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Thousands of UC employees strike

 November 16, 2022 at 4:03 PM PST

S1: The student workers strike at UC San Diego reveals a larger problem.

S2: The number of graduate students and postdocs has been increasing way faster than the actual number of professors.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS midday edition. A new analysis of San Diego's affordable housing crisis.

S3: Many renters in San Diego are in a pretty precarious situation right now due to the recent ending of current tenant protections.

S1: Rooftop solar owners make a final plea to state regulators and a wedding ceremony inside San Quentin. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Hundreds of student workers and researchers at UC San Diego joined thousands across the state on Monday in a strike for better pay and benefits. 48,000 graduate students , postdoctoral researchers and other academic workers left their jobs yesterday after months of failed negotiations with the UC system. Many spoke about having to live on salaries which barely allowed them to pay rent in high priced cities like San Diego. But experts in academia say the problem runs deeper than that and comes after years of undervaluing student workers who now see a brighter future in careers off campus. Joining me is Jonathan Rosen , West Coast biotech and life sciences reporter for STAT. And Jonathan , welcome back.

S2: So good to be back with you , Murray.


S2: And that was one of the things I explored in a special report for Stat News that ran last week. And we were looking at it from the lens of , you know , biomedicine , life , science , research. The whole model of academia , essentially , is that you have labs , of course , and there are professors who run those labs and the people who work and do the bulk of the day to day work in those labs are graduate students and postdocs. And the trend that's been clear actually for since the nineties and probably since , you know , even earlier , is that the number of graduate students and postdocs has been increasing way faster than the actual number of professors , the actual number of academic spots. So you've got as a result , this large population of postdocs that are working in labs who will probably never become professors in academia , some of them will be. Most of them won't. And you could say the same of graduate students. And these historically are people who've been working pretty hard for relatively low wages. That's something people have rationalized for a while by essentially thinking that , well , that's essentially part of the deal. You know , you don't make a lot initially , but eventually you can get a nice position in academia. But those positions really have not been available for some time.

S1: Why are they compensated so poorly ? I mean , we've been hearing that most salaries are in the $30,000 range.

S2: Yeah , I talked with a lot of a couple of graduate students at UC San Diego who make about 36,000 , which is fairly typical on campus. Rent eats up around a third of that. And you can imagine trying to look for an apartment off campus in that La Hoya area is fairly expensive. There are a few factors. You know , one is kind of basic one , the NIH , which does do a lot of administer a lot of funding for people in life sciences. You know , they have limited funds in their budget , has not grown as quickly in recent years as it has in the past. But I also think , you know , I have talked with with folks who would say that just one of the basic factors in the past has been that you didn't really need to pay graduate students and postdocs a whole lot of money. You know , that there weren't as many opportunities in the private sector for these people. And so I think some of the tension you're starting to see right now is because in the case of , let's say , biomedical research , San Diego is a perfect example. You've got this huge , bustling , booming biotech industry. I think average wages for somebody in life science out there around 130 $536,000. And you can certainly make six figures out the gate. So it becomes harder to understand , you know , why you should do a 53,000 , $50,000 postdoc. And I think that is some of the frustration that I'm hearing and seeing from people in academic circles right now.


S2: So Scripps Research , a world famous institute home to many Nobel Prize winners. They now have half as many postdoctoral researchers today compared to what they had ten years ago. Actually , it's less than half. I got some numbers from them as part of our recent coverage. So , you know , that's a problem for a couple of reasons. Postdocs are very experienced , very knowledgeable. They know how to work independently. They have a lot of ideas. They also help mentor graduate students on a day to day basis because they are the ones who know how to troubleshoot and experiment in a way that a professor may not be able to do in as much detail. So so certainly places like Scripps that. Other places like that , too , are having an issue hiring postdocs. There is no clear data or evidence just yet that that is leading to less productivity in the lab , but it's something that basically almost everyone is complaining about. I've interviewed young professors who have just started a faculty position and who actually can't hire postdocs or trying to hire a couple of people to get their lab up off the ground and have really been struggling to do that. And so that's slowing down their research. And then the final point on that quickly is that if you think about it , there are certainly are all these companies that are developing new drugs , but the actual early stage discoveries that become the next vaccine , that become the next therapeutic for cancer or sickle cell or what have you , a lot of the early stage work in science still happens in academia. So one of the questions here as well , what what does it mean to have so many people leaving academia , given that that's where a lot of the source material for science begins ? So I think that's something we'll be paying attention to as we follow the story.


