Number of people becoming homeless exceeding number being housed
S1: A new report gives the homeless crisis new context.
S2: I think what is challenging and shocking is the number of first time homelessness.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS midday edition. Shelters are reporting an influx of asylum seekers.
S2: They're really just grappling with how to handle an influx of a population that needs very different assistance of their typical clients.
S1: The lack of transparency from the state regarding sexual assaults in nursing homes and a look at Prop 28 and what it could mean for school arts programs. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The Regional Task Force on Homelessness released a new report today , the first of what are meant to be monthly updates to better track an ever changing number of people experiencing homelessness in San Diego. The first report found that over the past year , San Diego saw more people enter homelessness and leave it , finding that for every ten people who were able to find housing. 13 more people entered homelessness. Tamara Koehler , CEO of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness , joins us to talk about the report. Tamara , welcome back to Midday Edition.
S2: Well , thank you for having me.
S2: The state of homelessness in San Diego , this is an important report because we're looking at those who are experiencing homelessness for the first time and the numbers housed each month. And we actually did a look back over the last year because it ebbs and flows and changes every month. It is important context to the work that's being done. We are housing hundreds , if not thousands of people every month , but we're literally seeing thousands of people experiencing homelessness for the first time in San Diego. And we felt the work that we're doing and the environment needed some data and contacts for us all to really lean in to the solutions that are working and the challenges we see.
S2: Last report in July was , I think , one in a quarter percent vacancy rates and the increased rent costs. I think what is challenging and shocking is the number of first time homelessness , which is something that even with all of the investments we don't in our homeless response system prevent , we're not able to get further upstream. And so it's important data. It's also why you're seeing the county and others really saying we've got to get further upstream because these numbers really are shocking , but they also are overwhelming and very , I think , limited resource in housing that we have in our region.
S1: The Regional Task Force on Homelessness is known for its annual point in time count of people experiencing homelessness. But now you'll also be releasing these reports on a monthly basis.
S2: At a minimum , this is how many people and we break it out by demographics and we can understand the trends. But the work that's being done needs more context and the ability to now look at it monthly. We've been spending a good six months creating this data to make sure we could do this on a monthly basis. I think the public is wanting this information. They want to be informed and our providers need to be able to show the work that they're doing. And a one year data set doesn't actually inform the work that we need to be doing and be a little bit more nimble to make some adjustments. So the month over month gives us richer context. It aligns better with what we're actually seeing and that count being done at the end of January , We're now in October is not is relevant to what we are seeing today. This is such a complex and challenging problem and with the first time homelessness , it's only getting more challenging. So we felt it's important to have a monthly accounting and.
S1: What information is being collected in these reports and talk a bit more about why that information is important.
S2: In not only measures that first time homeless , this is someone that the first time they touch anywhere in the system and then the numbers being housed. But it's also broken out by the number of seniors that are served. Our transition age youth are 18 to 24 , our families and our veterans. And it actually tracks the numbers of those same populations being housed. We are seeing an increase in families experiencing homelessness , our senior population. And so we felt like it was important to also break those numbers down a little bit more so that the community , the providers , the public can understand not only the populations that are experiencing homelessness , but the type of housing resources that will be needed to end their homelessness. Housing for seniors 55 or older and even shelters look different than for families. And so this data gives us kind of top level in and out. That also breaks it down by the populations that also align with our regional plan.
S1: And today , San Diego County officials will discuss a county data analysis program to better identify people who may be at risk of becoming homeless. Here's what Supervisor Nathan Fletcher had to say about it yesterday.
S3: Someone may owe the county money. They may have been arrested , they may have come to our psych hospital. The combination of these factors points us to them having a high probability of being at high risk of homelessness.
