tv KQED Newsroom PBS October 8, 2021 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT
tonight on the newsroom, special guest congressman katie porter response to a massive crude oil spill putting shores in orange county. plus, what is changing for the public school system, as the governor signs new bills into law? and we take in the view from a former military airfield turned national park in this week's edition of something beautiful. coming to you from san francisco, this friday, october 8, 2021. hello, and welcome to our
newsroom. i'm your host, and let's kick off with top news stories in california. cleanup continues after a pipeline rupture that spelled 125,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean. the cause of the rupture has not yet been determined, investigators six suspect that the pipeline may have been damaged by an anchor. >> and there is drilling, there will be spelling. i think the next step is coming up with a plan to stop new drilling, and to figure out how to stop all drilling that is going on in california. >> on tuesday, a former facebook employee testified in congress that content on the social media platform damages emotional and physical safety of users. she says the tech giant has known this to be true for
years, but chose to hide the results of its own studies. a whistleblower said stronger regulation is essential. >> this is not simply a matter of certain social media users being angry or unstable. or one site being radicalized against the other. this is about facebook choosing to grow at all costs, becoming $1 trillion company, by buying its profits with our safety. >> mask requirements could begin to ease in the bay area in coming weeks, according to public health officials, as long as covid-19 transmission rates stay low. national guard teams have been deployed to assist at hospitals that have been overwhelmed by covid-19 patients in parts of central california and the rural north, where case rates are up to four times higher than the state average. tesla has been ordered by a federal jury to a $137 million in damages to a former contractor who says he faced racist harassment on the job,
including verbal abuse, and graffiti. the award may be the largest of its kind. a pair of california researchers are the winners of nobel prize in physiology and medicine. the scientists at uc ff and scripps research discovered new receptors in touch and temperature with research that could lead to better treatments for pain research. >> most of us to go into this thinking we are going to win prizes. we do this for the thrill of discovering something. there is a time where you make a discovery and you are the only person on the planet, or at least you think you are, the only person on the planet who knows the answer to a particular question. that is a thrilling moment. >> those are the top stories of the week. we will have the political roundtable soon. first, a conversation with representative katie porter. our special guest this evening has promised a congressional investigation into the southern
california oil spill. orange county us representative katie porter is the chair of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations for the committee investigation into national resources. she tweeted big oil offshore drilling puts the health of communities and the planet at risk. cleaning up the spill is not enough. we need to stop these disasters from happening in the first place. no more offshore drilling. congresswoman katie porter joins us now from irvine. representative, thank you for joining us. >> i'm glad to be here. >> you have been known for using a whiteboard in congressional hearings. here is your official welcome to the newsroom. we made a whiteboard just for you. >> thank you. i agree that we need to talk about california waters and federal waters. >> this is the case here, this is showing you that for the next 3 miles offshore it is all california territory. after that, the federal government takes over and is responsible for everything that happens there. according to associated press,
there are 23 oil and gas production facilities in the federal waters off the coast of california. do you want to shut them all down? >> first and foremost, we need to make sure we are not doing any new drilling. that is the first step. then we need to develop a plan, to close these facilities down responsibly. we do not want to leave them abandoned, without proper closure, without capping. we do not want to leave pipelines in place to continue. it is going to be a process and a transition. it is a transition that we should have begun long ago. i look forward under the leadership of resident joe biden, in that direction quickly. >> what do you think it will take? >> there are two pieces. one is a broad piece about stopping subsidies for fossil fuel companies and putting clean energy on a level playing field. when oil companies drill on federal public land, this is
onshore that i'm talking about, they pay a royalty rate that has not been updated in 100 years. they have special tax rates, that incentivizes exploratory drilling. a lot of good aspects in the build back better act and reconciliation bill would help put clean energy at a level playing field, to help accelerate it. that will naturally produce an extension, and at the same time we need to deal with the fact tht these rigs are there, the pipelines are there, they continue to create risk. we often see oil and gas companies pollute the areas, contaminate the environment and the air, and then they walk away without a closed without a controlled closure. it's an important part of this as well, making sure that
taxpayers are not fitting the bill when these companies stopped drilling. >> governor gavin newsom has talked about the need to transition the workforce that is involved with oil and gas. you are the chair of the committee that is going to investigate this oil spill. can you tell us about the investigation? >> we are beginning immediately, we have already started. we hope to have the first hearing here, within the next 10 days. we hope to do that hearing in california, near the site of the spill, to give the community an opportunity to talk about what this is doing, the harms that we are seeing to wildlife, to the economy, tourism, recreation. we want to put the community at we want he center, the communit is being heard, at the center of this discussion, and also give the community information about how the cleanup is proceeding, and keep them up to date. then we will look at the investigation, and the cause. two federal agencies are primarily responsible when there is a federal oil spill.
