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With surging COVID cases, California reinstates mask mandate

 December 14, 2021 at 4:23 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:01)

The mask mandate is back. We'll explain

Speaker 2: (00:03)

Why masks wherever they have been deployed widely and correctly result in decreased cases, decreased hospitalizations and decreased death.

Speaker 1: (00:11)

I'm Jade Henman with Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday edition. Find out the latest on our local pandemic response from top officials.

Speaker 3: (00:29)

Access is not a problem. What is the primary issue is those people that are not vaccinated making the decision to become vaccinated.

Speaker 1: (00:38)

The new rules that could change California's solar marketplace and here from jazz pianist, Joshua White that's ahead on midday edition, California has a statewide mask mandate amid growing concerns of a surge in Omicron variant cases. The decision comes after health officials observed a jump in cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks, the new mandate will go into effect tomorrow and last until January 15th. Dr. Christian Rams is an infectious disease special who oversees clinical programs at family health centers of San Diego and sits on the county's vaccine clinical advisory group. He joins us now, Dr. Ramer welcome. Thank you for having me, Jay, are you surprised that the state chose to reinstate a masking mandate?

Speaker 2: (01:38)

No, I don't think this is surprising. This is, uh, one of the several interventions that we know works, uh, in the actual CDPH website memo that talked about this. They go through all of the evidence that's accumulated about masks, and it's just irrefutable at this point that that masks wherever they have been deployed widely and consistently and correctly result in decreased cases, decreased hospitalizations and decreased deaths, whether it be in public settings or in schools or in, in cities or in jurisdictions. So looking ahead to the winter and to the only crown variant, uh, coming along, I think it's just a, a re very reasonable thing to be doing several

Speaker 1: (02:13)

Other counties already had mandates, uh, still in place when this news came down, but not San Diego. Do you think the county should have kept masking rules in place this entire time?

Speaker 2: (02:24)

Well, it's hard to, to kind of Reigate, uh, the decisions from several months ago and I don't really want to be playing Monday morning quarterback, but, but certainly going forward with a unified approach, the state making this announcement really allows all of the counties to fall in line and, and to do what we know actually does work. And you're correct that other counties with mass mandates or with indoor vaccine mandates in place such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, you know, there is some evidence that it has helped going forward. So knowing what we know now, yes, it is the right thing to do going forward.

Speaker 1: (02:53)

How do you anticipate the next few months will compare to last year's winter surge?

Speaker 2: (02:58)

Yeah, very hard to say. We're, we're in a really different place with a, with a lot of complicating factors and I've looked at some of the models that the state is using. And as you know, models are only so good because they're, they, they take all these complicated factors and try to blend them together, but they don't look very good in terms of in San Diego, you know, in the next month, the doubling of hospitalizations from around 300 to 600. And so this is part of what inspired, you know, these changes to try to flatten the curve. Once again, with the tools that we know work, there's new evidence, just coming outta South Africa about what Omicron looks like and how it behaves. And it's actually better news than we expected, because it looks like the vaccines do do a pretty good job at preventing hospitalization.

Speaker 2: (03:39)

The particular analysis of around 70,000 patients in South Africa show that the Pfizer vaccine, just two doses is still about 70% effective at, at preventing hospitalization, not as effective at preventing cases. So we have these tools in front of us. We have masks, we have vaccines, including full vaccination courses and boosters. Uh, and we do have treatments that still were, uh, some of the monoclonal antibodies still work as well. And we have antivirals coming shortly. So more tools at our disposal, as long as people remain vigilant with the prevention measures. I think we should make it through this winter. Okay. Is

Speaker 1: (04:11)

Masking still the most effective way to curb the spread of the virus

Speaker 2: (04:15)

While masking and vaccination, both kind of work a hand in hand, of course, layered approaches incorporating both of those is really the best. Um, and then ventilation and just behavioral decisions is kind of the third major category. We've learned that masks, especially if you use a surgical mask or better, really are a very important mitigation strategy. And as I, as I said, at the beginning in places where they have been consistently introduced such as in schools, it is a very, very effective way to decrease transmission. And we've feel like that's what we need heading into this winter. It was only crown on the way.

Speaker 1: (04:44)

And as the masking mandate goes into effect, remind us what type of masks we should be wearing. And what's most protective.

