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California Appeals San Diego Judge’s Ruling Overturning Assault Weapon Ban

Cover image for podcast episode

CREDIT: OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA

Above: California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta (far right) at a press conference on June 10, 2021, in San Francisco denouncing a San Diego's judge decision to overturn the state's assault weapon ban.

California Appeals San Diego Judge’s Ruling Overturning Assault Weapon Ban
Description: State leaders announced Thursday that an appeal has been filed in response to a San Diego federal judge's ruling that overturned California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons. Plus, the San Diego Unified School District announced on Tuesday a new principal for Lincoln High. Melissa Agudelo will serve as co-principal with the current principal, Stephanie Brown. And while parents await further guidance on vaccinating children under 12, many are wondering what social precautions must be taken as California prepares to reopen on June 15. Then, the loss of taste and smell is now widely known as a telltale sign of COVID-19. But fewer people are aware of another potential lingering side effect: when scents and flavors become distorted. Also, more than 12,000 American Legion posts closed for at least part of the pandemic. Those closures left some posts in financial trouble. Finally, in a new episode of the KPBS Explore podcast, "The Parker Edison Project," we talk with a photographer who's worked on everything from album covers to popular movies like "Friday" and "Exit Through the Gift Shop."

Speaker 1: 00:00 California vows to fight for its right to ban assault weapons. After a judge struck that band down in

Speaker 2: 00:06 Many ways, the opinion was disturbing and troubling and of great concern.

Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Andrew Bowen with Jade Hindman Maureen Kavanaugh is off. This is KPBS mid tension at Lincoln high school arising as the revolving door of leadership continues.

Speaker 3: 00:29 Uh, a vice principal at this school in recent weeks has also written. I confirmed earlier this morning, the

Speaker 1: 00:37 American Legion provides gathering space for military families and veterans. So how has it fair during the pandemic and a recovered COVID-19 patient shares her experience with having a distorted sense of smell that's ahead on midday edition, the state of California has appealed a recent federal ruling that struck down California's ban on assault weapons. The 94 page opinion handed down by judge Roger Benitez included a number of strange and unfounded claims. Here's California, attorney general, Rob Bonta speaking this morning.

Speaker 2: 01:18 I think we can agree that the decision was disappointing and the reasoning such as equating assault weapons to Swiss army knives and false claims that COVID-19 vaccines have killed more people than mass shootings was shocking.

Speaker 1: 01:33 Bonta was joined by a number of other state leaders who affirmed their stance on upholding the 32 year old ban on assault weapons. Joining us to help understand this development is Dan Eaton, legal analyst and partner at the San Diego firm at seltzer Caplan McMahon Invitech. Dan, welcome. Good to be with you, Andrew. How did judge Benitez arrive at this conclusion that banning assault weapons is unconstitutional?

Speaker 3: 01:57 Well, basically what the judge said was that, first of all, we're talking about a fundamental white, the second amendment, right to keep and bear arms for self-defense is recognized by the United States Supreme court in 2008. And then later in its 2010 Heller decision, which extended it to the states. And basically what he said was the assault weapons control act, which was an act of 1989. Before those landmarks Supreme court decisions didn't really have a good fit between what the state was trying to accomplish and, uh, uh, the restrictions and therefore it had to go,

Speaker 1: 02:31 Well, the second amendment refers to a well-regulated militia. So how have we arrived at this current situation where regulating the types of firearms that are legal and can be sold, could actually be deemed unconstitutional.

Speaker 3: 02:44 First of all, the horse has left the barn on that one. Okay. So this debate about whether the second amendment is restricted to militia has now been decided by the United States Supreme court. Now, as your question properly pointed out, the question is the scope of that, right? And, uh, so what, uh, judge Benitas was trying to figure out is whether this assault weapons control act of went too far. And he said any way that when you're talking about the kinds of weapons that appear to be covered by this act of, they could be just as easily used for home defense. And because of that, uh, because it's a versatile, uh, weapon, that's what he meant by the reference to the Swiss army knife, which has gotten a lot of attention.

Speaker 1: 03:27 Fornia says it's appealing this ruling to the ninth circuit court of appeals, and that court has historically been quite liberal, but we know it's changed in recent years. Do we have any idea how the judges on that court might view this ruling from judge Benita's? We

Speaker 3: 03:42 Really don't Andrew and, uh, one of the issues is of course it depends on the panel, uh, that is drawn. And then of course, whether from the three judge panel, there's ultimately further review by an on bunk or fuller, a set of judges for the ninth circuit to look at whatever the three judge panel decides. It's not entirely clear what is clear, however, is that however, the ninth circuit decides the case. It could very well get the attention of the United States Supreme court, which until this year decided not to take second amendment cases.

