support that we have to legally provide for an election. So that creates the 12,560 different variations of the ballot. The voter that receives a ballot by mail doesn't see that. But operationally and logistically, it's a very complex system that has many moving parts to it and you have to monitor all the way through. And that's what we've been doing from day one since the 2016 election, uh, was over.

Speaker 1: 03:14 So tell us some of the ways is San Diego County is preparing for the March primary.

Speaker 2: 03:20 So a number of different things that we just sent out. All of the sample ballot and voter information pamphlets, 1.8 million of those went out. There are 415 candidates that are on the ballot across 76 contests. That includes 58 offices and 18 questions that are on the ballot throughout the entire County. There are 1,361 polling places. These are physical polling places that we have to secure. Uh, for election day. There's the 1.3 million mail ballots that we, uh, uh, issued and dropped off at the us postal service. So voters that are male belt voters should be receiving those. And what's new about those mail ballots is now it's a prepaid postage. So voters do not have to worry about putting a place in a stamp on the return envelope as well. Uh, as something new that we've are doing for the first time is putting the, I voted sticker inside that Mel bow package, um, as well. So we have, uh, uh, 1,548 precincts that we need to establish for this upcoming election with and need to staff it with 9,000 poll workers in San Diego County. Certainly who San Diego County has one of the most complex systems in the country, uh, particularly as large of a County that we have with 1.8 million registered voters. Um, but every elections administrator I like at any election officials, I feel for them. Uh, just because I know how complex our laws are throughout the country and every state, every jurisdiction conducts their election a little bit differently.

Speaker 1: 04:44 So yeah, as you mentioned, the mail in ballots started going out yesterday. So this process is taking place then the one, there's one thing San Diego's growing, number of no party preference voters should note though, is that they won't get to vote for a presidential candidate in the primary if they don't pick a party. How do you advise no party preference voters at this time?

Speaker 2: 05:05 So if you receive a nonpartisan ballot and you still want to crossover to the political parties that are opening up their presidential candidates, again, that's the democratic party, deliberate Tarion party as well as the American independent party that you can contact our office by phone, you can email us or you can fill out an uh, our online application and or you can come to our office as well. Um, so our office, not only did we send out the 1.3 million mail ballots, but that also is the beginning of in-office voting here at our office. So, uh, there are many still choices for voters that are mailed out voters, uh, to cross over and receive the about that they, they want. Now on election day for nonpartisan voters, if you're planning on going to the polling place, you will make your selections known there. So that is pretty key. And I should say that we've got a couple of weeks before the registration deadline, but so key, such a priority that voters to register or re-register to vote if they need to update their residence, address, their mailing address or their political parties as a set of GAD political party. Your preference as a political party member does matter in this election. It could prevent you from voting on the candidates that you wish to vote on.

Speaker 1: 06:16 No, there is another aspect to this election. It has to do with conditional voting. This means voters will be able to register to vote and cast a ballot on election day. Are you concerned this could lead to a long lines like we saw in 2018

Speaker 2: 06:31 very concerned with conditional voter registration at a, let me just say a first and foremost is, you know this is a voter centric policy. This is a policy that was passed by the legislature to ensure that voters had the individuals had the option of still participating in election, which is great in terms of a policy, but in practice if leveraged incorrectly, if leveraged as the measure of the rule of thumb, it could create long lines, which creates a very big disservice for themselves as a individual who wants to register and participate in the election or the person that is standing behind them that is waiting to vote. And so we ask all voters, uh, we can't implore enough for all individuals, not just even voters, all individuals registered or not to register or reregistered to vote well in advance of the February 18th deadline and not really act upon this conditional voter registration unless it's absolutely necessary.

Speaker 1: 07:31 Tell me about the satellite voting centers. Where will they be located and how soon will they be open?

Speaker 2: 07:36 We're establishing for a satellite locations beyond just the registrar voters office for individuals to participate in, register and vote. They will be located in the San Marcos area, the Chula Vista area, the spring Valley area as well as in the Carmel mountain ranch area and we will push out the specific information when that time comes. Uh, right now the focus and the message that we want to ensure that is uh, that voters and non-voters that are eligible to register, uh, know about is there is a deadline coming up. There's a time looming coming up and for them to act and make it really a priority as they do any other aspect of their lives is to really prepare for this election.

