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Some Businesses Reopen

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Starting today, greater freedom will be allowed for some parts of the state's economy. Also on KPBS’ San Diego News Matters podcast: evictions in the county briefly resumed and then were suspended again, more details about the COVID-19-related death of an El Salvadoran man who was held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center and more local news you need.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department resumed eviction enforcement in the county yesterday. That's according to documents obtained exclusively by KPBS.

On Sunday, Sheriff's Deputies visited at least 130 homes in San Diego County, giving residents five days to get out. This month, May, is the last month of an eviction moratorium issued by Governor Gavin Newsom in response to the pandemic.

The Sheriff's department says these evictions were ordered before the moratorium went into effect on March 27th.

Greg Knoll is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, which represents several of the people who were being evicted.

We have to worry about these 130 households and what people are going to be available to help them and get them into shelter right away. There is no reason to add 130 households of untold numbers of people to the homeless population."

In response to KPBS's reporting, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher sent a letter to Sheriff Bill Gore on Thursday afternoon. It asked him to postpone these evictions until the county courts fully reopen and the county has time to find housing solutions for people being evicted.

In response, late last night, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced that it will suspend evictions for now.

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Today is the day.

Starting today, greater freedom will be allowed for some parts of the state's economy.

Bookstores, florists, sporting goods shops and other retailers are among the types of businesses allowed to restart business, but they can only offer delivery or curbside pickup for online or call-in purchases.

Warehouses and logistics companies that support those retail outlets are also allowed to reopen.

Governor Gavin Newsom was joined by state health officer Mark Ghaly (galley) to lay out some rules that retailers, manufacturers and warehouses can operate under.

"What does it mean for manufacturers? It means the manufacturing plant may have people further apart than they were before Covid-19. It may mean their break rooms have been closed down and exchanged for open-air break rooms, with physically distanced seating."

And for retail shops, he said he expects staff to start delivering goods to peoples' cars while wearing gloves and a mask.

Some counties across the state may soon start reopening other businesses like dine-in restaurants, car washes or office buildings — but only if they meet strict metrics on containing COVID-19, including zero deaths in the past two weeks. But San Diego is nowhere near that right now.

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There are more details about the COVID-19-related death of a man from El Salvador who was held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.

57-year-old Carlos Escobar-Mejia was considered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be medically vulnerable. But ICE says by the time a federal judge ordered at-risk people to be released, he was *already* hospitalized. He died early Wednesday.

Monika (MO-NIKA) Langarica (LONG-A-RICA) is an attorney with the ACLU, which has been pushing to expedite the release of detainees at Otay Mesa.

This person should not have been subject to death in immigration detention. There was a way to get him out, ICE had discretion to release him and they didn't do that.

As of Thursday morning, there are 140 confirmed cases at the facility, which is holding 629 ICE detainees.

A hearing is scheduled for today on the status of the court-ordered release of medically vulnerable detainees.

***
And for the latest local COVID-19 count: The county reported 110 new positive cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 4,429, and seven new deaths, bringing the local death toll to 165.

***

From KPBS, I’m Kinsee Morlan, and you’re listening to San Diego News Matters.

It’s Friday, May 8.

Stick with me for more of the local news you need.

MIDROLL 1

It's been a week since the county ordered face coverings in public places where you can't keep a social distance.

KPBS Reporter Matt Hoffman looks at how that's working for those riding public transit.

Nat of trolley or train

MTS says people riding its busses and trolleys must wear face coverings to comply with the county health order. We talked to riders at the Old Town station Thursday about what they're seeing.

00;20;19;23 NM__4607_01 Richard Upa, Lives in Shelter Island
Everyone is being compliant, keeping their distance wearing face masks

That's Richard Upa, who lives near Shelter Island.

MTS says transit officers have written two tickets to people not wearing masks. Violators face up to a thousand dollar fine and or six months in jail. MTS has put up signs notifying people of the face covering requirement and encouraging social distancing.

But the transit system says compliance is largely a personal responsibility and they're asking everyone to do their part.

