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Report finds people of color more likely to be stopped by CA sheriff’s departments

 November 2, 2022 at 9:33 AM PDT

S1: Another study finds racial disparities in traffic stops.

S2: For San Diego. We found that black people are more than two times more likely to be subjected to an officer initiated stop.

S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS midday edition. Lie has become mainstream after Nancy Pelosi's husband was attacked.

S2: It used to be that when the terrible insults were given , they tend to be in quiet quarters and didn't get splashed all over Twitter. So all this stuff gets out and it becomes part of a stand up routine and something you expect.

S1: The 11th hour program returned at Sharp Grossmont Hospital and a conversation about soccer and the FIFA World Cup. That's ahead on Midday Edition. A new report released last week found people of color are routinely stopped at higher rates than white people by four of California's sheriff's departments. The report from Catalyst , California , and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California looked at stop data from sheriff's departments in San Diego , Los Angeles , Riverside and Sacramento counties. The report is the latest evidence that has found people of color , especially black people , are disproportionately stopped by law enforcement compared to white people. I'm joined now by one of the report's authors , Chauncey Smith , who is senior manager with Catalyst , California. And , Chauncey , welcome to Mid-day Edition.

S2: Thank you.

S1:

S2: One is they undermine community safety. In addition to that , they waste tremendous public dollars. And third , they disproportionately harm Californians of color. And for decades , Californians have largely accepted this idea that funds for law enforcement are necessary in order to keep us safe. In theory , officers fight crime and respond to calls for service when emergencies arise. However , by looking at data from the Racial Identity Profiling Act , county budget information , as well as connecting with community partners to understand lived experiences. Our new report significantly debunks that assumption about the role of law enforcement within our safety infrastructure. As an example for San Diego. The Sheriff's department spends over 80% of patrol time conducting officer initiated stops and just 18% of their patrol time responding to community member concerns and calls for help and within that time spent on officer initiated stops. Most of it is for traffic violations.

S1:

S2: But for San Diego specifically , we found that black people are more than two times more likely to be subjected to an officer initiated stop than a white person. Despite research showing that black people are not more likely to commit crimes within those officer initiated stops. Approximately 40% of the time is spent enforcing traffic violations for equipment and non-moving issues. And this gives rise to the key question of whether officers are engaging in pretextual stops. And pretextual stops essentially occur when an officer has no legitimate reason to stop a motorist. But they find a very low level , minor vehicle infraction , such as , you know , a broken taillight or something hanging from a rearview mirror as a basis to go ahead and conduct an otherwise illegitimate investigation.

S1: You talked a little bit about how patrol time was spent by these sheriff's departments.

S2: And spending so much time on these issues is extremely troubling because it shows that significant public resources are going towards activities that are used to racially profile and harass people of color and that don't significantly improve roadway safety.

S1:

S2: Second , Justice reinvestment , research and demands from community partners show that redirecting government spending from the criminal legal system to investments that help people fulfill basic needs improve safety. Far more than doubling down on criminal legal system waste. And then third , we also recommend that policymakers consider decriminalizing minor offenses that pose limited public safety risks in order to prevent inequities and create space to shift towards more care and resource base supports and services. So imagine this Instead of having an officer pull over a motorist for a broken tail light , which could lead to another episode of racialized police violence , harassment and harm. Instead , we had an unarmed community member or local city employee that rather than giving the person a ticket , gave that person a voucher that they could then take to a mechanic in their neighborhood to get the issue fix right. This would safely and efficiently address the underlying vehicle safety issue and question. It would help prevent that person , especially if they are low income from being further entrenched in poverty by being subjected to fees and fines from tickets. And it would help support the vitality of local mechanics and small businesses within communities. So those sorts of re-imagined approaches to dealing with community safety issues , as opposed to relying on traditional criminal legal system actors , sheriffs and police is what we're trying to advocate for moving forward.

S1: I've been speaking with Chauncey Smith from Catalyst , California. Chauncey , thank you very much for joining us.

S2: Thank you. Appreciate the opportunity.

