California 2020 Economic Forecast, A Conversation with Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, and San Diego Students Get Their Feet Wet In Ocean Science
KPBS Midday Edition / January 2, 2020
2020 is here and the economy is staying level with low unemployment and a healthy stock market. But economic growth could slow in the new year. The San Diego Union-Tribune named Assemblywoman Shirley Weber the 2019 person of the year. Weber joined Midday Edition to reflect on her recent accomplishments and talk about her legislative priorities heading into 2020. Plus, San Diego students are getting a chance to try out ocean science. The United Service Organizations wants to stay relevant. Finally, San Diego's Euphoria Brass Band talks jazz from the west coast.
Speaker 1: 00:00 I look at the economic outlook for 2020 and she was named San Diego of the year. Dr. Shirley Weber joins us in studio. I'm Jade Hindman and I'm Alison st John. This is KPBS midday edition.
Speaker 1: 00:22 It's Thursday, January the second as we start 2020. The stock market is on a high, unemployment is low and the economy is humming along UCLA. Anderson forecast suggests that could slow through the new year, but California looks to be on track to slow less than the nation as a whole here to give us a highly educated guess about how our economy and finances might fare in the coming year is UCLA Anderson's forecast director Jerry Nichols Berg. Thanks for joining us, Jerry. My pleasure. So the, the Addison forecast, which is often cited, has recently upgraded its predictions for 2020 and says that the growth will slow. It won't slow as much as you'd feared. Why did you upgrade your forecast?
Speaker 2: 01:06 So there's two principle reasons why we did. Uh, the first is that the housing market, uh, nationwide has improved for quite a long time. The housing market has been in the doldrums, but we're now seeing an increase in residential construction nationwide. Uh, and we're seeing some here in California as well. The second is, uh, our view that the trade dispute with China was going to moderate and that we would have a phase one deal, uh, one that is very significant in and of itself, but would ease trades, trade tensions and rolled back some of the tariffs that, uh, both the U S and China have imposed. Uh, that actually looks like it's going to come to pass in just about 15 days. Uh, so for those two reasons, we think the economy's going to be a little bit stronger in 2020, uh, not a strong economy, but a little bit stronger than we had previously predicted.
Speaker 1: 02:07 President Trump says he will sign the first phase of the U S China trade deal or January 15th, as you say, um, how, how exactly he explained to us how trade tensions with China affect Southern California specifically.
Speaker 2: 02:19 So goods from China principally come through the ports of Southern California and that affects our logistics industry. Our logistics industry is the part of the California economy that receives goods through our ports, moves them to warehouses, unpacks those big containers, uh, separates them and sends them off to their ultimate destination. And a lot of that is done in California. We are the gateway, uh, not just for China, but for goods from all over Asia coming into the United States.
Speaker 1: 02:52 So how's building is, is it something that's on a lot of people's minds? Because we're learning that a not enough new housing is being built to really meet the demand. And in fact, here in San Diego building permits were down again this year. So, you know, that's in spite of the fact that regulations have been softened and there've been all these incentives to build, but you say that housing appears to be stronger. How do we reconcile those two things?
Speaker 2: 03:17 Sure. The fact that housing is strengthening in California doesn't mean that we're producing housing, uh, at any rate sufficient to meet the housing demand. And we're still seeing home prices climb in many parts of California. Uh, however, housing construction is at a higher rate than it was, uh, really over the last nine months. So we were down at about a hundred thousand homes in California per year. Uh, especially when you take out those that are rebuilding due to the, uh, tragedies that we've had with wildfires. And now we're up in about 115,000.
Speaker 1: 03:56 No, your report talks about a two track economy with consumer spending up, but business investment not up in spite of all the tax breaks last year, which were promised to spur business investment, is there anything to suggest that businesses might be more confident in 2020?
Speaker 2: 04:12 Uh, we don't see much evidence of that. Certainly the tax breaks did not spur investment, and there remains a lot of uncertainty with respect to the economy, effective that we're going to have a phase one trade deal, uh, is encouraging. But that trade deal doesn't solve any of the problems that the Trump administration has said. Uh, the reason for the tariffs that we currently are experiencing in the trade war was China. So there's still a lot of uncertainty. We are late in the uh, in the expansion. And this is not a time when business in spite of low interest rates is that interested in engaging in lots of major new investment.