Speaker 1: 04:14 We know that the nine justices on the Supreme court are very different now than they were in that Heller decision. Do we have any idea where they stand on issues of gun control?

Speaker 3: 04:24 Well, broadly speaking, yes. Just based on their past record, uh, two of the newer justices who were appointed by Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and justice Barrett, who is the newest judge justice have suggested some skepticism over controls over the right to keep and bear arms, which may explain why the Supreme court decided to take up this case. There is a, at least a suggestion that this court is going to be more inclined to look skeptically at restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. The issue in the case is before the court right now, uh, deals with whether a license that is very hard to get, to carry a gun concealed outside the home and to unconstitutional infringement on the second amendment. That's a particular issue in that case,

Speaker 1: 05:14 Judge Benita's has issued similar rulings against gun control laws. How did this case end up before him and not a different judge in the Southern district?

Speaker 3: 05:22 Well, because they want to keep similar cases together before the same judges to avoid exactly the kind of judge shopping that could create conflicting rulings within the same district. That that's the simple answer to that question. Otherwise cases are assigned on a random draw in federal court. And so the judges ruling in this case, uh, wasn't surprising, uh, only because he had issued similar rulings in, uh, prior decisions, but he clearly has a view on what the scope of the second amendment is and decided that the assault weapons control act, which was passed back in, uh, 1989, ran a foul of the right under the second amendment as the United States Supreme court has interpreted

Speaker 1: 06:07 This comment about the Swiss army knife. You said has gotten a lot of attention. I'll just read directly from the judge's opinion. He wrote like the Swiss army knife, the popular AR 15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homelands defense equipment. Good for both home and battle. And he also made this puzzling comment about, uh, COVID-19. He said that more people had died from the COVID-19 vaccine, then from mass shootings in California. That's not true. Could this use of false information have any impact on whether the ruling is upheld in higher courts?

Speaker 3: 06:42 Of course only the last part of what you said is truly a fall, uh, potentially a false statement of fact, but it's not uncommon for judges to color their opinions. They are writing broadly for both a lay audience and a illegal audience. It really doesn't go to the core of the, uh, legal analysis that he used of the Swiss army knife comment was made to underscore the versatility of a weapon. And he later went on to say, in the opinion, quote, this is an average case about average guns used an average ways for average purposes. Now that's a statement of opinion, but the judge after all was issuing an opinion, and that is ultimately going to be subject to review. But the core constitutional analysis is what the ninth circuit, uh, what the ninth circuit is going to be looking at. And that is whether the judge got it right, that the, uh, assault weapons control act went too far. Uh, given the rights under the second amendment, they're going to look at whether the assault weapons control act really was a reasonable, uh, fit for what the state was trying to accomplish in light of constitutional consideration. It doesn't appear the state fully took into account in 1989 before the Supreme court issued its landmark ruling, holding that the second amendment applies to an individual's right to keep and bear arms, as opposed to broader militia,

Speaker 1: 07:58 California points to data showing that it's rate of gun deaths is lower than the national average. In fact, it is one of the lowest in the country. Do those kinds of facts or data matter when judges are considering or reviewing gun control laws like the one in California?

Speaker 3: 08:15 Well, they can, because it goes to the issue of whether this is a reasonable fit, even though of course the legislature couldn't have known what the result of its handiwork would be, but sure, uh, judges are going to look at those kinds of issues, but they're also going to look more fundamentally at the core question of whether this legislation that is before them really goes a fell of, of the, uh, the right of the second amendment. This is all going to be about the scope of the second amendment and whether this particular law went too far. But yes, the state's experience with the law is certainly going to be a consideration in how the judges approach this issue.

Speaker 1: 08:53 I've been speaking with Dan legal analyst and partner at the San Diego law firm, seltzer, Caplan McMahon, and Vtech. Dan, thanks for joining us. Good to be with you. Andrew

Speaker 4: 09:09 Lincoln high school has been the center of much back and forth between a city council member and a district board member. Recently, one of the topics of debate leadership turnover at the Southeastern San Diego school. Now the high school has a new principal joining me to discuss the latest is will hunts Berry education reporter with the voice of San Diego. Welcome.

