Coronavirus: CA Issues State Of Emergency, Changes To AB 5, San Diego Child’s Rare Disease, Bernie Sanders And The Latino Vote, Architecture Tour And Comic Fest Preview
KPBS Midday Edition / March 5, 2020
Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego officials give an update on Corona virus in the County assembly woman Lorena Gonzalez talks about revisions to AB five I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition.
Speaker 1: 00:23 It's Thursday, March 5th there's a new presumptive case of covert 19 virus in San Diego involving an 80 and T employee who works at the company's Chula Vista store. That news comes as San Diego health officials are providing an update on the status of the Kovac 19 virus in the County on Wednesday, governor Gavin Newsome declared a state of emergency as the first death in California from the virus was reported. San Diego remains under a County health emergency since cases of covert 19 were discovered among the American evacuees from China who were acquiring teamed at the Marine base at Miramar KPBS health reporter Teran mento joins us with background on what we know so far about covert 19 in California and Taryn, welcome. Thank you. What do we know about this latest case of coronavirus in San Diego?
Speaker 2: 01:14 Right? So the city of Chula Vista posted on its social media pages just really minutes ago that they were notified by the County, uh, yesterday that someone had tested positive for Kovac 19, but it's called presumptive positive because that test has to go back to the CDC for confirmation. We got the ability to test here locally, but the process is to send that back to the CDC for confirmation. Um, they do believe, um, that they've been able to contact all the people, the people who have had contact with this new presumptive case, um, and they are being self quarantined. But other than this case we have had two other cases. These were people who were quarantined at Miramar that they tested positive and that was confirmed and they have since been discharged from the facilities where they were treated and uh, since gone back to their respective communities. So this is actually the first local case that we've had that didn't come from out of the country.
Speaker 2: 02:04 But the, a statement from the city of Chula Vista does say that this person doesn't actually live in the County, has this individual traveled abroad. At any time recently. That is what the statement says that they recently were traveled, uh, recently traveled to a high risk region as, as defined by the CDC. We don't know specifically what it is, but they did say that. And so they believe that the risk to other people is low. But again they have contacted, they say those individuals that could have had contact with them and are putting them under self quarantine, which lasts about 14 days and the County does monitor those individuals where are the bulk of the cases in California. So there are, you know, they are kind of all over but there is a concentration, um, a little bit of a concentration in, in LA area and then, um, a little bit of a bigger concentration. I'm up in the Bay area, San Jose area, Sacramento area up there in Northern now,
Speaker 1: 02:57 uh, the, as you mentioned, the Northern
Speaker 2: 03:00 California is where the man died from the Corona virus. He was the first in the state. Do you know about the circumstances surrounding that death? What we know is that he was on a cruise, part of a cruise that went to Mexico, fell ill. The officials really aren't releasing too much more information about the patient. They released the age 71 that he had underlying health conditions. We do know just like the flu that this virus, the Corona virus. It does impact people with underlying health condition conditions and of an older age a little bit more, bringing on a little bit more complications and possibly resulting in death as we saw with the cluster of cases up in Washington at the nursing home. So that, that's basically the most that we know it because there's a lot of privacy protections about releasing information about patients. So now the cruise ship is under quarantine off the coast of California.
Speaker 2: 03:50 What's happening to those passengers? They're being screened. There's um, you know, they're probably checking for their fever to see if they have any, um, they have a fever, any symptoms, um, and if they are showing any symptoms, is there anything further that they can, any other criteria that they can look at determine if it is more likely the Corona virus as opposed to just the flu when one of the things that they keep officials keep talking about is that that shortness of breath. We do know that it is a often a lower respiratory infection and that can cause shortness of breath and so they're, they're probably looking for those sorts of signs. Do we know yet if any of the other cruise ship passengers were from San Diego County right now? The governor did say that as of late yesterday or today, every County official would know if they had a resident from the cruise ship in their County.
Speaker 2: 04:40 So that information is being communicated probably right now if it hasn't, if it hasn't already and we would likely to expect to get an update on that at the press conference or news conference that County officials will be or are having at noon now. The death of this man in Northern California prompted the governor to declare a state health emergency. What does a state health emergency do? It just loosens certain restrictions or criteria to make it easier to get certain things like supplies, personal protection equipment or actually like individuals, like people who could go to different impacted counties and offer some relief to the staff members that are in healthcare workers that are there. I mean like one example is, you know, if you need masks and there's a company that's selling masks and the California says, Hey, great, we want to buy those from you.
