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State Of The State: Gov. Newsom Focuses On Homelessness, Covered California Reopens Enrollment, Rewired Part 1: An inewsource Investigation, New Army Recruiting Campaign, ‘My First Day’ Season 3, And Black Comix Day

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Speaker 1: 00:00 The governor gives his state of the state address on a single topic, homelessness and covered California extends its enrollment deadline into April. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid day edition.

Speaker 2: 00:23 It's Wednesday, February 19th

Speaker 1: 00:26 this morning broadcast live here on KPBS FM. Governor Gavin Newsome delivered his state of the state address to legislators in Sacramento and in a surprising move, Newsome decided today they dedicate the entire address to the state's homelessness problem. Here's Newsome number one. We will reduce street homelessness quickly and humanely through emergency actions. We will be laser focused on getting the mentally ill out of tents and into treatment. We will provide stable funding to get sustainable results and we will tackle the underproduction of affordable housing in California and we will do all of this. We'll do all of this with real accountability and real consequences.

Speaker 2: 01:14 Johnny May is professor Thad, our chair of the political science department at UC San Diego and Thad. Welcome to the program. Always great to talk California politics with you, Maureen. Well, how unusual was this that an entire state of the state speech on one topic? It was unusual for any governor, but especially for this governor. So politicians love to use state of the state address to talk about everything that they've done and everything that they're going to do, their laundry lists. So looking back over a hundred years, it stated the States in California, I've seen sometimes governors proposed upwards of a hundred different policy proposals. Last year, Gavin Newsome 2019 talked to in his first minute of his state of the state about rail, water, energy protecting migrants, protecting seniors as well as homelessness. This speech was all on one issue. So I think what he's doing is both responding to a critique that he's, uh, been the attention deficit governor and, and, and spread himself too thin by, by working on too many issues at once.

Speaker 2: 02:17 And also have this, as he said, a laser focus on the single issue, which is now the most important issue to voters in California. Okay. Is that the reason you think that the governor may have chosen to do this polls show it is homelessness is the greatest concern of California voters? Is there also a Donald Trump factor? Yes. President Trump, who is here in California, has been attacking California and saying, look, Democrats hold this up as a California dream, but look at this nightmare of, of the blight of homelessness on, you know, on the beautiful cities in his, in his language in California. I think Gavin Newsome wants Democrats to take accountability for this issue. Any really spoke of this in, in moral terms saying that the, the richest state in the richest nation needs to address this and be held accountable. So in many ways he's taking up the call, the challenge that president Trump, uh, has, has issued and, and focusing on an issue that, that to be, to, to be fair, Kevin Newsome has been focused on throughout his entire political career.

Speaker 2: 03:19 Now, much of this speech seem to be a not so subtle warning to local governments that they have to develop homeless and housing policies and stop dragging their feet. Yes. So this is a former mayor, uh, talking tough to mayors, uh, and, and talking about what the state might do if local governments squander the political opportunity created by, uh, by the attention to, to homelessness. Right now. And also don't use effectively the millions and potentially billions of dollars being sent by the state to cities and counties to address homelessness. Uh, but that's picking a tough fight that has sidelined some important legislation in the California legislature this year. The most controversial bill has been one that's taken away from cities and counties. The ability to control the zoning around public transit cities and counties fought back against that bill and it's killed it while the governor stayed on the sidelines. He seemed to endorse in concept that bill, but said nothing about this particular legislation. So I think a lot of people are going to be figuring, trying to figure out where does he stand? Does he stand with cities where he was a mayor or does he stand, uh, with this issue? That's professor Thad cow's or chair of the political science department at UC San Diego. I want to bring in Amy Gunn, you chief operating officer at the alpha project, a nonprofit homeless service provider here in San Diego. And Amy, welcome.

Speaker 3: 04:45 Thank you.

Speaker 2: 04:46 Do you say the governor's new proposals on homelessness working well with what San Diego is already trying to do?

Speaker 3: 04:53 I do and it's great to hear it to be honest with you. I'm be optimistic that, you know, get results from it. Um, here in San Diego and all across the state, I think, you know, a lot of people have the same issues is the affordable housing component. Um, and we like to call it low income housing because affordable housing here is anywhere from $1,700 to $2,400. Well, when you're working with seniors that are homeless that make eight a hundred dollars a month in social security, what are they supposed to do?

Speaker 2: 05:22 Right.

