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Lambda Archives Stores San Diego's LGBTQ History And More Local News

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A local archive space in University Heights is home to much of San Diego’s LGBTQ history. Hear what’s inside. Plus, despite a growing Latino middle class, California families face hurdles getting there; Scripps researchers take the lead in a $129 million grant for HIV vaccine research; and a teenage girl from Alpine meets the kidney donor who saved her life.

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Thursday, July 11th I'm Andrew Bowen and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Regional planning officials are in talks with the Navy on building a major transit hub near the airport and San Diego pride is this weekend when it's over someone. Once all the souvenirs left behind.

Speaker 2: 00:17 We have banners, every dyke march, aids walk, et Cetera. We get the banners, we get the posters

Speaker 1: 00:22 well visit a place that stores memorabilia from the local LGBTQ communities. Past that in more San Diego news stories. Stay with us.

Speaker 3: 00:32 Mm,

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us on San Diego. News matters. I'm Andrew Bowen. Regional planning officials are starting talks with the navy about redeveloping the outdated naval base next to old town and they hope to turn it into a major transit hub for years. The navy has been seeking ideas on how to redevelop the under utilized 70 Acre property next to the I five freeway. Now the navy and SANDAG, the counties regional planning agency have signed a memorandum of understanding, outlining discussions on how a transit connection to the airport can become part of the project. Mayor, Kevin Faulkner says it's a good example of governments working together. Then it allows the navy to better understand our goals and our vision as a region and then allow SANDAG to understand how our goals can be incorporated into the navy's own very important redevelopment plans. Officials hope to have a development plan in the next few years. That potential rail line to the airport would likely come several years after that. This weekend, the San Diego Pride Festival celebrates pride and respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities here and across the world. KPBS reporter Claire Treg is her found a local archive space that stores LGBTQ history, including discrimination the community has overcome.

Speaker 2: 01:49 This is the archives we, this is our little mini exhibit area.

Speaker 4: 01:52 Walter Meyer welcomes visitors to the lambda archives.

Speaker 2: 01:57 We are the LGBTQ historical society of San Diego. We collect, preserve, and teach the history of San Diego and imperial counties in northern Baja, California. Mexico

Speaker 4: 02:08 Meyer is the manager of the archives, which officially opened its doors as a nonprofit back in 1987 right away. Visitors to the archives are greeted with a big variety of memorabilia from an all leather outfit worn by the singer Rob Helford, who lived in Hillcrest.

Speaker 2: 02:26 If you're a Judas priest fan, you recognize the name. When he came out as gay, he took a lot of grief for it.

Speaker 4: 02:33 Banner with a bright red heart and the words blood sisters,

Speaker 2: 02:37 let's just use, we're a group of lesbians who in the early days of aids stepped up to donate blood for their sick gay friends.

Speaker 4: 02:43 In fact, there are many pieces of history at Lambda Archives that remind visitors about the aids crisis. For example, an artifact from Auntie Helen's, a store in north park that originally helped people with aids do their laundry. It was run by local activists. Gary,

Speaker 2: 03:01 they found a notebook that they thought they have lost and it just a notebook in which you wrote the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people for whom he was doing their laundry, doing their grocery shopping, get your dog to the vet and almost every entry in there has in the right margin. A note with a death date pass to the Lord. Ten six 86 I'll love you forever, Gary. You know, next line, you know Bubba and just line after line. I think there's 138 names there and about 110 of them I have death dates.

Speaker 4: 03:28 Meyer says something like that shows the history of the LGBTQ community much better than reading about it in a book.

Speaker 2: 03:36 It's mute testimony to the horrors of the early days of aids in this poor man who is he himself is sick, is trying to take care of so many his friends and so many of their needs. But yeah,

Speaker 4: 03:46 Lambda Archives also has an extensive library of books by and about members of the community plus thousands of photos.

Speaker 2: 03:55 We have about a hundred thousand photos in our collection. We have about 13,000 scanned, so you have a little work cut out for ourselves

Speaker 4: 04:01 and then what Meyer really likes best. This is the actual archive, actual artifacts from local LGBTQ history.

Speaker 2: 04:11 We have banners, every dyke march, aids walk, et Cetera. We get the banners, we get the posters.

