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California enables sexual assault victims to track rape kits

 November 2, 2022 at 4:29 PM PDT

S1: California launches a rape kit testing site to keep victims informed.

S2: Now we have a resource where we can track where our kits are. We're empowered with that information.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. This is KPBS midday edition.

S3:

S1: An election explainer report on the San Diego County Assessor's race and the San Diegan Asian Film Festival returns with movies at pre-pandemic numbers. That's ahead on Midday Edition. California has just introduced a way for survivors of sexual assault to track the testing of evidence in their cases. An online DNA tracking system now allows victims to see where their rape kits are in the system from being received by law enforcement to the completion of DNA analysis. The law also requires that rape kits be submitted for testing within 120 days. The legislation signed by Governor Newsom is designed to stop new rape kits from being backlogged , but it does not address the 14,000 older rape kits still left untested by law enforcement agencies across the state. Joining me now to talk about this is Natasha , Alex Zenko , U.S. programming adviser for Voice Amplified and author of the book A Survivor's Story From Victim to Advocate. She's also a sponsor of the bill that led to the rape kit tracking system. And , Natasha , welcome to the program.

S2: Thank you for having me.

S1: Now , remind us , if you would , how rape kits are used to help solve sexual assault cases.

S2: Well , typically a rape kit is basically when a survivor's body has become the crime scene. So evidence is collected from our bodies at that time. Also , questions are asked regarding the assault itself , where the assailant may have touched us or , you know , kissed us in certain areas so that DNA can specifically be drawn from some cases. And in that sexual assault evidence kit , all the DNA is contained as well as some , you know , verbal information as well. And that kit is sent to a laboratory where the DNA is uploaded into the national database , which is called CODIS. And CODIS hosts a variety of DNA profiles. And oftentimes , if the offender is unknown to the victim , as the case was for me , a match can be made on that rape kit. And , of course , if if the perpetrator is known to the survivor , then it can verify that , indeed , a sexual assault took place.

S1: Before this legislation.

S2: Mine sat on a shelf collecting dust for nearly a decade. My kit was joined by 11,000 other sexual assault evidence kits in New York City that were also collecting dust. And again , you know , every every rape kit contains a victim whose body was the crime scene and and pains and and difficulties in having to do rape kit after the case. And then in my case , I had no idea that it was sitting on a shelf for ten years. I was unaware of the fact there was certainly not a mechanism in place to track where my kit was in the system. So after ten years , when we did not find the man that raped and robbed me at gunpoint , I just assumed it was the fault , lied with me and that it was my fault we had not found him. I did not know my rape kit wasn't tested. And I want you know , and every survivor goes through the healing process differently. But for me , the hardest challenge in my just feeling better and coming back into myself was just getting rid of the blame.

S1: Now , Natasha , you were here in California for the announcement of this new DNA tracking system.

S2: And and certainly we can talk about the fact that now we have a resource where we can track where our kits are , where empowered with that information. And that's a part of it , and that's an important part. There's also this component about being supported and believed and to be placed in such high regard that we are given a piece of this investigative process and we are invited to this tip , we are invited to the table. We are part of this multi-disciplinary team that's involved in solving sexual assault cases and that we're just not merely a prop that's brought out to elicit emotions through our stories , that we're actually a part of the solution.

S1: The new LED. Station provides information on rape kits collected after 2018 , but it doesn't address the thousands of kits in California backlogged before that.

S2: I mean , they did this. They went forward with that. And what's amazing , even , you know , taking away just this aspect of wanting to respect someone who's gone through such a horrible ordeal is just a public safety issue. So if you have these unprocessed rape kits and in the case of my case of the man who assaulted me in the interim , the ten years my kits sat collecting dust , he was on a nationwide crime spree. I mean , he was harming other people. He was putting people in danger. He was creating additional victims.

S1: I've been speaking with Natasha , Alex Zenko , U.S. programming adviser for Voice Amplified and author of the book A Survivor's Story. Natasha , thank you for speaking with us.

S2: Thank you for having me.

S4: If you're a renter , then there's a good chance your rent has gone up at some point over the past few years. It's a trend that highlights the often contentious relationship between landlord and tenant. But a recent ProPublica report suggests that a widely used rent pricing software is actually helping to drive up cost in rental markets across the country , potentially in violation of federal law. Joining me now with more is ProPublica reporter Heather Vogel , who covers the rental housing market. Heather , thanks for joining us.

