Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Another Daily High In San Diego COVID-19 Cases, SDPD De-Escalation Reform Announced, New Recommendations For Disposal Of Nuclear Waste At San Onofre And Are Spectator Sports Over In San Diego?

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY ALEXANDER NGUYEN

Above: People on the beach on June 21, 2020, Pacific Beach overlooking Crystal Pier.

San Diego is seeking a spike in new coronavirus cases that could be traced to businesses reopening, church resuming services and mass protests. Plus, San Diego’s mayor and police chief announced two new policies that require officers to make de-escalation a priority and to intervene when fellow officers are using excessive force. Also, a San Onofre Task Force recommends creating a federal agency focusing on developing a permanent repository location for disposing of nuclear waste and ensuring its safe removal. In addition, if the military were to rename bases named after Confederate generals, whose names should they bear? And, many San Diego farmers aren’t eligible for COVID-19 relief because they grow flowers and exotic fruits. These growers are making the case they should be. Finally, baseball is returning to Petco Park sans fans, is that a signal that spectator sports are over in San Diego?

Speaker 1: 00:01 Increasing COVID cases create uncertainty around how fast we can reopen. And San Diego city police released a new deescalation policy. I am Alison st. John, along with Maureen Canada. This is KPBS midday. Additional Today is Thursday, June 25th.

Speaker 2: 00:27 Governor Gavin Newsome used his COVID-19 update to outline the increases of positive tests and hospitalizations in California. Over the last two weeks on Wednesday, California registered its highest number of COVID positive task said more than 7,000 and the positivity rate has increased to 5.6%. Governor Newsome announced a new interactive COVID-19 modeling project to allow the public to back up the decision making of the state's health officials.

Speaker 3: 00:58 We're. Now we're opening up to all of you. We're opening up to mathematicians. We're opening up to people that are experts in AI and opening up to our researchers and our scientists and our Nobel laureates and our partners across the spectrum, including again, citizens that just have an expertise that hasn't been tapped that haven't been asked.

Speaker 2: 01:19 He says, it's an effort at transparency to allow the public, to get the same kind of information that County health officers are getting the address of the new California covert assessment tool can be found at Cal cat dot COVID-19 dot ca.gov. San Diego is also seeing a spike in positive tests for the virus County officials reported 332 COVID-19 cases yesterday. That's a new high in daily positivity tests. More importantly, it brought the daily percentage of cases up to 5%. So another jump from last week's average of 2.8 San Diego was also seeing a small increase in hospitalizations and ICU patients, but like the governor County officials say the uptick can be brought down. If Californians are strict about social distancing and wearing face masks. Joining me is Paul Sisson who covers healthcare for the San Diego union Tribune. Paul, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. Is there any concern yet that this uptick threatens our healthcare or hospital capacity?

Speaker 4: 02:24 I think it's more about the trend than the raw numbers coming in at the moment. I think that's probably what our, uh, local epidemiologists would say. Uh, you know, we're seeing over the last four days over 300 cases that certainly higher than the numbers that were coming in daily, say a month or more ago when it was kind of closer to a hundred cases per day, uh, you know, any one day alone does not a trend make. Uh, but you know, I, if we've ran at 300 cases per day for weeks, um, that could perhaps, uh, begin to keep beds full for longer and shrink the, uh, the amount of available capacity in the system. Uh, the County epidemiology department really hasn't quantified exactly what level of, um, cases per day would cause an inundation situation. But my sense is that we're probably a ways from that yet.

Speaker 4: 03:23 I don't, I'm not, I'm not quite sure that 300 cases a day would quite be enough to put us in that situation. And that's especially true because it seems like the number of people getting sick, uh, these days, uh, are skewing toward, uh, younger people who are less likely to be hospitalized or put in an ICU. But this uptick seems to be enough to cause a delay in reopening the campus of UC San Diego as planned. Can you tell us about that? That's right. Uh, one of our, uh, one of our good reporters, Gary Robbins just had a story up, uh, uh, in the evening last night, talking about how you CSD is rethinking their plans to reopen and do a massive amount of testing of their faculty and student body. Um, I think they're more concerned about the trend, uh, that this trend would continue into the future and where might it be by the time we get to the fall semester?

