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San Diego gains new majority Latino congressional district

 December 23, 2021 at 2:19 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:01)

California's redistricting process wraps up with a boost in Latino empowerment.

Speaker 2: (00:05)

The purpose of this was really to let regular people have a say in how they want districts drawn.

Speaker 1: (00:12)

I'm Andrew Bowen with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition Kids under five will have to wait longer to get a COVID vaccine. So I'm afraid

Speaker 3: (00:29)

This is a three to six month setback in getting younger kids immunized.

Speaker 1: (00:34)

Our investigation into evictions continues with a look at how the pandemic grew, the housing rights movement and coming to San Diego a stage reboot of a cult classic TV show. That's ahead on KPBS midday edition, California citizens, redistricting commission. This week approved new maps for congressional and state legislative districts and big changes were made to San Diego county, including California's 52nd congressional district, which will be majority Latino. It's one of 16 such districts statewide joining me to unpack the behind these lines is Patricia. Sonai a resident of Encinitas and one of 14 members of the California citizens, redistricting commission. Patricia. Welcome. Thank

Speaker 2: (01:33)

You so much for having

Speaker 1: (01:34)

Me. What are all the factors that you have to consider when drawing these lines? We look

Speaker 2: (01:39)

At three things. We need to wait for the census information to arrive though. That's why the redistricting is done every 10 years to really reflect the changes locally in the communities. And then we need to know how many congressional districts we'll have. And then finally we needed to hear from the community. We call that our communities of interest, and we really spent a lot of time this summer hearing from the communities. We had virtual meetings and such for the 'em to tell us who are their neighbors, who is it that they work live, play, learn, protest, pray with, and who do they wanna be represented with and who do they not?

Speaker 1: (02:14)

Tell me more about this majority Latino congressional district in San Diego county and the others like it elsewhere in the state. How big of a change is this compared to the current map? And what's the of trying to create a majority Latino district.

Speaker 2: (02:28)

So we are required. We're obligated by the voters rights act, section two, to create districts where we prevent really the compliance to prevent minority vote dilution. So we do, as you had noted, have 16 congressional districts with a Latino C a P or citizen voter age population, that's greater than 50%. And in San Diego, we have one, we have a V district that's just included in San Diego. We've had VRA district, you know, south bay has been a VA district in the past, but it was connected to Imperial valley. We heard from Imperial valley that they really wanted to be part of east Coachella valley. And the Coachella valley also said they wanted to be represented with Imperial valley and with the increase of Latino population, as well as Asian population in San Diego, we were able to meet the requests as well as meet the requests of south bay San Diego that asked for their own VRA district

Speaker 1: (03:28)

Political analysts have been looking at these maps, uh, saying that they strongly favor Democrats and the maps have been criticized by the Republican national committee and at least one Republican member of Congress, us, what's your response to their accusation that these maps appear to just protect the party that's already in power.

Speaker 2: (03:45)

We started with, you know, blank maps. We didn't look at where the current districts were, where incumbents were. We actually can't take in account candidates or incumbents or the strength of political parties as we're drawing maps. And we do look at citizen voter age population, but we don't look at the voter registrations of these communities. We had, as I said, five Democrats, five Republicans or no party preference. And we all worked really collectively and pushed back and we really followed what the people were asking for. So already politics was left at the door. We really worked hard to create fair and representative maps,

Speaker 1: (04:25)

California citizens, redistricting commission was created by a ballot measure in 2008. Remind us what the reasoning was behind taking this responsibility away from the state legislature and giving it to a 14 member commission of just

Speaker 2: (04:41)

So in 2008, we created the voting rights act for state assembly, state Senate, and the board of equalization. And in 2010, the voters voted for the citizen redistricting commission to also do congressional districts. And the purpose of this was really to let regular people have a say in how they want districts drawn. Um, in the past, as you said, legislatures drew it and what they drew were districts that would favor them. And the turnover of incumbents was very, very low. And so the idea is really to every 10 years we learn how much communities have changed. And this allows to create districts that really reflect the people that live in those districts.