Speaker 1: 08:20 It is March 3rd and I want to thank you so much for taking time out and speaking with us today. I've been speaking with County registrar voters, Michael WGU, Michael, thank you. Thank you. Of the ballot measure San Diego County voters will have to decide on in the March primary, one of the most contentious is measure B, measure B deals with the Newland Sierra project located in Northern San Diego County. Last September County supervisors voted to amend the general plan to allow the project

Speaker 3: 08:56 to be built. It would include a community of more than 2100 homes, a school site, 81,000 square feet of retail, 36 acres of parks, and more than 1200 acres of open space. After the supervisor's vote, opponents of the project filed a referendum petition against it. They gathered the requisite amount of signatures needed and that forced the matter to a vote of the people. We're going to hear from people on both sides of the issue. First, Eric [inaudible], CEO of the San Diego North economic development council, which supports measure B, then cliff Williams representing the no on B side. We'll begin with Eric [inaudible]. The county's housing policy requires a certain amount of affordable housing. Uh, when a developer request an amendment to the general plan, then folks who oppose this measure say there aren't any affordable homes included. Is that true? And if so, why not?

Speaker 4: 09:51 So as my understanding is, is that, um, what's gone on through the process is that Newland has committed, uh, to setting aside, uh, two pools of homes. Uh, they've filed a legally binding covenant with the courts. Some of the houses would be built at 60% of average median income, uh, for the County. Those are people making in the thirties or $40,000 range built by an affordable housing developer, well known that's gotten projects throughout San Diego County, uh, and restricted to people who meet that income requirement. Another set of homes would be restricted in terms of their initial sales to people making between 60% to 120% of average median income. And those would be for, uh, the kinds of folks that work in public safety or public education. And again, that has been a deed restriction that has been filed.

Speaker 3: 10:49 If the Newland Sierra project is built, it will result in thousands more trips on the 15 every day. Yet the developer hasn't offered to do anything to mitigate the gridlock. Why is that?

Speaker 4: 10:59 So that's not true. Here's the facts. Since the end of the great recession for every seven new Whoa, new jobs we've added in North counties, seven new jobs, we've built only one new home. So seven new jobs are chasing that one new home and those jobs don't get been beamed up by the star ship enterprise. At the end of the day. They get on the road and they go to Southern Riverside County or they go to East OTI or they double up or they drive rents higher and higher and higher as people try and work multiple jobs to make ends meet. So this idea that it adds traffic is just false. The bottom line is, is that there's going to be traffic if we, because of the job growth that we've seen in North County. And the real question for people is, is do we want to reconcile those that don't have homes right now for living in Menifee or points North or do we want to have them live somewhat closer to the job centers in North County?

Speaker 3: 11:54 And there is concerns surrounding the wellbeing of wildlife in the area. Opponents of the project say if Newland Sierra is built out, Mo uh, movement of wildlife will be restricted in the area and that will be detrimental. Has the developer proposed anything to mitigate that?

Speaker 4: 12:10 So the majority of the site is being set aside as open space. Um, the wildlife agencies, uh, uh, provided comments and Newland responded to them so that the County did not have to have a finding that there were unmitigated negative, uh, impacts upon the environment and environmental, uh, species, uh, survivability or species flow. So I feel confident that the project meets its needs in terms of the environmental and open space requirements that it's making

Speaker 3: 12:40 a major concern raised by project opponents at the supervisors meeting centers around the ability for Newland Sierra residents to be evacuated in case of a wildfire. Uh, the plan only includes two evacuation routes for thousands of people and animals. Opponents say that's completely inadequate. What do you think?

Speaker 4: 12:58 So, you know, [inaudible] first of all is that Cal fire and other fire safety agencies have looked at this project and signed off of it. But you know, in the end, let's just talk about some real world experiences and anecdotes. I live in a home that was also built by Newland about 10 years ago. That's for S ranch. And let me tell you what happened in 2007 that fire came through. It burned the older homes that surround my community and stop dead at the ice plant that was required to be built. That would be similar to the kinds of firebreaks and mitigation measures that are going to be required at Newland Sierra. Not a single home was damaged in the slightest at forest ranch in that fire. So there is a problem with fire. It's for these older homes that are around, which haven't upgraded, which don't have box Steve's, which haven't created defensible space around them. Those people do need to take care of fire, but these newer communities have proven that they're able to survive in the kinds of fires that we have in San Diego County.

