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Awareness Helps But It’ll Take More To Shed Mental Illness Stigma And More Local News

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Advocates are battling the mental health stigma with this week's National Mental Illness Awareness. In San Diego, a temporary mural brings awareness to the issue but changing the negative perception hinges on more than just education. Plus, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear SDG&E’s appeal to pass on the $379 million in costs related to the 2007 fires that razed parts of San Diego County through to customers. Also on today’s podcast, the city of Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission are set to lock horns next week over how the city will deal with rising sea levels. And, as the war in Vietnam dragged on for years, the wives of American POWs were faced with a choice. Hear how their decision to go public became a national movement.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, October 8th. I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Advocates in San Diego battle the mental health stigma and during the war in Vietnam, the wives of American pow found themselves facing a choice. Vietnam prisoners were held up to eight years and this was a totally different war. No one was observing the Geneva conventions of war. That more coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Uh,

Speaker 3: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Advocates are battling the mental health stigma with this week's national mental illness awareness, but KPBS health reporter Teran Minto tells us changing the negative perception hinges on more than just education awareness campaigns educate the public with facts and statistics, but challenging someone's idea of a mentally ill person requires a bit more. That's according to Patrick Corrigan, a psychology professor in principle investigator at the national consortium on stigma and empowerment in Illinois. He says, perceptions can change when people discuss their diagnoses so others can associate the disease with a familiar face.

Speaker 4: 01:15 So if I'm aware of people who have the mental illness and in the process realize they are complex, dignified human beings like anybody else that will challenge the stigma.

Speaker 3: 01:28 The licensed clinical psychologist himself was diagnosed with mental illness, including major depression and anxiety. Taryn mento, KPBS news, San Diego gas, and Electric's appealed to the nation's highest court to have rate payers pay nearly $400 million in claims from the deadly 2007 wildfires has been denied. KPBS science and technology reporters Shalina Celani says the decision upholds a utility standard, but contrast with the actions of state legislators,

Speaker 5: 01:58 SDG and E says it shouldn't have to pay for the 2007 wildfires because they were out of its control. But that argument has been rejected by state courts and regulators repeatedly since 2012. And Maria Severson, the attorney representing customers on this case says the Supreme court has sided with those regulators who say the utility could have done more to prevent the disaster.

Speaker 1: 02:18 You found it. They found that no, they did not need the prudent manager standard. They were not, uh, prudently managing their operations. They weren't clearing the brush,

Speaker 5: 02:28 but she said state legislators went around that standard when they swiftly passed a $21 billion wildfire bill this summer. It has customers covering future wildfires. Shalena, Celani, KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 02:40 The city of Del Mar and the California coastal commission are set to lock horns next week over how the city will deal with rising sea levels. KPV S environment reporter Eric Anderson says the city's local coastal plan, which guides development is up for review. The California coastal commission says it will approve Delmar's plan only

Speaker 6: 03:00 if the city makes 25 amendments to Amara officials hope to cope with rising sea levels by adding sand to bolster local beaches. The city plan has no mention of managed retreat, something that coastal commission wants changed. Surfrider foundation's, Stephanie c-KIT, Quinn worries. The city plan doesn't do enough.

Speaker 1: 03:19 It's the longterm proactive planning that Surfrider wants to get out there because again, we owe it to future generations for them to have these tools because when the time comes, they're going to need to have all of these things on the table.

Speaker 6: 03:30 The commission is in San Diego next week to decide the issue. Del Mar is one of the first cities in the state to develop a coastal plan that considers climate change impacts Eric Anderson. KPBS news,

Speaker 3: 03:42 the Supreme court is back in session. KPBS reporter Prius rather tells us this terms docket is one of the most controversial in recent memory from abortion to DACA to gun rights. The Supreme court will be tackling several hot button issues this year. First up on the agenda is a case involving whether the federal employment discrimination law extends to gay and lesbian employees. Dan Eaton, a legal analyst says that while the court will be hearing cases beginning this week, decisions on many of them won't be made until 2020 an election year.

