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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  January 23, 2022 5:00pm-5:31pm PST

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>> we are about 280 cases. >> is this trend holding true across the state? >> i think overall the state seeing a decline in cases and this is consistent with what we are seeing in other parts of út earlier. uk, new york, boston, decreases in cases. that is what we are seeing in the state but there are exceptions. there are some communities that are continuing to increase. >> are thus typically among unvaccinated communities? >> that is right. there is a strong correlation between the individual level and community level. and communities a vaccination
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rates are lower are harder hit. we are seeing a increase in cases of those groups. for those who end up in the hospital, and those passing away, we are seeing a death rate and it is among those people who are unvaccinated, or fully vaccinated and have not gotten the booster and have a risk factor for severe outcomes. >> does this decline in cases indicate that we could see a return to normal, meaning life restrictions? >> that is the hope. everything is driven by the case rates, the variant, the characteristics that we are encountering. it seems that of a crime is releasing its grasp. right now we are still seeing 280 new cases a day, it is by no means over. it is too early to let down our
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guard. if i have concerns about sharing this as good news is that people might misunderstand this as the coast is clear and we can go back to normal. we need to stay visual for the next few weeks ago at least all micron omicron is not the common cold. our infrastructure, hospitals, our schools are still under stress and we don't know the long-term consequences of omicron infection in terms of long-term covid are not described. this is stuff we need to do to continue decrease infection cold >> what would it take for you to say that you are not worried? >> i do not know if i can ever say that. it has been two years, this virus demonstrates that it mutates quickly.
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new variants have new characteristics. we expect that there will be others. we have gone through alpha, delta, omicron, we will have new variants, most experts recommend -- understand that is likely. i think we can feel confident that if we have the tools, we know a lot about this virus, we know how to adapt, vaccines are incredibly effective and we know how to make the best use of those. especially in the bay area we have a highly vaccinated community. >> thank you so much marin county public health officer dr. matt wallace. we appreciate your time. >> you're welcome. thank you. we turn to a california judge who shattered glass ceilings when she became the first african american female judge in northern california. she is calling out america's criminal justice system for racial and nick bias which
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study after study have revealed. she says courts have regularly punished people of color more severely than white people. she has plenty of ideas on how to fix this. she is now retired and shares her insight in a recent book her honor, my life on the bench, what works, what's broken and how to fix it. she now joins us. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for joining us. >> tell us what was alike being the first and one of the very few female black judges in the region? >> at the time i went on the bench which was the early 1980s, i was the first black female judge in northern california. inc. about that, 1982. today there is a plethora of judges of color and women on tv shows, there are also many more. at the time that i came on there were few people that looked like me and very few women. the concern that i had, and
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still have, we need to do more, representation on the bench is so important. i mean a diversity of representation. when you have people from different backgrounds coming in, the decisions they make are more informed. when we see people in our courtrooms that look like us, the people in the courtroom feel like they have a stake in the system, maybe they can aspire to hold positions like this. diversity and representation is tremendously important in our legal system, as well as any other system in this country. >> your book title starts with what works. let's talk about that. what is the good stuff that you love in our jue system? >> we have the best legal system in the world because it is based upon these wonderful principles. the principles of we are all created equal, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness,
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everyone has a right to a speedy jury trial, a right to self-incrimination, a right to due process. these principles were promulgated by property white males, who did not contemplate that these principles would apply to men, to poor people, and to people of color. the problem in the legal system has been with the implementation of these principles. what we have is a unequal, unjust, unfair implementation. that is where the work comes in. >> you think the basic tenets of our legal system work, but the implementation leads to e next element in your title, what is broken. let's talk about that. let's specifically talk about racism in this system and how you saw it. >> anyone who does not believe that racism is not baked into the system can first of all look at the numbers and we can look at the numbers of people
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who are incarcerat or prosecuted, tend to be more people of color, black and brown people. there are a lot of reasons for that. i focus on the book on some of those reasons and then some of the chapters are on the way to deal with it. one example were racism is glaring in the lel system is peremptory challenges. peremptory challenges allow each side in a criminal case or civil case to excuse potential jurors for any reason or no reason at all, as long as they have not done so because of a person's race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. each side gets a defined number of challenges. the u.s. supreme court has said that challenges are okay but they cannot be racially motivated. however, thurgood marshall called peremptory challenges the greatest embarrassment in our criminal justice system. he said that, in a decision from the u.s. supreme court called batson versus kentucky,
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i talk about this in the book, the court said, when a peremptory challenge is questioned, the person who did the challenge has to give a race neutral vaccination for removing the juror. then it is up to the judge to determine if that expedition is possible. more than 30 years after@, trial judges continue to accept superficial and in my opinion ridiculous race neutral excuses, usually from prosecutors for the peremptory challenges. thurgood marshall once again said, any prosecutor could easily insert facially neutral reasons for striking a juror and trial courts are ill- equipped to second-guess those reasons. >> you talk in a book about how racism used to be the elephant in the room. can you give us an example of that from your own life and from what you have seen?
