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Homelessness is up 10% in San Diego county

 May 19, 2022 at 5:43 PM PDT

S1: The point in time County Finds Homelessness of 10% across San Diego.
S2: Not only did we see a 50% increase in families , but we saw that in unsheltered and sheltered families.
S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hindman. This is KPBS Midday Edition. San Diego's new ambulance service is in trouble for not meeting response times.
S3: We have about the same service level.
S4: As we had about a year ago.
S3: That is not what we expected in this contract. We expected more. And that's what we're.
S4: Holding them accountable for.
S1: The Carlsbad 5000 , the fastest five K running race is back. And we begin a profile of this year's San Diego Fringe Festival. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The results of this year's point in time homeless count are in and they confirm what San Diegans have been seeing. The number of people in the county living without permanent shelter is up 10%. More than 8000 men , women and children were included in the count conducted by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness in February. About half of the people were living unsheltered and half were in shelters. Regional Task Force officials say the results show both growing areas of concern and targeted successes in San Diego's efforts to address homelessness. Joining me is Tamara Koehler. She's CEO of San Diego's Regional Task Force on Homelessness. And Tamara , welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
S1: Now , this figure of a 10% increase is countywide , but there are areas of San Diego where homelessness has gone up.
S2: You know , we have seen an increase in places like Oceanside. It is a 10% increase across the region , but it's not the same in unsheltered , unsheltered. So a little bit of an increase in the city in unsheltered. But in some of the other communities , the increases in shelter population , which is something we want to see. But it is showing that in our communities from San Ysidro to Oceanside are all seeing an increase in individuals who need housing they can afford and in a minus that they're experiencing homelessness.
S2: They'll look in areas where people are known to maybe back in a covered area under bridges and overpasses , when we can access those areas where people seek shelter from the elements. And so if you were to go down a street and you had an area where there's a little bit of space where someone could seek shelter , that's where you're going to find individuals.
S2: It's a really important morning count. That's why we do it. It is easier to find them in the morning when they're just picking up their belongings and starting to move on. And so we don't catch everybody. We know that. But I think with the level of volunteers , we do a really good job of getting the lion's share.
S2: We are seeing more people in tents. And so we're seeing a little bit more of encampments. We also are seeing an aging population with greater physical disabilities that they identified. So I think we're seeing things just more challenging on the street.
S1: As you mentioned , the county found some demographic shifts in who makes up the homeless population. The number of families experiencing homelessness was up 56%.
S2: Not only did we see a 50% increase in families , but we saw that in unsheltered and sheltered families. So as we are seeing more people who have a greater burden of caring for themselves and others like families experiencing homelessness , we should be , you know , oriented our programs around that. Are there places that we saw that is continuing in the 55 or older population ? There's still one in four of our unsheltered population and 22% of them identify as female. So we have far too many individuals out there identified as female. That is a high risk situation of being unsheltered. Our 55 or older population self-identified , saying 57% had physical disabilities. You can imagine being on the street or trying to make it in your car with the physical disability as well. That just has complex issues and challenges. And we're seeing those numbers , you know , increase over time. And that is not the direction we want to be going.
S1: The black population of homeless individuals is overrepresented compared to how many black individuals there are in San Diego.
S2: Black San Diegan and people of color are overrepresented in the homeless system. Black San Diegan make up less than 5% of our general population , but depending on the community and they can make up anywhere from 24 to almost 30% of the unsheltered population and similarly in shelter. So we are seeing them overrepresented in need and in the most challenging conditions , especially unsheltered. And they're overrepresented in our shelters. And one thing that's not in the point in time count but. Our data does show from a strong committee that we've had the continuum of care , that it takes longer for them to be able to get housed as well. So our entire system is oriented to where it is harder for someone of color to navigate it , and they spend more time and they experience homelessness far more often than others. And it is work that we are leaning into today to address.
S1: Tell us a little bit more about the successes , the limited successes , one of which , as you say , is with veterans.
