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City release water from Lake Hodges to protect dam

 November 30, 2022 at 1:51 PM PST

S1: Water is released from Lake Hodges to reduce strain on the dam.

S2: There is a state mandate for Hodges right now that it has to be at 275 feet.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jared Heineman. This is KPBS midday edition. An update on the World Cup after a dramatic U.S. win yesterday.

S3: They had to win to advance , and that's what the knockout rounds are as well. So I think in certain elements , this match prepared them now for suddenly being in a win or go home scenario.

S1: A new book examines the complicity of the French state railroad in the Holocaust. And master of the ukulele , Jake Shimabukuro , performs in San Diego tonight. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Concerns about the condition of the Lake Hodges Dam prompted officials to release water from the lake this week. Water is being released into the San Diego River to bring the lake's level down to 275 feet. Recent rains in the area have increased the level of the lake. Repairs on cracks in the 104 year old dam have been ongoing for months. Joining me is KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. And , Eric , welcome.

S2: Thank you , Maureen.

S1: The Lake Hodges Dam isn't anywhere near maximum capacity.

S2: I think it's like 313 feet above sea level as is. How much water can be in that dam. But since the spring , officials have lowered the water level so they can do some repairs. Now , the dam itself , it's 104 years old. And as you can imagine , anything else that's 104 years old is going to need repairs occasionally , that the dam needed some repair work done. So they lowered the lake level to 275 feet above above sea level. What happened in the last week or so is that there's been enough rain in the region and that dam , that lake collects water from a 248 square mile watershed. There's been enough rain there that it's brought the level of the lake up a couple of feet. So officials were just kind of getting it back to the level where they feel comfortable.


S2: And they did that over a period of two days. So So no issues as far as the Santa Rita River is concerned.


S2: They thought they were going to be done by October , but that's not the case because they say they found some additional issues with the dam when they lowered the water level. So that work is going to continue until next spring. And , of course , that means if you're a person who likes boating in that lake or you're a person who likes fishing in that lake , those activities are still off limits until this repair work is finished.


S2: All of the reservoirs in the county represent about 10% of the water that we get for drinking water. And it's free because it's runoff that comes from rains. That's where that water is collected. Much less expensive than the water that San Diego County imports from the Imperial Valley or from the Metropolitan Water District. So it's also much less expensive than the water that it's gotten from the ocean at the Carlsbad desalination plant. So it's a cheap source of water , although it's not as large as you might think.

S1: Now , the Hodges Dam , as you say , is more than 100 years old.

S2: There is a project in the works somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million replacement dam project. That's going to happen a hundred feet downstream from where the existing dam is. And , you know , it's kind of interesting that the reason this dam actually came under scrutiny was because of the Oroville Dam issue a couple of years ago up in northern California , where the dam had some problems holding back record rainfall at that time. And it created some problems and it prompted state officials to ask all local officials to look at their dams. They looked at Lake Hodges and found it had some problems and that kind of kicked off that repair project.

S1: Now , this water release started Monday.

S2: It should be down a couple of feet. They were releasing the water , you know , slowly enough so that it's not just a big rush of water downstream , but it's been coming down since Monday. So they expected to have those valves open , releasing water for two days , and that's today.

S1: And we're heading into the rainy season.

S2: If the region does get rain , I think that you'll see a continued effort by the city to make sure that they keep at that 275 foot level. The whole reason there is , is they don't want to put additional pressure on the dam while the repair works are underway. So they want to make sure that the repairs are done safely. They want to make sure that no one downstream is impacted by , you know , a collapsing dam , which would be horrible. And they want to keep the pressure on the dam a little bit lower than its capacity , you know , in an effort to make sure that nothing bad happens.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric , thanks.

S2: My pleasure.

S4: The U.S. men's national soccer team reached the final round of 16 in the World Cup after a dramatic one nil win against Iran yesterday. The team held on even after star player Christian Pulisic was forced to exit the game early due to an injury. The next test for the young American team comes Saturday , when it will face the Netherlands in a knockout match. I'm joined now by Jill Ellis , San Diego Wave FC team president and former coach of the U.S. women's soccer team. Jill , welcome back to Midday Edition.

