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Gloria focuses on homelessness, crime, infrastructure in State of the City address

 January 13, 2022 at 3:57 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Mayor Todd, Gloria discusses the state of the city.

Speaker 2: (00:04)

So tonight is not a time for a typical speech because these are not typical

Speaker 1: (00:09)

Times. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Henman. This is K PBS midday edition. We'll hear about the roots of San Diego's sports arena,

Speaker 3: (00:27)

Where we see, you know, the target and the sporting goods and home Depot and the sports arena. There were 3,500 homes and parks and, and rec centers and churches, and it was quite a three neighborhood.

Speaker 1: (00:42)

San Diego unified says its vaccine mandate will remain on hold. And we'll hear from two actors talking about the Scottish play as a new version of McBeth debuts on apple TV. That's a head on midday edition.

Speaker 1: (01:01)

Diego mayor, Todd Gloria, chose to avoid much of what he called happy talk in his second state of the city address last night in a speech delivered at the downtown convention center, he spoke of seeing the same problems, all San Diego, sea cracked streets, homelessness, and what he called the city falling short of what it could be, but he says the state of the city is ready to address four of its most pressing problems, crumbling, infrastructure, homelessness, rising crime rates, and a lack of housing. Joining me is mayor Todd, Gloria mayor. Welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: (01:37)

Thanks so much, Maureen.

Speaker 1: (01:38)

When it comes to the pressing problems that you spoke about in your, a state of the city speech, how is your proposal to fix San Diego's cracked streets different from what we've heard

Speaker 2: (01:49)

Before? Well, I would argue it's dramatically different. My predecessor did try to prioritize streets, but he was very enamored with quick fixes on very poor, low traveled roads. Uh, so what you saw over that administration and was a lot of slurry ceiling of, cul-de-sacs not the reconstruction that is necessary on so many of our major arterials. Uh, so what I laid out, uh, was my initiative to boost, uh, our infrastructure repairs, but focusing them on main corridors like Euclid avenue, Claremont, Mesa Boulevard, skyline drive roads that many, many San Diego travel over and where seal just, isn't gonna cut it. We have to get serious about the, uh, extreme nature of our failing infrastructure. And I believe that we can, uh, another thing that is different is my proposal to, uh, take a citywide approach to our infrastructure projects. Uh, right now what we have as a siloed system, that really means that projects move at a sales pace and it literally millions of dollars. Sit unspent out, bringing a proposal before the city council later this year to streamline that process in order to get those dollars into the community, start improving this stuff as quickly as possible.

Speaker 1: (02:55)

How does equity factor into your, uh, infrastructure proposals?

Speaker 2: (03:00)

Equity is a part of most of our decision making here at city hall. Uh, because we recognize that our existing status quo really has left some neighborhoods behind as it pertains to roads. You know, one might think that all roads and all, all neighborhoods are the same, but that simply isn't the case. What we have in the city of San Diego are a number of UN roads. Unfortunately they're concentrated in districts like 4 8, 9, which really calls out for this equity lens on our infrastructure spending my sexy streets initiative, which is 54 additional miles of road repair are concentrated in those communities to make sure that they get the quality road repairs that have long been put off and help us to become a bit more. But when it comes to the built environment in all of our neighborhoods,

Speaker 1: (03:43)

One of the infrastructure repairs, you spoke about concerned upgrading the city's storm water system to prevent flooding. And you admitted that it's not a sexy topic, but it also may be the topic of a new proposed tax this year will that proposed tax beyond the November ballot. It's

Speaker 2: (04:01)

Unclear at this point, if that will be the case, uh, we do know that there are citizens that are mobilizing to try and tackle this particular issue. And I would be extremely supportive of that, but that's independent and separate from anything going on here at city hall. My focus has been on making sure that we're setting the stage for success. Should we try to tackle, uh, the need to finance this and Marine? What that means is much like I was mentioning a moment ago, ensuring that we can actually execute upon the projects that we need to do. We have to eliminate bureaucracy red tape, streamline the process, make sure that we're staffed appropriately so that we can adequately explain to people why new revenue may be necessary. In the case of storm water. It's pretty evident. That's the case. As I mentioned last night, we have not adjusted our storm water fee in a quarter of a century. And that means that the seasonal flooding that you see in communities like mission valley and their degradating effects that they have on our beaches and our waterways are pretty significant.

Speaker 1: (04:54)

Homelessness is one of San Diego's most visible problems. And in your speech last night, you said you've heard widely different solutions from advocates and residents. What have you been hearing?

