Senate passes major climate action package
S1: What sweeping climate legislation means for San Diego.
S2: I think there is a bit of a question going forward as to what the governor is asking for and what happens next.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. We talk with journalist Bob Woodward about the ten presidents that he's covered.
S2: I think there's a higher concentration of power in the presidency now. Made very clear when Trump was president , he was the focus.
S1: And a conversation with CPB's new news director. Plus , we hear from a local author , Liz Huerta , about her young adult novel. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Senate Democrats are rejoicing at the passage of a sweeping climate legislation package that will set aside 369 billion for renewable energy and sustainability projects. This bill is the largest federal investment into climate action ever to be passed and could help advance a number of key initiatives here in San Diego. Joining me now with more on this climate action package is Democratic Congressman Mike Levin. Of the 49th Congressional District. Congressman Levin , welcome back to Mid-day Edition.
S2: Thank you. It's always great to be with you.
S2: I think when you look at the scope of this bill , what it will mean to lower costs for working families , everything from health care and prescription drugs to energy , all well , combating the climate crisis and reducing the deficit by $300 billion. And , oh , by the way , not raising taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year. This is a huge deal. This is going to help everyday Californians make ends meet. And as somebody who sits on the Select Committee for Climate. Finally , finally , the federal government is going to be able to take the kind of action on climate change that is commensurate with what the science demands and go a long way towards meeting our objectives that we laid out under the Paris climate agreement. So it's a huge , huge win , and I'm absolutely thrilled to see this finally come to fruition. And I'm excited to go back to Washington to vote and to get this done.
S1: And this bill also includes 60 billion for funding for environmental justice initiatives.
S2: And when you think about the history of communities all across the United States that have often been left out or left behind when it comes to climate action front and center in this bill , again , as you said , tens of billions of dollars in new investments to make sure that we're growing this clean energy economy in an equitable way. When you think about things like how electric vehicle adoption will be embraced in different communities where new solar facilities , new battery storage facilities , where they will be built in terms of the assembly , the manufacturing of a domestic solar industry , domestic battery industry , domestic electric car industry , we have the opportunity to finally invest in communities that have historically been underrepresented , underinvested in , because ultimately , if we want to combat the climate crisis , we've got to do it across the board in a fluent communities , in disadvantaged communities. And this bill finally lives up to those promises.
S2: When when you think about the sorts of investments that we're talking about , again , $369 billion of federal funding. You can assume that somewhere on the order of magnitude , 20 , 30 , $40 billion will make its way to California , and that will continue to accelerate all of the great progress that we have been making , things like making it even a an easier decision to put solar panels , panels on your roof or to make your next vehicle purchase an electric vehicle. Or if you have a business to make that business more energy efficient or your home more energy efficient. All the tax policies , all the incentives , lots and lots of carrots to get people ultimately to do the right things to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint. And at the same time , my great hope and expectation is that this bill will accelerate the California solar industry , where we're not just doing things like insulation and assembly , but we're actually building solar panels and creating manufacturing facilities across the state. This will create those policies to incentivize that as well , because we really are in a global competition for the next generation of clean energy jobs. And I always remind people that this really is the industry of the future. We know for a fact that in 20 or 30 years time , we're going to have a whole suite of new technologies , everything from the way that we move goods and people , the way we build buildings , the way we grow food and the way we generate electricity to do all of the above. And I want for those technologies not only to be deployed in California , but to be manufactured , assembled , invented in California and particularly in our region in San Diego and in Southern California. This bill is a historic step in that direction , given the research universities we have , given the venture capital community that we have. And when you look at $369 billion that we're going to invest for the federal government , that will yield trillions of dollars in private economic activity as well. We are as well positioned as any region in the country to capitalize on that.
