San Diego County Announces Pause Of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Speaker 1: 00:00 The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is on hold after blood clots are, Speaker 2: 00:04 That was enough for both these agencies to say, we need to take a closer look at what's going on. And Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday, Racial disparities continue in San Diego policing. We wanted to make it really clear Speaker 3: 00:29 Here that the numbers that we're discussing in this story are experiences for people. And at times traumatic experiences for people of color Speaker 1: 00:42 Plus ways you can enjoy amazing experiences of sight and sound that's ahead. On mid day to day, Speaker 1: 01:00 San Diego County announced today, it is pausing the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This follows guidance from the us centers for disease control and prevention and the food and drug administration. The agencies are reviewing reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot that occurred in six people in the U S after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Joining me to talk about this new development is the San Diego union Tribune biotech reporter, Jonathan Rosen. Jonathan, welcome. Thank you for having me. So what more has the CDC and the FDA said about the blood clots that were repeating? Speaker 2: 01:39 So here, here's what we know. And at this point it's a little bit limited because those agencies put out their statement early this morning, but basically we know that there were six women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old, who between six to 13 days after getting their vaccine, um, you know, showed signs of blood clotting and the veins that drain the brain and that they also had low platelet counts. You know, we don't know quite how extensive their symptoms were and if they've begun to recover, what kind of care they're getting. But basically that was enough for both these agencies to say, we need to take a closer look at what's going on and to attempt to temporarily recommend pausing the rollout of the vaccine, both nationally, and then we've seen state and local officials say the same. So that's basically what we know at this stage. Speaker 1: 02:31 Have there been any reports of problems with blood clots, following a Johnson and Johnson vaccine here in San Diego County? Speaker 2: 02:38 Yeah, that's a good question. So I don't know if the six women who had the symptoms had this illness, uh, if any of them were connected to San Diego County in any way, we, we don't immediately know how many doses of Johnson Johnson vaccine, uh, had been shipped and actually used here. You know, it certainly must be in the thousands. We know that the County has made that vaccine available for the general population of eligible San Diego, but also in particular for people who are either homeless or people who are farm workers, folks who might benefit from not having to come back for a second shot. So this is the one vaccine, that's a one-shot vaccine. Uh, we know that at least a couple hundred San Diego ans took part in the clinical trial, uh, which was being led out of UC San Diego and is ongoing. And I'll be speaking with, uh, the person who's directing that trial later this afternoon, but we haven't heard about any issues like that from this trial. Uh, but I think this kind of underscores a point, which is that clinical trials test a vaccine and tens of thousands of people. But when you actually use it on millions of people across the world, you may find rare side effects that you don't pick up in those initial studies. Speaker 1: 03:52 Hmm. What else do we know about the individuals who experienced those blood clots? Were they at a higher risk? Speaker 2: 04:00 So that's unclear whether or not they were genetically or medically predisposed. We really don't know much beyond their general age range and the fact that these were all women. Um, this is also just six people that we're talking about and roughly 6.8 million people had gotten the vaccine here in the U S so that, that might add up to a rate of about one per million, although it's possible that we'll see more cases emerge now that the FDA and CDC have flagged this as something of interest. So really we just have limited information and we'll probably hear more today as well as tomorrow. So the CDCs advisory committee on immunization practices, which issues recommendations on what groups of people should get certain vaccines that are going to be meeting tomorrow, uh, the state of California, as well as some other Western States has a safety review board. That's going to be meeting either today and tomorrow. And they're going to be looking at, uh, you know, the sort of details around the medical history and severity of his symptoms. So we should get a little more clarity there, but we don't have too much right now. Speaker 1: 05:05 You know, you just put into perspective how rare these blood clots are. Uh, with that in mind, do you have a sense of why the CDC has made the decision to advise pausing the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine? Speaker 2: 05:17 So I think one major factor is what's going on in Europe with the AstraZeneca vaccine. You know, there've been some cloth, some cases, excuse me, of blood clots among people. Who've gotten that vaccine at roughly a rate of one per every 300,000 