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San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber Looks Forward As Legislative

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San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber Looks Forward As Legislative

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, January 6th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Assembly woman Shirley Weber wants to tackle the issue of educational inequity in California and political parties are finding it very hard to work together, but there have been exceptions. They always say if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together that more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:38 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:38 today marks the start of a new legislative session at the state Capitol and assembly woman, Shirley Weber, fresh off the passage of police reform. Bill AB three 92 isn't slowing down. KPBS has. Donald Bloodworth has more

Speaker 3: 00:52 for this legislative session. Weber says she's focusing on education accountability. She wants to hold school districts accountable for state dollars, meant to help underprivileged students. She told KPBS mandation addition about the state audit, she ordered to find out where that money was going and the audit shows that that money by and large had not been used for the kids that it needed to be used for. So we have now got to go back. We're having a hearing, but I've also had legislation that will create greater accountability for the use of those dollars that those kids who are at the very bottom deserve that money. Weber says, education is the key to closing the achievement gap for underprivileged students. Donald Bloodworth KPBS news

Speaker 1: 01:32 industries are pushing back against a new law that makes it harder for businesses to hire workers as contractors. Instead, they must classify them as employees, which means offering benefits and workplace protections. Capitol public radio, Scott rod has the story

Speaker 4: 01:48 companies can face litigation and hefty fines for misclassifying workers. Sacramento employment attorney Lucas Clary says that's left employers scrambling in light of California's new labor law. Any business that is currently using an independent contractor, it should really be watching this and monitoring it closely and auditing their practice. The risk of misclassification falls more on the business than the worker, but some industries are fighting back. Trucking companies have sued to block the law. Good companies, including Uber and Lyft, have launched a ballot measure to exempt them from the requirement. They argue making drivers. Employees would eliminate their ability to choose when to work. Democratic assembly woman Lorena Gonzalez who authored the law says she will continue to fine tune it in the coming legislative session but has no interest in cutting a deal with gig companies in Sacramento. I'm Scott rod.

Speaker 1: 02:40 It's that time of year when flu is a big concern for San Diego bins. But KPBS health reporter Taryn middot asked one of the county's top public health officials about other infectious diseases to watch out for outbreaks of norovirus are expected to rise over the winter and typically peak by February. The county's Eric McDonald says the region is overdue for a surge because a new strain of the disease that causes vomiting and diarrhea circulates every few years.

Speaker 5: 03:07 Switches can cause a gastrointestinal illness and other bacterial causes of gastroenteritis, uh, can be a, um, a little bit more common in this time of the year.

Speaker 1: 03:17 McDonald's says the other concern this year is an outbreak of per ptosis or whooping cough, which can be fatal for babies, but too few pregnant women are getting the vaccine. The County saw spikes in 2014 and 2017 and an outbreak occurs about every three to five years. Taryn mento, KPBS news, California lawmakers reconvened today for their 2020 legislative session, but for the first time in nearly a decade, Capitol public radio's Capitol Bureau chief, Ben Adler won't be joining them before he moves into a new role with the station. He digs back into his reporters notebook to reflect on our polarized political debate. Here's the final piece in our California dream collaboration series on solutions.

Speaker 3: 04:00 In the spring of 2017 when democratic assembly speaker Anthony Renden shelved a single payer healthcare bill cost double the state budget and didn't have a funding source attached to it. It was a bill that was woefully incomplete. The California nurses association posted a violent graphic to social media, a knife with the word Renden on it, stabbing the California grizzly bear in the back. The unions, Don Nielsen defended the image.

Speaker 6: 04:24 I think it represents very well what the speaker did. Yeah, he stabbed California residents in the back.

Speaker 3: 04:29 Weeks later. Governor Jerry Brown crossed party lines to negotiate a cap and trade deal with a block of Republicans assembly minority leader Chad nays acknowledged the political risk. What they decided was that they were going to put the people of California ahead of their own careers. Nan did sure was influential. Conservatives like John Fleischman forced maze to resign his leadership post.

Speaker 6: 04:52 Most hard working Republican activists. I expect our legislators to draw a line in the sand.

Speaker 3: 04:57 Despite these pressures, someone makers still seek connections, compromise and karaoke once a year. The legislature's cordial caucus convenes for a karaoke night with drinks and some below average singing democratic state Senator Stephen Bradford told me it makes finding common ground a lot easier.

Speaker 7: 05:18 Events like this allow us to sit down outside of the party, outside the building, outside the politics and get to know one another.

Speaker 3: 05:26 And former GOP, Senator Tony Strickland said, politicians do know how to disagree without being disagreeable.

Speaker 7: 05:32 If you really want stability, you need to hear what the other side's talking about and have some respect that your constituents, your active ones are pressuring you to go further and one direction without question. That's why it's coming upon leaders to lead.

Speaker 3: 05:46 Sometimes they do. Earlier this year, governor Gavin Newsome and lawmakers from both parties resolved one of the nation's most polarizing debates with a compromise.