S2: You know , the bill is ultimately not. Word for word what I would have written. For example , I had provisions in the earlier House reconciliation bill that would have banned drilling off the coast of Southern California , because I think that's important. I think we can advance a clean energy future , achieve domestic clean energy independence without that de minimis amount of drilling that comes at great risk off the California coast. So that's one provision that I would have loved to see. But obviously , like everything else in life , this is a compromise and this is a very , very good , very historic piece of legislation. I have a ten year old and an eight year old , and for the first time since I've been in Congress , I can look them both in the face and I can say , hey , we are finally making the progress on the climate crisis that we need so that when you grow up and when you have kids and grandkids , this is a habitable community , this is a livable planet. And that ultimately is a fantastic achievement and one that I'm really , really proud of.
S1: I have been speaking with San Diego Congressman Mike Levin. Congressman Levin , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you. Great to be with you.
S1: From Nixon's Watergate scandal to Trump's election , lies and an insurrection. Bob Woodward has been there to cover the last ten U.S. presidents. As an investigative political journalist. He's written 21 bestselling books , giving insight into how the power of the presidency has evolved. With that depth of knowledge , Woodward will be in San Diego for an upcoming talk at Balboa Theatre called How We Got Here Lessons from ten Presidents. Veteran journalist and author Bob Woodward joins us now. Bob , welcome.
S2: Thank you.
S1: So you'll be in San Diego talking about what you've learned from covering ten U.S. presidents as an investigative political journalist.
S2: And it's a very crowded , difficult time , to say the least. I was trying to think about this a little. What's what's important to remember is Karl Rove used to say everything depends on outcomes and how this will be of the American politics in this period. And nobody knows , certainly not myself. And Donald Trump is an ex-president , I think is the biggest political machine in following of anyone in American politics other than an incumbent president and people in the his circle tell him that , look , if you run again and win , then your political obituary is not the January 6th hearings or the pandemic , but it will be the biggest political comeback in American history and really the biggest second act maybe ever in our country in any field , including politics. So we're Trump focused , I think rightly so. And what I want to do is go through the ten presidents I've written about and tried to understand and take some of the lessons I think they've learned or people in their White House or in their party learned and try to excavate them as best I can.
S2: Yeah , I guess I guess you kind of have to be. There have been troubling times and this is an 11 on the Richter scale of zero ten. I think there's so many difficulties.
S2: I think there's a higher concentration of power in the presidency now made very clear. When Trump was president , he was the focus. I think the news media covered him every minute , didn't really and Nixon didn't have that kind of power or that level of coverage. And so how that power is used or understood or misunderstood or misused is central to what's going on right now.
S2: So this is late 2019 , right before the election. And we got to the question of how he won in 2016 , which I think is story. And we're going to be discussing and researching for decades , if not more. And he doesn't read history books , we know. But there's a historian , Barbara Tuchman. It's one of the great historians. And so I just said to Trump , I said , what ? Distilling out what happened in 2016 for me is that the old order was dying in the Republican Party , but also in the Democratic Party. And there's a big grandfather clock in the Oval Office. And I. Pointed to it in one of Barbara Tuchman's terms is history's clock. And I just pointed to the clock and I said , so you stole history's clap. Now , he jumped in his chair and said , Yes , that's it. And I'm going to do it again for the 2020 campaign. Will be did not he lost. But there is a sense of there is a political order , there's a social order. And when we're living through it , we probably are and I certainly am not good at describing it , but it is there. And Trump came in and he had a way of saying , you know , the old establishment Democrats , Republicans , you know , I'm I'm new , I'm different. It didn't use this terminology , but he effectively did. The old order is dying or dead. And he came in with and defined a new order.
S1: You know , in all of your coverage of ten presidents.
S2: Nixon , Ford pardoning Nixon. And I was sure it was corrupt. The final corruption of Watergate and later looked at it 25 years later and concluded from the evidence that it actually was an act of courage and Gerald Ford's part to pardon Nixon and get him off the head , off the front pages , Ford told me plaintively , I needed my own presidency.
S1: You mentioned Watergate , and last month was the 50th anniversary of Watergate.
