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

California AG opens investigation into 'plastics deception campaign' by fossil fuel industry

 May 2, 2022 at 2:44 PM PDT

S1: Plastic recycling is called a myth and investigation begins. Having a government official come out and say no more and we're going to look into this is a really big deal. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Migrant casualties increase with the height of the border wall.
S2: So the impact is real and it is something we are seeing and therefore something that we really want public health officials , government officials to know that this impact is real.
S1: The reasons why San Diego is losing population and themes of bad luck and hope are explored in the children's book Freddy Versus the Family Curse. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Recycling plastics , bottles , bags , containers and more has become standard in many American households. To help remove plastic pollution from the environment. But now the central idea that most plastic can be recycled is being called a deception. California Attorney General Rob Bonta has launched an investigation into the oil and gas industry's campaign to promote plastic recycling , claiming it was an effort to sell more plastic. Bonta says the truth over many decades is that the majority of plastics cannot be recycled and the industry knows it. Joining me is L.A. Times reporter Susanne Rust. And Susanne , welcome. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate this. It's an exciting topic. Well , Bonta is beginning his investigation by issuing subpoenas to Exxon Mobil. We don't usually think , though , of plastics as being part of the fossil fuel industry. How closely tied are they to that industry ? Oh , extremely closely so. It is oil and gas that is sort of the feedstock , the foundation of plastic material. There are some plastics that are made from sort of vegetable matter or other kinds of things. But the vast majority , probably over 90% of all of the plastics we deal with on a day to day basis are built from oil and gas. Now , the attorney general is calling the idea of plastic recycling a myth. Why ? Well , if you look at the numbers , the United Nations looked into this. Only 9% of plastics are actually recycled. And that's abysmally small when you think of how many plastics are generated and put into the plastic stream and waste stream every day. Two years ago , NPR did an investigation that looked at this recycling bath and discovered that the plastics industry has known since the seventies and eighties that recycling was never actually going to be a part of the the end game for plastics. That it just it was was not a feasible a feasible way to get rid of plastics. Yet they put these arrows on all of these plastic items. We have these numbers with the idea that we could recycle it. It was sort of a sell to the consumers. And quite frankly , for many years , even though we could not recycle these plastics here , we did ship them off to China and to other countries to do the recycling , the incinerating , the burying in landfill overseas. And in 2017 , China said they weren't going to do it anymore. So what's really happened is we're now having all of this plastic sort of stay within the confines of our of our country here. And it's just building up waste. Managers can't do anything with it anymore because it can't recycle it for the most part. And apparently , more plastic is actually being found inside us. Is that right ? You know , as a scientist sort of catching up to this overload of plastics that we have in our environment , they are discovering that everywhere they look , they are finding plastics , including inside us. So there have been recent studies that have found it in human blood. They have found it in healthy lung tissue in humans. They have found it even in newborn meconium , which is that first fecal matter that a baby passes after after being born. It's everywhere. It's in all of us. It's in placentas. So yes. And it's unclear what that all means , but we all have plastic in us now. Is California the first state to launch an investigation like this ? Yes. So this was really quite an extraordinary move by the part of the California attorney general. No other state has has done this. No other nation has done this. So this is really singular. And I think the attorney general's office is hoping that this will be the beginning of more investigations and potentially lawsuits like this. Now , since the claim is that the recycling deception has been going on for decades , why is this investigation being launched now ? For two reasons. The first was this investigation. Again , that was done by PBS a couple of years ago that sort of brought forward these documents and these conversations that had taken place within the plastics industry. So here we have evidence of deception. The second part of it is , I think anybody can attest to the fact that we are overwhelmed with plastic waste now. I mean , it's hard not to drive down the road and see plastic on the side of the highway. It's hard not to go out in a kayak in the ocean and see plastic float by. It's literally everywhere. And it is becoming not just overwhelming , it's exceeding overwhelming at this