people. And actually their version of the FDA, the European medicine agency said last week that there could be a real link there between that vaccine and blood clots and the types of blood clots. They were reporting at least on surface passing to be similar to what's happening here with some of the people who've gotten the J and J vaccine. So there is precedent lately for a real, but rare between blood clots and these two vaccines, both of these vaccines use what's called a viral vector approach. So they use a common cold virus, has been modified to be safe, to deliver genetic instructions, uh, against the Corona virus to start immunity. So it's a similar type of design and we're hearing similar reports, uh, in both cases that are really low frequency, but I think that they just want to make sure that they're taking the time to see how common is the risk, and if they need to issue any different recommendations in terms of who should be getting this vaccine. Speaker 1: 06:34 And for people who may have just gotten the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, what are the severe side effects that could indicate a possible blood clot? Speaker 2: 06:42 Right? So the FDA and CDC are asking anyone who is developing a severe headache or severe abdominal pain or leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of getting the vaccine to contact their healthcare provider that may not necessarily be assigned. They have a blood clot, but it's just something that they want people to be aware of. Um, you know, in, in the first couple of weeks after getting that shot. So those would be the things to keep an eye out for. You know, of course these vaccines, you know, commonly leaving people, feeling a little achy, it's not uncommon at all to have headache after your shot and from what we're seeing so far, these are extremely, uh, extremely rare side effects. Uh, and we can compare that to the rate of COVID-19 infection and COVID symptoms. So I don't think it's cause for alarm, but certainly it's worth just keeping track of how you're feeling in the weeks after you get your shot. Speaker 1: 07:40 So how are physicians being advised to handle potential side effects from the vaccine? I mean, what are they telling patients? Speaker 2: 07:47 Right. So the, the one announcement that is important for physicians here is that these blood clots, unlike standard blood clots, uh, shouldn't be treated with heparin, which is a common anti-coagulant common blood clot treatment. So I think part of the reason why the CDC and FDA moved quickly to make this announcement was to put healthcare providers on notice that if they are seeing new symptoms and people who've been vaccinated with this vaccine to make sure that they're using a different type of a blood clot treatment versus the typical standard here. Speaker 1: 08:23 Hmm. And how long do you expect we will have to wait before knowing more about the possible dangers of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Speaker 2: 08:31 So, um, I expect that we will get some more information tomorrow out of the CDCs advisory committee meeting. You know, I spoke with Dr. Mark Sawyer, who is an infectious disease expert at Rady children's hospital this morning. And, you know, he pointed out that 24 hours really, isn't going to be enough time to get clarity in terms of exactly what's going on here. You know, I think with the AstraZeneca case in Europe, within a couple of weeks, we had a good sense of whether or not the blood clots were really linked to the vaccine. I suspect here, it might be a similar timeline or maybe a bit shorter than that. So I would say within the next several days, the next week or so, we may get a little more clarity on exactly how common these symptoms are and how strongly they're linked, if at all, to the J and J vaccine. I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, Speaker 4: 09:26 Tech reporter, Jonathan Rosen, Jonathan, thank you very much. My pleasure, Speaker 4: 09:44 Even as the trial for the killing of George Floyd continues, new instances of police violence against black men have been in the headlines. An army officer in Virginia is pepper spray during a traffic stop. And 20 year old Dante right has killed by police in Minnesota after being pulled over for expired license plates, a series of reports in the San Diego union Tribune has been exploring bias in policing in our community. And it's exploration of who gets stopped, searched or experiences violence at the hands of police suggests San Diego law enforcement has a bias problem within its ranks. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune, watchdog reporter, Lindsey Winkler, and Lindsay, welcome to the program. Speaker 5: 10:30 Thank you so much for having me. We Speaker 4: 10:32 Spoke with you about the first installment in this series and the headline of that report was that although blacks make up 6% of the overall population here in San Diego, they account for 20% of the traffic stops. Can you tell us what aspects of policing the two final reports explore? Speaker 5: 10:53 Sure. So our second story took a really deep dive into searches and, um, something called a hit rate analysis. And basically what that does is it takes a really close look at when individuals are stopped by an officer or a deputy. Um, if they are found with some sort of illegal item and that's important because, um, it can sometimes