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What Lifting Travel Restrictions Means For San Diego Tourism

Speaker 1: 00:00 How the tourism economy could be impacted by vaccine mandates for travel. Speaker 2: 00:05 It's an 83% drop in international passengers. And so that's really what we're talking about today. Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen kavanah. This is KPBS mid-day edition And analysis of San Diego unified schools shows disparities in COVID testing schools Speaker 3: 00:30 In richer parts of San Diego are doing more tests than schools in low-income areas. Speaker 1: 00:37 And why city pools are shortening their weekend hours. Plus the San Diego restaurants that made Michelin's list that's ahead on midday edition Speaker 1: 01:01 Travel restrictions of one form or another have been in place now for about a year and a half due to the Corona virus pandemic, especially on international travel yesterday, the U S announced loosened travel restrictions for international travelers from over 30 countries. Starting this November, many foreign travelers will be able to visit the United States provided they have proof of vaccination. What does this mean for San Diego's tourism industry and its economy overall, joining me to help answer these questions is Ray major chief economist for the San Diego association of governments, better known as SANDAG. Uh, very welcome to Speaker 2: 01:39 You. Well, thanks very much good day to you. According Speaker 1: 01:42 To one industry trade group, the us tourism industry lost $500 billion in 2020 alone due to the Corona virus pandemic. Uh, can you put into perspective the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on tourism in San Diego? Speaker 2: 01:58 Well, this pandemic has been devastating to the tourism industry, uh, both in regards to domestic travel and also international travel. The tourism industry pre COVID was about a $10 billion annual influx of capital or money into the San Diego region. And we had about 34 million people who used to visit here each and every year. San Diego is a world-class travel destination. About 10% of our total economy is made up of people who work in the tourism industry. So when you have an event like COVID and tourism is, is impacted almost completely, it has incredible effects on our economy. Speaker 1: 02:42 Now these travel restrictions are for international travel. How much of San Diego's tourism dollars come from foreign travelers? Speaker 2: 02:50 Well, the, the bulk of the travel that's done, uh, into San Diego is, is domestic and business. But the international travel makes up a large component of the visitors to San Diego. Uh, we pre COVID had about a hundred thousand visitors that would come here each year for recreational purposes or to visit families. And that number is down to about 16,000 now. So that's an 83% drop in international passengers. And so that's really what we're talking about today is, is those people coming back and being able to come to San Diego to visit their friends and families and, and possibly do business here in the United States. The other thing about international travel is that those people who visit here from an international perspective spend a longer period of time in San Diego, and they spend significantly more money than people who come here as domestic visitors Speaker 1: 03:43 To you about this around the same time. Last year, at that time, you estimated about 176,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the pandemic. Many of those in the tourism sector, have those jobs come back. Speaker 2: 03:57 Well, many of the jobs have come back, especially the ones in restaurants, but the tourism industry is still down by about 35,500 jobs. And that represents about a quarter of the total that was there, pre COVID. So it is still the absolutely hardest hit industry in our region. Speaker 1: 04:18 You see these changes though, ultimately creating more tourism jobs in San Diego. Speaker 2: 04:23 I think that as the international passengers come back, that it will help bolster tourism or the tourism jobs here in San Diego. I don't know that many of those jobs are going to come back because of the international passengers. Most of those jobs are probably more related to business travel. Speaker 1: 04:42 Now there's another side to these ease restrictions. They will apply only to air travel, uh, and not ground travel. What's the reasoning behind that distinction. And what does that mean for us here along the us Mexico border? Speaker 2: 04:56 Well, I don't know the specific answer to that, but if I had to guess it has to do with the fact that air travel is a little bit easier to intercept in the sense that they can, uh, mandate that you have a COVID test within a certain number of days before you get on the airliner and they know when you get off. And so they can also test when, when you land over here, it's a little bit easier to do that than it is with people who are just traveling across the border, which has a tremendous number of people who come across. But, uh, also there's, there's no control over who's coming in and when they're coming in and where they're going, Speaker 1: 05:32 The idea when the restrictions for land border crossings may be EAs, Speaker 