Speaker 4: 04:16 That includes a stop Larouche banner from 1986 opposing proposition 64 a state ballot measure backed by Lyndon Larouche that some feared would have led to quarantines of people with AIDS.

Speaker 2: 04:29 This was the no on 64 initiative, one of the many attempts to make life difficult for the LGBT community.

Speaker 4: 04:38 They also have yard signs from LGBTQ political candidates like Christine Keyhole, Bonnie Demanis and Steve Petia plus old gay bar signs like a stain glass window from Baucus House, a North Park Club that closed 10 years ago.

Speaker 2: 04:55 I have identified 168 gay bars that have come and gone. The peak was 1986 40 were open at once and then weather aids took its toll or just they hit saturation point like a neighborhood can only support so many dry cleaners till some of them have to go out of business. Uh, but we are now down to about 14

Speaker 4: 05:13 and they have tons of memorabilia from past pride festivals.

Speaker 2: 05:18 I'm going back to early photographs too. Uh, pride guides that they used to print a pride guide every year. Banners and posters and buttons and tickets stubs. The first permanent pride was 1975 Penn. Yes,

Speaker 4: 05:32 the lambda archives has that permit.

Speaker 2: 05:35 Scott, a couple of coffee stains at the little wrinkled and stuff. Boom.

Speaker 4: 05:38 Well, older libraries and archives often receive family heirlooms, like old photos or newspaper articles or books. Meyer said that hasn't happened much at lambda

Speaker 2: 05:49 and you can imagine that if, you know, John Smith died in this family came out from Wisconsin to look at his stuff and they found stuff like this that burn it.

Speaker 4: 05:56 That's part of the challenge

Speaker 2: 05:58 of running an LGBTQ archives when it comes to older photos and memorabilia. Meyer says there aren't that many because the world was so closeted back then. Um, we don't have a lot of really early stuff right of this eighties and nineties. Really, most people didn't want their picture taken in gay pride or taken in a gay bar. It could ruin your life.

Speaker 4: 06:19 That's why it's important to store what they do have and items from more recent history to remind people in the future that LGBTQ discrimination wasn't that far in the past. Claire triglyceride KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 06:36 You can visit the lambda archives Monday through Thursday and it's best to contact them in advance. A new documentary called be natural. The untold story of Elise ski blush. Shea introduces audiences to the first woman filmmaker KPBS film critic Beth Armando has this review of the film opening next week at digital gym cinema. Be Natural as difficult to review because filmmaker Pamela Green has an obvious passion for her subject and did an amazing job researching the life and work of French silent filmmaker Elise Ski Bla Shea.

Speaker 5: 07:07 The footage of her directing, it's amazing to see a woman in command from that time period.

Speaker 1: 07:13 He had green's documentary suffer serious flaws. First, it fudges the facts a bit to make g Blah Shea fit into a narrative that allows Greene to be her champion. Then green doesn't seem to have enough confidence that archival materials alone can sustain the film. So she includes dozens of interviews with film historians, women filmmakers, and celebrities, some of which are on screen for mere seconds, and none of which contribute any real insights. At one point someone says the crucial thing is to seek even O'Shea's films and that's what green denies us. She teases us with brief clips, but we never get a chance to luxuriate and Gabe la Shea's images so we can judge for ourselves what her talents were. But the bottom line is that Elise key bla shade deserves her spot in history as the first woman filmmaker and one who is skilled and innovative. So any film working to further that cause is worth seeing. Green may not be the best filmmaker for the job, but Kudos to her for putting the spotlight on this true pioneer Beth Mando KPBS news. After a seven year battle with a rare kidney disease and Alpine girl is looking forward to living a long life. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says Wednesday, she got to meet the person who made it all possible. Cassidy Thomas anxiously waited with her parents outside Rady children's hospital, Thomas's mother dawn was overcome with emotion.

Speaker 5: 08:36 It was amazing. We never thought we'd be able to meet her because some donors don't want to be met and we got to meet her and this day has been like accumulation of seven years of casty going through seven different surgeries and getting her kidneys removed.

Speaker 1: 08:51 More than 500 people were tested to be a donor for Cassidy. Finally in January, a match was found.

Speaker 5: 08:57 I didn't know like what to think, like what to say, like I just think you is not enough.