S3: Thank you. Lovely to be here. Thank you very much.

S4: As a two time World Cup winning coach , you are no stranger to World Cup drama. What did you think of yesterday's win ? Fantastic.

S3: I mean , obviously , to get out of your group and advance to the knockout rounds , it's it's incredible. I mean , it's very , very competitive. And they were in a tough group. So , I mean , it's great. It's great for sport. You know , we just continue to grow our fan base. And the success of our national teams is critical to that.

S4: Star player Christian Pulisic scored the only goal in the match and paid a painful price for it , colliding with the Iranian goalkeeper and later leaving the match.

S3: And so I you know , I was people ask me about the goal. I think it was incredibly brave. I mean , he knew he was going to take the hit , getting on the end of that kind of risk life limb to get to get onto the end of it. But but that's what it takes at the top level. It's finding a way to win. You know , I thought the first half was was a good performance. I think , you know , we had the better of the game and then , you know , obviously take a lead and now , you know , the team you become down to being the hunter , to being the hunted. And certainly we hung on there at the end. But overall , Christian , I mean , that's what he does , a specialist and scores goals.

S4: And , you know , there was more than sports surrounding the match with Iran , including a tense press conference with Iranian journalist.

S3: And I've been there myself. You know , when you're in sports and obviously then there's there's bigger elements that come into play. And , you know , those players are young that you alluded to at the beginning , and I thought they all handled it very well. And I heard Greg's comments. You know , their job is to try and keep the focus on the match and keep it on the game. But but certainly , you know , in sport , other elements come into it. And I and I thought they navigated it very well. And and I think the end of the game before the game , Greg and the coach of Iran was very complimentary of each other. And I think they kept in perspective.


S3: But , you know , I think this team , I think just the US attitude in general , it's like there's work to be done. You know , they're not satisfied while you can enjoy that. You know , I know with our players , with the women's team , it was like , okay , but there's there's now another goal. And you know , what I liked about this game is it actually gave them the feeling they had to win to advance. And that's what the knockout rounds are as well. So I think in certain elements this match prepared them now for suddenly being in a , you know , win or go home scenario. So I think they'll be ready.

S4: You know , the fans are a big part of the World Cup experience and that extends to San Diego. Last weekend , the Rady Shell was packed with fans cheering on the U.S. team against England. On top of that , your current team , San Diego Wave FC , broke attendance records in its first season.

S3: So I think we have a history of developing players in this region. I think people have grown up the soccer all the way back to the San Diego soccer's when they started. We've had a women's professional team here in the past. So there is tradition and history here. But I think now what we're finding is , you know , fans are , you know , just really enjoying the game. I think it's you know , we've got talent , we've got heroes , we've got all the elements. And I think , you know , San Diego is is a town that likes to get behind winners , likes to get behind sports. And so I think it's a natural fit.


S3: She's actually doing some commentary in Qatar at the moment , but she's you know , her and her staff are putting together we have a we have a draft coming up in January. Obviously , trying to secure players is part of building rebuilding the team for next year. We had a fantastic year. But again , you want to constantly work and improving and they'll be joining us shortly. And I think the end of January is when the players report back in for pre-season. So it'll be here in no time. And in that short time we're also trying to continue to grow our own footprint and build our fan base here.

S4: You know , FIFA announced an all female refereeing team will be officiating its first men's World Cup match on Thursday. What's your reaction to that ? Incredible.

S3: I mean , just I think it's brilliant. I actually know the referee that will be in the middle. I saw her actually out in Qatar and we're sure all the very best. I think it's great. And I think , you know , talent is talent and , you know , physically are the women that , you know , they're well , well tested to to be able to keep up with the demands of the game. And I think it's I think it's a tremendous statement on these. Brilliant.

S4: And we've heard a lot about how young this U.S. men's team is.

S3: You want some experience. And they have that. They have some some older players. Tim Ream in the back is , you know , 30 something years old. So you want that balance. But I love I love the the infusion of the youth. And you know , there's a there's a kind of just an attitude of they don't really know any better in terms of pressure. And so they're going into this many of them , most of them for their first World Cup. So I think they go in with with a hunger , with an intensity and a passion that that. So I think they're going to make some noise. I have I'm optimistic about the next game.


S3: They've got some talented players. And , you know , they've had a they've had an easy route through the early rounds. But , you know , I think the focus has to be on the on the attitude that is in the DNA of the U.S. players , which is we've got to go after this game. We can't sit and be passive. We want to be on our front foot. We're a team that likes to live in transition. So I think the focus has to be play to our identity , play through our strengths. Hopefully we'll have our injured players back because obviously without Pulisic , that's a that's quite a blow , but hopefully you'll be back. But I think it's just continuing to be on our front foot and having a really optimistic attitude and desire in this game.

S4: Jill Ellis is president of the San Diego Wave Football Club and two time World Cup winning former coach of the U.S. women's soccer team. Jill , thank you so much for joining us.

S3: My pleasure. Thank you so much.

S1: This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. Mexico deployed hundreds of National Guard troops in Tijuana to combat violent crime. But data shows that crime hasn't decreased. KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis explores the impact of Tijuana's growing militarization.

S2: You've probably seen this meme before. Or at least a variation of it. It's of a man and a woman walking down the street holding hands. The man gawk at another woman passing by , and his partner just stare Saddam mouth wide open in utter shock. There's a version of the meme circulating on social media in Tijuana. In it , the man is represented by thousands of National Guard troops who've been deployed in Baja , California to tackle the spiking homicide rate. His girlfriend , Tijuana residents , who are supposed to be protected by the National Guard and the other woman , well , she represents Tijuana flea markets. Maria Cortez makes her living in the city's flea markets. She sells secondhand clothes , and she laughed when I asked her to explain the meme to me.

S5: Let's keep going with them.

S2: Cortez says that the National Guard troops come from parts of Mexico where American goods like Nike and Levi's are hard to come by. So they like to shop around in the flea markets while they're in Tijuana.

S5: Economy in a one. I mean , I'm lost in my unilateral body. My main cause of the yellow minimalism I keep on will get in the middle of it.

S2: And while the troops shop , Cortez and others say that neighborhoods in Tijuana remain besieged by violence. There were more than 1900 homicides last year in Tijuana. At first , residents were happy that the federal government was finally taking action.

S5: I can guarantee you that , don't forget , because it seems to me that I know I was up with intelligence , so I kept out of the I'm dealing with what the people go.

S2: But there's already been more than 1700 murders in Tijuana so far this year on track to surpass last year's total. The National Guard troops stationed in Tijuana did not respond to a request for comment. This isn't the first time that Mexico has turned to the military to fight crime. Cecilia FARFAN méndez is a researcher at UC San Diego. She traces today's efforts back to 2006.

S3: So the argument that was made about in 2006 was that because there was corruption in civilian law enforcement institutions , we needed to deploy the armed forces in a way that they had not been involved before until , you know , the civil institutions were developing up and corruption was rooted out of them. So it was always meant to be a temporary solution.

S2: Now , nearly two decades later , city and state police forces are still considered corrupt and ill equipped to tackle cartel level violence. In September , Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador doubled down on the militarization strategy. He passed a law that formally made the federal police force part of the military. So far , the data show that this hasn't worked.

S3: Despite these deployments , we don't see security conditions improving in Mexico.

S2: Maria Cortez doesn't need data to know that her neighborhood is still a dangerous place. She recently gave me a tour. She pointed out the house where the local meth dealer lives and the playground that people use to shoot up heroin. They operate in the open. And Cortez says that the National Guard still does nothing to stop them.

S5: How can we get them on ? You know , giving me a lot of people.

S2: Cortez says that the soldiers are either scared or they just don't want to bother. To make matters worse , soldiers in other parts of Mexico have been accused of human rights violations. Farfan Mendez says this is also something that isn't new.

