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San Diego Pride prepares for safe celebration in wake of recent threats

 June 14, 2022 at 3:56 PM PDT

S1: This year's gay pride celebrations brace for threats from hate groups.
S2: A minority of Americans are really stoking undue fear and violence targeting the LGBT community.
S1: I Margie Perez with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Some hope for seniors who need help paying the rent.
S2: That extra $500 takes them from being literally on the cusp of homelessness or falling through the cracks under the street and maybe being able to get it by.
S1: San Diego cops who say religion keeps them from COVID testing. And high school students take a hike in support of asylum seekers. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Members of the LGBTQ plus community are celebrating their pride this month with parades and festivals across the country. Some of those celebrations have been disrupted with threats of violence by groups opposing the community. Over the weekend in Idaho , 31 men identified with the white nationalist Patriot Front were arrested and charged with conspiracy to incite a riot near a local pride event there. One of them allegedly a man from the San Diego chapter of that group here in San Diego. The Pride celebration happens in July with plans for a full in-person return next month. Joining us now to talk more about this is the executive director of San Diego Pride , Fernando Lopez. Fernando , welcome to mid-day. Hello.
S2: Hello.
S1: So let's start off with some history.
S2: And so one of the things that we realized politically was that if we all had our pride celebrations or events at the same time , it made it harder for activists to go from city to city to sort of build their lives and build political power. And so if you actually see , you know , we're not all on the same weekend , we're not all on the same month. And that is really about building political power for our community. And when those decisions were being had in the eighties , we said , well , we'll take July because June gloom was , you know , sort of unpredictable. And if you go back , you'll see pictures of like Christian Christine Keough shoveling out like our festival area because we were almost rained out for several years. So the weather's better in July , so we picked July.
S1: So with the return of thousands of people this year to the parade route along University in Hillcrest and the festival in Balboa Park , you are not only preparing for health safety , but also for threats of violence.
S2: This year , we're obviously seeing a hyper polarized political climate where a minority of Americans are really stoking undue fear and violence targeting the LGBT community. So I see what's happening across the country , but I do know that I'm very proud of the relationships that we have with local , regional and federal law enforcement agencies every single year to keep us as safe as possible at those events.
S1: So we mentioned the arrests in Idaho near a pride event over the weekend by men charged with conspiracy to incite a riot. You have been monitoring several other incidents around the country. Tell us about that.
S2: The dramatic increase in hate crimes and targeted violence towards our community has risen across the last several years. I think we're all very familiar with the rise in the targeting and murder of black trans women and trans people , but in.
S3: Particular black.
S2: Trans women. And so while we have made a ton of progress in this country , the reality is that for many LGBT Americans across the country , one , we simply do not have equal protection under the law. Still to this day , we're not equal citizens in the United States. And to the limited experience that they have , enduring discrimination can vary depending on the neighborhood , the city , the region or the state that they're living in. And so while it's wonderful and beautiful to come and celebrate who we are , there's a. Really.
S3: Really.
S2: Intentional effort to target members of our community right now by white supremacist groups.
S1: And Fernando , there seems to be a concerted effort on social media against the gay community , particularly an account called libs of Tick Tock , which I think is a misnomer because it's actually a Twitter account.
S2: Lives of TikTok are actually across multiple platforms , and I'm actually not familiar. If they did start on tick tock , they believe they have a tick tock account or on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter. And what they're doing is really sort of stoking their base , highlighting sort of these myths around our community and targeting us , highlighting these events that are happening in hopes that they will be targeted by these different groups. And I think it's really.
S3: Important right now that our.
S2: Elected officials , our law enforcement agencies , and particularly these corporations who house these social media platforms need to look at de-platforming these individuals. It is very clear the harm that they are trying to impart onto our community , a very vulnerable , marginalized community. And so the responsibility ultimately lies with these elected officials , law enforcement and the corporations to deplatform these folks. I mean , it's completely unacceptable that they are using these platforms to target individual activists and events and organizations , and they're putting our community under threat.
S1: So with your in-person return in July , what can we expect from San Diego Pride celebration this year ? The theme is Justice with Joy. Tell me more.
