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Military Judge Releases Navy SEAL Charged With Murder And More Local News

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In today’s San Diego’s News Matters podcast: Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is now freed from custody, but the case isn’t over just yet.

Plus, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, continues to defend the San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of war crimes by saying he also posed with dead bodies and probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving in Fallujah; San Diego could be facing a bad fire season; and a City Heights football team is getting national recognition after learning from the best.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Good morning. It's Friday, May 31st I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters. The judge released the navy seal charged with war crimes pending trial KPV as military reporter Steve Walsh has been covering the case. It's attracted presidential attention.

Speaker 2: 00:18 Navy seal chief Eddie Gallagher is charged with killing a wounded teenage isis fighter in his custody and posing with the body. In March. President Trump sided with his supporters. He ordered Gallagher move from the brig to less restrictive confinement. Thursday the judge released him entirely pending trial. His wife Andrea says she surprised

Speaker 3: 00:37 I have been fighting for my husband for so long and for his freedom and uh, sometimes felt like that was never going to happen. And then today it happened. I mean, I just feel like it's a, just a huge step in the right direction.

Speaker 2: 00:52 Gallagher's Court Marshall has been delayed while the judge reviews allegations that prosecutors at spied on the defense. The judge is expected to hear a motion to dismiss later today. Steve Walls KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 01:04 the brush fires [inaudible] in eastern San Diego County. Wednesday could be an ominous sign of things to come. This summer, KPBS reporter John Carroll says our wet winter could end up making this fire season worse than usual.

Speaker 4: 01:19 A very wet winter led to lush green hillsides and one of the biggest super bloom seen in years, but as all that growth dries up, cal fire captain Isaac Sanchez says the stage is set for what could be an explosive fire season.

Speaker 5: 01:34 We see the fuel right now it's, it's been out there for quite awhile and and what it's doing in a lot of parts of the county is it still changing over from green to Brown? Essentially it's still dying.

Speaker 4: 01:43 Sanchez says just a few days of elevated temperatures and low humidity can quickly turn those green hillsides into dead dry fuel for a wildfire and he says these days the concept of a fire season is outdated.

Speaker 5: 01:58 It's hard to argue with the numbers and see that that the burning conditions are showing up earlier in the year and and sticking around longer.

Speaker 4: 02:04 Sanchez says, remember to clear defensible space around your home and never forget that one little spark can quickly grow into a devastating and Ferno. John Carroll Kpbs News Godzilla's

Speaker 1: 02:16 back for a follow up to his 2014 us appearance. KPBS film critic bad Lycomato as this review of Godzilla King of the monsters Godzilla's American films have been improving with each installment, but then there was nowhere to go. But up after the atrocious Roland Emmerich Godzilla in 1998 in 2014 Gareth Edwards raised the bar on the quality but left Godzilla supporting player in his own movie. Now, Michael Dougherty expands the monster verse. How many of these things are they're 17 and counting and then let them fight it out there everywhere. Battling for dominance, arrival Alpha to go to king of the monsters improves on the previous us Godzilla in terms of the screen time for the which are referred to as Kaiser, you in Japan, but the American version of Godzilla steel isn't as satisfying as this Japanese counterpart who first appeared in 1954 the American films have big budgets and extravagant CGI effects, but they look more like impressive video games and don't engage me the same way the Japanese suit actors do.

Speaker 1: 03:20 Plus the humans have too much control over the story and the monsters because Americans seem unable to imagine anything they can't defeat or control. Godzilla. King of the monsters is probably more fun for people who did not grow up watching the Japanese Godzilla movies. I enjoyed the film and found some of the monsters impressive in scale, but I just haven't fallen in love with the American cousin of my favorite Japanese Kaiser. You Beth like Amando k PBS news, the Michelin Guide to the world's best restaurants now includes more of California than just the bay area as capital pelvic radios. Randall wide explains a new list is out honoring more affordable dining destinations from San Diego to Sacramento.

Speaker 4: 04:03 For years. If you wanted to eat at a Michelin starred restaurant on the West Coast, you'd needed to head to San Francisco or it's surrounding areas. But now the prestigious rating service is expanding into other parts of the state. Carolyn, but Teta is the head of visit California, the states travel and tourism arm. She says the move to highlight more of the states culinary offerings is an effort to pull in more tourists,

Speaker 6: 04:27 foodies particularly internationally, have a high potential. You are spending more dollars when they vacation and uh, stay in longer. So we saw definitely a lift in our attempt to reach global foodies, particularly in China.

Speaker 4: 04:43 But Dennis says, visit California paid $600,000 to help cover Michelin's expanded reach. Restaurants in Los Angeles are being rated for the first time in a decade. And for the first time ever, Monterey, Orange County, San Diego and Santa Barbara are included. The first wave of ratings came Tuesday with the BIB Gourmand, a list of exceptional restaurants where according to Michelin you can get two dishes and a glass of wine or dessert for under $40 Michelin is expected to release its complete California guide on Monday in Sacramento. I'm Randall white.

