Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Service providers, volunteers take part in countywide homeless count

 January 26, 2023 at 4:06 PM PST

S1: Volunteers were out this morning counting the county's homeless population.

S2: More and more families and individuals are winding up on our streets and service providers cannot keep up.

S1: I'm Andrew Bowie and this is KPBS Midday Edition. A transgender woman at the center of a locker room controversy in Santee speaks out.

S3: The main message that I tried to get across is I am no threat.

S1: A new bistro in Barrio Logan gives on the job training to students of the California Culinary Arts Institute. And we'll listen back to an interview with the co-creator of Sesame Street , who died recently at the age of 93. That's ahead on KPBS Midday Edition. This morning , hundreds of volunteers across the county coordinated to accomplish one single task. Record an accurate count of the region's homeless population. It's the goal of San Diego's annual point in time count , which endeavors to keep track of unhoused individuals living across the county. KPBS North County reporter Tanya Thorne covered the count this morning and she joins us now. Tanya , welcome.

S2: Thanks for having me , Andrew.

S1: Tanya , you , I'm guessing , were up very early this morning out with these volunteers.

S2: And you know what ? I wasn't up as early as some of the volunteers. This this starts at around 330 in the morning. And we got there right around 6 a.m.. So kind of up in early. But , you know , it really allows us to get our boots on the ground and just really see what is going on and just being there firsthand. It's a little overwhelming , to be honest , to see how hard it is to get this data because it's physical. People having to go out into encampments and to your city and to alleyways and count people and talk to them and try to collect this data , relying on volunteers that are having to get up very , very early and connect with these people and hoping that they want to be counted in order so we can get correct data. Right. That we used throughout the years. So it's definitely a big project , but one that is needed countywide.

S1: Unsheltered people are often kind of hidden from public view. They might be intense or cars. And at an hour this early in the morning , I can't imagine. Many of them are very excited to be interviewed or counted.

S2: Right. So 334 in the morning , we're all usually home trying to get ready for work. And it's very much the same thing here. Someone that is living in a tent is still in their tent and they may be getting ready to go and get services. So I was specifically in Escondido , and Interfaith Community Services here offers breakfast at 6 a.m. So volunteers went into the encampment right around three or 4 a.m. and talked to people right before they're heading to get breakfast , to get services , maybe to get ready for work and connect with them and count them for this data. And I learned that this isn't just one day there's people living in RVs and tents in their cars. And so this count is actually going on for a couple of days. So , for example , tomorrow , RVs are getting counted in the city of Escondido. So it's really it's really quite a big project.

S1:

S2: It really you know , that we rely heavily on them volunteering to participate in this count. So it's not very accurate , but it gives service providers , it gives municipalities , it gives the government a sense of where the numbers are. And you know , us as reporters and data that we use throughout the entire year. And it's important because at the end of the day , you know , that goes back to funding and how many resources are needed for individuals and just a way to gauge where homelessness in our cities and our regions is going. So it's very , very important , but it's not accurate. And I just like the census. I mean , it really is voluntary.

S1: We've been hearing from homeless advocates for a while now that the number of unhoused individuals in San Diego has been on the rise.

S2: Yes , it's growing. They can't keep up. The cost of housing is growing. The cost of living right. Groceries and gas prices. And so more and more families and individuals are winding up on our streets and service providers cannot keep up. And so I think for this year specifically , it's just very , very important that we try to get an accurate count because this is going to determine how much funding these service providers get. In North County , for example , Greg Angel from Interfaith Community Services told me the last count just in North County was 2000 homeless individuals , and there's roughly about less than 200 shelter beds. And so he's telling me that the shelter beds have not increased , even though the number of homeless individuals is increasing the shelter beds. Has it ? So it's you know , it's really hard for them to keep up. And that's what I keep hearing.