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>> when i was on the bench, this has gone on until recently, race was always there, nobody talk about it. i write in the book about when i was in a judges meeting and brought up the subject when we were deciding we wanted to do a search to find someone to be a commissioner on the court. commissioners do the work of judges but they are appointed by judges. when i brought up the subject, let us make the search where we reach out to people of color and to really make sure that we can have a more diverse bench, i was just dumped on. people got upset, my fellow colleagues, not all of them, a large number of them. they said the fact that i brought this up is racist. not all. that is all changed today. because of black lives better movement and especially since george floyd, it is no longer the elephant in the courtroom. no longer do we talk about it, but judges have to do something
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about it. >> let's go to a national story. in november a jury acquitted kyle rittenhouse who shot and killed two people during a riot in kenosha wisconsin. generally people have accepted the decision and that's fair, if followed the laws of the state figure do you agree the verdict was the right one? >> i have a problem. it is not so much the verdict, again, there are certain laws in a state that are different from the laws here in california with regard to self- defense and with regard to arming oneself. what i have a conduct with is the conduct of the judge forgot i had a chapter called bad judges. if i had written this book later i would have included the judge in the rittenhouse case. his behavior both verbal and nonverbal behavior gave a message to the jurors that he cited withkyle rittenhouse. his rulings were such that he was angry and yelling at
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prosecutors and very kind to the defense attorneys forgot that is problematic. judgesshould never ever do that. we should be neutral and be fair to both sides pickle i do not think that happened in the case. >> that brings us to a final section of your book title, how to change some of the problems. foexample, what can people do when they see judges behaving in ways that they think are not appropriate? >> in the chapter the fix, i have 10 recommendations about how to make this legal system work better. in answer to your question, there is a recommendation about what we should do about judges. about the disciplining of judges and letting people know that they have a right to speak up and make complaints against judges. there are a variety of ways in which we can change it and make the system better. one, as i mentioned earlier about peremptory challenges,
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california is leading the country and getting it right. in september of 2020, our governor signed the racial justice act that was opposed by assemblyman --. that law is geared to getting the racism out of our legal system and really specifically calls out judges and says when you hear race neutral answers given in peremptory challenges, do not rubber stamp it, dig deep, if you need to hold special hearings to determine to determine what is the motivation for prosecutors getting rid of jurors of color. we are making headway in california is leading the nation. >> you have several more ideas in the book. i recommend people pick it up if you want to hear them. for example, jurors are paid $15 a day for serving on state
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court cases after the first day. in the interest of time, we only have 30 seconds left, you also talk about the importance of public intervention --. >> the most recent example is the case of britney spears. for 13 plus years, there were hearings about her conservatorship were held in secret and the public did not know. once thepublic got access and we saw what was happening in the courtroom, everything flipped. the judge did a 180 and the conservatorship ended. nothing changed in that conservatorship for the judge to change the ruling, other than with transparencywe are able to hold those who participate in these proceedings accountable. because of that, the change came in the conservatorship of britney spears forgot that is a glaring and great example about how our courts need to be transparent and open to the public. >> thank you so much for
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speaking with us., thank you so much. despite the good news that covid cases are declining, the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt everywhere. governor gavin newsom and some increase work place covid vaccine mandates and remove the personal belief exemption. joining us to discuss this week's big stories is our politics and government reporter. hello. and our news anchor brian watt. >> hello. >> guy, let's start with you, tell us how the legislature and governor are responding to the pandemic and how this has come up in the state assembly race. >> largely to this point california's response to the pandic has been driven by governor gavin newsom. whether it is regulations that were debated in last year's recall campaign, the billions he is proposing in this year's budget for tests and masks for go as we know from schoolhouse rock, it will take more
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legislative action to make permanent change or go we are starting to see the legislature make moves forgot there was a working group convened this week of assembly members and senators to look at vaccine rules for go one of the state members introduced a bill today who eventually let kids 12 and up get vaccinated without parental consent. i think the big question is, is the legislature going to take on this personal belief exemption that allows some kids to get out of taking covid vaccine's. this came up in the legislature a few years ago and things got ugly. i think likely that there will be protests at the capitol, potentially disruptive if this comes up again. i think, for democrats, it is not a slamdunk issue. from a debate that i've moderated for a state assembly race here in san francisco, four democrats last week, only one set that i guarantee that i will work to get rid of
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personal belief exemption for covid vaccine's. i think it will be a controversial issue if and when it comes up. >> also interesting as we move more towards the virus becoming endemic, as the governor spoke about. brian, you spoke with an er doctor about the personal toll of caring for patients who are showing up at the hospital with severe cases of covid and most unvaccinated. what are you hearing it is like for healthcare professionals? >> there is an enormous sense of burnout, first of all. the er doctor that i spoke to this week actually has quit. loved this work that she had been doing for almost 20 years. got through the first year to 18 months of the pandemic with a real sense of purpose, but there is a sense that since the vaccination has been availae to all adult and as it slowly became available to younger people, it has gotten harder
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and harder for the healthcare workers on the front lines to just keep showing up without feeling a little bit defeated. this er doctor that i spoke to had essentially lost a unhealthy amount of weight working so hard and unhealthy amount of sleep. she just decided it was okay to walk away. it had a lot to do with treating people who had chosen not to get the vaccine. those are the people who are showing up to the hospitals now who need hospitalization. speaking to a nurse and a respiratory therapist, these kinds of folks have to work extra hours and they are leaving colleagues and alerts. this is hard and overwhelming for a lot of people. >> thank you for that.