The Federal trade Commission is asking four San Diego Companies to stop making unsubstantiated claims about their products and COVID 19.

KPBS Reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The four San Diego Companies are among 45 marketing firms around the country being asked to stop making claims that their products treat or prevent COVID 19 infections.

The local firms are Activeherb Technology, Aspire Regenerative Health, Ecoshield L-L-C and Forever Ozone.

This is the second round of warnings to companies are selling Chinese Herbs, music therapy, homeopathic treatments and shields that block electromagnetic fields. In all the federal agency has reached out to more than 100 companies.

The Commission tells marketer to immediately stop making the claims and to contact their office within 48 hours to explain what actions they have taken.

Officials say the commission could seek a federal injunction and customer refunds if the claims don't stop.

If you want some relief from all this COVID-19 news, check out Stone Brewings youtube channel tonight..

San Diego currently has more than 150 craft breweries.

One of the earliest, and now one of the largest and most successful is Stone Brewing Co.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando says tonight at 6pm, you have an opportunity to watch the documentary "The Beer Jesus from America" about Stone co founder Greg Koch (pronounced Cook) with live stream commentary by Cook and filmmaker Matt Sweetwood.

Filmmaker Matt Sweetwood felt compelled to make a documentary about Stone Brewing's Greg Koch when the man known as the Beer Jesus decided to open a brewery in Germany.

GREG KOCH: So what I bring is choice and now we are here in Europe to remind the average person that you have classical music but you don't have rock and roll as it relates to beer and what we're bringing is rock and roll.

The easy-going, smartly shot documentary follows Koch's trouble-laden journey to build a brewery outside Berlin. Koch refers to his dream as romantic or perhaps foolish but the film shows him as someone driven by both passion and vision. The screening of The Beer Jesus From America hosted by Stone Brewing on its Youtube channel will include live stream commentary and post film Q&A with Koch and Sweetman.
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UC San Diego composer Anthony Davis dreamed at the age of 15 of reinventing the opera.
This month, he learned that he's won the 2020 Pulitzer prize in music for his opera “The central park five,” which tells the story of the five African American and Latino youth falsely accused of the rape and assault of a white woman jogging in central park in 1989.
Davis is a musical polymath, composing not only several operas but symphonies and works for musical theater. He is also an accomplished jazz musician.
He joined KPBS Midday Edition’s Alison St. John to talk about The Central Park Five, winning the Pulitzer Prize and the landscape for contemporary music today.

So how were you notified about being awarded the Pulitzer prize? Well, there's not an official notification from coats or anything, but actually I was in a zoom meeting, a faculty meeting with the music department and the phone.
My phone rang. And it was from New York and someone I knew from New York. So I, I said, well, I made, at first I thought, I'm not going to pick it up cause it's a meeting going on, et cetera. But then I thought, well, maybe I should just pick up. So I picked it up and they said, congratulations. And I said, for what?
And they said, congratulations, you won, you won the Pulitzer prize in music. And I said, what? Well, what did you say? You know, sir, but I didn't realize that the mic was on. For the
department or is it, when I did, was it unexpected or did you have an inkling that you were, it was a possibility to ask me one question, but like a couple of weeks ago, but I have, I kind of put it out in my mind, you know? And uh, so it was quite a surprise. Yeah. How did it feel for your work on the, on this very wrenching story to be validated like, this.