S2: Nixon was a criminal president. His tapes showed that. And in the end , his party , the Republican Party , abandoned him. Barry Goldwater , the senator from Arizona , the conscience of the conservative Republican Party , went to Nixon at the end , and Nixon said , how many votes are going to get if there's a Senate trial ? Because Nixon knew he would be impeached , charged from the House. And Goldwater said , Mr. President , you have five votes and one is not mine. And the next day , Nixon announced he was resigning. Hmm.
S1: You know , history always has a way of repeating itself at this point.
S2: And I think there needs to be what Graham GREENE , the great British novelist , said , which I think is very important. Don't despise your enemies , don't despise the other side. They have a case and listen to it. And you may discarded and not agree at all , but at least listen.
S1: I've been speaking with veteran journalist and author Bob Woodward. Bob , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you.
S1: You can find tickets for the event. How we got here. Lessons from ten presidents by visiting San Diego Theatres dot org.
S3: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. News directors don't really direct the news , but they do put their stamp on the quality and integrity of the way the news is covered. After nearly a year long search , KPBS now has a new director of the 45 editors and journalists that make up our newsroom. Today , Terence Sheppard , previously news director of a public radio station in Florida , takes his place as news director here at KPBS. He's joining us on Midday Edition to introduce himself and talk about his plans for the station. And Terence Sheppard , welcome.
S2: Thank you , Maureen. I appreciate it.
S3: You have an eclectic background for a news director. You originally trained for a business career.
S2: I had intended on pursuing journalism , but economics fascinated me. You can apply economics to just about any aspect of life. The key elements being scarcity , choice and cost. And that can be applied to anything you can think of. And so I majored in economics. After college , I worked in the commodity brokerage business for a few years , but I was not fulfilled. And so it just so happened that after a while , I saw an opening for a part time sports clerk at a local newspaper called the Boca Raton News. And so I worked the brokerage at the daytime , went in at the Boca News from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. , and did the sports thing is basically a clerk job at the bottom of the barrel , the job no one else wants. They hired me. I said , Hey , I like this environment and commodities. The markets are driven by technical analysis , but also the news plays a big role in commodity prices. So I've always been a newshound. So the transition from that to journalism was pretty easy because it's all I have this interest in what people are doing. What makes things click ? I'm a major in economics and I got an MBA just because I'm fascinated by the way people go about making money. It's interesting how people can do it in a sustainable manner. And how can they ? They can do it by just making a quick buck , and the quick bucks tend to crash and burn or damage society.
S2: And so that's a challenge. Yes , the number differential is a challenge. I was talking to my cousin who lives in Lake Elsinore , and he said , boy , when you do cross-country moves , you move. You don't just move to the next county. So I lived down , I was living in the Bay Area. I moved to Miami. And so Miami to San Diego is is is following a similar pattern as a when I move , I really move. I have similarities. Different oceans , different climate , some of the same issues with immigration. The immigrant narrative is important here. Um. Development and growth is important here. I know. Fantastic lifestyle I've seen. Everyone has said this is a great place to live.
S2: He helps make decisions because everyone is bombarded by information. Everyone wants to do everything pretty much , but that's not possible. But the news director needs to focus the staff on the highest priority , the most important issues , stories , segments , digital buildouts and service to the community. So the news director is the traffic director , part therapist , part person who makes decisions.
S2: I want to listen and hear from you and other staffers about KPBS , about San Diego. I want to learn the community as quickly as possible so I can get ramped up. The big plans , I say , would be to help you suss out what exactly is that story that KPBS can own. And also what are the sense of place elements that exist in San Diego ? In other words , what are the stories or other segments ? What are the. Maybe a line in the story or some audio or visual that connects with the audience that says KPBS really knows us because they talked about X , they showed why they had audio from this thing. So those are my two big overarching goals that help you figure out the sense of place issue and to figure out which stories you can own. Yeah.
