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Q&A with Rep. Sara Jacobs about the new Congress

 January 11, 2023 at 4:33 PM PST

S1: A conversation with Congresswoman Sara Jacobs about her new leadership role.

S2: I'm incredibly honored that I was elected by my colleagues to represent them at the leadership table.

S1: I'm Jayde Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. More people are falling into homelessness than coming out. Local agencies say there's no political will to fix it.

S3: It's tragic. My first time in 35 years I've been discouraged.

S1: A more contagious COVID variant emerges. We'll tell you what you need to know. And if you're looking for ways to stay dry this January , meaning no alcohol. We've got ideas. That's ahead on Midday Edition. After a long series of votes and political wrangling to select the new Speaker of the House , the new Congress got underway this week. San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs began her second term in office. Jacobs , who represents California's 51st Congressional District , also became the youngest member in the Democratic leadership in this new Republican led House. And Congresswoman Jacobs joins me now. Welcome to Mid-day Edition.

S2: Thank you. And thanks for having me.

S1: You were sworn in early Saturday morning after a late night of votes to select the speaker of the House , Kevin McCarthy.

S2: And I still never got the ceremonial swearing in picture with the speaker because my first swearing in was during COVID. And then shortly thereafter , we had January 6th. And obviously the swearing in was delayed by Republican dysfunction. And so I don't know what a normal swearing in is supposed to be like , but I am pretty sure it's not supposed to happen at one in the morning.

S1:

S2: And it's clear that in order to get the votes , Kevin McCarthy mortgaged the House Republican majority and mortgaged his own speakership to be able to. So we're going to see the weakest speaker in history. And it's clear that he gave in to a lot of demands from the far right extreme of his party , many of which we don't even know about yet. And so I'm very concerned about what this means for the next two years. On the other hand , some of the rules that he agreed to , concessions that he made to his far right in the way the House governs itself , actually , it could be used by us and the few moderates that are left in the Republican Party to make sure that we do the bare minimum of governing like the debt limit , like passing a spending bill. And so I'm hopeful there'll be enough Republicans who want to work with us to do that. And in the meantime , we'll have to stand up for our values and our priorities and make sure that the Republican Party that's been overtaken by their far right , extreme flank can't do harm to the American people.

S1:

S2: I'm focused on making sure we are delivering for San Diego , that we are addressing the high cost of living for San Diego families. And while we're in the minority , I actually still think there's a lot we're going to be able to get done. I'm already working in a bipartisan way on the issues of military , child care and military housing. I think there's more we'll be able to do in a bipartisan way on housing and child care in general. We know the issues that Sandy Diegans are facing , and I'm going to stay laser focused on working with whoever I have to work with to be able to deliver on them.

S1: Speaking of which , later today , San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria will be making his annual State of the City speech. In it , the availability and cost of housing is expected to be a major focus. You've cited data saying that San Diego is not getting its fair share of federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

S2: We're also working on changing some of the definitional issues because part of the problem is that the way we know people experiencing homelessness experience in San Diego isn't counted in the federal definition. For instance , if you're housing insecure or living on a couch that is technically not counted for the federal numbers , even though we know that that is people experiencing homelessness. And so we're working with them on definitional issues. We're also working on a big push in a bipartisan way on what more we could be doing on family and children homelessness. And I should have more to announce on that in the coming months.

S1: The number of homeless on the streets in downtown San Diego reached a new record high for the fifth month in a row in numbers released last week. First , I'd like your reaction to that.

S2: It's incredibly sad to me how many people are experiencing homelessness. And especially when you think about the families and children who are experiencing homelessness , many for the first time , because the cost of living in San Diego has become so unaffordable. I mean , even before what we're experiencing now , I can tell you that my constituents in San Diego were telling me that it was unaffordable to live in San Diego , whether it was housing , whether it was child care , whether it was health care. And so we know these are huge issues and we're going to stay focused here in Congress on figuring out what we can do from the federal level to make sure we're addressing it while recognizing that most of the solutions are actually at the state and local level.

