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California’s Mini-Census, New Airport Terminal 1 On The Way, And Haitians In Tijuana: 10 Years After Devastating Earthquake

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California is outspending every other state on the U.S. Census and is also conducting its own mini state census to ensure every resident is counted. Plus, the plan to remake Terminal 1 at the San Diego Airport is moving forward. The project includes expanding the terminal to 30 gates and a new parking garage. Also, 10 years ago, an earthquake devastated Haiti. Since then, thousands of Haitians trying to get asylum in the U.S. found themselves stuck in Tijuana. And, two new studies show that supporting working parents with childcare can boost the economy. Finally, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined hundreds of other U.S. mayors in the nation to pledge to save the endangered monarch butterfly.

Speaker 1: 00:00 A $187 million effort is underway in California to get nearly 40 million residents to participate in the 2020 census in San Diego. A new call center opened in city Heights to help refugee and immigrant populations complete the census. But state officials are so concerned the U S census will undercount residents, they're starting to conduct a many state census. Joining us is Robert Bozak, senior demographer with the Rand corporation, which is helping conduct the state's mini census count. Robert, welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:31 All right, thanks for having me.

Speaker 1: 00:33 Hey, so why is there a need for this separate smaller States census?

Speaker 2: 00:38 A lot is riding on the 2020 census. Uh, the state estimates that we could be losing in the tens of billions of dollars over the next decade in terms of federal funds to the state. Uh, for every person that's counted in the state, uh, the state gets a specific, uh, proportion of federal funds. And so any under count, even if it's minor, could have serious implications for the functioning of the state, uh, on top of which congressional representation is, uh, developed based upon the decennial count. And so there's a lot riding on this census for the state.

Speaker 1: 01:25 Mm. And how is the States, many senses going to work.

Speaker 2: 01:28 So we are going to be conducting the States many census in two parts. The first part is going to be what we refer to as an address campus. So we have selected 174 neighborhoods throughout the state of California. And our goal in the address sense in, excuse me, in the address canvas, is to count the number of housing units. One of the key ways in which States are often under counted is there, the census Bureau is not able to accurately identify all housing units in a neighborhood. So for example, you will often have apartments or housing structures that multiple families are sharing. And if that is the case, we need to be able to determine the number of families that are living there so that they receive the accurate number of census forms. And so one of the things we're really focusing on in the address canvas is to make sure that we are picking up these multifamily dwellings and these unlicensed and unpermitted dwellings to make sure that we first have an accurate count of all of the housing units starting in may. We begin the second phase of the study and that's when we going to return to those 174 blocks and go all of the housing units that we were able to determine in the address campus. It is at that stage starting in may, uh, and it will last throughout the summer and potentially into the early fall that we are going to be administering a survey to all of the housing units on those 174 blocks.

Speaker 1: 03:19 And can you tell us which neighborhoods in San Diego County or part of the state census?

Speaker 2: 03:24 Right. So we can't reveal exactly which neighborhoods we are going to be in for confidentiality purposes of the study. But I can't tell you that we are planning on visiting approximately 13 neighborhoods in San Diego County and another six neighborhoods in orange County.

Speaker 1: 03:43 Does this present some complications though because residents who may already be suspicious about participating in the us census may now be getting multiple knocks on their doors for both us census workers and state workers?

Speaker 2: 03:56 Absolutely. In fact, that is one of our primary concerns that we paid a lot of attention to as part of the design of this study. Um, one of the key things that we are doing is we are going to be working in close coordination with the California complete count committee. This is the committee that has been tasked by the state to do extensive outreach in communities, particularly in those communities that have been identified based on past federal censuses as being hard to count communities. We're going to be in close coordination with them and so they're going to be directly communicating, uh, the goals of our study, um, specifically why individuals should participate in the study in addition to the census.

Speaker 1: 04:47 And so once the state census and the U S census results are complete, is the idea to compare the two

Speaker 2: 04:53 a hundred percent. You know, the state wants a have an independent count of the 174 blocks. So we're going to do a block by block comparison and we're going to directly compare our results with, with the census Bureau fines. And I should note that in the history of the census, no state has ever attempted to do its own independent verification of the census count. And so this is a first of its kind endeavor.

Speaker 1: 05:26 Hmm. So could California then be setting itself up to challenge the U S census results?

