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Who will lead San Diego Unified? 2 finalists announced

 December 15, 2021 at 4:12 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:01)

San Diego unified announces the finalist for school. Superintendent. People

Speaker 2: (00:05)

Look to San Diego when it comes to education. So this position is very important.

Speaker 1: (00:11)

I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Christina Kim. This is K P V S midday edition. The new San Diego city council president shares his vision for city government.

Speaker 3: (00:29)

I see us as, as having the potential of being a really strong council that is transparent to the community. That's collaborative with one another,

Speaker 1: (00:39)

A new study shows more people are leaving and fewer moving in to San Diego county and banjo Matra Bayla talks about his return to San Diego. That's a head on midday edition.

Speaker 1: (01:02)

Two finalists been selected in the search for a new superintendent for the San Diego unified school district. The names of the finalists were announced at last night's school board meeting, Dr. Lamont Jackson who's been serving as interim superintendent is now in the running for the permanent position and an educator from Washington state. Dr. Susan Enfield is in consideration for the post. The two will face a wide open community examination as part of the final selection process. And joining me as KPBS education reporter mg Perez and mg. Welcome back. Good to be here. How long has San Diego unified been without a permanent superintendent? Well, you

Speaker 2: (01:42)

Will remember, uh, that Cindy Martin was the superintendent and in may of this year, she was, uh, appointed to the Biden administration. So at that point, um, that is when Dr. Jackson, uh, stepped in as interim. So since may, basically, uh, although they had been planning for this before that, so this old process has been going on probably since early, uh, in the year, like February,

Speaker 1: (02:07)

The position of San Diego school superintendent is one of the most important education jobs in the state. Isn't it? It

Speaker 2: (02:13)

Is because of the size of it. We are the second largest, uh, school district in the state. And just so much that is going on here in this community and being close to the border and the, the element that, that adds, uh, it to education and so forth. So people look to San Diego, um, when it comes to education. So this position is very important and Dr. Jackson, uh, has been with the district for a long time. And, uh, it was exciting to see that he has, uh, been named one of the finalists.

Speaker 1: (02:42)

Yeah, he has been with the district for a long time. Can you tell us how he came through? Are the ranks

Speaker 2: (02:47)

He started as a student? I don't think you can get more veteran than that. Uh, having graduated as a student, he, uh, also had the position of a teaching assistant. He was a coach and, uh, of course in administration, he has been principal of Montgomery challenger and Wagonheim middle schools. Uh, and then he also worked in the administration office in human resources. So most recently he was an area superintendent before being named interim. So he has a pedigree of over 30 years, uh, with this

Speaker 1: (03:18)

District. And Dr. Susan Enfield has a different resume. Her career has taken her through school districts in the Pacific Northwest.

Speaker 2: (03:26)

What they both have in common is that they were teachers. And I think that's an important talent to have is the, the ability to have said I've been in a classroom and been with these students. Uh, Dr. Enfield was a high school teacher in English and journalism. And, uh, she also has been an interim superintendent for the Seattle district at one point.

Speaker 1: (03:47)

And she's named superintendent of the year by the Washington association of school administrators.

Speaker 2: (03:52)

Yes, she does have a list of awards and, uh, has been very involved in school administration, which very important obviously for this position. But

Speaker 1: (04:02)

One big difference is the, the size of the school district that she's been superintendent of and the size of San Diego unified.

Speaker 2: (04:11)

So San Diego unified, uh, generally has about 120,000 students. And the district that Dr. Infield represents only has 17,000. So that is quite a difference. What will be interesting is to find out what it is that the search committee found about her interview that impressed them enough to have her come and be a finalist. And

Speaker 1: (04:34)

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the next San Diego school superintendent? It's

Speaker 2: (04:39)

All about the COVID, um, as you know, uh, masks, no masks, uh, the mandate that is coming up is, uh, scheduled to technically go into effect at the end of January, which is the beginning of the next semester. And the question will then become those students who don't meet that mandate will have to go to virtual learning. But as we know, there's a shortage of teachers and virtual learning, and the academy has already been short staffed. So that will be a big, um, challenge for the superintendent.

Speaker 1: (05:09)

And you're talking specifically about the vaccine mandate. That's

Speaker 2: (05:13)

Correct. And that vaccine mandate is for eligible students 16 and up, and they have to have been fully vaccinated by the start of the semester in January. And had they followed the guidelines, the second shot of the vaccine would've had to been taken by the end of this week.

Speaker 1: (05:30)

And the public will get a chance to question both of these finalists before the selection. Tell us about that.

