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Hundreds of San Diego City workers get vaccine exemptions, some still face termination

 March 24, 2022 at 3:17 PM PDT

S1: San Diego is scaling back vaccine mandates.
S2: Health officials are particularly looking at the boosters and the amount of boosters that have been delivered , and that's where San Diego is lagging behind.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman. Maureen is away today. This is KPBS Midday Edition. We'll tell you about new legislation to prevent jail deaths.
S2: I would hope it develops into a way to remove the badge and the gun from mental health services.
S1: The Tale of the Constantly Unfinished Mission Valley underpass. And a conversation with actor Robert Duvall about The Godfather. That's ahead on Midday Edition. San Diego. City and county governments are starting to scale back vaccine mandates and testing requirements. Meanwhile , COVID infection rates in the county are rising again. Joining me now with an update on these changes is KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt , welcome back.
S2: Now , that may sound like we're doing pretty good , but just our neighbors next to us and Imperial County , they have the state's highest vaccination rate at 94% now , something that health officials are particularly looking at. We know that immunity wanes from having vaccinations , including for COVID. And they're really looking at the boosters and the amount of boosters that have been delivered. And that's where San Diego is lagging behind. I mean , we are in the 40 percentile range , 42% for eligible population. Now , compare that to San Francisco. They're at 75% this week.
S1: Hundreds of city workers had religious or medical vaccine exemptions granted. What's behind this.
S2: Decision ? Mayor Todd , Gloria , he says that this was always something that was going to be coming both for religious and medical exemptions. But you talk to some of the union leadership that represents the city employees. They weren't so sure. Some of them thought the city was going to be denying all of the religious exemptions. Turns out , you know , out of about 800 that they've approved , they've only denied about 15. So it seems like that they are greenlighting all of these. Now , what spurred that to happen ? You know , some of the unions say we knew that this was coming. And some have to wonder about was this threat of legal action and legal action that had been taken against the city something that made them do this.
S1: It was also recently announced that unvaccinated county workers will no longer be regularly tested for COVID 19 , while new non-health care hires do not have to be vaccinated.
S2: And for the city , those unvaccinated workers that got exemptions , they're going to have to be regularly tested. And then we're seeing the county make the opposite move where they're saying , you know , those who are unvaccinated no longer have to be regularly tested and new hires don't have to be vaccinated. Now , we're hearing from them that the reasoning for that the county public health officer , Dr. UOMO Wooten , points to hospitalization and deaths being down. We know that they've said that cases are still too high for this region , but there was no specific word on in terms of , you know , we can't fill vacancies , so that's why we're doing this.
S1:
S2: But a lot of medical experts have warned that , you know , things like we're seeing in Europe with surges over there , typically , historically , we've then gotten those surges here a few weeks later. So and that's something the governor has talked about , you know , the ability to scale back up again , whether it be restrictions or not. So we're going to have to see how it all plays out.
S1:
S2: You know , as we see new variants coming in , as we see cases coming back in , I think we may see some of these start coming back for at least limited periods of time. Like if there was a rash of cases , we may see a mask mandate coming forward for San Diego County or something like that.
S1: I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt , thanks for joining us.
S2: Thanks , Shade.
S1: San Diego County named Anthony Wray as interim sheriff on Tuesday. He is expected to be sworn in to the temporary role on April 5th. The announcement came in the midst of new proposed legislation aimed at reducing the number of people who die in county jails. A report by the California state auditor found that the San Diego County Sheriff's Department failed to adequately prevent and respond to the deaths of individuals in its custody. Assemblywoman Akilah Weber was joined by Senate President Toni Atkins and other local lawmakers in announcing the Saving Lives Custody Act. Here's a little of what Dr. Weber had to say.
S3: There were 185 deaths.
S4: In San Diego County jails between 2006 and 2020. San Diego In-custody deaths were higher than any other county in California.
S1: The effort to focus attention on the lethal problem in San Diego jails was started by local grassroots organizations. Maureen CAVANAUGH I spoke with Yusef Miller , co-founder of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition , about this bill. Here's that interview.
S3:
S2: But it came to a point for us in 2019 when we heard about the loss of Alyssa Sarno , and that launched our campaign in 2020 , the Saving Lives and Custody campaign that was launched by the North County Equity and Justice Coalition with support from the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego Surge , North County and the North San Diego County , ACP , American Arab Anti-Defamation League , Antonina and many others.
