San Diego COVID-19 Uptick Continues, Downtown Shooting By Police Under Scrutiny, Voters To Decide If Parolees’ Voting Rights Should Be Restored
KPBS Midday Edition / June 29, 2020
PHOTO BY KPBS STAFF
San Diego is seeing an uptick in new COVID-19 cases with health officials reporting more than 300 cases seven times in the past eight days. Plus, an officer involved shooting in downtown San Diego brings renewed scrutiny over police use of force. Also, military reservists are warning the public to not underestimate the coronavirus threat. They’re seeing rising cases in their home states after being deployed to New York to help with the pandemic. Is it time to give people who are on parole the right to vote? California voters will have a say in the matter this November. And, meet “Panca,” one of the border region’s most well-known artists who often incorporates lyrics from her favorite songs in her paintings and murals.
Speaker 1: 00:01 Some bars again, showed a mid a surge in COVID-19 cases. And video of an officer involved shooting is quickly released. I'm Mark Sauer with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid day edition.
Speaker 2: 00:24 It's Monday, June 29th.
Speaker 3: 00:27 In the first of his COVID-19 updates this week, governor Gavin Newsome added four more counties to the state watch list for possible renewed shutdowns of recently reopened businesses. Newsome explained that because of the trend line of increasing cases, increasing positivity rates and increasing hospitalizations in California, he ordered bars shut down in seven counties, including Los Angeles County. The state is watching COVID rates in 12 other counties to see if similar action might need to be taken.
Speaker 4: 01:00 Numbers are going up, but our ability to manage and absorb also is significant. And so I just want to, for the purposes of full disclosure, tell you the challenges, but also tell you, uh, what we have done to meet those challenges.
Speaker 3: 01:18 San Diego County is not on any state watch list at this time, but we have seen record numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in San Diego over recent days,
Speaker 3: 01:34 Much of the surge in COVID-19 cases, we're seeing in California and across the nation is due to an increasing number of young people testing positive last week. For instance, as positivity rates climbed 56% of people diagnosed with COVID in California were 18 to 49 years old. That demographic only makes up about 43% of the state's population. Health officials warn that young people may not be taking proper precautions against the disease because they believe the virus can't make them very sick. So how much of a threat is COVID-19 really to the younger population and shared San Diego consider shutting down many of its reopened businesses. Jeremy has dr. Mark Sawyer and infectious disease specialist with Rady children's hospital and UC San Diego. And dr. Sorry. Welcome back to the program. Good to be here, Maureen, some people are making the argument that we're seeing this bump in younger people testing positive because more tests are now available for people who are not feeling sick. What do you think about that?
Speaker 1: 02:40 Well, it is true that we are testing more and we're testing in some situations, people with no symptoms just to see what's going on in our community or because they're curious, but what's happening in San Diego over the last few weeks is a true increase in the number of cases more. In other words, it's not simply because we're testing more, we're seeing a bounce back and that's concerning
Speaker 3: 03:05 Younger people have been told they should take precautions against COVID-19. So they don't spread it to older and more vulnerable people. But isn't the virus also a threat to younger people, especially those with preexisting conditions.
Speaker 1: 03:19 Yes. We have seen stories of, of previously healthy young adults ending up very ill with COVID or even dying with COVID. It's sort of like influenza in that most young adults do okay. With these respiratory infections, but a small number don't do. Okay. And so, uh, it isn't correct for young adults to feel that they're not at any risk, they are at risk.
Speaker 3: 03:45 And what are those preexisting conditions for instance, is asthma a one of them
Speaker 1: 03:51 We think asthma probably is. And it makes sense anything that affects your heart or lungs, which are the Oregon's most directly impacted by COVID is likely to make it worse if you get COVID. So if you have asthma, if you have any other chronic lung or heart condition, but you know, probably the more common situation that people probably don't think about is obesity. Obesity seems to be a risk factor. And people don't think about that as a concern.
Speaker 3: 04:19 What about young women who are pregnant?
Speaker 1: 04:21 Yes. We've recently learned that young women who are pregnant may be at increased risk. We have seen that with other viruses. It's certainly true for influenza. It's a combination of the fact that your immune system is a little bit suppressed when you're pregnant. And then in the later stages of pregnancy, your lungs are compressed because you've got a baby kicking up from below and you can't take deep breaths or sometimes cough effectively. So for both those reasons pregnant women are at risk.
