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San Diego police oversight ordinance advances, police union review next step

 March 1, 2022 at 4:59 PM PST

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And the latest on police oversight in San Diego.
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It's undoubtedly true as well that police officers have an abundance of power.
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I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
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This is KPBS midday edition.
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How crisis response teams are providing a mental health intervention.
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They do a complete assessment to determine what is the best level of service that the individual needs in the community.
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A look at the challenges non-profits face in Chula Vista and why there's controversy around SDSU Coney Island acknowledgement.
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That's ahead on midday edition.
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Yesterday , the San Diego City Council grew closer to establishing a new commission to oversee police misconduct , though additional steps remain in the process.
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Here's San Diego City Council President Sean Ivoe Rivera from Monday's meeting.
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It's undoubtedly true as well that police officers have an abundance of power and accountability.
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When that power is not utilized correctly is super important for making sure that we live up to our ideals as a country , as a city and just as a society.
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In the 2020 election measure be passed by a wide margin to establish a commission on police practices.
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But the actual creation of it has proved more difficult.
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The ordinance now moves to a review by the police union and is then expected to return to the council for a final vote.
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Here to tell us more is San Diego investigative journalist Kelly Davis.
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Kelly , welcome.
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Hi , Joe.
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Thanks for having me.
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So what did the City Council vote on yesterday ? Yeah , so so yesterday , the City Council got a new draft of the ordinance that will guide the implementation will kind of serve as the foundation , the backbone for this new Commission on Police Practices.
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And so they voted to approve the language in that ordinance.
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And as you said , it will now move on to a process called meet and Confer , where the city's police union will will get a chance to review the ordinance and discuss its provisions with the city labor negotiators.
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You write about changes requested by community leaders.
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What are those changes ? So they've really been combing through the language of the ordinance , looking at every word in it and looking for places where they feel the language could be more precise and less open to interpretation.
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There is a long history in San Diego of police unions suing to kind of undermine citizen oversight entities.
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And so they want to make sure everything is as precise as possible.
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And you know , Brandon Hilbert , he's the chair of the Interim Commission on Police Practices.
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He spoke at yesterday's meeting , and he said that this ordinance should be detailed and unambiguous.
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So like it's they really are looking for clarity in every , every single word in the ordinance.
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In your article , you quote Andrea S. Julian of San Diegans for Justice , who authored Measure B.
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You say she described yesterday's council meeting as Orwellian.
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What led her to make that assessment ? Well , she she felt like the community was just completely ignored.
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It was a meeting , a virtual meeting , meaning the community members didn't attend in person , but they could call in and during public comment.
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And there were 20 or so people who spoke during public comment.
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And Andrea said , Jillian , and she's like you , said the co-chair of San Diegans for Justice.
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They had sent in a letter to the City Council on February 26 kind of laying out several items that they felt needed to be amended in the ordinance.
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And none of that was addressed.
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And they just felt that the like I said that the community was was just completely ignored and there was discussion on plans to exclude people who have been convicted of a violent crime to be able to serve on the commission.
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Where did the council end up on that ? Well , that that ended up being a win for for the for the community members.
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So the ordinance went from completely excluding anyone with a felony from ever serving on the commission to now , as long as a person has served their time , leave their sentence and completed probation or parole , they can be considered as becoming a commissioner.
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And experts say that this is really important for these police oversight boards because to have someone with that , that lived experience who who's been involved in the criminal justice system to have their voice be part of these commissions is really important.
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And the draft ordinance is set to go to the police union to review a major sticking point seems to be around the sharing of documents.
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What's the issue there ? Yeah.
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So this is this is one of the areas where advocates felt the ordinance is too open to interpretation.
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Currently , the language allows the police chief to withhold documents based on his opinion , and that was the actual word that is in the ordinance ordinance right now or an opinion.
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So in his opinion , releasing documents could compromise an investigation or releasing documents could violate state law.
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Then he could say , No , you guys can't have these documents.
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Advocates really took issue with the use of the term opinion and asked the City Council to change the wording to say that not releasing documents must be based on a reasonably objective standard.
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So they thought that could.
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That would kind of really tighten up things and and not leave it so open to interpretation.
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Now in 2020 , Measure B passed by a wide margin , but here we are in 2022 and the commission has still not been created yet.
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Why has the process taken so long ? Well , it's really only been about a year since since Measure B became law.
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It took a little bit of time after the election for for everything to be certified because of COVID.
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So it's been about a year since since the election results were certified.
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And and you know , these things take time.
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There is a timeline that said this could take until 2022 and there have been things that have held up the process.
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For instance , the city attorney's office spent almost half a year on the first draft of the ordinance , but the community groups on that version totally unacceptable.
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And they argued that the city attorney , which represents the police department in lawsuits and could be representing the police department in issues that come before the commission , the police shootings or misconduct issues.
