Additional Health Orders Issued For Businesses
Monday was the day for San Diego County businesses... from restaurants and gyms to movie theaters and museums ...to reopen at limited capacity. Salons can reopen fully. The last time businesses reopened in June there was a surge of coronavirus cases. That triggered indoor closures. The rise in cases has been curbed, and now we can once again eat, watch movies, look at museum displays and workout inside. But, Supervisor Greg Cox is quick to remind everyone that caution is still needed. “we can support local businesses but do so safely by wearing a face covering by keeping our distance and practicing good hygiene -- let's not blow this opportunity.” Some scientists think even this reopening is too early – we’ll have more on that in a bit. But in the meantime, many business owners say it's not enough. Thomas Hall manages the Grass Skirt restaurant and says he wants to put employees back to work. “When it comes to their mental health it concerns me because their at home all day not doing what they love which is serving people. They're making their money. Walmart, target all these giant industries but I can't open my restaurant and provide a living for my staff that need me.” This time most establishments are limited to 25 percent capacity indoors. Gyms are even less, limited to 10 percent. And bars that don't serve food can't open at all until San Diego meets more stringent public health criteria for two weeks, plus at least one more week for a mandatory waiting period. Larger events still don’t have any guidance from the state on reopening. San Diego city officials have picked a development team to revamp the Pechanga (peh-CHON-gah) Arena property in the Midway District.. Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Saturday the city would partner with Brookfield Properties and ASM Global to redevelop 48 acres in the District that include the arena and its surroundings. The developers want to build park land, housing, retail and office space. But that vision hinges on how the city votes on Measure E, which would lift the 30-foot height limit in Midway. It’s Tuesday, September First. And you’re listening to San Diego News Matters from KPBS News...a daily morning news podcast powered by all of the reporters, editors and producers in the KPBS Newsroom. I’m Anica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. Some prominent San Diego researchers are urging the county to put the reopening of more businesses on hold till October First. KPBS’ Erik Anderson rports. Nearly a dozen University of California San Diego doctors and scientists sent a letter to County supervisors outlining their concerns. They say the county is on the right track and the falling rates of infection show that. But they worry that opening schools and a host of businesses before Labor Day will lead to a resurgence in the number of COVID 19 infections and deaths. They want the county to hold off opening many of the businesses that are getting clearance and to focus on reopening schools safely. The researchers include Robert Shooley, a distinguished professor of Medicine, Kim Prather. a distinguished professor of atmospheric chemistry, and Kit Pogliano, the dean of the school of Biological Sciences. They say COVID 19 is an airborne infection and many historically underprivileged areas of the county have infection rates too high to qualify for reopening. They are calling on the county to impose strict mask enforcement over the holiday weekend and to come up with a gradual reopening plan. Erik Anderson KPBS News A San Diego relief fund supporting Black owned businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has topped more than $1 million in fundraising efforts. The Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce says it’s helped nearly 200 recipients out of more than a thousand applications. Businesses across the county have gotten grants ranging from one-thousand dollars to five-thousand dollars. AJ Williams got one of those grants. He owns Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream and says every dollar helps keep his stores afloat. "You are going to be dealing with a lot of different issues -- capital shortages because the business or the sales are not what you expected them to be, or what you planned for them to be, or what they were in the past. You need all the help you can get across the board." City Councilmember Monica Montgomery says the relief fund is just the beginning of the aid needed for black owned businesses. "This Black Business Relief Fund is an answer to the pain of the people. It is a start but there is still a lot of work to do." Businesses can apply for a grant on the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce website. Monday marked the start of the new school year at San Diego Unified School District. But the pandemic has robbed students of the excitement that usually accompanies the first day of school. KPBS Education reporter Joe Hong has our story. Students at Serra High School are taking three classes this semester, half the usual number. But each class will cover a year's worth of material. Kate Chasin is a junior at Serra High. She said the first day went smoothly, but she's worried about keeping up with her AP classes. KATE CHASIN // SERRA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT I'm taking AP English Language Composition, which is already a really rough course to do in an entire year. My sister took it. A bunch of my friends took it, and they had a hard time getting through it even in a full year, and so I' m a little nervous. San Diego Unified has not yet set a date for when it would reopen physical schools. The district did announce last week that up to 12,000 students with special needs would come back for in-person learning as soon as late September. Joe Hong KPBS News. One-fifth of San Diego students returning to virtual school this month are English Language Learners. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler tells us how teachers are bridging the digital divide... to reach these students for whom English is a second language.. Silvia Miranda is a first-grade teacher at Nicoloff Elementary School, which is part of the South Bay Union School District. Just over half of the district's 7,000 students are English Language Learners, meaning they don't speak English at home. So when the pandemic hit in March, during a crucial stage of development, their language acquisition dropped off. Silvia Miranda / Nicoloff Elementary School It was a huge challenge, first of all, many of them don't have internet access, they're just low income, so internet is very expensive for them. Miranda handed out some hotspots for her students, but gone were the one-on-one conversations she had with them to develop their language skills. Miranda scrambled to shift online, while her students and their parents grappled with the immediate shift to virtual learning. I don't even think I can count the number of hours that I had to spend just to figure out the new platform, or how to do lessons online, how to download videos, do my read-alouds, and send them out. It was a lot of work just to get things going. If it was challenging for me, imagine just how challenging it was for my parents. After a summer of preparation, Miranda's virtual class opened on Monday. All students in the district have been given a laptop and internet access, but many of them will be without parental assistance while in class. They cannot afford just to stay home like we do, they have to go and work, so our students are sometimes on their own with older siblings. Miranda explains there will be virtual breakout groups for more personal instruction, along with the use of prepared videos to demonstrate concepts, and individual work. But it's going to be tricky for teachers to reach these youngest students. For these language-learners, any instruction time lost could reverberate for years. Lavadenz is a professor of English Learner research at Loyola Marymount University. She runs a program that creates curriculums to promote equity for English language learners. She's worried about how a general drop in instruction time, which will vary district by district, will impact english language learners. The learning loss that we fear is going to be true for all children, because of the pandemic, is then going to be inequitably magnified for english-learner students. And she says virtual classrooms, at the end of the day, are still no substitute for in-person language instruction. Part of the exacerbation is that even with the best of Internet technology, people are still disconnected from each other. Still, teachers and students in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, especially Latino communities, have found ways to deepen their connections. It really has emphasized what the depth and breadth of the needs of families are. And by knowing that, schools are really trying to respond to the whole family. While teachers are trying to be there for their students emotionally during this time, it's no replacement for the social cues that a teacher can pick up on for english-language learners in the classroom. For our youngest kids who are language learners, just imagine the conundrum here of understanding what the teachers trying to explain to you, she is basically right in front of you, but only in a box. Jorge Cuevas-Antillon is San Diego County's coordinator for Multilingual Education across multiple school districts. Even as the county has provided ready-made curriculums, support, and specific standards to teachers, he's not downplaying the challenges this school year poses for teachers and their dual-language students -- especially as conversations between students play such a large role in language acquisition. You can imagine that for our really young kids, the TK, pre-K, kinder, it's really tough to expect the kids to manage conversations and to easily gather all their attention back up. And everything's made all the more difficult as teachers try to battle through barriers of language, technology, and just general bureaucracy. Over the weekend, with classes set to start in just a few hours, parents and teachers in the south bay posted in Facebook groups about the lack of class assignments, login credentials, and Zoom links. All setting up a first week of school like no other, especially for students who need the attention the most. That was KPBS’ Max Rivlin-Nadler. Coming up on San Diego news Matters...San Diego police are now pretty quickly releasing videos when officers shoot someone. But not all the raw footage. "it just says release the video, it doesn't say release all the video." We'll take a look at how police are following a new state law. That up next, after this break. Police departments now have to release videos within 45 days…. every time an officer fires their weapon or uses force that causes great bodily injury. But the law doesn't say "all the video." KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser found this has created an opportunity for a private contractor to produce edited video packages. And raised questions from activists and right-to-know advocates. A warning, this story contains graphic audio. Fade from protests in San Diego to shooting video. It had been less than a month since the nation erupted in protest following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer when, on June 27th, San Diego officers shot a man in downtown San Diego. Almost immediately, the news was up on social media and protesters gathered at the scene and called for the release of the officer's body camera and other video of the shooting. Until last year, such calls would often fall on deaf ears. Police agencies weren't required to release video in a specific timeframe, so in