Speaker 2: 05:24 For healthcare providers that need them. Usually when you enter into a contract, there's a, you know, an open application period that lasts a certain amount of time to make it fair for everybody to put forth their best proposal. Things like that are being waived because we don't have 30 days, 60 days, 90 days to wait around for someone to put forward the best proposal because in you know, instances of emergency you just need the equipment. Exactly. And San Diego had previously declared a County health emergency, is that still in effect? Correct. It was declared earlier last month and received an update I believe on February 19th about how that's going. We'll likely get an update during the news conference during the noon hour and then we expect to have another update when they go back before the board of supervisors for every time that they continue to extend this. What else are we expecting in this update?
Speaker 2: 06:14 Uh, the County is discussing at a press conference going on right now, giving us an update on the Corona virus here in San Diego. What are, what are they expected to say? Well, if you look at who is going to be there, there's a representative from schools, there's a representative from businesses. We know that the CDC days, weeks ago was talking about now is the time where businesses and schools need to be prepared for what their mitigation plan is. How are they going to, um, reduce the risk of spread to their students and their staff members? So the chamber of commerce is going to be there, who represents a lot of businesses in the County. They're likely going to be talking about the sorts of guidance that they would be giving to businesses and how to best handle this. Same with schools and we, and we've looked at kind of how schools are preparing for this, but just judging based on who's there, that's what we could expect to hear about.
Speaker 1: 07:02 We'll bring you the latest from that County update this afternoon on KPBS, IFM and we'll have a tonight, two on KPBS evening edition on KPBS TV at five and I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter Taren mento. Taryn. Thank you. Thanks Maureen
Speaker 1: 07:22 80th district assembly woman. Lorena Gonzalez has proposed and supported a number of high profile bills during her time in Sacramento, but none of that legislation has generated a greater amount of backlash than her assembly bill five AB five the new law that went into effect this year. Reclassifies many freelance and gig economy workers as employees and titled to minimum wage workers' comp and paid sick leave. A San Diego court recently heard the first case to dispute the new worker classification law in it. The gig shopping app, Instacart lost, but the judge said the new law needs clarification quickly. And joining me is assembly woman Lorena Gonzales. Welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. First of all, what did you think about this ruling in the Instacart case last week? The judge did not order the company to stop operations even after losing the case.
Speaker 3: 08:16 Yes. Well it, it wasn't a direct case. What it was was our city attorney, Mark Elliot, was using a provision of the law that allowed for a large city city attorney to file an injunction against these companies who are not yet abiding by the law. And she filed the injunction and the judge said she is likely basically to win that suit, that they are likely misclassifying um, their workers. He basically put it, stayed the decision til it gets appealed because it is a first decision of its kind. And so I think he wanted, um, to, to ensure that there was, um, that there was going to be an appeal, that the appeal took place, that this was going to move forward. Um, you know, you're asking a company, a group of companies to do something, uh, that they don't want to do, which, which takes a lot.
Speaker 3: 09:09 But the judge have also pointed out that this isn't a new idea for Instacart and these gig companies, they've been on notice since, uh, a court case called Dynamex that was passed in AR that was decided in the April of 2018 and it was a case that was decided by a bipartisan unanimous Supreme court in California that said, our, our laws just don't make a lot of sense and we need to be very clear about classifying workers who do the work of a company as employees. And they set out the parameters. Um, and this has been since April of 2018 that we've been on notice in all of California that the laws were changing. AB five just simply codified that and provided provisions for enforcement. So the amount of pushback you've gotten on AB five has not surprised you? Not really. I mean, when you're trying to do that big of a labor reform bill, we knew that we had to take this court case that we had to provide clarity and some exceptions to it because the Supreme court just said, this applies to everybody.
Speaker 3: 10:08 You are a, an employee of an organization if you're doing the work of that organization. And we know historically in California there are some, uh, real estate agents for example, who were amended out of that because they always have been. So we tried to go through the labor code as much as possible, provide clarification and amendments, taking the court case into consideration as we were doing that. And we said when we passed it, we know there's still gonna be questions and, and loose ends. So we're back at the table now and we're trying to ensure that, um, as we do this type of really big labor law reform that we get it right. Freelance journalists also had a big problem with AB five. Are there any other criticisms or, or types of employment that you see as legitimate criticism of AB five? I think the musicians have the biggest criticism and I think it's correct.
Speaker 3: 10:58 We're going to release some language in the next few days here to try to after months if not a year long discussion between the recording industry unions that represent musicians, uh, independent artists, trying to get them all on the same page. It's been quite a struggle. I think they have legitimate concerns if you're five people who just come together to play in a band every two weeks and nobody's really the employer. How do you deal with a situation like that? And that's what we're trying to get at. We've uh, extended some provisions for freelance writers and we're going to pass those through hopefully this year as well or quickly, um, to provide some relief on that and photographers as well. So there are some freelance positions that we know, um ha it has to be cleaned up. And then there are people complaining who quite frankly have, uh, been breaking the law for a long time, even before it'd be five there.