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died, it looks like democrats may lose the house in the election and that is impacting who is runninfor congress. what are some of the interesting races that you are watching. >> we saw this week jerry mcnerney who has represented acosta county since 2007 decided not to run again in november. i think you are hearing it from all across the country democrats feel like they might lose the house. if you want to live in california you want to fly across the country every week? to answer your question about interesting races, it will be the same places, the central valley, orange county, that has not changed from 2018 or 2020. what has changed is states like texas and other battlegrounds, continue down the path, especially in the path of republican-controlled legislatures of gerrymandering. california might be really the last battleground left in the
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nation, that is not only good news for politics watchers like you and me, but also for residents in laces like arden grove, santa clarita, bakersfield who will see a contest on the ballot in november. >> just very briefly, you have also been watching local politics, we cannot do the show without talking about early voting and the san francisco school board recall. interestingly, noncitizens can vote. how is this possible? >> this was a policy put in place by san francisco voters because they approved it in 2016 and it has been extended for good giving parents and guardians, who are not citizens, an opportunity to vote in school elections. we are seeing a high watermark, not a huge number, 86 as of last week, noncitizens have registered to vote in this recall election. i think largely that is attributable to the fact that this recall has invigorated so many parents both for and
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against to get involved and ultimately vote. >> another big story this week was the volcano that erupted near tonga which prompted tsunami warnings and slightly higher waves here in california. brian, you have been speaking with tongans about how they are working to send help home. >> yes. i think the key in this moment for tongans in the bay area, who, honestly, have had to come to the aid of their country before, send relief home, this time they have to be supersmart about it. a lot of it has to do with covid-19. tonga has mainly kept that virus out of its country essentially by keeping people out, by not letting outsiders into tonga. i think they might have had one case since the pandemic. that makes getting relief efforts into tonga very hard. i spoke to the executive director of a tongan organization based in san
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mateo. she said they are thinking very carefully about how to get the supplies and be really smart. water is a key priority, drinking water especially because ash covered so much in tonga, but also the sea flooded into the drinking water wells that they have in tonga. this is a top priority. they are being smart. there is also a company based in the port of oakland that is sending two ships with supplies because they are used to shipping to tonga, this takes weeks for one ship leaves friday and another on february 5th and they are gathering up water, perishable supplies and n95 masks. >> we will see how those supplies go. guy, vice president, kamala harris, was in california to talk about federal funding for fighting wildfires. what can you tell us about this federal funding? >> the vice president spoke today in san bernardino, really
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highlighting investments that were part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the president signed last year. this is about helping california and other places recover after wildfires. whether that is repairing infrastructure, cleaning up debris, i think the administration clearly has amitions beyond that to deal with the climate change that is really making these fires much worse. it just remains to be seen how much appetite there is in the u.s. senate to make those kind of investments going forward. >> brian, in the last 30 49ers play their biggest game on saturday they are heading out to green bay to face the packers. what is your prediction? do they have a shot to win the super bowl? >> i am awful at predicting anything, especially when it comes to football. i will say this about the 49ers, they have to be the absolute worst team to prepare to play against. they have had a very volatile
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season at the quarterback position and across the board. they have found a way to get this far into the playof, given the season they have had, winning the first two games, losing the next four, up-and- down come all the way to scratching into the playoffs. beating dallas, a huge foe in the history of the 49ers, just getting this far has meant a lot to the old school niner fans who have been following this team for a long time. >> thank you for the insight. brian watt and guy maserati. think you for your time. this week's look at something beautiful is the art of the brick. the exhibit features 70 sculptures made from more than 1 million lego bricks by artist nathan sawaya.
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you can learn more at art of the brick.com. that is the end of our show. thank you for joining us. if you want to get a look behind the scenes, hang out with us online. our newsroom is on twitter and facebook and you can email us at kqed.org. >> we will see you right back here next friday night.
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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, january 23: two years on, covid cases continue to spike and ebb globally. a check-in on venezuela where hopes for democracy wane. and darryl mcdaniels of hip hop group run dmc on his children's book “darryl's dream.” next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo-smith. leonard and norma klorfine.

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