Supreme Court hands Biden a victory with 'Remain in Mexico' case
S1: The White House can now end the remain in Mexico policy.
S2: With this court decision , it doesn't mean that the Biden administration is now fully supporting asylum procedures.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. The Supreme Court has now limited the EPA's ability to regulate power plant emissions.
S3: I truly believe California can still be the vanguard of what is possible.
S1: A word of caution from health experts. As COVID sub variants spread and a new exhibition celebrates 60 years of Spider-Man. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The Biden administration has the right to end the Trump era remain in Mexico policy , the Supreme Court says. The policy has required asylum seekers at the southern border to be either detained in the U.S. or stay in Mexico while they wait for their cases to be heard. KPBS investigative border reporter Gustavo Solis has been covering the story and joins me now with more. Gustavo , welcome back.
S4: Well , thank you , David.
S4: But it's it's a limited win , right ? It's kind of like we won the battle , but not the war type of situation. So I think people are generally happy , but they still recognize that there's much work to be done in their efforts to reverse some of the Trump era hardline immigration policies. Well , you can hear from Pedro Rios , local activist here in San Diego , who has been on the ground and fighting against remain in Mexico for years.
S2: With this court decision , it doesn't mean that the Biden administration is now fully supporting asylum procedures. So we will continue to see people that will be placed in harm's way by being sent back to Mexico under Title 42 without any asylum processes in front of them.
S1: And you've been reporting on the consequences of this policy for some time.
S4: People living in Mexico didn't always have a fixed address , so it's very difficult for a court to mail documents , mail important documents about where their next hearing were and what they needed to do to defend themselves in court. They just weren't getting it. It was very difficult for people in the program to find legal representation because most of the lawyers are based in the United States. And obviously it's very hard , costly , time consuming for a lawyer to spend all day in Mexico to try to screen and work with their clients. And that reflected those logistical hurdles , reflected in the grant rates in the program. At one point , about 1% of the people enrolled in Remain at Mexico actually received asylum. That means 99% of them did not. So the program made it very , very difficult for people to actually win their cases once they had a court date. The other big issue was the safety issue , and there's been hundreds of reported cases of people who asylum seekers really the most vulnerable of our population , who our federal government forced to go back in Mexico , who were then victims of crimes. They were robbed , assaulted , sexually assaulted and in some cases even killed.
S1: And this decision is a victory for the Biden administration , which tried to end the Remain in Mexico policy soon after he took office.
S4: I mean , it is a victory for the Biden administration who has been trying to get rid of remain in Mexico since the beginning of his administration. Even before really it was one of his campaign promises was to restore a humane asylum system. We're a couple of years into his presidency now , and some of the activists on the ground are losing their patience with the Biden administration. And before this , they were really just kind of blasting him for not fulfilling campaign promises. And I think this might go a little bit of might help turn that narrative around a little bit in terms of what the new process will be. It's kind of hard to tell , right. This. This decision today allows the administration to terminate the program. But as of today , as of right now , the administration hasn't. The assumption from advocates is that the Biden administration will terminate the program quickly , but we're not sure quite where and when yet.
S4: Since the Biden administration brought it back , there's been about 6000 , 7000 people enrolled in the program. The assumption is that they will no longer be in Mexico once the program is terminated. So the government will have to find a way to to get them into the U.S.. But the bigger picture is that remaining Mexico is just one of two Trump border policies that limited asylum. The other one is Title 42. Title 42 , or some of the listeners will know essentially bars people from even starting the asylum process that allows Border Patrol agents to turn away asylum seekers at the border without due process , without the ability to see a judge. It just kind of shuts the door with remaining in Mexico , at least you get to start the process. You just have to see it through. For Mexico , even though remain in Mexico will potentially be gone now and almost for sure gone now. Pedro , 42 , remains. And as long as Title 42 remains , activists are telling me that there's still a big issue in terms of asylum being blocked from the US. So the fight now even like less than a few hours after the Supreme Court decision. Advocates are still fighting to try to end Title 42 , and that's kind of the next big hurdle for them.
S1: I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter reporter Gustavo Solis. Gustavo , thanks.
S4: Thank you , Ted.