Speaker 1: 05:17 Congressman Duncan Hunter continues to defend a San Diego based navy seal accused of war crimes. KPBS reporter Lynn Walsh has details on the Marine Corps' response.

Speaker 7: 05:28 Hey, did one what about that I'm guilty. Go to take a picture with the body. It seems something stupid.

Speaker 1: 05:35 Speaking at a town hall and Ramona on Saturday, congressman hunter says he and a lot of his military peers posed in photos with people they've killed. Hunter then said in an interview on the podcast zero blog 30 released to this week that he likely killed civilians as well. I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, right Joel? Probably hundreds of civilians if not

Speaker 8: 05:58 scores, if not hundreds of civilians, probably killed women and children if there were any left in the, in these city when we invaded. So do I get judged too and a statement. The Marine Corps says, quote, if Ms Treatment of the dead were committed intentionally, it could be considered a violation of the law of war. They added. It's too early to speculate on any possible consequences based off hunters comments. Lynn Walsh KPBS news

Speaker 1: 06:22 in a statement, a hunter's office of the congressman was quote, simply tried to make a point in the gallery her case and that is that almost everyone has a camera now on the battlefield efforts by the California Teachers Union to curb charter school growth has stalled at the capital this week. This comes after Governor Gavin Newsom indicated a willingness to explore a charter school reforms, Capitol Public Radio, Scott Rod reports,

Speaker 9: 06:48 oh bill. That would have imposed a moratorium on new charter schools for two years. Failed to make it out of the Senate and the assembly. A bill that would have kept the number of charter schools statewide starting next year. Also stalled. Both bills are eligible for consideration next year. Not every charter school bill is finished for the year though the assembly approved a bill last week that would give school districts more authority over charter school approvals. The proposal awaits a hearing in the Senate Education Committee in Sacramento. I'm Scott Rod.

Speaker 1: 07:14 The bellboy Raiders have been playing football in city heights for more than 50 years now. Okay. Privy as reporter. Prius either checks in on the youth team.

Speaker 10: 07:23 No one, it's a Tuesday afternoon and dozens of 10 and 11 year olds are sprawled out on the football field behind Clark middle school through the Balbo of Raiders and American youth football team. That started in city heights the first year. Yeah,

Speaker 11: 07:41 I play football. I played lineman and then when I came on this team, they put me as running back.

Speaker 10: 07:46 Isaiah grant has been one of the stars of the team since he was five years old

Speaker 11: 07:50 and I showed them how much time on my head and then stayed our running back.

Speaker 10: 07:54 Most of these kids have been playing together for six years. The athletes practice two to three times a week for eight months a year. It's a lot of work, but it's also taught them a lot.

Speaker 11: 08:07 Is this the teamwork, the ethic, the hard work. We put in the hard work, the coaches put in us the discipline

Speaker 10: 08:15 or it says growing up with his teammates, made them family. We call, we call it to the brothers, back up behind the call. Shuffling. Should I be bus stay square and it's the head of that family is coach Steven Cooper who son is also on the team. I really want them to understand that team where it goes a long way being on as being disciplined and just taking for taking care of the things you need to take care of in life. But Cooper is in your average parent on the sidelines. He has some credentials to back up his coaching title. He played in the NFL for eight years, a career spent right here in San Diego with the chargers. Let's go. Although he lives in Scripps Ranch, he brought his son to the Balboa Raiders because he wanted him to play football in city heights.

Speaker 12: 08:56 Well, the reason why I wanted my son to, um, play here because I know it's a blue collar mentality here, has a lot of hard work and class people here and am I knows a lot of grind and grit here that I wanted my son to be a part of them to experience

Speaker 10: 09:05 when the other parents ask Cooper to coach, he says it was perfect timing.

Speaker 12: 09:10 What was the first thing I experienced after I was done playing? So it was a blessing in disguise cause I was in a bad mental place. These kids show me a lot about work ethic, um, attitude, perseverance, and I'm just staying on course because that's what they're trying to do and that's what we implement into them. So we got to lead by example.

Speaker 10: 09:23 Hey, no, get out. You know, his son Kai says, that's exactly what he's learned since he joined the team. We have team work together, we work hard and we play as a team. Coach Cooper also checks up on the teams report cards and even makes appearances at their schools if they don't stay on track. 10 year old Nathaniel Carter says he's learned more than just how to run and throw.

Speaker 11: 09:45 Well my coach heats up, he tells us how to be respectful to adults and like say thank you and please and have good manners and um, try hard to be the best you as you can. Um, try and get your grades up and don't hang around the bad people.

Speaker 10: 10:09 Last season after playing together for six years, the Raiders finished the regular season undefeated with 12 wins. They went on to win the regional championships in Arizona and then the National Championships in Florida, Star player Isaiah grant says the title was unexpected.

Speaker 11: 10:28 I was very surprised cause like the first, the first two games we want to score six, six points out of the first two. But then the last game we just had to come out hard and we showed them, we gave it all we got on the field.

Speaker 10: 10:41 11 year old Rayshawn Hardiman says some of the Raiders competitors have underestimated them.

Speaker 11: 10:48 Well this is where most of us are from city heights. Other teams think that we're not as good. It's on me to to prove them wrong and um, try super hard in the games. Yeah.

Speaker 10: 10:57 Isaiah grant agrees. He says city heights has taught him to work hard.

Speaker 11: 11:02 I mean is that like people, they come from nothing to something. It's like go big or go home. So for people

Speaker 10: 11:09 at the end of practice, the Raiders gear up for the start of their next season in August. Now they have big expectations to meet

Speaker 12: 11:17 you guys. Set a platform for yourself and you got to go to x on your back now. Okay. You guys are the Aya of national champs from last year and people want to knock you off. Now it comes down to work ethic just like everyday life, whether it's waking up in the morning, making your bed, brushing your teeth, whatever it is. Do you guys understand? Yes.

Speaker 10: 11:33 Coach Cooper, son Kai thinks they have what it takes to bring home the championship to city heights. Once again, it's not easy because if you work hard it will prosper in your life pre. Sure. Either Kate PBS news, La Jolla playhouse is premiering I cultures new play. Put your house in order. It's built as a meets

Speaker 1: 11:54 apocalyptic thriller. KPBS ours reporter Beth like Amando went to a rehearsal to find out what the genre bending play is all about. Put Your House in order is not an easy play to talk about. I don't know what I'm allowed to say on camera. Lilyanne Brown is directing I cultures new play and there are certain things that need to be kept secret until the curtain goes up.

Speaker 13: 12:16 I am playing Rolan and Rolan is a uh, teacher. He is a young, is it a spoiler if I say he's a, I think it is. I'm trying not to give spoilers away. That's actor based. Dot. Dabu this played to me is a date night that turns into a thriller. It's a millennial Romcom that's also a thrill ride

Speaker 1: 12:40 direct. Your Brown is willing to expand on that. I would say it's a fast paced, modern horror play with a Romcom chewy center actress Shannen Matuski place. Caroline

Speaker 14: 12:49 would say that it's a an apocalypse play about the end of the world.

Speaker 1: 12:53 Director Brown approaches the story this way. What if your your date with essentially potentially the last day to ever went on and you didn't know it at the outset. Placing a first date against the backdrop of a possible apocalypse can make the everyday seem epic says actor Dabu

Speaker 13: 13:11 it raises the stakes, everything gets heightened and everything gets elevated and it sort of makes people cut through the crap.

Speaker 1: 13:17 Put Your House in order examines how people connect under difficult and potentially life threatening circumstances. And since it's a play about millennials, there's a dependence on cell phones even by the actors in rehearsals. Okay. Put the phone down. Yeah and a dependence on social media says actor Dabu

Speaker 13: 13:35 media is a, is a small character in this play. I Dunno, I think about it in real life. I live in Los Angeles and when, when there's a shaking, I go to Twitter first to see if there was an earthquake and where it is. I don't go to the news. I go to Twitter because Twitter is going to have the most up to date, most accurate information without bias.

Speaker 1: 13:51 Matuski agrees

Speaker 14: 13:53 and it is another character in this play. And especially with so many of us leaning on that. I think the author is also drawing to attention of what happens when you can't rely on that anymore. Then what do you do? And I hope that that enlightens for some folks in our generation to say, hey, you know, what is your disaster relief plan and what is life beyond your phone or what his connection beyond the digital space

Speaker 1: 14:17 taboo insists that the connection that occurs within a theater space is very different from other media

Speaker 13: 14:22 on film or television. There's something about the camera being two inches away from the person's face if we don't get in theater. But when we do get in theater, is the audiences in the same room as loud noises, they're in the same room as the screams or this

Speaker 14: 14:36 sirens. What was that? I don't know. I'm sorry. I view now actually was done. I didn't even know what that, I don't know. I've never heard that around here before in my life. Okay. Day like

Speaker 1: 14:47 [inaudible] is eager to share this play with an audience. I can't wait for people to

Speaker 14: 14:52 see it cause I think they're gonna walk in having no idea or maybe an inkling of what they assume and then they're gonna find a whole different world. I can't wait to feel people's hair stand on the back of their necks cause I know it's going to happen.

Speaker 1: 15:05 Director Brown has high hopes as well. I just hope people come away from this

Speaker 15: 15:10 play going, oh my God, holy crap. Oh my God, I did not expect that to happen. Oh my God. And they're thinking about it and talking about it for like at least the next week. That's, that's the reaction that we think we're going to get. And that's why we're closely guarding some of the secrets of the play. Because if we don't have the element of surprise, it's just not as fun.

Speaker 1: 15:35 No spoilers. But that's one of the surprises or put your house in order that it can find humor and horror side by side with the apocalypse just on the horizon. And maybe that's a feeling. Audiences today will identify with Beth like Amando KPBS news.

Speaker 16: 15:50 [inaudible]. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPBS podcasts, go to k [inaudible] [inaudible].

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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.