Beginning Tuesday masks will be recommended not required in California for all
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COVID spread is still high in San Diego , so what are masking recommendations starting on March 11 and schools and childcare facilities , the governor's office says that masks will not be required.
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I'm Jane Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
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This is KPBS midday edition.
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A San Diego lawsuit alleges a conspiracy to keep gas prices high.
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The allegation is that they have conspired to keep costs artificially high in California , which has its own market for gasoline because of environmental rules.
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And Coronado is out of compliance with affordable housing laws.
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Plus , hear about a new young adult novel from a local writer.
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That's ahead on midday edition.
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California is among three Western states that will adopt new indoor mask policies and move away from masking requirements in schools starting March 1st , masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals , but will still be strongly recommended.
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Mask requirements in schools will be dropped on March 11th , and while the announcement will have major implications for COVID guidelines , the news comes as many regions in the state are still deemed high risk covered areas by the CDC , meaning that indoor masking is still recommended.
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San Diego County is among those regions listed as high risk.
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Joining me now with more is KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman.
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Matt , thanks for joining us.
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A.J. The CDC still categorizes San Diego County as high risk.
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What does that mean for recommended masking practices in the region ? So this new CDC guidance says that if the counties in the high risk category that they're recommending that everyone wear masks in indoor settings , and that's where we know that those are higher transmission risk settings.
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There's also some state guidance that we have out there right now that says , you know , it's recommended that you wear a mask in indoor settings.
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But those who are vaccinated , as we found out a couple of weeks ago , no longer have to wear their masks indoors.
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Now we're getting this new updated guidance that just came out from the governor's office saying that soon those who are unvaccinated will also no longer have to wear masks.
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So it's definitely a shift that we're seeing here across California at the end of the day.
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Masks are still being recommended in indoor settings , especially when we're in that high risk category , which the CDC says we are in , but they're not mandated.
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Why move from mandates to recommendations when many of the regions are still considered high risk ? While Governor Newsom's team says that they're following the data and following the science and they say that they're watching as cases and hospitalizations continue to trend in the right direction.
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So they say that's why this guidance is coming now.
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Also , the CDC , in terms of their guidance that came down on Friday , they also said the same thing.
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You know that there were a lot of counties that were more in the high risk category before that are now moving to this low and medium risk because in the CDC framework that they put out Friday , there's a low risk , medium risk and there's a high risk category too.
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In low risk , they're just saying , you know , wear a mask based on personal preference.
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I mean , the medium risk , you know , those who are immunocompromised or may be at high risk , consider wearing a mask.
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But it's interesting.
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You know , we're in the high category here in San Diego County.
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The CDC has a little tool online putting your county.
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It gives you specific recommendations , a really simple next to us and Imperial County.
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They're also in the high category , but interesting just above us in Riverside County and in Orange County there in the medium category.
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So masking is not being recommended by the federal government endorsed there.
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So is it that case rates aren't as important as hospitalization rates then ? Yeah.
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So it's a number of factors that they're taking into account its case rates.
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It's also looking at hospitalization , hospital capacity.
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That's the metric that the CDC says that they're looking at.
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So what exactly does it mean that parts of San Diego County are deemed high risk ? Well , we've seen this in the counties updates.
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You know , they do regular updates to the Board of Supervisors.
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We are in the read transmission categories.
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Now , when you look at that compared to the most recent al-Muqrin surge , you know , definitely on the downward trend , but levels of transmission are still high.
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And that's something that public health officials at the federal and state level and the county level are taking into account when they look at some of these decisions.
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As we mentioned , new guidance on masking was issued today , which will affect masking requirements in schools and public areas.
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What do we know so far ? So we knew something was coming this week.
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The governor's office had announced that on Monday today that they were going to be putting out some sort of decision on this or kicking the can down the road.
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Starting on March 11th and schools and childcare facilities.
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The governor's office says that masks will not be required now.
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They will still be strongly recommended and as we know to and the CDC plan being in that high risk category , which we are considered by them.
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Masks are recommended in indoor settings.
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Also applying to schools.
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You know , the CDC for a long time has recommended universal masking in schools.
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Part of this new plan that they sort of laid out says that they're not recommending universal masking anymore.
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But if you're still in that high risk category as a county , they are recommending masks in indoor settings , which include schools.
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There seems to be a lot of different sources for guidance on masking , whether from the county , the state or the CDC.
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Are we seeing county residents take a sort of pick and choose approach when considering guidelines ? I think at the end of the day , it's going to be a personal decision , but we have so much information out there , right ? We know how the virus spreads.
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We know that , you know , outdoor settings , it doesn't spread as much.
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We know in indoor settings , especially when there's poor ventilation , you know , not a lot of windows open that it can spread very easily.
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And we know , especially with Omicron , the variant , that it's very contagious.
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And so that's where some of these public health recommendations are coming.
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You know , we're not seeing at the original outset , you know , when it was masking everywhere outdoors , it's kind of these as.
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The governor's team calls him targeted interventions or targeted recommendations , so people at the end of the day , especially when there's no mandate , they're going to have to make the decision for themselves.
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But there's plenty of information out there to help people make that decision.
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We know masks work , but at the end of the day , it'll be up to them.
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Governor Newsom recently adopted an endemic policy approach to fighting the pandemic in California.
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Do we know what that means for masking ? Part of that plan talked about targeted interventions , as I just mentioned , meaning that there could still be times where , you know , say we get another surge coming up in a couple of months or we see another surge coming up next winter , as we've seen , you know , kind of this roller coaster that is the pandemic.