S3: As leaders and as citizens , it is incumbent upon all of us to watch the words that we say and turn down the volume of our political rhetoric. Those words were spoken by interim San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins on Monday as she announced charges against the alleged attacker of Paul Pelosi. David de Pap faces multiple state and federal charges , including attempted murder and attempted kidnapping. But it seems the break in an attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband last week has not turned down the volume of vitriol as new lies and mockery find their way into our public discourse. Joining me is Carl Luna. Mesa College political science professor and director for the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement at the University of San Diego. And Carl , welcome back to the show.

S2: Thanks for having me back , Marie.

S3: Now , 82 year old Paul Pelosi remains in intensive care after having his skull fractured by an intruder who told police he was looking for Nancy Pelosi intending to break her kneecaps. And yet this is now fodder for conspiracy theories.

S2: Both parties to some degree play this game , but one party a lot more than the other party and more successfully. So you've been doing this and it's just the natural way things go. The knee jerk reaction to any event is to trivialize it , deny it , disparage it , and then try to destroy the other side over it.

S3: So , yeah , we are seeing reactions ranging from distorting the facts of the case to outright mockery.

S2: The fellow who was shooting at him wasn't mentally ill. He was just extremely angry , Whether it was whatever stoked him off off of the Democratic rhetoric at the time , he was pro-Democrat , anti-Republican. He shoots at a Republican and everybody said basically what you're supposed to say. It was a terrible thing. Violence is never the solution. The guy with the gun was wrong. Our sympathies go out to Mr. Phillips and his family and we support law enforcement and thank them for everything they've done. Democrats did that. Republicans did that now. Democrats didn't say. Our rhetoric may have escalated things to a degree and maybe a cry came out. And you really don't need to say that because it's not the rhetoric. I mean , we've always had bad rhetoric in our society and crazy people will do crazy things. It's what you do with their actions and spin them for political purposes that can create the problem.

S3:

S2: This would be like trying to bail out John Wilkes Booth or some such for political purpose. You are basically shredding any possibility of talking with the other side. I came across a quote in The Guardian from Bill Kristol. He's a never Trump conservative , but he was quoting the Russian dissident writer Dmitri Berkoff , who wrote decades ago that fascism is a physiological phenomenon that refers to the pleasure that the person's take in allowing himself to break every moral law , divine or human. What you're seeing is a nihilist , existential moment where people are getting off on having a political movement where they can say anything about anybody and not be a consequence. This is the Übermensch. The idea of being totally empowered to do bad things to other people , and it is horrible to see it. In fact , our political system , and particularly one of our great political parties more than the other party.

S3: As you know , and as students of history , know , that there have been just horrible insults and violent rhetoric in American discourse all through the decades.

S2: It used to be that one of the terrible insults were given. They tend to be in quiet corridors and didn't get splashed all over Twitter. So all this stuff gets out and it becomes part of a standup routine and something you expect to go to a political rally. President Trump was already out there , former President Trump talking about , oh , maybe this didn't happen , maybe that it was a gay tryst gone wrong ways to attack the victim. You didn't see that before. I mean , you would always be there now and don't get. You're wrong. Think about all the hateful things that were done with segregation. That was American fascism at play in our own society. This has gone mainstream. This is now at a level of rhetoric you really have not seen even during the Civil War. If you go back to what people were writing , then they at least tried to coach their attacks in something a little bit more eloquent than basically saying variations on any and any movement.

S3:

S2: Now , once you've retreated into your different tribes and you demonize the other side as the evil a threat to America , not real Americans. There is no common ground. The only thing you can do is defeat them. And if you can't defeat them at the polls , you allege that the polls don't matter , that the elections are rigged , and then you try to overturn the elections. The next step after that is you resort to violence to get what you want done. Now , we're a ways off from that , but we're moving closer to that , ratcheting up the climate over the last decade or so where more people are arming. You see people with weapons outside a ballot box drop off places around the country. They're going to protect America. At some point , somebody might start pulling the trigger and then we're into a whole new world. And of course , it'll be blamed on somebody else. They won't be denied that it actually happened. They'll be accused of taking the whole event like happens with school shootings.

S3:

S2: We , particularly my generation , the baby boomers , have put us in. We didn't have good solutions to a lot of the problems confronting America. So we went to demonizing the other side , which unfortunately is often how neo fascist movements originate in countries historically. What we need to see is people who advance things like this be told , I'm sorry you can no longer participate in the public square. We're not going to vote for you. We're not going to reward you with our votes. Surely there has to be people within our party who can advance the agenda. We need to make America great without ripping down half of America in the process. And again , you see , this is a problem on both sides of the political spectrum. But empirical evidence , content analysis , political science research shows it is more infectious on the right of American politics currently than the left.

