Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 - Evening Edition

Uploaded by KPBSSanDiego on 10.02.2012

>> JOANNE: Coming up on KPBS Evening Edition, we ask why it's tougher to get food stamps
here in San Diego county than other places across the country.
The unexpected answer tonight. >> DWANE: The head of the Marine Corp is joining
the fray over a controversial photo of the Marines.
KPBS Evening Edition starts now. >> JOANNE: Hello thanks for joining us, I'm
Joanne Faryon. >> DWANE: I'm Dwane brown.
>> JOANNE: The Marine Corp headquarters has ordered an investigation into a photo, an
apology was given over the photo. Investigating tors at camp Pendleton found
that the Marines were ignorant of the symbol and the Marine Corp does not condone its use.
>> DWANE: A former San Diego police officer has been sentenced to nearly nine years in
prison for takinging bribes and sexual assaulting women he stopped for traffic citations.
He used the badge to violate women the judge said.
The sentence was one year short of the maximum allowed.
Ralph Inzunza is trying to get a court to set aside his 21 mop sentence.
He has started serving his prison time, his lawyer says his rights were violated when
the Court refused immunity for a Donna Frye witness.
>> JOANNE: Democrats are out in force this weekend for the statewide annual party convention,
KPBS reporter Alison St. John was there, tell us who was there and whether they are backing
any of the San Diego candidates? >> Well, governor brown will be there tomorrow,
today Nancy Pellosi spoke to reporters and tomorrow Diane Finstein is going to be here.
There are two Democrats running for the race of Congressman, now, the question is which of
the candidates, the Democrats might the party support.
The process is that if delegates from their district, if one of them gets 60%, the state
party will endorse those candidates and they will vote tomorrow and the outcome will come
on Sunday however Nancy Pellosi said the national party will not throw it's weight behind a
candidate until after the voters have had their say in June.
>> JOANNE: Thank you, KPBS Reporter Alison St. John.
>> DWANE: San Diego school district is not wasting time with regards to the possibility
of more budget cuts. A contract has been reached between the San
Diego police department and the school district. The deal calls for a 6% salary reduction beginning
July 1st and cuts to benefits for offers and their families, the group's president says
that means $5 to 600 a month of cuts to his family.
>>> I have a family member who has had surgery and I have a child going through chemotherapy,
so taking the hit will hit my family hard but we understand we need to protect the public.
>> DWANE: An executive with the P.T.A. says that is just one solution to the problem.
>>> Let's get real we all know that a state wide solution is needed.
>> DWANE: They are hoping to get a ballot to invest $10 million a year, similar contract
concessions are happening hoping to be set before MarchÊ15th.
We told you about a phone system to be used for those who wish to apply for food stamps.
Apparently the phone keeps hanging pickup Joanne is at the round table.
>> JOANNE: A report found that people are being hung up on 350 times a month, joining
me are Sandra McBrayer and Nick Macchione. Thank you both for being here, Nick I want
to begin with you and talk about this report, how long has this phone service been in use
and when did you learn that it was hanging up on people?
>> Well, the access center is an ability for anyone to call into without going in physically
to a family reseniors center to access information and to start the eligibility process for public
assistance. Not just for food stamps but Medi Cal, offer
to work or Medi Cal in terms of health insurance. We have started this initiative for the past
two years and we saw the need and hearing from the community the importance of being
able to call in and not necessarily have gone to go to a physical siteÊ
>> JOANNE: So for two years has it been hanging up on people?
>> No, we started the project about two years ago, when we began the planning of what might
it look like, what is access center, this is somethingÊ
>> JOANNE: How long have you known that this has been a problem?
>> When we started the call center and people started calling in about a year into it we
realized that we were going to need assistance, experts, again, we're not experts in call
centers and we hired a state wide expert that came in, did a full study and this came as
a result of one of the recommendations by one of our advisory boards with community
participation and that started about FebruaryÊlast year.
We completed the study and a number of recommendations were laid out and we began to implement those.
>> JOANNE: One of them is hiring more people so they can answer the phone, have you done
that? >> We are embarking on that process, we added
17 in the fall, we are adding 50 more as a result of the recommendations of the study
in phase 1 and an additional 50 in phase 2. >> JOANNE: Sandra your organization tracks
food stamp use so many of the numbers I'm going to run by you are familiar to you.
Between 2006 and 2011 enrollment numbers have been up dramatically, 83,000 five or six years
ago, now 236,000, but participation rate is still the lowest out of 22 large metropolitan
areas studied by a national think tank so 43% of the people that are eligible are actual
getting food stamps here in San Diego county. Why is it tougher than in other large cities?
>> I don't think it's tougher, you need to look deeper into the numbers.
A lot of adults are not applying for food stamps.
I talk to adults throughout the county who are saying they are trying on their own.
In San Diego county, when you look at the numbers, there is about 136,000 kids who live
in poverty at the federal rate and of those 127,000 currently have food stamps.
