Skip to main content

Research Shows California’s Marine Sea Life Reserves Are Working And More Local News

Cover image for podcast episode

Scripps Institution of Oceanography has found that California’s system of Marine Protected Areas is doing exactly what it was designed to do — allowing marine species to reproduce in safe places. Plus, 12 church leaders from the Imperial Valley Ministries have been indicted for allegedly holding homeless people against their will and forcing them to panhandle in several cities, including San Diego. Also ahead on today’s podcast, residents of San Diego County's unincorporated areas could soon start seeing cheaper energy bills.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, September 11th I'm Priya Sri there and you're listening to San Diego News matters from k PBS coming up. Local researchers say marine protected areas in California are working and a UC SD economist wants to try to stop human rights violations in Africa.

Speaker 2: 00:19 You can't just say something terrible is happening and I'm just going to watch it because I'm a researcher and therefore that makes it okay.

Speaker 3: 00:28 That and more San Diego news stories coming up.

Speaker 4: 00:32 Yeah.

Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you for joining us for a San Diego news matters. I'm Priya. Sure. Either. New Research Finds California system of marine protected areas is doing exactly what was hoped for. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson says a study from the Scripps Institution of oceanography finds the underwater parks are allowing marine species to reproduce in safe places.

Speaker 5: 00:55 The states underwater preserves San Diego County has 11 of them are doing what was promised before they were established back in 2012 Scripps institution of oceanography researchers, Samantha Marie says the underwater parks are helping restore fish stocks. She's encouraged. The state is doing a good job of monitoring the regions.

Speaker 1: 01:15 If we can't make sure people are following the rules, the marine protected area isn't going to be successful and California is investing. The legislature is investing in, um, making sure that enforcement is getting better all the time.

Speaker 5: 01:29 Marie says her recently published research finds there is more marine life inside the reserves and that is spilling over into adjacent areas. It took years for California to develop and implement the underwater network. Eric Anderson KPBS News,

Speaker 3: 01:44 there's a lot we still don't know about the vaping related illnesses that has killed at least six and sickened hundreds but KPBS health reporter Taryn mentos says health officials are seeing one trend across the 12 cases here. All of the patients say they vaped marijuana products, but so far 10 say they purchased the substance online or at an illegal shop. Licensed vendors are regulated by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. Dr. Eric McDonald leads the county's epidemiology and immunization services branch. He says to patients provided samples that were sent to the state for testing

Speaker 2: 02:20 and they are in fact analyzing those samples to see is what we think in here, in here. I mean are they collaborating products or is there something else?

Speaker 3: 02:28 Other states found some, but not all of it. Samples contained vitamin E. It's a common dietary supplement or used on the skin, but there isn't much research on the effects when inhaled. Taryn Mento KPBS news symptoms of the illness include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Residents of San Diego County's unincorporated areas could soon start seeing cheaper energy bills. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, county leaders Tuesday move toward creating a public energy program.

Speaker 6: 03:03 Community choice energy allows local governments to purchase electricity from power plants on behalf of their residents and businesses. Similar programs across the state have provided lower rates than what utilities charge. County Supervisor Diane Jacob Convinced a majority of the board Tuesday to move forward with such a program which could launch as soon as 2021 she says, payers can still choose to keep SDG and e as their power provider. To me, it's all about giving consumers a choice and bringing competition to the market. Other cities in the region are moving forward and this I think creates an attractive option for the county of San Diego. The board will vote next month on the details of a joint community choice program with Carlsbad and other North county cities. Andrew Bowen KPBS news.

Speaker 3: 03:48 Yesterday there was a drag queen story hour inside a Chula Vista Library and there was a protest outside drag queen story hour in which drag Queens read to kids was launched in San Francisco in 2015 and has spread across the country. According to the group's website. The aim is to give kids positive and unabashedly queer role models. San Diego mass resistance. A local chapter of the National Conservative activists group organized yesterday's protest against the story hour in Chula Vista. Meanwhile, several interfaith leaders organized the counter protest. Michael McCabe protested against the story hour,

Speaker 6: 04:27 I think like material, the drag queen to tech, essentially adult entertainment, which I don't think belonged to note sounding that designed for children,

Speaker 3: 04:36 but Madison back protested in favor of the event.