Speaker 2: (05:07)

Well, you have are really two extreme sets of voices. One group of folks that wanna criminalize homelessness and another group of folks that want us to do nothing and seem to be okay with people living on the sidewalk. Uh, neither of those points of view are correct. We have to be laser are focused on the solutions that actually, uh, can get people off the streets and that's permanent supportive housing. That's expanding our existing shelter network and it's working to make sure that the most vulnerable and the most informed on our streets, uh, are assisted right now. In many ways, our hands are tied by our state's conservatorship laws and we should do everything we can to change that.

Speaker 1: (05:40)

Yeah. Talk to us about this idea to, to renew and update conservatorship laws to address, I guess, chronic homelessness is that right?

Speaker 2: (05:48)

Well, chronic homelessness amongst the extremely mentally ill who are not capable of helping themselves. It's a, it's a subset, a small subset of our overall population, but they're typically the folks that disturb San Diegos the most, your listeners see them all the time, right? These are people standing on street corners, screaming at the top of their lungs that no one in particular folks walking around and who are clearly infirmed, uh, people who are lying on our streets. And I see this sadly almost every day in our city of people who have open wounds and other serious conditions. And yet when our outreach workers approach these individuals, they decline assistance. Now some choose to say that they're choosing to be homeless that's far from true, but what they are is so informed to the point that they can't help themselves. And because our threshold for intervening, these situations is so high. It means that when we contact those individual, once they tell us, no, there's nothing more that we can do. That's wrong. That is not compassionate. That is not humane. And that has to change. Most of our homeless, uh, can be assisted through existing services and programs and shelters. But we're talking about a, a subset of folks who are extremely vulnerable to life on the streets and we can't leave them out there much longer.

Speaker 1: (06:57)

Know you mentioned in the state of the city address, that violent crime is up in San Diego, as it is in most cities around the nation. And you took a strong stance against taking any resources away from the police department. How does that stance conform with efforts toward police reform and equity?

Speaker 2: (07:16)

I rejected the sort of binary choice of your, if you do one or you do the other, but you can't do both. We're a big city and we're gonna act accordingly. And we will balance the needs of having, uh, robust and appropriately funded law enforcement with the accountability and transparency that San Diegos are expecting and deserve. So, you know, the data doesn't lie, right? We are seeing increases in crime, uh, across the board, 65% increase in hate crimes. It's absolutely unacceptable. And that's why we have to make sure that public safety is properly resourced. But at the same time, the city council needs to implement, uh, the voter approved, uh, citizens commission on police practices. And we need to pass a privacy ordinance that would make sure that as we deploy technologies that help us to identify and arrest criminals that we protect, uh, the civil liberties of innocent San Diegos.

Speaker 1: (08:04)

And when will we see the city's independent commission on police practices get up and running. Maureen,

Speaker 2: (08:10)

I fully funded this commission in the current city budget. We are simply waiting for the city council to enact the implementing ordinance. As soon as they take that vote, I will sign it and we will get to work. We cannot wait any longer for the implementation of this. San Diego deserve to know that the folks who are sworn to protect and serve, uh, will be held accountable. If they violate that oath, I am prepared to sign that the moment the council approves it,

Speaker 1: (08:35)

The fourth big topic in your state of the city speech was housing. And you said, you will want to see San Diego officially opt into the state housing measure, Senate bill 10. What would that

Speaker 2: (08:47)

Do? Well, Senate bill 10 would make it significantly easier to build apartment homes near transit. This is a voluntary program that was passed by the state of California. Cities can choose to opt into it, and I would like our city to do so. Uh, that will be a vote of the city council probably later this year. And I'm hopeful that it'll do it cause we made massive public investments and things like extending the trolley up to the university's city area. We need to make sure that we make all that we can out of that massive estimate. And that means needing to put homes closer to those.

Speaker 1: (09:17)

You know, there is a lot to break down in what you said last night, about housing proposals from funding to updated community plans around the city. But what struck me is when we hear about affordable housing projects, they're usually focused on low income residents and rightly so, but you, you made a point of to focus on creating housing for San Diego's middle class. Why is

Speaker 2: (09:39)

That? Because that's where the most need is. You know, if you have a million bucks, Maureen, you can find a place to live in San Diego without a lot of difficulty. Interestingly, because we have aggressive, progressive policies like inclusionary housing and a affordable housing trust fund, we do build a significant at number of low income housing units, not enough, but we do build them where we see little to no building is in the middle of housing that is priced for working in middle class San. And that tells me that we need to implement strategies and solutions to try and juice up that part of the market. And that's what my homes for all of us housing package is intended to do. Um, and you're list their experiences themselves. They likely have a good paying job, but they can't afford most of the new housing that is built and they don't qualify for any of the low income housing, uh, that we have to offer. And so that missing middle as it's often referred to, has to get filled in. If we want to have a functional housing economy here in San Diego, and that's why our initiatives are focused on that, the market, we can't be a great city if we don't have a thriving middle class. And that starts with providing homes for those people, what

