Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

As Drought Intensifies, California Seeing More Wildfires

 May 25, 2021 at 11:22 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Governor Newsome proposes more air resources against wildfire. Speaker 2: 00:04 These fly much faster. They allow for more suppression. There were a lot more safe, which is significant for our Cal fire brothers and sisters. I'm Speaker 1: 00:12 Wearing Kavanaugh with Jade Heinemann. This is KPBS midday edition [inaudible] Speaker 3: 00:24 We Speaker 1: 00:24 Marked the anniversary of George Floyd's murder by examining local police reforms. In the end, Speaker 4: 00:30 When we talk about this it's intersectional and we have to see the way that systems of inequities are really pushing up against each other and why we're seeing these outcomes time and time again. Speaker 1: 00:40 And we'll hear about the history of injustice that led up to the crime and arts reporter. Beth Huck Amando brings us an audio postcard on the start of the star wars phenomenon. That's ahead on midday edition with most of California already in severe to extreme drought conditions. Governor Gavin Newsome is proposing a massive $2 billion infusion into state wildfire preparations. Those proposals include 1400 new firefighters forest management with firebreaks created up and down the state and more firefighting aircraft, including 12 Firehawk helicopters. These Speaker 2: 01:26 Fly much faster. They allow for more suppression. There were a lot more safe, which is significant for our Cal fire brothers and sisters Newsome Speaker 1: 01:35 Says so far this year, California has already seen hundreds more wildfire outbreaks. Then at this time last year and 2020 was of course a record-breaking fire season with much of the destruction coming from lightning sparked fires in Northern California. Joining me is Thomas shoots, a fire captain and public information officer for Cal fire and the San Diego county fire authority and captain shoots Thomas, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. Where does San Diego stand in face of this widespread drought in the state? How bad is it here? Speaker 4: 02:10 Yeah, we still have a huge challenge ahead of us here yet. I ironically, we're probably one of the better counties, um, throughout the state, uh, sitting at abnormally dry, which is, uh, not a place we want to be, but with most of the state in some level of drought, um, we're looking slightly better. We, we still haven't seen that rainfall, that moisture that we need down here, we know that we still have a huge challenge with the fuels out there, all the grass and brush. And so, um, we, we certainly have a long summer to, to look forward to as well, but, um, you know, we know statewide, it's going to be a challenge all around. Now. One Speaker 1: 02:44 Fire scientist has described the vegetation in California and the west as being quote so dry. It's like having gasoline out there is that the case here in San Diego, Speaker 4: 02:55 It's certainly like that when we have the, the wind factor, um, the, the can really make or break our firefight out there. Um, and we saw that just a few weeks ago with the Southern fire out in the desert. Um, the shelter valley area of fire was able to take off overnight, grow over 5,000 acres. And that's almost one third of the acreage that's burned in the state. And I was out in the desert where the fields are, are relatively sparse. It's not a whole lot of continuity of the fuels, but we had the wind pushing on it, a very strong wind actually out of the west. And that, that, that wind can make up for lot and it can make those fires, uh, grow exponentially. And it causes a lot of problems for us is Speaker 1: 03:34 The drought in the west. The only reason for this dangerous wildfire season, maybe our forest management policies to blame. Speaker 4: 03:42 It feels like there's a lot of things coming together. You know, down here in San Diego county, we don't have as many of the timber forest that a lot of people think of. When you, when you're thinking about Northern California, a lot of our forest communities are the Chaparral communities, the brush, um, inner mixed in, and, uh, of course, with, with homes and populations out there, I'd say a big problem for us is, uh, it seems like we've had a lot, uh, shorter winter times. We haven't been gained that moisture. And so those Chaparral communities, the brush is a lot drier than it has been historically that's causing some issues for us. And then of course the, you know, not being able to, uh, manage the land is as much as we'd like over the past many decades, uh, these stands have the potential to build up and, and create more fuel for us. And so it's something that we're excited about looking, um, into the future about really taking an aggressive stance on doing these field mob, uh, field management projects, these field modifications to, to really try and prep the landscape, to make it easier to fight fires when they do happen right now, Speaker 1: 04:46 How is San Diego preparing for wildfire? What resources are available? Speaker 4: 04:51 W a lot of things ramping up, you know, every year, um, San Diego county, um, as a whole is, is, uh, a bit of a powerhouse on the, in the statewide system, um, with Cal fire where we're one of the biggest units. We have San Diego county fire that we work with that helps build up our arsenal down here. So with over 41 stations, we're always ramping up this time of year. This year is unique in that we've gotten a lot of funding for extra firefighters. So we're using those firefighters to build up our fire crews. That's one of our, I don't want to say weaker, but weaker points right now. And that's because the, uh, con conservation camps that