S3: Thanks so much for having me on.

S4: So let's start first with this rent pricing software.

S3: Now , this is basically the same type of software price optimization software as it's called , but it's for landlords who are trying to price their apartments. And this software will run in the background every night. It will suggest a new price for every available unit that a landlord has in their building , for instance.

S4: I mean , how widely used is this software ? It's called Yield Star.

S3: What we do know is that some of the biggest landlords in the country use it and that a lot of their buildings are concentrated in these cities where we've seen a lot of rent growth in recent years. I know that Greystar is the largest property manager in the country and they have hundreds of thousands of units all over the country. And it would be a pretty good bet that they have some buildings in San Diego.

S4: Tenants often renegotiate rental rates with their landlords at the end of a lease. This system effectively negates that exchange.

S3: And I think they call it bottom line pricing. So , you know , really this is kind of an end run around the leasing agents who historically have been the ones who have negotiated with tenants and sort of figured out where to set that rent price depending on the circumstances , their sense of what demand is in the area , maybe their history with a tenant or the tenant's history with other landlords , things like that. But , you know , if you're using the software , the company at least is encouraging you to not bargain and not negotiate.

S4:

S3: One of them is that they tell their clients that they will be able to beat the market by 3 to 7% , outperform the market , beat the market. Those are the types of language. That's the type of language that they're using. So they're there's they're saying that they are able to drive the rents high enough that landlords are able to make more than they would otherwise if they were operating at more competitive levels. The other thing that they're doing is , you know , we found something that the former CEO for this company said during an earnings call where he was talking about one of their biggest clients and saying that , well , when they started using Gold Star , they realized that it made more sense for them to not operate at 97 , 98% occupancy , but to actually raise the rent prices and leave a few more units off the market a little longer. That was actually a way for them to make a lot more money.

S4: Now , experts say that the way this system operates could potentially lead to collusion or antitrust violations.

S3: But what it does is it pulls in a trove of data from its clients. And this is a data that they don't normally share and make public. It's the actual rents that they are able to obtain from their tenants , not just the asking rents that you see on apartments dot com , but their true rent role that gets pulled into this algorithm and is part of the process of setting the price in a way that allows a building to perhaps match its competitors in a very tight area in a sort of small geographic area. So basically what it will do is it will allow these competitors to essentially have an influence in the pricing of a unit , which is not something that you typically see even with this software that you have this private data that is becoming part of the. And that's led to a number of critics saying , hey , this software could be causing antitrust problems. And in fact , yesterday , a letter was sent from a senator , the chair of the Senate Banking Committee , to the Federal Trade Commission , asking them to review this type of software to see if it is violating antitrust laws.

S4: This story really seems to highlight the disconnect between struggling renters and large scale property managers.

S3: I think that this company has had really tremendous growth in recent years and that it's very likely , if you're in one of these markets where rent growth has also been very fast , that you're going to encounter this software somewhere , whether you know it or not.

S4: I've been speaking with Heather Vogel , a ProPublica reporter who covers the rental housing market. Heather , thanks for talking with us today.

S3: Thanks so much for having me on.

S1: This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jane Heineman. San Diego County assessor Ernie Joan Enberg is retiring after 12 years on the job. He gained headlines once in 2013 for filing a legal action against issuing same sex marriage licenses. Since that time , however , the county assessor's job is settled back into its low profile. Now voters are being asked to choose Joan Enberg successor. The choice is between the deputy county assessor and a former San Diego City Council member. And joining me is KPBS , metro reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew , welcome.

S5: Hi , Maureen.

S1:

S5: It's not something that's involved with a whole lot of policy making , but it does have a lot to do with policy implementation. So the assessor part of the job and the official office is assessor recorder , county clerk. The assessor part of the job has to do with assessing the value of properties and determining how much the owners of those properties owe in property taxes. The recorder and county clerk parts of the job are have to do with issuing marriage licenses , birth certificates , death certificates , and also registering business names with the county. So it's a very administrative or technocratic job.

S1: The two candidates for the office are Jordan Marks and Barbara Bray. First , tell us about Jordan Marks.