Speaker 2: 05:31 I don't think that that is the intent of the state. I definitely think that's a bridge that the state will cross when, when, when we'd get there together. But I think just from the outset of this study, the pure intent is to try to get a sense of if there is an undercount, how severe is it and in what parts of the state is the undercount. Um, should note that while the, the federal government disperses funds to States based upon those population counts, the States in turn have to distribute funds to communities and to counties across the state. And so I think the primary way that the state is intending to use this information is if there is an under count. Is there a way that we can potentially recalibrate some of the state's internal numbers to make sure that communities are getting the resources that they need?

Speaker 2: 06:28 You know, so for example, if the federal census Bureau under counts the number of children in San Diego, the state might potentially under allocate resources for childcare or for education because they don't have a sense of exactly how many individuals will be in need of those services. And so the primary goal is to assess the undercount, but more specifically to use that information to make sure that the state is functioning smartly. Over the next decade, I've been speaking with Robert Bozak, senior demographer with the Rand corporation. Robert, thank you so much for joining us via Skype. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 3: 07:12 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 To the joy of travelers and the concern of nearby residents. San Diego international airport is moving forward with plans to replace and expand its 50 year old terminal one. The airport's governing board has approved a $3 billion project that would include not only enlarging the new terminal two 30 Gates, but also creating a new parking garage, building a new airport access road off Laurel street, and even reserving a site for a future public transit station at the airport. Airport officials say the redevelopment is needed to manage the continuing increase in flights and passengers at the airport. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune reporter Lori Weisberg and Lori, welcome to the show. Thank you. What was the key approval? The project got late last week, so this key approval was the certification of this 9,500 page environmental document and the approval of this alternative project from which they were ready to approve this like a year ago, but this was a revised project.

Speaker 1: 01:01 It's still $3 billion, but it's, it was revised in the face of massive criticism from all the public agencies in San Diego County who all thought that this environmental document never really addressed the increased traffic congestion that's going to come with more passengers. And so the airport authority to its credit, listen to all these agencies, they spent a year rewriting this environmental document and made changes to the project to in fact address the congestion. You mentioned one of those in your intro and that's I'm making space for and funding a transit station, your terminals one and two if and when they ever bring transit to the airport. It could be the trolley, it could be a people mover. Now terminal one that many people know as the Southwest airlines terminal is, is pretty old and I mean it has that mid century look to it. So the plan says that the terminal will come down and a brand new terminal is going up.

Speaker 1: 01:58 How will the new terminal be different? So the current terminal, as you mentioned, is all built in 1967 it has 19 kind of narrow Gates. So this much bigger facility is going to accommodate when it opens in 2026 30 Gates, it's going to be 30 so 11 more Gates than what exists now. And it's going to be, if you're familiar with terminal two now, the, the part that was redone, it's going to have, you know, much better concessions, more state of the art technology, more seating areas, much more light fills coming in. So much more modern feeling of facility. And what are some of the other changes in this redevelopment plan? So I'm, as I mentioned, there's that, that transit station, which is a big deal. There's a new three lane inbound roadway that's gonna come off Harbour drive and it's gonna supposedly divert 45,000 cars a day.

Speaker 1: 02:49 So you get, you're coming into the airport, no traffic lights and traffic signals. So it's supposedly a speedier, efficient, less congestion filled experience. So that's, that's a big part of it. They're building a new administration building to replace the one which is exists now, which is in the former commuter terminal. So that's a big deal. And there, I don't know if he can call it part of the project, but they're introducing later this year to adjust this whole transit issue. Um, and uh, electric free shuttles that will take you from the old town transit station directly to the airport. So if you choose to take the coaster or the trolley, you can then get to the airport on this free shuttle that will run fairly frequently. And what about the new taxiway that's part of this redevelopment? What will that do? That's right. I, I neglected to mention there's a new taxiway.

Speaker 1: 03:37 So there's a primary taxiway now and this will, this second taxiway will kind of give the airport more wiggle room for the aircraft to move around as they make their way onto the taxiway. Sort of almost like a, the way they explain it to me, kind of almost like a holding area so that you have more space for the movement of these aircraft. You know, obviously there's so many flights a day now with only one runway. There's a limit to how much San Diego international can expand. How much of an increase in passengers and flights do airport officials expect? So I'm a pretty big increase and they, they hasten to point out that it's not the project that's bringing the passengers, it's the desirable ability to come to San Diego. And whether they do this project or not, these passengers are coming. So this is going to ease their experience.