S2: And certainly there had been rumors and questions around , you know , what if my professor were to fire me ? That's not actually something that should happen based on the contract between the U.S. system and the union that represents academic workers. So on paper , that that should not be a concern. On the other hand , striking students are making strike pay , which is $400 a week. So you can do the math there and realize pretty quickly that it's very hard to to live in most parts of California on 400 bucks a week. So financially , there's risk. Certainly if you're striking , you're not doing research. If you're not doing research as a graduate student , that pushes back your graduation timeline to get that degree and then , you know , go out there in the world and find yourself a job. And a couple of students I spoke with have told me that , you know , something like , for example , a one month strike or just in theory , a one month delay in research can actually set you back several months because it takes so long to set experiments up to buy materials , reagents , chemicals to troubleshoot the plan. So this could certainly be disruptive for a lot of students , for obviously , you know , just a couple of days into the strikes. We'll have to see how it plays out. But certainly some things to pay attention to there.

S1: I've been speaking with Jonathan Rose in West Coast biotech and life sciences reporter for STAT. Jonathan , thank you so much. Anytime.

S2: Anytime. Thank you.

S1: A brand new affordable housing complex opened in City Heights on Monday. It offers nearly 200 units for both families and seniors to create an intergenerational living environment. City leaders were on hand to celebrate the new building , but the one cloud over the festivities is how long it took to get the new apartments. The complex took seven years to develop. The city's independent budget analyst has released a new report on San Diego's affordable housing crisis. It focuses on the barriers to providing more housing and bringing rents down. Joining me with more on the report is KPBS metro reporter Jacob Air. And Jacob , thank you for joining us.

S3: And thank you for having me on.

S1: Now , you were at the official opening of the complex.

S3: They're all rented out. And there is a long waiting list already for that unit , which is pretty much the case for most affordable housing complexes across the region.


S3: So the idea actually stands for the independent budget analyst. Their job is to assist city council regarding budgetary questions and in budgetary decision making. It means they're going to be providing objective and unbiased analysis as well as advice to the City Council and the public regarding all legislative items. And they have financial and policy impacts to the city of San Diego.

S1: You spoke with the head of a statewide community empowerment group about the current state of housing for renters.

S3: He told me that many people and families are actually now being forced out of their homes due to no fault evictions which previously weren't allowed , and many are having to try and find new housing in an increasingly expensive San Diego rental market. He said many of these families can't even qualify to rent anywhere else due to these high prices , and those folks are either moving out of the region , if they're lucky , or moving in in semi legal situations with other folks or if they're really unlucky , they're moving into various degrees of homelessness.


S3: They projected that the county needed just over 170,000 housing units in this decade , so between 2021 and 2029. Last year , the county built just over 10,000 units , and that's well below the pace needed to actually hit that 170,000 mark.


S3: It's a 26 page report and it's extensive. But overall , it looks at the issues of permitting and financing height limits and funding shortfalls and some of the recommendations that were made in terms of short and quickly implemented. Solutions at a low cost include consulting , development services department for impacts to the permitting process , a proposed city housing regulations , as well as delaying the implementation of new regulations. And that will allow for time on guidance and training. Another short term solution was requesting the San Diego Housing Commission to provide the Land Use and Housing Committee an update on their shared efforts so that they can further collaborate.


S3: And both of those are low building cost , affordable housing options. And then lastly , the other long term suggestions include modernizing how the city hosts its land development code online , redesigning the permit process overall , and then also considering potential ballot proposals to create new revenue streams for affordable housing or also continuing to remove height limits from additional neighborhoods.


