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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

New Reopening Guidelines For Schools Unveiled

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY ZOË MEYERS / INEWSOURCE

Above: The San Diego Unified School District headquarters is shown on March 19, 2020.

San Diego Unified officials announce the possibility of a partial return to campuses while the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updated guidance for in-person schools. Plus, nearly 5,000 registered Republicans in San Diego County left the party last month. And pregnant women aren’t getting clear guidance on COVID-19 vaccines. Then, California launches a restoration effort to reshape the Salton Sea’s southern edge. Plus, the Diversionary Theatre has decided to take advantage of having to be closed for the pandemic by beginning long-overdue building improvements. Finally, a new podcast dives deep into what makes up modern culture in the San Diego community, through the Black lens.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The CDC guidelines give San Diego unified schools hope for reopening, but what about vaccines?

Speaker 2: 00:06 It's every adult that needs to be on campus for in-person learning should be vaccinated.

Speaker 1: 00:12 Jade Heintzman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition.

Speaker 3: 00:24 Okay.

Speaker 1: 00:24 The shift inside the Republican party

Speaker 3: 00:27 About two thirds are becoming what they call no party preference and have signed up with the American independent party, which many people take to be a mistake.

Speaker 1: 00:40 And we'll tell you about restoration of the Salton sea plus a new KPBS podcast. That's ahead on midday edition. The CDC has guidelines for reopening schools. Now they're specific about in-person school safety measures like social distancing, physical barriers and testing, but getting teachers and faculty vaccinated, isn't a top priority in these guidelines. San Diego's largest school district has already announced its hope for in-person school reopening in the fall. And they're exploring the best way to do that. Joining me is Richard Berrera president of the board of trustees of San Diego unified school district. Richard, welcome.

Speaker 2: 01:31 Thank you, Jay. Got to glad to be on,

Speaker 1: 01:34 Uh, what is your reaction to the CDC reopening plan?

Speaker 2: 01:38 Well, I think the CDC reopening guidelines are very consistent with certainly what our district has been doing throughout the pandemic. So it really focuses on two key areas within schools. It recommends a series of mitigation measures to prevent against the spread of the virus on campus. And that includes everybody wearing masks, PPE, widely available, uh, the classrooms being properly ventilated, a lot of cleaning of the classrooms and maintaining social distance. Secondly, it sets, you know, uh, different criteria, you know, the, the level of the spread of the virus in your community. It has recommendations about, um, whether or not to reopen. And if you reopen, uh, do you do it by a hybrid model? Do you do a full reopening? So it it's very focused on, um, where we are in terms of the spread of the virus in the, in the community.

Speaker 1: 02:39 And, you know, part of that school reopening plan includes a color tiered system based on the rate of community spread from blue, the lowest rate to red, the highest rate, where does San Diego fallen

Speaker 2: 02:50 That, you know, our, um, team from UCFD that we've, uh, looked to for guidance? We're actually asking that question. How do you interpret the different metrics in San Diego County? And where does that place us on the CDC tiers? It's worth noting that the governor has already indicated that although he also appreciates the CDC guidelines, he does not see them as replacing the current guidelines in place from the state department of public health. And we're still following the basic guidelines from the state department of public health.

Speaker 1: 03:27 Is there now a chance that San Diego unified classes will actually reopen fully and right

Speaker 2: 03:32 The spring? So right now we are expanding the number of students, uh, on our campuses that fall into the categories of, uh, you know, the kids that we've identified that most needs to be on campus. So that could be students with disabilities that need in person services. It could be homeless students, it could be English learners, or it could simply be students whose teachers are identifying that it would be good for them to come in right now, we've got a few thousand students that have been coming in, but over this week, and the next couple of weeks, we plan to expand that significantly. We're hoping to get that up to, you know, closer to 15 to 20,000 students. And then as we move towards reopening, in-person learning for all students at all grade levels. There's a couple of important factors that we're looking at, do the case rates continue to decline.

Speaker 2: 04:30 And then the second issue is can we get our educators vaccinated? And we were highly encouraged by, uh, Nathan Fletcher, the chair of the County board of supervisors, who last week said that within the next two to three weeks, he anticipates that the County would have enough supply so that we could begin to vaccinate all the educators that are necessary to be there for in-person learning. So, uh, availability of vaccines for our educators and declining case rates give us a lot of optimism, Jade, that we can be in a position to start to reopen in the spring.