S3: I've been speaking with Carl Luna. He's Mesa College political science professor and director of the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement at the University of San Diego. Karl , thanks a lot.

S2: Thank you very much , Murray.

S3: This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman In the East County , one hospital is bringing back a program that provides comfort and support to those who have no one else. KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman has more on the return of the 11th hour program at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

S2: He's been very lethargic for the past week or two and hasn't been making any progress to get better. No , but yeah.

S4: These are the kinds of discussions Dr. Gregory Thomas has every day. He's an inpatient palliative care physician at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La mesa. He's going over what an end of life care plan might look like with the hospital's clinical chaplain , Andrew Griffis.

S2: They identify as Christian and need to find out what their denomination is. Okay. But I think they would be open to having a spiritual care involved.

S4: Just family in town , too. Griffiths and a team of volunteers are standing by , ready to comfort patients in their final hours who otherwise would have no one else. It's called the 11th Hour Program. The mission statement is in No. One title world. Griffiths says it's designed to give companionship to those at their most vulnerable. When I think about death as a living person , I work around it 8 hours a day , four days a week , but I'm still scared of death. And I would be really scared to to be around not only death , but be around death of bone. Any hospital staff member can refer a patient to the 11th hour program. Griffiths says when they get that call , they know that the patient is not going to get better and they're typically on what they call a comfort care plan. They're kind of the end of their illness journey. They've they've gone through fighting , they've gone through the various levels of what an illness will do to a body , and then they are towards the end and they're actively dying. Griffiths and his team try to get as much information about a patient as possible before spending time with them , like finding out their favorite music or books. If they loved the Beatles playing a Beatles song , you know , if they love poetry , maybe reading some poetry showing , showing that the act of I see you , I'm with you , I am here. The 11th hour program is just starting back up again after a nearly three year hiatus due to COVID 19.

S5: That was a bummer for us because they really think that would have been a good time for our program.

S4: Tamara Deeble So is an 11th hour volunteer and also a physical therapist at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. She's been with the program since 2015. She says it was tough not having it around during the deadly pandemic.

S5: It was probably when we were most needed , it seems , because lots of patients had to die by themselves. Their families couldn't come in to the hospital and the nurses were , you know , overwhelmed with lots of things happening at the time. So I wish we could have been there , but that wasn't an option. So now we're back , which is good.

S4: The program is looking for more volunteers to help reach a goal of having someone available 24 hours a day. Majority of the patients are not able to speak , but they can usually hear.

S5: I hold their hand and just talk to them and just tell them that , you know , it's okay and that they're safe and that they're in a good environment and that they're being taken care of and that you know , that it's okay.

S4: Dibble So didn't think twice when she was asked to return to the program. For her , this work is personal.

S5: It sort of resonated with me because I've been present at the death of three of my family members , and those were different kinds of experiences. But the common theme was that we had so many family members around at the time , and for someone to go past on their own without anyone just didn't seem right to me. I think it's more of a comfort to the patient as well as yourself , just that you can provide someone maybe a few moments of peace and just you know that someone's with them when they might be their most scared or their most vulnerable.

S4: Griffis says over the last couple of years , he saw heartwarming scenes where nurses and therapists took time out of busy schedules to spend time with those dying alone. He jumped at the opportunity to help restart the 11th hour program , and he's hoping more volunteers will help it thrive. I want to live in a world where there's a little bit of hope , and so I think this program is one step towards that of bringing hope back into the world. Matt Hoffman , KPBS News.

S3: In the march toward net zero emissions. Perhaps no fossil fuel will be harder to break away from than natural gas. It has been an essential part of everything from home heating and appliances to industrial manufacturing. So San Diego Gas and Electric is proposing an experiment to reduce the carbon footprint of natural gas by blending it with hydrogen. The utility says if it works , the project could be a game changer. But environmental groups say it's a desperate effort by a company whose business model is under siege. Joining me is San Diego Union-Tribune energy reporter Rob Nicholas. Rob , welcome.

S2: I should talk to you more.

