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‘When you don’t know where to go, you come here:’ California preps to be a haven for abortion rights

 May 4, 2022 at 3:01 PM PDT

S1: Planned Parenthood in California prepares for the end of Roe v Wade. While I do live and practice in the state of California , and I'm proud that we're a beacon for reproductive rights , I fear for the rest of our country. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Two. San Diego City Council members propose a new conservatorship plan for homeless people.
S2: This is seen as a way of relieving some of the burden that's on the emergency response system , trying to get to people and get them services that they need and get them connected to either a public conservator or a public guardian.
S1: Middle income housing struggles to be a priority in the new Midway District plans. And we'll hear some new music from San Diego's Sure Fire Soul Ensemble. That's ahead on Midday Edition. A rally in downtown San Diego Tuesday night drew county leaders , politicians and several hundred people all concerned about reports that the Supreme Court is preparing to reverse abortion rights. Frustrated and ready to do whatever it takes to make sure that this draft is not the law of the land for millions of Americans across this country. Are you guys ? A draft decision was leaked to Politico yesterday. With five of the nine justices apparently joining to overturn the abortion rights decision , Roe v Wade. All the assembled leaders at the rally in San Diego declared their commitment to preserving reproductive rights in California. This is San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas.
S2: For over three.
S3: Decades , you know.
S1: I've been at the forefront of the reproductive justice movement and for over a decade. While working at Planned Parenthood , we were trying to prepare for this day. The commitments made at the rally extend from a possible state constitutional amendment , securing abortion rights to offering California as a refuge for women across the country who can't get abortions in their states. Joining me now to talk about this is Dr. Antonette Marengo , chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. Dr. Marengo , welcome to the program. Thank you so much for having me. Is the news that the Supreme Court may be preparing to overturn Roe something you were bracing for ? Yes , absolutely. I think looking at the makeup of the court , we've been preparing for several very bad outcomes , this being the worst. As much as I say that and feel that we were preparing and expecting this. It's really difficult news to sit with. It's hard to really prepare emotionally for something like Roe being overturned. Why is it so emotionally devastating when the rights in California seem to be secure for women here ? Well , you know , number one , we're talking about our entire country. Really. The United States has been held up as a beacon to the entire world. And when I think about the rest of the world seeming to come more progressive and promote reproductive rights , I'm seeing countries historically that were really anti-choice , places like Ireland and Mexico , other countries in South America that are really allowing female patients or people with uteruses the right to choose. And yet in our country , where Roe has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years , we're reversing that. So while I do live and practice in the state of California , and I'm very proud of that and proud that we're a beacon for reproductive rights here , I fear for the rest of our country and what that's going to do to our institution , as well as other rights that might be taken away by the Supreme Court. Now , San Diego Planned Parenthood officials said during the rally last night that they're getting ready for an influx of women from other states if abortion is banned by the court. What are you anticipating will happen if this draft ruling becomes official ? Well , I think it's clear that 26 states are already poised to severely restrict or outright ban abortion in their states. And we've seen already , because of the very strict laws in Texas , that patients are moving to other states and they tend to go by car. So neighboring states were the ones that were hit first. We saw major upticks in in the states that were abutting in Texas. But here in California , even we saw an uptick of patients coming from Texas. And of course , we see an uptick here in patients from Arizona already. So I think that in the states that do continue to provide abortion and stand up for bodily autonomy , we're going to see a dramatic increase. There's just no crystal ball. It's hard to predict what percent increase , but we are preparing and have been preparing for some time to accommodate patients who need our services because we know abortion is health care and we want to preserve that right for people with uteruses to obtain the health care they need. Can you share with us some ways how California , Planned Parenthood is preparing for this influx of women ? Well , I think what's really amazing and wonderful about California is not only has Planned Parenthood been preparing , so there are seven affiliates in California. We work very closely together to think about what days of the week even our services are provided and in what locations and what clinics which clinics are closer to our border states , for example. But the entire state of California has come together with the future of abortion access counsel , for example , and independent abortion providers. University hospitals that provide abortion have come together to really talk about how we can assist our patients here in California , as well as patients coming from other states. You know , in Sacramento , San Diego's Toni Atkins , she's the state senate president , said legislative leaders plan to pass a constitutional amendment here in California to protect. Reproductive rights. What would you like that to