S2: There is a big discussion in the international community about what our pride organizations intended to be. The reality is that our pride movement , our pride. Organizations.
S3: Organizations.
S2: And events are really commemorating the Stonewall riots that occurred in 1969 and year after year.
S3: Those celebrations.
S2: Have grown. But there's a really interesting conversation. Happening in the LGBT community about are we here to protest or are we here to celebrate ? And it is one of our core beliefs as an organization that we can do both , that we can have this beautiful. Celebration.
S3: Celebration.
S2: An act of joy. You know , when you're a targeted , marginalized community , the mere act of celebrating and being in love and holding the hand of your partner is an act of defiance. It is an act of protest. And so there is a beautiful act of justice just in experiencing joy itself. And so that's sort of what these pride organizations have evolved into. But the other thing that I'm really proud that our organization does is we directly engage in that advocacy work. We're a year round organization with more than 40 different programs engaged in voter turnout.
S3: Leadership and.
S2: Capacity building for our community and direct. Advocacy.
S3: Advocacy. Work.
S2: Work. And so justice with joy is absolutely who we are as an organization and as a community. And after three years being apart , we really want to emphasize that.
S2: Hope.
S3: Hope.
S2: For our community is that we are able to celebrate that. We are able to experience joy that is so often denied our community. And I really hope that our elected officials , these corporations , wake up and stop investing in this anti LGBTQ legislation. It's leading to violence towards our community. And it's time that these corporations stop investing in anti LGBTQ legislators. It's time that we pass the Equality Act so our community is finally equal under the law and that we're simply able to live our lives free from fear and that we are able to experience love and joy.
S1: We've been talking with Fernando Lopez , executive director of San Diego Pride. Fernando , thank you and happy pride.
S2: Thank you so much. Happy pride.
S3: Among the projects approved last night as part of the new San Diego City budget is a proposal called the Housing Stability Fund. It's a monthly subsidy aimed at keeping seniors and others who qualify in their homes and not becoming part of the ranks of San Diego's homeless. Supporters say up to $500 a month in rental assistance will prevent more misery on the streets and will even save the city money in the long run. Joining me is Paul Downey , president and CEO of Serving Seniors. And Paul , welcome to the program.
S2: Great to be with you , Maureen. Thank you.
S3: Now this new city subsidy follows recommendations serving seniors made last fall. Tell us about that.
S2: Well , we had done a comprehensive needs assessment on older adult homelessness in San Diego , and we interviewed about 400 folks who were either experiencing homelessness , had been homeless or were on the cusp. And one of the major findings was that a relatively small subsidy would make the difference between being housed and unhoused. And , in fact , that $500 or less popped up in three quarters of the people said that was the difference in not becoming homeless in the first place.
S2: But what we do know is that it's a two year program and it'll be a $500 a month rental subsidy , presumably paid directly to to the landlord , so that people can then have additional dollars to get by. And that's going to be particularly important for seniors , because many of them are living on just a couple hundred dollars a month after they paid their rent. So we're hoping that be targeting to the most needy , the lowest income folks. But we still need to see what the city's city is going to do. We do hope that they will take quick action. I mean , the need is right now and we hope it isn't the six a ten month process to get this thing going.
S3: Now , the new subsidy extends to other people who may qualify for it , but seniors are meant to be the main beneficiaries of this home stability fund.
S2: I mean , even the single room occupancy hotels in downtown San Diego , which is the cheapest market rate of housing that's out there , is now 850 $900 a month for a hundred square foot room and a shared bathroom down the hall. And 85% of the folks that we serve at serving seniors live on less than 1100 dollars a month. So you can do the arithmetic. Folks are trying to live on a , you know , 200 , maybe $250 a month after paying their rent and finding it almost impossible , especially given the inflation that we're seeing. So that extra $500 takes them from being literally on the cusp of homelessness or falling through the cracks onto the street and maybe being able to get it by I mean , they're not going to get by in luxurious fashion , but they can survive. And that's the intent of this , is that keeping people housed versus unhoused. We still need to work towards getting a more optimal solution , but this is at its most basic level , keeping somebody in their home.
