New ‘Vaccination Super Station’ Opens In Chula Vista
KPBS Midday Edition / January 21, 2021
PHOTO BY NICHOLAS MCVICKER
Officials hope a new COVID-19 “Vaccination Super Station” in Chula Vista will bring much needed relief to the South Bay. Plus, KPBS Health Reporter Tarryn Mento poses listeners’ questions to Dr. Christian Ramers about the new coronavirus vaccines. And new San Diego County Board of Supervisors member Joel Anderson discusses his priorities and the enforcement of state and county rules aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Then, how advocates pushed the Biden administration to take immediate action on immigration. Finally, this year marks The Old Globe's eighth Powers New Voices Festival, held each year to unveil new works of theater as well as offer a glimpse into the creative process of plays as they're developed.
Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego opens it. The second vaccine super station this time in Chula Vista.
Speaker 2: 00:05 So proud of our city for being really part of the solution to this puzzle.
Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Hyman. This is KPBS mid-day edition. Yes. You infectious disease specialist answers your questions about the COVID vaccine.
Speaker 3: 00:30 Why did we have the delay in San Diego or aren't being able to handle the distribution?
Speaker 1: 00:40 The County supervisor, Joel Anderson talks about his approach to COVID lockdowns and a new playwrights festival at the old globe kicks off by celebrating community voices. That's ahead on midday edition.
Speaker 1: 01:00 A new COVID vaccination super station is opening today and officials hope it will bring much needed relief to the South Bay. The zip codes that make up San Diego Southern and border communities account for more than one fifth of all the COVID cases in the County. And overall more than half of the San Diego ans who have tested positive for the virus have been Latino. The new vaccination center in Chula Vista is the second so-called super station opened in the County Chula Vista, mayor America CSLs took part in announcing the opening this morning and she joins us now, mayor Salus. Welcome.
Speaker 2: 01:37 Thank you very much, Maureen. It's great to, to hear from you, where is
Speaker 1: 01:41 The Superstation actually located?
Speaker 2: 01:44 The Superstation is located in the old Sears building at five 65 Broadway in Chula Vista. So, so many people are familiar with the old Sears site, uh, and they actually have been going there, um, for months now because it's also one of the first, uh, testing sites that was opened in the South Bay as well.
Speaker 1: 02:04 Is it a drive-thru like the Superstation at Petco
Speaker 2: 02:07 Mark? No, it isn't. We really felt that there were a number of people in our community that would find, um, a walk-in very convenient for them because a lot of people don't own cars and the old sear site is, um, on transit lines. So it's available to get through, get to by bus, um, and there's ample parking there. So, but it is the walk-in facility.
Speaker 1: 02:31 How many people are you hoping you can get vaccinated there each day?
Speaker 2: 02:35 So at full ramp up, um, we're expecting that we can vaccinate 5,000 people a day. They did have appointments this morning booked for 1800 people
Speaker 1: 02:45 And who's administering the vaccines.
Speaker 2: 02:47 So it's a combination we're in partnership with sharp Chula Vista hospital, the County of San Diego, and as well as our own, um, fire department is participating in this as well. So we have, um, trained and vaccinated our, most of our paramedics in the city of Chula Vista, who also happened to be firefighters. And so they will be part of those that are putting the vaccine in the arms of people
Speaker 1: 03:14 Have vaccination resources for your community been scarce before this.
Speaker 2: 03:21 Um, yes, they have been. Um, but you know, this is really a bright light and a good day in the city of Chula Vista. Um, because now we have more plentiful vaccinations. And as a matter of fact, we really have to think sharp Chula Vista hospital as well. Their CEO, Papa Pablo villas, um, was really great and contacting, um, the city of Chula Vista that they had gotten a large supply of the vaccine and that they felt that, um, they, they could work with us as a partner to make sure that we got those distributed as fast as possible.
Speaker 1: 03:57 Right now who's eligible to get vaccinated at the super station.
Speaker 2: 04:00 Well, right now we have to, um, you know, follow the, the, the tiers of those eligible and phase one a. So that would include health care workers, those in long-term nursing facilities and as well as individuals, 75 years and older,
Speaker 1: 04:16 Are there plans to expand that access to 65 and older anytime soon?
Speaker 2: 04:21 Well, as soon as we get the okay to do that, um, that's, that's what we, that's the goal. And yeah.
Speaker 1: 04:27 Do people who want to get vaccinated there? Do they just come in off the street or do they need an appointment?