S3: The city council can choose to pursue some , but they don't necessarily have to pursue all or any of the suggestions. But if they do and they likely will , they'll have someone from the IBIS office give a present. Haitian on some of their recommendations in an upcoming city council meeting over the next few months.

S1: Now , community leaders have said that San Diego can't , quote , build their way out of this crisis , unquote.

S3: He stressed that without strengthening tenant protections , many low income families will continue to be displaced over the next few years and decades. He says the current rate of construction on affordable and middle income housing is also a huge problem , as it's not keeping up with the rising rent prices. And many middle and low income San Diegans are being forced out of their homes without many options , if any , on where to go.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS metro reporter Jacob Air. And Jacob , thank you so much.

S3: Thank you for having me on.

S1: This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. Jane Heineman is off today. The uncertainty hanging over California's solar marketplace is beginning to clear now that regulators have unveiled their plan to reshape solar rules. KPBS environment reporter Erik Anderson says regulators are hearing from the affected parties on Wednesday. The last chance for public input before the commission votes next month.

S4: Belinda martinez moved into one of Oceanside's older neighborhoods in 23 after finding a Spanish colonial cottage on a rare , oversized lot.

S5: We fell in love with the neighborhoods and our neighbors.

S4: Martinez added 13 solar panels. Just over five years ago , solar Array is located on the home's flat roof , keeping it mostly hidden from the street. But the impact is very visible on the Martinez's electricity bill.

S5: We've only seen credit on our utility , so basically we have no electrical bill.

S4: That bill credit comes from California's net energy metering regulations. Initially , utilities had to pay homeowners the retail rate for electricity generated by rooftop solar. The system was adjusted in 2017. Solar owners had to enroll in time of use rate plans and utilities paid a few pennies less for a kilowatt hour of electricity they bought from solar owners.

S1: We're putting out energy to them. They pay a certain.

S5: Fee for that energy output. And we're paying we're obviously paying for the energy in the peak period , and it still allows us to have credits.

S4: But changes proposed last December would have upended that system. A utility backed plan slashed the value of rooftop generated electricity by 80% , and the plan had steep mandatory grid access fees. The outcry was immediate. After a few weeks of blistering public dissent. Regulators put that plan on hold. The Solar Rights Alliance's Dave Rosenfeld says solar advocates cheered the delay , but it was not time to ring the victory bell.

S2: We knew that just because the CPU pause didn't mean that , they were convinced that they were wrong. And the governor did say the changes needed to be made , but he didn't say what those changes ought to be. Well , that's a pretty wide spread.

S4: Solar supporters spent this year shining a light on the threat posed by the DEC proposal. Protesters rallied at utility offices around the state , including San Diego based Sempra Energy's headquarters in July.

S6: Please reverse course on your attack campaign on rooftop solar and chart a new path.

S4: A Sacramento rally in October appealed to Governor Gavin Newsom , asking him to protect the solar industry's 67,000 jobs , Rosenfeld says. Advocates lobbied lawmakers and for months they flooded CPAC meetings with public comment.

S2: It's very rare for the regular public to interact directly with the CPC. For most of the time , this campaign has been going on to. We've been in a COVID type of environment where the CPC wasn't even meeting in person. It wasn't until the spring that there was even an in-person meeting where the CPC would be in a position to look the public in the eye and hear from members of the public.

S4: The California Solar and Storage Association's Bernadette del Chiaro says. Economics are at the heart of the solar issue. Advocates want to make sure homeowners see financial benefits for their solar arrays.

S5: If you put a $25,000 into a solar system , how many years does it take for that upfront investment to.

S1: Pay for itself in.


S4: Kathy Fairbanks is with the utility funded group Affordable Access for All.

S2: We want the CPC to reform the net energy metering program to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.

S4: The new proposed rules didn't please either side. The onerous grid connection fee is gone , but the value of electricity generated by rooftop solar is being slashed. Pro utility groups say non solar customers still pay an unfair share of baked in grid costs. Solar industry backers say removing financial incentives will slow solar adoption , which is bad for the state's climate goals. Regulators could tweak the plan based on the Wednesday hearing , and they remain poised to make a final decision in mid-December.