Speaker 3: 04:50 Do we know enough about this virus to be certain that getting a mild case won't produce some side effects down the road?
Speaker 1: 04:58 No, we don't. And of course, and so the problem is we're not down the road yet. In other words, not enough time has gone past for us to assess the longterm effects of COVID. And there have been some concerns that there could be some COVID seems to cause increased clotting in your blood system. For example, that could lead to permanent injury. Even if you have mild respiratory symptoms, when you're, when you have the infection,
Speaker 3: 05:24 What have we been learning about COVID lately? I read that researchers are now saying most people who catch the virus should develop symptoms in three to five days, instead of the 14 days originally thought, what else is new?
Speaker 1: 05:37 Well, we're learning that it can be transmitted from people who don't have symptoms, but that's not a major part of our story. Most people do have symptoms or get symptoms shortly after they pass it on to somebody else. So they know that that something has happened. So that's one thing we're learning. We're continuing learn that young children are generally not severely affected by that, by this infection. And that's good news. Uh, but we're also learning how incredibly contagious this virus is. And that is illustrated by the return of cases that are being seen around the world. As we start to relax our social distancing.
Speaker 3: 06:17 Well, as you mentioned, dr. San Diego has seen record numbers of positive tests in recent days, hospitalizations are up 20% and we've hit trigger numbers for community outbreaks. Is this the kind of spike everyone said we should expect when society began to reopen? Or is this worse?
Speaker 1: 06:38 No, this is exactly what people were predicting would happen. And they, well, the only question was how bad would it get? And so this entire COVID control effort has been about trying to level the curve as people would say, or flatten the curve that is, uh, to spread out cases. So we don't overwhelm the health system and to isolate people as much as we could. So we did that very effectively in March, April and may. We've started to relax the social distancing so people can get back to work and school, and there are other activities. And as a result of that, we're seeing the cases go back up. Hopefully they won't go up to much higher, but that remains to be seen.
Speaker 3: 07:23 Would you like to see San Diego County pulled back on some reopenings?
Speaker 1: 07:28 Well, it's hard to know exactly when to pull the trigger on that, but certainly if the case has continued to rise, we need to rethink this whole experiment that we've been trying in the last week of opening up parks and beaches in bars and restaurants. And as, as you know, in some other States where the rise is even worse, they have started to reverse the, the relaxation. In other words, they've closed restaurants again, or closed buyers again. And we may get there in San Diego.
Speaker 3: 07:56 Well, governor Newsome has ordered bars in seven counties to close while recommending they close and about eight others, San Diego County isn't on that list yet. Is that something you think needs to happen here?
Speaker 1: 08:10 Well, I think we need to be prepared for that to happen here. And our cases are clearly going up. We know that there's a lot of illness across the border in Mexico, and we're trying to help people with that, but inevitably that could spread to San Diego as well. So I think we just have to keep monitoring the numbers and if they keep going up, we need to do something
Speaker 3: 08:32 Along those lines. Our neighboring County Imperial County is seeing a 23% positive test rate compared to a statewide rate of almost 6%. So what do you think are the driving factors in Imperial's high positivity rate?
Speaker 1: 08:47 Well, I don't have all the details in Imperial, but they have certainly been suffering a major outbreak for the last several weeks. And I think it is likely to the cross border traffic people coming back and forth from Mexico, where there is also a very long and sustained outbreak. And those hospitals are becoming overwhelmed and Imperial County and patients are even being sent to San Diego to, to be taken care of because they don't have capacity.
Speaker 3: 09:14 Now, governor Newsome and others have been saying that this is not the second wave because we're not out of the first wave yet, but there had been a decline in COVID cases. So why this resurgence?
Speaker 1: 09:27 Well, I think it's simple. The decline happened when none of us were going to work and nobody was going to restaurants and people weren't, we're getting online delivery of all their goods. And we've changed all that in the last month. And we've relaxed our restrictions and people as, as we see on TV, uh, people are gathering in, in large groups and having a good time at the beach and restaurants and bars, and very close contact with no masks on. And that's how the virus spreads. So it's gonna, it is coming back. It's expected. And I think among the lessons we've already learned is that if people don't wear masks out in public, when they're around other people, this virus is going to spread.
Speaker 3: 10:12 So we were not able to get the level of virus down enough so that it didn't, it was not able to revive itself again and become a real problem.