Speaker 4: 04:21 Uh, you know, I think that they, uh, want to be confident that this thing isn't going to be twice as big as it is now by the time the fall, no, according to local health officials, one of the biggest factors leading to the increase in cases, what public health folks are telling us is that more and more people are going out and about now that so much has been reopened. Now that bars are reopened. Now that restaurants are reopened, you know, obviously the beaches have a have been reopened for some time now, um, casinos as well. Uh, you know, they just fear that as people are getting out and about and contacting people outside of their individual households, uh, that they're not doing enough to keep at least six feet of distance from others, that they're not doing enough mask wearing face covering, wearing, uh, uh, as they should.

Speaker 4: 05:12 And so that just increases the odds that you're going to see transmission from person to person. What about outbreaks? Cause that's another trigger for the County as well, just recently, dr. Wilma Wooten, who is our public health officer said it may not be safe for people to have gatherings at their homes until sometime next year, but apparently a lot of people are not taking heat of that. Yeah, that's something that's really hard for, for any government to regulate. Um, you know, it's not as if they have enough personnel, uh, nor would they want to follow everybody around all the time and see where they're going. Uh, so, so this is kind of an honor system that we have going here about, uh, gatherings in people's homes. Um, and yesterday a dr. McDonald, the county's epidemiology director, uh, indicated that, uh, that he is most concerned about, uh, transmission in people's homes.

Speaker 4: 06:07 He was saying that, uh, you know, people just tend to relax when they're around a friends and family and their own homes and, and it's that relaxing and getting together and not wearing masks that that presents kind of a ripe opportunity, uh, for, for this kind of transmission to happen. You know, they, they say that if you're in a room and close to somebody for more than 15 minutes, your likelihood of transmission increases and especially if you're indoors. Uh, so, so they're saying, you know, if you guys, if you're going to do this, please at least do it outside as much as you can and try to maintain that distancing, uh, as much as possible, uh, you know, uh, it's difficult because you, you see a countervailing that a lot of protests where a lot of strangers are gathering all over the place and many of them, uh, often aren't wearing master keeping their distance. So it's, it's puts the public health message, uh, you know, in a difficult place where they're telling people, you can go ahead and go out with strangers and protests, but you can't have your friends over for a barbecue.

Speaker 2: 07:08 Now when health officials identify a potential outbreak, do they have enough contact tracers to track it down?

Speaker 4: 07:15 Uh, it seems like they, they do, uh, they, they have gradually been hiring folks to make these phone calls. Uh, when it, when a positive case notification comes into the County, their goal is to call that person who's tested positive and interview them within 24 hours, uh, build a list of all of the people that they've been in close contact with, and then call those folks within 24 hours as well. Uh, they said that, uh, they would need about 450 of these folks that do this work. If they had a, an average of about 400 cases coming in per day. Uh, the last number is that the County shared with us on their total number of contact tracers, I think was over 470. So it looks like they, they do have enough folks to make these calls in a timely manner. Uh, we haven't really received a report on exactly what the metrics are there in terms of what percentage of calls, uh, are, are meeting their thresholds a a few weeks ago, when we asked about that, I think they said it was something like 90% of those calls where we're landing within the prescribed timeframes.

Speaker 2: 08:21 Well, I've been speaking with Paul Sisson who covers healthcare for the San Diego union Tribune. And Paul, thank you very much.

Speaker 4: 08:28 Thank you.

Speaker 2: 08:32 A new standalone policy aimed at reducing police use of force has been unveiled in San Diego city. Officials say the new directives are based on recommendations from the city's community review board on police practices and the citizens advisory board on police community relations police chief David [inaudible] says, officers will now be required to potentially violent encounters and must intervene against officers using excessive force.

Speaker 5: 09:02 We really changed the deescalation, I'm sorry, duty to intervene policy where it used to say you may or should to a shell. It's an absolute, it's a mandate that if an officer sees an officer using forces unreasonable for the resistance that they're trying to overcome, that the officer must intervene and other than her being could be in the method of first a verbal to an actual touching to an actual restraint. And it's spelled out in that policy. And again, I believe this policy is one of the most robust in the nation.

Speaker 2: 09:30 Joining me now is KPBS investigative reporter, Claire Traeger, sir. And Claire, welcome. Thank you. Many of these guidelines are already interwoven into San Diego police training, but now they are part of a so-called stand alone policy. What differences that intended to make,

Speaker 6: 09:47 Right? Specifically, if we're talking about deescalation, that was already a recommended procedure, um, in the San Diego police department, but now they have created this brand new policy that outlines the deescalation steps that officers have to take. And so it really, for the first time creates the requirement that deescalation be used. So it's kind of adding to, uh, all of the other policies that, um, the police officers have to follow. And I think it was, it was impart modeled after, uh, the Baltimore police department's deescalation policy. And that's also a separate standalone policy that makes deescalation or requirement. And that came about last year. I think it was finally, uh, created last year and also was inspired in part by protests in that city, over the death of Freddie gray.