2: 05:36 I do not have any idea when the land border crossing restrictions would be released, but I'm sure that a lot of this has to do with the COVID cases and being able to somehow prove that people are vaccinated. And I think that's going to be the most difficult part of land border crossings is that it's difficult to validate that that people have been vaccinated. These Speaker 1: 05:57 Changes announced yesterday, won't take effect until November. So it is not like this will give an immediate boost to local businesses. How has local tourism looking today? Speaker 2: 06:08 We had a relatively good summer season. So there were a lot of people who, who did travel domestically. So we had people came down from LA or came in from, uh, Arizona or other places in the United States and came to San Diego. So, so locally we've, we've done relatively well from that perspective. And although this isn't, these restrictions aren't lifted until November. I think that what you're going to see is that a lot of the international passengers can now start to possibly plan a holiday in San Diego and San Diego has always been a great destination for people who want to travel during the winter. So January, February. So I think you're going to see an increase in the international travel as we go into the holiday season. And then as we go into the winter months, Speaker 1: 06:55 Obviously here along the border, our economic relationship with Mexico is about much more than tourism. What's the current outlook for our border region's economy for the rest of this year? Speaker 2: 07:06 Well, right now we've had essential workers being able to come across, uh, for most of the pandemic lockdown. Uh, we see more travel coming across in, in, in recent months and it's, it is very important to get the border region working. Again, there are a lot of jobs that are, uh, located in the United States that are held by people who live in Mexico and they need to be able to come across and do those jobs as well as companies here like Taylor guitars that relies on manufacturing in Mexico and needs to be able to move their goods back and forth across the border. So, uh, the, the restrictions that we currently have do keep our economy from really moving at full pace. Speaker 1: 07:50 And do you see any lasting changes on local tourism after this pandemic ends? Speaker 2: 07:56 No. I, I hope that we can get back to a time where, where things are normal, but given the way that the COVID response has, has rolled out. And the fact that we keep seeing these new variants, I think is going to be a while, because before we get back to anything that would be close to a hundred percent normal with people traveling back and forth. But the thing that I'm always optimistic about is that San Diego is such a great tourist destination. And so whether it's domestic travel international travel or when business travel starts to come back, and that's the one that's going to take the longest that San Diego will be a destination that's at the top of the list for most people. And that our tourism industry will be able to recover to close to what we were before the pandemic hit. Speaker 1: 08:46 I've been speaking with SANDAG, chief data analytics, officer and chief economist, Ray major. Ray, thank you so much for joining us. You're Speaker 3: 08:54 Very welcome you for having me Speaker 1: 09:01 A recent analysis from voice of San Diego shows disparities in COVID testing across San Diego unified schools, though Latino and low income communities have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. Those same communities in schools have less access to test putting students at a higher risk for infection. Why is that? Well, Hunt's Barry, a reporter for voice of San Diego is covering the story and joins us now with more will welcome. Speaker 3: 09:28 Hi, Jade, you Speaker 1: 09:30 All did an analysis looking at how frequently COVID testing at schools and low income communities is happening. What did you find out and how big is the disparity? Speaker 3: 09:40 Well, you know, you said in the intro Jade, we did find disparities and we found that these tests are not happening where they're needed most. Um, you know, we found schools in richer, parts of San Diego are doing more tests than schools in low-income areas. We did this analysis by comparing free and reduced price, lunch data, basically using that as a proxy for poverty, with the number of tests that were being performed at each school each week, that that's numbers that the district puts out. And we found that schools in the upper 25% of income were doing on average 99 tests a week and schools in a lower 25% of income, we're doing just 30 tests a week. So, so more than three times a difference there, Speaker 1: 10:29 What schools in particular did you all look at? Speaker 3: 10:32 Well, you know, we basically looked at every school in San Diego unified and there about 160, 170 schools in the district we looked at, we looked at elementary, middle high school, everything. And we found that some schools did zero tests last week. You know, one high profile school that that was true at is central elementary. And you may remember Cindy Martin, who's now deputy secretary of the department of education, former superintendent, her