Speaker 1: (05:25)

Can you speak to this larger issue of compactness of districts? Obviously the goals of the commission sometimes compete with each other. You, if you wanna get a majority minority district, you might have to draw a lot of more squiggly lines than straight lines. So when you're ranking those priorities, which priority has to come first,

Speaker 2: (05:44)

It's very clear that the first priority is equal number of people in every district and with Congress it's plus or minus one person. So that that's our number one priority. Our second priority is voter rights act. So yeah, number three is contiguous. So it means that they need to touch each other. In the past legislatures, drew districts go on kind of circling different groups and they didn't necessarily touch. Number four is communities of interest cities, counties, world tribe, whenever possible, not to split those. And five is compactness. And so of five is kind of further down and we have to follow these in order. So if we're drawing a VRA district, we may not be able to oblige to keeping it within a county or not splitting counties or cities or communities of interest and compactness, um, gets to be very difficult, especially when you're looking at Senate in it's a million people.

Speaker 1: (06:37)

I imagine the pandemic made things harder for the commission. You've been working on these maps for a very long time. Just how hard was this job for you? So

Speaker 2: (06:45)

We were seated in August of 2020. So we had to get to know each other, the 14 of us needed to get to know each other through zoom. And we really made an effort as much as possible. It took us a year till we finally started getting to know each other in person. And it affected when we got the census data, right? We were supposed to receive it in April and we didn't receive it until July. And we weren't sure when we were gonna get it, so that added to it. And then we had to become creative on how we were gonna engage the public. And I, and wanna say that pandemic allowed us to think creatively on how to use virtual tools. And we were able to have meetings that the public could watch at all times and participate. We created, um, input sessions, 35 input sessions throughout the state where people could call in, you know, people were comfortable using all the virtual tools. So when we got to the point where we were actually drawing the line, starting in October, they could call in, or they could submit in real time their comments using, um, a form that we created that went straight to our database and everybody can see all the data on our website.

Speaker 1: (07:54)

I've been speaking with Patricia Sai, one of 14 members of the California citizen, an redistricting commission, Patricia. Thanks. Thank you.

Speaker 4: (08:13)

The OCN surge is making the push for vaccines and booster shots, even more urgent, but there young children, those under five are still not authorized for any vaccines. And recent news may have pushed back the timeline for those shots. Pfizer has announced that its scaled down kid size shots have not produced the expected immune response in children from two to five years of age. Researchers are now considering increasing the two dose children's shot to a third dose and testing that idea will take more months to get an authorization. Joining me is Dr. Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease specialist with Brady children's hospital and UC San Diego. Dr. Soya, welcome back.

Speaker 3: (08:58)

Great to join you. Maureen

Speaker 4: (09:00)

Are young children in the Pfizer vaccine trials getting the same vaccine as adults only in a smaller dose.

Speaker 3: (09:08)

Yes, there, there is an adjustment in the buffer compared to the adult dose, but the adult product, but BA basically it's the same thing. Exactly, but it's a much lower dose. It's a dose one 10th. The size of the dose that adults have been getting

Speaker 4: (09:23)

Now, even though the two to five year olds are not getting the expected immunity, how are the Pfizer shots working for even younger children, babies and toddlers while

Speaker 3: (09:34)

We're still waiting for are the results from the studies a as we've learned just in the last week or so the first study looking at younger kids under five didn't work as well using this low one 10th, the size dose. So the company is gonna have to go back to the drawing board and they're planning at least to check the third dose and see if that pushes the levels up high enough. But I wouldn't be surprised if Pfizer or some of the other companies start adjusting their doses as well. Cuz we really need to find the optimal dose for kids of that age. Why

Speaker 4: (10:06)

Do researchers want to add a third dose as you say, why not just increase the amount of vaccine young kids get in the first two doses?

Speaker 3: (10:16)

Well, people will be aware that for many childhood vaccines we need to give two or three or even four doses to maximize the immune response. So it has to do with first priming the immune system and then stimulating it over and over again to get the maximum response. So that's one reason to consider a third dose and we're learning from adults getting boosters that that really does work pretty well. And it drives the protection levels up.

Speaker 4: (10:41)

And how much of a delay will doing trials on a third dose? Cause

Speaker 3: (10:46)

It'll be several months because first of all, the children who were started in that study need to wait a certain period of time after the second dose, before they can get the third dose. And then we, you have to follow them after that to see what happens. So I'm afraid this is a three to six month setback in getting younger kids immunized.

