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High-speed rail is coming to California, but not San Diego

 March 8, 2024 at 4:11 PM PST

S1: Welcome to Kpbs roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. Today we take a look at the long , winding road to bringing high speed rail to California and how San Diego came to be left out of its initial plans.

S2: San Diego sort of became , on the outside , looking in about the first phase of high speed rail. Then.

S1: Then. Our workplaces have gone through a lot of changes since the pandemic took hold in 2020 , and so has the language around them.


S1: That's just ahead on Kpbs roundtable. High speed rail has long been a part of the state's vision for its future. Grand plans have come and gone and come back again. A $3.1 billion federal grant has reinvigorated the building of high speed rail in the Central Valley , with a wider vision to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco. San Diego Union-Tribune reporter David Garrick has been looking into how San Diego was left out of the state's high speed rail plans , at least so far. David , welcome back to roundtable.

S2: Thanks for having me.

S1: So , you know , reading your story , I have to say , I didn't realize that the vision for high speed rail for California goes all the way back to the early 1980s and had some strong San Diego ties in its origins. Can you tell us about Lynne Schenck and the role she played in kind of getting this idea going ? Yeah.

S2: Lin was one of governor Jerry Brown's top aides. Her nickname is the mother of high speed rail because of this. And when she was one of his top aides , she visited Japan for another reason. Saw bullet trains , high speed trains there , was highly impressed and came back and told Governor Brown about it , told him how important it would be , said San Diego to Los Angeles would be the perfect line because it's a highly traveled rail line. Governor Brown was excited , and he actually managed to get it fast tracked for environmental approval. And the the ball was rolling back in 1981.

S1: And it was sort of the start of a long relationship governor Jerry Brown had with high speed rail over the years.

S2: Yeah , he was one of the most vocal supporters of it and certainly one of the early supporters.

S1: So what do we actually mean when we say high speed rail ? You know , how fast do these trains go and how would they change ? You know , San Diego's connections to places like LA and San Francisco ? Yeah.

S2: Well , it's interesting because the ballot measure that Californians approved in 2008 , sort of the one of the most important steps forward for it , actually specified that the trains must be capable of going 200 miles an hour so that they could be clear what they meant by high speed rail. You'd be able to get the San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours , San Diego to San Francisco , and under four hours. The route from San Diego to LA wouldn't be quite that fast because it's going to cut through Riverside County , but it would still be , you know , probably faster than driving.

S1: And so going over the origins of , you know , high speed rail here , you touched on how the idea kind of came about in the 80s , but then 1994 is when some plans really kind of started taking hold.

S2: She was actually elected to Congress at that time , and she was serving in Washington , D.C. Bill Clinton was the president , and her number one piece of legislation that she sponsored and got successfully passed was creating five high speed rail corridors across the United States , including one in California. Now , at that time , Lynn still envisioned the San Diego de la route being being the goal. Um , and I think at that point in time , that was certainly still a possibility. But , you know , as time went on , San Francisco became a part of the story. And that sort of leads to sort of some negative outcomes for San Diego long term.

S1: You mentioned this in 2008. There was a ballot measure , and that's when the idea started making significant progress. Tell me about what happened in 2008 and how , you know , it ultimately led to San Diego not really being a part of the state's plans for high speed rail.

S2: So after Bill Clinton signed that bill creating those high speed rail corridors , the California created its high speed rail authority , sort of a governing body , to make decisions for the first time that hadn't existed. And of course , during the process , people in Northern California were like , why aren't we part of this ? So that's how politics works in San Francisco was certainly a large city as well. And so over time , it's sort of morphed between 94. And when they were preparing for that ballot measure in 2008 , uh , and the question was , okay , are we going to go statewide ? How are we going to do this ? What order will we build things in ? And that's where San Diego really kind of got got to , I guess you could say screwed. I don't know what other words you want to use. Northern California politicians got it so that it will be built in phases. And that phase one would be connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles and the Central Valley. And then phase two , which would be the after. Phase one would be connecting San Diego to LA through Riverside County. And so San Diego sort of became on the outside , looking in about the first phase of high speed rail. And when the state voters approved that ballot measure , ballot measure one A , proposition one A in 2008 , it was cemented that San Diego would only be part of phase two , not part of phase one.

S1: You referred to politics there. How much of San Diego's failure to be a part of high speed rail in the state thus far ? You know , how much of that do you think comes down to , you know , not having the political power to make it happen ? Yeah.