S1:

S2: And so it does take a couple of months. Right , Like I. Mentioned earlier , I learned that this count isn't just a single day service provider. As volunteers , we were out with Escondido police , Caltrans. It's a joint effort of everybody going in and trying to connect with these individuals and getting an accurate count. And so that takes time. It takes time to compile this data that's happening countywide. It's happening in all of our cities. And so this data then gets compiled and gets sent off to HUD , who then has to certify the data before it's finalized and release it out to the public.

S1: You know , a lot of us , I think , are very familiar with seeing homelessness in downtown San Diego and many other parts of the urban core of the city.

S2: And I would say maybe East County a little bit more inland. It's more in the riverbeds and a little bit more hidden. But because it's hidden , I think it becomes the encampment becomes larger. And so there's more people congregating together , which then leads into more problems. Right. Like crimes and drug use. And I think it's a little bit more hidden. And that's why this county is so important , because then maybe the cities that where homelessness isn't so visible aren't getting the resources they need. And so personally in North County , I have seen it increase probably in the last year and it's becoming more and more visible and the encampments are just growing.

S1:

S2: And so this year , I think it's really all hands on deck service providers , law enforcement , Caltrans , everyone I saw this morning is really working together because it's it's a problem that is impacting everybody. It's not just one city. It's not just one agency. It's all of our communities. And so really , I think the best accurate data that we can all get is going to determine how many resources we can get and hopefully solve this problem or just , you know , lower those numbers of these individuals that are living in these conditions that are just it's just not nice to see as a human. It's it's sad. And being out there this morning , I mean , I can imagine with how cold and the elements and the recent rain we got , we you know , I think this will really help.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS , North County reporter Tanya Thorn. And , Tanya , thank you for joining us.

S2: Thanks , Andrew.

S1: Last night in Santee , a transwoman , got to tell her side of the story at City Hall. Two weeks ago , a young woman spoke at the Santee City Council. Misgendering Kristin Wood and saying she was terrified to share the locker room with her. This sparked protests and counter-protests at the Cameron family YMCA , where both women are members. And it sparked a lot of national conservative media attention. Joining me now is Kristin Wood. And Kristin , welcome to Midday Edition and thank you for joining us.

S3: First of all , thank you and thank Terry PBS. And I'm very , very happy to be with you.

S1: Well , thank you , Kristin. There were a lot of vile and transphobic things that have been said about you in the past few weeks , including at last night's city council meeting. I can only imagine the toll that this has taken on you.

S3: I am not about to leave. I am the granddaughter of grandparents and great aunt and uncle that escaped the reconstruction of Georgia. And those people march with Dr. King knowing what dangers came with it. They talked of that when the Holocaust is just. Don't you dare run , please. We don't care how many tattoos or how many guns they might have. Don't you dare. And I'm not going to you know what I'm. What if they targeted me because I have an amazing support system from my art after a why from the white fellow and from the Civil war that exists here in the state of California. I don't live here by accident. I live here because I know that this is a place where I'm of faith. If I could ever be the Christian.

S1: You were the first to speak at the Santee City Council meeting last night.

S3: And I said it again that the military people , people who really don't want to hear them , legitimate need to. I am no threat. Be called the Voices of Transphobia. And let's face it , hatred are always vilifying we of the trained community facing other women and especially children on that faith. I am a mom , Mom , my grandma , mom and my granddaughter would matter. I am her beloved Nana. My children , my daughters and my career. Got it. Well , the first to come out and support my transition , my granddaughter walked with me in 2018. Pride. I never been prouder or happier. But that's what they're for. You buy that ? And my faith and your basic California Catholic , which means you're a Theo , Which means you go to mass on Kaufmann for Easter only. But , I mean , the point is that faith helps keep me strong. And if you did get a look at that city council meeting , which , oddly enough , I haven't looked it up yet because all that adrenaline let go of me last night around 10 p.m. , and me and my little doggy skipping went to bed and I out the sleep of the infant around just in time to go to the Y this morning. Do deep water aerobics. Hurry home. So I'd be ready to have a chat with you. Now.

S1: Now. I wanted to ask you about that. You went to an exercise class at the YMCA this morning after , you know.

S3: We've already seen off going through having the summer camp with the children in there. They have their parents and grandparents have been in that woman's locker room with me. There has never , ever , ever been an incident. And Kill one was manufactured by those who have a political agenda and a social agenda of trying to destroy trans civil rights and the ready to use myth , information , hatred , anger and violence. Try to do it. What I do is that campaign refrain , and I want to do it now , if you let me. Great. And God bless the Cameroon YMCA and the YMCA in my phone and Internet site. And God bless them with the dude who were there with me last night. And what will the matter ? Arguments make any mention. You know , I wore that Navy uniform for eight years to defend the right of the very helpful transphobic building that stood up there and use lies and misinformation. They described me and the entire transgender community.

S1:

S3: I had one of the transition back in the early seventies , in fact , 1978. But a common thing you might hear from trans women who transition later in life is like got in the way. Back then , there was no internet. You wanted to read for something. You'd go to a library and look it up on cards or you had to read book , which I did plenty of them. I also didn't have any health care insurance back then. As I reflect on it now. Everything happened when it was supposed to. I just happened to be killed for being in. I thought a documentary about Trinidad called Colorado. What you do A doctor , Marci Bowers , established her first clinic. For gender dysphoria and for transgender surgeries. And after walking , you know , well , I just found my virgin. And sure enough , I came out through my doctor. Drop refill. It appears Stacey Coleman and I love her with all my heart and she's been steps in the need to take. I follow them. Met with both psychiatrist that Youth Day in the gender clinic took her from what left been 32 minutes to say in no uncertain terms. Girl you are textbook efficacy for gender dysphoria. Not only if I going to approve your hormone , I approve your territory. Then by June , I told my employer , San Diego County Health and Human Services. Here's what you need to know. Yeah. I had a manager named Barbara who was only supportive of Berkeley. I had a human resources manager. Three acquitted jail. And what they said is , here's what we need to do. And they both made it perfectly clear you're the first we've ever worked with. So this is going to be new ground for us. They approached me and said , Would you mind if we set aside a time so that everybody in New York is not all at once , but groups of. Individual enough to fit in the conference room or of them with Kingman fashioned. And you read a prepared statement explaining that you're going to transition. And I said , I find that more than 50. Or said , let's build on the Friday afternoon , because after that fourth group , I'm going to be wrecked and I'm going to need to go home if they're not a problem. Hmm. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. This isn't the first time that you've had issues associated with locker rooms. You settled with another gym over your right to use the women's locker room.

S3: It with confidence. And it is far better to confirm this than need to follow the law. But like I said , the corporate attorney in and understood what the law was all about. And as you know , you do. And so about a week after my birthday in 2017 , I finally got access to the property , the felonies. And you. Nothing. Nothing. At that time , I was still pre-op. I had negative a gang , a plasty. I had the car and decent thing to do. My changing in a bathroom stall. And the moment I had to go through that locker room and home , I never even showered there.

S1: You could have kept your head down and tried to stay anonymous throughout all of this controversy. But you have it. You're speaking with us now publicly. You spoke at the city council meeting last night.

S3: But the truth need to be told. I don't run from a line.

S1: I've been speaking with Kristin Wood , a retired Health and Human Services worker , a resident of East County and a trans woman. Kristen , thank you so much for speaking with us.

S3: Thank you and God bless you all. Bev Agnew.

S1: This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Andrea Bowen in for Jade Hindman. The Half Moon Bay community is still reeling from this week's mass shooting in the city south of San Francisco. Half Moon Bay is home to about 12,000 residents. Nearly half of them are Latino. The city has a long agricultural history , making the shooting at two farms even harder to comprehend. The California Report co-host Marti Bolanos has been in Half Moon Bay this week covering the aftermath. She spoke with the California Report's Sal Gonzalez.

S4: So , Marnie , give us a sense of what residents are feeling.

S3: And saying there.

S2: Well , most of them are pretty shocked. Everyone that I spoke to says they never imagined something like this happening in Half Moon Bay. It's a coastal city of roughly 12,000 people , like you said. So it's pretty small and pretty quiet and peaceful. This is Antonio Plante Carter , who grew up in the area.