Speaker 2: (04:50)

Yeah, there's actually a note in the CDPH announcement that we really should be striving for surgical masks or better. And what that means is those sort of blue and white, uh, surgical masks that are blown the material work a little bit better than cloth masks or any other material at preventing things from getting through. Uh, there now is more availability of higher quality masks than that even the K N 90 S or the N 95 S which do even a better job of filtering. And so if people have access to those, we're not really in such a crunch for those anymore. Um, I would go for one of the higher quality, especially if you're going to be indoors for a long period of time as

Speaker 1: (05:23)

This search continues. Do you think further measure such as stay at home orders will be taken to, uh, curb the spread of the virus at all?

Speaker 2: (05:31)

I, I certainly hope not. And I think that we have learned our lesson about strict lockdowns about how damaging they can be. They, they certainly can be effective at decreasing spread, but they have such economic and mental to health and, and other financial implications that nobody wants to go back to that. So using a layered approach with the in interventions that we know work like vaccinations and masking, uh, and the treatments that we have, I think hopefully will get us through without having to resort to those draconian measures.

Speaker 1: (05:57)

How is hospital capacity currently faring in San Diego county?

Speaker 2: (06:01)

As far as I can tell it looks okay. It it's a complicated number though. It's not a real simple thing to just say hospital capacity. And that's because even if we have beds, we need personnel. And as you've reported on throughout the last two years, uh, healthcare personnel are really at, at our wits send and especially nursing. Um, and it doesn't make any, it doesn't help any to have 10 beds if you don't have nurses to help staff them. So I, I think we're holding up okay. But we are a, a healthcare workforce that has been in crisis, frankly for a year or so. And all of those problems of trying to get traveling nurses and, and, um, and staff things. It's really still a very big problem. And so it really should take everything. We have all the prevention measures that we have to prevent us from getting into a crisis situation.

Speaker 1: (06:43)

And what is specifically is the situation with Omicron here locally? I mean, are we beginning to see community spread of this particular variant? Well, as far

Speaker 2: (06:52)

As I know, there have been two cases, uh, described publicly one of which was a person without any travel. And so that implies that it was a locally acquired, uh, case. Um, I think we have a very robust sequencing operation here compared to other counties, from what my understanding we're sequencing about 10% of the positive, uh, PCR cases that come in, which is a very high level compared to other places in the country. And so I think in the next coming weeks, we'll probably see a whole lot more. We're always a little bit behind, even as fast as, as the sequencing is able to occur, we're always a week or two behind. And so, uh, it, you know, I think it's only a matter of time to see what Omicron does. We also have plenty of Delta variant here that's causing all the hospitalizations and, and a lot of the cases now, but talking to someone like Christian Anderson, who's really one of the experts in the sequencing here. Uh, he thinks it's within about two weeks that we'll see Omicron make up a substantial portion, uh, such as maybe 20 or 25% of cases.

Speaker 1: (07:47)

I've been speaking with Dr. Christian Rams, a specialist in infectious diseases who oversees clinical programs at family health centers of San Diego. Dr. Rams, thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2: (07:57)

Thanks for having me,

Speaker 4: (08:03)

Even with an expected holiday uptick in cases, the fact that millions in the county are vaccinated will make this a different winter than a year ago. KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman sat down with county public health, officer Dr. Wilma Wooten and health and human services director, Nick Macon. Who've been leading our pandemic response to give us a COVID update and what else is on their radar?

Speaker 3: (08:28)

What we're coming upon the flu season and winter months. And COVID 19 is not the only thing that's circulating in the community influenza circulating. And it appears to be, um, more, uh, out there than, uh, it was this time, uh, last year. So the number of cases we've seen, uh, over the past several months, uh, are greater than the same time last year. So there's that. And then there are other viruses, uh, RSV, um, uh, respiratory sensual virus. There are adeno viruses. There are, are hosts of other viruses that commonly circulate during the winter months, uh, that we have to be, uh, aware of, but the preventive strategies that we out for COVID 19 also help with these other, uh, circulating viruses, washing your hands, uh, covering your cough and even, uh, wearing the masks. So if people continue to be careful, uh, about their actions, their behavior, uh, we can get through the, the winter months as well, but the anticipation of, uh, cases going up over the winter months is a, a significant concern and worry. So it is, uh, incumbent upon all of our partners, our county, uh, efforts as well as individuals, because we can make the resources available. But if individuals don't take advantage of those resources, then it's not going to do them any good. Yeah.

