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Impeachment Trial On Fastrack, District 7's Political Newcomers, Questions Remain Unanswered In Death Of SDSU Student, And Politics Meets Basketball In ‘The Great Leap’

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Speaker 1: 00:00 Arguments supporting the removal of president Trump from office. We'll begin today in the Senate. The impeachment trial began Tuesday with a marathon of amendments and votes on the rules for the trial. Arguments between house managers and the president's attorneys went on into the early morning hours in Washington with presiding judge chief justice John Roberts finally admonishing both sides for their lack of decorum. Joining me is legal analyst in Eaton for a recap and a preview of what lies ahead in the Senate trial today. And Dan, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Thank you. Good morning Maureen.

Speaker 1: 00:32 Well, first of all, let's hear that admonishment from chief justice Roberts.

Speaker 3: 00:37 I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the house managers and the president's council in equal terms, uh, to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.

Speaker 1: 01:03 Now, that happened after testy exchanges on both sides. Late last night when I think you could say nerves were afraid. And so Dan, do you think we can expect more of that kind of guidance from justice Roberts as the trial continues?

Speaker 2: 01:17 Well, the key thing in what you said, Maureen, is that kind of guidance. And the answer is yes. You can expect that a chief justice Roberts will weigh in to maintain decorum. That is something he cares a lot about. And that's really what he sees his role in this proceeding. It's not substantive in any meaningful way, although there's some question about whether he's going to rule on evidence in the sentence power to overturn it. But mostly you're going to see him keeping order as the chief justice and letting the parties, as they say, argue their case.

Speaker 1: 01:48 Now it's been pointed out by disinterested parties that a few comments made by president Trump's attorneys yesterday were demonstrably false. Are any of these speakers under oath?

Speaker 2: 02:00 No. Maureen, no, they're not. And that's an important point because arguments are not evidence. And so, uh, to the stents that people make arguments in a court of law any way that would not be admissible unless there were admissible, it would not be usable unless there were admissible evidence to, uh, support, uh, that, uh, those arguments. So when, uh, the precedent does lawyers or the, uh, house managers, uh, speak in hyperbole or things that are demonstrably false, it's not evidence, but that's that the senators are going to, uh, be entitled to rely on anything at all in making the decision they come to and their decision. Maureen is not subject to further review.

Speaker 1: 02:39 Now the Senate took votes on the format of the trial yesterday. The original plan from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was to have the 24 hours allotted. Both legal teams spread over just two days, but there was a change there wasn't there?

Speaker 2: 02:53 Well, there was a change from two days, which would've been 12 hour days, a two a three days. And that was a result of apparently some discussion in the Senate Republican lunch caucus that immediately proceeded the formal introduction of the resolution. But there was another change that didn't get as much attention that ended up being more consequential. And it relates to a point that I just made in the original a resolution which I had and I interlineated as it was being read on the floor. Uh, it said, uh, that the record would, uh, may be admitted into evidence by motion made after the Senate is disposed to the question about whether there would be additional evidence by subpoena. What does that mean? It would mean that the Senate could actually vote not to admit any of the evidence that the house had gathered during the impeachment proceedings. And ultimately what the actual resolution said, uh, is that the evidence will be admitted subject to emotion by the president's lawyer to object on the grounds of hearsay and other evidentiary basis to exclude, uh, parts of the house manager's evidence. That means that the evidence essentially is going to come in presumptively and the Senate will have it fully before it in making any determination they make on whether to convict or acquit. President Trump,

Speaker 1: 04:07 there were many amendments offered to subpoena documents and witnesses where any of the Democrats amendment successful.

Speaker 2: 04:13 There were not. The cost as they came was a, there was one vote, uh, as Susan Collins voted, uh, to agree to extend the time to respond to any motions that were due to be filed at nine o'clock, uh, this morning, Eastern time, uh, to 24 hours instead of two hours, which is a crazy, a short period of time to respond, uh, to a motion. It turns out that at least from what I've read from the newsfeeds, no motions have actually been filed. So, uh, they're going to launch right into argument with the house manager is going to start their three days, eight hour days argument, uh, at one o'clock today Eastern time.