Speaker 1: 04:59 And finally, the Anderson forecast accurately predicted the recession in the 1990s in the early two thousands. So let's talk about the odds of a recession. I know one of your colleagues and other UCLA economists recently predicted a 17% chance of a recession happening in 2020. That sounds pretty positive.
Speaker 2: 05:18 Yeah, that's true. The risk of recession has elevated. However, if one looks at forecast team recessions, they're very hard to forecast and, and you have to get fairly close to the timing of a recession before you can forecast them because what it takes is some trigger to coordinate. Multiple sectors can factor in at the same time. As we look at the data right now, uh, though we see signs that elevate our risk of a recession, we don't see any thing that would suggest that we're going to have a recession in the next six months. So it good going into 2020. We're expecting decent economic growth sub 2% for 2020 but uh, just about 2% between one and a half and 2% and we expect California to grow a little bit faster than that.
Speaker 3: 06:11 Well, thanks for that encouraging news there, Jerry. You're welcome. That was UCLA Annison focus director Jerry Nichols Berg who joined us on Skype.
Speaker 3: 06:24 She served in the state assembly since 2012 representing California 79th district, which includes parts of San Diego, Chula Vista, national city, and all of lemon Grove and Lamesa. Before that, she served as a board member at the San Diego unified school district and she's professor emerita of Africana studies at San Diego state. We're talking about Dr. Shirley Weber, who last week was named the 2019 San Diego end of the year by the union Tribune. Dr. Weber joins us now to talk about her recent accomplishments and what's ahead. Dr. Weber, welcome. Thank you. It's good to be here this morning. Let's begin with that honor of being named San Diego in of the year. I'd like to get your reaction to that. Well, I was somewhat shocked, but really honored in many ways, not so much for me, but for those that I had worked so hard with for the past year and a half, those families who had lost individuals who had really put their trust in me and, and, and worked so hard with me, I was really honored for them.
Speaker 3: 07:22 And so I was pleased that the union Tribune decided to name me as the, uh, San Diego of the year. Uh, they'd been very supportive all year long. And so it was, it was quite a surprise, but at the same time, quite an honor and naming you San Diego the year the UT cited your bill, that sets stricter standards for when police can use lethal force. Specifically the paper praised your approach of bringing all sides together to get that bill passed and signed. Uh, can you talk to me a little bit more about that? Well, we really did this, this bill had over 240 some odd supporters of the bill in terms of organizations, not individuals, but organizations, thousands of individuals who had basically crafted this very simple bill that said that you should not use lethal force unless you absolutely have to because people have worked puzzled as to why so many unarmed individuals were being shot.
Speaker 3: 08:11 And then the justification for the shooting. And it really went back to a why we, uh, how we train our officers, uh, what philosophy we have about the use of lethal force and even the shooting of, of what they call a fleeing felon. All of those things were, were, were issues that were, uh, hundreds of you. One was over 140, some odd years old. So this group decided, we crafted a piece of legislation that was reasonable, that sensible, and we actually had funded it earlier. Uh, we probably as some said, could have gotten this bill out maybe with a squeaking 41 votes, uh, out of the assembly. Uh, because we probably could have, we have enough Democrats, quote unquote, supposedly to make this happen. I didn't think this was just a Democrat bill. I felt this was a California bill. And so I've worked very hard to meet with every, almost every Republican in the house to share with them what the bill was about, uh, to force them to actually look at themselves and look at the people that they represented and the people of California and to do what was necessary.
Speaker 3: 09:09 And almost everyone came to the conclusion at some point that something needed to be done. And they then helped me to force law enforcement to meet because law enforcement hasn't, has the ability to not even meet with people and then to intimidate folks so that there's no voting. And so our members basically kept asking them, how have you been meeting with Dr. Weber? Have you had a conversation with them? And sometimes they say, well, we tried and they go sit, no, no, no. She said that you have not actually met with her. And they became a force to basically push law enforcement to the table. Uh, we also had supported the governor support of our speaker and our president pro tem. So we have the powerhouses behind us saying this is a decent bill. Uh, we had the support of almost every newspaper in California, union Tribune, LA times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento, B, all of the major papers were saying this is a reasonable bill, that California has to do something that we cannot continue to be the state with the largest number of shootings by police officers, the deaths by police officers, and over half of them being individuals who are unarmed and people of color.
