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San Diego County To Wait Until June 15 To Ditch COVID-19 Mask Requirement

 May 18, 2021 at 12:59 PM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego County says, leave the masks on Speaker 2: 00:04 The longer June 15th, the date that we're going to reopen everything pretty much is also the date that those who are vaccinated, those masks can start coming off. Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid-day edition. Rolling on one ocean side housing development could have statewide implications, Speaker 3: 00:30 Hard to say statewide. What the effect will be. Referendum is a pretty widely used process. So there's a chance it could have a widespread effect. Speaker 1: 00:40 Our schools actually spending money on additional mental health resources and San Diego's first family of the guitar returns to the concert stage. That's ahead on midday edition. Speaker 3: 00:49 Yeah. Speaker 1: 01:00 Masks will be required in San Diego County until at least mid June. In spite of new CDC guidance that all vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks. In most public places. County officials announced Monday. They will follow state guidelines and continue requiring face masks here. The reason to make sure everyone can access the COVID-19 vaccine and for businesses to prepare for the change. Joining me now to talk about the ongoing mask mandate is KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman, Matt. Welcome. So state officials set a target date of June 15th for relaxing most COVID-19 restrictions, but that all hinges on infection rates continuing to trend down. Where does the state want those rates to be? Speaker 2: 01:45 You know, a state health officials, haven't given an actual number in terms of saying, you know, we want it to be below, you know, five people go to the hospital per 100,000. They haven't given specific numbers, but we just got an update from the state's top doctor this week, Dr. Galley. Um, and he said that, you know, the strain on the hospital system is continuing to be low cases are continuing to be low. So we're all heading the right direction. And then obviously we're seeing that state officials are now saying, Hey, June 15th, the date that we're going to reopen everything pretty much is also the date that those who are vaccinated, those masks can start coming off indoors and out. Speaker 1: 02:14 So what are the current COVID-19 infection rates in the County? Speaker 2: 02:18 Yeah, COVID is not over. And that's what some are worried about. The people, uh, hearing this, you know, uh, the, the CDC guidance saying that we don't have to wear masks for vaccinated hearing that COVID is over. Uh, it's definitely still happening. We're getting, you know, at least one to 200 new reported cases a day. And along with those cases, we know that obviously that there's a delay in the reporting, a little bit of a lag, but there are still deaths happening. Speaker 1: 02:37 You spoke to infectious disease experts about the decision to maintain mask requirements here. What did they have to say about that? Speaker 2: 02:45 Yeah. You know, um, I talked to a couple of, you know, one of them thought it was a wise decision, you know, we're not at herd immunity yet. We still have a ways to go. We're about two thirds of the way to our goal here in San Diego County. And, you know, state officials are saying, look, we think that these next four weeks, basically everyone, a chance, uh, who wants a vaccine to get a vaccine now, uh, we didn't hear them talking a lot about herd immunity. We've seen some people kind of take their foot off the gas pedal on that. That was the 75% of San Diego, uh, vaccinated who are eligible. Um, but they think that we can get there these infectious disease experts that I talked to. And also some are very happy that the state came out with this clarification because we saw last week, the CDC come out and say, Hey, if you're vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask anymore. Now, obviously there's state rules and there's local rules. Um, and some people forgot that, you know, even when you see these announcements coming down from Walmart or something like that, it says, you know, no masks except in areas where there's local rules apply and that's here in California. Um, and so they're glad that they put out those clarification's cause a lot of people are really, really confused, but you know, one infectious disease doctor, I talked to Dr. Christian Ramers over at family health centers. Um, he says, look, COVID is not over. Speaker 4: 03:49 There's actually been no change in the virus to look. I have four people in my clinic right now who are sick and coughing. I don't know if you can hear them from COVID. So there's still people getting sick. There's been no change to the way the virus there's still people dying. You know, we're still at 600 deaths per day. Uh, so that, that's what I'm worried about with the message that this is all over. It's really not over. Speaker 2: 04:07 And also too, you know, the, these changes don't just happen arbitrarily or random state officials say that they are following the science here. And because the only restriction that's still placed on those who are, are vaccinated or unvaccinated in terms of the masks is wearing them indoors. And that's because we know that COVID spreads a lot easier indoors. It