Speaker 3: 05:22 You know, so yes. Cutting red tape, building more permanent supportive housing dealing. I'm so happy that he's been speaking up about the serious mental illness that's going on because that's part of the population that we just don't have facilities. Not all project communities don't have facilities to handle those types of high level needs.

Speaker 2: 05:44 Right. You know, the governor made this new announcement about addressing behavioral health. Here's a clip from this speech this year. We have proposed calling. It's a once in a lifetime reform of our medical system based on the obvious

Speaker 4: 05:58 long ignored principle that physical health and brain health are inextricably linked after all, after all 10 million Californians, one in four suffer from some type of behavioral health condition.

Speaker 1: 06:13 And the governor also said quote, doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics. Amy, I'd like to get your reaction to that.

Speaker 3: 06:24 I mean we need something to put in place because we can't force people off the streets because there's that mentally ill. So I mean anything to help enforce getting the help they need, uh, we would be supportive of.

Speaker 1: 06:36 What are your feelings about this focus by the governor giving new energy to the effort to find solutions to homelessness. Do you have any optimism about that?

Speaker 3: 06:46 I w I'm optimistic in general. I mean because it is a crisis. I'm here in San Diego. We've been proactive in terms of putting up some, what we call bridge shelters, which we feel are needed in order to get people acclimated from being off the streets. Get them the documents they need to rent apartments, help them search for places that they can afford. Um, and basically what we call it, detox off the streets. And that's just getting used to being on the streets for 20 years and getting the services that they need to become stable enough to live independently.

Speaker 1: 07:19 I've been speaking with Amy Gunn, new chief operating officer at the alpha project and also with professor Thad cow's or chair of the political science department at UC San Diego. Thank you both. Thank you very much. And finally in response to the governor's address assembly Republican leader Mary Waldron, that is Marie Waldron of Escondido said the governor is right that building more housing is needed. Unfortunately democratic policies have stood in the way of housing production for years that needs to change. We'll have more on the governor's state of the state speech all through the day here on KPBS

Speaker 5: 08:03 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 08:06 418,000 people who previously did not have health insurance signed up for coverage through covered California during this last enrollment period. And while that number could go up even further on a federal level signups for the affordable care act under the Trump administration have gone down. Now a new state law has gone into effect that taxes those without coverage and increases subsidies for some of those that sign up for coverage. Joining me to discuss this is Peter Lee, the executive director of covered California. Peter, welcome. Great to be with you. I mentioned that the number of previously uninsured people in the state could go up even further and that's because the enrollment period is being extended. What prompted covered California to reopen that enrollment period? It's not actually reopening the enrollment period every year after

Speaker 6: 08:56 open enrollment we have special enrollment for people who have lost coverage because they've lost their job. They've moved. We're saying this year for one year, only through April a new reason. We'll let the door be open for you. You didn't know there was a penalty. You didn't know there was new state subsidies. And that's because we know, even though we've done a lot of marketing, a lot of outreach, a lot of California don't know that it's state law in California to get insurance if you can afford it. And if you don't, when you file your 2020 taxes, you're going to pay a penalty. And many people might not find this out until they get around to paying their taxes, which for many people isn't until March and April. So across the state from governor Newsome on down, we want this penalty to not be about getting money in the state coffers, but being that economic nudge to help people shop and find out how affordable healthcare is. And that's why I decided to extend this new opportunity to California through the end of April.

Speaker 4: 09:58 And this is the first increase in enrollment after three years of decline, what do you attribute the increase in enrollment to?

Speaker 6: 10:04 First it was a very big increase. So 40% means over 120,000 more people signed up. We had as many people sign up this year as we had the last year, this size 2016 and the reasons are really clear. The number one reason is governor Newsome. The legislature really had the courage to say the penalty matters. Now, look, penalties aren't popular but they help everybody because this year the penalty coming in place, health plans bet on more people signing up and lower their premiums. Premium increased this year less than 1% on average and that was because health plans thought the penalty wouldn't matter. That lowered costs for people that don't get subsidies. The second thing though is new money on the table and this is a big deal. Governor Newsome said the affordable care act a good program, but it's not the end point. Let's build on it and improve on it. Under the affordable care act, if you are a family of four you got no subsidy. If you made anything over $100,000 some people were spending 30% of their income on health insurance. California put in place new state subsidies to help lower income people, but also the middle class we saw in this open enrollment period, over 30,000 people getting these middle-class subsidies, on average, they were getting $500 a month to lower their healthcare costs. That helped people shop. It helped more people sign up.