school, central elementary, where she was principal. They did zero tests the week of September 5th, Speaker 1: 11:05 As we mentioned before, Latino communities in San Diego have been hit hard by this pandemic, right along with low income communities. And yet there's been less access to COVID tests. What did you find out about why that inequity exists? Speaker 3: 11:19 Well, you know, trying to explain the why of that danger is still a little difficult, but it's one of two reasons. Essentially there's been a difficulty ramping up the number of tests to meet the amount of students and teachers who want it. Um, 33,000 people in the district have opted in to do tests and to do free testing. You, you have to opt into it. And the week of testing that we looked at only 11,000 tests were performed, uh, that did go up slightly last week, but I'm still I'm half as much as the amount of people who have signed up are being tested. So I think they did 17,000 tests last week. So, so there's an issue with just ramping up capacity. Richard Berrera school board president told me that, um, the companies doing the tests are having trouble hiring employees. Um, it's you CSD and another, a private company doing these tests. So ramping up is one problem. And the other is just, you know, that maybe students are opting in less in certain neighborhoods in San Diego, Speaker 1: 12:26 You spoke with San Diego unified school board, president Richard Berrera. What did he have to say about why these schools aren't doing as many tests as schools and higher income communities? Speaker 3: 12:36 Well, I mean, the first thing that Richard Berrera said is, you know, he agreed that this is a inequitable result. Um, you know, the district hadn't done the analysis I had and I presented him with the findings and, and, you know, he was quick to acknowledge that we needed to be doing more tests in more vulnerable communities, not less tests, because as you said earlier, Jade, I mean, um, you know, uh, there's a couple of problems with not doing the tests in these places. And one is that, you know, students are putting their families more at risk and their families are already more at risk. You know, we know that children in low-income neighborhoods are more likely to live in multi-generational households. And if we're testing less than those schools, we're going to find the virus lists. Those children are going to bring that virus home to people who might be very vulnerable to it. And even more than that, um, you know, they, those schools are going to be more prone to outbreaks. We know children in low income areas have experienced more learning loss during the pandemic, but if we test them less, you know, we're, we're liable to exacerbate that gap because they're going to have to go home more Speaker 1: 13:48 COVID cases is the district dealing with, and have there been any outbreaks Speaker 3: 13:53 The district, uh, you know, despite these disparities in testing is dealing with an extremely low number of COVID cases right now, at least, um, you know, what they're reporting on their dashboard. The week we looked at COVID-19 cases, there were about 130 in the district last week, there were only 119 as 99 students, 20 staff members, um, with active cases of COVID 19, and there were two outbreaks the district reported. And so that means that you would have a school where three people tested positive within the same two week period. And they all are from different households. So that's what they consider an outbreak. So, you know, I think for now, we're really lucky in San Diego in terms of the number of cases Speaker 1: 14:40 Next week, San Diego unified will consider mandatory vaccines. What can you tell us about that? Speaker 3: 14:46 Well, um, Richard, Berrera who we talked about, he's been on the board more than a decade, longer than anyone else. And he told me he supports that measure to have mandatory vaccinations for people 12 and up. So, uh, what I can tell you is it sounds like we're very much headed towards a vaccine mandate here in San Diego unified. You know, the board president has been on the board 12 years is, is not likely to support something that's not likely to pass. So, um, that'll be great for, uh, for students 12 and older in terms of the spread of COVID. Um, but you know, elementary schools will be just as vulnerable as before. So, you know, even if the district does pass the vaccine mandate testing is going to remain very important at elementary schools. Speaker 1: 15:33 And what's the consequence. If the district fails to reverse this testing trend, Speaker 3: 15:38 I think we will see a spiral in low income communities where poor people bear the brunt of this virus and they bear the brunt of not being able to go to school. You know, so I, I think it threatens like the very heart of equity in the district and, and San Diego unified as a district that frequently trumpets its commitment to equity. But I think, you know, in less, uh, this trend gets reversed. Inequitable outcomes are only going to be heightened with low-income students getting to go to school less. And, um, their families being more at risk physically from the virus Speaker 1: 16:20 We'll hunt. Barry is a reporter with voice of San Diego who covers schools and