Speaker 3: 13:54 Eric [inaudible] with the yes on measure B campaign. Thank you for being here. Thank you. Now to cliff Williams, who supports a no vote on measure B. cliff, welcome. Thank you. The vote by County supervisors last year was unanimous in support of the Newland Sierra project. At that time, supervisors heard from people opposed to the project, but they approved it anyway. Uh, we elect supervisors to make those kinds of decisions for, so why not abide by their vote? We

Speaker 5: 14:23 do elect people to make these types of decisions, but we also reserve for ourselves the right of referendum so that if we feel that those four people made a mistake, we can pull back that decision. And shortly after the board of supervisors approved that 117,000 people signed signature referendum petition signatures to essentially pull that a decision back and put on the ballot because the people of San Diego decided we don't like these types of sprawl projects that don't have any affordable housing that are going to cause massive traffic impacts. We want a decision on those.

Speaker 3: 15:02 As we all know, there is a housing crisis in San Diego County. The Newland Sierra development will provide more than 2100 homes. It is supported by police and firefighter unions who say it will provide a tenably priced homes. Why is that not a good enough reason to support it?

Speaker 5: 15:20 This project is a 1980s sprawl development and in the 90s in San Diego, we decided to grow in a different way. We decided to employ smart growth, which puts housing, jobs and transit all close together so that people can live, work, ride transit, go to the grocery store, all within a short, uh, drive, not having to create level of service F on the freeway. Um, smart growth is the way that we've decided to grow in San Diego. Uh, it isn't going out into the hinterlands and yes, we have a housing crisis in San Diego and we need, um, housing, but we need affordable housing. This is a luxury development that is going to blow off the top of a mountain, uh, and try to put the city a city of the size of Del Mar, basically 6,000 residents up into this area. There are not attainable prices in this project. Uh, if you read the planning commission report on this project, it says the project does not include an affordable housing component. Uh, it's very definitive and that's the project that's on the ballot.

Speaker 3: 16:20 And you know, the main supporter and financer of the no on B campaign is the owner of the golden door spa. Uh, the backers of Newland CRSA the campaign against them is just due to a rich spa owner who doesn't want any neighbors. What's your reaction to that?

Speaker 5: 16:35 That's just absolutely untrue. Um, the golden door has been a 60 year resident of this area and, um, this is a rural Valley where we're also supporting our, our neighbors, the twin Oaks community group, the hidden Meadows community group, the Bansal community group. All of the community groups of the people in this area have voted unanimously against this project. We also represent on the deer Springs Oaks mobile home park, which is right next door to this area. Uh, and they could potentially lose their, uh, park because of the new interchange that would have to be built, uh, for this project. So these are seniors on fixed incomes that would lose their homes because of this project. We're fighting for our community and we're fighting for all of North County, uh, say no on measure B.

Speaker 3: 17:21 And I've been speaking with cliff Williams with the no on measure B campaign. Cliff, thank you for joining us. Thank you. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm Jade Hindman. One race may force a historic shift in the San Diego County board of supervisors. KPBS reporter Steve Walsh says incumbent Republican Kristin gas bar faces to democratic challengers in a rapidly shifting district.

Speaker 5: 17:46 The third district runs up the coast from Salana beach Encinitas

Speaker 6: 17:50 and up to 15 all the way from the eight to the ones reliably Republican Escondido. That's a wonderful place to grow up to live. Robin Fox runs the Escondido history center. That's really changed over the years. But um, for many years it was really a small town. The one small farm town is now an expanding bedroom community. As of December, DDO had a thousand more registered Democrats than Republicans making it still the most competitive community in the third district. The district itself is seen as the best chance for Republicans to continue their generation. Long control of the County board of supervisors. A run made more difficult by the changing demographics of San Diego County. Kristen gas bar is the Republican incumbent. She declined to participate in KPBS his piece on the third district race gas bar is a business woman. Four years ago. She defeated the democratic incumbent. Then she ran for the congressional seat held by Daryl Leisa. She lost during the last four years. Gas bar has taken stances that may seem out of step with her district. She appeared at a white house event last year with president Trump supporting expanding the border wall and voting to support the president's lawsuit against California's law limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. There are two Democrats, challenging gas bar, Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson. Reamer Diaz was the first Latina elected to the Escondido city council. She laid out her top three priorities.