Speaker 1: 10:23 Yeah, there is no sign that this virus is going away or going anywhere. I know people were hoping in the summertime, it might, it might go down, but clearly this resurgent tells us that it's still around. We are all almost all still susceptible. In other words, very few people have actually had it. If you look at the entire population and everybody is still at risk and it's going to continue to spread,
Speaker 3: 10:46 How do you see the next months of COVID progressing? Should cases go down significantly? Or will we see this kind of up and down bumpy graph all the way into the fall?
Speaker 1: 10:59 I think it's going to be a roller coaster ride for the next year, not just into the fall. I think we're going to see cases going up and down in part based on the level of, of restriction in the community and in part on how well people do with the restrictions that are in place. If you ignore the restrictions, we're going to have widespread infection. If you follow the restrictions, the hope is we'll have a steady low number, which will allow us to more or less live, uh, live a normal life.
Speaker 3: 11:28 And what's your advice to people most vulnerable to this disease, older people and people with preexisting conditions. Should they remain at home as often as possible? Or are they okay outside with masks on?
Speaker 1: 11:42 No. I think people who have high risk conditions are unfortunately need to heed the recommendations that they stay as isolated as they reasonably can. And so that means not going out into public, not having lots of visitors. You know, I'm not going to go so far as to say you shouldn't ever visit your family for example, but you do have to be careful even in that setting, wearing a mask and staying six feet apart whenever possible. And so high risk people need to stay isolated until we have a more permanent solution, which will either be a treatment that we can count on being very effective or hopefully a vaccine that those people can then get and then be protected.
Speaker 3: 12:26 I've been speaking with dr. Mark Sawyer and infectious disease specialist with Rady children's hospital and UC San Diego, dr. Sawyer, as always, thank you so much. Thank you, Maureen
Speaker 5: 12:49 San Diego police officers on Saturday confronted a man on a downtown street seconds later, he was shot and he remains hospitalized in critical condition that prompted about 100 people to March and protest on Sunday, demanding that police released video of the shooting, which they promptly did. KPBS reporter max Rivlin, Nadler covered the story and he joins me now, max, welcome. Hi, we'll start with the confrontation. The San Diego police department says two officers saw, man. They recognized as a suspect in a robbery. They approached them on sixth Avenue. What do we know so far about what happened?
Speaker 6: 13:27 So the officers say they approached him because they recognize some facial tattoos from a suspect, uh, of a, of a recent robbery. We really don't know anything about the kind of underlying crime that they were investigating here. They haven't released much. Um, but what we do know is within less than 30 seconds of encountering this individual outside of a supportive housing development on B street, um, they shot him multiple times. Uh, this sparked, uh, an outcry among people who have been paying attention really closely over the past few weeks and months to police use of force. And whether this use of force was justified,
Speaker 5: 14:02 The, uh, police narrative, um, some of the details released so far, um, of course, uh, are buttressed by this video, which we'll get to in a moment. I did want to note the suspect was identified as 25 year old Leonardo herd, a Barra. If I'm saying that correctly, the police say he's a suspected robbery suspect is as we noted, uh, do they, uh, have they confirmed whether he's the person they were looking for? Why were they so, uh, sure. At the scene that he was this, uh, the suspect?
Speaker 6: 14:30 Yeah, we really don't know. They obviously based this off of facial tattoos he had, but as you can see in the video that was then released, it's really, he's exiting the building and within seconds the police officers are approaching him. Um, and that is when he begins to walk away from them. He drops one bag and then he reaches a, this is according to the surveillance footage and body camera footage. He reaches into his waistband, grabs it, something points that object at one of the officers. And then, um, you know, it appears from the body camera footage. That's what they used to, um, base their leave, possibly lethal force off of, um, in shooting out him multiple times, uh, in, in quick succession. And it all happened, him leaving the building, the police officers approaching him and him being shot all happened in less than 20 seconds.
Speaker 5: 15:16 Now, does it appear that he heard them when the, uh, the police say that he said, we want to talk to you, stop, stop, stop. Did the video show that he, you heard them and turned and recognize that?
Speaker 6: 15:28 Well, it seems as though he's evading them, right? He's, he's walking away from them, which is, you know, something that people noted from video taken directly after that, it appears that he's shot in the back as he's looking away. But there were two officers that approached him, one coming from the street and the other coming from the sidewalk, both of them fired at him, but he was looking at the one, uh, it appears from the body camera footage that he was looking at the officer who was in the street.