S2: We actually started pre-pandemic to really look at this predictive analysis that L.A. has done. I think it's important and I'll take it one step further. We're also able to look at those who are reaching out for assistance , utility assistance , rental assistance , food assistance , because poverty and the economic challenges of so many experiencing homelessness is something that we should put in that predictive analysis as well. So I celebrate that the county is doing this. We are leaning in as a partner to sort of share our data , but there's a lot that we know , also a lot that we are still kind of on the border of being able to actually predict homelessness. But there's rich datasets. There's good work being done in L.A. and I think it's important , especially when you see first time homeless , that we get further upstream.
S1: And earlier this month , the regional task force set a goal to cut San Diego's homelessness in half over the next five years.
S2: This prevention work will be critical. You can see this in the first time from us to be able to reduce the numbers. We need to house more people every month than are experiencing homelessness. And we also need to keep those that have been housed retaining their housing and not returning. So measuring it. Making it public will also be a part of the benchmark of achieving those goals for the regional plan. And you don't have to wait for an annual report. We'll be able to kind of look at this month , over month.
S1: Tamara Koehler is CEO of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. Tamara , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you for having me.
S4: Shelters are reporting an influx of asylum seekers who have nowhere else to go. There are multiple reasons behind the increase in migrants needing shelter , everything from an ease in pandemic restrictions at the border to migrants being bussed into San Diego from other states. City officials and shelters are working to come up with a coordinated response to help both migrants and the city's homeless population. And joining me is Voice of San Diego senior investigative reporter Lisa Halberstadt. And , Lisa , welcome.
S2: Thanks for having me , Marty.
S4: So when your article initially came out , roughly 60 migrants were seeking services from local homeless shelters.
S2: Those are the two biggest shelter providers in the city , and they have been getting referrals to take in migrants.
S4: Since immigration status is not asked about at shelters.
S2: It is worth noting that the migrants do tend to stand out a bit from others staying in shelters , as many of them seem to be younger and healthier than other residents in the shelters.
S2: Most of those asylum seekers historically have had sponsors or support systems elsewhere in the country , and so they'll move on within a few days and they're able to depart. And far less than the 30 days that federal funding allows the shelters. And that's continued to be the case. Most of the folks that they're helping are moving on within a few days. But there have been some increasing challenges recently that have made it harder to move folks along since some of the additional folks that have been coming in recently have not had sponsors elsewhere. And especially this is an influx of asylum seekers from Venezuela who are tending to have fewer connections elsewhere , which means it's harder to quickly move them elsewhere in the country.
S4: Now , a spike in border crossings is not the only thing causing an increase in migrants in San Diego. Tell us about the people being Boston. Yes.
S2: So Border Patrol has confirmed it's bringing asylum seekers to show up at the border in places like Arizona and Texas to San Diego because they're being inundated with new arrivals. The result of that is that San Diego Catholic Charities CEO has told me that's meant that federal immigration authorities have been dropping off 300 to 500 people a day at his shelter in Mission Valley. So to kind of break out the issues we're just talking about there , more people coming in and there are a greater number of people who don't have connections elsewhere in the United States that allows them to quickly move through the migrant shelters that are already set up to serve them. And so sometimes they're ending up elsewhere.
S2: They don't have IDs or Social Security numbers that somebody would need to try to secure a place to live or to access other sorts of benefits. So last week , the Housing Commission met with help with service providers to try to gauge what they're seeing and what the asylum seekers that they're taking in might need. The city had said it wanted to provide some toolkits that might provide some guidance on aiding asylum seekers and also to see if there's interest in and connecting asylum seekers with the city's immigration office. The latest I have heard is that the City and the Housing Commission are looking at how to support providers and the migrants that are staying with them now. But there's still much to be determined on exactly how that will look.
S2: I think what they would say is that they could use some guidance on how to go. Go about doing that. When somebody doesn't have a Social Security number , for example , it becomes a lot harder to find a place to house them within our community. And the traditional way that a homeless service provider might try to find someone a new apartment or something. I would guess that there probably are efforts to try to connect people if they do in fact have family or someone else who could support them. But this is very complicated.