Speaker 3: 11:48 And before the Dynamex decision, there were rules about who could be an independent contractor. There are rules about how much control a company would have over somebody who says they're a freelancer and I'm the EDD for years have have found, you know, thousands of people out of compliance. And so there are people right now who are complaining and the fact is they've just established a business model that was illegal in the first place. So that, that's tough. And I understand if it's your business, that's a real tough conversation to have. But, but that's why we had to tackle this. And who are the companies that, whose complaints on this you don't see as valid? You know, they, they range from just about anything I've heard from caters who don't think that their servers should have to be employees. And it's so clear to me, and I think other people who are in that industry, that if you're a server or bartender, you're an employee of the person you're working for.
Speaker 3: 12:38 Um, there are people who are operating home healthcare services and have just contracted with a bunch of independent contractors to go into people's homes, um, sometimes for for 12, 24 hours, not getting overtime, not getting minimum wage. That's been a violation for years. And, and so when somebody comes and says, well, I'm going to lose my business because I'm doing it this way, it's really hard to have that discussion and say, you've been operating outside the confines of the law and you've been misclassifying your workers for a long time. But we're not gonna, we're not gonna excuse that because we're trying to clean up, um, the law in general. So you are going to be introducing a package of reforms to AB five this session I have, I've re, I have actually introduced, um, AB 1850. That's where we put the, the language about freelancers and photographers and to clean that up and, uh, we should be releasing some language.
Speaker 3: 13:26 I think tomorrow, Wednesday, um, on journalists, I mean I'm musicians and when we release that language on musicians, if we can get consensus and two thirds consensus, we're gonna put an urgency on it so that we can get it through for, for, for the fixes that we have so far, there's also been a move to get a voter initiative on the November ballot to overturn a B five. Do you sense the backlash to this new law is strong enough to do that? Well, I want to be really clear. The vote or the initiative has been funded by Uber and Lyft and it's not to overturn AB five. It's to exempt them out of it. So it would exempt all of Uber, Lyft door dash, Postmates, and basically say they don't have to pay minimum wage. They don't have to pay over time. They don't have to pay worker's comp.
Speaker 3: 14:11 They're basically saying, if I hire my worker through an app, then they don't have to provide any of these protections. One of the things that concerns us most is when a company does this, they don't pay into workers social security. I mean we're talking about basically we're laws. I just want to ask you one more question and that is Republicans in California reportedly see opposition to AB five as a golden opportunity to rally support among employers and workers who are afraid of losing their gig economy jobs altogether. If their companies go out of business, how do you respond to that? You know, I think Republicans always tried to create a divide on on an issue, but the bottom line is of course they're against AB five they've been against minimum wage
Speaker 1: 14:52 and overtime rules. They've been against having workers compensation. They want to destroy social security. They don't want it to be funded. So it's not surprising to me that the Republican party has, has taken employment law as a way to try to create a divide, but every worker deserves those very basic things. I've been speaking with assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. Thank you so much. Thank you. You're listening to KPBS mid day edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Cavanagh. Elizabeth Warren ended her democratic presidential bid today after a disappointing finish in super Tuesday States. Warren has not made an endorsement in the race. She was squeezed out by Bernie Sanders who has a loyal base of supporters, especially among the Latino community in California. Latinos turned out for Sanders in large numbers, but why KQBD his politics reporter Katie or looks at how he earned their support at a rally and
Speaker 4: 15:46 San Jose the weekend before California's primary Bernie Sanders supporters were getting pumped up for the coming election. Among them was Abby Gonzales, a longtime Bernie fan?
Speaker 5: 15:57 I've been feeling the burn since 2016. Uh, when I was a college student and uh, I'm working currently at a university and I just feel like his policies and his energy is still relevant and much needed.
Speaker 4: 16:10 That's exactly the energy Sanders campaign is trying to generate with voters in general and Latinos in particular, the campaign had an extensive ground game in California and reached out to Latino voters in places other candidates rarely show up.
Speaker 6: 16:25 Places like Fresno city college, a Roosevelt high school in East LA Christian Araunah
Speaker 4: 16:31 is with the Latino community foundation. He says the Sanders campaign made a concerted effort to reach Latinos in the communities where they live. And he says, the campaign realized it needed to focus on more than just immigration issues.
Speaker 6: 16:45 The Latino community foundation actually released the poll on the Eve of the California primary in partnership with wouldn't be [inaudible] and not be no decisions. And we found that lowering the cost of health care was the top issue for Latinos in the state. It wasn't immigration, although immigration is a very big issue for us, but it was healthcare.
