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Activists Say 'Operation Gatekeeper's' Legacy Is Death, 25 Years After It Began And More Local News

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Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of “Operation Gatekeeper,” which increased border security in San Diego county. While border arrests dropped in San Diego afterward, thousands have since died in nearby deserts trying to evade the Border Patrol. Also, this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a controversial law that promises to allow collegiate athletes to sign endorsement deals and profit from their likeness. We talked to two SDSU football players to see what they think about a law that could drastically change college sports. And, San Diego biologists are trying to help a local bird’s population recover by releasing seven endangered Ridgway rails in the Tijuana River Estuary.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, October 2nd I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up 25 years after it began, we take a look at operation gatekeepers legacy and Heather raffle reveals that her new play, Nora was inspired by an earlier literary feminist icon

Speaker 2: 00:18 and so this play kind of picks up as a push back to that very famous Ibsen story

Speaker 1: 00:27 that more San Diego news stories right after the break. Thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welch, Tuesday Mark the 25th anniversary of operation gatekeeper, which increased border security in San Diego County while border arrest dropped in San Diego. Afterwards thousands have since died in nearby deserts. KPV has reporter max Rowland. Adler tells us how immigrant advocacy groups Mark the anniversary

Speaker 3: 00:56 operation gatekeeper started as a Clinton administration response to the more than 500,000 border arrests made in San Diego County. Every year. During the early nineties border patrol agents flooded into San Diego County as a border wall began to go up and Santa DRO today, immigrant advocacy groups Mark the anniversary by gathering in Chicano park and highlighting one of the largest impacts of operation gatekeeper, the thousands of migrants who still tried to cross into the U S but did it through remote parts of the desert, over 8,000 of those migrants and perhaps many more have died there since then. Stephanie Ortiz works with the group of G S Delta Z Airto. Her own family was touched by tragedy.

Speaker 4: 01:36 My uncle, he was a resident of Oceanside and he had a challenging documentation status, but he wanted to visit his family in Mexico and on his way back, you know, unfortunately had been my other uncle didn't make it and it's um, it's so common. Yeah,

Speaker 3: 01:51 advocates called for more resources to be given to ports of entries so people can be processed and assisted more quickly at the border. And actually Flint Adler key, PBS news,

Speaker 1: 02:01 gas prices in San Diego have risen to their highest level since 2015. Today. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in San Diego County is almost $4 11 cents. Experts say the rising prices are a result of a diminish supply caused by maintenance issues at refineries in Los Angeles County. Jamie court is with the group consumer watchdog.

Speaker 5: 02:25 If you are a savvy consumer, you can go to one of those independent stations. They're getting the fuel from the same majors, but they're getting at a discount, so you'll pay sometimes 50 cents less than it pays to shop around. It pays to pay in cash, so there are things you can do to take a little bit of the burn off.

Speaker 1: 02:42 The average price of gas has risen 13 times over the past 15 days. That's according to AAA. San Diego biologists released seven endangered Ridgeway rails in the Tijuana river estuary. Tuesday morning, KPBS environmental reporter Eric Anderson says the local birds population is struggling.

Speaker 3: 03:02 Why?

Speaker 6: 03:04 The birds flew quickly into the expanse of salt Marsh. Within a minute or two, all of them were out of view and hidden in the tall grass. The release was particularly sweet for Mike McCoy. He first fought to preserve the estuary nearly 50 years ago. This particular Spacey's was one of the reasons that we're able to protect this estuary. Ridgway rails have been having a tough time of late and El Nino and a large trans border sewage spill conspired to crash the estuaries oxygen levels back in 2016 it didn't help that the mouth of the Tijuana river was also closed by sand that killed the animals that Ridgeway rails rely on for food. And we went from about 127 pairs out here in Oneonta. SLU in 2016 down to I believe about 53 or so. Collin says, this is the first time officials have released endangered Ridgeway rails here. He doesn't have reservations even though the region is seemingly constantly under assault from sewage trash and rising sea levels. Colin says a completely safe, wild habitat just doesn't exist. Eric Anderson KPBS news

Speaker 1: 04:13 this week, California governor Gavin Newsom signed a controversial law that promises to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and profit from their likeness. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman talked to San Diego state football players to see what they think about a law. They could drastically change college sports.