look like ? Well , I mean , I think having it codified into the state constitution is tremendously powerful. It not only shows other states a way forward to help protect abortion within their state. So I think that's an excellent move , one that I would hope that the federal government would be able to figure out how to do to protect abortion at the federal level. So I would love for that to be able to be move forward and put on the next ballot , if that's possible. Who will be the most affected by an overturn of Roe , as far as you're concerned ? Well , I think it's very clear that underrepresented minority patients , people of color , particularly in rural areas , people in lower socioeconomic statuses , adolescence , minors affected by , unfortunately , sexual assault , molestation , people just that have less access to health care in general and less access to financial resources are going to be the most affected. We know that , again , abortion is health care. It is very nuanced many times as to the reasons why people need an abortion. We need to remember that we don't walk in our shoes and to try to legislate who , when , why people get abortions is not the role of a politician or a state legislator or a federal government official. It is the decision between that patient and her health care provider. What do you see as the health consequences for women who no longer have access to reproductive health care ? Well , there are many health consequences. Number one , the first decision the patient is going to have to make is , is she going to continue the pregnancy because she must because she doesn't have the resources ? And then how is she going to access prenatal care ? So many times we see that these patients will be late to prenatal care , which increases the risk that pregnancy risks like preterm labor , preterm delivery , prenatal loss or early , early pregnancy loss as well , and feel death. So all of those things could happen if she continues the pregnancy. If the patient chooses to end the pregnancy but doesn't have resources , she may then have to choose to move forward with a self-managed abortion. And that , of course , can be deadly. It can be. I mean , I think we think of the pre Roe world of 50 years ago where we had fewer options medically. I think those days , quite honestly , have passed and that imagery can be quite dramatic. I think most patients will find a way , if possible , to use medical means to perform a self-managed abortion , which is safer obviously than anything traumatic , like self harm , throwing yourself down the stairs , injury to the abdomen. But there will still be some patients who will go to any needs to not be pregnant. We know from just the reproductive life span of people with uteruses that when a person with the uterus wants to be pregnant , they will go to all ends to become pregnant. And the reverse is also true. If someone does not want to be pregnant , they will go to all ends to find a way to end that pregnancy. It is a very personal choice and the health care community is here to help those patients , you know , plan their future pregnancies and future families when they choose to and when they choose not to be pregnant. We need to be here for them as well. The medical community needs to do a better job standing up and proclaiming that abortion is health care and we need to do a better job following the science. I've been speaking with Dr. Antonette Marengo , chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. Dr. Marengo , thank you very much. Thank you so much. Recently , Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a new care court system to mandate treatment for severely mentally ill people and get them into care. While that proposal is making the rounds in Sacramento , two San Diego City Council members are proposing a local effort to mandate care for homeless people. Council members Marni Von WILPERT and Jennifer Campbell have introduced a plan to add a new conservatorship and treatment unit to the city attorney's office. Unsheltered people who most frequently require emergency care for mental health issues could be placed into conservatorship in the new program , where a judge appoints a person to oversee medication and other decisions for the individual. Joining me is San Diego Union Tribune reporter Gary Werth. And , Gary , welcome.
S2: Hi , Maureen.
S1: So this proposed conservatorship unit would be added on to the city attorney's new life saving intervention treatment program.
S2: One person would be called the person centered treatment coordinator. And then there would be two deputy city attorneys who would work with the court system. So this treatment coordinator would be the person who would assess the people who might go into the program. And then the other two deputy city attorneys , they would work with the court system to decide if they do pursue a conservatorship , whether it should be through the city's probate court or through county superior court , depending on the severity of the condition of the person.
S1: Now , it's apparently aimed at people who use emergency services most often. Is that right ? Yes.
S2: They gave an example of a gentleman who had used emergency services for like 500 times over 12 months. And there's people who would call 911 just repeatedly if they needed food or clothing. And those were the kind of contacts were being made. But they're also have some serious mental health issues. That same person they use an example have been found laying on the trolley tracks. So San Diego Fire and Rescue had to retrieve him and probably went to the E.R.. That's another thing that happens a lot with homeless people. They do go into emergency rooms a lot. Sometimes it's their primary care is er so this is seen as a way of relieving some of the burden that's on the emergency response system , trying to get to people and get them services that they need and get them connected to either a public conservator or a public guardian. Okay.
S1: Okay. So you explained how this would in theory work , but if someone was mandated into conservatorship , where would they be placed.
S2: Under the county ? More severe conservatorship called conservatorship. They might be locked in a mental hospital and mandated to take their medication there and psychosis medication , while someone else who may be less severe would have a public guardian. And hopefully they ideally they would be housed. The more severe one I referred to as a conservatorship , that's a 1967 called the L.A. Ramon Petrus Short Act. And that is a pretty high bar. To get somebody into a conservatorship , you have to be considered gravely ill. And there's been a lot of steps to try to redefine what that means. So that would be more broad. But that is such a high bar that a lot of people are left frustrated because there's people who are still on the street. They deny that there's any mental problem with them. Yet at the same time , they know how to feed themselves , know how to clothe themselves , but they'll never get the help that they need. Some people think because there's just not an avenue to mandate some kind of services. So that's why there's these new steps , you know , one on the city level and on the state level with Newsom's care court proposal.
S2: It still has to be passed by the legislature. If it doesn't pass , then this will still be in place. And this is just expanding an existing program that's so far. Over the last few years , it's gotten 11 people in a conservatorship to the city attorney's office now with care court. The difference with that is as it exists now , somebody who is petition to go before a judge for conservatorship , there's , like I said , a pretty high bar. But one of those bars is that they they've had to have some kind of incident with law enforcement under care card. Anybody could identify somebody as potentially in need of a conservatorship. So a lot more people could get help before there's an incident , is the argument for it.
S1: But there are homeless advocates who are wary about this move toward conservatorship in this new proposed city program.
S2: And this morning I talked to and Ministry of Disability Rights , California , and they both said their concern was. Is this another way of just , you know , getting people locked up rather than getting services for them ? And I think they both said that are more successes that you can have with people who have volunteered to go into some kind of treatment rather than being mandated to. So Greg Angel was saying if they had adequate and accessible services as well as housing , then you'd have more success than trying to force people into treatment. So there is and always has been some pushback against moving too readily into conservatorship out of the fear that we would backslide into the days when people could just get committed to psychiatric hospitals for any kind of misbehaving. So there is going to be that pushback. There's going to be a lot of work to be done , convincing people that this would be necessary and helpful for a finite number of people who there's no other option. Now , one of the arguments that the two council members said yesterday was that this doesn't mean that this new program would result in everybody touches going in a conservatorship. They may likely go into a variety of different types of programs voluntarily once they're assessed. So they're approaching it as like this is a way of expanding what we're doing now. But that also includes just getting people into the existing services that don't necessarily mean conservatorship , which means somebody makes decisions for them.
S1: I've been speaking with San Diego Union Tribune reporter Gary Worth. Gary , thanks so much. Anytime.
S2: Anytime. Thank you.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. Five development teams are competing for the chance to build a new entertainment district on the city's sports arena property in the Midway District. Housing advocates see the 48 acres of public land as a golden opportunity to build more affordable housing , in particular housing for middle income households , those that are too wealthy to qualify for subsidized housing but not wealthy enough to afford market rate homes. But KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says as the city evaluates which proposal to select middle income housing doesn't count for much. And Andrew , welcome.
S4: Thanks , Maureen.
S1: Give us a rundown of how much housing each of these five development proposals would include in their projects.
S4: So if we're talking about the total number of apartments that each project would build , the project called Neighborhood Next has the most at about 5700 apartments. Two proposals. Midway Rising and Midway Village plus each have just over 4200 homes. So a difference of about 1500 compared to neighborhood next. And then I would put in the third tier , let's call it the remaining two proposals , which are called Hometown SD and Discover Midway. And they both have a roughly 3300 homes. Now we're talking about the total number of housing units. So if you're counting affordable homes only with restricted rents where you have to show how much money you make in order to get on the lease. And the rent is based on how much you can afford rather than what the market will will charge. It's pretty much the same order. So neighborhood next has the most with with restricted rents , followed by Midway Rising and Midway Village Plus and then hometown S.D. and Discover Midway with the least.
S4: So the state has a law called the Surplus Land Act , and it requires cities to prioritize developments with the most low income , affordable housing when they're leasing or selling public land. But the law only speaks to low income housing , and that's really the only priority that that the city can consider. Low income housing , by the way , is when the rents are affordable to people making 80% or less of the county's median income. The income median income is calculated based on the size of the household. So if you're a single person , you know , and you make $74,850 , then half the county is making more than you and half the county is making less. And so if you're making 80% of that , which would be just under $73,000 , you qualify for low income housing. And so the project could have all of the middle income housing in the world. That would be , you know , folks who are or somewhere in the middle between 81% and 120% of the median income. But all of that middle income housing just doesn't matter as far as the state law is concerned. And in fact , neighborhood next , which is the project with the most housing overall and the most middle income housing , is one of the two proposals that the city wants to eliminate from consideration , and that's because it just wasn't as competitive in terms of low income housing compared to the other projects.
S1: So there are no other factors that are actually written down that the city is allowed to consider when scoring the team's development plans.
S4: No , the only factor really , as far as the state law is concerned is the number of affordable homes and the average affordability of them. So , you know , if you if you say , you know , this home will be affordable to someone making 30% of the median income , obviously there's more value in that in terms of the public good of of having affordable housing , then , you know , a project that or a home that would be affordable to someone making twice that much money or three times that much money so that the city is allowed to consider the number of homes and the average affordability of those homes.
S4: So developers will talk sometimes about the hourglass where at the very top for the highest income bracket , you're having a decent amount of housing produced at the bottom of the income bracket. You've got a smaller amount , but at least something there. You know , we're building some low income , affordable housing for the folks in the middle. It's close to zero. So for from 2010 to 2020 , San Diego County was supposed to add about 15,400 middle income homes. Guess how many were built ? It was 37. So 0.2% of the need. We are building almost zero affordable housing for the middle class. And it is. Not an easy problem to solve. There are no subsidies. You don't get tax credits for. For middle income housing like you can for. For low income housing. The city has been experimenting with some incentive programs where a developer can get regulatory relief on a project if they set aside more homes for middle income households. But those are generally producing little tiny studio apartments that that might be affordable to a middle income household anyway. And so , you know , for for middle class families with children who might need two or three bedrooms , we just have not figured out how to build housing for them.
S1: Now , the city's real estate department wants to whittle down the list of proposals for the sports arena from 5 to 3.
S4: So they just want you know , they don't want to , you know , drag this process out any longer , especially if the state has really clear guidelines. The state saying , you know , you have to prioritize the project with the most low income , affordable homes. And if you've got , you know , two of these projects that just don't compete with the with the other three that have more affordable housing , then , you know , then what's the point in trying to , you know , string them along ? We can just kind of be more efficient by eliminating , you know , some of these projects and move forward with the ones that we know the state is going to to be okay with. But the city council , a city council committee a couple of weeks ago took up that question of , you know , the city staff's request to eliminate two of these proposals. And the committee said , no , they want to they want to keep all five in the running. They want a thorough vetting of all of their financials. And they're more interested in getting the best project for this property than they are , you know , getting it done quickly.
S1: And then there's a big question hanging over the entire sports arena redevelopment , and that's the coastal height limit.
S4: And so that was approved by voters. There was a lawsuit that challenged the the the city's environmental analysis of allowing taller buildings in this neighborhood. And and the judge found that the city had not done the proper analysis. And so that that height limit is still now at 30 feet. And none of these five proposals will pencil if the height limit is not raised. The city is trying to do a redo. The environmental analysis. They're also planning for , you know , a second ballot measure , and they're appealing that court ruling. So they're trying different avenues. But but it is it is a very real risk that if the city cannot raise the height limit here with the approval of voters and the approval of courts , then , you know , none of these projects will pencil and the sports arena will remain as it is , which is is not the greatest property that the city could could have here in this prime , you know , prime location close to downtown. I mean , it's close to public transit. There's it's really , really valuable land , but it's not as valuable if you can only build up to 30 feet there.
S1: I've been speaking with KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen. And Andrew , thank you.
S4: My pleasure , Maureen.
S1: Mother's Day is this Sunday , and working towards healthier pregnancies and healthier babies is the impetus of an ongoing , tech savvy study. The study , called Power Mom , is using wearable technologies to build the largest ever research community of pregnant study participants. The data collected is a key part of addressing the structural racism that causes black women to be three times more likely to die during childbirth and black infants to be twice as likely to die within their first year of life. Scripps researcher Dr. LASCHET Ajayi , a physician scientist who herself has dealt with structural racism as a pregnant woman , is using her experiences and scientific knowledge to lead the study. She spoke with Midday Edition co-host Jade Heineman. Here's that interview.
S3: So the study is called Power Mom , and you are using wearable technologies to collect data first.
S1: So that's one of the technologies that we're going to use. The reason why is Fitbit , with its wide range of metrics that it collects , allows us to really capture some of those out of clinic points of contact. We want to know really basic information such as step count at the activity level , then also really more advanced things like respiratory rate , heart rate. It allows us to measure factors about stress. Heart rate variability really captured what's going on with that pregnant woman that we as clinicians don't always get to see outside of the clinic visits or at the hospital.
S3: And that leads me to my next question. I mean , how does this method of data collection give different or better insight than what we can glean at the doctor's office ? Absolutely.
S1: So it will start from a personal experience. I have a great relationship with my new OB-GYN. I come to a clinic appointment. She sees me , and I can just give her the information that she's asked me right then and there. Right. Sometimes she'll ask me questions about kind of what happened within my week , and I may not be able to really remember or recall it. So when our physicians or clinicians asked us these questions and there's still one intentioned we may not remember or be able to recall. So there are things that our body experiences that we may not really be able to relate to or even recall. This kind of study doesn't really depend on recall. It captures information in the moment. So having a technology that automatically includes your blood pressure , your weight , that captures moments of stress , your activity level , and you have the information. It gives your clinician more information that we may able to capture it at that clinic point right there.
S1: So being able to collect a study where we ask questions about neighborhood cohesion , neighborhood safety , access to a park within your community so you have a place that's safe for you to do the exercise that your doctors , your nurse practitioners , your midwifes recommend that you do. Having that information while also collecting biometric information about your activity level , your levels of stress , your heart rate , those kind of information layered on top of each other allows us to see how does policies such as redlining , how does housing segregation , how does neighborhood safety areas that are policed more frequently , also health care deserts , how often , how how far do you have to go to get health care ? Are you able to access it within your own home ? Do it to take public transportation ? What happens to you while you're taking that public transportation on your way to a clinician visit ? And does that lead to have an increased blood pressure when you see your physician ? So having this information , collecting this data helps us really dismantle and actually get the data that points us to what aspects of structural racism impacts these health outcomes that we see within our patient population.
S1: Earlier in my addiction , you talked about what I experienced as a health care provider seeking care when I was pregnant. And I'm someone who has the privilege to know what questions to ask. I know what's wrong with my body and what's unusual per mom. Not only does it ask our participants to share their data , it gives you some quote unquote normal parameters. But it also allows you to track your own personal pregnancy to see what's unusual for you. And when you have those abnormalities for you based on your pregnancy , you can then access the health care system and have a way to advocate for yourself and show , Hey , I may not know everything. I know this is different and I'm worried. Please see me and take me seriously. We shouldn't have to do that. But this allows our pregnant people to have that tool to advocate for themselves.
S1: How is health care reimbursed ? How can we bring health ? You're to the home so that you don't have to use public transportation if you don't need to. If you just had a very traumatic C-section and then then have to leave your home to travel , to get your baby checked or to engage with your midwife , your clinical caregiver. How can we make it so that what can be done at home is reimbursed ? To make our health care system work for our patients , rather than making our patients have to fit into our health care system. The data that we're collecting and the partners that we have , we are partnering with community organizations such as March of Dimes do organizations. We also are partnering with tech industry , Microsoft , Google health payers like Blue Cross Blue Shield. It takes a village to truly transform the way that we are providing care to our patients. And we can't just do it alone. Doctors can't do it alone , which is just can't do it alone. It takes a village.