point. How have Exxon and the petrochemical industry reacted to this news ? In two ways. The industry as a whole is saying that this is an unnecessary move , that they are being proactive , that they recognize plastic waste is an issue and they are taking voluntary measures to address it. And Exxon itself is saying that this is an unwarranted attack and has no basis , in fact. And what about environmental advocates ? Are they supporting the attorney general's action in. Fire metal activists are in complete support of this action. Environmentalists for years have been sort of ringing the warning bell about the amount of plastic that was getting into the environment. And this action is a strong one. It's having a government official come out and say , no more and we're going to look into this is a really big deal. And I think most environmental organizations are behind this. And one of the just an interesting a aside here as I talk to people sort of about what this means , is it like the climate legislation that's been brought against oil companies ? I heard people say it's more akin to the tobacco industry lawsuits , that there is real harm here to potentially humans , wildlife and the environment. It's a really sort of intimate health threat. And so what we will see is something , again , that will be more like the lawsuits that the government brought against the tobacco industry in the led industry. And it's best this industry is now banned , says the subpoena issued to Exxon. He says it's just the beginning. What's coming next ? The investigation will unfold as the attorney general learns more about what actually has transpired , what the Exxon , for instance , knew about recycling and the deception they waged upon the consumers. The public wants more information like that is gathered. Then presumably there will be a lawsuit and it may broadened to include other fossil fuels and petrochemical companies as well. All right , then. I've been speaking with L.A. Times reporter Suzanne Rust. Suzanne , thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
S3: Doctors around the region are seeing the grim effects of the border wall's height increase to 30 feet. Since 2019 , there has been a five time increase in the number of people severely injured at the wall. That's according to data from UC San Diego Health and Scripps Mercy Hospital. First reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Doctors are calling it a local public health crisis as people fill trauma centers. Joining me to talk about what he's seeing is Dr. Vishal Bansal , director of trauma surgery at Scripps Mercy Hospital. Dr. Bansal , welcome.
S2: Thank you.
S3: So what can you tell us about the injuries you've seen from people who have fallen off the border wall ? Sure.
S2: So there's there's two components to that question. And the first component is the injuries that we see falling from a border height are mostly orthopedic in nature. So longer bone fractures of the leg , of the lower leg of the arms , also the spine. We're also seeing traumatic brain injury. We're seeing thoracic and abdominal injury. So we're seeing these in that. Even though there may be some increase in severity , that's not much different than what we've seen in the past. The real difference is just the sheer number of patients. The volume of patients has increased to levels that I've never seen it , neither taking care of trauma patients in this current 2005. So it's been it's been an enormous increase in volume , which to me has been a real shocking situation. Hmm.
S3: Hmm.
S2: The there are some patients that are in the ICU for prolonged periods of time , and there are some patients that unfortunately have died. So it's been a combination of mostly discharges for them , meaning prolonged hospitalization and lack of care. And some patients have died.
S3: You know , parts of the border wall were increased to 30 feet in 2019 , as we mentioned , from heights of eight feet in parts and 17 feet in others. How did the number of people getting injured now and the seriousness of these injuries compare to what you'd seen before the border wall height increased in 2019.
S2: I want to be clear. Even though there seems to be some degree of a temporary relationship , it also corresponds with an increasing number of migrants that are that are entering the country through. I use the word illegal , but but what I'm trying to use the word that is blue areas that are not ports of entry. So it's hard to know how much of the increase in injuries are secondary to an increase in border wall height versus just the number of pure migrants that are actually crossing. And we don't know the answer to that. I'm aware of the data that was published by UCSD , but we don't exactly know where these patients have been injured. They could be injured in areas that aren't exactly that high. It could be areas and injured , but that might be lower. So it's hard to control for that. So we can't definitively say that the number of injuries is secondary to an increase in border wall height. There's probably some degree of truth to that , but I think that probably the majority of the number of the increase is directly related to the number of migrants that are trafficking across the border , more so than the height itself.
