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Masks Recommended In LA County, Regardless of Vaccine Status

 June 29, 2021 at 10:50 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 LA health officials say, put your masks back on. So what about San Diego? We're going Speaker 2: 00:05 To have a, you know, kind of a tale of two populations of those that are protected. I'm Speaker 1: 00:10 Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday, the importance of tree shade. As the climate heats up, Speaker 3: 00:28 The more shade there is in an area, the less heat, the concrete asphalt, all of these different parts of the city ended up absorbing, which means that they can say cooler Speaker 1: 00:40 Wildlife challenge to fireworks and LA Jolla. And what the legacy of Harvey milk means to young people today. That's a head on mid day edition. Um, health officials in Los Angeles county are urging people to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. This reversal of the state's previous masking guidelines comes as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread throughout the state. The world health organization is making the same recommendation here to talk about the risks of the Delta. Variant is Dr. Christian. Ramers a specialist in infectious diseases who oversees clinical programs at family health centers of San Diego. And he sits on the counties vaccination clinic advisory group. Dr. Ramers welcome. Thank you, Jake, for having me. So how much of a threat does the Delta variant pose to San Diego's population? Given what we know about the counties vaccination number, Speaker 2: 01:43 We're kind of splitting into two different groups of people there's those that are fully vaccinated for which the Delta variant is really not much of a risk. The vaccine seems to hold up really well, especially the data that we have for the marinade vaccines, the Pfizer and the Medina that it basically can protect around 88% of the time from infection and about 96% of the time from hospitalization. So very close to the original members, but for those that are not vaccinated, this Delta variant, it's looking like it's probably twice as contagious as the original ancestral Wohan strain. Speaker 1: 02:13 Can you tell us about how the Delta variant is impacting people who contract it? Speaker 2: 02:18 Well, there's a little less known about the severity of disease. There's kind of conflicting reports about it being more severe of an illness versus just being more contagious and affecting more people. So we haven't quite worked that out. It's possible that it is causing a little bit more disease. Those are just from anecdotal reports from India, but this was originally described that younger people were getting sicker in the hospital. You know, we, we need a little bit more information to make that conclusion for sure Speaker 1: 02:42 Who is most at risk at this point? Speaker 2: 02:45 Well, it's pretty straightforward. It's people that have not been vaccinated. Um, and by my calculations that, you know, we've done a great job in San Diego getting to where we are, but there's still, uh, about a half a million people or more that are not vaccinated at all. And so those are going to be the vulnerable. We're going to have a, you know, kind of a tale of two populations of those that are protected. And I should say those, if you are fully vaccinated, even if you do get a case for the Delta variant, it looks like it's going to be just a very mild illness. That's what we've seen in Los Angeles. I just saw a report out of 123 cases there 113 or 91% of the Delta variant cases are occurring in unvaccinated people. Couple hospitalizations caused by that. And there were 10 cases and people who who've been vaccinated and they did not need to go to the hospital. Any of them, that Speaker 1: 03:27 Number includes children under 12. So what advice would you give to San Diego parents about what is safe to do and not to do taking both the current infection rate and vaccination status into consideration with the Delta area? Speaker 2: 03:42 These vaccines are very carefully studied and, uh, we're not quite ready to use them on children younger than age 12. So what do you have? Will you have other mitigation strategies? You don't want to just go with one tool. The COVID has taught us that multiple layers of prevention are the best. So if you can't be vaccinated for some reason, especially because of age, then this is where masks come in. We know masks are still very effective. And then all of those old non-pharmaceutical interventions such as distancing and fresh air and staying outside rather than indoors, we need to still remember all of those other things and not forget the lessons that we've learned over this past year. Speaker 1: 04:17 Oh, the officials in LA county are now urging people to wear their masks indoors. Just two weeks after governor Gavin, Newsome, reopened California and lifted the statewide mask mandate. What would prompt you to make a similar recommendation here in San Diego county? Speaker 2: 04:31 Yeah, we're shifting into kind of a new era here where instead of the government saying, this is a mandate and you have to do it, it's more of a recommendation. And that's what Los Angeles county officials are doing. And people are going to have to take more individual responsibility and make their own individual decisions. So again, indoors with poor air movement and a high concentration of people, that's a relatively risky situation, bars and restaurants where people are really taking off the masks and eating those are, those are higher risk contacts, but if you're outdoors in fresh air, really, you don't need to. So I'd say people just need to make their own decisions and, you know, talk to