S3:

S2: Hydrogen is not an energy source. It's an energy carrier. So hydrogen can be injected into various systems such as natural gas systems. And that the idea is to help reduce emissions. And one of the things that San Diego Gas Electric is interested in is that there was an experiment that was done out in England called a high deploy program , and they blended up to 20% hydrogen into 100 homes and 30 buildings on the campus of the university in England. And the project delivered more than 42,000 cubic meters of hydrogen and saved about 27 tons of carbon emissions. And it only needed minimal modifications to the existing gas infrastructure and didn't result in any changes to customers household appliances. So they're encouraged by that report.

S3:

S2: There's an isolated area that uses a natural gas at a an apartment complex , a dormitory , so to speak. And they would want San Diego Gas and Electric wants to do would be they would take this isolated area and they would inject up to 20% of hydrogen and then they would see what the results are and they would monitor it very closely , do that for 18 months , then come back , take it , take all the data , put it together and see what kind of reductions they can make in greenhouse gas emissions , and also to see how well the pipelines were able to handle the injection of hydrogen.

S3:

S2: One of them is that you can take hard to decarbonize industries like steel and cement and those power plants , they require a tremendous amount of heat. The hydrogen can be injected into the natural gas. It's used as a feedstock at those factories , and that can reduce the carbon footprint. Hydrogen has also been used at energy storage facilities. It's still mostly an experimental project right now , but they found that if you inject hydrogen into energy storage , into like salt domes , for example , they have one out in Utah that you can store the energy for much longer periods of time rather than using battery storage and also natural gas flowing into homes and businesses. And then to another extent , which is completely different , would be that in the transportation sector , if you use hydrogen fuel cell vehicles , which is different from electric vehicles , but hydrogen fuel cell vehicles , one of their positive aspects is that they don't produce any greenhouse gas emissions.

S3: Now , the city of San Diego is planning to eliminate most natural gas from homes and businesses by 2035 if this experiment is successful.

S2: It's hard to say because there there's a very strong possibility that if you are able to inject hydrogen , you could reduce greenhouse gas emissions , but you could not eliminate them completely.

S3: Now , a number of environmental groups have come out against this Duany proposal.

S2: And they think that that injecting hydrogen into a natural gas system is basically an idea that many natural gas companies like San Diego Gas and Electric. SoCal Gas. Southern California Gas in Los. Are using because they know that if we're going to have zero emissions , it basically endangers their business model. A lot of the environmental groups feel that the possibility that hydrogen can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the natural gas system down to zero is pretty much pie in the sky.

S3:

S2: This is part of one of three programs that are in front of the of the commission. There's one from that from San Diego Gas and Electric , one from SoCal Gas , which which they're going to work in conjunction with UC Irvine that they're thinking about trying to inject hydrogen into an isolated area out in into the steel pipeline and see what happens. And then there's also Southwest Gas , which is out which is at Las Vegas , Nevada. But they're they're they're proposing taking injecting hydrogen into it , into the natural gas poly ethylene pipeline in an area in Truckee , California. And they want to study that because Truckee , California , if you've ever been out there , has a very wide range of of of weather patterns. It can get as hot as into the nineties , in the summertime , in the wintertime , get down to zero. They want to be able to study the what if the injection of hydrogen or what kind of effects that would have throughout the year in Truckee for one year.

S3:

S2: And when that's done , the site will be restored to its original condition. And a final report is expected toward the end of 2026 or early 2027.

S3: I've been speaking with San Diego Union-Tribune energy reporter Rob Nicholas. Rob , thank you.

S2: Thank you , Mary.

S1: And now we head north for a couple of election stories. One of the most competitive House races in California pits a Republican incumbent who opposed certifying the presidential election against a Democratic challenger who helped prosecute January six rioters. From Riverside County. KQED politics editor Scott Shafer reports.

S6: On a warm summer night in downtown Palm Springs. Recently , street vendors are selling everything from scented candles to date milkshakes and Mexican lovers.

S2: My latest single Wednesday.

S6: Lee Wilson Jr is standing in front of a booth for the local chapter of the American Legion.

S2: We're here for the community every Thursday night. We're passing out flags to the little kids.

S6: Wilson used to be a Republican , but he switched parties over what he saw as GOP extremism on guns and abortion.