Speaker 5: 15:52 And, uh, the police say that what he pulled from his waistband was a revolver. It was a gun. Right,
Speaker 6: 15:58 Right. So, you know, in the moments and minutes and hours after the shooting, um, people really latched onto the fact that police officers clearly did have video surveillance of the event, but they were only putting out still images from this event. So they just put out a kind of grainy photo of him in a kind of pointing at an officer at Barra, pointing out an officer, and then they put out the photos of the gun. But between that, that left, uh, people who are really paying very close attention to police use of force asking questions as to, okay, well, if you have this evidence released the full body camera footage released the surveillance footage, cause they've seen in previous instances of uses of force, um, you know, what the police and law enforcement like to control the narrative in kind of releasing things in drips and drabs, what it does is it cements a media narrative. So people were really aware that, okay, if you have this evidence, there's really no reason for you not to release it immediately. So we could see if this was a quote unquote legitimate use of force
Speaker 5: 16:58 And they did release them. And that's pretty unusual to do it that quickly. Is is it not?
Speaker 6: 17:03 Yeah, no. For years the law enforcement nationwide, not just San Diego has dragged its feet over releasing body camera footage, releasing surveillance footage, um, quickly, and then kind of, you know, letting people see and decide for themselves, whether police were justified in their actions, you know, in the Alfreda Longo shooting, you know, for a while, there was just one image that the police were kind of showing in one angle of the shooting and this became a rallying cry for people release the body camera footage, let us see. And I spoke with activists and advocates at the protest on Saturday night, just hours after the shooting. And they were really saying, you know, listen, if there is something here that we're not seeing, that we, we can't tell from eyewitness accounts, you should release that. So we know what happened and sure enough, within 24 hours, which is highly unusual for the San Diego police department they had done. So what's going to be interesting. Looking forward is whether this kind of new standard is applied across the board, even in, um, instances of use of force that aren't so clear cut, that maybe don't involve a gun found on the person that was shot.
Speaker 5: 18:10 And it probably depends on the videos themselves. Some are much clearer than others and any neutral observer, uh, you know, can come away with different responses depending on that. Now, what was the protestors response to police re releasing the video and preliminary information on the shooting?
Speaker 6: 18:27 Right? So the calls for transparency were met. Um, ultimately people kind of applauded that decision. I think a lot of people looked at the kind of quick use of force here, wondered how, you know, w they could approach instances in the future where somebody doesn't have to be, you know, essentially near lethally wounded, what other steps could be taken. Um, this individual, according to the body camera footage did appear to have a gun. And that's a situation where police officers are, are much more justified, uh, to, in advocates, eyes to use lethal force. But then again, you know, what was the reason why they were approaching this guy? And could there have been a way that didn't immediately escalate into this type of situation,
Speaker 5: 19:08 Right. And the police so far there, their statement has been that this was a robbery, which of course is a violent felony. And that's why they were, we're fairly certain based on the flyer that this was their suspect, right?
Speaker 6: 19:21 Yeah, yeah, no, they haven't released much information about this. I think that has to do with the very serious condition this individual is in, right. They, you can't really press charges against somebody if they're incapable of, of standing trial, um, and, and kind of, uh, cognizant of the charges against them. So, um, they're playing a very close to the vest right now. I'm sure there's going to be a very large investigation over this, uh, by the district attorney's office, by San Diego police departments, own internal investigators, um, the FBI and the U S attorney's got to look at this. Um, but, but it will be interesting again, to see, to use this as a yard stick in situations that are much less clear, let's say body camera footage comes at night. Let's say there was a, this didn't happen downtown, where there are these streetlight cameras that have been quite controversial. Um, it'll be interesting to see moving forward if this is the new standard applied. And especially because this happened on a Saturday evening and the video was released by Sunday, um, over a weekend. So there's no reason moving forward where you could say, well, the office was shut down. We couldn't get in touch with our legal department. Um, this was very quick,
Speaker 5: 20:26 Right? Interesting precedent. And we should note the two officers involved are on administrative leave now. And that's a matter of a department policy.
Speaker 6: 20:34 Yeah. That happens. If there's a shooting, the, um, officers until, uh, the investigation runs, its course are no longer on patrol.
