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San Diego County Opening Regional COVID-19 ‘Vaccination Pods’

 January 5, 2021 at 12:24 PM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 Delays are hampering the COVID vaccine rollout in California, Speaker 2: 00:04 Not having the capacity vaccinated to not having the capacity storage. I think the delays Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heinemann. This is KPBS midday edition And Escondido American Legion post commander is removed from national leadership. Speaker 2: 00:29 He appears to have been pretty active in talking about his affiliation with the proud boys. The arrest them Speaker 1: 00:37 Led to protests in Lamesa has now led to charges against a former police officer and a conversation with an independent filmmaker who started out at UC San Diego. That's ahead on midday edition Speaker 1: 01:00 As the number of new COVID cases, skyrockets in California efforts to speed up vaccine distribution are increasing governor Gavin Newsome says only about 35% of the more than a million doses the state has received have been administered so far. A number he admits is far too low, so more locations and additional people who can administer the shot like dentists and members of the national guard are being recruited to pick up the pace. Joining me is one of the San Diego doctors on the state vaccine safety panel, Dr. Rodney hood, president, and founder of the multicultural health foundation, a consortium of health providers serving San Diego counties, most diverse neighborhoods, Dr. Hood. Speaker 2: 01:43 Thank you. Thanks for inviting me. Speaker 1: 01:45 What are some of the roadblocks being encountered that are slowing down vaccinations? Speaker 2: 01:50 Well, I, I think, uh, first of all, um, uh, lack of, uh, uh, national lives, uh, vaccination plan, uh, early on, uh, we kind of missed the Mark where, uh, we didn't, uh, put in place a national plan that would be consistent, uh, from the federal level down to the state level that didn't take place. And so what happened is as the, uh, vaccines became available and the distribution to the States took place, it was kind of like every state and every County was kind of on your own. So, um, I think that's kind of, uh, uh, uh, uh, lack of, uh, public health infrastructure that we have in place. Our system was more built for due care rather than preventative. So hopefully we'll learn from that, however, uh, in, uh, California. Um, uh, although I agree with the governor, the rollout and getting vaccinations into the arms of the ones that needed it has been a group is slower than like, but I can tell you here in San Diego County, I think would make you not quit. Parklets it does Speaker 1: 03:00 The process of getting this vaccine actually take longer than other kinds of vaccinations? Speaker 2: 03:06 Uh, yes, for several reasons. First of all, we call this new cold virus. It's a new virus it's just been approved, it's been approved for emergency use. So, um, it's, uh, it's, um, nuances, the main issue is probably storage. So, uh, the Pfizer vaccine for instance, needs to be stored in Sub-Zero temperatures minus 70, uh, SONDA grades, uh, degrees in it comes packaged in a thousand. So when it gets to the distribution source, they break it down and say, you put it in a freezer. Uh, it needs to be used within five days. And then once when you prepare it, it needs to be used in a six hours. So there's, um, uh, a lot of, uh, distribution issues and they burn a vaccine, which does, uh, is, is much better as far as not requiring, Sub-Zero still has some limitations. So, um, uh, and this also being a new vaccine, it's not like the flu vaccine where you just go to your doctor's office and everybody's prepared kind of give it, uh, there's, uh, PPE equipment that's needed because we're in a pandemic and certain protocols you follow. So, uh, yes, uh, this is different. And I think that that's added to the, Speaker 1: 04:22 What is your reaction to the state's proposal to increase the number of sites the vaccine is available and to expand the types of people who can administer the shots. Speaker 2: 04:32 So I think all hands on deck, I think it's a great concept right now. I think adding a dentist is vaccinated and anybody else who can be a great help. I can tell you here in, uh, there's a, uh, local vaccination advice, which I also am on two or three chairs, one I'm representing hospitals, I represent clinics and, uh, uh, community and then the County, and, um, we're passed, would make recommendations. And, um, we had a separate meetings that, a lot of feedback and basically, uh, I believe, uh, we're having another meeting today. And what's going to be announced today was that the County has opened up what we're calling regional vaccination pond, because it's easier to have a strategic pod rather than trying to get it to the small practices because of the storage issues. Uh, these regional vaccination pods will be open seven days a week. Speaker 2: 05:31 Um, it will, uh, target phase, uh, one a, uh, all the tiers right now. We're just finishing up when a [inaudible], uh, and, uh, I believe the sites will be posted on the County a website. So it will be like in the Northeast, South and central areas where folks in a tier one to tier three in phase who would be able to be able to get a vaccine. So that's one of the things