can sit in a room that doesn't have good ventilation for a long time and can easily infect people. Or in terms of outdoor, the risk level goes way down. Speaker 1: 04:30 One of the reasons County officials say they are keeping the mask mandate is to allow for more people here to access the vaccine. How close is San Diego County to reaching its goal of herd immunity? Speaker 2: 04:43 There are about two thirds of the way there. So more than 60% of the goal. And right now that goal was readjusted, right? It was people who were aged 16 and over now it's people who are aged 12 and over, um, you know, who knows in the next four weeks, if that, if that goal or those goalposts change again, but that's the current goal, 75% of the population, uh, about two thirds of the way there. And over the next four weeks, you know, I mean the, the, the foot's already been down on the accelerator, so to speak in terms of trying to get people excited about the vaccine, trying to get people to get those shots, we've seen the demand going down. Now there's a lot of supply, so it can be done over the next four weeks, but it's going to take a lot of effort to try to get to that 75% Speaker 1: 05:17 For the next four weeks where exactly will masks be required. Speaker 2: 05:21 So there's a whole infographic posted on the CDC website there that really shows you if you're unvaccinated, there are a lot more places where you do have to wear the masks, but currently the state guidance basically says for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, indoor public places. So that includes things like transit, uh, and in hospitals, um, they will have to wear those masks. Speaker 1: 05:40 And this morning, protesters from a group called reopened San Diego, we're at the County board of supervisors, meeting demanding to attend that in-person meeting without masks and without having their temperature taken. And this group is a group that has protested mask wearing almost since the beginning of the pandemic. But what's your sense of the mood here for County residents to continue to have to wear masks indoors? Speaker 2: 06:05 You know, this is all anecdotally, but I think a lot of people are very comfortable with their masks. You know, a lot of some people like, I don't know if you see when you're driving around, some people are wearing the masks while they're driving. I've done that before too. It's not necessarily because you know, you're wearing to protect yourself. You're just wearing, cause you kind of forget that it's on your face. Um, and I think, you know, talking to these infectious disease doctors as well, too, um, they sort of made a good point that, you know, even though when this mask mandate goes away, there still are, you know, maybe vulnerable people, maybe someone who just finished a chemotherapy for cancer treatment, um, or somebody who has some underlying conditions who maybe didn't get vaccinated and it's still wearing that mask, not only to protect themselves, but to protect others. Speaker 2: 06:38 So I think when you see this go away, I think that there's still gonna be a lot of people who are wearing masks. Now, obviously there's a large contingent of people who are, you know, just ready to rip that thing off their face, so to speak. But the other interesting piece is going to be, it's only for those who are fully vaccinated indoors. And the question is, how do we check that? There's really no way to check that. Um, one other interesting piece, you know, in San Diego, you asked the question earlier, um, you know, where will masks be required? Um, once that announcement came out last week, um, uh, the president made the announcement and then the CDC came out. Um, the DOD issued an order that, uh, military bases, uh, military installations, DOD facilities, um, if people are fully vaccinated, they no longer have to wear masks. And we know that last week, um, Naval base, San Diego, some others here in San Diego, they jumped right on that. So, um, if you work at a DOD installation in San Diego, many of those have relaxed the mask mandate for those who are vaccinated. Speaker 1: 07:30 I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman, Matt, thank you so much. Thanks Jay. Speaker 5: 07:41 The effort to increase housing in San Diego often ends up in the courts. And last week, a ruling on one housing development could have statewide implications, a citizens ballot initiative against the proposed North river farms development in Oceanside one in last November's election. But the judge ruled that a new state law invalidates the initiative since the North river farms development was approved by the Oceanside city council. San Diego has seen a number of council and board approved housing projects defeated by voters at the ballot box, but this ruling puts future citizens actions against development. In question, joining me is San Diego union Tribune reporter Phil deal. Phil. Welcome. Good morning. Tell us a little more about the proposed North river farms. Where would it be built? Speaker 6: 08:31 It would be as many as 585 homes. Uh, the site is about 215 acres. It is in South Morrow Hills, which is an agricultural region of Northeastern Oceanside Speaker 5: 08:48 And Oceanside city council members approved it. Speaker 6: 08:50 Yes, Oceanside approved it in November of 19. It was a three to two vote with Esther Sanchez. Now mayor at the time she was