Speaker 1: (10:43)

Might be one strategy to create housing for the middle class in San Diego? So

Speaker 2: (10:48)

What it means is that, you know, incentivizing developers to focus their products and that part of the market, providing density, bonuses, and things of that nature to attract attention, we've used that successfully for low income housing. We need to do it for middle income housing. I think another area of potential innovation is that making sure as we tackle our infrastructure challenges, uh, that we consider housing. So for example, many of our neighborhoods, um, have outdated and undersized, uh, branch libraries. The city's extremely interested in rebuilding and expanding those facilities. And often we can probably accommodate some housing on top of those facilities. And when you take the land acquisition costs out of the deal, Maureen, the rents are able to come down and we can provide that dividend if you will, to working in middle class. People think about the opportunity for the librarian who works there to be able to live in the community that he or she serves. So that's the kind of opportunities. That's the kind of innovation we have to bring to this space. And if we're successful in doing so, we'll be a city where more working people can see themselves, uh, being able to live, being able to see a future for themselves here. I think that's really important for our long term success. Megan,

Speaker 1: (11:51)

Gloria, as you begin your second year as mayor, is this job what you thought it would be.

Speaker 2: (11:57)

I've had a lot of preparation, but I think to the extent that there was a piece of this was unexpected, it's really around the pandemic. Obviously I knew during the course of the campaign, that if I was successful, I'd have to help lead the city through the pandemic. But the fact, the matter is this has gone on longer than most of us did. And it consumes a lot of time, a lot of resources, uh, a lot of attention. I look forward to the day that we can put this behind us responsibly, uh, and that we can turn all of our time and attention to the issues that I outlined last night in the state of the city address. I think that that's really important for us to be able to move forward and sort of embrace the big city energy that I talked about, uh, really embracing our side, the scope and the scale of what we are as one of the greatest cities in this country. I would daresay in the world, mayor

Speaker 1: (12:38)

Todd, Gloria, thank you so much for your time.

Speaker 2: (12:41)

Thank you, Maureen.

Speaker 4: (12:50)

This board's arena and this surrounding midway district are in the midst of being reimagined. This city is currently negotiating with five companies bidding to lease and redevelop the 48 acres. Some ideas proposed include adding affordable housing office space, more retail, hotels, and additional sports facilities during mayor Todd glorious state of the city address. He also mentioned dressing the housing crisis by building new, affordable housing on that land with the new future and the works for the area voice of San Diego. Scott Lewis looked into the history and he joined me now to talk about what the midway district used to be like in the 1940s. Scott, welcome.

Speaker 3: (13:30)

Thank you for having me. So what made

Speaker 4: (13:32)

You want to look into the area's path? You

Speaker 3: (13:35)

Know, we were talking on our own podcast and I asked our fellow, uh, host if he knew how the city had come to own so much of the land in that area. And neither of us knew, and that changed my life for the next, uh, about three weeks. I, I became obsessed with the history and it's rather, um, uncomfortable, frankly. Tell us

Speaker 4: (13:58)

About the previous neighborhood in the midway district area. What was in the frontier neighborhood?

Speaker 3: (14:04)

Well, you have to remember that the San Diego river was never as tame as it is now. It, it flowed all over that area in that valley. Finally, it was tamed, um, and, and that channel built and that land was this sort of dusty Plains and, uh, in the 1940s, 39, 40 41 or so there was just an massive housing crisis in San Diego, unlike anything even we can look at now, there were people just living in streets and in camps all over the city, because there was so many jobs here, but, uh, and if familiar story, there weren't many homes for them to live in. And so the federal government seeing, uh, potential war on the horizon and, uh, a need for housing finally intervened and built the Linta neighborhood up on the Kearney Mesa plateau, and, uh, also demanded and, and intervened and decided to build what was called the frontier neighborhood on that sports arena, midway land. And, uh, there was, uh, just a tremendous pushback, uh, against it from local, uh, residents in the point Loma area. And it, it came to define itself where we see, you know, the target and the sporting goods and home Depot and the sports arena. There were 3,500, uh, homes and parks and, and rec centers and churches. And it was quite a thriving neighborhood, frankly. So

Speaker 4: (15:26)

How did it go from being the frontier you described to the midway district? It is today? Well,

Speaker 3: (15:31)

Well, like I said, one of the things, so the Linda Vista neighborhood had gone up at the same time and the frontier neighborhood gone up, but there was a tremendous pushback, like I said, from neighborhoods in point Loma and frankly it was racist. Uh, the point Loma, uh, development had been a restricted neighborhood where people of color non occasions were simply not allowed for many, uh, years, decades as it was built up. And they very clearly did not want the new neighborhood to connect because, uh, it would be an integrated neighborhood. It as a federal government project, it did become an integrated neighborhood. There were people of color there and, um, point Loma fought, uh, Posa park residence in particular fought to keep the neighborhood separate. And the federal government agreed to, uh, uh, what ended up being about a thousand foot, no man's land as they called it.