S3: And in the most recent point in time survey of homelessness in San Diego County , we found out that seniors make up the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
S2: We've known this for for some time. And in fact , one out of four folks on the street here in San Diego County are over the age of 55. And we've been seeing that trend for four years. And that's actually the thing that prompted us to do. The needs assessment in the first place is we were frankly frustrated that older adults were not getting the attention that they needed and deserved by policymakers. And we wanted to come up with a way to say , hey , this is real and something needs to be done. I can share my own anecdotal story. I was out doing the Point in Time camp that morning and I spoke to 25 people or interviewed 25 people , 22 of whom were seniors. The oldest was 77 and most were in their early seventies , and the vast majority were economically homeless. I mean , there was some economic trigger that caused them to fall into homelessness , whether it was loss of a job , an illness , or simply living in an apartment where they couldn't keep up with the rent. But it was all economically driven. I think there was maybe one gentleman who had maybe some mental health issues. And so that's one of the key points here , is that we can actually move these folks more quickly if. Through the system. Because if it's an economic issue , there's a solution , which is money. But compared to somebody who has severe mental health issues or drug or alcohol issues , you know , you've got to deal with that before you even get to the economic side. So hope here is that we can target seniors , get them in and get them out and permanent supportive housing as quickly as possible.
S3: So , as you say , this is not a new problem.
S2: I mean , the needs assessment didn't lie. It showed hard data that said we have a severe problem. And so , you know , we met with all of them. We've met with the board of Supervisors and our elected officials. And hard to to turn away when confronted with real hard data. And fortunately , I know they have embraced this and are committed to doing something about it. I mean , the reception from our elected leaders has been very positive. And as a 180 degree turn around , I think where we were , where , you know , we felt like we were jumping up and down on a daily basis to try to get attention. Now we have their attention and we hope this is just the first of many steps to address older adult homelessness specifically , but also to do a better job just on homelessness here in San Diego. What we've been doing over the years clearly isn't working. You know , we're the problem continues to increase. And so we do need new approaches like a shallow rental subsidy , like a dedicated shelter for older adults. We need employment programs for older adults to help , you know , give them some additional income. But we need to do something different than what we've been doing.
S2: A few months ago , they they voted to direct their staff to look at a shallow rental subsidy. It was led by supervisors Anderson and Lawson Reamer. And we understand if it's going to come back in August , it will have similar characteristics as the city. They're looking at a $500 a month subsidy targeting seniors who live on less than 30% of area median income , which is about 26 , $27,000 a year , and whose rent burden is 50% or greater of their total income. And we think that's the right approach , that that targets the most in need and gets the you know , the idea is to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place. And that actually is a new concept in all of this. Most of the programs , if you look at them , you know , 99% of them are reactive ones once somebody has ended up on the streets. This is a proactive , preventative approach to keep it from occurring in the first place , which is obviously better for the person , but also better from a financial standpoint because it's much less expensive than reacting. You know , once they're on the street.
S3: Even with the new city rental subsidy , you see a problem because of the housing shortage. And tell us how the housing shortage affects seniors in San Diego.
S2: Well , housing has been a problem for a long period of time , and it's only gotten worse through the pandemic and now through this inflationary period. I mean , you're looking at median price for a one bedroom apartment of 20 $400 a month. Well , you have seniors , you know , who are making 1100 dollars a month with their Social Security. I mean , they're not even halfway to being able to afford the rent. You're looking at years long waiting lists to get Section eight vouchers , which would help them be able to afford their rent. We're looking at affordable housing complexes. I mean , serving seniors. We have several. And there are waiting lists to get in oftentimes years for folks to get into affordable housing. So we absolutely need more affordable housing. But we also need to focus on more intermediate types of things , because affordable housing is the solution. But it takes a long time. You know , our projects take sometimes could take 5 to 7 years from start to moving folks in. And that's just because of the nature of the way the funding process works here in the state of California. So we need other options. You know , we need to look at shared housing. We need to look at accessory dwelling units or granny flats as they're known. You know , we need to we need to do all of these things to ensure that people have an affordable place to live or what ends up happening is they end up because. I mean , homeless. And that's obviously not something that we want.