So with families with kids they're accessing food stamps so we want more to, because more
kids in poverty as the economic crisis continues. But as you dig deeper there are some who are
choosing not to and others who are sayingÊ like on unemployment, they're saying I'm still
not eligible for food stamps. >> JOANNE: I have to tell you, I've been cover
this gone issue for a long time, we have interviewed a number of people who have gone through this
process, and these stories are not new to you, Nick, whether they're in a line, the
questions asked, how they're being treated, I think when you are saying people are choosing
not to, a lot of people are saying no, it's the process that I go through when I try to.
>>> It is a difficult process, they've heard that over the years, that's why access started
where parents are saying I can't afford to take off and find a baby sitter and stand
in line so the county has implemented systems to help with that, video conferencing, trying
to say to parents and families how do we make it easier.
That's part of what this study was about. >> JOANNE: Nick, you know that KPBS looked
at the budgets, the county board of supervisors has consistently reduced spending on health
and human services at the same time increased spending in other areas, specifically public
safety. Are you getting the money you need to hire
the people so that people get this benefit? >> Excellent question and we have been reducing
the budget. Unfortunately it's not the board of supervisors,
it's the state of CaliforniaÊ >> JOANNE: Well, let's back up on that, okay,
because the federal government, the USDA provides 100% of this benefit, the state and the federal
government provide 85% of the admin costs, the county is only responsible for the 15%
of the admin costs and as demand increases the state doesn't increase the per applicant
fee but it combines you money every time you sign someone up so how do we blame this on
the state? >> For the last 12 years the state has given
no increases for the administration of these programs.
>> JOANNE: Right but they do increase when demand goes up, they haven't increased the
per application fee that you receive. >>> The struggle all counties have I will
tell you in talking with my colleagues is that the state of California doesn't give
adequate resource for the administration. That said, are we adding funds to positions,
not only are we adding funds with the resources we have but we spent nearly $4 million in
developing the access center. This came about in 2009 when the board of
supervisors approved nutrition security plans, and that's what embarked on how do we make
it easier, work with all of our partners and make it easier for the applicants to call
in. So there has been a conscious investment in
this program. I think we do care about getting to families.
I think the numbers indicate as you pointed out, there are some families that are not
choose to go apply, but it's not for the lack that they don't know about the program.
If they don't want to go to a welfare office to call in.
>> JOANNE: I'm going to leave it there but we want to make sure you come back after you've
made these changes. >> DWANE: Scientists are learning about causes
of depression that could lead to new treatments. Later, a look at a play that uses history
and comedy to tell the immigrant story. This is KPBS Evening Edition.
>> DWANE: Federal regulators are blaming the power plant for ammonia leak next fall.
The nuclear regulatory system says they did not recognize the equipment and fix it it
and Southern California says it's taking action and fixing it.
>> JOANNE: You might have heard about a new drug being used to treat depression, called
Ketamine. The treatment suggests that long help relief
happens and long treatment may no longer be true.
I sat down with a doctor regarding this. >> JOANNE: Tell us about the tradition in
treating depression. >>> A lot of people have talked about the
biological ring and low levels of neuro transmitters can be the cause of depression.
>> JOANNE: If this is the cause how have we been treat it go for the past couple of decades?
>> The treatment has been using medications that actually improve the balance of those
neuro transmitters, the most popular are SRIs that increase those levels in the brain.
>> JOANNE: Prozack? >> Yes, Prozac, and that's been the tradition.
I would say that in recent years we have learned more about psychotherapies as well and there
are effective psychotherapies in the treatment for the depression as well, and those may
alter the balance not as directly as medications do.
>> JOANNE: What new theorys are emerging of chemically what's happening in our brain?
>> It's not as simple as increasing neurotransmitters, they may increase minutes or hours after taking
an antidepressant yet someone may not respond for two or three weeks afterwards.
So we have looked at the nerve cells, the neurotransmission, other chemicals that affect
that, we have looked at genetic causes and I think the leading theorys now are that it's
multifactorial, that there are psychological factors, social factors, and biological factors
and there is an interaction between the two and interesting studies looking at connection
between genetics and stress and people who are vulnerable are more likely to get stressed
under the same pressures, and the genetic vulnerability itself does not lead to depression
but the stress on top of it can. >> JOANNE: How does treatment change?
>> It opens the door for more experimentation and lots of newer treatments and newer psychotherapy
and medications and, in fact, some of the exciting new medications don't affect those
neurotransmitters, at least not direct and may affect other targets in the brain in order
to be effective for depression. >> JOANNE: I want to talk about Ketamine now,
some know this as a drug that people are using on the street to get high, but also this is
being used now in an experimental basis and apparently you inject it and within hours
this fog of depression lifts. What do you know about it?