S3: What has been documented over the years , especially by human rights activists , is that , unfortunately , these deployments tend to really erode human rights.

S2: There is a martinez is a researcher for the think tank Mexico Evolution. She has spent years conducting fieldwork in neighborhoods like the one where Maria Cortez lives. She says that the current conditions are so bad that people are actually willing to sacrifice some of their own civil rights for more protection for citizens.

S3: My rights has been violated every single minute of every single day by their organized crime or any other criminal. So I don't care about the human rights.

S2: But she says that's only acceptable if the armed forces brought here to protect them actually accomplish their mission.

S1: That report was from KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis , who joins me now. And welcome , Gustavo.

S2: Hello , Maureen.

S1: The National Guard troops can't spend all their time shopping at flea markets.

S2: They can't and they don't spend all their time shopping at flea markets. Just to be clear. They they're actually kind of hard to miss when you're driving around Tijuana. Right. They ride on the back of pickup trucks dressed in camels carrying assault rifles. Probably the most visible thing they do is traffic stops , kind of like DUI checkpoints here. But over there , they're just looking for for wanted criminals. And one of the things that's stopping them from from being an effective force against violence , according to the experts that I talked to , is it's the guidance from the top. Right. The president's approach to organized crime in Mexico. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has touted this policy that he calls about assaults , mobile lassos , which translates roughly to hugs , not guns. Right. Previous presidents have been criticized because confrontations between the military and cartels lead to widespread violence. So this president has been a little bit more hands off. And people on the ground are saying that the troops are kind of like working with the hands tied behind their back.


S2: I mean , they carry on as usual. I mean , there's plenty of them. There's plenty of work for them to do. Right. Taiwan is a city of more than 2 million people now. And there's other crimes that they can address. The National Guard was brought in specifically to to deal with homicides. But there's a host of other issues that local authorities can tackle. And I do think the National Guard is somewhat reluctant to work with state and local law enforcement just because , as you heard in the piece , there's this perception that the local agencies are more susceptible to corruption and the federal agencies are the more professional ones. So there's a little bit of a rivalry there.


S2: And politics do come into play here. Right. The mayor and governor are both part of the Morena Party , which is the party that President Lopez Obrador started. So they'd be very reluctant to kind of butt heads with with the leader of their party. And the troops , I mean , they get something out of it at the local level. The troops work as a more of a political move than a crime fighting strategy , really. Right. You hear experts say that more militarization doesn't reduce the homicide rate in Tijuana. They're actually on pace to surpass last year's total. But what the troops do is they are show of force. They're a very visible presence that the government is trying to do something about it. So elected officials can kind of point to those trucks and the camo and the machine guns and say , hey , look , we're doing our best.

S1: You mentioned that the governor of Baja is supportive of the national troops.

S2: They've been deployed all over the state. Thousands , not just obviously most of them are in Tijuana because it's the biggest and most violent city. But there are several , you know , say Nada and Mexicali as well. And in terms of Mexicali , I mean , homicides are kind of on pace to be what they were last year. There were 288 total last year , and they're at 250 through the first ten months. And so not I would say it's the lone bright spot right now. The city had 341 homicides last year , and so far this year , they're down to 140. So they're cutting that by more than half , which every other city is kind of staying the same.

S1: Have the leaders of the National Guard forces released information about any kind of strategy they have to stop the killings and the cartel violence.

S2: So when they came in , well , they've been here for years , but at the start of this year , they released the list of the I forget if it was 100 or 150 top like most wanted that they wanted to tackle. And they have managed to capture some of those people. I don't know how many. I actually I got a chance to interview a general of the National Guard in the spring for for a separate story. And at that time , they were touting the fact that homicides had decreased. And he was right. If you look at the first five months of 2022 , there were fewer homicides each month compared to last year. So Tijuana was on track for a very good year. But since then , I mean , in the piece mentioned , June was a particularly bloody month with an average of seven homicides a day. Since then , they've just outpaced last year's total , and they haven't really been as vocal as they were earlier in the year.