Speaker 5: 20:42 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max Rivlin, Nadler. Thanks max,
Speaker 3: 20:51 Should California bring back affirmative action. And should the state allow people on parole for a felony regained their voting rights? The California Senate has approved putting those two questions on the November ballot. Affirmative action was banned in the state by proposition two Oh nine when Pete Wilson was governor. But with the current climate of awareness about systemic racism advocates, including the Bill's author, San Diego assembly woman, Shirley Webber, believe the time has come to bring it back. The other measure, which would allow parolees to vote may not seem at first like a matter of racial equity, but advocates claim the current band disenfranchises, a disproportionate number of black and Brown voters journey me is Tyena Vargas Edmond, executive director of initiate justice and advocacy group sponsoring the parolee voting bill, which is called ACA six. And Tyena welcome to the program.
Speaker 7: 21:47 Thank you for having me.
Speaker 3: 21:49 What are the voting rights now for people who've been incarcerated in California?
Speaker 7: 21:53 Yeah. Thank you for that question. Um, that's something that I think that there's a lot of misconception around, so I'm, I'm happy to clarify that. So in the state of California, the only people who are excluded from having the right to vote because of a felony conviction are people who are currently incarcerated in a state or federal prison and people who are on state parole. So people who are incarcerated in County jail, even if it is, we're a felony people who are on probation, even people who are on federal probation, um, and people who have old felonies and are no longer on any form of community supervision have the right to vote.
Speaker 3: 22:31 What ACA six limit the voting rights of parolees based on the severity of their crimes, or would all parolees be allowed to vote?
Speaker 7: 22:39 No, there would not be any exclusions. It would say that once a person has completed their prison sentence, once they are released from custody, they would have their right to vote restored.
Speaker 3: 22:48 How many people on parole would be affected by this measure
Speaker 7: 22:51 Around 53,000?
Speaker 3: 22:53 No. I was surprised to learn of the big difference among States and how they deal with the voting rights of convicted criminals. Apparently a couple of States allow prisoners still serving time in prison to vote while others never give back voting rights to former prisoners. Why is there such a big disparity?
Speaker 7: 23:10 Well, I think that the big disparity probably does come down to racial justice. Um, the two States that never remove a person's right to vote are Maine and Vermont. And those are also, um, the first and second, um, whitest States in the country, their prison populations are, are largely white. Um, and the only state currently where someone, um, loses their can potentially lose their voting rights for life now is Iowa. And, um, their Republican governor has just made a public announcement that she's going to be issuing an executive order to restore voting rights for incarcerated people. So, um, you know, Iowa, which had had removed voting rights permanently for people and is now led by a Republican governor is even willing to go further than when, where California is now.
Speaker 3: 23:57 What's the rationale behind denying voting rights to people on parole
Speaker 7: 24:02 It's purely punitive. Um, when we've been having conversations with opposition, you know, they'll say, well, these people are quote unquote criminals, and you know, this is what they deserve. They should continue to be punished. Um, but this is something that has actually been very bad for public safety. There are many studies that show that when folks feel more connected to the community, they're less likely to return to prison or jail. Um, the States where they do have, um, more relaxed rules when it comes to voting rights are also States that have lower recidivism rates and initiate justice did a survey last year, more than a thousand people on parole and in, and in prison. And 75% of the people on parole told us that having their voting rights restored would help them reenter society successfully. So I believe that this is, you know, based in, in, you know, in a culture of punishment and revenge and not rooted in actual public safety.
Speaker 3: 25:02 Why do you think restoring a voting rise for people on parole is a racial justice issue?
Speaker 7: 25:07 I mean, if you look at the history of this country, you know, you can see that people have had their voting rights removed or, you know, have been prevented from voting, um, because of their race or because of their gender. Um, when the 15th amendment passed and the right to vote was given to, um, you know, newly freed black men, um, the state of California actually didn't ratify the 15th amendment until almost a hundred years later. So I think that, um, in California, we see ourselves as like relatively progressive and a, you know, multicultural, multiracial state, but our laws have actually been very limiting when it comes to the civil rights of black and Brown people.
Speaker 3: 25:47 Some of the critics of this voting bill say that taking away voting rights is part of the price criminals have to pay to society. It's part of their sentence, isn't it part of their sentence?