Speaker 1: 05:08 So what about the necessity of vaccinations for teachers? The CDC plan says teachers can return to school before being vaccinated. Um, what does San Diego Unified's position on that?

Speaker 2: 05:18 Our position is that teachers and all educators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, para educators, principals, uh, every adult that needs to be on campus for in-person learning should be vaccinated. And, you know, the important thing is that, you know, we've been working with the County board of supervisors and it's looks like we're going to be in a position to actually make that happen. So we are moving forward on a plan that would allow our educators to be vaccinated before they returned to campus.

Speaker 1: 05:50 So the plan will allow for teachers to be vaccinated before returning, but will it require teachers to, to be vaccinated before returning

Speaker 2: 05:58 Very unlikely that we would require, uh, teachers and educators to be vaccinated. But what we're focused on is working with the County so that we can make those vaccines fully available and in an efficient way. So for instance, we would be interested in opening up facilities, you know, school district facilities, as places to vaccinate educators and to work with the County to make that process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Speaker 1: 06:28 The American Academy of pediatrics is among a groups urging the reopening of schools because of the psychological damage being done to some kids stuck at home. How concerned are you about the toll the pandemic has taken on students?

Speaker 2: 06:42 Well, we're extremely concerned and you know, that's both in terms of academic loss and social, emotional trauma that students have been facing this entire time. So, you know, I appreciate you asking about that because simply reopening is not the end of the story. We anticipate that probably a large percentage of our parents will continue to keep their students home, even as we, uh, as we reopened schools, which means we have to continue with a strong distance learning program as we go forward. But we also have to have the resources to provide the extra counseling, the extra mental health support, the extra academic support that students will need to pull them out of this crisis that they've been in for just about a year now. And we are encouraged as well, that president Biden in his relief package that he's proposing to Congress includes the kinds of resources, uh, that would be necessary for schools to help our students overcome the, uh, the trauma that they faced and accelerate their learning. So that there'll be back on track. And the new school year

Speaker 1: 07:55 I've been speaking with Richard Barrera, president of the board of trustees of San Diego unified school district. Richard, thank you so much for joining

Speaker 2: 08:02 Us. Thank you, Dave.

Speaker 4: 08:09 Now that the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump is over big questions remain about the future direction of the Republican party, but some local Republicans seem to have already made their decision numbers from the San Diego County registrar's office reported by the times of San Diego show that last month more than 4,700 San Diego Republicans left the GOP and switched party registration. There's no clear answer yet, but there's a lot of speculation that the Capitol insurrection was a primary motivation for the shift. I spoke with reporter Ken stone with the times of San Diego. Here's that interview. The GOP has been losing ground in San Diego County for several years. So is this drop bigger than usual?

Speaker 5: 08:56 Uh, certainly, uh, the statistics we can glean from the registered voters offices. We can tell that a typical drop in registration in the January following a major biannual election is about 2,600 in the, in the past, uh, four or five, uh, elections. So what we're seeing is an anomaly, uh, with 47 more than 4,700 Republicans dropping that status in the January of this year. It's, uh, almost twice as many as in the previous cycles.

Speaker 4: 09:29 Have you been able to find out if this drop is specifically because of the January 6th insurrection?

Speaker 5: 09:37 No, that's, that's the assumption. Uh, it's a partisan assumption in the sense because the Democrats would say, Oh, of course it's a direct result of the, uh, of the riots and the, and the capital raid Republicans who I've talked to say, well, you know, sometimes, uh, Republicans vote for Democrats. Sometimes Democrats vote for Republicans and a shift in party. Affiliation is not that significant. You can talk to a curl Luna who is the long time, a political observer and political scientists, uh, San Diego Mesa college. And he is a little surprised that the 4,700 number, because he thinks it should be a much larger with, uh, more than four or 540,000 registered Republicans in San Diego County to have less than 1% of them change. Their parties is not a significant number, but, uh, Cal matters the Sacramento new service, uh, reported that 33,000 Republicans dropped out of the party since January six. And that seems, uh, an impressive number two, but also keep in mind, it's about a half a percent of the, uh, 4 million Republicans registered in California.