S2: You know , in the veteran population , a combined collaborative approach that happened at Operation Shelter to Home. We had a shelter that came in that was specific for veterans and with partnership of the VA housing authorities , service providers. We were able to house a significant amount of the veterans and actually close that shelter because it was no longer needed. And it is continuing to hold true in what we saw in a point in time numbers. They are down 30%. Veterans unsheltered in shelter down 30%. I believe that that is due to those efforts. It is the investment the VA has made. Our local VA has been phenomenal. Our housing authorities and our service providers have really stepped up. And if we can replicate this process , continue to do it on veterans , we have a fighting chance to really turn the tide.
S1: Tamara , you've been doing this a while. Let me get your personal take on what these numbers are telling us.
S2: You know , I appreciate that I have done this work for a number of years. It is not only a passion , but it is my profession. And the numbers give us trend data. They allow us to really have the conversations with individuals , understand their conditions. And as we talked about the trend data , families are increasing. Our senior population is not improving in the percentage of the population. We need to do more there. Our veteran efforts are showing progress and promise. The actual number itself is not a finite number , but it is a guiding number by which we can look at who's out there , what are the demographics. And for one night , talk to individuals experiencing homelessness to understand their situation. The number is required to be reported , the experience. So I think the power of the point in time is the 87 year old black San Diegan that we engaged who was homeless in his vehicle. That's the clarion call to San Diego to do this work and to end homelessness.
S1: I've been speaking with Tamara Koehler. She's CEO of San Diego's Regional Task Force on Homelessness. Tamara , thank you.
S2: Thank you.
S5: Another progress report for San Diego's new ambulance provider , Foulke shows it's still failing to meet expectations within its contract. The company promised more ambulances on the road and six months after taking over the 911 contract. They still haven't lived up to that. The company is now getting hit with a $457,000 penalty for not meeting response times that were promised. Joining me to talk about Foulke and its contract is KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt , welcome back to the show. For people who don't know. Tell us about Foulke and why they won San Diego's 911 contract last year.
S3: To make a long story short , they promised more ambulances on the road compared to the previous provider. They had sort of a contentious RFP process and they won that contract. And the fire chief flat out says that they won that contract because they were going to provide a higher level of service. And that was something that the city just couldn't turn down.
S3: So they've been in full operation for about six months now when they got started. They even met this two. It was a rocky start. They didn't have all the new ambulances that they needed. They were struggling with some staffing issues and that impacted response times in a major way , especially in December and January. And they're basically facing this penalty for not meeting response times or not having certain ambulances to go out on certain calls. So they're not meeting the terms of their contract. We also know , too , that , you know , not only are they not meeting some response times which data from Foulke shows that they are getting better at response times. But the city cautions and says , Hey , we're yet to vet this , but they're also not meeting the unit hours that they promised. You know , they promised 1008 hours a day. And the fire chief says that they they rarely hit that. That's fire chief Collins stole from San Diego Fire Rescue. You know , he says that this is just flat out disappointing. We have about the same service level as we had about a year ago. That is not what we expected in this contract. We expected more and that's what we're holding them accountable for. And I will note to Jay that the fire chief says , you know , if these inconsistencies continue , they're going to be increasing the penalties moving forward.
S3: They point to a shortage of EMT workers , even though it seems like that American medical response seems to be hiring. EMT is maybe offering some more incentives , but Foulke is trying to offer some more incentives , you know , new higher bonuses , offering some incentives for employees that pull extra shifts. Because keep in mind , if they are meeting their response times right now , it's on the back of not having a full schedule. So , you know , we heard from Foulkes union leaders saying , you know , look like our workers , they're getting crushed. And even if we are making our response times in April , it's on the backs of all of them and we need to have a full workforce so everything's going right. But , you know , like we heard from their managing director , Jeff Baim , and he fought out , says that , you know , even though that they keep saying they're going to do better. He says they're going to do better. We're not prepared to make excuses. We take full responsibility for our contract and are committed to reaching these commitments. But admittedly , needing these goals has been harder than we anticipated due to COVID surges and related to the lack of paramedic availability.