children across San Diego county will thank you so much for your insight. Speaker 3: 16:28 Thank you, Jason. Speaker 4: 16:37 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Hyman. It's been hot in San Diego, this September with more temperatures in the higher eighties expected later this week, but for families hoping to cool off at one of the city's 13 public pools, they're out of luck, KPBS investigative report at Claire. [inaudible] found that the city has drastically cut back its weekend pool hours since 2019 Speaker 5: 17:08 Sharon Beezer and her three-year-old daughter, Clara are practicing their swimming at a public pool in Kira Santa it's past five o'clock on a Friday, and Clara's lips are turning a little blue. It's late in the day for swimming, but they're fitting it in when they can that's because this pool is not open on weekends. So Speaker 6: 17:28 Saturday swimming would be great because it's difficult with work schedules and full schedules to make it to swim sessions that are during the day, Speaker 5: 17:39 But across the city, there are hardly any weekend pool hours where kids can swim. And that's a big cutback from previous years, the city of San Diego has 13 pools in September, 2019, all but one of them had weekend recreational swim hours in total, across all city pools. There were 50 hours when kids could swim on the weekends. Pools were mostly closed last summer due to COVID. Now this September, there are just three pools with recreational swim hours in Claremont, LA Jolla and San Ysidro. Each pool is open for two and a half to five hours total each weekend. Speaker 7: 18:18 It was when I was planning to go to that pool on Saturday, I thought as I was pulling out, I should call and see if it is open. Speaker 5: 18:25 Scott Pollack recently brought his four-year-old son, Felix to the city pool in Tierrasanta on a Saturday, the website said it was open, but it wasn't. Speaker 7: 18:35 There is a level of frustration with it not being open. Um, but more so there's a frustration around the level and lack of communication. Speaker 5: 18:44 The pool had switched from its summer hours to fall hours, but hadn't changed the website. Many of the city's public pools ended their weekend hours after labor day. That despite the fact that September is usually one of the hottest months in San Diego with higher average temperatures than in June or July. And in previous years, city pools stayed open on weekends in September, but it's very Speaker 8: 19:08 Important for children to be physically active, Speaker 5: 19:10 No way. Crespo is a public health professor at San Diego state university. He says children of color and children in lower income neighborhoods are less likely to know how to swim and less likely to be physically active. Overall. Speaker 8: 19:24 It's an unfortunate scenario that, uh, depending on where child lives, then, then that will determine if they have access to a pool to give, they have access to sports. Speaker 5: 19:34 He says, exercise helps kids physically, but also improves their mental health and performance in school. And cities should be responsible for providing those facilities to the residents. Speaker 8: 19:46 Cities are responsible to, uh, um, provide the resources, uh, in, in different locations and to look at also equity Speaker 5: 19:55 Spokesperson for the city of San Diego. Wouldn't do an interview about the change in pool hours, but he sent an email saying the change is because the city is short-staffed. This is actually a nationwide issue, not only with pools and lifeguards, but with many businesses that utilize young workers to provide services to their customers. He said, the city pays pool lifeguards 15 to $17 an hour to staff weekend pools at previous levels would cost less than $10,000 a year. According to the most recent city budget Sharon reserve, the Tierrasanta resident is also thinking about costs since she can't go to our local city pool on the weekends, she's left with buying day passes at private pools, which could cost $60 for her family of four or joining the YMCA city pools. They're fun. They get great. Her daughter, Clara would especially like to use the splash pad at the Tierrasanta pool, but it's only open a few days a week from noon to three. When Clara is in school, Claire to KPBS news, Speaker 4: 21:14 Many people who try to get a pothole fixed or a streetlight installed, complained. They hit a brick wall and trying to work with civic agencies. And that could be because they don't know how local government works. A book by two former Encinitas city officials explains what you need to know to make change. The book is called potholes parks and politics, a guide to getting things done locally without having to run for office yourself. It's by educator and former Encinitas city council member, Dr. Lisa Schaefer and former Encinitas mayor to RESA Barth. I spoke to them several months ago about the book. And here's that interview now, Lisa, when did it start occurring to you that many of your constituents didn't know the first thing about how to complain or a lobby for change effectively? Speaker 9: 22:05 Well, it actually started before I was elected to city council when I was frustrated, trying to get things done. And then after I was in office, I