Speaker 3: (16:23)

Then between the point Loma, uh, established neighborhoods and the new one. And over the next two decades, the neighborhood developed in reputation as a quote slum that the city needed to get rid of as soon as possible. Uh, eventually the city took control of the land, uh, evicted the residents that were remaining there in the sixties, 62, finally, uh, and cast about looking for some sort of Disney land or SeaWorld to put on the area and ended up with a sports arena. So in many ways, the sports, you know, is a, uh, a landmark to the city's successful effort to resegregate that area. And you

Speaker 4: (17:00)

Said, Linda Vista is another neighborhood in San Diego that is similar to what the frontier neighborhood was like, what made these two communities alike?

Speaker 3: (17:09)

Well, Linda Vista was built before that, uh, but it was very similar, uh, churches, the schools, the, the type of, uh, homes built the difference was Eleanor Roosevelt came out to dedicate the shopping center. You might remember skate world over there. That's a, that's the old rec center from that housing development that was built there. The difference I think is that the tenants in Linda Vista were able to argue that they should be allowed to take control of those homes after the federal government kind of left. And they did. And a lot of the buildings, churches, and, and homes from the time still remain in Linda Vista, unlike midway, where the city took control and, and evicted them. So you might remember there was a school in, in midway called Barnard that lasted for decades after frontier was abolished, uh, as a magnet school, but the school district sold that off a few years ago, but there were two other schools in, uh, the midway area that we're part of this frontier development, this neighborhood that we're abolished, you know, I think both Linda Vista and frontier suffered from not being very well connected to the neighborhoods around them.

Speaker 3: (18:18)

And Linda Vista was able to overcome that in some ways, but it remains a, a more diverse area than some of its north of I neighborhoods around it. Um, but frontier was, was completely abolished and it's hard not to look at the, the history of racism and, and restrictions, uh, that kind of led to that. And along with that, the, the concern about it being a slum and, uh, it's just a really uncomfortable history. What

Speaker 4: (18:45)

Was the most shocking thing you discovered when you looked into the history of, of the midway, uh, sports arena area?

Speaker 3: (18:53)

I think just seeing firsthand the racism that was, uh, openly a part of the development of point Loma, um, you know, Caucasians will only be allowed to purchase these lots going into the future. You can be assured, uh, I think that's still hard to just see and, and very, um, disturbing to just keep looking at. But I think the second thing is that, you know, Midway's a mess it's, uh, it's congested. It's just, uh, very unsightly as far as all the shopping malls and the congestion and parking lots, endless parking lots. And I, I guess I had assumed for so long that that was just a, you know, accident of the way that Western United States had developed after the automobile. But I think what was shocking was to know that there was a coherent neighborhood there with residents, like almost the exact same number of residents that the city envisions somehow some way being able to put there now that there was that before and the city, not only didn't support it, but, uh, worked so hard, abolish it and create what's there now. So, you know, it was just, it, that, that was shocking that, that anyone would prefer what they what's there now, uh, to the coherent diverse and, you know, well laid out in a way community.

Speaker 4: (20:05)

What do you make of the plans for it's future?

Speaker 3: (20:09)

Well, there's basically three big things go going on. The, the midway Pacific highway community plan was updated three years ago to, um, envision a more coherent neighborhood. Uh, the city allowed the leases on its land, around the sports arena, the everything from the Phil's barbecue to the sports arena, parking lot to the, uh, Dixieland lumber. Those leases have been, are ready to be renewed in a, in a longer term way. And then they did a removal of the height limit on buildings there so that they could support, uh, uh, the kind of construction of three to 4,000 homes that they envision. I think that, that has now been challenged by people and, and successfully. So, uh, by people who don't want to see the housing developed there. And I think, um, you know, the echoes of the past of housing being opposed in the region are, are still being heard in a way.

Speaker 3: (21:03)

And I think that it's gonna, it's gonna be very hard for the city to make good on and its vision for the, for the region, especially as it keeps stumbling with those kinds of experiences and with that kind of opposition. Uh, and I, I'm not sure that we'll see a, a, uh, much of a difference in the next two decades there, but, uh, but the city's determined and, and a lot of people are determined to see that happen. And, and we'll see now, as, as it can sitters, uh, going back to the ballot for the height limit removal and, uh, some of the bids that have come for that land that the city owns, but the city only owns part of the land now. And, and, um, you know, that area where the target is, will always be commercial and no residential allowed. So that kind of thing is, is probably gonna stay. I've

Speaker 1: (21:45)

Been speaking with voice of San Diego, Scott Lewis, Scott, thank you very much for

Speaker 3: (21:49)

Joining us. Yeah. Thank you. Again.