Speaker 4: 17:02 But there are differences among Latino voters. For instance, while the foundation's poll found nearly half of those aged 18 to 49 plan to vote for Sanders, just 28% of voters, 50 and older were supporting him. USC sociology professor Manuel pastor says the divides grow when you consider the Latino populations in other States, Texas for example,
Speaker 6: 17:27 Texas, it's a more conservative, uh, Hispanic voting population. Uh, one that's been more traditional. On the other hand, California has a younger, more or less leaning Latino population
Speaker 4: 17:40 and Sanders faces additional challenges. His top opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, has proven he can count on support from other large voting blocks including African Americans and Paul Mitchell. With the bipartisan voter data company. Political data says it remains to be seen whether Sanders can draw enough new voters to the polls to remain competitive. One of his big selling points was that he was going to be getting people to turn out that hadn't turned out in a presidential primary in years, and he was going to turn out voters who might be lower-income renters students. And I think from the other early States, it's still an open question as to whether or not his candidacy was effectively doing that. In the primary, Mitchell points out if Sanders wants to prove he can expand the electorate, he only has a few more States to make it happen.
Speaker 7: 18:30 That was KQBD politics reporter Katie or reporting.
Speaker 8: 18:37 Uh,
Speaker 7: 18:38 when KPBS met the [inaudible] family a few years ago, they were still searching for a diagnosis for their son. Damien's mysterious disease. KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina chaat Lani says, San Diego scientists gave them an answer and now confirm Damien could be one of a kind. 11 year old Damien Omer slams his back against his wheelchair. As you watched this guitarist slash shredding on the TV. Damien's mom greasy. Omar says he loves to jam out to eighties rock legends at his home in the wind. A Vista. Do you want more or are you all done? Do you want to get out where you want to go? Where do you want to go? Damien can't walk. Sometimes he needs a feeding tube and he gets help using the bathroom. But he also has lots of fun. While Damien can't communicate, he's always laughing. He just loves being silly, silly noises. Um, he's, he's your typical little boy. Damien has a [inaudible] form of congenital disorders of glycosylation or CDG for short. It's a type of extremely rare disease that causes the body cells to malfunction because sugars aren't properly attaching to proteins, but there are over a hundred different forms of CDG because different genetic abnormalities can lead to this poor sugar protein connection. So father Donnie Omar says, for years they didn't have a specific diagnosis.
Speaker 9: 20:08 They were calling it CDG X because there was no subtype to it. So, uh, that was, that was kind of uncertainty was kind of a bit of a downer for us because we were like, okay, how do, how do we include ourselves with everybody else in the CDG community?
Speaker 7: 20:24 But when scientists at Sanford Burnham Previce medical discovery Institute in LA Jolla took on the case five years ago, they were able to find the mutation doctor searched for several years to find another patient with Damien's mutation, but they couldn't find one. And after consulting with the national institutes of health, dr say Damien has a new type of CDG. And as far as they know, he's the only in the world with it. At his lab in LA Jolla genetics researcher Hudson freeze points to a wall filled with numerous photos of children he's worked with who have CDG or other conditions.
Speaker 10: 20:58 Cause that's my sister and she's also disabled. And so, you know, I kind of know what it's like for the families to go through all the struggles that they have.
Speaker 7: 21:08 Freeze started working with Damien five years ago when UC San Diego doctors turned the case and Damien's skin cells over to him. What doctors and freezes lab found is an entirely new gene and a DNA sequence where CDG can develop so they're calling this disease, get for CDG, which refers to that mutated gene in Damien's body that's stopping proteins from being guided to the right place.
Speaker 10: 21:32 They have helpers, they have chaperones on the way and with Damien's, one of his chaperones was almost completely gone.
Speaker 7: 21:39 Free says this discovery is significant because understanding which mutations lead to CDG can help scientists design more therapies to treat it.
Speaker 10: 21:47 What this does is to open up a whole new pathway of thinking for people who said, well, I never thought about possibilities in that group of genes
Speaker 7: 21:58 that could open doors for other CDG patients to also get treatment. In Damien's case for, he says there's one drug that he knows of which could potentially help Damien, but it has some uncomfortable side effects. He says the other benefit of finding these genetic mutations is that people can do more family planning if they know the mutation is hereditary and of course failed. These can also get some sense of closure back at the Omar family house. Damian's father Donnie says, that's been huge. It was kind of more of a perspective for us to understand [inaudible] uh, that was breathtaking for us because we, we, we found out something about his specific mutation that nobody else has is his special needs. Parents are often left with questions and even with a diagnosis, they'll still want to learn more. We've told everybody we take, take it one day at a time.
