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Sweetwater School District Layoffs, Marijuana Convictions Dismissed, VA’s Gambling Treatment Center, UCSD Doc Overdoses On The Job And Author Sonia Nazario On ‘American Dirt’

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Speaker 1: 00:00 Layoffs are approved at Sweetwater union high school district and thousands of old marijuana convictions could be left in the past. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. Jade Heiman is away today. This is KPBS midday edition. It's Tuesday, February 25th parents of students in the Sweetwater union high school district made their displeasure known at a packed school board meeting last night.

Speaker 2: 00:43 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:43 But in the end, the district school board voted to lay off more than 200 school employees to help close a $30 million budget deficit. Teachers, counselors, and librarians are among the positions on the chopping block along with all of the district's learning centers, which provide one on one instruction to students. KPBS education reporter Joe hung was at the pact meeting last night and he joins us now. And Joe, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. Tell us about the mood at the meeting last night.

Speaker 3: 01:12 Uh, it was a lot of anger, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and a lot of just sort of sadness and emotional exhaustion really from both parents, but also teachers who are just furious and, uh, librarians who are all being cut. Uh, in, in this proposal. And, um, I think the most sort of impactful part of this was the decision to lay off all the, uh, to give layoff notices to all the teachers in the learning centers in the district, which sort of serves students who have unique needs, let's say. So it could be anyone from teenage moms to students with severe anxiety who sort of need a more tailored classroom setting. And uh, Daniella Burke was one of the students from one of the learning centers we spoke last night and have a clip of that

Speaker 4: 02:02 from the very first day I started, my counselor told me that I was [inaudible] told me that being with the learning center, I wouldn't have the access to all of the services of main campus. Like all my peers. I felt like I've been treated like all my peers except for now. Now I feel like you're taking away a program that helps kids like me. The learning center has so many ways.

Speaker 1: 02:27 That's really heartbreaking. That's a student who is not going to be able to go to the learning centers because Sweetwater high school district has voted to get rid of them. How has Sweetwater accumulated this budget deficit, this $30 million budget deficit?

Speaker 3: 02:45 So it's, it's a wide variety of things, you know, and, um, I, I've, I have been here for less than a year and I've covered education before, but, um, this is really the first time I've seen a school district where a, the budget deficit comes from so many things. It comes from them underestimating their payroll. It comes from, they, they missed some of the debt that they owed and didn't calculate that into a past year's budget. So, uh, it really comes from a variety of different, um, sort of, uh, forms of fiscal mismanagement.

Speaker 1: 03:16 And how much are these layoffs and shutdowns expected to save the,

Speaker 3: 03:20 so they're expected to save about 20 million. So, which would, uh, basically take the, uh, the district out of County oversight. So they had to close about $15 million to, to have the County step away from, um, supervising their budget.

Speaker 1: 03:36 So the does this decision was approved by a three to two vote of the Sweetwater school board. What are the board members who voted against it, have to say?

Speaker 3: 03:45 So one of the chance, uh, I heard last night from the teachers and, and the protestors were, were, were a cut from the top and the two board members who voted against these cuts, uh, Nicholas Segura and Paula hall sort of echo that and said, look, we haven't looked at the district administration and we haven't looked at making the central office more efficient. We're going straight to the teachers and, and that, and they didn't want to make cuts in services that directly affects students.

Speaker 1: 04:14 Is Sweetwater union school district still being audited by the state over potential fraud in the budget?

Speaker 3: 04:20 So there was a state audit that sort of launched, uh, early 2019 in about February and it's been sort of quiet since then. And, uh, it's still ongoing. Yeah.

Speaker 1: 04:30 So several people you spoke with last night talked about the impact of these layoffs, but especially as you say, the closing of the district learning centers. What did they tell you?

Speaker 3: 04:41 Uh, I, I spoke with one student, um, yesterday after the meeting, her name is Michi and, uh, she told me she doesn't know what she's going to do and um, because she, she needs this program to graduate, right. But a solution that the district has proposed is, uh, put these students in a preexisting independent study program, but, uh, students are S are skeptical saying as soon as like Mitchie actually came from the independent study programs. So, uh, it's still sort of up in the air right now.

Speaker 1: 05:14 So they haven't actually figured out where these students are going to go. They have a rough proposal.

