San Diego Suing To Void Deals On 101 Ash Building, Civic Center Plaza
Speaker 1: 00:00 The latest scandal erupts in San Diego is troubled Ash street, real estate deal. Speaker 2: 00:05 You can't have two masters when you're serving with government officials, you either work for the government or you don't. Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Andrew Bowen with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition, California expands Medi-Cal coverage to include some undocumented residents over 50 Speaker 3: 00:30 Being able to cover, you know, a quarter of a million people that helps California really reduced its uninsured rate. North Speaker 1: 00:39 County residents are operating a makeshift homeless shelter out of a motel in Carlsbad and on the season finale of the Parker Edison project. How does family legacy contribute to culture? That's ahead on KPBS mid day, the address 1 0 1 Ash street has become synonymous in San Diego with the city's horrendous track record on real estate deals in 2016, the city council approved an agreement to lease and eventually purchase the high rise office building downtown. What followed was one scandalous revelation after another costly repairs, asbestos violations lawsuits. And this week we learned a chief architect of the deal was advising the city while also getting paid by the building sellers, another scandal, and maybe a chance for the city to get out of this mess. Joining me to unpack this story is Jeff McDonald, investigative reporter for the San Diego union Tribune. Jeff, welcome to the program. Speaker 2: 01:42 Hello Andrew. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 1: 01:45 He has been unfolding for years now. Uh, yet there are probably listeners who aren't too familiar with it. So let's start from the beginning. Why did San Diego decided it needed this building at 1 0 1 Ash street? Speaker 2: 01:56 Oh six or seven years ago, the city identified a need for additional office space for its downtown workforce. And they started poking around for where they could place, uh, uh, these workers as well as, uh, move some workers from, uh, uh, dilapidated city, uh, building right, uh, west of city hall into, uh, into new office space to upgrade. Uh, they were also concerned about rising rents. Uh, so they identified a number of buildings they could, uh, move into. And a one-on-one ask street was of course in the next, because Sempra had vacated the property. Uh, in 2015, Speaker 1: 02:32 You mentioned there were costly repairs. There was a speced dose dislodged into the air. The building has been uninhabitable for a basically since the city started leasing it. And the latest revelations about this scandal center on a real estate broker named Jason Hughes. So explain who he is and how he was involved in crafting this deal. Speaker 2: 02:52 Uh, Mr. Hughes is a longtime downtown real estate broker who, um, ingratiated himself with, uh, former mayor Bob Filner in an advisory role. He had earlier approached Jerry Sanders during his mayorship about advising, uh, real estate services. Uh, the Sanders administration did not take them up on that offer. Um, but, uh, after Mr Filner resigned, uh, in 2013, uh, Kevin Faulkner was elected and, uh, and, and did tap Mr. Hughes for his, uh, real estate acumen. Uh, that relationship, uh, ended up resulting in a lease that the city, um, signed for the civic center Plaza right across from city hall that the city had been operating in for years. Uh, the city signed a 20 year lease to own agreement for that property in 2015, and unbeknownst to everybody at the time, uh, Mr. Hughes took a $5 million commission. Uh, they replicated the same deal a couple of years later when negotiations for one-on-one as came to fruition. And at that time, Mr. Hughes got $4.4 million. Speaker 1: 04:03 So you've reported Monday night and then the city is a city attorney's office confirmed Tuesday that Hughes did get this $9.4 million in fees for executing the one-on-one Ash deal. And the deal on the civic center Plaza brokers get paid fees like this all the time. So why does city attorney Mara Elliot say that these payments were improper? Well, Speaker 2: 04:24 The city's position today is that, uh, they were unaware of these payments until they learned about them in the discovery process. Uh, presumably earlier this year, um, that contradicts what Mr Hughes's attorneys have said is that he repeatedly informed city officials that he wanted to be paid. Uh, there was no specificity in the documents I've seen about how much Mr. Hughes would be paid or who specifically would be paying him, but it clearly was not going to be the city, uh, according to Mr. Hughes and his lawyers, uh, the senior officials at city hall knew about this and were aware of this. Uh, he is told [inaudible], which was the middleman broker, uh, that paid Mr. His that he has written, uh, authority to seek payment from the Stelara. Uh, I've not seen any evidence of that sister Cistera hasn't provided it. They've said, uh, that everybody was aware of Mr. Hughes was being paid, uh, everybody except the public. And, uh, presumably the city attorney until earlier this year Speaker 1: 05:26 About the new legal claims that the city has filed against Hughes, what are they and what are they hoping to accomplish