Speaker 1: 04:25 So right now we're at about 25 million passengers, uh, annually, and it's gonna, um, it's going to rise to about 40 million and then it can't get any higher than that. And they think that could come as early as around 20, 35. I mean, they have a 20, 50 time horizon, but it's that maximum capacity and passengers at least could be coming, um, sooner than 20, 50. Now more flights means more noise for the communities surrounding the airport. Does this new project address that in any way? So not per se. I mean, they, they already have programs to, um, address the noise already. Um, so the cause, as they point out, these passengers are coming anyway. So there are certain things they're going to be doing. The best example they gave me is they have a kind of an insulation program for people who live closest to the airport and they're going to expand it where they cover, you know, more double glaze windows and, and, and door replacement tuned to minimize the noise.

Speaker 1: 05:22 But that, um, surprisingly nobody showed up, even though there's a lot of opposition, nobody showed up to protest the plan. However, there have been a number of letters. No, the belief from the peninsula planning group is one that represents that area saying, you know, hold off on this plan until you do more about noise. Uh, so that's, that's going to be continuing debate, discussion, controversy. As I say, with or without this project, where's the $3 billion coming from? So, um, it's all from, um, a combination of fees. Most notably the, um, the fees that the airlines paid to, to basically rent the facility. Um, concessions, um, rental car fees, so all fee driven. Um, one interesting thing is that they don't have permission to spend any of their money off the airport. So one thing they're doing to mollify the city of San Diego that wanted to see more street improvements.

Speaker 1: 06:14 Um, they're, they've jointly written a letter to the FAA seeking approval to use some of their funds for these off airport improvements. So what's the next step for this project and what kind of timeframe are we looking at? So the next, there's some approvals to keep reveals the California coastal commission, which has to approve permits and they're in their letters and correspondence I've seen so far, they appear to be pretty much onboard with the project they weren't a year ago. And then they need, there was the local approval of the environmental impact report, but there's a federal level document as well. The feds have to approve that. They also need to hire a designer and contractor to design the project and build it. So we don't have a lot of the specifics of what that terminal is going to look like. But we will once they hire that. So they think that once they do all that, they could be under construction by late next year with the initial opening of the first 19 Gates in 2024 and then the complete project done by 2026 they had hoped to be on that timeline, moved back a year. They had hoped to be earlier, but it still is. It still sounds like an ambitious timeline. Sure it does. All right. I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune reporter Lori Weisberg. Laurie, thanks for coming in. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 10 years ago. This past Sunday, Haiti was rocked by an earthquake that left at least 100,000 people dead on the anniversary. KPBS reporter max Rivlin. Neither spoke with Haitian earthquake survivors in Tijuana where thousands of Haitians have migrated since the earthquake

Speaker 2: 00:20 tucked into a Canyon near the U S border is little Haiti and it's among the first stops for the thousands of Haitians who beginning in 2016 began coming to America's Southern border. The thousands of Haitians are fleeing a decade of tragedy and instability following the earthquake. First, the destruction of the Capitol in the quake than a cholera outbreak. Then hurricane Matthew in 2016 Haiti's divided parliament has been unable to form a government for over a year and violence has increased sharply. Fritz Nell is 38 he was in archivy 40 miles from the Capitol. He was working on a construction site when it collapsed. During the quake, his arm was trapped and he shows me where the scar is still is for. It's now left Haiti in August, 2016 as the security situation on the Island began to deteriorate. He didn't want to give his last name because of worries about crime.

Speaker 3: 01:15 I whipped the shitshow. I left Haiti. Of course. After all of those disasters I was just forced to for safety.

Speaker 2: 01:25 He first went to Brazil to look for work and has been in Mexico since may with his wife and child. He's had trouble finding work in Mexico and says he's been robbed by the police. Like many of the estimated 3,500 Haitians living in Tijuana, Fritz Anelle is stuck. He cannot enter the U S legally and if he was deported to Haiti, he'd have no money and no job for it's Nell and his family are getting by on the generosity of the ambassadors of Jesus church that supports little Haiti. McGall 35 is a psychologist. She was in Porto Prince 10 years ago and was coming home from a job interview when the city collapsed around her. She wandered the streets before she found her family who were safe. She then helped earthquake survivors deal with their trauma. Mikhail now works with the Haitian community in Tijuana.