a council member. She was against it and Ryan kind voted against it. Speaker 5: 09:05 So as happens frequently, people who didn't want the housing development got together, they collected signatures and got the North river farms development on the ballot for an up or down vote. The people opposed to the development one, but apparently that wasn't the end of it. Speaker 6: 09:23 Well, the developer filed a couple lawsuits and both were filed before the referendum. Initially they challenged the referendum saying that they didn't think the signatures were valid, that there was some underhandedness in gathering the signatures, but a judge overruled that claim and dismissed it. Speaker 5: 09:43 What is this new state law or code? The judge based his ruling on Speaker 6: 09:49 His ruling is based on the housing crisis act of 2019, which is something the legislature passed. And the governor signed to streamline the whole development process because there is such a housing shortage. There's a homeless crisis. There's a re-answer up and housing costs are really going up. So the idea is to increase the supply of housing and make it more affordable. Speaker 5: 10:14 And he ruled the ballot initiative. Wasn't valid. Why, why Speaker 6: 10:20 The legislation is intended to maximize housing development and that therefore it preempts the referendum that the referendum itself sets a limit on housing develop. Speaker 5: 10:34 If this ruling were to stand, what kind of implications would it have for future development in the state? Speaker 6: 10:40 It has strong implications for at least two other projects. The new land Sierra project, which was overturned in March, 2020 by a referendum, another incident or another development is the Phoenicia ranch in San te, which, uh, the Santee city council approved. And there was a referendum and they agreed to place that on the ballot in November, 2022. So that's more than a year away, but the developer there has already said, he will challenge that in court, based on this housing crisis, act, Speaker 5: 11:16 Critics say the judge got it wrong. And that the housing crisis act doesn't apply to voters, but to government agencies, can you explain that Speaker 6: 11:25 The housing hacked is designed to streamline the whole application process? Like there was a previous case in Los Angeles where the LA city council approved a project or denied a project. The city council denied a project because it didn't have enough affordable housing and the superior court judge Derr overruled that decision by the council and that the project could proceed because of the housing crisis act. So that's a case where it was based more, not on a referendum and it was aimed at a city council action. Speaker 5: 12:05 And so far the housing crisis act seems to have generated actually more litigation than home building. Isn't that the case? Speaker 6: 12:11 Well, locally, that seems to be the case. There's definitely a couple of big cases in the works. And it's hard to say, I mean, it hasn't been around that long, so it's pretty new still. So it's hard to say statewide what the effect will be, but it does seem, I mean, the referendum is a pretty widely used process. So there's a chance it can have a widespread effect. Speaker 5: 12:33 What was the reaction to the North river farms ruling from both sides of this Speaker 6: 12:38 Integral communities, which is the developer building North river farms. They were pretty much thrilled with it. And they said that, you know, it's good for the community. And clearly the area needs more housing. There is a huge homeless problem in Oceanside and throughout North County. So the developer there was pleased and, and said, you know, it upholds the, the purpose of the act. Well, and the opponents that people like Kathy Carbone, who was one of the leaders of the referendum, she said she was horrified by it. But the people I talked to who weren't ready to issue a statement said it was clearly a bad thing for voters rights because they were just were unhappy with it. Speaker 5: 13:22 What's the next move? Do we know in, in that case, Speaker 6: 13:25 There are multiple parties. I mean, named at integral, the developer, uh, named the city, the city clerk, the County registrar voters, and some of the people who circulated the random or referendum were all named as parties to this. Uh, so, and I guess any one of them could file an appeal. The city says they have 60 days to decide whether or not they will appeal and it appears likely they will. But I guess it's hard to say it's up to the city council. The city council will decide probably in a closed session, not this week, but in the next few weeks, what to do Speaker 5: 14:01 You spoke with Steven Russell, head of the San Diego housing Federation who told you that developments housing developments should proceed within the rules of existing general plans. And he said he was not a fan of ballot box zoning. So do you think that in general housing advocates are in favor of this ruling against citizens ballot initiative? Speaker 6: 14:22 He, as he pointed out, developers want a clear cut path toward their project and things that go back and forth unpredictably like this are never good. So, uh, and I think a lot of developers feel that way. They don't want to see anything go to a referendum. It costs them a lot of money to, uh, defeat this. I mean, integral has spent millions