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tv   ABC7 News Getting Answers  ABC  July 7, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT

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building a better bay area. moving forward. finding solutions. this is abc7 news. today, we will talk to the state lawmaker behind a bill that just got signed into law meant to help students with learning lost to make sure they are not penalized. and more about dogs who can sniff out covid-19. how and when they will be used. first, chances are you have seen this video. it is very disturbing. a group of people running out of a neiman marcus store with designer bags in hand. it is the latest viral trust in
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san francisco. whatw can we stop this? no easy answers but joining me to talk with this is rachel michelin of the california retailers association. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> it is so shocking. many people look at it and say it is sudden. there was a lull during the pandemic especially in the first six months. are these types of crimes actually a recent trend or has something like that been going on in buildings and simmering even in the pandemic? >> unfortunately, this issue has been around for a while. we been tracking for years and talking with policy leaders in san francisco and other parts of the state in the growing trend of organized retail crime. it is at the forefront and it is causing not only these types of videos going viral, but now
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we are starting to see real consequences, which is stores closing early, stores locking the doors, and an environment where it seems as if there is no repercussions for these types of behaviors for these criminals doing these types of thefts. >> you are right. it has been happening. i remember a rash of apple and north face stores before the pandemic. is that happening locally in the bay area or just california? or is this nationwide in all of the big cities? >> it is a national issue and i would pose an international issues because organized retail crime funds really awful things outside of the u.s. but, california, we are the fifth largest economy in the world. we are a large state and the numbers are higher here. according to a report by the national retail federation, los angeles leads in terms of the amount of lost
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san francisco is number five and ironically, it is number 10. >> i want to look more closely at california and hour laws and i want to ask you, what has been the impact of businesses and on shoppers. you mentioned that walgreens is closing the 17 outlets in san francisco. target is closing stores earlier so they do not get into the late-night hours. is that it? is that the solution? what are the solutions? >> one thing i have heard is that there aren't any victims. people want to put this on the corporations. there are victims. if you look at the crime at neiman marcus, think of the employees working in the store. think of the customers in the store at that time and the impact that it had on them. think about the employees at target who are losing hours because they have to close early and the reason why, partly, is that the employees were scared to go to work because of the organized crime. so it does impact this. think about the impact on the small businesses in san francisco. they typically try to open the stores close to some of the larger national chains in order to get the foot traffic.
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that is not happening anymore. after a horrible year with covid where you sell retail at limited capacity capacity stores having to close for months, we are trying to come out of the pandemic, this is not helping with economic recovery of not only san francisco, but the state of california. >> i see what you're saying. it is not just that neiman marcus or apple last business, but it's a sandwich shop down the block where people go to to get something to eat after the shopping. >> and some of the national chains, they have opportunities with online shopping with the curbside pickup and other ways to get the product to consumers. i worry about small businesses. i worry about the impact. i worry about the impact on tourism in san francisco. i worry about the foot traffic that is so important to these
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small businesses that if people do not feel safe, whether going in as an employee or a shopper, they are just not going to do it. >> i know a lot of businesses have closed in the past year. is there any way to separate how many are due to the pandemic or what percentage is due to the >> that is difficult to do. anecdotally, i would say that they are building up from many years and when you finally have to make that decision, i think the pandemic for many small businesses is probably the nail in the coffin for them having to close the doors. and it will question folks thinking about opening a store or retail establishment. do they want to open in the city or look outside the city where these types of crimes are not as prevalent? >> already have the expenses. we have documented this trying to get the permit and redtape and taking forever. hundreds of thousands of dollars sunk into it and then there is the loss after they finally open. what about, address this, people in the videos and one of the security guards were
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sitting there do something? explain why they tend to be more observers as opposed to intervening. >> so by state law, and ironically, used to sit on a committee guards so i know little bit about this. their job is to observe and report. they are not law enforcement. they are not going to go chasing someone who is stealing. they are there to observe and report what happens. number two, first and foremost is the safety of our employees and the safety of our customers. in this day and age, you do not know how someone will react. many private security guards are told to observe and to try to be in the deterrent but in many cases they are instructed such as down someone who is committing theft from a store. so the answer is not putting more security guards at a retail establishment. >> which they suggested. >> and i respectfully disagree with her on that.
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the answer really lies, i think partially with the district attorney and the fact that he has made it clear that he is not going to prosecute many of these crimes so when people hear that, they look at san francisco and think they can come in and commit these crimes because there will not be any consequences for the behavior. that needs to be addressed. we need to work with law enforcement to make sure that they are making arrests. in san francisco, there are a lot of different groups that i have to do, other industries, other stakeholders, we want to get around the table and have a conversation with policymakers, the district attorney, law enforcement, on finding a solution to this. having sound bites on twitter or sound bites in the media is not going to solve the problem. we need to roll up our sleeves and find a strategy to benefit the residents of san francisco and the businesses that are there. >> prosecution is part of it and so are arrests. anyway to measure what percentage actually result in arrests? >> we can look.