S2: You need to do it intentionally. You need to do it with some data. You need to figure out which audiences are easily connected with and just build from there. You need to take gambles. You need to be experimental. You need to take some small bets on reaching certain communities and certain coverages and just do them. Be prepared to fail. The only failure is to not try something new. But I say the number one thing is to be intentional and say , we're going to do a story about this group or this issue and going to do our best and try to do it better next time. So that's that's the strategy. That's how you do that.
S3: Well , it's been a pleasure to speak with you. I've been talking with KPBS news director Terrence Shepard. Welcome and good luck.
S2: Thank you , Maureen. Thank you very much.
S3: New plans to construct new border barriers at Friendship Park remain on pause today. Last week , U.S. Customs and Border Protection put a temporary halt on a project to modernize and increase the height of the fence at the border between Imperial Beach and Playas de Tijuana. And the CBP now pledges to allow public access to the Border Park at least two days a month after construction is completed. The pause in construction came after a wave of criticism from the public and from politicians when the new Border Wall Project was announced. Advocates for Friendship Park are hoping for at least a four month delay for community conversations to take place. Joining me is Reverend John Fanta Stoll , convenor of the Friends of Friendship Park. Reverend , fantastic , welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you for having me.
S2: And we're hopeful , but this is somewhat unprecedented that they've paused construction with the promise to engage with community stakeholders. So it's not a common practice of theirs when it comes to building border wall. And I'd say we were pleasantly surprised that they've agreed to take this step.
S3: After the CBP announced plans to replace the fence at Friendship Park with a higher , sturdier wall. There was surprise and a sense of outrage from many people.
S2: This is California's Border Park. It's also the original boundary marker between the United States and Mexico. The monument at Friendship Park was put in place at the end of the US-Mexico war. So as a historic location of unique cultural , environmental and historical significance.
S2: We're friends , remember , with the people of Mexico , not enemies. And Friendship Park has always symbolized this place of binational encounter for family , for friends , for communities , for art , culture , music and food and on and on. All of the things that those of us who know the border region love about it.
S3: Now , the Biden administration says a new barrier is needed for safety reasons.
S2: The primary barrier is that border wall that sits right on the international boundary and extends all the way out into the ocean. Most folks in San Diego will have seen images of that wall and some of the anti-crime panels. The top panels on that primary wall have corroded in the saltwater and clearly they're patched now and clearly need replacing. But we inquired. There are no other structural challenges to the walls presently at Friendship Park. There's no , in other words , no need to replace the walls presently there for health and safety. There's some patching and repairing of spots along it that need to be done , but that the notion that 30 foot walls needed to be put in place because of concerns for health and safety factually is just not true.
S3: The CBP says after new wall construction , the park will reopen a few days a month.
S2: You know , two days a month would represent a 75% reduction in public access from the very minimum access which has ever been afforded at Friendship Park. Now , remember. This is a park that was wide open to the public on both sides. The vast majority of its history is only in the last 15 years that access has been restricted at all in the United States. So the notion that access should be continually restricted and restricted and restricted and now reduced to two days a month is a really a slap in the face , that proposal for the rich opportunity that Friendship Park represents.
S2: As you mentioned in your lead , we proposed a 120 day pause , which we feel is the minimum necessary to engage in meaningful consultation with local stakeholders.
S2: There's a lot of people , in other words , who have a stake in the future of Friendship Park , and we're proposing to convene them , and we'll do so in early September. We're hoping that U.S. Border Patrol officials will join the community stakeholder conversation that will be convening if they propose a another method and another process that will gladly participate in that as well. But the Friends of Friendship Park are moving forward with our plans to convene a robust conversation and to develop an a future looking design that will , of course , create a safe and secure environment friendship park. But that will also take advantage of the wonderful opportunities for cross-border relationship that the park has to offer.
S3: I've been speaking with Reverend John Fanning , still convener of the Friends of Friendship Park. And Reverend , Fantastic. Thank you so much for speaking with us.
S2: Thank you. Oh.