Speaker 7: 04:17 You can expect that would ever, the Supreme court rights will be talked about by a lot of people in this election season, whether the court wants it that way or not.

Speaker 3: 04:27 The current bench includes five justices appointed by Republican presidents and four appointed by democratic presidents, Pria, Sri, their K PBS news in Beverly's County Congress. When Duncan Hunter's corruption trial is once again getting pushed back. The Congressman is accused of spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on a lavish personal lifestyle. KPBS as Matt Hoffman reports.

Speaker 8: 04:53 Hunter is trying to have the case thrown out on constitutional grounds arguing that members of Congress are protected from being prosecuted for their legislative activities. Judge Thomas Wayland dismissed that motion in July saying it was wholly without merit, but in December the ninth circuit court of appeals will take a punters argument. So Monday Whelan pushed back the trial start date to later in January. We Lynn said he'd like to get the case resolved before the March primary for the sake of Hunter and the voters, but former us attorney for the Southern district of California. Chuck Labella says the trial might be delayed again by Hunter depending on how the ninth circuit, right

Speaker 7: 05:25 the rules and once the decision comes down, then it's a question of whether or not they apply for search Harare to the Supreme court, which means the Supreme court could or could not take the case on appeal.

Speaker 8: 05:37 Recent polling shows that Hunter is running behind several other candidates in the race for his congressional seat. Matt Hoffman KPBS news,

Speaker 3: 05:44 if you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the access and crisis line at (888) 724-7240 a new exhibit at the Koren auto museum at the founding of the national league of families of pow MIAs KPB as military reporter Steve Walsh says it started during the Vietnam war with a group of military wives in San Diego

Speaker 9: 06:11 since Stockdale was 11 years old when his father James Stockdale became one of the first American pilots shot down over North Vietnam. Now, their family table from their home on Cornetto is the centerpiece of a new exhibit. Well, this, this is the table, the dining room table around which the wives of prisoners and missing first gathered on October the seventh 1966 his father was 40 when he was shot down and taken prisoner as the wife of the highest ranking officer. His mom, civil Stockdale took it upon herself to begin organizing the growing number of wives who were in the same situation and they began to ask each other what they should do. That over time evolved into regular gatherings at our family house that gave birth eventually to the league of families, a pow Mia, which became a nationwide movement. The movement sprung up organically at bases around the country.

Speaker 9: 07:07 Karen Olson Butler was at Naval air station Lemoore near Fresno when her husband was shot down in 1965 there was an inference that he probably was killed in action. I found out he was alive five weeks later on the today show, a friend had called me and said that they had just noticed that he was a prisoner of war. Their group may be best known for eventually creating the black and white pow Mia flag that would become possibly the most enduring symbol of the Vietnam war, but that was years later in 1972 but the first several years, the wise were told to keep quiet, says author heathly.

Speaker 1: 07:47 The government in the military wanted wives and families to say little to nothing of except for close family members and there was some merit to that. In previous words where the prisoners weren't held that long, people feared it would derail negotiations. Now, Vietnam prisoners who were held up to eight years

Speaker 9: 08:03 lead curated the exhibit, which is now at the Cornetto museum based on her book league of wives. It Chronicles the growth of the national league of pow Mia families from small gatherings to a national movement. Civil Stockdale was the first wife to go public about the treatment of prisoners and an article that ran in the San Diego union in 1968 he says at first the response was muted, but they kept finding ways to get themselves into the headlines.

Speaker 1: 08:31 John McCain, who I interviewed in 2016 said it was like a light switch going off in 1969 the torture stopped. He was moved from solitary, but he said, these women, and they're the awareness that they raised in the international community.

Speaker 9: 08:48 He told her that made all the difference. Their story is parts by novel. Early on the Navy showed the wives how to write letters to their and code later. It's mostly the story of this national movement, a rare moment of unity in a divisive war driven largely by these women. Civil died in 2015 walking through the exhibit, her son Sid was struck by a cluster of bracelets with the names of a pow, which was part of a campaign to connect with the public.