Speaker 4: 11:29 Hmm. And you know, how much is the new tax for people who don't have coverage? And how does it compare to the cost of insurance?

Speaker 6: 11:36 The penalty which you pay when you file your taxes. It's not actually a tax, it's a penalty. Uh, depends on how much money you make and your family size. The minimum penalty for a single person, about $700 minimum penalty for a family of four, $2. But it'll go up if you make more money. Now, how's that compare to what your health insurance guy's going to cost? It depends. Many people are getting subsidies, so they're spending $100 a month on their insurance. So in a year they might be spending $1,200. But the big thing about insurance isn't a trade off against penalty versus premium. People want health insurance. Californians know that if they show up at the hospital and don't have insurance, they're rolling the dice on walking out owing 50,000 a hundred thousand dollars so the trade off is really about understanding how affordable healthcare can be getting that health care and avoiding big costs and actually getting needed preventive services.

Speaker 4: 12:33 So how do people who missed the January 31st deadline, who don't want to pay that penalty go about signing up now? Easy thing,

Speaker 6: 12:41 go to coverage. ca.com people can enroll online. One of the things we'll have to the answer the question is why would you qualify? There's a pull down. The first category is, I didn't know about the penalty. Check that box. You're good to go or go to a local insurance agent that's certified by us. You can go to our website, say, find help near me. You'll thought on a Google map, hundreds of insurance agents, community groups throughout the San Diego area. Throughout California, the services are always free.

Speaker 4: 13:11 The overall percentage of people signed up for covered California has also increased. How does that increase then compared to enrollment? In the federal marketplace. So one of the things we've seen is covered [inaudible].

Speaker 6: 13:23 Fornia kicked off our history in 2014 with big marketing spend with big enrollment, and by 2016 we had over one and a half million people in. That's been what we've been at basically since 2016 in contrast at the federal marketplace, which is the 37 States that rely on the federal government since 2016 they've declined by 14% which is almost a million and a half fewer Americans with insurance coverage. And so what we've done in California is say, look, the affordable care act works. Let's make it work better. Sadly, at the federal level, there's been policy after policy that discourage people from signing up for coverage. They don't spend anything on marketing. We spent $120 million on marketing. Why? By doing that, more people sign up, including healthy people, which means premiums in California are 20% lower than they would be if we weren't spending that money on marketing. So this is a a real demonstration of what happens when a state leans in to make the affordable care act work and seeks to build on it and make it better.

Speaker 4: 14:30 So how does this increase in enrollment help the covered California marketplace as a whole, whole,

Speaker 6: 14:35 yeah. Well first, the number one thing it helps is not just the marketplace. It helps people that don't get subsidies because how the rules work is if you're eligible for a subsidy, you never spend more than, you know, dependent on your income level, say 9% of your income on healthcare. But that means if premiums skyrocket, you're protected by signing up the covered California. If you're not eligible for a subsidy, when premiums go up, which they do, if you don't enroll healthy people, you pick up the tab in much of the nation. People without subsidies are being totally priced out of insurance. It's the people can't afford it. Not the case in California, not only do we have these new subsidies for the middle class premiums went up less than 1% that's the result of having more people insured in the individual market. It's a win win for people that get subsidies, but also for those that don't get financial help.

Speaker 7: 15:30 I've been speaking with Peter Lee, executive director with covered California. Peter, thank you so much for joining us. Great to be with you. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1: 15:38 You are listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Cavanagh. Six democratic presidential candidates will face off in a debate tonight in Las Vegas, just days ahead of the Nevada caucuses. This is the first time for New York city mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on stage. During the last debate, candidates largely piled on South bend. Mayor Pete, Buddha, judge, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who lost the California presidential primary to Hillary Clinton four years ago. This election year. The Sanders campaign wants to make sure it carries the golden state. It opened 17 campaign offices in California and it's pouring money and resources into parts of the state where Sanders didn't do well the last time he ran. Kate QEDs. Jerry Siegel has our story. Flashback

Speaker 7: 16:26 to 2016 off a historical moment for the democratic presumptive nominee. Clinton winning 56% of the vote in the golden state. A big loss for Sanders to Hillary Clinton. Even bigger. When you zoom in on the central Valley where Clinton had double digit wins in several counties. Now the Sanders campaign is hoping to turn that around.