S1: That story was by KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson , and he joins me now. And Eric , welcome.

S4: Thank you , Maureen.

S1: Rooftop solar customers have been waiting on tenterhooks for almost a year for these new net energy metering rules.

S4: In any kind of a business arena when you don't quite know what the new rules are going to be. There will be an impact on the way people do business , the way people make decisions moving forward.

S1: Now , how would the rules the CPC is now considering affect rooftop solar users ? And I mean , for instance , would someone like the woman in Oceanside you spoke with who's only seen credit on her energy bills now have to pay ? No.

S4: In fact , one of the elements in this new proposal is that the original people who have already installed solar will be able to live by the terms of the deals they signed when they installed their solar systems. So if you were one of the earlier adopters and you were one of the NEM 1.0 net energy metering , 1.0 customers and your 20 years have not expired yet , you would still operate under the rules of that system if you came on board after 2017 and are one of the net energy metering 2.0 customers. The terms of your agreement , your net energy metering agreement with your utility would stay the same for 20 years before you would be switched to any other kind of system. And if you decide now to install solar and these rules are adopted , once they go into effect , you would have to observe the rules that the CPSC is now considering adopting.

S1: The grid connection fees are gone from this new proposal.

S4: Under the old plan. What they would have done is taken that 20 year contract or agreement that solar owners had and shorten that to 15 years. So you would have been moved on to the new system more quickly under that unsuccessful proposal that was released almost a year ago now.


S4: It's really gets to the fundamental idea of what we pay when we pay a per kilowatt hour rate for electricity. You know , less than half of that cost is just to provide and move that electricity. The other half of that cost is what the utilities refer to in a general sense as grid maintenance fees. And that's a lot of things. I'll give you an example. The San Onofre nuclear power plant hasn't generated electricity for years , but there was a costly upgrade shortly before it was shut down that was supposed to extend the life of that plant and I mean a multibillion dollar upgrade. The plant only ran for a year or two before they found some engineering problems and had to shut it down. But the bill for that upgrade is still being figured into your utility rate. So this is something that happened ten , 15 years ago and we're going to be paying for that in our utility rates for years to come. So it's not just for maintenance of the power lines , it's for the installation of new infrastructure like transformers. It's for the installation of transmission lines. It's for the installation of battery storage facilities. And it's to pay off costs that currently exist that were incurred years ago.


S4: It's kind of a financial concession. You could look at it. I don't know if this is what they were thinking when they came up with this plan , but you could look at it like , well , we think that the grid connection fees that are mandatory and static aren't the best way to go. But utilities need some more money to kind of balance the scale. So what we'll do is we'll cut the value of the solar that's generated on a rooftop. And what that basically means is that if you have a solar system on your rooftop and you had produce extra electricity in the middle of the day and you sell it back to the grid , you would sell it back to the grid at around $0.08 to $0.05 a kilowatt hour. The utility can take that generated electricity and sell it to your neighbor at the retail price. It could be as high as $0.30 an hour , a kilowatt hour , depending on on what the rate that pays. And. That cushion , that difference is kind of a concession to the utilities to recoup some of the costs that they say that , you know , they're paying. As more people adopt rooftop solar.

S1: Now , you report that rooftop solar users have been on a campaign to stop these new rules , lobbying lawmakers and more.

S4: It was almost from the get go. I think the CPSC unveiled their proposal on December 13th of last year. And almost right away there was outrage. The governor made some short comments in January , and then it was kind of the long haul for the solar industry advocates. They decided to be very proactive , keep the issue in front of the general public , keep the issue in front of regulators and lawmakers. And they really have spent the last year. And I think that's why you see the fact that this solar tax , as they referred to it , this mandatory flat grid connection fee , is not part of this new proposal , although they're not very happy about the reduction in the value of electricity generated by rooftop solar. And I think you'll hear them say that when they talk in front of the commissioners tomorrow.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Erik Anderson. Erik , thanks.