their friends and look at good information on the internet. The more contact you have with more individuals outside of your household, especially if indoors, the riskier it is vaccination is one way to protect yourself. And a mask is another Speaker 1: 05:16 Speaking of vaccinations, a recent study published in nature magazine suggests the MRNs Pfizer and Madrona vaccines may protect for years against COVID-19 when both doses are completed. What does this tell us about the possible need for booster shots and further protection in the future? Speaker 2: 05:34 Yeah, this is very encouraging news, really pretty small study, only 41 people. And I think only about 10 or 15 had that had the lymph node biopsy performed. But what they found were these very long lasting B cells, the ones that make antibodies at relatively high concentrations, even several months after vaccination. So it's only a guess at this point, but the guess is that the protection is going to be around for awhile. You add piece of information with the way that the MRN vaccines are holding up against the variants. And it's really pretty good news for people that have been vaccinated. There was an announcement from a vaccine manufacturer that everyone's going to need boosters. And to be Frank, they're not the ones that decide it's the NIH. And it's the CDC, the advisory committee on immunization practices to really look at the data and see whether these are necessary. If I were to look at my crystal ball, I would say not everyone's going to need a booster, but for more vulnerable populations, such as those who are elderly, those with underlying conditions, particularly those who are immunocompromised might be the ones that will need boosters going forward. Speaker 1: 06:32 Well, the number is small. There have been cases of fully vaccinated. People who have still died from COVID-19 related complications in San Diego, that number stands at three. Is this something that we should be concerned about? Speaker 2: 06:44 You know, the numbers are so small that we need to put it in perspective. Uh, I heard an expert say that you're more likely to be hit by a meteorite than die of COVID after you've been vaccinated. I think out of those three, one of them actually wasn't technically fully vaccinated. So, and all of them had underlying conditions and were older individuals. So I don't think it's something we need to worry about. I think that we, we still have really good confidence in these vaccines ability to protect most people, not everybody, but most people. And then those that do get ill, the illness tends to be milder and of course nothing's a hundred percent. So there are some very, very rare exceptions to that Speaker 1: 07:19 Rule. Is there anything else we should know about how the Delta variant could be spreading throughout our community? Speaker 2: 07:25 Well, remember that throughout all of last year, we're always about two to three weeks behind. Uh, and so, you know, June 15th is when we opened up the economy and, and all the restrictions kind of went away. So we really have to keep our eyes on the ball, keep our surveillance going and really not forget the lessons that we've learned in the last year. There are many places throughout the world that are having the worst surge as they ever have had in Latin America and in Africa and in Indonesia in particular. And all those places are just a plane ride away. Um, you know, so we're, we're not past everything we need to keep our vigilance keep using the tools that have worked for us and kept us safe over the last year. Speaker 1: 08:01 I've been speaking with Dr. Christian, Ramers a specialist in infectious diseases who oversees clinical programs at family health centers of San Diego, and sits on the counties, vaccine clinical advisory group. Dr. Ramers. Thank you very much for joining us Speaker 4: 08:25 With a heat wave. Scorching, the west environmentalist are looking for ways to cool things down one way for urban areas to beat the heat is to consider the power of shade under the unsheltered sun. People can feel as much as 20 degrees warmer than in a shady area. The obvious way to provide this free and natural cooling is to line a neighborhood with trees, except quite often, that's not, what's happened a new article in national geographic outlines, both the of shade for a warming planet and the unequal distribution of shady tree lined streets in our cities, including here in San Diego. Joining me is climate scientist at a hundred Marunda author of the article, a shady divide, the national geographic magazines cover story for July, which is out today and Alejandro will come to the program. Speaker 3: 09:18 Thank you so much for having me. Let's talk Speaker 4: 09:20 For a minute about the power of shade. What can a shady environment help prevent when it comes to heat related illness? Speaker 3: 09:28 Shade is just such a wonderful thing. It's, it's one of the easiest ways we have to keep our bodies cool during a hot event. I mean, you probably have this experience, right? You can know exactly what it feels like to go stand under a tree and cool down. And then you go back out into the direct sun and it gets a lot harder to temperature regulate to keep your body at a comfortable temperature. And this is true for, for bodies. And this is true for cities as well. The more shade there is in an area, the less heat, the concrete, the asphalt, all of these different parts of the city ended up absorbing, which means that they can stay cooler. Speaker 4: 10:08 You are, do not have that shade cover. You have an increased likelihood of having some sort of illness because of heat. If it gets too hot for too long, isn't that right? Speaker 3: 10:20 Yeah, exactly. He is actually the most deadly