there? Speaker 2: 05:32 Uh, well, it's a general, uh, excuse me, a government code violation, uh, an anti-corruption law. You can't have two masters when you're serving with, uh, you know, government officials. You either work for the government or consultant with the government, or you don't, he's accused of, uh, conspiring really to, uh, defraud the city of millions of dollars by not disclosing his relationship with Cistera this middleman broker, uh, what the city attorney's office is planning to do now is use that finding to nullify both lease to own arrangements for one-on-one Ash street and for the civic center Plaza, which again, the city has been occupying for years and years. So, uh, it'll be interesting to see if those contracts get thrown out and, uh, how, and whether they'll be able to claw back any of the tens of millions of dollars, the city spent on this, uh, on this property. Speaker 1: 06:28 So this deal for one-on-one Ash took place under former mayor, Kevin Faulkner's administration Faulkner, of course, is now running for governor. What has he said about these new revelations regarding Jason Houston, his involvement with the deals? Speaker 2: 06:41 Well, yesterday was the first statement I got from the former mayor in many, many months, which I found curious, and his position is that he didn't know anything about these financial arrangements and they're completely improper, uh, that of course contradicts with what, uh, Mr. And his lawyers have said. So, uh, you know, we'll have to see how that shakes out and as to how it might affect Mr. Faulkner's, uh, race for California, governor remains to be seen. Speaker 1: 07:07 And all this started, as you said, because the city needed more office space for its workforce downtown, but much of that workforce of course, has been working remotely for, for more than a year. Now, as have many of us, has the city begun to reassess its need for downtown office space? Speaker 2: 07:22 Yes. I think the city is always, uh, assessing its needs and its mid and longterm, uh, you know, needs. Uh, they still think that they need more office space. Now I haven't asked lately, but when I last looked into this year early this year, uh, their position is that they're playing the long game and they expect, uh, five years, 10 years, 15 years down the road, they will need this additional office space. As I said, some of the property that the city workforce is housed in today is probably in worst case in worse shape than, uh, than the one-to-one Ash buildings. So the city still is going to need downtown office space, post pandemic, but we'll see how that shakes out. Speaker 1: 08:07 We have a full accounting of how much money this one-on-one Ashdale has actually cost city taxpayers. Speaker 2: 08:13 No, they don't have a full accounting on where all the money they spent went. Uh, we know that they spent $30 million to rehabilitate the building, uh, from 2018 going forward, uh, only appears to be lost. They've also spent millions of dollars, uh, maintaining and operating the building, uh, providing for the building. So they're, uh, at least 50 million, probably higher than that, 60 some million. Uh, and that's just for what's. Uh, what's been spent already the, uh, and that, that excludes also legal fees. They've had, uh, at least three different law firms, uh, litigating this issue on the city's behalf. So it's going to be a long time before, uh, taxpayers have a, uh, a good firm understanding of how much they spent on this building. Speaker 1: 09:03 I've been seeking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Jeff McDonald, and Jeff, thanks for joining us today. Speaker 2: 09:08 You bet. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 4: 09:19 The California budget process is coming to a close as the governor and lawmakers. Hurry to finalize last minute bills. The new fiscal year begins tomorrow. One deal that's already been struck as an expansion of the state's Medi-Cal program. The expanded coverage will remove the asset rule. That's played some senior Medi-Cal enrollees and expand Medi-Cal to low income undocumented immigrants over the age of 50 the budget projects, the yearly cost of the expansion at over $107 million, but it's a fraction of the $76 billion budget surplus California has announced. And joining me is Cal matters, reporter Ana Ybarra, and Ana, welcome to the program. Speaker 3: 10:03 Thanks for having me, Maureen, what was Speaker 4: 10:06 The asset rule that barred some people from receiving benefits? Speaker 3: 10:11 Yeah, so the ad's a rule that applies to seniors and people with disabilities says an individual cannot have more than $2,000 on hand that's in addition to meeting the income eligibility or the income threshold to qualify for the program. So that means $2,000 in a savings account in a checking account in cash. And so that rule has been in place since 1989 and it hasn't changed. Right? And so health advocates have called this role very outdated because obviously the cost of living has changed since 1989 and $2,000 really doesn't allow people to save up for much, which means in order to keep their Medi-Cal eligibility, people are spending down. Right. Speaker 4: 10:58 You tell the story of a 73 year old Medi-Cal recipient who, before this expansion took place, had a