S1: All right.

S2: Pushing for , and we almost got in the build back better act. That was it was additional money for federal additional federal housing money specifically to go to Section eight housing vouchers. We know in San Diego the waitlist for a Section eight housing voucher is between eight and 14 years long. And by the time you get it , your situation has has totally changed. Let alone once you get that voucher , there are very few places that actually will take it and accept it , even though there has been legislation passed. And so I personally think that Section eight housing vouchers should be universal , that if you are eligible for them , you should receive them just like we have with other programs. But in the meantime , we're trying to get as much funding as we can to expand the Section eight housing voucher program and make sure that the reimbursement rate for the Section eight housing voucher is enough to actually be able to afford rent in San Diego.

S1: On your website , you are reaching out to constituents to find out what their priorities are for the new Congress.

S2: We get a lot of people writing in to us about child care. You know , even before the pandemic , we had a child care crisis in San Diego , where we had about 60% of San Diego families who couldn't find or afford the child care that met their needs. And we know it's only gotten worse. We know about 500 child care providers closed during the pandemic. And we are really at a crisis point in our child care system in San Diego. And it's affecting everything. It's affecting people's ability to go to work , which is affecting our labor force participation , which impacts prices. So I'm really focused on making sure that we're addressing this child care crisis. It's not good for the workers , it's not good for the families , and frankly , it's not good for the kids if we don't.

S1: Add on child care. There is also an additional $1.85 billion intended to expand child care access to low income families. We spoke yesterday on the program about how state child care subsidies are not making it to some of the neediest families.

S2: It was a hard fight to get it in there. I led a letter of more than half of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus to try and push for that. And I and I'm really glad we were able to do it. So what that will do is that it will give funding directly to the state to expand their voucher program. We know we have a very large waitlist in San Diego , so hopefully this additional funding can help address that waitlist issue. But also we're working to make sure that more families know of their eligibility for this so that they can work with the county , with the YMCA CRC , which is our local county referral service , to be able to get access to these vouchers so that more people who need it are able to get it.

S1: And President Biden signed the $1.7 trillion spending bill at the end of last year. You noted there's 800 million allocated for cities like San Diego to aid migrants and asylum seekers.

S2: But it was a big push of of myself and others in the border communities to make sure we're getting that funding to the border communities to be able to help us address the situation. And , you know , working for us in San Diego , I know we have some amazing nonprofit organizations who have been doing great work , making sure that the people who are seeking their legal , lawful right to asylum are able to get processed and able to get the help that they need. And this funding will make sure they have the resources to continue doing that incredible work.

S1: Now , as we mentioned , you are the youngest person in Democratic leadership.

S2: We need to make sure we have strong California leadership. So I'm working directly with leader Hakeem Jeffries to make sure that our priorities are heard and that , you know , most of us young members , our new our members are actually getting what we need to be successful for our communities.

S1: I've been speaking with Congresswoman Sara Jacobs , who represents California's 51st District. And thank you so much for joining us.

S2: Thank you for having me.

S1: The number of people living on the streets in downtown San Diego is at record levels. The downtown San Diego Partnership has documented a new record high every month since August. In December , more than 1800 people were living on sidewalks and in vehicles. The county's numbers will be determined in the annual count later this month. But we already know more people are falling into homelessness than are getting out. It's a growing problem for the people on the streets , other residents , retailers , businesses. It's not good for anybody. And despite intervention , the problem continues. Joining me now to discuss is Bob McElroy , CEO of the Alpha Project , which provides services to homeless residents in San Diego. Bob , welcome back to Midday Edition.

S3: Great to be back. Thank you.

S1: So what are your thoughts on this latest count for downtown San Diego ? This is the fifth consecutive month of record high numbers.

S3: Well , we're overwhelmed. I mean , we see it every day. We've got 500 and almost 600 beds. Right now , it's just the shelters. And there's no room at the end. I mean , we're 90 , 99% full all the time. And , you know , it's tragic. It's my first time in 35 years. I've I've been discouraged. But we're we're we're working on some bigger things.