Speaker 3: 09:29 Well, nice to be here, Jay. So

Speaker 4: 09:32 First give us some context. Uh, Lincoln high has been the subject of much debate through the years. Why has Lincoln been in the spotlight? Uh, quite a bit over the past few

Speaker 3: 09:40 Decades, Lincoln high school has a very engaged community and it has historical importance in San Diego. You know, it's a real cornerstone of the black community. Community leaders have come from there. Um, professional athletes have come from there. So people really care about how it's doing. And since it reopened in 2007 after rebuild, there's been a fair amount of instability there in, in leadership. And there have not been the academic gains that people have wanted to see. And so a lot of people have had a lot to say about that. The interim superintendent

Speaker 4: 10:18 Of San Diego unified named a new principal for Lincoln high on Tuesday. Uh, but the principal won't replace the current one. How will that work?

Speaker 3: 10:26 Yes, that's right. There's a new co-principal coming in. Uh, Melissa AGU Delo, she's coming from the met, which has about a hundred students. Lincoln high has, uh, 1400 students. So it's going to be a much bigger assignment for her. Um, and it seems that her and Stephanie Brown per current co-principal or principal, however you want to say it they'll steer the school together. And that's what was happening previously with Jennifer Roberson. Her title was director and she was leading the school with Stephanie Brown previously.

Speaker 4: 11:00 You know, the co-principal position is basically replacing the previous director of the school. As you mentioned, how did that vacancy come about?

Speaker 3: 11:08 Well, before Jennifer Roberson was ever reassigned, people were talking about bringing in a co-principal to Lincoln, actually, you know, it had been discussed with some community members and then Roberson was suddenly out. We don't really know why we of course it voice of San Diego reported on that. The district essentially told us that there's no turmoil at Lincoln. Jennifer Roberson has been reassigned, but she maintains the same title. We've also been talking about having a co-principal. How long has

Speaker 4: 11:44 The current principal Stephanie Brown been at the high school? And is she seen as being an effective leader of

Speaker 3: 11:49 The school? Stephanie Brown's been there about two and it depends who you ask. Um, whether she's seen as being an effective leader of the school, really, you know, I talked to several different staff members at Lincoln who told me that Jennifer Rogerson was in charge of 10th, 11th, and 12th grade at Lincoln specifically. And that was because she had more experience than Stephanie Brown and knew more about running a high school. And so when she left those staff members told me it left a big, uh, vacuum in leadership there. And they were never explained to, um, why she left in the first place. But, you know, if you talk to the district, they, uh, are big boosters of Stephanie Brown and say, she's doing a great job. Sharon Whitehurst pain is the board of education member who represents that area. As you know, of course, there's been this letter war going on between her and council, woman, Monica Montgomery step. So a Montgomery step asked a lot of questions about what's going on at Lincoln. My community members tell me there are a lot of problems there. And, uh, Sharon Whitehurst pain responded with a really seeding letter saying, you know, how dare you throw any shade at Lincoln? Stephanie Brown is an exquisite leader. In that letter.

Speaker 4: 13:11 You mentioned city council member, Monica Montgomery step asked that the community have more input on choosing leadership for the school. Do you have any sense of why? And if that had any role in this new position?

Speaker 3: 13:23 I don't know. Well, I think that's what had a role in this new position. I think the council woman was aware that there were talks to bring a co-principal in and she was asking for there to be a more, um, rubbed, blessed and transparent community process for making that happen. And, you know, I think in general, that's what the council woman asked for. In regards to Lincoln, she asked for more transparency about the leadership turmoil that's gone on there in recent years. And she talked about how many people in the community don't trust the district, to be honest with them about what's happening at the school. And I'll be honest with you, Jay. That's been my experience too, in reporting on Lincoln. I talked to passionate community members, many of them, and there's just a deep lack of trust between them and the district. Hmm.

Speaker 3: 14:18 How has the district responded to all this? The district responded to Monica Montgomery step's letter of first Sharon Whitehurst Payne said it was disingenuous in a interview on K USI. Um, but then several days later she wrote a letter that really amped up the rhetoric. Um, she compared Montgomery step's letter to an event in which a Catholic high school had called Lincoln high students convicts. And so there was an uproar over that, an event, most people considered it, a really racist thing that these private school students did. And what Sharon White hairs Payne said to Monica Montgomery step is by asking us the questions you asked and by telling us that the district is doing a bad job, leading Lincoln high school, you're being the same as those private school students work. The council woman responded to that. And, um, she said that, you know, this, this has always been the district's tack in the community of Lincoln Heights to respond to any criticism or any questions by, by telling the person, asking the questions that they don't know what they're talking about. You know, and

Speaker 4: 15:32 I guess, uh, the, the important question too is, um, currently, what do we know about how the students at Lincoln high are doing as a whole, in terms of academic achievement?