Speaker 1: (22:02)

This is K PBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Henman. This city of Chula Vista has become known for its aggressive use of drones and other police surveillance technology. Yet city leaders insist they're using these tools without jeopardizing the privacy of law abiding citizens. However, K PBS's Amitha Sharma reports that Chula Vista is giving a private corporation wide control over any data on people collected by its police surveillance systems.

Speaker 5: (22:32)

Chula Vista officials build the police department's new real time operations center as a state-of-the-art public safety hub. Privacy advocates say it's a Trojan horse in late 2020 with no public debate and no competitive bidding. The Chula Vista city council voted unanimously to approve a contract with Motorola solutions that among other things allows the company to use copy, analyze, publish, and offer subscription services to any data that passes through its realtime operations center. Those data include live social media feeds information picked up by the agency's automated license plate readers and video captured by its drones sent out to 9 1, 1 calls.

Speaker 6: (23:23)

We're talking about a real time perpetual history of our lives, our most intimate moment, where we go, who we spend times with how we socialize. This is seeing who goes to church on Sunday and who goes to Friday prayers at a mosque. This is something that goes far beyond George Orwell's. Worst nightmares. Albert Fox

Speaker 5: (23:44)

Conn is executive director of the New York based surveillance technology oversight project.

Speaker 6: (23:49)

This is really just chilling. It feels like handing over Californian's information wholesale to these surveillance vendors and a real Delicia of duty

Speaker 5: (24:02)

Chula Vista city leaders refused to cut comment on the contract, but in November, mayor Mary Salas told KPBS quote, there's always a concern at city hall about trampling on the privacy rights of residents with new technology and that council members and staff are ever watchful of it on our staff.

Speaker 7: (24:23)

We have excellent people that really have dedicated their lives to this. And that really are real students of this. And I have faith in their

Speaker 5: (24:35)

Expertise. Advocates are especially alarmed that the city also granted Motorola solutions permission to sell any data run through it's realtime operation center. As long as it's anonymized,

Speaker 8: (24:50)

I have never seen a contract this bad.

Speaker 5: (24:52)

Brian Hofer is executive director of the Oakland based privacy advocacy group, secure justice.

Speaker 8: (24:58)

If the Chula Vista city council or administration or procurement folks reviewed this with the lens of protecting their residents, privacy and civil liberties, they completely failed.

Speaker 5: (25:08)

Motorola did not respond to an interview request. San Diego, a C L U lawyer, Mitra IBA Lai contends the overall contract. So lopsidedly favors Motorola solutions that she wonders, whether Chula Vista, city officials understood the, or were simply outboxed by the company's high priced lawyers.

Speaker 9: (25:32)

Either they lack the expertise to appropriately analyze and understand these contractual terms. In which case they shouldn't be entering into these contracts at all, or they understand these terms and they're have trading away the privacy rights of truly Mr. Residents

Speaker 5: (25:53)

Foxconn says that privacy loss is Motorola solutions. Financial windfall.

Speaker 6: (25:59)

The data broker industry is a multibillion dollar industry that is trying to take everything. We do both digital spaces and physical spaces and turn it into a product for the highest bidder. He

Speaker 5: (26:14)

And other privacy advocates want lawmakers to borrow cities like Chula Vista from cutting deals with companies, giving them access to data on their residents. This

Speaker 6: (26:25)

Is something that police departments should be protecting us from. Not something that they should be fueling

Speaker 5: (26:30)

From privacy security to national security tomorrow will tell you how Chula Vista police almost exclusively by their drones from a Chinese company suspected of spying for the Chinese government.

Speaker 1: (26:44)

Joining me as K PBS investigative reporter Amitha Sherma. Aha. Welcome. It's good to be here. Now. Motorola solutions contracted to provide software to Chula Vista's security hub. So how does Motorola solutions get access to data on Chula Vista or residence? Well,

Speaker 5: (27:04)

The data that the Chi Vista police department picks up through its automated license plate readers through its drones has to pass through its real time operation center now because they've centralized all their information in one play. So when they call it up, when they're trying to solve a crime, it has to pass through this realtime operation center. Motorola provides the software for this realtime operation center and through that software, they can access the data. So

Speaker 1: (27:38)

Why would the city of Chula Vista agree to these terms? That's

Speaker 5: (27:42)

A good question, Maureen. We were interested in knowing the answer to that question. We reached out to Mary Salas, she's the mayor of Chula Vista. We reached out to the city council, they approved the contract. Um, we also reached out to the city manager, Maria Kurian, and the city attorney, Glen gins. They both signed the contract. I wanted to ask the city council and the mayor if they read the contract. And if so, did they understand the contract? And if they did, why did they think that the terms of this contract with Motorola served the privacy interest of the residents that they represent? But sadly, no one talked to me, no one felt like it was their duty to explain their decision to the public.