S3: Granted , initially , the city was going to levy a $2.3 million fine against Foulke , but Foulke had requested some relief for December and January. That's when they really were not hitting response times. You know , they were impacted. They said at times , you know , a big chunk of their workforce was out. Now , the city of San Diego , the fire department , they were going through some similar challenges with staffing related to the American winter surge. So they said , okay , you know , we're going to cancel out December and January and we're just going to fine you for that in compliance with response times in February and March. And so they do that every quarter. So every quarter they can go in and assess penalties.
S5: And give us a little background on Foulke. I mean , their move to San Diego came with controversy. Yeah.
S3: Yeah. You know , when they bid on this city contract , you know , American medical response , they submitted their bid , folks who did their bid and Foulkes level of service was considerably higher , you know , offering more ambulances on the road , which is a good thing for San Diegans. But we heard a lot of critics saying that there's no way that they're going to be able to do that , you know , or it's just not going to be able to work out financially. And those people that said that , you know , that was about a year ago now and here we are. And they haven't been able to meet their staffing goals and something that the fire chief brought up. He said , you know , we've been hearing time and time again that Foulke is going to fix this , but this may be the best level of service that we can get. And if that's the case , where do we go from here ? Is that look ? Canceling the contract. Something interesting that the fire chief said he's preparing for the worst outcome here , whether that be the contract gets canceled or maybe even out where to pull out of San Diego. They're doing a study to look at what it would take to bring back the ambulance services in-house. So that's having the fire department run the city's EMS system.
S3: But we sort of have to take that with a grain of salt , or at least the city saying that in terms of they haven't been able to go in and actually review that data and see if it is correct. But it appears according to the data , that they are meeting response times though , now. But keep in mind , it's like these two issues. There's response times and then there's staffing levels and we know that they are not at the staffing levels that they promised. And something else that we're hearing from Facebook , they say that they are working on bringing in more staffing and they say in the coming weeks they're going to hire a couple dozen more employees. It's not going to get them to exactly where they need to be. But they say that they're really trying everything that they can to fill open positions to make more incentives. But the city is just saying it just doesn't seem to be enough right now.
S5: I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt , thanks for joining us.
S3: Thanks , Fred.
S5: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. San Diego hasn't had a new sheriff in over a decade , but that is changing now as voters choose the replacement for retired Sheriff Bill Gore. KPBS reporter Claire TRAGESER introduces us to the candidates.
S2: There are seven people running for sheriff. KPBS reached out to all of them and heard back from three. We caught up with those three on the campaign trail.
S3: I'm John Hammersley. I am a 30 year plus public servant. Between my time in the Marine Corps , my time at the State Police Department , and my time at the city attorney's office as the chief criminal prosecutor.
S5: I'm Kelly Martinez. I've been with the sheriff's department for 37 years. I've worked my way up through the ranks and I'm currently the undersheriff. I run the day to day operations of the department.
S6: My name is Dave Myers.
S3: And I am running for San Diego County sheriff. Born and raised here.
S4: In San Diego.
S3: I spent 35 years in law enforcement. I've worked my way up through the sheriff's department to commander.
S2: We asked the candidates what they thought was the biggest issue facing the sheriff's department. John Hammersley says it's the high number of deaths in San Diego jails. A state audit says the department should require mental health screenings at intake and more interaction between nurses and inmates , among other changes.
S3: Some of the best practices from the state board as well that can be looked at. There's some are some best practices from the national boards as well that we're going to take a look at.
S2: Kelly Martinez says it's hiring more staff , which leads to better care in jails.
S5: We lost a lot of people in the last couple of years. So we have we need to hire about 400 people , both nurses and deputies. And then once , you know , the hiring is so key because all of the other things hinge on having enough staff.
S2: Dave Myers says the biggest issue is restoring trust in the department.
S6: That this.
S3: Current status quo is not.
S4: Going to stop jail deaths , that the status quo.
S3: In sheriff's leadership now is not going to address racial bias and police.
S2: Hemorrhaging is an assistant city attorney in San Diego. He says his leadership experience makes him most qualified for the job.