Well, I, I, I'm, I'm, I was excited about it because, uh, uh, the work that the long beach opera did on my opera and, and the collaboration was, was so, so rewarding. And that what the singers did and how they devoted themselves to the music and that direction. And I am working with courses with the librettist Richard Wesley.
It was, it was just amazing. Project. And also I think it's a validation for artists like me who are interested and devoted to political work that we, the feeling that we can, that when we, we create music and music is also part of a social consciousness of being, being politically and socially aware. And I think that I felt that as validation for, for artists who, who see their art in order to.
Sure. In a way it tries to change and change the society. Look again at, at our past, right? I mean, you know the, the story of the central park five explorers, you know what it feels like the opera explores what it feels like to experience racism. What is it, do you think about opera that makes it just so effective as such an effective storytelling medium to get the feelings across.
One thing I tried to do is I tried to think of the audience as, as identifying with a five and it didn't matter what race they were, et cetera, but the sense of that, that if we're going to be successful in the music, had to, it was particularly in the Terra gate interrogation scenes in the opera, but you feel that you're being interrogated, you're identifying with them, you're you.
I want the people to feel what it would be like to be in that circumstance. It also said that a child in that circumstance to have your innocence challenged. I think anyone can relate to that. Yeah, so I think so. And the tragedy of the innocence loss. I mean, Cory wives was in prison for 13 years. So he lost so significant time of his, you know, obviously young, young life.
So, so, and, uh, and then, and his Aria, he kind of expresses, how do you pay for the time? Time. I've lost
Mmm
So I think so. I think that's an important, that empathy, you know, music can foster, empathy can make, make you feel what other things feel like when you see Tasco or you see, all right, any treated traditionals, operas, you know, you, it functions in that way. You know, how, how, uh, that we identify with the characters and then we're going through what they go through.
And, and, and particularly. Through their emotional world, not just uh, and an opera. What's interesting is that you actually express what the emotion is directly. You say like in words what, what they're feeling in a way. You never do in a play that that's in a play. It's like the subtext of what, what's going on.
You know? It's what the actor plays with. It's never, the subtext is never revealed. This is not just a, um, a way of getting more people to appreciate racism, but also a way to make more people appreciate opera perhaps, who wouldn't necessarily listen to that kind of music. Yeah. I think it's, it's true. I mean, also the audiences we had in long beach were totally different from.
The normal OB, you know, opera audience. There were many more people of color in the audience. Uh, uh, it was kind of an extraordinary group. And, and so many people came up to me when, during the performance and, you know, an intermission, and it said that they had been falsely accused and imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit.
And so, uh, I felt that, you know, the connection to the innocence project and, and other, you know, uh, all the, all the people who were trying to. Try to, uh, save say, uh, say people who've been falsely accused of crimes. Now you've written several offers on things like Malcolm X and Patty Hearst. I mean, would you say that, uh, this is a, an era of the return of the opera as it were?
Well, yeah. I, I wrote my first offer was X, the life and times of Malcolm X, and I just love working on it. And it was an amazing, amazing project. And I, and I made me realize that. Those political themes will stick, especially these, these themes that are dealing with issues that also have a cultural reference like, and ex Malcolm went through.
Uh, there's a kind of parallel in the development of African American music with what is going on with the political realm. And then almost out, of course, to, you know, when I did the opera almost died. You know, looking back at. Uh, the Amistad case, et cetera. So, and so I've been drawn to, to the political, political, or political subjects, I think, cause they're, they're so loaded.

And also. You can revisit history, kind of, kind of looking. We're looking at looking at history and reinterpreting too, through opera and an opera. You can also kind of reveal some of the underlying forces behind what is, what it was, what's going on in the world, you know? And, and, uh, so that's been, that's been very exciting for me.
And. I mean, not all my operas are directly political like that, the light, these offers, but, but especially in my, in, in the law and the larger pieces I've done, I've, I've tried to, I try to try to, uh, make, make political points and make, make it make a case for, you know, uh, and to reveal what, what's particularly the effects of racism over the overarm our history.
We've been speaking with Anthony Davis, professor of music at UC San Diego.***
The jewelry and metals department at San Diego State University has teamed up with the University of Texas at El Paso’s jewelry proram to launch a really fascinating project.
Students are designing wearable art meant to reflect what it’s like to live and learn in a pandemic.
They call their creations “artifacts of isolation” and things like a contemporary take on old plague doctor masks, a hearing horn made of cardboard to help with socially distant communication...latex glove umbrellas meant to remind others to keep their distance….just some really interesting, artsy stuff.
I don’t have any audio for you, but the fascinating visuals are on instagram at @artifacts.of.isolation. Check it out.
Thanks as always for listening. Have a safe, socially distanced weekend.

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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.