Speaker 3: 15:43 Yes. Uh, the council woman asked about that too. And, um, you know, there's so much data when it comes to academics. It, it kind of depends where you look, but I'll tell you in sharing why hers Payne's letter, she pointed to, um, college and career readiness for black students. And she talked about how great a principal Stephanie Brown was. And then in the next sentence about how college career readiness had gone up. Well, those gangs actually happened the year before Stephanie Brown became principal and African African-American student. Um, college and career readiness went down by point under Stephanie Brown. And if we take an even wider view from beyond Stephanie Brown's time, uh, if we look back five or six years in English and math test scores, uh, they basically remain unchanged, uh, to this day with about 36% doing, uh, scoring proficiently in reading and about 10% scoring proficiently in math at Lincoln high school.

Speaker 4: 16:48 And as you continue to cover Lincoln high school, what will you be keeping your

Speaker 3: 16:51 Eye on? I'll be real interested to know, to see whether the district addresses people's concerns about instability in the leadership. The council woman has brought that up and the district has essentially said, how dare you ask us about these personnel issues? There is no instability. And I think people aren't going to stop talking about the leadership changes and, and just to, I mean, break a little loose right here for your on KPBS. Uh, a vice principal at the school in recent weeks has also resigned. I confirmed earlier this morning. So I think the district calls any criticism of this instability, uh, disingenuous, and, you know, I think that's a bold criticism against Monica Montgomery step, who has a ton of grassroots support in that community. And so as these concerns keep getting pushed, I'll be curious to see if the district addresses I've been

Speaker 4: 17:50 Speaking to will Hansberry education reporter for the voice of San Diego will. Thank you very much for your insight. Thanks so much. You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Huntsman with Andrew Bowen. Maureen is off what the summer months upon us and COVID restrictions. Easing. Many families are looking forward to summer trips and getting back together with friends and family. But how safe is that for children who are still too young to get the vaccine clinical trials for children under 12 years of age are still being reviewed with a significant portion of the population preparing to ditch masks on the 15th. Many are also concerned about what precautions we should take for un-vaccinated children who have to keep their masks on joining me now with more is Dr. Kerryn McDaniels Davidson, the director of the Institute for public health at San Diego state university, Dr. McDaniels Davidson. Welcome.

Speaker 5: 18:49 Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 4: 18:51 Is it safe to travel with a child who's not eligible for the vaccine yet?

Speaker 5: 18:55 So everyone has their own level of risk that they're willing to take on for themselves and their families for my family and myself. I'm not yet willing to travel with my unvaccinated children on planes. For example, especially with my infant, who's not able to mask yet. We are willing though to take driving trips to locations that are in driving distance and this calculus would change. Of course, if there was an emergency or a something where I needed to be somewhere far away, we would absolutely feel okay, getting on a plane for that.

Speaker 4: 19:24 Should we still be wearing masks around unvaccinated children

Speaker 5: 19:27 Masks are going to continue to be important, especially around unvaccinated children indoors. And when you're with people outside of your household and outside when there is a lot of people around and distancing isn't possible. And is

Speaker 4: 19:40 It safe for unvaccinated children to be out on the playground together?

Speaker 5: 19:45 Absolutely. For my children, for example, I'm a, I'm a mom and an epidemiologist. And so I have both of those lenses with me at all times. And so I encourage my children to play on the playground. If it's a crowded playground, uh, one just opened up by our house. For example, in, there are a lot of kids around. We do wear masks when, when distancing isn't possible outdoors. What about schools

Speaker 4: 20:07 And daycares and summer camps?

Speaker 5: 20:09 So there are certainly ways to make schools safer and CDC has put out some really great guidance on keeping schools safer. And in San Diego that's made a lot easier by our mild climate. So we can throw open those windows and the doors to improve ventilation, which turns out is key for COVID transmission. And when we are able to cohort children or keep them in stable groups together, that's also really helpful and reduces the impact to learning when there is a case. And then there's HEPA filters that can clean the air and regular testing of students can be really important.

Speaker 4: 20:43 You think about the CDC guidance on masks. I mean, given they're still a portion of the population who can't get the vaccine yet, is it too early for everyone to take them off?