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There may be some more of these calls that say , Hey , you know , in this area , we need universal masking or in this area , we need universal masking.
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So they did not rule out any more mandates coming.
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They did say part of that endemic plan , they were going to be very upfront and open with communication and letting people know why they're doing this.
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You know , cases are increasing.
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We're losing hospital capacity and this is something that needs to be done.
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So we'll have to see if that comes up in the future.
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I have been speaking with KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman.
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Matt , thank you for joining us.
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Thanks , Jed.
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Part of the U.S. reaction to the invasion of Ukraine has centered around its possible effects on the Western economy.
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Experts advise us to brace for higher inflation and fluctuations on Wall Street , and much of the country is concerned about gas prices may be going as high as $5 a gallon.
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Well , in San Diego , we're practically there already , and not all of California's highest in the nation.
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Gas price has to do with Ukraine.
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In fact , a long fought class action lawsuit that blames our high gas prices on oil company collusion may be coming to a head in federal court.
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Joining me is San Diego Union Tribune reporter Jeff McDonald.
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And Jeff , welcome.
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Thank you for having me.
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This lawsuit started way back in 2015.
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It's Plaintiff is an Escondido gas retailer.
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So who's being sued and why ? Well , many of the major oil companies are named as co-defendants in this case Chevron BP , which is formerly British Petroleum , Shell Valero and a couple of others.
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The allegation is that they have conspired to keep costs artificially high in California , which has its own market for gasoline because of environmental rules.
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Now , our higher gas prices are usually attributed to those higher emission standards and additional taxes.
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But this suit claims that's not the case.
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Yes , that's exactly right.
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There is a stricter emission standard in California that requires refiners to seasonally blend their gas to reduce emissions from cars.
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And that's traditionally been blamed as the chief culprit for the high gasoline prices in California and the local and state taxes as well.
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The federal tax is uniform across the country.
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The lawsuit alleges that these defendants have colluded to.
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They shared information and conspired to keep prices artificially high even beyond the costs associated with the seasonal blends.
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And they do that through communications that the lawsuit alleges are improper.
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You're not supposed to be sharing confidential information with your competitors.
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And we're talking about things like how much oil they plan to import to refine maintenance schedules for some of the refineries around California.
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When they go down , of course , production goes down and that reduces the supply , which helps keep the price high.
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So those are some of the activities that the class action case is asserting as being responsible for the high prices.
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California has been paying for many years , and are the plaintiffs actually have evidence of collusion ? Well , it depends , of course , how you define evidence.
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The complaint and the court records do show communications that appear to violate some of the company's standards and practices.
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As far as communicating with other traders and other executives , there are e-mails and other communications between parties that appear to show sort of a friendly relationship , so they're sharing information about maintenance schedules of their refineries.
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They're sharing information about how much crude oil they plan to import and where they they're going to take it , whether it's in Northern California or Southern California , all the sorts of things that company executives would use to determine how much of their own commodity to produce.
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The oil companies , of course , say that that's not evidence , that's just evidence of them doing a good job and that part of their obligation to their companies are to stay as well-informed as they can be and for traders to be sharing information because they need this sort of information to do their jobs effectively so that hopefully we'll get to a jury or the judge will decide that there's not enough evidence to move forward to trial.
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That's what's at issue right now.
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And a ruling is expected as soon as this coming week.
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How much does the lawsuit claim is owed to Californians because of this alleged collusion ? Well , it's tens of billions of dollars , so it's a lot of money.
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For example , they looked at going back 10 plus years , and their allegation is that every gallon is overpriced somewhere between five 10 up to 20 cents per gallon.
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So you can imagine that being a lot of money.
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They did do a damages assessment through one of their own experts.
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These are the plaintiffs , I'm saying.
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And it came out at about $23 billion , was the number I saw in the court filings.
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So that doesn't mean that they would win that.
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But under class-action rules , you can get triple the damages if you prevail.
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So we could be talking as much as 60 or 70 billion.
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Obviously , that's not likely , but it is a multibillion dollar case.
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And the number of lawyers defending the case and even bringing the case is indicative.
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I think of how much money is at stake there.
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Dozens of lawyers involved when I was in the courtroom the other day , there were 24 or 25 lawyers , I think by my count.
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This suit was filed back in 2015.
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Why has it taken so long ? Well , you filed a complaint and then not just the beginning and then you start doing what's called discovery , and that's the legal process of collecting evidence.
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And so that means requesting documentation , interviewing people , sometimes through deposition testimony , which is , you know , under oath sworn testimony.
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And these things can take a long time.
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They did prevail enough to proceed to the hearing last week was the oil companies bringing what's called a motion for summary judgment , saying , Hey , Judge , there's not enough evidence here that's been collected in recent years to warrant going to trial.
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That's the decision the judge is weighing right now in a tentative ruling.
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She leaned toward the defendants and said that she's leaning toward dismissing the case.
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However , she did ask for additional information which will be submitted , I think , as soon as today.
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And then a ruling is expected in coming days , so we'll see if it makes it to trial or not.
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Have there been any other lawsuits similar to this one ? Is this the first time that this strategy has been used ? Yes , there have been a lot of lawsuits.
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I don't know about how many , but multiple.
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And no , it's not the first time these are really sophisticated players.
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The oil companies they have , you know , they're smart people , they have great lawyers and they've been sued numerous times.
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I don't think any have prevailed , certainly not the class action consumer cases like this one is seeking.