Speaker 3: 10:13 And so there was, there was a force that was a movement to push this. And I stayed focused on what we were there about because you sometimes people get all off the issue and all down in a different, in the weeds. And I, and I said, no, this is what it's about. And we kept pushing the research, we kept pushing the data and we kept pushing. And I w I wouldn't give up. People thought we would compromise and give up and and we can the bill to the point that it was ineffective. We gave up a few things, but not very much. We still had the issue of the mandate, the training, the state change in standards and all those kinds of things. And uh, and so it was, it was interesting because Jess, when folks thought we were going to give up a law enforcement decided to come to the table because the force was really great to make it happen.
Speaker 3: 10:55 And it shocked everybody because everybody felt this bill was dead on arrival. And yet when you listen to the tapes and the cut my colleagues' comments on the floor for most of the Republicans that were talking about the bill, they all talked about the necessity of the bill, how this was a reasonable bill. And it got out of our house with 85% of the vote, which was unheard of. And other progressive piece of legislation in the assembly. It also got out of the Senate with 85% of the vote, which means we had a lot of the Republicans on the bill. And so we did. We pushed it. And I think it was important because I wanted a bill that when it came into existence that all of us were buying into, you know, sometimes you get a bill and you barely get 51% of the vote and therefore 49% of the people are constantly complaining about the bill and what is not going to do and how horrible it's going to be.
Speaker 3: 11:44 And you don't hear that right now because 85% of the elected officials in California supported that bill. And I think it gave wings to people, our communities who have struggled so hard to be heard, to be understood and to get something done. Is this bill something you'll be building on? Well, we hope to implement the bill this coming year because we got recent. We've got work in terms of training of officers and those kinds of things. I always would all my bills, see how they're being implemented and see, uh, and begin to assess the effectiveness of it. And if it's necessary, we will do what we have to do to tweak it. But I want to make sure that the training is being done properly. And we have done that by increasing the budget I did or last year before the bill even passed, uh, I gave over 50% of the increase in this, in the budget for training of officers.
Speaker 3: 12:32 We increased it this year again so that we've increased about 80 some odd, 87% of the, the training budget for officers. We've increased, uh, we see some changes up and down the state in terms of people taking the bill now and, and beginning to look at it even locally, our district attorneys and some others. Uh, so we want to make sure that's done and we want to make sure that that's being done and it's been adequately monitored. Our attorney general is also working with us to make sure that he has the resources and things to make it happen. So a bill like this is not something you just put out there and walk away. We want to make sure it's happening. And of course the honor itself didn't come without controversy. Many people in the community took issue including the NAACP with the UT depicting you with it, a cartoon illustration rather than a photograph.
Speaker 3: 13:17 Is that something you took issue with also? I did not. You know, um, everybody knows who I am and know what I look like and, and cartoons are, are, are really interesting things. They can be things that are negative and denigrating. Interestingly enough, I, you know, uh, most of my family and friends thought the, the cartoon was great. Uh, cartoon sometimes can also do a bigger message and that's sometimes what we have to understand because you could have just had my picture and that would have been it. But to have a cartoon with me as a serious cartoon, not one that is de depicting me as a, as an evil or crazy or, or comical person having him, me and in that cartoon with a young African American boy shaking my hand and saying, thank you, Dr. Weber. If spoke to the heart of the bill, it spoke to the future of the bill.
Speaker 3: 14:06 It tough talks about the impact of the bill. So interestingly enough, I can understand the NAACP and others because there's a sensitivity about how we're treated as individuals. And I really appreciate the fact that they felt like a, she's a woman of honor, you know, and I think I am a woman of honor. Um, but at the same time, I'm not so honorable that I can't also see myself in multiple label levels at the same time. And this was not a negative cartoon. This was a really positive, uplifting cartoon. And, um, and interestingly enough, my staff loved it. Uh, my family in LA, I went to LA. They loved it. They didn't even hear about the controversy. They just said, what a powerful message of a little boy looking up at this older black woman and saying thank you for my future, that's going to be better.
Speaker 3: 14:50 And so I wasn't upset by the NAACP or the individuals who raised the issue cause those issues should be raised occasionally. But I was not offended by it. Um, my family was not and I was actually honored that somebody wanted to do a little bit more than just my picture. That's often in the, in the newspaper. You know, three years ago you and your fellow state legislators passed a law giving people the right to challenge their inclusion in a gang database used by law enforcement and prosecutors to document and track suspected gang members. Since then, not many people have tried to get off the list. And of those who did not, many were successful, uh, will you be revisiting that issue in the next legislative session? You know, we, we constantly monitor that, uh, to make sure it's true. And, and interestingly enough, even though some haven't challenged it, several had been taken off without a challenge.