Speaker 1: 04:47 The big question going into this trial, uh, has been whether there will be witnesses and further documents after the house managers present their case. W where does that decision stand right now?

Speaker 2: 04:59 Well, let's see. A lot of people are focusing on this as well. Uh, they defeated the idea of the Republican majority said, uh, no subpoenas, no witnesses, but it really should have had the words for now at the end of that because it's clearly in the resolution that that question can be taken up after the house managers and the president's lawyers have their arguments in. There's further arguments in there, questions from senators, but from up to 16 hours that are submitted, by the way, in writing, at the end of that whole process, uh, there will be an opportunity to make a motion, uh, for, uh, the subpoenaing of further witnesses like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney and, uh, also further document, uh, documentary evidence that supports or rebuts, uh, the claims that are made against the president with respect to the articles of impeachment.

Speaker 1: 05:47 So as this trial gets underway again at 10 o'clock this morning, what are we expecting might happen today?

Speaker 2: 05:54 This is really going to be the meat of it. We heard a of it with the house managers, uh, uh, in their argument about the process because they laid out a lot of their case with video clips and PowerPoints and so forth. So a lot of what we are going to see today with respect to the house, the first day of the house manager's opening argument we saw yesterday because they comprehensively previewed their case and a lot of this has already been in writing. Each side is submitted over 100 page, two pages of briefs laying out their position. So what we're going to see is the house managers, at least on the first day, lay out the heart in the first day to capture the attention of their case that the president, uh, abused his power and committed obstruction of Congress. The two articles of impeachment.

Speaker 1: 06:38 Finally, just anecdotally, a lot of people have said this is the first impeachment trial of a president during an election year, but that you found out that's not the case.

Speaker 2: 06:46 It's really not the case. Actual AIDS, the very first presidential impeachment trial was Andrew Johnson in 1868, which was a presidential election year. Remember that president Johnson was never actually elected that office. He took over after president Lincoln was assassinated. Uh, so that was an election year. He was acquitted by a single vote by a Senator from Kansas who switched, uh, who was viewed to switching his vote. And he ultimately didn't get the democratic nomination for president that year. And ultimately, you list the assessed grant was elected president.

Speaker 1: 07:15 Great, great. Historical anecdote there. I've been speaking with legal analysts, Dan Eaton. Dan, thank you for joining us.

Speaker 2: 07:23 Thank you. It was great to be with you, Maureen.

Speaker 1: 07:25 Hey, PBS will resume live coverage of the Senate impeachment trial when it begins this morning at 10.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The family of 19 year old San Diego state university student Dylan Hernandez is not satisfied with the investigation into his death. Hernandez died last November after falling out of his dorm room, bunk bed and fracturing his skull. He attended a fraternity party at Phi gamma Delta the night before and had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. The Hernandez family is now raising issues about alcohol use on campus hazing and inadequate police investigation and bunk beds on campus that lack adequate safety bars. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune reporter Gary Robbins. Gary, welcome. Hi. So the union Tribune obtained a copy of the investigative report released to the family. What does the report show about what the campus police did and didn't do in the investigation?

Speaker 2: 00:49 It's a confusing report to be, to be Frank with you because it says that the police had access to a lot of information. Um, but it's unclear what, if anything they did with it. The family is raising questions that have to do with the fact that there were some videos on a cell phone that were supposedly taken during the party and it appears to be hazing. Um, there's a couple of separate, um, videos where one kid has passed out on his bed and another case, another kid has passed out on the floor. That kid is being taunted by someone else. There is an image of, um, one of the, uh, what we believe to be the fraternity brothers or what they report leads us to believe as the fraternity brothers were big welts on his back as if he had been repeatedly hit with someone's hand.