natural disaster kind of natural disaster. We face every year in the U S it has huge public health impacts and can be incredibly devastating to people who are living in too much heat. And the disparity is really unequal. People of color are much more likely to suffer from all kinds of heat related illnesses and problems than wealthier people, often who are white, right Speaker 4: 10:47 In this article in examining the benefits of trees and shade in cities, you do find a distinct divide between rich and poor across America, so that the amount of shade can almost be seen as an index of inequality. Tell us about, Speaker 3: 11:02 Yeah. So there's been some really, really fascinating research that's been happening for a long time, but that has kind of accelerated in the last few years, looking at the distribution of trees across different cities, all throughout the U S and there's this really clear pattern that emerges in areas that were formerly redlined or kind of denied investment from the federal government over many decades in the past, in a way that has continuing impacts today, there are a lot less trees and in neighborhoods that were not redlined, there are many more sometimes up to, you know, around 40% tree cover. So if you imagine the sky above you covered with, with leaves and trees, that's a lot, that's a totally different experience. And that has a really clear impact on temperatures. The differences between these formerly redlined areas and not redlined areas can be over 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Speaker 4: 11:59 Your article focuses on the city of Los Angeles. And what kind of statistics do we find when it comes to the shady divide throughout Los Angeles? For this Speaker 3: 12:08 Story, we spent, uh, quite a bit of time in different parts of south, south Los Angeles and, uh, other parts of the city as well. And in particular, we drove along Vermont avenue, which cuts south to north through the city. And in some of the neighborhoods that we started in, in south and south central LA, the tree cover was about 3%, uh, always kind of in the single digit. So that means there's basically nothing between you and, and the sunshine when you're standing on the street there. And that was mostly in neighborhoods that were formerly redlined and denied investment for many, many years and decades. And as you drove north toward, or the park, you started to encounter more and more trees, both on the sides of the street and in people's homes and backyards. And by the time you get up essentially to the park, there are these big, beautiful, big trees that are planted in the early 19 hundreds and have canopies that cover 80 feet at this point. So these big, giant, beautiful trees that create this incredibly comfortable shady environment beneath them. And we saw people lounging. We saw dogs playing. We saw lots of people out enjoying the space in a way that was just impossible to do, or much harder to do, and much more dangerous to do in the places we started, where there were less trees. Now, according Speaker 4: 13:36 To a study by the group American forests here in San Diego, we are among the 20 cities in the nation that need to plant more trees to achieve quote, tree equity. And that group says we need to add 4 million more trees. That seems like a tremendous amount. Is that the kind of mass planting that you'd like to see happen? Speaker 3: 13:57 That's a lot of trees that would be a really big effort. Um, Los Angeles is in the process of planting tens of thousands right now, and that's taking a huge and concerted effort that I was so wonderfully pleased and lucky to get to see during our reporting for this story. I mean, I think trees and thinking about kind of the public spaces that we inhabit more generally and how to design those in a way that takes people's comfort and safety into account is a really important project for us now, especially as climate change kind of exacerbates in the future and its impacts become, become clearer. We often think of these spaces or, or over the decades, we've kind of seeded a lot of our public space, especially in California to cars. And that was a thing that definitely happened in LA, even in areas where there were trees in the past, often as streets got widened and parking spaces got added, public street, trees got taken out. And so anything we can do to kind of keep the trees we have in good shape, and to add to that and to, to really prioritize people's experiences in public spaces, I think is it's a hugely important project, you Speaker 4: 15:15 Know, as temperatures continue to rise and of course, trees take time to grow and they need infrastructure to keep them more watered and healthy. Do we have time to make this plan work? Speaker 3: 15:26 Yeah, that's a great question. And one that I asked a lot of the people working on this question in Los Angeles and Miguel Vargas, who is one of the people I spent quite a bit of time with had a great answer to this. He was just thinking really far ahead. He's like climate change. Isn't going to stop. This is only going to become a bigger problem. And if we don't do it now, do we want to be looking at the world? We're going to inhabit in 30 years? Like I'm doing this for the future, even though we know it's a slow project. And I just thought that was such a wonderful way to look at the question. Like, of course this isn't going to be enough. Of course, this isn't going to have impacts tomorrow, but the way that we address climate change and its risks has to be forward-thinking, it has to take this really long view. And so the things that we do now, like plant trees, we'll have hopefully some really important benefits. 