Speaker 5: (09:59)

You know, uh, you know, I think the, the biggest gift you can give someone this holiday season coming up, if you love someone you care about them, uh, is get vaccinated. You know, if you're eligible and able to, and, and we have seen that, you know, when we have the holidays, we've seen the rise of folks because they are conscious and they're realizing they, they, they don't want their loved ones to be exposed. So we are proud in San Diego, as you, as you know, we, uh, had one of the most vast expansive networks of be it for testing and, and then vaccinations. And to this day, we still have testing available, but the vaccinations is readily available and folks can just, you know, go to their nearest pharmacy or their primary care physician, for example, or come to go to two on one to one of the county sites, but it's taking action in the holiday season. And of course, uh, doing all the, all the precautions or public health precautions that we have been in nauseum, uh, talking about for the last

Speaker 6: (10:54)

Two years. Yeah. I know something. Yeah. You mentioned you guys are very proud of as the vaccination efforts here, 75%, a little bit more than that, of the eligible population, like 2.3 million San Diegos fully vaccinated. Um, but what about booster doses? We saw those come out recently and vaccines for younger kids. Is there an appetite there from San Diegos you guys are seeing?

Speaker 3: (11:12)

Well, certainly those percentages are far less, but we've only been vaccinating the five to 11 year old, uh, age group, uh, for about the past month. So we are continuously, uh, getting the word out through our sector partners and through our contracted partners that are contracted to do outreach and promote, uh, vaccinations and the appropriate testing. So it's to continuous, we are continuing those, uh, same efforts that we had in place, uh, at the beginning

Speaker 6: (11:43)

Of the year. Um, but in terms of testing and vaccinations, do you guys think the infrastructure is still there that it's readily available? And is there any scale up or scale down as it relates to that? Now we're approaching like two years into the pandemic here?

Speaker 3: (11:54)

Well, certainly the mass vaccination sites, uh, you know, they were stood down and, but pharmacies have now stepped in and taken up a large part of the, the pool, if you will, in terms of vaccinating, uh, individuals, and they're the leaders and vaccinations followed by private providers, followed by hospitals and then followed by our, uh, county partners. Actually the county itself is, uh, fifth, because our role is to be the safety net and to work with the, the various partners. So, uh, access is not a problem. What is the primary issue? Is those people that are not vaccinated making the decision to become vaccinated?

Speaker 5: (12:40)

Yeah. You know, I, I, I think the you're talking about the ecosystem we built and the reality is we never Wayne from being really data informed before it was the mass events come to us. Now, our events are a more tailored going to almost door-to-door campaigns in communities where, for example, you have some, some spots in, you know, in north county, in Northland that are not as high as clearly south bay, it's working with those trusted messengers, the community partners that we have been doing now, uh, you know, since the pandemic, but focusing on where are the, those areas that maybe not at 75, maybe they're at 65, maybe 70, how do we get them there? Right. And so, and that is then working through our community partners with the county. And so you don't see mass, you know, vac centers because they're really going out into areas of where people live. Yeah. I

Speaker 6: (13:32)

Know that you're as agency turn nearly all of its attention to the pandemic. And last time we talked on the, now that we're on the downward trend, maybe of the pandemic, you talked about, you know, looking at other areas that you guys can go back to in your, in your strategic plan. Um, and you guys mentioned efforts to curb homelessness, and we know that since then, there's been a lot of work going on behind the scenes. Uh, maybe a new shelter coming in the east county soon, uh, helping the city of San Diego set up some shelters. Um, how is progress on that front when it comes to you? Guys' homelessness

Speaker 5: (13:59)

Efforts? Let me, let me say that, you know, we, we have seen, you know, homelessness on, on the rise, uh, uh, tragically, and it's not for the lack of trying by cities or counties. I think we're just seeing more people that have been sheltered at some point now coming unsheltered, right? And so we have a new board, you know, that started in January. Uh, they established a framework for the future. We in October with the new board's framework for the future were directed and came back to the board with a framework to end homelessness. Now I know that's grandiose, but that is in fact what we're shooting for. And that framework, it was very important because represents almost a billion dollars of investment of county

Speaker 6: (14:41)

Resources. Is there some things in your mind that, you know, we want to get through now, now, now that we're, I know you guys have been pivoting, but we wanna do this, this and this, you know,

Speaker 5: (14:49)

We, um, are seeing, uh, tragedy unfold, right? Not only in our county, our state with, uh, fentanyl and opiate, right? Mm-hmm, , uh, uh, that is in some cases, in my view equally, almost a pandemic in proportion. So one out of 13 San Diego experience, a substance use disorder, one out of 13, yet as our new, we have built the most wonderful hospitals and clinics and, and then maybe public health, right. We're catching up on infrastructure, but alcohol and drug treatment has not been, it's always been stigmatized as well, and has not been an area that has been invested in as we have been trying to do in California. So this is a priority for, in our region with this board of supervisor framing for the future are really pushing, not leaning in running forward, uh, with us and the staff about how do you build a truly a behavioral health continuum of care.