S2: I mean , at this point , it is starting to feel like it's going to be indefinite. I mean , the soldiers come and go. The deployments last 4 to 6 months. But but they've been here for a long time and they keep on growing in scope , especially now since President Lopez Obrador has expanded the size and the scope of the military and the government. The federal government has passed laws that that kind of formalized the National Guard as being more of a military force as opposed to a to a law enforcement force.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS , border reporter Gustavo Solis. Gustavo , thanks.

S2: Oh , thank you , Maureen.

S4: We're traveling to the Gulf of California for this next story about conservation. Mangroves are trees and shrubs that live in saltwater estuaries and along sheltered coastlines. They're considered one of the planet's most important ecosystems. But they are disappearing worldwide. So an indigenous conservation group is working to protect some of the northernmost mangroves on the North American continent. From the front terrace desk , an ear. Marzio KJZZ is Kendall Lust brings us the story.

S1: Alysia Barnette starts the motor on a small blue and white boat or Bangor , and begins the short trip from the little town of Weka to the vast Iceland and Tiburon , the largest island on the Gulf of California and part of the indigenous conquered territory. It's a warm , sunny afternoon. Waves lashed the side of the boat and wind whips. Erica Barnett , straight black hair across her face as she watches dozens of herons , seagulls and small coastal birds bask in the shallow waters just off the shore. Beyond them stretches a dense mass of green leaves , part of a huge mangrove estuary on Tiburon Island. It's one of about a dozen interconnected stands on the pier Neo channel , a narrow stretch of ocean between the island and the Sonoran Coast. All compact territory. Mangroves cover nearly 2400 acres of the channel.

S5: It's common in their thick.

S1: Barnett , a local conservation leader , calls the mangrove forests a kind of kindergarten or nursery , providing a protected habitat for important marine species like crabs , shrimp and fish , as well as birds and sea turtles. That's important for a fishing town like punt a Twitter.

S2: It's a common lot. So Carla PESCA put on a show.

S1: Eliza Barnett is Erica's cousin and a member of her conservation team. He says if mangroves stay out , so does fishing. And his family's livelihood depends on the species that shelter in the mangroves tangled roots. More than that , he says. Caring for this region is a value passed down from his ancestors.

S2: Someone would go back and put on stones and look around.

S1: So though their conservation group is small , he says. They're doing big things , starting with collecting mangrove papules. The long , slender green and brown stalks that grow from mangrove flowers. Walking along the beach on Tiburon Island , Erica BURNETT occasionally stoops down to pick up a stray mangrove proper yard. She collects the ones that wash ashore.

S5: It's more important , Gloria Borger. It goes on to.

S1: Say rescuing them is an idea that came to her years ago. Watching them wither on the beach near her childhood home in the.

S5: Corridor , I guarantee you what I do.

S1: For family propagated the plants and took them to the El Paraiso estuary. The conservation team's current project is much the same , but on a larger scale , propagating some 6000 plants each summer.

S5: You're welcome. Nuclear multicast. So no factories must must for this.

S1: Barnett says climate change is a major factor impacting mangrove forests. Increased heat , drought and rising sea levels are taking a toll on the plants.

S3: It's the extreme of extremes. My goodness.

S1: That's ecologist Laura Smith. Monty The.

S3: Mangrove stands in New York channel are the northernmost mangroves.

S1: That occur on the West Coast. For sure. Mangroves here push the bounds of heat and drought The plants can withstand climate change will test those limits even further. But this interconnected system of mangroves provides critical habitat , sequesters large quantities of carbon dioxide , and protects coasts from erosion. For the home cook , they're a source of food , medicine , building material , and even served as refuge for their ancestors who hid in the forests to avoid being killed or captured by Spanish colonizers. But preserving them takes time and money.

S3: They should be paid for taking care of this little place on earth. That is so important.

S1: That isn't easy. But she's helped secure funds to build a simple greenhouse where Barnett and her team grow their plants inside the small wooden structure have to cook. Bottles are strung up in neat rows from floor to ceiling on every wall filled with thousands of plants. A cat named chocolate chip that dozes in one corner. Barnett calls her The Greenhouse Guardian.