Speaker 4: 10:49 No, it's one thing to say to yourself. Uh, I'm never going to vote for a particular party again, it's another to actually change your registration. How and why would a person go about doing that?

Speaker 5: 11:01 I, I went to this SD boat.com, which is the San Diego County register voters office website. And it will take you to the California secretary of state's website, where you can click on a link and you have the option of changing your registration. Basically you don't, you don't inform them. I'm dropping out of the party. What you do is re register. Sometimes the DMB allows you to do that. You can do it through the mail. You can contact, if you can call a phone number and get a, uh, a registration form, basically reregistered

Speaker 4: 11:34 And are most of these formerly GOP voters becoming Democrats?

Speaker 5: 11:38 No, uh, about, uh, uh, less than a quarter have become Democrats in the County, uh, about two thirds are becoming what they call, not no party preference, also known as declined to state and have signed up with the American independent party, which many people, uh, take to be a mistake because the American independent party, which was partly founded by George Wallace in the late sixties, started out as a segregationist, uh, sympathetic party, uh, and no longer is, but it's still a far right party that apparently many people confuse with being an independent. So they figure, Oh, American independent party, I guess that's what I am. And they stay commonly, uh, sign up for that. Uh, the Los Angeles times in 2016, uh, did a story, uh, showing that most of the people who sign up for American independent party didn't know it was a party. They thought it was just a generic identifier.

Speaker 4: 12:36 I see. Are there implications in this swing for San Diego, still largely Republican areas? Like let's say the 50th district,

Speaker 5: 12:45 The conservative registration in the 50th is still a far ahead of the democratic registration and who knows what a redistricting will do come. Uh, you know, the next year, couple of years, I see that Amar Caplin ajar who ran twice in that district is still, uh, staying active on social media, perhaps to keep his, uh, his name in the, in play for another try at the, in that district. But most, most political pundits see that district as solidly Republican. And, uh, don't see it flip even with never Trump style Republicans, uh, dropping out

Speaker 4: 13:24 Now a Republican consultant. You spoke with told you the problem as he sees it is there isn't really one Republican party anymore, but competing factions, tell us about that.

Speaker 5: 13:38 It's well known that the Republican party has become a Trump centric party and the people who would consider themselves traditional Republicans of the past are feeling, uh, edited out. I think that there will be a shift to a more conservative Republican party when, uh, people who agenda generally like being on the winning side, find that joining the Trump Republican party results in, uh, in losses, I have to recall that, uh, about four or five years ago, I attended a, uh, an Alec meeting, which was a Republican, uh, meeting of, uh, of a national group that advocates for conservative, uh, legislation and, uh, famous a poster and infrequent stood in front of a, of a large ballroom full of Republicans and, and asked people, anybody here for Donald Trump, not a single person raised their hand. And this is in a, you know, conservative meeting hall. Uh, of course, all of them now would probably say, Oh, of course, uh, I supported Trump, but you know, party membership can be fickle. And I have a feeling that there can still be a flip. I've

Speaker 4: 14:49 Been speaking with the reporter, Ken with the times of San

Speaker 1: 14:52 Diego, Ken. Thanks a lot. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 15:01 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 15:03 Listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavenaugh. Many of us have questions about the COVID 19 vaccine, but for pregnant women, there's even more uncertainty and KPBS reporter Claire Tresor says pregnant women who will soon be eligible for the vaccine are getting confusing guidance,

Speaker 6: 15:23 You know, threw up Wednesday. It took parish glass in her husband for years and thousands of dollars to conceive a baby through in vitro fertilization. Now at long last, the Navy couple is expecting a boy in August, but since they conceived during a global pandemic, they're facing the question of whether GLAS should get a vaccine. My OB GYN said, you know, it's definitely, okay, go ahead and get it. But for us, this has been a four-year journey of infertility and we've spent so much money. And so with this one shot that we have, it is a huge question of, do we want to risk it to be clear doctors and medical experts agree that the COVID-19 vaccines are likely safe for pregnant women, yet glass still isn't convinced because there isn't enough data. We'll let other people be those Guinea pigs. The reason for the dearth of data is simple.