S3:
S2: And we would see at times loss of life. We have many people who were denied these requests that didn't lose their lives. But we have people that come to us , their family members , in tears because their family member has lost their life after requesting lifesaving measures.
S3:
S2: We want to thank Dr. Akilah Webber and all her colleagues for advancing this act. When we came up with the Saving Lives and Custody campaign in 2020. We had no idea it would go this far. You know , we didn't have that kind of confidence in the system. But Dr. Sheila Webber and her allies , they saw the value and the need of this and they developed this act , which we're very , very thankful for.
S3:
S2: I would hope it develops into a way to remove the badge and a gun from mental health services , from drug addiction services and homelessness outreach. And we see from the victims of these neglect in custody , they fit in at least one or all three of these issues. And we see the failure is the connection and the bridge between the badge and the gun and these services. We need clinicians. We need civilians to run these programs that have a more vested interest in their success.
S3: Now , this bill has just been introduced. It's not scheduled to be voted on or to go into effect for a while. Do you think any interim measures are needed.
S2: That Attorney General Rob Bonta can come in and take charge ? And we're asking for that. We've seen that happen in 1991 with the L.A. riots. We've seen it with 2016 when Kamala Harris , the current vice president , was the AG of California. So we know that they can step in when there are crises like this. Too many people are dying. As a matter of fact. Last week , two more people have died. So we are in a crisis , make no mistake. And we're asking Rob Barnes in the interim to come in and take charge of San Diego County jails and implement reforms to save lives.
S3: Since Sheriff Bill Gore resigned , the county sheriff's department says it's taken steps to make jails safer with more safety checks and accountability. But as you mentioned , of course , those two recent deaths last week put a question mark to that.
S2: We just don't have the confidence and we can't risk the lives of other family members. So. It's a bit of a situation where we have too little too late. So we would like for an outside entity to come in and enforce these reform measures to save lives.
S3: I've been speaking with Yusuf Miller , co-founder of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition. Yusef , thank you so much.
S2: Thank you.
S1: Those employees include San Diego law enforcement officers. Some leaving because of COVID mandates. But KPBS reporter Katie Alvarado found that's not the only reason.
S4: Deputy Darnell Calhoun is just starting his shift. He's one of Riverside County Sheriff's Department's new hires.
S2: Walking Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
S4: And while he's just meeting some of his colleagues for the first time , he's no rookie. He comes with three years of experience in law enforcement from a department that's considered top notch. The San Diego Police Department.
S2: And I'm glad that I can be here and be part of the community. Morale feels really good here. Morale in San Diego. Yeah , it was it was touch and go.
S4: He says he loved his colleagues in San Diego and already knew the city well. Then things started to.
S2: Change and a lot of people started to leave due to a lot of the vaccination status stuff that I won't really get into. So it took a hard hit on my station.
S4: Calhoun is vaccinated himself , but he left the city for several reasons , including low morale and an increasing workload. And that , he says , is a problem when you're doing an already dangerous job.
S2: You know , you take one call at a time and yeah , it's rough. That's not something I wish. Shine on anyone.
S4: Sergeant Gerald Wilson is the president of the San Diego Police Officers Association.
S2: There is essentially unlimited overtime for officers to work right now , but they're burnt out and we go a lot of positions that are unfilled.
S4: He says the force should have 2000 officers , but they're down to just 1700 available for patrol , thanks to a combination of factors , including retirements and resignations to take other jobs.
S2: Our officers are hot commodities. Between 2006 and 2021 , the Sanford Police Department hired and lost 2400 officers and recruits.
S4: He says this is having an impact on crime so far this year. Homicide rates are up 80% over last year.
S2: I've never seen a homicide rate skyrocket this quickly , this fast in just the first two months of this year , certainly not in my 15 years as a police officer.
S4: And response times are getting longer.
S2: A priority one call , which is something like a burglary in progress , violent attack in progress , an assault or a fight in progress. Those response times are in excess of 30 minutes to get a police officer to you. I feel very , very bad for the other agencies.
S4: That's Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco. He says his department is reaping the rewards of officers leaving large city forces like DPD. He says last year they hired fewer than 20 officers from other departments and this year there's already more than 60 in some stage of the hiring process. Nearly 20 of them are from San Diego County. Agencies already trained and ready to hit the streets.