Speaker 1: (28:35)

Now, where and how could Motorola sell any of this data of things like drone footage or license plate images?

Speaker 5: (28:43)

Well, experts tell me that there is a very large, a very profitable data. Broker market runs in the multi-billions to trillions. And this is where companies look at people's habits and movements, and they try to figure out what kinds of goods and services they might be interested in. And that data is what helps them figure that out. So while the, the money value, this data is not clear to people like you and me for these companies who are interested in buying data, derived from the surveillance technology, it really helps them figure out what people might be interested in

Speaker 1: (29:23)

Buying. And do we know if Motorola is actually using or selling any of the data picked up in Chula Vista? Well,

Speaker 5: (29:31)

That's a step Marine we don't know exactly. And we really have no way of knowing. And that's one of the most troubling aspects of this type of surveillance technology and its consequences. According to privacy advocates, people's privacy rights are being violated. They just don't know exactly how or how often,

Speaker 1: (29:54)

Why did Chula Vista want to create this real time operation center in the first place? What

Speaker 5: (30:00)

Hula this to police officials say it takes all the information. They need to respond to calls to, to solve crimes. And it puts all that information in one place in one system so that whatever police need to call up as an emergency situation or a crime is unfolding, they can call up right there. Phone footage, jail records, everything as, uh, chill Vista police, captain, Eric Thunberg told me last month, he said it basically gives us everything at our fingertips. And

Speaker 1: (30:33)

What do we know about the effectiveness of this kind of surveillance in actually preventing crime? Well, I have to

Speaker 5: (30:39)

Tell you, privacy advocates have really come out strongly against some of this technology. Many of them say, look, we're all for drones being used to rescue people and fight fires, but they worry about routinely sending them out to 9 1, 1 calls because of the footage that they can pick up on the way to the scene on the way back and even at the scene. um, if you, if you look through these cameras, you can, you can make out people's faces. You can make out their backyards. You can see a lot that may not be part of the emergency situation. And advocates also questioned the effectiveness of automated license plate readers. There was a study that was done by the independent Institute in Oakland, and it looked over 16 years of data from the Piedmont police department. And that study found no evidence that these license plate readers give law enforcement investigative leads or, or stop vehicle theft. And in Chula Vista that police department's own statistics show a hit rate of less than 1% with vehicles tied to suspected crimes through these a P these license plate readers.

Speaker 1: (31:56)

Now you have more coming up tomorrow about Chula Vista, law enforcement and its drones. Can you give us a preview?

Speaker 5: (32:02)

I can. The Chula Vista police department is using drones produced by a Chinese company that the Pentagon says poses potential threats to national security.

Speaker 1: (32:15)

That's tomorrow here on midday edition. And I've been speaking with K PBS investigative reporter. Aha Sharma. Aha. Thank you. Thank you. More

Speaker 4: (32:28)

A legal setback for San Diego unified school district and their effort to mandate vaccines for students 16 and up a San Diego county judge ruled the district. Doesn't have the authority to impose the mandate. This comes as cases surge. Now school officials are saying it's no longer a question of if students get COVID, but when joining us to discuss the recent development is KPBS education reporter mg Perez mg. Welcome. Thank you. Uh, why did the judge feel and imposed a mandate was beyond San Diego unified authority? Well,

Speaker 10: (33:01)

It's a matter of the law and the law simply states that the state is responsible for setting all mandates for vaccinations. So under that law, uh, technically San Diego unified, uh, mandate is illegal and that's the reason the judge said it could not stand.

Speaker 4: (33:19)

So now why didn't the state legislature then approve the mandate?

Speaker 10: (33:23)

Well, it is not as simple as just asking. Uh, it is a government body, uh, of legislatures who are, uh, really have differing opinions on the subject. So it's a matter of finding, uh, sponsorship in the Le in the legislature, uh, for that would allow this to go forward. And that is in process. Um, and the district is appealing, but of course, all of that takes time. And meanwhile, the COVID cases continued to rise

Speaker 4: (33:51)

In your reporting. You spoke with board trustee, Richard Burrera, what's his reaction to this news. He

Speaker 10: (33:57)

Is a very trusted source and I've interviewed him several times. I don't think I've ever heard him speak so bluntly about this subject. Uh, he is frustrated, uh, and he is really encouraging parents and families and staff members and students to get vaccinated, uh, in order to help the district try to stop the spread.

Speaker 4: (34:19)

Is there a sense of if the district will ever be able to impose a vaccine mandate for students 16 and up?

Speaker 10: (34:25)

Yes, I do believe that eventually it will happen, but as I said, the appeals process takes time. They had hoped to have this up and running by the start of the spring semester, which is January 24th. Barre said, uh, quite frankly, that is not gonna happen in the next two weeks. And so it's really a waiting game. When can they get the appeal and then ask the judge for a stay so that they can go ahead with the mandate?

Speaker 4: (34:50)

Uh, since the risk of contracting COVID is higher at this point, uh, what's the plan. If students get infected

Speaker 10: (34:57)

Plain and simple, if your student is positive, they cannot come to school that has not changed. And that's the reason the district is saying, although they can't force parents and students to get vaccinated, they strongly encourage it because if you are positive, you cannot be in the classroom.

Speaker 4: (35:14)

Do students who want to stay out of the classroom, still have the option to attend remotely?

Speaker 10: (35:19)

Well, it is certainly an option, but really it's not optional. If you are testing positive and cannot be in the classroom, then the virtual academy is, uh, the opportunity for learning. Unfortunately like all the other districts they're short staffed and, uh, they really are struggling to get that virtual academy to a point where it can serve all the students who need it

Speaker 4: (35:43)

In your piece. Bere said, you know, it's no longer a question of if students get COVID, but when, uh, what kind of a position do you think this puts parents in?

Speaker 10: (35:53)

Well, it's a simple, uh, equation. If you are not vaccinated, what he was saying is you will get COVID. It is that contagious in this moment. And so parents really are encouraged to get vaccinated themselves and make sure that their children are protected.

Speaker 4: (36:09)

So since imposing a mandate at this point is out what's plan B, what is, what does the continuing effort, uh, to push vaccinations? The look like

Speaker 10: (36:17)

Testing, testing, and testing, and also getting vaccinated. The that's really the only solution and the only option that the district has left, they did send out the home test kits, uh, over the holiday break. They're hoping that the state will provide more of those. And so they are encouraging, uh, parents and students to get tested. And they are testing at school locations at least once a week. So that is there and available and a solution. But at the end of the day, it's about getting vaccinated. As Barre told us. It's not a matter of if it's a matter of when

Speaker 4: (36:52)

I've been speaking with KPBS education, reporter mg Perez mg. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you,

Speaker 10: (36:59)


Speaker 1: (37:06)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Henman Joel Cohens. The tragedy of McBeth starts streaming tomorrow on apple TV, plus K PBS film critic, Beth Pao placed the film on her top 10, 4, 20 21. She had an opportunity to speak with two of the actors to gain insight into what kind of a director Joel Cohen is and how he brought this play to the screen.

Speaker 11: (37:33)

McBeth is Shakespeare's swift display. It moves with ferocious energy as it follows the downfall of the title character in Joel Cohen's film adaptation. The character is presented as a victim of both fate and his own bad choices. Supernatural forces lay tempting promises before him, but he chooses to take the actions that force him down an increasingly narrow path. One of the interesting supporting characters in the play is raw. Who's listed in the stage directions as a Scottish nobleman. He's a character who can simply be the bringer of news, both good and ill as he's described in the play, or he can be given more agency depending on the staging Cohen and actor, Alex Hassell collaborated to make this Ross a fascinating player in Macbeth's tragedy.

Speaker 12: (38:21)

I have to say, when I first read the script, I was extremely excited by the idea of this different Ross, knowing the play very well, but I had no idea what Joe was intending, what Ross's agenda was, what his sort of function in the story was. It wasn't something that one could immediately kind of understand. And I think indeed, that's what we wanted to keep. We wanted the audience to not fully fathom what his agenda is, what he's trying to do to people, you know, what he wants. I think that's part of the pleasure of the character, but it meant that I had, I, I had the great honor and pleasure of collaborating with Joel, trying to work out what this, this version of Ross was and why, what he does to the story and the sort of tension of the story. It was a, yeah, a great, great gift. And I think for people who know the play and watching the film, it creates a whole different sort of vein of tension through the film in a, that kind of pays off brilliantly, especially when the latter part of the playoff and is harder to keep tense because it kind of jumps between loads of different scenes. And I think this is a useful sort of tool in that respect as well.

Speaker 11: (39:28)

So what kind of director is Joel Cohen? Uh, he seems a bit of a mystery from us on the outside, but, um, how does he work with you and, and what kind of specific direction did he give you about playing Ross? Well,

Speaker 12: (39:39)

We rehearsed for three weeks, which was an amazing unusual situation. And I'd say necessary in a film, uh, in which you're using this language. So he, it, it, he's very, very open and very, very collaborative. He is obviously has, is in immensely intelligent and has a very clear vision and really understands how to use the tools of cinema to tell a story, of course, but is a very collaborative in terms of how you, you create the character together. We would mainly chat and then we'd do some scenes and then we'd both think about it. And then he'd say, you know, he could be, he, he doesn't have to and not be sexy. And I was like, oh, wow. Really? I mean, I never, that not been in any way thinking I was do. Okay. And then, uh, you know, we'd do it a bit more and he'd say, have you considered that he could have these qualities?