Speaker 8: 16:46 It's a completely different campaign. Four years later,

Speaker 7: 16:49 California political director, Jane Kim says, the campaign is making a concerted effort to win the central Valley and that includes by trying to win over voters with sweeping economics

Speaker 9: 16:59 proposals. Let me thank the Fresno city college, which Sanders spoke about at a November rally in Fresno. We have another task in front of us and that is creating a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%

Speaker 7: 17:19 that's a message that resonates with Brandon Young blood, who's volunteering for Sanders in the central Valley city of Stockton. We need resources. We need community resources. Bernie Sanders understand this better than any other candidate for fellow Sanders supporter and Stockton resident, Carrie Corey, who used to work as a nurse. It's all about healthcare and we have one of the highest rates of asthma in the state of California and it's because people are not getting good, consistent preventative care. Corey says, thinks Sanders Medicare for all plan in particular will attract other central Valley voters no matter your ability to pay. It's a human right to have healthcare. Of course, a large population in the central Valley and California at large is Latino and the Sanders team is working to win over Latino voters by setting up local campaign offices, hiring Spanish language organizers and producing Spanish language campaign ads.

Speaker 10: 18:14 Mr [inaudible] on Bernie Sanders and I approve this message.

Speaker 7: 18:19 Another key group, the Sanders team is campaigning for his voters with no party preference who now outnumber Republicans in California and can vote in the democratic primary. Paul Mitchell is vice president of the bipartisan number crunching from political data. The Sanders campaign probably can identify nonpartisans, maybe younger voters, maybe Latino voters who are younger and in the polling you can see that he does have a base of support. The trick is getting that base of support to vote, which is a little tricky for independence because there's a slightly complicated process for requesting a democratic ballot. This inability of nonpartisan voters to get the correct balance significantly hampered Bernie in 2016. So I think the Bernie folks are walking into California saying like, we're not going to let that happen to us again. And that marks what could be Sander's biggest strength because he's the only candidate who also ran in 2016 in California. He's got a lot of lessons to learn from. And as the state's current front runner pulling ahead of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, it looks like he's putting those lessons to use. I'm Jeremy Siegel.

Speaker 10: 19:28 Rewired is a three part series from my new source investigative reporters, Jill Castellano and Brad Racino. It showcases a UCS D doctor who developed an experimental brain treatment and his Navy seal patient who had a psychotic break after receiving it. Here's Brad [inaudible].

Speaker 11: 19:47 My name is Jonathan Steven Surmont. First of all want to say that I truly believe that I am, uh, lucky to be alive. To share the story with you. John Surmont is a former Navy seal who suffered from PTSD after tours in Afghanistan and Asia. He struggled with cold sweats and anger, but he channeled his energy into running a drone surveillance company until 2013. That's when a tractor trailer ran a red light and Chula Vista and sent Surmont through his passenger side window after the accident. He said, should I stuttered? Um, I slurred my speech. I had a difficulty interacting with human beings. I felt like I was just a grown child. The crash added a brain injury and chronic pain to his PTSD. The next two years were a mess. His company collapsed. He divorced and watched his three children move with their mom to Florida. He battled anxiety, depression, and chronic pain and no treatment was helping. Then the nonprofit Navy seal foundation offered a lifeline. They bent over backwards for me and one of its board members presented Surmont with an idea.

Speaker 2: 20:54 One of them contacted me and said, Hey, we've been thinking about you. Thinking about how to help you. We've come to find out about this experimental brain treatment that may actually help you. It may not, we don't know, but it might be worth a shot.

Speaker 11: 21:11 That's the inner Tim us. Dr. Kevin Murphy is explaining how standard T M S or transcranial magnetic stimulation works. Murphy is a former vice chair at UC San Diego's department of radiation medicine, though he spent his career in oncology today. He sees himself as a pioneer in the field of TMS. I'm on the bleeding edge of this. TMS is a relatively new medical treatment that sends electromagnetic pulses into the brain. It's FDA approved to treat depression, OCD, and migraines, but Murphy modifies TMS to treat a range of conditions from autism to a bad golf swing.

Speaker 12: 21:50 I would say on a stage right now in front of the entire academic community and say what we're doing is better.

Speaker 11: 21:55 Murphy has no research or published data backing up his treatment, but he says it works for 90% of patients stepping over the line and a Wexler is an assistant ethics professor at the university of Pennsylvania. She reviewed Murphy's website and was concerned the doctor was marketing his technique to potential patients as being better than other available treatments.