Speaker 2: (05:36)

Oh yes, they will. And this is unusual. It is going to be a January 10th, a Monday. It's going to be a full day of public input and questions. It'll start at a breakfast meeting and then they will, uh, name a couple of school sites where both candidates will appear and will be open to questions. Uh, and then it will all end in the evening with the, uh, community forum, uh, with both of the candidates, again, speaking to a wide audience. And

Speaker 1: (06:03)

When is the San Diego unified school board hoping to name a new superintendent shortly

Speaker 2: (06:08)

Thereafter? Uh, the state of the district speech is scheduled for January 18th, and we expect that the new superintendent will deliberate and

Speaker 1: (06:17)

Mg. I don't wanna let you go before I ask you a question about this news today that San Diego unified students are gonna get, I don't know, what can you call it a curious holiday present from the school district before they leave for the holiday vacation?

Speaker 2: (06:31)

Actually, that is true up to 98,000 students will be provided a kit of, uh, two COVID 19 antigen, rapid tests that they will take home for the holidays. And then they will have to be tested test themselves, obviously to check their status before returning to a school. These tests are being provided by the California department of public health and will be distributed this week, uh, before break, uh, to all schools.

Speaker 1: (06:57)

I've been speaking with KPPs education reporter mg Perez mg. Thank you. Thank

Speaker 2: (07:02)


Speaker 4: (07:12)

Last Monday, the San Diego city council voted Sean ELO Rivera as its new president. After the now four council president, Dr. Jen Campbell was unable to get the votes needed to remain in the role. I Rivera represents San Diego's ninth district, which encompasses area such as city Heights, the college area, and down to south Krest. Here's what council president ILO Rivera had to say just after his rather surprising election. Last week,

Speaker 3: (07:37)

We have a lot to do hobby, but I really do truly believe that, um, we have the ability as a city and the capacity as a council to, um, exert our strength and our ability in such a way that we can, um, move to a better place.

Speaker 4: (07:52)

Jade Hyman spoke with council, president E Rivera about his vision for the council as he settles into his new role

Speaker 5: (07:59)

Council, president ELO Rivera. Welcome,

Speaker 3: (08:01)

Thank you for having me on how

Speaker 5: (08:03)

Will city council be different with you as president,

Speaker 3: (08:06)

Rather than thinking about different. It's just kind of thinking toward the future and knowing that I see us as, as having the potential of being a really strong council that is transparent to the community, that's collaborative with one another and makes well-informed responsible decisions that leads to the improvement of, of San Diego's lives. You

Speaker 5: (08:27)

Joined the city council about a year ago, and now you are its president a seemingly fast rise. What drew you into politics?

Speaker 3: (08:35)

It was a kind of a, a long and meandering track. My inspiration to, to pursue politics came when I was still coaching high school sports, actually. But the Obama campaign in 2008 really resonated with me as someone with a multiethnic multi-religious family, the way that, uh, then Senator Obama and eventual president Obama talked about, um, the future and hope was exactly what I wanted and needed to hear in that moment and inspired me to, to go and see what sort of impact I could have on the world and did some, some teaching abroad, uh, did some organizing and policy work, uh, in the office space and then was eventually inspired to run for office by, you know, just realizing that was probably a way to increase the opportunity of having a positive impact on the community. San Diego

Speaker 5: (09:24)

City workers recently had a deadline of December 1st to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment, but some particularly the police union have been resistant, uh, will of the city lose workers as a result of this policy.

Speaker 3: (09:38)

I, I think time will tell as to whether or not we will actually lose workers for me. This was a, a really important step to take, to ensure public health and safety and to provide some certainty on the staffing side, uh, what we heard, uh, in the, in the materials, uh, for that item and what we've heard repeat lead from, um, folks who work I'm in various city departments, including police, is that the lack of, of vaccinations has led to, you know, many missed days of work, um, to having to take protective measures, uh, in terms of having folks stay home. And there's a lot of uncertainty that's there. And so a lot of the convers has been on who we will lose, but I think we're gaining quite a bit as well. And that is, is the certainty of knowing that we're gonna have a, a, a, a, a staff that because they are vaccinated one first and foremost is they are better suited to protect the health and safety of the community. And two are more likely to provide the dependable services that San Diego depend on

Speaker 5: (10:35)

The city major strides in opening up the city to more construction in the form of accessory dwelling units or ADUs, but you've spoken about the need to modify some of those rules. What will the council be looking to change when it comes to ADUs in the coming year,

Speaker 3: (10:51)

We've been in conversations with the mayor's office. We issued a memo, a memo to his office back in late summer. And, um, they responded right before Thanksgiving and, um, they, they heard some of what we, we recommended. Um, they are studying some of the other recommendations that we've made. And, uh, look, I am fully supportive of the need to, to produce more housing. We have to, the data tells us that we just simply do not have enough homes, uh, to provide for the needs of, of San Diegos not just today, but, you know, certainly into the future. Um, and that, that accessory dwelling units are an important way to create, um, relatively affordable, sustainable housing for folks. Uh, we also know that there is, there can be some, uh, unintended consequences and we wanna make, we are being mindful of, of those as policies are put into place, and we can tailor as we see fit in order to ensure that we both are making the progress that we need while also mitigating the negative impacts that might be there from, uh, you know, from add additional development

Speaker 5: (11:54)

On Friday, SANDAG approved its regional transportation plan, which, uh, passed largely along party lines with Democrats supporting it and Republicans against it. How confident are you that the plan will come to fruition?

Speaker 3: (12:07)

I'm confident that it needs to, um, our, our region is in desperate need of, of additional investment in, in a transportation system and a mobility system, uh, that works better for more people. Um, I, uh, I was proud to have that be the first meeting that I attended as a SANDAG board member by way of my role as council president. Um, I was super supportive and I think that the, the, the votes and support of the plan, uh, were one responsible because there were, was quite literally billions of dollars at risk. If the, if the SANDAG board did not take action and, you know, a demonstration of, you know, what responsible governance looks like alongside the, the vote and support, there were also, you know, a request for additional analysis of ways to fund the plan. Um, but as a plan, it is, it is something that will move us into the future.

Speaker 3: (12:57)

One in an inspiring way that I think is consistent with, uh, the mayors, uh, often discussed and, and our shared desire to see us become a, a world class city. But two is essential. We know that in neighborhoods that I represent like city Heights, uh, and south CRE and mountain view and mountain, and then other parts of our city and region that folks are locked out of opportunity because they do not have access to the quality and, and, and, and plentiful public transportation and mobility options that they need. And so, uh, we are going to be expanding opportunity by way of this plan. Um, we're gonna be doing it in a way that's sustainable and consistent with the climate action goals that we have to reach. And so I was really proud to be there. I'm very, very supportive of all those who cast a yes vote. I think it was a responsible thing to do. And, uh, something that we would be proud of once that plan is implemented.

Speaker 5: (13:47)

One part of that plan calls for a 2 cents per mile driving tax, which many mayors in the region have come out against, including Sandy Diego, mayor Todd, Gloria, do you share the mayor's view on this? Are, are you against it

Speaker 3: (13:59)

As well? I think what the mayor, the, the issues the mayor raises were really important ones. I think I was frustrated to see that such a, a transformative plan that was going to do so much good that the public was distracted by conservative talking points, uh, to be quite list, um, that was meant to distract from the content of the plan. There's a reason why folks focused on this one thing that was, you know, pretty speculative and, you know, arguably unlikely to come to fruition. It's because the content of what was in that plan, what is in that plan is so attractive to the public. Um, so, uh, I, I do share the, the concerns of being overly dependent on, on a form of funding that we don't know that will actually come to life. Uh, we obviously want to be cognizant of the impacts that a, a fee like that could have on cost of living, but that particular form of funding is so far down the road is so, um, is, is so speculative at this point in time. I really do think that any discussion of it is merely a distraction from, you know, trying to move us to a, to becoming a region that has world class public transportation that has world class public has world class mobility options that work for people, um, of all, um, levels and for folks from throughout, uh, you know, whether it's it's urban, suburban, or even the rural areas of our city. And again, does this in a way that is essential to meeting the climate action goals that the Wes a region have to have to hit. And

Speaker 5: (15:25)

You are taking the helm of the city council during a pandemic in which we've seen a concerning a and the relationship between elected officials and the public. I I'm thinking, especially if some of the, uh, San Diego county board meetings over the past several months. And I'm curious why you think that is and what can be done to improve that going forward.

Speaker 3: (15:46)

The why there, I think there's a lot of components to why the relationship is what it is between the public, um, and, and elected officials. I don't know that I can answer all of that in this, in the, the context of this interview, what I will say is that it, it does distress me. It, it, it bothers me to see that I do worry that there's folks who are playing a game of, of, of one, one upmanship to see who can go viral by saying the worst things on camera. And that's, that's concerning. That's never the way to create the public discourse needed to, uh, improve trust, to create good decision making, um, conditions. But I also will say that, you know, I think that we as elected officials have to own the fact that we can do better to communicate with the public. Do I think that we will win everybody over by doing those things? No, I, I don't live in fantasy land so we won't win everyone over, but I do think that we can win the trust of a lot of folks back. If we continuously strive to be transparent and accountable and accessible and make sure that we're, you know, we're doing our absolute best to embody those values on a day to day basis.

Speaker 5: (16:51)

I've been speaking with San Diego city count, president Sean ELO Rivera. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Speaker 3: (16:57)

Thank you for having me on appreciate it.