Speaker 2: 04:33 No, they must have an appointment before they come in. And, um, you know, I was at the operation center today and they've got a very good system set up for intake and then getting the people inside to the building to get their vaccination, but you must have an appointment.
Speaker 1: 04:51 And what about sustainable vaccine availability? You said that you got a cash from, uh, to start out with, but have you been assured the site will have an adequate supply?
Speaker 2: 05:02 You know, I don't know about that. And it depends on, you know, how the federal government, um, distributed that the vaccines as they become available and how many vaccines the County of San Diego gets as well. So that is up in the air, but we are really hopeful that, you know, as vaccine projection events up that, um, president Joe Biden's goals, um, will be met and that we will, um, vaccinate as many people as possible and that there will be plentiful supply, but that's still in the coming may.
Speaker 1: 05:36 Is there a sense of urgency among people in Chula Vista to get access to the vaccine? Or are there concerns about its safety?
Speaker 2: 05:44 Well, I think that for the most part, people are really, um, really thankful that we've got this site open and they're really looking forward to it. I know that my office has received communication on a daily basis. People inquiring about when and where the vaccine will be available. So I know that this is something a lot of people are, are really wanting. Now, is there a small segment of the population that still is resistant to getting the vaccine? Yes. There always will be those few that are skeptical, but I truly believe that, um, you know, the, the, the research was done well that th th the scientific methods that were used in developing this vaccine are sound. Um, as a matter of fact, I have a 97 year old mother. She is a person that I love dearly. Um, probably the most important person in my life because she's like a baby to me now.
Speaker 2: 06:38 Um, I have so much confidence in the efficacy of this vaccine that I'm taking her to get back vaccinated. If I can trust the vaccine to take care of my mother than other people should feel that confidence as well. I'm so proud of our city for being really part of the solution to this puzzle. It takes all of us to get beyond this vaccine. You know, we recently, uh, have, have decided to take our ambulance service in-house. And what we are planning to do is, um, outfitting our new ambulances that will be getting on board very soon and actually establish mobile. Uh, mobile means of getting those ambulances to people that are shut into their homes so that they can get vaccinated as well. Mayor Salus, thank you so much. Thank you.
Speaker 4: 07:36 [inaudible]
Speaker 5: 07:37 The Corona virus, vaccine distribution has been confusing at best messy at worst. Not to mention the vaccine is new, and you want to know more about it before deciding whether or not you'll sign up to get it. Well, KPBS health reporter Taron mento asked Dr. Christian Ramers to answer your questions. Dr. Ramers specializes in infectious diseases as an assistant professor at SDSU and sits on San Diego counties, vaccine clinical advisory group. Here's that interview, Dr. Ramers, you know, thanks for joining me to answer questions from the audience. Thank you for having me. I want to begin with a question that's on a lot of minds, Doug Szymanski of Rancho Penasquitos asks about vaccine distribution here in San Diego County.
Speaker 4: 08:20 The question I have is my sister-in-law and my friend both got their vaccines up in Northern California, and they're 65 and older. Why do we have the delay in San Diego? Is it because we don't have enough vaccines or we just aren't able to handle the distribution?
Speaker 5: 08:40 So that's a really good question. And I understand it's been quite chaotic for people to watch what's going on. Part of the reason is because you have several different entities giving their own guidelines of, of who gets the vaccine next. Remember this started with the Academy of sciences,
Speaker 6: 08:56 And then the CDC has the advisory committee on immunization practices. The state of California has now stepped in and they're pushing some guidelines out as well. And it's trying to balance many competing factors. We don't want these guidelines to slow down the distribution of vaccines. And then vaccine numbers are being distributed at different rates to different counties. So the reason some people in lower tiers may be getting vaccine first is because a vaccinating entity may have leftover doses that they wanted to reserve for a higher tier, such as phase one, a are healthcare workers. And let's say some people miss the appointment or decline the vaccination. What do they do with those leftover doses? I think everybody has said that you are encouraged to use them into lower tiers. There's also been a little bit of mixed messaging coming from the state where the state says, phase one B is aged 65 and up. Uh, whereas we know that people age 75 and up are higher risk. And that's what the original recommendation was. So different counties and different entities are at slightly different levels. There we're all moving towards the same thing. And I think it's going to be just a matter of the supply pushing through where we're going to get through these phases in an orderly fashion
Speaker 7: 09:59 Quick follow-up what do you know about supply as it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction
Speaker 6: 10:05 Don't know much. I know that it's coming in through the state, it's coming out to the counties. I can just say for sure, overall, we don't have enough vaccine to move forward as quickly as we want to be doing. Yeah.