S5: So Jordan Marks is he started his career working for the Board of Equalization , which is the state agency that administers California's taxation system. And he was auditing basically county assessors and making sure that they were doing things right. He now works for the county's county assessor's office. He's the chief deputy assessor. And that job description next to his name on the ballot , I think will definitely be a big help for him because it seems like he's almost an incumbent , although he isn't quite. And so he says , you know , his pitch to voters is that he knows how to give good customer service. And here's a bit of what he told me when I interviewed.

S6: Him when I got to the office and they said , we need a new website. Well , we budgeted for we planned for minus the slowdown from the pandemic. We got there for the taxpayers because that is great customer service. Hearing what you could do better and delivering that.

S1:

S5: He knows how it how it works. He can get the ball rolling on day one and have a smooth transition. And , you know , like I said , that that job title on the ballot does carry a lot of weight , especially for these positions that people don't really know a whole lot about.

S1: What about Barbara Brea ? Voters will know her name from the San Diego mayor's race in 2020.

S5: Yeah , Barbara Brea has been a very long time entrepreneur. She founded several businesses and in 2016 she entered politics. She started as she ran for the City Council District one , which is La Hoya and the sort of north coastal neighborhoods in the city. She won that race and was on the city council for four years. She ran for mayor in 2020 , unsuccessfully. She she lost to Todd Gloria , and she says that she had never planned to run for office again , but that folks approached her in the last couple of years saying , you know , that they thought that this office needs new leadership. She says that she does. She has done a lot of research on the job of of assessor recorder clerk. And one of the things that she thinks needs to change is technology that they need to update technology. And in particular , she mentioned the example of what happens when a city issues a building permit for a property that triggers a reassessment of the property. And the assessor's office needs to know when that happens. So here's what she says she thinks needs to change there.

S1: Each city communicates with the assessor's.

S3: Office in a different way , and in some.

S1: Cases it was the U.S. mail , and that's not acceptable in the 21st century.

S5: However , one of the big questions that we're asking in San Diego County is folks who are who are observing politics is what is San Diego County voter's tolerance for Republicans in elected office in 2018 and 2020 ? We saw a lot of Republicans lose elected office in part because. They were in the same party as Donald Trump , who is not popular in San Diego County. And so even in a in a race like this , where Jordan Marks is not talking about Trump , Trump is not on the ballot. You know , he has nothing to do with Trump. And ultimately , the office doesn't really have anything to do with Trump either. Just the fact that he is a Republican , I think in 2022 is something of a liability for candidates. So it'll be interesting to see whether that has any bearing on the outcome of this race.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS , metro reporter Andrew Bowen. And Andrew , thanks.

S5: My pleasure , Maureen.

S4: This election season. County clerks in Northern California have reported hearing about so-called voter integrity groups. As Eric Newman from Jefferson Public Radio reports. The activity has been seen as voter intimidation by some.

S6: Kathy Darling Allan first heard about the door knockers in late September. The Shasta County clerk says she got reports of three residents homes being visited in the small town of Anderson and one in Redding.

S3: Two people came to their front door , knocked on their door wearing yellow , kind of.

S1: Reflective vests.

S3: And IDs around their neck that say voter task. Force.

S6: Force.

S3: And they're pretty aggressively questioning.

S1: The people who.

S3: Live there.

S6: She says the handful of residents felt singled out and targeted by the voter groups. This is.

S3: Not a situation where the.

S1: Folks are going door to door.

S3: They they drove to their their homes.

S6: Got out of the.

S3: Car right in front of their homes , that kind of thing. Darling.