S1: A violent incident at an encampment that was reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune this week has raised a lot of questions about the dangers of makeshift homeless encampments.

S3: She was in her tent and the guy stabbed her to death. And I said , the tragedy is these things go unreported because people are fearful if they talk to the police and , you know , identify the perpetrators here , that there is going to be retaliation against them. But this is this is the dirty little secret In my 37 years in the down here , it's always going on and stealing from each other. And if you didn't pay me for the bag of dope you gave me , and there's going to be a consequence and somebody makes me mad. And as the video showed here that Gary published , you know , Guy had a metal bar and he's hitting people with it and he didn't go to jail. And then the police come back and say they're frustrated , too. They come back and say that their hands are tied. They can't do anything about it. So it's a vicious , vicious cycle that our folks have to deal with on a daily basis.

S1: I mean , you've been working in this sector for quite some time.

S3: If you're going to be homeless , come to San Diego and be the the other folks around. 12 was notorious in New York. Not a good option. But we've seen there's a new population that we've seen recently of folks who are not traditionally homeless folks. These are folks that were on the during COVID were locked down. They self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Their jobs were discontinued. They didn't have any They come back to when we started to be restored to the the working public with no income. The government stimulus checks , I guess , dried up. Now they've found themselves living in their cars and in their cars and they don't have the money. So this is a downward spiral. I'm saying folks down here that that are now just in their addiction and don't struggle with the mental health issues that , you know , many of our folks struggle with. And it seems like it's a new subculture of this population that seems to be growing.

S1:

S3: Certainly we have to have a starting point , which is more facilities like shelters that people can get into and at least , you know , start the process of recovery , detox from life on the streets and have some hope of a better future. Certainly you're not you're not getting that with the with the tent cities. But , you know , everybody talks about housing , which sounds really good , but it's not going to happen. I mean , we're building 277 units downtown now. It's a 5 to 7 year prospect. And , you know , the units now are 450,000 and a piece for 360 square feet. In L.A. , there's 700. Closer to 1 billion were just an artist in the city of Los Angeles. To set aside $2 million to build housing. They built less than 2000 units , and some of those units were over $1,000,000. Is it just not going to happen ? And then we need workforce housing. And this these are the kind of things that keep me up all night trying to figure out how we're going to how we're going to make this better. And right now , I'm kind of at Wits and trying to figure it out.

S1: I mean , I hear you saying it's just not going to happen.

S3: It sounds good there. There's a lot of sound bites and that there's a lot of , you know , ribbon cutting at a 36 unit place that opens up , which is fantastic. But we need 25,000. The housing commission , every four or five or six years ago that we did 25,000 new units a month. We still wouldn't catch up in ten years , you know , because we're also missing the workforce housing. Also , the folks that go to work every day , especially in the in the service industry , jobs and the police and teachers that they all need housing. Also , my staff needs housing. They're paying two or $3,000 a month , six or 7% of their paychecks just for rental housing. So it's a it's a it's an issue that , as I said , keeps me up at night. And I'm not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel at this point. I hate to be the , you know , the party pooper here , but it's frustrating.

S1:

S3: We have a bunch of we've got four shelter facilities now that we're doing for the city. We just turned down one that was poorly , poorly planned. And fortunately , the powers that be never ask us who have been doing this for decades in the planning stages of these facilities. They never ask us on how to to plan these things out so that they we don't have to go back in the planning at once. The implementation takes back and tear the facility down and rebuild again. I mean , with with ventilation systems and flooding issues and putting electrical problems outside when they should be inside a net , you know , and including on properties that have that are prone to flooding. And so we always have to deal with those consequences after the fact when if they would have come to us and asked us in the planning stages , they're going to save tens and tens of thousands of dollars , and yet they continue not to do that. So I have now decided that we will not take on any more facilities and programs if we are not involved with the client. So we're actually right now doing some of that , some some fairly ambitious classes to help so many more people and actually make a dent in the issue. Whether this goes anywhere , when it goes to city council , the mayor's office will say.