Speaker 5: (15:44)

That is the tentacles that touch not only the homeless, not only the, the opiate fentanyl, uh, uh, uh, pandemic, but also the rising number of mental health challenges we're, we've been seeing. And so that is being led by our behavioral health services. It is a massive undertaking. It's not just bricks and mortars and assessment centers. It's, it's really an idea. And the idea is this, that we wanna make sure we break down the stigma of mental health and drug addiction, that it's no different than if you were COVID positive or you have a heart issue or something else, that idea. And then having the services that support that is critical. And so that is a top priority. We're leading that. And then when you look in that space, it has the issues around homeless or people who are, you know, in need of residential treatment and so forth. It's building out then the housing, uh, uh, component, and they're not disconnected. They're concurrent issues that we're developing. So tho those that issue about health homeless, behavioral health, in addition, obviously to public becomes a very large piece and of priorities for us.

Speaker 4: (16:57)

That was health and human services director, Nick Marshon and county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten speaking with K PBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Henman California regulators have proposed new rules that could completely change the state's solar marketplace yesterday, the California public utilities commission issued proposals that would deeply cut the financial incentives for people to put solar power on their roofs. A final decision is expected late next month and solar industry backers hope to temper some of the changes in part two of his report on the C P C K PBS environment reporter Eric Anderson explains the pressures on state regulators to come up with the changes.

Speaker 7: (18:01)

Cavan Welsh chime lifts up a solar panel destined for a San Diego rooftop.

Speaker 8: (18:06)

So this is glass, and then the, the cells are actually behind the, the glass there. And then it's all enclosed from the back with that, that frame

Speaker 7: (18:14)

On it. Van Wilshire founded a Loha solar two years ago, and business is brisk. This installation in Del Mar will be up and running in a day. And van Welsh says another crew is working at a different location. There is consumer interest in solar because it saves customers money and helps the environment

Speaker 8: (18:33)

You produce the energy whenever you want. You can pull it back kind of whenever you want. And there's a cost that, that the utility says, we will give it to you for this cost. We'll sell it for this cost, and we'll give it to you for this cost. The

Speaker 7: (18:44)

California public utilities commission set up rules for solar known as net energy metering, which locks in the price of electricity that residents sell back to utilities. And the current version also requires a small monthly fee to pay for fixed

Speaker 8: (18:57)

Costs. It's agreement locked in, and the agreement is pretty favorable for solar customers. Right now,

Speaker 7: (19:03)

The state's investor owned utilities are asking for major changes. They want to slash the price of electricity that are required. I, from homeowners who install solar systems, and they want to charge a monthly grid connection fee, that could be up to $90 a month. They argue solar customers are saving money at the expense of their neighbors, San Diego gas and electric declined an opportunity to discuss their positions, steering KPBS, to surrogates like the utility reform network or

Speaker 9: (19:32)

Turn future solar customers. Let's bring the subsidy in alignment with the fact that costs of solar installation are dramatically less than they were once upon a time,

Speaker 7: (19:44)

Mark Tony is the group's executive director, and he says the solar subsidy needs to be cut in California because the state its electricity prices are already some of the most expensive in the nation.

Speaker 9: (19:55)

Now in San Diego, uh, we estimate that that's about $260 a year that non solar customers are paying extra. And what we'd like to see is we'd like to bring that down so that the customers who don't own solar get a little bit of a break because prices are just too high.

Speaker 7: (20:21)

The cost shift argument is a common talking point for groups like turn and the natural resources defense council, which have aligned their reform proposals with the utilities. They argue that electric customers without solar pay higher prices for electricity because solar customers are buying less. That allows solar customers to avoid paying for grid maintenance, transmission lines, and wildfire mitigation costs baked into the rates. The N R D C estimates only about 15% of the retail cost of a kilowatt hour pays for solar subsidies. Bernadette Del kero is the executive director of the California solar and storage association. And she says, the investor owned utilities are, are flexing their financial muscles.