S6: Darling. Allan says the targeted door knocking happening in Shasta County amounts to voter intimidation and could be illegal under California election laws. She reported the incidents to state and federal authorities. Similar so-called voter integrity groups have been active just north of here in southern Oregon. At least some of these actions were inspired by national activists. One is Doug Frank , a conspiracy theorist who has been traveling the country promoting the idea that there is widespread fraud occurring in elections across the U.S.. My specialty is coaching local groups on finding real , actionable election fraud fraud they can take to their sheriffs , their election officials and local courts. Frank visited Shasta County in mid-September before county clerk Kathy Darling Allan heard about the door knocking. He wore his trademark American flag bow tie and gave a presentation to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. Frank says he uses election records and census data to look for irregularities in voting records. Then he compiles local addresses for canvassers to check for voter fraud. The local citizens will be bringing you hundreds of cases of undeniable fraud. There's no evidence to support Frank's accusations that local elections were stolen , and the analysis behind his conclusions is flawed , says Justin Grimmer , a political science professor at Stanford. There's no truth to Doug Frank's claims. Grimmer has written several papers about Frank's methodology. He says it's based on a mathematical analysis of voting numbers that will , in essence , always suggest that there's been manipulation , whether those numbers come from Shasta or any other election. It's just that he's chosen a statistical method that will always give a particular value , and he's decided to interpret that as evidence of fraud , when really it's not evidence of much of anything. Despite these voter integrity groups looking for fraud in the 2020 election , Grimmer says this is also meant to discredit future campaigns. I think a lot of the work that he's doing now , including talking regularly with election officials throughout the country and mobilizing these local activists , is to lay the groundwork for objections to 2022. Brian Rocco is the clerk of Placer County , east of Sacramento , another place Doug Frank focused on to recruit residents. He says if they're concerned , residents should come to his office to see how Placer County protects the vote. I just think that it's a shame if people feel that the election is rigged without coming in to their local office to at least ask the questions. When residents do that , he says , they generally leave satisfied that their local election is being run safely. Rago says right now it's on every California registrar to increase their transparency so that we can be able to begin this process of allowing people who feel disenfranchised or disengaged from the process right now back in so that their voices can be heard. Voters in California can call their local clerk's office to arrange a tour. They can also be an observer on Election day. I'm Eric Newman.

S1: Academic excellence is now riding on the wheels of some gnarly skateboards at a school in the La mesa Spring Valley School District. KPBS education reporter MJ Perez tells us about the new Parkway Sports and Health Science Academy.

S6: There's a distinct sound to a skateboard rolling on a smooth ride over an asphalt paved playground , as well as the abrupt sound when that ride is over. 12 year old Paxton Hart lost his balance , practicing skateboard flips that turned into some flops.

S3: When I'm on the skateboard , I just feel the wind in my face. I want to go fast.

S2: I wanted to shake. So I've just been learning.

S3: I just love getting my blood flowing. I just love that.

S6: Paxton is rolling and riding for credit in his seventh grade engineering and skateboarding class , One of a dozen electives added this fall at the New Parkway Sports and Health Science Academy in the La mesa Spring Valley School District. For the past 60 years , it was simply Parkway Middle School. PARKER Middle School has always been a great school. But how do we take it to the next level ? That's Parkway Principal Jacob Ruth , who got his job in the middle of the COVID crisis a couple of years ago. School shutdowns and the resulting mental health and social emotional breakdown of students got Ruth and his teaching staff thinking How could they help in recovery and bring new life to an old school ? We have a big group of skateboarders at our school and that's a big thing. And so connecting to that social activity and the ability to make friends and skate , but also think about that in an academic way has been really powerful. The rebranding and redevelopment of Parkway is not just about skateboarding. Besides all the core subjects like reading , math and science , the master plan includes other electives like history and hiking , the finance , literacy , or baseball and sports medicine.

S3: Our stir ups , we want these to overlap.

S6: So on this day , Nicole Lindsay is teaching 30 students the types of athletic injuries that require them to wrap ankles.

S3: I see your ankles look very nice. They're all lined up there.

S6: Lindsay is also a certificated PE teacher at the Parkway Academy.

S1: We have a lot of athletes at this school who participate in outside activities.

S3: And so they're able to apply their knowledge to either their friends or themselves or teammates.

S6: Scissors up front , just grab it. Engineering teacher Patrick Martin is also a longtime skateboarder. In class , he gives lessons on the dynamics and function of skateboarding. Right now , students are designing models of a skatepark using cardboard , paper straws and hot glue to create replicas.

S7: The education value is learning about scale , how things are put together. We are assembling them so they're working as designers , they're working as engineers.

S6: They're seeing how they need to be supported.

S7: How the pieces fit together.

S6: Then it's outside to practice. Eighth grader Isabella Culver had never skated. About a year ago , she started watching her cousin in action. Now she has her own skateboard and a desire to mastered this new skill.

S3: I think considering where I started , I have grown a lot.

S6:

S2:

S3: Emotion , like the way the board rides , want to say empowering makes you feel good.