Speaker 3: 02:15 I like [inaudible]. I don't know if we are just a people that has an incredible capacity for survival and amazing resilience. It is something that cannot be logically explained. [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 02:32 one of the leaders in the community there is John Arnold, Lazard Lazard's eight year old brother died in the earthquake. He left the country because he couldn't deal with the memories of the dead

Speaker 3: 02:45 [inaudible] babies at the office and then after the earthquake, the burials, it made me very frustrated, very sad and I wasn't able to tolerate it internally. Maybe [inaudible] did you know

Speaker 2: 02:58 now Lazard, a student in Tijuana and helps with the Haitian bridge Alliance, an organization that assists Haitians in California and Mexico. He told me that he originally intended to migrate to the U S but because of the situation with immigration enforcement, he's going to school in Tijuana and plans to make a life of it. They're helping other Haitians. Lazard helped host a vigil on Sunday night to Mark the anniversary. It began with a moment of silence. Soon Haitians began to pack the small church they use in the evenings, which is run by the group ministerial Yamato final

Speaker 4: 03:36 to sing and to pray.

Speaker 5: 03:44 [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 03:45 10 years later and thousands of miles away, they came together to remember the dead and a decade that has found thousands of Haitians. Still trying to put the pieces back together. And to Juana max with Linda Adler, Cape PBS news,

Speaker 1: 04:01 joining me is KPBS reporter max Rivlin Nadler and max welcome. Hi. The Haitians into Asana are stuck, as you say, because of us immigration laws, but what is their status inside Mexico? Can they stay there indefinitely?

Speaker 2: 04:16 The immigration status for many of these Haitians in Mexico is really difficult to navigate. A lot of them only speak Creole, uh, don't have a firm grasp of Spanish and are generally distrustful of Mexican authorities. A lot of people I spoke with had been harassed by Mexican authorities. That being said, there is a large contingent of people who've been there, you know, since 2016 and have begun to put roots down. So, um, as more Haitians kind of commit to spending longer amounts of time and maybe even spending indefinitely in Mexico, there have been, um, more kind of efforts done to create a better relationship between Mexican authorities and create a pathway to actually getting work status, work permits, owning restaurants, owning businesses. So people are not out on their own here. It's just a really tough thing to navigate, especially over the past year as a take. Juana has seen so many migrants.

Speaker 1: 05:11 So what kind of route did many of the immigrants travel from Haiti to get to the Tijuana border?

Speaker 2: 05:18 A few of the people I spoke to had first gone to Brazil in 2016 or before 2016 and then come up through South America, uh, through Panama and, uh, into Mexico that way. So it was a really long journey along the way. They could have spent years in a certain location working, finding whatever work they can. A lot of people worked, uh, in, in Brazil before the Olympics, uh, in 2016. So this, uh, they go where the jobs are. That's really what they're, they're looking for. Obviously the security situation in Haiti is less than optimal right now, but mostly there's just no economy to speak of. So people have to go elsewhere to find money.

Speaker 1: 05:56 One, the Haitian immigrants you

Speaker 2: 05:58 spoke with says he's a student in Tijuana. So the immigrants, as you say, have a chance of actually establishing a life and staying in Mexico. Yeah, that was one individual who was already in university, uh, in Haiti at the time of the earthquake. So his university was destroyed. He had nowhere to go. He told me, you know, he had to leave because of, uh, his, his brother had died. There was just too many demons for him there. Um, and kind of luckily for him on his way to Mexico, he had spent time, like many Haitians do, and the Dominican Republic, and he spent four years there, picked up Spanish, speaks better Spanish than me, and is now in Mexico and is, you know, enrolled in school and he's one of the people who is gonna try as he told me, he cannot go back to Haiti. He's gonna make a life for himself there.

Speaker 1: 06:45 Well, can you describe what the area you, you talk about little Haiti looks like?

Speaker 2: 06:49 So this is an, um, a, an area that that is sometimes referred to as smugglers Canyon. It's this informal settlement. This embassy of Jesus' church has created, um, housing and kind of pretty formal housing. That's a two story structure for recent Haitian immigrants. So people who have just come to Tijuana and are trying to get started in their life, that's where they end up often. Basically it's got running water outside, it has a faucet, um, inside. It's pretty bare. A lot of people sleeping to a room. Um, but that's not uncommon in Tijuana, especially for migrants.

Speaker 1: 07:28 So people from Haiti are still coming to Tijuana?