Speaker 1: 09:02 Cassidy was blunt when asked about her seven year ordeal.

Speaker 5: 09:05 Hey, it really sucked a whole lot,

Speaker 1: 09:07 but now things are getting back to normal. Cassidy just graduated middle school and says she's looking forward to high school. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news. Cassidy was on the kidney waiting list for over two years since her transplant in January. Dr Say she's doing well. Since the late nineties law enforcement in San Diego have used a tool called a gang injunction to limit the movements of people they believe to be members of gangs. But critics have questioned their effectiveness and fairness. Now KPBS reporter Max Rivlin Nadler tells us the San Diego Commission on gang prevention and intervention as recommended an end to all gang injunctions in the city last week, the commission, which gives advice on how to decrease gang violence in San Diego passed a resolution to end San Diego's gang injunctions. Critics nationwide have said they violate a person's civil rights by limiting who they can speak with or where they can travel to commissioner and former public defenders. Genevieve Jones, right introduced the recommendation. She said hundreds of people remain under these injunctions. Even though law enforcement in the city of San Diego has not imposed any new ones for over 15 years,

Speaker 6: 10:16 our gang membership is down, gang crime is down and violent crime is down and so there is no point to having gang injunctions on the books that only serve to harass people.

Speaker 1: 10:28 District Attorney Summer Stephan, who also sits on the gang commission voted against the recommendation her office has instead been releasing people from gang injunctions after reviewing their cases individually. Following through on a campaign promise Stephan made last year. Earlier this year, 332 people were removed from the DA's civil gang injunction list. Recommendations from the gang commission will be presented to the city councils, public safety and livable neighborhoods committee for possible action. Max Earthen Adler k PBS news. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute are developing an HIV vaccination with a $129 million grant from the National Institutes of health KPBS science and technology reporter Shaleena Chat, Lani says this research could help international efforts to knock out the pervasive virus.

Speaker 5: 11:17 HIV is difficult to deal with because there are just so many strains of it says Dennis Burton, one of the lead scientists from the Scripps Research Institute. That's why he and other researchers are working on a vaccine that could induce different kinds of antibodies or proteins in the blood that fight a virus.

Speaker 7: 11:35 You need particular types of antibodies that will take out all these different strain and inducing those by vaccination turns out to be difficult.

Speaker 5: 11:46 Burton says other vaccinations had been more narrow in the strains they can fight. That's why they are trying to create something more general scripts will be getting

Speaker 1: 11:54 around half of the grant money over the next several years. Shalina Chet Lani KPBS News California is not on track to reach its goal of 5 million zero emission vehicles by 2030 so as capital public radio is Randall wide explains, lawmakers are considering a financial incentive to motivate would be car buyers. San Francisco Assemblyman filtering wants to use a tax credit model that worked for rooftop solar, but shift it to the auto industry to sell more clean cars. He says 80% of California's transportation emissions come from passenger vehicles, so it's time to jump start the transition.

Speaker 6: 12:29 We passed very aggressive greenhouse gas emission goals and we are doing great in every sector for transportation.

Speaker 1: 12:36 Tink says the rebate would ramp down annually nudging consumer

Speaker 6: 12:41 7,500 today and then 6,000 tomorrow. Well, that may make me move quicker than wait.

Speaker 1: 12:47 Stanford Professor Sally Benson has spent a lot of time studying California's climate goals. She says at the current rate, we won't see 5 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2030

Speaker 6: 12:58 that's a big increase. You know, we haven't seen a lot of increases in the EBS sales in recent years. Actually, we've been pretty flat.

Speaker 1: 13:07 Things build just past the transportation committee and next Ted's to appropriations. All bills must get to the governor by mid September in Sacramento. I'm Randall White, a California proposal intended to rain and high medical bills from emergency room visits has stalled for the year. Capitol public radio, Steve Melanie reports staunch opposition from hospitals. That's what Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu says he's pulling his bill.

Speaker 6: 13:30 If that opposition hadn't been there, we would've been able to move this forward and the amendments that we were being asked to take to move it out of the main committee would have not been in the best interest of patients

Speaker 1: 13:41 she was. Bill would've limited what er patients pay for their copays and deductibles. It would have also kept how much hospitals could then seek from insurance companies and that's why hospital groups were against it. Jan Emerson Shay is with the California Hospital Association.

