Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Biden signs Respect for Marriage Act

 December 13, 2022 at 5:41 PM PST

S1: The Respect for Marriage Act becomes law. Today.

S2: It's a day of joy and a day of relief for our community.

S1: I'm M.G. Peres with Jade Heineman. Maureen CAVANAUGH is off this week. This is KPBS midday edition.


S1: Plus , Viva Hollywood , a great book and holiday gift for film lovers of Latin history on the big screen. That's ahead on Midday Edition. By the end of the day , the Respect for Marriage Act will be the law of the land with President Biden's signature. The new law is intended to protect same sex marriages. If the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverses its historic 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide , the new law also protects interracial marriages. That makes it a victory for several marginalized communities , including the LGBTQ Americans. Joining me now is Fernando Lopez , executive director of San Diego Pride. Welcome back to mid-day , Fernando.

S2: Thank you so much for having me. What a great day.


S2: This is decades of work by activists and everyday people all across the country for years and years , just asking for dignity and respect. And as you stated , it is also a sigh of relief , right ? We know that our community is under attack , that we're under threat , that even Justice Clarence Thomas , in his concurrence earlier this year , called out the need to repeal same sex marriage rights. And so this codifies that protection into federal law. So it's a day of joy and a day of relief for our community.

S1: Fernando , the legislation is called the Respect of Marriage Act.

S2: We know that this will repeal the 1990s law that was called DOMA or Defense of Marriage Act. And now we're talking about respect. In earlier in the nineties , we were looking at maybe only 20% of the American public supporting the LGBT community. And now we're talking about 80% of the American public supports full equal protection for the LGBT Americans all across this country. So we've made huge progress. And I think the fact that this is marriage , the fact that this is about love is important because our community has been so discriminated against and so demonized that we were told that we didn't even have the human capacity to love. And so today that codifies that recognition , that humanization of our community in federal law today , which is so important when our community is fighting so many acts of violence all across this country. So today is about love.

S1: Our listeners may not know you have extensive background in marriage equality work. Tell us about that.

S2: So I actually got my start in this work with marriage equality. This year would have been my 21 year wedding anniversary. And the it was actually 20 years ago almost this month that my then husband at the time before it was legal , went to the emergency room and I was not allowed to be in his room because our marriage wasn't legal. He wasn't allowed to be on my health insurance. I wasn't allowed in that hospital room. I wasn't allowed to make medical decisions. And folks forget that these 412 state rights , the 1138 federal rights , privileges and protections and responsibilities that come with marriage are so new. And it's been an incredible journey to be a part of this for the last 20 plus years of my life. So I you know , after that incident at the emergency room with my husband , I knew that I had to do more. We knew that we had to do more. And I got involved by volunteering at our local Marriage Equality USA chapter. And I would go on to be a regional director for Equality California , the statewide director , and then the national director for Marriage Equality USA and worked on Prop eight along side Cara Désert , our CEO at the LGBT Community Center. It's been a long battle and it's been an amazing journey and I'm glad to have been some small part of that work.

S1: Thank you so much for sharing that very personal story with us. Let's go back to ten years ago , then Vice President Biden's declaration of support for same sex marriage. In an interview that was broadcast on Meet the Press was met with shock and even seen as somewhat controversial at the time. Today , he signed it into law.

S2: That is progress. And that's absolutely what our community is fighting for. If we're fighting for change , we have to believe that systems and people can change. And in a moment when our community or this country actually can seems so politically polarized , so divided , the fact that this had bipartisan support shows that equal protection under the law for all Americans is a nonpartisan issue. You know , here in San Diego , we had Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders at the forefront of that fight for marriage equality.

S1: This new law also protects interracial marriage.

S2: The first case was in 19. 37 here in California. Peres v Sharp , which helped to allow for interracial marriage in the state of California. And it wasn't until 30 years later , 1967 , when Loving versus Virginia would allow federal marriage for interracial couples. You know , my parents were disowned by their parents because they married outside of their race , ethnicity and religion. And so for me , it holds a deep significance knowing that that work for women's rights , for racial equality have directly led to the rights for LGBT equality and justice. It cannot be understated.

S1: Fernando , the last time we talked , I believe it was about violence against the LGBT community.