S1:

S3: But really , it's incorporating many , many , many resources in one facility with with an opportunity for people to be inside a structure and those who are comfortable with tent camping. That would incorporate it all. So , you know , we did back in 17 , we did that in March and during have a Kevin Faulkner mayor at the time called me and Bob what do we do There's 20 people died already , blah , blah blah. So we set up an emergency facility over on 20th in big city facility over on 20th a day. We had 200 tents there. We had 30 families and 56 kids. We housed them all became very successful. They can use as a template or an example and how we did it. We had many , many other jurisdictions and cities and mayors and council people and congressmen to come and see what we did and how we did it. And they continue to do that with the brick shelters that we have. But you've got to be gutsy enough to do things that are grander when it doesn't have to be with Alpha. There's a lot of other great providers in town , too , but all of us together , the plans that we have are incorporating all the providers together , and let's do this in an ambitious , impactful way.

S1: Bob , thank you very much for joining us.

S3: Thanks so much for having me.

S1: I've been speaking with Bob McElroy , CEO of the Alpha Project , who. You're listening to KPBS midday Edition. I'm Jade Hyneman. The Pentagon has announced that it will drop its COVID 19 vaccine mandate for members of the armed forces. The measure marks yet another large scale reduction of COVID 19 safety measures across American society. Just as another variant of concern begins to surface. Joining me now with more on this and all things COVID is our frequent guest , Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Dr. Topol , welcome back to the show.

S4: Thanks very much. Great to be with you again.

S1: Always good to have you.

S4: So instead of ratcheting up where we want to get people boosted and , you know , get back to our mitigation with things like mask and distancing , we're going in the opposite direction , just as this very difficult variant named Zbh .125 , which I wish we had better names , but that is starting to really become dominant throughout the country already is in the Northeast and it's destined to be here in San Diego as well.

S1: Well , speaking of which , that new variant is obviously generating concern. What can you tell us about XP Point one ? Point five ? We wish we had better names.

S4: Yes , Right. Right. Well , it's talking to us. It's a very new type of variant , which we had not seen before. It's a fusion or so-called recombinant of two previous variants that have come together and promote great spread , which initially we've seen in Singapore. And then it got to New York , where it added to very worrisome mutations to make it more spreadable. So what we have is not just xwb , which is this fusion , but now we've got these two added mutations. So it spreads quite easily , no less evade or immune response to a large degree. So it's not a good thing to have. And it's growing quickly. In terms of New York , in Massachusetts , Connecticut , New Jersey area , where a lot of hospitalizations have increased among seniors who are , of course , the most vulnerable. So that's the pattern that we're likely going to see in California in the weeks ahead , because right now , this variant is in high proportion. It's , you know , less than or so 10% , whereas of course , in the Northeast it's 75 4% or higher. So it's headed this way and we need to be gearing up.

S1:

S4: There's no data to support. It's more or less severe. It's just that it spreads easily. And of course , it's overtaken the variants that preceded it. All the other Americans , including B.A. five and BQ , were in one. So it's not good that we keep seeing this evolution , particularly now. It's finding these completely new path that is this hybrid of two different variants. That's the first time. And the other thing just to note is this is the first U.S.. Variant to become dominant not just here , but it likely will be throughout Europe. And we're seeing countries in Asia that are already trending this way. So this is our American born variant , which is not a good thing.

S1: I saw a headline the other day that said , If you're one of those people who have not caught COVID already , you likely will with this new variant.

S4: It attaches to our receptors in ourselves , the so-called ACE2 receptor really well. And so that's how we get it spread ability. So yeah , it's true Reinfections as well as new infections. That's why , you know , taking this virus seriously. And a bigger story , of course , is that we're likely to see even further evolution. And we've dropped down our genomic surveillance sequencing throughout the world. 90% reduction from what it was. We've got the China crisis , which is basically unmitigated spread through a such a huge population. So we've got a lot of things going against us right now. Just when we wanted to start the new Year in a very favorable way.