Speaker 3: 05:20 It the saying that we'll put these students in the independent study programs, but beyond that, it's, it's unclear.

Speaker 1: 05:25 Pink slips for the Sweetwater staff will be going out by the middle of next month. But is this the end of the story? I mean, couldn't some of these teachers and staff still be rehired?

Speaker 3: 05:34 Yes. So, uh, at the end of the year, the school district will do an assessment of retirements resignations. And then from there they'll look at, uh, how many spots they have to fill. And among the teachers who did receive layoff notices, they'll go by seniority and refill those positions.

Speaker 1: 05:52 I have been speaking with KPBS education reporter Joe Hong. Joe. Thank you. Thank you. Thousands of San Diegans are getting the opportunity to put the past behind them as their previous marijuana convictions are reduced or dismissed. The San Diego County DA's office says it's filed a motion to have 25,962 felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors and an additional 1000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions dismissed. The cases stretched back over the past 50 years. The legalization of recreational marijuana in California and an assembly bill urging prosecutors to identify past convictions are the reasons for the DA's effort. Joining me is San Diego County district attorney summer Stephan and welcome to the program.

Speaker 5: 06:44 Thank you Maureen. Good to be with you

Speaker 1: 06:47 now. Shortly after prop 64 which legalized marijuana shortly after that proposition passed your office focused on reducing sentences for anyone serving time or on parole for marijuana crimes. That was your priority back then. Now it's past convictions and it's taken about four years to go through those records.

Speaker 5: 07:08 Yes. Our main priority was to be sure that there was no one serving jail or prison time on an offense that is no longer a felony or even a crime at all. So we immediately did that work because we have a really excellent case management system and we took the responsibility to do that without anyone asking us to or petitioning to do that. So we were able to get 1600 cases handled and either released from custody room, moved from a felony list removed from probation and parole before the new law came in. If that, that said that prosecutors by July 1st of 2020 need to take the responsibility to comb through voluminous records dating back many, many years to reduce or dismiss charges. So we are ahead of schedule. Our team has worked very diligently. We put a team together working with the public defender and the superior court to get this done and I'm very glad we were able to accomplish this really massive task that's going to affect a lot of people's lives.

Speaker 1: 08:26 Can you tell us exactly what kinds of marijuana crimes have been reduced or dismissed for, for instance, has someone convicted of trafficking been eligible?

Speaker 5: 08:35 Yes. A proposition 64 a made the cultivation of marijuana, which was previously a felony possession for sale of marijuana with certain exceptions and the sale or transportation of marijuana, generally speaking, misdemeanor charges instead of what was previously felony charges. It also made the simple possession of marijuana that was previously a misdemeanor, a non criminal activity. So that is the volume of cases we comb through. And that's why you have about 26,000 cases that are reflected in the motion that we filed in the court on Friday.

Speaker 1: 09:22 Well, it could be the impact of this on someone's life to have a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor or a misdemeanor dismissed.

Speaker 5: 09:31 Well, a felony conviction carries many collateral consequences well beyond, you know, the time of jail or prison that was served or uh, being on parole or probation. It affects, you know, being able to get simple loans, getting a job that you want to get. We're really hopeful that this will be like, can you lease a second chance to people that will take advantage of this second chance that they'll look at it and say they're now, you know, can can go after a nursing job or caring for an elderly or the kinds of jobs that usually are very impacted by having a felony record. We're hopeful that it will be positive and that it will actually enrich their families and them individually.

Speaker 1: 10:22 A study by the ACLU and the drug policy Alliance found that pot convictions disproportionately affect communities of color despite similar rates of use. Is that something that you may have noticed in reviewing these cases?

Speaker 5: 10:37 You know, we, we did not try to look at what the race was for individuals. We, we just did every case. I mean if you can imagine of the cases that we reviewed 26,000 or more, and actually if you count the ones that we unilaterally did well before the law came into effect 1600 we were just focused on whether it's qualifies. You know, I don't doubt that there there has been a disproportionate effect on communities of color. I don't have any reason to doubt that that's the case from especially from years ago,

Speaker 1: 11:19 even after the court processes, all of the cases won't. Some people have to take further action to have the conviction totally expunged.

Speaker 5: 11:27 We are working very hard to make this process seamless. The holder of the records is the department of justice, the attorney general and we've been working very closely with the attorney General's team because we want that effect to be seamless meaning one, the court signs these orders on these individuals, it will become accurately reflected in their criminal record report. That's the task that the department of justice owns, but we are working closely like I said, and we are monitoring to make sure that the work that we did in this area will take complete effect and impact. If anyone finds out that it's not working, that is still somehow shows up in their record. We, the public defender's office has an excellent program called fresh start where they help them maneuver the system to remove and expunge and do the things to seal those records so that they don't show up and haunt someone in moving forward

Speaker 1: 12:45 and just again, if someone has a question about whether or not their name is on this list or they may be eligible for a reduction or dismissal, where should they contact

Speaker 5: 12:57 they, you know, they can always contact the San Diego da dotcom, but probably some offenders feel a little nervous about doing that. They may be more comfortable because the entire application enlist is also with the San Diego County public defender's office, so that's probably a very comfortable place for someone to go. Although we welcome anyone reaching out to us.

Speaker 1: 13:24 I've been speaking with San Diego County district attorney summer Stephan summer. Thank you very much.

Speaker 5: 13:29 Thank you.

Speaker 1: 13:35 The VA has known for decades that veterans are at higher risk for gambling addiction, but expanding treatment has been slow. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh visited the Los Vegas VA, which recently opened an inpatient treatment center.

Speaker 6: 13:52 Ronnie Reyes is now just coming to terms with the military sexual trauma from his time in the army in the late 1980s to early 1990s he says he believes it may be one reason he has a gambling addiction.

Speaker 7: 14:05 I think it actually has a numbing effect. Um, when I'm in the heat of the moment at the tables or at a slot machine, I just get tunnel vision and nothing else seems to matter.

Speaker 6: 14:17 Originally from California, Ray has spent the last 26 years in Las Vegas. He continued to gamble even when he was a black Jack dealer. Now he's in treatment. He says it was hard for him to admit he had a problem until he was thousands of dollars in debt.

Speaker 7: 14:32 There's not a substance attached to it. There is no drug, there is no bottle. It's a behavior that can easily be hid.

Speaker 6: 14:41 That's what PTSD are. 60% more likely to have a gambling addiction than the general population. Gambling also contributes to the higher rate of suicide among veterans. Even. So gambling hasn't attracted nearly as much funding as drug and alcohol addiction. Las Vegas is only the second inpatient treatment program in the VA system that spend up to 45 days in therapy and in group activities like yoga.

Speaker 8: 15:06 Okay. We're going to stand on one leg. One two, three.

Speaker 6: 15:13 Bernhardt is the executive director of the international gaming Institute at the university of Nevada. Las Vegas.

Speaker 8: 15:19 Drugs and alcohol, uh, have, uh, public faces, public voices, and a much longer history of those voices advocating, uh, in this field. Gambling addiction really is a newer field.

Speaker 6: 15:31 The history of seeing gambling is an addiction actually starts with one pioneering VA doctor Robert Custer in Ohio. Bernard said Custer opened the first inpatient treatment center for problem gambling in 1974 after we saw the symptoms among his drug and alcohol patients,

Speaker 8: 15:48 many of them were swapping seats on the Titanic as he used to put it. Uh, we're switching from an alcohol or drug addiction to what he thought of first as a gambling addiction.

Speaker 6: 16:00 There are outpatient programs in San Diego. They send vets through treatment programs in the community. But for decades, the Cleveland area VA remained the only inpatient treatment program in the VA system. What its high concentration of gambling and a growing veteran population. Las Vegas seemed the obvious choice for a second. Things that makes gambling addiction different from drugs or alcohol is the chase. That feeling that even at the lowest point you can somehow win everything back. Roxanne [inaudible] who runs the 20 bed clinic says she has patients with more than a hundred thousand dollars of debt. Researchers believe it's one reason why veterans with gambling addiction have a higher rate of suicide.

Speaker 4: 16:46 You can treat the gambling. Uh, and once you're treated for the gambling, we're still facing that. And how do you go about, um, kind of living a life that's meaningful with that? And I think it's just very different consequences, uh, and kind of very different pathways.

Speaker 6: 17:02 So financial management becomes part of the treatment.

Speaker 8: 17:05 Pay checks that come in, gone. I get paid one day, the next day I'm broke.