that I think is going to speed up your process and with adding vaccinators to this, that would be easier. Uh, the County is also partnering with the fire department or different fire departments throughout the County that will be prepared to be a vaccination. And, uh, last but not least, uh, the County is developing partnerships with the hospitals. Those are currently in a discussion, but I know one is with CSD UCS D uh, the hospitals have logic capacity and more decision at kind of giving these vaccines versus trying to get all of the small clinics, uh, together, eventually that will take place. So, uh, I'm hoping that with developing these hospital partnerships in the regional pot, that's going to make things go easier in the next couple of weeks. Speaker 1: 06:52 You know, as some hospitals, speaking of hospitals, they're reporting a significant percentage of healthcare workers who are refusing to get vaccinated. I'm wondering, what's your take on that? Speaker 2: 07:04 So I don't call it refusing. I call it hesitancy. Um, uh, I am, uh, um, you know, that's one of the issues that, uh, uh, I've been dealing with for a long time vaccine, hesitancy is not new. That is not new for this vaccine, uh, in minority communities, especially black communities. There's always been huge vaccine hesitancy, uh, starting with the flu vaccine. So, uh, that's not a surprise and I used the word hesitancy because most of these individuals, once when you have a conversation with them about, um, uh, the, uh, pros and cons of getting vaccinated to risk of kind of getting a COVID versus getting a vaccinated many times that that hesitancy is so overcome. Uh, personally, I just got vaccinated, uh, yesterday. Um, I, I had a conversation with my staff who was also to get vaccinated and there were, uh, several who, uh, said, I think I'm going to wait because I'm, I'm just concerned. Any of them were females who were concerned about what that would have to do with their reproductive systems, et cetera. But, uh, they weren't saying no, they just stating that they needed to hear more. So I think as time goes on, um, uh, that will become less of an issue. Speaker 1: 08:25 You know, even though we are at a critical point in this pandemic, are there risks in rushing vaccinations? Speaker 2: 08:33 Well, um, I think, uh, there's always risk, you know, we jump in a car and put on a seatbelt, uh, even though you had the seatbelt on, there's always a risk business, something terrible would happen in the seatbelt, not a seat. Um, so, uh, medicine is always about risk benefit and yes, this is a new vaccine. Um, I think, uh, emergency use means it's been approved sooner than usual, but the safety and research data was not rushed. So getting to this point quicker had to do with the science that was, uh, utilized to get us there. Very impressive science. And then, uh, but, uh, the restretch, I think the Pfizer had, uh, over 40,000 participants, which is a significant in-group get data from, and the McLaren I had over 30,000, uh, both of which, uh, showed a safety and efficacy. Um, wouldn't narrowly, you may want more than two to three months data, but then you take the risk of what do we know about the, a pandemic right now? Speaker 2: 09:42 Oak should know that a health system, especially in California, is hugely active by, um, the, the, uh, hospital, uh, systems in ICU is, uh, severely impacted in is beginning to, uh, affect the quality of care that you get when you go to the hospital, not just for COVID patient, but non COVID patients, having heart attacks and strokes. Most of the beds have being taken up by COVID patient. She's just not getting the care that you need. So, um, I think, uh, vaccination, one of the tools that will help us, we keep saying is light at the end of the tunnel. Uh, our goal is to see more people reach the light at the end of the tunnel right now, if, um, the vaccination will help that templates. Speaker 3: 10:28 And I have been speaking with Dr. Rodney hood, president and founder of the multi-cultural health foundation, Dr. Hood. Thank you. Speaker 2: 10:36 You're welcome. And thanks for having Speaker 3: 10:41 The California American Legion says it has no room for hate in its membership after removing the Escondido post commander from national leadership roles over social media posts, the organization says 56 year old Michael Sobchak bragged on social media about participating in a street brawl and joining the proud voice. Joining me now is Andrew Dyer, a reporter who covers the military and veteran issues for the San Diego union Tribune. Andrew, welcome. Speaker 2: 11:09 Hi, thanks for having me. Speaker 3: 11:11 What can you tell me about subjects posts Speaker 2: 11:13 He uses? He appears to use, uh, two social media accounts, one on Facebook and one on parlor, which is, uh, an alternative version, kind of like Twitter, you know, for a while. Um, he appears to have been pretty active in talking about his, um, affiliation with the proud boys, uh, boosting proud boys on parlor. Um, he likes to post these Facebook live videos where he talks about politics or his form of activism. Speaker 3: 11:47 Now, some check has been removed from national leadership roles with the American Legion. Do you have any sense of, if the local chapter will take the same action, Speaker 4: 11:56 The state commander here in California, it was kind of limited in what he could do, um, about Saul check, um, you know, they removed him from his seat on a couple of national boards, uh, but as far as, uh, his position as commander of that post in Escondido, um, it's, it's really up to the members there to, uh, to oust him so to speak. You know, subject has been, um, a leader in the American Legion for, for a long time in California, especially with it's it, you know, he rides a motorcycle. So he's been active in the American Legion riders. And Speaker 3: 12:33 How does this situation reflect the culture of the Escondido post of the American Legion? Speaker 4: 12:40 I really would hesitate to, to say that it reflects in any way on that post veterans join the American Legion for a number of reasons, reviewing their, their website and some of his, his posts on the website, everything that I've seen from him in his American Legion role seemed standard stuff for what you would expect from an organization like that. Um, there was nothing in it that he did in that role that, um, appeared to influenced or promoting any type of politics. Speaker 3: 13:14 And it's beyond politics. It's, it's, uh, seeping into hate as was pointed out by, uh, national leadership with this organization. Correct. Speaker 4: 13:23 Right. Um, you know, the, the problem is, um, you know, the SPLC called them a hate group, but right. They, they do fall under this broad umbrella of, of the, uh, kind of right-wing extremist movement that we're seeing in this country right now, Speaker 3: 13:38 In your story, you mentioned a post where Michael [inaudible] said the proud boys filled a void for him after retiring from the military. Have you encountered other ex military who have gravitated toward these far right hate groups? Speaker 4: 13:49 You know, there's anecdotally I do hear accounts of, of veterans joining these groups, uh, experts who study extremist movements. You know, they'll tell you that, um, every time we, uh, kind of have a conflict overseas, when, when people come back, there tends to be a rise in membership in these types of groups. Um, you know, we saw it after, after the Vietnam war, we saw it in the mid nineties. Speaker 3: 14:18 It has been widely reported, at least that hate groups have certainly gravitated toward the military. What do you know about that? Speaker 4: 14:24 Well, yeah, um, there have been, um, active duty military members caught, um, being members of, uh, various groups going from just PO throwing, putting up flyers in their, their towns, um, all the way to actually planning, um, attacks. Okay. Speaker 3: 14:43 Uh, are hate groups in San Diego County seeing an uptick in membership. Speaker 4: 14:48 There's certainly been, um, an increase in kind reactionary, community groups, forming, um, in response to some of the unrest that we saw in the wake of the killing of George Florida and Minneapolis. Um, of course we have the big protest in the Mesa that, uh, turned violent and there was, um, some buildings burned that particular incident did spawn kind of community organization groups to get together and to go in and kind of stand wallet over businesses Speaker 3: 15:27 Organizations, or are they hate groups. Speaker 4: 15:30 They are community groups that you'll have a few members in a large group who might be extremist or members of other groups. And it's kind of a way for that ideology to seep in, to become more mainstream. But I would not define these groups specifically as hate groups. It's, it's clear from when you look at the activities in these groups and the conversations people have that there is, um, hateful ideology being, being shared. Speaker 3: 15:59 You know, you also mentioned in your report that sub check was seen in social media posts with the defendant East County shirt on what can you tell us about that group and in who are they and what are they trying to accomplish? Speaker 4: 16:11 But defenders County is one of these groups that started right after the big protest in the Mesa. Um, it was the largest, uh, of, of those groups, um, at its peak. It had more than 22,000 members, but in the run-up to the election, the group was removed from Facebook and, um, its members have been trying to reorganize since then, you know, this kind of deep platforming that Facebook did on defenders County has been fairly effective. They've struggled to Speaker 3: 16:42 How does the Southern poverty law center define the proud boys? Tell me about that. Speaker 4: 16:47 Certainly members of the problems, um, espouse white nationalists and white supremacists ideology, but, um, as an organization, you know, they call themselves a Western chauvinist in Western culture is a euphemism for white culture. So it's certainly there in, you know, right under the surface, you don't have to bring, you know, their, their, their leader is a, a black Cuban from Florida. Um, if they're a hate group, then they hate the left in general. Right? So, um, if they're a hate group, it's, it's that they, they kind of hate liberalism the left and, and, and women. Hm. Speaker 3: 17:30 Per your reporting, the Southern poverty law center classifies the proud boys as a hate group. Uh, Andrew Dyer, military and veterans issue reporter for the San Diego union Tribune. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. This is KPBS midday edition. Speaker 1: 17:50 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Heinemann, he's been fired. His employment appeal has been denied. And now former Lamesa police officer Matthew Dodges is facing a felony charge Dodges as accused of falsifying a police report after his arrest of 23 and Marie Johnson last may a video of the arrest with a white officer repeatedly pushing down the black man at a trolley stop, set off protests in Lamesa and across the County charges against Johnson were subsequently dropped. Joining me is KPBS reporter Joe Hong. Welcome Joe. Thanks for having me remind us if you would about the video of this arrest. What did we see? Speaker 5: 18:32 Yeah. Um, so in Dodges, his body cam footage, you see him sort of approach Henri Johnson and you see Dodges sort of places hand on, uh, AAMRI and Henri Johns is sort of, uh, swats away his hand. And that is what Dodgers, uh, interpreted as assault on a peace officer. And from there, uh, things sort of escalate. You see Dodgers grab the front of Henri Johnson's shirt. You see him, uh, pulling Johnson's arm around his back and handcuffing him. And he's eventually joined by a couple other officers, um, who help handcuff Johnson as well. Speaker 1: 19:13 Now, da summer Stephens has charged damages with lying on his report about the incident. Did the da say why the felony charges were filed? Speaker 5: 19:23 Yeah, so all I really got from the DA's office is a statement saying that the address is charged with one felony count of filing false report. So we can really assume that that means that the reason for the arrest, which was assaulting a police officer was, was not true, or that sort of the allegation and inner statement. Some Stephan says I'm reading from the statement, uh, when someone in a position of trust, such as a police officer commits a crime, it causes tremendous harm and shakes the community's confidence in those who are sworn to protect them. Everyone is accountable under the law, and as we've done previously, we will file criminal charges when they are supported by facts and evidence. Speaker 1: 20:01 Okay, then, so this arrest, which involved the man handling of a black man in Lamesa happened right at the time, the country was reeling from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Tell us about the protests here in San Diego. Speaker 5: 20:16 Did this incident with, uh, Albert Johnson and Matthew Dodges happened on May 27th. And I believe the day after there was a small protest in front of the Mesa police department's office, but just a couple of days later, the video of George Floyd's, uh, killing at the hands of Minneapolis, please surfaced. So Lamesa then became one of the epicenters, I guess, in the San Diego region for the nationwide protests. What we really saw was, uh, just really unprecedented demonstrations in Lamesa thousands of people gathering on Memorial day weekend. And of course later in the evening, uh, some of the, some of the individuals participating in largely peaceful protest later in the evening, um, got a little violent. Uh, there was looting, there was destruction of, of buildings and local businesses and things like that. Speaker 1: 21:10 And in fact, the da charged two men back in November with the burning of a bank in Lamesa during those protests. One has the Lamesa police department said about the charges filed against Matthew death. Speaker 5: 21:23 So the Mesa police department, I got a statement from, uh, the current acting chief of police race Sweeney. Um, I'm gonna read from his statement. Uh, the Mesa police department is aware of the now has been made by the district attorney's office this morning regarding the issuing of charges against former Lamesa police officer Matthew Dodges. We have worked closely with the San Diego district attorney's office over the past several months on this matter, bill Mesa police department holds each and every member of the department to the highest standards of integrity in order to protect and serve our community and keep its trust. So the police chief here is sort of echoing what, uh, the DA's office side they're cooperating with the investigation, and they're really working to rebuild trust with the community. Speaker 1: 22:07 Has there been any response from Matthew Dodges himself? Speaker 5: 22:12 Uh, no. I, I haven't been able to reach him. I haven't seen anything where he's coming out and, and reacting to the charge. Speaker 1: 22:19 Have we heard from Omari Johnson about this? I think he has always said that he wanted charges filed against this officer. Speaker 5: 22:27 Yeah. So he, uh, Johnson posted a, a brief statement on, on social media, just sort of thanking everyone for their support. And I, I'm just going to read from a part of his statement. He says, I'm thankful for the DA's decision to pursue charges against former officer Dodges. Uh, now it's time for this drawn out legal process. I'll do my part to make sure there's justice tough times don't last but tough people do. So it looks like in the end, uh, Johnson sees this as, as in sort of getting justice for what he went through, Speaker 1: 22:59 Rare for the DA's office to charge an officer or former officer with filing a false report. Speaker 5: 23:06 Yeah. So this is definitely something that doesn't happen every day, but, uh, uh, spokesman with the DA's office did tell me that, uh, since 2009, this is the fifth time that, uh, a police officer has been charged with falsifying