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

Fragile COVID-19 Vaccine Providers Must Follow Stringent Dose Handling Guidelines

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY TARRYN MENTO

Above: The inside of a refrigerator at Family Health Centers of San Diego.

A degree too warm, or a room too bright, could render a COVID-19 vaccine ineffective at a time when shipment delays and shortages mean back-up doses are practically nonexistent. And CDC fails to answer a call from scientists requesting the agency to explain that COVID-19 is spread primarily by people inhaling small tiny virus tainted particles. Then, a new policy implemented by the San Diego Police Department sets parameters on how officers respond during demonstrations. Plus, as the Japanese Americans who experienced imprisonment get older, a California project wants to preserve their memories of what happened, while it's still possible. Finally, Fernando Tatis Jr.'s $340 million, 14-year contract was finalized Monday by the San Diego Padres, the longest deal in baseball history.

Speaker 1: 00:01 An update on vaccine delays and new COVID cases in San Diego. Well,

Speaker 2: 00:06 Numbers are better, but still pretty high.

Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm wearing Kevin Hall with Jade Heineman. This is KPBS midday edition. The SDPD unveils, a new policy toward protest policing.

Speaker 3: 00:29 The policy says that it's up to the incident commander when officers can use some of these less lethal rounds,

Speaker 1: 00:38 Amid a new wave of anti-Asian attacks to Japanese and Terman survivors share their memories. And Fernando tatties becomes the Padres second $300 million man. That's a head-on midday edition.

Speaker 1: 01:00 The Petco park vaccine service station remains closed today due to delays in vaccine shipments. Other walk-in vaccination sites remain open in San Diego. Meanwhile, the number of new COVID cases in San Diego continues on a downward trend. So hopes are high that the winter surge may be slowing, but experts warn that this is not the time to let our guards down. Joining me with a COVID update is KPBS health reporter, Taran, mento, and Taran. Welcome. Thanks, Maureen. How do the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations compare with what we were seeing just a few weeks ago? Well,

Speaker 2: 01:39 The numbers are better, but still pretty high daily new reported cases have been below a thousand for about 10 days. That's that's good. A few weeks ago. Uh, the County was confirming 3000, 4,000 and even older, over 5,000 new cases some days. So a huge drop, but to put this in perspective a bit back when we were, you know, closely watching our case rate, which determines what stage of reopening we're in County officials said new cases should be within the 250 a day range and a case rate of seven per 100,000 or less would get us into a little bit less restrictive level of reopening. Last time I checked our case rate was around 22 per 100,000. Now that has come down a lot recently. And Dr. Wilma Wooten, our County public health officer said we could be reaching that case rate, um, which is at, or below seven in the next couple of weeks. If this decline in new cases continues, hospitalizations are also looking better. The rates are dropping, but not as drastically as new reported cases in that maybe because we know there's about a two to three week lag between increases in cases and later increases in hospitalizations. So officials mentioned that that may be the same case with decreasing hospitalization. So hopefully those, those lower rates will continue to, to, to go that way. Our deaths also

Speaker 1: 03:00 Declining,

Speaker 2: 03:01 It's kind of up and down, still a little erratic. Some of that may have to do with the reporting process hospitalizations, as I said, lag behind new cases, but by about two to three weeks. So the number of reported deaths will lag even further. So the impact of the reduced number of new positive cases may take a little while longer to show up in the number of lives lost. But County officials have said that they hope the emphasis on vaccinating, the older vulnerable population right now will also help reduce that tally.

Speaker 1: 03:31 Why do experts think the rates of infection are down?

Speaker 2: 03:35 Well, they've been talking a lot about the post holiday surge. We know when we see jumps in cases followed by increases in hospitalizations about two weeks later. And then unfortunately that could lead to an increase in deaths. So officials attributed that jump in cases to gatherings that occurred maybe as really as Halloween. So we've moved past that period, hopefully, but they were also concerned about seeing a post Superbowl bumps. So anytime there's an opportunity where people may be able to gather that's where that concerns comes from of increasing the numbers. But hopefully after the surge, people may have recommitted to those measures, um, to, to slow the spread.

Speaker 1: 04:12 What about the variants? Have they taken hold as much as researchers feared?

Speaker 2: 04:18 It seems we're still waiting to see that there was concerned that the new variants could create an even greater surge than when we saw over the holidays, which left us with very limited hospital capacity at times and union tribunes a reporter. Paul Sisson just looked at this projections show that we could be seeing thousands of cases a day around this point. But as I mentioned, we're seeing less than a thousand fluctuating around 500, 800. So his report tried to answer why that was, and it could be the vaccinations, even though supply has been challenging to say the least it could be a natural seasonal change in the virus. It could be better behaviors among the public following that, that surge. Um, it, unfortunately it seems like a wait and see scenario. So officials are urging people not to let down their guard stay masking, stay distance.

