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San Onofre Decommissioning Project Begins, Union-Tribune Endorses Buttigieg For U.S. President, Measure B Money, Judicial Candidate’s Controversial Facebook Posts, And Amplifying Indigenous Voices

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Speaker 1: 00:01 The dismantling begins at Santa. No fray. The reasons behind the UT endorsement of Pete Buddha, judge Jade Heinemann is away today. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh. This is KPBS mid day edition.

Speaker 1: 00:23 It's Monday, February 24th after eight years of standing idle. The San Onofre nuclear power plant is finally coming down the project to dismantle the plant gets underway today. It was a small radioactive leak in a steam generator in 2012 that caused the plan to be taken offline and ultimately shut down the entire decommissioning process is expected to take eight years, but it is not without controversy, especially when it comes to the longterm storage of the plants spent nuclear fuel. Joining me is Ron Pontus, Edison's decommissioning environmental manager and Ron, welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. Tell us what the decommissioning project entails.

Speaker 2: 01:09 Well, the objective here is pretty straightforward. Uh, that is to remove all the above ground structures that you see here at the site to at least three feet below grade with the exception of two important parts. One is the dry storage facility, which will remain, and the switch yard, which will remain because it serves as an important interconnect between Edison and San Diego gas and Electric's transmission systems.

Speaker 1: 01:33 Now the iconic look of the Senate, no for new nuclear power plant for most people. Is those twin domes. When are those going to be taken down?

Speaker 2: 01:42 Yeah, that looks like a, based on our current schedule, 2024, 2025. And that time frame, we would start taking those down. I think by 2026, they would be gone.

Speaker 1: 01:53 And what will happen to all the material, the steel and the concrete that makes up the plant.

Speaker 2: 01:59 So the, the plan here is, uh, is to remove all of this material. We'll assess whether it's radioactively contaminated or not, and then we'll, uh, ship it, ship it out of the, out of state basically. So the destination for most of the weight is the waste is going to Clive Utah to a repository there that takes a radioactive waste. And, uh, some smaller volumes will be going to Andrews, Texas to another similar facility that takes a slightly higher level of waste at that facility. And then there'll be some waste that'll probably be shipped to LA paws, Arizona also as a at a conventional landfill. But most, uh, most of the waste will go to Clive, Utah and most of it'll go out by rail.

Speaker 1: 02:45 How much is the decommissioning expected to cost?

Speaker 2: 02:48 Well, there was a, there, there's a decommissioning cost estimate that, uh, assesses all the, the total cost of the project, you know, and including, uh, the eventual, uh, remediation of the entire site after performed this first step. And that's about 4.4 billion in, um, in $2,014. And who's paying for it? That money, the money to cover that estimated cost was paid for by the rate payers. So people bought electricity here from Addison and from San Diego gas and electric. That money was set aside in a trust fund and that trust fund was invested in the market and it has grown to cover the costs of the decommissioning. So the rate payers paid for this.

Speaker 1: 03:28 Now, while the dismantling of the plant takes place, the transfer of spent fuel to canisters on the site that's still taking place. What is the status on that transfer of radioactive fuel?

Speaker 2: 03:39 Yeah, as of, uh, last week we completed our 51st a trans transfer of a canister from what storage to dry storage. That means there's 22 more canisters to be transferred to the SVC or dry storage facility. Uh, we're doing about one a week. So in about 22 weeks or so, we should be finished with, uh, with all the transfer of fuel to that facility.

Speaker 1: 04:03 Now, environmental advocates will be gathering at the belly up in Solana beach. Today. They are calling this events songs four songs. It's a rally against the storage of nuclear waste as Santa no free will. They want the waste to be repackaged and thick walled canisters to prevent cracking of the canisters. So why not put the fuel in thicker containers?

Speaker 2: 04:25 The fact is that, uh, there aren't any thick walled canisters licensed in the United States that could take the fuel here that said Santa no free. Um, when we went about the selection of the, uh, the dry storage facility, we looked at what was licensed, uh, that, that we could safely package the fuel in. We selected a system that's in, that's commonly used throughout the industry. And, uh, that's what we have here. So, you know, previously we loaded a 50 canisters, a fuel in an Arriva system that was built here in 2002. We started putting fuel in it in 2003. And, um, the S the whole tech system that we selected later is basically, this is the same type of design, um, robust stainless steel canisters that are about five eighths of an inch thick, that are highly resistant to chloride stress, corrosion cracking. So the, the system is licensed by the NRC and it's, uh, and it's safe for the storage of fuel.