Speaker 2: 01:33 There are signs of alcohol in one of the images. So the family was saying, well, here was a party, a big brother night at Phi gamma Delta. Uh, and there was a lot of underage kids there. So why was there alcohol there and what happened in the case of my brother was he drinking a lot? They want to know basic things. Like if he was, who put the alcohol in his hand and why did the fraternity do this? When it has a written policy stating that it will not do any of that, that it won't be abuse alcohol or that it won't physically or mentally haze students

Speaker 1: 02:04 and has the university police said why they don't have these answers, why perhaps members of the fraternity were not interviewed

Speaker 2: 02:12 well, so we don't know precisely what happened. If you read the report, you come away with the impression that they might have talked to some of the fraternity members, but that's different than a formal interview. We didn't see any thing to indicate there was a transcript of a formal interviews with one or more of the fraternity members. It indicated in some places that they really weren't sure who the fraternity members were by name and identity, which was curious to us because the university has a lot of information about his fraternity members. If you're going to join, you know, join one, you have to go through a prereq program, you have to sign up and do that. The question we walked away was every kid of that age today has a cell phone and they live on the cell phone and we're not seeing any evidence that the police made an aggressive rapid effort to get those cell phones. Not just from Dylan, from the people who would have been at the party. Now Marine, I'm not saying they didn't do it. What I'm saying is from reading the crime report that was given to the family that does not appear to have happened

Speaker 1: 03:09 and and another aspect of the story concerns the bunk beds, safety rails. The family says the bed was not outfitted with the proper safety features. Can you explain that?

Speaker 2: 03:19 So just think of a bunk bed and think of the top bunk bed and think of there being kind of like a small iron guardrail, but the guard rail doesn't cover the entire length of the bed. It covers, you know, the middle part of it and it's meant to prevent someone kind of from rolling out of bed. What the police report says in one particular instance was that kids can pile things up and a lot might've been piled up, it could be blankets, it could be pillows and whatnot, and so his body might have been near the top of the rail, whether he simply fell out or fell out as a result of alcohol. In other words, having been drunk and moving around in bed, we don't know. We don't know the actual circumstance. The family is raising questions saying this. These beds are uh, are unsafe in their design.

Speaker 2: 04:02 The university is saying the opposite. They say that they meet the codes of the state fire Marshall and they do appear to do that. Um, there are federal regulations. Um, federal regulations may not have been in process here. In other words, a university might not have adopted them and they may not have been required to adopt them. Um, the university has said that, uh, it doesn't keep data on this because there's been so few incidents with it, but we don't know that to be true. We don't have independent data showing that to be the case.

Speaker 1: 04:32 What is Phi gamma Delta status at SDSU now? Is it on suspension?

Speaker 2: 04:36 So president aleatory suspended all 14 fraternities that are part of what's called a inter fraternity council. That's one of the, you know, that's really, it's the largest of the organizations. So 10 of these, um, uh, fraternities were under investigation or under suspension before Dylan Hernandez ever died. There was ongoing problems and those problems go back years. So the problem we're dealing here with Darren with fraternities is a longstanding problem. Um, now president Delatorre has a commissioned two commissions to look into various aspects. One has to do with alcohol, the use of alcohol, the use and abuse of alcohol amongst students. The use of other drugs is other things as well. And students safety. A lot of people on those two task force, they are mostly university people or people with close ties to the university. We're going to be looking to see whether they're overly stocked in that way because the fraternity system is very popular here at San Diego state and it goes back a long way. Um, we're wondering whether there's enough independence to say, Hey, wait a minute. You know, fraternities do play a good role in many ways, but are, are we being independent enough to figure out what happened here?

Speaker 1: 05:47 Well my question to you is the report that was released to the family and and you saw is being described by university police as preliminary. Have you received any indication that they consider this an active investigation and we'll have a full report in the future?

Speaker 2: 06:04 This is one of those, forgive me for saying it, but it's one of those wait to see circumstances. The family says the police talked to them and they said the police said this case is closed pending further leads. Now the police department also said to the union Tribune in a statement released by the university that they are awaiting the results of the toxicology test and any other medical tests that might give them a better idea. They also urge the public to come forth if they knew anything about it. So in that sense the case is open and can be open indefinitely. What we are interested in is the report given to the family seem to be the total initial conclusions of what they had done. The police, you know, led the family to believe that this was the majority of the investigation, or at least that's what the family is saying to us.