Speaker 1: 05:08 Okay. Despite the good news of the downward trend in new cases, what are health officials concerned about?

Speaker 2: 05:15 So again, it's going to be that scenario is how are these variants going to play out? Are we going to see that surge? We're still looking at how the virus does hold up, uh, or excuse me, how the vaccine does hold up against some of these variants. Some of the news has been positive, but it's really, um, limited data at this point. So we're going to have to kind of see how that goes. And also they're just kind of worried that as we are seeing declining numbers, maybe people will start to be a little bit more comfortable with not adhering to all of those rules. Maybe they get a vaccination, um, either their first dose or even their second dose. And they're not kind of following all of the guidelines because they do want people to continue practicing those measures, to make sure that they're not spreading it to anybody, even though may be protected from any severe illness with the vaccine

Speaker 1: 06:01 Are the vaccine shortages that they are experiencing at Petco and other sites. Are they all due to bad weather back East?

Speaker 2: 06:08 That's what we've been hearing. Um, the County during its news conference last week did say that that's the reason why we're hearing about, um, vaccinations, uh, appointments being canceled. The manufacturers of the two emergency approved vaccines right now are located, I believe in Massachusetts, in Michigan, um, where they have a completely different winter than we do. And so if you thinking about transporting something, um, you know, and have you, winter roads are bad and things become more complicated. So that can, that has led to, um, you know, difficulties in getting vaccinations to where they need to be.

Speaker 1: 06:44 When are the sites and I'm referring to Petco and the other that had vaccine shortages, what are they expected to be up and running again? And how are they handling people whose appointments have been missed?

Speaker 2: 06:54 So last week during the county's news briefing supervisor Fletcher did say that we could be seeing an impact from these, um, supply issues or these transportation issues. Um, for, you know, maybe a week to 10 days, they're encouraging people to make sure that they're checking their email and checking their appointments. And if they did have one and it did get canceled, they will, um, be rescheduled.

Speaker 1: 07:16 Now, although these big super sites like Petco get a lot of attention tearing, you visited the vaccine preparation at a local community clinic. Tell us about that.

Speaker 2: 07:26 Right? Family health centers of San Diego has been doing some vaccinations among their patients in the public for a little while now, but they are hopeful to launch a larger site. They want to vaccinate up to a 750 people a day at their first larger vaccination site that they hope to open in the Logan Heights area, which actually has some of the highest rates of COVID-19. But some of the lowest numbers, it's an area that has some of the lowest numbers of vaccination. So they're working on getting that up and running, but we've been documenting all of the many challenges. Obviously vaccine supply is a big one. Um, but also just the little things they need to pay attention to. I mean, you have to have the vaccine either whether it's Medina or Pfizer kept it very cold. Temperatures Pfizer, more so than Medina. We previously documented the all logistics of setting something up. And now this feature gets into all of the many different things required with properly handling the vaccine to make sure that it remains viable.

Speaker 1: 08:24 Thanks, Taran. And here's that report

Speaker 2: 08:27 A gentle swirl of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vial is critical. Anything more could render the dose in effective before it fills a syringe and penetrates an arm. The risk begins even before the Shipt vials cross the threshold at family health centers of San Diego, they're packed

Speaker 1: 08:45 Very carefully to minimize disturbance.

Speaker 2: 08:48 Lisa Duncan is vice president of nursing and clinical compliance at family health centers. She oversees vaccinations at the community clinic they're so

Speaker 4: 08:56 That helps they don't get sloshed around.

Speaker 2: 08:58 It can't even be relocated offsite without a prior. Okay.

Speaker 4: 09:02 They can maybe have one transport that has to be approved in advance to transfer vaccine supplies so that the everyone knows where the vaccines are.

Speaker 2: 09:11 The vaccines fragility adds an extra layer of complexity for providers. They must inject doses quickly to reach the county's vaccination goal by July, but they also must take great care. Mishandling can destroy the vaccines, potency and ongoing supply challenges mean backup doses are practically non-existent.

Speaker 4: 09:33 It's a great art and science of managing that vest. This vaccine

Speaker 2: 09:37 Family health centers, current small-scale operation in their break room is sort of a trial run. They're planning to vaccinate hundreds of people a day at an upcoming site outside their Logan Heights clinic. But the nation's limited vaccine supplies have delayed its opening, making proper handling that much more critical.