a report. Speaker 1: 23:22 And if he's convicted, his dad is facing jail time. Speaker 5: 23:25 Yes. So if he is convicted, Dodges faces up to three years in prison, according to the DA's office. Speaker 1: 23:33 And I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Joe Hong and Joe. Thank you. Speaker 5: 23:37 Thanks for having me, the Colorado Speaker 3: 23:46 River irrigate some of the country's most productive farm land like that found in the Imperial Valley, but agriculture and the arid region, especially upstream is made more difficult by its salty and old school irrigation methods. That's in harmful minerals into streams from KV and F in Western Colorado. Jodie Peterson has more on a program that's helping upstream farmers use more water efficiently to keep downstream growers in business Speaker 6: 24:16 H Kareo farms, 18 acres outside of Hotchkiss, Colorado where fruit orchards dot high desert mesas. When he irrigates his peach crop water gushes from big white plastic pipes at the top of the plot and takes half a day to trickle down to the other end of this fight. Speaker 7: 24:35 Richard we're on 18 acres here. We have a half acre market garden. We have a small, uh, grass. Speaker 6: 24:44 This is called flood irrigation and we'll, it works great to get water to fruit trees quickly. It comes with some downsides. Speaker 7: 24:51 One of the big concerns that we have in the North fork Valley is that our irrigation leads to deep percolation Speaker 6: 25:01 And that deep percolation dissolves the salt and selenium that occur naturally and soils here. The minerals are harmful to both fish and humans. The excess water runs off farm fields like CoreOS into ditches that eventually dump into the Gunnison river, a tributary of the Colorado. Speaker 7: 25:19 And so we have a serious ecological issue going on here. Speaker 8: 25:24 So lineage is known to have an impact on fish breeding, such that the offspring end up with deformities and, um, and other problems. Speaker 6: 25:34 That's Perry Cabot, a water resources specialist with Colorado state university. He says salt creates problems, too. It must be removed before water can be used for drinking or industrial purposes, which is expensive. Kevin says salty irrigation, water can stunt crop growth and eventually make farmland unusable. Speaker 8: 25:54 And you continue to sort of leech the salts out of the upper systems of a river. You concentrate them further and further. So it's just this kind of creeping soil killer has. It makes its way downstream Speaker 6: 26:07 During the 1960s. So much salt float into the Colorado river from us farms that Mexico at the downstream end could no longer use it for irrigation. A solution was finally negotiated in the 1970s, but it's an ongoing issue. Other laws have since been passed and federal programs have been created that give farmers incentive to reduce salty runoff from their fields. Casey Harrison is a soil conservationist with the federal natural resources, conservation service or NRCS. Speaker 8: 26:37 We have, um, the ability through federal funds to help and ranchers improve their irrigation water delivery systems so that we can actually combat some of those problems with selenium and salinity and the Colorado river basin Speaker 6: 26:55 That federal financial support is key. The cost of installing new irrigation systems. Can't be born by farmers alone, annually. The NRCS spends about $7 million helping roughly 75 Ganesan basin producers cover the cost of converting to more efficient irrigation farmers pay part of the cost to and benefit from greater control over water usage, higher crop yields, and less labor. Again, Colorado state university's Perry County. Speaker 8: 27:23 We as a society value food production as a part of our economic infrastructure, it's unrealistic to expect them to just bear the burden without vital health Speaker 6: 27:35 Back in farmer, AGA Korea's peach orchards changes coming. His deer tree farm will have a new, more efficient irrigation system by fall 2021 paid for in part by the NRCS is switched to micro sprinklers will mean much more efficient water use and healthier soil. That irrigation system will effectively double our water supply here on this farm. A total game changer. In my opinion, even though Korea's farm is small, the switch also means less salt and selenium ending up in the Colorado river. And if enough of his neighbors make the same change, it could mean fewer problems for the millions of people downstream, who depend on it. I'm Jodie Peterson and PEO new Colorado Speaker 1: 28:21 Story as part of ongoing coverage of the Colorado river produced by KV and F in partnership with K U and C support comes from the Walton family foundation. Speaker 8: 28:31 Hmm. Speaker 1: 28:40 Climate change was top of mind for many people in 2020 wildfires torched California at a record. Number of hurricanes slapped the East coast. The city of Stockton recently made headway in efforts to cope with warming temperatures, cap radios, as are a David Romero has more about a new city initiative meant to help the most vulnerable San Joaquin residents adapt Speaker 6: 29:05 A few blocks away from downtown Stockton. There's an urban forest of about 40 trees, Sammy Nunez, non-profit fathers and families of San Joaquin planted it. He says an investment in the environment is an investment in people. The way we treat the land of disregard for the land is the way we treat families and children here in this community. And because of it, the land is hard and the people are hard. And Nuna says urban forest. Like this will be a big part of an $11 million state grant that Stockton received to combat climate change. He was part of a community process that helped map out the new initiative. He says this particular green space was created to remember victims Speaker 1: 29:42 Of gun violence. Now it serves two purposes cooling this neighborhood's heat Island in pain homage to fallen family members. Speaker 9: 29:50 This is about creating an opportunity for folks to heal and connect to the natural world and understand the value of these trees. Speaker 1: 29:57 The hope is that there will be many more green spaces like this. Under the new Stockton climate initiative, the money will be used to make the city more walkable, less reliant on fossil fuels and create more green space in vulnerable neighborhoods. Nunez wants the initiative to have long-term impact. Speaker 9: 30:14 We know that the design of a community in and of itself can actually be deterrent to crime and violence. We know that the more trees you have, the less crime you have in the neighborhood, we know that Speaker 1: 30:23 Walk me through downtown to show me how the grant may transform the city scape. Speaker 9: 30:27 This is census track 4.02 and one, Speaker 1: 30:30 The paved streets here may soon have bike lanes and tree-lined sidewalks. The grant will also help create more green jobs and increase household. Solar energy schools will have urban farming classes Speaker 9: 30:42 Is climate change. The social political climate has collided to create the perfect opportunity for us to really reimagine what it means to be a person of color in Stockton now, right? Speaker 1: 30:51 Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs says the purpose of the grant is to ensure that all city residents benefit from the climate work. Even though his term ends in January, he wants to see the city becoming a waist while it's climbing out of bankruptcy and still grappling with gun violence. Speaker 10: 31:06 I want Stockton to be the community that shows what a green new deal looks like in terms of tangible benefit, Speaker 1: 31:13 Stockton based environmental advocate, Barbara Baragon Priya says planting trees in parts of the city where there are few will tangibly change residents' lives during heat waves, Speaker 10: 31:24 10, 12 degrees warmer in South Stockton every year that in North Stockton, Speaker 1: 31:28 However, she says the grant is just the beginning and doesn't address all the threats of climate change here. Algae in the Delta can harm humans and animals. Sea level rise with threatened community members who live behind levees back in the healing garden. A block away from the freeway, the sound of cars and big rigs pervade the air. I'm wrapping up the interview with Nunez. Not because there's nothing left to talk about. It's just so hot. But before we go, newness has one more thing to say, Speaker 9: 31:59 Well, we represent every single demographic and market in the world here. If it works here, it could work anywhere. That's the good news. The bad news is the opposite. If it doesn't work here, it's not going to work. Anyway. Speaker 1: 32:10 Nunez could have left Stockton for a city with fewer problems, but he loves this place. When he looks at Stockton, he sees all the bad. But then what comes into view is hope in Stockton I'm Sr David Romero, Speaker 10: 32:38 You're listening, KPBS midday Speaker 3: 32:40 Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh, KPBS film critic, Beth Huck Amando has been following filmmaker, Marvin choy for more than a decade ever since she saw his inventive short film, said black at a UC SD student film showcase in 2014, she donated to his kickstart campaign. And last year that film a night tour finally got a digital release. She speaks to the UCS de alum about the journey of making an independent film. Speaker 11: 33:08 Marvin, I got to meet you through UCS D and a student film screening. So tell me a little bit about UCLA in terms of you went to film school there. And how did you feel about what kind of an education you got and how that prepared you? Kind of, for what you're doing now, Speaker 12: 33:28 Going to UCLA in general was kind of fascinating just because I actually didn't graduate with a degree in film. I had a minor in film, but my major degree was actually in, uh, cognitive science. Uh, there was a point in my life where I actually was trying to be a scientist. I I'd always wanted to make films to some degree before though. So I just decided to casually kind of just approach the film department and they're like, yeah, sure. Just take classes. We don't care. And then two very, uh, helpful professors. There were, uh, JP Goran and, uh, Batman guilty. Uh, they kind of especially Babette. She was just, she was very much in the vein of you just want to make stuff. Right. And I was like, yeah, she was like, okay, you normally, we don't let people who take minors, do the production classes. But if you want to, you want to I'll authorize everything. It was very freeing in that way because it, because it wasn't like my major, it didn't feel like work. It felt a lot like I'm just having fun with friends. So that's, that's kind of how I got into filmmaking at UCLA. It was just like this environment where, because there were very supporting professors, like it was kind of just allowed to do whatever I wanted to do to some extent. Yeah. Speaker 11: 34:38 Well, it makes sense that you were going into cognitive science because your films seem to always be interested kind of in psychological processes and the inner workings of the characters. So you actually, kick-started a film, a feature film, which is now being released video on demand and streaming, and this is a night's tour. So talk a little bit about that process of doing a Kickstarter to try and make a film. Speaker 12: 35:08 A lot of people view Kickstarter as a, as a source of like, Oh, Hey, it's free money. But what it really is, is you're actually deciding to temporarily have a full-time job. And you kind of spend all of your time trying to make sure that this campaign that you're working on gathers enough money. And in our case, we had a very modest goal. The movie itself, wasn't going to be extremely expensive. We just needed enough money to cover the rest of it. So we were just only asking for $6,000. And even that's a lot of work, even when you're asking your various social networks and you're reaching out to like other forums that you think might be interested and it's a lot of work, but you know, it's gratifying because you start off knowing that you kind of have someone have an audience already built in. Speaker 12: 35:52 So you already are starting to make a film for somebody it's not just for yourself. It makes it a much more different experience. When, you know, especially if up to that point, I was making a lot of these shorts and random other little projects. Can I just for my own entertainment? And now it's like, Oh, I really have a commitment to these people. I really need to deliver for them. Uh, so we, we, it turned into almost like social contract where I'm trying to make this movie as good as possible for them. And I want that to be something that not only am I proud of, but that's something I, I know my Kickstarter backers would be happy to see Speaker 11: 36:29 How long a process was this from the time that you wrote the script and decided to make a Kickstarter to today when it's actually being available. Speaker 12: 36:38 Oh boy. Too long. Cause I, we ran a Kickstarter back, I think in, at this point 2013, this was actually for my thesis film at Cal arts. Uh, after I went to UCLA, I did my grad school at Cal arts, even though Cal arts is very freeing. There's not a lot of like most film schools there. Isn't like a lot of direct backing for, um, financial backing for your films. So we had to go to the Kickstarter route to try to, uh, close the rest of the gap. Um, but the process started in 2013 and we didn't really finish editing to a lock until 2018. So in the summer it was basically five years. A lot of this has kind of been a labor of love of me and, uh, my partner, Sarah, who is my producer, we'll just kind of slowly chipping away at this movie, you know, going through all the emotions and post. And like we spent the better course of probably four years between me and Sarah, just making sure this movie was okay. Speaker 11: 37:42 So this film started many years before our current pandemic head. However, it's a film that's very kind of claustrophobic two characters, pretty much in one location. So how do you feel about the film releasing right now and, and kind of tapping into some of the, the mood and anxiety of what people are currently feeling? Cause it's kind of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic kind of a format. Speaker 12: 38:11 So it's, it's interesting because I had originally written it that way, because back when I first wrote it, I was going through kind of like this bout of loneliness and depression, where writing the screenplay was sort of a bit of therapy. Um, if you took an extreme version of one of the characters, Henry, um, that would be me if you, if you took me and made it really extreme, that would end up being Henry. Speaker 2: 38:38 What exactly were you doing out there before you stumbled upon my cabin? You mean like my job? Yeah. There still are jobs these days. Yeah. It's still jobs. Mine was, uh, working as a scout. And what does a scout do? For example, say I come across, uh, an old store or a house that hasn't really been touched since the outbreak. I of course take what I can for myself, but obviously it's too much for just me. So I keep track on how to find it. And when I come across an interested party, I make a trade it's, it's usually a good way of helping a local community find more supplies. I never returned. They give me protection and shelter. And that works. Yeah. When you're as good as I am. It does into living, tell people a little bit about what the storyline Speaker 12: 39:46 It was in the film. So basically it's, it's a, it's an a post-apocalyptic setting where it's not clear what the source of the post apocalypse has been, but it's been some sort of outbreak viral, viral outbreak, which has oddly prescient. Uh, it wasn't expected to, to work out that way. And it's sort of in a future where nature has kind of re overtaken what a lot of civilization used to be. And the movie starts off with this character named J D who's just running through the mountains, running away from something. And he ends up in front of a cabin. He had never seen before. He thinks it might be empty. So he tries to go in and it turns out to be occupied by a man who has been living there by himself for a very long time named Henry. And even though there's a lot of contention at first, you know, Henry's desire to finally have a friendship with someone along with JDS, innate curiosity about why Henry is here and how long he's been here starts, but, uh, starts to create a friendship between the two of them. Speaker 12: 40:51 But assuming nature sometimes comes to head for there's a lot there's feelings of paranoia about who JD might be on Henry's part. And there's always the threat of other people coming from the outside world, right. Because Henry hadn't really ever seen anyone who's done a long time. So that's kind of what the setting is. It's these two characters who are very different, um, because JD is a lot more outgoing. He wants to be a traveler. He is younger. Whereas Henry is an older guy who has basically been living by himself in isolation for a number of years. And if you put them together, I wanted to see what would happen if these extreme types of characters are put together. And that's essentially the movie. Speaker 11: 41:37 And how do you think the film is playing now while so many people are sheltering at home and quarantine? Speaker 12: 41:44 Interesting. Uh, a lot of people, uh, have been saying like, it's like th the there's a lot of similar feelings of loneliness. They identify with the Henry character because he's been living alone for so long. But I think it's also nice for a lot of people because they see that even under trying circumstances, like, uh, at least from the feedback I've been hearing from people is like, uh, it's interesting how, you know, uneven under trying circumstances, these characters want to kind of form a friendship together. And even though there are circumstances that kind of forced that apart, human nature is unnecessarily just entirely about breaking down. There is some aspect of, we can try to make better out of it. Um, it's just interesting watching people, um, react and see how they are watching, um, these two characters interact in such an extreme way under such extreme circumstances. Speaker 11: 42:50 Now, one thing that I admire about the way you approach the film is that when you're making a first feature, sometimes you kind of conceive of something that's bigger than what you are capable of doing. And you smartly decided to create a story that allows you to stay in a fairly limited location and not have to tap into a lot of actors. So was that something that was the practicality of making a first feature, something that you were considering when you were writing the script? Speaker 12: 43:22 Oh, for sure. We were definitely considering the practicality of it being a first feature with such a limited budget. So Robert Rodriguez had this really good book rebel without a crew where he describes the way he made his first feature, um, El mariachi. And it's very much along the lines of, okay, what do you have access to? And what do you find most valuable in a movie and you, and you put that forward for Robert Rodriguez. It was a lot of like, he wanted it to be cool with lots of action, with great editing and sound design, right? In my case, the thing that I value the most from movies, the movies I love the most are the ones that have performances that are gripping and make you almost forget that you're watching a movie and that you're kind of stuck with characters and following their psychology and their motivations and their feelings. Speaker 12: 44:08 So luckily that type of motivation is easy enough for a budget film, if you have the right actors. So the actual script itself was an idea I've been throwing around for a while. It's just, when it came time to make it the first feature, I was like, this is doable. And it also helped that I had Sarah with me, my producer, who was with me every step of the way and made sure that all of my weird shortcomings and neuroses about logistical side of things, she could stay on top of it. And, um, that the actors I was choosing was right. All right. Well, I want to thank you very much for talking about your film and night's tour. Thank you so much for having you Beth. I really appreciate it. Speaker 3: 44:51 That was filmmaker Marvin joy, a UC San Diego alum, speaking to KPBS film critic backpack. Amando his film a night tour is available to stream on prime video, iTunes, Google play, and YouTube.

A San Diego physician who is a member of state and county vaccine advisory groups said local public health officials will be opening regional vaccination sites to quicken the pace of vaccinations. Plus, the American Legion removed its Escondido post commander from national leadership positions because of his affiliation with the Proud Boys hate group. And a former La Mesa police officer at the center of a controversial arrest of a young Black man near the Grossmont trolley station is facing a felony count of filing a false police report. Then, farmers swap out irrigation methods to keep the Colorado River from growing saltier. And the City of Stockton recently made headway in efforts to cope with climate change. Finally, KPBS film critic Beth Accomando spoke to UCSD alumni and filmmaker Marvin Choi about the journey of making his independent film “A Knight’s Tour.”