S2: And in this time , you know , we've seen an uptick in violence towards our community. There are at least 124 drag events in this country that we're aware of that have been attacked. There were several pride events that have been attacked this year. And so we know that our community is under threat. Moments like this where we can celebrate love , humanize our community , and again , show that there is so much more that connects our community , our country , with love and hope and freedom and justice. The more we're humanizing our community , hopefully we can push back against that violence and show that we're not going anywhere and that our country and our community stands with us.

S1: I've been speaking with Fernando Lopez , executive director of San Diego Pride. Fernando , thank you.

S2: Thank you so much.

S3: California's Reparations Task force is hitting a pivotal point in their goal to develop reparations proposals for African-Americans. The next two hearings happen this week in Oakland on Wednesday and Thursday. And those hearings , they hope to cement who's eligible for reparations and what exactly reparations will be for their final report. Camilla Moore is the chairperson of the California Reparations Task Force and she joins us now. Camilla , welcome back to Midday Edition.

S2: Heidi , Thanks for having me.

S3: The task force is looking to answer five questions for these upcoming hearings , and I want to touch on those more. But you say these meetings are significant for a few reasons. Yes.

S2: Yes. One , we've invited local and municipal leaders of reparations initiatives within the state of California to share to the California state based reparations task force their incredible work. And then , more significantly , this upcoming hearing marks the beginning of the development phase of our work , where we transition out of the study phase , which was culminated by that 500 page 13 chapter report that we released June 2022 of this year. And this is the beginning of the development stage where now the task force will begin to determine what those final recommendations might look like for our final report , which will be released at the sunset of the task force , which is July one of 2023.

S3: And one question you'll be answering is what are the damage Timeframes. Many people would assume we're talking about the period between slavery and present day.

S2: And you are correct , and you'll see this when we are present at our upcoming hearing Wednesday and Thursday , that we are talking about the period between enslavement and present day before the concept of reparations in the form of compensation or potential cash payments. Now , it's very important to ascertain what the specific damage timeframes might be , and so that's why it's important to narrow that scope. When we're talking about actual compensation , we need actual data to justify any potential payments in terms of of cash. And so that's why that's important.

S3: And the task force will also talk about whether there will be a California residency requirement.

S2: I can give you a preview and say we're going to ask questions around what does it mean to be an African-American Californian ? Are there specific historical events that characterized the experience of being a black American Californian ? And we'll go into more detail at the hearing on Wednesday.

S3: And there will also be discussion around how reparations should be paid and measured to ensure the form of payment aligns with the estimate of damages.

S2: Right ? There's a $233,000 figure floating in the media right now that pertains to a figure that the economists gave us as California's maximum liability for housing discrimination , racist redlining practices. If all black people so happened to be eligible for that form of reparations in the form of compensation for housing discrimination. But in reality , that really isn't going to be the case. And so again , I don't want to seem like I'm being elusive , but it really demonstrates or illustrates the exploratory phase I were in and the beginning of that exploratory development phase that we're in. So most of these questions will become more concrete over the next hearing and subsequent hearings to follow.

S3: One of the things talked about during the last hearing was educating the public.

S2: We are mandated as a task force to consider the ways in which we can educate the California public about the atrocities that the state of California has perpetuated against the African-American community , starting with disrupting this myth and narrative that California was a free state early in our process , that Timber 2021 , our first substantive hearing , the task force learned from experts like Stacey Smith , professor of Oregon State , where we found that there were over 1500 black people who were enslaved in California. California also implemented a California Fugitive Slave Act. And so , you know , this is why it's important to educate the public , to disrupt these myths and narratives that hinder , you know , any progress that we could make in terms of justifying a substantiating the clear case for reparations for the African-American community.


S2: In February , we have a hearing in Sacramento. Dates to be determined and we'll continue to have these upcoming public hearings towards the end of the task force , which sunsets July one. And these hearings will be important because , again , we're now in the development stage where we will at each hearing continue to determine what those final recommendations will look like , which will then be given to the state legislature July one of 2023.

S3: And these next hearings will take place in Oakland again tomorrow and Thursday for people unable to attend in person. How can they listen in or offer input ? Yes.