realized how little I knew about how the system worked and how much more effective I could have been if I had known more. And so I started paying attention to who the city council listened to, uh, while we were in office and which speakers were effective in, which were not. Then after my term was over, I started writing about what I had learned from the experience. And that was the Genesis of the book. Speaker 4: 22:39 When you were on the Encinitas city council, were there any specific instances where you saw that there was a need for people to be guided through the process? Speaker 9: 22:47 Oh, there were lots. One of the biggest issues was housing, affordable housing and what the state rules were, what discretion the city had. We had people asking the city to take actions that were not within our purview, that, that were state or federal mandates. And so it was frustrating because they, they were frustrated that we weren't doing what they asked, but we didn't actually have the authority to do what they Speaker 4: 23:10 Lisa. One of the first pieces of advice in the book is for people to define the problem that they have, that would seem very easy. But what do you mean by? Speaker 9: 23:20 Well, the example that I use, one of the examples is that somebody wants to get across the street safely to get to the park. And they think that putting a stop sign on the corner is the obvious solution. If the cars had to stop them, they could get across the street. But in reality, a stop sign might not be the answer. It's really what their problem is, is being able to get safely to the park. And it might be that walking an extra block or two to an existing traffic control place might be a better, a better solution or having a pedestrian crosswalk that could be activated when there's somebody ready to cross, but not making every car that goes through that intersection stop. Even when there are no pedestrian. Speaker 4: 24:01 So some problems are more complex than they might seem at. Firstly, Speaker 9: 24:05 I would say almost every problem is more complex than it seems at first. Speaker 4: 24:11 Theresa, let me ask you one of the first things a very motivated citizens often do is start a petition to present to legislators. Is that a good idea? Speaker 10: 24:21 And it is, if they understand again, the body in which they're supposed to present that to when we were on council, we had people, uh, with a petition about a school issue. Well, we had no authority over the school, so we couldn't help them. Also petitions need to be focused on the municipality. So if we had a petition that was signed by people all over San Diego county on an instant, a specific problem that rather dilute it, that, you know, you can get lots of people to sign a petition. If you put it up on social media and that sort of thing. And if the majority of the signers didn't even live in the community, then I discounted that petition to a large degree. Speaker 4: 25:07 So Lisa, it seems that there is a very informative part of your potholes parks and politics book that is specifically about what you and Theresa have been talking about. It's called identify the players, know the rules. It's almost like a full-on civics lesson, isn't it? Speaker 9: 25:26 Yes. In fact, one of the issues that we encountered is that most people are not well-educated about local government. And for the most part, there's no reason they need to be because the city works pretty well and the streets are paved and the ambulance shows up when you call them. But when an issue arises, you don't really know where to start and people can spin their wheels a lot and get very frustrated because they don't understand who to talk to. So if you don't know those things, then it's unlikely. You're going to be successful trying to advocate for change. Speaker 4: 25:58 And Lisa, you advise people after they get that kind of knowledge and have what they need to know about the problem they have with local government, they have to build their case. How do they go about doing that? Speaker 9: 26:11 The first thing is to get educated and to learn why does the problem exist and who has a stake in it? So if there were people advocating strongly to enact a policy that you're unhappy with, you need to understand who those people are and why they did that, so that you can develop a strategy for creating change. And so you need to know who would benefit from the change you're looking for, who might oppose it. How can you find a win-win situation? Then once you understand that you can talk to neighbors, you can use social media, um, and you can see who has an interest and educate them about the things that you are trying to advocate for Speaker 4: 26:52 Theresa. Does it seem to you that sometimes people would just rather yell at politicians rather than actually get something changed? Speaker 10: 27:00 Oh, uh, unfortunately yes. I think most of us, um, the expression is we have to vent every now and then. And I, I think a lot of that frustration is what brings people to, uh, to a council meeting, to stand there at the, at the podium. And they don't really want to do the work as Lisa referred about finding out who you need to contact and what you need to do. They don't really want to do the work. They just want you