Speaker 7: 10:15 A common question we get from people is when will they be able to get the vaccine? We know there's a tiered system, healthcare workers, and those in long-term care facilities where first the County recently allowed people 75 years and older at its sites. You sit on the county's vaccine clinical advisory group that is supposed to inform rollout eligibility in these later tiers. What input did the group provide ahead of the county's announcement this week to expand to people 75 and older?
Speaker 6: 10:42 So the advisory committee, you know, puts forth recommendations and we're getting it from all sides as well from CDC and from the state and from what we think should be done. Um, we understand that it's been very confusing for everybody. One of the main recommendations that we had to the County was to create a website or an app or a simple place where you could go to find out, um, when your, when your turn is up that right now, it's information, that's on the website by phases and by tears, uh, coronavirus, hyphen S d.gov, I believe, but an app would be much more convenient and San Francisco has started rolling this out and the state of California has started rolling this out as well. It's my turn.ca.gov. Very simple. You say your age, your underlying conditions, your occupation. And then it will let you know what tier you're in that I'm told is coming very soon.
Speaker 6: 11:28 And that has been a major recommendation of the committee to back to the County is that we need to do this right now. Now to answer a little more deeply in your question phase one B clearly when you broaden the group down to age 65, you get hundreds of thousands of more people. And yet we know that those that are older and 75 and older are the highest risk. So there's this sort of two, two tiered thing where we want to open as fast as we can. We don't want the, to slow people down so much, but we still need to be prioritizing those who are at most risk. And then moving into further phase one B by occupation. We just don't have enough vaccine doses really available to get too deep into that
Speaker 7: 12:06 Debra Mendelson who lives in San Marcos wants to know when she will be eligible. She wrote it online that she is 60 years old, works as an independent home health caregiver and cares for two elderly individuals each in their own homes. She's wondering what tier does that put her in and what documentation would she need to show?
Speaker 6: 12:26 That's a really good question. And you may have heard that phase one a, which has healthcare workers, our health officer, Dr. Wooten has defined a healthcare worker in the broadest sense possible. So somebody who is a certified in-home caregiver, uh, in my opinion, uh, and I think in most vaccinators opinions would be, uh, as a healthcare worker, uh, you know, by all intents and purposes and should be included in phase one, a, um, that's where we come with this number of about, you know, 500,000 or so people that really should be in phase one a and we're still trying to work through that as we move forward into the next phases.
Speaker 7: 12:59 Ortega wanted to know when he too can get the vaccine. He is 69 years old and diabetic. So he's wondering when, in how pre-existing conditions will be factored in, in the order of vaccine distribution.
Speaker 6: 13:12 That's a really good question. And it's evidence of just how confusing this can be because the state has said, phase one B actually can move down to 65 years old and above, but we don't have enough vaccine to cover all of those people. And so the County has prioritized 75 and above in that specific, uh, phase one B pre-existing conditions are not really even being considered right now at this phase. We're just going based on age. And what, if you look at the county's website, we're at phase one B now doing 75 and older, we're going next to 65 and older. So really a, this person is going to be next in line. Once that announcement happens, preexisting conditions don't really get factored in until phase one C.
Speaker 7: 13:51 So him at 69 years old would likely wouldn't be able to get at first when we expand to those that are 65 years old,
Speaker 6: 13:58 That's correct. So that, that doesn't in phase one B uh, the state has lowered this to 65 and older, even though earlier on, it was 75. So again, there's a two two-pronged thing here where we're saying that, uh, when, when you're in one B you can go to age 65 and above, but 75 and above should be reasonably prioritized.
Speaker 7: 14:17 And now from Oceanside, Joyce Malloy has two questions for you. The first one is about stories
Speaker 4: 14:23 Throughout the state of California. How are they keeping all these Pfizer vaccines at the correct temperature?
Speaker 6: 14:27 Yeah. So this question gets at part of the logistic problem. There's been many logistic, uh, uh, difficult things to, um, to go through minus 70 degrees is tough. And then as soon as you take it and thought out from minus 70 degrees, there's a limited half-life for that, uh, that vaccine is still be viable. And really this is the work, the, the really difficult implementation work from the state and the County working together, where are those freezers? Where can they reasonably store the vaccine? And then when you need to get it out to further and further away from that, uh, freezer, how can you ensure that there's going to be enough people there to receive the vaccine? This is why, you know, me as a, as a, somebody that works in clinics in some of our smaller clinics, it may not be the best place to give vaccine, because let's say you have five high risk people that need to be vaccinated. We thought a vile of that vaccine, and we can only find five. We need another five people to get vaccine. And one thing that has been emphasized over and over and over is we cannot waste this vaccine. So if you have five people in front of you that are high risk, and you open a vial, you need to find another five maybe by going down a tier or so to make sure those vaccines end up in people's arms.