Speaker 3: 15:41 It's a real, quite interesting. And in fact, a young man sent me a copy of the letter, he got taking him off the list and he sent me a thank you note saying thank you. Look what this is doing. So we were finding that to be true, that some are coming off, some have not challenged it because they're not aware of it. Uh, others have challenged and, and have a longer challenge to go. But we also have had some individuals even in our local jurisdiction who have gone through the list and have taken individuals off. So we're forever monitoring that particular reality. Yes, we do. And, uh, speaking of the next legislative session, the issue of education accountability is on your radar. Can you tell us exactly what that means and how it relates to civil rights? Well, I was, I was told maybe about 20 years ago that the next civil rights issue is education.
Speaker 3: 16:24 And that is so true that with all of our efforts to try to change the nation and to create opportunities, if we don't adequately educate that population that we have traditionally left out, they will not be able to access it. They will not be able to access the opportunities that are available to them. So we did a couple of years, I was seven years ago, six, seven years ago, changed the funding formula for schools and made sure that um, kids who are in greater need would get additional money, 40% more money. Um, that has not happened in, in an effective way. We have created the opportunity, we have created the pocket of money. We have given it to districts, but we have not held them accountable for the use of that money. And so I've been raising this issue for the last five years with, with the past governor.
Speaker 3: 17:08 He didn't want to deal with it. He says, I'm surely you, you want to watch things too much in which I do because you know, I'd like to be a believer. But having lived in this country for 71, it's this date for 71 years. I'm not a believer without information. Okay. And so I then had it audited this year. I had, I ordered an audit of the funds and fortunately after all these years we got the audit done and the audit shows that that money by and large had not been used for the kids that it needed to be used for. So we have not got to go back, we're having a hearing. But I've also had legislation that will create greater accountability for the use of those dollars that those kids who are at the very bottom deserve that money. And we put that money there to close the achievement gap.
Speaker 3: 17:52 And so it is an issue of civil rights because they need to have additional resources so that we can eventually close the achievement gap and not be so concerned about it and create greater opportunities for the kids, uh, in our communities. Uh, I'm a strong believer that education is the American equalizer. It did it for me, a kid out of the projects of the pueblos of Los Angeles. I had a great educational system and public schools went to great university and it changed my life. I have a responsibility to make sure that those opportunities are available to every kid in California. I had been speaking with assembly woman, Shirley Webber, the union Tribune, San Diego, one of the year for 2019 Dr. Weber, thanks for joining us and congratulations again. Well, thank you so very much and I'm truly honored and I, I think the union Tribune and the people of San Diego for honoring me. You are listening to midday edition. I'm Alison st John and I'm Jade Hindman. This week we've been looking back at a shooting that happened at dr Jay's liquor in the skyline neighborhood just after new year's Eve in 2003 it was a gang shooting that left two women dead, sparking big change in the community. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Treg, a Sur released a podcast series earlier this year on the lasting impacts of that shooting. Here's the final installment on what the future may hold for the community.
Speaker 4: 19:14 Late one evening, a few months ago, I climbed into a big white church van with Reverend Ray Smith. He's been leading the United missionary Baptist church and skyline for 15 years and was going to drive me around the neighborhood. He started our drive with a prayer.
Speaker 5: 19:30 Come on, let's have a word of prayer. Father, we just pray now that you would bless us as we travel as week two of the dishes. We pray for safety and security
Speaker 4: 19:39 pretty quickly. It seemed like we needed it. Reverend Smith was not the best driver. Soon after we started out, we almost rear ended a car and a little while later he attempted to make a U-turn on a narrow street in his giant boat of a van.
Speaker 6: 19:56 I make it.
Speaker 4: 19:59 Yeah, but it looked like we would really need God's mercy. When Reverend Smith stopped driving and got out of the van to show us the lack of lighting in a park, he walked us into the pitch black up to a couple sitting at a picnic table with their pit bull.
Speaker 5: 20:18 Oh, this is, this is, this is what we get at nighttime. I don't, I'm quiet. We got one little bitty light right here, but, but the whole park should be lit. You got, we've got people here. Uh, but yet we don't have the enough lights, uh, or either or either put a fence around the park, completely do something. You know,
Speaker 4: 20:41 the people were not thrilled about someone showing up with a video camera and recording equipment unannounced in park late at night and asked not to be recorded. We talked to them a bit about why they were out at night. They had nowhere else to go, they said, and then left, luckily still intact.