Speaker 1: (17:05)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Christina Kim Jade Henman is away today. Two years ago, San Diego county district attorney summer Stephan introduced a new training program aimed at reducing police shootings, countywide K PBS investigative reporter. Claire trier says while some departments have trained more of their officers than others, there is hope it has sparked the beginning of a culture. Change a warning. This story contains graph descriptions and sounds

Speaker 6: (17:38)

In January, 2022, San Diego police officers saw Toby Diller walking in Oak park with an open container. When they pulled their SUV over, di started running away. The officers jumped out at the SUV and chased him yelling, stop, stop. They caught up to him and tackled him, put your hands behind your back. Then one of the officers shouted, I got my gun, shoot him, officer Debbie and Johnson then shot Diller in the head, killing him instantly Johnson's approach and steps. Leading up to the shooting almost certainly would go against the teachings in a countywide deescalation training program that had started the year before district attorney summer Stephan created the

Speaker 7: (18:20)

Training. So slow down, assess the situation, identify are there weapons involved? And, um, what are your capabilities that can deescalate? She says

Speaker 6: (18:33)

The eight hour training course teaches officers to avoid situations that lead to shootings.

Speaker 7: (18:38)

We know not everything can be slowed down because you are dealing with an immediate imminent threat. What we're talking about is the things that ice on body worn camera, where you can see that things could be slowed

Speaker 6: (18:54)

Down. It's too soon to tell whether any of the training is having an impact on the number of officers, countywide who shoot suspects. But Stephan says

Speaker 7: (19:04)

In cases where an individual is not armed, um, or is not armed in a way that is gonna cause serious bodily injury, um, that, that, you know, just their behavior is of concern. Seeing a different interaction and less lethal force used. That would be a win

Speaker 6: (19:27)

As of this month, more than 3000 officers across nine departments have taken the course, the glaring exception, the San Diego county Sheriff's department, none of the departments, 2,600 sworn deputies have taken the DA's training. Instead Sheriff's deputies completed a separate training that is just 14 minutes and 28 seconds long. The department has also updated its existing eight hour training courses on strategic communication and deescalation. But so far just 750 deputies have been through that training. Travis Norton, a use of force expert and trainer says the length and intensity of the training matter. A short video is not gonna

Speaker 8: (20:11)

Give you what an eight hour day where you're interacting with an instructor. You're doing decision making exercise. You're actually having to work through problems that you could encounter out in the field to help again, create that, that artificial experience.

Speaker 6: (20:23)

Sheriff's department officials wouldn't agree to an interview for this story. This is a far cry from the situation up the coast in Berkeley, where the police department has been offering eight hours of hands on deescalation training since 2016, Berkeley police Lieutenant Joe Oakies helped design it. You know, we incorporate

Speaker 9: (20:43)

That training. As I mentioned in, into really all of our use of force training. There's a component of it. And, and including as I said, the, the most recent training that we did. So, so it's reinforced

Speaker 6: (20:56)

There. The hope is deescalation training would become like body worn cameras, which officers resisted at first, but now embrace because of the accountability it brings to their job. So says Darwin Fishman, a leader of racial justice coalition of San Diego. It actually

Speaker 10: (21:12)

Strengthens the police force. It strengthens the community police relationships. It really has a better impact on crime and it creates a more healthy communities.

Speaker 6: (21:21)

He and other activists say these small steps are important, but a far larger dry ever of change comes from the community.

Speaker 1: (21:31)

Joining me as KPBS, investigative reporter, Claire Traeger and Claire. Welcome.

Speaker 6: (21:35)

Thank you.

Speaker 1: (21:37)

Now you've said that San Diego district attorney summer Stephan created the deescalation training being used by police departments, countywide isn't there some national escalation program that police forces can use. I mean, does each county have to come up with its own well

Speaker 6: (21:54)

You're right. That there is, um, a state level system of training, not just for deescalation, but for all, uh, police procedures and local departments have to abide by standards that come from that state training. Um, and so the, the deescalation training that she designed is based on those standards and, you know, satisfies all of, all of the requirements they have, but then yeah, you know, each region can amend and, and come up with their own probably to meet the specific, uh, needs of their region, or be more catered towards the, the populations that they're working with.

Speaker 1: (22:31)

So let's go through the incident that you described at the beginning of your report, how would deescalation training possibly have changed the outcome? For instance, I was wondering, would deescalation stop police from chasing someone just for carrying an open container? Yeah,

Speaker 6: (22:47)

You're right. I think that's the, I guess thing that, that the training is going to, or is emphasizing, which is when an officer makes that very initial encounter with someone, they, as some Stephan said in the story, slow down and assess the situation and then approach someone in maybe a way that's not going to set a off alarm bells for that person. So if you pull over your car, you maybe get out slowly, you don't jump out of the car or you keep a safe distance things that if someone is maybe under the influence or having mental health issues, isn't going to, to set them off. And then once the, the man that I started, the story was started running away. The officers start chasing him. And I think that there's now more, uh, focus on in those situations, you know, what should an officer do if that person isn't a risk, do they need to chase that person? Or can they just let that person go? Which, um, I've covered in, in previous stories. I think then once they are in the situation where they've tackled him and he has been able to UN holster one of the officer's guns and is holding a gun at that point, yes. You know, lethal use of force is to ill acceptable because the officer's lives are at risk. And when, uh, the district attorney reviewed this particular shooting, she found that the use of force was justified.