Speaker 6: 16:28 Pregnant and breastfeeding. Women are almost always excluded from drug trials and the COVID-19 vaccine trials are no exception. Some medical experts say this was a mistake. I think we, um, who would have carefully and thoughtfully included them. But I think that ship has sailed. Dr. Denise Jamison is a member of the COVID 19 expert group with the American college of obstetrics and gynecology. Well, no COVID 19 vaccines were purposefully tested on pregnant women. There is some data available from women who entered trials before they knew they were pregnant. And from testing on animals, no significant adverse side effects were found in either case. I highly recommended to my patients, Dr. Joanna Adams, Zach specializes in high-risk pregnancies. And as the chief medical officer of sharp Mary Birch, she says refusing, the vaccine is the greater risk for pregnant women. Ladies do get more sick. They have higher rates of ICU admissions.

Speaker 6: 17:33 They have higher rates of hospitalizations, not to mention the fact that it can lead to preterm labor. That reality is visible every day for Dr. Becky Adhami a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Rady children's hospital, who has been treating pregnant women with COVID-19. I've seen patients who are admitted to the ICU who are intubated in pregnancy, and then it can be really scary. I mean, we know that there is a higher risk of mortality. And so, you know, seeing that those maternal effects definitely, you know, make me think it's, it's definitely, um, think be vaccinated to protect yourself. A dummy is pregnant herself. And when the call came in mid December offering her a COVID-19 vaccine dose, she didn't hesitate. And I got the call that it was available. And I said, I will, I will come in that day and get it. But some women who don't work in healthcare and believe they aren't at risk of getting COVID-19 are opting to wait until after they deliver to get the vaccine.

Speaker 6: 18:32 Alicia, Temby a teacher at a private school in Encinitas could be eligible for the vaccine soon, but says, she'll wait until after she delivers her baby in April. I am pro-vaccine in general and backstory like my dad had polio, but I also am very data-driven and there's no clinical trial data showing that, that the COVID-19 vaccine for any of the manufacturers is safe to take because there is no clinical trial data yet. So that definitely makes me pause and say, okay, what are the benefits and rent and risks. In fact, even after she delivers, she's not sure she'd take the vaccine because of concerns over breastfeeding. We'll hear more about that tomorrow. Claire Traeger, sir, KPBS news,

Speaker 4: 19:33 The environmental crisis posed by the shrinking Salton sea has been known for years now at long last, the first major restoration project at California's largest Lake is set to begin. The $200 million state project will create fish and bird habitat on what is now dry exposed Lake bed. It's a first step toward mitigating the environmental damage and health risks created by the evaporating salt and sea journey may is KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson and welcome Eric. Thank you, Maureen. The issue of salt and sea restoration has been postponed for many years. How does this project fit into California's overall commitment to that restoration?

Speaker 7: 20:18 Yeah, that's a really good question. Uh, one of the things that California committed itself to do, uh, as part of a water sharing agreement that was signed a number of years ago, back in the early two thousands, it committed itself to make sure that, uh, water transfers that might happen as a result of this water sharing DL, uh, do not negatively impact the salt and sea. And they committed themselves to a dollar restoration, uh, of the, uh, of the area. Now what in fact, uh, has happened, uh, out there so far is not that much, however, this, uh, project that's $200 million project, which would cover some 4,000 acres of exposed Lake bed at the Southern edge of the sea is really kind of, uh, the state, uh, getting its feet wet. So to speak in, in terms of making sure that the Salton sea restoration project moves forward. I spoke about it a little bit last week with California, natural resources, secretary Wade Crowfoot.

Speaker 8: 21:27 This is the first major project that the state has advanced to address the challenges that the Salton sea, uh, both, you know, worsening air quality as a result of a mist of dust and restoration of habitat for birds and the Pacific flyway and fish.

Speaker 4: 21:46 Why is this first project aimed at providing fish and bird habitats?

Speaker 7: 21:51 Well, the fish and bird habitats actually do another thing that is much more urgent. They help control the dust. Some of these 4,000 acres are going to be shallow flooded flats, if you will, uh, that will create habitat for fish and birds. Others will be areas that are plants that have been planted there to hold that dust into place, and to also provide some cover for, for birds that might be flying in and out of that area. But in total, all of this project is designed to do primarily one thing. And that is, is to kind of trap the dust in this dry Lake bed, uh, in the ground. So it doesn't get into the air and cause big problems.

Speaker 4: 22:36 Now the salt and sea began to shrink rapidly in 2018. Can you remind us what role San Diego played in that?