Speaker 6: 17:09 Jim Romero was a mechanic in the air force in the early two thousands. It was homeless by the time he entered the VA program in Las Vegas. He's been battling one addiction or another for 20 years.

Speaker 8: 17:20 I thought I had an under control and I'll never have this disease under control. I have something I have to fight every single day.

Speaker 6: 17:27 The research indicates that among people who have tried gambling, about 5% of the U S population is addicted, but about 8% of the veteran population advocates say those numbers are probably low at the moment. The VA doesn't screen for gambling addiction the way it does for drugs or alcohol. Joining me is KPBS military reporters, Steve Walsh

Speaker 1: 17:50 and Steve. Welcome. Hi Maureen. How's it going? When people go in for drug or alcohol treatment, there's a period of detox. Is there anything similar in treatment for gambling addiction?

Speaker 6: 18:00 Well, kind of, yes and no. Like we talked about in the piece, there's this chase, this feeling that once I've, I've gambled away all my money that all I have to do is like get another stock of money and then go right back in the casino and maybe I can win it all back. It really seems like the rock bottom for gambling is this financial distress. When you're just so far in debt that you, you really, you really can't do anything but admit to yourself that you have a problem.

Speaker 1: 18:27 So aside from yoga and financial management, how does this VA inpatient program go about treating gambling addiction?

Speaker 6: 18:35 Well, it's very intensive and when we talk about a Las Vegas being like the only the second inpatient treatment program for gambling, you can go other places around the country and where you're doing treatment for drugs and alcohol and gambling. But these are the only two where where you can do just gambling in specific and it's just simply more intensive than outpatient therapy. So you have several counseling sessions a day. You're, you're looking at a past traumas and how and how that relates back to, to your addiction, how that might've caused your addiction. You, you have things like the yoga and the financial management classes instead of the one or two times a week with the outpatient. The inpatient just is simply far more intensive, really get tries to get to the root of the problem.

Speaker 1: 19:22 And do we know what the success rate is for gambling addiction therapy?

Speaker 6: 19:26 It's right up there with drugs and alcohol, which means that it's not perfect. There are relapses. Um, we talked to the, the, the doctor at UNL V who said, uh, you know, if, if somebody had a heart attack 10 years later, you wouldn't say that heart treatments don't actually work. So it is not perfect, but there is clear evidence that it does work.

Speaker 1: 19:48 Now, Robert Custer, the VA doctor who originally identified gambling addiction says he saw some patients in for drug or alcohol treatment switch to an obsession with gambling. And I'm wondering, does gambling addiction manifest later for vets than drug or alcohol abuse? So not really. It's just drugs and alcohol,

Speaker 6: 20:07 just so much more obvious. You can hide that gambling addiction. We talked to that one veteran who worked in a casino. He thought that, you know, he had this under control. He saw people who he thought had gambling problems and he thought, Oh, but I can lick it. I understand these games so much better than they do. I can give up. It's often a matter of bingeing. People will, will gamble intensely for a couple of days. Spend all of their paycheck and then they'll go for six or eight months and not gamble. And that gives them that false sense that, Oh, they've really got this under control when in fact they don't.

Speaker 1: 20:39 The statistic of vets with PTSD having a 60% higher incidents of gambling addiction than the general public. That's really, do we know any reasons why that would be?

Speaker 6: 20:50 Well, I talked to the researchers at Las Vegas and Cleveland where, which is dr Custer's old VA and they are really become the real resource for gambling addition in the VA system. And they say there's just simply not as much research as they would like, but you know, it could be an issue of impulse control and there's certain amount of thrill seeking behavior among people who joined the military in general. But really what it probably is is there is a sedating effect of gambling use zone out. The world goes away, even though it's kind of aggressive gambling, the lights and sounds of the casino, you block out the world, you block out your problems and that has the sedating effects that is just like drugs and alcohol. What you know, when I talked to those veterans

Speaker 1: 21:33 now you say that he, that here in San Diego, the VA sends veterans who have gambling addictions to treatment programs in the community. It seems that the VA has been slow in rolling out their own gambling addiction programs. Why is that?