S2: I'm we are pushing them hard to say. Hey , the problem is right now. I mean , every single day it's hurting seniors. I mean , we have homeless seniors walking in our doors looking for help , looking for assistance. We see people even in affordable housing. They can't afford the rents. So the pressure is great. The council has approved it and we hope that they will , you know , cut through the red tape and get this up and operating as quickly as possible so that we can start helping seniors , but also disabled and youth who need who need this assistance , and also to be able to just demonstrate that it is a cost effective approach , because long term , we need to get a sustainable funding source for this. And really that needs to come from the federal and state level. And I think if we can demonstrate that , you know , it makes financial sense that there's ROI on this investment , I think we can do that.
S3: I've been speaking with Paul Downey , president and CEO of Serving Seniors. Paul , thank you very much.
S2: Appreciate the time. Thanks , Maureen.
S3: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with M.G. Perez in for Jade Heineman. Hundreds of San Diego police officers got to skip the COVID vaccine because they said it was against their religion. But that exemption came with a requirement that they test for COVID regularly. Now , KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER says some of those officers say their religion also prevents them from taking COVID tests.
S4: Officers told the city on religious exemption forms that the Bible instructs them not to put cotton swabs in their nose. My beliefs stand for keeping my body clean and free from such unnecessary drugs and chemicals , one officer wrote. The phrase I trust in God's perfect design of my body was repeated 19 times in the records obtained by KPBS. We previously reported on many officers using the exact same answers on their forms and copying those answers from form letters on the Internet. About 10% of the police records KPBS received the city is providing them on a rolling basis. Makes this religious argument against using swab tests. The city's human resources department is still deciding how to handle those requests. But in the meantime , the officers are still on the job and are unvaccinated and not getting tests. The officers claim that the swabs contain a cancer causing chemical called ethylene oxide , but they don't.
S2: Realistically , there just is no evidence indicating that that would occur.
S4: Dr. David Pride is an infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego. He says ethylene oxide is not actually present on the swabs. It's used as a gas to sterilize them.
S2: The use of ethylene oxide is not new. It's something that's been going on for many , many years. So if these were causing cancer in people , we would absolutely know about it now.
S4: In fact , he says any police officer who's gotten an influenza test probably used a swab sterilized with ethylene oxide. Still , officers argued the Bible says they shouldn't take COVID tests. Some wrote one Corinthians six 1920 states.
S4: Caroline's Purdue is a New Testament professor at Point Loma Nazarene University.
S3: These are are so outside of the range of what could have even possibly been imagined by the apostle Paul when he was writing or the Corinthian Christians as they're reading it.
S4: Many officers refusing COVID tests also compared their stance to keeping kosher. My belief in this regard is similar to the objection others have to eating unclean food. Some officers wrote lines. Purdue says equating nasal swabs to unclean food is also not biblically sound.
S3: This one seems just a really difficult a mismatch for what Paul is even addressing and the ways that Christians have applied kosher laws in a symbolic way to other aspects of life. It just simply doesn't fit.
S4: As a Christian herself , Lyons Perdue sees a biblical argument for actually getting the COVID vaccine and testing to avoid spreading a virus to others.
S3: It strikes me that there's a great irony in using the Scripture to seek to preserve even the slightest and really speculative possibility of of minor harm to one's person.
S4: Dr. Pride at UC San Diego suggested there might be another reason some San Diego police officers are refusing COVID 19 swab tests.
S2: Who wants to get a swab stuck in their nose every week to be tested ? But I think they're kind of barking up the wrong tree with the idea that they're going to get cancer from just getting these nasal swabs.
S3: Joining me is KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER. Claire , welcome.
S4: Thank you.