Speaker 2: 07:32 Oh yeah. Uh, several people I spoke to had arrived within the past four months. Uh, so again, as the political situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, um, people are leaving and Mohs. They, they ha see no future for them either politically or economically. And so even though, you know, we're 10 years removed from the earthquake, there's been so much that, that that's set off and so many things that have happened since then. Of course, even before then, Haiti was not a rich country by any means. Um, that, that there are still a lot of people who are going to be trying to come to the U S and especially because there are a lot of Haitians in the U S following the earthquake who did get some legal status here. So you've got family on both sides of the border and there's just a huge Haitian diaspora that continues to spread out.

Speaker 1: 08:20 Of course, many people from Haiti are black. Is there any racial problem in Tijuana because of that

Speaker 2: 08:26 huge issue? I mean, before 2016, um, Tijuana is a, um, you know, relatively white city, uh, just even the, the Mexican population runs wider than, um, in other parts of Mexico. So you have, um, people that stand out and can be targeted, not necessarily based on their skin, but based on the fact that they know they're migrants. They know with that for the most part, they are Haitian. This was before the Cameroonians and other Africans really began showing up in numbers this summer. So it's easy to pick out a, for people who want to take advantage of people who don't have legal standing, who don't have kind of legal recourse and have to usually carry basically all of their belongings on them at all time because they don't know when, where their next move is going to be. So a lot of the people I spoke to had been robbed and targeted by, by what they said were Mexican authority.

Speaker 1: 09:18 Did anyone you spoke with say that were homesick for Haiti? I asked

Speaker 2: 09:21 people, would you be willing to go back and would you recommend this trip to others? Almost all of them said they would not want to go back because to go back would be to be looked down on, to be deported back to Haiti or to come back after you've already left the Island. We'll put you in a second class there. So there's a definite dynamic. It's, you know, it's an 8 million people or eight or 10 million people, but it's still a small community. So for, to leave and come back and having spent a year in detention or, or come back and still be indebted to the people that you know, help traffic you is a huge stigma. So people did not want to go back. And when I asked if people recommended it, they said, listen, I can't tell people not to do this because there's not many options on the Island to begin with.

Speaker 1: 10:01 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max Riverland, Adler max. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 A pair of reports highlight the struggles. Many working parents face tuna reports suggest childcare here in San Diego is scarce and unaffordable with no standard of quality and most employers aren't offering any support. You to talk more about the findings is Laura cone with the San Diego workforce partnership, one of the organizations involved with this recent report. Laura, thanks for being here. Thanks for having me. So for several agencies like yours came together for these reports. Who was involved and what prompted this?

Speaker 2: 00:29 The studies were produced, there are two different studies and one was produced by the San Diego workforce partnership. My organization, um, and the other was produced by the San Diego regional chamber of commerce. Both of the studies were sponsored by and also produced in partnership with the San Diego foundation. And the motivation was to really try to, we recognize that the childcare system in San Diego is struggling and is having an impact on employers and on the workforce and we wanted to understand that problem better and both help the larger community understand that problem but also inspire them to action.

Speaker 1: 01:07 You know, the agencies reported that in 70% of San Diego families with children under the age of 12, all parents in the household are working. Meanwhile, only 9% of companies in San Diego

Speaker 2: 01:19 divide onsite childcare, for example. What impact does that have on family and children? It's really a tremendous impact. Parents of young children spend a lot of time and energy trying to find childcare arrangements that work for them and their family. When I say work for them, it's is it convenient to where I live or where I work? Is it affordable for me? Um, the price of childcare is extremely high. It's about S uh, it's over $17,000 on average for an infant or toddler and a little over $11,000 for a preschooler, which is a lot of money, especially when you have more than one kid, but even just for one child. And the other factor is, does it match with the hours of my work? So typical childcare operates on standard hours. I'm sometimes a little bit extended starting at 7:00 AM and going to maybe 6:00 PM, but a lot of folks in our economy are working at very different hours.

Speaker 2: 02:15 They're working swing shifts, they're working weekends, they're working evenings, and it's very difficult to find licensed childcare that is available for those hours. So it's a big, big struggle for families. They're just patching things together to make things work. And one impact is that a lot of parents just give up, they drop out of the labor force or they're working less than they would like to earning less money than they would like to or want to. And um, it's so it has big impacts on families and big impacts on our economy. I mean, and when someone is making, you know, when their whole paycheck goes to, to, uh, pay the cost of childcare at some point, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to stay in the workforce. Right? Absolutely not. You hear that from families all time that they do that calculation. So if you have two small children, that's a total of $28,000 or more to pay for childcare if, um, and so that's coming out of your take home pay for the most part.