S6: The idea for a radical change from middle school to a specialized sports and health science academy came from the teachers and staff who then got the support of parents and the community and final approval from the La mesa Spring Valley School Board in its first semester this fall. Enrollment increased by 80 students who wanted to be included in the new curriculum. Next year , the Parkway Academy will add a sixth grade class to the mix. Principal Root says it is geared to preparing middle schoolers for a better academic future. With sports , it's not only about winning and being the best , it's learning how to be a good teammate , how to collaborate , how to communicate , how to really kind of persevere and be resilient when things get tough. The distinct sound of Success on four Wheels. M.G. Perez , KPBS News.

S4: You're listening to KPBS midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. The 23rd annual San Diego Asian Film Festival kicks off on Thursday with the documentary Bad Acts at the San Diego Natural History Museum. This year's festival returns to pre-pandemic numbers with more than 130 films from more than 30 countries and screening at four venues. KPBS film critic Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with the festival's artistic director , Brian Hu , about some of those films.

S3: Brian , you are about to launch this year's San Diego Asian Film Festival. But before we talk about the films , I wanted you to remind people of the breadth of the festival in terms of the different countries that are actually represented.

S7: Yeah , Usually when people think about Asian cinema or Asian anything , they think about Chinese , Korean , Japanese. But one of our goals is to remind everybody that Asia is the biggest continent in the world and they're making movies everywhere and really good ones at that. So obviously we need to talk about India. India is one of the biggest producers of film in the world. And India makes more than just Bollywood films. India has this bustling new independent film scene. Films made in multiple languages. And so we've got a couple of films from India. We've have films from Afghanistan , films from Indonesia. And we also especially want to highlight the films from the Pacific Islands. So we have work from New Zealand. And I would say the heart of our festival is actually the films from Asian-American , Asian Canadian filmmakers. This is a film festival that is largely founded and organized by Asian-Americans. And I think one of our goals is to give a platform for marginalized voices , United States. I mean , Asian-Americans don't have huge visibility in Hollywood or in the mainstream media. So those filmmakers and artists who will go out there to put themselves on the screen , we want to give them a platform as well.

S3: And one film that you have comes from Australia , which is we are still here and talk about this. This is like an anthology film.

S7: We've seen a number of anthology films coming from the Pacific Islands recently. I guess the idea is when you have so many young new filmmakers who are just dying have a chance to tell their stories. Why don't you just put like ten of them in one in one movie ? Right. And so usually what we get is like a feature length film from New Zealand , for instance , with eight short films together , and together they show a kaleidoscope of the Maori experience. But this one is a little bit more ambitious than that. Yes , they're putting they're allowing filmmakers from India , New Zealand , Australia , Samoa to each have their own little short piece , but they're woven together in a way that they're overlapping. One begins another and then stops halfway , another one begins , then it resumes later on. And they're really ambitious. Part about it is , I think , the take as the impetus. Like Captain Cook's arrival in the Pacific Islands as a kind of like spark to Indigenous people having a voice , but then that cascades into talking about anti-colonial resistance and then that that turns into this like incredible imagining of what the future might look like. So it's kind of a sci fi element to as animation. Yeah. So not only does it show that there are many voices in the Pacific islands of Indigenous voices , but that they're really thinking outside of the box. And it's not just like , we'll give you money , we should give you money to make Indigenous films , we should give you money to make any kind of movies because you can make animation and sci fi and everything else.

S3: So those are young filmmakers , or at least filmmakers who are just starting out. But you also have a showcase on the Masters , and this is great because it may introduce a new generation of people to filmmakers who have a great body of work and have been making films for years or decades.

S7: Yeah , I mean , the Masters section is where we have. We show films by filmmakers like Jafar Panahi. I mean , he's for decades now , he's been one of the great filmmakers the world. He comes from Iran. But in the last decade or so , he's probably best known as one of the filmmakers in Iran who've constantly been targeted by the government for his for being outspoken about things like freedom of speech. He's constantly being put on house arrest. In fact , I think after he made his new film Numbers , which is always showing he's been put in prison again for defending the rights of artists. And his films are.

S1: Sort of about that.

S7: But not really about that. I think he's really savvy about like , let's not directly tackle these most sensitive questions , but like , how do we use allegory ? How do we talk about freedom in different kinds of ways that they're all coded ? So Jafar Panahi is clearly a master of that kind of filmmaking. But we also have films by Shin Min Ha , by Lav , Diaz , by Hong Kong Zoo , so many more.