Speaker 7: 22:53 It's all you can do in the meantime. They think it's important for special needs parents to know they have a community of support and free says that he believes his Damien's case gets more publicity, more patients like him will be discovered and could potentially get treated. Shelina chat, Lani K PBS news. Joining me is KPBS science and technology reporter. Shalina chaat Lani Shalina welcome. Hi. Glad to be here. So first, you know, now the doctors have been able to pinpoint Damien's disorder. How's he doing? He's fine. You know, he, you know, when I visited him in his home, he's a really happy kid. He likes to play with his brother. He's very silly. He likes to jam out to rock music. He's a happy kid. He goes to school, he has friends. Obviously there's some of the day to day issues that come with having this particular type of disease. Um, like normal functioning issues. But overall he seemed really happy.
Speaker 11: 23:46 As you mentioned in your report, CDG is a congenital disorder. How many people have this disorder? So it's an extremely rare disease.
Speaker 7: 23:54 Geez, I'm the national institutes of health says that there are at least a thousand people in the world with this. But it's very variable because it's based off of different genetic abnormalities. And of course there can be so many different types of genetic mutations in a DNA sequence.
Speaker 11: 24:13 And you know, as you mentioned too there, there are many different forms of CDG. What makes Damien's particular form so rare?
Speaker 7: 24:20 So doctors were looking for several years, they couldn't really place his symptoms in connection to any other form of CDG that they had already found. So when I interviewed Dr. Hudson freeze about this, he said that there are probably around 140 different types that have been identified now. And Damien didn't exhibit based off of the genetic tests that they were doing. Any sort of symptoms relating to those specifically? Like he had some similar ones, but they couldn't exactly say see this exact genetic mutation connecting to those. So after they looked for several years and they couldn't find someone like Damien, they were able to determine with help from the national institutes of health that he has a new type of CDG based off of his specific mutations, it's called get four. It's a genetic mutation that makes it difficult for these certain sugars and proteins to connect to each other in the body.
Speaker 11: 25:19 And do doctors think his case could potentially help them identify other cases if they exist?
Speaker 7: 25:24 Yes. So I think this is the case with any genetic mutation that's found, you know, in the CDG family, anytime you find a new form of the disease, you're opening doors for scientists to be able to figure out how to develop direct therapies for other people that might be exhibiting the same symptoms. Um, and you're also overall gaining more knowledge about how CDG might manifest, um, based on the different genetic mutations that might form. So yeah, this is a really significant discovery because it means one more chance at understanding how CDG could potentially be treated at the family planning level or, um, potentially, you know, to help a child later down the line
Speaker 11: 26:11 is CDG something that easily shows up and genetic testing.
Speaker 7: 26:15 It's not. Um, so it might help, uh, for me to actually give, offer an explanation of what CDG is in the first place. And so I'm going to talk to Dr. Hudson freeze, um, who was in the, the piece, he's from Sanford Burnham previs medical discovery Institute and he has a pretty decent explanation of this.
Speaker 10: 26:33 So what's this glycosylation thing that we're talking about that's, that's adding very special sugars on the proteins and lipids. And the reason you do this is it helps cells communicate with each other and to know where they are and to know how to function. And if you don't make the right sugar chains, you don't get the right connections. And without those connections, you may not develop a brain in the right way.
Speaker 7: 27:00 And so what he's getting at here is that these connections that are made between sugars and proteins, they happen in a variety of ways. There are so many different genes in our bodies that are making sure that these connections can happen, that the sugars are going to the right place and so any number of genes could do that. And so developing a catchall test to figure out how that's happening is really difficult because there are so many ways that that can be disrupted.
Speaker 11: 27:29 You know, now that this has been discovered now that the, his rare case has been discovered, where do doctors hope research goes next?
Speaker 7: 27:36 Dr. Hudson freeze says that he hopes that once this, you know, rare disease is fully publicized because it, you know, it took so long for them to develop these tests and to search around the world for patient number two and couldn't find that patient that now that Damien's case is coming to light and these symptoms and kind of what's going on is being explained in this get for gene is being highlighted, that he, that more patients will actually be discovered that have this mutation but have gone undiagnosed and have been left without answers. And so for him, I think that's what he's hoping is going to happen next. And so they can study this, these rare diseases more and more effectively. I've been speaking to KPBS science and technology reporters, Shelina child Lonnie Shalina. Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 11: 28:30 This weekend is going to be special for architecture lovers in San Diego. The San Diego architectural foundation will host the fifth Oh San Diego O stands for open house. Nearly 100 sites spread across Balboa park, banker's Hill, the Gaslamp downtown East village Barrio Logan point Loma LA Jolla. And Cornetto will open their doors for tours and it is all free. Joining us to talk more about this exciting event is Maxine ward, the director of the San Diego architectural foundation and Elsa Savia from the San Diego history center. Welcome to you both. Thank you for heaviness. So Maxine, I'll start with you. Um, for someone who isn't familiar with the AU tours, what should they know? Well, first and foremost, it's free. We welcome everybody to come and join us. So we are opening the doors to about 93 different sites all over the city. Like you said. Um, they all have architectural, historic or cultural significance and uh, really we're just encouraging the public to come out and learn more about what the San Diego built environment really has to offer.