S2: Sometimes there might be actually in areas that aren't fact. So there is a great deal of differences between the patients. The majority of patients don't really tell us a whole lot about why they tried to enter the country. We don't get into that level of granularity oftentimes because of the the the injuries and cells kind of Band-Aid more more careful management. But those that have discussed this with many patients have simply mentioned they're entering the country for work purposes. Many of those patients have actually been in the country before. Oftentimes , we find that many of these patients who have family or friends or contacts in the country , which which we find is always helpful for disposition purposes. And interesting that it's not just patients from Mexico , the patients from Central America. We've seen patients from the Caribbean , including Jamaica , Cuba , with some patients from Europe , including Eastern Europe , Turkey. We've seen patients from Punjab. We've seen patients from East Africa. So it is a variety of. A patient from from this area of the globe. The majority are still Mexican. The vast majority are Latin American. But it is certainly not exclusive.
S2: We all know that the COVID scenario has impacted hospital care in terms of the number. You have the number of physicians who have or or the ICU availability. So we've already been faced with that that degree of reckoning. This adds to that. So these patients have almost quadrupled the number of injuries that we've seen in the past. The majority of the patients require significant operative intervention with many , many days in the hospital and also many trips to the operating room. So that's a real burden for overall health. We've already had nursing shortages. We have operating in shortages. This adds to that. We find ourselves doing these really significant surge situations and find ourselves canceling elective cases so we can just manage the sheer volume of these patients. So it does impact overall health care in our hospital system and it does overall impact health care in the trauma system as well.
S2: So for me , the situation is it's been pretty consistent. You know , we take care of anyone in this hospital. It doesn't matter who you are from what walk of life. We will always take care of these patients to the greatest degree of of medical excellence in that respect. Nothing has changed. What has changed is the sheer volume of patients. So if I'm operating in the middle of night and all of a sudden we have five or six border injuries that that are transferred to us at once. That's what does add to the overall stress of the overall workload of our other daily work life. So the impact is real and it is something we are seeing and therefore something that we really want public health officials , government officials to know that this impact is real.
S2: I don't know. The one thing I would ask our public officials and if I had any ask whatsoever , it's to increase the level of funding so we can actually transfer students , that we can actually operate on these patients in a timely manner and be able to do so without impacting other health care costs and or other health care availability. So extension of hospital operating and personnel , extension of anesthesia services , extension of operating services so we can manage patients in a timely fashion.
S3: I've been speaking with Dr. Vishal Bansal , director of Trauma Surgery at Scripps Mercy Hospital. Dr. Bansal , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you for the time. I appreciate it.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hindman. Hate incidents are on the rise in San Diego. Yet they continue to be difficult to prosecute. But KPBS race and equity reporter Christina Kim finds 911 dispatchers can help make a hate crime case. And a warning , this story uses 911 tape discussing violence and hatred. Sending a police emergency. This is Sonia.
S2: Hey there. There are some guys beating up on gay guys in the park.
S4: That's a911 call place in 2006 from just outside Balboa Park on the second night of San Diego's Pride Festival.
S2: And people are screaming for help.
S4: When three people brutally attacked six men , leaving one with severe head injuries while yelling homophobic slurs.
S2: And they're saying anti-gay stuff.
S4: The attackers , including a minor , were ultimately charged with hate crimes. The recorded 911 call served as key evidence for prosecutors who needed to show hate motivated the attacks , which is why more than 15 years later , Deputy District Attorney Abigail Dillon is playing these tapes for over a dozen of San Diego County's 911 dispatchers at a training all about hate crimes.
S1: Some of you might be thinking like , what does this have to do with me ? Why am I listening to this boring lady talk about this very niche area of the law , right ? Who cares ? We're dispatchers.
