Close But Not Quite
San Diego News Matters / October 21, 2020
San Diego came close but was not quite pushed into the most restrictive Covid-19 tier due to the county’s high testing rate. Also we’ll review measures B, C and D on this year’s ballot. Plus, San Diego’s Asian Film festival returns.
For now, San Diego County restaurants and other businesses can keep inside operations open for at least two more weeks. The latest data from the state keeps the county in the "red" reopening tier.. But California Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly says San Diego county came very close to having data that would push it into the "purple" tier.
"They're hovering between that sort of fine line and we're working with them to make sure the data is right."
The purple tier would completely close indoor operations for restaurants, churches and others sectors..On tuesday state officials also updated guidance that will allow some theme parks and sports venues to reopen. Though, such reopening would only happen if our case rates go down enough that we’re moved into the state’s orange tier.
Many public health officials across the country, including here in San Diego, are using resources, like a database produced by John Hopkins university, to find out in real time how well cities and towns are flattening the coronavirus curve… but that data can’t tell officials about the future.
Now, UC San Diego computer scientists have stepped in to fill that data gap. Yian Ma says they've created a database that pairs covid statistics with travel data to predict deaths and cases weeks from now.
"Governor Newsom from California was asking us to make predictions about a number of hospital beds that would be used throughout different counties so that we can be better allocated."
The database has been incorporated into the centers for disease control website.
It’s Wednesday, October 21st . This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News.. I’m Annica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day.
"Operation Masks For All" has an ambitious goal… to provide personal protective equipment for California's entire homeless population. KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says the team in charge of the initiative is the Muslim Coalition for America .
The organization distributed reusable face masks today (Tuesday) at Chula Vista's Harborside Park. The end goal is to give out 40,000 face masks across the county.
Omar Qudrat is the founder of Muslim Coalition for America and says their task force began in June and is now throughout California.
"In San Diego County we are partnered with the task force on the homeless to try our best to provide face masks for the entire unsheltered homeless population of San Diego County."
The event in Chula Vista is just the first in a series of distributions throughout San Diego County. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.
The San Diego City Council has officially designated a portion of Kearny Mesa as a Pan-Asian cultural and business district. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen has the story.
AB: Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa has been the heart of San Diego's Asian-American communities for decades. City Councilmember Chris Cate, who represents the area, says the designation allows the Convoy District to further brand itself as a hub for business and culture.
CC: "...which will help support the efforts on the part of many organizations and businesses to transform the Convoy area into a vibrant cultural center, dining destination and innovative economic hub.
AB: Later this year, the City Council is expected to vote on an update to the Kearny Mesa Community Plan. That update envisions a big increase in population, allowing for nearly six times the number of homes than the neighborhood has right now. Homes for future potential customers of the Convoy District. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.
San Diego voters are seeing ads stating that mayoral candidate Todd Gloria supports sex offenders. This baseless claim was sent by conservative radio talk show host Carl DeMaio.
One post simply says Todd Gloria Supports Sex Offenders, with a picture of Gloria appearing to wear a skin-tight shirt. Gloria says the picture comes from a pride parade a few years ago when it was raining.
"So it's particularly I think intentionally piercing to try to take a moment of some community solidarity and overlay it onto this patently homophobic and false allegation."
Both Gloria and DeMaio are openly gay. DeMaio did not respond to requests for comment from KPBS. Gloria's opponent, Barbary Bry, says she condemns, quote any information that is inaccurate that goes out to the public.
San Diegans will vote this November on Measure B, which would create a Commission on Police Practices. The commission would act as more robust citizens’ oversight board of the police department. KPBS reporter Claire Trageser has this rundown on what's in the measure.
Measure B would scrap the existing board, called the Community Review Board on Police Practices, and create an independent commission with subpoena power.
Andrea St. Julian, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice, has been pushing the measure.
"Police officers are professionals just like doctors and lawyers and dentists, and they deserve to be treated in the same way, and that means having independent oversight."