Speaker 2: 10:41 How might this new policy change? How SDPD officers respond to incidents in the field? Well,

Speaker 6: 10:48 It's not yet really clear how it's going to play out. Um, it does have these new requirements for actions that officers should take when interacting with the public, including that they take into consideration, uh, the person's age and mental state, and the fact that maybe they, they don't speak English or they don't understand what the officer is saying, but it also has, uh, the section that says when it's safe and reasonable to do so, based on the totality of circumstances, officers shall use deescalation tactics. And so it could be, the officers would still be able to justify not using deescalation by saying, you know, that it wasn't safe and reasonable to do so. I mean, already, we know officers can use reasonable force, including firing their weapons if necessary. And then we see that that's almost always, it's almost always ruled that their decisions to fire were reasonable. So I think we'll have to wait and see how this plays out as, as officers begin using it.

Speaker 2: 11:51 And what are some of the deescalation officers can use.

Speaker 6: 11:55 So the new policy says that, you know, when they have the time and the opportunity, they, they need to create this distance, they call it a buffer zone. So basically it means instead of, you know, running up and approaching someone quickly, you maybe use your squad car or something else to kind of have some space between you. And the point of that is, first of all, it's not threatening to the person that you're approaching, especially, you know, if they're, uh, having a mental health issue or something to have someone run up on them can kind of escalate situations, but it also then protects the officers so that he or she doesn't get into a position where then he has to use force to, to protect himself because he's having this space, uh, when he's approaching someone,

Speaker 2: 12:39 How are community activists reacting to these new policies?

Speaker 6: 12:44 As we're seeing the past few weeks, elected officials are really trying to make reforms very quickly in response to a lot of the protests that have been going on here and really across the world. Um, but the activists I've spoke to say, they feel like if that's the intention, um, you know, that more really needs to be done. Um, so here's it Alexander and he's the founder of, uh, um, criminal justice advocacy reform organization called pillars of the community.

Speaker 7: 13:14 One of the things that I feel strongly about having been involved in, in conversations, um, with, uh, this chief and chiefs in the past, um, is that until they recommend, until they can acknowledge the existence of racial profiling, there's really not too far. Any conversation can happen

Speaker 6: 13:32 When these policies were announced yesterday, there wasn't really any acknowledgement of, you know, racial disparities in use of force, the bad history between the San Diego police department and communities of color in, in San Diego. And so I think, you know, his point is that he wants to see more discussion about that. More recognition of that if the point of all of this is to have healing in that relationship.

Speaker 2: 13:57 And what is it that the police union in San Diego saying about this?

Speaker 6: 14:01 So, uh, it was asked yesterday when, when the policies were announced and, um, the, the police union or sorry, police chief David in his light said that, uh, the police union is on board. Um, we got a statement from Jack Shaffer, who's the president. And he says, well, our department has long been at the forefront of crafting high standards for deescalation training and implementation. Our association strongly approves the adoption of a new explicit deescalation policy. Um, and he goes on to say that it really clarifies, uh, existing policies and that that can strengthen community trusting and confidence in the officers.

Speaker 2: 14:39 Now, the deescalation policy was expected to be released last week. Do we know the reason behind the delay?

Speaker 6: 14:45 I wish that I knew because yeah, I was waiting and waiting for it. But, um, two weeks ago, I think it was mayor Kevin Faulkner said, you know, this is coming very soon. And I think that he was maybe rushing to just have something out there and say, we're working on this. You know, we're going to make these changes to, again, appease people in the community who are, who were pretty upset. And then he said yesterday that he, that they needed to work with a variety of, of citizens groups and the police department. So I would imagine that it was just, you know, negotiating and trying to get everybody on the same page and to have everyone be able to sign off on what the final policies were,

Speaker 1: 15:29 Did chief newsline say, when officers will be trained on the new policy and how soon it will go into effect,

Speaker 6: 15:35 Right? So already, um, San Diego police officers are getting 10 hours of deescalation training that was even before this policy came out and that's to fulfill a new state requirement. And so that's kind of happening gradually over the next year or two chief in his light said yesterday, that now there's an online portal that officers use to get their training and that these new policies will be sent to that online portal. And so they will be trained specifically on these new policies, in addition to whenever they receive their separate deescalation training, but he didn't say exactly, you know, when, when that would happen.