S2: I mean , I tried to retrace it obviously wasn't there , I wasn't. Covering the meetings , but from what I can tell , the Bay area wanted to be part of it , sort of more transit friendly area. They had , you know , barred from what Michel told me at a lot of public meetings down here. People were calling it a boondoggle. They weren't really as enthusiastic about it. And so , of course , when the state officials are deciding where to build it , you want to build it where it's going to be embraced enthusiastically. San Diegans weren't totally against it , but Miss Schenck said their response was lukewarm. There was more opposition than maybe in other parts of the state. So you sort of combine that with the Bay area , having , you know , a strong political clout , connections to Sacramento , San Diego being not necessarily for it as aggressively as you might hope. And Miss Schenck said she just got out , voted at the High Speed Rail Authority meetings. And when that ballot measure was put on the ballot , San Diego was phase two. San Francisco was phase one. Obviously , Los Angeles was always going to be part of it as the second largest city in America. So LA didn't really have to worry about it as the question was , would you go to San Francisco first , or would you go to San Diego first ? And San Diego lost that war.

S1: But as you mentioned , you know , San Diego was still a part of the plan. It was in phase two. And along the way , plans for that San Diego section , it shifted from following along the five freeway to along the 15.

S2: So after 1994 , when the High-Speed Rail Authority was created , they had to come up with a holistic plan. Then Chiang's plan had always been San Diego to LA is the second busiest rail corridor in America. Let's do high speed rail there. Great idea. But when they started to look at it holistically , Riverside County has been growing very quickly for a couple decades now. And so it really didn't make any sense to not include Riverside County. So the only real way to have it make sense would be to connect LA and San Diego through Riverside County , which of course meant 15 instead of five. That's sort of been the prevailing notion since , as far as I can tell , at least 2004 , 2005. And I'm not sure exactly when it shifted to that. But around there , if not , if not earlier.


S2: So basically when after the voters approved proposition one , A in 2008 , the question was , okay , well sort of what what do we do now ? And they started planning San Diego was phase two. The LA San Francisco was phase one , but they started having scoping meetings and going out to people and showing them maps across the state , because I think the thought was that phase one and phase two will be built sort of back to back. So it wasn't that phase one is going to happen in phase two is a dream someday. The thought was both would happen. So that's why there were scoping meetings , and there were 30 scoping meetings down in San Diego , where they came to local libraries and local community centers. They asked for people to give their impact , you know , their feedback and their ideas input. So they created a map for San Diego , which was created in 2011 , and they created a map for sort of the rest of the state for phase one. And there was a lot of planning , and everyone thought things were going to go forward. And then things did not go forward. And now we've had sort of a recent revival in the last couple of years , and certainly the Federal Infrastructure Act of 2021 , which is going to supply a lot of money for high speed rail , was a key part of this new momentum.

S1: So the headline for your story is how high speed rail came to California but left San Diego behind. But it's not up and running yet. Like you said , it's been reinvigorated from this federal money.

S2: There have been plans for decades , but now there's actual progress. They're laying track in certain parts of the Central Valley. They are fortifying bridges. They're buying trains. They have an environmental approval for 422 miles of the first 500 miles , which is , you know , a huge chunk of it. They're supposed to start construction , actual construction , even though they're laying track. But talking about actual construction of stations in the next few months. And that will connect most of the Central Valley. And then I guess the idea is at the end of this first phase , it's not official phase one , but it's sort of a preliminary phase would connect Merced and Bakersfield. Um , and that would be , you know , a significant advance. And that's sort of a precursor to connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles.


S2: I think I've seen 20 , 34. I think everyone will tell you that that's probably not going to be that fast. But I think sometime in the 2030s , the thought is that high speed rail will serve San Francisco and Los Angeles , and phase one will be complete.

S1: And San Diego would come after that , which would take us into 2040.

S2: That's correct. And I think that's the most optimistic number that that date that people could give you. And state officials won't even give an estimate. Now on phase two , they specifically declined to give an estimate. And this is just a wild guess from a reporter , but I would say that construction might start on the San Diego leg in 2045 and be done in 2050. Total wild guesses by me , but that those seem they seem reasonable guesses. Right.

S1: Right. And you know , again high speed rail is not quite up and running yet on that. There was a poll done back in 2022 from UC Berkeley and the Los Angeles Times. It found 56% of voters supported the current high speed rail plan.