S4: We have a different role to play. But Dhillon says the role dispatchers play is very important in collecting evidence for hate crimes. The details that a dispatcher is able to get from someone who is on scene , witnessing it as it happened , or the victim of the crime itself or even a suspect. I can't emphasize enough how important that information gathering can be and how critical that evidence can be , especially in hate crime cases. In San Diego City alone. Hate crimes increased by 77% in 2021 from the previous year , according to the police department. But even though the district attorney's office received around 300 reports of hate crimes , they only prosecuted 30 cases. Dylan says hate crimes are very difficult to prosecute. It requires us to prove that the perpetrators act was motivated in whole or in part because of a bias. And that's why Dhillon trains 911 dispatchers because the questions they ask can be pivotal in proving bias. We want dispatchers to be aware of kind of the difficulties of what we have to prove for purposes of hate crimes and what's required so that that's in the back of their mind as they're asking for additional details from witnesses or victims or suspects who call 911. She plays 911 calls to show the kinds of questions they can ask. Like in the attack at Pride , when the caller said the attackers were saying anti-gay slurs. Dispatchers can also ask whether anyone was displaying any known hate symbols or even get details from suspects.
S2: You said that you what ? I just shot off a synagogue under something. My country. I'm in my car. You got me. I will not shoot you.
S4: That's what the dispatcher did when talking to the man who shot four people at a Porté synagogue in 2019. He got his motive.
S2: Why did you do it ? Because the Jewish people are destroying the white race. They have been for a long time and no one's doing anything about it. Something has to be done.
S4: Christina Newton is a first year 911 dispatcher for the San Diego Sheriff's Department. After going through the training , she says she's thinking about her job differently. I'll be asking a lot more follow up questions , a lot more clarifying questions , just trying to determine if there are other types of.
S1: Crimes within.
S4: Some of our more standard calls. She says it was good to hear she can help. Hate crime. Prosecution.
S3: It's this kind of.
S4: Crime that you think people don't get charged for or , you know , victims don't get.
S3: Justice in a way.
S1: So it was.
S4: Nice to hear that there are ways to do that. Dhillon says prosecuting more hate crimes is an integral part of how the region must address growing hate. I think that by prosecuting hate crimes , we in turn are sending a message that this is not acceptable. So she's making sure dispatchers are ready every time they answer a call. Dina Kim , KPBS News.
S3: With the moniker of America's finest city and a climate that's really hard to beat. It may come as a surprise to hear that people are leaving San Diego for the first time in over a decade. San Diego has lost population , though the decline is not as significant as other urban areas in the state. The demographic shift could have major impacts on San Diego's future. Here to tell us more is Mike Freeman , technology reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mike , welcome.
S2: Thanks for having me.
S2: That's well under 1% , 0.3% of that. But it was a decline. And again , like you mentioned , that's the first time that that's happened in at least the last decade based on California Department of Finance data.
S3: Now , in your article , you share a startup founder story , one that led him away from San Diego Shores. Tell us about. Him.
S2: Him. Yeah , I mean , that was an interesting case in that it was not about necessarily affordability. It was about competitiveness and a lack of supply for them. So , you know , Cody Barbeau , he is a serial entrepreneur. He started he's currently CEO of Trust Well , which automates estate planning. And , you know , the venture backed startups is doing pretty well. You know , he's in his early thirties. They've had a child. He was looking to take part in the American dream , buy a house rather than renting. And , you know , just found he could not find a house that wasn't getting multiple offers and above listing price and all cash offers. And he just didn't feel like he could compete. So , you know , he and his wife started looking elsewhere and they had a bunch of cities on their list and settled on Dallas and got a home that he said , you know , you just get a lot more for your money there. Right.
S3: Right. And so the availability of housing , that's that was one reason why people are leaving San Diego.