Speaker 7: 20:58 That was the dog that I was nervous about. If people were sitting right there ready, he had his hand on her shoulder worried about that.
Speaker 6: 21:12 [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 21:12 we also stopped in a vacant lot to have a conversation with a man who seemed to have just done some drugs. Are you doing man? I'm passing Smith. I saw him put a vile in his pocket when we pulled up and he kept sniffing as we talked.
Speaker 5: 21:30 Let's get out right here. Try to see what
Speaker 4: 21:33 okay. And then we stopped at a busy intersection where people like to hang out and drink and hopped out of the van to talk to people who are, again, not happy about having us approach with a camera. Reverend Smith's point in all of this was to show that there are still a lot of improvements his community needs. He said, yes, the shooting at dr Jay has caused the community and the rest of the city to wake up to how bad things were in his area.
Speaker 5: 22:00 It, it, it brought some light, um, to the crime problem that, uh, that was happening right in front of our faces to what, what it did was it, it, it really kind of, kind of painted a picture that the criminal enterprise system was, was, was, uh, uh, uh, uh, was growing, uh, right in our faces. And so I think that's what, that's what it did, uh, as well as the fact it showed that the need to be some more community intervention, uh, more police intervention, uh, more business intervention, more political interventions
Speaker 4: 22:36 after the shooting, he said things did improve, but only for a little while.
Speaker 5: 22:41 Um, I think it got better, but then it got worse. Yeah, it got better for almost six, eight months, a year, two years and then it got, then it got worse. It happened right here.
Speaker 6: 22:53 [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 22:53 he slowed the van as we drove past what used to be dr Jay's liquor. Now it's called Island view. Market owners changed the name a year after the shooting.
Speaker 4: 23:09 Reverend Smith said the shooting galvanize the community, but like happens so often. After a few years people stopped paying as much attention and apathy set in. He said there's still crime in his neighborhood. Still a lot of problems he'd like fixed. He sees them everywhere. He looks abandoned phone booths, he wants removed trash in vacant lots. Not enough streetlights. But one thing that definitely has changed in the more than 15 years since the dr J shooting gang violence has gone down. There were 17 murders police attributed to San Diego gang members in the year leading up to dr J's and 31 drive by shootings in the next few years. After the shooting, those numbers continued to climb a little, but they peaked in 2004 and then started really dropping. There haven't been more than 10 gang murders a year since 2013 and in 2017 there was just one. This drop in violence leads some to say it's time to rethink how the city does it.
Speaker 8: 24:16 Policing the mayor, the district attorney and the San Diego police department have too much invested in the prison industrial complex. Layla
Speaker 4: 24:25 [inaudible] runs the advocacy group pillars of the community and as a longtime resident of Southeast San Diego, she thinks there should be reduced sentences for a lot of crimes, less policing of gangs. She says over policing people turns them into criminals when really we should be helping them not become criminals in the,
Speaker 8: 24:44 so actually the policies have hurt more than they've helped in the lock everybody up and throw away the key does not help. We're still going to deal with the problem 10 years later because you've left their children traumatized with no guidance. It's a similar argument being made across the country right now as politicians, even on a national level, tackle criminal justice reform and look at how sentencing and heavy policing maybe doing more harm than good. For example, the San Diego gang commission and advisory boards started because of the dr J shooting wrote in its initial report back in 2006 that the city should focus on quote directed patrol with the general deterrent strategy, saturating a high crime area with police presence, including stops of as many people as possible for all offenses. Aziz said that's exactly the wrong approach and that it hurts her entire community. So what does that mean for someone like me who lives in this community? Um, when everyday I'm stopped just because of what I look like and where I live and at some point, so you criminalize everyone in order for you to get what you perceive as a gang member. And that's the issues that we're having. This casting a wide net oppressing everyone who lives in a community. I live in this community and I can attest that's not positive.
Speaker 4: 26:07 I mean, it'd be nice if we got to a time where we didn't need police or need as many, not surprisingly, Lieutenant Manny Del Toro sees police's role in the community differently. But I think part of the reason why crime is down is, uh, is we, we do keep the pressure on. Del Toro has been with the San Diego police department for almost 30 years and spent a lot of time in the Southeastern division. He said continued enforcement is necessary, but he also wants police to focus on other parts of the job. Then just arresting people. He said police serve two functions, which they call weed and seed. The weed was
Speaker 8: 26:44 weeding out the bad elements. That means using undercover officers to buy drugs and making mass arrests hit it hard from the law enforcement side, get the bad element off the streets and also seed the community with good things and positive things that, uh, that we were hoping we would catch on. That means helping people start neighborhood watches and doing community outreach events like Turkey giveaways, holiday parties and visiting schools and this he hopes can be the future of the police department that they can hire more officers who are interested in serving the community, not just enforcing its rules.