Speaker 10: 09:16 Everyone mailed their bracelet to the returns pow with a note. It was just amazing. Uh, when we went into my mother's attic, we found a cardboard box like this. It was just full of all these bracelets.

Speaker 9: 09:31 Arthur Heath Lee originally curated the exhibit for the Robert J Dole Institute of politics in Kansas. Since 2017 it's been traveling the country. The exhibit was re-imagined for the Cornetto museum to emphasize the local history. It's now open to the public. Steve Walsh KPBS news,

Speaker 3: 09:50 the Supreme court began a new term Monday KPBS midday edition host Jade Hindman spoke to legal analyst Dan Eden about the hot button cases the court will hear from DAGA two abortion. One case will decide whether LGBTQ people are protected under federal anti-discrimination laws.

Speaker 11: 10:09 The critical question is whether title seven, the federal employment discrimination law, which prohibits discrimination quote because of SACS. Closed quote includes a prohibition on discrimination because, uh, someone is gay. There is no dispute that back in 1964 when the statute was passed that no one contemplated that it would apply to a gay and lesbian people. The question is whether the plain meaning of the statute embraces gay and lesbian people such that that protection should be extended. It's important to realize that the lower courts are split, which is why the Supreme court ultimately has to weigh in. And does this include transgender people as well? Yeah, there is a separate case that the court will hear involving the employee of a funeral home, uh, who was transitioning between male and female. And the question is whether because of sex includes a transgender individuals, that person was fired.

Speaker 11: 11:11 Again, this is a very interesting issue of statutory construction. Really the question is whether the plain meaning applies to gays and transgender individuals and protects a gender identity or perceived stereotypes. The Supreme court actually has held that it does or whether the understanding of the statute at the time it was enacted, uh, rules and uh, therefore these folks are outside of the protection of the federal antidiscrimination law. It's important to realize that California and several other States do protect gender identity and people who are gay and lesbian and broadly a transgender. But the federal law is important for those in States that don't have those kinds of protections. And one of the big cases people will be watching this session is one on abortion. This is the first time the court, uh, the current court rather will be considering the issue, correct? Well, yes, that's right.

Speaker 11: 12:06 Uh, J the, the important thing is that three years ago with justice Anthony Kennedy sitting on the court, the court invalidated a very similar law, uh, out of a Texas. This case involves a Louisiana law that prohibits a abortions by any doctor that doesn't have admitting privileges to a facility within 30 miles of where the abortion is going to be performed. Those who are, uh, challenging this law say, well, wait, that leaves as a practical matter only a single doctor in the entire state of Louisiana who can perform abortions. The fifth circuit court of appeals upheld, uh, this law saying that there was evidence, unlike in the Texas case, that the requirement of admitting privileges actually helps to protect the health of a woman and therefore, uh, not withstanding the burden on her right to an abortion, it doesn't constitute an unconstitutionally undue burden. In light of this state's interest in protecting her health.

Speaker 11: 13:04 And the court will also be making some key decisions on the DACA program, which protects nearly 800,000 people brought to the country illegally as children from deportation. Uh, what exactly is the court being asked to decide here what the court is actually being asked to decide as a rather technical question about whether the administration and resending this program violated the administrative procedures act. Because the reason given by the administration for resending the program was that it was an unlawful exercise of executive power. Uh, the, a lower court said, well, no, that if, if that's your reason, that isn't right. That ends up being arbitrary because it wasn't an unlawful exercise of executive power with respect to deciding who stays and who doesn't in this country. So, uh, really the question is whether the reason given doesn't hold water and is arbitrary, and ultimately that may determine whether DACA for now survives or doesn't. I've been speaking with Dan Eaton legal analyst and partner with seltzer Caplan McMahon. Vtech Dan, thank you so much. Good to be with you, Jade. 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.