S1: Farm workers from across the state have joined the march for the governor's signature A-330 , five mile trek from Kern County to Sacramento to show support for a voting rights bill. Although farm workers say the bill is critical for unionization , some argue it will not accomplish what it's intended to do. CBP'S Esther Quintanilla has more.
S2: Gomez's younger boy , Jamar Chae Gomez , says young people who live.
S3: On hundreds of Californians gathered at the United Farm Workers first headquarters in Delano Wednesday morning. They were wearing light layers , sun hats and lots of sunscreen. They carried signs that said support farmworkers in English and Spanish. Some were marching the whole 24 day route , and others were only joining for a day. Like Andrés Chavez , the grandson of Cesar Chavez , UFW co-founder.
S2: There's a lot of barriers that stand in the way when farmworkers are looking to organize. There's a lot of coercion , a lot of power and intimidation use against workers.
S3: At 8 p.m. , the group set off to March in support of expanded voting rights. It isn't the first time farmworkers have embarked on this route. In 1966 , Cesar Chavez led strikers on a similar path to call for better working conditions and higher wages. On the first anniversary of Chavez's death in 1994 , marchers took the same route to kick off a new negotiation campaign. Andrés Chavez says this traditional march is just another way to honor Cesar Chavez.
S2: My grandfather said that if you want to remember him , organize , and today what's happening is we're organizing. That's how we carry on his legacy today. John. Yeah. He died. She a player , they give you a lot closer.
S3: Farmworkers are marching in support of the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act Assembly Bill 2183. Assembly member Mark Stone co-authored it.
S2: Well , maybe 2183 is really a fairly simple mechanism to give farm workers the opportunity to mail in ballots , vote from home , fill it out , seal the envelope , mail it in.
S3: Last year , Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar bill , AB 616 in a letter addressed to the state assembly. Newsom said he could not support the bill because of various inconsistencies in its implementation. Multiple chambers of commerce throughout the Central Valley stand in opposition to the bill. They labeled it a job killer , saying it would coerce and misinform farmworkers when casting ballots during secret elections. Ian LeMay is the president of the California Fresh Fruit Association. He says the bill actually eliminates farm workers right to vote and the secret ballot in union elections. He believes there's more effective legislation that should be taken.
S2: There's actually a federal example , the National Labor Relations Act , that already allows for vote by mail balloting in union elections , and that if the governor were to mimic that existing practice , it would be an easy implementation for the AARP.
S3: Despite what critics say DeLay knows. Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vazquez is certain Newsom will sign AB 2183. It's going to happen. I'm very confident. That's been my mentality. I talk.
S4: Things to existence and I'm beyond.
S5: Optimistic because I believe that.
S3: We'll do the right thing. As Vazquez and the rest of the crowd took off Garcia's highway. It was already 80 degrees , and it was only going to get hotter throughout the day. They were chanting , We can do it in Spanish as they walked in. Single file. Whether he's. Dolores Huerta , one of UFW co-founders , said Marching in the summer is a great sacrifice. I'm a pretty let's get it done. She says she wants everyone to send prayers to the marchers because there's going to be brutal heat galore. Maria , the Lutherans Carrillo is a farm worker from Kern County. She's going to march most of the route to Sacramento. She says she's marching for her husband , her sons and all the farm workers who couldn't make it out. Those who represent them , she says they're with her in spirit on the march , and she's supporting them as they continue to work in the fields. But like I said , I'll put you on the spot. The march is expected to end on August 26th on the steps of the state capitol. He says that.
S2: He said , rather.
S1: That that was CBP's. Esther Quintanilla in Fresno who ? When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade , it made abortion access especially challenging for servicewomen. More than 100 military installations are in states where abortion is now banned. That means women in the military may have to travel longer distances , spend more money , or incur greater risks to their privacy. Kirsten Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.