10, 20, 30, 40 years down the line. Yes. Speaker 4: 16:25 Alejandro Barun does peace. A shady divide is in the July issue of the national geographic magazine. It's available slash race and on newsstands and Alejandro. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you. It was really great to talk with you. Speaker 1: 16:49 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Heintzman with Maureen Kavanaugh. Fireworks could be returning to LA Jolla on the 4th of July. If organizers can overcome a legal challenge from people concerned about sea lions, KPBS environment, reporter Eric Anderson has details. Speaker 5: 17:07 LA Jolla point is one of those rare places where nature offers people, a glimpse of life, usually tucked out of you. See lions love to haul out on the Rocky shoreline and that delights the thousands of people who walk along the point each day, sea lions are comfortable enough here to give birth and to raise their young pups. Can't swim right after birth, and they don't do it well for several months, but they can be seen snuggling and playing with their moms on the rocks. Most of the adore and crowds keep their distance, but some like to sneak closer for a better look or picture Speaker 6: 17:48 Often, mostly surprised that that, that you know, that there's so little guidance and there's so little oversight. Speaker 5: 17:56 Carol toy is encouraged that San Diego's promised better signage and a more visible ranger presence. But the Sierra club worries about another threat. Speaker 7: 18:05 We are greatly alarmed about the fireworks. Speaker 5: 18:07 Richard Miller says local boosters want to bring back a 4th of July fireworks, display something that was a staple here for decades. Those fireworks will be launched from the park right beside the sea lion rookery. Speaker 7: 18:20 If they do have fireworks here at battery, we'll flush every single seat line off the point and their pups. And once again, there's the opportunity too, that we lose an entire generation of sea lines just from, just from having fireworks here. But Speaker 5: 18:35 LA Jolla boosters say the concerns are unfounded. Debra moringa is the director of the LA Jolla community fireworks foundation. She says the fireworks display is an important community building event. Speaker 3: 18:48 Everyone here in LA Jolla loved square. We live our community, our environment. If we ever thought that we were doing any type of harm by celebrating our independence day, uh, by shooting off fireworks, that show would not go on. The show Speaker 5: 19:03 Has an actually happened in LA Jolla since 2017, her group fought off legal challenges in 2010 and 2014. That raised concerns about the environmental impact of the show. There Speaker 3: 19:15 Was really no merit. There was no crews that, um, the fireworks, which happens one day a year on July 4th, then as the twenty-five minutes show really has never caused any harm. The lawsuits Speaker 5: 19:27 Never canceled the fireworks display, but Marengo says the legal fight impacted fundraising. There simply wasn't enough money for shows in 2018 and 2019. Speaker 3: 19:38 It's 2019, beginning of 20. Some members of the community wanted to bring it back for 2020. And we had been working on fundraising and we were ready to go with the 2020 show. And then the pandemic, yeah, moringa Speaker 5: 19:51 Says the show is under fire from another lawsuit that she says is the same as earlier challenges, but the animal protection and rescue league sees it differently. The attorney Brian peace, who sits on the group's board filed suit in superior court. Speaker 8: 20:06 I mean, if there is a Marine mammal rookery right there, which has only been since 2019 declared under federal law to exist. So prior to 2019, it wasn't the same legal landscape. So now we have the official designation of it being a sea lion rookery, whether national Marine fishery service is going to enforce that or not. I don't know. He says Speaker 5: 20:27 Violating a federal law is seen as an unfair business practice in California. And that's the legal avenue they're pursuing. The national Marine fishery service has no opinion on the legal action or the firework show. It could be many months before the lawsuit is resolved. Eric Anderson KPBS news, Speaker 4: 20:53 When wind-driven wildfires, breakout flying embers can travel nearly a mile, sparking new fires and destroying homes. One way to cut down that risk is by retrofitting house vents to make them Amber resistant. In 2019, the San Diego county board of supervisors approved a one and a half million dollar program to help homeowners pay for vent retrofits. But now that program has been abandoned and the money diverted elsewhere joining me to explain is I knew source reporter, Cammie, Von kennel, and Cammie. Welcome to the program. Thank you. Now, in what areas of the county would homeowners have been eligible for these county grants? Speaker 3: 21:36 Yeah, so a proposal the county put together would have focused these grants in areas of Eastern north county at high fire risk, prioritizing Palomar mountain Mount Laguna, and the lilac fire burn area. Um, and these people would have been eligible for a grant to cover up to half of the cost of upgrading the vents or up to a $1,150 company who produces events, told me that the average cost of buying and installing these vents in San Diego county is around $2,300. Speaker 4: 22:11 As I understand it, the vent program was abandoned by the county before any money was actually spent. Where did the money go Speaker 3: 22:18 Around a third of that one and a half million has already been spent mostly on the purchase of two master caters, which are giant equipment to kind of, uh, chew up and clear brush like alongside roads. The rest is already has already been allocated to other programs. Uh, the most of it