S2: We are just overwhelmed at the level of experience and training that we're getting. We have SWAT team members. We have canines that are coming over. We have aviation people that are coming over.
S4: The Riverside County Sheriff's Department does not mandate vaccines. But Bianco says the background checks are still rigorous and he won't hire officers with a history of disciplinary issues. But so far , the ones applying are as good as they get.
S2: So far , we that's that's all we are finding. We are finding stellar employees from these other agencies that are leaving simply because of the vaccine mandate at their agency. And we're quite frankly , we're just we're getting a huge reward.
S4: Calhoun says he's glad to work closer to home and not have to commute 90 minutes one way. But he says San Diego could have done more to keep officers in its ranks.
S2: Obviously , if you bump , everyone's pay up a little bit more , if you pay into their retirement a little bit more , things like that , that would go a long way as well.
S4: Union President Gerard Wilson hopes a more competitive contract will stop the hemorrhaging and attract good officers.
S2: This isn't just about the vaccine mandates , that is the number one thing that push people out the door. We also have vaccinated officers leaving now because they're underpaid and they're overworked.
S4: Kitty Alvarado , KPBS News. A new.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Maureen CAVANAUGH is off. Early voting is underway in a special election for the 80th Assembly District covering the southern part of San Diego , Chula Vista and National See KPBS. Speaker City Heights reporter Jacob Eyre says two Democrats and one Republican are in the race , all with different visions for the future of San Diego South Bay.
S5: The Assembly District ADC opened up in January when La Reina Gonzalez resigned to take a job with the California Labor Federation. Three candidates are in the race Democrats David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez and Republican Lincoln Picard Gonzalez has endorsed Gomez.
S1: I am proud.
S3: To to have the support of former Assemblywoman. Lorena.
S4: Lorena.
S3: Gonzalez , somebody that did a.
S4: Lot on behalf of our district.
S5: For Gomez , this is a return to politics. She was president of the San Diego City Council and ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2020. During that run , she was criticized for not reporting $100,000 of income on her tax returns. And that criticism is being made again in this election.
S4: There wasn't me trying to do a run around on taxes. It was literally a mistake , an unintentional mistake.
S3: But I fixed it right away.
S5: But she says that the current anti Gomez mailers are being pushed by oil , tow truck and insurance companies funding one of her opponents , David Alvarez. She says that's because some of the key points from her platform focus on the climate crisis , as well as affordable housing and income inequality.
S3: On advancing solutions to to improve.
S4: Our transit.
S3: System , to continue bringing more affordable housing , even.
S4: As someone that is in the private sector now.
S3: So to me , that's where my.
S4: Commitment and what I'm grounded on. And that's never going to change no matter where I'm at.
S5: Campaign finance records show Alvarez has received donations from those special interests that Gomez mentions , among others. He says Gomez is being supported by Sacramento politicians who don't want things to change. In a written statement , he told KPBS They are doing this because they know they can control her , that if she is elected , nothing will change. By contrast , I have run 100% positive campaign based on the issues like Gomez. Alvarez is a Democrat , a former San Diego City Councilmember and a native of Barrio Logan.
S6: People feel like Sacramento often forgets them , and they want to make sure that education is a priority , that higher education is a priority , that crime gets addressed as our South Bay communities and San Diego have seen an increase in crime over the last year.
S5: Lincoln Picard is the third candidate in the race , a Republican running in a heavily Democratic district.
S7: The odds are against me. The smart money will be one of the other candidates because there's such a disparity. The amount and the demographics are totally different in our district.
S5: His platform focuses on the cost of living in running a company in California , along with education and water management , among other. Issues.
S7: Issues. Where to take a lot of voters out there that are sick and tired of the Democratic rules and regulations which are driving so many businesses out of our state , which means they're taking jobs with them.
S5: The special election is only to fill out the remainder of Lorraine Gonzalez's term. If one candidate gets 50% plus one of the vote , they'll win the seat outright. But if no one does , there will be a runoff on June 7th , the same day as a regular election for the next term , which begins in December and covers a redrawn District 80 thanks to the last census. The same three candidates are running in that race , too. Here's a last word from each on the issues that matter to them , starting with David Alvarez.
S6: Education , crime on the rise , homelessness issues. They matter to the people in both the old district and the new district. So we're talking about the same issues. We're having those conversations. And it just means that in June , we'll have to find a way to talk to more people.
S5: Georgette Gomez.
S4: At the end of the day , is about building healthy communities , making sure that there's housing that is affordable , making sure that people have clean air , making sure that there are better jobs in our education system. It's robust.
S5: And linking.
S7: PICARD But if you care about gas taxes and you care about school choice , you care about the Second Amendment. We care about some of these real , important values that make America what it is. I ask for your vote.
S5: Early voting is underway now and runs through April 4th. Or voters can go to the polls on April 5th.
S1: And KPBS City Heights reporter Jacob Air spoke with Maureen CAVANAUGH. Here's that interview.
S3:
S5: She left that position back in January. So if someone gets 50% plus one of the votes or the majority , they will have won this special election outright and then they will take over that position that Gonzalez formerly had. That being said , there's another regular election for the role that will have its primary in June , and that would have always happened with or without Gonzalez leaving the role or earlier this year.
S3:
S5: And what makes this really interesting is that's the same day as the regular elections primary. The registrar of voters , when I reached out to them , they said that the runoff election and the regular primary election questions , they'll even be featured on the same voting ballot.
S3: And if no one gets a majority in the regular election primary on June 7th , then it goes on to the general election in November. Right.
S5: Right. So if no one gets the majority , vote for the regular election on that June 7th day we were talking about , it's going to be basically another runoff in November with the top two vote getters from the June primary. The situation is quite unique with the timing for sure , with Gonzales leaving and then the actual regular election happening right afterwards. And the candidates , all of them told me that they recognize there's going to be a lot of campaigning for these elections this year to.
S3: David Alvarez was a member of the San Diego City Council and he ran for mayor back in 2014. He lost to Kevin Faulconer.
S5: He's said that he wants to be a voice of South Bay and most importantly , a point he kind of hit back on many times as he doesn't want Sacramento to pick their next assembly member , which is one of kind of his campaign measures he's claiming against Gomez.
S3: And you say his campaign has received donations from oil , tow truck and insurance companies.
S5: That's outside of donations , and this information is publicly available on the Cal Access website. That's what tracks campaign campaign finances here in the state. Lincoln Picard , the third candidate. His campaign has nothing to report at the moment.
S3:
S5: Most importantly , the Democratic Party , which is a touch point she's been hitting on a lot. Some other organizations and people who are backing her include San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria , the California Federation of Teachers and the California Nurses Association , among many other groups and labor unions. In short , she has some of the biggest local and statewide names backing her.
S3: Now , Republican Lincoln Picard has been running for election in San Diego for several years for several different offices , including mayor.
S5: The district is heavily Democratic and he knows he has an uphill battle. So far I haven't seen any polling , but would expect most or maybe a majority of Republicans in the district to vote along party lines and give him their vote. If anything , Picard might be the candidate that forces that runoff. And then the other two , you know , they'll have to duke it out in June.
S3: House redistricting made a substantial change to the boundaries of the 80th District.
S5: Redistricting has changed a good amount of the boundaries actually in the 80th Assembly District , and that's because of the 2020 census. It's important to note that the special election , though , is for the voters in the old district boundaries , whereas the regular election , which is coming up in June , that's going to be for people who are in the new boundaries. The biggest changes , looking at what actually shifted is that City Heights is no longer included in the new boundaries and that parts that got added include Imperial Beach , more of Chula Vista and more of National City.
S3: I think it's fair to say this is a rather complicated election.
S5: Thank you for hitting on that point. There's so many things with the changing boundaries and the multiple timelines in terms of voting. Yes , early voting has started. March 21st is the actual deadline to register to vote in a special election. But anyone who misses that date , they can still register and vote. They're just going to have to go to the registrar's office or any vote center through the special election day. Again , that is on April 5th.
S3: I've been speaking with Speaker City Heights reporter Jacob Air. Jacob Thank you.
S5: Thank you.
S1: If you've ever been to the Hazzard Center Mall in Mission Valley , you may know you can get there from Friars Road on the north side. On the south side of the shopping center is Hazard Center Drive and a road that goes under the 163 freeway to Fashion Valley Mall. At least that's the idea. The underpass below the freeway looks finished , but remains closed to traffic. A new investigation by KPBS media partner I news source finds the underpass has a decades long history complicated by multiple lawsuits. I News Source Investigative reporter Sophia MEJIA'S Pasko reported the story. She spoke with Andrew Bowen. Here's that interview.