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So they wanted the city attorney to not have any role in writing the ordinance , and the city agreed.
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Yes , OK will contract with an outside law firm.
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So it took several months to get that outside law firm in place and then have them take a crack at the ordinance so that that has seems to be the reason , the major reason for for the delay.
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So what are the next steps with the commission and when might we expect it to be finalized ? Yeah.
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So now , as I said , the draft will go through the meet and confer process , where the city's labor negotiators and police union representatives will discuss any aspects of the ordinance that could impact working conditions for police officers.
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And then it will return to the full city council for a vote , and it's not clear when that might be finalized.
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That would hopefully be sometime this spring.
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I've been speaking with San Diego writer and journalist Kelly Davis.
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You can find her article on Monday , City Council meeting on the Police Commission and Voice of San Diego dot org.
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Kelly , thank you so much.
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Thank you , David.
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It's an idea that's been developing in San Diego for several years and since December , mobile crisis response teams can answer calls for mental health issues all across the county.
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The Democrat response does not include police , which is a significant change from the way mental health calls have been answered in the past.
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A San Diego Union Tribune report says the no badges , no sirens and no guns approach to mental health crises is something advocates have been urging for a long time.
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Too often in the past , they say , a mental health emergency in San Diego has been exacerbated by police intervention , and the person having the crisis has sometimes ended up dead.
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Joining me is part of Garcia , the assistant deputy director for the county's Department of Mental Health and a clinical specialist who helped develop the services of the mobile crisis response teams.
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And Pia , welcome to the program.
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Thank you very much.
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Pleasure to be with you.
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Tell us if you can describe what a typical intervention by the Mobile Crisis Response Team is like.
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The Mobile Crisis Response Team , also known as the emcee or teams , are a team that is composed of multidisciplinary professionals to include licensed mental health clinician , case manager and peer specialists , a person with lived experience.
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So when they get a call from the community through our exigent crisis line , they respond onsite and they evaluate the situation by doing a mental health assessment , also assessing for what the needs of the individual may be.
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They need medication management.
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Maybe they need assistance with transport to our crisis stabilization unit , so they do a complete assessment to determine what is the best level of service that the individual needs in the community.
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Often we have seen the community uses emergency departments for behavioral health crisis , mental health or substance use crisis.
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And so the MSI CRTC able to divert appropriate clients to the crisis stabilization units in the region , in the south and in north , as well in the central region.
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So they respond to the community , call based on the emergency that they have and they are experiencing.
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How does that Makati response differ from what would have happened in the past , in the past , before our NCR teams ? We get close to the access and crisis line from the community they screen , evaluate what the need is and they determine if there is a need for law enforcement to deploy the psychiatric emergency response team known as Purt.
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So that's what has been happening in the past when there is an emergency.
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Now , the oxygen crisis line , which is a 24-7 calling center with multiple languages , is able to access the media teams to respond to a community where law enforcement is not necessary based on the screening criteria.
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If it is a safety issue where there may be weapons or high potential for violence , the majority would not be requested to respond to this community call in.
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Rather , law enforcement , in our part , would be the most appropriate first responders to respond to the court.
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How does the dispatcher make the decision whether to deploy Makati or pert or law enforcement if there is an imminent danger ? There are weapons involved.
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There is high potential for violence.
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They will then deploy part or law enforcement.
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They will not deploy SWAT team because is the multidisciplinary team is a non law enforcement team.
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So is a clinical team , a care coordination team.
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And so that is how the dispatcher at the ACL Access and Crisis Line.
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Based on the criteria is able to deploy any of these programs fire EMS , law enforcement part or M.S. or now what prompted the county to move in this direction to send unarmed response teams to address mental health calls ? You know , for the past year , we have been working with all law enforcement jurisdictions in San Diego County.
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We know that the data that they have shared with us is that about 40 to 50 percent of the calls that law enforcement response or pert response really does not necessitate an armed officer.
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And so based on that data , that was one of the major decision points.
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The other is that we know nationally and locally we are developing alternatives to law enforcement response when appropriate and when indicated for persons with serious mental illness or addiction.
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And that approach in the model is more in line with mental health and substance.
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Use issues , rather than sending a law enforcement that is armed and see that the data and the outcomes and the connection to services of these crimes , they're better served by a clinical team.
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And how many mobile crisis response teams are there ? Telecare cooperation in the five regions of San Diego County has approximately 13 teams , and Exodus in north coastal regions has approximately five teams in any given day.
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So let's add that up is about twenty eight teams , and the EMS CRT approach is one aspect of an expansion of county mental health services.
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Can you give us an idea of the other changes being made ? Absolutely.
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The other major development in the last couple of years has been the development in the siting of crisis stabilization units.
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We have cited the Palomar Hospital has on their campus debt crisis stabilization unit Vista CSU Crisis Stabilization Unit in the City of Vista.