S2: So people can listen in by going to our website at OAG dot S.A.. Forward slash eight 3121. There will be a live stream there. You can go to OAG dot gov forward slash maybe 3121 for slash meetings. To get a preview of our meeting materials , which is up on our website right now. And if folks want to give public comment , we give public comment 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. both days. And if you can't make it in person , there is a virtual call in option and you can find that information on our website as well. Again , OAG dot dot gov. Forward slash AB 3121.

S3: I've been speaking with reparations Task Force Chair Camilla Moore. Camilla , thank you so much for joining us.

S2: Thanks again. Jade Any time.

S1: I'm M.G. Perez with Jade Heineman. You are listening to KPBS midday edition. By 2025 , every four year old child in California will be guaranteed a free spot in transitional kindergarten. The new state law now in effect , is supposed to better prepare children for kindergarten and reduce daycare costs for parents. But KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER says it brings with it some unintended consequences.

S4: All four year olds.

S5: Will get high quality instructional.

S4: Education by creating that new grade.

S6: Last year , Governor Gavin Newsom trumpeted a multibillion dollar plan to transform early childhood learning. It would bring four year olds into the public school system in transitional , kindergarten or TEAC. But just a year into the rollout , Newsom's plan is causing big problems in the child care industry. Here's why. Four year olds cost the least because they require the fewest child care staff. So historically , providers made money on four year olds but lost money on infants. But tech has upended that balance and put some child carers out of business. Experts say these impacts could have been alleviated if state leaders had talked to child care providers first.

S2: There's the really positive ends of the expansion.

S6: Of argument is the executive director of First five San Diego. That's a nonprofit advocating for children under age five.

S2: But I think just really honoring the real impacts in the community , it is.

S1: You know.

S6: Impacts on child care providers like Marin Al Gorrie. These days , her phone is constantly ringing , but all the calls are from parents asking for infant care. I want to say 90 to 95% of them are for infants and toddlers. But Al Gore doesn't take infants. If she did , she'd only be able to take four at a time. That's because of state licensing requirements. Or if my ratio for infants is four and I'm not getting phone calls for children two and up , it means that I'm going to have to decrease to caring for only four children. She'd have to let go of her assistant and charge far more per infant to stay profitable. A new San Diego County YMCA survey found that more than three quarters of child care businesses have lost children to a T.K. program. Many respondents said their business was suffering as a result. And providers aren't just losing kids. They're losing staff. That's because in the next three years , San Diego public schools will need four times as many tech teachers. And Arguelles says many of those teachers will be recruited from child care centers.

S2: They are having a challenge in recruiting and retaining qualified staff. And now when we see potentially more seasoned , trained staff , you know , head teachers , center directors that are saying , you know , this this might be a viable career path for me to go into this , You know , the K through 12 system.

S6: T.K. teachers working at public schools get better , pay better hours and more vacation time than child care workers. That's appealing to people like Kimberly Watkinson.

S2: TCV teachers and kindergarten teachers. Obviously , you know , like the pay of a of a doctor or , or an engineer , right ? But it's significantly better than a preschool teacher , for sure.

S6: She'll graduate from SDSU with an early childhood education degree next year. In the past , many , like Watkinson , went on to work at preschools or child care centers. But that's rarely the case now. So says Sasha Longstreth. She's the chair of Sdsu's Child and Family Development Department. They can focus on experiential learning. They can focus.

S2: On developing children's social emotional skills.

S6: And once children get into kindergarten first grade , where it's primarily math and literacy and these other activities take a backseat. In part two of this series. Look at whether T.K. classes and other elementary school systems are being designed for the attention spans and emotional needs of four year olds.

S1: That was KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER , and she joins me now. Claire , welcome.

S6: Thank you.

S1: So transitional kindergarten is all the rage this fall because of the California law going into effect. Remind us what Teekay is and how it connects with regular kindergarten. Right.

S6: Right. So the idea is it's basically a new grade that helps prepare kids for kindergarten. So it's for four year olds. And it would come before kindergarten so that the idea would be that they would go to TK and then they would go to kindergarten the next year.

S1: We know that many school districts around the state have had t k like programs for a while , mostly known as preschool. So what prompted Governor Newsom to lay out this new child care plan in the first place ? Right.