Speaker 5: 20:52 This one was hard for me as a public health person. We focus on populations in public health and we, we especially have a hyper focus on equity. And what we know is that there are communities that are behind in vaccinations, and those are kind of due to persistent access issues or questions and concerns that still feel unheard or unaddressed. And those communities tend to also be the ones who are in those essential work jobs, where they come into contact with many others who now may or may not be wearing masks if they're un-vaccinated. And so now is the time to redouble our efforts with those communities and make sure we're reaching everyone and having those conversations about the vaccine that everyone deserves to have

Speaker 4: 21:34 Babies and small children can't wear masks, correct. That's

Speaker 5: 21:37 Right. So the CDC recommends that children over the age of two wear the wear masks. Now, similar to why we don't put children down in their cribs or their best nets with blankets. We, we worry about those breathing issues because they tend to be shallow breathers, which is why we don't want to put masks on infants, but I have an 18 month old and she wants to be just like her big brother and big sister. And so she has a little mask and she'll try it on and take it off and try it on and take it off. And that's fine to do. And then once she's two years old, then she'll start wearing her mask as well. You know,

Speaker 4: 22:10 Given that those two and under really can't wear a mask. I mean, is it safe for them to even be out running errands with mom and dad to the grocery store? Let's say, I tend

Speaker 5: 22:20 To leave my kids behind when I go to the grocery store, but I understand that's a luxury that a lot of people don't necessarily have. Another thing that folks can do is, um, do the grocery store pickup where they, they opened the trunk of their car and the folks at the grocery store bring the groceries to them. But again, that's not a luxury that everyone has access to. And so when there is a need, you have to weigh the, the need for food and the potential exposure. And just maybe limit the time that you have in there, or take advantage if a neighbor or a friend offers a half an hour of babysitting. So you could go to the grocery store, but I wouldn't shame people who need to bring their children with them because everyone has a different life situation. Can

Speaker 4: 23:00 Some immunity be passed on to a baby through the breast milk of a vaccinated mother?

Speaker 5: 23:05 No, the antibodies are present in the breast milk of vaccinated people about two weeks after they received their vaccine. And the thought now is that there is some protection passed through the breast milk. But as I mentioned, there are ongoing studies that are looking at that and we don't have the data yet to know, but there are anecdotal stories from within those studies about household outbreaks, where older children who are not nursing being infected, but not the nursing who is, um, nursing from their protected mother. I'm a nursing mother myself. And I'm incredibly interested in that line of research though. What if

Speaker 4: 23:39 The mother gets vaccinated while the baby is in utero? Uh, do we know how much immunity is passed on?

Speaker 5: 23:45 Sure. So studies out of Cornell and New York Presbyterian hospital show that for babies who are born after a mom has two doses, about 99% of them had protective antibodies for COVID, which is really great. But studies are ongoing about how long that immunity might last.

Speaker 4: 24:01 What are the risks of lingering effects on children who do get COVID? Now

Speaker 5: 24:06 There's so much we don't yet know about COVID and children, especially because they've been largely protected by our efforts over the last year and a half or so, but there are certainly concerns. So one of the concerns that is being watched is the conversion to, um, type one diabetes after viral infection. And that looks to be, uh, relatively highly associated with COVID infection. And that does happen in other viral infections, but to a lesser degree. And this is a lifelong condition that these children are going to have to live with and deal with. And so I would say that that's concerning and we don't yet understand the risks of long COVID in children and younger adults. We're seeing memory issues and things like that. And there, there may be overlaps with [inaudible] linked diseases, heart conditions, but to be Frank, we're just not sure yet.

Speaker 4: 24:57 Do you know how soon the vaccine may be available for children under 12?

Speaker 5: 25:01 So from what I understand, the vaccine makers will be submitting their data to the FDA for children under 12 in September. I believe that's the most recent thing that I heard. And so I'd expect a ruling in October. So in

Speaker 4: 25:15 Short, if you have children under 12 living in your household, do you act like we're still in a pandemic or do you act like we're out of the pandemic?

Speaker 5: 25:23 Okay. So I act like I'm still in a pandemic, even though San Diego county overall is doing really well. There are still pockets of unvaccinated people and especially children. And so when you get those unvaccinated people together, or when there are a lot in one place, we call that a susceptible population, meaning that they can be infected and infection can spread and create these little outbreaks. And so for my children, what we're practicing is infection control even at home and even in preparation for school next year, so that they have that consistency in their lives,

Speaker 4: 25:57 Restrictions, ease. Should people still hold tight to those, uh, pandemic restrictions or is it okay to ease them? If you have children in the house who are unvaccinated?