S4: Basically , what happened is about a thousand city employees have asked for religious exemptions from COVID vaccines. And of those , the bulk were from the San Diego Police Department. And to get those exemptions , they have to write basically these essay questions on on this form. And so we put in public records requests for their answers on that , on those forms. And we had to use a First Amendment lawyer , our KPBS lawyer , to help us argue for those. But we were able to get them. The issue is that the city provides them basically on a rolling basis where they give about 50 a week. So so far we have 361 , all from the police department. And of those , 35 also said that they need to be religiously exempted from the testing , not just the vaccines. So it's about 10% , but we don't have all of the records yet. Obviously , we'll continue to update as we get more records.
S3: I didn't know that people could claim a religious exemption from testing.
S4: So so you're right that it it wasn't a separate religious exemption. It was part of their religious exemption form for the COVID vaccine. In those forms , some people said , oh , and by the way , I also , you know , cannot get a COVID test because that's also against my religion. And so the city is is working on on those. And they they haven't quite reached a resolution yet. So for now , though , and this has been going on for quite some time , the police officers are still working , still on the job , not vaccinated and not getting tests as as the city works. All of this out.
S4: I checked with them and they said declined to comment. They say it's more of a personnel issue. So , you know , then I have also reached out to the police union and they just don't get back to me. And I wanted to talk to Mayor Todd , Gloria as well about this. And through a spokeswoman , he also declined to comment. So no one particularly has anything to say about this. I guess I should also add that a few of the employees are police dispatchers , and they're represented by the Municipal Employees Association Union , a separate union. And the head of that union also declined to comment.
S3: Now , you say many of these religious exemption requests appear to have been cut and pasted from the Internet. Is that right ? Yes.
S4: So that's the overall the overall arguments , religious arguments against getting a COVID vaccine , including some that also include the testing. There's a lot of different organizations on the Internet that have sample form letters that say , use this to argue against getting a COVID vaccine. Some of them actually say don't directly copy and paste this , put it in your own words. But clearly , people didn't always follow that direction.
S3: So now you have a number of officers , as you say , who haven't been vaccinated or tested for COVID , interacting with the public. What kind of health threat does that pose for San Diegans ? Right.
S4: Well , so , you know , as we say , police officers are still on the job. They're not vaccinated and they're not necessarily being tested. And I spoke with Rebecca Fielding Miller , who's an epidemiologist at UC San Diego. And here's what she had to say about that.
S3: For many , many people , it's not voluntary to interact with the police. If a police officer wants to interact with you , you cannot walk away. And so if a police officer is not vaccinated , is declining testing and is not masked , that could be a really dangerous situation for people. Right.
S4: Right. So as she says , you know , even if you just get pulled over for a speeding ticket or something like that , you're going to roll down your window. You're going to be talking face to face with the police officer. And you really don't have anything to say. You know , you don't have any choice in that in that matter. And that's just , you know , the bottom of the of the levels of interaction. If you're being handcuffed or arrested or whatever it is , you you don't really get to choose , oh , I'm going to walk away from from this officer.
S3: Now , it's hard to push back on what people claim are their religious beliefs. But when hospital workers chose not to be vaccinated because of their religion , many were removed from interacting with patients.
S4: It's not something that's that's being considered. You know , I think the police department and the police union regularly argue that they don't actually have enough officers right now. And so I don't know if , you know , putting all of them on desk duty would would really be an option. It's not something that I've heard either the city or or the police union or the police department , considering.
S3: I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter Claire TRAGESER. Claire , thank you so much.
S4: Thank you.
S1: A group of San Diego high school students have returned from an adventure they hoped would take them 100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. Students from the original High Tech High wanted to bring attention to the challenge faced by asylum seekers who risked their lives for freedom and opportunity in the U.S.. Joining us now are two members of the hike team that started their journey near Campo last week. Taya Chase is a ninth grade math teacher at High Tech High. And 16 year old Allie Price is one of her 10th grade students. Thank you both for joining us on Midday Edition.
S3: Thanks so much for having me. Thank you so much.
S1: Taya , I'd like to start with you. So the hike is called 100 degrees of Freedom.
S3: We're looking at 100 degrees of freedom in terms of perhaps for migrants , the degree at which they travel on foot to seek asylum. And that's why we partnered with Casa Cornelia. Their mission is to provide aid to those asylum seekers and we hoped to provide this journey for students to experience just what migrants go through each and every day to get into this country.