S5: The Supreme Court today dealt a blow to the nation's effort to curb carbon emissions and switch to sustainable energy production. In a 6 to 3 opinion , the court sided with West Virginia coal plant operators that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to change the nation's energy producing system. The ruling affects the Biden administration's plans to demand states switch from coal to less emissions producing sources such as natural gas , wind turbines and solar energy. The opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts said that only explicit instructions from Congress would allow the EPA such broad powers. Joining me is Nicole Cabot's , founder and CEO of Climate Action Campaign. And Nicole , welcome to the program.
S3: Happy to be here.
S3: I mean , obviously , we've seen a pattern of decisions by this court that have been challenging to hear. The good news is that this ruling was more limited than we have feared. So it really does just limit the Biden administration from regulating the emissions from power plants. It's not a full scale prohibition against regulating greenhouse gas emissions. And so there is more opportunity under the Clean Air Act for the president to take action and help stop greenhouse gas emissions.
S5: But considering that Republicans in Congress have largely been blocking climate change legislation for years , it doesn't seem likely that the government will be able to ask states to reduce emissions.
S3: I'm looking for silver linings anywhere I can find them. So there is still the ability of EPA to regulate particulate emissions. And there's the Toxic Security Control Act , which also allows for some air quality emission controls. So there is some wiggle room still at EPA. And of course , the president still has the power of the pen with resources. And he has actually deployed that. He deployed the Defense Production Act to sort of provide a booster for solar and heat pump manufacturing in the United States. So , you know , there's still some power of the president in play. And the other reality is that there's a lot of opportunity , and this is really the focus of our organization at the local and state level , and that remains so that has nothing to do with this Supreme Court decision. And as we are seeing in California , our governor just announced that the budget this year , I mean , this is extraordinary , has $59 billion to invest in climate solutions so we can make progress in California. And then here in San Diego , in our own backyard , we have a new climate action plan. We still have some advocacy to do to get it exactly the way we want it and make sure it gets implemented. But I think pairing the extraordinary amount of resources of the state with the strategies at the state and local level like we can model what a zero carbon future still still looks like. So we're really leaning in to what we can do in our own backyard.
S5: Let's hear from Governor Gavin Newsom reacting to today's ruling.
S2: The idea that the US Supreme Court moved to take away one of the most significant and historically powerful tools to address the ravages of climate change is incomprehensible. We've got to wake up to what's going on. Supreme Court. And we've got to double down , quadruple down here in California and in blue states all across America.
S3: So I think we're still in a pretty strong position. I mean , I agree with the governor like this is a blow , right ? This is a step back. This isn't. There's nothing. Again , still trying to look for silver linings. But obviously , this is not a decision that we are happy about or celebrating in any way , shape or form. But I truly believe California can still be at the vanguard of what is possible. And I do believe our governor still has the ability to mitigate and regulate greenhouse gas emissions again in California. So there's a lot of work to do nationwide. But I am hopeful that we again , we can show what's possible and if we can show it's possible and build a market for renewable technologies and more climate solutions and show it on the ground , the infrastructure on the ground , and the positive public health impacts and economic impacts of these projects. Then I think the good news will spread and we will win. That's that's kind of the theory we're going with.
S5: The recent U.N. reports on climate change have contained warnings. That the world must reduce emissions as quickly as possible.
S3: But I just don't want listeners to feel like we have no tools in the toolbox and that we are prevented from taking climate action. There really still are existing tools available and we are still going to be pushing the state and obviously the federal legislature to pass sweeping climate legislation. That is absolutely essential , and we understand that's what the Supreme Court is requiring. But again , at the state and local level , there is an extraordinary amount of opportunity there. And that's really where we think the community really has to lean into. That is where hope remains and that is where , frankly , that's usually how change happens from the ground up. So what I would encourage everyone to do is look to your local leaders , look to your mayor , look to your city council members , and then look to your local state assembly member and senators and ask them , what are you doing ? This is the most existential crisis of our time. Everything is on the line as the IPCC and the U.N. have said. So I think that we can work in our backyard and identify those solutions that work and then scale and replicate them. And that's where we're going to be as an organization. And we hope everybody in San Diego joins us because we need you.