S3: Allison Gill was one of the first women the Navy recruited into Nuclear Power Training Command in the mid-nineties. It was a male dominated world where she felt deeply unwelcome. It was like there weren't any women. It was just men. And they weren't happy to see me. I didn't have facilities yet. There wasn't a GYN on base. Gill was just a few weeks into training in Florida when a colleague drugged and violently raped her at a party. But when she reported it , Navy officials accused her of lying and threatened her career. They said , you know , so why don't we just chalk this up to what it is a bad decision on your part. And I was convinced , yeah , man , this was my fault. I better not file a false report. All those terrible things will happen to me. Things got worse for Gill when she found out she was pregnant as a result of the assault. So she went to a Planned Parenthood clinic near the base to get an abortion on a Saturday morning. She was back in time to attend a mandatory study period that afternoon. But now that states have started outlawing abortion , she says military women today are no longer able to do that as easily or privately. Some have to travel long distances to places where it's legal. If you have to put in for leave and say why you're going and you have to travel out of state , you either have to lie on a government document , which is a court martial bill offense , or you have to tell them what you're doing and hope they approve it. And then it's in your record. So you have to make a decision. You know , that feels like , do I ruin my career or do I ruin my career this other way ? State abortion bans heavily affect training bases where troops don't make as much money and have less freedom of movement. And even states with legal abortion sometimes require waiting periods and multiple doctor's visits , making the trip harder and more expensive for out-of-state military women. Lori Manning is with the Service Women's Action Network.
S6: A lot of them don't have cars , particularly the younger enlisted women , so that they could drive themselves. And sometimes we're talking five , six , 700 or a thousand miles to get to a state where it can be done.
S3: In addition to the travel , advocates say military women seeking abortions face unique privacy concerns. Kelly Blanchard is president of Ibis Reproductive Health , which surveyed military women who sought abortions. Many feared privacy breaches. And one said her chain of command was given her pregnancy test results. Those particular types of barriers are unique to folks in the military because of the military specific rules about where pregnant people can be.
S1: Deployed , what jobs.
S5: They can.
S3: Have , and repercussions because of stigma. Just before the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision that overturn Roe versus Wade , the Army and Air Force issued new policies. They prevent commanders from denying leave for abortion and clarify that women don't have to disclose their reason for requesting leave. But the Navy and Marine Corps have not followed suit. And last month , during a House Armed Services Committee hearing , Defense Undersecretary Gil Cisneros stopped short of promising further policy changes.
S7: DOBBS That created a lot of complexities as it was 26 , now up to as many as 29 states that we are having to navigate the different laws in each state and to see how that affects our service members in each state. We are currently reviewing our policies and procedures.
S3: Cisneros said the military has a solemn obligation to ensure military personnel have the health care they need. He also raised a second concern that abortion restrictions could make it hard for the military to bring in and retain service members at a time when recruitment numbers are already low. This is Karson Frame reporting.
S1: This story was produced by the American Homefront Project , a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
S3: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. San Diego writer Liz Huertas debut young adult novel The Lost Dreamer , is inspired by ancient Mesoamerica. The book is set in a fantasy world where some women have the ability to dream the truth. They're seers known as dreamers. The book unfolds as two young women struggle with their gifts as the world around them is rapidly , terrifyingly changing. Where To is a celebrated short fiction writer and essayist. She spoke with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And here's their conversation.
S4: Hi , Liz. Thank you so much for being here.
S5: Hi , Julia. Thank you for having me.
S4: So in The Last Dreamer , we follow two story threads about two distinct characters living very different lives. First , we meet India. And before we talk about her , which you read a little bit from the beginning when we first get a sense for India's world. Absolutely.
S5: Absolutely. This is the beginning of the book. The whale of a far off conch shell woke me from my already broken sleep. I wanted to wail in response , in grief , in terror. Dogs began barking on the outskirts of the city. Unfamiliar drum rhythms pounded in the distance , echoing off the stone walls of our temple. I rose blood rushing through my body as I swung from my hammock. An answering conch blew thrice for my own warriors. Three cries for peace Dalu and three stirred. I knew they were in dreaming. Their bodies are struggling to pull them back. I kissed them each softly , singing a small waking song. My voice breaking. Less.