Speaker 10: (21:08)

They have so much power and influence. And you know, they hire PR firms with millions of dollars to spend and they, you know, effectively shape the whole debate and, you know, take something that's kind of confusing, uh, and, and make it seem like it's, um, you know, a very difficult decision.

Speaker 7: (21:26)

Well, K PBS couldn't ask SDG any, any questions directly. They did email a statement. Utility officials said they've been working on net energy metering reforms for the past year and are eager to see the systems in equities addressed. Del Kiara says the company is too focused on profit instead

Speaker 10: (21:45)

Of looking at how to improve upon net, me entering and make it better for people with lower income people in apartment buildings, people that are faced with repeated grid outages. Instead they're saying, let's just take the guillotine to this program and make solar twice as expensive and completely inaccesible to everybody.

Speaker 7: (22:06)

The solar market reforms one won't be finalized until early next year. And any preliminary plans could change before the California public utilities commission votes on them. Eric Anderson KPBS news.

Speaker 1: (22:23)

Amazon has seen dramatic growth during the pandemic. They went from building 75 new a year to 300 in 2020 alone. A recent consumer report says that growth is increasing pollution in the communities they build in. Most of which are black and brown. San Diego has about 12 facilities. Kave Wael deputy editor with consumer reports. Digital lab joins us to talk about the local impact. KA welcome.

Speaker 11: (22:51)

Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1: (22:52)

So first, what prompted this investigation into where Amazon builds its facilities?

Speaker 11: (22:57)

Well, I've been reading for a while about local fights against new Amazon warehouses. Many of them are in California's inland empire, that's, uh, near LA, some are in Chicago. And, um, I saw order to wonder what this picture looked nationally.

Speaker 1: (23:13)

What ways did you find Amazon impacts the communities they build in?

Speaker 11: (23:18)

Well, residents, neighbors of Amazon warehouses told me that the first thing you notice is the traffic, just a huge spike in congestion. There are hundreds, or even in, in some cases, thousands of new truck trips, van trips, these are delivery vans and, and even just hundreds of people commuting to these warehouses, um, that weren't there before sometimes arriving almost without warning. Um, when, uh, when residents don't know that Amazon's going to be operating the warehouse, that that was quickly built around the corner, um, that congestion means more danger for kids walking in the neighborhood, walking to and from school for bikers. It means a lot more noise sometimes around the clock on for some of the 24 hour warehouses. One thing that surprised me is the vibrations from passing just constant PA passing trucks can cause structural damage. We spoke to one resident in Fontana, California, that's in the inland empire who said, he's basically on, in a constant fight to patch up one crack and a stucco before the next one appears and city inspectors.

Speaker 11: (24:22)

He said told him, um, that it's probably from the big semi trick tractor trailers that are coming by around the clock. And then of course, there's the pollution. We know that, uh, traffic and especially diesel causes a lot of respiratory damage in the long term. And that's what worries people. Now, when we looked at Amazon warehouses across the entire country, we found that a large majority of are near neighborhoods with a greater share of residents of color than average for the Metro areas they're in. And we also saw that they're in lower income neighborhoods than typical for the same Metro areas. And that tells us that the harms as is so often the case are disproportionately affecting people of color and low income residents across the entire country.

Speaker 1: (25:04)

Is that the same to trend here locally in San Diego? You know, the

Speaker 11: (25:09)

Data is actually a little bit mixed in San Diego. Some warehouses are in areas with a much larger share of people of color and low income residents. Some are in, um, places with far fewer, low income residents and, and people of color. So there's no sort of clear overarching trend in, in San Diego. They're where the way that there is in some other areas and, and nationally that said there are a number of facilities existing and sort of under construction or soon to open that are in areas with a much greater share of people of color and low income residents than average. There's one in national city. There's a pair in Toula Vista. Um, all three of those are in areas with more residents of color than 80% or more of the neighborhoods in San Diego, in the San Diego area. So that's pretty stark.

Speaker 1: (25:58)

And so how much pollution and what type is caused by these facilities?