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that would be data we would need to get from the san francisco police department and they cross reference that with the district attorney but unfortunately i think the problem has gotten so robust in san francisco that we are hearing a lot of retailers, especially smaller retailers, are not reporting the crimes or there are not any arrest happening. it is hard to tell, but some thing has to be done. >> what about the california law that some police chiefs .2, passed in 2014, increase the amount of loss before such a crime is considered a felony. i believe they raised it from $450-$950. but we look at the bags that are stolen, each one is over $1000. is that a driver in that at all? or is relevant? >> i think it is a driver and certain types of crimes. some of the crimes that you see the video a few weeks ago the gentleman going in there on his bike. that might not have met up to
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the $950 threshold. what happened at neiman marcus, that is organized retail crime. that is a perfect example. that was deliberate. it was planned. they had getaway cars. they knew what they were doing. those will end up probably on an online marketplace somewhere being sold. there things we need to do when it comes to the online marketplace and making sure that we take care of these stolen goods there. there things that california retailers association has done. we were grateful that the governor put $5.7 million in the retail crime task force in the budget. and we hope a bill will be boat voted on next week and to the governor next thursday which will continue the work that the task force is doing statewide. that was part of the problem. we do have a lot of work to do when it comes to the sentencing and penal code related to organized retail theft. we will
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continue to be doing that at the state level and at the local level and hopefully during that with our stakeholders and the district attorney's office and also in the police department. >> all right. president and ceo of california retailers association. thank you so much for the conversation. coming up next, we will talk with a state assemblywoman behind a new la
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coming back. welcome back. students experienced an unbelievably difficult year trying to learn from home on zoom for the most part during the pandemic. a new law is trying to help them out.
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giving them a second chance if they need it. joining us to talk about it is california's only woman llerena gonzales. thank you for joining us. >> it congratulations. why is a second chance needed after the pandemic? >> there are there situations that students and their parents found themselves in. there are folks who never logged in to a zoom class and people who are trying to balance being a student and taking care of younger siblings. there were folks who just cannot learn online and we know that every student is different. everybody had a different problem. some people did not even have the internet. we have to go back and say, there was a situation, there is a global pandemic and we have to make sure that kids have this chance. >> in which waste is a make california students a second chance? i heard one thing is that they could retake a grade level.
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but tell us about the different aspects. >> there are three things that this provides for students and families. what is the opportunity to consult with the principal about retaking a grade. this is for the most extreme situations where children may be , they got nothing out of your. they failed other classes, they did not show up, they really showed up for the class. a situation where you can really have a discussion with the principal about a student who just needs to redo the entire year. that is when option. the second option is really the second for the high school students which will allow high school students who struggled a little bit and maybe got lower than they are used to grades. it messed up their grade point average, to opt into a pass/no pass system. if you're a good student with all a's and b's, and you just cannot do your spanish online and ended up with a c- or a d, you could transfer that to a
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pass/no pass so does not impact your grade point average. the department of education's listing at every school in the nation that will except those for college admittance. we want to make sure that students, that otherwise they are on track that they do not put themselves so far back that they cannot get into a uc or csu. and for the students are going to graduate this year, to just not be able to finish the units that they were working or taking care of other folks or again, just cannot learn online and failed some classes, to allow them to go back on the fifth year to finish up the credits and get a high school diploma. >> some of these apply to high school students. they do technically apply to all grade levels, right? >> the retention, the right to have a discussion and consultation of a retention is all grade levels.
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we are hearing a lot of parents in the younger grades, kindergarten, first, second grade, who had the most trouble. >> is there any solid evidence of where the learning loss occurred and which subjects in which groups were hit hardest? >> that is one of the difficulties. a lot of the testing was suspended. we do not have testing results. we know that there was a preponderance of problems in lower income families and families that did not have internet and families who had a parent who was in essential worker, especially with kids who are acting as childcare providers at the same time is trying to go to school. we know this but the anecdotal tells us something. it informs us but we will not have true data probably for a few years of the outcome of what happen. we are trying to do everything we can to catch kids up. we put a ton of money into our budget. we had early budget action. billions of dollars going to the school to provide
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wraparound services and tutoring and summer school and afterschool care to get kids caught up. this bill was about to those kids who just needed a little bit more. they need to be held harmless. we need to get them through and make sure that every kid ends up in the same place they were. >> held harmless, i like that philosophy. repeating is expensive for the school district and the state. it is an extra kid who's going to be sitting in the classrooms. is there additional money for that? >> with money flows to the schools, so if you're in the classroom, get the same amount of dollars per day for that child so it will just extend it sometime in the future. and to be honest, this will be rare that a student really miss the entire year or failed everything or half of their grades and that they find need for retention but in the special circumstances, we want to give parents the opportunity to have these discussions with the principals to insist on that type of treatment but the money will be spread out