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We also have Paradise Valley in the south region.
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So if the individual that they respond to needs immediate medication , they are able to assist with the transport , coordinate the admission with the CSU in those particular regions.
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So the CSU system development that we have had in the last couple of years.
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So it also prevents patients any emergency behavioral health emergency situations to going to the emergency departments and clogging up that particular level of service.
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So we also have had , as part of our development , is a hand reduction team in the city of San Diego that focuses on homeless persons with chronic substance use and that are difficult to engage in in services.
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So that's the outreach and engagement team.
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It is a clinical team as well clinicians , nurses , case managers , peer specialists who respond to this difficult to engage individuals.
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And we have complemented that clinical care coordination team with a short term shelter for these individuals in this particular program that is called C Heart.
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So that's a second development that we have added to our repertoire of services to address the needs of the communities.
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And once again , people can reach mobile crisis response teams through the county's 24 hour access and crisis line.
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That's at eight eight eight seven two four seven two four zero.
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I've been speaking with Pilarte Garcia , the assistant deputy director for the San Diego County Department of Mental Health.
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And thank you so much for speaking with us.
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My pleasure.
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Thank you for inviting me to.
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You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition.
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I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
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Cities need nonprofits to serve their most vulnerable.
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But in Chula Vista , some nonprofit leaders told KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser that working with the city isn't worth the trouble.
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My husband got some blankets because , you know , he got the blankets from.
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You know , the donations.
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It's a cool and cloudy morning outside an old warehouse in Chula Vista.
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Homeless people are waiting to get free showers and meet with case managers.
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A volunteer with a local nonprofit community through hope walks around , passing out warm burritos.
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I need to get food stamps in January.
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My sister tried to help me.
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Since starting in 2018 , the founders of the fledgling nonprofit felt they could meet the challenge of providing basic services to Chula Vista homeless population.
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They had no idea.
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Their most difficult struggle would be with city officials.
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After months of back and forth , we were told that we were not going to be able to use the building and we were left without a facility.
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Rosie Vasquez is the CEO.
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She says she was excited when the city promised she could sublease space from the local YMCA.
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But after months of frustrating communication , she was told she couldn't use the YMCA space after all.
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So myself and some volunteers went out and we were able to find the building that we're in now and paying a substantial amount of rent.
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She was finally able to open her doors almost a year later , but her issues with the city of Chula Vista were just beginning.
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Over the next three years , she dealt with late payments , poor communication and the feeling that the city didn't value her services.
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Last year , the city opted not to renew its contract with community through hope.
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Vasquez vowed never to do business with Chula Vista again.
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You're of value when they need you , and if you aren't going to do what they say , you are no longer of value.
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There is no thought around the work that's being done by this organization and who is really going to suffer if that organization is not up and running.
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And in our case , it's literally community members on the street who rely on us every day to access nutrition to access services.
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This is a problem that goes beyond just one nonprofit.
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It's a problem for the entire community.
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That's according to Laura Dietrich , the associate director of the nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego.
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Especially in COVID.
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I mean , if you want to really look at how much government had to rely on nonprofits to reach populations to deliver all kinds of services , the nonprofit sector really stepped up.
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Yet Community through Hope is one of several nonprofits that feel they were knocked back by the city when they stepped up.
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Chula Vista officials refused to be interviewed for this story.
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Instead , a spokeswoman sent written statements referencing some , but not all , of the issues raised by the nonprofit leaders and the Lucky Duck Foundation and Peter for making this happen , for providing this much needed shelter structure to help address the issues of homelessness in Chula Vista and South County.
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In May 2020 , during the depths of the COVID crisis , Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salazar made a big announcement.
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The city would set up a large tend to house hundreds of people experiencing homelessness.
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The tent came from the local Lucky Duck Foundation.
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City officials promised it would be up by December 2020 , but a year later the tent wasn't set up , says Lucky Duck executive director Drew Moser.
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They ultimately said , Actually , we've changed our mind.
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We no longer want to use this asset.
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And so it's it's unfortunate and frustrating that that that shelter could not be up and operational throughout that time.
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In response , a city spokeswoman referenced a City Council agenda item that said , quote the lucky Duck Foundation and the city of Chula Vista mutually agreed that the tent would be better utilized elsewhere with fewer limitations.
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Moser says that's why his organization was willing to work with the city on its terms for using the tent.
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It does seem like every time we did something , we hit a brick wall.
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Ruben Torres leads the nonprofit Love Thy Neighbor , which provides arts programs to underserved youth.
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He , too , started with high hopes in his relationship with Chula Vista , but those hopes soon faded.
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For example , he says city staff told him he could set up a coffee cart business at local libraries as part of a job training program.
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He went out and bought coffee cart equipment.
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But then the city went dark on him.
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Now we're left with the storage full of , you know , coffee equipment.