S4: Oh , yeah , This has to be this like the nicest place to be , like no type of crime rate. You could The worst thing that probably can happen to you here is you get hit by a dog.

S2: Other people called the city a paradise. So this was really unexpected for the community.

S4: We mentioned that Latinos make up a large portion of the population in Half Moon Bay , and two of the farm workers who were killed were Hispanic.

S2: I mentioned that they're a tightly knit community and many of the farm workers are from southern Mexican states like Osaka and Central American countries like El Salvador and Honduras. I spoke with a few people who knew one of the victims of the shooting , Marciano , Martinez Jimenez. Here's Francisca Sanchez. Her and Martinez Jimenez are from the same Pueblo , Santiago Apostol in Oaxaca , Mexico.

S5: The area is coming together. Many Muslims , those who knew the culture that I'm a high common campesinos , some of them were Hakka , some of them where we also lost my daughter. But I still think I still see the gasp in the wild. The.

S2: You know , they come to the United States to work hard and to get ahead. And a lot of people are sending money back home to their families. So to hear that someone passed away from their hometown , it's it's extremely difficult.

S4: Yeah , I'm sure , you know , you've done a lot of reporting on farmworker communities in the state. For many of those farm workers. English may not be their first language or they might be concerned about their immigration status. Right.

S2: I mean , a lot of these people are making meager wages and they're afraid to speak up because they're undocumented and they don't want to be deported. Or if there are poor conditions in their workplace , they're also not going to speak up again for fear of deportation. Now that this is happening is just adds another layer of fear that they have to experience. And here's Lorena Villalobos. She works at a flower nursery near the farm where one of the shootings happened.

S5: Si , si dango middle labor that the anyone with them on a like a northern mozambique person because I would look up outside.

S2: She tells me the news has left her afraid it can happen at her job. And you know , you just never know.

S4:

S2: And then there's ALS , which is are you thando Latinos as honored ? It's a community organization that helps Latinos in the area. And they've started a fund where people can donate money to help the families of the victims bury their loved ones and get back on their feet when they're able to. They're also providing mental health services to Latinos who are impacted by this.

S4: All right. That was my California report colleague Marty Bolanos. Marty , thanks so much for joining us.

S2: Of course.

S1: That was the California reports , Marty Bolanos and Sol Gonzalez. It's the newest restaurant hotspot in Barrio Logan , and it's run completely by culinary students working on their careers while helping the community. KPBS education reporter MJ Perez is in the kitchen where learning is happening and an outdoor bistro is now serving.

S5:

S4: Sizzling in a skillet to make a French sauce known as roux.

S5: This is a basic roux. And so what we're going to do is take this , set it aside , and then we're going to add it as a thickening agent for our clam chowder.

S4: Brian Brennan is one of the student chefs at the California Culinary Arts Institute in Barrio Logan. He's completed four months of rigorous commercial cooking education here. Before the pandemic , he had a job serving and hosting at a restaurant.

S5: My experience with food was mainly in front of the house until COVID stole my job , and I decided to find a purpose. And so I found out I'm really good at this.

S4: Brennan is one of a half dozen advanced students who will spend the next four months of their externship cooking and running a new outdoor bistro. The bistro is on the patio of the Culinary Arts Institute on National Avenue. The group of students must manage , purchase , cook and serve customers.

S5: And it's a balance on , you know , whether you make too much and you're wasting money or you make just enough and you get it perfect. And just because this school is so new and we don't know the traffic. When you serve someone , you serve them with love.

S4: The students are being mentored by executive chef and instructor show Rob Zarqawi , an Iranian immigrant with a lifetime of experience in kitchens around the world. He started the school as a business , but the bistro will benefit the community. All proceeds from food sales are donated to help the homeless and the San Diego Humane Society. Zarqawi is educating his students in hopes they will pay it forward in.

S5: Running a restaurant.