S1: Allie , you were one of the brave students who tried this.
S3: Obviously nothing to this extreme , but I've always really enjoyed camping , kind of getting out into nature. So I've done some minor hikes , but the farthest I've gone before this was only about seven miles. And here we were doubling that every single day. So I definitely had a little bit of experience coming into it , but nothing nearly like this.
S1: So , Taya , given the hot temperatures that we've been experiencing , safety is has to be a priority.
S3: And ultimately , students prepared themselves by learning about the three critical body systems and how to assess patients. And so it's very important to us that not only the teacher leaders were knowledgeable about safety , but the students were able to provide aid if necessary.
S3: And we concluded at mile 77.
S1: And tell me about that.
S3: It was approximately 95 degrees. And we , you know , took cover under the bridge where there was plenty of shade and water. And we stopped there for several hours. And we ultimately decided that pushing on there were no guarantees that there would be shade at the top of our next peak that we would go over. And so we worried the next day it would be over 100 degrees. So we decided that we needed to have parents come pick up the kiddos from from then on until.
S1: What would you say is the educational value of this experience ? Clearly it was a physical challenge.
S3: They are not only pushing through physical challenges , but emotional challenges. You have a lot of time to think while you're on the trail. So for each and every student out there that looks a little bit different for everyone , it really is an inner dialogue that you're going through each day. And so that's the beauty of it. It's really personalized to each student and their own personal struggles.
S3: No matter how many miles I have previously hiked or no matter what experiences I've already had. And that was definitely a struggle for me. It was getting into the mindset of like , this is difficult , but we can get through it. So.
S1: So. Taya , this was a class assignment. You did not make it to 100 miles. You did make it to 77 miles. Was this a success ? Absolutely.
S3: It was bittersweet to end the journey at mile 77 , just short of the 100 miles. But we are so proud of the students efforts , collaboration , everything they did out there was exceeding. My expectations. And so this was more than I could have hoped for. And I am just looking forward to sharing this experience with , you know , all types of students in the future.
S3: We had the luxury of being able to get picked up and driven home. That's not a luxury and that's not a resource that other people have. And so that was really the eye opener for me. And I think I knew that coming in , but actually being put into an experience was just a total eye opener and game changing experience.
S1: We have been talking to Taya Chase , ninth grade math teacher at High Tech High , and her 10th grade student , Ali Price. Thank you both for being here.
S3: Thanks so much and happy trails. Thank you. It was a pleasure talking with you. This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with M.G. Perez in for Jade Hyneman. Some long held and respected customs and surfing culture are crashing against social media. And the result is not pretty. Veteran surfers know that keeping the best beaches and surf spots secret is a vital part of surfing etiquette. But more and more , Instagram and other social media users are violating that code by posting the locations. Now , some of the best kept surfing secret spots are getting swamped by kooks leaving O.G. surfer dudes decidedly non stoked. Joining me is Adam Elder , San Diego writer and journalist who wrote about the social media violation of surfing culture in The New York Times. And Adam , welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you for having me.
S3: You start out by comparing the secrecy surrounding the best surf spots with Fight Club. Tell us about that. Right.
S2: Right. Well , the first rule of Fight Club was you don't talk about Fight Club. And that's sort of how it goes with photographing certain waves and certain surf spots. You just don't shoot those photos or if you shoot them , you don't name. Traditionally in surfing , a lot of things have to be earned in the sense that you have to figure out a lot of things yourself. It's got rites of passage. It's kind of primal. There's oftentimes a pecking order out there. That attitude just kind of runs through most everything. And the way that it manifests in surf spots is that the more people there are , the worst the experience tends to be for so many reasons , and so it's just easier in many ways to keep things to yourself and also to kind of ask that others earned that information the way that fishermen hide their all the best fishing holes , I guess.