many cases they would keep it secret indefinitely. But a new state law, AB 748, requires release of these videos within 45 days. In this case, the San Diego Police Department released a video within 24 hours. "Hey man, let me talk to you for a second. Stop, stop, let me see your hands!" But the video didn't include all the raw footage of the shooting. Instead, the department paid a private contractor $5,000 to produce a package chronicling the event. Cut to different examples--ask me if you need help finding them The complete digital evidence of the shooting, which could include body camera footage, surveillance video from nearby stores, video from smart streetlight cameras and witness cell phone video hasn't been released yet, and likely won't be for at least a year, or more, when the full investigation into the shooting is complete. This approach does not violate AB 748, says police spokesman Lt. Shawn Takeuchi. "It just says release the video, it doesn't say release all the video." But some activists and open records advocates aren't satisfied. "Release the whole entire video...not segments of the video. People get to see a full picture. If we're going to talk about transparency, then release all the videos." Takeuchi disputed any suggestion that the department would produce misleading videos. "The video is not about what's best, but what happened." Use "Critical Incident Video" text from beginning of video. It was produced by Vacaville-based Critical Incident Video. Former TV news journalist Laura Cole started the company last year and now has contracts with about 100 police agencies statewide. "We're going to review the body cam footage. We're going to ask for the 911 call if there was one. We're going to ask for witness statements. We're going to ask for any cell phone footage that might be taken by a bystander. We're going to ask for surveillance video, anything that would help bring context to the situation." She then creates productions that usually last for about 10 minutes. San Diego's videos often start with a message from Police Chief David Nisleit describing the context of the shooting. "He delayed, moved slowly, and then an officer saw him reach for a gun." The videos use maps, audio from 911 calls, and on-screen text to give more information before showing footage of the actual shooting. Cole says she produces objective accounts of the incidents. But she acknowledges that she's being paid by the departments and they have final say over the version that is released to the public. "Obviously, at the end of the day, this is their video. So they could take something out or add something in that they wanted." Cole says SDPD and other departments will tell her what footage they want redacted before she starts editing, but that she's never had a department order changes to a video after it's been produced. And she says she would drop a department as a client if she felt it was operating in bad faith. "If somebody came to us and said, 'we want you to use this video or make us look good,' I wouldn't take on that project because that is not going to build community trust." Cole said it's important to her that the videos she produces tell the full story—she calls the people who work for her "transparency engagement advisors." "They are being hired and paid by the police department." Bey-Ling Sha is the dean of the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. She says that doesn't make the company a truly objective outside source. "Some of us are so inundated with information, so by framing that information it could potentially be helpful. But in some communities with a history of mistrust of the government and police, this is where you run into a challenge, because they may have the perception that somehow the information is framed in a way that's not supportive of people being able to draw their own conclusions." The Critical Incident Videos are also produced in a way to tell a story from the police department's point of view, says Jeremy Rue, the associate dean at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. "It sets up the narrative arc of the piece, which is a popular technique in fiction. You set up a scene with context, you're contextualizing the video before you see it, so viewers are already equipped with that knowledge and it informs how they interpret what they see next. That's what you see in movies or commercials, where there's an opening narration that sets up a scene." Rue also noted that the San Diego Police Department is making redactions in some videos, which is an editorial choice. For example, when officers shot Toby Diller on Jan. 24 in the Oak Park neighborhood after a struggle where Diller reached for an officer's gun, the audio is redacted immediately after the officer shoots. Text in the video says that portion is redacted "because of graphic audio that was a result of the gunshot wound to Mr. Diller. We consider that audio disturbing and its release, in this form, would be disrespectful and gratuitous." "When I saw that, I was skeptical about the rationale for doing that," Rue said. "If I had more trust in police, then I might see that and agree, and appreciate they didn't put out audio of someone dying in agony. But in this age, seeing all instances of police malfeasance, the redaction makes me skeptical." San Diego police have released all the videos of their officers shooting people in the past year….except one. That should show an officer shooting a woman in her apartment in the East Village on May 23. Tomorrow, we'll explore the reasons why it hasn't been released. Claire Trageser, KPBS News That was KPBS Investigative Reporter Claire Traegeser….. And tomorrow we will have part two of her series on police videos…., be sure to tune in to San Diego News Matters, where you can find the longer, fuller version of Claire’s work. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening.