Voter Registration Deadline, SDPD De-Escalation Guidelines, Using E. Coli To Test For Water Contamination, SDSU Tribal Liaison, And Jewish Film Fest 30th Anniversary
KPBS Midday Edition / February 18, 2020
The deadline to register to vote is today. Voters who register after today will receive provisional ballots. We’ll explain what that means. Plus, San Diego Police Department is rolling out new de-escalation training to prevent deadly encounters, but the guidelines are still being worked out. Also, using E. coli to test for heavy metal contamination in potable water? San Diego researchers say it could be a quicker test for safe drinking water. And, San Diego County has the largest Native American population in the country and SDSU has hired its first tribal liaison to better serve its Native American students. And, a preview of the Jewish Film Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Today's the deadline to register for a regular ballot in the California primary police. Get new training on deescalation. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh. This is KPBS day edition. It's Tuesday, February 18th the California primary is getting closer. Today is the deadline to register to vote and be eligible for a regular ballot. Voters who wait to register after today will receive a provisional ballot. What does that mean and how prepared are we for what state election officials predict will be a record turnout on primary day March 3rd Jordan, me with the answers is San Diego County register voters, Michael WGU Michael, welcome back. What does today's deadline mean for people who want to vote in the March 3rd primary?
Speaker 2: 00:58 What it means is it's a significant deadline and the reason why is because if you need to change your political party or if you've changed your residence address recently, you need to reregister to vote. So when the clock strikes 12 by midnight tonight, you know, we'll go into a different phase of the election. And so it's really important for our San Diego voters as well as citizens to take action today. Before it hits a midnight.
Speaker 1: 01:24 If someone isn't sure if they're registered, how do they find out?
Speaker 2: 01:27 You can simply go to SD vote.com and to find out whether or not you are registered with our office or you can contact our office as well at eight five, eight, five six five 5,800. Uh, either of those, those two ways are the most convenient ways to find out whether or not you're registered or whether or not you need to reregister to vote.
Speaker 1: 01:47 Yeah. How can people register online?
Speaker 2: 01:49 That's correct. These days it's 24 seven you can email@example.com and we will absolutely take your information and it's kind of the surefire way of registering to vote where you can't really make a mistake because there are the information that is required, prompts you when it's not filled out. And so whereas a paper form, you can still make a mistake on that paper registration form or not fill everything out here on SD vote.com and the registration system that we have, it prompts you of everything that is required for you to register to vote. And it's simple. There's only five screens that you have to go through and then hit the submit button and you're registered to vote. Uh, we will send you a voter notification card confirming that. Um, and if there are any questions about it, you can go firstname.lastname@example.org to see whether or not you're registered.
Speaker 1: 02:37 Now, if a voter should miss today's deadline, what are their options?
Speaker 2: 02:41 An individual that misses today, uh, can still participate in our office, will be open starting tomorrow all the way through election day at 8:00 PM when the polls closed to conditionally registered and provisionally vote voters. And so what will occur is, is the individual needs to come onsite to our, they will register and then after registering we will issue them the ballot type a that they're eligible to vote on and they will vote in, return to the voting booth and fill out the information, cast her ballot, and submit it into the ballot box. Uh, we will also have satellite voting locations that we will be introducing for the very first time. They will be open three days in advance of election day.
Speaker 1: 03:23 There's another deadline coming up. And that one is to request a vote by mail ballot, right?
Speaker 2: 03:28 That's correct. Is always seven days in advance of election day. Uh, is the deadline to request a mail ballot. And here's the thing there, it has to be some level of a sense of urgency, even though that's the legally required timeframe for an individual to request a mail ballot by the time we receive it. But by the time we process it, by the time we create the ballot and package it and get into the us postal service, and then it's in their hands, you know, it could take seven to 10 business days before they get the ballot. And so time is really waiting for individuals to participate in this election, particularly for a mail ballot, voters or individuals that want to crossover, particularly the nonpartisan voters who want to cross over to one of the three political parties that are opening up their presidential candidates. So again, uh, voters if it, if, if, if it hasn't felt real, uh, now is the time where it feels really real for us, um, on getting your ballot that you want.
Speaker 1: 04:25 Now, the California secretary of state, Alex Padilla, is predicting a record turnout. And is that part of the urgency here? Do you agree? Are there going to be a lot of people voting in this primary?
Speaker 2: 04:36 I anticipate that there are going to be a big turnout. Uh, presidential elections are always a big turnout, uh, particularly for, uh, whenever there's a presidential candidate that's going to be on the ballot. Um, in this upcoming presidential primary election, what we've seen so far is we had 100,000 mail bouts that have been returned at thus far. That may seem like a lot, but we sent out 1.3 million mail ballots. So that only represents 7% of all mail bouts that we have issued thus far. So we know that there's over a million mail ballots that have still yet to be voted and return back to our office. So I would urge those voters that are mail ballot voters that received it to really act now and get that mailed out back to us. Um, but we will see at the end of the day, the last time we had a presidential primary election, it was a 50.9% turnout.
Speaker 2: 05:28 Um, in the last County wide statewide election that we had, which was the gubernatorial general election, we saw a 66.4% turnout, which was the highest turnout in a gubernatorial general election that we saw in a 32 year period. And this is the next statewide election that we're seeing. So, um, we will see at the end of the day how much of a turnout there will be. But I anticipate that a lot of, of, of, of the turnout rests on this super Tuesday that California is participating and voters will come out. So that way they know who the nominees will be by the time the presidential nominees will be. Uh, by the time we have head towards the November election,
Speaker 3: 06:08 I have been speaking with San Diego County registrar of voters. Michael VO, you're very busy. I really appreciate your time. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Speaker 4: 06:20 [inaudible]
Speaker 3: 06:24 the San Diego police department is implementing new training to prevent deadly encounters. The deescalation training puts the department in compliance with a new state law that raises the standard of use of deadly force. SDPD is the first agency to start the training, but the guidelines for it are still being worked out. Joining me to talk about how this will change what officers do and the way they interact with the community is David Hernandez, reporter for the San Diego union Tribune. David, welcome. Hey, thanks for having me. So first tell me about assembly bill three 92 and Senate bill two 30. That's the legislation, which is now law that's prompted this new deescalation training, right? Yeah. So combine the two measures are intended to reduce deadly encounters between police officers and the public assembly. Bill three 92, which took effect in January, sets a new standard. That new standard is that officers are allowed to use deadly force only when necessary when they fear for their lives.
Speaker 3: 07:24 And previously the wording was, um, a little more loose according to supporters of AB three 92. The wording was that, um, officers were allowed to use force when they felt that it was reasonable. So that's the new standards set. On the other hand, Senate bill two 30 will require police agencies across the state to up their, their training manuals and policies so that it complies with, um, assembly bill three 92. All right, so how is the SDPD changing the way it uses deescalation techniques? I mean, well, what does this training consist of? So a lot of, um, this is still, we're still seeing this play out and the real, uh, specifics, uh, in regards to what will be changing, I think will become more clear once the policy that they're working on is updated and released. For now, they've rolled out training on deescalation and, um, oftentimes deescalation includes, you know, verbal commands, focus on training in regards to dealing with either suspects or individuals who are suffering from a mental illness.
Speaker 3: 08:26 Um, so those are broadly some of the concepts of deescalation, but in terms of what SDPD will consider deescalation tactics is still up in the air as they work on this new policy. Yeah. And that's interesting. So how are they able to, to do the deescalation training if in fact they're still working on what the guidelines will be? Like I mentioned there are broad, um, instances in, in regards to what is considered deescalation. So their stance is kind of rolling out this new training and tweaking it and then also tweaking it, revising it, bringing it for a public discussion. But, but yeah, they haven't yet fully finalized the policy and it doesn't seem like some members of the city council and the police department are on the same page when it comes to deescalation techniques. A council woman, Monica Montgomery, for example, is critical of the carotid restraint, uh, that officers continue to use.
Speaker 3: 09:18 What is it and what's the concern there? Yeah, so it's also known as a sleeper hold or a blood choke. Uh, it's essentially when an officer uses his arm, his or her arm to put pressure on the side of a person's neck. And please consider that as an option, you know, to avoid a deadlier force. But community members have stressed that it could lead to serious injury if not even death. And so certain council members, uh, like community members are also concerned about the use of that a neck hold and they're pushing back against the notion that that should be an option in cases when officers are trying to deescalate situations. Um, so what's becoming really apparent and really interesting as well is that, you know, this conversation of what is considered deescalation is now at the forefront of, of this discussion as well. Um, so council members have said that they, they want a list of specific tactics that San Diego police considered deescalation concepts so that the public can kind of weigh in on that and that could be discussed as well.
Speaker 3: 10:21 Um, they said it's important to be on the same page about that. Council woman, Vivian Moreno also had some concerns on the use of stun guns and, and physical corrosion. Uh, as deescalation tactics. Can you tell me more about that? Yeah, so essentially again, it kind of goes in line with what is an option to not use deadly force and also what is considered deescalation. Um, Councilwoman Vivian Mareno said she felt that the use of a taser, um, whether it was fired or not and any sort of physical coercion was not a form of deescalation. Uh, she, uh, views, you know, deescalation, she said, uh, as a avoiding force at all. Um, whereas police officers on their end, uh, pushed back a bit and said that, uh, there are a lot of options on the table and it's, it'd be kind of focused more on the outcome. If they don't use deadly force, then they feel that they've deescalated a situation.
Speaker 3: 11:14 But again, you know, this kind of brought up the discussion of what should be considered deescalation. Are there other departments looking at deescalation training? Yeah. And deescalation, you know, has been a hot word for, for some time now, especially now that these two bills were signed by the governor. Uh, police agencies have started to look at the bills to see what must be done to comply. As I mentioned. Um, Senate bill two 30 will require police agencies to update their training manuals to comply with assembly bill three 92, the new standard. So they are, they are discussing it. And um, in the specific case of San Diego polices and your training and policy, um, the district attorney's office has, has worked with them as well as our County to work on this training and policy. So I suspect that, you know, other departments will also kind of keep an eye on what's happening within San Diego and also work with the district attorney's office.
Speaker 3: 12:08 So what's the next step in this process to finalize the guidelines for STPs deescalation training? The police department is going to work with state groups like, uh, police unions and also internally ensure that, uh, the top brass is on, onboard and you know, happy with this policy. Um, it will fit under their use of force policy, which is in place now. It kind of dictates why an officer's broadly when officers can use force. Um, so they plan to implement the deescalation concepts under that policy. Um, but yeah, it's essentially written, it's just a matter of waiting for the department to officially approve it. And so David, they'll also return to the committee with that request of council members, correct? Yes. So council members have requested that this policy be brought before them for a discussion. Um, so I think that will lead to a very interesting conversation because of that topic of what is considered deescalation. But this will be brought forward before the city council specifically that public safety and livable neighborhoods committee. I've been speaking with David Hernandez, reporter for the San Diego union Tribune. David, thank you for joining us. Thanks for having me. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm Jade Hindman, a first aid class for our times of mass shootings. Stop. The bleed is a federal program that trains people on how to stop severe bleeding caused by gunshot wounds. The training often focuses on teaching children the California reports. Crystal Smith walks us through training in Los Angeles.
Speaker 5: 13:39 It's nice and tight as you can and then you're going to bring that around it. And where do you want us to stop? Right before you hit the clip, right Sanderson,
Speaker 6: 13:46 a trauma nurse with children's hospital Los Angeles gives free stop the bleed classes to the community, emphasizing the proper use of tourniquets.
Speaker 5: 13:54 This is where the pain starts to come. So then go ahead and grab back that bar and twist as much as you want. I keep it at a very five-year-old level. We talk about real life scenarios of five-year-old. Well, what if you riding your bike and you get a big owl, IE or,
Speaker 6: 14:08 well, she says that about half of the children who died in the 2013 Sandy hook school shootings did so by bleeding out from their arms or legs. Some school districts are requesting stop the bleed classes for their staff like the inland empire cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga and the coastal cities of her Masa and Redondo beaches. Pat Escalante is superintendent of her most a beach city school district where everyone including bus drivers is getting this one hour hemorrhage control training.
Speaker 3: 14:38 We have not trained as students, but we're looking at that in terms of phase two. We're also trying to balance it with the training that we do with regards to lock down drills and active shooter drill.
Speaker 6: 14:50 Pinpointing the age to introduce
Speaker 7: 14:52 bleeding control to kids is its own challenge. Marianne Gauss Hill heads the emergency medical services agency of LA County where she's researching the appropriate age to teach the use of tourniquets. It takes over a minute of the right kind of pressure to stop severe bleeding and knowing how long that takes can be tricky for younger kids. Eight or nine year olds can hold it for a minute, but to be able to affectively put on a tourniquet to actually stop a flow of fluid, it's not really clear what is clear gouge Hill says is that by high school most kids can master applying a tourniquet correctly, but the training isn't widely requested by school districts yet, including Los Angeles unified, the nation's second largest district and an email statement. Ellie USD said that cost of the tourniquet kits, which can be as little as $12 is a factor and that kids are already taught some first aid and injury prevention. But dr gosh, Hill remembers what her own kids learned at school. I do know what my kids experienced and there was not this hemorrhage control training, but really everybody should at least know how to do hemorrhage control with direct pressure and that costs nothing basically. So really, I'm bringing this over and now I'm securing it and now it's out of the way. But when the paramedics, yeah,
Speaker 6: 16:17 back at children's hospital in LA nurse Melissa Anderson isn't waiting for schools to adopt the program to date. She has trained over 8,000 kids and adults to stop traumatic bleeding and save lives.
Speaker 8: 16:30 That was crystal Smith reporting for the California report. It's not always easy to tell if the water you're drinking is safe, but ways to check include lab testing and filters and interestingly E coli bacteria, KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chut Lani spoke to San Diego scientists behind a new bacteria based water sensing technology.
Speaker 9: 16:58 It's lunchtime at San Diego's Edison elementary school on a December afternoon and the kids are excited. It's well known that what children consume here will impact them from the teriyaki chicken to the drinking water at the nearby fountain. Even small amounts of contamination and water like led can permanently damage a child brain and body. You don't have to look very far to find something
Speaker 7: 17:23 Michigan and see what high levels of lead in the drinking water did to the people who live there.
Speaker 8: 17:28 Sam or Naji is a facilities manager with the San Diego unified school district. He's referring to a water crisis in Flint, Michigan. That began in 2014 when thousands of school children and residents were exposed to lead and other toxins in the city's water system. It was a wake up call for cities and school districts nationwide, including San Diego unified. We quickly asked the city of San Diego to come and pull up to five samples of water from every single district school. Most of our sample results were okay, but you know, working with parents, we really wanted to do better. Since 2017 the district has tested thousands of water fountains and taps. It also reports levels of lead well below what the government requires, but Naji says it's hard to monitor lead and other heavy metals continuously. Our testing protocols are incredibly strict and that that's time consuming, right to to secure the water fountains for a night to test the next day, to send it to the laboratory, allow that the laboratory to conduct their analysis and send back results so contamination may not be detected as it's happening.
Speaker 8: 18:29 The problem is larger tests can be expensive and time consuming and cheaper tests may only be able to detect a few contaminants at one time. This situation is an issue for any water system where people and children can be exposed to toxins. That's why San Diego researchers look for a solution at a UC San Diego lab, bio engineer to shell ski opens up the machine. So this is the singer instrument that we use to spot the cells thanks to this instrument and its ability to precisely place tiny drops of cell matter. This device can hold 2000 different strains of live eco lie. These eco lie, which are not harmful to humans each have a special property. So we've genetically modified the equal light to light up when a specific metal is present and under a special light, they glow. Such Husky points to openings on the chip or do you see these dots? That's where the metals go in and then the cells will respond to the presence of the metals by fluorescing bacteria interacts with metals, but usually tests with bacteria only sense one metal at a time. So researchers built this device with thousands of genetically modified bacteria types to detect many toxins at once and in real time.
Speaker 9: 19:39 And you would plug it in with media. Provided and then hook up a water line to it and it would run.
Speaker 8: 19:44 The cartridge is placed inside a box. There's a sensor that takes a picture and captures the equal lie as they interact with the metals so it can tell what's there and how much of it the box records and presents those results. But since the eco lie are alive, the owner would have to replace the cartridge with new bacteria every two weeks to a month. So Chelsea says this research took years to complete, but she believes it can have an impact helping people check their water around the clock. And so does Natalie Cookson founder of the startup, quantitative bio-sciences in Sorento Valley
Speaker 9: 20:16 we're trying to do is basically make it a much more robust system that you could rely on out in the field.
Speaker 8: 20:23 Since 2015 employees at this company, I've been trying to turn the sensor into a product anyone can get access to.
Speaker 9: 20:29 You could deploy our S our sensor in an area of concern where you might have, you know, lead contamination coming and going that way you would catch the event, you know right when it happened.
Speaker 8: 20:39 Cookson says the company plans to deploy a sensor at a government site this year. Right now the package costs around $5,000 she says the company wants collect more data to show that the sensor works in the field
Speaker 9: 20:49 and they want to make it smaller and cheaper so more people can buy it. We could get one of these and every, you know, drinking fountain at schools for example, or even at home. Just in the meantime, back at San Diego unified facilities manager, Naji says he's definitely interested in following this technology. That's because clean water is so important for the health and growth of kids. Like the ones at Edison elementary Shalina chat, Lani KPBS news.
Speaker 8: 21:15 Joining me is KPBS science and technology reporter. Shalina Chot Lani Shalina welcome. Hi. Glad to be here. So this eco bacteria they're using is not harmful to humans. This is a different bacteria than the one that causes illness. Yes. So it's not a different bacteria, but it is grown in a lab. So they've genetically modified this particular Ecolab to not be harmful to human health. Uh, it will sit okay. And the human gut for example, of course, they don't want the Ecolab bacteria to actually get into the water. Um, that's not what the product does. But if it were to leach into the water, it wouldn't harm humans in any kind of way. What makes it glow when it interacts with led? Yeah, so that's part of the genetic modification that they've given them a type of protein that allows them to FLIR us when they come into contact with heavy metals.
Speaker 8: 22:07 So it comes from a certain protein that they have been modified to accept. Is the idea that a box with this bacteria could constantly monitor led and other metal levels in drinking water? Yes. Right now, uh, when it comes to water testing, the problem is that, you know, you can, you can have cheap at home tests, um, but you might only be able to do those at certain points and they may not be as wide in scope as you need it to be. And then when it comes to larger sampling, you can't do those very frequently and they can be expensive. Um, for an entire school district, for example, that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars at any one point and there aren't, you know, clear standards really on how often you should be testing the water. It could be every month, it could be every six months. And what the problem with contamination and water is that it happens in bursts.
Speaker 8: 23:00 It doesn't happen continuously. So there might be a leach into the water system, for example. And so the idea behind this box is that you, you hook it up, you, you have it running to some water source and it'll be able to tell you through its automatic, uh, AI system, whether there are elevated levels of a range of particular contaminants. So how does the information get relayed from the box to monitors? How does it, as you say, spit out the results? Yeah, so when I was at quiet quantitative bio-sciences, basically what it was doing was sending the information that it had analyzed and gathered to a computer system and you can read those results, um, on a monitor. So right now I think what they're doing is trying to finesse that so that it's a little bit more accessible to any person that wants to see what the results are.
Speaker 8: 23:53 Basically, the box has an entire AI system within it back in automatically, sort of see what the changes in the Ecolab bacteria and then render those results onto a screen. We all know about the real tragedy in Flint, Michigan with lead in the water, but it overall generally speaking is led or heavy metal contamination in water. A big problem. It's definitely a big problem. So, uh, right now the EPA action level for lead is around 15 parts per billion in, in an amount of water. There's a lot of research that's come out that says even five parts per billion can be really damaging to a child's health, to a child's growth and development, um, and even smaller amounts. And the reason why is that lead is a metal that causes permanent damage on brain development. So there's a lot of news out there about children in Flint, Michigan post this water crisis which began in 2014 that shows, um, teachers saying that they've noticed students having, um, slower cognition or mood changes.
Speaker 8: 25:00 These are the types of impacts that go on for years and might develop or might impact their, their brains. Um, for, for years going forward. Now the setup that's going to be tested now costs about $5,000. You say for each individual one, how much less expensive do developers think they can make it? I know that they're certainly trying to make it so, so much cheaper that eventually the average family might be able to afford it. It's something that they're still working on. The PR, the, the issue with the box is that it includes this optical imaging system. When the, when the like glow, you have to take a picture of them to see what they were like before and after. And that's how you know the change in the concentration of metals. Right. And so it's all about making this whole device smaller and using fewer parts.
Speaker 8: 25:48 And so this is something that they're still troubleshooting right now. What government side is going to be the first to deploy this sensor? The CEO of quantitative bias in sciences didn't like name the government site, but it's an environmental uh, monitoring sites. So it's a, it's a government site where they are doing environmental monitoring already and they're going to be testing out this device in the field to see if it works better than current technologies with water testing. Tell me some more about this startup quantitative bio-sciences. It sounds as if they're trying to develop more biologically based ways to measure things. Yeah. The cool thing about this startup is that the founder actually worked in the same lab as the CSD scientists that I talked to. And so she took the ideas that came out of this lab and really cared about taking research to market in a very practical way. The quantitative bio-sciences has been around, um, much before 2015
Speaker 10: 26:44 and they were working on synthetic biology essentially. So synthetic biology is the same genetic modifications of micro organisms to make them, uh, react in a way that can help us see certain things in the environment, like with the Ecolab glowing. And so, yeah, they've been working on other stuff, but since this research came about, they've really been investing themselves in creating this sensor. I've been speaking with KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chet Lonnie Shalina. Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 10: 27:16 San Diego County has the most native American tribes in the country. More than 24,000 native Americans call at home. That's according to the census now, one of the county's universities, San Diego state university is focusing on better serving its native American students. One way they are doing that is by hiring the university's first tribal liaison. Jacob Alverado, Y puck. He's a San Pasqual reservation resident and Kumiai nation member. He graduated with his BA from SDSU and is currently pursuing his doctorate at UCLA and Cal state San Marcos. He joins me now. Jacob, welcome. Thank you. So you graduated with your BA from SDSU in 2014 being a student of native American descent. What were your personal challenges at SDSU as a student?
Speaker 11: 28:04 Well, when I first came here, I was actually welcomed by dr camper and he brought me in and took me to get some Starbucks. And then I met the chief diversity officer at the time and uh, they made me feel welcome. We didn't have a native resource center at the time and we had a small American studies department, so that was our hangout spot. So my experience at SDSU was awesome, but when I studied abroad, then I was able to see how indigenous populations can really impact the universities by creating a sense of belonging for indigenous students. And that's what I want to bring here for sending a state university.
Speaker 10: 28:40 Hmm. It's, it's, it's one thing to have diversity, another thing to have inclusion, right? Yes. Yeah. Um, how important has education been in your own life
Speaker 11: 28:49 as a kid? And very important to me just because I'm at a pathway for a better opportunities in life. Um, better jobs and we have to learn these what, this way of life just so we can survive as indigenous people. So when we combine our culture, traditions and our way of life and we keep that strong within ourselves and we learn education and combine those two together, it makes us twice as strong. We're able to be in positions of power where we can create that change that we want.
Speaker 10: 29:15 Um, you know, the creation of the tribal liaison liaison position at SDSU, um, really was created to better serve San Diego's native American community. Um, how will you know when you're accomplishing that?
Speaker 11: 29:26 I feel like I'm me being here as already been the odds, so I feel like it's already a success. And when I came in here, I came in with a strategic plan of action and I spent months on it and actually had a foundation to where I included frameworks, um, from, from different, like tribal critical race theory, just different frames that I use throughout the university and my, my undergrad studies and also my graduate studies. And I'm just combining everything come UI native way I was brought up and then also stuff from the universities to create a foundation for our people here that we can, uh, succeed. And my main thing is to create a sense of belonging here at SDSU so our students feel welcomed. Um, when our students walk on campus, they feel good in their heart. They feel good when they see something, call me on the land. Right now we don't have much coming on anything, not SDSU, but my, one of my main goals is to bring here representation here and to maybe put murals on the building so people know where they're at, that they're walking on community land. And to acknowledge our people here, you know, and tell that story of who we are as indigenous people of this land. That way there can be that better understanding and we can all just understand together of why the community people really want the representation here.
Speaker 10: 30:41 So the current native American population at SDSU is in the hundreds. And what can be done to boost those numbers?
Speaker 11: 30:47 There's a lot of things that can be done. The first thing is building a relationship with the local tribes and the [inaudible] nation Luiseno Quia desert Quia, all the way even over there where you have a campus in Imperial Valley. So I'm also the tribal liaison for the Goodson and the Cocopah and that's that to me, that's an honor, you know, and the, I can go to all these places and accrue and business students to our university and let them know that they have me because I know the community. You know, I've been in the communities and a lot of our elders are from different reservations and that have taught the songs. And to me it's an honor to give back. And I feel that's what I'm full out for. Like that's what I'm doing. I'm giving back and building clarity up, collaborative connections and partnerships. It's a big thing. And going into the reservations and talking to them on a one-to-one, like on as a human level, like that, this is what we want to do. I'm your, I'm your people. Like, I'm going to bring you in. Like, I'll bring your student, I'll bring your family, I'll bring the kids in and they'll feel comfortable when they see me on campus. Like I'll welcome them.
Speaker 10: 31:47 Right. You know, graduation rates among native American students in general or are, are lower than the average graduation rate. How do you plan to increase those rates among native American students?
Speaker 11: 31:58 Yeah. Graduate graduation rates. Uh, it's pretty, it's pretty low just because, um, we need people in these positions where we can help our students succeed. And the first thing is creating that environment that they can feel a sense of belongs where they can. They want to be here and coming from the reservation or even coming from the city, uh, Urban's everywhere, no matter what native kind of native you are anywhere across country. When you come from that place and you're coming to the university, it's a, it's a culture shock and we're not used to this feeling. We're not used to seeing all these buildings and the trip to us because it's on our land. That's the difference. So I feel like even if we get one indigenous student here, that is, that's big because statistically they're already beaten the odds. So any student at that level, any student graduate from high school is a big thing.
Speaker 11: 32:45 Any student going pushing that to the college level as a big thing. So the higher we go up there'll be in the odd. So I feel creating this foundation where we do collaboration and partnerships with the tribes will help our tribes trust the university and especially when they see one of their own doing it. You mentioned culture shock. So I'm curious to know when you first stepped foot on the campus of SDSU, how did you experience culture? Shock? For me, I always had my hair long. So I feel for me as an indigenous person, people are always staring at me and looking at me a certain sort of way and making comments and you can just feel that energy and it's not good and it's just like, okay, well how can I change their perspective of how they see me by being in a position of power, being educated, they'll know I can do that and what I want them to know that anyone that does is mean when they see me just because of based.
Speaker 11: 33:34 How I look is to know that they're looking at a Kumi and this is the land that I walk into this land and my answers was walk on and I'm still here. So you're looking at the first person know this land and once they realize that and they see in the understanding of it, they'll respect us a lot more or respect me as a person. And I'm sure you believe in empowering other students. [inaudible] knowledges. I'm 100% about empowerment and I'm pushing everyone's dreams to the next level and whatever. That student has a spark in to nurture that and help them move in that direction in a positive way. And you mentioned that it's important for native American students to really feel at home. And I know there's a native and indigenous healing garden and native student resource center in the works on campus, both expected to be opened by the spring.
Speaker 11: 34:19 And what ways will those two projects serve students for the native resource center? That is huge. I mean, as indigenous student, as a native student walking on campus, we didn't have that. So to me I was looking for that and all of us were all in these at that time. We were always pushing to have a, a native resource and or a Reese or any kind of center that had a space for us. So now like I graduated back in 2014 and time has flown by and we're able to push in that direction because we have great leadership at San Diego state university and with great leadership and understanding Loco. Right now we have a tribal liaison and look who they brought in, you know? And to me that's, that's uh, that's shows how strong leadership here is at San Diego state and how open and how many new doors have opened for indigenous people and diversity overall. Like things are changing at San Diego state and I believe it's all for the better and it's growing like we're doing big things here and I don't think any university is going to be doing what we're doing in the next few years. I have been speaking with SDSU, his first tribal liaison, Jacob Alvarado, Y PUK. Jacob, thank you so much for joining us and congratulations on your new role. Thank you.
Speaker 1: 35:23 You're listening to KPBS mid day edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Cavanagh, the 30th annual San Diego international Jewish film festival continues through Sunday. KPBS film critic Beth Huck Amando looks at what's ahead in the festival. She
Speaker 12: 35:38 speaks with Israeli filmmaker Donnie Menkin who has a documentary screening tonight and Sunday and with festival chair Chris Fink. Chris, this is the San Diego now international Jewish film festival 30th year. What do you feel? Looking back on three decades of bringing films to San Diego, we're thrilled to be at this point, and I'd like to give a shout out for the women who were trailblazers 30 years ago. Joyce Axelrod and Lynette Allen who put five films on a weekend at the JCC and started this trend. It has grown in terms of quantity, quality, and community engagement over the years, and it is now the largest Jewish cultural event in San Diego and we're proud to bring it to the community. Now. Last year the festival added the word international to its title. What is the festival doing to kind of promote that aspect of the films that are being shown? We did it because it represents what we bring to town, which is really beyond the scope of Israeli and Jewish film, but truly international stories we feel will resonate with many audiences, which is why we would like to invite the entire community to come and it just is a better description of who we are and what we do.
Speaker 12: 36:58 Danny, your documentary picture of his life opened the festival this year. Oh, what's your film about?
Speaker 13: 37:04 It's a movie I co-directed with a [inaudible] who was my partner for another project. And it's about the wildlife photographer going to shoot the polar bear on the water. Eight sounds crazy. It is crazy. I don't think the, your listeners should try it at home, but here's a guy that took all the biggest iconic pictures you can imagine with big animals and he does it with a unique technique face to face without protections and Yonatan. And I followed his quest to take the last piece of picture he misses for his portfolio and he's close to be 70 years old. And we tried to take the picture of his life, which is a polar bear on the water. And we call it the picture of his love because we're really trying to understand who is the men behind the camera. And we're telling his personal story while he's taking this almost impossible quest.
Speaker 12: 38:08 It makes me think of a hall of mirrors in a way. So he's taking a picture and then you're taking a picture of him.
Speaker 13: 38:13 You know, we, I mean for me as a filmmaker, I'm always documenting someone who is doing something else. So there is always death mirror in any of my films, there is a quest of the hero and I'm there to document it. So in many ways I can say I'm always the behind the scene guy, but I struct my movies as they were feature narrative films. That's what we're trying to do also with this documentary
Speaker 12: 38:44 and audiences will have a chance to see two of your films later in the festival. What does it mean for you as a filmmaker to come to an event like this in the United States highlighting Jewish films?
Speaker 13: 38:55 I'm very fortunate that I'm showing my movie at the opening night of a wonderful film festival, like the sound Diego nutritional festival. They were always very kind with me. My previous film on the map was also the opening night and I think we had over 1500 people in the crowd and the movie went very far in Lionsgate took it for distribution. So it's a big honor for me. I love San Diego. It's a great city of cultural and the festivals, you know, there is a reason why they're doing it for 30 years.
Speaker 12: 39:36 And what does it mean for you as a filmmaker to show your film in a context where you get to interact with the audience?
Speaker 13: 39:42 I love interacting with the audience. For me, it's an opportunity to see the movie that I've been working on for so long. It's wonderful to see that the audience laugh, they cry. You don't know when you edit the movie for so long and when you're writing, people are not aware that the documentary, you write it and I write it just as it is, a feature narrative film and you don't know what will be the reaction of people. You just hope that the way you were moved by making of this film, the audience will do too.
Speaker 12: 40:16 And Chris, when you're programming these films, what are you looking for in terms of kind of the mix that you're presenting to the audience? That's a wonderful challenge to have throughout the year while we screen so many films. And what we ended up with were 19 dramas and 16 documentaries, 35 feature films at five venues. The opening night is selected very carefully. I can assure you when Danny's film was offered to us, it was like inviting an old friend to town. We know the quality of his work. Danny has graced our festival in the past and it truly is a, just a gift to have him come from Los Angeles and for a chance to bring his work and his, uh, commentary to our, to our, uh, guests for the evening. And do you think there are any misconceptions people might have about what a Jewish film festival presents that you'd like to address?
Speaker 12: 41:12 The misconception is the narrow band of text. Um, I think many think that all the films are Holocaust films. Um, we have Jewish and Israeli stories. We also have films with no Jewish content that might be by a Jewish director. And we feel strongly about the film and its merits and really bring it to town to showcase the work of a Jewish artist, the director. And tell me about your closing night film. This is a French film. This is a French comedy. It took me by surprise. It is charming, cute, funny. And uh, we wanted to end the festival on a very happy, fun, lively note and this fit the bill. So I hope that others will find it as entertaining as I did. And are there any other films that you might want to highlight for people? Opening and closing night tend to get a lot of attention and sometimes there are some little gems that may slip by.
Speaker 12: 42:16 Well, we're very honored to have four films which were submitted for international Oscars and that is a big deal and I hope that people will use the festival as an opportunity to see those. We've got the mover, those who remained Wallen, Brooke and incitement and this really highlights the international feature of our festival, um, and brings it right into San Diego. All right. Well, I want to thank you both very much for coming in and talking to me about the festival. Thanks for having us. That was Beth Armando speaking with San Diego international film festivals. Chris Fink and with filmmaker Danny Menkin, whose picture of his life documentary screens tonight at LA Paloma. The festival continues through February 23rd.