Speaker 7: 15:33 And now to Joyce's second question, given that the U S is, is rushing to give people their first shot without a guarantee that the second dose will be available. She asks, do we have evidence showing that the vaccine will be effective if the second shot is given after the 21 to 28 day window?
Speaker 6: 15:50 Yeah, the answer to that is we don't have evidence. We have, uh, our scientific assumptions. We have a little bit of evidence from the clinical trials where they tested people in that short period between dose one and dose two. And we saw maybe a 50 to 80 or 90% efficacy in that very short period, but there are no guarantees how long that immunity is going to last and, and my own opinion. And that of many other scientists is, is that we really should use these vaccines as they were studied, uh, which is 95% efficacy with two doses. And it doesn't even start until about a week or two after that second dose.
Speaker 7: 16:24 Well, thank you very much, Dr. Ramers for answering these questions from our audience.
Speaker 6: 16:28 Absolutely appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 5: 16:30 That was Dr. Christian Ramers speaking with KPBS health reporter Taren Minto.
Speaker 5: 16:42 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. The San Diego County board of supervisors has a new voice. Joel Anderson was sworn in January 4th from the pandemic to the county's climate action plan. The board is navigating its way through big challenges. Anderson is one of the more conservative voices on the board, and he joins us now to talk about plans ahead, supervisor, welcome, surprise you to be here. You know, this is your first time coming on midday edition since taking office on the board of supervisors. What are your goals for your term?
Speaker 6: 17:14 Well, uh, look COVID is a huge challenge to my district and to all of San Diego County. So I think that that that's a huge priority. Homelessness is a great challenge to all of San Diego County. And I think that looking at how we can move towards more prosperity for everybody living in San Diego County. And that means that we have to have a climate action plan because nothing can move forward without it. So these are all high priorities,
Speaker 5: 17:45 New board's first meeting at voted to increase enforcement of County health orders that aim to stop the spread of the virus. You added a few amendments to that. Walk me through what those were
Speaker 8: 17:56 Well, as I was, uh, campaigning people were very confused, whether we, whether the County was using medical science or political science, everything looked arbitrary in its enforcement and capricious in its science. And so, uh, I asked that by the way, I'm very grateful to, uh, chairman Fletcher for accepting the amendments in having my colleagues, uh, vote in favor of the amendments, but we had to cite the science. We had to, uh, make sure that it was implemented consistently and fairly throughout the County. And finally it had to be published. We had to actually say it publicly. And right now, if you go to the County website, you can see exactly the science that we're basing this on, and you can also see, uh, how we enforce it. And I think that's really important. I think that when you take it from back rooms out into the public forum, people have more trust and are more likely to follow the rules once they understand what those rules mean and why we're doing what we're doing
Speaker 5: 19:01 Target here. As I understand it is to allow is to actually again, allow outdoor dining at local restaurants. Why is this such a priority for you?
Speaker 8: 19:11 What I want to do my my priority is to get through this pandemic without losing lives and without losing businesses. So the Asheville goal is to, to move people forward. I do believe that we should be opening outside dining. I think that the experiment from November to now with all our spikes is because people are social. They're going to socialize. If they can't go to an outdoor restaurant where we know it's, it's fairly safe, it's outdoors, it's controlled. They're going to invite people to their homes. They're going to open their homes up and we're going to see those spikes. Now I'm not a scientist. That's just my personal opinion. I think that we have to rely on those folks that, uh, uh, produced the science, but it has to be good science. And I think now that it's out in the public forum, every one of your, uh, listeners can go up on the website. They can read that science and decide for themselves whether we need to go back and do more studies. But I don't know of any business that has a successful business plan that includes making their customers sick or killing them. So I don't think there's anybody out there with malice trying to hurt others. I think that we're all trying to get through this together. And the more transparency, the more public debate, I think the better, the decisions
Speaker 5: 20:35 In terms of scientific data, guiding what businesses are open isn't that a state decision on which businesses are allowed to be open?
Speaker 8: 20:43 Well, the state plays in credible role, but we weren't elected to be re houseplants. We were here to represent the people of our district. And if something needs to be challenged, we should be the ones challenging it. Uh, at the end of the day, what impacts one district impacts all districts. And if San Diego County is, is different than the 57 other counties, we should be speaking up. But at the end of the day, we've got to get through this pandemic. We got to get people back to work and resume normal life. And that means that we have to be transparent and we have to listen to the people we represent.