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You know , we spent thousands on there's some kind of disconnect , a brick wall or something that happens in the internal structure of how things operate at the city and children's book.
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In a statement , a city spokeswoman says discussions with Torres were preliminary and no contract was signed.
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Torres says that's not true.
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He was told the contract was on the city attorney's desk.
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He ultimately just gave up.
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He won't try to work with the city again.
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You just walk away kind of feeling like , Well , should I even attempt to do anything else ? And if we approach to doing anything else , I try.
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Claire Trageser KPBS News San Diego leaders have often praised our cross-border partnership with Baja California as a dynamic cultural and economic powerhouse , unlike anywhere else.
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A new report seems to support that claim.
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The Oller Center at the University of San Diego examined the economic impact of the border region.
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It calls Cali Baja and found it creates jobs , stimulates educational achievement and even helps San Diego and Tijuana weather the pandemic.
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Joining me is David Shirk , department chair and USG professor of political science and international relations , who helped prepare the report.
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And David , welcome.
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Thanks for having me.
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Right now , we hear a lot about the cross-border economy.
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What does this report document about its economic impact ? So this report looks at what we call the Kelly Baja region.
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So we're really looking at the two California counties that are adjacent to the US-Mexico border and the various municipalities that make up the state of Baja California so Tijuana , Rosarito , Mexicali and SANADA and Decatur.
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And the idea of this study kind of builds on some earlier work that it really tries to see.
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What are our areas of comparative advantage ? What are the areas of strength that we have in this region , as measured by the concentration of employment in certain industries and some other economic indicators and an additional the regional gross domestic product is almost $250 billion.
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Now what types of industries really fuel the cross-border economic engine ? So it's not about what's the largest industries are in the region , but rather what industries essentially punch above their weight compared to other parts of the country.
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And in this case , since we're looking at both the United States and Mexico , sort of the larger bi national economies.
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And what we found is that there are some industries that have , you know , 10 or 20 times the concentration of employment in San Diego County , Baja Imperial in basically the larger Kelly Bahah region.
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And especially , we're talking about industries like medical equipment and supply manufacturing , audio visual manufacturing.
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These are industries where you have a very significant concentration of productive capability that is located in our region.
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That makes it unique compared to other parts of of the United States and Mexico.
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The study documents the number of college and university degrees awarded in San Diego and Baja.
00:24:56.750 --> 00:25:08.180
What does that have to do directly with the cross-border economy ? We have to be thinking about what we're doing in terms of workforce preparation to feed those industries and support those industries where we have a competitive advantage.
00:25:08.510 --> 00:25:48.590
And so what's noticeable in both on the U.S. side and on the Mexican side is really a strong concentration in STEM or , you know , science , technology , engineering and degrees that are offered in our region by our major universities on this side of the border and on the Mexican side of the border where you're seeing in any given year , you know , five 6000 degrees offered in science and math , for example on the U.S. side and roughly an equivalent number looking at engineering and other science degrees on the Mexican side of the border.
00:25:48.830 --> 00:25:51.200
Closer to four or 5000 degrees a year.
00:25:51.560 --> 00:26:02.270
And so when we invest in the human capital of the region , it helps feed these knowledge intensive industries and makes us more competitive in the global economy.
00:26:02.630 --> 00:26:08.870
The report also urges equity when it comes to STEM education in low income communities on both sides of the border.
00:26:09.020 --> 00:26:27.700
Why is that in the report ? Well , it's so important to recognize that unfortunately , in marginalized communities and underrepresented communities , those opportunities for STEM enrichment and STEM education that we see elsewhere in the region do not exist or are weak.
00:26:27.710 --> 00:26:31.730
And so it's really important to develop , especially some of the.
00:26:32.860 --> 00:26:45.280
The extramural programs and sort of bridge programs that help students that are in underserved communities catch up and excel in STEM areas.
00:26:45.640 --> 00:27:06.490
How did this regional economy help during the worst of the pandemic ? You know , one of the really interesting things about this report is that we've identified literally dozens of industries in which we have a comparative advantage in the Callebaut region and the predominant theme across the board in these industries is manufacturing.
00:27:06.970 --> 00:27:12.610
And when you think of the U.S. economy today or even the San Diego economy , you don't necessarily think of manufacturing.
00:27:12.610 --> 00:27:14.710
We're a service based economy.
00:27:15.040 --> 00:27:27.700
But because of our geopolitical location on the border , because of our proximity to Baja California , we have advantages in manufacturing capability that are really unique for us.
00:27:28.130 --> 00:27:38.440
So as a binational region , our ability to engage in production of actual things is really superior to some other parts of the United States.
00:27:38.710 --> 00:27:50.470
And that's something that's going to be particularly important as we think about this new supply chain challenge environment that we live in at this particular moment during the pandemic.