of dollars, uh, on the referendum, in the lost, and they're spending a lot of money on court cases and so on. So I don't think they're happy about the referendum process. Speaker 5: 15:03 I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Phil deal. And Phil, thank you. You're welcome. Speaker 6: 15:08 Um, Speaker 5: 15:15 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh with Jade. Heinemann the job of Lieutenant governor tends to be a low profile office in California, but the campaign to recall governor Gavin Newsome will put current Lieutenant governor Alanie [inaudible] front and center KQBD reporter Katie, or looks at what role Kuna lockers will play and how she could affect the election. Speaker 7: 15:41 At first glance [inaudible] role seems pretty straightforward. She must set a date for an election within 60 to 80 days. After the recall petition signatures are officially certified, which will happen in the fall. Kuna lock has says she's focusing on what's best for voters. Speaker 8: 15:59 So I think that the general principle is that it should be a day that is relatively convenient for California voters to make sure that they have ample time to consider the questions on the ballot and are able to get their ballot and send it in and make sure that their vote counts. Speaker 7: 16:18 She has a 20 day window to set the election. Kuna LACA says she doesn't believe the exact date will make too big, a difference, but Brandon [inaudible] a senior research fellow at the California constitution center says it actually might setting the election further back in the 20 day window would give candidates more time to file papers needed to qualify for the ballot that could result in a large number of candidates. That's what happened in the 2003, recall 135 candidates clogged up the ballot. Straightener says he thinks Lieutenant governor will try to strike a balance when deciding when the election will be held. Speaker 8: 16:58 Yeah, we're letting serious candidates get on the ballot. We're not denying ballot access to any serious candidates, but perhaps there could be a consideration for overwhelming the voters with a number of non-serious vanity candidates as well. Speaker 7: 17:10 You won't be a candidate [inaudible] herself. Unlike her 2003 counterpart Lieutenant governor Cruz Bustamante Kuna LACA says she will not run Bustamante ran as sort of an insurance policy to prevent Republicans from winning the office. If then governor Greg Davis was recalled, which he was, but Republican Arnold Schwartzenegger easily beat the Lieutenant governor and Bustamante. His critics say his being in the race may have contributed to Davis's defeat. CUNA LACA says, Democrats know better this time around Speaker 8: 17:43 Our insurance policy is that we all recognize that governor Newsome has been doing a very good job during a unprecedentedly difficult time. And that our insurance policy is let's vote no on the recall and make sure that governor Newsome can continue to do his job. But just because CUNA lock has doesn't plan to jump into the race. That doesn't mean another Democrat won't decide to, especially if governor Newsome looks vulnerable. Speaker 5: 18:12 Joining me is reporter Katie or with [inaudible] politics and government desk. Katie. Welcome. Speaker 7: 18:18 Thanks Maureen. So Speaker 5: 18:20 My first question is, does governor Newsome look vulnerable in an upcoming record? Speaker 7: 18:26 You know, not at the moment. Um, he is lucky in that there is a huge budget surplus. Um, last week he went on a tour around the state announcing a hundred billion dollars in spending that he, he, he is proposing for this upcoming budget. Uh, recent Berkeley IGS poll shows just about 36% of voters actually support the recall. And 49% of voters say they would vote no on the recall, which is pretty close to the 50% plus one Newsome needs to beat it. Uh, that being said, uh, the recall won't happen until this fall and you just don't know what could happen. Uh, if wildfire season is really bad, if there are blackouts, for whatever reason, if the COVID variants get out of control, things could shift for Newsome. But as of right now, he's looking pretty good. Okay. Speaker 5: 19:17 Okay. So let's talk about the Republicans who are running to replace Newsome one, you know, from your days reporting here in San Diego, former mayor, Kevin Faulkner, is he gaining any track? Speaker 7: 19:28 You know, honestly, none of the Republicans running right now are gathering much momentum. Um, that same poll, uh, that showed a lot of support for Newsome showed Faulkner with just 22% of voters saying they would support him. Um, but Faulkner did get some good press recently for a tax plan. He just put out that would end the state income tax for people making up to $50,000 in households up to a hundred thousand dollars. Now it's not necessarily because of the merits of the plan, but the fact that he is proposing something at all, because a lot of his challengers just haven't really given us much of anything with substance yet. Speaker 5: 20:07 Now another candidate, uh, San Diego one and Republican John Cox has adopted an unusual running mate in his campaign. Can you tell us more about that? Speaker 7: 20:18 Yes. Cox has decided to bring a 1000 pound bear along with him on the campaign trail. Um, he's using some kind of beauty and the beast metaphor, although it's kind of