S2: But you can see a little bit of the demographic breakdown and people have been actually. San Diego County has had a net domestic outmigration for a number of years. And so as California , you know , so that means that more people leave the state than move in. The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that , you know , that's about over the last decade , seven and a half million people have moved , but only 5.8 million people have moved in. So what has happened , though , in the past in San Diego County in particular , is that foreign immigration has made up for that. And there always is a kind of a there's more births and deaths. And what happened last year was there was really a slowdown in foreign immigration. Probably most of that is pandemic related. You just couldn't get into the country , right ? I mean , there was a lot of shut downs. You had to understand that this time period was July 2020 to July 2021. So there were a lot of restrictions on people coming in. And then , you know , there were births have been declining steadily and there was a little uptick in deaths during that time period. And so , you know , that narrowed and it ended up netting out to be a loss in population.
S3: For those who are actually leaving San Diego.
S2: Hmm.
S2: And so you need to ask yourself if for every let's say for every person I heard this just for every person that moves into the county for a job that creates a multiplier effect. And I'm thinking it was like 2.1 other kind of jobs that would be in the services and things like that if you if you continue to have population leave. I think you need to ask yourself , how are you going to fill those jobs , particularly in the current labor market , which is very , very , very tight , and employers are already struggling to find workers.
S3: You know , now San Diego's population loss was not as extreme as other parts of the state. What areas in California saw the biggest population declines.
S2: According to the census ? You know , this was greater Los Angeles , which is about 10 million people and lost about 160,000. So it's about 1.6%. And San Francisco had a big exodus , about 55,000 people out of there. And that's a very small county , but it's was 6.3% of their population. And Silicon Valley lost , you know , 2.3% or 45,000 people. What do they have in common ? They're dense urban areas. They're big and they're expensive.
S3: And this population loss occurred right in the heart of the coronavirus pandemic , as you mentioned.
S2: Experts I've spoken to and quoted in this story think this is a blip , right ? That it was driven largely by the pandemic , but not something that will carry on. They don't expect a big swing in , you know , more people moving back to California , but they do expect that the exodus will ease and there will continue to be more natural increases and more foreign immigration to make up for anybody who moves.
S3: I've been speaking with Mike Freeman , technology reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune , about his latest article on population loss in San Diego. Mike , thanks so much for joining us again.
S2: Thanks for having me.
S3: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. San Diego author Tracy Badu. His debut middle grade novel , Freddy Versus the Family Curse , comes out Tuesday. It follows Freddy Ruiz , a cursed seventh grader who's resigned to a life of bad luck until a rediscovered family heirloom gives him a little hope. KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson Evans spoke with Tracy Badia about the book and hears that conversation.
S5: Hey , Tracy , welcome. Hi.
S1: Hi. Thank you for having me.
S5: Tracy , this book follows 12 year old Freddie , who has struggled his entire life with the uncanny ability to face plants in front of classmates. If something could go wrong for Freddy , it usually would. Can we start by having you read from the very beginning ? This is when we first meet Freddy and his luck.
S1: Yeah , of course. So , starting from the very beginning in chapter one , there's nothing more heart stopping than the wheeze of an empty blue bottle the night before a big school project is due. Come on , come on , come on. I shake the bottle and squeeze again. Not one glob of grade saving adhesive. Not even a drop. I chucked the bottle toward my trashcan. It seals clear over the heap of school uniforms on my bed , past an ankle high stack of old notebooks and worksheets. I miss. I set my forehead down on the desk and sigh. My eyebrow lands in a wet smudge of green paint. The curse got to be the curse. Like straight black hair and those little chicken skin bumps on my upper arms. Bad luck is in my genes.
S5: Thank you. So the Ruiz's are a Filipino-American family living in a multigenerational household.
S1: Answer is it was writing what I was used to , writing what I know. I grew up in a household where I had my grandmothers stay with us for long periods of time. So it was nice to be able to kind of draw that into the story , to show that , you know , it was my parents and it was me and my brother and then , you know , my grandmother kind of hanging out with us and watching us and keeping us out of trouble. So that's something that I wanted to reflect in this book , because I knew not a lot of folks , at least where where I grew up had this kind of multi general aspect in their household. It was always like , I'm going to go visit grandmother as opposed to , Oh , our grandmother lives with us.