S4:

S5: They would be able to handle the front of the house and the back of the house. So if in future they want to own their own restaurant , they have that experience.

S2: My passion end is through food. And I feel like it is a way for me to say that I care through food.

S4: Bridget Varner Roth needed to find life again after losing her mom and three other family members to COVID early in the pandemic. She is accomplished in Asian cuisine and committed to using her talent to develop French and Italian dishes for the Bistro. She cooks in honor of those she lost.

S5: I wanted to be part of meat. I want them to still know that I'm doing it. Even though life is afraid of them.

S4: I'm going to have the eggplant parmesan sandwich.

S5: And I would love the attention.

S4: As paying customers , KPBS videographer Charlotte Radulovich and I had lunch at the Bistro Room.

S5: But they're pretty.

S4: Blown up at the cream of broccoli soup. Hmm. Delicious.

S5: Chowder , clams. Okay. Wow. And they're very generous in the quantities.

S4: Angelina Aguayo was our student waitress with a simple plan for her future.

S5: Just finding a good , stable restaurant to set myself up. And maybe when I retire , I have a food truck and just travel the world. I feel like that's such a basic thing to say. But I love food and I love traveling. All right.

S4: Mango lemonade. Wow.

S5: Wow. Cheers. The flavors. It's really good.

S4: For now , the bistro at California Culinary Arts Institute is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.. But with careers to cultivate and the community to help , the chefs in training want to make this bistro the taste of the town. My compliments to the chef. Let the kitchen know we are very happy. M.G. Perez , KPBS News.

S1: Some sad news this week for the millions of Americans whose lives have been touched by Sesame Street. Lloyd Morissette , a co-founder of Sesame Workshop , has died. He was 93. Remembering her collaborator and friend , co-founder Joan Ganz , Cooney said without Lloyd Morissette , there would be no Sesame Street. It was he who first came up with the notion of using television to teach preschoolers basic skills such as letters and numbers. KPBS Midday Edition co-host Jade Hindman interviewed Lloyd Morissette at his home in La Hoya in 2019 , during the 50th anniversary year of the program.

S6: Well , Mr. More said , thank you so much for joining us.

S4: Thank you.

S6: Take us back to 1960 when you. You and your collaborators were creating what would become Sesame Street.

S4: First , a study to determine whether people thought television could be used to teach young children. Secondly , hiring a group of professionals that knew how to produce television. Third , getting the job done. We had to produce at that time 130 hours a year of television. We had to have people that knew what they were doing and calling it Sesame Street. When you asked what the idea for Sesame Street was calling it Sesame Street developed during the course of that process. When the producers went away for a weekend seminar to try to figure out what they were going to call the program.

S6:

S4: And by the end of third grade , the entered entered first grade three months behind , and by third grade they were nearby. And there was great discussion about how that gap could be overcome. I was then working at Carnegie Foundation , and we financed a number of experiments to try to see if you could inoculate children at an early age so that they would be able to succeed in school rather than failing. And it turned out all experiments worked , but we were only reaching a few hundred children. There were about 1,000,005 entering school that way each year. So there was a big discrepancy between what our goal was and what we were actually doing. And because I had become friends with Joan Cooney , who was a producer , Channel 13 , I asked her if she thought television could be used to teach young children. She said she didn't know , but she'd like to talk about it. And that's how it began.

S6: And your own daughter , she you saw and observed her even connecting with television , correct ? Yes.

S4: But we didn't know what she was connecting with. She'd get up on Sunday morning and watch the station identification signal.

S6: So a little more research. And you found it out.

S4: It happened. But it was a challenge.

S6: And so , like , you know , respect , that's a value , right ? And it's one of the values you will always teach on Sesame Street. I will talk to me about that. I mean , it's one thing to teach your your math and your reading and all of those things , but there are also a set of values that go into the show.

S4: Those children frequently came from different ethnic families , our different geographical families. And we wanted to show them that they could be friends with people who were different. So , for example , the character of Ernie and Bert were chosen to be very different looking people , Muppets in this case. But they got along as friends. And the idea that it was an inclusive show was there from the very beginning. That was one of the most important ideas.