a, head-scratcher a little bit confusing to figure out exactly what the messages and so far his poll numbers don't look great either. He's also just getting support from about 22% of voters. Speaker 5: 20:42 Does he bring the bear everywhere? He goes Speaker 7: 20:46 Not to stop. Um, in fact, the day after he first introduced the bear here in Sacramento, he complained at an event in the Bay area where the bear was not with him, that the bear was getting all the attention. Um, but animal rights groups have criticized his use of the bear. And actually several San Diego news stations have confirmed that the San Diego humane societies law enforcement division is actually investigating Cox for violating a city code. And that code reads no person. So offer for sale giveaway, bring into, or maintain within any area coming within the jurisdiction of this ordinance. Any lion tiger bear monkey Wolf, Cougar, ocelot, wild cat, or skull. So clearly talks did not read the city ordinance before visiting San Diego with his bear. says the bear was comfortable and safe. Speaker 5: 21:41 Okay. Do we know, does he own the bear? Speaker 7: 21:44 No. As far as I know, he doesn't own the bear. He hired the bear whose name is tag tag, uh, is an actor, an actor boar bear was born in captivity to be trained for movies and TV and remind Speaker 5: 21:56 Just why Cox is doing the bear thing. Speaker 7: 22:00 I mean, attention really. Uh, he's trying to get attention in this cluttered, uh, campaign recall campaign already. Um, he's trying to paint himself as a tough guy who will make waves and change up California. And he's trying to paint Gavin Newsome as a quote unquote, pretty boy politician. Who's only worried about his image. Um, and as we mentioned so far, it seems he's generating more interest for the bear than for himself. Okay. Speaker 5: 22:27 Okay. Then, so even though the Lieutenant governor says she isn't running, we spoke with political scientists who say it's entirely possible. Another Democrat could get into the race. How much of a problem would that be for news? Speaker 7: 22:40 Well, I think it depends on who the Democrat is. Um, if it's someone who is well known enough, it could sort of muddy the waters for Newsome. Um, some Democrats say that's what happened in 2003, when then Lieutenant governor Cruz Bustamante ran as a replacement for governor gray Davis. Should he be recalled? Uh, Bustamante says, he thought he'd be a backup kind of an insurance policy. His critics say it ultimately undermine Davis and encourage people to vote. Yes. On the recall because they felt there was still a chance they could have a Democrat in office. The thinking among the party now seems to be, uh, that everyone should put all their support behind Newsome and not worry about a backup. Um, but it's funny because that seems to be at odds with what democratic voters actually want. That Berkeley IGS poll found 48% of registered Democrats want another Democrat on the ballot in case the recall against Newsome is successful. Know Speaker 5: 23:39 There are lots of numbers in your report. Katie, when is your best estimate? When a recall election might Speaker 1: 23:46 Take place, Speaker 7: 23:47 It will probably be this coming fall, uh, around November. But it is interesting because it could be a bit earlier or as late as January, depending on how long all the proceeding steps take. I've been Speaker 1: 24:01 With Katie or with KQ EDS, politics and government desk, Katie as always thank you so much. Speaker 7: 24:07 You're welcome. Speaker 1: 24:15 Now that one group of female Marines has graduated bootcamp in San Diego. The core is still under a congressional deadline to end gender segregation, KPBS, military reporter, Steve Walsh says the female recruits are moving faster than their leaders was history in the making Speaker 9: 24:40 19 year old. Emily's a moody of Madera. California is part of the first female platoon to graduate Marine bootcamp in San Diego. The female platoon had the top scores in physical fitness and combat fitness over the five male platoons in their company. Speaker 1: 24:57 It's one step closer just to becoming a better Marine, a better leader. It's just step one. Speaker 9: 25:02 Female Marines called themselves the fewer, the prouder, and even fewer of them are in the infantry. Speaker 7: 25:09 I love challenges and finding out that infantry is even a bigger challenge. I was like, give it to me. I want it. Speaker 9: 25:18 It says the women felt accepted by their fellow male recruits in San Diego. She will soon be headed to an even more male dominated environment. All the more reason she says to integrate Marines before they graduate out of bootcamp, Speaker 7: 25:32 Getting us exposed as much as possible with each other would be beneficial. Putting females in San Diego is a good start as well because the males that train here on the West coast don't have any exposures to working with females Speaker 9: 25:47 In 2020 Congresswoman Jackie spear of California, put a provision in the defense bill, requiring the Marines to integrate East coast boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, by 2025 and integrate San Diego by 2028, Speaker 7: 26:03 The new younger generation gets it. They have no problem with it. It's the baby boomers that are still stuck in this mindset. That is frankly 50 to 75 years old Speaker 9: 26:15 Spirit says that means ending