Speaker 6: 13:55 Unfortunately, they inserted a separate second provision that has nothing to do with how much a patient pays or doesn't pay. It has to do with what insurance companies are required to pay. Hostels.

Speaker 1: 14:09 Both sides said the plan to continue negotiations on the bill and try again next year in Sacramento. I'm Steve Miller. Ne California is Latino. Middle class is expanding, but many families still struggle. The census as 17% of California's Latino population is still below the federal poverty line and traditional paths to financial stability are becoming increasingly difficult today. In the second of two stories for the California dream collaboration, KPCC is Leslie bear. Stein Rojas introduces us to a family for whom the dream remains out of reach. About a hundred people are waiting for groceries at the first Christian Church in Downey. It's a Saturday morning when the church does its weekly

Speaker 8: 14:52 food giveaway. The hall is packed. Jeanette Perez sits on a folding chair. Her baby boy in her lap, her six year old son plays a couple of feet away. It's their first time here.

Speaker 9: 15:02 I was told through my job that they were donating food here at the church, so I came by, uh, to see what they could give me. Uh, since we're struggling right now, especially after I just had the baby

Speaker 8: 15:16 Perez and her husband both work. He installs car stereos. She works in nutrition at a headstart preschool, but even with two incomes, they're just scraping by. It gets to her.

Speaker 9: 15:27 It's really difficult. Our rent is like 1375 and our car payment is, you know, almost $500. Still, we can't afford anything that right now

Speaker 8: 15:38 the hall is filled with families in similar circumstances. Their wages are too low. They say their rent is too high. Some like Perez live in nearby communities. Others live right here in downy. A city regarded as a haven for the Latino middle class. But it isn't that for everyone, especially these days.

Speaker 4: 15:57 The California of today does not hold the same kinds of opportunities that it did 30 years ago.

Speaker 8: 16:03 USC sociologist Jodie, ages by year. Hoe says some of the very opportunities that allowed previous generations of Latinos to reach middle class status in California are becoming more elusive. It used to be saving up and buying property was one of the main ways that dino families built wealth. Even on modest incomes these days, it's harder to do. While the median income for us at Dino's is going up in California, it's not nearly enough.

Speaker 4: 16:29 No, it's not just the fact that home ownership costs are high. Even just having to pay high rents can prevent people from saving to buy a home

Speaker 8: 16:38 waiting for her groceries. Jeanette Perez says she wishes her family could afford a home of their own so my children can have somewhere to live, so they won't struggle the way we did, but it feels out of reach. She says with her overhead, they just can't save. Neither she nor her husband have a college degree. Their wages are unsteady. Perez says this. Summer will be tough because she won't get paid until school starts. Cal State Fullerton sociologist. The Alvarez says unreliable hours are also a big problem for Latinos in lower earning jobs. We still do see high levels of what we would call income volatility. Hours that get cut from week to week or month to month make it hard to accumulate savings. Other obstacles, many Latinos, especially the first generation are underbanked. They lack access to credit. As for the second generation, extended family obligations can eat into their finances. Let's say

Speaker 4: 17:31 your brother or sister has had a mishap with their car and they need three new tires.

Speaker 8: 17:39 If you earn more money, your expected to help out, he says, and then you can fall behind. Also for some, there's a very big obstacle. Legal status, the population of unauthorized immigrants in the u s has declined, but getting legal status has gotten more difficult with the pathways to the middle class becoming rockier will future generations of California's Latino families have a harder time cracking the ceiling by year. Who says maybe, but there's also reasons for hope. California has immigrant friendly laws. It's enacted recent policies like raising the minimum wage and expanding healthcare, widening the social safety net.

Speaker 10: 18:16 If we can make education accessible for all, if we can invest in things like access to capital and helping to ease people's housing burdens, all of those things could really help to promote economic stability.

Speaker 8: 18:30 Before she left with her groceries, Jeanette Perez told me she and her husband have thought about leaving the state, but they realized they're better off than some California,

Speaker 10: 18:39 and I told my husband, you know what? We at least have somewhere to live

Speaker 8: 18:43 and are grateful for that. In Downey, I'm Leslie Berenstein Rojas.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.