Speaker 6: 21:47 Well, it's like gambling addiction in general, drugs and alcohol. There was simply much more appro, a much bigger apparatus out there. There's more money to study that there is more money for treatment. There are more of these programs out there, not just in the VA system but in general. Um, you know, the really the only two inpatient programs are Cleveland and now Las Vegas. You can get treatment if those two inpatient programs. But one of the things that the VA told me is that, um, they simply don't screen for drugs and for gambling the way they do for drugs and alcohol. So they may not know. I, when I talked to the VA, I got some statistics for San Diego and they said they have about 2000 patients annually in our inpatient substance disorder clinics. Out of a total about 8,500 patients for the outpatient for gambling. It's only about 50 or 60 veterans. Though they can see that that number may be an underestimate of the people who are involved in treatment even in the San Diego VA system. But it really is a question of screening. The GAO actually mentioned this, uh, when, when it came to active duty troops that they thought they should start screening those troops as well because there are issues with security clearances and the like. But so far the DOD has rejected that so they may not have really good data.

Speaker 1: 23:01 And finally, Steve, you mentioned that the fallout from a veteran's gambling addiction is often the accumulation of large amounts of debt and that may contribute to higher rates of suicide among veterans. Is the VA doing anything to try to help veterans facing this debt burden?

Speaker 6: 23:17 Well. That is the real difference between drugs and alcohol and gaming, that once you get all this treatment, once you realize you have this addiction, once you have the resources to deal with the gambling addiction itself, you're left with all of this life crushing financial debt. And can the VA go through and are they going? Are they paying off that debt? No, they're not paying it off. So all they can really do is, is give people counseling on how to live a meaningful life facing all of this debt, give them the financial tools that they, that they'll need to try to help pay off some of that debt. But no, even when you get treatment for gambling addiction, you're going to be left with a burden that's going to follow you along in life. For a very long time.

Speaker 1: 24:00 I've been speaking with KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh. Steve, thanks. Thanks Maureen. 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. You've heard the phrase, let food be thy medicine. Well, researchers at SDSU took that ancient wisdom and double down unlocking new insights into how foods can customize the critters in our guts. And ultimately our health. KPBS is Maya. Troublesome takes us into the lab.

Speaker 9: 24:43 They are everywhere. They are so important to our health. Artists have captured their likeness in different ways, trillions, trillions of them. These tripod looking creatures are called bacterial phage, more commonly known as phage.

Speaker 10: 24:59 There's about 10 times as many phage in our body than there are human cells.

Speaker 9: 25:04 Phage are viruses that live inside the bacteria that live inside of our gut constantly influencing our state of health or disease.

Speaker 10: 25:13 Cultivate them since the moment that we're born and we have them all the way until we're dead and they're, they're just kind of part of life.

Speaker 9: 25:24 Lance bowling is a molecular biologist and researcher at San Diego state university. Bowling is part of a team experimenting with the idea that feeding these phage common everyday foods could change the landscape of our gut microbiome in what he calls gut sculpting.

Speaker 10: 25:41 And by understanding the effect that these foods are having on our gut microbiota, we can kind of affect our own health in positive ways.

Speaker 9: 25:50 He tested 117 consumable items,

Speaker 10: 25:53 licorice, garlic, ginger, oregano, things like that that you kind of hear that have antimicrobial properties.

Speaker 9: 26:04 Dr Forrest rower is a microbial ecologist and biology professor at SDSU who spearheaded this study. He explains how the phage work on bacterial cells.

Speaker 11: 26:15 So these viruses live inside the cells and every once in awhile they, uh, get activated, which we call induction and they jump out and they blow up the cell. The idea of this study was, could we control, when do they jump out? And so can we get them to kill a specific set of bacteria

Speaker 9: 26:37 to test this theory? The researchers first need some phage and what better place from which to harvest phage then the sewage treatment

Speaker 11: 26:45 plant, it's a great place to find phage. So that's one of the main places that we sample. And how do you harvest that? Just with like a little bucket thing. It's not so hard.

Speaker 9: 26:55 They then grow the phage in Petri dishes and start feeding them different foods. I did a top drip. The scientists measure their success by holding up the Petri dishes to daylight streaming in from the window.

Speaker 11: 27:08 And that's where did bacteria are being killed by the phages.

Speaker 9: 27:12 With this method, they can see a clearing that's cool, indicating where the phage have killed a specific species of bacteria,

Speaker 11: 27:20 a really clear area. And then there's a second clear area.