Speaker 4: 27:24 More than 15 years after the dr J shooting, a lot of people are thinking about what's next. People like Aziz and Reverend Smith are thinking about what they need for their community, how they want the government and police to change, how they want more local jobs and improvements like streetlights and trash pickup. James Carter and his family are looking for what's next to Carter is out of appeals in his trial, but he and his mother still have hope that a group like the innocence project might take his case. Carter was also just transferred to another jail near Bakersfield. I feel officials won't confirm why, but it will make him closer to his family so maybe his son can visit.
Speaker 4: 28:10 I think that it caused my mom to grow up and become a lot stronger. The families of the women who were killed in the dr J shooting are looking forward to Denise waits. The young girl who is in the car is in college now and wants to be an environmental lawyer. I think that if my grandma's still been alive, she probably would've got to enjoy her twenties a little bit more and that would've been a lot less stressed out cause she had a kid with her. So, um, I think it helped her in a lot of ways, but it hurt her in some ways too. And her mom, Tanya waits, who lost her mother in the shooting, said she's trying to focus on the future, trying to do the best she can to take care of her own children. She said it only hurts her to look back.
Speaker 6: 28:54 [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 28:58 and that was the final installment of the dr J's podcast series released last February by investigative reporter Claire Traeger. Sir, you can listen to the full series on our website, KPBS pbs.org or on your favorite podcast app by searching dr J's
Speaker 9: 29:18 [inaudible].
Speaker 8: 29:21 San Diego has 70 miles of coastline, but for many kids, the ocean isn't as easy to get to. As you might think. KPBS education reporter Joe hung met up with some young students at Scripps pier who see opportunities to study the ocean as a career. Now 10 year old eight and Novelis is one of 40 or so students huddled in a circle
Speaker 10: 29:42 on a cloudy day on a pier in LA Hoya. He's peering over shoulders to get a glimpse of the plankton caught by researchers. Aiden says he's wanting to be a veterinarian all his life, but he's never been interested in the animals that live in the ocean. That changed when he saw his first Tidepool.
Speaker 11: 29:57 I want to be a Fitch Canarian. I let her know, and I'm not like to exotic animals or just maybe like household animals, dogs, cats, birds, stuff like that.
Speaker 10: 30:08 Aiden is a fifth grader at the steam Academy in spring Valley. He lives less than 15 miles from the shore and comes to the beach about once a year with his family. But today he and the other students touring the Scripps institution of oceanography are seeing the ocean through new eyes. What'd you see in there?
Speaker 11: 30:24 Oh, small. Really just sturdy water. I see little tiny microscopic dirt off the ocean and like germs by growing
Speaker 10: 30:36 the students spend the day with researchers, catching plaintiff, examining tidepools and looking through microscopes. By the end of the day Aiden's head is full of questions.
Speaker 11: 30:45 I'm curious about how, how ask him animals live and how they grow and when they grow and like who environment they're in. It's like really interesting.
Speaker 10: 30:56 Students all over San Diego County are able to have this experience thanks to the league of extraordinary scientists and engineers. The nonprofit connects students from low income schools to scientists around the County. The lead CEO and founder Jean Wong says studying the ocean shouldn't be just for the privilege.
Speaker 12: 31:13 Two out of three breasts of oxygen come from plants in the ocean and these kids in San Diego County should be at the ocean. And when you hear so often that these kids have never even been to the beach and they live in San Diego County, you know, we've all complained about it and we've all heard these stories. And so our organization, legal ordinary scientists with J Craig Venter Institute and scripts and of oceanography wanted to address that directly and just bus the kids here.
Speaker 10: 31:39 The league reimburses school districts for the cost of busing students to the beach.
Speaker 12: 31:43 So in San Diego unified, for instance, a bus would be like $280 to get 54 kids to the beach. But if you're getting them from say, Poway are you getting them from somewhere else right to Lavista, whatever. The buses can be anywhere from 600 to $1,000 per bus. That price tag in itself is screaming and equity.
Speaker 13: 32:04 What I'm going to have you guys do is going to go ahead and write.