Speaker 3: 04:32 San Diego state football player, Parker Houston says the idea of earning endorsement money is enticing for student athletes who don't have opportunities to earn money elsewhere. We're here four or five years and,

Speaker 7: 04:42 and it's a lot of our, a lot of our life and things like that. So, um, it's hard for a lot of us cause we don't, we don't have the opportunity to get a job and so we really can't start earning our savings and things like that and building it up. I think it's, you know, maybe something that is definitely going to benefit student athletes.

Speaker 3: 04:58 SDSU football player, Luke bark who says universities profit off sports. So why shouldn't student athletes,

Speaker 7: 05:03 I feel like university and make a lot of money off the players. So I don't understand why, uh, it's not okay for us to receive some of that money,

Speaker 3: 05:10 but the NCAA, which regulates collegiate athletics has issues with the law and under current rules at my bar. Schools from competing bark who says that would need to change?

Speaker 7: 05:19 I think if the circumstance, the circumstances were different as far as that aspect than it would be a good, uh, a good idea.

Speaker 3: 05:25 The NCAA says they agree changes are needed to support student athletes, but that it needs to happen on a national level, not a state level. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 05:34 the endorsement law doesn't go into effect until 2023 old glove theater, master of fine arts graduate. Heather Raffa is having the West coast premiere of her play. Nora KPV as arch reporter Beth like Amando explains how it reimagines Henrik Ibsen's a doll house and an earlier Nora Heather Rafa

Speaker 3: 05:53 doesn't shy away from complex ideas. In fact, she embraces them and her new play,

Speaker 8: 05:58 Nora, the playwright, noticed that audience's preferred female characters that were sympathetic, but she wanted her Nora to challenge that.

Speaker 2: 06:07 The biggest thing that really distinguishes her is, is this lack of needing to be sympathetic. There's so many ways women are hoping to express their opinion and they couch them in ways that make them palatable, right? They play small or they play kind or they play nice in order to say the thing they came to say and she is discovering through the course of the play that that didn't serve her

Speaker 8: 06:38 the home to the liability. Nora is also an a Rocky living with her family in New York and again Raphoe saw stereotype. She wanted to challenge, in this case the image of refugees as either victims or the enemy.

Speaker 2: 06:51 That's kind of the two extremes that our politics have pushed people into. I found it interesting that audiences really wanted to come feel very bad for this refugee family. They wanted to feel bad and love them and want to help them in all these ways and she doesn't want pity.

Speaker 8: 07:11 Johannah McKeon is directing the play and was drawn to the many layers in the character of Nora.

Speaker 2: 07:16 She is a hyper educated intellectual bourgeois woman who with progressive ideas in architecture who was sort of stripped of all of her status when she came to the United States.

Speaker 8: 07:32 Nora and her family may now consider themselves American, but Raphoe the daughter of an Iraqi father and an American mother sees a continuing tension between the two cultures.

Speaker 2: 07:43 And I think that what they're trying to embrace, as I said before, is the pull between community and individualism. And America is really based on rugged individualism that offers a lot of things. But when people come from communities and countries, that the whole entire social fabric is about togetherness. Taking those kind of individual steps is a push pull. And I think that we're dealing with the, all Americans are dealing with that right now. We're seeing what happens when we have only an individualistic approach and how much more we need to root in communities.

Speaker 8: 08:21 That makes Raphoe question. The brand of early feminism Ibsen's Nora displayed in a doll's house,

Speaker 2: 08:27 the Nora Helmer of adults house wakes up to her individualism. Right? And that's been prized as this beacon of feminist literature in the theater. And I, I don't know what I F I feel about that. I kind of roll my eyes and sad. I don't know if, if I believe that the exact approach, there's a whole way of thinking in Arab feminism that deals much more with community and how you move forward as a group rather than purely as an individual.

Speaker 8: 08:56 So even feminism is depicted in a broader spectrum as it's refracted through a new prism says McKeon.

Speaker 2: 09:02 People who understand doll's house are going to see the way that this play is both using that model and sort of punching through the model. It's a more complicated story and it involves the Iraq war

Speaker 8: 09:17 and it involves a character that represents new layers of gender and cultural complexity for the 21st century.

Speaker 2: 09:24 And I'm fascinated by the fact that this woman is a sort of frustrated artist who his, whose career has been obstructed by the forces of history and is still finding herself in her forties that is a story that you don't see so often on stage and it's, it feels like fresh terrain

Speaker 8: 09:44 or perhaps it's familiar terrain that we just need to revisit from a fresh perspective that reveals new insights. Beth Huck Amando KPBS news. Nora runs through October 20th at the old globe theater. Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you liked the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

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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.