Speaker 1: 16:14 I've been speaking with KPBS, investigative reporter, Claire triglyceride, and Claire. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 16:27 While our attention is focused on the pandemic and protests over racial injustice spent nuclear fuel continues to be buried in bunkers near the beach at the no shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant, 50 miles North of downtown San Diego work has also continued at the Santa Ana free taskforce set up by San Diego, Congressman Mike Levin. And this week, the group issued a report. They've been looking more deeply into the dangers of storing the nuclear waste onsite and steps to take, to prevent potential catastrophe. Joining me now is retired, were Admiral Len herring. Who's co chair of that task force. Thanks for being with us,

Speaker 8: 17:02 Glad to be here, LLC.

Speaker 1: 17:04 So now the task force has spent the last 18 months coming up with findings and 30 recommendations, which includes several new suggestions. And one of them is to get the state of California more involved in environmental reviews. No, till now the state's taken a back seat, you know, saying this is a federal responsibility. Why does the taskforce think it's important to make that change?

Speaker 8: 17:27 Well, I think that what we're really seeing here is that the regulation, the federally written regulation almost prohibits the state from being involved in the process. The NRC has almost total regulatory control, um, of this entire effort. Um, and States have no right, other than, um, small rights to interject, um, or be involved in the process. So as long as the regulatory commission is doing, what's responsible, the state has no say other than to approve. Um, what's there and the NRC has the ability to override. So what we're, what we're suggesting is that because, um, States have different conditions and opportunities that the States and those elected officials placed in positions of authority should have a right to make absolutely certain that the federal government and its regulatory body is in fact, following all the rules in the conditions of safety for its citizens are being complied with.

Speaker 1: 18:30 Now. One of the recommendations that you've made is that the California attorney general should intervene in any potential sale of utility owned nuclear assets to non-utility private entities. Why, why is that important?

Speaker 8: 18:44 Well, I think what's really important is that as long as the energy company owns the facility, um, it is regulated. Um, as soon as they are the individuals who own the facility are no longer in the energy business. Um, they're no longer under the controls. And at the same time, um, the monies that were set aside for the commissioning, um, within the reserve were never set up with an opportunity for profit. Um, but yet when the sale to a profit entity occurs, profit is built into this effort and if something goes wrong, um, you know, the entity that then owns it in this case, it's, Holtec, um, simply goes bankrupt and, and we're left holding the bag. Our nuclear waste should not be owned by a private entity.

Speaker 1: 19:35 Another of your recommendations is to establish a new nuclear waste administration, something that Congressman Levin will pursue. Why is that needed and how would it help?

Speaker 8: 19:45 Well, I think what's really important to understand is that we're at a crossroads in which, um, the entities associated with the regulation of nuclear energy, um, have now gotten to a point in which, um, there needs to be inter agency collaboration and assistance in solving the problems that we now deal that wouldn't yet we are now having to deal with. And waste is not a small issue. As a matter of fact, um, it is huge issue because, um, you know, this material remains radioactive and extremely hazardous to man for another hundred thousand plus years. These materials across the country are hazardous beat on any approach of anything that's in a Superfund site, and they will be that way for a hundred thousand years. So there's nobody watching over that particular process with the idea that potentially this could in the ground, these sites could be in the ground until we figure out where to put it for another a hundred years. Um, so department of transportation's not involved and, and you know, there's through this study, we found out that there are so many different aspects of what it's going to take now to move this material from, uh, from its current site all over the country to some regulated place. And if we started moving today, you know, 15 years from now, we're still moving. EV if we moved to container every day, 15 years from now, we're still moving. Wow.

Speaker 1: 21:26 So Southern California Edison, which is the company that owns the plant, their response to the report is in general positive. It is in their interests to have an alternative site for their nuclear waste. So they are believer encouraging Congressman Levins initiatives. The company says it has met all the requirements imposed on it by the federal nuclear regulatory commission. What, why is that not enough in the taskforce's view,

Speaker 8: 21:51 In some cases, you know, we're blaming the energy company, um, where in fact, the energy companies, and I must admit, you know, our meetings with, uh, with the energy companies, um, were in fact sincere, they're complying with the regulation. Um, I think the failure, the fail point here is that the regulation is no longer written to provide adequate safety and security of the materials, knowing that there is no repository insight, therefore, the conditions that provided short term storage need to be readdressed and the NRC is just simply not willing to go there. So the energy company says I'm doing everything I'm told to do. I'm not going to do anything more than I have to do. And why should they? And when you're talking, billions, they're not going to go there.