S2: I think the Bay area has embraced transit , you know , to a higher level. So you'd have to guess it'll probably be embraced there. You know , it's faster than the normal transit. I think one of the big complaints people have a normal transit is there's too many stops. It's slow. I never know when it's going to show up. These trains fly. You know , these trains fly , they move quickly. There's going to be very few stops. It's going to stop here at the airport and then Escondido and then Temecula. I mean , it's it's not there's not a lot of stops these moves. Well and I think people will typically embrace it. And the question is will they stop flying between San Francisco and LA. Will they choose this instead ? I'm not sure on that.

S1: And bring it back again to San Diego. I mean , we have some present day rail needs , North County rail lines , they need to be moved. Looks like due to ongoing cliff erosion , there have been multiple closures over the past , you know , couple of years. Is there any hope that these more immediate needs might spur a move to develop high speed rail in San Diego a little quicker , you.

S2: Know , not not the coast. There is objections from coastal communities in Orange County and San Diego County to having high speed rail. And as I mentioned earlier , as Lynn Shenk , you have to include Riverside. There's just too many people in Riverside not to have them be part of it. And the only way it sort of makes sense is to have the route be from San Diego to LA through Riverside. So that would eliminate high speed rail being along the cliffs. But one way that high speed rail could help solve San Diego is that the plan is for it to go to the airport. San Diego has been frustrated by not having a transit connection at the airport for years. Sandag the local community , the local county's regional planning agency , is in the process of planning either a people mover or trolley connection to the airport , but high speed rail could end up being that connection or be part of that connection. Maybe the two things would dovetail. So that could be a really great solution. Maybe , you know , obviously not until not till 2040 or something , but a really convenient connection to the airport via high speed rail. Right.

S1: Right. And Sandag , I believe , just announced recently that they were kind of taking a step back with that people mover plan. So maybe that could be a part of what what's to come. In some recent reporting for the Los Angeles Times , Melissa Gomez , she wrote about , you know , the economic hopes that kind of came with with this high speed rail in the Central Valley. She spoke with some leaders. They're being pretty optimistic about what it might bring to their cities.

S2: I don't know how realistic that is. I don't know how likely that is , but it's certainly something that San Diego officials should be , you know , aware of. And maybe that'll make them lobby a little harder to have phase two be built a pretty quickly behind the completion of phase one.

S1: And so you spent a lot of time digging into this history , you know , some of these false starts with high speed rail.

S2: And when you talk to the planners and when you see the way it's embraced around the world , it's very contradictory. And I don't know what side of that war will win out. Will it win people's hearts and minds or will , you know , the United States just never , never embrace high speed rail. It'll be interesting to see.

S1: And finally , you know , you mentioned Lynn Schenk and her role in this story for San Diego and California.

S2: And after people see what it's like in San Francisco , in L.A. , they'll demand it here. She's also sad because she's 79 , and she feels like it's unlikely she'll be alive to see it built. And that would be sad , because she really is the mother of high speed rail for California , and it would be sad if it's built after she after she's not here with us anymore.

S1: Well , more to follow there. Hopefully we can speak with you as more news develops here. David Garrick is a reporter with the San Diego Union Tribune. And David , thanks again for being here.

S2: Thanks for having me.

S1: When roundtable returns , we hear a conversation on the changing culture of our workplaces.

S3: People want to be able to have some measure of control over how they work , when they work , and how that balances out with their own personal responsibilities.

S1: That's coming up next on roundtable. You're listening to Kpbs roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. For many of us , work fundamentally changed in 2020 with the beginning of the pandemic. Daily commutes disappeared back then , and when they did come back , they weren't exactly the same. Along with all the changes in our workplaces , also came with it a new vocabulary , terms like work from home , the Great Resignation , quiet quitting came into our vernacular. The Los Angeles Times Samantha matsunaga and Shawn Greene have been digging into our new language surrounding work and some of the data behind it. Samantha. Sean , I want to thank you for being here on roundtable.

S3: Thanks for having us , Andrew.

S1: So this is really interesting reporting you guys did here in the story. I mean , work has changed a lot since 2020. You know , it's hard to even know where to start. One thing I remember from those early , those early lockdown days was how it really led people to reexamine their relationship to work. Samantha , when did you begin to follow these changes in how we worked and the roles it was playing in our lives ? Yes.