Speaker 7: 22:45 San Diego has been buying water from the Imperial Valley, uh, for some time now, since that was permitted under this wide water sharing deal signed by the federal government. Um, and since that's happened, uh, the Imperial Valley was required until 2018 to put mitigation water into the Salton sea, basically to keep it from shrinking faster than it was, uh, already shrinking at the time. Um, and so they put mitigation water in there, but their obligation to do that ended in 2018. And since then, the shoreline of the sea has retreated dramatically in just three years' time. So many acres of Applia have been exposed, uh, both on the Southern and also on the Eastern edge of the sea

Speaker 4: 23:30 Imperial County already has high rates of asthma and lung ailments. How does the shrinking salt and sea add to that?

Speaker 7: 23:39 This is really the public health emergency part of this situation. When these Lake beds are the desert winds, which exists in that area, pick up the particles and those particles get airborne. And, and when they're airborne, people breathe them in. Um, and that exacerbates what's already, uh, a difficult area, uh, in terms of lung health in the state of California, I talked to Louis Almeda of the committee civical devices about the situation. This is something that he has worked on for many, many years, and he is frustrated that he doesn't feel, uh, the state and, uh, other interested parties are moving quickly enough to make sure that this extra, this new source of emissions is taken care of.

Speaker 9: 24:26 When we talk about songs, see that's an entirely new source every time we're peeing, filling back every inch of that blood. Yeah. We're exposed in over a hundred years of contaminated sediment. Okay. So this means that it's important that, that this project move along in a timely fashion. When is it supposed to be completed?

Speaker 7: 24:50 Uh, this project should be completed in 2023, just a couple of years, the state's going to invest $200 million. They've set aside about $400 million to do the first phase of the restoration work, the entire project, uh, restoring all the areas around the Lake and making sure that they're not a problem environmentally, uh, is going to cost in the billions though.

Speaker 9: 25:11 Wow. Okay. I've been speaking with KPBS environment, reporter Eric Anderson and Eric. Thank you very much. My pleasure.

Speaker 10: 25:34 [inaudible]

Speaker 9: 25:40 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh, KPBS launched a new podcast that takes a closer look at culture through the lens of black America. The Parker Edison project explores everything from food to fashion against the backdrop of music from San Diego artists. In the first episode, host and creator Parker Edison talks about the real-world impacts of how film follows fashion and fashion follows film. Here's a bit of episode one women on film,

Speaker 10: 26:20 Good morning, and welcome to the Parker Edison project where we explore tenets of American culture just might not be the America. You're thinking of. This is episode one women on film and despite his tongue and cheek title, this episode, isn't really about video fixes. It's about how film follows fashion, fashion follows film, and the real world impacts of that today. Resuming way in taking an extreme closeup shot of an important piece of fashion often seen on big screens when depicting a particular typecast who bearings

Speaker 11: 26:54 Ghetto, it's nothing but creativity that hasn't been stolen yet.

Speaker 10: 26:59 That's Latanya lock-in, she's a school teacher and an accomplished singer and mother she's also incredibly stylish. It's summertime hot outright. Now coy too nice to be boxed in a little room doing interviews. So we're walking through San Diego's bird park and I'm starting by asking if she wore hoop earrings growing up.

Speaker 11: 27:16 I did our small little hoop earrings, little ones, big hoops, man. You were fast. I know because my family says that, but for those who don't, what does fast mean? Fast means just a little girl doing things she shouldn't or trying to be grown a little girl, trying to be a big girl. It's funny though, because if boys were that way, nobody would care and bring it up. Triple true in my family says that they say fast tailed and they actually say manage. And for those who don't know what manage means, Siri, give us a definition.

Speaker 12: 27:45 A woman having unbecoming characteristics that are stereotypically associated with men.