show us that even though a particular racial groups are stopped more often by police departments, they are less likely to be found with contraband, um, than the white population. Um, and so we sort of found that at the San Diego County Sheriff's department, black individuals and native American individuals were pulled over more often and searched despite the fact that white populations were found with contraband more often. Um, and similarly at the San Diego police department, we took a close look at something called a consent search, um, pay attention to that one, because I think that there's some interesting news on the horizon when it comes to those sorts of, but when we looked at consent searches, which is the only reason why that search happens is because an officer asked for it to happen. Speaker 5: 12:01 He doesn't necessarily have to suspect that any criminal activity has happened. And what we found is that San Diego police officers were more likely to ask to search the Latino population, despite the fact that the white population was more likely to be found with contraband in those particular sorts of searches. The third story was centered on use of force. I think, as you just alluded to that is certainly something that captures headlines. We know that it's not the full picture of racial disparities in policing, but it's definitely important. And we wanted to explore that more deeply. However, we did couple that story with conversations with activists, police leaders, city leaders, on what they feel needs to change in order to address the disparities that we see in the data. Right. Speaker 4: 12:47 Break that down a little bit, but first, let me ask you what you mean about something on the horizon about consent searches? Speaker 5: 12:54 Yeah, I mean, there have been many calls for consent search policies to change and mayor Todd Gloria recently alluded to the fact that the city is going to be exploring some policy changes in that realm. So we'll have to see what comes with that. Speaker 4: 13:12 Port put a human face on one of the stops and searches. It's a pretty well known face in San Diego attorney and activist Genevieve Jones. Right. What did she tell you about her experience? Speaker 5: 13:24 Yeah. Um, I have had the pleasure of working, um, with Genevieve on a number of stories. And, um, I just have to say that I was, uh, I was so grateful that she decided to relive this experience with me. Um, but essentially she was, um, leaving a Memorial for a colleague who had passed away. And pretty soon after leaving that sort of beach side, get together, she was followed by police. Um, so for miles and miles, they sort of tailed her until she pulled off into a Southeast San Diego neighborhood. And that's when they pulled her over. Um, but it wasn't just a normal stop. This was something called a hot stop, which is when many police officers are present. They had a police canine and, um, it was a 10 minute ordeal where she was put into the back of a police car, um, because the officers believed that her car had been stolen. Speaker 5: 14:22 And she told them numerous times that it had not that it was her vehicle. And, um, it was just this really extended traumatic ordeal. And the reason why we wanted to highlight that stop is because we wanted to make it really clear that the numbers that we're discussing in this story are experiences for people and at times traumatic experiences for people of color. Um, and that's something that can kind of easily get lost in percentage comparisons and rates and everything else. And so we want it to make it, you know, we just wanted to help people understand the effect of police stops particularly on communities of color and more specifically than that, the black community. Speaker 4: 15:07 And what is law enforcement saying about these numbers and what they seem to reveal? Speaker 5: 15:12 Yeah, so the San Diego County Sheriff's department was a little bit less communicative with us about these numbers. They did speak a little bit to the over-representation of native Americans within their stops, essentially saying that because of the sheriff department's responsibility to respond to incidents that are sort of initiated by tribal police departments across the County, that they believe that that's why those numbers were inflated. Um, the San Diego police department was much more communicative. Um, and they had a lot of things to say about the numbers. I will say that they did acknowledge that implicit and explicit bias were likely a factor in the disparities that we saw, but it was really clear that they didn't feel like that was the top of line issue. They were more likely to point to things like criminality, uh, individual experience such as homelessness or mental illness. Um, and those sorts of circumstances sort of external from the police officer involved would more likely lead to a police contact. Speaker 4: 16:17 You just mentioned that, uh, mayor Todd Gloria is calling for San Diego too, in, in one sense or another update its police policies and the statistics coming out, not just from your report, but all across the state on police stops and searches. It's sparking interest in developing new policies and procedures. What kind of policy changes are experts considering Speaker 5: 16:41 We should, we should make it really clear that there are community groups that have been working on this front in San