S5: I've been speaking with Nicole Kapur , its founder and CEO of Climate Action Campaign. Nicole , thanks.
S3: Thank you.
S5: While today's Supreme Court decision affects the federal government's ability to restrict climate warming emissions , work being done at the local level can have big impacts on the fight against climate change. Here in San Diego , the city is close to updating its climate action plan. It's a forward looking document that envisions a planet friendly carbon zero future for America's finest city. But KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson finds that vision is still a bit fuzzy for some.
S6: Maritza Garcia carries her weeks old daughter in not in a cross-body sling as she walks across the same Logan Heights park that she played in as a child.
S7: Pretty soon will be coming in. You're going to be playing up in her jungle gym.
S6: Her mother lives in the same neighborhood. She's fighting a lifelong battle with asthma. It's one extra reason that Garcia wants the best for her newborn daughter.
S3: I am fighting for the health of my community who I saw grew up with me through their kids. Oh , my gosh. I'm been emotional.
S6: She wants what other neighborhoods have air that's clean enough that people don't have to think about it.
S3: It's so hard to.
S7: Stay positive about this neighborhood all the time , as much as as much as you want to , as much beauty as you see here. There's still those health risks , those just those concerns always in the back of your mind , always having to do extra.
S6: She's happy the city of San Diego is making clean air a priority in an updated climate action plan. The city's Mireya Saldana says Clean Air is front and center in the new planning document designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
S7: Air quality and reducing the pollution our communities.
S3: Was the number one thing that our residents wanted out of the Climate Action Plan.
S6: Saldana says. If successful , the new climate blueprint will transform San Diego in other ways. By 2035.
S3: A walkable city , a city where you can bike to work.
S6: Cars won't be needed as much and there will be less litter.
S7: A city that has green spaces.
S3: For recreation , for playing. A city that protects us from the impacts of climate change. And the beautiful part about the climate plan is that it's an incredible vision for an improved quality of life in San Diego , for improved public health.
S6: But the Climate Action Campaign's Nicole campus isn't completely sold on the Climate Action Plan 2.0. She worries the document is too aspirational , like the first plan passed in 2015. Great goals , but weak execution.
S3: There's just so much good. If the city took this seriously , there's so much good that can come out of it , like tangible benefits to quality of life. And again , to make sure we're prepared as there's like earthquake common with these climate changes.
S6: The Environmental Health Coalition's Kyle Escala says one fix is to include targets with costs and timetables spelled out.
S2: There's been some hesitation by the City of San Diego to include strong goals to cleaning up the air. And I think it's a case of something that hasn't been done before.
S6: Escala says defining climate targets quantitatively with achievable goals goes a long way toward helping clean the air , especially in neighborhoods like Logan Heights. He says accountability is important.
S2: Those types of projects need to be prioritized in the environmental justice communities that have held the burden of air pollution and heavy industry without seeing the benefits.
S6: The Climate Action Plan goes before the city's environment committee this week. Council member Joe LaCava says he's heard a lot of positive comments from people tracking development of the revision. He says this effort is not just a bureaucratic exercise. It matters because the city has to prepare for a warming climate.
S2: While I know there's good work being done by city staff and city departments , it has helpful to actually have it articulated in a specific document. This doesn't have to be a fancy report , but a pretty cover. It can just be an old fashioned spreadsheet , but it gives us that timeline.
S6: The climate plan update has been in the works since 2020 , and it's likely to get enough support in the City Council's Environment Committee to move to the full council for adoption. LaCava says he also hopes to flesh out the implementation matrix , which will add some accountability to the plan. It includes more than 180 measurable goals , up from just over a dozen in the first climate action plan. Erik Anderson , KPBS News.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. On the eve of the 4th of July holiday weekend , local health officials are raising concerns as two Omicron Sub variants now dominate across the country are beginning to take hold. In San Diego , the coronavirus variants B , A four and B , a five are more transmissible and infectious , presenting new challenges for health care officials. Here to tell us more about what these new variants mean for San Diego is Dr. Robert Schooley , professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases with UC San Diego and UC San Diego Health. Dr. Schooley , welcome back to Mid-day Addition.
S2: Thanks very much. Glad to be here.