S5: Gives a parable of a thief , but I cannot see them breathing.

S1: She pulls some of the plants out of their makeshift pots , demonstrating how she separates their red roots , keeping them from becoming tangled and difficult to plant. Reforestation is challenging. The hot arid climate has meant using different strategies the mangrove restoration projects in other parts of the world , and strong currents and fluctuating tides in the inferno channel have washed away smaller reforested plants.

S5: Better yet supplement them.

S1: It's been a learning process , Barnett says. This year , she'll let the plants grow larger , following advice from one of the few other mangrove conservation teams in the region. Looking out at the mangroves , she says she's determined to make this project work both for the plants and for her children.

S5: Who seem serene.

S1: Who she hopes will carry on her mission. I'm Campbell Blessed , reporting from OneTouch Weka.

S4: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. World War Two ended almost 80 years ago , but the horrors of that time and the murder of nearly 6 million Jews by the Nazis is still part of our collective memory. And a new book by a local author explains how other entities , specifically the French National Railway , helped the Third Reich achieve their grisly agenda and how it is being held accountable. Sarah Federman is an associate professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego and author of The Last Train to Auschwitz. Thanks for joining us , Sarah.

S3: Thanks so much for having me.

S4: So can you briefly describe the role of the French National Railway and what it played in the Holocaust ? Sure.

S3: It played a complicated role , like many large entities do , and it had the role of victim , hero and perpetrator. And I'll just kind of tell you briefly each. It was a victim of World War Two because did not ask for the Germans to invade France. They did not want to be occupied by Germany. But they were also played a material role in the Holocaust , helping transport 76,000 approximately deportees to the German border , where a German or other train driver got on and took them to Auschwitz. So they were transported in what we now call cattle cars. So in grisly conditions , many did not survive the journey and were horrified. Some of the survivors I met said it was the journey was worse even than Auschwitz in some ways. But then the company also had a story as a hero in that during at the same time that these deportation trains were going , a number of railway workers helped sabotage trains that were headed to the Normandy beaches to fight off the allies , and they sabotage those trains , helping the allies actually secure Normandy. So like many large groups , you know , they were hero of victim and perpetrator , but they did play a material role in the Holocaust.

S4: So this book that you wrote , it isn't a history book because you show that the actions taken back then still reverberate today.

S3: You know , what do they owe for these historic transgressions that today's executive did not actually personally participate in ? So they were actually held accountable First , in France in the 1990s when archives opened the end of the Cold War. There was a lot of Holocaust reckoning taking place and survivors found documents that showed that they were paid for some of the transports within France and began to sue the company. And those lawsuits went on. They never actually resulted in any definitive rulings against the company. But then the courts closed in France , and then the lawsuit moved to the United States , where the company actually bids for contracts. So there were a number of boycotts here and made it difficult for the company. And the company has since opened up its archives , made apologies. There was a large settlement. So they've been in this actually longer process of reckoning than many other companies.


S3: I had stayed in touch with a history professor. And he said to me , Hey , when you get to Paris , find out if those French train drivers kept their jobs after the war. And he meant the ones that drove the trains , the Holocaust transports. Therefore , it sort of forgot about his question until I saw my own name on a Holocaust memorial wall. It was somebody who had the exact same spelling. And it got me interested in , well , wait a minute , what was the role of those trains ? So I had no notion at the time that I started poking at this that there a contemporary conflict. I just wanted to understand the history.

S4: And your book is is academic. You've done tons of research , but it's also full of very touching human moments.

S3: Some of us wanted the history books , some just wanted the survivor stories. And I thought they both matter. We need the law. We need history. We need the voices. So the chapters , the way the book works , I have their voices kind of from 1938 till about 2016. But each chapter ends with what's happening in the lives of these four people that are on these last trains to Auschwitz. So you sort of get this like head and heart feeling when you're reading it. Like it's very interesting , the history , very interesting , the law and the battles , and then remembering why this matters at all. It's sort of easy to get caught either in one or the other. And I wanted people to remember to stay anchored in the lived experience of this for people. Hmm.