will go towards expanding the county's Knox box program. And the Knox box is a box of fixed on people's homes that gives emergency responders access to spare home keys in case of a medical or fire emergency. Speaker 4: 22:50 When we talked with wildfire prevention experts on this program, they've always mentioned the importance of installing Ember resistant vents to slow the spread of wildfire. Why was this county reimbursement program abandoned? Speaker 3: 23:05 Yeah, the problem that the county encountered was that they went out to look for a contractor to run the program and they didn't get any bids on their proposal. And the contractors who were potentially interested told them that they thought that there wouldn't be enough interest out there in a partial reimbursement. So county staffers made a calculated decision to spend the money elsewhere on projects that would have the most impact on the most people is, is what they told me. And, um, I spoke to a couple of people at Cal fire and the county and, and deputy chief Dave Nissen told me that his focus point is providing safe evacuation corridors. Now they didn't the importance of the vents. They said that they would continue to emphasize the importance of vents and other sort of home hardening upgrades to people in various education programs. Speaker 4: 23:58 And you also spoke with a woman who runs an event retrofit company who told you her company could have been tapped for this program. Speaker 3: 24:06 Yeah, so Kelly compass, co-founded this company called brand guard vents. And she said she communicated with the county two years ago when they were first putting this project proposal together about the cost events. Um, and she didn't know the program had been abandoned. Um, she said her, her business is spiking right now. And that there's this growing push to focus on home, hardening both at the state level at the insurance company level. So here she is, Speaker 9: 24:34 You know, local jurisdictions, state jurisdictions, recognizing the problems with ventilation. And you've also got insurance companies that are recognizing the huge risk of ventilation in a home during a wildfire. And meanwhile, Speaker 4: 24:48 SDG and E is helping homeowners in the area of the sunrise Powerlink to do exactly the same kind of Ember resistant retrofitting. How was that going? Speaker 3: 24:58 Yeah, so the sunrise Powerlink grants can cover a variety of things, including defensible space structure hardening, and the Ember resistant vents. Amber resistant vent grant has been available since since 2018 as a priority and around 600 homeowners have installed vents through, through that program. But it's only people who live near the sunrise Powerlink who are eligible for that grant Speaker 4: 25:23 Now. So the government is putting together a plan to help homeowners to harden their homes against wildfire. Would that include installing new ones? Speaker 3: 25:32 So there will be around $25 million coming through Cal fire and Callow. Yes, the office of emergency services starting in January of next year to help people harden their homes. Now the details aren't available yet on exactly what that would mean, but, uh, vents are one of the primary ways to harden your home. So, um, you know, we'll keep our eyes on that. Speaker 4: 25:58 Okay. As the state moves forward with a program to harden homes against wildfire, there will probably be a lot of areas in San Diego eligible for some help. How much of San Diego is considered vulnerable to wildfire? Speaker 3: 26:13 So according to the county's hazard mitigation plan, roughly 87% of the people of the population is at some risk for wildfire. And that includes moderate risk. Um, but in, in the, in the unincorporated areas, 91% of people are at very high fire risk. Um, and so county-wide, that's 78,000 homes that are at, um, high to extreme fire risk. I've Speaker 4: 26:41 Been speaking with our new source reporter, Cammie Von canal, Cammie, thank you so much. Speaker 3: 26:46 Thank you. Cammy is an emerging Speaker 4: 26:49 Journalist who covers the back country for our Speaker 1: 27:03 A recent study from lending tree says San Diego has some of the most cost-burdened homeowners in the country with about 40% of homeowners spending more than a third of their income on mortgages and other associated costs. So how will rising home costs impact that? Joining me is Phillip Molnar, real estate and business reporter for the San Diego union Tribune. He's been covering this issue and the reason study Philip welcome, thank you so much for having me. So homeowners in San Diego are among the most cost burdened in the nation. Where do we rank? Speaker 8: 27:36 So we're third highest in the nation behind Los Angeles and Miami. And this lending tree study was sort of interesting because it uses the most recently available data, but it was for 2019 is the most recently available. So this basically tells us going into the pandemic. Things were already pretty rough if you own a home in San Diego. So we're going to have to wait and see what happened after prices exploded in the last year and a half. Speaker 1: 28:05 As you, you just mentioned a large number of San Diego. We're already spending more than a third of their income on mortgages before the pandemic housing prices shot up in 2020, and they are still soaring to all time highs, but the income to housing debt ratio isn't expected to change much. Why is that? Speaker 8: 28:23 Well, income did go up for a lot of people that were able to work, stay at home jobs during the pandemic. However, we also know unemployment reached a record high in San Diego of around 15% at one point during the pandemic. So if you look at income to, you know, spending on mortgages and all that stuff, it