Speaker 7: 25:58 Well, first of all, parole is not part of a person's sentence. Um, and that's something that I want to be really clear about a person's sentence ends the day that they are released from custody. So parole is not an extension. It's not an early release. It's literally community supervision to help people reenter society successfully. So if we want people to be able to reenter successfully, then why would we take away their civil rights and having, you know, the ability to have their voices heard? You know, folks on parole are working, they're paying taxes, they're contributing positively to their communities yet they don't have the ability to have a voice in how their tax dollars are being spent. So, you know what I would ask people who say, well, this is what they deserve, because this is part of their sentence. I would ask why, um, what does voting actually have to do with public safety? You know, people still maintain their citizenship. Um, so why is it that the right to vote is actually taken away? It's something that is nonsensical has nothing to do with public safety and is 100% rooted in the fact that, um, you know, we, as a society do deem some people as deserving and undeserving, maybe that's because of their race or maybe more recently it's because of their conviction history. And we are, um, systematically, um, removing people from the civic process, which is not something that makes sense in a free and fair democracy.
Speaker 3: 27:20 And I want to thank my guest. Tyena Vargas, Edmond, executive director of initiate justice. Thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you for having me.
Speaker 4: 27:38 Thousands of military personnel deployed to New York city during the worst of that city's COVID-19 pandemic. Now, many of them have returned home only to see cases spike in their own home States. Stephanie Colombini with the American Homefront project. Talk with a group of air force reservists from Florida or warning people not to get complacent about the virus.
Speaker 8: 28:02 Lieutenant Joseph O'Brien was in his pajamas, creating a PowerPoint presentation for his job as a nurse educator in Orlando, when he got a call, it was his other job, the reserves, and he had four hours to report to MacDill air force base in Tampa to head to New York city. This was in early April and O'Brien and his comrades received an unusual assignment for the military. They were to ditch the uniforms and work alongside civilian health workers and city hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaker 9: 28:32 There was no way to prepare for some of the things that we were seeing.
Speaker 8: 28:36 Oh, Brian worked as an emergency room nurse at Jacobi medical center in the Bronx as hospitalizations peaked,
Speaker 9: 28:41 All the rooms were full of COVID patients, all the hallway beds full of COVID patients. And when we ran out of hallway beds, we got chairs and people would be sitting. If they were able to sit, they would be sitting in a chair with oxygen on their face. It was really disaster management.
Speaker 8: 28:56 Oh, Brian describes the painful decisions. He and other health workers had to make surrounded by sick and dying patients with limited resources to treat them.
Speaker 9: 29:05 If we really didn't feel like there was much we could do for that patient, we would move on and you could see the frightened their eyes because they knew it. And that took a lot of time to sort of come to terms with
Speaker 8: 29:17 Another reservist from Florida, Lieutenant Colonel Raj Lottie worked as an attending physician at Jacoby. He says it was hard to see patients without their loved ones nearby. Since visitation at hospitals was banned for safety measures. He got emotional as he remembered holding some patient's hands. So they wouldn't be alone
Speaker 4: 29:35 As a provider when somebody dies. It's not their family. It's, it's tough. Have to have to be a family for a lot of people
Speaker 8: 29:45 Over time, the situation got better at Jacobi hospital staff played Rachel Platten fight song over the loudspeakers. As patients were taken off breathing tubes and Frank Sinatra's, New York, New York, when patients went home, as the days went on, the music played more often. Colonel Jennifer, Robin Ratcliffe helped lead the New York mission. She was involved in the complicated decision of when the reservists could leave though, the disease hasn't gone away. Once hospitals were mostly treating non coronavirus patients, they decided it was time. I know we can take care of everybody, but I honestly believe people survived this disease and went home to their families because the military was there to help them. Now, the hundreds of reservists who served in New York hospitals have come home. They were ordered to quarantine for two weeks. Lieutenant O'Brien chose to do so at the base hotel at MacDill out of concern for his infant daughter, Ratcliffe went home to her dogs and to Lottie returned to his wife and teenage sons. They're eager to return to some sense of normal life, but know that may not be possible, especially with cases on the rise and Florida and other parts of the country to is urging everyone to follow public health guidelines about physical distancing and wearing masks.
Speaker 4: 31:00 It doesn't affect you until you see these people die and we need to be mindful of it's not over. We don't need any more unnecessary deaths on something that's preventable.