Speaker 1: (24:15)

Now you say, it's too soon to tell if the deescalation training is working, how would its effectiveness be assessed?

Speaker 6: (24:22)

Right. Well, so, um, as I said, in the story, officers are, are taking it and now pretty much every officer in the county has taken the training. So I think what summer Stephan said is that she's looking to see the number of violent confrontations between citizens and police go down, especially shootings. And

Speaker 1: (24:42)

Are the departments keeping track of whether their officers, are you using the new deescalation methods?

Speaker 6: (24:48)

Well, the, the other thing that goes with this is some departments have now changed their policy to say that deescalation must be used. Of course, they still write in all of this language, conditional language, but there, that is a change in the policy from, I think it was, should be used before to must be used. And so then, yeah, departments will be assessing when there are, these encounters was deescalation used, could it have been used. And so I imagine that they would be keeping, keeping track of that. You know, if they're gonna enter it all into one central database, I don't know, but these interactions will be evaluated with those standards in mind.

Speaker 1: (25:26)

Now it's my understanding that the San Diego Sheriff's department did not want to be interviewed about the new deescalation training. Did they tell you why?

Speaker 6: (25:34)

Yeah. I mean, the, the Sheriff's department now has had this, um, response to multiple requests from me where they just say that the people who are in charge of that area are too busy. um, you know, and I give them months to, to do an interview and they don't want to do an interview. And so, you know, I, I don't know why I really wish it, it makes it so much easier to be able to talk with the officials who are in charge of whatever it is that the story is about to provide their explanations. But that seems to be just a common trend among, uh, local law enforcement, which is disappointing

Speaker 1: (26:13)

Considering how apparently guarded the Sheriff's department is about discussing this training. Is there a sense that police departments are not yet exactly on board with the deescalation concept? Well, yeah,

Speaker 6: (26:25)

That is gonna be the real test as you know, coming from the top with this high level. Okay. Everyone has to do this training. The question is how will the training really be rolled out? Will it be presented in a way that that officers are, are going to be amenable to, um, and you know, not say, okay, this is just one more thing that we have to do. What a joke. I think in, in Berkeley, I had done stories, uh, last year about how their deescalation training works and the officer or the Lieutenant who was in charge of presenting that training described how he talked officers about it saying, have you ever been in a situation where you could have been justified to shoot and you didn't, and most officers have stories like that where they potentially could have shot someone, but they didn't. And he said, okay, that's deescalation. So start from there. So presenting it in a way of off, knowing that they are capable of, and, you know, already have those tactics down and teaching them about it from that frame of reference.

Speaker 1: (27:32)

I've been speaking with KPBS, investigative reporter, Claire trier, Claire.

Speaker 6: (27:37)

Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 4: (27:45)

The California dream, that idea that you can get rich, be famous, explore nature, or just find yourself has long enticed people to the golden state. But it's a dream that is increasingly hard to attain with many eager to write its obituary due to increased wildfire, shifting business patterns and rising housing costs as a reporter and someone who just lives here. The idea that this place is too expensive is something I hear a lot about. I recently talked with Vanessa Houston of El Cajon, who after weeks of looking for an apartment just had to give up.

Speaker 11: (28:19)

I decided I'm just gonna put all my stuff in storage. So I'm leaving California because cuz the price of living is very

Speaker 4: (28:26)

Expensive. And that's one thing we've been hearing about for a long time. People are leaving California. The question we're all trying to understand is just how many are leaving a new study release yesterday by the university of California, finds that since the start of the pandemic, more people are moving out of than coming in. Joining me now for more on this report and its findings is Evan white, one of the study's authors and the executive director of the California policy lab at UC Berkeley. Hey Evan. Hi there. Okay. So what exactly did your research show in terms of the number of people moving in and out of the state since March, 2020?

Speaker 9: (29:05)

Yeah. So since the start of the pandemic, uh, we saw that the state was losing population due to, uh, domestic migration. The big story is not that people are leaving it's that fewer people are coming. So entrances to California, since the pandemic began are down by nearly 40% now, exits are also somewhat up, but they're matching a pre pandemic trend, which was already showing that people were leaving, uh, California in small numbers. Uh, we're seeing this trend pretty much statewide. Um, every region in the state has had entrances go down by anywhere from 25 to 45%. Um, but we're seeing that it's especially pronounced in the San Francisco bay area.