Speaker 11: (26:03)

Well, a lot of the pollution that people worry about is, uh, a category called pollution that easily get launched deep in people's lungs, um, and internal combustion engines, um, create a lot of this. Um, this, these are tailpipe emissions, including from gasoline engines and cars and bands, but also, um, in, in greater, uh, quantities from diesel engines, um, like the ones on hue, semi-trucks on tractor trailers, um, how much, exactly, isn't always clear. And that's part of the problem that I'm reporting on here. Air quality monitoring networks are really great at telling you general trends, but they're not that good at telling you what's happening in your specific neighborhood. And that's one thing that community advocates are asking for. And what

Speaker 1: (26:48)

Are the health impacts of this pollution?

Speaker 11: (26:51)

It's a laundry list, uh, higher chance of getting asthma higher chance of developing, uh, certain types of cancer, higher chance of having a heart attack. Um, children in the L are particularly vulnerable. Um, studies have found if you're pregnant, there's a higher chance of having a premature birth or a miscarriage. So just a whole lot of evidence gathered over many decades that living near roads and heavy vehicles can be really harmful of the long term.

Speaker 1: (27:20)

And you're reporting, you call this an example of, of environmental racism. Explain

Speaker 11: (27:24)

That. Well, that's something I heard from residents, from neighbors and from experts. Um, there's a long, long legacy of government policies that have devalued land in and near communities of color. And, um, that have made it particularly easy to build polluting facilities there, even if there are other already, um, already other polluting facilities there. Um, that's the legacy experts told me that warehouse operators like Amazon are leaning on when they build in these communities. And

Speaker 1: (27:52)

You've made mention of this, but what are community activists asking Amazon along with state and local officials

Speaker 11: (27:58)

To do if, uh, you know, if you're a local government considering whether or not you should allow, uh, new warehouse to open in an area, um, formally considering whether or not it would, uh, make already bad pollution worse. Um, and that might sort of change that might start to change the landscape rather than, uh, concentrating polluting facilities in these neighborhoods that have been, um, dealing with them for decades.

Speaker 1: (28:23)

I've been speaking with Kevin, a Wael deputy editor with consumer reports, digital lab cave. Thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 11: (28:30)

Thank you very much.

Speaker 4: (28:36)

Our young people are not only our future. They are also our present with those words last summer, San Diego mayor, Todd Gloria announced the return of the San Diego youth commission.

Speaker 12: (28:48)

They have opinions, ideas, solutions that we as a city ought to welcome ought to invite to the table, ought to make space for in order to help us guide decision making in the city with the reestablishment of the city of San Diego's youth commission, that seat at the table will now be available

Speaker 4: (29:05)

At two, took several months for a group of students to be selected and hold the first meeting of the commission that took place last week and here to tell us about it is the commission's chair and Rancho Bernardo high school student Anusha Carala and Anusha. Welcome. Thank you, Maureen. Now, what's your understanding of what the city youth commission has been set up to do?

Speaker 13: (29:29)

So right now, right in San Diego, we have over 450,000 youth. I think the main mission of the youth commission is just to promote youth participation in, in the city civic process, right? We basically want to amplify youth voices that way we can bring about policy changes on issues that impact youth of San Diego.

Speaker 4: (29:54)

Now, what made you wanna be part of the youth commission

Speaker 13: (29:57)

With my personal experiences working in, in diversion program, I've, I've gotten to work with kids at a more individual Le uh, level I've gotten to understand their stories and their struggles. The number one thing is that most of the issues and most of the problems occur at a systemic level. So with the mayor reinstating the youth commission, what it does that it provides an opportunity for us to, uh, look at issues that we really can care about, like juvenile justice and work at it at a policy level. So, um, I think it just provides an incredible opportunity. So when I heard about it, it was just really exciting.

Speaker 4: (30:31)

So as we mentioned last week was the first meeting for the commission. What happened at that meeting? So we

Speaker 13: (30:38)

Had our first meeting on December 8th, it was very meeting. We had council president, uh, Shawn Rivera come and give us a welcoming speech that was really awesome to have his support. Uh, one of the first actions that we took as the commission, uh, was to establish a municipal code review subcommittee. And this was just so that we can update the municipal code as it relates to the youth commission. We also had an update from the team that oversees the city of San Diego's climate action plan, the city updated the climate action plan, and that was originally passed in 2015. And now it's being slated for updates in 2020. So, uh, the revised plan, that's kind of coming to its final stages and they're soliciting, uh, public, but so it was awesome that they were able to come and present to us and, and that initiative is called the, our climate, our future group. So, yeah, so super exciting. And I think they'll do a really great job in terms of moving San Diego tour that, uh, net zero emissions target by 2035, you