S2: When this underpass was originally envisioned in the 1980s , part of the thinking was that this area would become congested with traffic , which , as you write , is the reality in Mission Valley right now.
S4: Hazard Center , in fact , was actually a brick yard. And so at the time it was going through this transition through a lot of redevelopment and the area was really being envisioned as a place that would be really encouraging of pedestrian traffic and you know , other like , you know , bicycle lanes and stuff like that. I mean , the plan was for a lot of redevelopment in the area that would bring communities. It would be sort of a live work play community that was envisioned. And today , you know , if you've ever been to Mission Valley , you know that it's mostly vehicular traffic. You don't really see too many people walking around. And it's an area that , you know , on the main roads in Mission Valley like friars or community play arena can get very congested.
S2: So this underpass under the 163 freeway is a pretty small road. It's just one lane in each direction.
S4: So you can easily get to Mission Valley and that this would take off some of the pressures on the surrounding roads.
S2: It seems like such a simple thing. Just a road connecting to parts of Mission Valley. Who was responsible for building this piece of infrastructure ? No.
S4: I mean , that question is part of what made this road such a take , such a long time to get completed. And even today , it's still not open. The question of who's responsible has been you know , developers have sort of pass the buck as this property hazard center was sold over the years. It's been sold at least I think three times over these past few decades to new developers. And so when it was sold , the question of who had which developer had the responsibility of building this road got more complicated. And that's what ended up being the topic of some of these lawsuits over the years. The initial developer , initial developer of Hazard Center agreed to build this road as a condition of , you know , the movie theater and all types of other things that they were going to be putting in the area. But they sold the road before that happened. And so basically the responsibility of constructing this underpass just got passed on and on and got more complicated.
S2:
S4: When I've asked when is the underpass going to be open or you know , what's left to be done ? The city has mostly said , go ask the developer. They have said that their role is only for inspecting the underpass once it's ready for inspection. And once they do that and the underpass passes inspection , it will be open for the public. And from that point on , the city will be responsible for maintaining the roadway. But up until then , they're kind of saying you have to ask the developer for any questions about when this roadway could be open or even what's what's holding it up at this point.
S2: The current owner of the Hazard Center intends to build housing on that property. How has that project been affected or interlinked with the completion of this underpass ? Right.
S4: So the current owner and developer of Hazard Center has plans for a 473 473 units of residential housing in Hazard Center. So the completion of this underpass is a condition of that permit. So they the developer , can't start building until this road is completed.
S2: The final steps before this underpass can be open to traffic have to do with stormwater. And as many people know , this is part of San Diego that floods repeatedly during rainstorms. What can you tell us about how prepared this roadway is for flooding ? Sure.
S4: So this underpass , it dips sort of dips down below ground level , and it was designed to flood. So they put in these pumps in the underpass that are designed to pump out the water when it rains so that it can be more accessible. And they also put in traffic gate that will close when water reaches a certain level in the underpass that it can't be it can't be crossed by cars. So those are the tools in place in the underpass to help deal with the flooding. Last I heard from the developer , the pumps did not pass the latest test. So they told me that they're waiting on one more part so that they can have the city inspect the underpass again. And hopefully , if it passes , it will then be opened.
S2: San Diego's infrastructure deficit is higher now than it's ever been before. The city would need an extra $4.3 billion over the next five years to fully fund all of its infrastructure needs. Recognizing this is not a city project , do you think that the problems and delays with this one underpass tell a larger story about what needs to change for the state of our infrastructure to just get better , get in where it needs to be.
S4: I think this underpass is definitely an example of , you know , the struggle to build infrastructure that is going to support our growing communities. You know , a couple of years ago , Mission Valley put out a community plan , update their planning to in , you know , more than triple their population from 2012 to 2050. They're going to they're predicting to have about 70,000 residents in 2050. And that's going to mean a lot more people , you know , driving cars , using bridges and roads in the area. And that's going to need you know , that's going to mean more infrastructure needs in the area.
S2: I've been speaking with I news source , investigative reporter. So FEMA here , Pasco , Sophia , thanks for joining us.
S4: Thanks for having me.
S1: College sports might not always mean working up a sweat. At UC San Diego , their computer gaming team has a new home on campus and $200,000 in scholarship money. KPBS science and technology reporter Thomas Fudge talks about the growing presence of e-sports on campus.