Speaker 4: (29:49)

Why do you think that is? Why is the bay area kind of leading this right

Speaker 9: (29:52)

Now? I would say that it's the jury's still out. Uh, we really don't know. We hope to do Fu uh, future research on that question, but this report really just focuses is on the numbers because a lot of, uh, the reports that have come out have been sort of speculative or the used data, that's not, uh, that's not very comprehensive. So we've tried to put some numbers to this debate.

Speaker 4: (30:11)

I wanna ask you about that data, but first I wanna turn to San Diego, how many people have left San Diego to move out of state and how many people are moving in compared to other years?

Speaker 9: (30:21)

So our data showed that over 30,000, uh, San Diegos have left the county for other states and only about, uh, 14,000, uh, moved in that's in the third quarter of 2021. The change since the beginning of the pandemic is that exits are up by 8%. But the biggest change is that entrances from other states into the, the county of San Diego are down by 39%. And

Speaker 4: (30:46)

What data did you use to measure where people are moving to and from? Yeah, so

Speaker 9: (30:50)

We used what we think is the most comprehensive data set that we've seen on this topic, which is data from one of the three nationwide credit bureaus. So when you take out a credit card or you have a, a bank loan, uh, you might provide your zip code to that, uh, lender, and they report it up to one of the credit bureaus. We use anonymized credit bureau data, um, to see, uh, whether people have changed their zip codes from one quarter to the next, we're able to see about 90% of adults in the state. Um, and so others who've used other data sources like the United state's postal service data. This is a little bit more comprehensive and it's also, um, very up to date. So our numbers are through the end of September of 2021.

Speaker 4: (31:32)

I know there's a lot of focus on California losing a congressional seat due to population changes, but beyond that, why should people listening care about how many people are moving in or out of the state? What does this tell us about our communities about politics? Why should people really be paying attention to this?

Speaker 9: (31:50)

Yeah, I think that's a really good question. I think people assume that losing population is sort of necessarily a bad thing and to be sure it has some negative consequences such as losing federal electoral power and federal funding, but I think there are other there potential benefits, lower population could decrease demand for housing, for example, and it, and thereby lowering housing prices. Uh, we saw a little bit of that at the beginning of the pandemic in San Francisco. Um, when rents went down, uh, it could also have labor market effects or impacts on, on tax revenues. So I think, you know, there's a lot of different ways it could change things. I think the reason people are so drawn to this question is because it influences their own perception of where they live. If they, they see other people leaving, they feel like maybe, maybe they should leave too or something like that. But, uh, I know for me personally, I, I love this state and the fact of people leaving or coming is not gonna change that

Speaker 4: (32:39)

In the last few years. It seems like we're always reading a study telling us about a potential California Exodus, but you say your research is in line with other university of California studies and doesn't find evidence of such an Exodus. How do you define and quantify an Exodus? And, and why do you think there's so much attention on kind of, you know, domestic migration this way?

Speaker 9: (33:02)

Yeah, it, it does seem like most weeks there's a story about people leaving California. Some of these stories, in my opinion, reflect somewhat of a conservative political bias, but some reflect genuine concerns with the livability of the state. Um, it's housing crisis, it's homelessness crisis. It's why we tried to bring some data, some actual data to this discussion and what our reports shows is it's really not as much about Cal exits as it is about Cal entrances. Uh, the bulk of the population loss from domestic migration is due to fewer people moving to the state, not not many people moving out of it. Um, so, um, you ask how we define an Exodus. I, I guess I'd look for a change in the rate of exits from the state and we have not seen that go up. And in fact, in the early pandemic months that went down, um, although it's since rebounded to, to roughly the pre pandemic trend,

Speaker 4: (33:55)

Why is it important to kind of reframe the way we're thinking about in word and outward movements to really look at the fact that it's, that less people are moving into California, does that reframe the issue or any potential policy points that we can make out of the data you're finding?

Speaker 9: (34:12)

I think in some ways it does, in some ways it doesn't, I think policy makers seem to be quite worried about population loss and they have to focus on both sides of that coin, keeping people here who are already here, but also attracting new residents. And so, because our study shows that there's so much more of a change on the entrances side, um, that could mean that California has to do a better job of marketing the state to non-California residents and trying to counter the narrative of, you know, prominent figures like Elon Musk can make a big show of California, even though his factories are still here. And, uh, it may also mean improving conditions on the ground in terms of the things that matter to potential movers, things like high housing costs and homelessness and the business climate wildfires. And I think that part is what hasn't changed because that is as true for people who live here as it is for people who we might wanna attract here.

Speaker 4: (35:01)

So you mentioned this is the most comprehensive data set that you've been able to use in order to understand this phenomenon. What's next in terms of your research and questions you have as we move forward into 2022.