Diego County and beyond, but specifically in San Diego for many, many years. And the disparities that we uncovered in this report are not new. Um, and so that's given a lot of very smart people, a lot of time to sort of discuss how to best respond to, you know, long-standing disparities. Um, but I would say the two that are, I think, um, some of the most interesting and you hear about them often is a, an end to consent searches and be an end to protect sexual stops. Um, so consent searches as we sort of discussed earlier is when, um, the only reason why a consent search happens is because an officer or a deputy asks for it to happen. Um, there doesn't need to be any sort of, um, reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. Speaker 5: 17:33 Um, and there, depending on where you are on the scale, uh, lots of people and the community would just like those things to end. Um, but I think there's also another community that would like, um, well, this is more on sort of the police side of things to see much more stringent requirements placed on those sorts of searches. Um, and then you have pretextual stops, um, protectable stops or stops that occur, you know, that can occur for say a traffic violation, even though the real reason an officer is pulling somebody over for a traffic violation is some other thing that they suspect might be happening. And similarly, certain groups just want to see those go away. Um, other people want to see more stringent limits placed on those. So we'll have to see kind of what the end result is. If those two things are in fact going to see some changes. All right, then I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, watchdog reporter Lindsey weekly. And thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 1: 18:39 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavenaugh for many people in the Asian American Pacific Islander community. Fear about the pandemic has been compounded by anti-Asian hate today. STS used department of sociology and center for community research and engagement will hold a talk on acts of hate immigration and the pandemic Robin Toma, who is the executive director of the human relations commission in Los Angeles. We'll speak about innovations in documenting and addressing acts of hate as these crimes continue to uptick Robin, welcome to the show. Thank you. So the event is titled acts of hate immigration and the pandemic. Talk to me about how all three of these things are connected. Speaker 6: 19:24 We know that a frequent target of hate crimes are immigrants. And, um, unfortunately that's nothing new. We know that immigrants are historically scapegoated, um, but we see that in our hate crime data every year. And at the same time, we know that during the pandemic, those sentiments sometimes worsen and we have seen, um, increases in anti-immigrant related hate crime in Los Angeles County as well. During this time previous to the pandemic. Um, in 2019, we saw that it was growing, uh, 30, 35% increase in anti-Asian hate crime. So what we're talking about is something that preexisted the pandemic, but has gotten worse during this time. And so we know that some of the factors that have contributed to it are clearly the scapegoating of Asians, um, connected to the pandemic. And, um, fortunately we know that that's part of, uh, the language and the rhetoric that's been used from our highest levels of leadership in, uh, in our country. Um, and so that has really fueled the, the kinds of things we're seeing on the ground Speaker 1: 20:34 And your office is taking a new approach to research and document these instances of hate, what are you doing new? Speaker 6: 20:41 What we decided to do was something rather unprecedented. We, we saw what was happening as the normalization of hate that more and more people were experiencing, uh, hateful attitudes and acts of prejudice and hostility in the streets and in school campuses and workplaces in businesses. And that by and large people were, um, sharing the outrage, but there wasn't actually anything that could be done about it. It appeared to be that way, acts of hate that that did not, that did not include a crime such as being yelled at viciously, by somebody with all full of racial or other expletives and person being angry and threatening. You know, oftentimes the police would say, well, unfortunately, that, that kind of behavior is all too common. We can't do anything about it. I myself had experienced, uh, acts of hate, and I'm sure most of your listeners have as well. Speaker 6: 21:36 And, uh, we can also, uh, attest to the fact that when that happens, there's really nothing much that we thought we could do. We decided to end that. And, uh, what we've created is a system of reporting that could allow people to call just dialing two, one, one, if they're in Los Angeles County at any time, and they would be able to connected to a person 24 hours a day, seven days a week in any language for free, um, the ability to report and get help. You can get counseling, you can actually pursue a civil rights action that doesn't require police. It requires you pursuing it through a state agency or County agency. We've already done that in helped a woman who was subjected to this in a restaurant and gotten the restaurant to take some measures that would make it less likely it's going to happen to somebody else, Speaker 1: 22:26 You know, as California