Speaker 9: 27:23 The cloudy areas are where the bacteria are still growing abundantly.

Speaker 11: 27:28 Well, if you're trying to change the, the relative numbers of this bacteria versus that bacteria, could you just eat this stuff and do that?

Speaker 9: 27:35 What is most remarkable is the ability to kill certain bacteria without affecting other beneficial bacteria. Researchers believe this could mean the potential for more gentle options without annihilating the entire microbiome as some antibiotics do.

Speaker 11: 27:51 So we want things that will kill this bacteria, but not that bacteria, but even better. We'd like to be able to, uh, adjust some of these different types of bacteria. So you may not want to kill all of a particular bacteria off, but you want to kill most of them off. So these things would hopefully be able to do that.

Speaker 9: 28:08 They found honey, Stevia, neem, and artificial sweeteners to have the most impact on the phage. They also tested toothpaste.

Speaker 10: 28:17 We think you just kind of brush your teeth and spit it out, but maybe some of that residual, uh, antimicrobials that are in the toothpaste are affecting our gut microbiota in ways that we're unaware of.

Speaker 9: 28:30 His gut was right. Toothpaste had a strong effect, but before you consume more than your fill of these powerful phage inducing compounds, there are so much more to learn about these creatures that outnumber our own human cells.

Speaker 10: 28:43 A lot of the foods are surprisingly powerful antimicrobials and we just don't even realize it.

Speaker 9: 28:51 Maya [inaudible], C K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 29:02 a doctor at UC San Diego has already had his medical license suspended. Now he's the subject of a lawsuit which alleges he put a patient in jeopardy and exclusive report in the publication med page today includes details from court documents regarding the doctor's drug abuse and his overdose in a hospital bathroom. Cheryl Clark is the med page reporter who's been covering the story and she recently spoke with KPBS midday edition cohost Jade Hindman. You start the article off noting that for years the university of California San Diego hospital system allowed one of its anesthesiologist sedate patients

Speaker 12: 29:42 knowing he had a longstanding addiction to fentanyl and other drugs. How long had this problem been going on in his deposition? What he testified to was that he started stealing fentanyl from the hospital or from patients back in his first year of anesthesiology residency at UC SD in November of 2003 and you, a officials in the wellbeing committee ordered him to go to Betty Ford back in 2008 he also went to rehab another time, but it was, it was unclear whether UCSE knew that he was going there, but they were aware in his testimony that he had a problem. And also in some of the university Testament and he as well. So take us to the day, Dr. Bradley Glenn. Hey, overdosed. What happened? Well, he had two surgical cases. One involved a man named Randy Dallow and Randy had to have some neck surgery. And apparently what Bradley hay did was he withdrew more drugs than he thought the patient would need.

Speaker 12: 30:52 He had something like four, three or four syringes, and he used some of those drugs on himself. He escorted the patient into the recovery room, went into a bathroom that was right next to the recovery room, injected himself. Now what he thought he was injecting was fentanyl, which isn't as strong as sufentanil. What he actually injected with sufentanil. According to him, he said he made a mistake and he went out like a light and collapsed on the bathroom floor. When he woke up, he was in the middle of a bunch of syringes and some vomit and a whole bunch of other UCS people were staring over him. And that was the end of his career, a CSD. Well, he actually, um, itemized three different ways in which he would acquire the drug in all hospitals. Now there is a wasting procedure that has to be witnessed.

Speaker 12: 31:43 So if you have more drug than is recorded that the patient needed or, or that you injected into, administered into the patient, then you have to witness a wasting process in front of somebody else. What he would do is that he would substitute saline for whatever the drug was. And so whatever was witnessed was sort of, kind of faked. And he said that he did this 800 times between 2016 and 2017 when he, when he left the hospital for the last time. And you noted that you CSD leadership failed to realize dr hay had been stealing and injecting himself, uh, with anesthesia drugs intended for patients. So how did his abuse impact those patients? Well, this gets to the heart of it all, which is that the victims here are UCFD the tax payers, the payers who were paying for those drugs. But the big elephant in the room is whether the patients received enough sedative or whether, you know, maybe he needed that drug.