Speaker 1: 22:42 The regulations were written when it was supposed, the federal government would come up with another site. And since they haven't those regulations don't. Yeah.

Speaker 8: 22:49 And the expectation was that it would be a short term because, you know, in, in the eighties we started Yucca mountain and everybody thought, well, okay. So, you know, we'll build a, we'll build capacity around our short term storage until Yucca mountain is finished. And then we'll start transporting those materials. Well, that closed in 1989, and we're still struggling. And we have no identified site. Um, the conditions and regulations for storage, including the whole tech thin line canister, um, has been the solution. And you know, that canister has a 17 year, no inspection or lifecycle. And the study is saying, you know what? We need to readdress that. We need to look at it and say, no, what we need is a hundred year, um, canister, we need a canister. That's able to withstand the chemicals and the, and the caustic environment, possibility of cracks and those types of things for a hundred years. Um, and maybe that's a better way to approach this because at least it gives us the safety and security, um, for a much longer time until we figure out what to do with this. And potentially, um, Alison you know, technology may afford us the opportunity to reuse this waste, but we have to, we have to store it safely until that technology or innovation comes to be,

Speaker 1: 24:10 I've been speaking with retired rear Admiral Lynn herring, who co-chairs the Senator free taskforce convened by Congressman Mike Levin, Admiral Harris. Thanks so much.

Speaker 8: 24:20 You're very well.

Speaker 1: 24:30 The call for changing the names of 10 Southern military bases is gaining momentum in Washington. And that raises the question of what names might replace those of the Confederate generals. They now bear J price reports for the American Homefront project.

Speaker 9: 24:47 When Larry Wright was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in the 1970s, eighties, and nineties, the name of the base, wasn't a big topic. Even among black soldiers like him.

Speaker 7: 24:57 We didn't talk about it a lot, but we heard and here and there that it was a Confederate general, and it was a confusion because we said, well, how, how did they get the name basis after generals that did not win the war

Speaker 9: 25:11 Generals who were fighting for slavery and a war against the U S army, but times have changed. And then a big way. And right now a minister and Fayetteville, North Carolina city council members says brag. And the other bases across the South need to reflect that they don't all need to be renamed for black military heroes or prominent black leaders, but some should, if they're going to bear the names of Americans,

Speaker 7: 25:35 There needs to be a diversity of names that has chosen, that were reflect the country, reflect our communities in which we live probably one of the most diverse countries in the world. And that would do us proud.

Speaker 9: 25:48 Joseph, glad her who teaches military history of the university of North Carolina chapel Hill says Braxton Bragg was a poor namesake, even beyond the central issue that he fought against the U S to defend slavery, a slave owner in civilian life. He was tactically competent, but a terrible leader, cantankerous and widely hated by the men who served with him.

Speaker 7: 26:11 I wouldn't rank them. He w he wouldn't, he wouldn't make a list unless you had to include, say 500 or 300 or something. But if you asked me to give you the 10 best officers in the Confederate army, he wouldn't be in there. Or 20

Speaker 9: 26:27 Part of the explanation is the general charged with approving names for new installations in the buildup for world war. One has sought short words to reduce the burden of paperwork. Picking new names. Now might not be as simple Anthony shore founded operative words, an agency that helps develop names for companies and products. He says professional name developers have to accept that people have subjective and sometimes idiosyncratic reactions to names.

Speaker 7: 26:56 So, um, it may be that not every name could please every person that is a possibility, but we certainly know that some paths are more likely to lead to a broader acceptance. And other paths are likely to diminish, uh, that broad acceptance.

Speaker 9: 27:15 Sure said the nation is in the middle of a sea change in which tolerance for racially insensitive names appears to be ending. He cited Quaker oats decision to change it. And Jamaima brand for the basis. He said, good options could include people who never served in the military, but whose lives embodied shared American values, or it may be more productive to move away from people's names entirely. And instead think about ideals or attributes

Speaker 7: 27:42 There's symbols of America that would likely be less divisive and less likely to have unsavory associations with our history. You know, we have the USS constitution, for example, could something like that also be applied to military base. And then of course we have geography. Our country is home to countless places of inspiring and majestic, natural beauty. And surely that could be a productive resource for names that every American could be proud of.

Speaker 9: 28:12 He said a good practice and naming things as to listen to all the key stakeholders and walk them through the implications of potential names.

Speaker 7: 28:20 Because when you're presenting names, what you're really doing is you're presenting potential futures. And so my job when I present names is to help everyone in the room, see what that future might be. If they go with any one of those names

Speaker 9: 28:34 And for Southern military basis, the nation may be about to move into a new future. This is Jay price reporting.

Speaker 1: 28:42 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.

Speaker 10: 29:01 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 29:04 The San Diego farm Bureau States that San Diego County is home to more small farms than any other County in the United States. The top crops include ornamental trees, flowers, and succulents, but many of these small farms are fighting for survival faced with rising water costs, escalating land prices. And now COVID-19 unlike big agriculture, which was deemed essential and has qualified for federal relief funding. These small high value crops were not, I knew source reporter come Eve on canal has written about their bid to be included in federal relief funds for COVID related losses. Welcome to the show Comey. Thank you. So

Speaker 11: 29:42 Now you spoke to a small farmer about how the COVID-19 quarantine had affected her operations. What did she tell you? Yeah, so I spoke to Cindy Lester who has an exotic fruits farm in Fallbrook. And she said that when the lockdown hit, she could not get her fruit, which is mostly exotic fruit at the time. It was chair Maya's and guavas to the market and the fruit that was in the market couldn't get sold. So basically that meant that a lot of her fruit that was, you know, ripe at the moment rotted in the orchard or in the market shelves. Um, and it was just a complete loss for her that is hard for her to come back from because she counted on that money to then pay for fertilizer and water for her next crop. Right. Did she find ways to adapt to the quarantine?

Speaker 11: 30:30 Yeah, she said she donated some of the fruit to food banks. Um, and, but these are exotic foods. So the demand was, you know, it's particular. And now that the lockdown has started to lift, she is selling fruit again. But the crop that was kind of ripening at the time is, is gone. No, just to sort of get a bit, the picture here San Diego County has, has long been a center for small farmers. And the farm Bureau says we've more part time farmers than anywhere else in the United States. Remind us why our agricultural sector is kind of unique, not like big farms elsewhere in the country. Yeah. So the San Diego County farm Bureau says that it's because of the expensive cost of land and of water. Farmers are forced to be very creative and innovative. And so they kind of seek high value products, products that will fetch a lucrative price on the market.

Speaker 11: 31:30 And so that includes kind of specialty produce and flowers that are grown and in greenhouses, uh, nursery plants, uh, decorative plants, um, because of the high cost of, of land and water. And then also the San Diego County farm Bureau says there's a labor shortage and a lot of regulation that makes it hard to farm in, in the County. So now on top of all this, this COVID-19 we know about the flowers were very attached to our flower growers. How has it affected them? Yeah, so, you know, I pulled up some of the documents that were sent to the federal government to kind of convince them that flowers should be included in the federal relief funds. And the kind of the industry association for the flowers in the U S says that the timing could not possibly have been worse as 60 to 80% of the industry sales, a cure in a 10 week window falling from March to may. And those sales were based basically went to almost zero, particularly in the, at the start of the lockdown. And so sector losses nationwide are estimated at 400 million or more. And in the County specifically, there are certain long time farms, flower farms, like the flower fields Carlsbad, they have told the federal government that their business is at stake because the spring was so important for them. And they suffered so many losses.

Speaker 1: 32:57 So have they been making arguments to the us department of agriculture to lobby for some of the assistance money?

Speaker 11: 33:04 Yeah. So a flower growers, as well as other kind of specialty produce growers that have been left out of the federal relief program so far have been sending in data to the federal government to kind of prove that they had losses and that they should qualify for the federal relief money. And the government is kind of hearing them out, has asked for more data and hasn't made a decision yet, but the program will last all summer. So I'll, I'll be keeping an eye on, on what the federal government says.

Speaker 1: 33:35 We've been speaking with. I news source reporter come Eve canal. Thanks for talking with us Comey. Thank you.

Speaker 12: 33:49 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 33:53 At a time when major league baseball would have been mid season, the league now says it plans to proceed with a 60 game season instead of 162, starting in late July in a normal year, the NHL would have crowned a Stanley cup champion. The NBA champs would be savoring. Their triumph and NFL camps would be preparing to welcome back football players. But 2020 is anything but normal when, and if spectator sports on their professional college and amateur levels resume, all depends on another question. How veteran San Diego sports writer, Jay Paris, who's now with the coast news and forbes.com and NBC seven San Diego sports costume Derek Togerson joined KPBS host Mark Sauer this week to explore some answers. Here's that interview?