might be better for some people coming out of this pandemic, but it's also going to be bad for some people. So we're still waiting to see how it's all going to shake out what I've heard from some housing analysts. And it sounds super cold, but the people that couldn't afford a house before the pandemic sure as heck can't afford one now. So we might just be, when we look at these numbers, we might just be looking at a dwindling homeownership, but maybe the people that actually got homes might be doing better than they were before on their cross payments. We just kind of have to wait and see. Hm. Speaker 1: 29:16 And let's talk about that a bit more, uh, about lower income homeowners and those who may have lost income due to business closures, how are they impacted by this? Speaker 8: 29:26 A lot of low-income people were hurt the very worst during COVID. We have a study from the San Diego association of governments, and they found that nearly 40% of jobs that paid below 27,000 a year, that's a around 15 an hour. Those were lost by April. But if you look at jobs that were, you know, paid 27,000 up to 60,000, only 6% of those jobs were lost. And any jobs that paid more than 60,000 a year, only 3% were lost. So we can see from these numbers that during the pandemic, low income people were hurt the hardest by this stuff. So they probably are so far outside their chance to buy a home at this point that, you know, we don't even know if this study will change that much, because if they couldn't get a house before, it's going to be way harder now with prices that have gone up more than 20% in San Diego county in the last 12 months, Speaker 1: 30:22 You know, this really is exposing disparities between the wealthy and those who bring in a lower income and that some who are wealthy are coming out of this pandemic, actually spending less on housing than they were before. Can you talk about that Speaker 8: 30:37 Before the pandemic started, about 31% of homeowners were spending 20% or less of their monthly income on housing costs. And if we think about that, you know, there's a comparative study. I'm looking at at the moment with renters, but a lot of people in San Diego are spending way more than 20% of their income on housing. So we can see that homeowners were doing much better than the general population, even before the pandemic. So there's a very strong possibility with mortgage rates being so low that some of those homeowners were able to refinance and get their monthly costs even lower than they already were. So, yeah, we're going to see a huge disparity coming out of the pandemic for people Speaker 1: 31:20 Who recently bought a home. Is there a point where the high cost of housing cancels out the benefit of those low mortgage rates? Speaker 8: 31:28 Yeah, definitely because, you know, we hear a lot from real estate agents and of course it's always buy now buy now, but you know, mortgage rates are so crazy low right now that one of the thoughts is I need to get into a house to take advantage of these. But if you look at the median price home in San Diego county, one of the things is like, yeah, interest rates are low, but if you break it all down, you're still paying like 130,000 more for a down payment on a medium price home. It's just it's bonkers. Because even though that monthly payment might be a little more manageable, not look as bad coming up with that down payment is extreme. So I've been talking to real estate agents throughout the pandemic, you know, and one of my biggest questions is who's affording these houses. And a lot of times it is those younger millennial couples, but they're getting help from their parents. So that down payment is sort of artificial in some ways, because, you know, it's, it's more of an anecdotal story, but that's just what I keep hearing over and over. So it's, it's not like that person that just bought that house for a really high amount actually had that down payment money sitting there. I mean, there's only so many tech billionaires and millionaires around to buy houses. So that might be interesting to see how that plays out in the longterm. Speaker 1: 32:45 Are renters feeling the same cost burden for housing? No, not Speaker 8: 32:49 Really. As far as renters go rent prices in San Diego, roughly they're up about 5% in a year. That's still rough if you're a renter, you know, but in the past we've seen rent prices go up more than 7% up to 8% in a year. So at least in that regard, you know, we're seeing that 5%. And of course, especially downtown, if you're looking to rent and east village, especially, or even some of the new complexes in OTI ranch that I've seen in some, in mission valley, a lot of them are just trying to get people to sign new leases. So they're offering up to four to six weeks free on rent. And a lot of times they're actually lowering that security deposit. You know, a lot of times if you move into like kind of a junky apartment in golden hill or something, they're like, okay, we're going to need a month and a half of rent. So you're, you're shelling out like $2,000 just to get into a place. But a lot of those places are lowering the security deposit. I've heard security deposits as low as $500 in mission valley. So for once we can kind of say, it might not be so bad for renters right now. If you're looking at all things considered, I've Speaker 1: 33:55 Been speaking with Phillip Molnar who covers real estate and business for the San Diego union Tribune. Philip, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 4: 34:09 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Hyman. San Diego is preparing for its own celebration of pride month in July. And one of the California LGBTQ icons always honored during pride is the late Harvey milk