00:27:51.190 --> 00:28:02.470
We saw certain industries in the region , tourism and other service industries really struggle , but it was our manufacturing industries that maintain the highest levels of employment.
00:28:02.740 --> 00:28:12.670
And I think that has lessons for us as we think about our industrial policy , our economic policies , looking at the region over the next decade or so.
00:28:13.030 --> 00:28:21.580
Now , during the last administration and during the pandemic , delegations of Cali Baja leaders had to go to Washington to ask of the border , not be shut down.
00:28:21.910 --> 00:28:44.500
Is the economic importance of this region still not understood back east ? I think it is very difficult for people inside the Beltway or inside Mexico City's benefit equal to really understand just how intertwined our border communities are economically and how much production sharing really goes on on the ground at the US-Mexico border.
00:28:44.860 --> 00:28:51.370
And we're really I mean , this is the most populous , most industrially advanced portion of the border.
00:28:51.380 --> 00:29:01.500
The Cali Baja region is really kind of the capital of the border region , and it's super important for us to be able to communicate with our regional interests.
00:29:01.510 --> 00:29:17.950
And that's why the work of the San Diego and Tijuana Chambers of Commerce and other organizations that are advocating in a binational way and lobbying in a binational way is so important now since we have this economic engine humming away between our two regions.
00:29:18.280 --> 00:29:23.440
Are we really making the most of it ? What could we do to improve that flow ? Well , definitely.
00:29:23.440 --> 00:29:26.950
I mean , we're always in need of improving our cross-border infrastructure.
00:29:27.130 --> 00:29:34.600
You still have people waiting literally hours in order to engage in economic activity on either side of the border.
00:29:34.900 --> 00:29:47.260
And that is a hindrance that really slows down and reduces the amount of commerce and the amount of economic activity and cooperation and collaboration that we can do in the region.
00:29:47.270 --> 00:30:05.950
So I do think that enhancing our border infrastructure , making it easier for the legitimate flows of commerce that that happen , the tens of thousands of people who cross the border every day to do that easier would certainly enhance our regional economy.
00:30:06.310 --> 00:30:12.730
Now I've been speaking with David Shirk , department chair and USC professor of political science and international relations.
00:30:13.030 --> 00:30:14.770
He helped prepare this report.
00:30:14.980 --> 00:30:15.940
And David , thank you.
00:30:16.150 --> 00:30:17.230
Thanks so much for having me.
00:30:20.860 --> 00:30:30.460
Previously , we brought you a story on how delays for state hearings on wage theft cases are hurting low wage workers hoping to recover the money they're owed.
00:30:30.790 --> 00:30:37.390
Now , new data obtained by KQED shows how much those wait times have ballooned in recent years.
00:30:37.780 --> 00:30:59.860
KQED Frida Davila Romero reports workers with claims in Oakland and San Francisco face some of the worst delays in California , Minot and assets that a park near her house in Oakland and unfolds documents from the California Labor Commissioner's Office on her claim for thousands of dollars in unpaid wages in Glasgow City.
00:31:00.100 --> 00:31:06.580
She says she worked 12 hour days , six days a week , cleaning offices and homes for a small janitorial company.
00:31:06.820 --> 00:31:17.860
Mohammed Pergamon mosasaur us , but her employer only paid her for half that and didn't pay overtime and meal and rest breaks as required by law.
00:31:18.460 --> 00:31:26.500
She plucked up the courage to complain to the state in 2018 , but it took more than three years before the labor commissioner held a hearing.
00:31:26.890 --> 00:31:31.720
Business is very active where you must tell it's hard to wait that long , she.
00:31:31.850 --> 00:31:38.540
Says it meant that her family had to move three times when the rent went up and they struggled to buy food.
00:31:38.810 --> 00:31:50.570
Employers can settle with workers at any time , but by law , the Labor Commissioner's Office must hold a hearing for an unresolved wage claim within 120 days from when it's filed.
00:31:51.080 --> 00:31:52.340
That's not happening.
00:31:52.850 --> 00:31:57.200
In 2015 , California workers waited almost twice as long for a hearing.
00:31:57.590 --> 00:32:01.040
Now they're waiting close to seven times as long.
00:32:01.490 --> 00:32:07.010
Eight hundred and twelve days on average , according to figures we obtained from the labor commissioner.
00:32:07.130 --> 00:32:10.700
I want to acknowledge that that is not a number that we want to be at.
00:32:10.850 --> 00:32:13.550
Daniel Yu is an assistant chief at the agency.
00:32:13.730 --> 00:32:21.680
We want to make sure that the process works effectively and efficiently so that the workers are able to the hearings resolve as quickly as possible.
00:32:21.710 --> 00:32:37.820
He says when the pandemic started , the agency halted in-person hearings for a year and a half , which slowed things significantly , and there are only about 64 hearing officer positions statewide to judge thousands of wage claims per year.