Speaker 4: (31:39)

Mentioned that, uh, newly elected San Diego city council press Sean ILA Rivera spoke at last week's youth commission meeting. Here's a little of what he had to say

Speaker 14: (31:49)

Prior to being elected to the council. I served as the executive director of an organization called youth will. And I got to see, you know, first hand in that role, the brilliance of young folks, not just it was creativity, but like really, really smart policy analysis that is grounded, that was grounded in, in their day to day experiences. So

Speaker 4: (32:11)

That was city council, president Sean ILA Rivera speaking at last week's first meeting of the revived San Diego youth commission. Let's talk about diversity, Anusha. What are some of the other students serving on the youth commission with you?

Speaker 13: (32:25)

Basically, we have a super diverse a group of commissioners. We have 18 commissioners in total, and one of the really great things is that they come from all the nine districts of San Diego. So we have a very like well representative group of students, and not only are they diverse in terms of the areas and communities that they come from, but they also have a very diverse set of interests and things that they're passionate about. We have, uh, students who are really passionate about homelessness. We have, uh, students who are passionate about climate equity, juvenile justice issues, uh, students who've seen environmental and transportation issues in their communities, and they want to use this platform to, uh, speak on that, right? So there's just a, a huge, um, range of different issues that these commissioners are really interested in. And, uh, they're all really excited to use their platform to, uh, to bring about changes in their communi in, in San Diego.

Speaker 4: (33:21)

Let's talk about that platform. How, and when will you be presenting your ideas?

Speaker 13: (33:27)

The commission will just work together to identify issues that either come up through our public hearings, right. Um, like through public comments or also just through our work, when we're working with the youth of a element organizations, uh, within the city. Uh, and at that point, what we'll do is we'll create, um, subcommittees targeted to address specific issues that youth in San Diego are facing. Basically the end products for those subcommittees will just be like creating a policy report, uh, with recommendations that will present to the mayor and city cloud. So

Speaker 4: (34:01)

How can people find out more about the commission and what

Speaker 13: (34:05)

It's doing? We'll be updating the San Diego, do go website with any work that we're doing or any updates. Uh, also we have our quarterly public hearings that are open to public and, and we highly encourage youth to join. Uh, at that point, we'll be discussed any updates that have happened, uh, any progress that we made through our subcommittees or through our worth of, we have done collaborating with like youth development organizations. So we'll make sure that youth in San Diego are certainly updated through those means. Uh, we also want to, um, be active on social media and get our word out through those platforms as well.

Speaker 4: (34:42)

That's a big job. And as you say, it's very exciting Anusha. Uh, let me just say, I've been speaking with Anusha KA. She is chair of the San Diego youth commission. Good luck. And thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (35:03)

You're listening to K PBS midday edition. I'm Jade Henman with Maureen Kavanaugh, jazz pianist, Joshua White thrives on improvising and working out music with other musicians during performances. He had to shift gears a little during the pandemic and look internally for inspiration and even embrace virtual platforms. But in April, when performers were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, white said he was looking forward to the thrill of live jazz for our influential music series. We asked him to make us a playlist, and he picked five local iconic musicians whose work has impacted him and the jazz scene in San Diego and beyond here's Joshua White in his own words,

Speaker 15: (35:54)

Since the pandemic began, there's been a drastic change in my practice in terms of performance, because a lot of what I did as a musician was live performance based. So not only working on my music and writing and arranging, but actually performing in front of live audiences and testing out new material and new arrangements with my fellow musicians. And thankfully things are starting to open back up. So we're getting a chance as musicians to try all these ideas that have been in this sort of gestation for, you know, this past year Outside of immune musical collaboration. I'm always interested in working with people who have a interesting perspective and a way of communicating that perspective and who are interested in collaboration, but also, you know, have an interesting way of putting their ideas together in the moment and have the capacity to respond to any given piece of information, any given stimuli at any given time, you know, exploring the ideas in the moment.