S2: Rows of computer screens and padded high back chairs marked the space where the UC San Diego E-sports team comes to train and compete. One person we met there on a weekday morning was varsity e-sports gamer Sam Dews , who goes by the name Lava Blue. He was playing a game of Rocket League with his twin brother. Imagine rocket propelled cars playing soccer. He was asked if e-sports is really a sport. Definitely , yes. There's practice , there's team commitment , there's you have to put in the work just like anything else. The e-sports team at UC San Diego was founded about three years ago. The director of e-sports , Chris Bynoe , says the team has hit a lot of milestones lately , like winning first place in January and the game League of Legends at the University of California E-sports Initiative.
S7: League of Legends is a they call it a MOBA. It's a massive online battle arena. And so in that game , there are five people on each team controlling different champions with different abilities for the common goal of destroying the enemy team's nexus.
S2: There are about 100 students involved in the e-sports program at UCSD. They opened a new headquarters , the Triton E-sports Center on campus this month. And Recreation Department Associate Director Liz Henry says that's not all. Just this year , the administration put some serious cash into recruiting talent. Our chancellor committed.
S1: $200,000 to EA.
S2: Sports scholarships , which is huge.
S3: And the students got to see that. And it's.
S2: Really pushing this.
S1: Momentum and. Support.
S2: Support.
S1: For these students not only to be academically successful , but to reward them for their passion.
S2: Everybody's got a story about that passion. Sam Leibovich , her gamer name is Sam I am is the president of Triton Gaming , which existed prior to the E-sports team on campus.
S3: I would always look over my brother's shoulder when we played video games as a kid. My parents bought him a PlayStation back in the day and strangely became more interested than he was.
S2: And everybody's got a nickname. Josh Cho is the president of the sports team. He turns around to show the gamer tag on the back of his shirt. It's low , low. And honestly , I just came up on a whim back in third grade and it just stuck ever since. E-sports may be a sport , in fact , but it's still not official. At UCSD , the team is governed by recreation , not the athletic department. In fact , Gary Bono says the NCAA has shied away from embracing EA Sports for a particular reason.
S7: They've decided that with the way that EA Sports is generally played and those types of students that generally come from it. Typically speaking , the highest individuals in collegiate EA Sports have already gone pro in the NCAA. That is actually not allowed to have a professional athlete on your team.
S2: You see. EA Sports is a big industry. Last year revenues exceeded $1,000,000,000 , according to EA Sports. Results dot com. All this becomes clear when you look at the names of the companies on the wall of the Triton EA Sports Center that helped sponsor the UCSD team. Names like Turtle Beach , Roccat and Zowie. Chao is a biology major and he's not a top gamer. Even so , he says his future might be in e-sports , which , like all industries , relies on a lot of professions graphic designers , photographers , but also video producers , even people on the partnership side to talk directly of companies to establish the contracts. Next up for UCSD , EA Sports. The university will host their annual gaming convention , the Triton Gaming Expo , on May 29th. Thomas Fudge , KPBS News.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Maureen CAVANAUGH is off. This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Godfather , the film adaptation of Mario Puzo's best selling novel. Francis Ford Coppola was part of an American new wave of filmmakers trained at film school. And the movie marked a melding of new and old Hollywood. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with actor Robert Duvall , who played Tom Hagen. He began the interview reminiscing about being born in San Diego.
S2: Yeah , San Diego. That's where I was born. Mission Hills , San Diego , California. The Grant Elementary School. But I hadn't. I don't get back that much. My dad was a had gone to the Naval Academy when he was 16. And he was we were stationed there several times in San Diego. And we all used to go to the Marine base and watch a movie for a dime. Way , way back. Way back before The Godfather or anything.
S3:
S2: You know , it was just iconic filmmaking and part of the way The Godfather one. I said , I know we're on to something very , very special , very special. I've only felt that twice and I've suffered very strong death. And that turned out to be right. You know , just a feeling.
S3:
S2: Lonesome Dove. That's the most iconic thing approached on all over , all over the world , especially Texas. I went into the dressing room of Lonesome Dove. I said , Boys , make it the godfather of Westerns.
S3:
S2: I mean , he was an adopted son , so he could step over the line , a good step over the line as an actor or as a character. And it was great to be part of the family , you know ? I take it one of the other two I got kicked out of the family , I think. I haven't seen that film in 25 years since the last time it opened.