hide, a small unexpected inheritance. Speaker 3: 11:08 Yeah, so she came across a $5,000 when a family member passed away and she was excited to put that in her savings account because she really hadn't been able to save up much. And when she learned that if she kept those $5,000 in her bank account, she would not qualify for Medi-Cal anymore. She had to spend it and she, you know, she'd really didn't want to, um, she ended up, uh, buying a new bed that she needed, which, you know, she said was, again, she needed it, but she rather keep that money, uh, you know, in, in case of an emergency. But, but she couldn't do that. She had to spend it. And, you know, a few months later she really was in need of it. I didn't know Speaker 4: 11:49 That people who qualified for Medicare could still receive Medi-Cal benefits. How does Medi-Cal supplement their Speaker 3: 11:56 Health care? Yes. So seniors who qualify for Medicare, if they are low income, they can also qualify for free Medi-Cal. The state often calls them Medi Medi. And, um, these are, uh, this medical helps those people because there are still certain costs that, um, Medicare will not cover. So for example, the woman I spoke to, she has some pricey medication, um, that she needs covered and Medicare doesn't cover it all. So that's when it Medi-Cal comes in and takes care of the rest. Um, so this helps people, you know, um, cover the cover, the costs not covered by their, by their Medicare insurance, Speaker 4: 12:34 The expansion and the new state budget also allows people over the age of 50 living in the state illegally to receive Medi-Cal benefits. Medi-Cal has been covering more undocumented people in recent years, hasn't it? Speaker 3: 12:48 Yes, it has. So, uh, in 2016, the state started covering all undocumented children. And then in 2020, it started covering, um, young adults up to the age of 26. So this is the, the latest expansion, uh, 50, every anyone 50 and over, regardless of their immigration status. This is also the, um, the, I believe that the biggest group, so about 250,000, uh, people would qualify under this expansion or become newly eligible for Medi-Cal. And they're, they're also one thing to know there they're also the most expensive group, right? We know that older people have more, um, healthcare needs, uh, you know, kids and young adults are, tend to be pretty healthy. Uh, but seniors that's, that's going to be the, the, um, the bigger expense for the state. The state has allocated in their budget deal. Uh, $1.3 billion to, to cover them, Speaker 4: 13:46 Has the pandemic led to an increase in the number of people getting their healthcare through Medi-Cal Speaker 3: 13:51 It has. So we know that the medical role has increased by about 1 million people. Uh, I'm comparing March, 2020 to March, 2021. Um, that's the latest data available? Um, so the, the need for Medi-Cal has grown, um, possibly because people are losing jobs or losing, um, uh, hours losing wages. Um, but one thing to know is that during the pandemic, the state cannot kick people off Medi-Cal. So we know that the, usually there is a turnover, right? So people are in and out of the program. Um, when people, for example, that they have to, um, show their eligibility or show that they're eligible every year, they have to renew their, their medical applications. And this time around, uh, even if people aren't renewing, they can't get kicked off the program because of the emergency pandemic situation. So that's also adding, uh, you know, people are coming in, but not as many people are coming out of the program. Speaker 4: 14:53 Healthcare advocates must be very happy about the expanded benefits in the new budget. Just a while ago, they were concerned about cuts to Medi-Cal aren't Speaker 3: 15:02 They, they were. So after, you know, after the recession, um, in 2007, 2008, a lot of programs got cut and slowly, you know, they've been getting those programs back and I'm talking about things like dental and other optional benefits, like eye glasses and, and podiatry. And so those were, those are things known as optional benefits because the states are not required to, to cover them, but they can. And so California did, and those were cut during the last recession. And so they, like I said, they slow the bank coming back, but last year, you know, because the state was, um, looking at a, at a potential deficit with, with the pandemic, they were worried that those optional benefits would be cut again. And last year they, they stayed in place, but any planned expansions, um, were not allowed or did not happen. So, you know, from being worried last year, that they might lose some of the programs to, you know, now being able to expand, um, because of, you know, the seven to six $76 billion surplus in the budget. That's a big, uh, 180 for them as one advocate explained it. Um, so it's, it's definitely, um, turned things have turned around yeah. In the Speaker 4: 16:21 Larger picture of California health care. Why does this expansion of Medi-Cal matter? Speaker 3: 16:27 Right. So this matters because a, that the biggest chunk of California's uninsured population are, are undocumented people. So being able to cover, you know, a quarter of a million people, um, that's that helps California really reduced its uninsured rate. And, you know, we know that, you know, as more people become covered, that just helps with hospitals to create, uh, uh, just a healthier population. Overall, I've Speaker 4: 16:58 Been speaking with Cal matters, reporter Ana Ybarra, and Ana, thank you so much. Thank you for having me. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Andrew Bowen. Jade Heinemann has the day off individual community members are stepping up to create resources to help the growing homeless community KPBS north county reported. Tanya thorn tells us about one individual running and funding, a shelter out of a motel in Carlsbad, Speaker 5: 17:41 Vanessa Graziano didn't expect to be running a homeless shelter. She starts each day at the Carlsbad village in motel, where one of the serves as an intake office here, coffee is served daily and meals are planned. Speaker 6: 17:53 We have dinner being provided from Jewish collaborative services. They do it every Monday, and they've been doing it for like six months. Speaker 5: 18:00 This is also where she meets the people who are staying at the shelter to talk about what's going on in their lives, depending Speaker 6: 18:07 On what they need. Everyone's unique, right? We just find out who they are. I get to know them, their Speaker 5: 18:11 Story. This all started last year at when Graziano who had once been homeless herself, decided to pay for a motel for a family in need. That act of kindness grew into what is now the Oceanside homeless resource. Speaker 6: 18:23 When the COVID hit, we realized we needed to create some kind of shelter and also food service. So I came together with a few people out there and we started this emergency COVID shelter, which absolutely grew Speaker 5: 18:34 One motel room grew to 15 rooms, the not house, 35 people, including 14 children Speaker 6: 18:39 And all the people here are absolute moving forwards. Speaker 5: 18:42 Originally Graziano was operating out of an Oceanside motel because forced her to look for a cheaper option. Landing her in Carlsbad every day at Graziano jumps on social media to ask for donations, to keep the shelter running Speaker 6: 18:53 Well over the last year, we probably raised over a quarter million dollars and it's just through me, private funding, um, different churches, local that have come on board. Um, we've had a few grants here and there, um, from private organizations, but honestly, it's not, you know, I have to raise a thousand dollars a day to keep everyone here. Safe. Speaker 5: 19:11 Sharna Baron has been at the motel shelter for a couple of weeks after being homeless for two years, she needed stability. Speaker 6: 19:17 When you're on, when you're on the streets, you can't be stable. I mean, really you can't. They kick you out. I was sleeping on the benches over at the Harbor. They kick you out. I was sleeping on the ground. They got kicked out over there that you can't. Speaker 5: 19:29 The motel has given Baron a semi-permanent address that helped her get a job. She started last week. Does Ray young as another shelter resident just starting a new job. She and her family are going into their third month at Graziano shelter. They also needed stability and an address to get her children enrolled into school. Well, it's hard to get a Speaker 6: 19:47 Job or even put them into a school where they have to be going. When Speaker 5: 19:51 Graziano says she listens to what our clients need, but there are rules. They have to follow. It Speaker 6: 19:56 Is a come as you are program, but we are very, um, like if you're on drugs, you know, we really want you to understand you can be here safe, but we're going to get you into detox and recovery, because that is the next that Speaker 5: 20:07 The non-profit has been able to move 38 clients into permanent housing. Graziano also connects our clients with resources like county caseworkers and healthcare. She also arranges employment assistance and transit passes to get them to their new jobs. Speaker 3: 20:21 Those groups are groups are important because it is it's grassroots. It's people, it's individuals in the community saying, you know what I want to do. I want to do something more in my community. There's just not enough resources. Miranda Speaker 5: 20:34 Chavez is a director of integrative services at the community resource center. In Encinitas. They work with different grassroots organizations like Graziano Chavez says smaller organizations can fill needs that large ones. Can't Speaker 3: 20:47 I think the larger an organization is, and the more involved government is people are wary of it. Speaker 5: 20:58 Samuel says her clients trust her because she's been homeless. Oh, Speaker 6: 21:01 I had lived, you know, pretty successful life and marriage and I got divorced. And then I stumbled on to drugs. And so being able to come on the other side of it and being, having that lived experience, I do believe my voice is valuable. Incredible today. Speaker 5: 21:14 Quite Sandra says she's been clean for six years. Her goal is to create a cottage community where her clients can learn job skills to prepare them to live on their own Speaker 4: 21:23 Journey. Hey, is KPBS north county reporter, Tonya Thorne and Tanya. Welcome. Speaker 7: 21:28 Thank you, Maureen. Speaker 4: 21:30 Is this really a one woman operation? Does