00:32:38.270 --> 00:32:41.390
Twelve of those positions are vacant , says you.
00:32:41.540 --> 00:32:45.860
The hiring of our hiring officers remains our top priority.
00:32:46.070 --> 00:32:51.500
He says the agency will get funding to hire for more hearing officers this summer.
00:32:52.070 --> 00:32:58.700
But that's not enough staff to cut the wait times , says Veronica Charvis , a worker's right attorney.
00:32:58.710 --> 00:33:02.390
What Centro Legal de la Raza and Oakland ? Clearly , it's not.
00:33:02.900 --> 00:33:06.260
They do need more like a lot , a lot more.
00:33:07.010 --> 00:33:13.920
Just the Oakland and San Francisco offices need need money hiring officers even before the pandemic.
00:33:13.940 --> 00:33:23.480
Those offices faced among the longest delays , and last year in San Francisco , the average weight was nine hundred and sixty eight days in Oakland.
00:33:23.720 --> 00:33:27.920
It was eleven hundred and sixty days more than three years.
00:33:28.460 --> 00:33:39.530
This almost encourages employers to continue exploiting the chances of there being repercussions seem to be very long , far down the line.
00:33:39.800 --> 00:33:43.040
One of her clients is a restaurant cook named Alexandre.
00:33:43.190 --> 00:33:46.830
We're not using his last name because he fears L hurt his case.
00:33:47.390 --> 00:33:51.470
He was hopeful when he filed his claim back in September 2018.
00:33:51.950 --> 00:33:55.640
Three and a half years later , he's still waiting for a hearing.
00:33:56.090 --> 00:34:02.150
He says not knowing if he'll ever get paid has left him hopeless and depressed.
00:34:02.610 --> 00:34:06.730
I'm father also made a tainted pet article in the press.
00:34:06.750 --> 00:34:14.660
You know , state Assemblyman Ash Kalra , who chairs the Labor Committee , says he understands workers are frustrated.
00:34:15.260 --> 00:34:21.890
Delays that go on for years is completely unacceptable and we have to do better.
00:34:22.130 --> 00:34:36.290
Carver says he's ready to push for more resources and support for the labor commissioner , including to make the job of hiring officer more attractive so the agency can compete for candidates who might go to the private sector.
00:34:36.590 --> 00:34:38.710
And you also have that cost vacations.
00:34:38.720 --> 00:34:50.540
The job classifications pay more , and that's not something that can necessarily be legislated , but it is something the administration should look at right back at the playground in Oakland.
00:34:51.000 --> 00:34:54.800
Miller tells her three year old son , It's time to go home.
00:34:55.320 --> 00:34:55.340
I don't.
00:34:55.770 --> 00:34:56.180
I'm a.
00:34:58.730 --> 00:35:09.200
She finally got her hearing , and last December , the labor commissioner ruled that her old boss owes her nearly 100 $83000.
00:35:09.710 --> 00:35:18.550
But by then , the company had filed for bankruptcy , she says , and it's unclear if she can collect her wages during the Gazette.
00:35:18.920 --> 00:35:25.550
The young is the one , the enormous attention I esos casos pork is winning this year.
00:35:25.790 --> 00:35:27.310
I ain't no struggle , neither.
00:35:27.620 --> 00:35:36.260
She says she wants the state to resolve these claims faster to help fight the injustice of wage theft that's hurting her community.
00:35:36.530 --> 00:35:40.340
That was for readers to follow Romero with KQED reporting.
00:35:47.130 --> 00:35:49.860
You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition.
00:35:49.890 --> 00:35:52.170
I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Cavanaugh.
00:35:52.500 --> 00:36:00.750
A community land acknowledgement to be included in course syllabi at SDSU is meant to cultivate honor and respect for the community.
00:36:01.260 --> 00:36:06.630
But some teachers say they think the statement is political and they don't want to have to include it in their syllabi.
00:36:06.930 --> 00:36:10.890
Gary Robbins has been covering this story for the San Diego Union Tribune.
00:36:11.160 --> 00:36:13.620
He joined us to explain the controversy.
00:36:13.920 --> 00:36:14.730
Gary , welcome.
00:36:15.540 --> 00:36:16.560
Hi , it's good to be with you.
00:36:17.220 --> 00:36:27.120
So first , can you describe SDSU has come by land acknowledgement , and its purpose with a land acknowledgement is a document that universities all over the country have been adopting.
00:36:27.420 --> 00:36:28.350
It's really simple.
00:36:28.350 --> 00:36:38.550
In most ways , it's meant to be a document that recognizes and respects Native Americans who once occupied the land where universities sit for.
00:36:38.550 --> 00:36:50.370
So , for example , here in San Diego , the Kumai tribe once inhabited the land on which San Diego State University sits the University of San Diego , UC San Diego , all of those.