Speaker 4: 09:55 So this is a conference room that we've repurposed for staging the vaccine. We have a freezer here that when the vaccine arrives from the manufacturer, we put it right into the fridge,

Speaker 2: 10:07 The pharmaceutical grade freezer. That's no bigger than a college dorm. Fridge is the key component. Anything outside the required cold temperatures, triggers and alarms

Speaker 4: 10:17 Hooked up to our wifi and it'll send us a message whenever. Or if we have, hopefully it doesn't happen. But if the unit goes out of range, then we're notified me.

Speaker 2: 10:27 Yeah, but the vaccine must actually be thawed before it can be used. It'll last up to 30 days in a fridge, but only hours in the room, down the hall where dosing takes place. And once the vial is pierced, it has a six hour shelf life

Speaker 4: 10:42 Looking at how much needs to go in the refrigerator. Um, how much do we pull out and put into the room? How long has it been in the room? Um, how long has it been open since you took out the first dose?

Speaker 5: 10:53 It's almost as though you were dealing with the chocolate.

Speaker 2: 10:56 Dr. Dale Hewlett is deputy health commissioner for Westchester County in New York. He credits another scientist with the analogy, but recounts it to explain the vulnerability of a key ingredient in the vaccine, ribonucleic acid or RNA for short.

Speaker 5: 11:11 And if you have chocolates, you know that if you get to a certain temperature, it's going to melt. Hence the cold you have in that will destroy the integrity that are not going to be active when you have a very low temperature. But when you have a higher temperature, those enzymes will become activated

Speaker 2: 11:28 Providers. Like family health centers have coordinators whose sole job is to monitor the safe handling and storage of vaccines.

Speaker 4: 11:35 All of us are very much aware of the parameters and back each other up on that. But generally one person is in charge of making sure that the supply is moving out of the refrigerator appropriately. And then at the end of the day, um, everybody starts sharing the vile so that we don't open one up. Every detail here

Speaker 1: 11:54 Will be duplicated and expanded at Logan Heights. Family health centers is hoping it will accommodate up to 750 people a day, but vaccine supply shortages mean it's on hold for now. They're hoping shipments will flow early next month. Thanks to an upcoming federal program that prioritizes community clinics, Terran mento, K PBS news

Speaker 6: 12:22 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 12:26 Hand washing and disinfecting services are always good ideas. But research now shows that COVID-19 is spread primarily through the air. That's the message from a group of prominent researchers who were urging the CDC to update its COVID prevention guidelines. They say more attention should be paid to better masks and air filters to reduce the spread of tiny particles in exhaled air that are responsible for the majority of COVID-19 infections. The researchers have written a letter with their recommendations to the Biden administration. And one of the co-signers is UC San Diego atmospheric chemist, Kim, pray there, and she joins us. Now, Kim, welcome to the show.

Speaker 6: 13:08 Thank you. Thanks for having me. How

Speaker 1: 13:10 Do we know that most infections are spread by airborne particles

Speaker 6: 13:15 Because basically, you know, in the measurements, science is pointing in this direction when, uh, you know, the measurements, people are just detecting them in these tiny aerosols. You can actually collect aerosols in the air and look and see if infectious viruses there. And indeed that's where that's the only place we've found the infectious virus so far. Um, as you know, the focus has been on, you know, droplets, the big, big droplets. Um, but we're actually, there's far more evidence that it, that it's, that the virus is appearing in these tiny aerosols that remain afloat.

Speaker 1: 13:49 Give us an example of how the aerosols that contain the virus spread in a room.

Speaker 6: 13:54 Sure. Yeah. So basically what happens there is when you speak simply speak, not coughing or sneezing, I mean, you can cough and sneeze, but for this virus, it's people don't know they're sick. They have no symptoms. So they're just talking and it's like, it's equivalent, honestly, to being in the room with like a cigarette smoker. And you've been in the room with smokers before you can see the smoke loft into the air and kind of rise and spread out. That's exactly how, uh, these virus aerosols, um, spread about a room. And so if you don't have good ventilation, uh, then they can just build up in a room and the longer you're in the room and the longer you're breathing, the more potentially infectious virus that you're inhaling,

Speaker 1: 14:38 Do these aerosols stay in a room even after an infected person leaves.

Speaker 6: 14:42 Yes they do. They can hang out in the room for hours. If not days, they just float. They don't sink to the ground, certainly not six feet. That's the other thing. And so it's super important. Uh, one of the most important factors that you control in a room and not everyone does, this is even if you're six feet apart in a room, you must wear a good fitting mask.