S3: I've been speaking with Dr. Lash Ajayi , physician , scientist and researcher with Scripps. Dr. Ajayi , thank you so much for joining us.
S1: Thank you so much for this opportunity and I really appreciate your time.
S3: And for more information about power , mom and how to join the study , go to KPBS dot org.
S1: Top Gun Maverick is set to premiere in San Diego today. KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says the Navy is banking on the film Striking Gold twice for naval aviation.
S2: I'm on it. Naval Base , North Island in front of a row of F-18s. Apart from Tom Cruise , the fighter planes are probably the real stars of Top Gun maverick. Captain Brian Ferguson has been a Navy pilot for 28 years. So this is the engineering.
S5: Depot , the Fleet Readiness Center. So this is where airplanes come for major maintenance overhaul.
S2: Ferguson was the Navy's technical advisor on the film. He was a fan of the original.
S5: So my career essentially started in 1986 when I saw the first movie and I said , I want to do that and I want to land on ships in a jet and go into combat.
S2: So we went in right after college when the original film was made. Topgun or U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program was in San Diego. When Miramar was a naval air station , the actual Topgun moved to Fallon Naval Air Station back in the 1990s. But the filmmakers wanted to keep the new movie set in San Diego. Ferguson breaks it down.
S5: So Topgun is acknowledged universally to be Naval Air Station felt about it. They bring all these best of the best of the best in the storyline down to San Diego to train here. Would we do that ? No , we would we would train at Fallon. But , you know , to get to get the beaches , there's better beaches here than in the deserts of Nevada. So there was a little bit of artistic license there , and it doesn't bother me at all.
S2: There was a huge lag time from when filmmakers were actually filming in and around San Diego and the premiere this week.
S5: We started filming October of 2018 , I think. So four years ago kind of. It put a bit of a pause on it.
S2: The original film was a recruiting boon for the Navy. This time around , the Navy went all out. It opened its doors to Paramount , providing F-18s and pilots. The filmmakers were allowed to shoot on the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Roosevelt , which were both based in San Diego at the time. Here's Ferguson.
S5: We started filming here along the runway , using a fleet right in the center airplane. And then we moved on to various shooting locations to include two aircraft carriers , five bases , a studios in Los Angeles.
S2: When the filmmakers decided the real fighter pilot bars were too small , the Navy let them build one on base at North Island.
S5: They loved them , but they weren't big enough to put cameras in and back out and get the angles they wanted. So the movie makers , they just built an entire huge complex on the beach at Breakers Beach.
S2: Ferguson insists the Navy build the studios for everything. Earl , what are. Brooke is a retired Marine colonel. He's now a pilot at San Diego Sky Tours. I caught up with him for a Zoom interview in the company's hangar before he was about to fly. This was just in a hangar getting some maintenance done on it right now. So we do aviation tours. At the time the first movie came out , he was stationed in Yuma , Arizona , with the Marine Immigration Weapons and Tactics was kind of the Marine version of Top Gun , if you will. And I knew a lot of guys that flew in the first movie for gave him a hard time. What a break. Since he saw the surge in interest back in 1986 with his own eyes just going out to the bar at Miramar at the time. He says it's hard to imagine the new film having the same impact at the time. I mean , it was kind of the Cold War. There wasn't you know , there wasn't much going on , a lot of patrols. There wasn't there was no combat. You know , the things can be interesting now as we've just gone through 30 years of essentially continuous combat in the Middle East. The audience is going to be a little different. People watching this movie are now much more aware of the reality of war. Still , the Navy is banking on Maverick to boost the image of naval aviation one last time. Steve Walsh , KPBS News. Oh.
S3: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman in San Diego. Music continues to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. Local bands who put new albums and concerts on hold through the heart of the pandemic are now releasing new music and returning to local stages more frequently. One of those is local band Sure Fire Soul Ensemble , which plays an instrumental mix of jazz , funk and soul. The band returns this week with a new album and album release show this Saturday , May seven , at the Courtyard in San Diego. Here's the title track from the album Step Down. And I am joined now by the Sure Fire soul ensemble's piano and organ player Tim Fountain. Tim , welcome.