Speaker 1: 19:21 The three things that have resonated in this campaign have been uh, solving homelessness, chronic homelessness. I want to work on that climate change. We really need to overhaul our climate action plan to meet greenhouse gas emission standards and, uh, housing in general. Um, we talked about affordable housing. We never really talked about high end housing. That end of the market takes care of itself, but creating opportunity for entry level or workforce housing,

Speaker 6: 19:45 DIA says solving homelessness isn't necessarily about finding more money,

Speaker 1: 19:49 maybe more money. We have a large surplus, but also a reevaluation of how we're spending the money. Now to focus on the core values and solutions. I really believe we need more social workers with a reasonable caseload. Uh, imagine if you had to help two or three or 400 people.

Speaker 6: 20:06 Diaz also wants to modernize County services in part to encourage developers to build in more dense urban areas. Lawson reamer is an economist and former member of the Obama administration. She founded the flip, the 49th campaign that ended with Democrat. Mike Levin being elected to Congress. This is her first time running for office herself.

Speaker 7: 20:25 I believe that we should be at the forefront with a bold climate action plan that is the best in the country, maybe the best in the world, that we should be leading the charge on that and not chasing our tails and certainly not paying out a taxpayer money to do nothing. I think we need to take bold action to protect our beaches and our coastlines, which is part of what makes San Diego such a special place to live and raise a family. Um, we have to take bold action on affordable housing. We need to tackle our traffic and congestion crisis and the urban sprawl that has led to people spending so many of their own hours idling in traffic.

Speaker 6: 21:02 The county's climate action plan has been challenged repeatedly in court. Lawson reamers more aggressive approach includes requiring developers to have any carbon offset be inside San Diego County rather than buying credits from anywhere in the world and on homelessness lost and reamer wants to target services where people live.

Speaker 7: 21:21 I definitely think we need a housing first approach with wraparound services. So that does mean more beds and it does mean more shelter beds, but more than anything, it means making sure that when we have shelters, including those that already exist, we're providing really accessible services for homeless, our homeless population to get the support that they need to get back on their feet.

Speaker 6: 21:40 The top two vote getters in the March primary move on to the general election. Steve Walsh, KPBS news

Speaker 3: 21:47 KPBS reporter Steve Walsh joins me now. Steve, welcome. Hi Jade. So the incumbent Kristin gas bar declined your request for an interview. Did her campaign give you an explanation for that?

Speaker 6: 21:58 A very short one. There was a, there was a small exchange with her official campaign email. At first she said she wasn't available. Then when I asked if we could find another time, uh, the uh, response was a polite, uh, she does not want to do it, sorry. Okay. So she didn't want to sit down for an interview, but what can you tell me about her? So gas bar has taken some positions that can be seen as out of step with her district, which is becoming more blue. She was at a meeting at the white house with the, on the Trump immigration policy. She was a yes vote on the county's decision to intervene on a lawsuit by the Trump administration against California's law. That limited cooperation with immigration authorities. She's also on the SANDAG board of directors and she's been against new regional transportation that includes a new tax and a more emphasis on mass transit over a, some older road projects.

Speaker 3: 22:50 There's this shift happening in the third County supervisors district. It used to be reliably Republican in places like Escondido. That's not the case anymore. Talk to me about the makeup of voters in that area and why there's this shift.

Speaker 6: 23:05 So wanted to go to like the most reliably Republican part of the third district. What I found is looking at the voter data that uh, every community in the third district has more Democrats than Republicans, but Escondido is still the closest with about a thousand voter advantage for Democrats in that race. So the reason is it's just like the rest of San Diego County. It's become, it was once a small farming town. It became a bedroom community. People moved out of San Diego for cheaper housing. Now it's kind of a sprawling suburb here on the North side. So now a district three, is this a swing district? Well, they're looking at as a swing district because there are three of the five districts are up for election. The second is still majority GOP that has parts of East County in it. And um, there's a wide disparity between Republicans and Democrats. And then there's the first district, which the disparity between Democrats and Republicans is now why? With the it being heavily favored for the Democrat and net. So the third district becomes really the only swing. And then gas bar is the only, uh, incumbent running among the three. She's the Republican, but still that third district has 130,000 votes, registered Democrats and 105 registered Republicans. So it's purple, but it's turning pretty blue.

Speaker 3: 24:27 The San Diego County democratic party has said the district three race is the most important race in 2020 because they want democratic control on the board of supervisors. The party, however, did not make an endorsement in this race for the primary. How are the two Democrats in the race differentiating themselves?