S2: We're still seeing a lot of viral activity in the city. We're not seeing a large number of people in the hospital or dying , although we still see a fair number of people , mainly under or unvaccinated people or people with underlying conditions , are getting these new variants. And some of them do get quite ill , but we're seeing a substantial amount of overall activity.
S1: Yesterday , Scripps Health announced it has seen COVID hospitalizations double and intensive care patients triple over the last month.
S2: We have as many cases as we do. Some people are going to get ill and we're going to see this rise as long as the caseload rises.
S2: It takes a week or so for the data to be analyzed. And as of a week or so ago , we were already at 50% with a rapid rise. So we're clearly over 50% at this point.
S1: Bay five in particular has some health officials concerned , including Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya , who calls the ba5 sub variant the worst version of the virus that we've seen.
S2: It's able to kind of compete with the other variants and push them out of the way at the population level , particularly in populations that have been vaccinated with earlier versions of the virus , the one that circulated initially and with people who've been infected with earlier versions. The A5 is different enough immunologically that the level of protection provided by prior infection in vaccines is relatively modest and people are getting infected despite prior immunization. Now having said that , when they do get infected , people who are up to date with their vaccinations are much less likely to become severely ill. This decreases the likelihood of being hospitalized or dying many , many fold. But people are still getting infected , even though they've been heavily vaccinated.
S2: The breakthrough infections are people who have been previously infected or who have been vaccinated and are becoming infected with the four or five anyway. I personally am recovering from what I think was likely to be a five infection. I've been careful throughout the entire pandemic and had not been infected up until this point and a couple of weeks ago developed symptoms and tested positive. Based on the epidemiology , I think it's very likely to be a five. So this virus is picking off people that have up until now not been infected and who are have been really careful about vaccination and and masking.
S2: People really have throats that are sometimes a sore. As people talk about with infectious mononucleosis or mono , the teenagers get others a fair amount of congestion and nasal stuffiness. We see some of this with earlier variants , but much less than with earlier variants.
S1: You mentioned vaccines.
S2: Even with the original viral variants do provide a fair amount of protection for severe disease. And so we have a large number of people in the population who got their initial vaccinations now , some of them over a year ago , particularly people who are older because we vaccinated them first and if they've not been boosted their level of protection with a difference between B5 and prior variants and with the term that has passed their level of protection is really quite sketchy.
S1: Have health officials. Changed mask guidance even as a result of these new variants.
S2: Mask mandates haven't changed , however. What has happened is we're increasingly trying to encourage people to use their judgment and their knowledge about level of gorilla activity around them to make their own decisions. I , for example , know that there's a lot of virus here in San Diego. And so when the levels of viral activity of that high , what I will do is put on a mask when I go into a place indoors where they're going to be a lot of people , I don't wear a mask everywhere I go there. Areas that are outdoors are only people that are normally around family and close friends. But it is the kind of environment in which it makes sense for people to add that one more level of protection when risks are high , that is , larger numbers of people that you don't interact with indoors.
S1: And we have heard about the potential for newer coronavirus boosters being available this fall to specifically target Omicron. What's the status there.
S2: Under really very active investigation. They look to be as just as well tolerated as the current vaccines are. I'm just sore for a short while , but they develop higher levels of immunity against the circulating Omicron variants. Now , there are some nuances here because the vaccines that have been worked on most recently are directed at the electron variants that we were seeing in San Diego in December and January , not before and VFR. Those are just getting started now. And so what we really have here is a moving target very much like we do with flu every year. And we're going to have to struggle to keep up with this moving target with updating the vaccines.
S1: I've been speaking with Dr. Robert Schooley , professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UC San Diego and UC San Diego Health. Dr. Schooley , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thanks very much.
S5: After multiple extensions. California's renters eviction moratorium program ends today. The state moratorium aimed at helping renters weather COVID related financial hardships allowed both landlords and tenants to apply and promise to pay up to 100% of back rent and utility payments. Now , struggling renters may once again face eviction unless they qualify for the city of San Diego's eviction moratorium , which goes into effect tomorrow. However , qualifying for help from the program can be complicated. Joining me to explain the city's eviction moratorium program is Gil Vera. He is senior attorney of the housing team at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. And Gil , welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you for having me today.