S2: Yeah , thanks for having me.
S3: Hey , the last album you made was released in the fall of 2019. Your new album , Step Down , is now being released into a very different world.
S2: So there's a lot of emotional baggage for for lots of us attached to that time. It's kind of like a brave new world that we entered. At that point , a lot of new things happening. So , you know , just in some of the titles and some of the emotion of the music , it's definitely a reflection of that period. Indeed.
S3: Indeed.
S2: I mean , you can throw a bunch of other descriptors in there , like spiritual funk or Afrobeat , Ethiopian jazz. But really it comes down to African American soul and funk music. Hmm.
S1: Hmm.
S2: Most of the of the songs were recorded then , you know , kind of like file sharing , sending files back and forth to starting with demos from people and then eventually layering in the new parts. And everyone recorded their own stuff in their own homes. So it was very , very much different because we usually make the albums together in the same room at the same time.
S3: You know , did the pandemic change how the songs were written and recorded ? 100%.
S2: Because , yeah , we didn't feel comfortable getting together and it was all remotely. And then I mixed it here at my studio and , you know , just try to give it a feeling like we were together. But , you know , we were very much separate during that time.
S3: Mm hmm. I want to play another track from the album. This one has an Afrobeat rhythm to it. It's called Time to Rebuild.
S2: Sometimes they just take a while to come together , and I started reworking it when some other tunes were coming together for the album. And I , you know , I sent it around to different members of the group and Travis Cline wrote a great melody for it. And , you know , everyone contributed awesome parts to it. Travis Cline took the flute solo as well. And with the title , it's kind of like , you know , this hope that we had during the pandemic that , you know , coming out of it was going to be we're going to come out , we're going to rebuild , we're going to it's going to be like a period of unity.
S3: You know , the pandemic really did a number on the local music scene in San Diego.
S2: I saw a post from the Kasbah the other day that said they had sold out shows six nights in a row. So that's that's great news for for local music in San Diego. I'm sure a lot of people are hesitant to get out and be indoors around people. It's one reason why why we're doing our our really show here at an outdoor venue in downtown. Hmm.
S3: Hmm.
S2: And it was it was super weird , but it was so it was so rewarding emotionally to see , you know , just see people. Bunch of friends I hadn't seen in a long time , and it's just nice to be with people again.
S3: Yeah , the album release show is at a fairly new music venue for you guys located downtown called The Courtyard.
S2: We did a Jazz 88 fundraiser event there , and we played Courtyards , the anniversary show a few years back. I just really like the venue. It's it's outdoors. It's got beautiful murals inside of it. It's like in the East Village part of downtown. And we could we could throw an all ages show there. So , you know , people can bring their their families. I've got a young daughter hoping she can she can come as well. And and they'll still be able to to sell beer and wine and food with an all ages show.
S3: And here's a clip of another track from the album The Other Side. So the show will be this Saturday , May 7th , at the courtyard on Market Street in San Diego.
S2: They're presenting it. You can go to the courtyard website , soda bars website , the Sure Fire Sale Ensemble's website , which is S.F. See Music Icon as well.
S3: I've been speaking with this year Fire Soul Ensemble member Tim Felton. Their album release show will be this Saturday , May seven. Hey , Tim , thanks.
S2: Thank you.

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San Diego Planned Parenthood officials say they are getting ready for an influx of women from other states coming to California if abortion is banned by the U.S. Supreme Court. After, while a proposal to mandate treatment for severely mentally ill people is making the rounds in Sacramento, two San Diego City Council members are proposing a local effort to mandate care for some homeless people. And, housing advocates see 48 acres of public land in the Midway District as a golden opportunity to build more affordable housing — in particular, housing for middle-income households. Then, San Diego researchers are using wearable technologies to build the largest ever research community of pregnant study participants.The data collected could be a key part of addressing the structural racism that causes Black women to be three times more likely to die during childbirth and Black infants to be twice as likely to die within their first year of life. Then, KPBS Steve Walsh reports how the Navy is banking on the film “Top Gun: Maverick,” as a recruitment tool. Finally, local band “Sure Fire Soul Ensemble,” has a new album and album release show this Saturday May 7th at the Quartyard in San Diego.