S1: And against the backdrop of all that , Moderna is planning on charging anywhere from 110 to $130 for vaccine doses. Two questions for you on that.

S4: First of all , both Pfizer and Moderna , I think are egregious to raise the price four fold from what it was when they sold it to the government. I think that's just horrific to take advantage of the situation. A population like this. You know , why does it have to justify a four fold increase from what it has been when the government was paying for it ? Now , most people will have their insurance if they have insurance cover this added charge. But obviously this is just the greed of the pharma companies , unfortunately. Now , will people take it ? Well , even now that it's free , people aren't taking the Bivalent booster. And there's a lot of new data that's coming out , which I've just reviewed in a substack to show unequivocally that the Bivalent booster has outperformed what we had extracted. It's doing quite well against HB one five and the preceding variant , so called BQ 1.1. So if you get the Bivalent booster , there really is added protection. That wasn't the plan. Of course that was fortuitous because it was directed against the A5. So the boosters are important , particularly in people of higher risk , such as people who are 65 or even 50 years of age and older , or those who have other medical conditions. Even though there's broad benefit that's been seen across all ages , all adults. But , you know , paying for it isn't going to help getting people boosted. And then the other thing , of course , is what about after 4 to 6 months of this booster ? Then what do we do ? And that's where we aren't taking this seriously enough , getting next generation vaccines that are much more durable , lasting for years against all variants and also the nasal vaccine. So we have to get that priority because we can't just expect people to get shots every 4 to 6 months and also have to pay for.

S1:

S4: They haven't provided the data , even though it's approved by the regulatory agencies in India. And there are another several more vaccine , large trials that are about to finish , which we'll get a readout from. I'm convinced that they will help us block infections. They won't be 100%. They may not last more than a few months , but taking a nasal spray every few months is a whole lot better than getting shots twice or three times a year. So I'm optimistic. But we're still some months out from seeing the data from trials and of course , getting it here in the US because it hasn't been made to be any priority in this country and is being developed much more in countries like India , Mexico , China and other places.

S1: And we've been seeing some pretty drastic news coming from China for some time now.

S4: But they didn't. I set up for the transition about when they were going to open things up. And so this is the problem. They didn't get vaccines , particularly for people who are 60 plus years of age out at high levels. You know , they were very disappointing. The vaccines haven't worked as well against the American variant as the ones we have. So that's why they have such profound spread. The hospitalizations and deaths numbers are extremely high , even though they're not transparent about that. And so they just in this last phase , they just let things go , you know , just unfortunately , because had they been able to work like many other countries that suppress COVID really well , like New Zealand , Australia and other places and got the vaccines in a really it out with boosters the way they needed to , they would have been able to come out relatively unscathed. But that's not the issue here. They have such little infection induced immunity that that's taking a big toll there and it's not done yet. That's going to go on for some time.

S1: And finally , the focus of the House Committee on coronavirus was recently shifted.

S4: And so we now have , with a Republican Congress majority interest in having hearings about the origins of the virus and all sorts of things that are just aren't really unfortunate. That's not going to help anything right now except add to divisiveness. And , you know , this is this is not good. The undermining of the science is the last thing we need right now.

S1: I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. As always , Doc. Dr. Topol , thanks for talking with us today.

S4: Thank you so much. And happy New Year.

S1: San Diego's South Bay is home to about 450,000 people , but it's not home to a public four year university , at least not yet. KPBS reporter Jacob Air updates us on efforts to bring a university presence to South County.

S5: Right now , Southwestern College is the South Bay's only public option for higher education. That's where Fazal Al-nasr is now studying dental hygiene. He already has a bachelor's degree in human biology from UC San Diego. Roughly 20 miles north , there was a lot of people that commuted from South Bay to UCSD. Now , imagine telling them they can go to some classes 10 minutes from home instead of having to drive all the way up here. And that idea is becoming reality. Starting with San Diego State University's new TV and film studio coming to Chula Vista. And more university expansions could be on the way. More young Yano is a U.S. region and a National City native.