S4: My pleasure.

S1: The USO , the iconic support organization for service members and their families , has quietly been closing dozens of airport lounges and on base hospitality centers. But it's also opening others , including some in the military's most remote locations. Jay Price reports for the American Homefront Project.

S7: The 81 year old USO is known for traditions like care packages , airport lounges for transiting troops and celebrity entertainment tours. But it has modern challenges. Its budget is down , in part because the number of Americans and potential donors with ties to the military has been shrinking , and it's dealing with shifts in where troops are deployed and what they need in the digital age.

S2: We're trying to provide an impact in the places. And for those service members that need this most.

S7: USO Chief Operating Officer Alan Reyes says the changes are part of a long range strategic plan. It will close about 40 of those centers where troops can rest , grab a cold soda , play games and watch TV. Many of them at smaller domestic airports. But its opening 28 new centers , several in places where stress is especially high.

S2: We do pride ourselves on the fact that we have , as a global organization , the ability to reach millions and millions of servicemembers families. But we want to make sure that we are reaching those that need us the most. And oftentimes they are in more remote locations.

S7: Many of the new centers are in Eastern Europe , where troops are deployed in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Other new sites include Fort Irwin and the Mojave Desert. And the military's most isolated installation , Tulley Air Force Base in northern Greenland , where temperatures can drop under 20 below. And there's total darkness for months each winter.

S2: So one that is fairly remote , away from a lot of creature comforts.

S7: The U.S. , whose mission is to boost morale by keeping service members connected with their families , home and country. In short , it's a mental health organization.

S8: And I can attest to that because I was dealing with depression.

S7: Sergeant Darian Wolff visits the bustling Fort Bragg USO almost daily. He was hanging out in a lounge area one recent day , sipping a Sprite as other soldiers used computers , play video games , or just sprawled on a couch watching TV.

S8: Just coming here. Got me a chance to kind of get out of that old , you know , kind of relaxed. Definitely feels like home. So that's why I kept coming back.

S7: He found the same comfort in Poland. On a recent deployment , the 82nd Airborne Division soldiers had been ordered to leave their phones at home , but the USO provided secure call centers , as well as its usual array of couches , games and snacks.

S8: My whole team was going every week.

S6: Ladies and gentlemen , today we had long been 17 miles northeast of Saigon.

S7: Bob Hope you can't mention the USO without at least a nod to its most famous touring act.

S6: I don't care if Charlie is watching. I'm giving away military secrets on live TV today. And we need the radio.

S7: That was 1969 and hope he did. USO shows for half a century was performing for a crowd of thousands. The USO is still sending celebrities out on tour , but it's added another approach.

S2: And if you're a soccer fan or football , as they say in Europe , you're going to enjoy. Our guest today.

S7: That recent guest was U.S. soccer star Christian Pulisic. Instead of putting him on tour , the USO set up a live video appearance.

S2: We have two friendly matches coming up over the next week. The other prepared for the World Cup.

S7: Pulisic in Germany chatted with soldiers in Turkey , Kuwait and Qatar online , where Rafa says young troops are used to spending time.

S2: That does not mean we're going to stop sending tours to bases and places as well. But we now have a way to serve in both capacities.

S7: The video meet ups aren't the same as joining the crowd at a live USO show , but Raya says they can be more intimate , allowing personal connections with the celebrities. And they still serve that USO mission , cheering up troops who are far from home. I'm Jay Price 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 and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. Jane Heinemann is away today. A maximum security prison may not be the first place you'd think of to celebrate a wedding. But yesterday we introduced you to Edmund Richardson , who was serving a life sentence at San Quentin State Prison. In this excerpt from the podcast Uncuffed , we get to listen in on Richardson's wedding ceremony to his now wife , Ava. Lena held in the visiting room at San Quentin. And host Greg Eskridge speaks to Evelina about finding love with someone who is incarcerated. Wow.

S4: Wow. Wedding day. Mandy.

S2: I have nothing. I haven't drank no coffee , but I'm shaking like a motorbike.

S4: Just now leaving the studio the Edmonton time. We going up there to the to the visiting room. You're looking good. You shine and like new money. I see you got to Stacey Adams. Yes , sir. I'm Sam.

S2: Haven't got a dress to impress ever.

S4: So how did you sleep last night ? Oh , stayed up late last night , going over my vows.

S6: I went.

S4: To sleep about.

S2: 11 1130 and got up early in the morning just with this day on my mind. But I slept. I feel energized. I feel I feel rested. Feel at peace.

S4: Well , we're in the courtyard right now , and we're about 30 feet away. We're going to be mad from the visiting room , man.

S2: Literally 30 feet away , man. So I'm ready to go regardless of the anxiety. I was going to use that as positive energy to get me through this , man. And I got your with me , so I know everything's going to be good.

S4: You got me nervous. I'm nervous. I'm nervous for you. Are you nervous ? You know I'm nervous because. You nervous ? I'm nervous because this is a big day. I know. This is a this is a huge moment , man. This show , last chance to.

S6: Turn around.

S2: Was that call went away. Runaway groom. That's not going to happen today.

S4: All right. We are now inside of the visiting room. So let's see , where are we going to ? Why is it so dark in here ? Hold up , hold up , hold up. Let's pause for a second. The vision room is not normally this dark. So let me explain to you how it truly is. On a weekend , walking into the busy room here sank when the first thing you're going to see is a bunch of people walking around , little children running around. I mean , this place is packed. On the far other end of the busy room. There is a vending machine area where people go in and buy their popcorn and a chicken wings and a soda pops and water. And right across from the visitor from the vending machine area is the kids room , their children's games , children's books. You have mothers and fathers and grandfathers , Just families. Just a really great family saying. So the process of getting married is definitely not easy inside a prison. First of all , you have to find someone willing to marry you. You fill out.

S2: About ten sheets of paper.

S4: Send it to your spouse , and then your spouse sends it back to a wedding coordinator. And her job is to coordinate all the marriages here in San Quentin Prison. And you can get married any time you want as long as it is on a Friday morning. Now , when a person gets married , they can usually bring in approximately five people who are actually approved on their visiting list to come in and witness the wedding. Now , when it comes down to the ceremony , there's actually someone here to officiate it and they're going to have a binder. And within this binder , you're going to have options of the ceremony you may want. So you can say you want a Christian wedding , whatever it is you want. He's going to turn to that page and the ceremony is going to begin. They've asked that we gather today to share with them the special moment as they join lives together in marriage. Marriage is the partnership born from the deep love bond of two people who've decided to build their lives together. A family is a collective working together to create and build life , caring for one another. Find it a way to prosper together. All done with.

S2: Love , truth and trust. We were there today to witness the bonding of Evelyn and Edmond started about his.

S5: Edmund Warren Richardson , my intelligent major , being my most favorite person. You make me feel so effortless. There's nothing that can make me happier than standing before you today knowing that I get to become your wife because I know the commitment you place on marriage. And I know that today you're choosing me for life. Your love has taught me unbelievable resilience. Your love has shown me that no matter what unimaginable injustice life throws at us , that we will be okay. Your love has shown me we can withstand the ups and the downs together. Your passion , your determination and your commitment have kept us together. And my goal has always been just to keep up with you. So I would never have to be without you again. I promise to protect you and make sure every single day you know , your life matters. Because it does. I'll stand with you in this fight. And whatever comes next , I promise to always watch Saturday Night Live with you and me. And even when I do understand the jokes and I wrote all of this and realized I'm not even sure these are about us. Sometimes I'll be scared and sometimes I'll be brave. But I'll always be there.

S2: For your journey. I believe now you asked me , How do you know I'm the one ? I responded. It is not a feeling. It is not something that I can put into words. But it's a deep seated knowing and knowing that I believe is divine in nature. That came from a prayer answered. I was at a point in my life where I had given up last hope in my future , in love and any meaningful relationships at it. It was one sleepless night , me alone with my thoughts , pleading with God for someone like you. A outspoken , smart and beautiful woman was full of life. Someone who knows her faults and is willing to face them. I see you. All of you. I vow to be your safe space in times of need. You are the love of my life. You are my best friend and I love you so much.