S3: I spent almost a decade as a police officer working. Most of that time was in City Heights , where I worked a beat there in City Heights. I left there as a field training officer. I then went to law school while I was working at the Sanford Police Department , working my my beat to the me to become a better , better person for the community , a better person for myself.
S2: Martinez , currently the undersheriff for the department , says she has direct experience leading the department.
S5: And nobody knows the sheriff's department or county better than I do. And I've already been working towards all of these changes and initiatives that we need to make our communities safe.
S2: Meanwhile , Myers , who's a retired sheriff's commander , says he can help diversify the department.
S3: Create an environment in which the Department of 4700 positions reflects the community where policing.
S2: The sheriff is a nonpartisan office. But party politics still play a role in the race. Hamelin was an independent voter , but in 2020 changed to the Republican Party and has their backing. He says despite the county's majority of Democrat voters , he can be elected.
S3: No matter where you fall on the political spectrum. You want to be safe in your neighborhood. It's the number one job of government is to be safe , to be to provide safety and security and public safety.
S2: Meanwhile , Martinez was a Republican but changed her party to Democrat in November 2020 and has the backing of many well-known Democrats , including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. She says her decision to change parties was personal.
S5: It was done before , made before I decided to run for sheriff. But the sheriff's not partisan. The job of public safety really is doesn't follow one party or another.
S2: Myers also changed his party from Republican to Democrat in 2016 and has the endorsement of the local Democratic Party. He ran for sheriff in 2018 and lost , but says it'll be different this time.
S3: I'm not getting picked on. I'm not getting marginalized. I'm not getting discriminated against.
S2: The top two vote getters in the primary June 7th will advance to the November general election. Claire TRAGESER , KPBS News.
S1: Chula Vista will have a new mayor for the first time since 2014. Whoever is elected will have to address the city's structural budget deficit and try to bring a four year university to the South Bay. KPBS reporter Gustavo Solis talked to four of the six candidates in the race.
S4: Chula Vista A structural budget deficit is projected to grow to $12 million in less than a decade , and the next mayor will have to address the city's finances. Every candidate agrees that Chula Vista needs to do a better job of attracting businesses and growing its tax base. But how they plan to go about it is very different. City Council member Jill Galvez says that the city simply needs to watch how much it spends.
S5: So going forward , you always have to be mindful that that things can happen and you don't spend money that you don't have. Right now , what we're facing is high inflation , and so we're seeing the cost of of energy go up significantly. We've seen the cost of gas , which in black packs are over 700 vehicle fleet.
S4: Senator Encarnacion is a first time candidate. She wants to take a more proactive approach when it comes to business development.
S5: Likely work centers or employers to come down to Chula Vista ? Let's go talk to them and find out what they need. Right , to make that decision. And we need to be.
S2: Doing that two years out from when we know their.
S5: Lease is going to be up. Right. Like we need to be so much more proactive than we've ever been.
S4: A smart campaign. Aja ran for Congress twice in the East County. He says the current mayor and city council have left a lot of money on the table , particularly from the federal government.
S3: And I've heard , you know , our current mayor has gone to meetings and asked for earmarks past the deadline. And it is just unnerving to hear that. That's millions of dollars on the table. And instead of getting those earmarks , we have to raise local taxes.
S4: Rudy Ramirez was on the city council from 26 to 2015. He also says the city needs to do more to attract businesses.
S3: I would invest in getting these this land more ready , readily available for an employer. Right now , if I'm an employer wants to come to Chula Vista , they're telling them they're four years out before they can start operating and employers want to hear that they'll go somewhere else.
S4: The other big campaign issue is a decade long plan to bring a four year university to Chula Vista. The city set aside 400 acres of land and even offered leases for as little as a dollar. But nobody has taken their offer. Kevin Aja says there's just no confidence in the city's current political leadership to get anything done.
S3: I think that it's a lack of confidence in our city. I mean , we have a city where our leadership has not been able to deal with our deficits , has not been able to take out the trash. So investors look at our cities like you can't take out the trash or you cannot build a university or a bayfront. What kind of leadership do you have there ? Right.