S3: And you have a section called Classics Restored. And this is really exciting for me because I love the old Hong Kong , like New Wave films that came out. And you have two that feature Johnny Toh and starring Michelle Yeoh. So. You talk about executioners and heroic trio.

S7: Oh , my goodness. All right. So so we have this section called Classic Restored. And it's.

S3: Usually , you know , like some the.

S7: Important films of the past that people have put thousands of dollars into restoring. Because , I mean , like in the United States , Hollywood is constantly investing in their libraries because they can still make money off of them in Asia is unnecessary the case. And not only does that mean we don't access these films and we don't even know what the classics are , the heroic trio and executioners. These are not films you would really think of as the important films of world cinema. Oh , but they are. These are just the wildest 1990s Hong Kong action movies. Not necessarily in terms of just breathtaking action , but also just these are all drenched. But most of all , it has just the three most spectacular stars of Hong Kong cinema , I would say , of of cinema anywhere in the 1990s you mentioned Michelle Yeoh , and Michelle Yeoh is having a moment right now. She was in this year's surprise hit everything everywhere all at once. So it's got her also stars. Anita Mui , who recently had a huge biopic made about her that we showed at our spring showcase in April. And then it also stars the one and only Maggie Chung , and to see the three of them at the peak of their powers , kicking butt , just being totally memorable on top of the fact that there's a director like Johnny. So just allowing them to do the most strange things. I'd say this is a classic. And for me , like growing up in a Chinese household , I remember watching these movies on like VHS tapes or VCD , just like not good quality , but , you know , whatever. Your parents wanted me to learn Chinese. So to see this film now on like a 4K restoration on a big screen , we just tested the film yesterday , looks incredible. And then the fact that those are the sequel Executioners also has a 4K restoration. I mean , this is this is too irresistible. We're showing both and it's selling well. And we know that the audience is going to have such a great time as well.

S3: And I've always appreciated that you highlight his films all the time.

S7: Thank you.

S3: When you were programming the festival , how is it to put it together ? Because it's kind of like making a mixtape.

S1: You want to.

S3: Have a nice balance of elements to draw people in.

S7: So some people who just they don't really care about the art that much do they just want to like , laugh and cry and be scared. And I totally respect that. And I have films for you too , but I think privately , like mixtapes are also for the people making it , making the mixtape. So there's something about the studio. These are just the ones that spoke to me. This the kind of personal like the 2022. These are the movies that gave me life , and I want to put it out there too. And you know , some people might not care about all these movies , but I take each selection very. They come from a personal place for me , too.

S3: Well , I want to thank you very much for talking about this year , San Diego Asian Film Festival.

S7: Thank you.

S4: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Bryan , who the San Diego Asian Film Festival runs November 3rd through the 12th with its home base at the Ultra Star Mission Valley and additional screenings in Balboa Park and UC San Diego.

S1: The late musician and activist Ramon Chunky Sanchez is already a fixture in San Diego Chicano history. Now a new documentary is introducing him and his music to a wider audience. The PBS film Singing Our Way to Freedom follows Sanchez from his beginnings as a child of Mexican immigrants to his association with United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez and ultimately his being named as a national heritage fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts. And along the way , his songs and steadfast activism were pivotal in the creation of San Diego's own national historic landmark , Chicano Park. Here's a clip from the film's trailer.

S6: Chunky is absolutely Caesar Chavez's favorite musician.

S3: Whenever there was any kind of an event that the farmworkers were having , Caesar would always come and say , Can we get Chuck.

S1: You to come up.

S3:

S6: People would be holding loudspeakers , producing steam coming out of the fields. But the compound in the strip , I used to just kind of captured the spirit of what the whole strike was about. Never is somebody go up anymore. And within a very short time , he starts to become an icon. Betty , I'll tell you something. I realize that you could take from both sides of the border and combine them and come up with a new style of music.

S1: And joining me is Paul Espinosa. He's director of the documentary Singing Our Way to Freedom. And , Paul , welcome to the program.

S6: Good afternoon , Murray. Nice to be with you today. All.

S1: Now , Chunky Sanchez sang about freedom just about everywhere he could.

S6: And when he came to San Diego State in 1970 , it was really the height of the civil rights movement. And he just kind of fit right in. He made connections with people there at San Diego State who are involved with music. He joined a musical group latter. They made India the island in a very short period of time. He and the latter. And they were traveling to the Central Valley and other places to basically play at demonstrations with other drivers. Maybe that will help with media. I rely on my media. Oh , you see the young boy ? I'm here.