Speaker 5: 21:24 So does this mean you feel the County should not enforce certain state rules?
Speaker 8: 21:30 We got to follow the law, but I think that we can certainly question and ask for more evidence. Uh, I don't think that we have to sit there and just take it, but on the flip side, I'm not advocating for people to break the law.
Speaker 5: 21:43 Do you anticipate some businesses will be able to open up or expand capacity without consequences, even under the current regional stay at home orders?
Speaker 8: 21:52 I hope so. This is my 12th day on the job. So I'm still learning a lot of it in some, um, um, reluctant to take it too far out ahead until I, uh, am brought up to speed on every issue. But I've always found that the more transparent you are, the more you explain your position and how you're moving forward, that opens it up for more people wanting to follow and abide by the law. However, if there are things that don't make sense, we should be questioning them. Uh, we're inviting by publishing this. We're inviting the public's opinion to be shared with us. If they have better science, of course, we want to use the best science. And I think that as a County, we should be asking the governor to use the best science, but it's very hard for the average person, average citizen, to see the governor drinking $14,000 a wine.
Speaker 8: 22:49 When we're in a lockdown, it's hard for people to look at it and say, Hey, I just saw the trolley goodbye. There's no enforcement on the trolley, but we're shutting down mom and pop shops. And how is it that I can walk into a big box store and they're running by what looks to be different rules than what that I have to live by. Those are all valid questions. And now people can go to the website. They can see exactly the science because it's cited and they can follow about, uh, the fact that we want to apply these rules and regulations, uh, fairly and consistently. And they can judge for themselves whether that's happening. And I suspect we're going to hear a lot more from the public in the weeks to come, because they may feel differently about it, but they have a right to be hurt. And I think that, that, I think that's really important if we're going to get through this pandemic.
Speaker 5: 23:41 And, you know, do you plan to ask the board to challenge the state on allowing outdoor dining
Speaker 8: 23:46 To be open? I want to use the best science I want to have as many people involved in the decision process. And I want to be absolutely transparent in how we move forward. I think that if we can get people to voluntarily move in the direction that helps us all, that lifts the community for everybody in San Diego County. So I don't believe that making these decisions behind closed doors invites people to follow it. Follow the rules. I've been speaking with
Speaker 1: 24:18 Neil Anderson, who represents district two on the San Diego board of supervisors, supervisor Anderson. Thanks so much for joining.
Speaker 8: 24:25 Hey, my pleasure. And thanks for inviting me
Speaker 1: 24:33 Shortly after taking office on Wednesday, president Joe Biden issued a stack of executive orders regarding immigration enforcement. He also unveiled legislation to reform the county's immigration system. KPBS reporter max Revlon Nadler tells us the Biden administration is moving quickly to address the thousands of asylum seekers stuck in Taiwan.
Speaker 9: 24:54 President Biden signed several executive orders regarding immigration on day one, including a call for Congress to grant permanent status and a path to citizenship for dreamers and changes to arrest priorities for immigration and customs enforcement. Other day one promises are still unfulfilled, including a 100 day moratorium on deportations, UCLA law, professor Hiroshi Hiroshima Mura thinks the Biden administration has shown a real interest in solving the humanitarian crisis along the border.
Speaker 8: 25:24 I think the first step that probably the deepest commitment of the Vida ministration is to restore senses some sense of the rule of law.
Speaker 9: 25:31 Comprehensive immigration reform will take months to work through Congress, but immediate action for those in immigration detention and asylum seekers along the border could take just a few short weeks as the Biden administration looks to quickly amended Trump administration rule that stopped asylum processing. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Erica Pinero is a lawyer who works with asylum seekers stuck in Tijuana.
Speaker 8: 25:55 I think we've seen that administration backtrack from some of the day one promises to sort of, uh, we need to do some work before we fulfill said promise.
Speaker 9: 26:07 As much of that work has been done in coordination with a group of local officials and immigrant advocacy groups known as the California welcoming task force. Working with the president's transition team, they began to outline ways the Biden administration can begin to quickly process thousands of asylum seekers along the Southern border and allow them to safely enter the United States attorney. Margaret CardioLAN was part of that group.