S4: And both the state and federal governments apparently were alerted months ago by Catholic charity leaders across the country about this potential situation.
S2: And the situation has actually gotten worse since the letter was sent. There was one big change recently. Earlier this month , the Biden administration announced a new process , capping Venezuelan arrivals at 24,000. To qualify , those folks can't just show up at the border and they have to have a supporter of some sort in the United States. What Customs and Border Protection has said is that just in the last week that had led to more than an 80% drop in Venezuelans attempting to cross. But Catholic Charities told me it has not felt any sort of decrease yet. And it's really not entirely clear what's next for the Venezuelans who've already arrived here or those who may now be waiting in Mexico because of this new policy.
S4: You know , Lisa , you've written so much about this. Shelter providers are hard pressed to accommodate the number of homeless people in the region as is. They don't have enough beds.
S2: On top of the work that they're already doing. Now they're trying to figure out how do we serve migrants who are dealing with a complicated immigration system and who can't be housed necessarily following the same process as other folks sleeping in their shelters.
S4: I've been speaking with Lisa Halberstam , senior investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego. And , Lisa , thank you very much.
S2: Thanks for having me.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. The California Department of Public Health's online page chronicling complaints against nursing homes is often called the agency's transparency website. But KPBS investigative reporter Amita Sharma's review of sexual abuse complaint tallies found inaccuracies and omissions. On a February evening in 2019 , a 48 year old disabled woman had settled in her room at San Diego's Rio Vista Health care Centre when a caregiver entered and allegedly raped her. The reported incident is documented by the California Department of Public Health under enforcement actions on its Cal Health find website. But you have to dig deep to find it. The main complaint page describes the attack as simply substantiated employee to resident abuse. That CDP page , which tallies complaints , is meant to help people find safe nursing homes. But instead KPBS found mislabeling and errors , especially in sexual abuse complaints. CDP largely did not respond to multiple questions about how it documents the claims. Lawyer Scott Félix , who has represented nursing home sexual assault victims , believes the inaccuracies on CDP , his complaints website are deliberate.
S5: I view it as evidence that on an institutional level , the Department of.
S6: Health is.
S5: More concerned with obscuring actual information that suggests the employees may be engaging in sexual assault than they are in accepting that reality in providing that information to the public.
S1: Points to the Matthew Pfluger case as an example. Pfluger is a former caregiver who was convicted of multiple sex crimes against one woman and pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two others in East County nursing homes. Yet CDP , his complaint website does not classify any of those attacks as sexual in nature. The website also listed one of the cases as unsubstantiated , even though its own licensing division confirmed the incident and the page erroneously described Pfluger as a resident. Toni Chick A Tangle with California Advocates for nursing home Reform , says the mislabeling of the fluke Roger case is consistent with what he calls CDP , his hostile indifference towards nursing home sexual abuse. He says the errors are inconsistent with a widely held view that CDP has complained to website is transparent.
S5: If a jury convicted this person of having done this heinous thing and it's not on the transparency website or it's very inaccurately portrayed on the transparency website , then I think we need to go back to the drawing board on what transparency means.
S1: The agency's website lacks transparency in other ways. KPBS reviewed sexual abuse complaint lists for all 84 nursing homes in San Diego County on CDP , whose website from 2019 through September 10th , 2020 to state regulators , substantiated at least 24 sexual abuse cases at 18 local nursing homes. But the watchdog did not cite nursing homes with deficiencies in a majority of those cases. No deficiencies means no details are made public. San Diego patient safety advocate Marion Hollingsworth said the ultimate effect is no accountability. It sends a message.
S5: To the facility that no matter what they do , they're going to be just fine.
S1: There's more. CDP often does not identify on its complaint website whether an accused perpetrator of sexual abuse at nursing homes is an employee or resident. CDP did respond to this issue in an email saying , quote , The allegation category does not differentiate between types of alleged abusers as all cases of abuse are prioritized under the same level of severity. But Chikatilo argues the roles of accused abusers matter.