and the coast guard of course is on the ground, in charge of unified command. the coast guard has made it clear, governor gavin newsom made it clear, and i want to emphasize we will identify the responsible party and hold them accountable. we are not taking the word of the responsible party for what has happened, we are not letting companies point fingers at each other. there will be an independent, fact-based investigation. >> there is also a bill to permanently ban oil and gas drilling off the coast of california, oregon, and washington, and this is in that 3 1/2 trillion dollar infrastructure package, currently under investigation in dc. has there been any movement for that package, or the smaller one trillion dollar package this week? >> the west coast protection act is part of the budget reconciliation package, the build back better act.
it is so important that we pass that. the infrastructure package is passed the senate. it would focused primarily on traditional structure, roads and bridges. it is not going to move us forward into dealing with the clean energy transition that we need to make. both for the planet and for the economy, green energy jobs now outnumber traditional fossil fuel jobs in california. that's where that held back better act comes from. negotiations are ongoing. i met with the president this week. he was very reassuring about his conversations and making sure that we get this bill over the finish line. >> have we heard any movement on the numbers between that 3 1/2 trillion dollars originally presented and the $1.5 trillion that was floated by joe mansion? >> i suspect we will land somewhere in between that. what is most important for viewers to know is that the
question is not just the number, the question is, what programs will get cut? that's where we need to be really transparent with the public. the plan provisions, the provisions to hold oil and gas companies accountable, child care, elder care, healthcare, these are really needed things in the community. i would encourage people to really understand what is in the bill and speak up to representatives, that these are important programs for them. >> you are one of the few single mothers of young kid in congress. and you are pushing for more financial support from others, and for families. i want to share a quick clip of a video in which you went to a grocery store to give an idea of what it's like to be on a tight food budget. take a look. >> the total came to $30.83. we were shopping for a pregnant mom, with two little kids at home. we only would have had $26 to
work with. we are four dollars over, and this is what the expanded amount comes up to for the american rescue plan. this family would have to put virtually everything back. the weekly allowance would only be a few dollars. >> what more do you think needs to be done, to support families, particularly mothers and children? >> there are three major policies in the agenda that i think are working together, really importantly. one of them is continuing child tax credits, the expansion of that for most americans, also delivering it monthly. grocery and childcare bills don't come once per year, they
come every month. we've done that in the american rescue plan. we need to make that permanent. the next thing is paid family leave. we need to make sure that parents can stay in the workforce, including people who are caring for seniors, making sure they can stay in the workforce. if they have to exit, they should have a road way to come back and we don't want that labor market disruption. the third piece is near and dear to me. support for child care. more than half of the state, including right here in california, one year of preschool tuition costs more than one year of in-state college tuition. parents do not have 18 years to save up for infant care and preschool. we have ideas in the budget for reconciliation bills that no family would pay more than 7% of income for child care, and the lowest income families would not pay anything at all. that's not about just helping kids or parents, it's about helping businesses, it's about the entire economy. we can have a strong economy that we need for the future if we are not doing the same amount to help working parents and employers have those