reopens and people are out in common spaces. Is there a concern that the vulnerability of the AAPI community is raised in terms of hate crimes? Speaker 6: 22:38 Well, there's no question that there is a lot of fear among the Asian American community. Um, as people return to physical spaces where that they're going to be sharing classrooms and campuses and workplaces and restaurants and venues of all sorts, uh, we recognize that that increases the chance for there to be the kind of open prejudice, but sometimes, uh, unconscious prejudice. So we know that, uh, there is that likelihood and we're preparing for that. We're working with schools to, um, to have in place and be sure that their policies and practices and training is up to date to deal with, uh, bullying and, and acts of hate and discrimination by students. Um, we are, um, putting out the message there in many communities using a very unique approach, using artists in different communities to, to reach communities. Speaker 1: 23:34 You know, when we look at the country, how do you think law enforcement is doing and addressing these hate crimes, particularly when you look at what happened with the shootings in the Atlanta area last month, where law enforcement even classify Speaker 4: 23:46 That crime as a hate crime. Speaker 6: 23:48 Yes, it's, it's constant constantly a, um, an area of training that's required, so that officers are, um, understanding what constitutes a hate crime. And, um, particularly in, in a situation where the evidence may not be evident at the beginning, or there might be another motive stated or apparent, um, many police officers still aren't clear that, um, it doesn't matter if there's another motive, as long as it's, uh, hate is a substantial motive. If prejudice against someone's race, religion, national origin, gender, um, gender identity, um, uh, ethnicity or any of those things, uh, it doesn't have to be the sole motive. And so, um, and sometimes it requires, you know, uh, a sophisticated analysis to understand what's going on with a person, um, so that people can understand that, um, something that might not apparently be a hate crime, where there might be another motive. It doesn't mean it. Isn't also fueled by hate. Speaker 4: 24:48 I've been speaking with Robin Toma, executive director of the human relations commission in Los Angeles. You can catch his firstname.lastname@example.org, Robin, thank you so much for joining us. Speaker 6: 25:03 Thank you so much for having me Speaker 4: 25:09 The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Wasn't strong enough for the Pacific movie theater chain, the company, which includes LA Hoya's, ArcLight cinema, and the Cinerama dome in Hollywood announced last night that the movie chain was closing permanently. It's a sad day for Southern California film buffs who enjoyed the special ambiance and amenities at the ArcLight cinemas and the memories of the Cinerama dome. Joining me as KPBS arts reporter Beth HACA Amando Beth. Welcome. Thank you. Did the Pacific theater chain give any specific reasons why it was closing, especially when theaters are starting to reopen? Speaker 7: 25:48 Well, they didn't cite anything really specific, but on their website, there was a statement that read after shutting our doors more than a year ago. Today, we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening it's ArcLight cinemas, and Pacific theater locations. This is not the outcome anyone wanted, but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward. So they didn't specifically say exactly what the cause was or exactly how much financial need or problems they may be in, but they just do not see a way to remain open and, you know, hearing this news, uh, in San Diego, I just feel like the pandemic is bracketed by these two great losses where we started the pandemic last March, losing the Ken cinema, which is our kind of iconic art house. And now losing the ArcLight, which is another wonderful, uh, art house venue for us. Speaker 4: 26:47 Talk to us about what made this chain of theaters unique Speaker 7: 26:51 For the ArcLight theaters. They really emphasized the viewing experience. So in LA more so than in San Diego ushers were known to chide attendees for looking at their cell phones and telling them they'd be objected if they actually continued to use their cell phones. But it was also an emphasis on the screening experience in terms of what films they showed, the quality of the prints or the screening materials that they use and, you know, great sound and just this sense of the movie going experience, being the most important thing. Speaker 4: 27:24 Now, when the announcement was made, the Twitter sphere erupted in sadness, especially over the closure of the Cinerama dome in LA, I have never been there. I have a feeling you have. Speaker 7: 27:35 Oh yes. So the Cinerama dome was this iconic movie landmark in the heart of the capital of the movie industry. It was built in 1963. And the first premiere it had was the 70 millimeter single strip Cinerama process of Stanley Kramer's. It's a mad, mad, mad world. And it had this 86 foot screen and seeing movies. There was just a breathtaking experience. Speaker 4: 27:58 And it wasn't one of the last of its kind with those enormous Cinerama screens. Yeah, Speaker 7: 28:03 Yeah. It was unique. And just the way it presented the film, I remember seeing the good, the bad and the ugly there. And I had seen that film before, but seeing it on that huge curved screen in this giant venue, some of those shots just played completely differently. And it was like rediscovering the film and, you know, places like the TCM film festival we'll screen stuff like grand Prix, which is meant to have that enormous expanse of the screen to really envelop you in the cinema experience. Speaker 4: 28:34 Now, all entertainment venues have been hit hard by the pandemic, but many like live theaters, uh, concert halls, uh, some were able to put together streaming events to keep them afloat. Did the movie chains have any avenues of revenue during their closure? Speaker 7: 28:50 Yeah. I mean, some of the chains, you know, each train has been different, but some chains did try to have virtual screenings, online screenings, streaming movies, but, you know, especially with a place like the Cinerama dome and the big arc light venue, it was an event experience and that's something you can't replicate at home. And with so many other streaming options, it was just hard to get film goers, to remain loyal to a physical venue when they had so many other streaming options. So even though there might've been some other options for them to make money, it was really difficult. And then on top of that, because the film industry shut down, there was just less new product and it was just a difficult thing to do. And there's so much competition out there in the streaming world right now. Speaker 4: 29:39 Do you expect to see more movie theater chains fold? Speaker 7: 29:43 You know, it's going to be a Rocky road ahead. I think there might be, if not entire chains closing, they might start consolidating theaters and not having quite as many venues in a single city. And, you know, as we've seen with the ArcLight and the Ken cinema closing, you know, it may be the more art house, the more mom and pop, the more single screen, those kinds of things that will close more readily than a bigger chain like AMC, which had a lot of influx of money. Speaker 4: 30:13 And what other changes do you expect that the pandemic is going to make to theaters as we move on from here? Speaker 7: 30:20 You know, it's hard to say the United States went through a pandemic with the Spanish flu. There were social distancing, there were theaters closed back then. And the movie industry managed to come back from that. Now we have a lot of other options. So, you know, we, you're probably gonna see some very simple changes, like, you know, more touchless bathrooms where, you know, you don't have to turn on the sink or, you know, things like that. And you know, more maybe socially distance in terms of seating, but you know, people want to see movies and a big screen. And I think they're always going to be there in some way, shape or form. Maybe not quite as many, but it all remains to be seen. Speaker 4: 31:02 It does indeed. I've been speaking with KPBS arts reporter, Beth Armando, Beth. Thank you very much. Sure. Speaker 7: 31:08 Yeah. Speaker 4: 31:15 Street vendors in the central Valley have been facing violence and theft. And just last month, a man named Lorenzo Perez was shot and killed while he was selling corn in Southeast Fresno. Now community members are offering patrolling and other services to help vendors feel less vulnerable Valley public radios, Maddie Bolanos reports. Speaker 7: 31:38 I wanted to cry when I heard they killed that, man. We're just out here looking for a better life. [inaudible] is a street vendor who sells clothes and blankets in South East Fresno. A few months ago, someone took off with her most expensive blankets. Since then, she's been hesitant about returning to work. Fresno police say there were six incidents involving street vendors last year, but experts say many more go unreported, community organizer, Alex Ramos, OKC says many street vendors. Don't go to the police because they're afraid they'll be arrested for being undocumented or cited because they don't have the proper permits. They're just trying to take care of their families and trying to take care of themselves. Um, and especially when we're in the middle of a pandemic and you know, some folks, right, haven't gotten any government assistance, especially like a lot of our undocumented community. Speaker 7: 32:26 That's why following the news of Lorenzo Perez, death Rama. So Casey began organizing community members to provide pepper spray and other forms of support to street vendors. At the city level, council members are proposing a street vendor association and calling for a streamlined permitting process. So vendors can operate legally Ramos. OKC says they want their efforts to be guided by the vendors themselves. We just want to make sure that, you know, we're, we're asking them, right. You know, like this is the support that we can offer you in this moment, but we would like to continue, right. And make sure that you feel comfortable telling us right. There's additional means of protection, um, that you would like later on malaria, Lydia Rodriguez Pedroza has been working with Rama. So Casey, on these efforts, she says the protection might look different for each type of street vendor, whether they're pushing a car to paletas or Lotus, or if they're selling clothes on a street corner, when you see someone who is mobile, it's because they're at the very start of their business. So oftentimes they'll start