S5: The city's eviction moratorium has actually been on hold for over a year. Tell us about that.
S2: That's correct. The nonpayment of rent eviction moratorium was originally passed in February of 2021 , but did not go into effect because of state preemption , which prevented local governments from passing any additional protections for nonpayment of rent evictions. However , those presumptions are ending on June 30th and and therefore , the city of San Diego's eviction moratorium is going to go into effect on July 1st.
S2: So it's not going to help tenants who maybe couldn't pay their June rent or may rent. Those preemption still attach because they're attached to a specific period of time that ends of June 30th for July rent. And going forward , because the moratorium doesn't expire until 60 days after the mayor lifts the local state of emergency through the expiration , that will protect tenants whose income has been substantially impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
S2: Maybe you don't have because you're sick or someone your household is sick and you maybe you don't have any more sick time to cover that. And as a result , you have to forego working and lose some of your salary. And so that's the reason why these moratoriums are passed so that tenants in those situations aren't put in a tough position where they're forgoing , buying food or necessary medication because they need to pay the rent and they don't want to get evicted.
S5: Now , we're seeing right now an uptick in COVID cases , but overall , things like COVID related school closures or stay at home orders are not in effect anymore.
S2: And that , you know , the loss of childcare also affects people's ability to work. And so although we're not where we were when this moratorium was passed , there are some people who are still being financially impact of COVID 19. So although we're not where we were when this was passed , people are still being impacted by COVID 19 and aren't able to pay the rent.
S2: For many people , rent's due on the first , so for many people , they're going to have to give that notification in writing no later than July 7th. For most , depending on when you're at this , do I recommend if you're provided a notification to provide it via email , via text ? That way you have some sort of proof , some sort of verification that you actually sent that versus if you just hand it to your landlord , it can become a situation where it's whether that was given timely , it could be , you know , your word against theirs. And so I really recommend that , if you can , to give it electronically , be a text , you know , take a picture of it and send it to your landlord. If you're mailing it , send it via first class mail with tracking. So again , you want to have some sort of proof that you provided this notice within that seven day period.
S5: Now , it's important to note , I think , that unlike the most recent state moratorium , the city's eviction ban does not actually provide funds to pay anybody's rent. Is that.
S2: Right ? That's correct. So the moratorium we're now entering , it's a little bit like deja vu. We're actually going back to what , you know , the local moratoriums that were in place before the states stepped in. And that was kind of before October 2020 where there was no rental assistance in place. And this eviction moratorium does not create a rental assistance program for tenants to apply and additionally does not forgive the rent. That rent is going to be due even if the tenant compare. What it prevents is the landlord from evicting a tenant for not paying the rent. So if you are able to pay all of your rent , I recommend you pay it and don't provide a notice if you haven't been financially impacted. If you have been financially. Packed it and you can only play a partial. I recommend you make those partial payments because at some point the spread is going to become due and if you don't care , you will be evicted. And so to avoid having that balloon payment down the line , pay what you can. And if you can't pay your rent , don't rely on the fact that there might be another rental assistance program coming from the state or federal government , because from what I'm hearing , the state's not extending the current protections that are expiring today on June 30th , and they're not going to be providing any more rental assistance from what I'm hearing. So I don't want people to rely on the fact that there's more rental assistance coming , because that's not what I've been hearing.
S2: Also on our website at WW DOT LAUSD board , we have a few frequently asked questions that we've created about the City of San Diego non-payment of rent , eviction , moratorium , and available in English and in Spanish. Additionally , they can call Legal Aid Society at 1877 Legal Aid if they have more specific questions or would like legal advice considering their specific situation.
S5: I've been speaking with Gil Rivera , senior attorney of the housing team at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. Gil , thank you.
S2: Thank you.
S1: KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman says the financial blow comes as hospitals are still reeling from the economic strain of the pandemic. And it could get worse as California mandates loom.
S6: More than half of the state's hospitals are operating at a loss or unsustainable margins because of the COVID 19 pandemic. That's according to a recent report commissioned by the California Hospital Association.
S3: That means they are losing money every day caring for patients.