Speaker 8: 31:10 The reserve has said, they talked with leadership about whether they would need to deploy again. If another healthcare system gets overwhelmed and while it doesn't seem likely, they know it's possible. All three said, they'd willingly answer the call, but hope for everyone's sake, they don't have to. I'm Stephanie beanie in Tampa,
Speaker 4: 31:30 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 3: 31:50 Everyone has songs. They treasure songs that evoke vivid memories and color different periods of our lives. Sometimes music ends up shaping who we become for Paolo VSN. You're better known as the influential border artist. Punk music has been a lifelong companion whenever she has been painting in a new episode of KPV SS border podcast, only here host Allen Lillian Thall tells punk as cross borders story through the lens of music from both sides of the wall. Not long ago, when Banca was digging through her parents' old collection of cassettes, she had a little epiphany. She realized just how much her mom and dad's taste in music had influenced her.
Speaker 8: 32:35 It was awesome because I was able to see why I'm such a nerd and like why I like,
Speaker 10: 32:40 I mean, I love rock and roll and I love hip hop and everything, but I realized why I was like, why the hell do I like opera? You know, why do I look like classical music?
Speaker 11: 32:49 There was one tape in the collection that really stood out.
Speaker 10: 32:55 When I found the little spontaneous one, it really hit me because I remember I actually remembered like admiring admiring it as a kid.
Speaker 12: 33:14 [inaudible]
Speaker 11: 33:14 When I think of the most classic Latin ballads, little sponges are probably the first group to come to mind. The one song by them that Ponka keeps coming back to is. And my wife [inaudible]
Speaker 10: 33:24 First time I ever remember hearing that song was probably in my house and my parents were cooking and they'd always play music. And that was like one of the tapes that they would always put on.
Speaker 12: 33:46 [inaudible]
Speaker 10: 33:46 I guess there is a lot of things that you lose when you move to another country. And I think that growing up music and movies were like a big thing that kind of connected me and my parents because, you know, my parents were born in the forties and in the fifties in Mexico city and in Karnataka. So there wasn't a whole lot that I could connect with them. It was like little things like music. And when we would go back to Mexico every summer for like family trips or any type of family reunion, which was usually Christmas or summer, my parents really like, kind of came into themselves. And we were really Americanized at that point. Well, not totally, really pretty cultural. We weren't allowed to speak English inside of my house, but I would connect with my mom and dad through like, you know, the songs and stuff. And, um, it was kind of like a way to connect generations. You know, that song like resonates with me still. Cause I ended up moving to Mexico, I think, to like kind of chasing that romantic dream
Speaker 12: 34:52 [inaudible]
Speaker 11: 34:56 Banker's idea of Mexico. Wasn't always romantic though. She grew up in Chula Vista in a section eight apartment until she was nine. When her parents could afford a house, they moved the family to Eastlake a more well off suburban part of South San Diego. As a lot of young teenagers do Banca rebelled against her roots and her upbringing. She thought Mexican culture was too machista, but at the same time she thought East Lake was too manicured and perfect too cookie cutter American. It took her time to find a place where she really felt like she fit in.
Speaker 10: 35:29 I went from living in an area that was like, there was legit problems going on. And then all of a sudden I'm like 15, 16 driving around East Lake. There's no target. There's nothing. There's like golf courses. And like we would draw wieners on the, on the grass and just like throw bubbles, just like mayhem, stupid dazed and confused stuff. And I just started thinking, this is fun, but I just realized how freaking sheltered and privileged I was in this like little area. And I was just hungry for exposure of other things. So I started seeking out, um, venues and places where I could go and meet people that were kind of in sharing, sharing this interest because I went to a school that was like, Oh, my dad bought me this car, or I got this. Or, you know, and I, I didn't care about those things. I, you know, it was just like, I didn't relate to too many kids.
Speaker 11: 36:22 Punk music came at just the right time. Banca had just started getting into politics and her teenage angst needed an outlet. The Ron is of punk music can express frustration and pain way better than language can. Especially for young people who feel things very intensely and are just figuring out how to process grown up. Reality.
Speaker 10: 36:47 First I got into black Sabbath and then my parents were like really worried and then went into like punk music. And I really liked the sex
Speaker 13: 37:04 [inaudible]
Speaker 10: 37:04 And then I really got into the Atari
Speaker 13: 37:14 [inaudible] back then. It was like,
Speaker 10: 37:17 I don't know. I was like 14. So it was like, Oh, all of his teenagers.