Speaker 6: 24:44 So neither candidate could meet the minimum requirements. So there was no endorsement in this particular race. Um, and I, I will say also that the three candidates have never held an event together. So it's really the two Democrats that have been out attending several events around the district and then Kristen gas bar, uh, attending events on her own. So this is a board that's only had two Democrats in the last 30 years, both really in the last decade. So really is a question of degrees. Both of both of the Democrats, uh, think that they would do a much better job with the county's climate change plan, which, uh, has faced several court challenges. Lawson reamers spent a great deal of time. She talked about the, the need for acting locally on big issues like climate change, the as wanted to modernize the County services to make it easier to build in the, in the third district, which is the more densely populated part of San Diego County. Of course, communities have control over their own zoning and building permits. So what they could do within the third district at least is, is fairly limited and both are more open to increasing, uh, mass transit, though I didn't necessarily hear that they would, uh, take any money away from road projects.

Speaker 3: 25:56 Are there factions of the democratic party that are split between Diaz and Lawson Riemer?

Speaker 6: 26:02 So Lawson reamer has a lot more support among organized labor. Uh, she was endorsed by the service employees international union, which is the county's largest employee union. She has received support from a representative Juan Vargas and a state Senate, a leader pro tem Tony Atkins, uh, and both, uh, Democrats representing San Diego Atkins campaign. Actually. Uh, he also contributed $10,000 to and reamers candidacy. Now, Diaz has the support of the, uh, supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who was the only Democrat right now on the County board of supervisors. Also his wife, uh, assembly member Lorena Gonzalez and a city council president, a Georgette. She also has her own labor support, including the Teamsters

Speaker 1: 26:47 candidates doing in the money race. Is there any fundraising data?

Speaker 6: 26:51 Yes, there is. So in January the, in the latest reports, gas bar has over $300,000. Lost in reamer, has about $156,000 in DIA is about $98,000. But that's a little deceptive because Lawson Riemer also has friends of Terra Lawson Riemer, which is organized by the laborers and they, they've added another 130, $36,000. So what else will you be looking out for in this race as the campaign continues? So the top two vote getters move on to the fall. It's still felt there were enough Republican votes for gas bar to move on to be at least one of the two that do move on. So it's a matter of, uh, between D as in Lawson reamer to see which of the two Democrats might face her in the fall. I had been speaking with KPBS reporter Steve Walsh. Steve, thank you so much. Thanks.

Speaker 1: 27:42 I'm Maureen Cavanagh. Scott Koenig's is always on the hunt for the best tacos in Tijuana. He's the writer behind the travel website, a gringo in Mexico and the author of the book, seven days in the VA Baja California's wine country cuisine and a new conversation series for only here KPBS his podcast about life at the U S Mexico border host Allen. Lillian Thall talks to Kona about tacos and immigration's effect on food.

Speaker 8: 28:11 Talk to me about the word gringo cause it's, for some people it's, it feels a little offensive, but you've sort of reclaimed it. It seems like you're okay with giving yourself this kind of outsider. It's kind of a goofy word. This, this kind of identity.

Speaker 9: 28:24 Yes, and you know it's funny is that most of the people who have a problem with me using the title gringo are other gringos. Most of my Mexican friends get a kick out of it. When I meet somebody down there for the first time and they asked the address of my blog and I say a gringo in mexico.com it usually gets a good laugh, but really why? Why I called myself this was to, to show people I don't want to seem like I'm some know at all who goes to Mexico and I belong there. I'm definitely an outsider. I'm a guy on the outside looking in. The main intent, uh, original intent with my blog was to show people that, Hey, I'm a gringo. I'm an outsider. I go to Mexico, I feel perfectly safe. I eat great food, I meet amazing people and you as a gringo can do the same. What's happened over the past few years. Interestingly enough, is that I have fewer followers in San Diego and Southern California now than I do in Mexico. Most of my people who follow my blog now on my Facebook and my social media are actually from Mexico, largely based in Tijuana and in Sonata.

Speaker 8: 29:23 So last year you wrote a post called 10 terrific tacos in Tijuana and I thought you started that article in a very interesting way. You talked about immigration and its effect on tacos across the city. How often do you personally meet cooks or restaurant owners or winemakers who came to Tijuana from somewhere else and have somehow blended their hometowns food traditions with new ideas from the border? That's more the case than it is the exception. Actually, there are chefs working in Baja from all over Mexico and all over the world actually, so a lot of

Speaker 9: 29:56 people from Mexico city, a lot of chefs move here and bring their food here with them. It's not uncommon to go into a restaurant and eat Baja cuisine with a chef from Monterey for example. Then of course there is a lot of local homegrown talent like Javier Placentia, uh, as well or a Diego Hernandez who we are talking about at cortisone de Tiara who've lived in Baja, Tijuana and Sonata all their lives and like to celebrate the food of the region and in fact have really elevated the food of the region, uh, over the past decade or so.