S5: So luck is the centerpiece of the story. And with the superstition and Filipino folklore , this antique ending is something that Freddy finds. Can you tell us what he then learns about the Ruby's family curse and about his great grand uncle Ramon ? Yeah.
S1: So this is , of course , not a spoiler because it says , you know , right on the back of the book that the amulet does have the ghost of his great granduncle in it. He finds an understanding. So in the book it's in the form of a gold coin that's on a leather string. So it's a little bit like a necklace , but it really , you know , in kind of general Filipino practice , it could be almost anything. But in the story he finds and is like , Yes , finally , I've got a good luck charm. I can get rid of this family curse and his great grand uncle pops out and like , Oh , sorry , that's not how this one works. It's actually going to make everything worse. So now you've got 13 days to , you know , banish this family curse forever , or you're going to get stuck in here with me. So that's kind of the rundown of what he has to deal with when he gets this thing ending and it just ends up upending his life and putting a time limit on it.
S5: One of the things that he has to go and do next is find one of Ramone's old friends. And there is a bit of a history lesson in this book.
S1: And this was actually inspired by the fact that my grandfathers did serve in the military back in World War Two , and one of them actually was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. And it was one of those things that I didn't really maybe know of or realize the impact of until much later in life. So I wanted to make sure I included it , especially in a book for children. So , you know , if they wanted to look it up or maybe they won't get to , you know , later ages like I did and realized that this is the first time they've ever heard of such a such a big event in our history.
S5: I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about food. It's not an overt theme in the book , but it's still there. As this way of really putting us in the room with this family. Was it important to you to portray traditional Filipino American food and other subtle details of their life as this thing of normalcy ? Absolutely.
S1: One of the things that he eats early on in the book is garlic fried rice for breakfast. And I do remember a conversation in my childhood where a friend of mine was like , you guys eat rice for breakfast ? I like I eat rice all the time. So little things like that where I just wanted to kind of incorporated. And so again , it's not the first time anyone sees it , like out in the real world that there's , you know , folks who live in multigenerational households. There's folks that eat all sorts of cool stuff at all times of day and then bring it for lunch and open up their Tupperware and garlic. Fried rice , small goes everywhere , but it's delicious. And , you know , there's little , little hints here and there in the book of the fact that he uses , you know , banana ketchup , which is something that you can find in a lot of Filipino and Filipino American households. And , you know , it's exciting to kind of throw those in. He's Filipino American. So there's plenty of mentions of like pizza and burritos and other things. But being Filipino American means that the Filipino cuisine is definitely just part of what you do.
S5: So you set this book in San Diego and you're a local here. I'm wondering what this journey has been like for you , writing your first book in and about San Diego.
S1: It was fantastic setting it in San Diego. And one of the things that I think is a little bit fun is that the book actually starts out in the middle of a storm. So , you know , fellow San Diegans would probably know that maybe that's not as uncommon here. We'd maybe like it to be so it could get a little bit more rain. But the fact that it starts out with rain in San Diego kind of sets up that feeling of , oh , there's something a little bit off here.
S5: Tracy , thank you so much.
S1: Thank you again for having me. This is a pleasure.
S3: That was KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon. Evan speaking with Tracy Baddoo , author of the new middle grade novel Freddy versus the Family Curse. The book comes out tomorrow and Tracy will celebrate with a book signing at Mysterious Galaxy at 6:00 Tuesday night.
S1: Recently , KQED reporter Ted Banda Moody ate a dish that so delighted and confused her. She found herself on a journey to trace its wild origin story. It's a story that led her across the world and then back here to California. Here's that story from the California report.