S6: Jan Emerson , she is vice president of external affairs for the California Hospital Association. She says more hospitals are losing money now compared to pre-pandemic.
S3: And it's probably going to take years for the situation to fully right itself. And in truth , there may be hospitals across the state that just aren't able to come out of this.
S6: Inflation is only worsening the financial strain on hospitals. The report found that hospitals are generally caring for fewer patients while costs are rising and labor shortages are growing. Hospitals have been turning to contract workers. It's an expense that's hurting their bottom line. Some travel nurses are being paid upwards of $300 an hour.
S3: And California's not alone in this. So we're in a national bidding war , if you will , for these these temporary workers.
S6: Scripps Health is one of the largest hospital systems in San Diego. Its CEO , Chris Van Gorder , says Scripps has paid as much as $211 per hour for contract nurses. He says they currently have around 1000 open positions. And we're talking.
S2: About everything from nurses to environmental service workers to food service workers.
S6: Van Gorder says the worker shortage and rising expenses is taking a major bite out of the health care systems profits we're seeing.
S2: Supply costs are going up about 5 to 6% , but our revenue growth at best is going to go up about 3%. So these very small margins you're seeing hospitals make right now are going to get even tighter in the next couple of years.
S6: There's also another financial cloud hanging over hospitals. The Seismic Safety Act was amended 20 years ago. It requires hospitals to be retrofitted to operate after earthquakes. It has a fast approaching deadline of 2030.
S3: That has a hundred plus billion dollar price tag associated with it. We're running into a train wreck if something isn't done to relieve the pressure on the seismic issue.
S6: Emerson hopes hospitals get a deadline extension.
S3: We may need at some point to have a conversation about at least some dollars being allocated. But right now , time , time doesn't cost anything.
S6: Over at Scripps Van Gorder is budgeting for the seismic retrofitting mandate , something that could increase with the cost of raw materials.
S2: We're hoping to get a delay on that , but the legislature is struggling with that. That's $2.4 billion. For Scripps , legislators will look at the balance sheet and go , well , why look at all that money you have in the bank ? Well , I can tell you , you know , if we spend all the money we have in the bank right now , I would not be able to comply with SB 1953.
S6: Van Gorder says hospitals including Scripps , got federal COVID relief money from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan. But he says that money is gone. He'd like to see some more help from the state or federal government.
S2: Scripps is not in danger of closing. We have a balance sheet that can support us. But when you look forward to all these challenges that I have to deal with , particularly the unfunded mandates , the $2.4 billion in building costs that I have to do because the state says I have to do it. Other states don't have that problem.
S6: While Scripps or other San Diego systems may not be at risk of closing , the hospital association says it's a very real threat for others. They were lobbying for increases in Medi-Cal reimbursements to try and help struggling hospitals , but ultimately they weren't able to get it in the state budget. California is allocating money for health worker education and training. There's also $1,000,000,000 in stipends to help retain staff. Again , here's Emerson Shaye.
S3: We need all hospitals in this state. We have roughly 400 hospitals in California to treat 40 million people in our state. You know , we cannot afford to lose these very important centers of care.
S6: Matt Hoffman , KPBS News.
S5: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hyneman. Marvel Comics Spider-Man celebrates his 60th anniversary this year and will be inducted into the Comic-Con Museum's Character Hall of Fame. To celebrate his legacy , Comic-Con Museum is opening Spider-Man Beyond Amazing , the exhibition tomorrow. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with Co-curators Ben Saunders and Patrick Reed about the exhibit and the popularity of character.
S2: We're talking not just about comic books , not just about animated cartoons , not just about movies , but also videogames , action figures and toys. I mean , almost every aspect of the culture that you could emboss or imprint with a Spider-Man image or logo has at some time embedded Buster imprinted with a Spider-Man logo. And that's because this is a character that has won people over generation after generation. So when you tell a story in a museum exhibition , you basically are telling a story through objects and artifacts. So we made the decision quite early on not to have a lot of actual comic books. For example , when people go to one of my shows , they're usually quite surprised. They think it's a comics show and they think they're going to see comics as artifacts. And we don't usually do that , partly because they're rather small. They don't display terribly well. But we love taking pages of panels from them and blowing them up , backlighting them , you know , playing with the reproductions , perhaps animating an element from them. So we were making decisions about what to include , partly based on what kind of media and artifacts were available to us to tell the story.