S6: And you have a background in experimental psychology.

S4: So we had research built into the program from the beginning.

S6: And I've read that you and one of your Sesame Street Workshop co-founders , Joan Cooney , watched the filming of the first episode of Sesame Street. And you turned to her and you said , You know , Joan , we did it.

S4: And based on their audience reaction , it was clear that we had done something that had wide appeal. And that's why I said that.

S6:

S4: Beyond the first year , we didn't know we have our second year. So , no , of course not.

S6:

S4: We had the benefit of the work of a lot of talented people.

S6: When you accept the honor , the Kennedy Award honor , I imagine that you'll be sort of looking back at all of those people that helped to put the program to you. Yes.

S4: Yes. In accepting that honor , I don't have to say anything that night , though. So that's very fortunate.

S6:

S4: They need to know that girls and boys have the same kinds of educational needs as young children. They need to be aware that other cultures have their own values. So there are a lot of things that one would want to teach , and we managed to teach some of them , but certainly not all.

S6: I sure appreciate you taking time to talk to us.

S4: Thank you.

S1: That was Lloyd Morissette , a co-founder of Sesame Workshop , speaking in 2019. Morissette died recently at the age of 93. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Andrea boen in for Jade Hindman. While COVID lockdowns are a thing of the past , many of us have not returned to all of the activities we enjoyed before. Our lives were interrupted by the pandemic , and that includes the arts. That leaves San Diego artists and the organizations that sustain them trying to find new ways to reach audiences without whose support they could not survive. Felicia Shaw is a longtime arts advocate in San Diego. In her new role as the executive director for the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition , she's working to help local artists and arts organizations rebuild. Felicia Shaw spoke with KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindman.

S6:

S2: But we're a resilient bunch of people. And so when the pandemic hit , we pivoted just like everyone else. We decided , you know , this is how we're going to continue to respond to all of our constituents and our patrons and customers. We went online just like everybody else. We went home and we did the very best that we could. Now , with the pandemic in the rearview mirror , so to speak , we're discovering that a lot of things didn't get back to whatever we thought was normal. So we're trying to reestablish what is the new normal for our industry.

S6: You know , people have gotten out of the habit of going out to experience art.

S2: You know , it's really amazing what can happen in two years of , you know , sitting on your couch watching Netflix , wearing sweatpants , not going out. And now all of a sudden , we expect people to boot up and suit up , come to the galas with the black ties on. We need to have a conversation with our patrons and say , what does life look like for you now ? You know what's meaningful for you ? How do you want to connect with your creative self ? And what we're hearing is that people really don't want to crowd into big theaters as much as they did before. Some have returned , but others are , you know , revisiting. What does it look like to be an arts patron today ? And so you ask , you know , what do we need to do ? We need to listen , because a lot of the arts patrons who were there for us before the pandemic have not returned. The arts community , our industry has always had older patrons. Some of them are still trying to figure out if it's safe. And then the arts industry never really had a great relationship with younger patrons who are looking for those experiences. They want those Instagram moments. Young people of color , they weren't there before the pandemic , and so now they get them to establish a relationship with those. Now requires a lot of listening and then a lot of pivoting to meet them where they are.

S6: It's a lot to navigate. I mean , just suiting up is always a lot of you know.

S2: I think about , you know , people who are working remotely now , how hard it is to get them to go back into the office. So , you know , what is it going to take to get people to get back into the habit , so to speak , of going to the theater or going to museums , you know , going to dance concerts ? What do really people really want ? Right.

S6: Given that there are some anxieties about large gatherings and and really just getting out there and suiting up and being around people. Right.

S2: Right.