Speaker 1: 15:05 Now, after the CDC received the letter that you and 12 other prominent researchers sent last week, the agency did not choose to change its guidelines. It said people are already being advised by the CDC that proper masking is the best defense against infection. What do you think that response is missing?

Speaker 6: 15:25 Hmm. Uh, you know, it was really missed, honestly, that that response sort of missed the bulk of our message. And so we are still in discussions. In fact, I just got done having a discussion on how do we sort of take this to the next level of trying to get them to see that we're really just trying and in a lot of ways, just protect workers. They're clearly not being protected well. Um, especially people that work in doors, you know, meat, packing, nursing homes, well, they're starting those, but people aren't even healthcare like teachers, you know, how do we protect them more? They are not adequately protected right now at all. And so we are not, we're not slowing down, we're waiting for a response from the Biden administration still. Um, and we're trying to figure out sort of the next, um, way to try. And there's many multiple ways you can do this and we're thinking of the next best way to try and get this message across our whole goal is just to protect people from indoor exposure. And obviously it's, you know, not enough right now. And so we're continuing to push

Speaker 1: 16:28 The letter recommended issuing emergency OSHA workplace requirements on ventilation and air filters. Can you tell us more about that?

Speaker 6: 16:36 Yeah. I mean, one of the, uh, I would say almost excuses that's been used, um, unfortunately is that we can't recommend something. They can't recommend something if we don't have enough of them in particular, there's always, you've heard about the shortage of N 95 masks, the adequate masks since the beginning. And so what we did was we sort of separated the two and we said, okay, you know, make more in 95 masks, which include not just the sort of standard ones, but like the, the elastomer respirators, there's all kinds of ways you can, uh, you know, ramp up, uh, production. So that's one, and that's more aimed at people in sort of health care high-risk worker situations. And then we said, okay, to take the pressure off the public needs to also have access to good masks. And right now the public can, you can buy a mask, but you don't really know how efficient that mask is.

Speaker 6: 17:30 And so we're recommending and there's recommendations that are, I think, going to be coming on, you know, how masks work, how efficient they are at removing the virus, how breathable they are, you know, basically how, how well they fit. These are all things that vary for every mask you buy. So you might be wearing a mask, but that mask may be effective. Just a tiny leak. Just to give you an example, a tiny leak where say it doesn't seal against 1% of your face, right? So just a little hole that can lead to a 50% reduction in filtration efficiency, you know, 2% can lead to like nearly three quarters of a reduction, which means that, you know, 75% more gets through. Right. And so having well-fitting masks, making sure that they fit well and having the public more aware of how to protect themselves is so, so critical right now. And so we were, we sort of split the two because they have different demands and, you know, we're pushing from both directions right now.

Speaker 1: 18:29 And what are your recommendations on ventilation and air filters?

Speaker 6: 18:33 Yeah, so, you know, ventilation is just the easiest. He can be the easiest one in the sense that, you know, it's cracking a window. Um, if you have a lot of people in doors, reducing the number of people in doors, again, wearing masks in doors is important, but then adding the ventilation, these different layers of protections of ventilation is one. I have been talking a lot more about filtration because these viruses are incredibly filterable. If you will, you can remove them with just a simple HEPA filter, no fancy plasma, I, and ISER just a HEPA filter in the room. We'll filter that air and remove the virus from the air that you're breathing. And so, you know, sort of each, each one, we call it a layer of protection, you know, sort of backs you up, you know, and basically gives you more protection. The more you have,

Speaker 1: 19:19 So is research indicating that it's not necessary to wipe down surfaces and disinfect packages as so many people have been doing for so long.

Speaker 6: 19:27 So far. That's what the research is showing. I mean, it's not saying you should still wash your, you know, you shouldn't still wash your hands, but this over cleaning, um, is probably overkill. Uh, the research so far, there's been a couple of really pretty good papers that have shown, you know, relatively little evidence, um, of the transmission via surfaces. It is largely, I mean, all evidence solid evidence we have so far is pointing to inhalation of these tiny aerosols from the air.

Speaker 1: 19:55 And so you're still hoping for some positive feedback from the Biden administration.