S3: So prior to the pandemic , I was covering the aerospace industry , and once the pandemic happened , I talked to my editors and we added a little new focus to my beat. I was kind of looking at how the pandemic was changing the economy. Um , but in doing that , I , I noticed that a lot of that had to do with work. And so starting last year , I kind of switched my focus over to workplace culture , the changing nature of white collar work , and really looking at how all of these trends that happened during the pandemic were still continuing. We're still affecting work , and maybe we're affecting work in longer term ways than we might have thought.

S1: So some of these terms were familiar to me , but , you know , some of them weren't. You know , I definitely haven't heard them all before.

S4: And I would say some of them have , in concept , always existed. Um , I definitely feel like I've coffee badged before , kind of showed up to work , said hello , and either just wandered around the office all day or kind of left shortly after. But now it's it's kind of a whole term that we have that seems to be a kind of almost term of protest for return to office mandates. Where ? Well , if I must be here , I'm going to make an appearance and then be on my way. And we have other , other terms such as quiet quitting , which refers to kind of doing the the bare minimum amount of work. And that's kind of interesting because you could also , you know , wonder why we'd need a word for that , when really it's only describing fulfilling your , your duties and nothing more. So I think it is a response to kind of the work culture , the grind culture that has been built up over the years. And a lot of people are kind of saying no more. If there's not much reward in terms of pay raises or promotions for working so hard and unclogged over time. Well , I put in the extra hours for for no , no real gain.

S1: Yes , I'm at the heart of a lot of these terms is sort of a rethinking of work and how much of our lives we want to spend doing it.

S3: Yeah , a lot of it is , is sort of people rethinking since the pandemic , what is the role of work in our lives and how do we want to maintain that balance ? Another term we use in the story is poorly working people having multiple jobs at the same time , often without the other jobs. Knowing that is a choice of people to decide , you know , where do I want to work ? How do I want to work ? How much do I want to work on my own terms ? Um , similar with With The Great Resignation , which was kind of one of the terms that sort of launched this whole story off for us. You know , the idea that earlier in the pandemic , people were leaving their jobs and masks to look for either something that they preferred to do , you know , work terms that they found more favorable or simply because they had had an epiphany during the pandemic and decided this is not the type of job. This is not the type of work lifestyle that I want.

S1: And Shawn , what you know , you work a lot with data.

S4: So Sam literally kind of slid into my DMs with this pitch for a story , and I was kind of excited to see if we could quantify these words in some ways , like it's it's clear people are talking about them , using them on social media. And I heard the words quiet quitting or great resignation from from coworkers. We all kind of lived these words so we know them kind of anecdotally. But one thing one of our sources pointed out was that just because , you know , we're making Instagram Reels or tweeting , posting about them on. On LinkedIn doesn't mean we're actually really behaving that way. So it was exciting to kind of dig into some of this data or other economic research and just try to investigate our people really poorly working or quiet quitting. And and it turns out in a lot of cases , it really was the case that we're using this new vocabulary and our behavior matches the way we're talking.

S1: So yeah. Tell us more about the data and what you found. Your story starts out by talking about , you know , the record number of workers that quit their jobs in 2021. What do we know ? They're behind what what led to that. And you know , what grew out of that ? Some of these terms you guys dig into here in the story. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. We had a spoken with a researcher in London who coined the term the Great Resignation. And in speaking to him , he had said , you know , I was seeing millions of people quit their jobs , not necessarily during the very onset of the pandemic when it was , you know , much more instability. People were a lot more uncertain about where the future was going. But really , in 2021 and 2022 , when people had said , okay , you know , this is what the new normal in the workplace is looking like. Now I'm seeing that what kind of job I have now and what kind of workplace I have is not how I want it to be. And I can make a choice. I can choose to leave. And thus that's how he ended with the Great Resignation , something that kind of puts the the power in the hands of workers because you're resigning , you're not getting fired. You're not , you know , being laid off , you are resigning. And millions of people were doing that and mass , because of these sort of pandemic epiphanies or realizations about how they wanted their their work life balance to be like. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And another part of your story. You spoke with one Southern California professor who said the idea of disliking your boss and hating your job is as old as time. Now we have a certain language for it. What was it about language that you feel like really , you know , illustrates this time in workplace culture ? We're in. Samantha. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. I mean , something that really struck me when I was looking at a lot of these terms just throughout my beat coverage in the last year or so was how many of these words seem to kind of , I guess , favor workers. You know , like I was saying with the Great Resignation , it's resigning. It's not laying off. It's not firing. The worker has the power to leave their job. You know , things like holly working , you know , it's you having multiple jobs versus , you know , something like moonlighting , where it sounds a little more shady , a little more in the shadows. And I was looking at a lot of these terms that it really struck me that the way the phrase was constructed sounded like it was coming from a worker point of view. And I thought , you know , we're seeing a lot of these trends in the workplace. I wonder what it would look like to look at this linguistically. And so I thought that that would be kind of an interesting take on that.