Speaker 9: (35:13)

Yeah. Well, we're gonna continue to monitor the trends. Um, so we'll see what changes in 2022. We also, uh, wanna take a, a closer look at the, a wide question to see if we can, uh, figure out what seems to be driving. Uh, these changes. Are we seeing people leave from higher cost areas or from areas where there's more availability of remote work options, or are we seeing people leave from areas where there's, um, a lot of wildfire risk. So trying to do some of that analysis to figure out the why of the question I think will be important to break through some of the hyperbole

Speaker 4: (35:44)

About this. I've been speaking with Evan white, the executive director of the California policy lab at UC Berkeley. Thank you so much for your time.

Speaker 9: (35:52)

Thank you for having me on

Speaker 1: (35:58)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Christina Kim Jade Henman is away today. Banjo master Bayla brings his bluegras band to the Balboa theater tomorrow. Following the release of a brand new album. He returns to his bluegras roots with my bluegras heart. The, the album brings home a decades long trilogy of his bluegrass work beginning with 1980 eights drive and 1990 nines. The bluegras sessions, the new album opens with the dizzying track vertigo, Grammy award winner, Bayla flex spoke with K PBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans about his new album, his tour, and more here's that interview.

Speaker 12: (36:56)

Let's start with the reality of being on tour right now in the middle of a pandemic after a long break from live performances. What do these performances mean to you? Oh,

Speaker 13: (37:10)

It's a sheer joy. I mean, it's a complicated thing cuz it's the most fun I've had in a long time, but I also am feel guilty leaving my, uh, advocate, all my wife home with two kids. And of course our nanny situation disintegrated right before I left on tour and she's just really being a soldier. So part of me is really bummed out about that and the rest of it is just having the best time I've ever had

Speaker 12: (37:31)

And it's also been a long time since you've gone on a strictly bluegrass tour and bluegrass is a particularly communal feeling type of music. What has it been like to go back to performing bluegrass?

Speaker 13: (37:46)

It's just a gas. Um, it's a very much of a team sport. You know, you, you share the ball together, you carry it together. And when there's six really talented guys on stage or, or ladies, you know, you have to find your place in it. And, and it's a very much of a dance too. It's not like you just start playing and you play the same way all the way through something you play differently behind each instrument, each combination of instruments. When some, when the fiddle is leading, you play a certain way when the mandoline is leading. You know, when, when we do vocal songs, uh, there's all of these, I don't know how to put it except there's different setups of the way we all play together. And a great bluegrass song travels through all of these different scenarios, you know, in the matter of three or four minutes. And so it's quite complex and a lot of it is unconscious with the people that have done it for their whole lives. You just automatically switch into these different gears, but I think it's a beautiful thing to watch. Just like we're watching a great basketball team on the floor. You know,

Speaker 12: (38:34)

I love that the basketball analogy, and I want to talk to you about this new album. It was released in September called my bluegrass heart. Can

Speaker 13: (38:45)

You tell me a little bit about the completion of, of what's known as a trilogy that you began in the late 1980s and what drew you by in? Well, I, I think of as, as a, as a trilogy, because the first time I got to record my own music with Tony rice and Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas Stewart Duncan was the, the drive album in 1988. And it captured kind of a moment for everybody. Everybody was kind of peeking at a certain point in their career. Um, everyone was stretching, finding new ways to play bluegras and somehow a lot of it coalesced on this record. It was a place you would hear all these people doing that together. And I was the fortunate beneficiary cuz it happened to me, my record and my tunes that with the focal point. So it became at the time it came out, it, it, it did.

Speaker 13: (39:27)

Okay. But as years went by, people started to regard it as like a, a special record of the, a, a special recording of those people at that time, a position statement for the music even for, for that time. So we did it again in 1999 with those folks and we had some of the old guys join us like Earl Scruggs and John Hartford and bass Clemens, all who've passed away now. And, and, and we had the same band, but, um, you know, again, after I'd been in the flex tones for 10 years, I had a whole different idea of what bluegras could be. And in other words, I'd been playing jazz and, and world music and classical music and all these different things. And I thought there was room for a little bit more of it in the bluegrass without it not being bluegrass. And so here I am 20 years after that and I've had a lot longer to think about it.

Speaker 13: (40:09)

And I've also really missed that groove, that thing that's so central to, you know, as a banjo player, bluegrass is gonna be your center. Even if I'm, if you're a New York Yankee band player like me, it's become clear to me that that's the thing that is maybe the most central, uh, to my musical identity. Even though I like to think of myself as a modernist and, you know, uh, working with people outside of, uh, of, of the form for most of the last 30 years, it's very central. So, so this is the homecoming. I mean, in some ways it's, it's, uh, also a way to get to know a lot of the new faces that have come along in that last 20 years that have have ripened, you know, the Sierra halls and Chris steel and Billy strings, uh, Billy Contreras, all these people that I didn't even know about that, uh, have now become the current crop of, uh, very special people, bringing new new ideas to the music. So the album is a come, I've got the old folks, my old pals, like Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas, who I'm coming, coming, uh, coming to you guys with and David Grisman, but then, you know, some very young folks too. And it's nice. And

Speaker 12: (41:08)

You mentioned him earlier, a couple of the songs feature on the album, a couple of the songs feature San Diego's own Chris thy, uh, let's play Psalm 1 36, which, which features him on mandolin.