Speaker 11: 29:34 And that's everything from things that have, you know, great history, things that are uniquely San Diego and obviously great architecture because that's what, um, the San Diego architectural foundation is all the byte whereby promoting great architecture and design right here. And Elsa, tell me about the San Diego history center's involvement in this event. You have a San Diego history centers involved because we are opening our doors to team up with Oh, because it's such a great program and it gives people something to do, something fun, something to learn about. And so for us at the San Diego history center, we have our research archives in the lower level with 47 million million items, um, in maps, ephemera, photos. And so what we're going to do is we're going to have, uh, historical documents from maps and architectural drawings of buildings that have been built in San Diego. Some that changed a little bit and some that were actually never built.
Speaker 11: 30:34 But we still have the drawings in our archives. And so people are going to get a chance to come and see that. And then we have a second museum, the Cera museum and procedural park near old town. People can also get a free tour on the weekend and come see the Serra museum and find out why it's so iconic and why it's such an important site to learn about, which is the procedure. A 1769, the Kumeyaay people lived in this area for 12,000 years. And then, um, the Spanish and the soldiers came 250 years ago. So it's just, you know, it all comes together and it's just a great thing for people to, um, experience. Yeah, a lot of history tied in there. Um, you know, when we think of great architectural cities, places like Chicago, New York, Paris and London all come to mind, but when it comes to architecture, San Diego has plenty to boast about as well.
Speaker 11: 31:24 Right, right. For sure. And I think it's, it's interesting you mentioned a couple of those cities because open house San Diego is part of a worldwide movement. It's open house worldwide and internationally there's about 50 other cities that do the same type of program, one weekend a year. And we are the, um, the third city in the United States after New York and Chicago, both having amazing, iconic skylines and architecture. So we're really proud of that, that, um, you know, our finder here in San Diego, Suzanne freed stat, she's a native point Lowman and, um, she really has a passion for this and she wanted to celebrate everything that San Diego had to offer and say, you know, we've, we're just as great. Right? So, um, you know, this year we have the hotel Del Coronado, which is obviously iconic, has a great history culturally and architecturally. So that's one example of something that people all across the world knows as uniquely San Diego.
Speaker 11: 32:20 And then on the architectural, um, side, the sulk Institute is also participating and that is a Louis can building. Um, it's, uh, it's world renowned architects come from all over the world actually to San Diego to visit it because it's so well published and so well known in architectural circles. Oh, you know, I'm wondering what are some secrets architecturally speaking of the San Diego area? Ooh, well, I mean, I know some secrets. I would say that the Sarah museum in BAU and not in mobile park, the Sarah museum in procedural park, a lot of people think that it's the mission, the first San Diego mission, but it's actually not. It was built in 1928 and it was the San Diego historical society, which is now the San Diego history center. So there's a lot of, um, information there. Um, so it sounded like a secret, but it's something that people don't know about.
Speaker 11: 33:16 Yeah, I got one too. So, um, we have a couple of walking tours of some streets in San Diego that are a little bit off the beaten path. Um, so one is seventh Avenue, which is actually where the Marston houses, which people may already know cause it is, it is open. Um, but then there's albatross street. And so that's another kind of little hidden street and banker's Hill and it has a lot of urban girl houses on there. Um, and so we're going to be doing walking tours with some experts of both those streets so people can learn it by the, um, the development of those little enclaves and why they're a collection of very special architecture. Very interesting. Now the event begins this Friday and it runs through Sunday. How do you suggest people take a or at least plan to take advantage of as much of it as possible?
Speaker 11: 34:03 I mean, it seems like it would really be just about impossible to see every location that's out there. Yeah, that's right. So, um, I like to call it an architectural smorgasbord. Um, we do recommend that you do a little pre-planning because um, we have a lot of, um, resources available online at our website. I S D architecture.org. Um, there you'll find all the site listings by neighborhood. Um, we also have a downloadable map. We have an app for the second time that people can download. It's called archi maps and it's available, um, on the Apple store and so forth. We also suggest that people check in at hubs. So we have nine neighborhoods participating and each one has a hub. And if people check in there, they will be able to get the map, talk to our volunteers who could maybe make some suggestions for the weekend.