Vanessa have any help in running her homeless shelter? Speaker 7: 21:38 No. You know, Vanessa does run the shelter on her own. She started it. She raises money for it and she's the organizer, but she does work with established resources and agencies to get her clients to help. They need to get them back on their feet. So whether that's rental assistance, substance abuse, help, or even having to go and get an ID card or a driver's license. So she, you know, she helps with all those needs that her clients need. Speaker 4: 22:03 She has to raise a thousand dollars a day to keep the shelter operation going. Does she get any money from Oceanside or the county? Speaker 7: 22:12 You know, this is something that really stuck out to me in the story. I mean, I see her on social media and every day she's asking for private donations and I mean, she's so grateful, even if it's a $5, $10 donation, because at the end of the day, it does make a difference. That could be a meal, right? And so Vanessa told me she has received larger donations and was actually expecting a $65,000 grant from the city of Oceanside. But unfortunately it was recently rescinded. And, you know, I've learned that the thing with grants is that you have to follow certain rules and meet specific requirements. And if one thing is out of place, there goes your grant approval. So, you know, it's tougher, these smaller grassroots organizations to get large grant funding like that one without having to change, you know, in order to meet the needs of the financers, like the city of Oceanside Speaker 4: 23:05 And Vanessa Graziano couldn't even keep her Oceanside homeless, nonprofit in ocean side because it became too expensive. Yeah. You know, Speaker 7: 23:14 I mean, the organization is called the Oceanside homeless resource, but it's currently operating out of a Carlsbad motel, you know, and, and she chose the name originally because all the people she was helping were homeless in Oceanside. And they were operating out of the Oceanside travel lodge, you know, but like many businesses, the motel needed to make up some of that money lost during COVID. So they had to bump up their rates. And this is what ultimately got them into Carlsbad. But she did tell me that they are exploring options to return to Oceanside. You know, it's Speaker 4: 23:45 Interesting that both of the people that you spoke with who were staying at the shelter, talk about having to move around and being kicked out of places while they were homeless and ocean side ocean side just recently dismantled homeless encampments and put boulders up. So they couldn't be reoccupied. Why did that happen? Speaker 7: 24:06 Yeah. Well, those encampments got dismantled and replaced with rocks because they were growing. And, you know, with that growth comes safety concerns for everyone, the people living in the encampments, the nearby businesses and the residents of the city, and just nearby, there were complaints from local businesses that the encampments were scaring clients away. You know, they were scared to go and eat at the establishments when they see all these tents propped up, you know, at the storefront. And police also said that they had found drugs and weapons and that they were called out several times to the encampments for calls of violence. So it was definitely a safety concern just for everyone around. Speaker 4: 24:44 Is there any city funded, homeless shelter in Oceanside? Speaker 7: 24:48 This is something the city of Oceanside is working on, especially now when the, when the two new beach side resorts just opened up in the downtown area and more tourists are getting lured in. They have no homeless shelter open for the general homeless population. One that accepts men and women, families, maybe just that takes everyone in. They used to have bread of life, but their beds were always full. And they recently shut down their shelter portion and were actually taken over by the San Diego rescue mission. And I think they're also trying to work on something, but there is a shelter coming and tonight actually the city council will be voting. If interfaith community services gets that contract. Speaker 4: 25:28 Now, the city of San Diego just started a new outreach program to the unsheltered, homeless, that aims to build the kind of trust that can get people into programs to get them off the streets. Have Oceanside's leaders been talking about anything like that? Speaker 7: 25:44 Well, they're trying, right. I mean, the shelter will be a huge help, but it will not solve homelessness. When people were uprooted from the homeless encampments, they were offered motel vouchers. But I have heard that, that wasn't very successful. Most of the people that received the vouchers are back on the streets and it goes with all of the rules that need to be followed to keep those vouchers. I think an advisory board could help because what I've learned through my reporting is that each person who is living on the streets has unique means one per one program or shelter does not fit everyone that's on the streets. If Oceanside Speaker 4: 26:20 Does move forward. As you say, in establishing a shelter for the homeless, any word that the city may also reconsider funding for Vanessa's homeless shelter. Speaker 7: 26:31 Well, Vanessa was actually one of the