workers that competitor nations are doing. >> you are a strong advocate for consumer protections. you said that you would end arbitration clauses if you could. we've seen an example this week in the case of an arbitrator who did not have an agreement with his employer and got an award of $137 million due to racist harassment on the worksite. what do you think about this case? >> it is incredibly important that people who are victims are able to get their day in court, and that's a public and transparent process that is inherent in what we need when you see the rule of law. there was an injustice in most cases, and it doesn't create the accountability that the court system is designed to create. >> one of the things i'm working on is making sure as we
are delivering programs, there is so much back and forth as you know, we've talked about the numbers in this bill. we have to really pay attention to whether or not these programs are designed to get out the door quickly and efficiently, and make good use of taxpayer dollars, and with covid response, we saw some programs worked quite well. the stimulus checks, expanded child tax credits, some programs had significant albums and still do, like rental assistance. i'm really trying to make sure that we are building in programs that are universal and urgent, in terms of delivery design. >> representative katie porter from irvine, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> access to education was a legislative focus with three new bill signed into law by governor gavin newsom. another expanse dual immersion
language programs. a third creates new college savings accounts for 3.5 million students. these are part of the california comeback plan, which will give schools the highest level of state funding in california history. joining us to discuss these bills and political happenings in the golden state include carla and guy, thank you both for being here. i see that you have dressed in fighting colors. giants orange. >> sorry. [ laughing ] >> there's a big game tonight. we will go back to politics, for now. let's start with education. when governor gavin newsom signed these bills into law, i really felt like i was hearing the culmination of some dreams he's had for many, many years. especially pre-k. >> absolutely, we can trace it
to his inauguration when his little kid ran across the stage inadvertently. it's a big part of his platform. billions of dollars to expand pre-k and traditional kindergarten. this is something president joe biden is trying to do on a national level in congress. the issue is going to be a workforce one, there could be 15,000 more teachers needed to actually implement this in the next few years. can the state hire these teachers and train them up to make this a reality? >> governor gavin newsom has úf he appeared in local public schools to talk about it. i saw him surrounded by kids in oakland, on this one. obviously he is using this one, 2022, we are looking at the campaign, doing these victory tours, talking about education. not just k-12. higher education, as well. he was at cal state. talking about the $47 billion that the state is going to put into higher education, making it easier for kids to transfer
colleges, and more affordable housing. this is popular with voters, it is popular with the democratic legislature, obviously, and it's going to be a linchpin key to his 2022 election campaign. >> we were doing signing after signing after signing. you hear the word unprecedented, over and over again. we talked about why the state is able to put so many programs into place. let's listen to that now. >> this last month, 40% of america's jobs came out of the state of california, california has enjoyed an $80 billion operating surplus that is unprecedented in us history. >> there's that word again, unprecedented. education. housing. we've poured more money in than ever before. you were with the governor, this morning, at a press conference.