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I mean , there's like I said , they're seeking billions of dollars in damages.
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On the other hand , there is some evidence that they have shared information that appears to violate some of their own protocols.
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So we'll see what happens if these plaintiffs don't prevail at the district court level.
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They're likely to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court and hopefully get another hearing up there because they've invested , you know , six seven years of their time and money into these allegations.
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And you say that final ruling could come down this week from the San Diego court.
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Yes , the federal judges have a ton of discretion as to when they issue their rulings after the hearing Wednesday in the Southern District here.
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She did ask for some additional information , which I think is due today , so presumably she'll consider that information and make a decision , perhaps as soon as later this week.
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I've been speaking with San Diego Union Tribune reporter Jeff McDonald.
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Jeff , thank you.
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Hey , thank you.
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You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition.
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I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
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Some of the homes on Coronado are among the most expensive in the world.
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I mean , it really represents just how unaffordable it is to live in San Diego.
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For example , there's a 12 bedroom oceanfront mansion listed on the real estate site Redfin right now for $36 million.
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But even though the island is known for being home to the very rich , it must also comply with the state's laws around affordable housing.
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KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says Coronado is out of compliance with the state's affordable housing laws , and a crackdown from state officials doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon.
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Andrew joins me now with more on what's happening.
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Andrew , welcome.
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Hi , Jane.
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So can you paint the picture on Coronado when it comes to affordable housing ? Well , there are a lot of ways to describe a city's unaffordability , of course.
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As you mentioned , there are the mansions that you can list with the mind boggling price tags.
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But in Coronado , even modest homes are outrageously expensive.
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You know , I was looking at the real estate listings as well.
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There's a one bedroom condos , about 750 square feet that's listed for $1.25 million.
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There's a two bed , one bath house listed for one point five million.
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And then if you're renting , you know , a studio apartment might go for $2200 per month.
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But of course , there are so few apartment buildings in Coronado.
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It's mostly very low density housing.
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You know , you're more likely to find , say , a two bedroom home or so with that rents for about $6000 or more , sometimes a lot more.
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But then when you also consider how many service sector jobs Coronado has , you know it's a tourist town.
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There are lots of housekeepers that work in the hotels , retail workers that work in the shops.
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You know , the people who keep the city's tourism economy going.
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Not not to mention the teachers and the government folks who who keep the city running.
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They feel the crunch the most.
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And , you know , the state requires cities to come up with a plan for future growth that includes affordable housing.
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So how does that work ? Yeah.
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The state requires local governments of cities and counties to plan for enough homes to meet the region's needs.
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And this is a process that happens every eight years and local governments are supposed to create what's called a housing element that basically says , Well , here's where we're going to zone for more density so that , you know , our growing population can actually have homes.
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Here's how many homes we can get off of this lot and that lot , et cetera.
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The the law that created this process several decades ago was frankly pretty useless.
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It was not effective at preventing the current housing shortage that we have today.
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So in recent years , the state legislature strengthened the law.
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Cities now have to account not just for future growth , but also for factors like crowding.
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So , you know , if you have two or three families doubling or tripling up in a home , that's a sign obviously of of a housing shortage and you have to factor those things in.
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There's also a new requirement to analyze racial segregation and actively take steps to undo it to achieve racial integration and housing.
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Elements are also supposed to analyze the likelihood that the housing that's in the plan will actually get built because it often doesn't.
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Of course , redevelopment is ultimately up to the property owner.
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It's not up to the government.
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So because , you know , housing and density often just remains an idea.
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On paper , cities , you know , very often find all kinds of ways to prevent it from happening with various kinds of regulations.
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Cities are supposed to look at , OK , how likely is this housing to actually get built ? And if it's not likely to get built , then you know you have to plan for even more of it.
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So so what did the state specifically find wrong with Coronado housing element ? There was a nine page letter that was sent in November , and there is a long list of violations.
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The state said Coronado.
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You can dispute the number of homes that you think you need all you want , but the state we officially are going off of the actual number that was determined through the official process , which is 912 homes , the city of Coronado chose to zoned for only 344.
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So a little bit more than a third.
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A big section of this letter from the state was on fair housing or what's called the affirmatively furthering fair housing.
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That's that active step the city is supposed to take to achieve greater racial integration.
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And they said that , you know , the city ran some numbers and found no racial or ethnic concentrations of poverty.
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But what the city is really supposed to do is analyze for any types of racial concentrations , including racial concentrations of wealth.
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So , you know , Coronado doesn't get get off the hook by saying , we have no poor black or brown neighborhoods here.
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They have to also analyze , OK , you know , we actually have an overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly wealthy population and that that is segregation.
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Hugh , that has to be addressed.
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The state said they didn't analyze how likely sites would get actually redeveloped.
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Like I said , the list of violations is very long and so if the city is really serious about correcting them , then the work they're going to have to do will be quite extensive.
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And what are the consequences cities can face if they don't have state certified housing elements ? Well , a pretty immediate consequences.
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They can lose access to some parts of state funding , so funding for infrastructure or affordable housing.
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But , you know , for a city that has Coronado , whose wealth that is not a huge threat and this was actually spelled out quite explicitly by a City Council member named Michael Donovan when the City Council was meeting about its how housing element last June.
00:20:41.370 --> 00:20:42.960
Let's hear a bit of what he was saying.
00:20:43.200 --> 00:20:50.340
You know , they can cut funding , which to me , I don't know , that's the least of our worries at this point.