Speaker 4: (11:06)

So it won't be until at least spring or summer that we can think about, uh, a vaccine for these very young children. I think

Speaker 3: (11:13)

That's pretty realistic. Uh, we're starting off discussing the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna the other RNA vaccine is also studying young children. So it's possible that they will come out ahead of Pfizer this time, if their studies go well,

Speaker 4: (11:29)

Now the FDA has approved the first antiviral pill against COVID. Can that be used to treat children? The FDA

Speaker 3: (11:38)

Authorized it all the way down to age 12, which is great. It gives us another tool to fight COVID and particularly the Omicron variant, you know, the vaccine is less protective against Omicron compared to the previous strain. So to have this antiviral medicine is a great addition to the toolkit.

Speaker 4: (11:56)

And what do we know about Omicron in children? Does it affect them differently than previous coronavirus variants?

Speaker 3: (12:03)

I don't think we know that yet. I'm not, I don't think we know that for adults either. There have been some stories about slightly different symptoms, but I don't think those have been. So I think right now I'm thinking about these as just another version of the coronavirus. It's gonna cause the same main symptoms, respiratory illness and the same have the same severe side effects of, of pneumonia and need for ventilation that we've seen up till now with the previous strains

Speaker 4: (12:32)

And does the accepted wisdom hold that children perhaps don't get COVID as often as adults do or it's not as severe.

Speaker 3: (12:41)

I think you can say the second part that it's not as severe, but there's really not any evidence that young children don't get the infection. We we've seen it spreading through schools. We've seen more children infected in the last or to six months than in the beginning, probably because they're getting out and about going to school and getting exposed more. So the good news is it's less severe in kids and

Speaker 4: (13:04)

How are vaccinations going at ready for children over five?

Speaker 3: (13:08)

We're plugging away. We're getting our increasing coverage rate and the county is tracking that we still have a ways and the clinic is open every day to give vaccines. So I would encourage parents who have not yet gotten their children vaccinated to consider doing it now because this Omicron variant is really very contagious.

Speaker 4: (13:27)

Now governor Newsom is mandating all healthcare workers in the state to get a booster shot. I remember what happened when, uh, the vaccinations themselves, the original vaccinations were mandated. Some healthcare workers declined. Do you expect that to cause any problems with the staff at R

Speaker 3: (13:45)

I think by now, most people are, are over that. And I, I think, you know, we've learned more and more about the vaccine we know about it. Safety. We also know how fast Omicron is spreading and how contagious it is. So I think the vast majority of healthcare workers will comply with the new mandate. I think a lot of them already have gotten a booster.

Speaker 4: (14:07)

Speaking of governor Newsom, he spoke yesterday about his commitment to keeping schools open saying, I don't want to see our schools shut down, but at what point do you think schools may wanna consider going back? Let's say to remote learning similar to what UC San Diego recently announced.

Speaker 3: (14:25)

Yeah, that's an excellent question. None of us want to see schools shut down again. We've learned over the last year and a half that children really suffer beyond just, you know, not as good in education, but they suffer from the lack of social interaction in the, in the incidents of mental health problems in children has gone up dramatically due to COVID. And I think a lot of that has to do with isolation. So we really want kids to be in school. You know, there, there's obviously some limit. If we learn that schools have very widespread outbreaks and, and the vast majority of students are getting infected, they may have to close at least temporarily to get that under control. But I think we're in better shape now than we were last year.

Speaker 4: (15:07)

Keeping in mind that very young children can't get vaccinated yet. What should people keep in mind this holiday season as they visit friends and relatives?

Speaker 3: (15:16)

Yeah, the timing is terrible for this variant because it's extremely contagious and you know, literally flies through the air. So the best way to prevent infection is to avoid close contact in indoor settings with other people. Now, if you have a group of people who are all immunized, the risk is lower. If you can wear a mask, the risk is lower. If you can in increase the ventilation, the risk is lower. So parents should try to do as many of those things as they can. And in general, minimize exposure when it's not really crucial.

Speaker 4: (15:49)

I've been speaking with Dr. Mark Soyer infectious disease specialist with Brady children's hospital and UC San Diego. Dr Sawer. Thank you and have a happy holiday

Speaker 3: (15:59)

To you too, Maureen.

Speaker 1: (16:12)

This is KPBS midday edition in for Jade Henman I'm Andrew Bowen with Maureen Kavanaugh. The K PS investigates podcast took a closer look at evictions and the efforts to keep people housed during the pandemic in this second and final episode of the evictions series, race and equity reporter, Katina Kim takes a closer look at renting in St. Diego and the growing housing rights movement in the wake of the pandemic.