we've been counting on for, for so many years in, are such a huge asset to our program have slowly seen a decrease in population. And we really need to bolster those hand crews. They're the ones who are cutting line around the fire. So they build our containment line. They separate the burn field from the unburned fuel, and they're really the unsung heroes. And so we're going to be getting the C1 30 at Ramona as of next year. And so we're looking forward to that. And of course all the Firehawks coming in, but right now our biggest and building up that staffing, well, Speaker 1: 05:59 I have the workers of the conservation Corps been depleted. Is that because of a change in the prisons? Speaker 4: 06:05 Well, we have seen a decrease over the last several years. A lot of different policy changes, um, with the way that, uh, prisons are ran and how folks are held onto, um, has changed the numbers that are coming into our camps. And, uh, because of that, that statewide, we had to close, um, eight of these conservation camps. Um, two of those camps were in San Diego county. And so where we had four camps before to two male and two female, one male, and one female camp has been closed. And we're working to bolster those numbers with our firefighter. One hand crews Speaker 1: 06:37 Predictions for this year, as we've been saying are bad for wildfires, both in California and across the west. So how do firefighters mentally prepare when they know something like that is coming? Speaker 4: 06:49 Um, we're working hard right now in the spring time, in this interim to make sure everybody's trained up and ready to go. Everybody's well rested. If folks do need time off, they're getting it while they can. We actually sent out a, a strike team of engines, which is five engines in achieve, uh, last night to, to go assist, um, up in Riverside. And so we're already starting to see our, our resources get deployed. And so we we're, uh, we're taking steps to make sure that we're ready to go for that. I've been speaking Speaker 1: 07:15 With captain Thomas chutes public information officer for Cal fire and the San Diego county fire authority, captain chutes. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Speaker 5: 07:31 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh on May 25th, 2020, George Floyd took his last labored breaths while Minneapolis police officer Derek Shovan now on his neck. What happened that night? Reverberated around the world. One year later, we reflect on how George Floyd's murder galvanized a racial justice movement in Minnesota. That was years in the making here's independent journalist, Georgia Fort with a look at what progress has been made since then Speaker 6: 08:04 On the evening of May 25th, 20, 20, 46 year old, George Floyd went to Cub foods, a neighborhood convenience store at the corner of 38th and Chicago. He went into buy some cigarettes. It was a beautiful spring evening, sunny and warm, but not yet hot and humid. Floyd laughed and joked with folks in the store. He talks sports with the clerk 19 year old, Christopher Martin, after paying for his cigarettes. Floyd bounced out of the store, light on his feet and got into a car parked out front. Martin noticed the $20 bill Floyd used had a strange bluish tint to it and suspected it was fake cup foods had a policy that if they found counterfeit bills in the cash register, clerks would have to pay for it out of their own pockets. After asking a manager, what do Martin went out to the parking lot to ask Floyd to come back in the store, but Floyd was sound asleep. That's when the cops were called 17 year old, Darnella Frazier was walking to the store with her knees and saw the cops with Floyd on the ground. She sent her niece ahead into the store and pulled out her phone to record. What was, well, you got Speaker 7: 09:19 Him down, man, that didn't breed leave, man. I've been trying to get a phone. Speaker 6: 09:28 The Frazier, the entire world was able to watch what happened. Wow. They saw Floyd lying face down with his hands, cuffed behind his back. They saw Minneapolis police officer Derek. Shovan pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, almost casually with his hands in his pockets, Speaker 3: 09:53 Get up and get it. Speaker 6: 09:56 Just Floyd's initial cries of distress saying he couldn't breathe. He was in pain. And at one point, even calling out for his dead mother all eventually when silent, [inaudible] Speaker 3: 10:14 The brutality Speaker 6: 10:15 Of the video, unearth layers of trauma, anger, and despair that had been building for years in the days that followed protests erupted in Minneapolis, across the nation and across the world. [inaudible] Speaker 3: 10:35 Ultimately Speaker 6: 10:35 A jury would find officer Derek Shovan guilty of murder and many pronounced the verdict, a significant win for police accountability. But how much has really changed here in Minnesota? George Floyd's death was just the latest in a series of high profile, fatal encounters for black men with police back in November of 2015, 24 year old Jamar Clark was shot by Minneapolis police. He died the next day. Speaker 3: 11:11 [inaudible] Speaker 6: 11:11 Within hours, protestors gathered at the fourth precinct. The protest turned into an 18 day occupation continuing right through Thanksgiving and into early December civil rights attorney and the chemo levee Armstrong, who was at the time president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP Speaker 4: 11:32 There. And I believe that that has marked a turning point in Minnesota history because it taught us we can withstand the blizzards. We can withstand aggressive police down white supremacy, and we can stand up for the life of a young black man who deserved to be alive and to continue