Speaker 5: 26:09 Like I mentioned earlier, uh, schools can absolutely be safe even during a pandemic, especially when, um, local spread is low, the way it is in San Diego county right now. And so with ventilation and masking children can absolutely be in school even during a pandemic

Speaker 4: 26:26 Speaking with Corrine McDaniels, Davidson, director of SDSU Institute for public health core. Thank you so much for joining. Yes. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 26:40 One of the many mysteries surrounding COVID-19 the peculiar side effect of patients losing their sense of taste and smell and the medical field that's called a Nazia, a less publicized side effects that can follow when COVID-19 patients is when tastes and smells are distorted. That's called Porras Mia. There's been relatively little research into these disorders, which until recently have been exceptionally rare and that's left many patients feeling confused, isolated, and hopeless. Julie Cardi wrote about her experience losing her sense of taste and smell and the San Diego union Tribune this week. And she joins me now. Julie, welcome. Hi, thank you for having me also joining us is Dr. Carol Yan, a UCLA researcher who studies these disorders and is involved in Julie's medical care. Dr. Yan, welcome

Speaker 5: 27:30 To you. Thank you for having me, Julie,

Speaker 1: 27:33 Let's start with you. When did you first notice that things were not right with your sense of taste and smell? Describe what happened?

Speaker 5: 27:40 Well, like many, um, I got COVID back in December, um, happened to be nine months pregnant and, um, was fortunate. Didn't have a, um, crazy reaction in terms of symptoms. It was like a one day baby cold. So I, you know, I was kind of best case scenario in terms of what I thought. Um, however I did lose, um, complete sense of smell and that sense of smell never came back for about four months. Um, and then one day, April 17th, I was making dinner for my family and all of a sudden I just had this extreme distorted sense of smell. And then I tried to taste the food I was eating and it was just absolutely disgusting. And we've all heard about, I think, you know, original or initial smell and taste loss, but no one's ever talked about smell or taste distortion, which is what I was experiencing. Dr.

Speaker 1: 28:36 Yan, how common is this side effect from COVID-19 and do we know why it happens? We

Speaker 5: 28:41 Actually don't know how common it is. It seems to be incredibly prevalent though with COVID-19. Um, traditionally studies have shown that this altered sense of smell and taste, uh, is about 20 to 30% of people who experienced some sort of smell loss. So about a third have some type of altered sense of smell. Uh, it seems to be even more common though, with the people who have suffered from the smell loss. And COVID-19 typically, it's also shown to be a good prognostic sign, meaning we hope that these are the people who are actually on their way to recovery, but somehow on the way to recovery, their, um, smell nerves have gone a little bit off track and there may be misfiring. And that's why they're having this distorted sensation. Julie,

Speaker 1: 29:30 How has this loss or distorted sense of taste and smell impacted your quality of life?

Speaker 5: 29:36 Yeah, I mean, outside of the obvious, right? Needing to feed ourselves for nutrition and feeding myself so that I can, um, keep up with my supply for breastfeeding it's it's had an emotional toll for sure. I, you don't realize how much smell and taste effect your life until this happens to you. I, like I mentioned, I have a newborn and I thought the worst part of getting COVID was not to have that smell, that new baby smell. Um, little did I know that my baby from one day to the next it would smell like the only way I can honestly describe it is like hot or wet sewage. Um, it's my husband, his scent naturally gives that odor and just can't even like lay near him in the bed after he's brushed his teeth. So it's just, it's really, it's been an emotional toll for sure.

Speaker 5: 30:28 Um, some days are better than others. Um, and I just try to honestly think about, you know, one, one moment at a time and not think too far out like, oh, I get invited to a wedding. Am I going to be able to attend that? Like, these are the things that, um, kind of run through your mind. And, you know, I was really looking forward to getting back's needed and being able to rejoin society as we, you know, things start to open up again. And I can't even walk into a restaurant to grab some food to go for my children because the smells are just awful. It's just awful. And Dr.

Speaker 1: 31:00 Yan, tell us about the research, uh, right now into loss or distorted taste and smell. Are there any promising experimental treatments? How are we dealing with this?

Speaker 5: 31:10 The good news is the medical community, um, have really come together internationally to kind of explore different options. The truth is that worth no loss of smell distortion. We just don't have great therapy where we're looking at is new compounds, you know, things that might, um, improve the firing of these smell nerves. So, um, personally I am using one's own body's platelets and the plasma kind of the clear part of your red blood and that's purified into, uh, concentrated platelets called PRP. And we're actually injecting it into the area of the nose that has small fibers. And this is a, um, clinical trial that's being conducted alongside Stanford university, um, where the PI doctors are a Patel is a, and so the two of us are hoping that something like this novel therapy, um, might, you know, bring new, um, treatments and potential for people like Julie and others.