Speaker 5: (16:39)

It's been a little over two weeks since Vanessa Houston first got a notice that she had to leave her home.

Speaker 6: (16:47)

Good morning, my name's Vanessa Houston. I just woke up and it's like 7:50 AM. I have a bad headache. I don't know what to do

Speaker 5: (16:58)

Today. Now she and her mother Francis have 60 days to find a new place to live ever since they got the letter a mere two days after San Diego county's eviction ban expired. Vanessa has woken up every day to the sound of an imaginary countdown clock.

Speaker 6: (17:15)

We're paying our bills on time. We're doing everything required, but we gotta leave. And now I don't know where to go.

Speaker 5: (17:27)

Her mother Francis has been cleaning and packing up the one bedroom ever since she heard the news. It's all

Speaker 7: (17:33)

Packed up to leave, you know, and I still have clothes in the closet. So we have to get more boxes, you know, to put our things in. But that's about it. We that's all we've been doing since they told us we had to move.

Speaker 5: (17:51)

Once the county eviction ban expired in mid-August. If a landlord in San Diego county decided they wanted to substantially remodel a building or some units they could terminate at tenant's lease. And that's exactly what happened to Vanessa, her mother Francis and their neighbors.

Speaker 7: (18:06)

I came home one day and there was one white envelopes I looked and I said, God, there's white envelopes on everybody's door. And when I opened mine, I realized what they were. They were telling everybody they had to go.

Speaker 5: (18:19)

Vanessa and Francis have been living in their El Cajon apartment building for five months. The buildings called the Palm gardens. And as the name implies, it's surrounded by these huge stately Palm trees, Vanessa and Francis knew their building had been sold in August to a new owner, the GLC legacy trust, but they didn't think much of it thinking it wouldn't change anything for them. They were not prepared to get those white

Speaker 7: (18:43)

Envelopes and that, and that's not right. It's really not right. You know, because nobody knew no, none of us knew that we was gonna have to move outta here.

Speaker 5: (19:00)

The new owners told 'em they could move back in when construction is finished, but that their rent will go up.

Speaker 7: (19:07)

Had we known that? And then they're going up? What? 50 16? Yeah. Going up to 1550, that's a big jump from 11 to 15. you know what I mean?

Speaker 5: (19:17)

Their rent would go up from 1100 to 1550. It's an increase. They simply can't afford on their limited budget. Vanessa's unemployed and Frances is retired. Vanessa and her mom aren't alone in this difficult search for new homes. As eviction protections end and San Diego rental prices continue to soar low income tenants across the county are finding themselves, pushed out with few options to remain in their current neighborhoods. I first met Vanessa in August when she got the news that she and her mother had to move out since then, she's been keeping me posted, sending me audio diaries or updates of her journey to find a new place to live.

Speaker 6: (20:04)

I'm still at it. So try to find a place. Um, every place I go to I'm being shot down like crazy. And it's getting kind of close to my surgery, which I'm supposed to be having. There's things I have to do during my surgery that I can't even think right now because I'm trying to find a place. As

Speaker 5: (20:29)

You just heard. Vanessa has another approaching deadline. She's trying to meet a long awaited surgery to help her manage her fatty liver disease. It's a surgery she needs. If she's ever gonna be able to go back to work again, she can't stand for long, without severe pain and swelling in her legs. So

Speaker 6: (20:48)

That way I have a place to go to, to lay down and recuperate from the surgery, which I'm not sure if that's gonna happen. And I hope I don't have to end up in a hotel for this

Speaker 5: (21:05)

Until then she takes several pills a day to manage it all. So

Speaker 6: (21:10)

I take, and this is ibuprofen, but I, I take that for pain, but I don't take it all the time, but I have to take three in a day, I think three or four in a daytime and the eight that you just saw. That's what I take at night. I

Speaker 5: (21:32)

Due to the pandemic, she's had to push back the surgery and she's racing to find a new home so she can have a place where she can recover. It's hard to find a place she and her mother can afford. The average rent for a place in El Cajon is over $1,400 a month for a one bedroom. According to Zeer an online rental marketplace. That's a 7% increase in rental cost in the last year alone. And in nearby San Diego city, the average rent is over $2,000. Vanessa and her mom also face other barriers like credit scores.

Speaker 6: (22:08)

A lot of these places say they want your credit rate has to be like 600. And unfortunately my mom has five 70. I have four 70 and we're not getting anywhere.