Speaker 15: (37:14)

I think I met Charles McPherson back in 2003 at the inaugural year of the U C S D jazz camp. And just so happens at that program. I got to meet some of the greatest internationally touring artists who also live here in San Diego. And one of those individuals was the great Charles McPherson. And it was truly an honor to meet him in, to hear him live in person at that formative time in my development. So in meeting Charles McPherson and learning more about him, his history and his music, I immediately went to the record store. And I would say this particular recording suddenly was the first recording that I purchased by Charles McPherson. The record blew me away. I mean, just hearing him in person is amazing as well as getting the records. And thankfully over the years, I've had a chance to collaborate with him on many different occasion. And, you know, it's always been a great and wonderful learning experience to be next to a real master of this musical tradition that you know, is most commonly referred to as jabs.

Speaker 15: (38:39)

I first met Holly Hoffman at that same music program at U C S D in 2003. And I would say that our connection was through the flute because at that time I was playing the flute as well. I've also admired all the further recorded work. And I, thankfully I have the honor of working with her on April 17th, we're playing a live stream concert of her music, and she allowed me the opportunity to pick my favorite recorded material. And we will be playing that music at the livestream concert, which includes one of my favorites further adventures. What I like about further adventures is that it has an interesting musical form and it has a lot of fun sections to play over. And that's really what in jazzer improvised music. It's not only do we join the melodies and the chords and things like that, but they present an interesting area from which we can improvise and create from that framework. I always equate working with mark dresser and his music and his bands as sort of my college level experience in music theory and composition, because in my personal experience, he's been one of my favorite composers and he writes these such interesting melodies and harmonies and everything he's been one of the musicians I would say, has opened up a new world to me in terms of what I thought was possible in music and improvisation and in composition and this particular song Peralt, we've played this many, many times together.

Speaker 15: (41:07)

I've always told him that this particular composition of his is my favorite melody by far that he's written. I love the chords and I love the harmony and how everything, you know, just works together in like a harmonious fashion. And I'm always grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate and work with mark on any project. Like if he has a recording project and he asks me if I'm available or a live performance, I'm there. And if I have a project, I know he's going to bring something remarkable and truly special to the occasion.

Speaker 16: (41:41)

Carrie, you halfway crawl whatsoever on my neck and you Stu you Stu me anyway.

Speaker 15: (41:50)

I first met Jene Kendrick. So it's an interesting story. I was playing with Gilbert Costanos at a jam session. I believe it might have been on Thursdays or Wednesday nights, many years ago. It was at seven grand in north park. So I had been playing there for a few years already. And at a jam session is customary that musicians or whomever would like to sit in, you know, once invited, they're able to sit it in and join the house band. So I had never met Johnna and she came up to the bandstand and said, I'm a vocalist I would like to sit in. So she told me just to start wherever I would like to start. And I just started in my natural abstract space and I wanted to see where she would go with that. And she just right in and just floored me. And I knew from then if I had a vocalist, how I ignore

Speaker 16: (42:41)

All the things you, what made it,

Speaker 15: (43:03)

She just floors me every time that we work together because not only is she a brilliant musician, but she's just a wonderful person. And she adds such a great energy and a great spirit to every ensemble that we're able to work together. I also met Mike Wofford that first year at the U C S D jazz camp in 2003. And really you can pick any recording from Mike Wofford and you're going to get, you know, a world of knowledge from his playing. But I think that his arrangement of the old standard, my old flame just is characteristic of his grace and nuance at the piano. I don't know that I can see you into the future in terms of where live performance is going post pandemic with the introduction of more virtual performances. Because quite honestly, I prefer just performing live as to performing virtually because I'm open to the opportunity of both experiences, the virtual, as well as the live, but I will always be in favor of the live performances and letting it just live in that moment. And then once it's gone, it's gone.

Speaker 16: (44:27)

That was local jazz pianist,

Speaker 15: (44:29)

Joshua White in April,

Speaker 1: (44:31)

The Joshua White trio will be performing at dizzy this Saturday night, December 18th.

Speaker 16: (45:05)


With surging cases and a growing concern over the omicron variant, the state has reinstated a month-long mask mandate. Also, as the pandemic enters its second winter, San Diego public health officials say the outlook is a bit different this time around, but they’re also concerned about other rising health issues. Plus, state regulators have proposed new rules that could completely change the state’s solar marketplace. Meanwhile, Amazon’s megagrowth is increasing pollution in places where they’ve built warehouses, which are mostly located in Black and Brown communities. And, it took several months, but the San Diego Youth Commission is back and the first meeting was held last month. Finally, from the archive, jazz pianist Joshua White shares the five local artists who have influenced him and made an impact in the San Diego jazz scene.