S6:

S2: There's one small theater company that before the pandemic they were about selling like 90% of their house. It's a small theater company. Now they're at 50%. And so what they're giving people are more intimate experiences where they get to dabble a little bit. People want to connect with each other. So it's it's not that they're not interested in what's on the stage. Of course , we love , you know , great stories told on the stage. We love to go to museums , but now we want these personalized experiences. We want to get we want to get up close and personal with the actors and we want to understand what's going on behind the scenes. This was happening before the pandemic. It's. Happening even more now. I think these Instagram moments are meaningful to people. They want to see themselves in the story. They want to tell their friends , Hey , I was here. And so how do you create that type of experience for people and still pay the bills ? Because , you know , you know , even though a lot of people haven't come back , the the cost of delivering high quality arts and culture experiences has not changed. In fact , it's gone up. We have to pay our staff more. Talking about everybody from technical directors and costumers and the people who prepare the wigs , all these people today have to be paid more money than they were before the pandemic. So the cost of delivering on our on our missions has become more expensive.

S6: And on those high costs. What are local artists telling you about what they need to be artist in San Diego in 2023 ? San Diego is not cheap.

S2: It is not cheap. You know , we talk about that , the great resignation and people leaving California. The big fear that we have now is how do we keep our artists here ? The financial losses , you know , to the arts community has been fairly severe to the nation's nonprofit arts and culture organizations. It was estimated at 17.97 billion. So 99% of producing and presenting organizations cancel events during the pandemic. You know , when you do something like that , the people who work in the industry , they can't wait for the next big show. They're going to go where they can can live. They're going to go where they can survive. And so we have to figure out and have new initiatives that are going to keep artists here. This is why I'm so excited about two new initiatives that the Arts and Culture Coalition is helping to implement. One will get moneys directly into the hands of artists. The city was awarded a $4.75 million grant from the state , the California Arts Council , to implement a program called California Creative Core. And I think it kind of harkens back to the WPA movement where we were trying to get artists back to work. And it will employ nearly 120 individual artists this year who will work at the intersection of art and social change. We need to help artists pay those bills , pay those expensive rent while we figure out how do we make and ensure that artists have a living wage ? How do we ensure that they can survive and thrive in San Diego at a time when things are astronomically expensive ? Hmm.

S6: You know , given that , you know , for local artists , have you noticed any changes in how art is being made ? Yes.

S2: I think that in the past and I will say , you know , before COVID and after COVID , we depended a lot on our institutions to deliver on our artistic and creative needs. And now we're seeing individual artists go rogue. They're not waiting for the institutions to give them permission to create new work. And so what you're seeing is artists take it upon themselves to have experiences , murals on the street , dancing in the street , a lot of things out more outdoors than they were before , because they know that people are more comfortable. So I think artists are becoming more creative and figuring out ways to meet people as they're beginning to reenter society. In the park , you know , in restaurants , a lot of different gathering places have cropped up since the pandemic. And so I think that's one of the major ways that artists are shifting to say , hey , you know , we don't need the formal theaters anymore. We can experience and help people experience the arts outside.

S6: Well , given all the struggles the local arts community has faced in recent years , I hear your optimism and your confidence in a brighter future for art in San Diego.

S2: Thank you. You know , San Diego has always sold itself on our wonderful weather and the sun in the sand. But who are we without our creative community ? Our creative industry ? You know , Los Angeles is proud to talk about their industry that's so built around Hollywood and the film industry. We have an industry here , too , and it's a multibillion dollar industry that we need to support.

S1: That was Felicia Shaw , the first executive director for the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition. She was speaking to Midday Edition co-host Jade Heineman.

Hundreds of volunteers across the county coordinated this morning to accomplish one single task: record an accurate count of the region’s homeless population. Then, the woman at the center of a national conservative media firestorm, stemming from a shower she took at the Santee YMCA, addresses the Santee city council. Plus, the small California community of Half Moon Bay is still reeling from a mass shooting earlier this week. Later, a kitchen in Barrio Logan introduces students to potential culinary careers. Plus, we dig into our archive for a 2019 conversation with “Sesame Street” co-creator Lloyd Morrisett whose death was announced Monday. Finally, the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition has a new leader who is reimagining a ‘new normal’ for local artists and arts organizations.