>> It's an interesting drug, been around for a while, started out as an anesthetic in animal
and veterinarians thought it was a wonderful drug and it's used in some cases with humans
as an anesthetic now, and it's found to be used with IV formulation and someone found
to be dressedÊ depressed may be a different person within minutes.
It doesn't last and even if the depression is totally eradicated it may be for days or
a week at most, and it's like people with PCP, you can use it too much, so it's not
ideal but it's providing great hope that we might be able to find medications like that
that can be given orally that may have much faster actions than the present antidepressants
and potentially be more effective. >> JOANNE: Quickly before we go, we know that
here in San Diego they're experimenting with this drug aren't they?
>> Right there are two studies, one at UCSD, Dr.ÊDavid Fifle is using it for those who
have not responded to traditional therapies and there is a study in the San Diego hospice
where people who are there who are dying don't have weeks to wait if they're depressed and
it can be an incredible treatment if effective and tolerated.
So those are two places where interesting studies are being done.
>> JOANNE: Dr.ÊSidney Zisook, thank you for being here.
>>> Thank you. >> JOANNE: Culture clash, the Latino performance
troupe returns to the La Jolla play house, with a story about a young immigrant who wants
to take his citizenship exam and he is transported into U.S. moments of history.
Joining me are Richard Montoya the writer of the play and RenŽ Mill‡n who plays the
lead role. I want to begin with you, Richard.
There are so many ways you could have told the story like this, why did you choose following
this man in terms of taking his test? >> I would like to begin with you and I can't
concentrate, you're too gorgeous! It really was the idea of using humor to look
at the issue, people are so for or against and everything that was going on in Arizona
I thought with the use of humor as a tool, as a sugar coating, it would allow us a moment
to look at the issue, take back the idea of the town hall and humanize the story of a
man. When we think of our grandparents, maybe coming
through Ellis island, we're all a degree or two away from an immigrant's tale and I found
you need to remind audiences of that so we use the better parts of our humanity to look
at a man who is trying to better himself or his family and I think American audiences
have responded to that and the use of humor, whether it's Dick Cheney or Madonna, we are
here in a border region and there is humor to be found here.
>> JOANNE: RenŽ Mill‡n this is a story that's familiar to you, you grew up in San
Diego? >> I grew up in Logan heights, my parents
are immigrants and I grew up in a neighborhood that is filled with immigrants from Latin
America and hearing their stories and taking them to heart, that's part of my research,
going back to that. Going back to these stories that I heard.
And even people that just had recently crossed the border and giving them water, food, not
asking any questions, just "hear you go," doing that in the neighborhood as well.
>> JOANNE: Is that what attracted you to this role?
>> From the get go I heard it was about a guyÊ an immigrant who was studying to take
the test and going through American history, I'm a big history fan myself and it was justÊ
yeah, and to work with culture clash. I've been doing that my entire career.
>> JOANNE: Richard, even though some of the stories that your play follows the story lines
are familiar to some in terms of history there are some less familiar characters in this
play as well. Tell us about them.
>>> We have Lewis and Clark, and Sacajewawa and the crest trail and the latter day saint's
trail and folks like Viola Petice who was a self taught nurse during an epidemic.
Emmet TihhÊ Till, Jackie Robinson, people like Harry bridges who was a union organizer
and an immigrant on the docks of SanÊFrancisco so we look at the darker moments but we make
light of the lighter moments in American history and the sponge that is Juan is there to soak
it up because as you said in your opening comments he's trying to study, bother to go
take the time to find the legal path to citizenship and the play doesn't promote an open border
or chaos, it says there are good, hard working people that are willing to come and work and
we ought not virrify them. Villify them.
We look at things more critically, perhaps. >> JOANNE: This is so timely right now, this
topic, what do you hope people walk away with, Rene?
>> At the end of the day I want people to see this person who I think is representative
of many immigrants that have come to this country as a human being, as human beings
with feelings and with emotions and with dreams and hopes and just wanting to have a better
life. And hard working.
Juan works, I think, probably harder than most to try to pass this test.
And to me, that's what I try to bring to Juan Jose, a three dimensional person who has had
a past and say headed for a bright future. >> JOANNE: I want to let folks know it's currently
on stage through FebruaryÊ26th at the La Jolla play house, thank you for being here.
>>> Thanks for having us. >> JOANNE: Tonight in the public square more
feedback about the effort to remove traffic from Balboa Park.
There are concerns about the pledge from Irwin Jacobs to pay for a large portion.
Mr.ÊRoss writes this is a clear cut case of money buying its way and ignoring the public
and the Department of Interiors. You can join the conversation, email me, join
us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. We're going to go back to the news desk where
Dwane has a recap of tonight's stories. >> DWANE: The Marine Corp has ordered investigation
into the use of a Natzi symbol. The photo shows Marines posing in front of
that symbol. A San Diego police officer has been sentenced
to nearly nine years for assaulting women he stopped.
You can comment on any of the stories you saw tonight on our web site, go to
edition. We leave you with a cooler forecast.
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