S4: Encarnacion has university experience. She currently works at Southwestern College , where she helped San Diego State University bring a four year degree program there. Chula Vista took too long to bring this service to the South Bay , she says.
S2: With all due respect to the city.
S5: We kind of saw.
S2: Like we have to take the range of academic program planning because we're the.
S5: Experts and our students here in South.
S2: County can't wait for the city to.
S5: Find a university to come in and do it.
S4: Ramirez also thinks that Chula Vista approach has been all wrong. He thinks that the city should bring research companies to the South Bay first.
S3: I think they've they've been approaching it in the wrong way first , hoping that they could , you know , that a U.S. system or a state system would come down and decide to settle in Chula Vista. You know , I think early on we knew that wasn't likely to happen.
S4: Ramirez added that research companies that work in biotech and aerospace are investing millions in North County. The city should try to bring some of that money south. Galvez says that the city needs to explore private funding options to help lure universities to Chula Vista. She'd like to start an endowment and build relationships with top donors.
S5: Past councils have invested millions of dollars in studying. You know what people want ? But. But it's , you know , getting from there to to getting to the place of what people will donate to build is another another matter. When you go on a university campus , you see that the buildings are named from the philanthropist. The programs are name from philanthropists.
S4: Election Day is June 7th and you can already drop off your ballots. The top two vote getters will face off in November.
S1: Joining me is KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis. And , Gustavo , welcome.
S4: Thank you , Maureen.
S1: Now , first off , there are actually six candidates in the race for Chula Vista mayor. And you only spoke to four.
S4: If you read the Web version of the story , it has more information from Council member John McCann and retired Army Major Spencer Cash.
S4: Right. But , you know , nod , nod , wink , wink. We kind of all know what their affiliation is. Four of the six candidates are running as Democrats. John McCann is the lone Republican and Spencer Cash is an independent.
S1: Now , I would suppose a markup in AJA probably has the greatest name recognition in the county for his campaigns in the East County.
S4: Right. And it's one that other candidates have jumped on and criticized him for. It's worth pointing out that he did not get the Democratic Party endorsement. That one went to Senator Encarnacion. And you're right , campaign manager spent eight years building his brand as a whiskey drinking , cigar smoking , moderate Democrat in these county. But for the mayoral campaign , Captain Aja has kind of rebranded himself as the son of the South Bay. He likes to point out that he went to high school in Chula Vista. He went to Southwestern College before transferring there , and that his family has lived there for for a couple of generations now. It doesn't really seem to matter to voters too much , at least just from what I've seen there. There's a lot of lawn signs for summer camp in Ajo throughout Chula Vista.
S4: Yeah , definitely. I mean , council members Jill Galvis and John McCann are currently in the city council. Rudy Ramirez was a council member from 2006 to 2015. So they all have like their established base and followers and recognition in this race , particularly John McCain and Rudy Ramirez , who have been in politics in Chula Vista a little bit longer than Jill Galvis , who's just finishing her first term. Senator Encarnacion , as I said , she won the Democratic Party endorsement , but she's a first time candidate along with Spencer Cash. I mean , technically so it's a major component are in Chula Vista. But his name has been around so long that he doesn't really seem like a first time candidate.
S1: Now , the current mayor , Mary Salas , is termed out of office.
S4: She endorsed Senator Encarnacion before most other candidates even entered the race. The endorsement has raised some eyebrows , especially when you consider that there are two current council members and one former council members , all of whom work with Mary Celis in the past. It's worth noting that Encarnacion also has a lot of endorsements from County Supervisor Nora Vargas , National City Mayor Alexander Sotelo Solis , Chula Vista , Councilmember Steve Padilla. Like I said , the local party , but also just Democratic politicians throughout the San Diego region.
S4: Aja is endorsed by the local firefighters union and several labor unions. He likes to point that out during the candidate forums. John McCann has the endorsement of the local police officers union.
S1: Now , you asked the candidates about the city's finances and the effort to secure a four year university in Chula Vista.
