Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Take A Tour Of The City Of San Diego's Basement And More Local News

 April 19, 2019 at 3:00 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Good morning. It's April 18th I'm Priya Sri there and you're listening to San Diego news matters. Our current cultural moment seems to embrace minimalism. If something doesn't spark joy, you should throw it away. But then there are the archives KPBS reporter Claire Trag. Isir brings us to the city of San Diego's archives. Where are they? Store endless stacks of paper all the way back to the 1850s take a ride down the elevators at two oh two C street, San Diego City Hall, and you'll end up in the basement. Then walk down a long white hallway that's very, very clean and through a nondescript door you'll end up in a magical place filled with boxes and boxes of city council resolutions, records of property ownership, old cemetery maps and ordinances from the 18 hundreds back when Mexico owned San Diego. This is the city of San Diego's archives. Speaker 2: 01:00 We have a lot of cool stuff down here that the public had never laid eyes on. Speaker 1: 01:04 Sheila Beale is the deputy director of archives and records management for the city and she kicks off our archives tour. Speaker 2: 01:12 The 1850 city charter states at the city clerk, uh, is responsible for the archives. Um, but our humble beginnings didn't really start until like around 1981, Speaker 1: 01:23 the city clerk along with students from San Diego State University started going through storage and pulling photos, maps and documents to be stored. Speaker 2: 01:32 But then, um, the city kind of hit on hard times, um, as a lot of cities often do. And then archives is not on the top of the priority list. And so a lot of these, um, precious historical fragile books and materials just by doormat and the cold vault area, Speaker 1: 01:53 that's a cold vault, like a giant refrigerator for storing documents more on that later. Speaker 2: 01:59 And a lot of them were deteriorating bad condition. Speaker 1: 02:04 That's when Liz Mayland, the city clerk stepped in with a proposal to the city council back in 2013. Speaker 3: 02:10 I was able to present it in a budget presentation. It was the first time the group of people were like, oh, that sounds interesting. Speaker 1: 02:19 She was able to market the archiving program by reminding people what the city had basically in its basement that was forgotten about. Speaker 3: 02:27 That's when the light went on for me and I was like, people can't care about something unless they know it exists. Speaker 1: 02:32 She got a $50,000 a year budget to preserve and store historic documents, but also to make the archives accessible to the public. People can either make an appointment to visit the archives or can look at a lot of the material online. About half of our budget goes to paying a part time archivist, Jerry Haddonfield. Speaker 3: 02:52 How civilizations have had record keeping. The only difference in those days is that record keepers were among highest paid officials. Speaker 1: 03:00 Hanfield and other members of the city clerk staff walked us through what the city archives have. Speaker 3: 03:06 These are records from 1817 each page was individually treated, put in mylar encapsulated so you can't get your fingerprints on them and you see what happened. This back part of the volume was burned Speaker 1: 03:26 Handfield pages through a large book filled with cursive handwriting in Spanish and some of the pages have been singed by fire. He says this book is the oldest thing in the city's archives. Speaker 3: 03:39 This is, these are, uh, ordinances from the time when Mexico governed San Diego, the new country of Mexico. Speaker 1: 03:49 He also shows a census books from the 18 hundreds cemetery records including Chinese and May, sonic burial grounds and books are recording property ownership all written out by hand. Some of these are stored in the cold vault. Especial refrigerated room kept at 68 degrees Speaker 2: 04:08 paper stored at 68 degrees last twice as long as when it's stored at 72 degrees is the best place to be in the basement. You can't hide in here, but I'll stay too long. The trees. Percy who works for the city clerk's office, shows us around the vault is filled with stacks of boxes in each of those are filled with endless pieces of paper and there are leather bound books that look like they belong on the set of game of Thrones filled with handwritten council resolutions. A lot of the earliest records from the city are in here because we have a lot of the old books, documents, resolutions, a ordinance. In fact they have 306,964 council resolutions and that only goes up to 2017 we have some maps over here on this side. I could take you back over here. Part of the job Speaker 1: 05:00 preserving these documents and maps so they don't deteriorate further. City staff are also working to skin and categorize more than 1 million negatives and photos. They have about 50,000 Ben so far, which are searchable on the city's website. But another part is actually storing the documents that are essential to city government. Speaker 3: 05:22 Every government has records, dictators have records, kings have records, but in a democracy we want to make them accessible so people can come down here. We bring the book out, they can read it. It's called transparency, but actually it enables them to have trust in their institutions. They trust the city council if they can see the records that the city council is seeing too. Speaker 1: 05:47 That means the city clerk's office works with every council office and every city department to let them know what records need to be stored and for how long and yes, they keep paper copies of everything says Liz Mayland, the city clerk. Speaker 3: 06:03 I am the official record keeper for the city and I've, I'm tasked with keeping things forever and ever. Amen. I mean it's not, there is no end to, I have to keep all of the minutes for the council meetings forever. The only way that I can guarantee that you as a citizen, we'll be able to access that material is if I'm keeping it either in paper form and properly retaining it and the in an environment that's conducive to long term storage and or a microfilm. Speaker 1: 06:29 She says they're currently looking into storing things electronically, but there are a lot of technical requirements. It would have to be very secure and guarantee that is technologies change. People in the future could still access the records. Speaker 3: 06:44 I came across an old floppy disk at home recently. I've no way of accessing the material that's on there. Speaker 1: 06:49 So they have multiple cold vaults in different locations downtown where they store records that an say underground in the salt mines in Kansas. Yes. Really Speaker 3: 07:01 part of the records management program requires that department's identified, those documents that are necessary, those records that are necessary to put city government back, get it back up and running in the event of a natural disaster. Speaker 1: 07:15 And those vital records as they're called, are stored in Kansas because it's cheap and far away. At the end of our tour, the city archivist, Jerry Handfield, points out a quote from the city council minutes back in 1850 Speaker 4: 07:29 they designated an iron safe be appropriated to the clerk for the safekeeping of the city archive. Speaker 1: 07:38 Today, the storage is a little bigger than one iron safe, but the idea is basically the same. Clear Treg Sir KPBS news. If you know of more archives, we should visit in future stories. Email us@investigationsatkpbs.org a San Diego based defense contractor has created a medium sized aircraft capable of flying with or without a pilot. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson has more. Speaker 4: 08:05 The Firebird can fly at 25,000 feet in the craft, can carry out a wide variety of surveillance missions for firefighters, police, or the military. Kristin Griffin works with Northrop Grumman in San Diego. She says the Firebird strength is its flexibility. Speaker 5: 08:21 This is not an unmanned aircraft. It's not a manned aircraft. It's both and it's going to change how people think about what kinds of operations they can do with aircraft and how they can use the sensors on those aircraft. Speaker 4: 08:34 Griffin says the onboard sensors can also be changed quickly. Northrop Grumman is the same company that makes the unmanned Global Hawk surveillance plane. Eric Anderson. KPBS news, Speaker 1: 08:46 British filmmaker Mike Lee is best known for his contemporary dramas, but he turns to a turbulent 19th century England for his new film. Peter Lu KPBS film critic Beth Armando has this review Speaker 2: 09:00 director Mike Lee Tackles the period drama of Peter Lou with the same sense of realism and authenticity that he endows his films about England's modern day working class. The film builds to a rally by pro democracy and antipoverty protesters in 1819 the turn tragic when the calvary charged into a crowd of more than 60,000 men, women and children. The film explores the power of words and how words are sometimes the action or ripple needed to start a movement towards change. Speaker 6: 09:28 The toes ripples Kang and we'll get into drones, take her other, and as we combine, he courage couldn't fiction and companionship. Ripples will become tolerance will big car. Peter Lewis Speaker 1: 09:53 was a thoughtful, humane, and passionate. Look at a chapter in British history that still resonates for contemporary audiences as it considers political strategies and questions of what ends. Justify what means. Beth like Armando KPBS PBS news. Peterloo opens today at Landmarks Hillcrest Cinemas and Angelica film center power companies from San Diego to Seattle are looking for ways to revolutionize the west coast trucking industry as cap radios. Randall white explains their plan is to put charging stations along the entire interstate five corridor. Speaker 7: 10:27 The goal of this west coast collaboration is to clean up air pollution caused by the trucking industry. Caroline joy with southern California Edison says transportation is a big contributor to bad air quality, including nearly 80% of the air pollution in California. Speaker 2: 10:43 So if we went electric, it would be a significant reduction in both air pollutants and improvement in, in, in greenhouse gas emissions. Speaker 7: 10:52 She says the initiative, we'll start with a study to look at charging needs and best places to put the stations for truckers. Speaker 2: 10:58 We are hoping to work with many of the agencies, particularly those in California that we're aware of that provide infrastructure or funding. Um, and sharing the results of that. Speaker 7: 11:09 Joy says the study will focus on [inaudible] but it we'll also look at main connector routes including interstate 80 around Sacramento and the 10 and the La area. The plan is to complete the study by the end of the year with the first installation of chargers by early 2020 in Sacramento. I'm Randall white, Speaker 1: 11:26 hundreds of firefighters from San Diego and imperial county or preparing for the summer wildfire season. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman was there as fire crews trained in east county since Wednesday, firefighters had been training at the Va Hoss Indian reservation. They're practicing what it's like to put out a fire on a hillside, which includes things like cutting brush and running hoses, cruise. We're also communicating water dropping helicopters, Speaker 8: 11:54 heartland fire rescue. Sonny Segarra says San Diego's rainy winter has created lots of dry grass and that'll dry out and fuel fires in the summer. He has that training. Events like this are key. We bring about 750 firefighters for the during the three days. And um, it's important because his upcoming wildfire season, uh, we'd like to kind of knock off the cobwebs, so to say. Firefighters also worked with SDG and e crews about what to do if they come across down power lines. Funding for the training was also provided by the utility. Matt Hoffman Kpbs News, Speaker 1: 12:28 a navy seal charged with war crimes will not be released before his trial. Despite a tweet from the president, KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh was at the hearing Speaker 9: 12:38 seal chief Annie Gallagher is charged with killing a teenage isis fighter in his custody in Syria. In 2017 on March 30th president Trump's at a tweet which helped get Gallagher moved from the brig to the naval hospital in San Diego. Gallagher's. Attorney Timothy Parla Tory was in court Thursday. There was no reason for him to be in the brig in the first place. Yeah, he did. He is not a risk of flight. He's not about this investigation. For months before he was arrested, he didn't run away. The judge says he can't overrule the seals. Therefore Gallagher will remain in custody. He did rule the amount of restrictions or the equivalent of Romanian jail. He asked that Gallagher have greater access to a computer and private phone line. Gallagher was confined after prosecutors say he was making threats against fellow seals who were set to testify against him. Steve Walsh keep PBS news. Speaker 1: 13:28 A hundred days ago. Gavin Newsome was sworn in as California's 40th governor. Speaker 7: 13:32 Now let's get to work. Thank you all very much. Speaker 1: 13:37 He's had an eventful start near constant battles with president Trump and unexpected events like PG and e's bankruptcy. He's also filled his opening months with splashy announcements, some of which might not be as bold as they first appeared. Capital public radio's Ben Adler reports as part of our California dream series. Speaker 7: 13:57 In his first hundred days, Gavin Newsome has grabbed a lot of headlines right now. There simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to la now directing, um, the redeployment of our national guard, um, from the border. I do not support the twin towers with an executive order, uh, advancing a moratorium on the death penalty in California. But in each of these cases, there was somewhat less than met the eye or ear, if you will, high speed rail a closer look in the days that followed revealed that Newsome didn't really change too much. The national guard redeployment, well Newsome left about a third of the troops at the border to fight drug smuggling, cutting the delta tunnels project down from two to one former governor Jerry Brown's administration was already moving that way and the death penalty moratorium. California hasn't executed in inmates since 2006 I, those are overdue healthy conversations that add a little bit more nuance and specificity in an interview this week. Newsome said it would have been easier to dodge some of those controversial issues. Instead, he argues he's trying to be more transparent and bold. If there's any point I'm trying to make is that we're not unwilling, uh, to lean in to some of these vaccine issues. Some of his former colleagues at San Francisco City Hall say, this is exactly what Newsome did when he was mayor. Speaker 5: 15:16 It's similar in the splashy part. Speaker 7: 15:18 That's Tom Ammiano, a former San Francisco supervisor and state assemblyman. He says Newsome was splashy both when he delivered on his promises, like when he issued same sex marriage licenses and when he didn't follow through like an Ami Anjos opinion Newsome's efforts to address homelessness. So now that he's governor, Speaker 5: 15:34 is there going to be follow up? Will he be able to withstand the pressures to change, modify or lighten up, which he did a lot as mayor, but prime is one thing and then in the end not be supportive of it. Speaker 7: 15:50 Newsome's allies from his time as mayor acknowledge his big splash style, but they argue that even if his initial actions or incremental, he often gets there in the end. Here's former supervisor Angela Alioto. Speaker 5: 16:02 Gavin is a flashy guy. I mean it's, it's hard to get around that. He's not dog, you'll never be dull. But the question is as a a elected official of the people, does he live up to what he says and I believe he always has. Speaker 7: 16:16 Of course Newsome is hardly the first California to govern by splash. I don't want to move boxes around. I want to blow them up. Marquis to Thompson, served as press secretary to former Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger. She says, Newsome like her old boss wants to play on the world stage. I see that passion and zeal for being the leader of the pack and certainly that similar to governor Schwartzenegger, but, and this is something that I just feel in my gut from a stylistic perspective, he just seems more cautious. Thompson says, maybe that's because of a little thing called the US Constitution. Schwartzenegger couldn't run for president, but it likely won't be the big splashes that make or break Newsome's governorship. It'll be whether he can convince voters that he followed through on his promises in Sacramento. I'm Ben Adler. Speaker 1: 17:05 This story is part of our California dream collaboration. You'll find more stories and Ben's interview this week with Governor Newsome about wildfire liability, immigration and much more@kpbs.org thanks for listening to the San Diego News matters podcast. For more local stories, go to k pbs.org.

20190412_113351_t800.jpg
San Diego News Matters is KPBS' weekday news podcast. KPBS covers politics, education, health, environment, the border and more on podcast, radio (89.5FM), TV and online at kpbs.org.