Speaker 11: 34:54 But really there's a lot of resources out there so you can kind of plan your own weekend. Absolutely. And it's more than just wonderful architecture on. Tell us about some of the events associated with the tours. Okay. Well we do have a couple of special events that are happening in LA Hoya. Um, we're uh, collaborating with the Scripps institution of oceanography and they are, um, obviously as a campus they have multiple buildings. They're from different eras, so they are opening multiple buildings, having tours. You can go on the pier, uh, meet some of the scientists go in some of the older buildings. There's some mid century buildings right there. And it's just a beautiful, um, ocean front campus to wander rind. Um, we're also having some dance performances there. I've been speaking with Maxine
Speaker 1: 35:38 ward from the San Diego architectural foundation and Elsa via with the San Diego history center. Ladies. Thank you both for joining us. Thank you for having us. Thank you. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Cavanagh, San Diego comic Fest bills itself as the friendly intimate comic convention experience. The convention kicks off its eighth year tonight at the four points by Sheraton on arrow drive. KPBS arts reporter Beth Huck Amando speaks with comic Fest chairman Matt Dunford about what to expect from this year's event.
Speaker 11: 36:12 Matt, you are coming up on the eighth year of San Diego comic Fest. So how does it feel?
Speaker 12: 36:18 It feels pretty incredible. I'm so happy to see the convention come so far from its humble origins because it was a lot smaller back when when it started and like I said it was very humble. It was very friendly, it was very just kind of, you know the quiet intimate show. It is still a very intimate show, but we've attracted a lot of big names and a lot of attention and it's flourishing and I'm really happy to see it come this far
Speaker 11: 36:42 and this year you are celebrating a couple of centennials that are really important to those of us who like science fiction and movie monsters. That is correct. We are celebrating the Centennial of Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen, so we get the double rays on there and talk a little bit about what drives the festival in terms of its mission statement. We have San Diego comic con here in San Diego, which is huge, but you guys really want to keep this a more kind of intimate and personal convention.
Speaker 12: 37:09 Yes, we do try to keep this as the keyword here is intimate, it's friendly, it's intimate, it's small and San Diego Comicon is always going to be the behemoth. It's going to be the giant in the room. It's got tracks, 200,000 people every year and it's a big event and I think it's run beautifully for everything that goes on. But understand that's not the ideal experience for everyone. Sometimes they can be flustered by big crowds or too much going on or they may not have like, you know, the right approach to going and may not have the best time in the world. I mean always have the best time when I go there cause I've been going for 25 years now. But the thing that comic Fest can offer is it's just a smaller presence where it doesn't feel so rushed where you can take your time with creators and just have a blast with them. And you know, something I often said about comic Fest is you go in on day one and there's all these great comic book creators around you. It's like you look up to them as gods but by the end of the weekend you just called them friend and it's a really remarkable experience to, to enjoy.
Speaker 11: 38:09 And you are back at the four point Sheridan and what's the venue going to be like in terms of what can people expect to find there?
Speaker 12: 38:16 Well, what can people expect to find there? Um, we've actually expanded out now. We have full premises over the entire resort this time. So that's really cool. So you'll walk into the nice atrium area, you'll have, uh, some, a nice decor that you'll find. Uh, it may be, uh, it may be a Harryhausen themes. So you can expect a little of, if you a veer to your right, you'll see a wonderful flourishing artist alley area with all a bunch of local creators that have come forward where you can get artwork and commissioned work from these creators and just mingle among artists and see their creative work. We've also expanded into another atrium which will encompass the small press area, which is now supervised by our small press director, Travis Riva. So that's going to be the areas where writers and self published authors go for their works. And so you'll have that, you know, so to speak, authors alley on it. Another atrium will have a gaming area. So those who want to, you know, enjoy some board gaming in between panels or scene creators. It's something to bide your time with and really have a good experience with. And that's under the operation of the great Jeff Burns of super geeked up. He's been doing a wonderful job with that
Speaker 13: 39:20 meeting creators and going throughout her. Sally is a key part of this, but another key part is panels. Are there any panels that you are particularly excited about?