applicants for the homeless shelter among other organizations. I think funding is out there for organizations like Vanessa's, but again, that funding comes with rules and regulations. I mean, some things may need to change. Interfaith has been chosen to run a shelter over all the other applicants because they have already been established throughout north county and they just have a really good track record. So, you know, we'll see if they get, if they get the contract tonight. Speaker 4: 26:58 All right. We'll keep an eye on that. I've been, I've been speaking with KPBS north county reporter Tanya thorn, Tanya. Thank you. Thank you. Maureen. Speaker 1: 27:15 San Diego has a new proposal designed to overhaul. Many of its more dilapidated neighborhood parks, and it's doing so by luring developers toward the city's transit hubs. The proposal is not only designed to revitalize parks in historically underserved neighborhoods. It also aims to incentivize developers into building more affordable housing in the process. Joining me with this story is voice of San Diego reporter McKenzie, Elmer McKenzie. Welcome. Hey, thanks. Thanks for having me. So how has San Diego's method of funding parks overlooked poor neighborhoods of the city? Yeah, Speaker 3: 27:50 Well, let's start with the way that the city raises money for parks right now. Um, the way neighborhoods raised money to fix up their parks and actually libraries and even support fire and police is through this thing called the development impact fee. And for decades, uh, each of San Diego's 50 plus neighborhoods could sort of charge developers, whatever they wanted for each category and parks were typically, or are typically the largest and most expensive charge for those developers of those different categories. So when cities, when the city decided to look at writing a new parks master plan, um, cause the last one they wrote was 50 years ago, they took a look at each of the neighborhoods sort of fee savings accounts and noticed there's this huge inequity where a lot of the richer and newer neighborhoods were charging a lot more for parks. And then they were just knocking out these parks projects that were on their wishlist for development in their area. Speaker 3: 28:42 So they were even doing it to the point where they were using fee money for other things like fixing up streets. Um, but then this kind of double whammy existed in older areas of town where, um, there's less space to develop because the neighborhoods are built out. So that means there's not a lot of fee money to come in from these developers and plus the neighborhood plans, which set those goals for like parks projects that they want to do. They haven't been updated in a while. So they're probably undercharging for parks compared to some of the newer areas in town. So that's part of the problem Speaker 1: 29:11 You wrote earlier this year about some of San Diego's saddest parks. Can you describe what you found? Yeah. Speaker 3: 29:18 Um, I sort of milled about areas that I saw had a lot of like parks projects that were just waiting to be done. And I landed in Sherman Heights area and just noticed there was a really only a joint use park there, meaning it's basically a school yard that also the neighborhood can use on occasion. And it was just sort of this sad gate, like very high gated park, um, where kids are sort of running around in a circle without much access to any kind of amenities granted this was during the pandemic. And I'm not sure if kids can use the facilities from the school when the pandemic is over or now, but, uh, it's definitely quite different from what you might see in some of the nicer areas of town like university city, which has a lot of money from development impact fees. Speaker 1: 30:06 And you write that this new parks master plan is really an affordable housing incentive. So explain how that works. Speaker 3: 30:12 Yeah. So the city, um, in this new iteration of the plan decided to kind of work in some discounts for developers who wanted to pursue building more affordable housing. So for instance, um, these parks, like I said earlier, these parks fees are some of the most expensive fees that a developer pays for building any, a housing unit, the at a single family home or an apartment. And so some of the discounts that they worked in there, uh, would include like a 50% discount on a park fee per unit, um, for any affordable housing reserved for the poorest of San Diego. And so that's like an apartment renting for $1,500. Um, and they also get a 45% discount for building housing reserved for median income residents in the city as well. And they also get discounts, um, for building a park on site as part of their development. And that's a 10% discount, which is apparently something brand new that hasn't been proposed before. Speaker 1: 31:12 Another aspect of this proposal is to prioritize improvements to existing parks over creating new parks altogether. So how would that work? Speaker 3: 31:20 Yeah. So another piece of the Park's master plan, that's actually under hot debate right now with, uh, people who advocate and pay attention to parks, master plans, uh, is the city is also proposing a new structure where it prioritizes and gives sort of a point system towards amenities and things people can use in parks. And, uh, which means parks that don't have a lot of amenities, like maybe Sherman Heights would maybe get a low score and perhaps rise on the priority list for areas that, that do need attention. Um, but some of the parks advocates are worried that the city is not, uh, prioritizing looking for new land to add new park space to the city. So that's something that under contention right now. Speaker 1: 32:07 So this is being proposed by mayor Todd Gloria's administration, and he has some support from community groups. What do those community groups say about why they like this plan? Well, Speaker 3: 32:17 I know that I've talked with one industry association, the building industry association, which is a something that represents developers in town and there for the plan primarily because they say these parks fees, uh, because they're so high that the most costly fee that they pay, they sexually said that impedes the ability for them to provide more affordable housing. And so they're a fan of these discounts obviously. Um, and some of the other community groups, uh, that are in supportive parts of the plan and not in support of others or, um, the parks and recreation coalition. Um, I mentioned in my story as Susan Baldwin, she's a member of that advocacy group. That's paying very close attention to the plan they're in favor of the parks plans, uh, effort to prioritize equity. And that one of the other proposals is, uh, for the first five years of the plan, the city wants to put 50% of all new park fee money in communities of concern. And that's all defined under something. The city created a while ago called the climate equity index, which identifies neighborhoods that are historically, uh, maligned by historical policies, uh, racist and structural issues like Southeastern San Diego is one area. And they want that actually to be more than five years, this parks advocacy group does. Um, and they're also not really in support of the point system that I mentioned earlier, which prioritizes amenities or for acquiring new Parkland Speaker 1: 33:49 Voice of San Diego, reporter McKenzie, Elmer and McKenzie. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks so much. Speaker 4: 34:07 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Andrew Bowen Jade Heinemann has the day off think back to your childhood. Were there people, experiences, family, traditions, even books, music, and movies that helped shape who you are today. That's the question. Parker Edison explorers in the season finale of the KPBS podcast, the Parker Edison project. How does family legacy contribute to culture? Speaker 8: 34:37 I come from a long line of go getters. People who made opportunities, where there are none. My great aunt on my father's side had he know, well, she sang, we count bases band and appeared in 15 movies, including Kings row with Ronald Reagan. She auditioned for the role of mammy and gone with the wind, the lost to Hattie McDaniels. On my mother's side, my cousin Debra started off as a faceless accountant in the nineties and worked her way to prince. It pays the park and Dr. Dre Interscope records, the chronic, they made something out of nothing. One of Speaker 4: 35:09 Parker's influences growing up was underground. Hip hop royalty Masta ACE in this excerpt Parker had a chance to ask Masta ACE about how family influenced his music. Speaker 8: 35:23 Something that might seem small and insignificant, like sharing your favorite movie or record can have an impact that reverberates across generations. In some instances, it creates a scaffolding culture that shapes who others become my next guest. It's not related to me. It's not a personal friend, but he's experiences directly affected me as if he was. And I think he did the same thing to the people around me. It's an honor to even discuss his contributions. What's your name and what city are you in Speaker 9: 35:53 This master ACE? Uh, I'm from Brooklyn, New York. Um, but I'm actually in Northern New Jersey right now. I moved to New Jersey a few years back. This episode is about legacy and family. Your legacy is mince. Where, where should new listeners start in your catalog? They could really start at my album, disposable arts, which came out in 2001. I mean, I had three albums prior to that. It was really until 2001. When I got my independence as an artist that I really started to, I feel like flex my creative muscles and, uh, use my writing ability to really get the message across to, to the listeners. So if you just want to get a real sense of who I am as an artist and as a person, I would start at disposable ice and go forward from there. That's dope. Cause I grew up with your records, man. Speaker 9: 36:51 I had had, you know, I had your classic stuff and disposable arts was brought to me as an adult by somebody outside the culture and they can't be like, you, you gotta, you gotta sit with this. I felt like the, uh, the training wheels were off at that point because I wasn't, I wasn't, I didn't have to answer to any record execs. Um, I didn't have to compromise any of our creativity to appease someone who was above my project. And that was the first time that I was on my own to do my own thing as an artist with no feedback from anybody outside of my creatives space, where I was going to come up last night, I found the son of Yvonne. Just crazy. Is there anything that you could tell me about how, what inspired that album? Yeah, absolutely. Um, I guess the first inspiration came from the MF doom beats because he had released all of his instrumentals on a series called special herbs, but he basically took every beat that he had previously released on different albums with different people. Speaker 9: 37:57 He put, he compiled all those instrumentals on one huge like box that friend of mine had had a copy of maybe 40 of those beats. And he was playing them in his car one day and I asked him what it was and he told me, you know, these MF doom, beats and instrumentals or whatever. And I was, I was kind of dope. And then the next time I saw him, he just like handed me a CD, like yeah. You know, for you to listen to. So I would drive around listening to the instrumentals and there's a bunch of music that I had never heard before. I know real doom fans know the, all these beats very well. Um, you know, I'm listening to him and I just started getting some inspiration to spit some rhymes over some of the beats. So I started kind of like lightweight writing, just a little rhymes in my head while I'm listening to these beats. Speaker 9: 38:41 And I was like, I should do a mix tape. Just, just take a bunch of these joins and just do a mix tape and just release it, you know, for the fans or whatever. Cause I was kind of in between projects at the time. And um, I mentioned that to my upline region. We were, we were at a meeting at fat beats records about another project that we were doing. And uh, uh, rich, just kinda offhandedly mentioned this mixed tape that I was working on. And they were like, are you going to release it for free? Oh no, you can't do that. You know, we talk about it free. Um, and they came to the table with an actual deal, uh, to distribute this project. And so at that moment I realized I couldn't just fit a bunch of throwaway freestyle, just kind of off the cuff rounds. Speaker 9: 39:29 Cause it makes to me a mix tape, you just kind of run, you just spit and you know, just going in whatever. But once, once they decided that they were going to actually back it and release it as a real official release, um, then I felt like I had to, you know, from a writing standpoint I had to give it a little bit more. So I decided to dedicate it to the memory of my mom, um, who had passed in oh five. And um, you know, I was still struggling with that. It was 20, it was 20 some Yvonne came on in 2012. So my mom passed it all five. So up to that point, I was still having a tough time dealing with it and, and, and, and coming to grips with it. And I needed a way to, uh, kind of release some of my feelings and thoughts and things I didn't get to say. Speaker 9: 40:13 So I decided to kind of put that on the album and make it about my childhood as it relates directly to her. So I take the listener back to me at around the age of 12 or so. Um, and I take you back to my old neighborhood and get you get a chance to kind of peek in. So the relationship between me and my mom during that time period, and, um, yeah, I decided to just make the album about that. Do you have siblings? Did they hear the album? Was it a point of conversation? I'm an only child, which was, which probably lends to the day, the difficulty I was having with her passing unexpectedly like that. And I did share it with other families, the members, cousins, aunts, uncles, like those types of folk. Uh, I sent a few copies out to a few family members around the country and, you know, they, they gave me their reaction and their response and, you know, it was all positive. Speaker 9: 41:12 They just kind of knew I was going through stuff. So they were just happy that I did it. And it, it kinda became a, uh, in a certain way. It became kind of like therapy for me to, to release that album and to put it out there. There's a trap where MF doom shouts out Google from Gangstar. And now that doom is passed away. That is super surreal. Did it feel a special VIN as it is now? No. When he shouted out Google on the, on the song, it was because the night that we, the night that I sat down with him, we, we, we were on, we were booked on the same festival module, the Montreux jazz festival out in Europe. And we were booked on the same festival. And, uh, we were actually on the same bill. So the night, uh, after we, well, the night that we performed together, um, I went on stage part of my show at that time, cause it was pretty close to the past. It was recent to the past passing. Of course I am, I show I would do. Um, I would do a Gangstar song. I would split a whole verse. I will perform that every single night. And so he actually was staged side. When I performed the joint, when he started to write his verse months later, I guess he T drew inspiration from that night, seeing me do the guru songs. And that's what kind of helped him, I guess, put his lyrics together for his verse. Speaker 10: 42:36 I was raised like a Muslim play into the nature of my life cause I've been playing it when I broke. Speaker 4: 42:46 That was Parker Edison host of the KPBS podcast, the Parker Edison project, speaking to underground hip hop legend Masta ACE to hear the entire episode go to kpbs.org or wherever you listen to podcasts.