00:20:51.060 --> 00:21:06.300
But I just wanted to point out , first of all , that debt is an issue , but that in our discussions off line , it probably wouldn't occur with our active lawsuit and with other things going on in their process.
00:21:07.260 --> 00:21:12.060
We would probably have a few years before they might get serious about that.
00:21:12.600 --> 00:21:15.190
So clearly , you know , he's kind of spelling out.
00:21:15.210 --> 00:21:18.780
We know we're breaking the rules and we could face consequences.
00:21:18.780 --> 00:21:23.790
But the state's going to be busy dealing with all the other cities that are also out of compliance.
00:21:23.790 --> 00:21:28.830
So we could maybe fly under the radar for a while and get away with this , at least for the time being.
00:21:29.160 --> 00:21:44.820
So what does Coronado say it's doing in response to the state's critiques ? Well , I asked a city planning official , You know , what are you ? What are you working on in response to this letter from the state ? And what they told me was we've re-engaged with our consultant.
00:21:44.890 --> 00:21:54.750
It was an outside consultant that actually wrote the housing element there , you know , going back to them and asking for some revisions , but there haven't been any public meetings on this issue.
00:21:55.020 --> 00:21:59.640
You know , it has never been brought forward to the City Council or any other city bodies.
00:21:59.880 --> 00:22:08.070
So it's kind of unclear what direction the city is is giving to that consultant to actually fix the housing element.
00:22:08.310 --> 00:22:19.110
This issue of how many homes Coronado is supposed to even zoned for is a really fundamental issue and a question that that has not been resolved , at least in the city's eyes.
00:22:19.290 --> 00:22:24.360
They're actually suing to lower their allocation of housing , but they lost and they're appealing it.
00:22:24.360 --> 00:22:26.820
So , you know , they say they're working on it.
00:22:26.820 --> 00:22:32.250
But exactly how quickly and how earnestly they're working on it is kind of unclear.
00:22:32.910 --> 00:22:36.720
You say it looks like the state won't be enforcing this law any time soon.
00:22:36.750 --> 00:22:52.260
Why not ? Coronado is definitely one of many cities in the state that is out of compliance with state law , but there haven't been as many cities that are just saying we're not even going to zone for the number of homes that the state has told us to.
00:22:52.530 --> 00:22:54.960
So that is something that sets them apart.
00:22:55.690 --> 00:22:57.960
And from , you know , other cities.
00:22:57.960 --> 00:23:06.480
And I sat in on a roundtable discussion with the head of the state's Housing Accountability Unit , who's really in charge of enforcing these laws.
00:23:06.750 --> 00:23:12.340
And I asked him , you know , what's the next step for Coronado ? And he didn't really have a clear answer , he said.
00:23:12.360 --> 00:23:13.320
We're talking about it.
00:23:13.320 --> 00:23:18.600
We're thinking about , you know , when do we escalate to the next level ? And they just don't know yet.
00:23:18.990 --> 00:23:19.200
00:23:19.410 --> 00:23:22.740
I've been speaking with KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen.
00:23:23.100 --> 00:23:24.390
Andrew , thank you very much.
00:23:24.990 --> 00:23:25.360
00:23:30.480 --> 00:23:40.320
In March , California's reparations task force will debate who should be eligible for direct payments to compensate for slavery and its lingering effects.
00:23:40.710 --> 00:23:54.360
One of the questions facing the task force is whether special consideration should be given to descendants of those enslaved in the United States , even though California entered the union as a slavery free state in 1850.
00:23:54.810 --> 00:23:57.210
That does not mean slavery didn't exist here.
00:23:57.480 --> 00:24:09.300
As gold rush prospectors flooded the state , enslaved black people were sometimes imported to work in the mines , and even black people who entered the state free from bondage didn't always stay free.
00:24:09.450 --> 00:24:21.090
In fact , California law allowed slave catchers to abduct free black people and take them to slave states and sanctioned the enslavement of blacks freed by their enslavers.
00:24:21.690 --> 00:24:30.420
As we continue to cover the push for reparations , we're diving back into the history of the very last case of the enslavement of black people in California.
00:24:30.720 --> 00:24:37.140
Reporter Asao As-sunnah Pauw brings us a story first aired in early 2020.
00:24:39.520 --> 00:24:42.190
Welcome this morning , my.
00:24:45.480 --> 00:24:57.670
Oh , geez , oh , I'm sitting in the first row of St Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church right up close so I can hear the choir all around me.
00:24:57.670 --> 00:25:04.960
Pews are filled with worshippers , mostly older black folks , and many have been coming here for generations.
00:25:05.230 --> 00:25:09.370
St. Andrews is the first African-American church on the West Coast.
00:25:09.770 --> 00:25:13.030
00:25:13.740 --> 00:25:16.510
Oh , good morning , St. Andrew.
00:25:17.820 --> 00:25:21.970
St. Andrews is the best kept secret in the entire city of Sacramento.
00:25:22.060 --> 00:25:24.790
This is Reverend Phillip , our cousin , Junior.
00:25:24.910 --> 00:25:30.700
We were organized prior to statehood , so that gives us a bit of a foothold here.
00:25:30.850 --> 00:25:37.510
St. Andrews was founded in 1850 , a few months before California entered the union as a Free State.
00:25:37.900 --> 00:25:42.220
But many African-Americans were still brought here as slaves during the gold rush.
00:25:42.580 --> 00:25:44.890
This church was created by them.