Speaker 5: (22:22)

The cost of getting their credit score checked is also adding up each time they apply, they have to pay a fee to the landlord or management company to run a credit check.

Speaker 6: (22:32)

They're charging 35, 35 or $45 per person to do a credit check.

Speaker 5: (22:38)

That's just one expense in a growing list of cost and fees that Vanessa and other people who have been pushed out and need to relocate are dealing with. They also have to pay for things like moving boxes, cleaning supplies, U-Haul movers. And as the search for apartments gets tighter storage facilities.

Speaker 6: (22:59)

The manager told me that it looks good on our end, that we most likely got the apartment. And he said, he'll keep me posted. I'm testifying out on Saturday. So I'll keep my finger across because my whole intention was, I was getting too tired for this. And I'm like fighting and losing battle type thing. Trying to get an apartment that I actually was thinking about. Just go get some boxes, put all my stuff in storage. And we was gonna just leave.

Speaker 5: (23:30)

Putting her stuff in storage will cost her anything from a hundred to $300 a month money she doesn't have, but the idea of selling or donating everything they own doesn't feel possible. The clothes, television, photographs, it's all they have. What's happening to Vanessa is perfectly legal under California and the county's current tenant protections. Landlords can evict tenants for just causes, which include substantial remodels. Or if the landlord intends to move in or take the unit off the rental marketplace In a housing market, as hot as San Diego's substantial remodels are a common practice as new owners, like the ones that recently acquired Palm garden, look to add value and up the rents. So

Speaker 8: (24:22)

For the last 40 years, the a textbook solution was buy the building with the right things wrong with

Speaker 5: (24:29)

It. That's Terry Moore. He's been a landlord here for four decades and is the co-owner of a San Diego income property, brokerage firm.

Speaker 8: (24:37)

What are the right things? Well, if it's got ugly paint, if lousy management has poor tenants, it has four landscaping. That's the right thing, wrong with it. You fix that and you can rent it more.

Speaker 5: (24:51)

Terry helps sell apartment complexes. Like the one Vanessa lives into investors. His firm actually oversaw the sale of the Palm gardens. Earlier this year in all the years, he's worked as a broker. Terry says he's never seen anything like what's happening now in San Diego county,

Speaker 8: (25:08)

There's 1500 million years that wanna buy apartments. And there's gonna be 350 apartment buildings, four units, and upsell in San Diego county this year. So people want it because it's been a better return than the stock market. People bought apartments in north park, 10 years ago, quadrupled their equity in the last 10 years,

Speaker 5: (25:36)

The demand for multifamily housing and apartment complexes in San Diego is high. It's a good investment with guaranteed returns. For those wealthy enough to invest.

Speaker 8: (25:46)

It's a huge demand. Not much supply rents have gone up faster than inflation for most of the last generation.

Speaker 5: (25:54)

He believes increasing the supply could help, but it's a problem with no quick

Speaker 8: (25:59)

Solutions, but whenever there's more demand than supply prices tend to go up, but it took a generation to get this far behind. And it will probably take more than a decade to catch up

Speaker 5: (26:25)

As the days, pass Vanessa to feel more and more like she just can't afford to live in San Diego. The place she grew up went to high school and where most of her mother's side of the family lives just six days before her surgery was scheduled. Vanessa received some hopeful news just

Speaker 6: (26:43)

Yesterday. I had actually, to be honest with you, I actually found an apartment. They charged me like, oh, they charged me like $35 each, which is $70, uh, to do a credit check. And I gave them the money like on a Friday. And they just got back to me as of yesterday. Uh, they told me that we got the apartment so forth, so I was happy. Everything. Now, I, he changed your price like on this twice for the apartment. And even though I found that apartment, I had to let it go.

Speaker 5: (27:23)

Vanessa thought she had finally found a place, but at the very end, the rent was increased twice. And so the search continues As more people face housing challenges, local groups are organizing to help people stay housed groups like ACE. The Alliance of Californians for community empowerment. Lopez is a Chula Vista native and the director of the local ACE chapter.

Speaker 9: (27:55)

We work on the things that our members care the most about. And, um, for the past few years, housing has been the number one issue specifically rent

Speaker 5: (28:04)

Jose got involved in advocating for affordable housing five years ago when he worked to bring investment to his community and improve his local park.