the separate female platoons the way the other services did years ago, The Marines continue to push back their leaders. Talk about having a secret sauce for building Marines traditions built up over time. Traditions that have also kept women from overseeing platoons of male recruits, Speaker 1: 26:37 Or I joined the Marine Corps. I wanted to be a Jonas chapter. Speaker 9: 26:40 Sergeant Nikia Kaufman was told she would never be a instructor in all male San Diego. Then last fall, the court decided to experiment with having a platoon of women trained on the West coast Kaufman. And two other women were quickly sent a drill instructor school. Their only option before the women arrived was to oversee a male platoon. Speaker 10: 26:59 This is all normal to me. Like I was a part of sports, all my life track and basketball, and that was men and women's, I have five brothers. So nothing new to me, sir. I didn't treat them any differently and they didn't treat me any differently. Speaker 11: 27:13 I think from my perspective, the biggest lesson we learned is it can absolutely be done. Speaker 9: 27:18 Matthew Palma is in charge of training in San Diego. He made only minor adjustments for this first class of women. The standards are the same as they would be for the men. Still the Marines are drawing the line at ending gender segregation in Speaker 11: 27:34 There's something about our indoctrination process. That is, that is unique to us. I do think that it's the value of that squad Bay. Keeping it the way it is, is going to be our position, Speaker 9: 27:47 Keeping the squad Bay the way it is means female only platoons. And despite the success of this recent class, female recruits are again on hold in. San Diego law still says the Marine Corps must fully integrate by 20, 28, but senior drill instructor ambers Rasik doesn't want to wait that long. Speaker 10: 28:06 This isn't breaking away from tradition. It's introducing something to the tradition. It's allowing us to be part of that which ultimately could have been done a long time ago. Speaker 9: 28:17 The Marines have asked the university of Pittsburgh to study how to integrate bootcamp. The Marines hired the same university to study whether to allow women in combat before the defense secretary ordered the Marines in 2015 to fall in line with the other services, Steve Walsh, KPBS news. Speaker 1: 28:45 After more than a year of distance learning and social isolation from face-to-face interactions, more students are in need of emotional support and psychological help. The need was underscored when a San Marcos high school student died by suicide last month, the voice of San Diego's Kayla Jimenez reports, those schools are receiving millions in pandemic relief funds, not much is being spent on crisis counselors. She joins us now. Kayla welcome. Speaker 12: 29:12 Thanks for having me. So first Speaker 1: 29:14 Students at San Marcos high school are grappling with a lot after having lost a classmate. Do you have any sense of how they're coping right now and what resources are available to them Speaker 12: 29:25 Student that some artists would definitely grappling with the loss of their classmate and the principal of San Marcos high school. Adam Johnson wrote in a letter to parents. Um, last month that the death of the student there was sure to raise a lot of emotions and, and questions for the school. And it definitely brought the mental health issue to the forefront. I know that the district is what met with students individually and advise parents to check in with their own children to see if there were any signs of them needing help and to be aware of the primary warning signs of child in crisis, Speaker 1: 30:03 Which brings us to this and your reporting of this story. You found that the San Marcos unified school district reported spending $2.5 million in aid on crisis counselors. But that wasn't exactly true. What did you find out? Speaker 12: 30:18 Yeah. In our reporting and we've been looking into how school districts across the County have been spending their coronavirus relief funds. We found at first glance that San Marcos unified appeared to be an outlier on this front. Um, the district reported that it spent nearly 2.5 million of that funding on crisis counseling. But what I found is it turns out that that money didn't go towards hiring any new support staff, specifically, um, the district spending the same amount of money that it did before the pandemic, they kind of just transferred funds. So now they're using coronavirus relief funds to pay for counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses, salaries, and benefits with that funding said, Hmm. Speaker 1: 31:00 And in your recent article, you said both the state and federal governments have encouraged districts to spend pandemic aid and other coronavirus funds on mental health services for students, but schools are given wide latitude in how they can spend it. Um, you say many have decided to spend it on existing employees, as you just pointed out, how many schools did you find or do? Speaker 12: 31:22 Yeah, so we found that most of San Diego County public schools use their first major way, but, um, COVID-19 relief funds last year to make huge investments in distance learning and, uh, staff funding, but opted to spend far less than things like crisis counseling. Um, there was a same trend among K-12 public schools statewide, but we didn't find that a lot of the regions largest district across the state spent more on crisis counseling. Then in San Diego County specifically, Speaker 1: 31:55 And a number of psychologists and counselors you spoke with are critical of this approach and, and how San Marcos unified and other districts are spending this money. What are they saying? Speaker 12: 32:06 And their insight was really helpful for the story. So I talked to local psychologists, counselors and staff from the County office of education. And they told me that students who are facing anxiety and depression and issues with socialization right now really need that extra support. And they believe the additional counseling and psychological resources and social, emotional learning in the classroom as well can save kids from long lasting psychological effects of the pandemic. Speaker 1: 32:34 When you spoke with Dr. Mark Cinven, uh, a local psychiatrist for children, adolescents, what was his recommendation on how to help students deal with the lasting psychological impacts of this pandemic? And how does he think resources could be used to achieve that? Speaker 12: 32:49 He said that kids usually who had depression or anxiety before the pandemic are likely to be in a more, were worse place than they were. But he did say that to address those students that are having problems, that they should take the leap and partner with local nonprofits and behavioral health organizations to really address the need by using the temporary funding that they're getting from the state and federal government and that they should bring in therapists. And non-profits in the mental health space into schools to identify those early warning signs and intervene quickly before things get to be an emergency or a crisis. And I think one of the best things that he said that stood out with that schools might not be the best place for psychological intervention, but they're usually a place where families and students trust, um, teachers or counselors, and they're willing to bring those things up in the school setting and then they can get more help that way into psychological intervention is kind of bridging the gap for families there. Speaker 1: 33:46 What has San Marcos unified said about all of this and are they looking to change how they spend this pandemic aid? Speaker 12: 33:53 Yeah. San Marcos, I think a lot of what was said in Adam Dawson's letter, um, to parents, so that the death of the student there was sure to raise a lot of questions for the entire school. And I think the school is still trying to figure out what they're going to do on spending. And it's definitely something that I'm watching, but we're gonna wait to see how the districts decide to spend a lot of funding that they're getting from the Stanford oral government in the coming months. Speaker 1: 34:18 Speaking with Kayla Jimenez, a reporter with voice of San Diego, she writes about communities, politics and regional issues in North County. Kayla, thanks for joining us. If you are in crisis or know someone who may be suicidal, call San Diego counties free 24 hour access and crisis line at (888) 724-7240. Speaker 5: 34:49 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh with Jade. Heinemann what better way for San Diego to celebrate the reopening of arts and music and almost normal life. Then the reemergence of one of the county's most famous classical music groups, but guitar quartet, Los Ramirez will perform a 60th anniversary concert. Sunday. The musicians are world renowned, not only as the first guitar quartet, but also for the creation of an entirely new repertoire for guitars as a chamber ensemble. Although some of the players have changed over the past six decades. Each guitarist remains a member of the Romero family to retain the title of the Royal family of guitar. Johnny Mia's Pepe Romero, one of the original members of Los Romeros Pepe. Welcome to the program. Speaker 13: 35:40 Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to join you. Speaker 5: 35:43 Can you remind us how Los Ramirez was farmed all those years ago? It was a legacy started by your father. So the Donio wasn't it? Speaker 13: 35:53 Yes, it actually began in Spain. My father was a tremendous musician and inspired us. We are three brothers and the three of us chose to do the same thing to play music, to enjoy the guitar. And it was a natural thing that in 1961, we gave a concert where each of us played by ourselves. And at the end we joined together and we improvised on a piece written by my father for my mother on [inaudible] when we'll be playing that piece in the live streaming from the Valley app and the guitar quartet was born. Speaker 5: 37:02 Now, Los Ramirez is described as the first classical guitar quartet. Did you have to compose arrangements of classical music for four guitars? Speaker 13: 37:13 We have range or four guitars from orchestral music from music of Spain, Manuel defied. Yeah. From Baroque composers. And then we said mom to commission, guitar, composers to write for us. So it was the birth of the guitar. As a journal, Speaker 5: 37:36 We have a clip here of one of the pieces you'll be playing on Sunday, Al Baya de Luis Alonzo Speaker 13: 38:18 [inaudible] Speaker 5: 38:18 That's one that you arranged for the quartet, isn't it? Speaker 13: 38:21 They did arrange it indeed. And that was an arrangement that I did very