00:25:45.430 --> 00:25:48.470
It was established by a free and former slave.
00:25:48.490 --> 00:25:54.850
People of color who come into an area and the first thing that is done is to establish a community.
00:25:55.180 --> 00:25:57.550
And at the center of that community is always a church.
00:25:57.760 --> 00:26:03.310
And the man at the center of that church , the man who founded it , was named Daniel Blue.
00:26:03.550 --> 00:26:09.730
He is not someone they tell you about in school , but his story altered the course of California history.
00:26:10.480 --> 00:26:18.430
Daniel Blue was a former slave from Kentucky who came to California as a free man and made a fortune mining on the Sacramento River.
00:26:18.820 --> 00:26:25.480
He opened the laundry and bought a house right next door to the pro-slavery governor , unafraid.
00:26:25.570 --> 00:26:29.440
He started the church and held its first service in his basement.
00:26:30.300 --> 00:26:40.230
You take a Daniel Blue with everything to lose and very little to gain by putting himself out in the way that he did in this community.
00:26:40.240 --> 00:26:41.920
And yet that is what he did by choice.
00:26:42.250 --> 00:26:48.410
And that speaks to a strength of character that I like to think came from the church in the church.
00:26:48.430 --> 00:26:56.260
Daniel Blue even opened a school for black and Native American children , soliciting money when the state refused to fund it.
00:26:56.620 --> 00:27:04.340
And so St Andrews became ground zero for anti-slavery and social justice activism in Sacramento.
00:27:04.360 --> 00:27:14.350
It was St Andrew's that was able to pull together a coalition of people of color and say , Look , we can go to the court and demand these rights.
00:27:14.680 --> 00:27:23.200
We can go to the state and demand to be counted as citizens , as the first black church in California.
00:27:23.320 --> 00:27:28.840
It became the model for other African Methodist Episcopal churches around the state.
00:27:29.260 --> 00:27:33.130
In a word , Daniel Blues influence was revolutionary.
00:27:33.490 --> 00:27:37.960
But Daniel Blue left another mark that even the Reverend didn't know about.
00:27:38.500 --> 00:27:41.860
He freed California's last known slave.
00:27:42.340 --> 00:27:47.050
I wonder how we can know so little about a man with such a huge impact.
00:27:47.230 --> 00:27:57.250
So to learn more , I came here to the Center for Sacramento history , where you just push a button and a wall slides open like something from a mystery movie.
00:28:01.270 --> 00:28:08.920
Behind the door are stacks of shelves stuffed with dilapidated leather bound newspapers and 100 year old court records.
00:28:09.250 --> 00:28:16.180
Kim Hayden is an archivist who's helping me sift through these documents and decipher the 19th century cursive.
00:28:16.270 --> 00:28:23.950
We have things like this 1860 for probate case , which is the actual file written in 1864.
00:28:26.230 --> 00:28:27.070
So this is the case.
00:28:27.490 --> 00:28:33.280
The case is people v. gaman in the matter of guardianship of Ada , a.k.a. Edith.
00:28:35.550 --> 00:28:40.170
Edith was a 12 year old slave brought to rural Sacramento from Missouri.
00:28:40.590 --> 00:28:44.400
Walter Gammon was a local farmer who illegally bought her.
00:28:44.760 --> 00:28:46.320
This is 1864.
00:28:46.350 --> 00:28:50.160
It's nearly 15 years after California became a Free State.
00:28:51.260 --> 00:28:59.760
Witnesses say Gammon beat Edith and left her without care or clothing , but somehow Daniel Blue heard about Edith.
00:29:00.350 --> 00:29:05.480
So he filed a petition in county court which forced Gaman to bring the girl to the judge.
00:29:05.510 --> 00:29:09.110
This is the habeas corpus for her reading.
00:29:09.320 --> 00:29:14.530
We command you that you have the body of Ada or Ada , a colored female child , by you.
00:29:14.540 --> 00:29:20.630
In response , Gammon , the slave owner , said Edith was their quote of her own free will.
00:29:20.870 --> 00:29:25.610
And it was such a typical slaveholder response , like , Oh , I'm taking care of her.
00:29:25.610 --> 00:29:27.200
I provide for her.
00:29:27.200 --> 00:29:28.520
I'm giving her room and board.
00:29:28.520 --> 00:29:32.660
I feed her , I clothe her , which is what , like southern slaveholders would say.
00:29:32.660 --> 00:29:46.100
Like , what would they have without us ? So Daniel Blue requested that he become Edith Legal Guardian , and the judge ruled in his favour , saying that Gaman had quote unlawfully and illegally detained and restrained Edith.
00:29:47.330 --> 00:30:00.110
What makes this case so significant is the timing , because only a year before Daniel Blue's petition to the state courts , California lifted a law prohibiting African-Americans from testifying.
00:30:00.680 --> 00:30:03.440
So Daniel Blue saw an opportunity and he took it.
00:30:03.920 --> 00:30:11.870
And those black witnesses , the people who detailed how Edith was abused , were able to testify on a young , slave's behalf.
00:30:13.410 --> 00:30:19.500
I wanted to know whether Daniel Blue was celebrated in his own time by the people in his community.
00:30:19.920 --> 00:30:23.430
And once again , the Center for Sacramento history held the answer.
00:30:23.820 --> 00:30:28.710
Archivist Kim Hayden pulls out a leather bound newspaper from the dusty archives.
00:30:29.040 --> 00:30:31.440
We're looking for Daniel Blue's obituary.