00:36:50.640 --> 00:36:53.880
So it's just a formal acknowledgment of this.
00:36:54.120 --> 00:37:01.950
Now , San Diego State takes us a bit further by requiring faculty to include that statement in their course syllabuses.
00:37:02.280 --> 00:37:03.930
And that's what's caused some controversy.
00:37:04.380 --> 00:37:04.680
00:37:04.890 --> 00:37:10.140
So faculty will be required to put this statement in their syllabi so every student sees it.
00:37:10.470 --> 00:37:17.220
Why are some teachers against this ? Well , they think that it's the university forcing political ideology on them.
00:37:17.620 --> 00:37:26.040
You know , the statement offers a specific description of the community and their history and why the university should acknowledge , acknowledge them.
00:37:26.580 --> 00:37:35.880
But some of the faculty and there's a civil rights group called fire say , you know , you're telling people not asking people to embrace this.
00:37:36.330 --> 00:37:43.230
And you're asking them to embrace a particular view of history and the faculty may or may not agree with it.
00:37:44.340 --> 00:37:47.850
And so that's what caused the the backdraft on this.
00:37:48.330 --> 00:37:54.210
And as you mentioned , statements like these are not uncommon and have been adopted by many universities.
00:37:54.480 --> 00:38:04.860
So why is this statement so controversial ? And is the timing of this significant ? This is different because it is required that the faculty must include this in their syllabi.
00:38:04.890 --> 00:38:07.050
That was a rule passed by the University Senate.
00:38:07.500 --> 00:38:09.510
Most of the universities don't do that.
00:38:09.960 --> 00:38:13.200
The university just in some way passes a land acknowledgement.
00:38:13.200 --> 00:38:20.250
They often include it and a lot of university documents , but they don't go so far as to tell professors to include this in the syllabus.
00:38:20.970 --> 00:38:24.960
San Diego State has taken it one step further , and that is what's causing the issue.
00:38:25.200 --> 00:38:33.900
Some people feel like they're being fed political ideology by the university , including the civil rights group Fire , which is the one that came in and said something about this.
00:38:34.330 --> 00:38:38.420
Now the odd thing about this is that this hasn't been an issue until recently.
00:38:38.430 --> 00:38:44.460
The rule was passed more than a year ago in kind of a strange fruit when it was passed by the Senate.
00:38:44.460 --> 00:38:47.720
The vote was thirty nine yes , 16 No.
00:38:47.850 --> 00:38:53.790
11 abstentions and 40 of the faculty member there didn't participate at all in the vote.
00:38:54.330 --> 00:38:55.830
I talked to some faculty about that.
00:38:56.100 --> 00:39:05.220
They said that they were kind of afraid to do anything or say anything for fear of a political backlash if someone didn't like their own view on this particular issue.
00:39:05.610 --> 00:39:09.420
It's part of this feeling about cancel culture that is so strong right now.
00:39:09.840 --> 00:39:20.580
There's this just this worry that anything you say can be misinterpreted , taken out of context , put on social media , and then all of a sudden you're in trouble or canceled.
00:39:20.880 --> 00:39:28.230
So there's a deep fear as Diego State about this , and I have sense this fear in other universities , including at times , UC San Diego.
00:39:28.800 --> 00:39:34.380
You mentioned Fire , the foundation for Individual Rights in Education has gotten involved in this.
00:39:34.680 --> 00:39:41.700
Who are they and what exactly is their involvement ? There are civil rights group that take up educational issues.
00:39:41.710 --> 00:39:54.450
They're based in Philadelphia and they get they get involved a lot on things like academic free speech , free speech rights and things like this , where they think political ideology has been introduced into things like curriculums.
00:39:54.900 --> 00:40:00.350
Someone at San Diego State on the faculty complained to fire about this issue.
00:40:00.360 --> 00:40:09.010
It appears to be very late last year when fire jumped in and sent a letter to the University Senate and said , Hey , this is wrong , what you're doing , you're forcing ideology on people.
00:40:09.040 --> 00:40:09.900
You should change this.
00:40:10.380 --> 00:40:20.470
But Gary , is this statement a statement of ideology or a statement of historical fact ? I think that has to be left up to the person reading it.
00:40:20.490 --> 00:40:31.200
I mean , there is historic fact within this and there are well-established facts about the way people believe that they've been in this county for 10000 to 12000 years.
00:40:31.530 --> 00:40:35.070
There's been a lot of archaeological or archaeological studies.
00:40:35.940 --> 00:40:38.010
There's a lot known about the community.
00:40:39.180 --> 00:40:46.590
Perhaps what people are resisting is the university saying that you have to do this , you know , we're giving you a very specific.
00:40:47.580 --> 00:40:48.540
00:40:48.960 --> 00:40:57.690
And we're saying you got to include that and people , some people are opposing that and saying , well , that may not be how I particularly view them or their history.