S1: And you guys both have referred to poly working. Can we just take a step back and kind of just explain that for people that may not know , we're not talking about necessarily a side hustle here , another sort of like work buzzword , are we. No.

S3: No. Yeah. So poly working is having multiple jobs at the same time , often where your multiple jobs don't know that you're working multiple jobs. And , you know , people have had multiple jobs for years forever. You know , people often need that to get by. And what we're seeing now that's a little different is that the financial analysts that we were speaking with are saying that their clients are poorly working , you know , working multiple jobs at the same time , but their original jobs salary is way higher than you might have expected. You know , people with $150,000 annual salaries , even up to $300,000 annual salaries. And what they're telling these financial advisors is that that salary is not enough to live on in California , that it's not enough to pay their mortgage , it's not enough to send their kids to college. And as a result of that , they need to take on a second job , you know , maybe one that works , you know , 20 to 30 hours a week , pays $50,000 a year , just just to make sure that they're covering all the things that they want to in the sort of lifestyle that they want to have.

S1: At the center of this , to me , is a discussion on return to office and all the sort of push and pull between workers and their employers about returning to the office. Samantha , can you talk about where we are in that sort of what I kind of interpret as like a cultural battle of sorts.

S3: I think the return to office work from home battle is probably one of the most heated of these , these workplace complex since the pandemic. You know , like you were saying , we saw a lot of companies that in the beginning of the pandemic said , oh yes , everyone's going to be remote. You know , we can do this remotely. And , you know , as the pandemic continued , you know , decided to say , okay , workers need to come back. Maybe it's three days a week. Some companies were even doing mandatory five days a week. And you're really seeing workers push back on that. People really liked remote work. It gave them a sense of autonomy. It made them feel like they had control over their schedule that day , and that they could be able to balance their personal responsibilities with their work responsibilities. And with the experts that we talked to , they were saying that when you give workers more autonomy over their schedule and then try to take that back , that's not something that is easily reversed. And so we're still sort of seeing that seesaw. You know , companies are trying to bring back workers , whether it's in a hybrid format. You know , a couple of them trying to do five days back in office. And you're seeing workers kind of push back on that , whether that's , you know , saying , I moved away , you know , what are you going to do for my accommodations ? Or , you know , in some cases , people looking for other jobs that are hybrid or remote.

S1: And , you know , social media is kind of a key component here of how this language is spreading , obviously. And it seems like a lot of these terms may be originating from young people.

S3: People want to be able to have better work life balance. And that's kind of a forefront issue for them when they're looking at jobs , when they're looking at employers , that people want to be able to have some measure of control over how they work , when they work , and how that balances out with their own personal responsibilities. You know , as we were looking at some of these terms , you know , seeing a lot of these on social media was really interesting. We ended up doing this survey of readers that that some readers did respond to , and they talked about how a lot of workplace things were coming up in. Instagram Reels on , you know , other forms of social media and that they were getting a lot of these work related content coming through on social media. That's how they were encountering some of these terms , which I think is really interesting.

S5: You know.

S1: Sean , a large part of the workforce is left out of these discussions on remote work and hybrid , all these sort of debates. Many jobs require folks to be there all the time.

S4: And what we see is in 2019 , only 11% of workers were working from home , and vast majority , 84% were working on site. And the remainder of that , uh , 5% had a hybrid role. And not a word we used back then. And obviously in 2020 , the share of workers working from home really blew up. That that jumped to 23%. And , uh , 73% of workers , though , remained on site , according to this survey. And the next year that that share of um , work from home ers kind of went down a little bit , but but not too much.

S1: So it's still a big part of a lot of workers lives. It seems like.

S6: It is.