Speaker 1: 32:06 Julie, you write that you've joined a Facebook group for other patients suffering from distorted taste and smell. Uh, tell us about that.

Speaker 5: 32:15 It's been a really great, great group because you don't feel you're alone or crazy. I mean, when this first happened to me, I truly laid in bed the first night thinking that I was going insane or is this real? And it's really, it helped validate that I'm not crazy and that other people are experiencing this and it's been helped. It's been helpful to navigate because many of us have very similar, um, aversions right now. Like for example, knowing to stay away from garlic, onion meats, um, those are consistent and let seems like constant triggers for all of us. And it's helped me navigate some things that are safe. Like for example, the, I, the ironic drink, Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper is a safe drink. So I I've never drank soda before. Um, but you can't have Pepsi. Cause if you have Pepsi, that is just disgusting. So this group has truly helped navigate some of the safe things together because as you can imagine, nobody wants to, you know, have trial and error with hot sewage. So, um, yeah, it's been, it's been really nice. And then, you know, sometimes it's, it's, it's not helpful in that you hear people that have been in this group that are going on 15, 16 months with no improvement. And so when you read their posts, you know, kind of makes your reality seem a little bit more scary,

Speaker 1: 33:36 Dr. Yan, if anyone is listening right now, who's experiencing loss of taste or smell due to COVID-19, what advice would you give them?

Speaker 5: 33:44 The biggest thing is that realize you're not alone, uh, particularly if you're having these distortions, um, that this is a no on the kind of long hauler of COVID-19. And we really do encourage you to seek out medical treatment. And at least the advice of a trusted medical professionals are typically, um, the first line, uh, physicians are EMT doctors like myself, um, and that there are clinical trials around the world being undergone. Um, so that is something they're interested in. We can partake in that we are learning more things about it. And then actually, um, one of the biggest thing is that, you know, to give, have some hope that for many, many people, that this is going to be a cured, um, disease or symptom, um, with time alone, even, but there are things that we've found that can help with it. And the last thing is that, um, it's so important for loss of smell to realize what you can't smell. Those are things like fire when you're cooking like carbon monoxide at home. And then when you do have a distorted smell, I tell people, um, and tastes, you know, if you can absolutely slide into your safe foods, find the things that you can bear because it's so important to stay as, um, nourished as possible.

Speaker 1: 35:03 I've been speaking with Julie Cardi, a recovered COVID-19 patient, experiencing distorted taste and smell, and also Dr. Carol Yana, UC UCLA researcher who studies those disorders, Julie and Dr. GaN. Thank you so much for joining us. Yes.

Speaker 5: 35:18 Thank you for having us in spreading awareness on Peraza. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 35:27 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Andrew Bowen with Jade Hyman. When you hear the word media, what comes to mind? News media, social media in a new episode, the KPBS podcast, the Parker Edison project explores the relationship between media and culture in conversation with people connected to other forms of media, like movies, music, and podcasts about their role in shaping culture. Brian B plus cross is a photographer. Who's worked on everything from album covers to popular movies like Friday and exit through the gift shop in this podcast, excerpt, he talks with hosts Parker, Edison about some of his experiences.

Speaker 6: 36:15 Speaking of movies, man, what, what were you doing on the set of Friday? So basically, um, I was a stills photographer for production stills. I spent a whole day. I remember a bunch of us trying to show Chris Tucker how to look like he was smoking and he had never smoked pot. So we were showing them how to look like he was coughing and stuff like that. So, yeah, it was pretty funny. How did you end up on the set? The Banksy documentary exit through the gift shop was a film that he wanted to make. I'd been friends with him for at that point. I guess I've been friends with him for almost six or seven years. It stayed at my house and stuff. Cert wait, wait, when you say him, who are you referring to? The cat that directed the film. Okay. Yes.

Speaker 6: 37:15 Banks is a friend. Yeah. A friend of mine who was working for Ozomatli at the time, grace Gian is her name, but she, she, um, she said, you know, wouldn't it be amazing if we could put together a show of his work in LA? And we were like, yeah. And I, I remember thinking like, wow, that's, you know, that's pretty, that'd be amazing. So we got a little bit of sponsorship money, I think Puma and flop magazine, I think, um, at the time and, uh, got him a plane ticket. He had, the show was very successful. He hung out for a month. Then that period, he did a few kind of pretty momentous hits. And then he, he was a fan too. So, so I, I had been making films and he asked me, you know, like I have this idea for a film by virtue of who I am and the way I move it, it's going to be complicated for me to, to direct it.