early on in our careers. And he's from a wonderful Sarah Suela, which is like a, is the operator's from Spain. And it's a very joyous piece is by [inaudible] will be performing that these also on Sunday, May 23rd as it is one of our great tips Speaker 5: 38:52 Who are the family members who make up the present version of Los Romeros. Speaker 13: 38:57 They are my brothers saline and myself are the two members that have been there from the very beginning. And then my nephew Seleno who is the son of saline. He came into the quartet in 1991. When I feel left the quartet to just concentrate on his solo career and also I'm conducting career. And, uh, in 1996, when my father passed away, uncle son Leto joined the quartet to take my father's, uh, position. So it continues with the same sound, the same blood Speaker 5: 39:41 People must wonder how these musical gifts are transferred through the generations from your mother and father to you now, to your son and nephews. How do you explain that? Speaker 13: 39:54 It's actually kind of a mystery. I think it is because when you are born, enjoying seeing the power of music and how do you connect with other people through music? You just want to do it. That was the case in our family, but I know that there are many great musicians whose families don't follow it and don't continue. Don't want to do the same thing. So it's an, it's a mystery, but in our family, it has gone on and it has actually expanded on the concert. On Sunday. We will be playing instruments made by my son pepper Romero, who is a very good player, but he is a fantastic guitar maker. My grandson Bernardo Romero, the son of one of my oldest daughter, he's also fantastic guitar maker. And then we have bilateral Inez. We have Oprah singers. We have pianist, we have pop singers. We have many different branches of music, but the guitar, almost everyone in the family plays it to a certain level, not all to a concert level, but many play the guitar. Speaker 5: 41:15 Now you are used to touring around the world. I wonder, what has the last pandemic year been like for your family? Speaker 13: 41:23 Very, very different, different from anything ever in the end of February, the quartet was going to have a tour of Italy and that got canceled because of the pandemic. And then I was going to go to Germany to play some solo concerts and my wife and I went to Spain to spend a few days in Spain and then go on to pay the concerts. When we were in Spain, we were locked in until August. We couldn't leave the country. And in August we came back here and then we were locked here in Del Mar. So it's been very, very unusual not to be able to travel, not to play concerts because in my entire life, since I was a youngster, I have been traveling and playing concerts and I've missed it. But I've also loved the time that we have spent playing music, enjoying each other, and to enjoy, I feel like a CIF who has, they closed his restaurant. So he cannot cook for other people, but I still enjoy eating. So I love to play them music for myself. My father used to say that every note we play never dies. It goes on forever bringing into the universe. So I've been just playing. Speaker 5: 42:56 Did you or your father ever imagine that your family's music would be delighting people after 60 years? Speaker 13: 43:04 I don't think that we ever thought of it, but definitely I have enjoyed the music of people who lived early on from the very early recordings. I've been enjoying the performances of great artists who perform many, many years ago. And of course the composers. So music, the composers, even from centuries back music is eternal. And so as a musician, we never thought of, wow, will we be around 60 years from now? We just kept on going as we are, who knows how many more years we can do it, but we'll do it till the end. Speaker 5: 43:50 I've been speaking with Pepe Romero of the famed Los Ramirez guitar quartet. They will be playing an anniversary concert at the belly up on Sunday. Have a thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you so much for having me. Los Ramirez will perform a live streamed concert from the belly up in Solana beach. This Sunday at 2:00 PM ticket information can be found at stellar tickets. Speaker 3: 44:31 [inaudible].

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San Diego County will follow the state's lead and wait until June 15 to align with federal guidance that no longer requires people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear face coverings. Plus, after Oceanside voters invalidated the North River Farms development in last November’s election it wound up in court. A San Diego Superior Court judge’s ruling in the case could have statewide implications for citizen’s ballot initiatives. And the campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom will put current Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis front and center. Then, the Marine Corps is still under a congressional deadline to end gender segregation while one group of female marines graduate boot camp in San Diego. Plus, after more than a year of distanced learning and social isolation, more students are in need of emotional support and psychological help. Finally, Celedonio Romero’s musical legacy lives on in the legendary guitar quartet he formed with his sons Celin, Pepe and Angel, and continues today with grandsons Celino and Lito.