S4: Right. Mary Sallis is termed out. She is not running for mayor. John McCann and Jill Galvis , they're both in the city council right now , but they're not running for reelection in their respective districts. So you could potentially have a brand new mayor and two new council members. Not to mention , Steve Padilla is running for state office. If he wins , then there would be another appointment. So you could potentially have up to three council members , one new mayor , all of them new to Chula Vista politics. And it could represent really a sea change in in the way the direction is going , or at least in the political leadership of Chula Vista. Now , in terms of issues , getting the Bayfront project done , is this a really big one ? The city has been trying to do it for decades. There On the Brink actually just updated a financial agreement with the Port of San Diego. So there's a sense that it's finally happened and that will bring a lot of credibility to Chula Vista in order to get big projects done. And a big , big , major issue that I don't think anyone has talked about , or at least not enough , is the sunsetting of Measure P. Measure P is that. Ten year sales tax that brings in about $25 million in tax revenues to the city and pays for infrastructure like repairing roads , fixing old buildings and new construction projects. The sales tax expires in five years , and no one in the city council is talking about how they're going to make up that 25 million void in tax revenue that's going to go away.
S4: I haven't seen it and I don't know the source , so I haven't really focused on it too much. If you look at name recognition and just who has the most money , a major campaign , Aja is in a strong position. If you look at the number of endorsements and the quality of those endorsements and I think our nation is in a good place and she also has a big war chest. But like I said , Gil Galvez , John McCain , Rudy Ramirez all have history in Chula Vista , politics and name recognition.
S1: And once again , a reminder that voting is underway now and continues through June 7th. I've been speaking with KPBS sports reporter Gustavo Solis. And Gustavo , thank you.
S4: Thank you , Maureen. Happy to be here.
S5: Known as the world's fastest five K running race. The Carlsbad 5000 is back this weekend. It's been three years since the last race , which was canceled repeatedly because of COVID. In fact , the Carlsbad 5000 is the last major road race in the U.S. to return after the pandemic. Olympic medalist and San Diegan Medcalf Lasky , who is the co-owner of the Carlsbad 5000 race , spoke to KPBS reporter Claire TRAGESER. Here's that interview.
S4: The 5000 meter , which is 3.1 mile. I remember going there when I was in high school to see top national and international runners. So that's when I was introduced. And as fast as the passes in the world and the numerous world records and American record been broken , and for me , watching it in high school and then after college after UCLA , I went and competed there twice where I finished fourth and one year and the seventh and next year , but same exact time. So it's very consistent , very beautiful , scenic course and obviously set in that kind of race , not only here but also throughout the world.
S2: And you are a running all star. You're the only male runner in history to win the Boston Marathon , the New York City Marathon , and an Olympic marathon medal. And as you mentioned , you chase the five K American record in Carlsbad finishing two times in a row in 13 minutes and 34 seconds.
S4: It was a Sammy. Skip was a Kenyan runner who the first time I ran in 2001 , I want to say , he ran out under four minute mile. And I'm looking at the clock , looking at 357 , 358 from far away before I got there and I won win by 408 , four hour , 4 minutes and a second. I said , oh , I blew my race away and I struggled to get to that finish line. I hit the wall and but amazingly , I came in 1334 and then the following year , 2002 , I played a little bit conservative , maybe too conservative , and I ran for 28 or so first mile. So you talked about 20 seconds and then I hammered the last two miles and guess what ? Same exact time. 1334 So it is a great race that can bring a lot of people together. And whether you are a lead athlete like myself in those days or send you Peter Chase , an American record , a world record or some age group versus want to just be the top finishers in the age groups on the course. That is one of their unique whereas different divisions throughout the day which is starts at 6:55 a.m. with the 40 years olds. Are.
S3: Are.
S4: Older and then to the next age group , then the next age group. And then about noon or so or 1:00 , we have the elite men and women kind of stick around for those people that finish that great five run or 5000 run and then can cheer on all the superstars nationally and internationally. So I feel blessed. I had those opportunities , Amazing Race , and I'm definitely blessed to be part of owner of the course by 5000 now.