Speaker 11: 27:50 You know what else the internet says about earrings? The internet says if the status is very small undecorated and unassuming, she's telling the world that she's either a shy woman, or if she is very confident and it has no need for ego feed, she has probably rather smart and is not seeking romantic company. On the flip side, dangling hoops, demand, attention hoops, get their reputation as trashy because they're unsubtle, which is inappropriate and unladylike. The internet also says women that wear large hoop earrings have a reputation for being slutty. The bigger their hoops, the bigger the, Whoa, dang Siri, waterhole hoops,

Speaker 12: 28:26 Absurdly ridiculously huge cubic zirconia men, crusted hoop earrings, at least four inches in diameter,

Speaker 11: 28:33 1822, the discovery of King Tut's tomb, repopulate prized, who peer rings. They became a new symbol of power status, but nobody ever associates, Liz Taylor's Cleopatra with wearing whole hoops. Now that's reserved for another urban dictionary. He says, thanks, Nikki or Rihanna. They do what's bad. Although Rihanna says she's a Savage. She has a, she has a track where she's lied. Didn't want to tell you that I was a Savage Savage around just with anything. I don't have to be going somewhere. I'll have a t-shirt and jeans on and put some big old hoops on. I want it to be the statement of my outfit, but you know, they're trying to attain this. Ooh, that's kind of like whitewashing the savages though, a little bit. They do it. And to nobody sticks out and being different is considered a bad thing. You ever heard of Fahrenheit four 51 it's by Ray Bradbury or equilibrium with Christian bale or more popular version is Footloose with Kevin bacon. The whole thing of outlawing music and dancing to limit expression and control emotions will Footloose works especially well because dancing is such a big part of the culture,

Speaker 10: 29:42 Just like fashion. So it makes me wonder if hating on hoop earrings is a way of discouraging our pride and self-expression

Speaker 11: 29:49 Absolutely and works. We become ashamed of our fascia. We even put ourselves in, in groups, we call each other ghetto from our fashion. Girls want to straighten their hair to fit in. They want to get into the trends that they see on TV to fit in. Um, and I, as a teacher, can't tell a black child to wear clothing from their history because there'll be ridiculed,

Speaker 10: 30:12 Which is insane because 50 years ago is let's say the black Panther movement, which is Seminole for black coats.

Speaker 11: 30:19 Absolutely. And it's, and it is. And, but there's so many other things that are too, but I tell the kid they could wear gold chain and hoodie. People would get mad at me. Like, is she kidding?

Speaker 10: 30:29 Gotcha. And at the same time, like a white character in a big movie, they can wear those garments. And it means the character is street smart, but this isn't a movie and it doesn't wrap up nice and neat. And in a bow there isn't an absolute answer, but Latanya is trying something.

Speaker 11: 30:44 I mean, how many times have we heard like black pride, right? So I want to encourage my students to get into pride into themselves and what they love about themselves. Somebody asked me, what do I love about being black? And that was such a great question, considering everything that's been going on. And I think about it all the time. And so it just, I brought it down to like, you know, ask my students, what do you love about themselves, about you? There's so many examples of people trying to blend in and ask them to give me something individual that they like about themselves.

Speaker 10: 31:11 You're asking me to highlight the quality in themselves. Yeah.

Speaker 11: 31:14 We're not used to doing that. And if you do, it becomes your conceded or, you know, we are trained to be humble, which is fine. But believing in yourself and loving yourself is like a big part of being self-aware and mature. And then some more empathy.

Speaker 10: 31:32 It's just that simple encouraging individuality. And self-expression in the micro to affect the macro sort of like Kevin bacon and Footloose. A low expression goes a long way. Do me a favor. Next time you're at work or running errands, look around

Speaker 3: 31:47 For hoops. Who's wearing them.

Speaker 10: 31:49 Are they people of color? Are they people in power? If you see a parent, an episode of SVU or CSI who's wearing them, is it the cops or the criminals? I really am interested in your feedback semi or the gorgeous Latanya. Lockheed. Your thoughts on the subject hit me on Twitter. I'm at PR K R E D I S O N. With any insights or experiences you have on the topic. Also, if you'd like to donate money to Latanya lockets, as the glee club camp hit her on IgE at Ms. Latanya's class, the links in the show description. That's also her music playing in the background, click on that and the description as well. And Togo go anywhere. I have my good friend, Shanteel web Candler coming in for quick game of six degrees of separate wanes. You stay tuned.

Speaker 3: 32:37 I love you. I think I always will.