milk became the state's first, openly gay elected official. When he won a seat on San Francisco's board of supervisors in 1977, and he was tragically assassinated a year later by one of his colleagues on the board, milk is a towering figure in history. But for many people coming of age today, their first exposure to milk and his story is not from history books, but from the 2008 Oscar winning film milk, we sent reporter Ryan Levy to city college of San Francisco to find out what milk means to young people today. Speaker 6: 35:02 Oh right. Speaker 10: 35:04 Brianna Bahar Hanson welcomes their students to introduction to LGBT studies and introduces them to today's topic, Speaker 6: 35:11 The life and journey of one of the greatest visionaries in the LGBTQ community. Speaker 10: 35:16 And they're surprised when they find out that some of the class like second year student Matthew fully know nothing about the gay San Francisco icon. Speaker 7: 35:23 I haven't even heard of him before today, which I feel Speaker 10: 35:26 And most of the students who have heard of him have just seen the Sean Penn movie and really don't know much else. At least one student third year Miranda bounty is a little more familiar with milk's legacy. I grew up Speaker 11: 35:37 Kind of with Harvey milk mentioned in the same sentence as Martin Luther Speaker 10: 35:41 King, but even she's pretty hazy on the specifics. Speaker 11: 35:44 The fact it was so recent, I always assumed the milk was like 50 to 60 years ago that it was only 40 years ago. He was assassinated our parents, our parents were alive then walking around during that time, wonderful Speaker 10: 35:57 Hearing the details of milk and Moscone assassinations. For the first time, the students are especially disturbed by the fact that former San Francisco supervisor, Dan white only served five years in prison for the killings. If Speaker 11: 36:09 Harvey milk somehow killed Dan white and Moscone, who would be life in prison, but because it was a white straight man doing it, if it were a black guy or a trans or trans person, or just a woman like that person would be institutionalized or still in jail to this day, Speaker 10: 36:26 Last voice belongs to McKayla Kendrick. And she's touching on something that a lot of students brought up during the discussion race and gender identity privilege, not just for Dan white, but for Harvey milk too. This idea of intersectionality, the way that a person's sexuality combines with their race and gender and socioeconomic status and other identities is something that young people talk about a lot. And it impacts how they view someone like milk. Speaker 7: 36:50 I do connect with him in some sense, because he is a hero and I will never sit there and say that he's not a hero because he literally died first. But at the same time, he comes from a different background. And I don't think he like encapsulated everybody. Speaker 10: 37:03 Leshaun. Purcell says he can connect with milk because both of them are cisgender males, but for Purcell, who's black, that's where the similarities end. You know what I mean? There's a lot of other trans Speaker 7: 37:14 Women of color that can necessarily do what Harvey milk did because of who he is. Speaker 10: 37:19 But even while they look critically at how milks privileges allowed him to do what he did, students like Michael Thomas still recognize the kind of impact milk had. Speaker 11: 37:27 If it wasn't for this class, when I've been able to even be in college. That's a fact Speaker 10: 37:34 After class, I asked professor Brianna Bahar Hansen, why they thought the students, some of whom had never heard of milk before still seemed to feel a connection with Speaker 12: 37:42 Him. Many people are living that experience where they're marginalized, they're vulnerable. They're, they're not welcome within their spaces. Even here in San Francisco. There's been just some very heart wrenching stories of not being accepted by families and really the issues that Harvey milk talking about in the seventies still so applied to their lives today. And Speaker 10: 38:03 Because those issues of oppression are still present for these young people, Harvey milk and his legacy still mattered to them, even if they only just learned about it. I'm Ryan Levy, Speaker 1: 38:23 Jackson, California is acquainted gold rush era town with brick buildings on its main street. It's pretty quiet. Except when you walk into rosebuds cafe, which has just reopened its doors, the pandemic wanes rosebuds is a place that shouts its values from its bright green walls, huge family portraits and tons of posters and flyers announcing programs for the arts, supporting local homeless initiatives and advocating for LGBTQ rights for the series, California food ways from 2019, Lisa Morehouse tells us this place has become a refuge for people who don't always feel accepted. Speaker 13: 39:03 Rosebuds is like a beam of light Mary's Speaker 10: 39:06 Son. Ty works the front of the house like he's done for nearly 30 years. I Speaker 11: 39:10 Started on the cash register when I was six years old. It's like my sibling rosebuds. It's like the fourth child. Speaker 10: 39:18 Mary says the family really started supporting LGBTQ issues. When her daughter, Megan came out as a lesbian in high school Speaker 12: 39:26 In this community, it was really scary. Speaker 10: 39:29 She worried her daughter would be bullied, Speaker 12: 39:31 But that was just the beginning because Speaker 10: 39:34 Thai stood out even more. There was the controversial neon pink baseball cap, the short hair dyed purple that provoked a teacher. Speaker 13: 39:43 She pulled me aside on the way out to PE one day and told me that I was ruining my life. I knew I knew then that she was