Speaker 12: (40:29)

It, it would often be about qualities that he should have, but also we talk quite dramaturgically in terms of, this is the new information that the audience receive here. So in the next scene, what if we just completely do the opposite of that or, or seem as if none of that was the case so that you are constantly meeting the character newly and therefore can't kind of quite get a grasp on who he is and what his agenda. So I thought much more from a director's point of view than I did from a sort of subjective character's point of view

Speaker 11: (41:04)

In this scene. Ross brings tragic news to another nobleman. McDuff played by Cory Hawkins.

Speaker 13: (41:10)

Your castle is surprised your wife and babes savagely slaughtered to relate the manner we're on the quarry of this murdered dear, to add the death of you, my children, too, wife, children, servants, all that could be found my wife kill two. I have said

Speaker 14: (41:35)

Be comforted. Let's make us medicines of our great revenge to cure this deadly

Speaker 13: (41:41)

Grief. He, no children, all I pretty ones. Did you say all? Oh, okay. Oh, what all my pretty chickens in the in one fell SWO, this beauty like a I shall do so, but I must also feel it as a man,

Speaker 11: (42:06)

As with hassle Hawkins has performed Shakespeare onstage and on film before he was surprised by his first discussion about the role with Cohen.

Speaker 15: (42:15)

One of our very first conversations. I remember him saying, you probably know more about this than I do and of course it's very sort of disarming and, and it just shows the humility because of course, I don't know more about it than he does, but just the fact that, um, he trusted, you know, me to come in there and do what my version of Mac Duff was. And he, he trusted that I could come in there and, and, and, and hold my weight with this incredible cast. And, and so I appreciate the faith that he sort of put that he put in in me and just the collaboration throughout the entire process was just, it's incredible. It's a dream. And

Speaker 11: (43:00)

What kind of director is Joel? I think

Speaker 15: (43:02)

He's, he's just incredibly collaborative. He's a visionary in that. Joel. I remember the very first look book that he, he gave us in terms of what film would, would look like, what it was, you know, just, just early, early, you know, imaginings of, of what it would ultimately the vision would ultimately be. And now that it's done looking back on it, it looks, I, I I'm literally, I was going back through it not too long ago. And I was like, not much has changed here. Like it really actually is, is, uh, as true to, to look, but that's, that's just the sign of, again, a great director, a great collaborator. The fact that Joel is taking the opportunity to dive into Shakespeare, to dive into this world is in, in and of itself. Incredible. He doesn't and have to do that. You know, he, he, he has a legacy. He has, you know, opportunities to, he can write, you know, his, so, so the choices that he made to actually go this where this route are the marks of someone who's continuing take risks and continuing to, to sort of expand. And those are the kind of people that you wanna work with, you know, cuz that's, it's gonna, you know, it's going, you're gonna get something at the end of it. And it's a risk you're taking. And thankfully, you know, we got something great out of this one. And what

Speaker 11: (44:26)

Did you particularly like about playing

Speaker 15: (44:28)

McDuff? I love that he is a good man. He's a good man. And sometimes it's really thrilling to, to play the villain, you know, cause they're fun. You know, they, they they're good characters, but there was something just appealing about the opportunity to go inside the mind of, of, of this man and and, and what his sense of duty was his morality, his virtue it's, it's a lot. And, and it takes a lot to, to be that kind of person. You sort of wish. I, I sort of wish that I had those qualities. We try to emulate those qualities, you know, but thankfully I get to play 'em on screen. Well,

Speaker 1: (45:09)

Thank you very much. And thank you for your time. Thank you. That was Beth. Amando speaking with actors, Corey Hawkins and Alex Hassel. The tragedy of McBeth starts streaming tomorrow on apple TV. Plus you can hear the full interviews next week on Beth's cinema junkie podcast.

Speaker 16: (45:31)


San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria chose to avoid much of what he called “happy talk” in his second State of the City address Wednesday night. Plus, with a new future in discussion for the Midway District, KPBS spoke with Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis about the thriving neighborhood that existed in the area in the 1940s. And KPBS’s Amita Sharma reports that Chula Vista is giving a private corporation wide control over data on people collected by police surveillance systems. Also, a county judge has dealt a legal setback to San Diego Unified School District’s effort to mandate vaccines for students 16 and up. Finally, with Joel Coen’s "The Tragedy of Macbeth'' set to stream on Apple TV+, KPBS film critic Beth Accomando spoke with two of the actors to gain insight into what kind of a director Coen is and how he brought the play to the screen.