Speaker 1: 32:40 Even now I'm reeling from the effect that can have on the rest of my life. I'm different now as badly as I want to feel the heat between us. I know exactly how this is going to end

Speaker 10: 32:53 Now streaming it platform. collection.com is the new film short run rate. The who's who San Diego talent brought to you by the good people at platform collection. Welcome back. You're listening to the park Radison project. My roommate and I used to play this game in my house. It's called six degrees of separate weigh-ins. At one time, Kevin bacon was the peak of popularity in Hollywood, and that may still be the case, but the almighty Wayne's family has been giving him a run for his money. They've been making mad connections and to show that I do this thing called six degrees of separate wanes. I have a competition where somebody tries to stump me by giving me names of people. They don't think I can connect to the Wayne's family. And I do it almost every time today trying to stump me. I have Shanteel web Candler who's co-owner of the Guardian's basketball team.

Speaker 10: 33:43 The only black owned sports team in San Diego County and a founder of the HBC U alumni, San Diego. Shanteel what is that? HBC alumni? San Diego. So HBCU stands for historically black colleges and universities. Um, these were institutions that were founded shortly before the civil war ended with them. They took a boom after the civil war ended any, you know, of course the proclamation emancipation, excuse me, proclamation was signed and slaves were free. Then we had a boom in HBCUs being founded. So HBC alumni, San Diego is the only nonprofit Anthony County that specializes in HPC advocacy. I said heavy resume right there. Okay. Okay. She's going to try and stump me. It's going to give me three names and see if I can connect them to the almighty Wayne's family within six connections.

Speaker 1: 34:33 You just heard an excerpt from the Parker Edison project, a new podcast here on KPBS in Parker. Edison is joining us now. Parker. Welcome. Hey, Hey there. So yeah, we just heard a bit of the first episode of your podcast episode. One is about women on film. Tell me about that. And what do you hope listeners find when they tune into your podcast?

Speaker 10: 34:57 I hope people can, can feel like they, they know someone that they haven't actually met yet. I feel like the people I know all have really, really interesting lives and there's something very relatable about them. And so I'm kind of introducing you to them and if you can relate to them, you know, there's a similarity there. And I think the, on a wider scale, I hope that just makes people feel a little bit closer to their neighbor. So that's like a, yeah, that's sort of a goal of the whole episode of the show in general.

Speaker 1: 35:30 Yeah. And speaking of the show in general, I mean, what types of topics will you be tackling?

Speaker 10: 35:35 We are looking at primarily American culture and specifically you've seen it from my point of view. I'm breaking down culture into 10 segments and it covers the core tenants of culture, which are fashion art, sex, uh, wardrobe, you know, neighborhood. These are the things that really shape who we are, even though we don't notice them. They really are. Uh they're they create signatures. And so, yeah, we're breaking down American culture

Speaker 1: 36:07 And, and I mean, tell me why is it important to explore these issues and to do so through the black lens

Speaker 10: 36:14 One that's, that's the lens I'm looking through. And that just happens to be kind of a coincidence. That's a secondary thing, but it plays a big part in it. So I want people to, to be able to relate wherever they're from, but I do have to be black. And so hopefully that widens their ideas of, of maybe what black people are like or what anyone that's not like in is like, I think that's, that's what the whole, the show, hopefully just widens people's, uh, ideas of what normal is and what American is and makes people see that it all is American. Like everything that we're doing all goes together and it all plays parts in this puzzle.

Speaker 1: 37:02 And, you know, as you look at these, these issues and, and have these discussions, are these issues unique to San Diego or are you exploring them? Um, from a broader perspective,

Speaker 10: 37:13 I am telling very specific San Diego stories because I'm so proud of, of our history and of my city, but I feel like that's relatable. I feel like, uh, the second episodes of good example where we're looking at San Diego's underground rap improv, and I feel like that very much parallels, um, new York's Apollo. I think there's a similarity there and clearly there's a, a connection to LA project blowed. So there's a relate-ability in all of them, even though I'm specifically talking about this place that I'm from.

Speaker 1: 37:49 And speaking of being from San Diego, tell me a bit about yourself.

Speaker 10: 37:54 I am, I was pretty much raised in, in Meadowbrook apartments over in paradise Hills. And then, uh, my, well, my parents were split up, so I was lucky enough to go stay with my father and other cities and other States cause he was in the military. So I would go to school in San Diego and then I would go visit, uh, another place like every other summer. And my family is out of the South. And so a lot of my life is about bouncing between the West coast, the East coast and the South. And so I really got used to seeing similarities in people and it's fascinating to me. It's super fascinating to me. So, uh, here I am telling these stories, I'm a rap artist and a multimedia artist and a lecture, and this is just kind of a, an extension of all of those things.