If city voters pass Measure B, the city council will appoint members to the commission on Police Practices. The commission would have its own staff, an independent attorney and the power to subpoena and conduct investigations into police officer misconduct.
It would also review complaints against officers and make recommendations on police officer discipline and police policies.
"So when something happens in San Diego that the community is concerned about, the new commission can do a full investigation, so the community can be satisfied there was independent investigation."
There is no organized opposition to Measure B. The San Diego Police Officers Association is neutral on it.
Claire Trageser, KPBS News
Two local ballot measures could change the way San Diego Unified School District's board members are elected and held accountable.
KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong explains the arguments for and against Measures C and D.
Right now, elections for San Diego Unified use a hybrid model. During the primary, only voters from a candidate's subdistrict can cast ballots. In the November general, the candidates compete in an at-large election, campaigning across all of San Diego Unified's five subdistricts.
Supporters of Measure C hope to change that. They say at-large elections give disproportionate power to the city's white majority and thus marginalize the votes of people of color in certain subdistricts. If passed, the measure would make the November general a by-district election starting in 2022.
Sharon Whitehurst-Payne is an incumbent board member running for re-election in Sub-District E. In 2016, she took second place in the primary but won in the general. She said she supports Measure C because it would simplify the election process.
My main reason for supporting it has to do with simplification. It's so complicated for folks to understand why we have district only and citywide.
But her opponent, LaWana Richmond, said Measure C would do more than simplify elections. It would remove financial barriers to campaigning and encourage more community members to run for office. She used the example of campaign mailers to show just how much more it costs to run in an at-large election.
In the primary, I was able to get on a couple of them for a total of a thousand dollars. For the general election, just to get on one, they wanted 5000 dollars.
Richmond said that, ultimately, Measure C could help diversify the school board by encouraging more people to run.
But outgoing Board President John Lee Evans said the current system already promotes diversity while ensuring that candidates represent both the needs of their subdistricts and those of the overall district. Evans, who is voting against Measure C, said a by-district election could encourage board members from more affluent parts of the district to neglect the needs of schools serving more vulnerable student groups.
When I was running I was accountable to the voters in the entire district as opposed to I'll just take my subdistrict and get the resources we need and not pay much attention to what's going on in other areas. I think that's been a benefit and that's a potential detriment if it were to pass.
Evans does however support Measure D, which would change the San Diego City Charter to give the school board power to remove a board member for misconduct or failing to carry out his or her duties. But he said the measure couldn't be used by a majority of the board to oust a political opponent in the minority.
The measure does not allow for an unpopular board member to be removed for some small reason. It has to be very major.
The measure was proposed by San Diego City Councilmembers Chris Cate and Vivian Moreno. If passed, the city charter would be modified so that school board members convicted of crimes or failing to carry out their duties could be removed with a three-fourths vote by the other board members.
if they felt for any reason that a school board member at any time is a derelict in their duties, there is a process by which they can remove that school board member absent a resignation or a recall which we know is very costly and very difficult to get.
Both Measures C and D need a simple majority of the votes to pass. JH kpbs news
That was KPBS’ Joe Hong reporting. You can find his reporting and all of our election coverage on the KPBS Voter Guide. It has just about everything you’ll need to know about filling out your ballot. You can find it at KPBS dot org slash election.
Coming up the San Diego Asian Film Festival is experimenting with new ways to deliver content to its attendees.
BRIAN HU: And luckily, we have access to Twitch, Twitch is a live streaming service often used by videogame players and we're just going to livestream a mystery kung fu movie, in fact we're going to livestream two of them, it's going to be a double feature.
That story is next, just after this break.
Pac-Arts had to cancel its Spring Showcase earlier this year, but it's launching it's annual San Diego Asian Film Festival on Friday with a mix of video on demand, online discussions, pop up drive in movie screeningsoutdoor venues and more.
KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando previews the festival with its artistic director Brian Hu.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the San Diego Asian Film Festival to completely rethink how it would be showcasing films this year so it's only appropriate hat its opening film is all about COVID says artistic director Brian Hu.
BRIAN HU: It's a miracle that this movie exists. So the film is 76 days. It takes place completely in hospitals in Wuhan during the 76 days in which the city was shut down…and how these health care providers are really making this up as they go along and their solutions are incredibly powerful and show the persistence of the human spirit and the drive toward healing.
While this film will be available online, a pair of films will be available at a pop up drive-in.
BRIAN HU: But the drive in has become the new way that people watch films in groups. And we so we just created our own drive-in and we really wanted it on Convoy. This is an area with a lot of Asian businesses that people go to when they're looking for food, for shopping, for groceries. And so Zion Market has graciously provided for us their parking lot, the giant parking lot.
That venue will host an outstanding documentary on Bruce Lee called Be Water.
CLIP State your name… Lee, Bruce Lee…
The film provides not just an insightful portrait of the Hong Kong superstar but also a revealing look at what life in America was like for an Asian in the 1960s and 70s. The second drive-in feature is a horror comedy called Get the Hell Out that takes the raucous antics of Taiwan's parliament and just adds zombies.
One of the exciting innovations the festival is making is in regards to its Mystery Kung Fu Theatre.
BRIAN HU: And that's where we play an unannounced martial art film or kung fu film during our festival, audiences show up. They have no idea what it's going to be. And it becomes a raucous good time.
Mystery Kung Fu Theater is always a highlight for me but this year it can't be a shared experience in a cinema but it is tapping into its roots.
BRIAN HU: I don't know if people know but Mystery Kung Fu Theatre at our festival was inspired by the old Mystery Kung Fu Theater TV, like a weekly television series that happened in the United States in the 70s and 80s, where you would just tune in perhaps maybe like on a Saturday morning or something, and you can catch some random kung fu movie. So that's what we're going to do. So it's going to be free. It's going to be like to like waking up in the morning, getting your cereal and turning on the television. And luckily, we have access to Twitch, which is a live streaming service often used by videogame players. And we're just going to livestream a mystery kung fu movie. In fact, we're going to livestream two of them.
So you don't even have to change out of your pajamas to enjoy some old chop sockey films. And if old school is not to your taste the festival is also doing something for younger audiences on Twitch, it's holding an Animal Crossing gathering.
BRIAN HU: I think it's so cool that they're just creating a virtual film festival experience on Animal Crossing like they created an avatar for me and they created like a red carpet and what looks to me like exactly like the ultra star. And you could just go in and walk around and interact with each other.
But wait that's not all! Hu also has a collection of 16mm film prints and he is going to have Jon Miller project one.
BRIAN HU: And we're just going to put on a camcorder and stream this live on Twitch… And so this is going to be fun little experiment. It's going to be on Twitch, it's going to be free. And we're not going to announce what film it's going to be. In fact, I'm going to hold up two 16 millimeter print canisters. I'm going to let the audience choose which one they want, like A or B and so it has a lot of spirit of Mystery Kung Fu Theater but the film is not going to be a kung fu film.B.
But if all this sounds a little too experimental and uncertain, fear not. There will be a wonderful selection of films on demand to choose from. You can choose from Asian pop, a Philippine melodrama, Hong Kong action, a restored Taiwanese drama, a lost Iranian film and so much more. So be adventuresome and explore the possibilities
Beth Accomando, KPBS News.
That was KPBS’ Beth Accomando. San Diego Asian Film Festival Friday through Oct. 31. For a more on the asian film festival, check out Beth's Cinema Junkie Blog at KPBS-dot-ORG.
Before you go, KPBS is still hoping to hear from you about your halloween plans. If you have a moment, please call (619) 452-0228 and leave a voice memo with your name, your neighborhood, and then whatever your plans might be. Give us a call. Spooky day plans.
Again the number is (619) 452-0228. We’re looking for your pandemic Halloween plans or ideas. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening and have a great day.