to know that they're not happy and that you should do all of the work to make it work for them. So, um, I think that's part of our culture in our society, that instant gratification, um, because it's a lot of work to accomplish change in the civic environment, in the, in the city and, and state environment. Speaker 4: 27:50 Lisa, is there an example you can point to of citizens who have done their homework and may change perhaps in Encinitas or, or beyond? Speaker 9: 28:00 Absolutely. And that was part of what my motivation was in writing this. We had a young mother who came to council, concerned about pesticides in the parks, and she had some health issues and she wanted to make sure that when she took her kids out, they weren't breathing toxic chemicals. And she did her homework and she came very politely, very respectfully and knowledgeably. She worked with others to come up with a pilot project. And so it was a graduated way to get a new policy, to allay the fears that people had, that it would cost too much or it wouldn't work. Speaker 4: 28:35 So we end with a success story and we've been speaking about the book, potholes, parks and politics, a guide to getting things done locally without having to run for office yourself. And I've been speaking with former Encinitas city council member, Dr. Lisa Schaefer and former Encinitas mayor Teresa Barth. Thank you both very much. Speaker 10: 28:56 Our pleasure. Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 4: 29:07 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Hyman. The new all California Michelin restaurant guide is right around the corner. And some San Diego restaurants have already been added to their list. They all California guide just started in 2019, then the pandemic or suspension of the guide last year. So the return of Michelin 2021 is a note of hope for the restaurant industry as it struggles to get back on its feet. Joining me to talk about the new guide is Pam Craigan, who covers dining for the San Diego union Tribune and Pam. Welcome. Thank Speaker 11: 29:45 You very much, Maureen. It's great to be back. Speaker 4: 29:47 So most people are familiar with the Michelin guide with its star ratings for restaurants, but for all the non foodies in the audience, count me as one really measure about these restaurants. What's the criteria for the honors? Speaker 11: 30:02 Well, the truth is that the whole process of the Michelin inspection processes has always been shrouded in secrecy. So they're very careful to not divulge a lot of the details about how they do what they do, but there are five categories that the inspectors judge, when they go out and they check out restaurants. First one is flavor. Second is technique. Third is the distinctiveness of the chef and their cuisine. What makes them stand out from others? Uh, the value for the money and the consistency of their food and consistency is probably the most important because they don't want to put a restaurant in their guide to recommend to the people who purchased the guide. And then that restaurant does not keep up with its consistency. Speaker 4: 30:45 Well, besides earning up to three stars, what are other designations a restaurant can earn? Speaker 11: 30:51 Oh, the first designation is the plate, the Michelin plate, which is for restaurants that serve very good food. That's all they say about it. So that's kind of vague, but it does. It does sort of play into those five original factors for consideration and the plate honors. It, it marks a restaurant sort of entry into the Michelin system. Um, these restaurants can be elevated at any time to other award award tiers. Um, the other two are the Michelin bib gourmand which honors restaurants that serve great food at reasonable prices. And then the, the coveted Michelin star, which recognizes restaurants that achieve the highest standard of excellence in all five of those categories. Speaker 4: 31:30 Okay. So, so far this year, in fact, just recently, Michelin has announced that it's added five San Diego restaurants to it's 2021, all California guide in the plate category. So which restaurants are those Speaker 11: 31:45 That's right? Uh, it was just last week that they announced these five restaurants, which joined at 29 existing plate restaurants. And the five new ones are animate in downtown San Diego, Cali and east village, Fort Oak in mission Hills, little Frenchie in Coronado and menu ultra, which is a ramen shop with three locations in San Diego. Speaker 4: 32:07 And does Michelin give descriptions about why they chose these particular restaurants? Yes. Yes. Speaker 11: 32:13 I gave a, a couple sentences of information when they announced the award, uh, for anime, the inspectors said that he had served very inventive Asian fusion cuisine, particularly its coal-fired octopus, skewer and glazed black Cod, as well as praising the restaurants really ultra glamorous luxurious interior design Kelly, which just opened in June, uh, was praised for the marriage of Southern California, Baja seafood, and pro to produce and proteins with sunny Mediterranean cuisine. And they said that, uh, chef Travis Swicker it's vegetable dishes and seafoods where the stars that stole the show, Fort Oak, which is one of several restaurants owned by trust