S4: Hmm. And it's hard to read your book and not think about how corporations in our own country today are negatively affecting the lives of people. Not in this to the same degree , of course.

S3: For our contemporary days. Hannah Arendt , the political philosopher , talked about typist , traitors or desk murderers , meaning like people , you're far away from the action , but little actions that you're doing are contributing to harm. So it really woke me up to kind of what are the small ways in which we are complicit in different human rights violations or environmental catastrophes , whether we work in these companies , whether we buy their products and don't say anything , whether we're shareholders and don't vote on the on the boards and so on. So there are a lot of ways that we that we are all participating. And when I saw how much people were holding the train company accountable , you know , like they shouldn't have done this. And I think , well , they have actually had guns to their heads. We don't.

S4: You can find details on the events calendar on the Warhawks website. And Sarah , thank you so much for sharing this story and joining us today.

S3: Thank you so much for your time.

S1: It doesn't have the greatest reputation among instruments , but that's before the humble ukulele gets into the hands of master musician Jake Shimabukuro. He's spent years taking the ukulele and audiences on musical journeys they've never experienced before. And tonight , Jake is performing at San Diego's Balboa Theatre. He's touring in support of his newest album , Jake and Friends , which pairs him with some of the biggest names in pop , reggae and country music. Jake Shimabukuro joins me now. Welcome to the show.

S3: Aloha and happy holidays. Thanks for having me on.

S1: It's our pleasure , believe me.

S3: But people associate the ukulele and rightfully so , you know , with with Hawaii. So a lot of times if they see me with my kids and they're like , Oh yeah , that's you play the ukulele and they'll share some story of , you know , maybe they got married in Hawaii or they they took a trip there , you know , many years ago and just loved it. So , you know , so it's always a mixed reaction. And of course , you know , some people's introduction to the instrument was like Israel comical people always version of Over the Rainbow. But for some people , it may have been like Tiny Tim , you know , so very different experiences. Right. And but it's always but one of the things that I find that is that is always consistent is the joy that it brings people.

S1: And then do you shock those people by showing them what you can do on ukulele ? No.

S3: Yeah. I mean , one I mean , I love all different styles of music , right ? So that's one of the things that I love doing is just kind of I love experimenting with the instrument and showing people the wide range , you know , the diversity of the instrument. Because , you know , like throughout our normal show , I mean , do something light is is over the rainbow. And then I might do four on Schubert's album with Yeah , but then we'll do Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and maybe like a Japanese folk tune or some traditional Hawaiian music , you know , So just a wide range of stuff. And I think people , you know , they I think they they enjoy that. They love seeing the ukulele and hearing it , you know , in all these different genres of music.

UU: You can see maybe. Fans are listed below. Name on the good and sent to die.



S3: Oh , yeah. It's it's very challenging , you know , because it's not an instrument that you would normally hear , you know , in a in a in that type of context. What the song was , was a wonderful jazz ukuleles player. And there were people like Lyle Ritz and things like that who have covered a lot of jazz standards on the instrument. I remember one of them , one of my highlights was I got to perform with Les Paul over in New York many years ago. And that was such a great moment for me , you know , because he was one of my favorite jazz guitarists growing up. But then , you know , and then like , rock and roll , like with rock and roll , you know , I grew up listening to people like Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix and and the sound that they would get out of their their instruments just , I don't know , for some reason just really moved me. And so that's when I started experimenting a lot with amplification and using overdrive and distortion pedals and , you know , doing different things to manipulate the sound of the instrument , to capture that essence of that overdriven guitar sound , you know , that you hear on the old Beatles records.

S2: There's nothing you can do that can be done , nothing you can sing that can't be sung. Nothing you can say. But we can learn to play the game.

S3: It's easier.

S2: There's nothing you can make that can be made. No one you can save that can be seen.

S3: So , you know , so I do a lot of experimenting with with that kind of stuff. During the show , we'll do things like we will rock you with , do like , you know , play a little bit of sunshine of your love and , you know , little things here and there , you know , just to kind of capture the , I guess , the essence and the spirit of that style of music , you know , because that's something that really appealed to me , you know , when I was growing up.

