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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  May 18, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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next, the drought plus an early heat wave for a hot fire season. coming back with wes moore, a glimpse of the veterans returning home from the front lines. >> we know the bullets will stop flying, but the wars that many of us are facing as we come back home will not. a look at some key local races in the upcoming june primary. good evening.
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welcome to kqed news room. california is facing a damagesly high fire risk this year. wildfires providing a warning sign of what may be ahead. record temperatures and the statewide drought have heightened concerns. it could be the worst fire season in decades. joining me to discuss the dangers is paul rogers. hi, paul. >> what is the latest on the southern kra california fires. >> there's been fires across san diego county. there are ten fires. we had three days of really extremely hot weather. the winds that blow from the land out to the ocean and are connected with high fire risks. 22,000 acres burned, about ten homes have burned down so far. the firefighters today, friday, got the upper hand on a lot of
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them because the weather cooled down. humidity levels went up. san diego, at least, for now got off relatively okay. quite scary but not a lot of houses. there was one fatality. a homeless person who died. this was a warning for the rest of the state of what we could be in for this summer. >> there were some arrests. >> there were two teenagers. one 17 years old and one 19 years old. they were playing with fire. they haven't made a connection between their arson with any of these fires but there are arson investigators working these fires because it's unusual to have ten fires all burning at the same time in the same general area. >> let's broaden this out to the rest of the state. how bad are conditions statewide and particularly in the bay area? >> usually you hear me talking about environmental risks and i'm trying to take people down. those pesticides and the risk of
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getting eaten by a mountain lion is not as bad. i'm telling you, you really need to worry about fires this summer. this is the most dangerous summer we're coming up on in 25 years, at least. since the 1987-'92 drought, this is more pronounced and more severe. folks might remember, 2013 was the driest year in state history all the way back to 1850 when california became a state. we have extremely dry conditions. we have a lot of places that haven't burned in a long time and it doesn't take much to have two or three or four firefighters all like this oakland hills fire which was in 1991 in that dry period. >> are we seeing a perfect storm of the kinds of conditions we saw right before the '91 oakland hills fire? >> yeah. what's scary about this is fire engineers and fire scientists measure the moisture content in
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different types of fuels. the moisture content that they are seeing now are at levels they see in august and it's only may. in a lot of ways we got lucky last year. we had a dry year. everybody remembers the rim fire. that was the only big fire in california. it turned to eed out to be an a year. it's very unusual to have a year so dry year after year and not have multiple fires. i think that's why the state, why governor brown and others have been putting more money toward this. they're staffing up fire stations all over california now on summer level which is don't happen until june or july. >> we never transitioned out of fire season. >> in southern california the joke down there is fire season ended december 31 and began june 1. all across the west with the
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climate warming, what we've seen and there's a lot of studies to back this up, a longer fire season in the west, more days a year when you have the hot, dry conditions with low moisture in plants, low moisture in the soil and although this is a particularly hot/dry period this week and we'll get easing over the weekend and into next week this is the shape of things to come for generations ahead. these are the kinds of conditions we're going to be seeing more of in california. >> governor jerry brown went on cnn this weekend and said he thinks climate change is factor here in this fire season. i don't want to leave without talking about the original situation. you and your family were touched very personally about fire. were there some lessons you can share with everyone else in. >> my sister, who lives in colorado springs, colorado lived in a house two stories at the
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end of the a cul-de-sac and there was major fire in colorado springs in 2012. it jumped off the mountains into neighborhoods. it burned down 300 homes, including hers. she and her family have since rebuilt. what they learned and it was a good lesson, you need to go with the video camera with your cell phone and take videos of your position. if you lose your house the insurance company asking you to write down everything you own. if you have to evacuate grab that computer, that's the first thing you should grab. unplug the keyboard, the monitor. that's all your tax records, photo, throw that in the car and go from there. people should be aware, clear the brush. >> very good sttips. thanks so much. >> thank you. as we approach memorial day, a look at issues faced by
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veterans. the leadership of the veterans administration has been under fire. at issue, long waits for care at va medical sent centers across the country. it's another reminder that veterans come home to other battles. a new three-part series takes a look at the lives of service members returning homing. coming back with wes moore began airing earlier this week. first an excerpt that tells the story of bobby henline. he suffered burns on 40% of his body when he was by an ied. >> in those years, bobby discovered a talent. he can find the comedy if his wounds. his humor could break the tension people felt when they met him. now telling jokes is bobby's calling. >> he's known as the well done
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comedian. >> i am a wounded warrior. i was in the army. i did four tours in iraq. thank you. got to say like most soldiers, i love my job. had a great time, but seriously folks that last tour was a real blast. >> wes moore, welcome. >> thank you. great to be here. >> we meet throughout the source of these documentary films a number of veterans and their families. how did you decide who to chose and what stories did you decide to tell? >> the two things i wanted to find is one, were they willing to be transparent. were they willing to let us into their lives during the good times and the bad times because we really wanted to give a fair understanding to the audience of what this transition is like. we wanted people that were
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willing to be open and honest. the second big thing we were looking for is we wanted people who were extraordinary in their own ways but in many ways they also are very ordinary because there are tens of thousands of people who story their represent as well. >> we saw at the beginning the clip of bobby. i want to show another clip from him and his family. his daughters talking about him and his recover and we'll come back and talk.