Speaker 12: 32:47 So the patient got less. Now that's something for the courts to decide. That's something for the lawyers to work out. However, his case that day, Randy Dallow, whose wife by the way worked in, he, she was the operating room coordinator, so she knew what Randy Dallow started saying immediately after his surgery was that he was waking up and I'm having these terrible, terrible dreams where he thought he saw a big bright light and he saw fuzzy shapes and he started having pain and he was very, it's kind of like post traumatic stress disorder. And this went on over and over and over night after night after night. And the Dallas, Karen and Randy Dalloz testified that they didn't really find out that there had been a problem with the anesthesiologist collapsing after his surgery for months and months and months later. Even though Randy was complaining about all of these, he couldn't sleep in his own bed.

Speaker 12: 33:48 He was having trouble sleeping at all. And so it was very complicated. And they didn't know. And maybe if somebody had said, Hey, it's possible that maybe, maybe you didn't get all the drug that you, I mean if somebody had looked into it, maybe that would have explained things other than Randy and Karen Della, there's a second lawsuit in which the attorneys are asking you CST to inform all of the patients that underwent surgery with Dr. Hayes anesthesiology so that they, if, if they had similar circumstances like this, that they could know what was going on, get therapy for it. Realize it's not all in their head because in the Dallas case, their lives have been disrupted, they say, so what's happened to Dr. Bradley Glenn? Hey, since the overdose, well, he pleaded guilty to federal charges of acquiring controlled substances by fraud and he was sentenced to time served, which actually was no time, but he was put on probation for I believe, three years.

Speaker 1: 34:51 How has the UCS D hospital system responded to all of this? Well, they haven't really responded at all. They just, their officials just said they can't comment on pending litigation. All right. I know this is something you will continue to follow. I've been speaking with Cheryl Clark, writer for MedPage today. Cheryl, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you, Jane.

Speaker 1: 35:17 Sonia Nazario is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist who has documented the plight of unaccompanied minors making their way to the U S she's best known for her book and re K's journey, which was the first selection of KPBS as one book, one San Diego program. She's the featured writer tonight at the writer's symposium by the sea at point Loma university. She spoke with KPBS mid day edition cohost Jade Hyman earlier this month via Skype about her work and the recent controversy over the immigration novel, American dirt. Here's that interview. It's been nearly 15 years since Enriquez journey was first published. It's the story of a Honduran teen who comes to the U S searching for his mother and what they face along the way. You started looking at this phenomenon two decades ago. Did you expect this story to still be relevant today, all these years later?

Speaker 7: 36:11 Well, it's not only relevant, it's, it's more relevant than it was when I first started. Looking at this, you know, and Rica is a boy whose mother leaves him in Honduras when he's five. And, uh, 11 years later he sets off on his own to come and find her. And when I started looking at this, there were perhaps, you know, 48,000 children traveling alone from Mexico and central America to the U S entering unlawfully last year. It was 76,000. Just the number that were apprehended of Enrique says, and, uh, the circumstances why they're coming has changed in terms of the violence in these countries. But I never expected that this phenomenon would grow, that we would see ever more children come North, not just to find their moms, but to escape the danger. Someone, a gang member, a narco cartel, someone trying to kill them back in these central American countries.

Speaker 1: 37:06 Hmm. And as we see the migrant situation playing out on the border with central American asylum seekers being returned to Mexico, um, how have the conditions in Honduras changed from the time you were working on a Enriquez journey to today?

Speaker 7: 37:20 Well, I think what we saw six, seven years ago was the U S was spending billions of dollars to try to slow the flow of drug flights, drugs that start in Latin America and Columbia, cocaine and make their way to us the largest consumer of drugs in the world. And, uh, those drugs use flights used to come up through the Caribbean, but we squeezed those routes. We spent billion $8 billion trying to uh, stop that or slow that. And so the Narcos simply turned left and started landing four out of five of those flights in Honduras and many of those Narchos joined with the gangs in these countries to control this, the turf to move the strugs North to us and started forcibly recruiting 10 11 year old boys, um, to work with them. Um, you know, as I said,

Speaker 1: 38:15 be in San Diego for the writer's symposium by the sea conference. Yeah. This year's theme is writing that liberates, um, can you reflect on what that theme means to you?