to fulfill his purpose upon this earth. Despite Speaker 6: 11:55 The occupation, neither officer was charged and demands for police. Accountability grew a year and a half later on July six, 2017 elementary school cafeteria worker Philando Castille was pulled over near the state fairgrounds, his girlfriend, diamond Reynolds, and her four year old daughter were both in the car. We Speaker 7: 12:15 Got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back he's he's covered. He ain't killed my friend. He's licensed, he's carried, he's licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket. And he let the officer know that he was re he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm. We're waiting for a bed. I will, sir. No worries. The Ramsey Speaker 6: 12:44 County attorney charged officer Yurana Mo Yunez was second degree manslaughter in two felony counts for dangerous discharge of a firearm is believed to be the first time in Minnesota. His history of police officer was criminally charged for a shooting that happened while on duty, but the jury acquainted Yunez on all counts demands for police. Accountability grew louder Speaker 8: 13:10 To the emergency. Speaker 9: 13:12 Hi, I can hear someone else. A month later Speaker 6: 13:16 On July 15, 2017, Justine reus check was shot by Minneapolis police officer Muhammad knew, or she died 20 minutes later, unlike Jamar Clark and Philando Castille reus check was white. And the cop who shot her was Somali. Despite a lack of any footage of the event nor was found guilty of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. He was the first police officer in Minnesota history to be found guilty of murder for an on-duty death. And only the fourth in the nation. Reus checks death was the beginning of an awakening for Minnesotans that the judicial system can produce accountability. When the victim is white demands for equal police, accountability grew stronger. Um, so when George Floyd cried out for help and that long agonizing video with Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck, the community shifted quickly from horror and helplessness to anger outrage. Speaker 4: 14:21 I think about George Floyd, he hollered, he said, mommy, 11 times, Kimberly, Randy Jones. Speaker 6: 14:26 His son was shot by police in 2017. The officers who shot him were never charged. She now supports other mothers whose children were killed by police. Speaker 4: 14:36 My son called me on the phone minutes before they killed them. And he said, mama. So that just really it, uh, it shifted my fight. It shifted my words. You're not as always to home, but I felt like at that very moment, it was in my home. And you know, I always talk to mothers and they say, well, right now the focus is, is George Floyd. And I said, well, if George Floyd is going to be the blessing that opens up the flood gates of justice, I'm in, I'm all for it. But I always remind them that George Floyd is the face of thousands that have went on beforehand. After Speaker 6: 15:16 Having already experienced the deaths of Jomar Clark, Philando Casteel, and so many others, the racial justice movement was better organized and better prepared than ever before to respond to the death of George Floyd in late may and early June of 2020 thousands took to the streets and the twin cities to process their grief and demand change. The Corona virus had already taken hold in Minnesota, but organizers kept people massed up and hydrated. When darkness fell, there was also vandalism arson and looting. Dozens of buildings burned, including the third precinct. One person died. Governor Tim Walz called in 1500 members of the national guard, the largest deployment in state history at that time and protestors denounced the aggressive militarized response [inaudible] In the aftermath. Investigators would discover many of the fires were started by white people. Some of them from outside the twin cities, meanwhile, the site of George Floyd's death became a community gathering space residents like Marcia Howard worked together, renaming it, George Floyd square and turning it into a site for art mutual aid and protest Speaker 2: 16:44 Were residents who were just sick and tired of being sick higher. And it's our neighborhood. So we're the ones that sweep the street. We feed people. We house the house. Howard Speaker 6: 16:54 Is one of many activists who have made it their personal business to fight for change. In the years, since the death of Jomar Clark, black community leaders, such as Jeremiah Ellison and Andrea Jenkins successfully ran for seats on the Minneapolis city council. And soon after George Floyd's death, nine members of the council called for defunding the police department. The proposed ballot question was ultimately blocked by the Minneapolis charter commission in July, 2020. Governor wall signed a new policing bill that banned choke holds. In most circumstances, critics said the bill was weak and a far cry from the kind of real reform that was needed. Meanwhile, tensions continued to grow between authorities and communities seeking change. Yeah. In November, 2020, the Minneapolis police department arrested more than 600 protestors who had marched onto [inaudible]. Then in December Delilah, he was shot and killed by Minneapolis police. Just a mile away from where George Floyd took his last breath. [inaudible] The police then rated the home of his family. Guns drawn only after they finished searching the home. Did they inform them that their son had died hours earlier? Police say, ed shot first. And to date, no officers have been charged in the case. Demands for police. Accountability grew tired. Speaker 7: 18:35 We thought they learned the lesson until they killed our brother out here in Minneapolis. And so that's why