S1:

S6: Cesar Chavez came to life basically at that time. He was he was traveling around , certainly around the state and actually around the southwest trying to organize farmworkers. And Chuckie has a very vivid memory of Chavez coming to blight and basically , you know , arguing for better working conditions for farmworkers. And of course , this certainly was something that Jackie was very eager to hear , I think. And like many people who were aware of the working conditions and the living conditions of many farm workers , what Chavez had to say really , you know , rang a bell for them. And I think. When was. Coming up on midway point is media and thought my mommy. Pueblo poignancy The wedding of I love your.

S1: We hear in your documentary that Chunky became a Cesar Chavez go to for a musical act during his rallies.

S6: I mean , certainly we are well aware of Cesar Chavez here in California. We now have a state holiday for Cesar Chavez. But I think music is something that in retrospect maybe doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. I think Chavez is very aware that when he was having , you know , rallies and talks , that it was important to have musicians come on stage and really kind of inspire and engage the audience. Chavez would never let people talk for too long where he would bring musicians on stage having a. I saw you making that note. The not so young man. I know.

S1: You say that.

S6: I'm sad. Yes , I'm happy. But I make no. I think he recognized the value of music and also working with the theatrical Pacino with me. So there's the importance of theater and other kinds of expressive culture to really connect with audiences.

S1: Now you document those days on the picket line and on the road.

S6: He was basically 19. And so I think like a lot of young people , I mean , he was just very swept up with the political momentum that was going on at that time. This was really the first time that Mexican-Americans , Chicanos were on the national stage because of Cesar Chavez. Really for the first time , people were seeing , you know , Mexican-Americans , Chicanos in national news. He also really saw or understood the value of music , in particular in terms of making political change.

S1:

S6: I think many people may know the story of Chicano Bark Beetle , a little bit of that in the film. And of course , Junkie , he wrote a very , very important song , Chicano Park Samba , which really recounts the story of how he got a part , came into being that little piece of land into the corner , which in San Diego is known to people everywhere as Chicano Park. Well , in.

UU: Fact , you know. It began in 1970. Under the gun , I. And move out of your. Inside.

S6: Beyond that junkie was a member of the Chicano Park Steering Committee for most of his life. He was certainly there to go to. Park Day is always like the third Saturday of April , and Chuckie was usually there as the emcee playing music and engaging with people from the community and from from around the state.

S1:

S6: You know , Chunky was at the time that a lot of the actions were taking place , a young person. And we see that the Chicano movement was really powered by young people , as many social movements really are powered by young people. I think we see the example of what young activists can do. Obviously , Chunky was a musician that he found his own method , I guess , for being engaged with with the larger social world. And I think that he really gives inspiration to , let's say , other young people to sort of look at their own skills and see how they can apply their skills to making change in the world. We shall continue to live , my brother. We shall continue to fight. My friend , one of the things that I was always really impressed with about Chunky was that he was somebody very dedicated to this community. Somebody who was really involved with building community throughout his career. Chunky continued to be active really all through to the end of his life in 2016 , really throughout his career. Chunky was very involved with his community and was really trying to make change in the community.

S1: The documentary Singing Our Way to Freedom debuts on KPBS tomorrow , November 3rd. And I've been speaking with the film's director , Paul Espinosa. Paul , thanks so much for speaking with us.

S6: Thank you , Maureen. Great to talk to you.

California has just introduced a way for survivors of sexual assault to track the testing of evidence in their cases. And, if you’re a renter, there’s a chance your rent has gone up over the past few years. A recent ProPublica investigation looked at whether widely used rent pricing software could be driving up rental prices in housing markets across the country. Then, voters are being asked to choose a new county assessor. What does the job entail and who are the candidates? Next, academic excellence is now riding on the wheels of some gnarly skateboards at a school in the La Mesa-Spring Valley school district. Then, a preview of the 23rd annual San Asian Film Festival which kicks off on Thursday with the documentary “Bad Axe” at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Finally, the late musician and activist Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez is already a fixture in San Diego’s Chicano history. A new documentary about his life and legacy, “Singing Our Way To Freedom” airs Thursday on KPBS television.