S4: You will now seal your promises to each other by the giving and receiving of the rings. I will repeat after me. Edmonton.

S2: Edmonton. Edmonton. I do. I do. With this ring. My joy , my life with yours.

S5: With this ring. I join my life with yours.

S2: Repeat after me , Babylon. With this ring I join my life with yours. I believe now with this ring I join my life with yours.

S4: By the power vested in me by the state of California. I now pronounce you husband and wife. I now ask you to seal the promises you have made with each other this day. With a kiss. Your daughter just got married telling me to have a talk about that.

S5: I , I didn't expect it to be this emotional , but it was beautiful. Very untraditional , but beautiful. I think Edmund brings the calm to her storm. So as long as that man can be that peace , she will she will be there for him. And they can survive. Yeah. Love. Love definitely finds its way.

S4: I see. I see your emotional mom. I mean , what.

S2: What is what is what is bringing.


S5: Yeah , because we leave. But he has to stay. My name's Evelina Richardson now , and I got married to Edmund , who's a part of this podcast today. But when Edwin and I first started corresponding , I think I was like , This man is crazy because he one of his first letters. He was like , When I'm released , you can meet me at the gate and we can get married that day. Thanks. And I was like , Who is this person ? Who ? He was just like , really straightforward. And I think I was , like , really surprised and confused at how somebody thought that we were going to get married and now we are married. But I think when we first started corresponding , I told him he sent me like a visiting form and I was like , Oh , I'm not going to visit you actually , because I spent a lot of time visiting my dad and my brother. And I know like what having the , like the weight of a life sentence means. And then when we started becoming , like , romantically involved , I think I thought a lot about what I was taking on because being with somebody who's incarcerated is heavy , and I wanted to make sure that I was able to hold what it meant and be like supportive of Edmund and also still sustain who I am out here. We had started talking about getting married in 2021. I knew that it was going to happen during visiting , but I didn't know anything about when. One day I went to go buy something out of the vending machines and he started like walking towards me at the vending machines and I was like , Oh my God , what are you doing ? Like , because there's like an out of bounds line. And he just kept walking towards me and then he , like , got on one knee and proposed to me. Yeah , I had no idea. And it was really special because I've always told Edmond that I wanted to be proposed to , like , in private , and there's really not a way to do that in the visiting room. But he made it like , as private and as special and like a moment between just us. He did that as much as he could , and it was really special and sweet. My ring Edmond picked out with one of my best friends. Yeah. And then the ring I gave. Amen. I have another brother who passed away , and it was his ring. And I think he would have really loved Edmond a lot. Edmond was like when we started corresponding one time , he was like , So have you Googled me ? And I was like , No , why would I do that ? Then he told me that he had a life sentence after that , and I think his earliest eligible parole date was like 2034. And that's still what it is. It's still pretty far away. I think I had to work through that on my own , but I accepted it. I think when you imagine your wedding , when you're really young , you don't imagine it in a place like this. But I think that. I still feel like really in love and really happy. And I feel like this overwhelming , like sense of just like comfort because I know I just , like , made a decision with my person. And if you know who Edmond is , then , you know , Edmond deserves to be free. And yeah , I know that he will be.

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Thousands of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and other academic workers left their jobs to strike Monday, after months of failed negotiations with UC leadership. And, the city’s Independent Budget Analyst has released a new report on San Diego’s affordable housing crisis. It focuses on the barriers to providing more housing and bringing rents down. Plus, the uncertainty hanging over California’s solar marketplace is beginning to clear now that regulators have unveiled their plan to reshape solar rules. Then, the USO - the iconic support organization for service members and their families - has quietly been closing dozens of airport lounges and on-base hospitality centers. But it's also opening others, including some in the military’s most remote locations. And finally, in an excerpt from the podcast Uncuffed, we hear about a wedding ceremony held in the San Quentin State Prison visiting room.