today and every day from today, we need to continue to demand for justice for George Floyd, for Tamara Clark, for Philando Castillo and for the thousands of lives. Thousands of lives that many people don't know their names because it wasn't recorded because people didn't come out in this manner. Speaker 6: 19:04 The trial of former police officer Derek Shovan, you're listening to George Floyd a year later, I'm Georgia Ford. Speaker 8: 19:16 George Floyd a year later is a production of racial reckoning. The arc of justice, a journalism project created and supported by ampers diverse radio for Minnesota's communities in partnership with KML J radio, the Minnesota humanities center, and with support from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage. Speaker 6: 19:38 You're listening to George Floyd a year later. I'm Georgia Fort Speaker 10: 19:43 May, please the court ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Good morning. Speaker 6: 19:48 As the trial for former police officer Derek Shovan got underway, black Minnesotans were not just looking for justice for George Floyd. They were looking for signs that maybe just maybe Minnesota was capable of change. Not just the state of Minnesota. The jury was still being selected. The city of Minneapolis announced a historic settlement with George Floyd's family for $27 million. Chris Stewart and attorney working with the Floyd family said the settlement set a precedent in how the justice system values black life. Speaker 8: 20:35 The number today changes evaluations in civil rights, a black person when they die, because what you don't know is the rigged game that we always have to play. When we take one of these cases, because African-Americans are not valued high when they are murdered by law enforcement. In these cases Speaker 6: 20:55 In comparison, diamond Reynolds and Philando Castille's family received a total of 3.8 million in their civil settlement. Shamar Clark's family received just $200,000. The Derrick Shovan trial was broadcast live as witness after witness took the stand. It became clear. They'd been traumatized by George Floyd's death. Speaker 10: 21:16 When I look at George Floyd, I look at, look at my dad. My brothers look at my cousins, my uncles, because they're all plaque. I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them. It's been nights. I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to chores for you for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it's like, it's not what I should have done. It's what he should have done. Speaker 6: 22:02 The Minneapolis police departments own chief Madeira AERA, Dondo, denounced Chauvin's actions. Speaker 10: 22:08 That is not a part of her policy. That is not what we teach. And that should be condoned. Speaker 6: 22:16 Children's defense attorney maintained that it was George Floyd's drug habit and poor health that killed him, not the knee on his neck. Before the lawyers could make their closing arguments. Another young unarmed black man died at the hands of Minnesota police on April 11th, just a few miles away in Brooklyn center. 20 year old, Dante Wright was out driving with his girlfriend. When he was pulled over by police. He immediately called his mother to let her know moments later. He was dead. Speaker 7: 22:51 He told him to get out of the car. He got out of the car and his girlfriend to this side, back in the car and he drove away crashed. And now he's dead on the ground since one 47, nobody will tell us that he thinks right Speaker 6: 23:05 Death forced many to reckon with the reality that nothing had really changed since George Floyd's death, the previous spring, uh, here we are. And at that point, demands for police. Accountability became relentless. The governor deployed 3000 troops from the national guard twice. As many as what had been deployed after George Lloyd's death for nights on end protestors gathered at the Brooklyn center police department, protestors, journalists and medics were met with tear gas, rubber and flash bangs. Within days, Kim Potter, the officer who shot Dante, right, was charged with second degree manslaughter, but community leaders said it wasn't enough. Speaker 7: 23:56 What happened to Dante? Right? Wasn't an accident. What happened to Dante right? Was murder. We are tired of this justice system, a system that works for white people and a system that is not work for people of color. However, Speaker 6: 24:11 Ben Crump, the attorney for George Floyd's family. And now Dante writes, family said the swift charge was significant. You're making Speaker 8: 24:19 Progress. And I want to encourage those protestors, those young people, those activists that you're making a difference in Minneapolis, Minnesota right here now is ground zero. For that change Speaker 6: 24:41 Community activists continue to apply pressure with an increasingly unified voice Jelani Hussein, the head of the Minnesota chapter of the council on American Islamic relations and a devout Muslim stood side by side in solidarity with the chemo levy Armstrong, a devout Christian calling for police accountability and meaningful public safety reform on April 20th after deliberating for 10 hours, the jury found Derek Shovan guilty on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd. [inaudible] Speaker 6: 25:20 Erupted in cheers and honking horns. For the first time in Minnesota, a white cop is being held accountable for the killing of a black man. The next day, the justice department announced a widespread federal investigation into the Minneapolis police department. The city of Brooklyn center announced a groundbreaking public safety resolution that would put policing under a new public health oriented department while certain efforts surged ahead, others lagged behind police reform bills at the state legislature were pushed back to a special session. Their fate still uncertain one year after George Floyd's death, the intersection where he died, remains close to traffic. The Minneapolis mayor has said the city plans to open it back up soon. In the meantime, it continues to be a gathering place for people to grieve, celebrate and reflect Dr. Joy Lewis is a community healer and author. She says it's been beautiful to see the community stepping up to take care of one another. Ain't Speaker 9: 26:27 No red cross coming for us when we are shot and killed by the police or by the state and the red cross coming for us. You know, people coming from vessels coming, they're sending in troops, it's going to be a war zone that closing down the grocery store. We become our own red cross. We create a healing environment for ourselves. That's what's happening. That's what the revolution is. Bringing us, bringing us back to each other. Speaker 6: 26:56 The national spotlight on Minnesota over the past year has illuminated some painful truths. While Minnesota is widely considered a wealthy state with a great quality of life. It has one of the largest income gaps in the nation. Black families make on average, just half the income of white families, foundations and other institutions are now funneling millions of dollars into black owned businesses and nonprofits artists. Louie blaze says a fire has been lit. We need to see a new Speaker 11: 27:27 Birth of a nation. And that is our nation. That's when we restore ourselves as a people, as a culture and get back to our identity, our history, right, and heal with one another while we invest more time and energy into ourselves and to our self care. And so I love, and so our healing and then it's our economical structure. I think the key is a unity. Like whatever we do, we need to do it together. Speaker 6: 27:52 Lays as part of a growing movement, advocating for community solutions and Minneapolis police department remains grossly understaffed and alternative public safety programs have yet to be put in place. Former officer Kim Potter goes on trial December 3rd, the state trial for the other officers involved in George Floyd's death has been pushed back to March, 2022. The justice department has indicted all four cops involved in George Floyd's death, but a date has yet to be set for trial. The federal investigation of the Minneapolis police department is ongoing and demands for police accountability. Continue I'm independent journalist. Speaker 8: 28:39 George Floyd a year later was written and produced by Georgia Fort and Marianne Combs with production assistance from justice Sanchez and Erin Warhol. George Floyd a year later is a production of racial reckoning. The arc of justice, a journalism project created and supported by ampers diverse radio for Minnesota's communities in partnership with KLJ radio, the Minnesota humanities center, and with support from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund online at racial reckoning, Speaker 5: 29:11 Joining me now is KPBS racial justice and social equity reporter, Christina Kim, to talk about the police reforms happening here in San Diego and across California. Christina. Welcome. Hi Jane. So what type of police reforms were spurred by Floyd's murder and then the following protest here in San Diego. Speaker 4: 29:32 So right away in June, we saw some reforms happen. The San Diego police department and the Sheriff's department banned carotid restraints, which has been officers' applied on the sides of a person's neck in order to subdue them later that month, they also may deescalation a requirement instead of just a recommendation as they had previously. And they put more explicit measures for how officers could intervene if they saw their fellow officers using excessive force. However, it's important to remember that there had been a big push for police reform years before George Floyd's death in large part, because we've known since at least 2016, there's been at least three studies that have shown that San Diego police and Sheriff's departments disproportionately stop arrest and use force against black and Latino people. So for the advocates that have been pushing for change, these reforms were seen as kind of too small and a little bit late. Speaker 4: 30:25 And what we saw in July was the coalition for police accountability and transparency, which is an Alliance of community groups here in San Diego that formed in 2016, they released a number of police accountability, reforms that they wanted to see that they felt pushed the envelope more that included cutting the police budget, the creation of an independent police oversight committee, as well as a stop to protect stops. And so it became, it opened up a conversation as more San Diegans were open to the conversation of reform. And what we saw is that shortly after the coalition, you know, released these kinds of new reform ideas or kind of this package of reforms, the city council then put measure B, which again had been in the works for a while, which would change the city charter to create an independent oversight committee on the November ballot. And what we saw is that in November, it passed with nearly 75% of the votes. So that's where we saw some, some real reform happen here in San Diego. Speaker 5: 31:23 And you know, one of the issues with previous police oversight commissions is that they don't have any teeth. You know, they, they have no authority to make changes or really investigate. They've only been able to make suggestions. Do you have any sense of how that might change under new legislation, Speaker 4: 31:40 Right. With measure B and the new CR and the creation of the commission on police practices here in San Diego, this commission is going to be able to do independent investigations, meaning they will no longer rely on internal police investigations of incidents, the use of force, or when a police officer discharges a weapon. So that independence is very crucial and seen as a real re-imagining of police accountability. They're also going to have the power to subpoena. So that makes it very different from the community review board that existed prior to the commission on police practices, that said, it's important to know San Diego has voted for measure B in November we're in may. And that, that you commissioned still hasn't been implemented. Some advocates have said that this is just moving too slowly. And even though we have an interim commission that interim commission doesn't have the capacity to do those independent investigations or subpoena power thus far, they're just reviewing cases as the previous community review board had done. And as you mentioned, Speaker 5: 32:42 These are changes. Local advocates have been calling on for years. What's been their reaction Speaker 4: 32:47 Advocates have been a little bit concerned about how slow moving, implementing this new commission has been. I spoke with Andrea St. Julian, who is the founder of San Diegans for justice, as well as somebody who actually helped craft measure B. She says, she's still hopeful, but she's remaining vigilant. And something that she was concerned about when I spoke with her is just last week, the transition team that's setting up this new commission on police practices actually voted on a motion on whether to allow police officers to attend, to close deliberation and voting. When the commission is investigating incidents in the end, the rules committee decided to not make that recommendation. However, St. Julian feels that this is a concern because it could really jeopardize the commission's independence, which is really what measure B was founded upon. That said, in terms of the speed in which this is happening, she does feel like there's a real Goodwill and a good sense that it's going to happen. And that's been echoed by city council member, Monica, Montgomery step. Who's championed to this commission for a long time. She says, no one is dragging here. And to really just remember that these kinds of monumental changes take time and need to be set up correctly. And so we know Speaker 5: 34:00 What's happening here locally in San Diego. What are you seeing on the state level? Speaker 4: 34:04 There are bills that are looking to expand the ban on the use of chokehold. Uh, we're also seeing some bills in the state legislator that would create a victim's compensation fund for any injuries sustained during an interaction with law enforcement. And I think most importantly, and we're where I'm really keeping my eye on is SB two, which would empower the state to create a decertification process for any police officers that have to engage in misconduct. So it's essentially a licensing system in the way that if a lawyer or a doctor commits malpractice, they can be removed from the profession. Well, this would provide that very same power. And we Speaker 5: 34:42 Talked a lot about policing. How does that fit into the larger movement? Speaker 4: 34:47 Right. I think it's important to remember that we're talking about this today because it's the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death. And while we really focused on police reform, I think it also opened a larger societal question about racial inequities. And really if we're going to talk about race and inequity in this country, it has to go beyond policing. And so I think as we continue to grow as a society and reflect on this anniversary, it's important to think about how inequities exist in our society beyond policing. And I'm thinking specifically just the way we, we see and feel them now, for instance, according to a 2018 study by Redfin, only 30% of black San Diegans own their home in comparison to 61% of white San Diego. Diegans. We also know that during the pandemic in San Diego, Latino and black people contracted COVID-19 at a disproportionate rates. And so I bring these things up to say, I think that these are the conversations that are going to move us forward. And they're actually very much related to criminal justice because in the end, when we talk about this it's intersectional and we have to see the way that systems of inequities are really pushing up against each other and why we're seeing these outcomes time and time again, I've Speaker 5: 35:58 Been speaking with Christina Kim KPBS, racial justice and social equity reporter. Christina, thank you so much for joining us. Yes. Thank you so much, Dave. Speaker 1: 36:18 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heinemann KPBS arts reporter Beth haka. Mondo is an avid star wars fan who enjoys celebrating may the fourth be with you, but she wants to remind people that it was may the 25th in 1977, when star wars opened in theaters and change the movie landscape forever. She spoke to fans who saw it opening day in San Diego, as well as in foreign countries about their memories. Here's her audio postcard. Speaker 12: 36:52 I remember the Fox fanfare. And when you're sitting in a single screen house with anywhere from 800 to a thousand people with this massive wall to wall screen, it's, it's pretty heady stuff. And then the blue that said, you know, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and the screen went black and then bam, it was like nothing you'd ever seen. And Speaker 13: 37:19 Then when the first ship comes on screen and the theater is like doing its rumble rumble. And you're like, whoa, Speaker 14: 37:26 If you were into effects and model making in particular, that first shot was just mind blowing. Speaker 15: 37:33 What blew you away right from the beginning was the star destroyer, because Saifai, at that time, hadn't really done a great deal of showing scale and space. How could Speaker 16: 37:43 That possibly mean something so large from that first scene I bought into it and I was in for the ride. Speaker 13: 37:49 You, you were engulfed in it, but you were also with 1500 other fans with you. Yeah. Speaker 17: 37:59 It was just sitting in the slack jawed and the sound, of course, you know, we've never experienced that kind of sound before Speaker 2: 38:08 Age has changed my life. Well, cruiser went by and the Imperial cruiser went by, yeah. Speaker 13: 38:13 Overhead like it's coming right over your head onto the screen and mouth dropped open. I can't believe I'm watching this. Speaker 15: 38:20 And then all of a sudden you see that star destroyer and it's coming and coming, Speaker 2: 38:25 Okay. I'm convinced this is really awesome. Speaker 12: 38:27 And all of a sudden, there's this break and you're like, oh, it's finally over it. No, that's just the docking bay. My Speaker 16: 38:33 Jaw just progressively kept dropping and dropping. I was like, oh my God, is the thing ever going to? And it's so big. Speaker 11: 38:40 And I sat there that whole movie just lean forward and that seat to staring at that drive in screen, just listening to that little tiny crappy speaker, just completely enthralled with what I was seeing on the screen and completely enamored with star wars. It was an incredible life-changing moment for me. So then I had star wars, current and star wars bedding. I started collecting the star wars figures and I had the star wars album. It was just my life became star wars. Hi there, my name's Trevor Newton. Um, I saw star wars and in June of 1977, I was nine years old. Um, I grew up in a very small town in Oregon and really the only option to see movies was the local drive in hi, Speaker 13: 39:22 I'm Colleen Kelly Burkes. And I was 21 years old when I saw star wars at the valley circle on the day before it premiered on the 25th. So I saw it on the 24th. I was totally blown away. I think the basic thing is, is a sense of community for us because we knew everybody at that line at that theater at any time, night or day were fans like us. And we wouldn't be subject to ridicule or disparaging remarks because we're all there for the same thing, this amazing movie that brought us together and made us a fandom to be reckoned with basically, Speaker 18: 40:03 Hi, I'm Sean Mullen. And I was seven years old on opening day, May 25th. And then when we showed up, we were the first ones at the theater in San Diego on opening day. So around the second or third time, we went to see star wars where we're standing in the long line. So I was curious where the movie was at, that was showing inside. So I went to the exit doors and I put my ear to the door and I could hear Darth Vader and OB one having the saber duel. And I would give my parents and updates. Speaker 11: 40:37 I am Julian Mushkin and I was 11 years old when I first saw star wars in 1977. It was so packed already that I had to sit by myself off on the right hand side, the aisles because we couldn't find seats together. But once the movie started, I was just mesmerized. Uh, Speaker 17: 40:55 So my name is Gary Dexter. I, uh, grew up in the United Kingdom. I was nine years old when, um, what we now know as episode four, a new hope dropped. Uh, what was interesting about the UK is at that time, we got all of our big movies, at least six months later than, uh, the U S. And so we had an additional six months plus of hype and marketing. And so by the time the movie actually came out and I got to see it, I was on the verge of exploding, but it did change my life. What was funny was, you know, you'd have what we now think of as nodes of which I was one. And so it was normal that we would get together and talk about it, but it had, um, such a far reaching impact on people. And it sort of crossed into, you know, jocks and a high degree of, of young girls. And, uh, it was funny because you would walk around and you'd hear people talking about it and you would think to yourself, I never thought they would be into it. Speaker 16: 41:49 I am Yazidi Pataskala. And, um, I was about nine years old when I first, first watched star wars. It was at the Sterling cinema in Mumbai in India. I remember, uh, just being in offered and I'd gone to see, watch the movie with my, with my family. And I think when I was that age, uh, at least in India, you never went and watched with your friends or your neighbors. You always watched with your family. I got a bad feeling about this, even though I was nine years old, there were parts of it, which were pretty scary to me, like to this day. I remember there's that one scene where Luke Leia Han and I think chewy, they're all in this trash compactor. I was terrified. I remember thinking, oh my God, the walls are literally closing in on them. And, you know, I remember like being physically scared of it. Like I put myself in their shoes and it was like the worst thing imaginable to me. Speaker 2: 42:50 Cause my medical quality, I wasn't fast enough. It's Speaker 15: 42:58 High mark Tuttle. I was 12 years old when star wars came out in 1977. And I think that was the perfect age to see star wars, even though we're dealing with light savers and blasters and aliens and other worlds, it looked real. And it made you think it was real because it's like a ship is filthy. Look at the X wings. I mean, I mean, would you, you really want to fly in that? Speaker 14: 43:24 Hey, I'm Lisa Martin. I was all of 18 years old when I first saw star wars. I saw it on opening day at the valley circle theater in San Diego. Um, and I, it was in kind of an interesting position because I actually had been following the production of the film for about a year before it opened. And fortunately it more than lived up to everything I was hoping for. Hi, Speaker 12: 43:48 My name is David Glanzer and I saw star wars for the first time. The weekend that opened at the valley circle theater in San Diego. Uh, you know, it played in San Diego for a year. I think over a year, it was one of very few cities that did, and Lucasfilm had issued a, they call it the star wars birthday poster. And it was a, you know, a cake with a, I think one candle and, uh, some of the actual figures around it. And that's, you know, a price position to mine as well. But it was an experience that I, I can't explain because I've never been to a movie since that had people booing and hissing clapping and applauding, and it was just remarkable. Speaker 2: 44:29 Hi, I'm Karen snowbelt and I was 22 years old when star wars came out. Uh, we went back repeatedly. I saw it 35 times that summer and eventually just lost count Speaker 19: 44:41 Short for a storm trooper uniform. It was Speaker 2: 44:44 Very hard to get good photos of various costumes from various angles. So we would actually go and watch it with a sketch pad in hand with the, you know, and track a particular costume through the whole movie and take sketches of it. I remember there were always lines. We were always waiting in line to the point where we had our own lines sitting equipment. We would bring lawn chairs, we would bring decks of cards. We would bring other things to occupy ourselves with. And then a few minutes before the line was due to go in, we would put those things back in the trunks of our cars and then go in and see the movie Speaker 11: 45:20 I'm Ian Duckett. And I first saw star wars when I was 12 years old. We tried to see it at the movie theater, but we were unable to because there was just so loud, it was constantly sold out. So my bother and his wisdom packed us all up into his grand Prix and took us to the mission bay drive in. I imagine it was kind of torturous for my parents cause we, the kids, we were just amped. We were so excited. I'm Speaker 20: 45:47 Kevin ring. I was 13 years old when I saw star wars for the first time at the valley circle theater on opening day, May 25th, 1977. We'd never seen a line for a movie let alone one that wrapped all the way around the building. People knew how to react instinctively. It kind of just touched on this underlying cultural thing that we all had, and we all knew, but didn't realize until it came out until we saw these things on the screen and read, Speaker 12: 46:21 I think one of the most memorable aspects of it was the energy of the audience when Darth Vader appeared out of the steam and smoke from the last opened that door Speaker 3: 46:43 [inaudible] Speaker 12: 46:43 You had this character that was all in black, wearing a helmet that was reminiscent of a world war II, German helmet. You figured he was bad and everybody was booing in his spoon. Speaker 13: 46:58 And that was just like, whoa, I'm not the only one that wants to make noise. Speaker 20: 47:03 Yes. That kind of set the tone for the whole rest of the film. It was Speaker 12: 47:07 Awesome. It was a communal experience for those 800 or however many people in that theater. It was transformative. It really was. Speaker 20: 47:16 I don't think I've been in a movie where people cheered like that for things. It was just an absolutely different experience and it changed everything. Speaker 18: 47:26 I remember the first time they showed the millennium Falcon hyperspace crowd was hoot and holler Speaker 19: 47:35 And go, whoa, wow. Of Speaker 16: 47:38 All the places I've watched a movie, the audience participation has never exceeded that in India. People talk to the screen, people, you know, cheer on, they scream. It's, it's a whole other level of engagement. Speaker 11: 47:52 And we were so excited. We were just jumping up and down and every time a high fighter group, pastor obiwan chops, the guy's arm off, it was cheering and jumping up and down. It was so wonderful. I went to see it again because I went to see the spaceships flying and I wanted to see that the lightsaber battles. And I definitely wanted to see the death stuff. Speaker 17: 48:15 It was commonplace for British audiences to sit quietly. But I do remember when the desktop blew up, but everybody chaired, because I think everybody had been so invested in this classic fable that looks unlike anything anyone had ever seen before people had got gone on that journey. And then when he blew up every pocket he chaired, I do remember Speaker 13: 48:33 That. And that Babel sequence was really cool too. Speaker 3: 48:37 Just like, Speaker 13: 48:38 You know, on the edge of your seat, is it going to make it, I think gonna make it oh, no. Watch out. Yeah. I still to this day, see, I mean, how many years later? And I can still be all enthusiastic about it because I still remember how cool that was. Speaker 1: 49:05 That audio postcard was produced by KPBS arts reporter and star wars fan Beth haka, Mondo. You can find more star wars memories on her cinema

As California sinks deeper into drought the wildfire risk in the state is intensifying. The danger has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to propose spending a record $2 billion on wildfire mitigation. Plus, a special radio documentary marking the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer looks at what progress has been made. And we look at the police reform that’s taken place in San Diego in the last year. We end the show on a happier note, "Star Wars" fans recount memories to celebrate May 25, the day George Lucas' "Star Wars" opened in 1977 and changed the movie landscape forever.