Speaker 8: 26:30 I understand that the Biden administration is facing serious challenges due to the extreme measures that the Trump administration took to undermine asylum law and dismantle
Speaker 7: 26:44 Immigration law. It's a moment of reckoning for immigration
Speaker 9: 26:48 On Tuesday. Asylum seekers in Tijuana held a press conference, asking the Biden administration to take quick action
Speaker 1: 27:07 [inaudible].
Speaker 9: 27:07 But first the administration needs to work with customs and border protection, which manages the countries. Ports of entry leadership of the agency has been hostile to many of the Biden administration's priorities. Perdue only thinks they could find more help elsewhere in the government.
Speaker 7: 27:21 The Biden administration should look into other facets of the government that can take away any legal, humanitarian type cases away from basically a police enforcement agency.
Speaker 9: 27:36 The Biden administration has already floated a stepped up role for asylum officers and the state department. There's an estimated 15,000 asylum seekers in Baja, California. We either were denied the chance to apply for asylum or were sent back there under the remain in Mexico program. The first step for many of these asylum seekers in San Diego will be a shelter run by Jewish family service of San Diego in conjunction with the County. Kate Clark is their senior director of immigration services. She says the shelter is up to the task of housing, asylum seekers during a public health emergency.
Speaker 7: 28:09 I've seen historically asylum seekers coming and arriving to our care in very stressful situations like in, in, in need of medical assistance with communicable conditions. But really we've been able to develop a coordinated response with public health and other medical infrastructure to be able to, to tend to the unique needs that our guests have when they arrive to us
Speaker 9: 28:31 Nice. After a few days at the shelter, they'll then continue their immigration case from inside the U S as the Biden administration reopened safe pathways into the country for those seeking safety and opportunity. San Diego looks to become once again, a front door into the United States.
Speaker 1: 28:48 Joining me is KPBS reporter max Revlin Nadler, and max, welcome. Good to be here. It's obvious from your reporting that there's a whole array of immigration policy challenges ahead for the Biden administration, but let's break this down. What has the president done already with that stroke of the pen to change Trump's immigration policy?
Speaker 9: 29:09 It was a fairly robust, robust first day on immigration policy. He signed an executive order regarding DACA and protecting DACA recipients in the United States. He rescinded the Muslim travel ban. He changed immigration and customs enforcement priorities. So that would include people who are in the U S whether they could be arrested by HIAs and charged for possible deportation. He paused, uh, pending the next couple of days, construction on the border wall. And, um, this was not an executive order, but this came down from
Speaker 10: 29:42 The department of Homeland security itself. Late last night. This had been a long time, uh, asked by immigration advocates. There there's a 100 day moratorium on deportations in the United States right now for most deportations, which is truly a unprecedented step.
Speaker 1: 30:00 President Biden has spoken a great deal about his determination to reunite children, separated from their families at the border. Has he moved on that?
Speaker 10: 30:09 Not yet right now, where things stand with that is he's promised that there would be more money. There would be action taken to track down. Uh, those people, uh, who had been separated. Then I spoke with one advocate this week who said, listen, we're already talking about three years ago. In some cases for these separations, people have gone, um, either might be in the interior of the U S they might be elsewhere in central America. They might be in hiding. This is going to be a really tough, um, ask for the Biden administration to make sure that everyone is reunited, especially because so much time has passed.
Speaker 1: 30:44 How do Biden's new executive orders help DACA recipients
Speaker 10: 30:48 Right off the bat? It just gives them some level of safety and assurance their lives to the kind of been a, uh, a political football for the past few years, especially under the Trump administration. So they're, they're looking forward to, um, not having to worry about being on ICE's radar for possible deportation and, you know, hopefully in their minds, uh, a resolution to their, their status, which would come in the form of comprehensive immigration reform, which the Biden administration to the surprise of many has really prioritized in the first, uh, couple of days of its presidency.
Speaker 1: 31:25 Yeah. Tell us more about the legislation that was unveiled by this new administration on immigration reform
Speaker 10: 31:32 Really robust. It would kind of change the entire immigration system as it was, and include a pathway to citizenship for both DACA recipients and people in the program called TPS temporary protected status, where basically people who have come to the United States because of humanitarian or ecological disasters, uh, have been in the United States now for, in some cases, decades. Uh, so this would be a mass legalization program on par with that undertaken by president Reagan back in the 1980s. Um, and it would settle kind of the, the legal limbo that many people have been stuck in. Uh, that being said there, there's going to be resistance to this. This is something that can't really be passed through reconciliation. There's going to need to be 60 votes in the Senate, which means there needs to be bipartisan support. So the bill that we're seeing out today, which is in many cases, a wishlist for immigrant advocates, um, will be whittled down if it passes at all.