S2: I mean , it would just be in a photo captured and sometimes it would just say the name of the country or it would just say California. And those places basically controlled the entire message. There was no way for someone to just pop in and change the photo caption so that everyone who reads the magazine would know exactly where it is. But that's kind of where we are with Instagram. Anyone can take a picture of anywhere and tell the world exactly where it is. And then Instagram's geotagging feature puts another wrinkle into things where it pinpoints the exact location on planet Earth where this picture was taken.
S2: You see it often where there's maybe a surf media posts a photo of somewhere and they recognize the spot. And then it's almost fun to click on the comment section and scroll down because you know , someone's going to be in there just shouting out the name of the location. And then you know that if you scroll down just a little farther , there's going to be a lot of upset people that start threatening them. And it's just this thing that just plays out so often online.
S2: It's more of a ripple effect where there's just so many surfers nowadays and it's making a lot of other people who serve weekend warriors or whoever else just want to , you know , seek out new spots. And it's inevitably going to spill out into most any places that there are waves. And that's the power of a photo. You can know about those places and you can hear about those places. But when you see a photo of it , I think a lot of people think , wow , you know , you can you can picture yourself or you instantly want to picture yourself surfing on this wave that you just saw an amazing photo of. It's just kind of a numbers game , really.
S3: You write that the pandemic has sort of increased the number of surfers.
S2: I mean , everyone can feel it. It's so much different now than it was in , say , 2019. Everywhere you go , it just feels more crowded than ever. I mean , it feels like summertime , but year round and then summer time even more crowded than. Than other summer times. Yeah. I mean , everyone complains about it.
S2: They don't have to. Go into the office as much anymore. And so it's just all over Instagram and people have free time and , you know , fewer responsibilities to be somewhere now post COVID. And so I think there's just a lot of people who decided to take it up. I don't know if that for a fact , but that's just my hunch. And I think that's what everyone else kind of assumes.
S2: When someone sort of breaches etiquette , I guess if you want to call it that , there is instantly people threatening them. And you know , it's the way any comments section on Instagram sort of devolves into getting doxxed or people are looking at their photos and pointing things out. It's just it's probably an unpleasant experience and something best avoided , I assume. I don't know of too many real world instances of of harm or things like that. I mean , you hear of it and every once in a while something makes the news , but it's just generally an unpleasant experience for everyone.
S2: I think in a lot of places , including San Diego , you know , there's there's a few spots that people get annoyed whenever they're talked about. So there's kind of that level. And then there's another level of , you know , places to surf that rarely are searchable because they only come alive during certain swells and things like that. And then there's places , you know , around the globe , they're in really remote locations , you know , whether they're at the end of a long on paved road or , you know , some snowy beach in Alaska. But , you know , there's also places that are maybe just around the corner from a really popular place , and they just require a little bit of hiking. They're everywhere on the right day , in the right conditions. You can still find uncrowded waves in the middle of the city. Even San Diego , I've had those experiences and they're great. And honestly , those are the those are the moments that tend to stick with you. So they're still out there. And like someone I quoted in the story , there's people who sort of spend their lives searching for these waves and the other people who do are so excited for them that they don't even want to know where they are. In a sense , they think it's cool that they keep it to themselves and just have their own little fantasy wave to fly to and travel to and search. So yeah , they're definitely out there. But , you know , there's there's always there's always new pictures being taken all the time. You know , that's one of these things about Instagram is that there's a momentum to it where a spot is photographed and it draws people , other people to that spot to stand on the beach and photograph it. And that draws other people. And you can imagine what sort of effect that has day after day on a place.
S3: I've been speaking with San Diego writer and journalist Adam Elder about his latest article in The New York Times called The No Longer A Secret World of Surf Spots. And Adam , thank you so much.
S2: Thanks for having me.

San Diego Pride prepares for a safe celebration next month in the wake of recent threats against the LGBTQ community. Then, a rental subsidy for seniors at risk of homelessness was approved in the latest city budget. Next, some local police officers are using religious exemptions to avoid COVID testing. And, a group of San Diego high school students share their experiences hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. They are bringing attention to the challenge faced by asylum seekers who risk their lives for freedom and opportunity in the U.S. Finally, the secretive nature of surf culture and social media clash as hidden surf breaks get more attention from Instagram photographers.