S4: One night a few months ago , my husband , Chase Uganda , announced that we were going to the South Bay to eat Indian Sizzler for dinner. I figured he had misspoken. Maybe he meant to say samosas or Sichuan food , but no , he meant to say Sizzler. Now , I should probably point out that my husband and I are both Indian , but Chef was born and brought up in Mumbai. He moved to the United States about six years ago. I , on the other hand , was born and raised in the U.S. but I grew up eating Indian food. My mom would make dishes from Andhra Pradesh , Tamil Nadu , Gujarat and Punjab. Growing up here , I knew there would be gaps in my cultural understanding of India. But I never thought food would be a place I would come up short. So we get to the South Bay. Milpitas , to be exact. And we enter Millan Suite Center. It's the small restaurant tucked away in a strip mall of Indian clothing stores and threading salons. And while Milan Suites is known for their suites , John and Gandhi , Che chefs best friend said we had to try their sizzler.
S6: I would describe it as a hot , steamy plate , on top of which you can find all kinds of veggies , rice , even pasta.
S4: Okay , I should stop right here and explain exactly what a sizzler is at its base. There's a bed of grains , whether that's noodles , rice or pasta. On top of that are grilled vegetables , usually an assortment of onions , bell peppers , sometimes zucchini and cubes of paneer , all mixed together in a tangy sauce on top of that fresh , thinly sliced cabbage and carrots , kind of like coleslaw mix. Finally , some shredded cheese , and it all comes out on the steaming hot platter. The whole thing smokes up the room and crackles as it comes towards the table. I was overwhelmed as it approached me. The sizzler I got had pasta mixed in a kind of red vodka cream sauce with giant samosas on top of it. It was confusing because I know all of these elements separately , but together it felt like a fever dream. How did this dish come to be and why ? And again , how ? To track down this origin story. I went to the obvious place to start the Internet. I scoured Indian food blogs and articles and was eventually able to piece together a sort of law that exists around the Sizzler. And it starts in California sometime in the 1960s. Indian businessman Firoz Irani was on a trip in California , not exactly sure where. When he visited a Sizzler steakhouse.
S4: At that time , Sizzler steakhouses were known for serving their steak on a sizzling platter that smoked up the whole room and made a big scene. Irani saw this and was entranced. He came back to Mumbai and went to work , creating his version of a sizzler. A few years later , in 1967 , he opened up the Sizzler Restaurant in a ritzy part of the city and sold , allegedly , the first Indian Sizzler. Grilled meat or vegetables on top of a bed of rice or pasta or both mixed in a special sauce and served on a steaming hot platter. According to legend , after Irani opened the Sizzler in Mumbai , his son Shah Rukh , eventually took over the business and opened another restaurant in India. From there , other families took the idea and ran with it. The two largest , most famous restaurant chains are Yoko Cellars and Cobain sisters. Food blogger Indrajith Lahiri , based out of Kolkata , says part of what made the Sizzler so popular is its Surya or Showiness.
S2: Going to restaurants and dining was not really very popular , like when he asked me and my father used to take me to all this fancy jams. I'm sure it was ordered for some other table. And with that future and initial appeal , I asked my father that was , what is this ? And I want to point out that.
S4: According to my husband , Chekhov and our friend and the dish really took off in the 1990 and early 2000s. Yoko and Kobe Sizzler chains had spread throughout India , and around that time , the Indian middle class was growing and more people could afford to eat at restaurants. So sailors were still considered a luxury food at the time. Chef remembers eating his first sizzler at a rich friend's birthday party.
S6: It's kind of not food that you have. Like if you're like normal middle class , it's like very upscale. And Yoko says it's kind of like upscale. So he had a birthday party and they had , like , sectioned off a part of the restaurant. His like , dad had this like the SLR camera and stuff , so. So for that time , it's like he was like , obviously , like , well-off.
S4: Eventually , the Sizzler gained international popularity as Indians emigrated to other countries and brought their food with them. I talked to Diane Rizvi , who manages the Yoko Sizzler restaurants in the Middle East. He's based out of Dubai and has been tinkering with the Sizzler recipe to fit the local palate.
S6: We have a lot of local Arab customers that are coming in , you know , so we have to customize our taste.