restaurant group, founder, and chef Brad wise was recognized for his, his wood-fired cooking technique and his uncomplicated approach to dishes like French style halibut and, uh, chicken fried quail with red-eyed gravy, a little Frenchie, uh, which I opened in 2019, um, was praised for just the beauty of its interior, where you walk in and there's baguettes. Speaker 11: 33:18 And there's silver buckets filled with bottles of wine and an array of French cheeses. And it also praised, um, uh, chef Matt ceramics, uh, traditional approach to French cuisine, sort of the favorites, the favorite dishes that everyone knows of from French food and the last one menu ultra, as I mentioned, it's a, it's a ramen shop. It's a casual ramen shop, but they take the ramen very seriously. It's a Japanese, uh, chain, uh, that made its first entry into the U S couple of years ago in San Diego. So San Diego was the first place that menu ultra opened stores. And it's, it's known for its very limited menu, but very good quality, um, noodles and broth, particularly it's a pork tonkotsu broth, which has NISO in it. And Speaker 4: 34:03 We're expecting them, maybe a few San Diego restaurants will be admitted into the bib gourmand category tomorrow. And my question is how does an eatery get into the Speaker 11: 34:13 Well, once again, uh, it that's all very secretive. Um, but it is again, the difference between, uh, say a big Armand and a Michelin star is that they are both serving very good food. It's just that, uh, big garments are usually a little bit more affordable. Um, so, uh, at this point we already have seven local restaurants that have big hormones. Uh, Solaray Cucina, Sorella Lola 55 Ketner exchange Juniper and IB Cucina, Urbana and campfire. Speaker 4: 34:42 And only one of our restaurants has a star. Is that Speaker 11: 34:45 Right? That's right. And that's Addison restaurant. That's the 15 year old restaurant in Carmel valley that, um, has, uh, has won all kinds of national honors and acclaim. The chef director, William Bradley was mentored by seven star Michelin chef Thomas Keller. And it's, it's kind of an, a class, all of its own now Speaker 4: 35:02 Amazing that many restaurants have managed to keep up their quality. After more than a year of shutdowns, there's been supply chain and staffing problems is the local restaurant business coming back. Speaker 11: 35:16 Yes, I have to qualify that by saying a lot of restaurants did not survive the pandemic. Um, uh, you know, many Michelin star restaurants closed permanently over the past 18 months. But I have heard from restaurant operators that since the state lifted its stay-at-home order, the restaurants are doing a bang up business. Um, William Bradley had Addison told me he's never been busier than he's been since June 15th. So I think that if the restaurants were able to survive the pandemic they're doing quite well right now. And when, Speaker 4: 35:47 When should we actually get the new Michelin 20 21 1, when should that whole magazine comes out? Speaker 11: 35:54 Uh, well, I, I don't know the actual publication date for the guides themselves. I'm assuming that they are coming out. As soon as these announcements are being made. The bib gourmands, uh, as we mentioned will be announced tomorrow at 9:00 AM. I'll have a story on our website at 9:00 AM tomorrow with the new bib gourmand announcements. And then next Tuesday, September 28th, uh, the new San Diego area and Michelin stars will be announced. And again, I'll have a story on our website that morning at 9:00 AM. Speaker 4: 36:21 What's the impact on a restaurant when they're men mentioned in the Michelin guide, Speaker 11: 36:25 I have heard from restaurants that it's, it's tremendous impact. What it does is people write about these restaurants. There is something called a Michelin tourists. People will travel from all over the world and they will bring the Michelin guide. The Michelin guide is, is published. It's the company's based in France. And there's a lot of European travelers who will travel to eat at Michelin starred restaurants. William Bradley said it was just a phenomenal change in his business night and day after he got his Michelin star a few years ago, but the BIM Gorman and the plate honorees also get attention. And so they also appreciate the bump in business that they get. Speaker 4: 37:02 We'll keep our eye out and see what other San Diego restaurants might be honored. And I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Pam, Craig, and Pam. Thank you. Thank Speaker 11: 37:11 You, Maureen. Great to speak with you. Speaker 12: 37:22 [inaudible] [inaudible] Speaker 1: 37:39 A new song from Oakland based artists. Fantastically Brito reflects the zany vibe of California and explores the dissonance between the California dream and the reality of living in the golden state today. Speaker 12: 38:07 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 38:08 The California report magazine hosted Sasha Coco spoke with fantastic. Negrito about the song she began by asking him to paint a picture of the moment he came up with the song lyrics. Speaker 13: 38:24 I remember, um, what was I going to set that day of the red sky? It was extremely surreal. It felt apocalyptic. And it felt like a message. Yeah. It felt