S4: A big part of of many workers lives. And what's what's also clear or interesting is that it doesn't seem to be going away. There's a group , it's actually called WFH map and work from home map. Um , another group of economists are tracking , uh , job openings that allow for , uh , remote and hybrid , uh , work. And they're , they're really seeing the rates of jobs , offering it at least one work from home day a week , uh , holding strong over time.

S1: So , you know , Samantha , you cover workplace culture and nature of work. You know how it's changing.


S3: Interested in seeing how the work from home , uh , return to office , uh , battle continues to play out. I don't think that's going away anytime soon. And it's probably going to be one of the most , uh , long lasting parts of this continuing pandemic since pandemic world of work that we're seeing. I'm also really interested in poly working , you know , is concerns about inflation continue or , you know , folks looking especially to to buy homes or live in California. Uh , the idea that people who maybe society would , would see is higher net worth individuals taking on multiple jobs to supplement their income , um , is very interesting to me. I'd , I'd like to , to sort of keep an eye on that , too.

S1: Samantha matsunaga is a reporter with the Los Angeles Times , where she covers workplace culture , and Sean Green is a data and graphics editor with the LA times as well. Their latest story is called Quiet Quitting Auto Coffee bagging what this new vocabulary says about your workplace. Thanks so much for being here on roundtable.

S5: Thanks , Andrew. Yeah.

S1: When we come back , we catch up on some other top stories from the week with Kpbs web producer Laura McCaffrey. Stay tuned. Roundtable's back in less than two minutes. You're listening to Kpbs roundtable , I'm Andrew Bracken. It's time to catch up now on some of the top stories from the week. And joining me now is Kpbs web producer Laura McCaffrey. Hey , Laura.

S7: Hey , Andrew. How's it going ? Great.

S1: I had a question for you. First off , though , we just finished up hearing about how we talk about work in our workplaces has changed so much since the pandemic , particularly on social media. You know , there's so much happening there.

S7: There's one I like a lot called , um , I think it's called Corporate Erin. And so does.

S1: He do impressions of , like , meetings and stuff. There's one guy I see that he does like , okay , everybody. And he like , reenacts corporate meetings. Yeah.

S7: Yeah. There's like a few of them. The one I'm thinking of , she's always like doing these pretend zoom calls or whatever and then kind of talks with like the vocal fry kind of thing. So , so um , that's something I've enjoyed watching , but I'm with you.

S1: Like something about particularly like LinkedIn theme memes I really enjoy. I just oh yeah , really good. Yeah.

S7: Yeah. LinkedIn is a whole , um , I guess , lifestyle for some people. So.

S1: So. Okay.

S7: Most local races haven't been called yet. Um , but there's some people that ran unopposed , like there's city council , San Diego City Council seats district one and five , for example. A lot of the incumbents in races are taking the lead. That's like a general trend. But the election will finally be certified on April 4th. So then we'll have all our official answers. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And I think results will keep coming in until that time. And you're right , like with the Mail-In ballots , we have a longer time period to vote. I think it just takes a while for , you know , the votes to be counted. What I'm particularly interested in is , is turnout. I think right now it's in the mid 20s , something like that. Um , but I'll just be curious to see where that goes. And like you said , it was Super Tuesday , which was weird to me because it normal Super Tuesdays I'm super engaged in like following everything. And and this one just had a little less drama to it. And I think it's obvious why. Because some of the , you know , races aren't super competitive. Any races that kind of stand out to you or that you were surprised by that have been decided ? Hmm.

S7: The ones that have been decided , I guess there's , you know , the presidential , of course , Biden and Trump. Not too surprising there. Um , but I guess in the in the Senate for Feinstein seat , Adam Schiff and former baseball player Steve Garvey are gonna head to the general. So , yeah , that's a that's interesting.

S1: And Garvey , I think is , you know , ahead in both of those because there's two.

S7: Yeah , it's the.

S1: Existing finishing the existing Senate term and then the subsequent one , you know , so for people to kind of get the latest here , I know these numbers are going to come in. What's the best way for people to find out the latest numbers for some of these races. Still outstanding. Yeah.

S7: Yeah. Well we'll keep the results up online and you can check back , you know , I guess until April 4th , we'll probably keep them up a little bit after that at Kpbs. Org slash elections. That is our voter hub. And we also do have content in Spanish.

S1: And of course , you know , not that far away from November. So it'll probably be more voter hub up there as we turn to the fall. Right ? Yeah.