S4: And , you know , it just brings people together. I think as a Nelson Mandela from South Africa said , sports unites us more than anything else. So that's what it is. And running definitely does does that.
S4: I ran a physical education class at Roosevelt Junior High next to the San Diego Zoo. Coach Duke Lord said , If you run hard , get a gate A or B and you get a T-shirt and you have to run 650 and end up running 520. And that changed my life. Not even know what the Olympics were. So to be tied up in some somewhere in San Diego , like the cost about 5000 for me is an honor. And then also the sport has changed so much for my life. And and not only that the five K tank but to be a marathoner and and to be associated with this such an iconic race that started in 1986. And I came to United in 1987 , a year later , it's kind of a measurement of my , you know , the birth of my immigration lifestyle and my experimentation here to be just appreciate how much the United States has given me and what San Diego has done to raise me the man that I am and to be associated with this wonderful race. I know those people who during the pandemic , you know , people start walking outdoors with their kids or the parents are going out. So I like to see that. Just finishing a five ks , a big milestone. And next year or the year after , they can hopefully grow faster than the previous years. But I'm just excited to celebrate after I believe it's 1141 days since last time it took place in person. So getting to that finish line at any level is just a huge accomplishment. Yeah.
S2: Yeah. And as you mentioned , you know , even when gyms were closed during COVID , people could still go out or walk or run.
S4: It will take place and races and especially the course , about 5000 people down there , a lot of new walkers and not a lot of new runners. So for those people that have done it for the 36 years of running of the course , about 5000. Welcome you back. And so this one new ones that are just trying of five , five days , not a half marathon , a full marathon , I think a lot of people can do it. We welcome you and looking forward to put a medal , be there and run it myself and then put medals around people's neck and is what a what a triumph it is just for the new people and stepping stone. You know people runners hard run is definitely hard , but it starts with one mile , it starts with a5k or 5000 meter like the cross fat. And it gets you to exercise that good habit , healthy , healthy diet habit and good good to be able to just be well-rounded person. And then south of the 5000 meters and looking forward to seeing them for their first time or for the many years they've been running with us since 1986.
S4: I'm not competing like I did in the past , but yeah , I'll be there running it on Sunday , May 22nd and looking forward to , you know , growing along my fellow runners.
S2: And what's a recreational pace for you.
S4: And operation running for me is almost twice what I used to like that I'm comfortable going eight minute pace. Nine minute pace. And you know , and then this the cost about 5000. I'm just doing it for the people. I'm not there to pursue my goals. Thankful to God I have accomplished all my goals that I want to accomplish as a competitor. So now is just make sure that people have a wonderful experience.
S2: All right. And as we mentioned , the Carlsbad 5000 will be the sun in downtown Carlsbad. And joining me was Olympic medalist and San Diegan Meb Kovaleski , who is the co-owner of the race. And Meb , thank you so much.
S4: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
S5: That was Olympic marathoner Meb Kovaleski , co-owner of the Carlsbad 5000 Race. He was speaking to KPBS reporter Claire TRAGESER.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hyneman. For more than seven decades , the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been inspiring cities around the globe to create their own alternative festivals , where performers can try out original works without a filter. That means no censoring of content and no selection committees to pass judgement on what can be seen. San Diego International Fringe Festival returns in June after a two year pandemic break to celebrate its 10th year. Midday Edition is kicking off a four part series focusing on Fringe. With KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO. Today , she's speaking with founder and executive director Kevin Charles Patterson about what to expect this year.
S5: Kevin Like so many arts organizations , Fringe has been on hiatus because of the pandemic. So it's returning finally , which is exciting news.
S6: But this year , folks can expect a smaller , more manageable festival as we come out of COVID.
S5: And remind people what Fringe is all about. Fringe has a unique personality that's different from other things.