Speaker 6: 20:00 Yeah. You know, I, we haven't gotten any negative. So I think there's just a little bit of a, you know, it was a week ago, I guess. And so, yeah, we're still hoping to hear from the Biden administration, we're going to continue communicating with the CDC who had also went to, we sent it to three different groups. We sent it to the Biden administration. We sent it to Dr. Tony Fowchee and we sent it to the director of the CDC. And it was the CDC press office to be specific that responded to the media, not to us. So we still haven't gotten a response from them either. Um, and so we are still, you know, sort of in a holding pattern to some extent, waiting to hear, um, from, you know, one or all of those parties.

Speaker 1: 20:42 I've been speaking with UC San Diego, atmospheric chemist, Kim prey there, Kim, thank you very

Speaker 7: 20:48 Much. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 8: 20:54 [inaudible]

Speaker 7: 20:58 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman the San Diego police department is out with a new policy on how officers should respond during protest. The department was criticized for how it responded to local protest against police violence. Over the summer. Some protesters said the department at times responded with large numbers of officers in tactical gear. And with force joining me to discuss this is David Hernandez, who covers law enforcement, crime, and public safety for the San Diego union Tribune. David, welcome. Thank you. Thanks for having me. So what spurred the creation of this policy?

Speaker 8: 21:34 So essentially this all began after, you know, the months of protests after protests, after protests last year against police violence, not just in San Diego, but across the country. It began with a community advisory board and oversight board. They essentially wanted the police department to look into having a policy. So they began by looking at policies and other cities. And in the end, we're able to share some of those policies with the police department to help guide them as they set out to draft their own policy.

Speaker 7: 22:09 The policy says the department supports peaceful demonstrations and outlines its role. What is that role?

Speaker 8: 22:14 Yeah, so protests can be pretty dynamic and the policy outlines, um, a variety of different responses to different situations. Um, it generally outlines officer's roles during protests that remain peaceful, but a big chunk of it also ventures into, uh, situations when protests turn on lawful, but essentially, you know, as they outline it at the top, you know, their, their mission is to ensure that protests peaceful and to prevent criminal activities. Um, and then depending on how protests evolve, if you know, they turn violent, for example, uh, the protest that policy, I'm sorry, also outlines different parameters that officers should abide by in terms of when to deem a protest unlawful or when they should use less lethal weapons.

Speaker 7: 23:06 Okay. And just out of curiosity, what is their definition of peaceful, um, would be, you know, we saw a lot of anti mask, uh, rallies during the summer as well. And there also was the potential of spreading pathogens, deadly pathogens for some during that time. Um, did they go into any detail on that?

Speaker 8: 23:26 Yeah, that's a great question. Um, they don't go into detail in regards to a specific answer to the question you have, but I think the real question here is, you know, how would they define a protest being unlawful? And it does get into that a little bit. It essentially, uh, it gives a lot of discretion to an incident commander, uh, which typically is a ranking officer who oversees the police response to a demonstration. Um, it gives that person a lot of discretion and the policy outlines some things, some factors for this person to consider, uh, including the nature and the number of unlawful acts, um, the threats to people or property, and whether it would be more appropriate for officers to make individual arrests as opposed to, you know, largely asking people to disperse. Um, and so that was actually one of the criticisms in general, about the policy from community members. They said that it gives a lot of discretion and leaves too much open to interpretation. So there are some questions that remain

Speaker 7: 24:30 Also outlines the department's use of less than lethal force. Remind us what that is. What is less than lethal force? What does it mean

Speaker 8: 24:37 Exactly? Yeah. So that essentially covers anything from beanbag rounds to pepper ball rounds and even tier guests grenades. Um, so it really ranges the policy generally calls, uh, less lethal rounds and weapons disbursal techniques. And that also covers everything from, as I mentioned, tier grass grenades to rubber sting balls, which are grenades that fire pellets and cause loud blasts and bright flash. So essentially it covers when officers are able to use that. Um, again, there are a lot of questions and community members feel like there's too much, that's left up for interpretation and also gives too much discretion to the incident commander. Um, essentially the policy says that it's up to the incident commander when officers can use some of these less lethal rounds, some of the most, uh, in some of the more intense ones that is up to an assistant chief, uh, to give the authority to use those. And that includes tear gas grenades and the rubber sting balls that I outlined.

Speaker 7: 25:41 You know, as you mentioned, you spoke to community members who say the plan is lacking, what do they say is missing in this plan?

