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Immigrant Entrepreneurs Invigorate California's Economy And Local News

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Immigrants tend to be bigger risk-takers than people born in California when it comes to starting a business. Here’s why that’s a good thing for the state’s economy. Plus, employees from Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons grocery stores have voted to go on strike, a homeless outreach program that was primarily focused downtown is now expanding to other parts of the city, and an Escondido museum specializing in all things prehistoric may close next week.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, July 1st I'm Deb Welsh. As you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Grocery workers in southern California vote go on strike, and immigrants are bigger risk takers, the native Californians, why they may find starting their own company to be the most attractive option. That and more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:29 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Immigrants take big risks coming to California and once here, many take another risk starting a business. California immigrants are actually more likely to become entrepreneurs than people born here as part of our California dream collaboration. KPCC is David Wagner. What did the heart of Las Thai community to see how immigrant entrepreneurs shape our economy.

Speaker 3: 01:02 I remember in Cerebra de sets up her booth at the East Hollywood farmer's market. She takes up a sign with the name. She chose to describe her food. So Zap, it's like guts. Dap Is, I mean delicious, so delicious. Her Dad helps out. He grinds fresh ingredients for a spicy and sweet

Speaker 4: 01:20 Papaya Salad. Yeah, I'm doing a hand high. You and Ben Height, hair, much like harm. It's like, ma'am, it's like [inaudible].

Speaker 3: 01:26 She makes Thai food the way she learned from her mom and dad growing up in northeastern Thailand. La Has the largest Thai population outside of Thailand, so she's betting a lot of people here crave the real thing and she has big plans for so zap, she's going to move into a food hall opening up soon, called the Thai town marketplace.

Speaker 4: 01:44 Michael, they happy mcquad heats about [inaudible].

Speaker 3: 01:49 She's happier working for herself since coming to La, she's had a lot of different jobs. She's been an Uber driver. She's been a server in a restaurant. She says that that wasn't what she wanted to do, but it's where she discovered a valuable skill.

Speaker 4: 02:06 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 02:06 the restaurant didn't have dessert, so she started making mango sticky rice. It was a hit. She branched out and sold her food at a local Thai temple. So Zap is her first attempt at starting her own business.

Speaker 4: 02:17 Yeah, yeah. Mac [inaudible].

Speaker 3: 02:21 Oh, hey Bob. It's hard, tiring work, but she loves it and hopes the risk pays off. Back in Thailand. Sri Rhoda had a successful career in the makeup industry. Her plan was to be a makeup artist for film and TV, but she couldn't get her foot in the door. Harvard Business School Professor Bill Curse says that's a pretty common story for immigrants who become their own boss. He says a lack of good job opportunities can push immigrants into entrepreneurship,

Speaker 1: 02:46 and so in those settings, they may find starting their own company to be the most attractive option,

Speaker 3: 02:51 but it's not a fallback for everyone. Many come to California with a specific business plan in mind.

Speaker 1: 02:56 Yeah, especially if you are launching a scalable

Speaker 3: 03:00 national and internationally focused business. About half of California's fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or the children of immigrants. They are really the engines for our local economy. Linda Lopez heads the La Mayor's Office of immigrant affairs. She says it's not just big companies. Immigrants also owned many of la small businesses.

Speaker 1: 03:18 Their businesses generate about 3.5 billion or 45.6% of all the self employed income in the city.

Speaker 3: 03:26 Immigrant entrepreneurs are creating jobs and paying taxes across California. Immigrants create about 40% of all new businesses in California making it one of the top states for immigrant entrepreneurship. Wanna help me open that. Chancy march IRL with the Thai community development center doesn't want those opportunities to disappear. That's why she's so excited to see the Thai town marketplace food hall finally under construction. So SAP will have that style. She has an ideal style because it's going to be fronting the sidewalk. The Thai town marketplace has been Mar Tarell's passion project for years. Rents for commercial space. I've gone up, she sees low income entrepreneurs struggling to get bank loans. She wants this food haul to give today's immigrants their shot at opening a small business. Otherwise you end up just seeing a community of chain stores that have no history in the community and so that's what we're trying to prevent. [inaudible] back at the East Hollywood farmers market high in three. Rudolph sees a big future for so zap good now does [inaudible]. She says if she can save enough, she wants to open up more than one. So Zap, thank you. In Los Angeles, I'm David Wagner,

Speaker 1: 04:40 employees from Vons. Ralph's and Albertson's throughout the San Diego area have voted to authorize a strike. KPBS. As Sarah Casianos tells us more, the Union announced that roughly 97% of the grocery store workers voted to authorize a strike. The vote itself does not set off a strike, but gives the union leaders the ability to call one if necessary. Employees have been working under a contract that expired March 3rd George Belch with SDSU fouls. College of business says that an extended strike would be a big risk to the stores and their workers.

Speaker 5: 05:15 I think the stakes are a little bit different this time because consumers have more alternatives. I can now go get groceries at target, order them on Amazon. Uh, and so I think that the grocery stores have to be sitting there saying, boy, what happens here if we don't come to some agreement?

Speaker 1: 05:33 The Union and grocery store companies are scheduled to meet again to negotiate. On July 10th through 12th, Sarah [inaudible] k PBS News, a homeless outreach program that was primarily focused downtown, is expanding to other parts of San Diego. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says, the program is designed to reunite people who are homeless with family members. Since 2012 downtown San Diego

Speaker 6: 05:58 partnership says it's been able to get over 2000 homeless people off the streets through its family reunification program. Now, thanks to additional funding, it's expanding those efforts outside of downtown and it's about Bobo Park, banker's hill, Hillcrest, golden hill, Sherman Heights, and Barrio Logan. The downtown partnership says it costs roughly $300 or less to reunite a person with their family. San Diego Housing Commission, CEO Rick Gentry says their program is cost effective and it works.

Speaker 7: 06:26 It cost the tax payers less money than building a new property for a, um, formerly homeless first and move into. It costs less money than paying rent on a new property. It really helps to connect needy individuals with their families.

Speaker 6: 06:41 In a year's time, the program got 800 people off the streets with the additional funding and has a new goal of 1400 people, not Hoffman, k, PBS News,

Speaker 1: 06:50 California Senator Kamala Harris made several passionate claims during last week's Democratic presidential debate. Capitol. Pelvic radio's politifact reporter Chris Nichols. Fact checked her statements. Harris claimed the GOP tax cut is adding it

Speaker 8: 07:04 at least $1 trillion to the debt. That's generally correct though it will take about a decade for that to happen. She also said she disagreed with the Obama administration on some of its deportation plans. There's evidence for this as California Attorney General. In 2014 she advised local police and sheriffs. They did not have to comply with a federal immigration detainer requests. Finally, Harris claimed former vice president Joe Biden, opposed a busing program used to desegregate schools in the 1970s politifact has reported that Biden was against the federal government requiring the program. Biden said at the debate he favored local governments deciding on the issue at the time in Sacramento. I'm Chris [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 07:50 in Escondido a museum specializing in all things prehistoric is getting ready to close its doors. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman has more details on why it's going out of business.

Speaker 6: 08:02 The owners of the Roy Naan Museum of Earth Science and Paleontology say thousands of kids from schools across San Diego county come for a visit every year since the late 1990s it's been showing off some of its more than 5,000 items, bones, fossils and dinosaur eggs are just some of the artifacts and side due to financial reasons. Owner Keith, Roy non says he's reluctantly closing.

Speaker 9: 08:23 Oh this a museum had taken me over 75 years my whole life and my heart is in here. I don't want to see it come to a close.

Speaker 6: 08:34 The museum is looking for a donor or some funding to help save the museum before it closes for good on July 6th if not the history inside, we'll find a new home. There are plans to donate most of the items to another southern California Museum, Matt Hoffman. KPBS News,

Speaker 1: 08:49 the Supreme Court decided to keep the citizenship question off the 2020 census for the time being, but California

Speaker 10: 08:56 Governor Gavin Newson believes that the fear and doost by the Trump administration will impact how the immigrant community responds to the census. Christopher Wilson is associate director of alliance San Diego and part of the county 2020 coalition. He spoke to midday edition host jade Hindman about the efforts to ensure everyone's counted in the 2020 census. He started by commenting on the fight over the citizenship question. What if the intent was never to really put the question on the census? What if the intent was just to scare people enough to create the two to 5% undercount that would help, you know, the administration in his efforts to dilute undercounted or marginalized communities, then the damage has already been done, right. And so we have to make sure that we as community members, as a nonprofit organizations who are trusted messengers that were out there telling people that we have to be counted in order to preserve our, our representation and we have to be counted in order to preserve the federal resources that we deserve as tax payers, as members of the United States, the larger community of the United States.

Speaker 10: 10:03 Um, it's not the first time people have had fear about the census. I think California experienced a large undertone in the 1990 census, which they said led to more than $2,000 a day per person. Undercounted being lost in federal resources. Um, you know, so we, we have a lot of work to do to ensure that people understand, uh, that they are required to fill out the census, number one, and that there are safety precautions built into a participate in a census that we can use to hold our government accountable. Right? So what is being done to make sure every San Diego is counted? Well, first I want to applaud governor new, uh, governor Newsome for his effort to ensure a complete count. He has pledged more than $150 million of California's budget to the effort to ensure everyone in California is counted. Um, and that is a large number.

Speaker 10: 10:55 That's the largest amount of money being spent by all the other states combined to ensure full count. And so I think that that is a statement from California that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that we get the resources and the representation we deserve. Second, we have to make sure that our government can be held accountable to the laws that protect people's information to the laws that, uh, ensure that there is a, a firewall between census data and other government agencies. Um, and the way we do that is by filing lawsuits in new Supreme Court and having the Supreme Court decision say it might not be illegal to adolescence citizenship question, but it certainly is not justified based on the reasoning that the, the administration offered. And then we also have to, as a state, make sure that we are standing between the folks who would do harm to our community and the community members most risk.

Speaker 10: 11:54 And then there's also this extra added layer of partnerships right here in San Diego, correct? Yes. So the county 2020 coalition is a coalition of more than 100 community organizations across San Diego and imperial counties dedicated to getting the word out about the census, doing education on the purpose and in how to fill out the census and ensuring that the heart to cow communities get the information and the awareness they need to participate fully. And what other kinds of strategies are being implemented to get residents to take part in the census? Well, outside of messaging and and, and communications, we will be door knocking, we will be phoning, we will also be setting up kiosks. So you know, this will be the first census conducted online, which is also a concern for people. You know, we hear about data hacks each and every day. Um, and so we'll be setting up secure kiosks so if people don't want to use their computers at home or their phones, they can come to a public location, use a kiosk there to complete the census.

Speaker 10: 12:52 There'll be an attendant who can help them answer questions and provide any assistance necessary at those kiosks as well. And people should know that the census data is protected by law and that because of those laws, no individual data is ever released to any government agency. And, and that that is a protection we can take all the way to the supreme court. I have been speaking with Christopher Wilson, associate director of alliance San Diego and part of the count me 2020 coalition. Christopher, thank you very much. Thank you for having me to hear the complete interview. Go to the mid day edition podcast@kpbs.org.

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