S6: I would say what's very unique with the fringe versus other theater arts programming that we would see throughout San Diego County is that it's uncensored , it's undulated , it's open access completely. So anybody that wants to do a show can. So it could be folks from the major arts organizations , the opera or the symphony , and somebody that is just finishing getting their degree in school and wants to do a show. It could be a complete mixture. I think that's the biggest thing that sets us apart is is those elements. Oh , and another thing that's very wonderful is that 100% of the box office goes to the artists. So ultimately this whole platform centers around the artists and possible portfolio advancement for their shows or personal resumé building opportunities. It's an unbelievable platform with what it's able to do. Oh , and then to continue answering that question with something else that's different is cultural exchanges. US having artists from San Diego be able to travel to other countries and artists from other countries that have won awards and their festivals come to San Diego. It's a very unique , wonderful career advancement opportunity.
S5: Now there are official venues for Fringe , which is the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater and the Central Cultural de la Raza. But you have something called BYOB , which is bring your own venue.
S6: They have the opportunity to pick any location , any venue that they would like to use on their own and present there. It could be behind a building in a really unique site , specific spot or in a restaurant. This year with BYOB , we have coffee house that's in Ocean Beach called the Template , and Bodhi Tree concerts will be performing there. And then another one that stands out to me is Lake Girls Adult Club.
S6: So that is a big component that helps make the festival possible. And then also there have been COVID initiatives to help arts organizations. So finances isn't an issue this time around. I would say one thing that's been difficult is navigating through all the processes and procedures for having an event in the park , going to the city and getting the proper permits. And it turns out that our festival is taking place during a moratorium to get stuff out of the park. So as we're about to bring stuff in , they want to take stuff out. So that's a big conflict there. And then also , many of the venues are playing catch up from COVID. So there's that element , too. So it's been a little difficult on the fringe in the past was. Largely based in Spreckels Theater and in Spreckels Theater , the owners gave us free rein to use whatever we wanted to use within the building , and that means multiple venues and a club and concessions. So now that that building has been sold , we are coming up with new ways to make the festival robust. After our petite festival this year , our Pop-Up Festival.
S5: Now Fringe , is modeled after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival , which has become a huge event in that city.
S6: I mean , where can you go and get entertainment for free or the most expensive ticket is $10. So it's completely accessible. And start at the beginning of the day to the end of the day , seeing show after show after show after show. I just think that as we grow in the future , it yields so much opportunity for artists. It's not even funny. And I think what it also does for a community. The best example is Edinburgh. The impact that it has on the city is ginormous.
S6: Hi.
S6: It's called Theatre Group Gamble. I shouldn't isolate them. It's just they're coming so far and popped in my head. It's a complete goulash of arts. I think the best thing that an audience member can do is be adventurous and go see that show that they don't think is their cup of tea and then end up loving it.
S5: And explain to people what the experience is like in terms of you can buy a group of tickets and you have to buy a fringe tag and there's certain things that you have to do to kind of partake in this.
S6: Because we're giving 100% of the ticket sales to the artists. It means that without grants , it's very difficult for us to have operations continue. So we need to make sure that it's a viable entity regardless to what funding does come in. And with that , we charge a festival admission , and the festival admission is through their dog tags like army tags , and it's $5 and that's it. And then we also have implemented a show pass or Show Pass program where it's three , five and ten show packages that reduce the price of the tickets.
S5: Thank you , Kevin , for talking about Fringe and so happy to see it return.
S6: Thank you so much.
S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Kevin Charles Patterson. San Diego International Fringe Returns June 2nd through the 12th in Balboa Park. Listen in as we highlight a trio of fringe artists over the next three weeks.

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The numbers from the annual Point In Time homeless count are in and show a sharp increase in homelessness in the county. Next, San Diego’s new ambulance provider is facing a $457,500 penalty for failing to meet the terms of its contract. Then, we get introduced to the candidates running to be the next sheriff in the county. And, six candidates are running to be the next mayor of Chula Vista. Plus, Olympic medalist and San Diegan Meb Keflezighi talks about the return of the Carlsbad 5000 after a three-year absence. Finally, the San Diego International Fringe Festival returns in June to celebrate its 10th year.