Speaker 9: (28:12)

Yeah. And that's when I, I saw that there is power in numbers and that I wasn't the only one that wanted to see change,

Speaker 5: (28:18)

But that change has its challenges. One of the toughest issues here in San Diego, according to housing advocates is that many people are unaware of tenants rights. They don't know about the potential for policy changes that could make housing more affordable.

Speaker 9: (28:35)

When I first started to talk to people about rent control, um, back in 2017, the majority of the people that I talked to had never had never even heard of rent control. They had no that there was a, there was such a thing where there could be limits on rent increases.

Speaker 5: (28:51)

There's never been the kind of activism here around tenant issues. Like what we see in other places in the state like Oakland or Los Angeles

Speaker 9: (28:59)

In Los Angeles, somebody would get like an eviction notice and they would think like, how do I fight this? And then in San Diego, people would get an eviction notice and they would think, where am I gonna move to

Speaker 5: (29:14)

In response to the rising cost of rent, an increased vulnerability for tenants like Vanessa Lopez says his focus is growing a movement of tenant empowerment. We're

Speaker 9: (29:24)

Um, doing a lot of work to do outreach and education about the tenant rights. That way, you know, tenants can actually stand up for themselves. Um, because even though there's not a lot of rights, you know, there are some basic protections that we have right now.

Speaker 5: (29:41)

And it's catching on. ACE has been at the heart of several protests and rallies calling attention to unjust evictions. Jose and his team are out there demanding more protections and promoting a culture of fighting back healthy,

Speaker 10: (30:06)

Good, healthy power, hand power.

Speaker 11: (30:21)

We started getting together as a community and talking over what options

Speaker 5: (30:26)

Were Charles and his mother Glorias are among those fighting back. Right now they're struggling to stay in their apartment in Chula Vista like Vanessa and her mom in El Cajon, their apartment complex was sold to new owners and they were to leave for substantial renovations.

Speaker 11: (30:44)

And from the GetGo, we felt this hostility, they took our apartment numbers. They pined over our mailbox numbers. And at first, like I said, we didn't really know. We just thought that was, that was it.

Speaker 5: (30:59)

We reached out to the company, Robert Stackman associates, but they to comment Charles and his mom didn't know what to do when they got the first notice. But then they reached out to Jose's tenants, right? Group,

Speaker 11: (31:10)

The talls. We have rights, you know, they can't just throw people out, especially during the pandemic.

Speaker 5: (31:17)

Now they wanna do whatever they can to stay in their home. His mother, Gloria has become an activist too. She says she wants to tell her community that they need to look for help, that it exists. And that United, they are stronger. It's possible to fight it, to stay, to make noise

Speaker 10: (31:57)


Speaker 5: (31:58)

But for some like Vanessa, they don't have the time and resources to keep fighting. She had to cancel her surgery because she hadn't found an apartment days later, a friend who lives in another state offered Vanessa and her mother a place to live rent free until they can get on their feet again.

Speaker 6: (32:20)

So I'm leaving California because the price of living is very expensive.

Speaker 5: (32:24)

Vanessa didn't want me to share where she's going. She wants a clean start and is afraid. Some people in her family will get mad at her. We're making the hard choice to leave San Diego, but it's a choice. She says she's been forced to make. She tried for weeks and weeks to find a new home. She called the city for help and was told the wait for subsidized housing could take years.

Speaker 6: (32:46)

I hope we can be able to fit everything in the U-Haul. We might have to take a truck or something. I don't know. But yeah. Um, that's the only thing I could say is that's the only thing we are doing now is try to get outta here. I,

Speaker 5: (32:59)

So, except for two backpacks, one for Vanessa and one for her mom, everything they own will go into storage until Vanessa can find her way back to get their clothes, furniture, photos, and mementos until then she's paying a monthly rent for their things to sit in storage in El Cajon while Vanessa and her mom make a new home, a new life, thousands of miles away from San Diego county. The question now is how many more people like Vanessa will be priced out and who can afford to stay Terry Moore? The longtime landlord and investment property says Vanessa is far from alone.

Speaker 8: (33:43)

In the last decade. California has ex exported, thousands of families who made between 30,000 and $110,000 a year. It ain't fair, but it's true. Not everybody can afford to live where they want to live. He

Speaker 5: (33:59)

Says, that's just the way the market is.