S2: The South Bay is a very vibrant , dynamic community with a lot of talent , and we want to make sure that U.S. is at the table.

S5: So the U.S. is starting to look at sites for a satellite campus in South Bay. The city of Chula Vista has already set aside nearly 400 acres near Otay Ranch Town Center with plans for a combined university and technology park.

S6: It's been a project that's been ongoing for over 30 years.

S5: John McCann is the new mayor of Chula Vista.

S6: We're building around it to be able to make sure that the campus has the infrastructure , has the housing to be able to support the university.

S5: While the city has set aside land for a university , Anguiano says the exact location for a South Bay use expansion isn't set in stone.

S2: Some campuses have a huge room to grow. Others are going to grow in ways of creating satellite campuses , using opportunistic spaces , partnerships with community college campuses.

S5: Wherever a new school goes. On a Jar says he hopes the needs of local students are considered. Some might not have a car. Some might not just be able to afford the gas. Some might not be able to afford the parking permit. McCann says having a university will lead to economic and binational growth for Chula Vista.

S6: You talk to almost anybody in the community , they're encouraging a university and we want to make sure that our kids , our grandchildren , have the opportunity to be able to go to college in Chula Vista.

S5: Assemblyman David Alvarez represents most of the South Bay. He says many South County students end up studying and working outside of the region they grew up in. A university will keep them closer to home. So we have land. However , what we need now is the investment to actually build a South Bay satellite campus can also help the UC system meet its goal of adding up to 33,000 more students by 2030. We have way too many students that are qualified. They can't get in. Richard Leeb is the chair of the UC Board of Regents. He also lives in San Diego County. And we want to be able to provide education.

S4: To those and access to those , because we know that when somebody goes to a University of California , they come out really in a much better position.

S5: The first step is a tour of the proposed sites with UC San Diego chancellor Pradeep Khosla , who will have to make the proposal for a satellite campus.

S6: I don't know.

S4: How long it will take to actually have an open , you know , an open area , an open campus.

S6: But I do know that the Chancellor.

S4: Has made a commitment to us that it's something that.

S5: He definitely wants groundbreaking for. Sdsu's new studio is expected to happen this year. Alvarez helped to secure funding for the project and has big goals for the long term future. Five , seven , ten years after , if you've got several programs running , perhaps this becomes its own institution because it's been there's been growth , there's enough attraction there , and we decide , you know , this should be a new state university of some sort. UC alumna Jha has one request for universities that come to South County. It should really be modeled after what I would say Southwestern has offered me , which was the smaller classes , more intimate connection with the professor. Like they actually know you. U.S. officials plan to do their South Bay site tour in the first quarter of this year. Jacob Chair , KPBS News.

S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. For many , the start of the new Year marks a time for new or renewed goals which often include healthier habits. And for some , this means participating in Dry January , where you detox from the winter holiday season by not drinking for a month. A way to wipe the slate clean after perhaps a boozy few weeks. One way to keep on track can be non-alcoholic alternatives. Joining us to talk about some of these options is San Diego freelance drinks writer Beth Denman. Welcome back. Hi.

S2: Hi. Thanks for having me.

S1: All right. So from what I hear , non-alcoholic beer has always been pretty bad. Got a pretty bad taste , but they are showing up on shelves from local craft breweries.

S2: Every single year I am impressed by just the different options coming out from different producers across the country and world and right here in San Diego. So they have certainly outgrown their their reputation and are getting better by the day.

S1:

S2: Really , the core consumer is kind of aging out of being able to drink three , four or five beers at any given time and are looking for gluten free alternatives. Looking at things like hard seltzers and non-alcoholic beer is just a way to allow the consumer to enjoy the beverage that they want without some of the baggage that tends to come along with it , like weight gain , hangovers , anything like that. Sure.