S4: Less. Can you tell me a little bit about who India is and what is on the line for her ? Not just in this moment , but in her world as a whole ? Absolutely.
S5: India is a dreamer in the sacred city of all kinds. She was born to a lineage of women who , when they sleep , can enter another dimension , kind of a spirit world to get information to bring back for the citizens of Kansa and the surrounding areas. The Dreamers are a sacred lineage. They help all the people. And India has a few secrets , including the devastating realization that she is no longer able to dream.
S5: One of the sisters has the ability to enter the dream and view weather patterns to see what crops should be harvested and which lands should go fallow. What kind of animals to hunt ? Kind of a conversation with the natural world. One of the other sisters dreams possibility the ability to kind of see what different decisions can play out and how they can affect the citizens of Alcanzar and the surrounding areas. India. Until she stopped dreaming , had the rare ability to dream truth where she could see things absolutely clearly and they would come true. Okay.
S4: Okay. And then in the other thread , we have Siya , who she has grown up not quite knowing what sets her apart with a mother who uses her for gain. So she has a very , very different experience with dreaming and in real life or what you call the waking world than India does. Can you talk a little bit about what a character like Siya brings to the story ? Yeah.
S5: Siya has a gift , but really no context on how to use it. She's had no training. She has no lineage. All she has is her mother , who is pretty manipulative and abusive towards her and uses her gift for her own gain , claiming it as her own. So Siya has this beautiful magic , but really has no concept as to what it means and who she is.
S4: And in this magical realm , the ancient traditions and the power dwelled primarily with women. And this also feeds tension later in the book.
S5: And when I went into this story , I really just wanted to central women. I wanted to center mothers and daughters and sisterhood and aunts and chosen family. Just because for me , I come from such an incredible lineage of women and incredible mom , aunts , sisters , extended women in my family. And they really are the backbone of. My family and I think in a lot of other Latin X families. So I wanted to center our stories as sacred that we have these gifts that carry us forward and our caretakers and creators and visionaries. I just wanted to celebrate us.
S4: I also love the way that this world tackles death and memory. Can you talk about what inspired you to write that kind of world where there's a reverence and off for the lost ? It's not necessarily glorified , but it is a different approach to grief.
S5: I think that's primarily cultural in the United States and in the culture we have. We don't really have a death culture. Death is very sanitized and kind of put away. Even driving around California , you don't see graveyards anywhere. And within the culture , I grew up in Mexico , Mexican in Puerto Rico , and death is a part of life. And there are these long , beautiful mourning processes. There is Day of the Dead. There's this really intense reverence of those who have become ancestors. And in my family , at least , we talk about our dead constantly , as if they're still with us as a way to honor them and keep them in our stories and our living stories.
S4: And you have referred to yourself as a working class writer before , and you do manual labor , and you worked in manual labor while writing this book.
S5: I worked for my family's wrought iron business as my sisters do. I'm not really good in the office or on the phone. I have pretty intense ADHD. So my father sent me off to be an iron painter , which I've been doing on and off for 20 years. And I think listening to audiobooks all day , every day , and working with my body and looking around at the other workers , many of them of indigenous descent from Mexico and Central America , and trying to place them in a story where they were sacred , where we were sacred. And it just it all kind of came together. And I love that I'm a working class writer. I think there are so many artists out there who are invisible because nobody tells them that they can do the work. There are incredible musicians working in hotels in the service industry , artists of all shape and size , but we just don't know about them. So I'm hoping that my ability to publish as a working class writer gives other working class artists a little bit of hope.
S4: Liz , thank you so much. It has been a pleasure talking to you.
S5: Thank you so much , Julia.
S3: That was author Liz. Where to ? Speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans , where it is debut young adult novel The Lost Dreamer is out now. And Liz , Where To will be at the San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books on August 20th. More information is on our Web site.