S6: Well , so some schools and school districts do have some preschool built in to their to their school system. But that's you know , it doesn't really extend to to all kids. And so parents are usually left providing the care themselves , either , you know , paying for it or having family members do it or doing it themselves. Another thing is that there's long been a t k program in California , but only for a small fraction of of four year olds , basically four year olds who would turn five between September and December. And so now the idea is that Governor Newsom wants to expand it to all four year olds and have it be free. So every year they add in more four year olds and more four year olds who can attend. And then by 2025 , all four year olds would be able to attend. And he said that when he announced that the idea is to really expand early childhood education , alleviate some of the cost burden on parents , and help better prepare kids for kindergarten.

S1: So as you reported , the G K rollout plan has had some unintended consequences.

S6: And I think that's something that that they are wondering a lot as well , because there are so many things that that people who are familiar with that industry say , you know , we we for years we foresaw this and we , you know , could have talked about these consequences. And so , you know , I guess you would have to ask the the lawmakers or the people in the room , as they say , who who made the the plan. Why why those people weren't included. One , you know , kind of small example that I got into a little bit in my story is that for after cares which are , you know , really important for working parents because school and at maybe 2 p.m. or noon on Wednesdays they weren't able to accept these younger kids by state licensing rules. And so they very quickly had to rush through and change the law after school started to allow these younger four year olds to even go to aftercare in the first place , which ended up leaving out a lot of the four year olds. You know , they weren't able to to start tech because there was going to be no care for them after school. So that's just one thing that experts have told me. You know , I knew that that was going to happen and lawmakers apparently didn't.

S1: Claire , you are an investigative reporter and a mom. Let's talk about child care needs for infants and toddlers versus four year olds. Yes.

S6: Yes. So another one of these unintended consequences is that child care businesses really make their money on four year olds , which it sounds kind of weird to say , but the idea makes sense , which is infants require far more staff. They you need for infants to one staff member by state licensing and just by common sense. You know , you need more people to care for four babies , whereas with four year olds you can have one staff member for 12 four year olds. And so preschools and child care businesses would really end up making money on on the four year olds because they could have fewer staff and losing money on the infants. And they would just kind of balance it out with a very thin margin in that way. Now , you take all the four year olds out of the preschools , all of a sudden the balance is completely offset. And so child care providers are , you know , either going to have to charge way more for infants or , you know , or basically shut down because because their business model is so disrupted now.


S6: One thing that that people keep asking for and I don't know if this is possible , is that instead of just saying that four year olds would go to. Public school for T.K. , They say , Why cannot the state also , you know , give out money or make programs free so that parents could send their kids to a different preschool ? Not the public school t k program ? I have no idea whether that's possible , but but that seems to be what the providers say , you know , would be the ideal.

S1: Much more to discuss , obviously. I've been speaking with KPBS , investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER. Claire , thanks for joining us.

S6: Thank you so much.

S3: San Diego's housing market will continue to cool in 2023. That's the prediction of a new report , a continued trend San Diego has seen over the past several months after sky high price increases during the heart of the coronavirus pandemic have started to come down. Here. To put this into perspective for us as Phillip molnar , senior business reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Phillip , welcome back to Midday Edition.

S5: Thank you for having me.

S3: All right. So you write about a new housing market report for 2023.

S5: And a lot of it's at national level data. But what they did was they looked at metro areas and how they might fare. And they had San Diego as one of the most likely to cool markets for 2023. So out of all the markets , they look at metro areas. San Diego Metro is number nine for most cooling effect. Either way you look at it , there was a couple of ways to look at the data. Basically , it looked at price declines , inventory drops , number of homes for sale , all these things that have been going on so far in 2022 and just kind of looked at what trends might continue and are most likely to continue.


S5: That's according to the latest data we have for October. So the median home price in October was $775,000. Still pretty high. But when you consider we hit an all time high of 850,000 in May , it's a considerable drop.

S3: Now , we've talked before about the pandemic housing boom in cities like San Diego , but also other Western cities.

S5: So as Redfin put it , don't expect in Austin in 2023. So Austin was one of the pandemic boomtowns. Oh , so is Boise , Idaho. But also , it's not just that a lot of the West Coast markets , us included , that saw these gigantic increases in price in a two year period are all lumped in there. These areas they think will cool the most in Some of those include Seattle , San Jose , Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. The places they say are going to do best are sort of Midwest areas that didn't really see that huge jump in prices when prices went up. But some of those include Chicago , Milwaukee and Albany. Hmm.