wrong. But what I didn't know was how those, her saying that would still be a part of my consciousness 30 years later. And that's obscene. I mean, I was just a fat little girl. I was just trying to be okay Speaker 10: 40:06 Because he didn't know it then. But Ty is a trans man playing with his look. He learned about himself. There was a Mohawk close cut up and pieced back together, decorated with safety pins. Well, for me, Speaker 13: 40:19 My parents giving us the room to express ourselves through our physical aesthetic was a, was a matter of my survival. What else would I have done? If I couldn't cut my hair, I maybe would have been cutting myself, Speaker 11: 40:32 Ashley, but since Speaker 10: 40:34 He was a kid, Ty's moved through the restaurant with ease and authority today, he's wearing a kilt, his full red beard braided. Speaker 11: 40:43 Where are you up for daffodil hill this weekend. Awesome. Did you go already? Speaker 13: 40:46 One of the neat things about having grown up in a restaurant is that I was able to feel powerful at school. Never felt, felt safe and that's not healthy for our brains. Speaker 10: 40:56 As high school began, Ty knew he was attracted to women. Speaker 12: 40:59 I started the gay straight Alliance at amateur high school and it caused just an uproar in the community. Speaker 13: 41:07 I did not go to glean. Okay. That was not my life, uh, school wasn't right? Speaker 12: 41:13 Yeah. His tires were slashed on campus. I mean, Speaker 13: 41:17 Ben followed home. I have been run off the highway. I had dog smeared in the front seat of my car parked in front of my childhood. Speaker 12: 41:25 It was, it was difficult times. Speaker 13: 41:27 Oh, I mean, I had friends whose parents grounded them from me. So it didn't unusual that there were people that weren't interested in dining with Speaker 10: 41:37 Us in a school of only 800 students. Ty says he collected over a hundred signatures in support of starting the club as high school wound down tie still didn't know the word transgender, but he did something really dramatic for a new teenage driver. I Speaker 13: 41:53 Couldn't stop myself. I cut my driver's license in half, right over the gender marker. Speaker 10: 41:58 Soon after going off to college, Ty sat his parents down and said, Speaker 13: 42:02 All right, you know, I think I'd like to be your son now Speaker 10: 42:05 After college in Santa Cruz and a few years in Sacramento, Thai returned to Jackson, he loves the country and the rolling Hills of Amador county and wanted to be part of his family's farm to fork efforts at rosebuds and coming home meant returning to the sanctuary of the restaurant. I Speaker 13: 42:25 Have experienced that a great deal of trauma at points in my life where my brain was still developing. Speaker 10: 42:34 He says he deals with PTSD and agoraphobia and went through periods when he couldn't work. One night after closing rosebuds, host a potluck for the tri county LGBT Alliance, which puts on a pride parade in nearby Murphy's Ty's mom, Mary welcomes the guests. Speaker 12: 42:55 It's people like you that have made the world safer for my baby. And so I appreciate you if you're ever scared or worried, just know that there's someone out there in the world who appreciates and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being an ally or for being out and welcome. Speaker 10: 43:17 16 year old miles goes to the youth group ties started in the region, but as attending the potluck for the first time, I'm basically Speaker 12: 43:25 Here. Cause like I think meeting a lot of people who are going through the same thing helps like, you know, develop like who I'm going to be. When I grow up Speaker 10: 43:34 Miles, his mom is here in support, but struggling with pronouns, Speaker 11: 43:38 I love her to death. So cute. Correct. And don't worry. So whatever miles decides to be choice her Hills, I'm still happy. No worry. We'll get there. Help Speaker 10: 43:58 From gatherings like this one at rosebuds, Ty says, that's what the space is all about. We try Speaker 13: 44:04 To use the bounty that comes through the cafe and reinfuse it right back into Jackson. You know the saying we are the salt of the earth. I never understood what that meant. But, uh, it was explained to me to be that we have to flavor this space. Speaker 10: 44:23 Ty says, no one should hold back their flavor. I'm Lisa Morehouse in Jackson. Speaker 1: 44:30 And just an update on the story. Like most restaurants during the pandemic rosebuds had to pivot to limited seating to go menus and outdoor seating. But now Mary and Ty are back and are hoping to welcome back groups by September.

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Health officials in Los Angeles county are urging people to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Plus, one way for urban areas to beat the heat is to consider the power of shade. However, there’s an unequal distribution of shady, tree-lined streets in our cities, including here in San Diego. And fireworks could be returning to La Jolla on July Fourth, if organizers can overcome a legal challenge from people concerned about sea lions. Then, in 2019, San Diego County approved a $1.5 million program to help homeowners pay for vent retrofits to cut down on wildfire risk. But now that program has been abandoned and the money diverted elsewhere. Also, a recent study says San Diego has some of the most cost burdened homeowners in the U.S. Plus, one of California’s most well-known LGBTQ voices is Harvey Milk. KQED spoke to some young San Franciscans about what he means to them today. Finally, Rosebud’s Cafe in Jackson, California has become a refuge for people that don’t always feel accepted, including those in the LGBTQ+ communities.