Speaker 1: 04:39 I felt like I needed to come out here and support my friends, my family, all of these people who deserve to live without shame. I'm here for them.

Speaker 3: 04:49 There was a heavy police presence in anticipation of the event, but the protest was peaceful. This next story contains information that may be disturbing to some listeners, especially children. It's about a UC San Diego economist who wants to stop an African tribe from performing female genital mutilation on its young girls by using economic incentives but research approval boards at ucs worry. His study may do more harm than good. I knew source investigative reporter Brad Racino has the story behind it. This controversial research.

Speaker 7: 05:26 Yuri Kanizi is a professor of behavioral economics at ucs, Ds, Rady School of Management. His work focuses on studying incentives and how they can be used to change human behavior. Here he is speaking on a Canadian Television show in 2014

Speaker 6: 05:40 if you weren't understand how people behave in the real world, you have to go to the real world and actually look, look at them.

Speaker 7: 05:46 Kanizi wants to change one behavior in particular female genital mutilation among Kenya's Masai tribe and ethnic group that celebrates the act as a rite of passage. The involves cutting off the cliteracy as of girls as young as 10 without anesthesia in part to make them more desirable for marriage. Kenya outlawed the practice eight years ago, but it still continues, so for three years. Good. Neesy has been trying to get a study approved by ucs UCFD. He wants to pay the school tuition for hundreds of messiah girls, barely teenagers. If they do not undergo the cut, he'd make the payment for four years as long as health checks on the girls that showed they hadn't had the procedure. He monitor another group of girls to see what happens when they're not paid, but there's one big problem.

Speaker 8: 06:34 My first impression is that the study is never going to be ethical.

Speaker 7: 06:39 Dr. Timothy Johnson is a University of Michigan obstetrician and International Women's health researcher.

Speaker 8: 06:45 I just think female genital mutilation is not a particularly good area to test economic incentives.

Speaker 7: 06:50 Guinea Z said he wasn't interested in talking with my new source about this topic because it's sensitive, but university records detail his three year battle with Ucs d to get his Kenya project approved. The documents offer a rare glimpse into how decisions on risky research are made, how vulnerable populations are supposed to be protected, and how even well intentioned researchers can cross ethical lines.

Speaker 8: 07:15 We live in a global world and what happens to little girls in Kenya, especially if it's being done by researchers from the global north impacts all of us

Speaker 7: 07:24 board that approves research at ucs. UCFD denied Sinisi's original plan in 2016 since then, the economist has tried again and again to get the study approved, but he's been denied each time the boards have said his plan is riddled with social, legal, and ethical problems that far outweigh its potential benefits. There are questions about child safety and how to ethically study an illegal act and there are concerns about privacy, financial sustainability, cultural ignorance, and western arrogance.

Speaker 2: 07:53 Yeah, this is odd.

Speaker 7: 07:56 Katie Specter. Baghdadi is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. She's also chair of the University of Michigan's research ethics committee. She told I news source. She's obviously very opposed to female genital mutilation, but after hearing [inaudible] proposal added,

Speaker 2: 08:10 that seems incredibly punitive to these young children to somehow put the responsibility on them that they don't get a scholarship unless they somehow protect themselves from getting mutilated when we know that they don't have any control over it and then they're going to get mutilated and lose their scholarship.

Speaker 7: 08:29 Researchers have an enhanced obligation to protect the vulnerable populations they're studying spectre Baghdadi said, and because the researchers often benefit from their own work, such as getting more funding, publishing in a journal or boosting their prestige,

Speaker 2: 08:41 you can't just say something terrible is happening and I'm just going to watch it because I'm a researcher and therefore that makes it okay.

Speaker 7: 08:50 It's extremely rare for a research approval board to deny a study. Once [inaudible] was denied for a fifth time in late August, I knew source analyzed more than 50,000 pages detailing proposed biomedical studies at UCFD. Most of the records go back to 2004 we found no other human research study of the thousands proposed over that period that has been denied this many times. For KPBS I'm I knew source investigative reporter Brad Racino.