Speaker 8: 25:49 So they actually kind of all had something different to say about the policy and it is a 15 page documents. So there, it does cover quite a bit. Um, and what was interesting to me is that they all kind of picked something different that they took issue with. Um, but generally, and few of them brought up, uh, these issues. They felt that the policy lacks, uh, restrictions on the use of less lethal weapons and also a lack of a focus on deescalation. So language, for example, that would deem these tools a last resort, or, you know, that would require officers to try any other techniques before moving on to these, uh, less lethal weapons. Those were the main concerns. There were also some other concerns, including some other language that also talks about police in the planning stage, considering the composition of the group, that's expected to turn out. Um, some felt that police shouldn't really consider that because it gets at the identity and the message of the group. Others felt that, you know, police shouldn't really try to work with organizers because organizers don't really have the authority over demonstrations, demonstrators actions, and could be scapegoated if things go wrong. Those were the main concerns. All right,

Speaker 1: 27:03 Right. I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter David Hernandez,

Speaker 8: 27:08 David. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for having me

Speaker 9: 27:18 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 27:20 Since the start of the pandemic Asian Americans around the state have faced racist attacks in recent weeks, that violence has intensified and 84 year old man died after being violently attacked in late January in his San Francisco neighborhood, a 91 year old man was pushed to the ground in Oakland's Chinatown neighborhood earlier this month, and here in San Diego, a Filipino woman in her eighties was attacked while riding on the trolley, the anti-Asian violence we're seeing today evokes a painful time in history for Japanese Americans Friday, Mark the anniversary of president Roosevelt's executive order that forced some 120,000 people into incarceration camps during world war II, as part of the Yancy memory projects, collaboration with StoryCorps today, we're bringing you a conversation between lifelong friends, 90 five-year-old Gary's who DAMA an 88 year old Yutaka Yamamoto. They talk about their memories of Japanese American incarceration camps during world war two and how they adjusted to life afterward. Gary starts us off.

Speaker 9: 28:27 We're very close friends from way back. We've known each other since, uh, 1951. My dad came over from Hiroshima when he was 16 years old. So he came into the city of Stockton and opened up a grocery store. My dad was getting ready to transfer everything over to my second oldest brother, Ben. And that's when the war broke out. So we were noting a given a notice of one week to clean up our business. So my dad went around Stockton to find out some grocer who buy the stock that was in the store. He found the store and buy it on 60 cents on the dollar. My dad had to agreed to it, and then he waited and waited for them to come pick it up. They, before we had to leave, he came and gave my dad 15 cents on a dollar and my dad had no way to get out of it. So he took it. RA

Speaker 10: 29:42 Has existed in the United States and the Gaffney.

Speaker 9: 29:50 The thing I remember most was that from December 7th on every day, the teacher that I had was a Caucasian lady. She would turn the radio.

Speaker 10: 30:00 They're nice. No broadcasting company brings you the latest news from the far East, the war zone. I'm from it.

Speaker 9: 30:06 The news naturally was about the war and the Japanese. At that time, nobody said we were Japanese, that he was a nickname jab. And that was one of the slangs that I to this day, I, I've never forgotten. It's very painful to hear people calling you a jab. I remember that was a big shock. I remember going to school. I think I was in the fourth grade then. And I told my teacher who was a Caucasian. I wouldn't be coming to school from tomorrow. And her only reply was, Oh, no, no, no goodbyes or nothing. I never forgot that incidence because my home life also took a drastic change. My parents ran a laundry business in Chinatown, after the notices were put up around the neighborhood, stating that all people of a Japanese interest must move by a certain date. And it was about seven days, seven days, seven days. Uh, the government would allow us only what we can carry into the camps. So we couldn't take our furnitures automobiles radios. If it contained the short wave van. For some reason, my dad and my mother had sense enough to, uh, one of the first thing they did was, uh, bought five dinner set made out of metal, one fan electric fan one hot pan and a five sleeping bag. They had sense enough to buy those items to take into camp because we could only carry, bring what we can carry.

Speaker 9: 31:57 A lot of the public was not aware of the fact that we were put into camps. I hope nothing like that happens again to any nationality. We went to Stockton assembly center and we were there for about six months. And then we were supposed to go to roar Arkansas. My oldest brother had a TB and he was in a Sanitarium. So the government told us any family as a sibling with TB free go to Arizona, whereas dry climate, they will send their sibling. Well, we went through Arizona and our brothers weren't sent there. So that's the second time the go men. And I didn't get along.