00:30:31.490 --> 00:30:32.190
Oh , there he is.
00:30:32.220 --> 00:30:32.760
There it is.
00:30:33.270 --> 00:30:35.430
It's titled An old man gone.
00:30:35.910 --> 00:30:38.520
An old man gone for a sacrament.
00:30:38.520 --> 00:30:44.520
And to have said he did not know Uncle Daniel Blue was to argue his ignorance of the city and its people.
00:30:44.940 --> 00:30:52.260
The obituary describes Daniel Blue's accomplishments , intellect , how he was beloved by black and white people alike.
00:30:52.770 --> 00:30:56.460
But there's no mention of how he freed a little girl from slavery.
00:30:57.210 --> 00:31:03.630
I later learned that the 1870 census lists a woman in Sacramento named Ada Edith nickname.
00:31:03.990 --> 00:31:07.500
She's 19 years old , which is the same age Edith would have been.
00:31:07.830 --> 00:31:12.330
She's married to an African-American man , and they have a one year old son.
00:31:12.810 --> 00:31:15.810
He has been so good.
00:31:18.650 --> 00:31:26.270
He has been so good to me in my darkest hour , you know , my God.
00:31:26.480 --> 00:31:38.240
I wasn't able to reach Edith or Daniel Blue's living descendants for this story , but I can see his legacy lives on with St Andrews and the worshipers who come together each week.
00:31:39.020 --> 00:31:45.920
Reverend Cousins says together they're carrying out Daniel Blue's vision of community education and social action.
00:31:46.700 --> 00:32:01.610
Whatever we do out there is an expression of what we have learned and profess to believe in here , and so we encourage everyone to participate at every level in the life of a community.
00:32:01.850 --> 00:32:09.800
And certainly that means exercising their right to vote , particularly since that is not a right that has been ours for a very long time.
00:32:11.180 --> 00:32:17.690
Reverend Cousins says voting is the antithesis of standing around and waiting for something to happen.
00:32:18.230 --> 00:32:28.100
Voting is doing it much like establishing the first black church in California or adopting a little girl out of slavery.
00:32:28.150 --> 00:32:33.070
And if you believe that you've got it in the.
00:32:34.970 --> 00:32:39.350
And for the California report , I'm a solace on a poor in Sacramento.
00:32:51.760 --> 00:32:52.220
00:32:55.860 --> 00:32:58.470
You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition.
00:32:58.500 --> 00:33:02.250
I'm Jane Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh , San Diego writer.
00:33:02.250 --> 00:33:07.140
Liz Huertas debut young adult novel The Lost Dreamer comes out this week.
00:33:07.470 --> 00:33:14.280
It's a fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica in a world where some women have the ability to dream the truth.
00:33:14.640 --> 00:33:16.770
Their seers , known as dreamers.
00:33:17.100 --> 00:33:25.500
The book unfolds as two young women struggle with their gifts as the world around them is rapidly terrifyingly changing where time is.
00:33:25.500 --> 00:33:36.600
A celebrated short fiction writer and essayist and has written for The Rumpus , The Cat and The Portland Review , and she spoke with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon.
00:33:36.630 --> 00:33:38.700
Evans here's their conversation.
00:33:39.600 --> 00:33:41.760
Hi , Liz , thank you so much for being here.
00:33:42.060 --> 00:33:43.830
Hi , Julia , thank you for having me.
00:33:44.160 --> 00:33:52.170
So in The Last Dreamer , we follow two story threads about two distinct characters living very different lives.
00:33:52.620 --> 00:34:03.350
First , we meet India , and before we talk about her , would you read a little bit from the beginning when we first get a sense for India's world ? Absolutely.
00:34:03.360 --> 00:34:04.770
This is the beginning of the book.
00:34:05.130 --> 00:34:09.390
The Whale of a Far Off Conch Shell woke me from my already broken sleep.
00:34:09.600 --> 00:34:13.560
I wanted to wail in response in grief and terror.
00:34:13.770 --> 00:34:21.750
Dogs began barking on the outskirts of the city , unfamiliar drum rhythms pounded in the distance , echoing off the stone walls of our temple.
00:34:22.080 --> 00:34:29.310
I rose blood rushing through my body as I swung from my hammock in answering conch blue thrice from our own warriors.
00:34:29.550 --> 00:34:33.030
Three cries for peace dalu and stirred.
00:34:33.330 --> 00:34:37.410
I knew they were in dreaming their bodies are struggling to pull them back.
00:34:37.710 --> 00:34:42.660
I kissed them , each softly singing a small waking song , my voice breaking.
00:34:43.110 --> 00:34:53.410
Les , can you tell me a little bit about who India is and what is on the line for her , not just in this moment , but in her world as a whole ? Absolutely.
00:34:53.430 --> 00:34:57.120
India is a dreamer in the sacred city of Alcanzar.
00:34:57.300 --> 00:35:11.010
She was born to a lineage of women who , when they sleep , can enter another dimension kind of a spirit world to get information to bring back for the citizens of Alcanzar and the surrounding areas.
00:35:11.400 --> 00:35:14.300
The dreamers are a sacred lineage.
00:35:14.310 --> 00:35:25.200
They help all the people , and India has a few secrets , including the devastating realization that she is no longer able to dream.
00:35:25.560 --> 00:35:47.250
And can you tell me a little bit about some of the things that these dreamers go into what they call the dream to discover and to share ? They have so many different gifts , and one of the sisters has the ability to enter the dream and view weather patterns to see what crops should be harvested and which lands should go fallow.