like, you know, the something greater than us was speaking. And I just stood there and I was just looking at it like this blood blood red sun, bloodshot sun, and the sky was this orange. You walked back in and got my guitar and sat up there for a little while. And I guess, you know, the rift is came to me. And then I wanted to tell the story of what was happening in the moment. I mean, for an artist that day was just extremely inspiring. You know, everything is inspiring, whether it's, um, you know, George fluoride or apocalyptic sun or gentrification or extreme happiness and exuberance or homes being over a million bucks in Oakland, it's, everything's inspired. Speaker 14: 39:33 Yeah. You know what strikes me? This is such a, a song about some really bleak stuff. I mean, you got wildfire smoke and climate change and you know, this is the world feeling upside down, but then like the rhythm of this song is so joyous and so uplifting. And I just wonder how you balance those things. Speaker 13: 39:57 That's interesting. I've been getting that back from people that someone said, it's the happiest climate change song ever. I think I'm just going with this visceral energy that I'm not I'm feeling, they know this is life and life is everything but full spectrum. It's life and death and stress and happiness and joy and birth and, um, climate change fires and police brutality and family dinners. You know, I want to live the full spectrum of this life that I'm afforded to live this opportunity that I have every day to contribute exist. Agitate, enlightened disappoint. I think I live in that free fall of emotion. I want to be there. Speaker 12: 40:57 [inaudible] Speaker 14: 40:59 I mean, one of the lyrics is, you know, I got so much on my mind. Right. And don't we all right now. Speaker 13: 41:05 Yeah, absolutely. Cause you know, we were once seen as like the place to be California, the dream land, the land of milk and honey, that's where you go to the sunshine state and it is a beautiful place. We just have challenges right now. So that doesn't mean that we abandoned a retreat. I mean, that's not what I do. I love this place and you know, how can I be of assistance? Speaker 14: 41:32 I think there is Speaker 13: 41:33 Something about like getting us through these days, you know, and figuring out the small joy. Yeah. Cause the small joys that really big joys, you know, I, I come from Southern people, all of my mama's relatives go back to Virginia. I think a lot of my attitude comes from spending those summers and those Thanksgiving with my Virginia folks who are all very elderly people. And I was younger, they were in their nineties and I was just hanging out with them. And I remember we were talking about the blues and spirits as I was young. I didn't believe in care about the blues, but I remember one of them saying, you know, white folks stopped. We were sad. We weren't sad. I remember that. That means, Hey, things that dismal things are tough, they're obstacles, but we got to keep on moving here. We're going to use the expression of, you know, foot stops. Handclaps whatever we gotta do. We gonna make it through this. Speaker 12: 42:40 [inaudible] Speaker 13: 42:42 You know, I'm here now because of the kind of courage my ancestors probably faced under fire. That's really the future of the state. The country of all of us, the world is that we embrace possibilities, no affordable housing yet that can be done if we want it to be done. I think containing fires, you know, global warming climate change, I think it can be done if someone could have their own private satellite that we see up in the sky and people can take trips to the moon. I mean, I think we can do anything. Speaker 12: 43:27 [inaudible] Speaker 13: 43:28 I think when I wrote the song and my people are like, wow, you know, talking about all this, these, this morbid issues in this happy beat is, um, my messages, optimism, you know, my, my messages is clinging to possibility in the face of disaster. And some of the things that challenge us the most, my message is that we find a way that we find the will. It can, it must, and it will be done. Speaker 12: 44:13 [inaudible] Speaker 14: 44:14 Oakland based artists. Fantastic. Negrito with this new single rolling through California.

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Come November travel restrictions on foreign travellers will be lifted for those who are vaccinated, what will that mean for San Diego tourism? Plus, a recent analysis shows disparities in COVID testing across San Diego Unified schools. Also, summer ends today, but the weather is still warm and many kids don't have places to swim because the city of San Diego has drastically cut back on weekend pool hours since 2019. Then, from the archive, many people don’t know how local government works, so they hit a brick wall when it comes to having community issues addressed. A book by two Encinitas residents seeks to demystify the process. And, the return of an all-California Michelin guide sees the addition of several San Diego restaurants. Finally, a new song from Oakland-based artist Fantastic Negrito reflects the zany vibe of California and explores the dissonance between the California Dream and the reality of living in the Golden State today.