S3: Hmm.

S5: So Redfin is predicting rents will fall nationwide. Part of that reason is multifamily Construction was at a 50 year high as of September. And also a lot of owners that had planned to sell their homes have just decided to rent out instead. That's a lot of times it's single family homes. So as of yesterday , San Diego County vacancy rate was 3.4% , still pretty low , but that's up from 2.3% at this time last year. So there's more vacancy for apartments also. Our average asking rent this , according to Costar , was $2,321 a month , but that was down from 2352 in the third quarter. So we're already seeing rents go down in San Diego County. We'll have to wait and see if the trend continues.

S3: In your latest article on San Diego's housing market , you also write about how housing costs impact migration to cities like San Diego. Tell us more about that.

S5: Yeah , exactly. So there is a lot of effort to get remote workers to come to different cities across America. And , you know , Generation Z in particular , they're coming into a workforce with way more remote options than have ever existed before. So they have the flexibility to move wherever they want. Now , not seeing for sure this is where everyone's going to go , but just just give you some of the idea. So Tucson , Arizona , has a program that will give you up to 70 $500. That's moving expenses , free Internet , all sorts of stuff. Northwest Arkansas has a program that pays you $10,000 and gives you a free bicycle. And Topeka , Kansas , will give you up to $15,000 once you verify you've rented or purchased a home. So San Diego doesn't have anything like that as far as promotions or advertising. San Diego has ad campaigns and different things to try and get people to move here , but not like financial incentives like we're seeing in these other places. Hmm.

S3: Hmm.

S5: Redfin forecasts mortgage rates will gradually decline by the end of 2023 to around 5.8%. So right now , the interest rate for 30 year fixed. Straight mortgages around 6.38%. So that will be down somewhat by the end of the year , but definitely not down below 3% like we saw a couple of years ago.

S3: Finally , the Fed is meeting today and tomorrow and many are expecting another rate hike to come out of it.

S5: The latest inflation reports we've seen have showed inflation going down. Not like it's early , but not raising as much as it has been. But it doesn't seem like the Federal Reserve is overly impressed by that. So I assume they'll continue on their rate hike plan ? I'm not really sure. You know , something to consider , especially in San Diego County , is when we looked at real personal income growth for 2020 , it was the most it had ever grown for San Diego in recorded history year to year. So you think in 2020 there was a lot of unemployment benefits , there's more stimulus checks. And we just saw San Diego's personal growth grow a lot. So one thing I'm also looking for this week is on Thursday , which was to have the data for 2021 and see how much we all personal income grew in San Diego County. So , you know , it's something to consider , even though it seems like inflation's going down a bit , it's important to consider there's a lot more money out there. So I'm curious to see what it's going to look like later this week. We finally get that 2021 data.

S3: I've been speaking with Phillip molnar , senior business reporter from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Phillip , thanks for joining us.

S5: Thanks as always.

S3: Last week saw a historic auction of five leases to develop the West Coast , first floating offshore wind turbines , which could someday produce enough carbon free power to light up millions of homes. It's a victory for renewable energy advocates , but it's also raising concerns about its potential to harm one of California's offshore treasures , the whales that migrate through its waters every year. CBC's Amanda Wernick embarks on a whale watching tour in one of the areas that would be heavily impact by offshore wind development. The Central Coast city of Morro Bay.

S7: It's a sunny morning on the waters of the mural Bay Harbor. On board a yellow whale watching boat called Freedom. Tourists from all over California excitedly snap photos of the ocean life from seabirds to sea lions. Morro Bay is teeming with life , much of which you can see on board the freedom. While there aren't any whales out today , there are common sight here. But these waters will someday be filled with something else. Giant floating offshore wind turbines across almost 400 square miles of ocean.

S4: I have mixed feelings about it. I think green energy is great.

S7: That's Morro Bay Whale watching Captain Dakota Osborn , who's behind the wheel of the freedom. He says there's been a lot of chatter in the local community about the wind projects.