Speaker 2: 06:50 And it was done pretty fast. It was done in about three weeks now. We asked the, um, police department and the campus all through the end of this past year in 2019. What is the status of the case? What is the status? And we were told that it wasn't done, but there's one sheet of paper in the report dated November 27th, 2019 that essentially wraps up most of the case and saying that they didn't have enough evidence to bring felony hazing charges or obstruction of Justin charge charges while after that to December and January, the, um, the university is telling us, um, that things were still ongoing. So I think it's semantical,

Speaker 1: 07:25 as you said, it's very confusing. I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune reporter Gary Robbins. Gary, thank you. You're welcome.

Speaker 1: 00:00 And now we turn to the upcoming election. This March, residents of Linda Vista, mission Valley allied gardens in Tierrasanta. We'll have four choices when voting for a new city council member. That top two vote getters will compete in November to replace termed out Councilman Scott Sherman. KPBS reporter Claire Traeger. Sir introduces us to the candidates.

Speaker 2: 00:20 Four candidates means there's a lot to keep straight. So here's a quick rundown. First up is Knollies OSA.

Speaker 3: 00:27 I am a partner in the, uh, popular restaurant group, dirty birds.

Speaker 2: 00:32 He's also on the city's parks and recreation board and chairman of the Linda Vista planning group. He's the only Republican in the race. The rest are Democrats. Then roll can PO.

Speaker 1: 00:44 Now I'm a deputy city attorney. I work in Mara Elliot's office and the criminal division.

Speaker 2: 00:49 He used to be an elementary school teacher and has worked on democratic presidential campaigns. Next, there's Wendy Wheatcroft.

Speaker 1: 00:57 I spent the past three and some years working in gun violence prevention at the local, state and federal levels.

Speaker 2: 01:04 She volunteers with moms demand action for gun sense in America and also was an elementary school teacher. Finally, we have Monte McEntire.

Speaker 4: 01:14 I practice law here since 1980 for 40 years next year and I've been a mediator and an arbitrator in the last 19 years.

Speaker 2: 01:23 He also was president of the San Diego County bar association and works on a nonprofit that provides music therapy. The candidates mostly agreed that homelessness and a lack of affordable housing, our San Diego's most pressing issues, but their opinions differ when it comes to solutions. Knollies OSA says city leaders must better understand what homeless people are going through before deciding what they need.

Speaker 3: 01:52 Really treating people as um, individuals and not data. Just providing a house or a housing for them or prefer feeding them is not enough. Um, there's, there's mental issues. There's substance abuse issues, there's alcohol related issues, there's relationship issues. There's so many different reasons why people are homeless.

Speaker 2: 02:10 Sosa also wants the city to lower taxes on small business owners and cut its spending on bike lanes.

Speaker 3: 02:18 Right now San Diego is spending, uh, 200, and I believe the figure is $276 million on building a bike lanes. And that money should have been spending, should be spent on roads. And expanding highways. 99% of the commuters in this city still use their car as their main mode of transportation.

Speaker 2: 02:41 Housing and homelessness are tops for a row will come PO too, but he favors the approach the current city council is taking.

Speaker 1: 02:49 Georgette Gomez said we're going to have a compromise plan on an inclusionary rate for housing costs. So when a new project comes up, uh, the developer has to set aside a percentage to keep the, either the rent or the housing cost. The purchase costs lower.

Speaker 2: 03:03 He also wants more supportive housing for the homeless along with job training among compose. Other big issues are improving bus and trolley service and increasing pay for police officers. Wendy, we craft also puts homelessness as her top issue, but she says city leaders have to think big if they actually want to make a dent in the problem.

Speaker 1: 03:27 We need sweeping regulatory and land use reform so that we contain some of the zoning and neighborhoods to allow us to build more houses.