Speaker 8: (34:02)

Things are expensive in California and not everybody can afford to live in paradise,

Speaker 5: (34:07)

But not everybody is giving up hope. Lopez of ACE and the tendency works with believe that everybody has a right to live, where they work and they should be able to enjoy the communities they've helped to build. It's a fight that in some ways is just beginning in San Diego, a fight over the future of the region and who gets to be part of that future. We

Speaker 9: (34:30)

Believe that housing is a human, right? This is, um, becoming a movement that is taking off where, um, you know, community members and tenants are realized thing that they deserve respect and dignity, right? That they deserve to live in safe and habitable housing. And you know, that's what our fight is about. I think it's not just about housing, um, or rent control. It's about respect and dignity.

Speaker 5: (35:10)

This special KBS investigates episode was written reported and hosted by Meina Kim and CLA Traer Rebecca check on and Matt Boer helped with the sound Kinzie Morlin and Alisa Barba helped do and edit the show. And Emily Janowski did the sound design. If you think stories like this one are important and you wanna keep hearing them consider supporting KBB S by becoming a member, go to KBB and look for the blue give now button. Thanks for listening.

Speaker 1: (35:41)

That was KPBS race and equity reporter Kim in part two of a two part series on evictions. If you missed part one, look for the KPBS investigates podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts.

Speaker 4: (36:04)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Andrew Bowen, back in 1988, mystery science theater, 3000 found a way to make watching bad movies fun by serving up a human test subject for, to watch bad movies on a spacecraft run by mad scientists. The purpose being to find one that will drive the test to subject insane. K P vs. Arts reported Beth Amando previews the live time bubble tour, coming to the Bebo theater. By speaking with one of the newest cast members, Emily Marsh,

Speaker 12: (36:39)

Emily, you are part of mystery science theater, three thousands live tour. So what can people expect from a live version of the show?

Speaker 13: (36:47)

So, uh, the great thing is that it's mostly exactly how you would be watching an episode. So we have a movie we're watching that is truly terrible. Uh, we have host segments, um, to break up the terribleness of this movie and you have the two bots GPC and me, uh, the host riffing, along with the movie, the things that are a little bit different is that instead of it just being, you know, you and three friends, it's a whole audience filled with Misty, and I've found that to be really fun, especially for people who have a, maybe weren't fans of the show before, cuz I think it's like a really great gateway to entry because you're basically filled with an audience of people who love the show and you really get a better sense of like the comedic timing of it. Well,

Speaker 12: (37:33)

I was gonna say, you're used to doing a show where there isn't audience reaction to you. So is it enjoy for you as a performer to actually hear the audience respond to what you're doing? Oh,

Speaker 13: (37:45)

Absolutely. And it's funny cuz I first, um, was on the original or the MST three K live tour that went out in 2019. So that was my first exposure to being part of the MST three K family then cut to this year where we filmed season 13. So for me it was actually a different experience to be like, wait, no, one's laughing, everybody's quiet while we're recording what's happening. So in a weird way, coming back to the tour afterwards kind of felt like a homecoming. I was like, oh yes, here we go. Now I know exactly which ones are working, which ones aren't it. Like, it felt like that was weirdly more natural than a world of filming where it's just perfectly quiet and you just kind of pray that things are actually landing and things are funny.

Speaker 12: (38:28)

And is there any interactivity with the audience in the sense of you guys asking for reactions or asking for, you know, interplay?

Speaker 13: (38:37)

Yeah. So the person who does the most interacting in the show would be mega Cynthia, who is RMA. She's basically the clone, the clone of the clone of Cynthia Forester. So she's the one who mostly engages with the audience. But the thing I would say is that me and Connor and Nate who are puppeteering Crow and Tom are very much aware of the reaction time of audiences become so critical because of course in a lab where there's nobody laughing at a joke, we can get in all these riffs that we planned like this perfect timing. But as it happens, sometimes a RIF just really lands with an audience. And so sometimes we need to go, oh wow, that got a laugh. Let's actually like pile on and start doing some like funny jokes on that riff that clearly landed with the audience or, oh, we gotta sit this one out cause they're still laughing. So there definitely is a give and take with the audience. But I would say there is less interaction from our part with the audience, but mega said, Cynthia is definitely there. Definitely very threatening, um, in the most fun way possible.

Speaker 12: (39:41)

Now as someone who's enjoyed the show, the one thing that I never really put a lot of thought into was how it's actually put together. You mentioned puppeteering and I have to say, you know, I thought of these characters as just characters. So talk a little bit about the puppet put tearing that goes into this. Yeah.