S5: Resident UN resident It's terrible. It should never happen , but it's usually a flash event , whereas staff on resident sexual abuse is usually more sustained.
S1: He says It's also more predatory and damning of a nursing homes quality of care. Joining me now is KPBS investigative reporter Amita Sharma. Amita , welcome. It's good to speak with you , Jade. You report there have been at least 24 substantiated sexual assaults in all 84 nursing homes in the county since 2019. But you also find that the information in the database is incomplete. So could there be more than that ? I think that there could. And I say that only because we know in the case of Matthew Fluker , I'll just remind our audience that he's the former nursing home caregiver who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two women in his care , and a jury convicted him of assaulting another woman on the CDP website. Those cases are classified as abused as abuse alone. They are not classified as sexual in nature. And that leads me to believe that it's possible that all the not all , but some of the hundreds of other complaints on the website against San Diego County nursing homes and for that matter across the state , could be sexual abuse cases. And of those , the 24 substantiated abuse cases , how many of the nursing homes were cited with deficiencies ? Nine of those 24 cases were found by CDP to have deficiencies , but a majority , 15 , to be precise , were not judged by state regulators as having any deficiencies. I mean , how is that possible ? How is it that a nursing home could not be found at fault ? Well , that's a key question. You and I both know that , that people send their loved ones to nursing homes to protect them , to keep them safe from abuse , you know , to receive adequate medical care. So you can't have the case of sexual abuse through sexual assault without there being a regulatory violation. And if there is a violation , then how do you not have a deficiency ? I asked a lawyer by the name of 22 Kittle , where he works for California advocates for nursing home reform. And he says for there to be a sexual abuse case at a nursing home without a deficiency finding. Sounds like somebody is sweeping the details of those cases under the rug. And remember , if there is no deficiency finding none of the details of the sexual abuse case cases , I should say , are made public. But when those details are made public , they are super helpful for consumers to really to really understand the culture of a particular nursing home. For instance , there was a sexual abuse case at Frederica Manor Care Center in Chula Vista. That was from 2018. Regulators CDP found that the nursing home didn't have a care plan to monitor a man who had been diagnosed with a sexual deviant disorder , and he ended up abusing another resident. You know , one question I'm left with is knowing these details are not made public. How can family members find a safe place to send their loved ones when they can no longer care for them at home ? I've asked that question of lawyers who sued nursing homes and advocates for people in nursing homes , and they say you have got to visit the place without notifying the place you have to be in acute observer. You have to look to see if the place is clean. You have to look to see if the if the place smells. You have to examine the expressions of of the residents , of the patients at those facilities. And you have to do it a number of times. And you should also speak to the families of other residents at those places in order to really understand whether you're going to get quality of care for your loved one. Mm hmm. One of the people you spoke to suggests that federal authorities should step in where state regulators are not. How could that help ? It would add accountability. One of the people who has really been pushing this since I've known and that's been for about two years , is Scott fakes his lawyer who sues nursing homes in abuse cases. And and he always says , look , if you train federal law enforcement , which would make sense because it seems the federal agencies that oversees nursing homes across the country if you trained federal long for. Foresman on how to investigate nursing home abuse. And you make them understand how the system really operates and you send them in there and they don't just interview the alleged victims , but they hold staff. They hold administrators accountable. If they do not report these incidents in a timely manner , which is often the case , I'm told , if you hold those people accountable , if you start finding them , if you start maybe even prosecuting them , then you're going to see a massive drop in abuse cases inside nursing homes. I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter Amita Sharma. Amita , I know a lot of people listening are grateful to you for your investigations into safety in nursing homes. Thank you so much. Thank you , Jade.
