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Business Report: Surges In Streaming and Household Debt And Other Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, February 17th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Household debt is the highest it's ever been. The good news, most of it is mortgage debt and we talked with the president of the fourth largest comic book publisher in the country and then at the end of it, you know, amidst all the stress and everything else you go, this is maybe the best job there is that more coming up right after the break

Speaker 2: 00:36 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:36 a new report from the fed says you as household debt hit $14 trillion, almost 10 of the 14 trillion was in loans to buy homes or to refinance mortgages. Mural COPEC is a lecturer at San Diego state university and the cofounder of bottom line marketing. He told KPBS that home financing debt is a good thing.

Speaker 3: 00:57 That's actually a positive for consumers because we're in the lowest interest rate environment in generations and so people actually save money in interest costs by refinancing now, but the area that is of concern are the other three.

Speaker 1: 01:10 Those other three debt areas are credit cards, student loans and auto loans. All of them have risen to hit record numbers in household debt. People are cutting their cable and antenna cords at faster rates. KPBS is Sarah [inaudible] says that consumers are embracing streaming services. There will be new video streaming services starting soon, like NBCs peacock and HBS max streaming services now account for nearly one fifth of TV viewing in the U S according to a Nielsen study mural COPEC is a lecturer at San Diego state university and cofounder of bottom line marketing. He says, companies are spending billions of dollars on new content,

Speaker 3: 01:51 but what's funny in this study is that even though all this new content is being developed, people are still watching old contents.

Speaker 1: 01:58 Roku predicts half of us households with the TV. We'll cut the cord in the next four years. Most of the top watch streamed programs like friends and the office ironically began on broadcast network TV. Sarah kit's Yannis KPBS news, a lawsuit over the department of Homeland security's metering policy has shown that government holding cells were nowhere near capacity during last year. Surge of central American families along the border. KPBS reporter max with an Adler tells us more.

Speaker 4: 02:29 Since the Obama administration, the department of Homeland security has used a metering policy at ports of entry making asylum seekers wait weeks and even months for their chance to enter the United States and apply for asylum. DHS. His reason was that it simply did not have the necessary bed space and resources to process more than a few asylum seekers each day, but documents produced as part of an ongoing class action lawsuit by several immigrant advocacy groups paint a different picture. According to the documents, many holding cells in between July, 2018 and June, 2019 we're less than half full along the border and some were even empty. The documents were unsealed after legal action by the associated press. Customs and border protection has maintained during the lawsuit that it's not simply a space issue. The metering policy also helps lessen the strain on staffing and addressing medical needs of the migrants. Max with Lynn Adler, K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 03:25 it's now easier for voters to make last minute changes to their address or party affiliation. I had of California's March 3rd primary cap radios. Chris Nichols has more on a new law signed by governor Gavin Newsom.

Speaker 5: 03:38 Californians can already register to vote, update their address and even change parties up to and including on election day, but this new law will allow them to do all of that without filling out a full voter registration form. Instead, they'll fill out a much shorter version with supporters hoping this will cut down on long lines on election day. This is important because more than 5 million Californians are registered as no party preference voters and they cannot vote in the primary for Republican, green or peace and freedom candidates unless they reregister as one of those parties in Sacramento. I'm Chris Nichols.

Speaker 1: 04:17 If you are a no party preference voter and want to vote for a Democrat in the primary, you'll need to request a democratic party ballot from your County elections office pulling place or vote center. Nevada is home to 27 federally recognized Indian tribes and an estimated 52,000 native American residents. But until last year, they were not officially represented within the state democratic party from Reno CAPP radio is Burt Johnson has more

Speaker 5: 04:44 native Americans are more likely to vote in tribal elections than they are in federal or state contests. Theresa Melendez is vice chair of the new Nevada statewide native American caucus, which she cofounded to get native Americans more engaged in the political system. They've been preparing for Nevada's democratic presidential nominating contest on February 22nd but Melendez doesn't expect the problems during the Iowa democratic caucus to have an impact on voter turnout among Nevada's tribal communities. I think a lot of people aren't engaged in the process and haven't been following the debacle in Iowa, so I don't think that that's going to be a major hurdle. Our major hurdle is encouraging people to believe in the process and want to participate. Period. Melinda says they'd been working with the democratic party to establish four early voting sites and for precinct locations on reservations so native voters have better access to the Nevada presidential caucus in Reno. I'm Burt Johnson.