S2: According to them as well. Because if you have other original sources in India , they would be a little more spicier than what we have here in Dubai.
S4: This alleged history explains why someone like me who was born in the U.S. wouldn't know about settlers while chef in Jenin grew up eating them. When my parents immigrated in the late eighties , they didn't know about the Sizzler because it wasn't popular enough. But in areas with a lot of recent Indian immigrants like Edison , New Jersey , Detroit , Dallas , the San Francisco Bay Area , you can find Sizzler joints all over the place. I did reach out to Sizzler , U.S.A. , the company behind the steakhouse chain , to see if they knew about any of this. Forbes Collins , the company's historian , said Sizzler was aware Indian restaurants were selling something called the Sizzler. But when I described the dish Feroze Irani created in the 1960s.
S2: The concoction , how did he build that concoction ? I mean , he must have he must have gotten the idea of the sizzling platter from us. Right.
S4: But it wasn't just the platter Collins took issue with. He says Sizzler USA had a run in with a restaurant in Florida.
S2: In Orlando , I saw a restaurant named the Sizzler Indian Cuisine. We were happy. They were using our name and we tried to stop. The marketing department got involved. I wasn't involved in it.
S4: But as far as Collins knows , nothing happened. Nothing.
S2: Nothing. Nothing happened. I have no idea if it's so that we didn't do anything to Milan Sweets.
S4: Back in Milpitas , that restaurant Jenna and Chase Shiv and I were at. Doesn't mention the word Sizzler in its name , but it's known Bay Area wide for them. Here's son Jay Patel , the owner describing all their varieties Chinese sisters.
S6: Hawaiian crispy saucers , Manchurian Sisters , kabobs , scissors , which are made with paneer , grated paneer , kabobs. We have our Tiki Sizzler.
S4: Some Sanjay's dad , Mukund , opened the restaurant in 1996 after moving here from England , where Sanjay was born. Milind Sweets originally served traditional Indian vegetarian food. But Sanjay , an award winning chef , wanted to try something a little different.
S6: I had a lot of excitement inside me. I've got this new country that is fresh to new ideas.
S4: Once he got to the US , he started working on the Sizzler and to sell the idea to an Indian American audience , the Sizzler would have to adapt.
S6: Indian people love ketchup and everything that they eat that I kind of like studied , broke down what a ketchup is to try and create a sauce that has that tanginess that I can add some cream to so that it creates a sauce that's similar to a vodka sauce or at least a creamy marinara sauce.
S4: That's what he tosses his pasta in , which serves as the base layer for his samosa sizzler. Let's do the similar cesses layer and the Hawaiian crispy. And the verdict.
S6: Mm hmm.
S4: Sometimes approaching this thing is a bit of a task. I found taking a little bit of pasta and breaking up the samosa was the easiest way to go. It has a sort of , like , creamy sauce to it. It's like really good. Since having my first sizzler , I find myself craving it on the regular. There's something poetic about it , too. How ? The idea travelled from California to India all the way across the world to the Middle East , to England and back to California. You taste familiar ingredients paired together in an unfamiliar way , and the result is unexpectedly harmonious. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If only we as humans , could just do as the Sizzler does , complement each other's cultures and embrace the contradictions. For the california report. I'm aditi bangla modi still leading that sizzler.

Ways To Subscribe
An investigation alleges that fossil fuel companies have long known that messaging to consumers about individual responsibility for climate change is misleading and inaccurate. Next, California is now offering Medi-Cal coverage to older, lower-income residents who do not have U.S. citizenship. Then, hate incidents are on the rise in San Diego, but hate crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute. KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim reports how 911 dispatchers can help make a hate-crime case. Later, San Diego lost population for the first time in a decade. Meanwhile, San Diego author Tracy Badua's talks about her debut middle-grade novel, "Freddie vs. the Family Curse.” Finally, an Indian dish is causing a “sizzle” in South Bay.