Speaker 6: 38:08 And there's a big component of it is here in LA and I need to be, would you be interested in directing it? I was like the, you know, the sort of, I don't know if it's fair to say unit director, that's not the way we were credited. We're all just credited as a big clump. Well, basically I was the guy on the ground here that the UK folks would reach out to. I remember going to see it and feeling a real deep seated trepidation. I mean, shooting. It was a very interesting experience. I mean, I, I would say I'd never seen reality pivots so much as a date around Terry because Terry to us was like, you know, this, Mr. Brainwash, he was somebody that really was just cobbling it together as he went. And we couldn't imagine that this was going to be a success.

Speaker 6: 38:46 And then to be there the night the show opened, I mean, they sold a million dollars worth of art in one night. It affirmed a lot of things that I, I think I understood about the art world in such a visceral way that it like, yeah, it really rocked me to my core. You know, a lot of people don't even believe that it's real, which it's completely real. And it was one of those things where it was like, it could have gone either way. It could have been the biggest disaster of all time and it could have been, well, I don't know that any of us thought it was going to be the kind of success that it was. I remember sitting with Banksy the day that it got nominated for the Oscar. It was this party that they were organizing or whatever in Hollywood for the film and all this kind of stuff. And so Oprah was going to present the best documentary prize that year. And before the best documentary, I think it was like the best short animation I think is what it was. And it was Leonardo DiCaprio was going to present the award and Leonardo DiCaprio goes up to the mic and says, good evening, I'm Banksy. And I was like, yo, that was a bit weird. And he was like, yeah, that was a bit weird.

Speaker 6: 39:55 So yeah, this artist in the film is mimicking bank banksies formula and becomes rather popular. And then he sold or art. I mean, this, this is the total irony of it. He sold more then Banksy did it. Terry is a real force of nature. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, that was the quote. And that was enough that, and a quote from, from Shepard Fairey was enough, which he bought a billboard on some same clip, those bolts there. And I mean, that was enough. We actually had Mike and nine on here not too long ago. And you, you shot the cover, our freestyle fellowship. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The freestyle fellowship really changed the way people thought about what it was possible to do as an MC. And I, and you know, as I said, an Ava DuVernay's film, first time I saw him, like I remember it was at a club in Hollywood and I was just, I, it, my ears were so unprepared that I was kind of like, is this whack?

Speaker 6: 41:01 Like, is this dude, is this good? I'm stuck. And that that's, I saw was a good sign. If, if, if, if something kind of confuses you so much, you know what I mean? Like that you have to kind of question your own, you know, the way you've constructed, what the thing is, it's a good chance that they're doing something really, really pretty brilliant. And, and, and Mike is that, you know, Mike has a lot of sons and heirs. He does, you know, I mean, if you look at that film, um, hip hop evolution, and you look at the one about underground culture, which deals with the freestyle fellowship, pretty up close and personal, there's a part at the end, very, very end of the show where they cut to Snoop, who's sitting there, who's now clearly relaxed and having a good time with these dudes.

Speaker 6: 41:51 And he says, man, you don't even know me and Warren G driving around, listen to freestyle fellowship. You know, and I was kinda like, man, like, you know, Snoop dog was on the PR you know, was on the, um, one of the good life compilations. We know cassette only thing Snoop was on it. And Mike, you know, Mike really empowered people to think differently. And Mike is kinda the dude that really built bridges. I used to say he built bridges in the air, but he, he really built bridges in the air to traditions that for many folks, I think they were, they, they were unable to think of hip hop and those terms, whether it's scat singing, whether it's vocalese, whether it's thinking about the voice as an instrument. Um, and, and, and Mike, Mike did that. How, how is it that you're at the pulse of these extraordinary monumental moments? What do you think the secret is docked out the relationship between your ears and your heart. You just follow that centered that no matter where it takes you be fearless about it and realized that that's that's way more important than money career. Anything else? Ladies and gentlemen, mighty miss? Uh, my favorite photographer street philosopher, Brian B plus cross as a Slingshot back

Speaker 1: 43:28 That was Parker Edison host of the KPBS podcast, the Parker Edison project, speaking to photographer, Brian B plus cross to hear the entire episode go to kpbs.org or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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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.