00:35:47.550 --> 00:35:49.290
What kind of animals to hunt.
00:35:49.590 --> 00:35:52.050
Kind of a conversation with the natural world.
00:35:52.380 --> 00:36:03.900
One of the other sisters dreams possibility , the ability to kind of see what different decisions can play out and how they can affect the citizens of Alcanzar and the surrounding areas.
00:36:04.150 --> 00:36:14.490
India , until she stopped dreaming , had the rare ability to dream truth where she could see things absolutely clearly and they would come true.
00:36:14.850 --> 00:36:26.190
OK , and then in the other thread , we have Saya , who she has grown up not quite knowing what sets her apart with a mother who uses her for gain.
00:36:26.670 --> 00:36:33.060
So she has a very , very different experience with dreaming and real life or what you call the waking world.
00:36:33.600 --> 00:36:34.440
00:36:35.040 --> 00:36:47.310
Can you talk a little bit about what a character like Siya brings to this story ? Yeah , Siya has a gift , but really no context on how to use it.
00:36:47.580 --> 00:36:49.930
She's had no training.
00:36:49.950 --> 00:36:51.720
She has no lineage.
00:36:51.990 --> 00:37:02.340
All she has is her mother , who is pretty manipulative and abusive towards her and uses her gift for her own gain , claiming it as her own.
00:37:02.670 --> 00:37:10.800
So Siya has this beautiful magic , but really has no concept as to what it means and who she is.
00:37:11.130 --> 00:37:21.600
And in this magical realm , the ancient traditions and the power dwell primarily with women , and this also feeds tension later in the book.
00:37:22.020 --> 00:37:34.830
Can you tell me what drove this choice and what it means to you to have women at the helm there ? Well , I have read so much fantasy over the years and for a long time was a very male dominated field , and that is shifted.
00:37:35.100 --> 00:37:40.170
And when I went into this story , I really just wanted to central women.
00:37:40.440 --> 00:37:55.290
I wanted to center mothers and daughters and sisterhood and aunts and chosen family just because for me , I come from such an incredible lineage of women , an incredible mom , aunts , sisters extended.
00:37:55.610 --> 00:38:03.260
Women in my family , and they really are the backbone of my family , and I think in a lot of other Latin families.
00:38:03.470 --> 00:38:14.660
So I wanted to center our stories as sacred , that we have these gifts that carry us forward and our caretakers and creators and visionaries.
00:38:14.690 --> 00:38:16.400
I just wanted to celebrate us.
00:38:16.880 --> 00:38:21.920
I also love the way that this world tackles death and memory.
00:38:22.370 --> 00:38:33.680
Can you talk about what inspired you to write that kind of world where there's a reverence and off for the lost ? It's it's not necessarily glorified , but it is a different approach to grief.
00:38:34.160 --> 00:38:39.980
I think that's primarily cultural in the United States and in the culture we have.
00:38:39.980 --> 00:38:41.930
We don't really have a death culture.
00:38:42.170 --> 00:38:45.200
Death is very sanitized and kind of put away.
00:38:45.410 --> 00:38:47.060
Even driving around California.
00:38:47.080 --> 00:38:59.590
You don't see graveyards anywhere and within the cultures I grew up in , Mexican and Puerto Rican death is a part of life , and there are these long , beautiful mourning processes.
00:38:59.600 --> 00:39:00.920
There is Day of the dead.
00:39:01.250 --> 00:39:06.950
There's this really intense reverence of those who have become ancestors.
00:39:07.280 --> 00:39:17.060
And in my family , at least , we talk about our dead constantly , as if they're still with us as a way to honor them and keep them in our stories and our living stories.
00:39:17.450 --> 00:39:24.540
And you have referred to yourself as a working class writer before you do manual labor.
00:39:24.560 --> 00:39:27.710
And you worked in manual labor while writing this book.
00:39:27.950 --> 00:39:36.200
How important was your work as you wrote ? And did it seep into the story in any way ? I think so.
00:39:36.230 --> 00:39:40.880
I worked for my family's wrought iron business , as my sisters do.
00:39:41.090 --> 00:39:44.480
I'm not really good in the office or on the phone.
00:39:44.480 --> 00:39:52.070
I have pretty intense ADHD , so my father sent me off to be an iron painter , which I've been doing on and off for 20 years.
00:39:52.430 --> 00:40:11.620
And I think listening to audiobooks all day , every day and working with my body and looking around at the other workers , many of them of indigenous descent from Mexico and Central America and trying to place them in a story where they were sacred , where we were sacred.
00:40:11.630 --> 00:40:14.600
And it just it all kind of came together.
00:40:14.930 --> 00:40:17.030
And I love that I'm a working class writer.
00:40:17.030 --> 00:40:24.770
I think there are so many artists out there who are invisible because nobody tells them that they can do the work.
00:40:25.070 --> 00:40:34.520
There are incredible musicians working in hotels in the service industry , artists of all shape and size , but we just don't know about them.
00:40:34.520 --> 00:40:43.370
So I'm hoping that my ability to publish as a working class writer gives other working class artists a little bit of hope.
00:40:43.820 --> 00:40:45.350
Liz , thank you so much.
00:40:45.380 --> 00:40:47.270
It has been a pleasure talking to you.
00:40:47.600 --> 00:40:48.920
Thank you so much , Julia.
00:40:49.610 --> 00:40:54.090
That was author Liz Huerta speaking with KPBS Arts editor and producer Julia Dixon.
00:40:54.110 --> 00:40:59.690
Evans Worters debut young adult novel The Lost Dreamer comes out tomorrow , March 1st.
00:40:59.960 --> 00:41:03.920
She'll have a book signing at mysterious Galaxy Books tomorrow at seven p.m..
00:41:12.670 --> 00:41:14.440
It's a blast from the past.
00:41:14.710 --> 00:41:22.490
While technology has come a long way since the 1980s , one San Diegans says the old school tech is the new school style.
00:41:22.850 --> 00:41:32.860
KPBS Maya Trabelsi introduces us to Boombox Chuck , known for his love of retro culture , especially the boombox.
00:41:35.790 --> 00:41:37.650
It's an iconic machine.
00:41:38.100 --> 00:41:52.200
The boom box is like a bodily extension to Miguel Nunez , you know , I'm recognized for something I never thought would happen in my life , which is carrying a boom box and rock and a star like that.
00:41:52.350 --> 00:41:58.200
He goes by the name Boom Box Truck and is well known for his passion for vintage music systems.
00:41:58.710 --> 00:42:00.270
A new school to the old school.
00:42:00.270 --> 00:42:08.250
But I saw the boom box and I just knew immediately I could be that guy walking around the city with a boom box blasting music.
00:42:08.280 --> 00:42:13.380
Born in the 80s , an era when boom boxes were prolific in urban American pop culture.
00:42:13.440 --> 00:42:17.490
His love for the style and music of the time started at an early age.
00:42:17.550 --> 00:42:25.240
The elements are like Graffitied Jane B , Breakdancer B Boeing and be growing and emceeing , which is like rapping.
00:42:25.260 --> 00:42:32.040
In a sense , everyone to have a star , everyone could be themselves , and I think that's what a lot of the culture promoted in our early days.
00:42:33.000 --> 00:42:36.630
Fast forward to today , when Nunez is not working at pokies.
00:42:36.630 --> 00:42:44.220
Vegetarian Mexican Restaurant Week is often seen walking the city streets.
00:42:44.440 --> 00:42:54.960
The brothers , audibly spreading his love of retro beats to all who cross his path , have conversations with all kinds of people , all kinds of walks of life , all ages , all ethnicities.
00:42:55.350 --> 00:42:57.510
And I just see something so sacred in that.
00:42:58.700 --> 00:42:59.850
Oh my god.
00:43:00.110 --> 00:43:01.560
Hey , Oldsmobiles.
00:43:02.130 --> 00:43:11.040
So maybe by default , I'm reminding people to be themselves , you know , and to express themselves and most importantly , responsibly , of course , you know.
00:43:11.390 --> 00:43:17.530
And now , Buffett says his collection of boom boxes is made up of specially selected personal favorites.
00:43:17.570 --> 00:43:21.090
My baby is the one I started with speakers on top.
00:43:21.150 --> 00:43:21.870
Check that out.
00:43:22.740 --> 00:43:24.900
It's about six speaker system double deck.
00:43:25.020 --> 00:43:28.760
The only thing hindering his acquisitions is lack of space to store them.
00:43:28.810 --> 00:43:30.870
Daniel , again , very good brand.
00:43:30.960 --> 00:43:32.880
One of my favorite favorite right now.
00:43:33.090 --> 00:43:34.180
00:43:34.180 --> 00:43:35.040
Never for sale.
00:43:35.280 --> 00:43:36.000
See what we got.
00:43:38.130 --> 00:43:40.130
I love hunting down every weekend.
00:43:40.140 --> 00:43:42.780
Every chance I get , every flea market thing.
00:43:42.780 --> 00:43:44.290
You see a boom box out of nowhere.
00:43:44.310 --> 00:43:49.770
Like , Whoa ! And the bigger the box , the bigger the size and number of batteries it requires.
00:43:49.770 --> 00:43:54.240
Batteries are very consistent part of rocking the boom box , playing a boom box.
00:43:54.270 --> 00:44:01.260
Nunez holds hope that a battery company might take note of his mass consumption and possibly help him along the way.
00:44:01.590 --> 00:44:05.640
It's just like a trip how many batteries I may have gone through , I can't even imagine.
00:44:05.850 --> 00:44:19.110
And that's why I now want to kind of better document it , because eventually I want to send a battery company a portfolio like , Hey , what's up ? I could be a potential marketing gadget , and audio cassette tapes are becoming more like treasured vinyl.
00:44:19.110 --> 00:44:23.620
Nunez says tape sales , especially for local bands , have made a resurgence.
00:44:24.650 --> 00:44:28.890
But he says most record stores in San Diego sell cassette tapes.
00:44:28.920 --> 00:44:43.070
I think about the old fashioned physical copies reading the credits or the details or the special shout out , you know , but there will always be an element of those plastic cassette tapes that no one will ever miss know.
00:44:43.100 --> 00:44:45.480
Or sometimes my tape would just get light enough.
00:44:45.480 --> 00:44:47.780
But oh no , I had the best mics ever.
00:44:47.790 --> 00:44:55.530
I'll never get that again in a time when technology has allowed us to have so much more than we did in the past two.
00:44:55.530 --> 00:44:56.670
Boom Box Chuck.
00:44:56.880 --> 00:44:59.190
It's the past that feeds the present.
00:44:59.400 --> 00:45:04.410
For him , the self-expression born of retro culture will always play on a loop.
00:45:04.680 --> 00:45:08.070
Maya Trabelsi KPBS News.