Speaker 1: 05:42 IDW publishing just celebrated its 20th year in San Diego and is known for such comics as lock and key KPBS arts reporter Beth lycomato checks in with the new publisher president and chief creative officer Chris rial about what's ahead in

Speaker 6: 05:58 the next decade for ID w when you walk into Chris riles office at IDW publishing, you immediately notice a comic book rack packed with obviously well loved old comics that have a particular smell. We always talk about

Speaker 7: 06:11 can we replicate that, can we, can we get the newsprint back and the, you know, the dot pattern coloring all of that night. I don't think people really want that anymore, but there is something that's just so thoroughly nostalgic that just brings you right back to your childhood.

Speaker 6: 06:24 Ryan loves to be surrounded by the things that engaged him as a kid and kickstarted his love of the medium. He now works in a medium that has fully embraced the digital age and expanded beyond its print roots. As publisher president and chief creative officer rile is excited about what lies ahead for IDW as it enters its third decade. I want to talk about everything like do we have, do we have hours to spend topping the list right now is the IDW flagship property lock and key getting its own streaming show on Netflix

Speaker 2: 06:56 is filled with amazing cake for them. They whisper.

Speaker 6: 07:06 IDW began as just a comic book publisher here in San Diego two decades ago now. It has an entertainment division, publishes gorgeous coffee table, comic art books, has a Spanish language initiative and is still hungry to find new ways to reach and expand its audience. Like with its board game division,

Speaker 7: 07:24 you know you sort of have the passive experience of reading the comics and to then be able to engage with with that story in a different way and play as the characters and sort of experience the world in a different way is a really fun thing because some gamers primarily just stick to games and don't necessarily read the comics and so if that is there into the world and then maybe draws them into the publishing side too, you know, that's always a nice thing too is just to have that overlap for however you might want to experience lock and key or whatever the game might be.

Speaker 6: 07:53 Diversifying and looking for new ways to engage an audience is what rial says distinguishes ID w you know we've long said, yeah

Speaker 7: 08:01 since except to the fact that superhero content is sewn up very capably by Marvel and DC and so rather than try to compete directly, we always wanted it to be an alternative to that. So we did stories originally that were more horror based or fantasy based or science fiction based that maybe hit an audience once they either aged out of superhero comics or wanted to something with a different flavor. From there we, we moved into trying to really cultivate the next generation of comic readers through things like my little pony and now doing a wider array of nonfiction graphic novels.

Speaker 6: 08:33 The company has had success with the graphic novels March Congressman John Lewis, his insider view of the civil rights movement and they call us anime George to memoir about his internment in an American concentration camp during world war II. Now IDW is partnering with the Smithsonian Institute.

Speaker 7: 08:51 We want to be more in that space to doing stories that have topical relevancy and historical relevancy and telling these important stories that captivate a different kind of reader. And so we started this conversation with the Smithsonian and they have so many music, not only just the different museums but also the experts on site. And so to engage them in ways to pull stories out of out of these museums or out of these exhibits and tell graphic novel stories, whether it's nonfiction or it's fictionalized versions of, you know, past events, that kind of thing is, is just a way to who put graphic novels in front of people in different ways.

Speaker 1: 09:26 Wearing multiple hats, overseeing projects that cross platforms and facing constant deadlines can be stressful.

Speaker 7: 09:33 The deadlines and sort of the nature of doing the periodical business is, I think that is constantly just on you and stressing you out. But at the end of it, you a week get to make these really fun, compelling comics that fans are engaged by with these really inventive creators. And then at the end of it, you know, amidst all the stress and everything else you go, this is maybe the best job there is,

Speaker 1: 09:53 which brings us back to that kid reading. Fantastic for who now has the ability to create comics that can ignite the imaginations of a new generation of fans who may never know the smell of newsprint. Beth like Amando KPBS news ID, w publishing's comic lock and key just debuted as a streaming series on Netflix. Climate change is making wildfires worse around the world. Hotter temperatures, dryer conditions. It's a danger not only to communities but on military bases as well leading the Pentagon to declare fires and other effects of climate change. A national security problem. Jacob Margolis of the American Homefront project reports from Santa Barbara County.