Speaker 9: 32:57 The war ended. Uh, my parents are received a letter from, from their parents saying that, uh, uh, don't come back to Japan because there's no place to raise a family. So my dad decided to come back to Fresno. We couldn't, uh, walk around freely and feel comfortable, never missed somebody would either drive by or walk by. And they would look at us and say, you dirty, nothing would round me up more than to hear a person call me at Jack. Yeah. And I was drafted into the Korean war. And then when my time came after two years to service, they shipped me home. And as they came home to Alamosa Colorado, I packed up and left the family to come to Fresno. My second oldest brother, Ben was living there, live with them and started to go to Fresno state. That's when I met your taco, I was working for the gas station and you won't buy the gas station quite often, but I finally met him and we've been good friends. Yeah. 70 odd years. And the other thing that I remember is Ronald Reagan's time when we got the reparation, the American government, uh, allocated $20,000 to each person that was put into the camp, each person that was a life rich wasn't enough.

Speaker 1: 34:52 You've just heard a conversation between lifelong friends, Gary Sue DAMA, and Yutaka Yamamoto. They were speaking as part of a collaboration between StoryCorps and the Yonsei memory project, which is an intergenerational effort to capture the voices of Japanese Americans in the central Valley. You're listening to KPBS midday edition I'm Jade Hindman when some people saw the news, they thought the whole team had been sold. The dollar amount is 340 million, and it's not for the, but for one

Speaker 7: 35:38 Player for Nando tatties Jr. The 14 year deal between the shortstop and the San Diego Padres was finalized just this morning. It is the longest contract in baseball history. The San Diego Padres have now signed two players, tatties and third baseman, Manny Machado for at least $300 million each. And these very big deals are by no means the only ones the Padres have negotiated joining me now is San Diego sports rider, Jay Paris, Jay, welcome

Speaker 11: 36:08 Jade, how are we doing today? Hey, we're

Speaker 7: 36:10 Doing good. Even better if I had a $300 million contract, but here we are. So tell me, you know, given the history of the Padres, this is pretty stunning news. How would you describe what Padres general manager AIJ Pressler has been doing and how his moves compared to his first four years as GM?

Speaker 11: 36:30 Yeah, you know, my, my Spanish is a little bit limited, but this is mucho dinero. That I'll just say that for the Padres to make this splash and, and to, uh, really secure Fernando tattoos for the prime seasons of his, uh, which should be a long and exciting career. It's really stunning that it's, the Padres are doing it, but really kind of, uh, they've been tipping their hand, if you will. And for the past five off seasons, they've just set a team record for giving an individual contract. So with Manny Machado and Eric [inaudible], and now [inaudible] and will Myers that, you know, they're not singing those small market blues anymore. They are writing some big checks and they're all, it's all about bringing down the big, bad Dodgers to the North. You know, the days of having to suffer through Padre games where it's not only did they often lose, but they were deadly boring. This is an entertainment business. They see tattoos as an entertainer, as much as a player, he's exciting. He uses with confidence. He makes everybody else around him better. He is just flat fun to watch.

Speaker 7: 37:36 Yes, that's why he married a top dollar, but, but really, you know, I mean, it's, it's pretty risky, isn't it? Um, he hasn't even played a full season worth of games yet. So this would be his first full season playing, assuming all goes well,

Speaker 11: 37:50 Great point. Both sides now are taking quite a risk. Uh, some people are saying [inaudible] is leaving millions of dollars on the table by, by agreeing to such a long deal. But, you know, he could sign another big deal really would only be 35 or so when this one expires, but the Padres are taking a chance. And, uh, it, it tells what they think of Mr. Tatties. And I think it tells you they've got the money now to take those risks. It could have blow up in their face. Absolutely. You know, a guy could get injured, a guy could tail off his career and, and remember the shortstop is one of the more demanding positions on the, on the field. There's so much action and you are prone to getting hurt and the market certainly wasn't going to be going down for it to, they figured we like what we see, we're going to make sure he stays here. Are we going to take a risk? Yes we are. But we feel like it's worth it.

Speaker 7: 38:40 All right. In 2017 to T signed with a firm called big league advance, tell us what that is and why that contract is going to cost 10 million.

Speaker 11: 38:51 Yeah. It's, it's like, uh, almost having a sponsorship. Like you see it in golf all the time, where a guy's a good golfer, but certainly doesn't have the money to go traveling the world to chase wins and to chase prize money entities. Uh, the, from bla saw a potential star and they gave him the security of, of some money early in his career. When you know that not a lot of people were predicting, he was going to be signing a $340 million contract when he was 18, 19 years old. So again, it was a managed risk. It was a risk that, uh, uh, the firm was willing to take. And now, you know, some reports are it, it could cost tatties $34 million. That's a lot of money, but 34 million off of $340 million contract, that's, you know, change off the dresser at night, right?

Speaker 7: 39:36 Oh, of course. But, uh, speaking of all of the money, you know, I mean, I got to know the Padres payroll was already pretty substantial here. I've read that Manny Machado, Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer alone cost the team 70 million a year. You mentioned, you touched on the deep pockets here, but you know, where's all this money coming from.

Speaker 11: 39:55 It's coming from, uh, Peter Seidler, the, uh, the team chairman it's real Ron Fowler. Uh, one of the others owners who stepped back a little bit, and this is Pete, his baby now. And, uh, Siler runs the Siler equity firm. He's the grandson of, uh, Peter O'Malley the former Dodgers owner. And of course his grandfather brought the Dodgers out, out West, uh, from Brooklyn. So he's grown up in the game, but he went out, he knows the game inside and out, but he went out and made his money in the business world. And his equity firm is a worldwide with offices in Australia and Edwards. So he, he can cut the checks. And, uh, I think it also shows that, uh, you know, these, these owners aren't benevolent. I mean, if, if they think they can invest that money and get a return on it, that shows you how much they're making too.

Speaker 11: 40:40 It's, uh, I, I think what's so striking or telling with this contract is most other major league teams Jade, or are kind of dialing it back because of those revenue streams that were interrupted last year because of the virus. So while other teams are kind of tightening their purses here comes Peter Seidler. And with the city's contract, that said, we're full steam ahead. So this isn't like a one-year splash or one year we're going to try to win it this year and then dial it back. They see this as a sustainable contending team, well into the future. Uh, and that, that comes from the nine straight losing seasons. The Padre fans had to sit through, they think they're going to have a sustainable winning product for years to come

Speaker 7: 41:22 Improving. Pitching must have been a major goal for Pressler. Tell us about some of the pictures the Padre signed during the off season.

Speaker 11: 41:30 Yeah, he was very busy. Yeah. Blake Snell, uh, Cy young award winner a couple years ago from Tampa Bay. Rays was brought in, uh, you Darvish a former Japanese star who was a runner-up for the Cy young award, which goes to the best pitcher in the national league last year. And then, uh, Joe Musgrave, uh, the pride of East County, he w he was added to the rotation to, again, these are proven players. They're bringing in these aren't young kids with peach fuzz, and boy, we hope their development goes fast. I mean, pictures that, that Mr. Perler brought in, you know, you flip over their baseball card, there there's some ears on there and there's some successful years. So, you know, you're only as good as your starting pitching is, is a long time baseball, cliche, and while T tatties. And these other big hitters are certainly going to be asked to do a lot. You got to have strong pitching, and he certainly, uh, fortified that part of the team.

Speaker 7: 42:20 So how do you think the team will stack up against the Dodgers this year?

Speaker 11: 42:24 You know, it's, uh, it's not a pipe dream to think they can, uh, can play with them. Can they beat him? We'll see 19 games this year, Dodgers Padres, each, one's going to be like a world series. You know, how much San Diego people love to love to beat LA well-known betting site today, put out the projections for how many wins. They have the Padres down for 93 and they yet, I'm sorry, 95. And they have a Dodgers down for one Oh three. So that shows you how close really they've, they've, they've made the strides they made to catching the Dodgers. But again, the Dodgers are world champions. And until you knock that crown off their noggin, you know, they're going to straight around like they are, and they deserve it. But it's just exciting that it's no longer they're going into a game, um, knowing your, you don't have the wherewithal to compete.

Speaker 7: 43:11 Hmm. And what's been the reaction from fans to all these contracts.

Speaker 11: 43:15 Well, you know, I think, uh, another compelling point here is that the Padres have this market to themselves. There's no other baseball team in Canada or the United States that doesn't share a city or a region with either an NBA team or NFL team. So since the chargers have left and you know, we've gone through a couple of NBA teams, I mean, the Padres are it. So these fans are so desperate for a winner and so desperate to puff their chest out. You know, that that was a kick in the teeth. When the chargers left the psyche, if you will, of the collective San Diego sports fan has been down a little bit. Now the here come the Padres, they're the only game in town and they're good. You know, it'd be one thing if they were the only game in town and they were losing 90 games, like they were for like nine straight years. They're good. And those fans had been, had the patience of job. I mean, if anybody deserves it, it's these cadre fans, they've sat through a lot of losing seasons and now they can go to the ballpark thinking, Hey, we got a chance to win tonight.

Speaker 7: 44:15 Hey, we'll see if they're world series bound. For sure. I've been speaking with San Diego sports writer, Jay Paris, Jay. Thanks for joining us.

Speaker 11: 44:23 All right, Jay, have a good day now. Thanks for having me.

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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.