S3: And what was Francis Ford Coppola like as a director on that first film ? Because I know he was dealing with a lot of pressure from the studio.
S2: That he thought he was going to be fired. But , you know , he's a he was a way. He always is. He wants to see what you bring. And I work with actors , directors to say , do this. There's this way to do this. But with Coppola , he is such shifts back and watch his work and wishes and appreciates what you bring to the table. That's the way he works and that's why he's such a good director. He's good with actors. Just he wants to see what you bring. He does , like , dictate with a.
S3: Performance like yours that's really subtle and such a part of an ensemble.
S2: We just hopefully we gave them some the edits. I guess we did. You know , I call it a journey from ink to behavior , you know , from the script to what you eventually put forth as the result. And I guess we get a lot of results , although the polls are saying don't be a results act , that the process take you to the results rather than going to the results. You know , and hopefully that you know , that I and the others gave them what they needed to do it. But Coppola said , Yeah , well , Ed , you just pasted together , so but I'm sure he was right in that telling them. What to do. Listening. But still , we had the final say.
S3: And how did the shooting of The Godfather compare with The Godfather two ? Because by that time , Coppola had kind of proven himself and the set feel different.
S2: It was different because , of course , it was more serious because Jimmy Connors always laughs. We have a lot of laughs , you know , you tell a joke , you take Brando 3 seconds together. But the second one was a little more serious. But we respected Coppola and what he asked for cut. And both were different , but both were. You know , unique unto themselves , but , you know. Terrific , terrific. You know , sometimes I'll be watching TV and I see a part of The Godfather two and we watch all of this , and I should be watching the whole thing. So I would film like , you know , terrific stuff , terrific stuff.
S3: And I recently saw some behind the scenes photos from The Godfather , and there was one of you standing with , like , cue cards taped to your chest for Marlon Brando. And so I'm wondering , what kind of memories do you have from from shooting that and what kind of challenges were there.
S2: By reading them ? I think it was a combination of sense , maybe a little laziness , but also I think it can be more spontaneous and more alive. Felix Always searching for the lines. So we went along with that. You know , I , I tried that once in a project. It didn't work , but I think you could do it that way. But I think if you know , your lines are so perfect , you look still very spontaneous. I'm trying to think of when Luc approached me , trying to think of the story , maybe where you have a son , a beautiful son , and actually shows to Brando. So shall we go and put a rider thing on his tongue that stuck out ? Now you have a beautiful , sunny Texas town. That's just. Oh , my God. Brenda. But we all were once again. Who was that ? It was if you're there. All those things help , you know , relax , relax , situation in a couple of ways. Come on. We've got to be serious. Come on , let's go. But he knew that by messing around and being funny , it was a relaxation project that helped the little. Although the overall atmosphere of the set , you know , they don't they'll be so , you know , so serious that , you know but so he welcomed those friends couple you know should come on , guys you know you know it was very therapeutic.
S3:
S2: But I think that , you know , when I. I guess the one I go to is. When I tell my son he was killed. Then I remember that. Shots on the causeway. He's dead. I've seen the Brando. Yeah. Yeah. When I have to tell him they're telling the bad news. Yeah.
S3:
S2: I suppose it did. But my career , you know , it it helped everybody. It's career. But I always thought my my. The repercussions of that of the movie itself for me would come a little bit later than the others , because I was always a late bloomer and eight or ten years later would help me more. I think that was that was the case.
S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Robert Duvall on March 22nd. Paramount will release the 4K ultra HD Blu ray of the newly restored Godfather trilogy overseen by Francis Ford Coppola.

Hundreds of city of San Diego employees are finding out this week that their coronavirus vaccine exemptions were approved, but some employees are still facing termination. Plus, state lawmakers from San Diego are taking the lead on legislation aimed at reducing the number of people who die in San Diego County jails. Meanwhile, many San Diego police officers are leaving for jobs at Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. COVID-19 vaccine mandates influenced those decisions but were not the only reason. Also, meet the three candidates running for Lorena Gonzalez’s vacated seat in the 80th Assembly District. Then, the Hazard Center Drive underpass through state Route 163 looks completed but the road remains closed. What gives? And, UCSD is growing its esports presence with a new state-of-the-art center and $200,000 in scholarships. Finally, to mark the 50th anniversary of “The Godfather,” KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke with San Diego native and actor Robert Duvall, who played Corleone’s consigliere Tom Hagen.