Speaker 1: 05:22 And once the whole plant is decommissioned, who will be responsible for the fuel onsite? Is Edison still responsible for it?

Speaker 2: 05:30 Yes. Edison is a licensee here at Santa, no furry. So, uh, the, as long as the fuel remains on site, we're responsible for it.

Speaker 1: 05:37 Well, what is the latest on a plan for longterm fuel storage?

Speaker 2: 05:41 I think you probably know that president Trump pulled funding for Yucca mountain, uh, from our next year's budget request. Uh, so it's not clear where Yucca is going. Uh, in any case, it would take some time for Yucca mountain to become a reality even if it was pursued. Um, it's not clear what the federal government's going to do in terms of a permanent, uh, geologic repository. Uh, but that's up to them to solve that problem. The, the near term, uh, possibility is an interim storage facility. There's a couple of, uh, private entities that are pursuing licensing for such facilities, one in West Texas and another in New Mexico, um, basically very close to each other across the New Mexico, Texas border. And, uh, those have a possibility of becoming a reality. They're deep into that. Um, yeah, that process, the licensing process right now. So, you know, our strategic plan now is to, is, is to, you know, position ourselves to take advantage of one of those or both of those facilities, should they be, become licensed in a reality. So that that's a, a place to, uh, send us, send a fuel.

Speaker 1: 06:50 Now, Southern California Edison, the plant's own owner has some credibility issues with the public. At least it has had given the original radiation leak and then a near miss accident with the canisters that was only made public by a whistleblower. So my question is, how can the public trust that Edison is doing everything it can to ensure public safety?

Speaker 2: 07:10 We understand that the public has some doubts about Edison, but I'll tell you this, that since, uh, August of 18, there's been a number of changes here at this site. Um, the culture here has been improved substantially. We're focused on a, a high performing nuclear safety culture here, uh, and we're openness with the public and there's been a number of leadership changes made and my opinion, we can trust that Edison is going to do everything that is right, uh, to make sure that all the activities performed here on site are performed safely. Um, and that, uh, the public is well protected.

Speaker 1: 07:46 I have been joined by Ron Pontus, Edison's decommissioning environmental manager, and Ron, thank you very much. You're welcome.

Speaker 1: 08:00 The presidential primary race is white hot this week coming off the Nevada caucus last weekend. There's a debate tomorrow night. The South Carolina primary is this weekend, and of course California is part of the super Tuesday vote next week. The results so far have Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the lead, but we're still early in the process. So into the mix. The San Diego union Tribune has stepped up to endorse a candidate and their pic is mayor Pete Buddha. Judge joining me is Matt hall editorial and opinion director at the UT to tell us what went into the editorial board's decision. And Matt, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. Doreen. Give us the board's main reasons for endorsing mayor Pete.

Speaker 3: 08:42 They were pretty straightforward. First of all, that we liked his centrist policies. We looked at all of the candidates in the race and wanted to pick a moderate above all else. A what a, uh, above for people to judge was his military experience, his executive experience, even if it was in a small city. And we liked the fact that he had really enthusiastically built some support in the early States, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire. Any editorial, you seem to have been going back and forth between Pete, Buddha, judge and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Why did booty judge get the nod? Well, I think his military experience was one key factor. We also looked at their temperament, especially in, in the most recent debate particularly, but also over time there were some things in, in the Senator Klobuchar ours, uh, background that gave us pause. There was a report in the New York times that she, uh, was a kind of a tough boss.

Speaker 3: 09:41 A tough bosses are fine, but the reporting there showed a lot of turnover and we've seen a lot of turnover in the current administration. So that was something that gave us pause. We wanted people to kind of be committed to the cause and want to work for their candidate. What specific policies of people to judge Shedd does the UT like, in other words, how about the, his Medicare for everyone who wants it? Yeah, that's a key one. I mean, I think for us Medicare for all is a troublesome a policy. We're worried about the cost of it. Medicare for all who want it seems, you know, first it allows people who want to keep uh, their private insurance to keep that, which I think is key because second polls show you that a lot of people do want to keep their private insurance. But I think the risk is that if you can't do that, that there's just headaches and problems all around.

Speaker 3: 10:32 And so pizza kind of course of action seemed a more thoughtful, nuanced, moderate approach there. Now the UT editorial board is now made up of four white men. Did you take that into consideration when assessing the candidates? We did look at both race and the ability of a candidate to appeal to race and issues any candidates might have with communities of color. Our board is our board. It kind of is what it is. We, there are two women on my team who are involved in those discussions who aren't, you know, on the editorial board per se, but are a part of my team. And they sat in and a lot of our interviews, we interviewed a hundred candidates, uh, and they sat in on on many of those interviews and were a part of those discussions. So I think that our board had greater diversity in age and gender than it has in years past.

Speaker 3: 11:21 And so, you know, we looked at some of the criticism on a mayor, Buddha judge our issues with communities of color in South bend, right? There's a famous case of his demotion of a police chief. There's been some reporting that shows that his top staff doesn't reflect the diversity of his city. And so, you know, we looked at those issues, but in his case there was a, also a police shooting during his campaign during the presidential campaign where a white officer killed a black man and Pete suspended campaign. It went back to South bend and, and took that seriously and tried to engage, as we said, showed up and stepped up. So there's no question that these are very difficult decisions. There's a lot that goes into them. Race is certainly a part of this. To be a president of the United States of America, you need to appeal to people, uh, from coast to coast, from young youth, youth to old folks and importantly to communities of color. I think you saw in, in Nevada,

Speaker 1: 12:21 well, let, let me, let, let me just stop you though for a minute. Okay. Here you have the situation of a San Diego paper endorsing a candidate with extremely low Latino support. How do you defend that?

Speaker 3: 12:34 I think the endorsement speaks for itself. People are telling me that it was well-reasoned, um, that it was thoughtful that it went into each candidates pluses and minuses in our view. You know, and up until recently there was a Latina on our editorial board. She was a big part of our discussions going through this. She retired and is no longer on our board, but we're always mindful of that now. It's on people to judge, to appeal to Latinos and to try to show that he can be a president, uh, in a presidential candidate for all communities. Uh, we looked at the pluses and the minuses of his campaign. And of the other campaigns and decided that in our view that people, the judge was the candidate that, uh, we were going to recommend.

Speaker 1: 13:18 Now the editorial starts with an analysis of what the editorial board thinks may happen to the country of president Trump is reelected. And let's just say that that is not a good scenario. So in light of that concern, did the editorial boards endorsement take into consideration who they thought would best be able to win against president Trump?

Speaker 3: 13:38 That was part of it. I think in the discussions, I think electability is kind of a cheat. It's kind of a code word for in some ways for racism in some ways for ageism in some ways for sexism. I mean, uh, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote last year. She is a woman. Eventually this country is going to have a woman president. Eventually this country is going to have a Latino president. Eventually this country is going to have a gay president. As, as we wrote in that editorial, those things are only true that we have never had one of those kinds of presidents until they aren't. And so electability to me is a little bit of a, people throw that around that word too much. Of course any candidate needs to be able to compete against the current president, you know, and the dynamics of a primary election are far different than the dynamics of a general election. So we'll see who the democratic party chooses. Even though we have been critical of the current president, there's no disputing that he has the ability to bring tens of millions of peoples, uh, to the polls, uh, and has a very, uh, kind of, uh, hardcore base of support.

Speaker 1: 14:42 What do you think Pete Buddha judge will have to do to win?

Speaker 3: 14:45 Well, I think he's going to have to reach out to communities of color. He's going to have to show, especially in South Carolina, that he can, has a message that it's to resonate with, uh, the African American community. But it was Huffington post, I think just today had a story that shows that there is no quote unquote black vote that like any community, that black voters come to the polls and care about a lot of different things and blacks, Latinos, whites, Asian Americans are not all coming to the polls and voting for candidates based on one or two factors that, you know, uh, elections are complicated, are nuanced and, and so that is one thing though that he'll have to do is to show in States that aren't, uh, majority white, primarily white, they'll need to find a message that resonates with them.

Speaker 1: 15:25 I've been speaking with Matt hall, editorial and opinion director at the San Diego union Tribune and Matt, thank you so much. Happy to do it. The California presidential primary is next Tuesday, March 3rd

Speaker 4: 15:50 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 15:56 measure B is the most expensive battle in San Diego County over an initiative on the March ballot with more than $11 million in the fight. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson says the measure asks County voters to support the construction of a major North County housing development along interstate 15.