Speaker 1: 32:28 We know that many members of the customs and border protection agency, we're big fans of former president Trump. And the quote about CBP included in your report is not exactly welcoming of, uh, president Biden's changes. So what kind of challenge does that present to the new administration?
Speaker 10: 32:48 The new administration has taken quick action. One of the first things that did was the new head of CBP. Uh, at least the acting head right now is from the Northern border. So, you know, basically politics really do travel in different areas. Uh, so people who are working on the Northern border are now going to come to the Southern border. That's going to change some of the priorities down here. Um, and there's talk of basically sidestepping, customs and border protection as much as possible in terms of elevating the role of asylum officers right now, border patrol agents have been doing credible fear interviews, things that border patrol agents had never done before they were asked to do during the Trump administration. On top of that, you could see a ramped up role of the state department offering people visas, who have been stuck in the remain in Mexico program in Tijuana and other pandemic stricken border towns
Speaker 1: 33:41 Is the plan that you mentioned in your report. That's being floated by the new administration to shelter, asylum seekers in shelters like Jewish family services instead of in border detention centers. Is that a new idea or is that a return to what used to happen?
Speaker 10: 33:57 It used to happen was there was no need for even these shelters for the most part, because ice would even coordinate for the travel for asylum seekers into the interior of the U S that was stopped by the Trump administration. So you had a situation where asylum seekers were being dropped right in the middle of downtown, uh, American cities. They had nowhere to go. They had no way to contact, uh, their sponsors or family members inside the U S. So this ad hoc shelter system, which in San Diego County was spearheaded by Jewish family service. And then ultimately got a support from the County, uh, was created. Now we're in a different situation because of the pandemic where people are going to need to be quarantined. People are going to need to be tested. So a shelter like the one created by Jewish family service, which has been sitting mostly dormant for the past couple of months, will be crucial in making sure that people can safely enter the United States and get the medical attention that they need. Uh, and, and it looks more likely than not that asylum processing in one form or another is going to begin again in the next couple of weeks.
Speaker 1: 35:02 And I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max Revlin Nadler, max. Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 5: 35:15 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. The pandemic has made business as usual impossible in the arts community, but a local festival has changed the way it connects with the audience and aims to make the art of playwriting along with community voices, more accessible in the moment, the old Globes eighth annual new voices festival kicks off its first day today with the celebrating community voices reading, where we can all see short works routine during the pandemic by local emerging playwrights. Joining me to talk about everything this year's festival will offer and how you can join the audience is Lamar Perry, the old Globe's artistic associate Lamar. Welcome. And thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me today. So there are so many voices in theater and so many existing plays. Why does it matter to bring in local voices to create new work? I think one of the,
Speaker 11: 36:11 The things to say is, as we're in this moment of trying to figure out what does theater look like on the other side of the pandemic? You know, we've, we've recognized that the industry is having a national and a global reckoning, uh, with social justice, um, and social justice also starts at home. You know, I think there's a very distinct contrast between how American theaters of a certain caliber have produced in the past. Uh, and when we're trying to reckon with involving our community doing right by the community, that we're a part of and understanding that in our mission, uh, it is important to, to truly be a neighbor to those who are in and around San Diego. Um, I think uplifting those voices who are also considering the population in San Diego, traditionally marginalized is not only important, but like pertinent to this moment in the American theater.
Speaker 11: 37:04 And I think in the country at large, you know, so many people have not had access traditionally to, to, to the same spaces and to the same resources. And the old globe is, is currently trying to, to enter into a phase and has been in a phase, I will say, because we've been doing this work for years, um, of spotlighting the community of using our resources of sharing access. Um, so much of the restorative justice that we're talking about is about redistributing the resources that have been disproportionately placed in private white institutions and reinvesting them in our community members.
Speaker 5: 37:39 And tell us about who the artists are and their work being presented during this festival.