S7: We're already thinking about the general. So we're really trying to put a lot of effort into this voter hub , um , and make it great and accessible for voters.

S1: We'll be checking back with you on the Voter Hub , probably within a few months , I'd imagine. Okay. What else you got ? I think something with the San Diego schools. There's some news out of the San Diego Unified School District this week. Yeah.

S7: So also on Tuesday , the San Diego Unified School Board , they had a vote of their own. They were voting on whether or not to eliminate teacher jobs. And there they were considering that because there's a projected budget deficit of more than $90 million. And ultimately , Tuesday night they did approve eliminating more than 400 jobs. Yeah.

S1: And this kind of has been on the radar. A previous roundtable show talked about this fiscal cliff that schools have been facing in terms of like the federal pandemic aid , that really let them kind of do some extra spending here. But that was ending. And that's really kind of what's at the heart of this announcement , isn't it ? Yeah.

S7: Pretty much. And also , um , there's lower than expected funding from the state. So that's another reason for the budget deficit.

S1: And I guess , you know , one question I have is some other local school districts have similar potential budget shortfalls because they're not , you know , this pandemic funding is going away there. So I'm curious to see if we're going to see other local school districts announced layoffs as well.

S7: Yeah , that will be interesting to follow up on. I imagine that's going to be a trend , but we'll have to wait and see how that all shakes out.

S1: And do they make any announcement specifically , you know , what kind of teachers or what kind of work ? You know , it's school workers as well , I think are a part of oh , there's layoffs right. Yeah.

S7: Yeah. That's correct.

S1: But how much detail do we know about what jobs will be lost here. Yeah.

S7: Yeah. So it seems like resource teachers might be the first to get laid off. And these are teachers that provide you know , they're assigned from the administration office to provide services like literacy and then language instructions. One example is Barnard Mandarin Elementary. Um , and parents were told there that the resource teacher that organizes all the Mandarin classes will be laid off. I know one of my friends. He was concerned his son goes to a dual lingual French and English school , and so that resource teacher might be getting laid off , but I believe it's mostly for the resource teachers that maybe teach languages that aren't as in high demand. For example , like Spanish language teachers. They'll probably be spared , I guess , from from the layoffs. Uh , so that's what I understand of the situation.

S1: You know , as a parent , I have two kids in the San Diego Unified School District , and it is always interesting to me to see , you know , how big the district is. You know , it's the second largest in the state. It's almost 100,000. I think the numbers have gone down slightly in the last couple of years. But , you know , and sometimes they'll take resources from one school to another , you know , as resources kind of shift. You know , I had my son one year , one of his teachers ended up moving to a different school. So he had to go to a combo one with a different grade. And you kind of get shuffled around a little bit , but it must be , I don't know , a challenge to just like juggle all these resources and such a large school district. Yeah.

S5: Yeah.

S7: And I wonder what the impact will be on students as well.

S1: That's yeah , that's the big question right. Yeah. Okay. What else do you have this week.

S7: This is something a little bit different. Um , I don't know. If you recall , last Friday there was some social media posts going around about , um , rat poison being sprinkled all over Fiesta Island. Dogs were eating it and dying , so I decided to check it out because this is not the first time we heard of some dangers for dogs at Fiesta Island. Um , so I shot a couple emails off one to the original poster who said she got a tip from a dog owner claiming their dog had been poisoned , and then she saw something else on next door. So she made this post. Dog parents were freaking out. Um , and I sent an email to Parks and Rec to see what was going on. It took them a while to get back to me , but they said their staff searched Fiesta Island for any poison or foreign objects and they couldn't find anything. So.


S7: I mean , it could have could have been real. We don't know. But yeah , I think there's been instances in the past where dogs have eaten stuff on Fiesta Island and gotten sick. But in general , I own cats , but I do love dogs , but I notice they just eat everything like trash and yeah , dirt get.

S1: Into a lot.

S7: Probably rat poison. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. No , I just think , I mean , like , what you did , I thought was really cool because I think a lot of us , and myself included , we do learn about the news from social media. And it may not be , you know , like a news outlet that we're getting it from. I mean , I think that's pretty pretty fair to say today and that you kind of just like looked at it and then dug into it because we know so much can come up. You read something on next door , next thing you know , like all your neighbors are up in arms about something , but you don't really know if it happened. So like , I think just the fact checking was really cool. Yeah. And I think it just says a lot about how we kind of need to take in this content on social media , you know , and not just kind of grab it and run with it , but it is , you know , when you're talking about people's dogs , you know , I have a dog. If you hear about a poisoning of dogs , like , that's pretty concerning , especially a place that a lot of people take their dogs to , like Fiesta Island.

S7: Yeah , exactly. Yeah. I mean , media literacy is a hard thing to learn , especially age in the age of social media. And because San Diegans love dogs so much , I thought it was fair enough to investigate , see what was going on. Well , here's another fun story. Um , some businesses and organizations are asking Caltrans to. Hold an Open Streets event on the 163. Yeah. Um , and that's where people can walk and bike on the freeway. Usually that's off limits. Um , it was a proposal supported by World Design Capital 2024. And this is a series of events that are meant to highlight our region , San Diego and Tijuana , as a hub for design that fosters innovation and collaboration in public spaces.

S1: And I think our colleague Andrew Bowen , he covered where they closed down a part of the 15 , I think was last year or something , and that was pretty neat to see , you know , people biking down this highway.

S7: Um , yeah. And they also do it for the Rock and Roll marathon every year. And I went to a breast cancer walk where part of the route was on the 163 right , Balboa , right , by Balboa Park. So that was pretty cool. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. The thing that it made me think of was I live in the Ocean Beach area and the farmers market on Wednesday evenings , kind of get that vision of what Newport could be without cars. And I always love that because I think there's some neighborhoods , there's some cities that are experimenting this where they're kind of like taking cars away from certain really , like well-used blocks. And Newport Avenue right along that beach. There is kind of one example where it's really nice to be able to just walk in the middle of the street and kind of access everything there.

S7: Yeah , we don't have a lot of those sorts of areas in California at least. But in Europe it's like , you know , there's whole streets where it's just people just like shops. And it's really nice. It's very freeing. And so my family's from Portugal , and so in the town my family lives in , in Braga , it's , there's like a whole section of , like the downtown that's only like pedestrian , which is nice because Portuguese drivers are pretty aggressive. So they'll , like , come up behind you when you're trying to cross the street. So it's nice to get a little break from that and just to be able to walk in peace. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And one example that I do think of , and this is several years ago now , but they at least took away some of the vehicles from that part of Balboa Park. So it's a little bit more of like a European kind of square , you know what I mean ? Outside the museum there. Yeah , I like the museum. And yeah , I think that's a nice touch. Laura , I got one more story before we go. The U.S. women's national soccer team will be playing a pretty big match this weekend. This Sunday against Brazil. It's the Women's Gold Cup final , and it's going to be at Snapdragon , um , and the women's national team. They played the semifinal at Snapdragon and it was soaking wet. There was a lot of chatter about whether they should have even played it or stopped it early , but they they did win barely. But they they beat Canada on penalties. So they're have a chance to , you know , win another championship on Sunday at Snapdragon. Yeah I wanted to mention that. Laura McCaffrey , thanks so much for being here on the roundup this week. Yeah.

S7: Thanks for having me.

S1: That'll do it for our show this week. Thanks so much for being here. We'd love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts on the show , you can email us at roundtable at or leave us a message at (619) 452-0228. You can listen to our show anytime as a podcast. Kpbs roundtable airs on Kpbs FM at noon on Fridays and again Sundays at 6 a.m.. Roundtable's technical producer is Brandon Truffaut. The show was produced by Ashley Rush and me , Andrew Bracken. Brooke Ruth is roundtable senior producer. I'm Andrew Bracken , thanks so much for listening and have a great weekend.

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One of the elevated sections of the high-speed rail under construction in Fresno, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017.
Associated Press
One of the elevated sections of the high-speed rail under construction in Fresno, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017.

High-speed rail has long been in the plans for California's transportation future. With help from a $3.1 billion federal grant, construction for a new bullet train is again underway in the Central Valley. But, San Diego is not a part of the initial project. We take a look at the decades-long effort to bring high-speed rail to the Golden State, and San Diego's role in it.

Plus, workplaces have changed a lot since 2020, and so has the language we use around them.

And, we take a look at other top stories on the weekly roundup.


David Garrick, reporter, The San Diego-Union Tribune

Samantha Masunaga, business reporter, Los Angeles Times

Sean Greene, assistant data and graphics editor, Los Angeles Times

Lara McCaffrey, web producer, KPBS