Speaker 2: 03:11 Um, so if your salary is less than that or something close to that, um, or even if it's a little bit more than that, you realize all of my paycheck is going to be going to childcare. Maybe I should be staying home and providing care for my kids, myself, you know, and there are ways employers can support working families. What did you glean from these reports in terms of solutions? So for, for employers, um, there are a few things they can do. You mentioned before providing onsite childcare and it's wonderful when an employer can do that, but that's not going to be available or possible for the vast majority of employers in San Diego County. But even if you can't actually have childcare on site, you can help to subsidize the cost of childcare for your employees. Um, you can build partnerships with local childcare entities so that your employees get first preference on their wait lists.

Speaker 2: 04:04 But you can also do things, um, with other benefits like family leave after a child is born. That bonding time with parents, um, is really critically important. And employers can choose to supplement what the state already provides and also the schedules. So parents need flexible schedules so that they can be providing as much of the care for their kids as they want to and are able to. And at the same time, they need schedules that are predictable because they need to be able to arrange childcare in advance. And many, um, workers in our economy have, uh, don't know their schedules until the very last minute until, um, a few days before, even the day before they have to work. Well, you can imagine for a parent, how are they going? How are they possibly going to arrange childcare when they don't know their schedule in advance? So parents need schedules to be predictable and at the same time flexible and employers can create that for them.

Speaker 2: 04:55 And now that the studies and the reports are done, what's next? The important thing we're trying to get at with this report is that, um, San Diego regionally we have to step into this so we can't wait for the state to fix it for us or the federal government to fix it for us. Although we should advocate for more funding for childcare support for families. Absolutely. But in the meantime, local governments and school districts can help provide low cost or free facilities for childcare and that will help more childcare businesses to start up and serve more of our families. School districts can do a better job of linking with early childhood education and providing afterschool care on campus, um, so that students and their future students, um, have the best possible care in education as they move through. Before we started working with partners recently, we weren't doing anything to help parents get childcare so that they could work or so that they could do the training that we're helping them to connect with. Now we've changed that by building linkages with, um, local, um, nonprofits that help parents find childcare and we need to see more of that, um, where the, the service, the network of services for parents gets better connected and does a better job of connecting every family with work opportunities, with childcare opportunities and everything they need to thrive. I've been speaking with Laura cone with the San Diego workforce partnership. Laura, thank you very much. You're welcome.

Speaker 3: 06:27 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The Monarch butterfly is one of the beauties of nature. The large orange and black monarchs are among the most easily recognized butterflies, but in the West they are also becoming among the rarest. Last winter, the population dropped to fewer than 30,000 in the Western us. A 99% decline. Since the 1980s recently San Diego mayor Kevin Faulkner joined city leaders across the nation in signing the mayor's Monarch pledge. In doing so, Faulkner committed San Diego to help the monarchs rebound by providing habitat and public support. Joining me is Patrick Fitzgerald of the national wildlife Federation, creator of the mayor's Monarch pledge. And Patrick, welcome to the show.

Speaker 2: 00:43 Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1: 00:44 What are some of the reasons that the Monarch butterfly is in such decline in the West?

Speaker 2: 00:49 Well, the Monarch butterfly is one of our nation's most all known and beautiful butterflies and it like, uh, many other insects and pollinators, um, are, uh, facing struggles in the West end and the East. And, uh, the struggles for the Monarch butterfly include, um, habitat. Their natural habitat is not there in the same way it used to be. Um, they're facing challenges from climate change and, um, from pesticide use. And so they're, they're really facing many challenges today.

Speaker 1: 01:24 Now, many areas along the California coast from Santa Cruz to Pismo beach to here at UCS, DS, eucalyptus Grove have become famous for their Monarch butterflies. Do monarchs still visit those locations?