Speaker 8: 30:27 Yeah. It's one of the greatest privileges to me of living here. The exploring this new Cusine that's kind of emerged from Baja.

Speaker 9: 30:34 Yeah. And the thing about it, people, friends of mine from all over Mexico, Mexico city, Monterey, what are the harder, they want to come and try the food and Baja because it's gotten such an excellent reputation. A really is one of the premier cuisines of Mexico,

Speaker 8: 30:47 deservedly so. And out of nowhere, like most of these food traditions are, are pretty ancient, at least a couple hundred years. And this Cusine kind of just sprung up in the past decade or two.

Speaker 9: 30:59 Absolutely. And it's all based on the ingredients here. Uh, and Baja doesn't have age old traditions like Wahaca or at Mexico city or Puebla where they have to stick to a certain heritage standard. So the chefs are kind of free to invent and make up dishes as they please. And with all of the fresh ingredients available in Baja, California from two seas, different ranches, farms, onsite gardens at restaurants, the permutations are almost infinite. I've had some amazing food here. I've had some very imaginative food here. And it's food that you really wouldn't find anywhere else in Mexico.

Speaker 8: 31:34 Yeah, it's kind of a perfect storm of deliciousness if you think about it because they're not tied down by tradition, but they have that tradition to inform themselves. So they, they've kind of been liberated to use these amazingly fresh ingredients in this climate that can pretty much grow anything too to experiment and come up with new, new takes on Mexican food. It's

Speaker 9: 31:54 absolutely, yeah. And it's, we live in a Mediterranean climate, so a lot of the same food that you would find in Mediterranean areas in Europe. You also find here including a re a very rich wine culture because the vines like it here with the hot days and the cool nights. Then there's also an Asian influence because Chinese, the Chinese settled in the region in Mexicali back in the early 19 hundreds. A lot of people from Japan have come and brought their Cozine with them. So when you look at a lot of the cuisine that's happening in Baja, California, it's a perfect blend of Mexican tradition, Mediterranean recipes and ingredients with a little bit of an Asian influence sets. Very unusual, very different and very delicious.

Speaker 8: 32:35 It is indeed. You're making me hungry. Um, okay, so you came prepared with some food news our listeners can actually put to use, you rounded up three different kinds of tacos for us and recommended some restaurants in [inaudible] where people can actually go try them. Uh, first up is the taco area, the Rez. Can you tell me a little bit about where the taco originates and where, where people should go eat it?

Speaker 9: 32:56 Yeah. Your accident is going to be much better than mine by the way, but better yet comes from the state of Jalisco, uh, originally, and it was made of goat or Chico and it was kind of a, the working man's food because the goat had, was a kind of a less expensive source of protein brought over by the Spaniards during the conquistador days. So it was something that you could stew. Uh, it's a blend of different spices. Cinnamon, cumin, clove. There's two different chilies typically used and it's preparation. It's slowly stewed and then the whole family can have at it for the entire week. And if they like, so it came from Holly's SCO originally as it hit Baja, California per mutated a little bit. And beef was used more often than, than goat because we live so close to Sonora, which is Mexico's main beef producing state. So you find a lot of video data has a and T, Quanta and elsewhere in Baja, California.

Speaker 9: 33:50 And where should we go eat the best places to eat it? The taco version of it. Uh, of course, you can go to tacos, Fritos and Tijuana right outside of Mercado Hidalgo. And they are fond of creating what they call a CAPA Chano taco or a combination taco, which has both the Barea, uh, as well as tripa, which is fried [inaudible] testing. Mmm, delicious. Uh, another place where I really like to get the beauty of data as a, as it tacos beauty a day, Martine, it's a lesser known stand one. We'll hit on our taco tour. And these guys I think have been in the same corner downtown Tijuana for 20 years or so, and uh, they mix it with tendon. So that gives it a little bit of a tooth because beardy is such a soft ingredient, especially to having a taco that when you add the tendon to it, it gives it a little bit more of a bite and it's delicious as well.