S4: That's been a big topic of discussion , particularly for for boaters and people involved with the the local Marine activities here for a few years now. And I've heard a lot of different things about it. I've heard that these things could be up to like 600 feet tall. So an enormous scale project.

S7: Osborn says Morro Bay is a hidden gem for whale watching.

S4: People I go to Monterey for whales , but Morro Bay has a good , healthy population of humpbacks that feed here half the year , lots of gray whales passing through.

S7: Osborn says he's concerned that the Morro Bay wind projects could disturb the area's whales , who use sound and vibration to navigate through the water.

S4: My biggest concern has been with the amount of noise they may put into the water vibrations.

S7: Osborn points out that since there's never been a floating offshore wind project on the West Coast , it's hard to say how much whales in California waters would be impacted by this.

S4: Having something that scale kind of in the middle of their migratory corridor up and down the coast here is something I would like to see a little bit more hard data on as far as the amount of noise it's going to put into the water , different distances from those turbines , The vibration.

S7: Scientists are still studying the potential impact the wind farms will have on whales and other wildlife. But the project could also bring benefits to the region's marine environment. Morro Bay Whale watching deckhand Amy Mackellar says while she's concerned about the project , she feels optimistic that it could benefit the ocean ecosystem.

S2: I think it could be great. I actually think it would create reef structure and potentially bring.

S6: In some animals underwater.

S7: Dakota Osborn says it's not just the animals who could be affected. If whales someday come through this area in lesser numbers or not at all , it affects his livelihood too.

S4: I would hate to see the whales avoiding that area , potentially keeping many miles clear of it , potentially even to the point where it impacts us here in Moore Bay and the whale watching. It might be that no whales want to come within 20 , 30 , 50 miles of that wind farm because of the noise and interference to them.

S7: Morro Bay is still years away from seeing wind turbines off its coast , meaning there's still a long way to go until we know whether or not it will be a major threat to California's migratory whales.

S3: That was CBC's Amanda Werneck in Morro Bay.

S1: I'm M.G. Peres with Jane Heineman. This is KPBS midday edition. Viva Hollywood. The legacy of Latin and Hispanic artists in American film is a book that makes the perfect holiday gift. It's a deep dive into cinema history that serves up not just the famous stars we see on the screen , but also the often forgotten artists who work behind the scenes on Hollywood classics. For this Friday's Cinema Junkie podcast , Beth ACCOMANDO spoke with author Luis Reyes. Here is an excerpt from her interview.

S6: Luis , you have been writing about Latinos in Hollywood for quite some time. So what got you started on kind of investigating.


S5: Didn't matter whether they were Latino or not. But being Latino , I did. Identified with some of the Latino stars. Well , immediately , Desi Arnaz , because of the immediacy of I Love Lucy , and he'll make fun of my English.

S1: That's English.

S3: Seeing my right away being with the fact that.

S2: I wasn't going to a lot of being. How dare you say that to me ? What did I say ? I don't know.

S5: Did you say that ? Come on , my boy. But on the same token , I love John Wayne and Joel McCrea and Susan Hayward , all the people of my era. So when I graduated from college , I came to Los Angeles and I joined the organization Nosotros , which means we the people in Spanish. And it was the organization that was started by Ricardo Montalban in 6970 in response to the Civil rights movement and also in response to the many disparaging stereotypes that had been part of Hollywood's legacy regarding Latinos. And there seemed to be very little improvement. So he started this organization to help to improve the image of Latinos in films , as well as improve the opportunities for Latino performers working in films and television. So every year they would have Golden Eagle Awards banquet to honor Latinos in the industry at these banquet. I got to meet many of the stars that I had fallen in love with on the screen and on television. I mean , I got to meet Cesar Romero Ricardo himself. But what I realized and noticed was that , no , there was no documentation of Latinos in Hollywood there. And meeting these people , they would tell wonderful stories to each other. But later on , when I went to interview them , they were surprised that anyone would take an interest in their careers because for many of them it was just a job. Anyway , that's basically what led me to write the book. I started writing these stories down , was that no one was documenting them. There were plenty of books on Latin American cinema , Mexican cinema , but no one had documented the participation of American Latinos , for the most part , in Hollywood movies. So I decided to start writing down these stories of of achievement , of the early pioneers to the present day.