Speaker 11: 37:45 There's a wide swath of artists. So we have Jose cruising, Gonzalez who our San Diego audience will recognize. He is the playwright behind American mariachi, which was a smash it for the globe. I think my first year here back in 2018, Oh, who's working on under a baseball sky, his current commission with the globe. Uh, we also have this beautiful adaptation of Fuente over Huna by Lopez, the Vega, which has been translated by San Diego's very own Danielle Jaquez. Who's also directing, uh, community voices features, and it's primarily spotlighting the soul kiss, a theater, which is a joint venture between the arts engagement department, uh, and our community partners, um, which focuses on highlighting the voices and the work of, of black who are women and black playwrights and artists, um, and so many others. Um, but I will say there's a focus this year, particularly on, on Brown and black, Latin X, uh, playwrights and artists, and in supporting their work. And again, making sure that as we move forward, we're continuing to use our resources to, to give voice and space to these artists
Speaker 5: 38:53 So much will be offered. And, you know, considering this event is virtual, how is that impacting how the work is presented? Yeah, I think right now
Speaker 11: 39:03 Virtual theater is a thing. It's how we've adapted in the moment. It lacks some of the magic of being in a space together, breathing together, going on a journey together. But I do think that in the 10 months, since the global originally shut down, we figured out what this new magic is. And it's a hybrid virtual theater is, is this combination of acting and directing for television and film while also maintaining the integrity of, of what theater and those basic tenants are. Um, I think overall where we're hoping and recognizing that, trying to push for normalcy is not the goal right now. Like what is normal in a pandemic? How do you accomplish that? Uh, I think were just reckoning with the fact that we still want to figure out how to extend grace and kindness and humanity and stories that are about love and relationships and just how we relate to each other as people, which I think is such an important comment to make right now, um, in the midst of a global pandemic. So here we have this new platform, this hopping that we're using, uh, to, to really, I think, continue to do the things the old globe always does and does so well, which is to figure out how to get you to sit next to your neighbor and to see them and take them in. While you go on a journey
Speaker 5: 40:24 On Saturday, the festival focuses on an evening with the San Diego black artists collective. Tell us about that program.
Speaker 11: 40:32 Yeah. So the evening with the San Diego black arts collective is the first of many joint ventures with the San deal, black artists collective, uh, the collective itself, I want to say started our first started meeting around January of 2020, prior to the pandemic prior to any of what we're currently existing in, um, around the, our production of Jitney. So a group of artists got together, uh, from, from the globe, from the Playhouse from common ground, from so many of the different black spaces here in town just to, to build community. Um, I think it's really easy to be disparate and working in your own silos, even within a large town like San Diego. Uh, and there was really a sense in a want for let's all come together. And then unfortunately, as we watched 2020 unfold, we had the advent of the pandemic. We watched the brutal killings of Rihanna, Taylor of George Floyd.
Speaker 11: 41:26 We watched so much black death, black pain, black violence happened. The collective really had no other choice, I think, to out how to respond, not only artistically, but just as human beings, as black people who exist in this world, what can we do? What are we doing? What do we want to say? Um, and the globe and social justice work saw this organization and decided to partner with them. So the globe has dedicated an entire evening to the collective, which I've been co-producing, uh, with my peer, Karen and Daniels. Who's an alum of the globe and currently works at the public theater in addition to the Globes associate artistic director of freedom, Bradley Ballantine, and in consultation with San Diego favorites and beloved director at Turner Sonnenberg. And really we've just been focusing on what, what is it that black voices want to stay in the moment?
Speaker 11: 42:15 You know, so many of the conversations that we have in the collective are about black liberation. And what does black liberation look like? Black liberation looks like so many different things, but it isn't actually accomplished. And so black women, black trans women are centered and protected in the same way that says hetero black men are so, so much of what you're going to hear in the festival are black women telling their own stories outside of the narratives of their pain and their trauma that we often see in the media. We get to see black women engaging in relationships. We get to see black women loving and living and experiencing outside of the, this notion of back breaking bone, breaking pain, and strength that they have to have. But I think it's really important to contextualize that black women, black people deserve to be told as more than just superheroes, that narrative, that image that were so strong.
Speaker 11: 43:05 And so unbreakable leads and continues and perpetuates the violence that we often experienced in this country. And I think specifically in this moment of COVID, when we're at home and have such easy access to social media, to news stories, to video clips, I think we've all really witnessed the, the truth of the violence that black people in this country have experienced. And, and part of the goal of this this evening with the collective I think is to, is to push back it's to counter is to reposition it's, to acknowledge that all of those things are true. And also to acknowledge that we've never lost our hope that we have always been human. And not that we are trying to humanize ourselves to other people that is their work, but that we are here. And we deserve to tell our own stories and talk about our heritage in a way that it is truthful to us,
Speaker 5: 43:52 What an opportunity to expand that conversation and expose those issues to various audiences. For more information about the old Globes powers, new play festival, which begins tonight at 7:00 PM, go to our website, kpbs.org. And I've been speaking with the old Globes artistic associate Lamar Perry, Lamar. Thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 11: 44:16 Thank you so much for having me this morning. I really appreciate it.