Speaker 2: 03:36 Monty MacIntyre is the only candidate who puts city hall culture, not a specific issue as his top priority.

Speaker 4: 03:43 Do we have to try to make our decision making process better?

Speaker 2: 03:47 And how would he do that?

Speaker 4: 03:48 We really have to use a critical analysis process. So you have to first get all the facts, then you have to figure out if there are any best practices anybody has developed,

Speaker 2: 03:57 then get expert opinions in analyze. He also wants to help housing affordability by removing red tape and changing community plans so more homes can be built and wants to boost salaries for city employees. The top two vote getters will face off against each other in the November general election.

Speaker 1: 04:19 Joining me is KPBS investigative reporter Claire [inaudible]. Claire, welcome. Thank you. So city council district seven is currently represented by termed out council member Republican Scott Sherman. Uh, is district seven typically a Republican district? It has been in the past. Historically when Scott Sherman was first elected, I think he had a couple, um, Democrats running against him, but they didn't have much of a shot. So, so yeah, it's a big change to now have more Democrats than Republicans running. And can you gauge the level of interest in the council race in district seven? Well, a sort of, I mean I actually live in this district, um, and so I can say in allied gardens we've gotten some candidates knocking on doors. There's a few big signs out and there's going to be a candidate forum next week. But the mailers that we usually see flooding are our mailboxes haven't really started yet.

Speaker 1: 05:13 I think people were kind of holding off for the holidays and now the campaigns are gearing up a little bit more. Uh, right before the mail in ballots get sent out. So who's backing these candidates? Who's got the biggest war chest? Well, so there's the, the San Diego County democratic party has endorsed role can PO, they've given his campaign about $11,000. Um, as far as I can tell, the Republican party have not made any donations yet. Maybe they're waiting til after the primary when there's just down to two candidates and then no OSA. The Republican had raised the most money, but those numbers only date back to the middle of the summer. We don't have new numbers yet. For the last six months. So, uh, we can't really tell at this point really who has the most money. So has there been any polling yet? No, there's, I mean campaigns might do internal polling that, that they release, but these city council races are pretty small so there isn't really polling that people do.

Speaker 1: 06:12 So in some ways it's, it's, you know, it's kind of a surprise when the, when the votes are counted on election day, you, you may not really be able to tell who is actually going to, um, advanced to the November election. So are there similar campaign themes among these candidates and other local candidates? Yeah, so it's interesting because I've been interviewing candidates for this race as well as some of the other city council races and the San Diego mayor's race. And I noticed a few things I'm among, especially among the Republican candidates. One big talking point was more of a focus on tough love on homelessness is what people are calling it. I'm saying, you know, maybe we've been doing too much compassion. I think what that means is criminalizing or you know, not allowing people to really be sleeping outside. And another common Republican talking point I noticed was calling out bike lanes for being a waste of money.

Speaker 1: 07:07 Um, I heard that from a couple of different candidates. Among the Democrats, it's not, I mean people are talking a lot about housing affordability, especially in these districts where prices have just gone up and up and then working on homelessness, you know, providing more services, things like that. And then everyone always talks about roads because that's popular. We need to improve roads, more people. This election, I feel like we're talking about also improving transit than I've heard in past elections. And you also recently reported on the race in city council district five where three major candidates are battling to replace termed out council member Mark Kersey that covers black mountain ranch, Carmel mountain ranch, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Penasquitos. Did you find differences in the priorities of those city council candidates and the candidates in district seven? Um, not really because I think district five and district seven are pretty similar in some ways.

Speaker 1: 08:02 So their candidates are also talking about housing affordability. I think they're less willing to say, you know, we need to build a lot of housing in this district because that district is so kind of suburban residential spread out. I don't think that people who live in that district may be very receptive to that message. But in general, yeah. You kind of hear talking points along similar lines and last year, current district five council member Mark Kersey switched parties from Republican to independent. Does that tell us anything about the changing politics in district five? Yeah, I mean it's interesting he did that. He obviously he couldn't run again, so it's not like he was trying to align himself necessarily with his district. Maybe he's scoping out of future political move that we don't know about yet. But that district had always been a Republican stronghold. No one ran against Mark Kersey in either of the past two times that he was elected.