S4: Voters may be experiencing a sense of deja vu when they read through Measure C on the San Diego City ballot. Voting yes on the measure would allow the construction of new buildings taller than 30 feet in the Midway district. Supporters of the proposed redevelopment of the area say removing the coastal height restriction is crucial for the realization of the plan. And voters have approved the idea before. It just didn't stick. Joining me to explain is KPBS metro reporter Andrew BOE. And , Andrew , welcome.
S7: Hi , Maureen.
S4: So voters approved removing the 30 foot height limit in the Midway District back in 2020.
S7: It's called measure E at the time. And they argued that the city needed to study the environmental impacts of taller buildings in this area. The city claims that it had already done that analysis when it updated the Midway community plan , which was basically just a big rezoning of this neighborhood to allow for higher density housing. But a judge looked at that already adopted environmental impact report and disagreed and said , you know , there are some issues that you didn't look at this first time around. So that judge blocked the city from implementing the measure , even though it passed with almost 57% of the vote , I believe. So at the time , Mayor Todd Gloria said he was going to pursue two parallel tracks of getting this measure to stick legally. One of them was appeal that unfavorable court decision and try to get overturned at the Court of Appeal. And the other was to do a new environmental impact report , go through this process of saying , okay , how will the what are the visual impacts of looking at , you know , having taller buildings in this area ? The city adopted that second environmental impact report and that essentially cleared the way for this second ballot measure.
S7: There was a lot of anxiety in San Diego about developments along the coast. You can actually see some of the projects that led to that anxiety. There are a few mid-rise , mid-rise and high rise hotels in La Hoya and Mission Beach that got built before the ballot measure was adopted in 1972. And that was , you know , at the time , really sparking fears that San Diego would turn into Miami Beach with skyscrapers right next to the water. And so some citizens gathered signatures to impose a 30 foot height limit on coastal neighborhoods in this city. And the dividing line was Interstate five , the freeway. So everything west of I-5 was to be subject to this height limit. So that measure passed. And Midway , despite not really being a coastal neighborhood , is west of I-5. So , you know , that's how it got grouped into the same category as neighborhoods like , you know , Pacific Beach and Point Loma , where folks do have concerns over , you know , blocking views of the coast in Midway. There aren't any coastal views , but that doesn't really matter because the dividing line was I-5.
S7: So once you cross the line into Point Loma or once you go north into Mission Bay or Mission Beach , the height limit of 30 feet would still apply.
S7: There are a lot of industrial properties that are , you know , just not very well maintained. There are a lot of vacant lots , vacant storefronts , big box retail stores , and a lot of that land could very easily be redeveloped into new housing. But this 30 foot height limit makes any projects that a builder would try to build in feasible. Just you can't earn enough money off of that investment that you put into the land when you build something new. So , you know , the supporters of Measure C that say that in order for us to realize this vision of redeveloping the Midway district and giving it a makeover are building nice places to go to , you have to remove the height limit. Another thing is , you know , if even if a builder were to build , you know , new housing in the Midway district up to 30 feet , it would be a really boxy building. The building would take up the entire footprint of the property because the developer is trying to pack in as much floor space into that areas as possible. If you allow the building to go taller than the building can get more slender , you can , you know , have more open space on the ground that could be used , you know , for pedestrian amenities or plazas. And so. You know , the main argument is , is we just need to give developers a reason to invest in their land here and build something better for the neighborhood.
S7: So midway , of course , is pretty congested right now , especially during rush hour. And the opponents say that's only going to get worse if we clear the way for this redevelopment that the supporters of Measure C are calling for. Midway is , you know , a through point for a lot of neighborhoods that don't really have anywhere else to go if they're trying to get to the five freeway or the rest of San Diego , it's you know , Point Loma is a peninsula. So there are only so many places that you can go through to get out of it. There's another argument that I'm not hearing quite as often or it's not as front and center , but you do hear it here in there , which is that the slippery slope argument. So if we you know , even though this measure is limited to the Midway district , if we allow , you know , one little chipping away of this coastal height limit , which for so many years has been just a third rail of local politics and totally sacrosanct and untouchable , then you know , what's to stop developers or the city from removing the height limit in other areas of the coast ? So those are the the main arguments that you hear against it.