>> he was talking about small businesses. bars. restaurants. extending what was given to them during the pandemic. particulates, alcohol to go, and in the surplus, he talked about tesla. another big business issue. and why california is still a technical leader. he really pushed back on elon musk. >> tesla has said they are going to be moving their headquarters out of the state, they are moving to texas. >> elon musk said one of the reasons he's doing that is because some of mormon gonzales tweeted a sort of off-color tweet telling him to go out the door, essentially. governor gavin newsom said look, i get that kind of tweet every hour, but he also said one of the reasons california has that surplus, the $80 billion as you mentioned, it's because it has invested in companies like tesla and gave them all kinds of incentives to come here. the regulatory environment helps keep them there, and is
keeping a lot of unicorn venture capitalists etc. he pushed back on tesla, saying he admires elon musk and has known him for years. but tesla tesla is not leaving california really. they still have 35,000 employees in fremont, and in the state. it is bulking up, not cutting back. it is not leaving the palo alto headquarters, it is growing and just opened another facility out in the central valley, this year. the fact is, a lot of this is pr by elon musk. >> this is ipo surplus, tech companies succeeding their wealthy heads, getting money through income tax, this is the success story of a progressive tax system that help when it has come something democrats me copy on a nationwide level, but it is really the story of a california tax system
delivering a huge surplus. this new a lot of money has been thrown around in state employment development agencies. that has been plagued with all kinds of problems, particularly through covid. there's a concern that up to $31 billion has been scammed from that agency. some reform work took place on that, this week. >> i will put this under too little, too late. some of the ideas, making sure that edd recipients are not state prisoners, making sure social security numbers are not being sent through the mail are just common sense things that weren't done. i guess they are now being paid for. it is too little, too late, for the billions already out the door. >> there is another $19 billion out there being investigated. this is an issue that was used against gavin newsom effectively, by the republicans. >> do you think it is a
effective? it feels stuck. >> get someone to answer the phone. that's one of the problems. he never really answered that. five of these bills go toward that accountability issue. that is something that is not going to go away when it comes to republicans asking questions about what is going on. >> there was also some reform when it came to resin sentencing. the governor signed a bill ending mandatory minimum sentencing for some drug-related crimes. >> this goes back to the tough on crime era in california, it really restricted the ability of judges on how they treated nonviolent drug offenders. they had to send people to jail and prison. this change is that as part of a monumental wave we've seen in the legislature, rewriting those tough on crime laws. i wonder about the long-term political consequences and the
pendulum swinging. we saw that on this particular vote, a lot of moderate democrats in swing states, places like wench county, they wanted nothing to do with supporting this bill, and whether or not these fears of crime have any thing to do with it. >> crime is's front and center with voters. this is a kitchen table issue. people have robbed stores, any democrat is going to be a little concerned about reducing sentences. at the same time, there's a lot of hymnal justice advocate saying this is one area where the system really does need reform. we sent a lot of young men of color particularly into the prison system, and it has created more and more problems. we've learned more about criminal enterprises there, then we would about any form program.
>> it will also be interesting to see what happens in the das races. there are significant social justice changes there. >> the pendulum could be swinging, and there are fears that voters are going to buck this direction, we've definitively seen that on the ballot box. voters wanted to keep these reforms that california has put into place. we have not seen that clear signal from voters wanting a pushback in the other direction. maybe in 2022. >> let's move to plastics. there have been some bills that passed. others died. there are a few that reform how we use plastic in the state. first i want to list a retailer who talks about how hard it is to deal with elastics. >> you can see a portion of the plastics behind me. these are the ones that we can recycle. there are others that we cannot recycle. plastic bags and other low-
quality, sometimes junk plastics. there are not good markets for those, they are difficult to sort and separate, some of them are very small like spoons, plastic forks. plastic tops or wrappers around the tops of bottles. >> this bill is going to have a direct impact on consumers. you want your fork and knife, those catchup packets, you have3 to ask for them. so many are being thrown away. this is an issue when it comes to environment and climate change, the idea of mislabeling on these plastics that suggests that they are recyclable when they are not. that is one of the things the bill wants to deal with. and then the issue, as he said, the waste when it comes to recyclable materials. >> what do you think? >> this is an issue that will
continue in 2022. there is a ballot measure that has moved forward to eliminate single use plastic. expect to hear more about this, this year. >> there was another bill that was signed this year. so the problem is stark. moms and newborns, black moms, black infants are three times more likely the to die compared to the state average. we are trying to get more information on when, why, where this is happening. and more direct assistace, getting rid of welfare to work requirements and expanding. >> everyone, thank you for joining me. guy, paula, thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> this week we have a look at
♪ >> battles on capitol hill and presidential showdown. >> republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game and i'm glad their brinkmanship did not work. >> an economic meltdown averted temporarily after a deal is reached to raise the debt limit until december. >> the majority did not have a plan to avoid default so we stepped forward. >> but can republicans and democrats come to an agreement? well, the committee investigating the january 6 attack issues subpoenas. >> if you pursue -- refused subpoena so there should be consequent is there should be consequent as for the president and his enablers. >> former president trump