mobile. And then they'll have a corner where they have a developed group of customers that know them that know they're going to be at that spot. [inaudible] most vendors are usually alone and therefore vulnerable. That's why she's also introducing them to multiple payment services like cash app. That way she says street vendors won't have to carry as much cash with them. Speaker 4: 33:50 [inaudible] Speaker 7: 33:50 It's a hot day on the corner of [inaudible] and Cedar in Southeast Fresno Rodriguez Pedroza is helping Francisco Martinez and Esperanza Rodriguez set up a cash app account. Speaker 4: 34:06 [inaudible] Speaker 7: 34:06 The couple said someone Rob sweaters from them in December, but they continue to work because it's their only way to support their family. Now [inaudible] says they've been feeling even more anxieties since they heard about what happened to Lorenzo Perez. They were scared that something can happen to us. We're here with our little business. This is how we live Rodriguez. Pedroza says she and other organizers will continue to patrol the area so that the couple and other vendors can feel safe while working. That would just be a means just showing up, right? Strength and numbers. Just being there, being aware, paying attention to what's going on. She says they will continue taking donations to provide PPE pepper spray and video recorders to street vendors that want them I'm [inaudible] in Fresno. Speaker 4: 35:06 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Heineman. I new shell awaits discovery on the San Diego shoreline. But this one isn't the hard covering of a sea creature. As KPBS reporter John Carroll tells us this shell will soon provide amazing experiences of sight and sound for audiences. The familiar opening strains of Swan Lake performed by the San Diego symphony part of a special presented by and the symphony Speaker 8: 35:38 In 2019. One of the last performances at the old stage had Embarcadero Marina park, South it's replacement known simply as the shell will debut later this summer, Speaker 9: 35:49 It's magnificent, it's elegant and it is ours. It is San Diego's, Speaker 8: 35:56 San Diego symphony CEO. Martha Gilmer says the shell will offer audiences delights for the eyes courtesy of a state-of-the-art lighting system and sound that comes from massive speakers on stage, but also speakers on towers out in the audience. Speaker 9: 36:11 So speakers are surround speakers, create a surround sound for the audience. You'll feel envelops. And also there's a delay in it so that you will have a synchronized presence. Yeah, Speaker 8: 36:23 The $85 million price tag was paid for almost entirely by donors and opening date. Hasn't yet been set, but Gilmer says it will be no later than August. [inaudible] John Carroll, KPBS news, Speaker 4: 36:40 The Symphony's new stage on the Embarcadero and the excitement over upcoming in-person concerts is only one of the reopening events that's being eagerly. Awaited. The pandemic has put everything from wedding parties to Comic-Con on hold. And now that weight seems to be coming to an end one person who has been waiting and hoping, and is now preparing is Laurel McFarland of MacFarlane promotions. She handles such iconic local celebrations as San Diego pride and Lamesa is October Fest and she joins me now. Laura, welcome. Speaker 10: 37:14 Thank you. Thank you for having me on Speaker 4: 37:16 Now our communities beginning to open up, can you tell me what we can do right now in terms of in-person events currently? Speaker 10: 37:23 Right now we're waiting for guidelines to come out. They're supposed to be coming out on April 15th. So currently you can not do any events right now, but as you know, the California department of health released that you can start doing private events starting April 15th and the tiers, obviously, as you know, will start going away on June 15th. We're all still working with the department of California health to exactly find out what that means to our industry, to the conventions, to your local community, outdoor events. But for the first time in a long time, we're super hopeful. And we're really getting excited about the summer and fall and being able to bring back these events safely to our community Speaker 4: 38:07 This past year been like for you and other professionals in the events industry. Speaker 10: 38:12 It's been a rollercoaster everywhere sometimes times where you're on the ground, not lying with tears, you know, cause you don't know where you're going or what you're doing. And for me personally, I built my business for over 20 years and to have no control, it's, it's, it's really crazy. You know, and other times we formed the San Diego vent coalition and July a bunch of event planners for outdoor community events. And it also has been very inspirational how our industry, which has never really come together, a band together has come together to create this coalition and to fight for guidelines. And we recently got Nathan Fletcher, um, to waive all the fees for the County for outdoor community permits for sheriffs, for fires. So it's been a rollercoaster of emotions, quite frankly, it's been up and down and every day is different Speaker 4: 39:07 For a time. You thought you'd have to close your business for good. Speaker 10: 39:10 I think probably last may or June, you know, at that point, the PPP had come out right? And it had all