00:40:58.890 --> 00:41:04.770
I do get I do get your meaning here , Mike , isn't history , history and the answer to that would be yes.
00:41:04.830 --> 00:41:12.120
But I think some people are resisting the fact that they're they're being told that they have to add this to a course syllabus.
00:41:12.630 --> 00:41:12.870
00:41:13.440 --> 00:41:18.010
What's been the university's response to this ? Leadership hasn't wanted to talk about it.
00:41:18.030 --> 00:41:22.760
We've had a real issue with president dilatory on many issues over the past couple of years.
00:41:22.760 --> 00:41:31.500
She simply won't talk to us about this or the fraternities or other issues that have arisen , so it's hard to know exactly what their thinking is.
00:41:31.890 --> 00:41:37.770
We did reach out to the university Senate and really didn't get much of a response from them.
00:41:37.920 --> 00:41:47.820
We did , though , talk to some faculty members , including including Gordon Shackelford , emeritus professor of physics , who's been in state for a very long time.
00:41:48.390 --> 00:41:59.340
And he said this is political ideology and that there are people that are afraid that there will be a backlash if they don't include it , so they don't want to speak up.
00:41:59.400 --> 00:42:06.800
In your piece , you write about how this land acknowledgement provides a sense of pride for so many students.
00:42:06.810 --> 00:42:10.890
Can you talk about that ? Yes , it is a source of pride for many students.
00:42:10.890 --> 00:42:15.300
In fact , Lauren Matt from our staff is at stake today to talk to those students.
00:42:15.750 --> 00:42:21.660
They've expressed the desire that this land acknowledgement be made public and public a lot.
00:42:21.840 --> 00:42:34.860
And in fact , it is , you know , the entire state is included at the top of the University Senate agenda of every agenda item , and it's also read aloud or a video played at many formal events for the university.
00:42:35.190 --> 00:42:36.810
So the university has embraced it.
00:42:37.710 --> 00:42:40.950
That comes both from the faculty and from president dilatory.
00:42:41.190 --> 00:42:43.770
So there's a real strong commitment on that end.
00:42:44.130 --> 00:42:46.680
The resistance is coming from the requirement.
00:42:47.280 --> 00:42:52.640
And again , the Senate is expected to make a decision about the KUMUYI statement.
00:42:52.650 --> 00:42:57.600
What might change ? Well , it looks like it's going to be made optional instead of required.
00:42:58.350 --> 00:43:02.850
One of the Senate documents that came out on this is really strongly leading that way.
00:43:03.630 --> 00:43:11.130
I'm told that there's going to be perhaps some strong discussion about it because some people are finally standing up and saying , we don't like what happened.
00:43:11.670 --> 00:43:25.950
I also received an email this morning saying that there could be a Zoom bombing of the Senate meeting today because there's a lot of anger amongst Senate members on some way public discourse has been going on.
00:43:26.220 --> 00:43:28.050
Some people just don't feel comfortable speaking.
00:43:28.380 --> 00:43:31.770
And to be frank with you , this has been a big issue with the university.
00:43:31.860 --> 00:43:35.880
I've been speaking with Gary Robbins of the San Diego Union Tribune.
00:43:36.330 --> 00:43:38.040
Gary , thank you so much for joining us.
00:43:38.610 --> 00:43:39.270
Thank you.
00:43:39.990 --> 00:43:54.160
Before we go today , a message from Midday Edition senior producer Megan Burke yesterday on our show , we brought you the story of the last case of the enslavement of black people in California in the introduction to that story.
00:43:54.180 --> 00:43:57.540
We use the word imported in reference to people.
00:43:58.380 --> 00:43:59.880
Words are important.
00:44:00.570 --> 00:44:03.210
I want to apologize for the use of that word.
00:44:03.720 --> 00:44:05.310
It was a regrettable mistake.
00:44:06.030 --> 00:44:12.270
And while we don't want to forget that there was a time when black people in the U.S. were treated as less than human.
00:44:12.690 --> 00:44:17.340
On midday edition , we celebrate the lives and culture of black people everywhere.
00:44:17.970 --> 00:44:18.930
Thank you for listening.

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A new commission to oversee police misconduct in San Diego is one step closer to reality. Next, since December, Mobile Crisis Response teams can answer calls for mental health issues all across the county. The MCRT response does not include police, which is a significant change from the way mental health calls have been answered in the past. Then, some nonprofit leaders describe their experience dealing with Chula Vista city officials as “hitting a brick wall.” Later, San Diego leaders have often praised our cross-border partnership with Baja California as a dynamic, cultural and economic powerhouse, unlike anywhere else. A new report seems to support that claim. Finally, a message meant to cultivate honor and respect for the Kumeyaay – San Diego County’s first inhabitants — has triggered charges of political tampering at San Diego State University.