Speaker 2: 01:39 Um, monarchs, um, do still visit many of those locations. But what we do know, um, in the West is that the numbers have been declining dramatically. Um, since the 1980s. In the mid 1980s, there were about four and a half million monarchs that were, um, in, in the Western United States and overwintering and, uh, many of those well-known sites. And, um, just last year there were just over 28,000 butterflies that were documented, um, in those overwintering sites. So some are not seeing, um, any Monarch butterflies. Others are seeing, um, definitely lesser numbers. And in the past

Speaker 1: 02:18 now in signing the mayor's Monarch pledge, what kinds of resources does mayor Faulkner promise to devote to helping the monarchs?

Speaker 2: 02:25 So we're very excited that mayor Faulkner has taken the mayor's Monarch pledge. And in doing so, um, he, together with council member Jennifer Campbell and some others, um, are making a real commitment to creating a and restoring Monarch habitat within the city and helping to educate residents, um, about what they can do to help the Monarch. So, um, I've, I've spoken with the city and I know that they're already taking action. Um, they had a press conference announcing the pledge in December. They've already planted native milkweed, which is a critical host plant for the Monarch butterfly at city hall and they've begun reaching out to school districts and community garden leaders, um, and they're beginning to strategize about how they can create more habitat within, uh, San Diego parks and really looking at how they can do that through, um, the new, um, parks master plan that the city is working on. So they, they've just taken the pledge about a month ago, but I already have a, a number of projects underway.

Speaker 1: 03:28 What can individual San Diego ans do to make this city more friendly to monarchs?

Speaker 2: 03:34 Oh, that's a wonderful question. So, um, you can start right outside your, your front or back door. Um, and all Monarch butterflies need native milkweed, um, in order to, uh, grow and raise their, their young caterpillars. That's the only, uh, plant that those caterpillars were eat. So I would start right outside your door and look at how can I provide native milkweed, uh, for Monarch butterflies? How can I plant other, uh, wild flowers that can provide a nectar and so forth that the adult Monarch butterflies need? And then how can I get more involved in my community garden and my neighborhood, um, working with the city to take even even bigger actions.

Speaker 1: 04:16 Tell us a little bit, uh, more about the mayor's Monarch pledge. How did the national wildlife Federation come up with this approach to try to save and increase the population of monarchs?

Speaker 2: 04:27 Well, the national wildlife Federation has been working for many years to save and protect wildlife and their habitat. And about five years ago, we began a formal partnership with the U S fish and wildlife service, the federal agency, um, and others, and began looking at how can we really involve, uh, mayors and cities in, in taking more actions. So we, we know that, um, cities have hundreds of thousands of, of acres of land, um, through their, their park systems. Um, we know that they engage millions and millions of people across the country. So we launched the pledge in 2015, uh, in the city of st Louis, um, with mayor Francis slay and expanded to Austin, Texas. And we're now now approaching 600, uh, cities that are in communities that are engaged in the mayor's Monarch pledge.

Speaker 1: 05:21 As I mentioned, Monarch butterflies of course are beautiful, but they're also extremely important to the ecosystem and even our food supply. Can you tell us more about the role that they play as pollinators?

Speaker 2: 05:32 Yeah, so Monarch butterflies, um, other butterflies and especially our native bee species, um, are, are really important pollinators and, um, PO pollinators. Just to provide a, a quick definition, um, for folks, um, you know, pollinators, anything that helps carry pollen from the male part of a to the female part and allows for, um, uh, many plants to produce fruit and seeds and young plants. So, um, uh, a lot of our pollinating insects, um, including monarchs, but especially our native bees, um, are really critical to pollinating the food, uh, that many of the foods that we eat. Um, and, uh, and they're, they're also very critical to, uh, pollinating, um, wild plants,

Speaker 1: 06:24 you know, after all these years and end with everything that you've seen, how hopeful are you that the Monarch population across North America can be restored to healthy levels?

Speaker 2: 06:35 Tremendously hopeful. I think one thing that, um, we have seen, um, across the country is that, that people are passionate about this butterfly. Um, it has this miraculous, uh, migration in both the East and the West. It has this incredible metamorphosis that many, uh, young people study in school. Um, and it's, it's a butterfly that's inspiring a lot of action, um, to, to preserve habitat across the country. So it's facing tremendous stresses, but there's a lot of people paying attention to this, a little orange and back black butterfly and working to figure out how we can, uh, improve habitat and, and recover the species.

Speaker 1: 07:19 Well, I've been speaking with Patrick Fitzgerald of the national wildlife Federation, creator of the mayor's Monarch pledge, and Patrick, thank you very much.

Speaker 2: 07:28 Thank you.

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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.