Speaker 9: 34:42 When they make the beardy at tacos in Tijuana, they'll typically dredge or dip the tortilla also into some of the consummate the fat and the juice that comes off the beef and then get it out. Give it a quick flash fry on the grill, which gives you a nice hard shell, which they call tacos dirato, so it's not like a taco shell, like you'd have a taco bell that's a nice crispy, fresh corn tortilla that's been dipped in that consummate. That's just savory. The beauty is delicious. You know, you add the tripa or the tendon or whatever, or just have the the Barea taco by itself and you can't go wrong. I think it's one of the main taco types or a signature taco, if you will, of Tijuana.

Speaker 10: 35:26 And that was travel writer Scott Koenig and only here podcast host Alan. Lillian thought to hear more about tacos in Tijuana. Listen to only here online at KPBS dot slash podcast

Speaker 3: 35:38 or get it wherever you listen to podcasts. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm wearing Cavanagh and I'm Jade Hindman. If you've ever wondered what goes on inside our brains, there's now an exhibit that gives people a chance to stroll inside the human brain to learn how it works. Brain the world. Inside your head is a new exhibit at the fleet science center in Balboa park. Steve Snyder, president and CEO of the fleet science center joins us to talk about the exhibit which is opening just in time for museum month. Steve, welcome. Oh, thanks for having me. So I understand that in one part of the exhibit, uh, guests will go inside of a brain. Paint us a picture. Can you describe what, what guests will see when they're

Speaker 11: 36:25 walking through the brain? Exactly. Take their brain in a tour of their brain. Exactly is. So it's a, it's a reproduction, a creation of this notion of what do those neurons actually look like? What are those cells that are inside our head that make us those billions of cells that make us who we are? What do they look like? How do they connect? And that notion of sort of a, our brain is a, an, uh, an ongoing lightening storm, uh, of energy when you're walking through the brain. That's actually the entrance to the exhibition and it's a space where we have created a large scale reproductions of these neurons, these multi-section sectional kind of somewhat alien looking shells, uh, that actually fire electricity, enlightened glow, uh, as your brain processes. So you'll actually walk through this kind of mixed web of neuron cells, uh, at large that you can actually walk through and explore. It gives you some introductory questions to the exhibition. Some of the questions scientists are trying to answer and get you kind of geared up for what's to come. All of this synapsis and everything, everything that's there. Yes. So it's going to look, this is really about from the cellular level, how does this actually build up into our experience of the world?

Speaker 3: 37:25 Uh, in many ways the brain is still an unknown entity. Uh, how is that handled in the exhibit?

Speaker 11: 37:31 Well, I think that's the exciting thing about the brain, right? That's the exciting thing about neuroscience research and of course being in San Diego because there's so much incredible neuroscience research going on here, is that this most important thing, the thing that makes us us is one of the things we know the least about. So this exhibit really goes into exploring how do we go through, understand the brain, what do we know about it? And also raises questions about the things that we don't know right now. Uh, I think the neuroscience is in some sense sort of a waiting for its Galileo moment, that moments that could have just completely change our understanding of how the brain works and who we are and our place in the universe. Some of the latest research into the brain is also presented to visitors. And what are some of those new discoveries that people can learn about?

Speaker 11: 38:09 Well, I think the, the interesting thing about, uh, about the exhibit and about some of the new information that's coming out is we're learning more and more about how we kind of go from these individual cells up to these large concepts. We still have? No, I'd be honest, we don't really understand what consciousness is yet. It's hard to even define that, but it's a lot of steps between that and our, our understanding of consciousness, so for example, we know a lot about how we see and how we start perceiving the world and that'll actually be part of another. We're opening also this month called illusion, which looks at using illusions to understand how our visual processing centers work, how we go from seeing edges to shapes, to using our memories to creating an entire picture of the world inside our head and dimensions even. Oh, absolutely.

Speaker 11: 38:51 All of these things, you know when you really think about it, the amazing number of things that have to happen for us to go from the solid world around us to these images inside our head is really amazing and astounding and so this is what the, these exhibitions are going to let you do. Wow. Part of the exhibit allows visitors to compare a human brain with the brains of different animals. What do you expect visitors to take away from that? I think what's really cool is just the variation, the incredible variation. All of these do work in the same idea that we've gotten these neuron cells, these cells are slightly different in different animals that come together and come together in different shapes. They come in different sizes. And the question really becomes as well, what does that mean? What does it really mean for what's going on inside those animal brains that might be different or the same as ours?