S6: Talk about how you wanted to organize this book , Viva Hollywood.

S5: Well , it wasn't easy because Latinos did not work in a vacuum. And we were there not only in front of the camera , but behind the scenes as well. So since we didn't work in a vacuum , it's part of the whole history of Hollywood. Certainly there were restrictions. Certainly there were obstacles of bias , of prejudice. I mean , films reflect the society that produces them , and certainly films reflect that in their depictions. So I wanted to make sure that we documented the people not only in front of the camera , but behind the scenes as well. So I started giving a background of the diversity of the Latino experience and also dealing with somewhat with the stereotypes and the images that we grew up with because they were not invented by Hollywood. Many of these stereotypes took form before the movies were even invented. Okay. So the movies just put a picture. Stereotypes that already existed and in the process created some of their own.

S6: I have to say that my favorite chapter in the book was the one called Present and Accounted For Hollywood Film Classics. I mean , I feel like I know a lot about film , but that chapter just opened my eyes to some things because you highlight some of the behind the scenes people who worked on films that we don't really think of as having any kind of Latino context. Like King Kong.

S5: Correct ? Marcel Delgado. He was an art student who was discovered by Willis O'Brien , and Marcel Delgado was the one that actually molded and sculpted the creatures , particularly King Kong. Not only the little models that appear huge on the screen , but also a giant hand , a practical hand , the hand that grabbed Fay Wray. Okay. And I had two. And then Mario Reynaga , who did all the background scenic painting. Okay. When he's when you see Khan running around through the jungle , those backdrops were painted backdrops by Mario Reynaga and Latino Guy also went on to do Citizen Kane. Okay. When you see Xanadu , the Citizen Kane Mansion , the reason it's so big is because of the paintings of Mario Reynaga and then Casablanca. No one ever talks about Joy Paige , who played the Bulgarian girl. And the film , trying to get the letters translated. People don't realize that she's Latina , Joy Paige. And then recently , we're talking about the most recently Elvis. When you see that classic Jailhouse Rock number one threw a party in the county jail. The prison memories that they began , the way the man was jumping on the door began to swing the haggard loft. That jam black string that it was done by a Latino , Alex Romero , because at MGM they said , Oh , we're going to do this number with Elvis. Let's turn it into a Gene Kelly kind of musical number. And Alex Romero , who was the choreographer , goes , I don't think that's going to work for Elvis Presley. Oh , Rhythm Section one , The Purple. So he said , Elvis , what do you do naturally ? What do you do when you do your stage presentations ? What are your moves ? What do you do ? Elvis showed them. He said , okay , give me an hour. He went back in an hour and he fashioned this choreographed this number , which is a classic musical number , utilizing the moves that Elvis did naturally. And he backed it up with , you know , professional dancers in prison uniforms. And if you want to be contemporary about it , you could say that Elvis was the first male pole dancer. So he was ahead of his time.

S7: Well , I want to thank you.

S6: Very much for.

S7: Writing Viva Hollywood.

S5: Well , thank you. Best. And.

S1: And. That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with author Lewis Reyes. You can hear their full discussion of the new book Viva Hollywood on this Friday's Cinema Junkie podcast.

Ways To Subscribe
The new law is intended to protect same-sex and interracial marriages if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide. Then, California’s Reparations Task Force has reached a pivotal point in its goal to develop reparations proposals for African Americans. The next two hearings happening this week could cement recommendations for who would be eligible for reparations and what exactly reparations will be for. And, by 2025, all California four-year-olds will be guaranteed a free spot in a new grade, called transitional kindergarten ot TK. But the move has introduced unintended consequences for childcare providers. And, San Diego’s housing market will continue to cool in 2023, that’s the prediction of a new report. A continuation of the trend San Diego has seen over the past several months. Also, the auction of five leases to develop the West Coast’s first floating offshore wind turbines could someday produce enough carbon-free power to light up millions of homes. It’s a victory for renewable energy advocates, but it’s raising concerns about its potential to harm one of California’s offshore treasures: migratory whales. Finally, the new book, “Viva Hollywood:The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film” is a deep dive into cinema history. It serves up not just the famous stars we see on the screen but also the often forgotten artists who worked behind the scenes on Hollywood classics.