Speaker 5: 16:16 A developer for the Newland Sierra housing project in the North County is spending millions to get voter approval to build 2100 homes, schools, retail space, hiking and bike trails. Newland, Sierra, once voters to back San Diego County supervisors who approved the project two years ago, opponents disagreed and pushed for a countywide vote and that's why measure B is on the ballot, but Newland Sierra argues the supervisors were right to okay the project North of Escondido

Speaker 6: 16:44 voting yes on measure B creates a community that is a smart plant community. We're located less than a mile from infrastructure in the major cities. I'm in North San Diego County. That includes Vista, Escondido San Marcos.

Speaker 5: 16:56 Yes. On measure B campaign spokesman Kenneth Morris says the project will preserve 1200 acres of open space. He says there's already plenty of development nearby, so building here doesn't change the character of the land.

Speaker 6: 17:08 We're surrounded by existing development and existing homes. Within a three mile radius of the project, there's nearly 33,000 existing homes and when you go to a five mile radius of the project, there's about 90,000 homes that are already built. An existing

Speaker 5: 17:22 and Newland Sierra is making sure voters see their message saying this land is going to be developed one way or the other. There are mailers, digital ads and television spots.

Speaker 1: 17:33 Voting yes on be the better choice. Measure provides badly needed housing, affordable for San Diego counties, working family.

Speaker 5: 17:40 Those ads cost money. San Diego County campaign finance disclosure documents show that Newland Sierra, L L C is two committees supporting measure B. Newland put five point $6 million in one and about 2.4 million in another since the beginning of last year. The more than $8 million is fueling the ad campaigns.

Speaker 1: 18:03 Voting no on B leaves. Unmaintained land vulnerable to wildfires and no new money for fire prevention,

Speaker 5: 18:10 but the fight is not one sided resident's opposed to the plan. Have a rich ally campaign documents show that golden door properties owners have an upscale spa near the proposed community. Raised three point $3 million to convince voters the project is wrong for the region. Measure B opponents are also spending on television and digital ads.

Speaker 7: 18:31 The cost of housing keeps going up and measure B would make it worse. Measure B, the Newland Sierra project is a luxury development.

Speaker 5: 18:40 DOR properties is putting most of the bill to fight Newland Sierra, but one anti sprawl group has spent just under $3,000 on yard signs. The no one B camp says there are other locals in the fight as well.

Speaker 2: 18:53 This is a community against a developer.

Speaker 5: 18:56 Cliff Williams is a Newland Sierra opponent.

Speaker 2: 18:59 This is a community also that participated in a process where they were told that this land was not going to be developed in a significant way and the County broke its promise and I allowed this development to go forward and so because they broke their promise, the people are taking back their right to put this on. The ballot.

Speaker 5: 19:21 Mailers and television advertising are stock vehicles for driving public opinion, but the chair of the San Diego state university marketing department says there's a shift underway. Heather ho ne says, money spent on digital advertising is eclipsing the traditional ads as a way to reach voters.

Speaker 8: 19:37 I think that trend will continue and to the degree that we get more and more granular information, there'll be a lot of inefficiencies. What's kind of this broadcast model of communication? I don't think it's ever going to go away entirely because it is a mechanism to create basic awareness and I think we'll still continue to see ad dollar spent there.

Speaker 5: 19:58 Even more money could be sunk into the battle for measure B because there's more time between now and election day to make contributions a yes vote on measure B allows the development to move ahead. A no vote rejects the project. Eric Anderson KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 20:15 joining me is KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Welcome Eric. My pleasure. Now in their ads, supporters of this measure, say about two thirds of the homes in this new development will be affordable to working families the no on. Besides says two thirds of the homes will require a six figure income to afford. They both can't be right. Can they?

Speaker 5: 20:37 I suppose they couldn't both be right. Could they, um, these are talking points. I think that the two campaigns are, are trying to make about their issue in their bids to get support. I think the facts on the ground will make the determination if the project gets approved and the houses start to get built, then you'll be able to see where the affordability index is until that happens. I think it's really hard to tell. You say developers are spending about 8 million in advertising to support measure B. Is that a lot less than they expect to make if the development is approved by voters? Well, there's no question that if this development does get built it, it carries with it, you know, it's going to be $1 billion project, a multibillion dollar project, possibly a, it's a very large project. There's a lot of money at stake. Um, certainly you understand why the interest is there for Newland Sierra LLC to go ahead and get this project approved.