Speaker 13: 34:38 Well, Derek, how's it going to work after all, some players are testing positive already for coronavirus training sites have been shut down. What happens? Do we shut down certain teams or maybe the whole season, whenever a few players test positive, Oh, this happening in Japan right now, where they've got baseball and they're not doing the high fives. And it has been happening in Taiwan for a little while written about a month or so now. And they haven't had a major outbreak or a major problem. We honestly had absolutely no idea what's going to happen. But what you're going to have to do is, is find a way to sterilize the best you can, and then keep everyone in a confined space. And that goes completely opposite. The culture of baseball. I mean, go back to the days of babe Ruth, where, you know, you have it, you go to a game and you go out with your buddies afterwards, you can have a couple of beers and you go to a restaurant and that that's just been the culture of baseball, 162 games every single year.

Speaker 13: 35:30 You're telling them to not only put the game on where you can have it in a controlled environment at the facility, that's not going to be so much of a problem. The problem is going to be getting rid of the culture of baseball outside of the stadium, where guys go and get to know each other. And he got Manny Machado buying dinner of steakhouses for everybody in Denver. You're taking that part of the game away as well. That's the part I don't, you can't legislate it. You can't just put everyone in lock down in hotels everywhere. That's going to be the biggest problem. So then, you know, the County usually set or says, if you have one area with at least three people in a testing positive that constitutes an outbreak. Well, if you have one team in one area that has at least three people, does that constitute an outbreak?

Speaker 13: 36:12 Do you lock down just that team? Do you have, does that team now have to forfeit a certain number of games? They have no idea how they can possibly legislate this thing. So eventually you have to hit that tipping point of, do we roll the dice and go after this thing and just see if we can make it work? NASCAR seems to be able to handle it pretty well right now with just, I think three people testing positive so far as to stay, went back to racing, or do you just keep living in fear of, we can't make this thing any worse,

Speaker 14: 36:39 Jay, I think Derek makes some great points here. And I think he got a illustrator or a underscore here. These guys are strong athletes in the prime of their life. 25, 30 years old, great shape. That's that's super, there are six managers over 60 years old, Joe Madden, right up the road here in orange County, the angel manager, he's 66, dusty Baker is 71 years old. Uh, Dave Roberts here in Cardiff who managed the Dodgers. You know, he, he fought cancer and beat cancer. So there's a, you know, his body may not be able to sustain this. So I, I think he got to remember while we're talking about players, the coaches and managers, a lot of those guys fall right into these categories where a really raises a red flag.

Speaker 15: 37:20 Well, they've all got folks at home to it. Who knows if, if they have parents on hold, they'll older people. I mean, they can't live completely in a bubble. Jay wanted to shift the football. Dr. Anthony Fowchee says football with a number of players, coaches, trainers, et cetera, on every team might be impossible in a pandemic net, of course. And fury to Donald Trump, a football's a contact sport. How do you do it?

Speaker 14: 37:42 Yeah, I don't think other than ballroom dancing, I'm not really not quite sure. There's a sport worse for social distancing with, with huddles and the Petri dishes that are locker rooms or the a hundred guys taken off their tape and dirty and sweaty and bloody. And, and along the offensive line, I mean, what do you do if the center test positive? Do you, do you quarantine, you know, the whole offensive line or what do you do about quarterbacks? Do you, maybe it depends on how spread out the spread formation is Jay. Well, I also thought Derek, you're going to say social distancing. Wouldn't be a problem at charger games for the fans because you know, there's not many there low hanging fruit. So we're going to see how this works, but, but, you know, I believe dr. Fowchee, when he says he can't see it happening,

Speaker 15: 38:29 I don't either Derek. I wanted to shift to college and high school sports already had a major disappointment here in Diego with cancellation of the, of the March madness, the big NCAA tournament, the Aztecs had a terrific season. What does this mean to for college players and down to high school players,

Speaker 13: 38:46 College players and high school players, football will be the next major one that comes up and it's going to be very different for those two college. I believe the college game is going to follow a lot of the rules of, with the, uh, with the NFL game does is how do they play? Do you put people in the stands? Do you, how do you, how do you socially distance, that's not going to be a problem. The bigger issue is going to be at the high school level, because at the high school level, you don't get new gear every year. What you do is you send that college NFL, or you just, you bring in new gear, you bring a new shoulder pads and bring in new helmets at the high school level. You recycle a lot of that gear. Well, that gear has to go through a safety refurbishment.