Speaker 13: 37:27 [inaudible]
Speaker 11: 37:28 The thing about San Diego though, is there aren't many punk venues. If you're under age, there's the J cafe, which bank I would go to a lot in high school and others that have come and gone over the years, but the options have always been pretty limited in the Quanah though. It's a totally different world. Punk venues have always had a place here. And if you're a teenager, who's hungry for new experiences and raw energy and a little danger, it really doesn't get much better
Speaker 10: 37:57 In East Lake. At the time, there was a call center called MDI that please pay do bank. Like you would get paid like 13 bucks, 12 bucks an hour because you were bilingual. And I can speak Spanish that great. And there, I met one of my best friends munchies, and he didn't speak Spanish that well, I mean English. So like we would constantly just make fun of each other and then eventually became really good friends. And he was like, Oh, you can't get into anything in st. Why don't you come to, you know, TJ come to TJ, come to TJ. I met a friend there and she was a little like one or two years older than me. And she started sneaking me into Porky's at 16, 17 years old. So that's how I got kind of taken the TJ.
Speaker 2: 38:46 [inaudible]
Speaker 10: 38:47 Porky's always had that eternal seeing playlist, you know, it was like eighties, like new, new wave and you know, a little dark Depeche mode, that kind of stuff.
Speaker 2: 39:05 [inaudible],
Speaker 10: 39:05 You know, all the good stuff, the cure My parents knew about it. You know, they were kind of like, Oh, it wasn't so bad in TJ yet. But I mean, I was being honest with them. I was like, Hey, I'm going to TJ. I'm going with these older friends. And they'd be like, Hey, we're going to take care of her. Don't worry. And they were, they were standup friends, you know, so my parents were sort of okay with it.
Speaker 11: 39:35 These early trips to the Quanah would prove to be pretty money mental for young bankers. Her growing interest in politics had inspired her to get to know where she came from. And to be proud of that, the more she went at the Quanah, the more she fell in love with the energy of the city. This was at a time when the Quanah's creative scene was starting to establish reputation around the world. Nortech collective a group of musicians and artists who blended electronic music with Nathaniel inspired sounds was taking off.
Speaker 13: 40:08 Then you're done.
Speaker 11: 40:16 And even though Ponka, hadn't committed herself to becoming a full time artist, yet these early encounters with other artists were planting the seed.
Speaker 10: 40:24 How was about 17 when Norfolk was like, kind of like hitting. I remember they played at [inaudible]. It was this crazy shows. So cool. And I snuck out with my friend from high school, like there was the line around like all revolution. It was so nutty
Speaker 10: 40:45 To see that. And then I remember I left San Diego and TJ, I went to Portland when I came back, I was just like, when I was in Portland, I would listen to the Norfolk city. And I was like, Oh my God, I wanted to come back. And when I came back and I got really invested into like the music scene and I started meeting a lot of these guys and working alongside a lot of the people and realize how connected they were to the community still like, yeah, they're really famous and stuff, but they still play for their friends at parties and pretty humble and decent people. And so I kind of saw that whole do it yourself energy. And during the time there was a thing called radio global
Speaker 11: 41:30 Radio global was the first internet radio in the corner.
Speaker 3: 41:34 It was very influential in the city from the early two thousands through about 2010 and more than just music radio global was more like a creative collective. They organized and promoted concerts, art festivals, and other events, and part of what made them so popular was their focus on graphic design. For a while. Back in the day, it felt like radio global stickers, flyers and posters were everywhere in the corner. Like you couldn't walk out of your house without seeing at least one or two. And Banca was part of that. She helped spread the radio global brand through its visual.
Speaker 10: 42:07 It wasn't very, very inspiring for me to one kind of become part of this like creative group that partied, but also put like art into the, I don't know. It wasn't like, yeah, come party was like, Oh, we're doing these stickers. And they're these characters. And it was, was awesome. You know, and their thing was to put stickers everywhere. So one day, you know, I ended up going to New York and they were like, Hey, you let them on stickers. And I was like, yeah. So I'm in New York putting stickers up and I go, I shouldn't be doing this with Myra at work at some point. And that's kind of where I book like right there.
Speaker 3: 42:53 That was border artist. Ponka talking with Alan Lillian Thall about how music has influenced her life and career to hear the rest of the story. Listen to only hear at kpbs.org/only here or search for only here, wherever you get your podcasts.