Speaker 10: 22:17 That I think is a very clear, misleading claim, especially given that he, he's not posting any studies.

Speaker 11: 22:24 Murphy stumbled across TMS when he caught a late night TV special in 2013 he thought it may work on his son's violent autism and made an appointment.

Speaker 12: 22:34 I'd to hold them. I don't buy them, squeeze them and hold them.

Speaker 11: 22:37 Murphy said the treatments transformed his son into a different person. He soon began treating patients using his own version of TMS. Not long after Surmont walked into Murphy's practice, the veteran was instantly enamored with the doc.

Speaker 2: 22:52 He had a very quickly became a hero to me.

Speaker 11: 22:56 Murphy also a Navy vet, supervised Surmont brain treatments over the next two years. During that time, Surmont said the doctor was tinkering with the TMS equipment to try to perfect his own version of TMS. From my perspective, you know, this guy's like a team guy. He's going to be aggressive and he's going to go do it right. And, and I remember like, I'm a Guinea pig, Dr. Murphy, I trust you. Let's go do this, you know, kinda thing and be careful what you wish for is what I will say for KPBS. I'm I news source investigative reporter Brad Racino.

Speaker 10: 23:27 Tomorrow I new source travels to Los Angeles with John Surmont to revisit his psychotic break from two years ago and then I started [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 23:35 you kind of wonder, wait a minute, did the treatment, is this caused this? What's happening?

Speaker 10: 23:40 I knew source is an independent nonprofit partner of KPBS

Speaker 13: 23:48 even before the latest hostilities in the middle East. The army was trying new methods to recruit more soldiers. A new marketing campaign called, what's your warrior launched in November. It's short on crawling in the mud and long on high tech. Dan Boyce reports for the American home front recruiting company commander Josh Trancle has been touring brand new recruits around Fort Carson army base in Colorado Springs. They stopped by a shooting simulator, peaked inside military vehicles. Now Trancle announces its lunchtime enjoying a wonderful gourmet MRE. That's a meal ready to eat. Soldiers hand out the Brown plastic packages at random recruit crystal Townsend sitting cross legged on the grass. She's peering into her Emery sack. She got a vegetable crumble town's into 35 on the older end for recruit.

Speaker 14: 24:40 When I was younger, when I was 1819 I did want to join, but I wasn't really confident in myself. I didn't know anybody in the military and I wasn't really sure I could do it.

Speaker 13: 24:48 She ended up in law enforcement, a deputy sheriff, stable job of professional career still. As she got older and closer to the maximum age for enlistment.

Speaker 14: 24:56 Looking back and having those regrets, it was just eating at me and I finally say, you know what? I'm going to go for it.

Speaker 13: 25:01 Other recruits are just out of high school looking for that classic army experience as a gunner or an [inaudible] Countryman. I speak with one woman looking to go into communications. Another man is aiming to jumpstart his career as a firefighter. The range of ambitions these recruits have is exactly how the army is hoping to sell itself to the next generation of service members.

Speaker 15: 25:23 [inaudible].

Speaker 13: 25:23 The new army marketing campaign is called what's your warrior? And the first ad looks more like a trailer for an effects Laden superhero movie than a traditional recruitment pitch. Helicopters flying through mountain passes, a woman at a computer terminal communicates with a satellite overhead. A scientist is hard at work, splitting microscopic cells. There's this idea amongst lots of youth and perhaps even

Speaker 16: 25:47 parents that there's only one way to serve and that's in a combat role.

Speaker 13: 25:51 Brigadier general Alex Fink is the chief of army enterprise marketing. He's behind what's your warrior think says military marketing that focuses on the glory of battle just isn't working like in the past, especially as fewer and fewer Americans have family, military legacies to live up to.

Speaker 16: 26:08 This is really more about surprising our audience about what you can do in the army.

Speaker 13: 26:13 So the emphasis in what's your warrior is on showing the variety of career fields and the real world benefits of service. The army says the initial figures for this campaign have been pretty good. What's your warrior debuted in November and Brigadier general thinks as the number of people filling out reply forms on go army.com has jumped 35% over last year, but that's just the first step.

Speaker 16: 26:37 It's great and find a dandy to fill out a business reply card online. But how does that translate into actually getting folks to make a commitment? So we'll see.