Speaker 7: 05:56 Three 92 is now the state of California assembly. Bill

Speaker 8: 05:59 three 92 raise the legal standard for when police can use deadly force after months of negotiations. The final deal drew bipartisan support. Here's its author, democratic assembly woman, Shirley Webber. They always say, if you want to go fast,

Speaker 3: 06:12 go alone, but if you want to go far, go together and here's Republican assemblyman, Tom Lackey.

Speaker 7: 06:19 When you have true leadership, really polarized positions can come together,

Speaker 3: 06:25 but it's not just politicians who must choose between tolerance and tantrums. It's the rest of us too. It can be hard to find tolerance of the other side, even perhaps from ourselves. Yet every once in awhile. There's a moment like this one outside of Trump's speech in Reno in August, 2017

Speaker 7: 06:43 Kevin, you're wearing a make America great again hat. Actually this is signed by president Trump and his son and Kathy. You're holding a black lives matter sign made this in my backyard last night

Speaker 8: 06:55 as police held protesters and supporters apart, there were Kevin coffee and Kathy Blaine just talking with each other. A little anger at first a little bit

Speaker 7: 07:03 better and now I kind of feel like he's a friend. Love and respect your neighbor and understand that some people don't agree with it.

Speaker 3: 07:10 Would you want, in my 20 years as a journalist, I've only felt comfortable advocating for two things. Donate to your local public radio station and vote. But as I turned in my reporting gear, I think I'm ready to add one final thing to that list just because you disagree with someone's political views that doesn't make them a bad person at the state Capitol. I'm Ben Adler,

Speaker 1: 07:33 the San Diego opera last year stage of production of Verdi's Rigoletto. And while you might be familiar with the classic tale of love and revenge, you may not know what's going on in the orchestra pit below in a story that first aired last year, KPBS arts reporter Beth luck Amando has this profile of what a conductor's job entails.

Speaker 8: 07:56 Womanizing Duke, a hunchback Colchester, an innocent girl, and a rampage of revenge.

Speaker 1: 08:02 Colorado is a story of heightened drama and a curse too. So all the good stuff,

Speaker 8: 08:10 Alyssa Jord Haim sings the role of Gilda, the redemptive figure in the otherwise dark opera by Giuseppe verdict. With all that's happening on stage, audiences may never notice the intense drama going on just below in the orchestra pit as conductor, Steven White constantly juggles two contradictory tasks at one time.

Speaker 7: 08:33 I both lead and I follow. I'm listening at all times as we're going and if I hear a singer, let's say slightly behind or or slightly dropping off in tone, I have to make a split second decision. Is that singer aware that he or she is doing that and is trying to get me to slow down because I'm too fast. So at all times, at every second of the performance I'm having to try to make those decisions and to communicate them without talking. White

Speaker 8: 09:01 is given a Baton with which to conduct and communicate

Speaker 7: 09:04 the word conductor, which means the idea that music goes through, we'll just like a copper wire conducts something that's what a conductor is. And in opera, most specifically, the conductor is that element that is between the stage and the pit. And so that I'm equally involved with both and a lot of people just think, Oh the, the conductor is down there with the orchestra and the singers are doing their own thing and nothing could be further from the truth.

Speaker 8: 09:30 Soprano Jord Haim appreciates how a conductor like white can help her through a role she's never sung before.

Speaker 9: 09:43 [inaudible] yay,

Speaker 1: 09:49 Mr. Steven White is so wonderful at supporting us singers and breathing with us and making sure that we appear comfortable and we have ample time to rest and breathe and also keeps the orchestra a supporting role underneath us. So we never feel like we're drowned out by the orchestra.

Speaker 4: 10:07 Even swap

Speaker 8: 10:12 during rehearsal. White can talk to both the musicians and the singers in order to get everyone on the same page,

Speaker 7: 10:18 not just together in terms of playing at the same time and singing at the same time, but together in terms of our interpretation that we're trying to be the same ideas in terms of how we are expressing the story.

Speaker 4: 10:29 Well, the conductor who has the task of keeping all the forces together,

Speaker 8: 10:35 Steven Powell is the American baritone singing the role of Rigoletto in the San Diego opera production. He says the conductor is crucial in determining the pace of the opera.

Speaker 4: 10:43 Tempe is so crucial, more than people realize, slow Tempe for a singer is their killer. Can make you tired, make your voice tired, make you so that you can't finish the roll or sing it to properly the way you'd like. So that's why it's so important to have a conductor who's we. We use the term of singer's conductor, someone who's attentive to us on stage, who understands what we need, when we need to breathe, when we need to move, when we can take time, when we can't.

Speaker 10: 11:19 [inaudible]

Speaker 8: 11:20 onstage. The character of Rigoletto struggles with his anger, bitterness, and burning desire for revenge.

Speaker 10: 11:37 [inaudible] [inaudible]

Speaker 8: 11:38 foot below the stage conductor Steven White can be found like a general leading a pit full of musicians and accompany of singers. The next time you go to an opera, steal a moment away from the spectacle onstage to appreciate what that guy passionately waving a Baton around is actually doing.

Speaker 1: 11:54 Beth like Amando key PBS news. That's it for San Diego news matters today. Consider supporting this podcast by becoming a KPBS member today. Just go to

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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.