Speaker 13: 39:25 And one of those, uh, one of those plants is actually down there in Tijuana where a lot of local schools send their stuff to get refurbished that plant's not doing that right now. So we don't even know right now if the high school season and not just for San Diego, but across the country, aside for some of the more, um, uh, financially well off schools, you might be able to do it through some sort of a private contractor. They don't have the ability right now to get their gear refurbish. So they're going to either have to a send kids out there with helmets and pads that had been used and not refurbished back up to the level of safety that they need to have. No, one's going to sign off on that or B, you've got to find another way to get this stuff done or see, find a way to buy more gear for all these kids during a pandemic where you simply don't have the money to do something like that. The high school season. I don't think this has been talked about very much. It's going to be incredibly difficult to pull off simply from a safety on the field standpoint, because if you don't have gear as you well know, you can't play football,

Speaker 15: 40:21 Right? Yeah. And so it's a, it's a mind boggling thing. And then there's a whole liability issue. I wanted you to both weigh in on a kind of a step back question. If we don't have normal sports seasons till say 20, 22, what impact does that have on the spirits of millions of Americans who make their teams a big part of their lives? J start off,

Speaker 14: 40:38 You know, I think it's such a big fabric of our life. And, uh, it's a, it's kind of opened people's eyes to do other things, I guess. I think, uh, I think San Diego, something hasn't been talked about is really dodged a bullet with that charger stadium. Remember that charger stadium was going to be paid with all hotel tax money. I mean, there could be a big old hole sitting down there right now, half finished and the general fund at risk. But you know, they dodged a bullet on that one, but I think, uh, you know, virtual sports could be it, uh, more individual sports it's, uh, it's, it's really a crystal ball. That's cloudy. I know Derek has some good ideas on this, but I just think people are going to have to step back. And, uh, it's, it's crazy because even San Diego state, I mean, look, they don't play football. That's, you know, 30% of their athletic revenue, that's $16 million not coming through the door. And how can you ask a student athlete if you will, to, to perform when you're not to let students on campus, that doesn't sound right to me. So it's a new world. It's a new sporting world. And, uh, East force might be the way to go on Derrick.

Speaker 13: 41:42 I love e-sports VAT. E-sports you look@landd.com. And the first three months of this year, e-sports job listings actually Rose 43%. Tell us what e-sports are for our audience. Oh, these sports are basically the online, uh, online sporting entities. You basically, you watch folks play in video games, league of legends, rocket league fortnights. They have professional teams, professional gamers who are performing and participating in literally international competitions. In fact, I looked up some numbers. There were more people that watched the 2018 league of legends championship, either in person or streaming around the world, then watch the Patriots, beat the Rams and the Superbowl that year, that, that shows you how many people hate the Patriots and are sick and tired of them. It also shows you how many people are into the e-sports world. So these sports world is obviously going to take off, but it doesn't replace what a lot of us love, which is getting out and actually playing a game, seeing something, seeing the greatest athletes in the world, performing in person, watching Fernando talk to each junior, do the things that nobody else can do on a baseball field right in front of you.

Speaker 13: 42:48 Now I'll put the Rose colored glasses on and give you the Pollyanna answer here, seeing this as an opportunity, because I talked to MIT professors last week, and they said that this is going to be a chance for sports leagues and for sports teams to reengage their fans through technology, virtual platforms. And the best example they gave was remember the NFL draft. The thing we all remember from that is bill Belichick's dog. And that's the kind of access that we got that we've never gotten before. And Nike became a huge fan. Well, if sports leagues and teams are able to give that kind of access, let's say you're talking about a dirty secret during NASCAR races is going to be one during it at Talladega on a Monday, we're getting more conversations between the crew chief and the driver, and more looks with drone video and more looks with the cameras inside of cars.

Speaker 13: 43:35 And we started getting more access. You can put a camera on the helmet of the umpire and put, have that, that umpire miked up and be able to go to them live. If you could start engaging people in that regard, it'll take us more into the experience that we're used to an experience we're used to as being there in person, getting the sights and sounds of course not the smells as much as Emerald likes to have smell of vision. It hasn't been invented yet. I to work on that, but it's going to get you more into the atmosphere of the game and help us feel closer to the teams and the players that we love. I'd been speaking with San Diego sports writer, Jay Paris and Derek Togerson sports broadcaster at NBC seven San Diego. Thanks guys. Thank you. Alrighty. Thank you.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

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.