Speaker 13: 26:46 You guys want to fire again and that's where the individual relationship between recruit and recruiter comes in. Colorado Springs company commander Josh Trancle says his recruiters are using the new, what's your warrior campaign to start the conversation. That's where the art of it is. They really need to know how to take that message and give it to the students coming out of school these days and make sure that they know the opportunities that are available to them for new recruit. Crystal Townsend eating her vegetable crumble on that Fort Carson tour. The logical path would be to move from her job as a Sheriff's deputy to military police. Instead, she's looking at something completely different.

Speaker 14: 27:24 My number one pick is military intelligence. I would figure it'd be a waste of opportunity to not go into something else. Challenged myself by learning a completely new field.

Speaker 13: 27:34 She says the diversity of career options led her to choosing the army over another military branch. If what's your warrior works, a lot more people will be taking a look at those options too. In Colorado Springs.

Speaker 1: 27:47 I'm Dan boys. This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting.

Speaker 1: 28:03 For those of us not born here in San Diego. The question is, what brought you here? What keeps you here? The KPBS podcast, my first day has been telling the stories of the many San Diegans who chose this place as their new hometown for its third season. My first day shares a range of stories from skateboarding to homelessness, military life to gay identity. Ultimately, my first day is about the nature of home in all its beauty and complexity. And joining me is the creator and host of my first day Andrew Bracken. And Andrew, welcome back. Thanks a lot. Great to be here. How do you choose the stories you tell? On my first day

Speaker 17: 28:43 for this season, one point of emphasis we tried to make was connecting some of the stories to certain characteristics of San Diego or just, um, they kind of fit the heartbeat of what San Diego is. So some of these might be, um, we have a story about someone that came out here for love of surfing and also became connected to basically, uh, helping to, uh, revolutionize skateboarding. Another stories of a military spouse. We tried to tell military stories since it's such a big part of the San Diego community. Um, but one story I haven't told was from the spouse, not from the service member. So, um, it, from that perspective of having kids and having to move every few years and it's several first days. It's a complicated life. That was one important story. Another was, um, homelessness. Homelessness is something we hear quite a bit about. And it was really powerful to hear Ron Patterson story of how he came, um, to ocean beach actually, and basically lived on the streets in that area for about 25 years. And one interesting thing about his story to me was where his camps, where he lived right near my house. And just to hear his experiences and his viewpoint, you know, we have such a different experience yet we're basically right next door to each other. Here's a clip of Ron Patterson talking about how he landed in San Diego.

Speaker 11: 30:10 Uh, the main deciding factor was I threw a dart at the dartboard and I really wanted to, I wanted to at that time get away from being in the middle of nowhere. And I basically, I'm a good shot, but darts is, like I said, I basically knew kind of the area I wanted to hit, but it could have been anywhere up and down the California coast at 20 feet, you know, but San Diego was, seemed to be perfect. Once I got hit the dirt hit there, I decided that it was where I was going to go.

Speaker 17: 30:45 And in fact that's the name of the episode dart at the dartboard. Why did you want to highlight that homeless experience on the podcast? I think it's something we all see in our community, in the city. Um, it's something we hear a lot about. We read a lot about, we see the numbers, um, and we may see it in our community, but it's, it's not always common for us just to hear the story of what his life was like and how we slept, how he, what he did when it rained. These were all pretty illuminating to me. What have been some of the most memorable moments of the new season? One story that really, you know, caught, I think a lot of our attention in our community with last year was the synagogue shooting in Poway. And so we really wanted to tell a story of, um, from the Jewish community and telling the story of Rose Schindler who, uh, was a Holocaust survivor and uh, actually, um, survived the Auschwitz concentration camps.

Speaker 18: 31:39 It was an amazing life over there before the war. Really. It was an amazing life under the Czech government, the Jewish people had the same rights like everybody else. Okay. And most of the Jewish people were business people and a lot of the non Jewish people were farmers and be the friends. We went to school together, we played together till everything went to hell.

Speaker 17: 32:06 You know, went through a measurable loss, lost the majority of her family during that experience, but ended up as a refugee meeting her future husband, also a Holocaust survivor and eventually settling in San Diego. So that was one particularly important story that we wanted to tell this year. Is there anything that surprised you about the people you met this season? You also introduced us to a native new Yorker. I know about that. Who misses home? Here's Aaron Bianco is so strange to me cause so many people move to a San Diego because you know, it's

Speaker 19: 32:40 75 all the time and sunny. Like I want to kill myself that it's 75 and sending every single day. Hey, can I just get a drop of rain?