Speaker 5: 21:32 There is a potential to make a lot of money building these homes and the amenities, uh, in this area. Again, though, I think that the interesting thing here is the fact that the voters actually get a chance to weigh in on an issue that they've never had a chance to weigh in on before. There has never been an instance in San Diego County where the supervisors have approved a housing development and that approval got challenged by the voters. And this is the first case like that. What about the golden door spa spending 3 million on the other side, the measure B ads, say the spa is doing it because they don't want neighbors. What reason does the golden door give for spending all that money? I think that's actually a fair assessment. Uh, you know, they're not interested in having all that additional traffic. They're not interested in having, uh, all that construction.

Speaker 5: 22:24 Uh, they have a spa in that area that has been there for some time. And so, yeah, I don't think that they are, I think it's a fair assessment to say that they're not interested in having, uh, all this activity and all these extra people in their immediate vicinity. It might hurt their product. And that's why you see them bank rolling the opposition to measure B. The thing to understand though is in fairness, it's not just the golden spa, although they're pro providing the bulk of the financial support. There are other community members that are in that area that worry, uh, about what's going to happen if this project is approved. Tell us more about your conversation with SDSU marketing professor Heather ho ne in addition to the TV and radio ads, where else is this measure be battle playing out? Of course there are a very visible television ads.

Speaker 5: 23:14 There are mailers that are going at, that's kind of like the traditional one two punch for political campaign, but there are also a lot of digital ads out there. And I T was asking her why she thought that was the case. And I think it's a matter that those ads can be targeted much more specifically than you could hope to do with a broadcast ad or even a mailer ad that relies on a zip code. Um, you can know so much more about the person you're trying to reach. And what might influence them through digital ads. And I think why you're seeing this national shift in funding away from some of the traditional political tools like broadcast, like mailers to this more specific digital tool.

Speaker 1: 23:58 Has there been any polling done on measure B?

Speaker 5: 24:01 Um, there has and I think, uh, some of the polling that was done by, uh, 10 TV shows that, you know, the measure was behind about a month ago. But the interesting thing about that poll I think is the fact that 45% of the people were undecided. So there was still a lot of decisions to be made even though it was running 10 points behind. Among those who had decided 45% is a pretty big chunk of undecided voters. And I think that's why you see some of the, the media response. That's why the ads are out there trying to convince voters to back one side or the other.

Speaker 1: 24:31 And I know on B is a no for the project itself.

Speaker 5: 24:35 Uh, no on B basically says to the County supervisors, no we don't agree this project should not be approved and it will be rejected. A yes on measure B essentially says yes it's fine. Go ahead and build Newland Sierra with the designs that you have,

Speaker 1: 24:50 what volume of advertising on this issue do you think we should expect to see in the final week before the election?

Speaker 5: 24:56 I think what you'll see is very much what you've seen up to this point now there is the possibility that um, if one side feels like they're close and they might just need an ad or two more that we could see some additional money put into the plan into the campaign in the next week or so. But much of the media buy and the chance to gain impressions or or change minds as has already been in the works and it's already kind of been there

Speaker 1: 25:23 and this issue will be decided in next week's primary. It's not going on to November, right? That's correct. Okay. I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric, thanks. My pleasure. For this next story. We're going to stay with politics and the 2020 March primary San Diego superior court judicial candidate Sean McMillan has sparked controversy with Facebook posts that are racially charged. Other posts include anti-immigrant themes and comments that mock transgender people. McMillen spoke to KPBS investigative reporter, Amica Sharma just before a forum on bias in the judicial system and a warning to our listeners. There are some strong language in this story. I thought it was funny. I thought it was interesting.

Speaker 9: 26:17 That's self-described civil rights attorney and San Diego judicial candidate. Sean McMillan talking about his sharing of a post by the Minutemen militia. It contains photos of Monica Lewinsky, former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and California Senator Kamala Harris, along with the message when nobody knew who you were until you got on your knees, he says he shares these misses to spark a conversation and he adds, they always reflect his views, but what about the meme of Lewinsky? Kaepernick and Senator Harris McMillan references Harris's one time romance with former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.