S2: I'm very hard core pro liberty and democracy and all that kind of stuff. I'm against. Authoritarianism.

S6: Authoritarianism.

S2: And demagoguery , shall we say.

S6: Wilson likes his current congressman , Democrat Raul Ruiz. But redistricting has put Wilson into a district that will be represented by Republican Ken Calvert unless Democrats flip the seat. Calvert voted against certifying the election , and I asked Wilson if what happened on January 6th matters.

S2: Does it matter ? Yeah. Those guys should all be in freakin jail.

S6: Calvert is up against a 37 year old Democrat , Wil Rollins. Let me start just by saying Happy Sunday to everybody.

S2: As everyone had a mimosa. Yeah.

S6: At a fundraiser in Palm Springs recently. Rollins described how the former federal prosecutor helped build cases against January 6th rioters.

S2: And what was Ken Calvert , my opponent , doing while those of us in federal law enforcement were responding to that attack , he was voting to decertify the election. He was voting against a commission to even investigate the attack.

S6: Rollins is hoping to mobilize voters , in part by emphasizing abortion rights and concerns about false conspiracy theories about elections.

S2: Unfortunately , they've got enablers in the House who buy into these conspiracy theories , who are willing to get onto the House floor and spread conspiracy theories that are just completely unsubstantiated.

S6: Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson agrees and says overlooking what happened around the 2020 election is a big mistake.

S3: I'm generally not an alarmist , but I do agree that democracy is at stake here. We've never seen anything like this.

S6: For his part , Calvert , who has represented this region in Congress since 1993 , is counting on voters to care more about kitchen table issues than the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

S2: Look , the people that I talked to are not thinking about something that happened a year and a half ago. They're thinking about what's happening right now. When they go to the market or when they go fill up their tank full of gasoline. The literature used click not home left literature.

S6: At a recent Saturday morning rally for Calvert , volunteers like Frank Nelson turned out to knock on doors in Calvert's home town Corona. Nelson says what happened on January 6th was overblown.

S2: Because it wasn't an insurrection per se. That's that's the other side pushing it.

S6: His wife , Betty Nelson , thinks the cloud Calvert could have is more important.

S7: He has seniority right now , and if we could take the house back , he would be the head of the Appropriations Committee , which is very powerful.

S6: Voters like the Nelson's might be ready to look past the extremism that led to January 6th. But Dave Hinson isn't. He is disgusted by what happened. Dreadful.

S2: Dreadful. And I must tell you , I'm a Republican. Dreadful , Embarrassing. Humiliating.

S6: If Calvert is hoping to get support from Republicans like Hinson , he's out of luck because his son says he's not even going to vote.

S2: At my age and in my tax bracket , I choose not to get involved because I really don't care. My happiness is a lot more important than watching a bunch of kids fighting each other.

S6: We'll know soon whether voters here go with a Trump endorsed Republican who's won 15 straight elections here , or a fresh face who helped prosecute rioters who tried to keep Trump in power after he lost the election. I'm Scott Shafer in Palm Springs.

S1: Next Tuesday , California voters will take to the polls to elect their next state representatives , mayors and school board members. But residents in San Bernardino will face an important decision on whether to break off from California and form a new state. CBC's Jonathan London reports.

S2: On a recent Friday evening , a small group of students gathered to listen to a panel at Claremont McKenna College. Of the ballot measure , up for debate is a local ballot measure that would send a big message secession from the state of California. If you really think.

S4: About it , it's a big it's a big deal.

S2: That's James round the fourth. He's a student here majoring in government. He organized tonight's event to raise awareness around measure E ! The question before San Bernardino County voters looks something like this Should local officials study all options to obtain the county's fair share of state funding up to and including secession ? That part about secession is what's grabbing people's attention. But the implications.

S4: If this was to happen , are. Extreme.

S2: Extreme.

S4: And should be taken as seriously as the result.