S4: And hasn't another lawsuit already been filed challenging the removal of the coastal height restriction in the Midway district ? Yeah.
S7: So that same group that sued the city the first time around and got Measure E from 2020 to be suspended has already sued the city again over this new environmental impact report where the city said , sure , there's going to be some visual impacts , you know , with taller buildings. But , you know , we still think that it's worth our while to to allow taller buildings here. So that second lawsuit hasn't really been litigated yet. I you know , I'm not a lawyer , so I can't really speak to what the merits are. But it does provide , you know , just some degree of uncertainty. Even if the city were to get a second. Yes. On this question of raising the height limit.
S4: I've been speaking with KPBS , metro reporter Andrew BOE. And Andrew , thanks.
S7: My pleasure , Maureen.
S4: California voters will soon be deciding on Proposition 30. It's the plan to tax the wealthy to pay for electric vehicle incentives. The measure has split Governor Gavin Newsom from his fellow Democrats. KQED Kevin Starkey explains the measure and the split.
S5: California has set an ambitious goal to phase out the sale of new gasoline cars , but it's still struggling with thorny issues how to make electric vehicles affordable. Who will pay for the public charging stations ? And environmentalists thought they had the solution. One planet. We're in it together. We have to take the steps to ensure that climate change is abated and reversed. Danny Zane is the former mayor of Santa monica. He has a long history of pushing Californians to raise taxes to pay for clean transportation. He convinced Los Angeles voters on a sales tax hike to pay for public transit in 2008 and 2016. We went to the ballot and it worked. L.A. now has about $120 billion over the next 40 years coming through , invest in transportation. After those wins , Zane wanted to go bigger. He and other California Democrats conceived of Proposition 30 , a clean air initiative that would raise the income tax on Californians who make more than $2 million a year to pay for electric car rebates , charging stations and wildfire prevention.
S1: Prop 30 is an innovative measure that all California's must support as if their lives.
S4: Depend on. It.
S5: It. Oakland's Mayor , Libby Schaaf , says climate change and air pollution are killing Californians and is one of the state's many Democrats supporting the bill. Most of them were shocked when Newsom , who banned the sale of new gasoline cars after 2035 , opposed it. Electric vehicles and wildfire prevention are two of Newsom's top state priorities. He's already committed to spending $10 billion to help people buy EVs. So he says Prop 30 is redundant and its funding model is flawed , since so many of the state's wealthiest rely on the stock market for their income. Their taxes can fluctuate wildly. One strong recession could crater the program. Newsom starred solo in an advertisement warning Californians not to vote for the measure. Don't be fooled. Prop 30 is being advertised as a climate initiative , but in reality , it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company. The corporation is the ride hailing giant Lyft. The company has spent tens of millions of dollars bankrolling the campaign in support. California recently mandated that nine out of ten miles for ride hailing companies must be with an EV by 2030. Lyft wants the state to invest in the charging infrastructure. This measure would do that in fund rebates that would make cars cheaper for its drivers to lift. President John Zimmer pushed back on Newsom's assertion that the measure was devised by the company. This is about the health of our neighbors and communities. That's why we agreed to get involved when environmental leaders approached us with their plan to reduce California emissions. Prop 30 has majority support among likely voters , according to a recent poll. Governor Newsom's opposition could put a dent in that support. For his part , transit activist Danny Zane thought Newsom would be a partner in this fight. I thought it was great. We finally had somebody who was going to help backed our signature drive. Suddenly it's like a scheme that's just wrong. It's just a mistake. And he says he won't stop pushing. The state estimates the measure would generate billions over the next two decades. If it passes in November.
S4: That was KQED , Kevin Stark.
S1: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. Arts and music classes are often the first kinds of programs on the chopping block when schools are faced with budget cuts. But this November , California voters will decide whether or not to allocate roughly $1,000,000,000 to protect and fund these kinds of classes in public schools. Joining me now with more on what Prop 28 could mean for arts and music and public education is Joe Hong , K-through-12 education reporter for Calmatters. Joe , welcome back to the show.
S6: Thanks for having me.
S1: Now , the state requires that public school students receive some sort of arts instruction , but that can vary from school to school.
S6: They all have to get some form of art and art or music education. And in high school , students have to take either arts or music or theater or a foreign language to graduate. But the quality of that education can really vary depending on the school you go to. You know , a lot of art teacher salaries are funded by PTA fundraisers. So if you live in an affluent community , parents are able to raise more money and hire more art teachers and offer more programming. And that's sort of where the inequality comes in.
S1: Exactly where would the money for this proposition come from ? Right.
S6: So every year the state in its budgeting process looks at all the money that it has from collecting taxes. And it's it requires that 40% of all that money goes to public education. This proposition would basically save out of that 40%. Let's add another 1% of that 40% and dedicated to arts education. So this this proposition would not raise taxes. It would just sort of allocate money from the funds that the state already has.
S6: So naturally , districts that are bigger would get more money. And on top of that , there's 30% of that money from the state would go to districts that have more high needs students. So more students from poverty , more English learners and foster children.
S1: How would schools be required to use this money ? Would this translate to additional teacher hires or more supplies for instruction ? Yes.
S6: So for for next year , using the sort of the calculations that I mentioned previously , the state estimates that a little more than $1,000,000,000 will go to arts and music education , and about 80% of that needs to be used to hire teachers.
S6: These are the classes that sort of help most students get into college or prepare them for the for the workforce. So I think art and music and theater are seen as sort of these secondary subject areas that are frankly disposable when when times get tough.
S6: So , you know , these are oftentimes very important classes for , you know , social , what's called social and emotional well-being , which I think is has gotten a renewed sort of emphasis during the sort of aftermath of of the pandemic , because students are struggling with , you know , mental health. But typically they're sort of put on the sidelines when it comes to a student's educational experience. And , you know , classes like science , math and English are more emphasized.
S1: You know , Prop 28 has brought together a pretty strong coalition of supporters who who exactly is behind this measure. Yeah.
S6: Yeah. So the person spearheading this proposition is Austin Beutner , who is the former superintendent of Los Angeles Unified , the largest school district in the state. And he's brought together all kinds of folks from Hollywood and the music industry. I believe the musician Anderson PAC is a supporter. There is. I believe there's several actors and other musicians on that roster as well. And , you know , one big donor was Fender Guitars , donated a ton of money. I forget exactly how much , but it is a pretty broad coalition of artists that he's brought together.
S1: And why do proponents of this measure say this funding is vital for students ? Yeah.
S6: So I think going back to the effects of the pandemic. Right. I spoke with Austin Beutner about this a few weeks ago , and he was telling me about how math and English language arts say these are subjects with roles , and students need a space where there aren't any rules and they can just sort of express themselves and sort of feel heard. Right. And art and music is a great space to do this. And ultimately it's about helping students feel like they belong on campus. I think that's going to be a crucial step to helping students recover. You know , yesterday. Yeah , yesterday the state just released test scores. And we think about recovery just academically. But students really need to feel like they belong on campus to to do better in their other more academic classes.
S6: But newspapers like the San Jose Mercury and the San Diego Union-Tribune , their editorial boards have opposed the measure. They sort of warn that this commits too much money to too much ongoing money to art education , and there are concerns right now of an incoming recession. So , yeah , there's just some there's just a lot of worry right now about whether California will have this money to spend in the future.
S1: I've been speaking with Calmatters K-through-12 reporter Joe Hong. Joe , thank you very much for talking with us today.
S6: Thanks to you.