Speaker 3: 09:18 This story was reported as part of I new sources, ongoing risky research series, which looks at the systems meant to protect human research subjects. For more on this series go to, I knew source.org I knew sources and independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. The La Jolla playhouse is out with a new musical that uses humor to unpack a difficult time in history. The production called kiss my ass tech follows a group of Aztecs leading the resistance against the Spanish invaders in the 16th century. John Leguizamo and Tony Tacony co-wrote the musical. They spoke to midday edition host Jade Heinemann about how they turned to the European invasion of the Aztec Empire into a comedy. John Leguizamo told her what the story is about.

Speaker 9: 10:08 Well, the, the, the whole piece is about conquest and how do you make the conquest as funny as possible. So that, that was the premise. And, and th the, the humor that we found was in these rebels wanting to free themselves from Monday, European rule at the time, you know, where they were, they were being conquested and used as slaves and to mind gold and all that stuff. And then now I'm mining it for humor. How do I make this accessible to people? So we're, we're in that world of a book of Mormon, you know, really Raunchy, really low brow, but at the same time, really high brow, cause we were talking about 16 hundreds and I created kind of, um, kind of a, a ghetto patois. So the speaking Elizabethan with ghetto slang at the same time. So it's like an interesting combo. You know, I always feel like any good comedian can always bring a message through their comedy.

Speaker 9: 11:01 Right? And it's a real craft. It's an art. Tell me about that. Yeah, I think the best way to get information out is to smuggle it in a joke. I think it's the best way to get people to, to want to listen to things that they don't really want to listen to. Is it game of seduction? You know, how close to the actual history did you stay in the telling of this story? I tried, I tried to stay as accurate as I could, you know what I mean? In terms of what was going on in the period in terms of a viceroy reality and enslavement and, and all that. And then obviously we took license cause it's, it's, it's hilarious spoof. So, you know, I'm just, I'm just going to go for every joke and every low brow thing I can. And so why was it important to bring this to the stage?

Speaker 9: 11:44 Because we're, we're is all our Latin product. I love Latin stories out Latin history. I mean, it just not anywhere. And you know, I'm going to start with the Aztecs and hopefully maybe do one on the Incas and Mayans and we have such a rich wealth of history in American, in the world. I mean, it's just, it's just been missing it forever. And I'm kind of tired of that. Talk to me about that. You're tired of it. Like, do you hope that people, um, see this play walk away and that maybe there's some legislative push to have this taught in school curriculums? I mean, what do you hope? What's the end game? The end game is for people to see, Oh wow, Latin culture is hot. You know, it's, it's something that we can all relate to in all enjoy cause Latin history is American history for the most part.

Speaker 9: 12:32 Anyway. You know, when, when I found out that we're almost 20% of the population and almost 22% of our kids are dropping out, I, I believe it's because they can't relate. I mean I felt that way growing up. I mean there was no Latin people in, in the literature class or in history or math anywhere. Joining me now is Tony Taccone. He cover out the musical with John Leguizamo and directs the musical. He joins me now via Skype. Tony, welcome. Thanks so much Jay. Hey, we heard John Leguizamo talking about creating a dialogue that is Elizabethan with them, some ghetto slang. As director of the musical, tell us what it's been like to direct your actors in this dialogue.

Speaker 10: 13:17 Well, you have to have people who are very facile with language that's, that's a given. You can't have somebody who doesn't have the aptitude and, and the intelligence to sort of, you know, understand what the language is trying to do and to own it and to embrace it and to sort of express it with like a lot of verve. Uh, one thing I just want to say is it's not like something you can't understand. I'm not making this some sort of, you know, Arcane, you know, weird dialect that's impossible to sort of really hear. It's very easy on the ears. But one thing it does though it, it, it lifts, it lifts the comedy into a little bit of a different kind of atmosphere. It makes you listen in a bit of a new way. It's also funny if that's the whole point. It's, it's trying to place you in period. Like, so you're watching a quote unquote period piece, but you're super aware that you're hearing now.

Speaker 9: 14:11 That was Tony Tacony and earlier John Leguizamo speaking to midday edition host jade Heineman, the new musical kiss. My ass tech runs through October 13th at the La Jolla playhouse.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

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.