S1: On your new album , Jake and Friends , you work with a host of legendary musicians like Bette Midler , Jimmy Buffet , Vince Gill , Willie Nelson.

S3: I mean , they're all my heroes. It's for , you know , being able to record with them in the studio was was amazing , you know , especially especially now with technology. You know , so many collaborative records are made just , you know , remotely right. Like someone would do their track and then they would send it over , you know , to another studio. And then , you know , then the musician that they're collaborating with just record their track and then send it back and then they mix it and put it all together. But with this , with this record , you know , we were very fortunate. Like I had the opportunity to , to fly , you know , to different studios and record , you know , with all these artists like Bette Midler , we recorded in L.A.. Jimmy Buffett or Jimmy Buffett we recorded during the pandemic. So that one had to it had to be recorded remotely. But all the other ones , like Warren Haynes , recorded in North Carolina , Ray Benson , were recorded over in Austin , Texas , of course , Jack Johnson and Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson. We recorded ours in Hawaii since they all live in Hawaii. And but yeah , it was just such an incredible experience , you know , being in the studio and playing actually playing together , you know , and getting live takes , I mean , that that's so magical. Even one of the there was two instrumentals on there. One is with Billy Strings and another one is with Sonny Landreth , too. I just I , I'm a huge fan of both of them. And so being in a studio with them , you know , and writing , you know , being able to compose a song , you know , in the studio and then recording it right there , you know , that was truly magical.

S2: And now the purple dust of Twilight time steals across the metros half of hour. High up in the sky.

S1: You mentioned the pandemic , and I suppose like for so many artists , performing was almost impossible during the height of the pandemic.

S3: I mean , I am just so grateful that we have the opportunity to come together again and to , you know , especially to play in front of a live audience. I mean , that's there's nothing like it. You know , that connection and that energy. And and at the end , the concert , you know , and everyone's just like , feeling so good. And , you know , you just see people smiling and and , you know , walking out of the theatre or the hall. It's just it's such a beautiful , beautiful feeling. I mean , it's just it's for me , it's it's why I love doing what I do. I mean , you know , because anyone can just sit at home and play their instrument and play music. But when you're in in a concert hall with people , you know that that energy is infectious and it takes you to a place that you can't you can't get to just by yourself. It's it's a collaborative it's a collaborative effort with everyone in the audience , you know , everyone working behind the scenes. You know , it could be the ushers and the volunteers , the security , the theater staff. I mean , everybody , you know , it's their energy , their passion that just makes the experience so magical. So it's truly you know , it's it's truly one of the most it's truly one of the most. I think the ultimate collaboration and that that feeling is I mean , it's just it's priceless.

S1: My guest , Jake Shimabukuro , performs tonight at the Balboa Theatre. And , Jake , thanks so much for speaking with us.

S3: Oh , thank you for your support. I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday season. And thank you for having me.

Concerns about the condition of the Lake Hodges dam prompted officials to release water from the lake this week. Water is flowing into the San Dieguito river to bring the lake’s level down to 275 feet. Then, the U.S. Men’s national soccer team reached the final round of 16 of the World Cup after a dramatic 1-0 win against Iran on Tuesday. San Diego Wave FC’s President Jill Ellis, reflects on the game and the next matchup against the Netherlands on Saturday. Later, Mexico has deployed hundreds of National Guard troops in Tijuana to combat violent crime, but data shows that crime hasn’t decreased. Next, we travel to the Gulf of California where Mangrove trees that live in saltwater estuaries are disappearing. In response, an Indigenous conservation group is working to protect them. Plus, the Nazis murdered millions of Jewish people in death camps during World War II. And, in many cases, those people arrived at their final and tragic destination by train. A new book by a local author looks at the various roles the French National Railway played in the Holocaust: perpetrator, victim and hero. Finally, Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro is touring in support of his newest album, which pairs him with some of the biggest names in pop, reggae and country music.