Speaker 10: 26:54 You heard the news and the stories and all this stuff bandied about about her and Willie Brown and all that stuff. Right. But you understand how that might come across the sexist? Um, I totally do. I get it. And had I known that I would do this, I might've been like all the other candidates and kept all my views secret hidden from everybody. So you're all guessing what I really think.

Speaker 9: 27:12 But Macmillan says he didn't know he would be running for judge. So he continued to share his views unfiltered, like his reposting of a message by PJ that said quote to reduce gun violence arm. All Americans,

Speaker 10: 27:28 I own guns. I absolutely own guns. And if you look at Heller, that's the lead case out of the Supreme court. It is a fundamental individual, right? For sure.

Speaker 9: 27:38 On the issue of gender identity, McMillan shared a message showing $2 bills and the script quote, if I had a dollar for every gender there is, I'd have $2 and a bunch of counterfeits.

Speaker 10: 27:50 Well, I mean it's a mechanical issue, right? Realistically it's a mechanical issue. How many genders are there.

Speaker 9: 27:57 McMillan also shared this message, quote, stop all welfare to illegal aliens and they'll deport themselves, but Macmillan says, that doesn't mean he's anti-immigrant.

Speaker 10: 28:07 All right. My wife is an immigrant. My sister in is from Mexico. She's an immigrant and they're all legal immigrants.

Speaker 9: 28:15 McMillan also shared a post dating quote. I was asked, are you happy with the racist president? I said, absolutely not. We replaced him with Donald Trump. He says, that post still resonates with him.

Speaker 10: 28:29 You know, that's my view. I think that Obama did more things to create division cultural division in our country than he did to heal.

Speaker 9: 28:37 When asked whether Trump's references to African nations as shithole countries and his characterization of a 2017 white supremacist rally and counter rally in Charlottesville, Virginia as having very fine people on both sides were healing. McMillan said he was unaware of those comments.

Speaker 10: 28:56 I swim in a very small pond and generally speaking, I don't really see what's going on out in the world.

Speaker 9: 29:05 The San Diego County bar association has labeled, McMillan is lacking qualifications to be a judge. Kemal Martin political action chair of the San Diego branch of the NAACP agreed. He slammed McMillan's posts,

Speaker 10: 29:19 disgusting, absolutely reprehensible and a port. Uh, and we will not allow people like this to fly below the radar and receive the Volks of not just people from our community, but anyone's coming.

Speaker 9: 29:30 But Martin added, he applauded. McMillan's candor. I'm the Sharma KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 29:43 the KPBS podcast. My first day returns for a third season of stories about people making a new home in San Diego. Today's excerpt features the story of Ron Patterson who came to San Diego in search of sunny skies and warm weather, but his Beachcomber dream had a dark side. Ron has lived much of his life, homeless on the streets of San Diego.

Speaker 11: 30:06 I planned on coming out in an army, but a Murphy's law has it that the RV broke down. Uh, five days before I was planning on travel at transmission went out. So all I could do is drop everything and I decided to hitchhike. But it took me 28 days to get here from Oregon.

Speaker 12: 30:37 I had a dog with me and I was not in any hurry. Not really. After even 15 days it seemed like that was going to be my life. The rest of my life is sticking out my thumb and trying to catch a ride with people that don't want to give you a ride. You're, you're standing there in the same spot for hours and hours and hours and hours and sometimes days in the same spot trying to get right out of there and nobody wants to give you a ride. You got a dog and at the time I had long hair, long hair, and a dog.

Speaker 1: 31:26 After the long slow journey down the West coast, Ron drew close to his final destination, the ocean beach section of San Diego, a beach community known for its hippy laid back vibe. And if never fully letting go of the 1960s

Speaker 11: 31:41 why did you choose OB while I was hitchhiking, one person that gave you a ride said, Oh, since you've got a dog, you should go to dog beach. And my dog had never met a dog, love water and never been in an ocean. And I, Pete won't take me ocean beach or take her to ocean beach and let her play. And so ocean beach,

Speaker 13: 32:05 well actually I got to ocean beach about midnight, I guess I was watching the fireworks go off was I was walking through mission Bay, you know, mission Bay park coming towards the ocean beaches. And then as I was going along, I'm trying to see if I can find a place to sleep for the night and started out fresh in the morning. But I didn't actually find any spot until I hit the beach and saw people sleeping out there illegally. Of course I found out, but you know, I thought, Oh right, I'm going to sleep right on. The beach. Dog was empty, but the fire pits have people around, every one of them. And the park entrance there in the parking lot was main bathrooms are as I was, you know, people partying, you know, lots of younger people. And so I thought, you know, just like what you would see in the movies. And then I had to try to find myself a place to sleep for the night and from that day forward and he says, but I ended up doing is finding places to sleep.