Speaker 13: (41:37)

I have to say what a, what a God, Chris steely has turned out to be as a musician. And he grew up basically listening to this cast of guys that are coming to San Diego to play. These were his, you know, his, the guys that he emulated and now he's kind of just, you know, showing us all his butt and shaking. It look at me now. He just keeps on moving and moving and going to the next level. It's been a joy to play with him and have that relationship with him.

Speaker 12: (42:02)

I also want to have a listen to Strider from my bluegrass heart. I love how unassuming that song is, but it has so much momentum. And that feels like the entire album too. Can you talk to me about how you put this album together and the kind of story you wanted it to tell?

Speaker 13: (42:35)

Uh, I wish I could claim to have had a master plan, um, but it was much more loose, loose than that and at first I was just thinking, well, I can't get Tony rice cuz he wasn't playing anymore. This was before he had passed away. And so I was disappointed about that. So I had decided I was not going to use the guys I recorded drive and, and uh, bluegrass sessions with back in, in the eighties and, and nineties and I was gonna do something new with some young players. So I started recording some old tunes. I had laying around with a new cast of people and I, I recorded like five songs and then I went through this sort of buyer's remorse. I loved it. I thought it was great what they did by the way. But then I thought, well, why am I not recording with Sam and Jerry just cuz I can't get Tony.

Speaker 13: (43:16)

Why am I not recording with my guys that I grew up, you know, together with playing that are my peer group. So then I started recording with them and then I had two bands with different tracks and I was like, well, if I've got two bands, why am I not asking Chris D to play? And then, well, if I'm asking Chris, what can I do? That would be interesting. Oh, well I just met Billy strings. Well they've never played together. You know? And then David Grisman is passing through town like, well maybe he'll come over and do a track. And pretty soon it was like maybe my ban teacher would come down and no Kel would come in and we would do a triple banter number and it just started to go and roll. And at a certain point it became clear that it was a community record and not a band record was typically my are almost always a band record, same personnel on all the songs.

Speaker 13: (43:59)

And I've always felt that that provided continuity as diverse as the music can sometimes be on my projects. You know, there's a lot of different kinds of things on one record, but if it's the same people, it kind of ties it together. In this case, I just let that go. And it's the instrumentation that ties it together and the camaraderie, um, between a, all these people, everybody just really wanted to be there. And um, the guitarists all were very conscious of filling Tony rice, a seat and wanting to bring something new to it and respect everything he had done in the past. And um, yeah, it was just a joy

Speaker 12: (44:30)

And you're performing at the restored Balboa theater downtown Thursday night. Is there anything you can tell us about what audiences can expect to hear?

Speaker 13: (44:40)

Yeah, I actually, I, I, maybe I should because this album, you know, some of it's very heady, some of it's very visceral, some of it's, you know, uh, whatever you wanna say, but it's all instrument along the record, but on the live show, this band, um, you know, we, it's kind of the, the record is an excuse to bring this a team together. So we're not just doing the record. We're doing quite a bit of the complex pieces from the record and highly orchestrated instrumental music, but we're also hitting some standard bluegrass stuff. So it's not just gonna be heavy, instrumental stuff. It's, it's a bit of a party and everybody's having the time of their lives and there's a lot of silliness and um, some of the best musicianship on the planet. Uh, I just have to say, these guys are blowing my mind every day and making this music swing. Um, bluegrass can swing even at these ridiculous tempos that we sometimes get to. And, um, just a wonderful time. Everybody's been really happy audiences have been going crazy for it. And we're just having a time of our lives.

Speaker 1: (45:36)

That was Grammy, winter Bayla, flex speaking with KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon, Evans Bayla will perform at the Bebo theater at eight tonight.

Speaker 14: (46:11)

Oh the oh and the, the, oh,

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The two finalists to be the next San Diego Unified superintendent were announced Tuesday night. They are Susan Enfield from Washington and Lamont Jackson, the current interim superintendent. Plus, newly elected San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera lays out his vision for the council as he settles into his new role. Also, two years ago, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office introduced a de-escalation training program to reduce police shootings countywide. There’s hope that it’s beginning to create a change in police culture. Meanwhile, is the California Dream over? More people are moving out of the state than moving in. And, Banjo master Bela Fleck brings his bluegrass band to the Balboa Theatre tomorrow, following the release of a brand new album.