Speaker 11: 39:33 So what kind of animal brains are included in this? Well, some of the ones that you most might expect, some household critters and things like dolphins and things that you know, so a whole range of different sizes and scales of animals and also, you know, the importance of sleep to the brain is also something visitors can learn about from the exhibit. How does the exhibit address that? Well, and so I think that's really looking at what's the role of sleep. And this is a really interesting question for science is, Oh well why do we need to sleep? You know, we've talked about energy, we would talk about this, but what is it important about our brain cells and some of the notions that might be going on that while we're sleeping, we're actually processing things and some really interesting research that went on about how well you remember after taking arrest, looking at something and taking us and sleeping and why it's so important for as, let me just stress this to my own kids.

Speaker 11: 40:20 Teenagers before a test, get a good night's sleep, um, are our why. So why is it and what's so important about that? So the exhibit gives you an opportunity to kind of explore what do we know and what do we know? Don't know about it. Sleeping on it may be the best thing someone can do it. That's right. That's right. All right. The exhibit also explores that thin line between genius and mental illness and even some disorders. Again, sounds fascinating. What can you tell me about that? Well, I think the, again, this is one of the interesting things. A lot of what we've learned about the brain is by looking at what, how brains are different, right? And those include somethings that might have some disorders or injuries that uh, by understanding what was damaged or what's different, we can understand how things are being processed in the brain.

Speaker 11: 40:58 So I think that's one of the interesting things about it. We talk about this a kind of range of how we experience the world. Our brain determines that and our brains are all different. And so what does that mean? Right? And the relationship between depression and creativity is also explored. Walk me through that. So that's an interesting one there, right? In terms of what parts of the brain are involved, what parts of the brain do we think about what creativity comes from, what processes are involved, and then what's going on. We talk about depression, right? What are the sort of those neuro chemical transmitters and what happens when they are acting differently and what does that mean for someone's experience? And I think that's the key things that's interesting about this exhibition is that it gets down to the end of the day is your experience of the world is different from my experience of the world. And the reason is that is that's because of the nature of our brains. And that's a wonderful, amazing thing, uh, that really drives scientists to understand more.

Speaker 3: 41:47 And you know, this is a traveling exhibit. So why did you want to bring it to the fleet?

Speaker 11: 41:51 Well, we were looking at what's a good exhibition to bring in. And certainly there is nothing more personal to each of us than ourselves and ourselves are sitting up there in our brains. So that was a great way to bring this in. And we wanted to bring it in because we also have these two other exhibitions that go along with it. A mind bender mansion, which is about applying your brain to brain teasers and puzzles. So using and working your brain and the solution exhibit, which is looking at how to scientists use illusions to understand our brain. So together all three of these made this really wonderful experience about how do you understand our brain, what's our brain actually doing? And then applying it to solve real world problems.

Speaker 3: 42:25 Hmm. Is there a specific audience this exhibit is

Speaker 11: 42:28 geared toward? Uh, you know, it's a really wonderful wide range as most of the stuff we like to do is as we expect this as you know, what we'll, we'll usually programming in mind with a family with a wide range of kids, which means we're programming for adults, for grandparents, for kids, uh, and also even those toddlers all the way down.

Speaker 3: 42:44 And I mentioned in the intro that this month is museum month. What does that mean for fleet?

Speaker 11: 42:49 Is it hers? So you can pick up some museum month passes, that's a libraries around town and those give you half price admission to the fleet and a whole host of other museums during museum month. And it's just another way of the museums getting together and saying, thank you all to San Diego for all the support you give us throughout the year and getting everybody to come in and see some of the really wonderful experiences that we have.

Speaker 3: 43:08 I've been speaking with Steve Snyder, president and CEO of fleet science center. Steve, thank you so much. Thank you for having me. Brain the world inside your head runs through April 26 at the fleet science center in Balboa park.

Mail ballots are being sent out this week. San Diego County Registrar of Voters discusses what you need to know about the March primary. Plus, the fate of the Newland Sierra Housing Project, otherwise known as Measure B, is now in the hands of voters. Also, meet the supervisorial candidates in the San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 3 race. And, get an outsider’s perspective on Tijuana tacos and immigrantion’s effect on food. Finally, there’s a fun exhibit that looks at what’s going inside your brain at the Fleet Science Center.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

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.