S2: Could be. San Bernardino County is just east of Los Angeles. In is home to more than 2 million people by area. It's the largest county in the U.S. and is bigger than nine states. But despite its size , some local officials say they're not getting the state support or resources they deserve. That's partly why secession came up in the first place. And it's not a new idea. The secession movement in San Bernardino , I mean , this is one of about 220 such movements in California history. That's Kevin Wei , a Durham University history professor. He says San Bernardino County joins a long history of secession attempts in California. For decades , people in northern California and southern Oregon have talked about creating a state of Jefferson. White says over a century and a half ago , San Bernardino County was involved in a similar secession movement. And like the San Bernardino secessionists today , they argued that they basically weren't getting enough of what they needed and that they could get more of that if they formed their own territory and ultimately their own state. Among supporters of Measure E is Fontana Mayor O'Quinn at a Warren. She says the state has failed to properly invest in essential services such as county jails and courthouses.

S1: So the funding that is so dear to everybody of keeping our public safe is not coming directly to our county from the state.

S2: But the proposal has also been met with criticism.

S7: Generally speaking , I think it is a waste of taxpayers money to put such a proposal on the ballot.

S2: That's State Assembly Majority Leader Luis Gomez Reyes. She and two other state representatives wrote a letter opposing the ballot measure.

S7: We know that San Bernardino cannot secede from California. They cannot form their own state.

S2: The odds of secession happening are slim. It would need to get approval by state legislators and Congress. But its first test is with voters. Many people I spoke with hadn't heard much about the secession plan. That includes Jim Montez from Colton.

S7: Well , I mean , at first glance , talking about this succession , I really don't feel like that our leadership is connected to the community's needs.

S2: Montes doesn't know how she'll vote yet , but she does relate to some of the feelings behind this push for secession.

S7: I agree that we're underserved , underrepresented , underfunded , all of those things.

S2: And she says she wants local leaders to speak up. She's just not sure this ballot measure is the best way to do it. I'm Jonathan Lindon in San Bernardino.

S1: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. Later this month , the U.S. Men's national soccer team will be among the 32 teams taking the pitch in Qatar as part of the world's most watched sporting event , the FIFA World Cup. A new book takes a look back at the inauspicious beginnings for U.S. soccer , telling the story of the first modern U.S. men's World Cup soccer team in 1990. I'm joined by Adam Elder , San Diego based journalist and author of the book New Kids in the World Cup , the totally late eighties and early nineties tale of the team that changed American soccer forever. Adam , welcome.

S2: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

S1:

S2: It's fair to wonder whether the 1994 World Cup , which was hosted by the U.S. , would have happened. There's a lot of innuendo that it might not have , and they just had such a knock on effect. They were the U.S. soccer pioneers. I call this the origin story of modern American soccer. And they just had this incredibly important role in blazing the trail , which a lot of soccer fans now sort of take for granted that we qualify for the World Cup. And yet the U.S. hadn't been in a World Cup since 1950. No one had seen the U.S. play in the World Cup in color television. And this team managed to do it against some humongous and very interesting odds , which I found out as I was writing the book.

S1: You know , the team you write about came up really in a different era of the soccer.

S2: No , Your average American was either either love to ignore soccer or love to hate soccer is a very antagonistic era for the sport. In the eighties , there was a big boom. In the seventies , kind of short lived with the North American Soccer League , The NASL , which which Pele was , was famously a part of. But that balloon had totally deflated by the late eighties. And the U.S. soccer team was they were earning $20 per diem. Today , the coach , who was a great coach , was a maitre d at a black tie restaurant in San Francisco's financial district called Graziano's , which was full time and much better paying than coaching America's national soccer team at the time. Hmm.

S1: Hmm. Though these were soccer players , politics was never too far away from this team.

S2: I feel like in the world where the Cold War was ending and , you know , the United States was emerging both culturally and politically , as , you know , the world's lone superpower. And wherever the U.S. team traveled , you could really see the effects. And I go into this a little bit of the book , the trips to Central America. The CIA was busy working in the shadows when they were had to play a game in Honduras against El Salvador. They went to Guatemala City , which was still in the midst of a very long running civil war. They had a machine gun to it on the back of their of their team coach. Their team Bus commandos followed them wherever they went. It was a very intense situation under which to play soccer , never mind all of the other sort of shenanigans that an away team can can expect when they when they go down to Central America right before the World Cup. They take a tour of Europe to Hungary and to East Germany right before East Germany merged with West Germany. And they saw the Cold War fall. They saw democracy start to take hold in these countries. And they were just sort of experiencing the world at a very unique time , as it was in part , still hostile to to American interests and also opening up , I suppose , to American interests , just as you could say , American soccer was starting to participate more in the world's game. Hmm.