Speaker 10: 32:08 John Oren is Aiden's teacher at the steam Academy in spring Valley. He says the class trip to scripts gave life to his lesson about ecosystems.
Speaker 13: 32:15 I think they were able to have a concrete connection with um, a lot of the items that we study. Um, being out touching the animals, um, being out on the pier, watching the scientists, uh, bring up, uh, bring up their work, like bringing up the plankton. Um, that was something that we weren't able to really deliver. Uh, here at school. We're
Speaker 10: 32:39 size before the league
Speaker 12: 32:40 is cause field trips were limited to about a 10 mile radius. Jean Wong hopes that physically bring students to the shore is the first step in making the field of oceanography more accessible to students from historically disadvantaged communities. Having different visions on science and especially oceanography. The biggest thing on our planet, right? We need war people from different backgrounds to see that, to study that and to share that information with each other.
Speaker 10: 33:06 Aiden says he might consider oceanography as a career. He plans to do more research at school, but now he knows that learning about it in the classroom just isn't enough.
Speaker 11: 33:15 Are you worried about the ocean or like fish and plankton? You coming out here and makes you think it's like a whole different thing. Stories tell you one thing. This tells you another. It's really cool. Kill harm, KPBS crises and stuff.
Speaker 14: 33:48 The USO, the United service organizations as entertained and boosted the morale of American troops for nearly 80 years in every major conflict since world war II. But for an organization that's still strongly associated with entertainers of the past life, Bob hope it's a constant challenge to stay relevant to today. Service members, Austin Cross reports for the American Homefront project
Speaker 9: 34:18 at the end,
Speaker 15: 34:18 some auditorium in Washington, D C 1100 members from all branches of the military settle in for an evening with the trappings of home hot dogs, comedy and country music.
Speaker 9: 34:33 [inaudible].
Speaker 15: 34:33 It's a modern version of the shows the USO started putting on nearly eight decades ago at a very different time in American history. I do fell it. This is Bob command performance hope telling H Nazi that's in Russia today, that Crimea doesn't pay the USO. Got it. Start before the U S formally entered world war two when war came, Bob hope was one of the most famous comedians at the time. He entertained the troops from the Southwest specific to the European theater. He continued through Korea, Vietnam, and the first Gulf war. When he went with Bob, there were 85 of us after San Margaret performed alongside Bob hope in 1968 hairdressers and makeup people and thousands of men and women just sitting in the sun waiting for us to perform
Speaker 9: 35:22 and
Speaker 15: 35:22 Margaret was honored at the Washington event for her service to the USO. But the event wasn't just about the past. It's about spotlighting what the USO is doing now. Yes, there are still shows, but USO, president and CEO, JD crouch says it's about more than that. He says the USO improves the wellbeing of service members by reminding them that somebody back home hasn't forgotten about them. The big challenge of military life for these people, men and women's and I sort of fear of battle or those sorts of things with us, ordinary civilians might think it's separation in America. A lot's changed since the days of Bob hope around 12% of the country served during world war two. Today less than 1% of the countries on active duty. Mary Beth Olrick at the U S army war college says that's affected the troops
Speaker 14: 36:09 that leads to a perception that they are carrying the burden for the country and increasingly the perception that this is something that other people do. The people in the service being those other people
Speaker 15: 36:21 battling those perceptions is now part of the U S O's latest mission. To that end, 400 civilians were welcome to the show for some IDC resident Daniel Klein balm. It was their first exposure to the USO.
Speaker 8: 36:32 I mean, I've heard the name, but I was walking by earlier and saw that there was an event going on. So I looked it up and then decided to come back a few hours later
Speaker 15: 36:40 once inside civilians were given a rare glimpse of military life. USO, senior operations manager, Emily Flint.
Speaker 8: 36:47 So this is a USO center mimicking what it would look like if you were in a center in Iraq. So we have the comforts of home, you know, the couches, the pillows, the blankets. We have a TV system over here with the PS four and actually two service members are playing right now
Speaker 15: 37:01 in the back. There's a refrigerator full of sodas and a corner where service members can record books for their kids. Marine corporal Justin Countryman. You may not have talked to your family for three weeks, four weeks. You maybe haven't had a good meal and you know, two months and you walk into a USO and the bare minimum you have at least a phone call. They're just as welcoming. You know what I mean? It's warm. The civilians here at the ad them were also treated to a staple in the U S so experience the show for one of the headliners, comedian Paula Poundstone. It was a different experience to perform for a largely military crowd.