Speaker 8: 10:35 September 19th, 2016 we Canyon wildfires burning through the dry rolling Hills of Vandenberg air force base crispy after years of record setting, drought and high temperatures. It's out of control day turns tonight as firefighters are surrounded by smoke and flames, your body cameras catch the sounds of their retreats.

Speaker 2: 10:59 Let's go. Let's go.

Speaker 8: 11:04 The fire started two days earlier in a remote part of the 100,000 acre air force space. Chief Mark various is a 20 year veteran of the Vandenberg fire department.

Speaker 9: 11:13 It's kind of like a military battle, right? You need the ground troops, which we call, let's call them hot shots. You need the tanks, which we'll call the fire trucks and you need air support. So that unholy Trinity is what we typically need for almost every fire.

Speaker 8: 11:27 Fighting fires on military basis can be complicated. There's ordinance and chemical storage and buildings crucial to national security at Vandenberg. At the time, one of the biggest issues was a little over a mile away, a Delta two rocket ready to launch.

Speaker 9: 11:41 Now having a rocket fully loaded on a pad, fully fueled. That's, that's a pucker factor, you know, and having fire all around the area and threatening the facility.

Speaker 8: 11:51 The department of defense is concerned that are becoming an increasing threat to many facilities driven by extreme weather conditions that are getting worse as the climate changes. A 2019 DOD report on the effects of a changing climate, dedicated a section to the wildfire threat. Wonkily pointing out climatic factors including increased wind and drought can lead to an increased severity of wildfire activity. Marine Sullivan is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment.

Speaker 10: 12:19 You know, we just had a huge fire this summer up in Alaska, which was really problematic so it wouldn't think you know of Alaska as a wildfire risk, but that tells you how the wildfire situation is changing.

Speaker 8: 12:31 The Pentagon report looked at 72 basis. It said that half of those could be threatened by wildfire and that number is expected to grow. The report urges installations to plan ahead.

Speaker 10: 12:42 They have to take into consideration a changing climate, but how do they go about it?

Speaker 8: 12:47 Sullivan said that the defense department is trying to help them. For instance, it developed a tool that can help basis figure out what might burn, where that fire might spread and how they could respond. There's also a new climate adaptation tool that's supposed to help facilities figure out the scope of different kinds of climate threats. Though there are practical things that the bases are doing right now. Clearing vegetation is a big one, especially with controlled burns. Though some bases are limited by local laws. They're also partnering with local, state and national fire agencies. Actually, that's what saved chief Pfarius at Vandenberg. When the fire was burning out of control back in 2016 what was the turning point where you guys were able to finally,

Speaker 9: 13:27 uh, getting enough air resources and enough hot shot crews?

Speaker 8: 13:30 The Vandenberg fire burned only 12,500 acres, relatively reasonable for a California fire. But she Pfarius says it shows why his base needs better brush management, more people and more money

Speaker 9: 13:42 and we haven't gained resources. Even though our launch tempos more, even though it's dry or even now, things have gone worse, we've, we're actually less people less resourced. And so that has an impact. You know, that means that things are going to get worse before they get better or something. You know,

Speaker 8: 13:58 like other folks in California and much of the country, he knows that the next big fire could be right around the corner. I'm Jacob Margolis in Los Angeles.

Speaker 1: 14:07 This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes with the corporation for public broadcasting. That's it for San Diego news matters today. Consider supporting this podcast by becoming a KPBS member today. Just go to

Household debt is the highest it’s ever been. The good news? Most of it is mortgage debt. Plus, the Department of Homeland Security justified the Remain in Mexico program, saying detention centers were full. Documents show that they weren’t. And Governor Gavin Newsom signs a bill to make it a lot easier to register to vote.

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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.