S1: You interviewed a lot of the former players for your book.

S2: They have really great memories of it. For a lot of them , it was their only World Cup. And they feel , perhaps rightly , that they are very overlooked , in fact , in American soccer. You know , there's there's certain World Cup teams and certain eras that get a lot of the credit and a lot of the glory. And this team has just been completely upstaged by every other team since. I mean , I've been following soccer for most of my life. And I knew very little about this team until I until I started interviewing them for another story a while ago. And they started telling me stories. And it was just it was incredible , all the things they went through. And yet no one ever really knew this stuff. And so they were all very open and very proud to be a part of it. But I think they all feel that they deserve a little more recognition. And honestly , I don't blame them. Hmm.

S1: Hmm.

S2: The rest of the world looked at the U.S. as a curiosity. Once they qualified , some of them considered the U.S. kind of like the Milli Vanilli of of the soccer world. Just these imposters who are trying to convince the world that they can actually. Play soccer. Others just saw them as this bucket of chum for every other team to to feast on. And so once they did get there , they got they got a pretty rude awakening in their first game against a Czechoslovak team , which had just gone through the Velvet Revolution and all of their players were playing for big money contracts because they were basically free workers for the first time so they could play for richer soccer teams outside of their native country. And the referees weren't giving them a break. It was almost like paying your dues at your first World Cup. And with their backs against the wall they put together against the host nation Italy , which which was the world champions as recently as eight years before that in 1982. I won't spoil anything , but let's just say the US played the absolute game of their lives and turned it around against the Italians and it was honestly , really a proud moment for for anyone connected to American soccer. And you hear a lot of people , not just the team , but others say that it was kind of like the roots from which American soccer grew out. It was from that pivotal game.

S1: And now both the U.S. and San Diego have come a long way in their relationship to soccer. Just a few days ago , rumors emerged of a possible new Major League Soccer franchise for San Diego.

S2: I mean , you could say it always has been. You know , there's players like Steve Tarantula and Frankie Haddock and others who have played for the national team came from here. In my book , players like Marcello Balbo and Eric Rinaldo went to college at San Diego State and played there. And of course , there's the soccer's it's always been here and it's so great to see it making strides. I mean , with the wave have been great. The San Diego loyal have been great , I think. I think both of those teams have done so much for San Diego. Club , Tijuana , just south of the border. And we've always had a really strong youth club system. And it's great to see. I mean , San Diego's contributions to American soccer have always been strong.

S1: That's great. So the book comes out today and you're having an event in San Diego later this week. Tell us about that.

S2: I thought writing a book and having it come out right ahead of the World Cup was as good an excuse as any to throw a party. It'll be Thursday night , November 3rd , 7 p.m. at Monica Warehouse. You can RSVP at New Kids in the World Cup dot com toasted by Chris Kantor. There will be drinks. There will be music from this era , which I love. 1988 to 1990 and a book signing. And I just really wanted to get the soccer community together and just really celebrate what we have. You know , unfortunately , none of our sports teams , including the Padres , are in the running at the moment. Let's get together and party anyway , about something else.

S1: All right. I've been speaking with San Diego journalist and author Adam Elder about his new book , New Kids in the World Cup , the totally late eighties and early nineties tale of the team that changed American soccer forever. And thank you so much for joining us.

S2: Thanks so much for having me.



A new report found people of color, especially Black people are routinely stopped at higher rates than white people by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Many of these are so-called pretextual stops and not in response to traffic violations. Then, the alleged break-in and attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband last week has not turned down the volume of vitriol. New lies and mockery have found their way into our public discourse. Plus, one East County hospital is bringing back a program that provides comfort and support to those who have no one else. And, San Diego Gas & Electric is proposing an experiment to reduce the carbon footprint of natural gas, by blending it with hydrogen. Later, on Tuesday voters in San Bernardino will face an important decision: whether to succeed from California and form a new state. And in Riverside County, one of the state’s most competitive House races pits a Republican incumbent who opposed certifying the presidential election against a Democratic challenger who helped prosecute January 6th rioters. And finally, later this month, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team will be among the 32 teams taking the pitch in Qatar as part of the world’s most watched sporting event, the FIFA World Cup.