S1:

S2: But really , cocktails are where I see the innovation and the creativity for these mocktails. Some people hate that term , but but I like it and think it's clever. And I think that the non-alcoholic or zero proof cocktails are really driving the creativity of the segment. But beer is pretty good as well. I haven't really been terribly impressed with some of the non-alcoholic wines that I've tried , but I think that they're certainly going to to catch up to spirits and beer at some points.

S1: You know , often people drink to be social , to connect with other people.

S2: I mean , think about how hard it is for adults to make friends with one another outside of work or if you have kids or anything like that. I mean , I remember in my mid-twenties moving from Virginia to San Diego , and I didn't really know how to make friends other than going to bars. And so I think people who are sober , sober , curious , or just looking to cut back a little bit , having an alternative without alcohol while maintaining that kind of social aspect of drinking. The thing that brings us together and the thing that many people like. I think it's a great alternative and a great option for people.

S1: There's often pressure to drink , which can be uncomfortable , especially for people who don't drink at all.

S2: I mean , even when I was pregnant and I was trying some of these non-alcoholic beers that were terrible , I would occasionally going out before I would even before I even told anybody that I was pregnant. You know , maybe have a separate taster or a very light sessionable beer. And people noticed and said , oh , you know , you're you're drinking less. And they felt empowered to ask me about my my health or my body or whether I was pregnant or not. It makes people uncomfortable and made me uncomfortable. And there's a million reasons why people don't drink , whether it be health , stress , pregnancy , whatever. And to have to explain it to people I think is already going to be uncomfortable. But being able to participate without that fear of having to explain yourself is really helpful. And it's just more common now. People drinking a non-alcoholic beer for any reason. I just don't see many people. Asking about it as much as they used to it. I think that's a really positive development.

S1: You follow the alcohol industry closely.

S2: You look at trends like sour smoothie IPAs or cold IPAs or , you know , the resurgence of the espresso martini. And and I think that this one has a little bit of staying power for a lot of different reasons. But will its trajectory keep skyrocketing ? No , of course not. But I think that this one is in it for the long haul , for sure.

S1:

S2: You were a wine drinker. You were a Scotch drinker. You're a beer drinker. That is not really the case for Gen Z and the younger drinking generations. They're drinking for flavor , not necessarily because of a loyalty to a specific base spirit. I think that this is just another option for people to have a lot of flavor without. Really any of the booze. You know , it's an alternative to iced tea , to coffee , to sparkling water , anything like that. And I think that also the relaxation of cannabis laws , state by state , it's another way for people to get a buzz and maybe drinking and ingesting cannabis. It's just another way for people to pick and choose how they how they want to relax. And maybe having both of them would be just a little bit too much for people. So it's it's a lot of different things , I think. Hmm.

S1: Hmm.

S2: There are places that are really well known for having them on their menu , and I think that we're going to see it more and more. Even places like Mr. Aye's and Juniper and Ivy have started dabbling with them. I don't think that we can talk about mocktails or zero proof cocktails without mentioning kindred and mothership and South Park. They're really driving a lot of this revolution here locally. Let's it raised by Wolves and UTC. I know that they have some options for for the sober curious and if you really want to get deluxe via an oceanside offer some campfire in Carlsbad , botanica in North Park and of course for beer Athletic Brewing company is really leading the forefront of the n a beer movement. And even Al Smith has gotten into the game releasing their first in a IPA. So there's certainly no shortage of places around San Diego.

S1: All right.

S2: We're talking about things are things like citrus fruits or lavender lemon , anything that's really refreshing and floral with kind of that gin aspect to it or non gin. However , they're kind of replicating that. I think that those are going to be some of the the favorite ones around town and my personal favorites.

S1: Sounds quite refreshing. All right. Beth Denman is a freelance drinks writer. Her first book , The Craft Beer Lovers Guide to Cider , is scheduled for release in the fall. Beth , thank you so much.

S2: Thanks for having me.