S7: And Patrick.
S2: We're dealing with a character that has appeared through all of these different media. And so we were able to cherry pick pieces of all of these different forms of media to tell this story in its own medium , in a museum exhibition , and take the elements that we liked and present them in a unique and compelling way. How do we bring this element of a comic book to life ? How do we make this element from the animated cartoons resonate in a museum environment , in a walk through , in an actual experiential space ? Oftentimes , we didn't have an initial answer to those questions. It was as we boiled down the narrative and the story , we could say , Oh , here's this artifacts that fits that plot beat. Here is this artifacts that fits this topic that we want to address. Here is something that will resonate with an audience of a certain age. Here is just an incredibly iconic image that you don't need to know anything about Spider-Man to appreciate.
S2: So it's easy to lose sight of this because it was a long time ago. But when Stan Lee and Steve Ditko initially came up with Peter Parker and Spider-Man , they were playing with a relatively new concept , even in just sociological terms. And that's the concept of the teenager. So in the 1950s , America discovers the teenager has a kind of identity category where there's this almost obsession , cultural obsession with this new idea or new species of humanity that they're calling the teenager. And it's a period of life that is marked by uncertainty about identity and rapid mood swings and periods of bravado and periods of self-doubt and impulsiveness. And they took all of that , and they made the hero that which is something we hadn't seen before. And as a result , they turned the conventions of the superhero into a kind of allegory for the pain of adolescence. That's the concept the teenager who stumbles into the powers and then has to figure out what they're going to do with them. Peter Parker can help us figure out also what's valuable about trying to figure out who you are in a world where things not only go wrong but often are wrong to try and figure out what your sense of justice actually might be. And , you know , and I like I like the idea of living in a world where , at least theoretically , the notion that with great power there must also come great responsibility is taken seriously. I mean , how much better off would we all be if there were more people in the world in positions of power who understood that some responsibility comes with that role ? It's a good message. All this is entirely true. And the astounding thing about Spider-Man is that. There is an entire other level beyond these literal intellectual things , which is that Spider-Man is somehow innately cool. When you're a kid encountering Spider-Man , you don't necessarily know anything about what a teenager will be. But the first thing you see is the image. You see someone who can climb up a wall , someone in an amazing , colorful costume with their face hidden behind a mask , someone who is shooting webs from their hands and swinging over the city. So there are both the textual elements of Spider-Man that continue to resonate and the sort of innate magic of it that is almost inexplicable. There is just these elements that came together in the creation of this character. When Stan Lee and Steve Ditko put together Peter Parker , Spider-Man that apply beyond those simple texts and now in the modern day apply to a bunch of different characters. There's Miles Morales , Spider-Man. There's Go Spider , Spider Gwen. And many of them touch on the themes of the original stories. But others just capture that innate , almost inexplicable quality of wonder and excitement and joy and just sheer. Wow.
S2: Well , first of all , it is a modern museum experience. We are very conscious of the innate power of the museum medium to tell stories. It is based around historical artifacts , objects , original comic book art , film props and film costumes , original objects from the 60 year history of Spider-Man. But then we also use all sorts of modern techniques lighting projections , high definition digital canvases to tell the story in a more kinetic way. Interactive touch screens in different areas that you can go to and go deeper and read more about the text. If you're taking longer to go through the show , we are interested in and find that other people are interested in the kind of peek behind the curtain that you can get. So besides showing the artifacts and the objects , we like to show a little bit about the creative process sketches as well as finished art. A little bit of information about the cultural context in which particular stories were developed or the creators , the key creators who've contributed to the Spider-Man mythology in ways that then others have picked up.
S7: Well , I want to thank you both very much for talking about the Spider-Man exhibit.
S2: Thank you. Thank you.
S5: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Ben Saunders and Patrick Reed. Spider-Man Beyond Amazing. The exhibition opens tomorrow at the Comic-Con Museum with a party on July 20th to officially induct Spider-Man into the museum's Character Hall of Fame.