gotten sucked up and us small businesses had nothing, you know, and we had no idea where we were going. There was nothing out there for us. And I think that was a really, really dark moment for a lot of us because, you know, we are losing employees having to let people go, but we had no, you know, roadmap and we still were fighting quite honestly until the last few weeks for a roadmap, but it was really, really scary around that time. And you just had to hold on tight, just like, you know, a roller coaster. And it was just a ride of our lives. And you know, we're still fighting for that and to understand what it means for us, but we are all artists in our own, right. Because that's what we love to do. We love to create. And we're, we've had a year to create amazing events in our head and we can't wait to bring those back to the community and show everything we've been working on and imagining late at night and talking to people. And we're super excited just to see our community again. Speaker 4: 40:19 Yeah. Even with vaccinations going so well. Even with this pause and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that we heard about earlier in the show, there's still a lot of concern about safety. What do you think it's going to take for people to feel comfortable in large gatherings again? Speaker 10: 40:34 Well, I like to say people, you, in a sense you have been gathering, right? Swap meets have been open since June and you pay to get in there's two to 300 boosts. There's food courts, there's music. You've been going to farmer's markets. You've been going to craft markets and we're very CA we care a lot about people's safety. So we're not just opening the flood Gates and hoping everything is going to be okay. You know, we wrote guidelines, which includes increased sanitation, you know, mass for our employees, you know, wage to check everyone, to make sure that either they got a negative COVID test or vaccine test, if that is required and we're prepared, we're one of the most regulated industry. You know, when I do an event for pride, I have fire vice health in now go police. It goes on and on sitting in our events and we follow all the rules and regulations and we're, we're ready to open event safely. Speaker 10: 41:32 We've had a year to, we've also done holiday in the village and Lamesa and Lopez art and wine. So I know people might be concerned about, you know, going out and gathering, but they have been gathering in swap meets already safely. And there is when you go to a swap meet, you pay to get in there's two to 300 boosts there's food courts. There's also farmer's markets. And last year we also did art walk in October and follow the San Diego event coalition guidelines. And there is no, um, outbreaks from that event, which was amazing. And then we also follow the same guidelines with the Lamesa holiday in the village event. And the same thing we had no outbreaks come from doing that event safely. So we have already proven that we can do events safely. And we really hope that the CUNY starts to come around and come out and enjoy and celebrate with us. Speaker 4: 42:25 Now, this is San Diego restaurant week. You're involved in promoting that event. How is this week's restaurant week different than before the pandemic? Speaker 10: 42:33 Well, one of the things that's different is it hasn't happened in its true format in a year and a half. So this is the first time restaurant week is back to its traditional format with the three courses or drink option or the lunch option. So that's one of the biggest differences, right? Like this is super exciting. It's only a week. Um, we have a lot of restaurants participating. We also reduce a fee by over 70% for restaurants just to help bring them back in. And we had some amazing sponsors and what's, what's different is that we actually can do it, which is super exciting. And I know everybody's like someone sent me a text, best three restaurants for restaurant. We go. And I was like, all right, here you go. You know, like there's just excitement in the air. That restaurant week is back to its original format. Speaker 4: 43:21 Do you have a best three restaurants for restaurant week? Speaker 10: 43:25 I love them all. I love all 95 restaurants. Speaker 4: 43:29 How important do you think this restaurant week is to the local restaurant community? Speaker 10: 43:34 It's huge because it brings, it's like a shot in the arm, right? That was what always restaurant we did. It was on the off months. And it would just bring an influx of business right after the holidays or right after the summer rush. And I think it just helps bring back some normality too, and, you know, get people out there, dining and dining, not just once a week, but dining multiple times during the week. So it really is an incredible opportunity for all the restaurants have be a part of it and also our local San Diego community to come back and, you know, with your friends and safely gather and dine and have an incredible meal with incredible people and just laugh, right. Just laugh and smile. And it's really great where we're going with the vaccines and what's happening. So it's a lot more positive than it's ever been. And that's something to rejoice in. Speaker 4: 44:22 I have been speaking with Laurel McFarland of MacFarlane promotions, Laurel, thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank Speaker 10: 44:28 You. Thank you.