Speaker 13: (39:58)

So I think that's a sign of good puppetry that you didn't even think about. Like, oh wow. How did they move the hand? It's like, it's just natural they're characters. So what I would say is that it's important to puppeteer do puppetry that supports the character like I'm thinking of with Crow and Tom, um, Connor actually wasn't a puppeteer before he came to the show and started being Tom servo in the tour and then in the show. And what I loved is that he truly did everything that served the character. Like he would make Tom spin, he would make Tom flip around and it was fun to have Nate who's a professional puppeteer Connor. That was so amazing. And so Tom Ervo, this is terrible puppetry. Let's adjust this to make it doable. Um, and does that give and take between the two things, uh, of like what serves the character and then what serves, you know, the puppetry and what looks good on the stage? So it's kind of a mix between those two things.

Speaker 12: (40:59)

And so you are actually talking to me from backstage at one of your shows. That

Speaker 13: (41:04)

Is correct. We are in LA right now. I am in the dressing room. Um, cuz when we're not in the dressing room, we're living on a bus, uh, where we sleep so basically you are, you are seeing my world, uh, backstage here. So I'm looking at Yvonne freeze who plays mega Cynthia right over my, right over my camera. Hello

Speaker 12: (41:26)

And can you reveal what the film is that you're going to be, uh,

Speaker 13: (41:30)

Showing? Yes. So our film is called making contact. It's one of Roland Emerick's earliest movies, the director of some good movies like the day after tomorrow. Uh, and some bad movies like Godzilla with uh, Matthew Brodrick so this movie falls definitely on the category of not one of his best films, but definitely very entertained. And what is

Speaker 12: (41:53)

It about doing this show that you enjoy most?

Speaker 13: (41:57)

Oh man, I think it, it might be watching bad movies. Like something I've been telling people is this isn't just a job. This is also a passion because after doing, you know, a show, we've watched this bad movie, we've RT it with a live audience. Honestly, a lot of the times we out on the bus and then watch another bad movie for pleasure. because we are insane and just absolutely love. There's just something that's so watchable about a watchable bad movie. And I think I just really enjoy trying to find something new in making contact every night and also just getting to share it with a new audience every night is just so much fun. It's it's so fun to see people react to there's a really crazy scene in this movie. I mean there's a couple and just hearing people's genuine reactions to it is just like, Ugh, it's such a pleasure. I love it.

Speaker 12: (42:48)

Well, I must say that seeing it with a live audience, you get that kind of gasp at some of the scenes that are in these kind

Speaker 13: (42:57)

Of films. Oh my gosh. Or laughs of disbelief. Sometimes there's some riffs where all we're saying is can you believe that happened? because there is no rift to make what's happening in that movie. Funnier. It's just so funny on its own that all you can do is just let people react and enjoy it.

Speaker 12: (43:14)

And what do you think has contributed to the longevity of this show? Why is it that people love to kind of see bad movies with others?

Speaker 13: (43:23)

I think it's maybe cuz it's just a, it's something that has never gone away. Nobody cracked the secret of how to make a perfect movie, you know, even movies that are still being made. And what I love is in season 13, we actually have some newer movies that we're riffing. And I think it's that never it, the bad movies have just continued on. It's kind of like this never ending thing that all ages can enjoy too. Like, and what I it's also, what I love about this show is that it's very much a family friendly movie and as we're result, it's very, cross-generational like I watched this show growing up with my dad and I know that a lot of our fans are coming with their kids. So they watched, they introduced it to their kids. Then they're bringing their kids to come see it. It's something that's so shareable across generations and yeah, everybody appreciates a bad movie.

Speaker 12: (44:16)

All right. I wanna thank you very much for talking about the live tour of mystery science theater 3000.

Speaker 13: (44:21)

Yeah, I know. Can't wait for you to come see it.

Speaker 4: (44:25)

That was Beth Amando speaking with Emily Marsh mystery science theater 3000 live time bubble tour will be one night only at the Bebo theater this Sunday. I.

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New congressional districts map approved by the Citizens Redistricting Commission made a big change to San Diego County — a majority Latino district, one of 16 in California. Plus, Pfizer is considering increasing the doses for its children COVID-19 vaccine to three after a two-dose trial shows disappointing results. And, a closer look at renting in the San Diego area and the growing housing rights movement in the wake of the pandemic. Finally, a preview of Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Live Time Bubble Tour coming to the Balboa Theatre.