Speaker 12: 39:29 There are a few panels that I'm uh, quite ecstatic about. Uh, I have a grief, I've ranged a whole bunch of writers from different areas of spider mans cause I'm a big spidey fan boy. So they get to come in and talk about their different approaches and the impact that they had on the character. Other ones I'm looking forward to. I always enjoy the [inaudible] panel with Beth Armando. That one's always a, that one's always a blast and a certain guests, I think one of the ones I'm looking forward to the most is one called into the Ditco verse because last year at San Diego comic fests, I had the pleasure of meeting a guy who just randomly came to San Diego comic Fest by the name of Mark Ditco. And I kind of freaked out for a second. I said any relations? Steve Ditco was my uncle. And so I invited Mark as a special guest this year to talk about his experience with his late great uncle. And he's the, he's the historical archivist of the Steve Ditco collection now, but meeting Mark and seeing the side of Ditco that we've never seen before. They was a friendly family man and that he did have this wonderful flourishing life. It's just wonderful to see. It's a side of history. I have always wanted to know and now we get to see it. And do we get to experience that firsthand at San Diego comic Fest? It's absolutely wonderful.
Speaker 13: 40:38 And how do you feel that the convention has been evolving? What kind of changes are you seeing that you're happy about?
Speaker 12: 40:45 Fortunately, word of mouth gets around and people always talk about their wonderful experiences with the event. And because of that, it allows us to take steps up. You're learning to crawl, you're taking your baby steps, you're learning to walk, you're up and running, you're jogging. And now it's at the point where we're running a marathon and finishing first place. When I look at the guest list that we have this year, our guest of honor this year is Bilson Cavage, you know, from electro Sasson, straight toasters, big numbers. This guy is an art God and he agreed to be our guest of honor. And then our science fiction guest of honor, who is my favorite writer, J Michael Stravinsky, who you might know from Babylon five and from sensate and the eighties revival, the Twilight zone. If you were a kid growing up in the early eighties, you would have known him from building half the universe of she raw, the real Ghostbusters. Jason the wield warriors. I like the comics of J Michael Stravinsky. So his run on amazing Spiderman, which is my all time favorite Spiderman run is one on Thor that came out in 2007. He actually ended up writing the four movie as well, being one of the screenwriters on it.
Speaker 1: 41:48 And there's always talk about diversity in comics. And what is comic Fest doing to kind of highlight creators of color or women or um, people who may not, who may be
Speaker 12: 41:58 underrepresented elsewhere? Well, you know, we always try to take these aspects to show diversity. We try to show, you know, women in comics, we showcase international creators. We have a host of people coming out from Mexico just to show the international scene and how comics are a flourishing industry in Mexico as well, and show their creative talent. And so a comic historian Louis [inaudible] is coming up to a showcasing, he runs a called K, one of the biggest conventions out in Mexico. So he gets to do that. And then he's pretty ecstatic because, uh, we have him on a panel with his, uh, cartooning hero, Sergio, Eric goannas who actually Sergio. I actually invited Sergio as a special guest because he was our guest of honor last year. And he says, no, I changed my mind. I want to come back, I want to come back. And so Sergio Aragon is once again ecstatic about joining us.
Speaker 1: 42:45 And is there anything else about the show that you want to share with people?
Speaker 12: 42:48 I love the wonderful guest list that we have, creators like Wendy and Richard, Piney of elf quest, Marv Wolfman, who you might know of as the creator of blade, the vampire Hunter and teen Titans onward. To see all of these wonderful creators come out and want to celebrate the legacy of Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen and mingle with the fans and just have a great time with them. It's something that's just enjoyable for everyone. I invite everyone to go online right now to our website, ww.sd comic fest.org check out the programming. Check out the special guests list. We have legends of animation who used to work with Walt Disney back in the day. We have giants of science fiction that are coming in to talk about their inspiration from Bradbury and guests that you can just geek out with your comic stuff. There is something there for everyone in the programming and it's just a wonderful, wonderful time for everyone. All right, well, I want to thank you very much for talking about comic Fest and thank you so much for having me on the show. It's always a pleasure to be here.
Speaker 1: 43:43 That was Beth Armando speaking with Matt Dunford. San Diego comic Fest runs tonight through Sunday at four points by Sheraton in Kearny Mesa.
California became the third state to declare a public health emergency as the state records its first death caused by the coronavirus as well as a slew of new cases. Plus, San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is introducing an amendment to California’s new labor law known as AB5 after complaints from certain freelance journalists, writers and musicians who say the law is hurting their livelihood. Also, a San Diego child may be the only one in the world with this rare form of a metabolic disease. And, Sen. Bernie Sanders has made a big effort to reach out to Latino voters in California and it may have paid off for him on Super Tuesday. In addition, this weekend visitors will have the chance to discover some of the city’s newest, never-before-seen buildings, in addition to historic landmarks throughout the city. Finally, San Diego’s friendlier comic convention returns for the eighth year this weekend. We have a preview.