Speaker 7: 38:26 Well, I see my role as a writer now to try to take some of the biggest, most polarizing issues and make sense of them for readers. I think we get hit by so much information, a barrage of information every day that it's difficult with these big issues like immigration that are so polarizing to figure out what's what. And I feel like after covering immigration for 30 years, I've stepped more and more into that role of saying, listen, I actually know what works and what doesn't work on this issue. And, uh, instead of listening to both sides that are screaming from opposite sides of the political divide and we're getting nowhere, let's try to look for some pragmatic, compassionate policies that would actually work to move the needle on this issue so that more migrants can stay at home where they're, where they would actually rather live on the child of, uh, immigrants.

Speaker 7: 39:26 Um, and, uh, we can, we can try to slow this slow fo folks North and, uh, make this less of a hot button issue. And, and so these experiences are personal to you, you know, so I want to ask you about the immigration novel, American dirt. Uh, it's about a woman fleeing Mexico with her son trying to make her way to the U S the author, a white woman has been accused of sensationalizing the border crisis and writing about experiences she's unfamiliar with. Uh, I'm wondering if you've read the book. I have read the book. What were your thoughts? I think that, uh, initially the conversation was, uh, are people who are non Mexican allowed to write about Mexico? And I, I, I think obviously we don't want to censor people. I think that when I wrote and reggae's journey, uh, I spent three months writing on top of freight trains through Mexico.

Speaker 7: 40:18 And I believe that when you're on top of a train with a bunch of immigrants and they look like you and they, they wave their hands around like you do and they have the same cultural norms, they're more likely to open up to you and trust you and tell you the things that are going to make it a better story. So I think given the same abilities, probably a Mexican or Latino author might've been able to tell the story in a better way. I think many Latino authors feel they've been shut out, that, uh, they've had to try to sell their book. You know, they've gone to the book industry, uh, which is Lily white. If I wander through the halls of, uh, these big, uh, publishing houses in New York, they're, they are Lily white. And so, uh, this felt to me like a book that was written by someone who didn't understand Mexico deeply and was geared to a white audience in the United States to try to convey, uh, the immigration issue. So it's not a terrible book. It's not a great book, but it's certainly, uh, the good part about it is it's highlighted this need to, uh, bring more diversity to the publishing industry and bring more voices to that industry so that everybody's stories are told. And

Speaker 1: 41:33 finally, you know, for those aspiring writers listening right now, is there any advice that you'd like to leave them with?

Speaker 7: 41:40 One big one is that, uh, my, my book has been used by a hundred universities as a common read and hundreds of high schools and junior highs and, and, and so there you're not preaching to the converted, you're getting every student. And I get emails every day that usually start the same way I was forced, usually forced is in capital letters to read your frigging book and then their tone softens. And often they say, you know, I was raised racist, anti-immigrant hate all immigrants. I didn't know there was a different way to look at this. I watch, you know, we watched the media that we already believe Fox news or MSNBC and they made me read your book and you put me in the shoes of a migrant boy. And it changed my perspective. And many of these students then get involved to, um, build shelters, build schools and Honduras or work with migrant shelters in Mexico or work with migrants in the United States or, or, or, uh, advocate for, you know, the refugee protection act now, which would halt some of the most noxious things that we're seeing towards, uh, migrants. At the border. Um, they fight for change and because they have seen a different way to look at this. And, um, that's the best thing about this journey for me.

Speaker 1: 43:00 I've been speaking with Sonya Nazario hold sir, prize winning journalist and author of Enriquez journey and opinion writer for the New York times. Sonia, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. I appreciate it. Author Sonia Nazario will be speaking tonight at seven at the writer's symposium by the sea at point Loma Nazarene university.

In a late-night vote after an hours-long meeting, the Sweetwater Union High School District approved the potential layoffs of more than 200 employees to close a $30 million budget deficit. Plus, the San Diego County District Attorney is asking a judge to reduce roughly 26,000 marijuana-related felony convictions since 2016, when voters legalized recreational pot. Also, the V.A. has known for decades that veterans are at higher risk for gambling addiction, but expanding treatment has been slow. The agency recently opened a new treatment center in Las Vegas. In addition, a lawsuit has been filed against a UC San Diego doctor who's drug addiction may have endangered patients. And, author Sonia Nazario is speaking at the 25th annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University this evening.

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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.