Speaker 1: 08:57 But now the latest registration numbers show that there actually are more Democrats now in that district than Republicans, which is a big change in both of these races. You know, like you're saying there, there's only one major Republican candidate, so it's possible that after the primary two Democrats could be on the ballot in November. That would be a big change for these districts, wouldn't it? Oh, I mean now it'd be an incredible change to have districts where typically you've always had Republicans elected all of a sudden you don't even have a Republican in the general election. I don't really expect that would happen because there's still a good chunk of Republicans and if there's only one Republican candidate in each race, then all the Republicans usually line up behind that person. Plus they may be able to attract a lot of the no party preference voters as well.

Speaker 1: 09:44 And so then you would have the typical kind of runoff with a Democrat and a Republican, even though the city council seats are supposed to be nonpartisan. Wa what will it mean for the council if either of these districts goes from Republican to a democratic representation? Yeah, I mean we're going to see, because like you said, it's supposed to be nonpartisan already. Right now, the Democrats have the six, three super majority on the city council, so they can override a veto from a Republican mayor. We may not have a Republican mayor after the next election, and so then if there's even more Democrats, they may end up kind of splitting into groups of like maybe a more moderate and a more liberal and fighting against each other. Um, it'll just be a huge change for the city politics overall if that happens. I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter Claire Traeger, sir Claire. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 5: 10:41 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Politics is personal in a new production opening at Cygnet theater this week. The play, the great leap is set back in 1989 during the exhibition basketball game between the U S and China during the play. The tensions of the Tiananmen square protests mirror the tensions on the basketball court. Joining me by Skype is the great leap playwright Lauren ye, she's a UC San Diego graduate and also the playwright of Cambodian rock band that was recently at LA Jolla Playhouse. And Lauren, welcome to the program. Thank you so much for having me. You know at first the setting of this play may seem odd, a basketball game in China in the 1980s but you actually have something of a personal inspiration for that setting. Can you tell us about that?

Speaker 2: 00:46 Yeah, so my father grew up in San Francisco. He was born and raised there and the only thing he really did before he had kids and raised a family was play basketball. And so basically in the 80s he got invited with his teammates from San Francisco to play a series of exhibition games in China against the best teams. In the country. And that was a trip that I'd always heard about growing up, but when I got commissioned by Denver center to write a play for them, I was like, ah, Denver loves basketball. This may be a really great opportunity to delve into a footnote of my father's past.

Speaker 1: 01:27 That's fascinating. Kenny, can you give us a brief idea of the plot of the great leap?

Speaker 2: 01:32 The great leap is not a retelling of my father's story. It's a story inspired by what he went through and it focuses on a similar friendship game between China and America in the 80s and it features a scrappy Chinese American young man named Manford Lum who desperately wants to talk his way onto the American team so he can go on this trip to China. Um, so someone like my father, but not exactly

Speaker 1: 02:05 how does the backdrop of TNM and square play into the, the plot.

Speaker 2: 02:09 So the play is set in San Francisco and Beijing in 1989 and kind of anyone who remembers that period of time will remember that that was just this period of tumbled and change and you know, possibility. For what China's future was going to be. You know? And so I think the play leans into this idea of ordinary people in an extreme, in extraordinary circumstances that it kind of like starts in a situation where the characters are like, I want to play this game, I want to play this game. And they find themselves in the midst of huge, huge political events just swirling around them.

Speaker 1: 02:53 You know, one thing we may forget with all the tensions and trade talks that exists now between China and the U S is that China loves basketball as much or even more than Americans. Is that [inaudible] is there something about that shared interest that fascinates you?

Speaker 2: 03:09 I, I think so. I think that, you know, any time a country or a group of people gravitate towards a particular sport, I think that's really fascinating and tells us something about the psyche of that country. And so for instance, like the fact that both China and America really relate deeply to basketball I think reveals different things about the country. Cause I think, you know, in America basketball is so popular because it's five people on the court. Unlike a football game, you see the players, you know, they're not wearing helmets. They're, they're kind of, they get to be individuals, you know. Whereas basketball in China has its roots focusing on like the group aspects of the game. Uh, Mao Zedong loved basketball. He used to play it in a way like there's nothing more communist than basketball. It's a sport played by people, you know, with fewer resources that there's nothing really more democratic than a basketball game in some respects

Speaker 1: 04:12 because all you need is a, a place to play in a hoop. Right?

Speaker 2: 04:15 I mean it's, it's also what it's, it's another reason why like soccer is so popular worldwide cause you need one ball. Baseball. Think of all the equipment. Football, think of all the equipment. But a game like basketball, you know, it's a game for everybody.

Speaker 1: 04:30 You know, in your play Cambodian rock band, which recently ran at LA Jolla Playhouse family secrets play a big role in the plot. Is that also true in the great leap?

Speaker 2: 04:40 I think you'll have to come see the play to find out.

Speaker 1: 04:42 I, let me ask you this then. Are you obsessed with the idea of families having secrets and wanting to expose them?

Speaker 2: 04:50 Yeah, I think I'm, I'm obsessed with them, but I find that idea very, very true that like every family, no matter how well you know your parents or your relatives, there's always something you haven't learned and like something that is being held back generally for the reason of protecting the next generation. That there's this sense of secure security and, and like comfort that you want to give the next generation when all they really want to know is like what were you like when you were that age? And so in a way like, you know, the great leap is my musing about like what was my father like when he was like a teenager?

Speaker 1: 05:30 You know, Lauren, you, you have the distinction of being one of the two most produced playwrights in the country just now. And the great leap and Cambodian rock band are both in American theaters, top 10 most produced plays. What is it about your work you think that hits a chord with audiences?

Speaker 2: 05:47 I, I think it's, I'm always interested in a completely unexpected evening of theater that I think the best theatrical experiences should be filled with like humor and heartbreak. It should introduce you to worlds you've never seen before. People you've never met, but that it also some health fields incredibly familiar. I tell a lot of family stories. I also recently, you know, have told a lot of history stories looking at footnotes in history that don't seem like they should be connected, but our right Cambodian rock band and the great leap are two worlds that kind of collide very different pieces of subject matter basketball and communism. Um, Cambodian rock band is psychedelic surf rock in the Camair Rouge and genocide. Like those don't seem like things that should kind of be in the same sentence even, but that's what the history is.

Speaker 1: 06:43 Well, we're going to be seeing more of your work in San Diego as the year goes on. You, uh, LA Jolla Playhouse will premiere your play mother Russia in September. And I hear you're working on a play about craft beer, is that right?

Speaker 2: 06:57 That is, that's correct. Yeah. That's been commissioned by LA Jolla Playhouse. And I'm still like trying to figure that one out.

Speaker 1: 07:04 Okay. So what do you hope audiences take away from the great leap?

Speaker 2: 07:09 I hope the basketball fans among the audience will see that I got something right in how to portray basketball and how to give the audience a sense of what the spirit of basketball is, even if we don't necessarily see that on the court. And then I think just for the entire audience, I would love for us to think about our individual powers as ordinary citizens and how the efforts of a single human being can change history.

Speaker 1: 07:42 Well, I've been speaking with the author of the great leap, Lauren ye the great leap runs through February 16th at Cygnet theater in old town. And Lauren, thank you very much for speaking with us.

Speaker 2: 07:53 Thank you.

President Trump's impeachment trial is on the fast track. Also, the race for San Diego's District 7 city council seat features political newcomers. New details have emerged in the investigation into the death of an SDSU student. Hoover High School students got the chance to grill San Diego's mayoral candidates, and politics and basketball take center stage in the play “The Great Leap.”

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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.