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throughout the years because it will really be an extra year at the end when we are paying for it. >> the school district will get the money from the state. but i was wondering about the state. thankfully we had a surplus this year. how about if you do retake a grade, does that mean you have to retake all of the courses associated with the grade? even the ones that you passed? >> talk about the fifth year seniors, the folks who do not get enough credits to graduate, they only need to take the classes with the credits necessary to graduate. a lot of kids, we assume will come back for the fifth year and may have to take one or two classes, but the difference in getting your high school diploma and then going and getting a ged is exceptional. we want kids to graduate with a high school diploma and not have to rely on getting a ged. it would not necessarily be retaking the whole year or maybe a class or two. it is enough credits to graduate. if a child is retained in a
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grade, then they are retaking the entire year, the entire grade. lacazette, that is very rare but we wanted to be an option or possibility for kids who have lost everything. >> assemblywoman lorena gonzalez, before you go, i want to look ahead. it is great that this option is here. the second chance option, but what about just going back to school in the fall for everyone, recognizing that there was learning loss for many kids. will the teachers pick up where third grade is supposed to begin? or will they take a step back and make sure that everyone is going in the second grade curriculum to make sure that they catch up? >> that is funny. iva 4th grader who is turning into a fifth grader and i have this question every day. i think teachers are well aware that kids are in all different places and a lot depends on the social economic background. kids who were from well-to-do families tended to have tutoring and tended to have help and small pods, they had
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solutions. but working-class families and the families like i represent in south san diego, immigrant families and families struggling with internet, there will be some special attention given. we gave billions of dollars for the schools so they will have money for the wraparound services for tutoring so i think teachers will be aware that it will be slow going. i think we will have a couple of years catching up on what was probably lost this past year. >> thank you so much. we appreciate your time and insight. >> thank you. coming up next, the story behind covid sniffing dogs. we are taking a
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dogs can be very helpful in a lot of situations. here is a new one. ted lieu has introduced a bill in the house to let dogs sniff out covid. joining us is an expert in animal all the faction at uc
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berkeley. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> i'm glad to be here. >> it is great to have someone here that is associated with cal. i want to apologize for messing up on your name. it is lucian jacobs. we know that dogs have amazing olfactory senses. tells about this new use for them in the fight against the pandemic. >> again, dogs, for centuries, physicians have used odor to detect illness, and they been used to detect myriad human diseases so it actually made sense for everyone, many teams around the world started trying to see if covid in an effective infected person, have an old factory single signal? very strong evidence coming out
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of france, finland, where they are using dogs in the airport and in the u.s., university pennsylvania. it is an obvious use of the dog's amazing ability. >> you mentioned the airport. in which environments might that be useful. it is not always realistic to give everyone a covid test. >> what the dogs are picking up is these volatile organic compounds and the way they're doing it in the lab where they're getting this incredible high positive accurate detection by the dogs is person puts a piece of gauze under their arm for 20 seconds and then if you pull that out, and set up the experiment where the dog has 10 possible places to snuff and only one has the positive covid sample and the dogs are incredibly accurate. >> i guess you cannot interview
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the dog, but how does covid smell different to the dog? as compared not have covid? what is it that stands out? >> that is what they're trying to figure out. they are sampling all of these covid patients and running chemical tests and trying to figure out what is the signature. it is, i hope you didn't see that, >> sorry about that. >> my bad. >> how long does it take to train a dog? i am sure that it is a difficult process. >> it actually takes three weeks to get them perfect. it takes less than one day. it takes 4 to 7 trials for them to distinguish between someone who has covid and someone who does not. they are incredibly fast at it. we know there is something in the sweat. it is about 75 milligrams of
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sweat that leaks into the gauze under your arm that the dog is sniffing and detecting. i have worked with search dogs and they are incredibly fast. they sniff the gauze to track a person in about two seconds and then they take off. >> not a lot of false positives and what you have seen so far. >> exactly. they are incredibly accurate. >> are there certain breeds that are best at detecting covid? >> everybody says no. we do not know that yet. there tending to use german shepherd dog's because that is who is being trained for mom sniffing and search and rescue, but there's a study in 2015 showing that pugs outperformed german shepherds on olfactory discrimination tasks and many people are arguing the actually small dogs, toy dogs, less threatening dogs, i think they should be using to was myself. >> okay. why does this fall under the auspices, the pilot program, of
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the defense department? that leads me to believe there could be a military implication. >> defense department, dogs are used and have been used in warfare for thousands of years. but using for detecting minds, detecting explosives. dogs, sniffer dogs, are basically a stone age technology that is at the basis of so much security in civilian life and also military. so dogs are huge tools that the military and police
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tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. elsa slams into florida, turning deadly. the possible tornado a short time ago. the images coming in now. states of emergency now in effect in florida and georgia. heavy rain, dangerous winds, 65 miles per hour. one person killed. trees coming down. rescue workers searching for nine people now missing off florida when their boat capsized. more than a dozen others rescued. first responders carrying people from their homes. tornado watches now in effect from florida into georgia. then this storm into the carolinas and up the east coast. d.c., philadelphia, new york and boston will feel this. ginger zee timing it out tonight. the horror in haiti. the president


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