Speaker 9: 38:45 Wow. So how can people find the podcast?

Speaker 10: 38:49 Oh, it's available now. It's own it's on all streaming platforms so people can go wherever they get their podcasts normally. So go to Spotify, Apple, iTunes, Stitcher, wherever people normally stream their favorite podcasts and look up the partner of some project.

Speaker 9: 39:08 And I've been speaking with Parker Edison host of the new KPBS podcast, the Parker Edison project. You can also find it at kpbs.org/parker, Edison Parker. Thanks so much for joining us.

Speaker 10: 39:21 Thank you,

Speaker 9: 39:31 San Diego's diversionary theater is the third oldest continuously run LGBT theater in the United States. It's decided to take advantage of the pandemic shutdown by beginning long overdue building improvements, KPBS arts reporter, Beth Armando speaks with its executive artistic director, Matt Morrow about what the remodel means for the organization. Matt, we are sitting in the middle of what used to be your lobby space here at diversionary. What is going on right now?

Speaker 13: 40:04 Well, what's not going on right now. It's uh, we are in the middle of renovations. They started demoing the entire building about two weeks ago and they're making really good headway. This space. Our lounge is going to be transformed into our third performance venue, which we're really excited about. It's going to be a cabaret space and it's going to have a full bar experience. And so we've been working really hard with our designers and our architects on what it means to honor the gay bar of yesterday. And so our cabaret is going to stand in honor of a gay bar as a historical place where community gathered and organized and communed with one another and really launched the LGBTQ movement that we know of today.

Speaker 9: 40:52 Now I know this pandemic has been challenging for arts organizations. However, doing this renovation while we're in the midst of the pandemic, seems like it's making the best use of this kind of time. Yeah,

Speaker 13: 41:04 It's really strange. We were working on this campaign for about a year before COVID 19 hit and when COVID-19 hit, we were completely surprised. We didn't know if we can continue with the campaign or if we should continue with the campaign. But you know, we had a gala event that happened about three weeks after COVID-19 hit. And that gala, which had to migrate online and be virtual, really showed us how much our community loves diversionary and put a lot of wind in sails. And we were like, you know what? We should continue with the campaign. And also while we're at it, all theaters are going to need to address COVID-19 and safety and security measures. Let's take those things that we're learning about COVID-19 and how to make our public spaces more safe and integrate them into the design while we have this opportunity.

Speaker 9: 41:54 So what were some of the post pandemic things that you decided to add to the theater that you had not thought of doing before?

Speaker 13: 42:02 The biggest thing that we're learning about is that the virus really travels through the air and it's really about, uh, air filtration and optimizing our HVAC system. So we're integrating a bi-polar ionization filtration system to all of our HVAC systems for our public spaces. We're also incorporating antimicrobial materials into the design. We're also incorporating hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility. So whenever you feel like you need to sanitize your hands, you're just an arms reach from one

Speaker 9: 42:34 And talk a little bit about what the renovations will mean for the actual theater space itself,

Speaker 13: 42:39 All new theater seating, which I'm sure our patrons are going to be super happy to hear about because the theater seats before were way too small and very old and uncomfortable, and frankly loud, they were had Springs that were constantly go blowing right in the middle of like the most tender moment of her performance. We're also going to be able to expand our main stage. The actual stage itself is going to gain about three feet. And so that's going to increase the type of work that we're able to produce on that stage.

Speaker 9: 43:06 And can I ask how much the remodel costs? The

Speaker 13: 43:09 Entire remodel is 2.5 million and we are just over 80% of our way to achieving that $2.5 million goal.

Speaker 9: 43:16 And you said you're at 80% of the fundraising goal. So what's the plan for paying for the rest of it.

Speaker 13: 43:23 We've been fundraising from our closest friends up until this point, and now we're turning to the public and starting the public phase of the campaign. And so we're going to be engaging the public at large, uh, in the campaign moving forward. Yeah, that's, that's pretty much it we're now we're now just asking for money from everyone instead of just a select few of people.

Speaker 9: 43:45 All right. Well, I want to thank you for talking about diversionary and I look forward to a three opening. Thanks so much, Beth.

Speaker 14: 43:52 Be watching for tonight's evening edition story to see what diversionary theaters remodel will look like.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.