Speaker 8: 37:34 It is a little bit daunting, to be honest with you. You know, this is a person who've been through something that I couldn't possibly understand and how now do I relate to them? And I think the answer is just a be a human being.
Speaker 9: 37:47 Keep it going, keep it going. Can we go?
Speaker 15: 37:51 A lot has changed in the last 80 years, but two service members, a soda, a laugh, and a hot meal still go a long way when they're far from home.
Speaker 9: 38:00 So thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your service
Speaker 15: 38:04 in Washington. I'm Austin Cross.
Speaker 14: 38:07 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. This is KPBS midday edition. I am Allison st John and I'm Jade Hindman. If you've ever been to new Orleans, you've probably witnessed the brassy by you sounds of bands marching down cobblestone streets to celebrate the life and Homegoing of someone beloved. Well today of the cobblestone streets, we're bringing the new Orleans tradition right to you. After seven consecutive nominations, they recently won San Diego music award for best jazz euphoria. Brass band joined us in the KPBS studios earlier this year to share their special brand of funky West coast. Second line jazz. Here they are with their song. Rosarito bus stop.
Speaker 6: 40:57 [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible].
Speaker 8: 45:14 Wow, thanks. That was euphoria. Brass band performing Rosarito bus stop. Euphoria. Brass band is J P ball ma on the baritone and Alto sax. Drew Miller on the bass drum, Ron bocce and on the snare drums. Steve Ebner on the trumpet. April West on the trombone. David Jackson on the tenor sax and Wayne Rice on the sousaphone. Welcome you guys. Thanks for [inaudible] page. I appreciate it. Now drew, how did you Foria brass band to begin?
Speaker 16: 45:40 Well, yeah, I have this long running show on jazzy 88.3 KSDs a new Orleans radio show close to 20 years now. This gentleman here, Ron Beauchesne had come West post-Katrina. He was living in new Orleans for about 19 years and maybe it's better off to let him tell you a little bit about what happened.
Speaker 8: 45:57 So I'm driving down the coast somewhere to Carl's bed and rebirth brass band is on a radio. I forgot for a moment I was in Carlsbad. It was just such a good feeling. I just, I got Drew's email, I hit him up right away. And I said let's get together, cause I got a lot of music, I'd love to share it with you from new Orleans. So we got together, had coffee and right at the end I said, man, I'd love to start a brass band out here and Drew's like, I'll be your face drummer man. So for people who don't know what is a second line parade,
Speaker 16: 46:28 second line really comes originally from the jazz funeral tradition where the social aid and pleasure clubs, uh, formed early on. I'm talking late 18 hundreds to take care of their, their folk. You know, if someone was sick, they would pay their dues and that money would go towards helping this person with hospital bills, medical bills, and then when someone would pass away when they die, uh, these funds again would be used for a celebration of life for, for the deceased. And so the second line, essentially in, in a jazz funeral procession, you have your first line, which is of course the deceased in the, in the casket, perhaps driven by a horse drawn carriage. And the family members. So there's your first line right behind the family is the brass band and everyone else that friends and uh, folks who knew the deceased and they make their way in a somber way playing a, the band's playing a dirge, something very spiritual, slow and, and mournful to the grave side.
Speaker 16: 47:23 They go through the process of laying the body to rest. They start their way back now from the grave and folks come off a stoops off their front porches, out of their homes, and anybody and everybody can jump into this second line parade that has now begun and they're stopping at watering holes. Maybe some favorite bars of the person who had passed away. Now you see second lines going on every Sunday. It doesn't have to be tied to a funeral. They're doing it as community for getting folks to come together and enjoy life. And the better things that are, are in this, this crazy life that we lead. Any reason for a parade day, Arbor day. Let's do it. Yeah, that's right. [inaudible] second line. Come on. So brass bands get involved and they start these, uh, these wonderful processions that could go on for four hours and stop at bars along the way and they get back into the streets and the people coming from everywhere to get into.
Speaker 1: 48:14 Yes. Thanks man. That's fantastic. Euphoria brass band. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming up on KPBS evening edition at 5:00 PM on KPBS television actions you may need to take in order to vote in upcoming elections and join us again tomorrow for KPBS midday edition at noon here on the radio. And if you have a miss, an interview that you wanted to hear, you can find the mid day edition podcast on your favorite podcast app. I'm Jade Hindman and I'm Alison st John. Thanks so much for listening.