Speaker 1: 32:51 Can I just get a drop of rain here? And Aaron is still getting used to the idea that San Diego moves at a much slower pace than New York. What led Bianco to San Diego?

Speaker 17: 33:03 [inaudible] got a job here. His, his mother was sick and had moved out to orange County. So it kind of was a couple of factors there. But I mean that is another interesting piece is, is it's not just people coming to San Diego and becoming San Diego owns 100% right? We're all products of where we are. We're from some of us, you know, let more of it go than others. But that was a story of, you know, I say this, the series is about home and the nature of home, you know, leaving it, trying to find new home. But ultimately where we're from, plays a great role in that too. Is there anything that surprised you about the people you met this season? I mean, I think at the end of the day, I think what surprises me the longer I do these, I mean, these, these interviews are hard. You know, I mean, the real people are really open and they're really intimate.

Speaker 17: 33:52 Um, so I th I think I'm always surprised by just the generosity of people have to share their stories, but also that at the end of the day, you know, when you cut down to the bone, we have all these different experiences. We're from different countries, different socioeconomic backgrounds, all these differences. But at the end of the day, we're all trying to find the same things, you know, safe home for our family to raise our families. We're trying to find a home for ourselves and our families. And so the more interviews I do, the more I talk to people, the more commonalities I see between the stories. Where can people find my first day? Well, season three is available, um, on any podcast app, uh, such as Spotify, Apple podcasts, as well as kpbs.org/my first day season three of my first day drops today and new episodes are available every other Wednesday. I've been speaking with the host and creator of my first day, Andrew Bracken. Andrew, thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 34:49 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm Jade Hindman. Two years ago, Keith and Jones launched a black comics day to showcase comics creators of color like himself. For its third year, it expands to two days and a new location at the world beats center in Balboa park. KPBS arts reporter Beth Armando speaks with Jones about what this year's event will be like. Keithan a you are about to have black comics day three, how does it feel to be approaching the third year for this event?

Speaker 20: 35:21 I'm feeling apprehensive and nervous and excited at the same time because this third one is I had a completely different location, which will be bell ball park world beats center. Uh, previously it was at the Malcolm X library on Euclid. And those first two shows, um, more successful than I, I had anticipated and happily so. So I'm, we're hoping to have the same success at the new location, but, but again, it's a new location and working with a different group of organizers. So it's kinda like, you know, my palms are a little sweaty about it, but it's feeling good. It's feeling like it, it feels, it feels like things are moving along and going in the right direction.

Speaker 21: 35:58 So remind people, what prompted you to create this event for San Diego?

Speaker 20: 36:03 Basically I wanted to create a venue, um, during black history month that celebrated black creators like myself. And in the comic book medium, we've always, you know, there's always been BI folks into comics for as long as comics have been around, but it's not widely known that we're behind the scenes also. And, uh, we have, we have many of our own creations in circulation. And so, and a lot of that's due to not having a distribution chain or I'm necessarily being, having access to, um, some of the comic, you know, local comic shops that are out in the world. It's just, you know, even if you're not black, it's hard to get into comics. I just wanted to fill a niche and I thought this would, I like to say I, I figured, why don't I just go ahead and build my own door and walk through it basically.

Speaker 21: 36:54 So Keithan you have a pair of panels at this year's black comics day. Can you tell us what these are about? For sure.

Speaker 20: 37:02 If you're a fan of Octavia Butler, the prolific science fiction writer, we have the two gentlemen who adapted her stories or a couple of her stories anyway, into graphic novels. John Jennings and Damian Duffy will be on hand to, uh, be interviewed by Hannibal taboo or bleeding cool. And, uh, they're basically going to discuss how they approach, uh, adapting her novels, the kindred and parable of the Sawyer and to a comic book format. So that's going to be exciting for folks who are interested in the, uh, behind the scenes of how a novel is converted to a graphic novel. And that's Saturday, February 22nd, starting at 1:00 PM. And on Sunday we have a panel called empowered. How indie comic creators build universes and communities. This is a panel for anyone, but particularly for people who are, are aspiring to become writers and comics or artists and comics. Um, deaf people.