Speaker 11: 33:15 Well, at first I thought it was paradise. I mean Palm trees and warming weather. Of course. I arrived here around my birthday, which is middle of July and it's perfect weather and I enjoyed it. Well, yeah, it was just, yeah, basically playing the plane, the beach bum, you know, that's something, once again, I had never done before and thought it'd be cool. I mean, I, Elvis Presley, you know, that's her, that's what all I ever knew about anything that was like that at all. I'd never even knew that there was a community that was even similar to ocean beach. You know, when I saw the kickback relax, especially the first week, you know, I hadn't really got set into what sweat and you know, I didn't realize that the cops really don't like it. You know? I wasn't considering myself homeless then. It was just, like I say, I was considering myself a a beach mom. I was just trying to relax and vacation, so I was telling people I was mom vacation

Speaker 14: 34:21 once Ron arrived worn out from his long trip, he soon noticed how quickly people judged him based on his appearance.

Speaker 11: 34:29 People, I don't care. Wherever you go, the people there are the same. You know, there are people that are jerks, that are people that are thieves. There are predators and there are prey. There are homeless, and then there are people that work and all of them are all the same no matter what their category is. They're still human and he, I don't know. Part of my reason I don't like people is because I've been screwed over too many times in my life by people. So I tried to resocialize myself that we're coming in to town. I couldn't go into a bar without being harassed because I looked like I was homeless. We okay, I can understand that sort of, you know, I am not as clean as I, if I had an a home, not that I didn't want to be in ocean beach or anywhere, there's no hot showers for homeless people. After being a month out in the road, hitchhiking, you know, and when you're hitchhiking, you don't carry much stuff. You carry, you know, one change of clothes. You know you've got very minimal stuff. So you know your clothes are orange, as clean as they could be you. There's nowhere to shower John the way so you know your attorney, I mean scraggly beard and people are rude. They automatically can you is, you know, vagabond, homeless, troublemaker,

Speaker 11: 35:58 whether you are or not.

Speaker 1: 36:05 That was an excerpt from the KPBS podcast my first day. You can hear the full episode online at or listen to my first day, wherever you get your podcasts.

Speaker 12: 36:22 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 36:25 before Europeans arrived in North America, the culture of indigenous people was thriving and what is now the United States and Mexico. Stories were handed down over generations through the spoken word and writings. Those traditions are being featured at an international symposium on indigenous voices at UC San Diego. There will be poetry readings, book signings, a film screening and other material on display. KPBS midday edition host Jade Heineman spoke with one of the event organizers. Professor Gloria Chicone of the UC San Diego department of literature. Professor chacan, welcome. Thank you so much for having me here. This is a remarkable gathering of so many different people from various indigenous communities. How did the idea for this come about? Well,

Speaker 15: 37:13 to say that it is a sort of culmination for me. I completed my book monograph about two years ago. It was published in 2018 and I've been working around indigenous literatures for a while now. And part of my position is that we have to open up university spaces for indigenous writers of the Americas. I think it's also inspired by the fact that the United nations has declared, uh, 2019 as the year for indigenous languages and subsequently moved to declared, uh, 2022, I believe, uh, starting 20, 22 as the decade for indigenous languages. And in my mind, I think that it is important for all of us to understand that indigenous languages continue thriving in the continent and that these initiatives are an effort to speak to the world about how indigenous nations continue to practice their indigenous languages despite the real sort of, um, historical and structural inequalities that indigenous communities face.

Speaker 15: 38:27 You know, this symposium began today and it goes through tomorrow. What are some of the experiences people can expect? Well, we have gathered some of the most prominent critics and indigenous literary voices across the continent. We will be hearing people from the Dinair nation. We will be listening to Mayan poetry. We will also have the privilege of listening to now what comes Sao, which is another indigenous languages, another indigenous language from Columbia. And we have representative writers from Columbia. What the Amala Mexico, uh, the U S obviously another sort of aspect of the symposium is to feature some of the people that have been spearheading the criticism around indigenous literatures. Uh, Hmong. Those people are professors. Robert warrior, who is from the Osage nation. Um, in S Abila who is a professor at UC Davis who is also ness purse and Chicana, but as well as the beauty, uh, of indigenous languages. I think that no matter who you are, I think it's a privilege to listen to them and to hear them for the first time. I know that, uh, you know, one of the objectives is to have students hear them because it is where that they will ever have an opportunity to listen to. Now what in the university, at least in the U S

Speaker 16: 39:58 right, I mean, you know, given that last year was the year of indigenous languages, uh, and the UN has set the first international decade of indigenous languages to begin in 2022 is the culture of indigenous people around the world finally getting the attention it deserves?

Speaker 15: 40:15 I think so. I think those initiatives are worldwide efforts that help not only indigenous poets and writers feel reassured that they are being supported in one way or another. But I think it is also helpful for nation States to understand that there is a worldwide, uh, interest and support for the production of indigenous literatures in indigenous languages and even in, uh, Spanish or English.

Speaker 16: 40:45 Yeah. It's often said that the U S has never really dealt with the issues of slavery in this country. It seems the same could be said about what was done to the native people of this land. What are some of the effects of colonialism of that linger now that we're well into the 21st century?

Speaker 15: 41:01 Well, I think for the U S we are in the myths of a historical amnesia about what actually happened. And I think for indigenous nations that represents, uh, an everyday struggle because most people I would say in the us have very little understanding myself included of what actually happens within indigenous nations in the North. Right. And to understand that they are still political entities that have treaties and that are considered their own nations. I think that's important to understand.

Speaker 16: 41:41 No, the UN says that two indigenous languages disappear, like go extinct every month. Is it your hope that this symposium and other similar events around the world can stop that from continuing?

Speaker 15: 41:52 Absolutely. I think one of my concerns actually is how this sort of recognition of the endangerment is really about how bad things are and my hope is that we can tell the world, uh, indigenous languages are important. Uh, indigenous languages represent a worldview and if they die, we lose that sense of not only how a community views the world, but also how they relate to others. I think that that's really important and has been an important aspect of indigenous nations.

Speaker 16: 42:36 You know, it said that history is made by those who've ride it. How is the education system in the U S doing in general when it comes to teaching students what happened to native Americans after Europeans arrived on this continent?

Speaker 15: 42:49 I think they're missing quite a bit in terms of what actually happened and what gets taught in the schools. I faced this with my son who was in public schools all the time. In fact, what he has been learning this year is all about the quote unquote explorers and, and what they encountered. Um, so I think that is, it's up to us to make sure that we not necessarily, um, argue that this shouldn't be taught, but that it should be taught critically, that they were not exploring. For instance. That's something that I often tell, uh, colleagues who work on history. And when I say, Oh yeah, the, this Explorer came, but you know, we have to be clear about what they were actually doing there were not exploring. Right? They wanted to find resources and exploit them and send them out for profit. Right? So I think that we need to be able to speak clearly about those things.

Speaker 16: 43:54 I've been speaking with professor Gloria Chicone from UC San Diego's department of literature. She's one of the organizers of the international symposium to highlight indigenous voices being held today and tomorrow on the UCS D campus. Professor Tacony, thanks so much for joining us.

Speaker 15: 44:11 Thank you for having me.

Work got underway Monday to dismantle the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Southern California Edison, the plant’s operator, says the decommissioning process is expected to take eight years. Plus, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders may be leading in the Democratic presidential primary race, but The San Diego Union-Tribune is recommending the country go in a different direction. The editorial board endorsed South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president of the United States. Also, a string of Facebook posts, which has since been scrubbed off the site, lands a judicial candidate in hot water for their racist, anti-immigrant, transphobic and misogynist themes. And, the battle over Measure B is attracting big money — mostly from one faction. In addition, KPBS’ “My First Day” podcast introduces listeners to Ron Patterson, a man who slept on the streets of Ocean Beach. Finally, dozens of indigenous voices will be represented at a two-day symposium hosted by UC San Diego this week.

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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.