Speaker 20: 38:05 We have on this panel, Robert Love, Greg Anderson, Elisa, dr Lawanna, Richmond and Jason Reeves will be on hand, uh, because they are successful in the creators themselves along with being artists that work in the mainstream industry. So you get to pick their brain or we're going to pick their brain on how they've been able to succeed in the MD comics market. Speaking personally from it because I am a creator myself in the comics markets, a pretty tough road to navigate, but it can be achieved and really be a lot more rewarding than working for one of the, uh, larger publishers, um, if you are successful at it. Um, and then beyond that and be on the panels, we have a gaming lounge, so if you're into like video competitive video games, we have a tech and tournament, there'll be other games there. But basically you can compete for prizes in video games.

Speaker 20: 38:57 And I think there's a BR to some VR stuff there as well, so you can um, dabble with that. But the main ingredient of the show and the main glue of this show are all the different and various black creators, writers and artists, male and female that are going to be there where you can meet and patronize them and pick their brain and get stuff signed. There's mostly this show focuses on the independent creations, the stuff you've never seen before, the brand new stuff coming from these creators that feature characters of color because that's really the point of the show. You know, all the other stuff is cool and everything, but I really just want the community, particularly young folks to see that black Americans are more than what's typically portrayed on popular media, which is generally us, either in sports or um, music. Um, we're also out here being being nerds just like everyone else.

Speaker 22: 39:57 It seems obvious that people can go there to meet creators. But is this also a good place for young people who may have an interest in drawing or have an interest in getting into the comic industry? To kind of get a sense of what that might take.

Speaker 20: 40:11 Yeah, great question. Yeah. This is a perfect show because not only are the artists, they're displaying the stuff they've created themselves, but this is an opportunity for a young artists or an aspiring artists of any age to come and bring their portfolio and have it reviewed, get some pointers on what you're doing, right, what you're doing wrong. And uh, yeah, don't be, don't be afraid to, um, bring your stuff to the show. And it's in this free admission for everyone. So, um, you come right on in. So your stuff and you never know where, where it leads to because you know, uh, some, a lot of times these writers particularly are looking for artists. Yup. This is your show. If you're trying to get into the industry and you need, you're looking for a foot in or just wanting to be pointed in the right direction. This is your show.

Speaker 22: 40:53 And I want to remind people that you are not just an organizer for this event. You are a comic book creator, yourself and artists. So tell us a little bit about what you might be presenting at black comics day of your own work.

Speaker 20: 41:06 I have a book called the power nights that I've been working on from the inception of my company back in 2014 and up to this point, I've done four issues out of a five part series. I originally had planned to have issue five ready for this show but doesn't look like that's going to happen. I was going to make an announcement at the show, but I guess I can do it here on KPBS. The power nights is now in the middle of production of a video game, uh, a mobile game. So that's coming down the pipeline this year. Most likely will the actual game will be ready by San Diego comic con. But if you come to black comedy state, I will have posters for the game and uh, we are trying to have a preview ready also so that you can see how see the game play and um, take a look at it. So, uh, there you go folks. By the way, the game is called beat seeds our nights edition. So it's a rhythm game to, it's, um, if you imagine taking space invaders and mixing that with a guitar heroes.

Speaker 10: 42:11 And is there anything else you want to add about black comics day that we didn't discuss yet?

Speaker 20: 42:15 I think this new location at Balboa park, world B center, it's gonna make it even better. Um, so it's a, it's not, it's not just, it's not your typical Comic-Con. I'll put it that way. It's like, it's more, it's a comic con slashed backyard barbecue party, whatever. You know, that's how black folks do it. You know, we always have to add that extra sauce to everything we do. So, uh, yeah. And everyone's invited to the barbecue. So come on through.

Speaker 10: 42:42 All right, well I wanna thank you very much for coming in and talking about black comics day. Thank you. That was bad doc Amando speaking with Keith and Jones, black comic stayed 2020. Rose rise three takes place this Saturday and Sunday at world beats center.

Gov. Gavin Newsom devoted most of his second State of the State address on the intertwined issue of homelessness and housing. Plus, California is reopening the enrollment period for people to sign up for health coverage. More than 1.5 million have bought health insurance covered through Covered California health care exchange. Also, a breakdown of what you need to know about REWIRED, a three-part investigation by inewsource. And, the Army has upped its recruiting game to be more than just combat and emphasized careers in technology, medicine and other non-combat jobs. In addition, a new season of “My First Day” podcast that tells stories of those who have come to San Diego from elsewhere, and now call it home. Finally, Black Comix Day is back this weekend at the WorldBeat Center in Balboa Park.

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KPBS Midday Edition

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