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obviously, not just the veterans but the wives and the children. it's really a joint effort to make that transition back home. what makes the difference between making it and not? they don't all make it. >> they don't all make it. that's one thing people have to understand. when people deploy, everybody is all in on the deployment. families are all in too. i didn't notice that until my own personal deployment until i thought soldiers were the ones who had it toughest. i deployed myself that it's families who have it much tougher than we have it because when we're deployed, we have good days and we have some very bad days. we always have each other and we lean on each other and support each other. that's not always the case with the families. >> what makes the difference between somebody who makes it and makes it to the other side and succeeds and goes on with their life or has really
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struggled? >> that's one of the things i wanted to explore is realizing that people say it depends on these people have had five deployments and that really doesn't play a factor or a role in things like unemployment, suicide rates or whatever. that doesn't play a big factor. i think one of the things we see that does play a major factor is what type of service network and service support network is that person returning to and are they coming to with their family. one thing we noticed is that unemployment rate and the suicide rate track one another. jobs matter. support with other veterans and making sure they feel supported when reintegrating, that matters. there's a whole collection of whether a person succeeds. >> we all want to tell the stories like you have and the problems, the struggles, the challenges that they face. i'm wondering to some extent to
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veterans worry they're being tainted in all these stories about the issues they face. >> one thing veterans wan people to understand whether it's ptsd or suicide rates these are all real issues. these are things the community is wrestling with. i think our veterans community want people to understand that's not the whole story. we're not just ticking time bombs waiting to go off. we're people ready to contribute. one thing the veteran community wants us to do is tell the whole story. talk about the issues but at the same time talking about the extraordinary men and women who are coming back and ready to continue to contribute. >> you're a veteran, how big of a deal was that in terms of the relationship you had with the men and women you talk to and their willingness to trust you?
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>> i think the fact i'm a veteran was helpful. there's certain conversations that don't need to have with another veteran because we just understand. >> like what? >> what it was like to deploy. what it was like to get on that plane and leave your family. what it was like to land in iraq or afghanistan. what it was like to have your first meal over there or have your first winter there. >> is it possible if you weren't there to really understand fully what these men and women have gone through? >> if you weren't in combat it's very possible to understand what combat was like and get the stories. it means you have to be ready to engage. one thing that happens to a lot of veterans is where we hear people say thank you for your service and that's it. the conversation is now over. >> they feel like they're done. >> they've done what they needed to do. i thanked them for their service and i can mover on. i feel like for a lot of veterans we appreciate that but we want that second question. we want the ability to be able to talk about our experiences
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and share our experiences without feeling like there needs to be a timeline on what that experience should be. >> the country has moved on. americans can't see us get out quickly enough. there's a disconnect because these veterans and their families are still struggling with many of these things and will be for many, many years to come. how big a problem is that disconnect between the vast majority of american people and these families in. >> it's very real. we're coming off of two of the longest wars in our nation's history. less than one-half of 1% of our count country's population had any direct involvement in those wars. i try to ask that question. the bullets will stop flying, but the wars that many of us are facing even as we come back home will not. it becomes a major priority for me and many in our community to make sure our country doesn't forget about it. >> all right. wes moore, executive producer of coming back airing now.
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thank you for coming in. >> thank you. coming back with wes moore airs on tuesday at 8:00 p.m. the june primary is less than three weeks away. it's crunch time for candidates. in san jose residents will vote for a new mayor. san francisco and the east bay are battlegrounds for a key state and congressional races. in san francisco a fight over height limits is on the ball et. joining me now to discuss these are terry christensen, professor at san jose state university. c.w. nevius, san francisco chronicle reporter and scott shafer. who are the five major candidates and which ones are considered front runners? >> there's a total of eight but five who are real contenders. four of them are incumbent city council members. a couple are terms out and a couple will continue their terms.
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a fifth is a supervisor. they have been elected and re-elected. at least three of them are major contenders. >> that's sam bicardo, madison nguyen and dave. >> that's right. they have significant campaign operations. >> what's the biggest issue in the race? >> that's a little hard to tell what they're all talking about is public safety and related to that pension reform. pension reform is what reduce our police force by about 400 officers. public safety has been a big issue in the neighborhood. that's what people are talking about. that's what shows up in the polls. the candidates, i don't think it really manage to differentiate themselves. dave, the supervisor, is more in favor of pulling back on pension reform. the other major candidates are defending what was in san jose being the pension reform that
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mayor chuck reed let on. >> everybody is being so nice to each other. kid gloves. it's not a san francisco. >> we're not san francisco. >> it will get nasty after the primary. there's no payoff to being nasty in the primary. you're more likely to hurt yourself than to help yourself. we'll see plenty of that. >> enter the incumbent chuck reed is not running. how is that issue of public safety playing out? you might say we have been too mean to the police and people don't want to come work here. it's hard to recruit. on the other hand we can't afford it. how do you shake it out? what's the answer? >> i don't think they have a good answer.
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they're all struggling for that and making promises but not a lot of substance on how to hire more police. there's talk about putting a sales tax measure on the ballot but most candidates are reluctant to endorse a tax increase. there's talk about further pulling back on the pension reforms so you can get some of the police officers back. maybe raising the level. we have two tiered pension system so more recent employees with less advantageous pension. there's different ideas. i don't think anybody will get it. >> how does that all shake out for chuck reed? is he popular? is all that pension stuff rubbed off on the other candidates in an unhelpful way in. >> chuck reed -- well, he's won two elections. he's been a successful candidate. i don't think he's beloved as mayor. that's partly because he's been grinding away at budget deficit,
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budget deficit, pension reform and big cuts in public service to operate on the budget that's available. i wouldn't say he's a beloved mayor. i think his endorsement will matter. he's got four allies running. why should he. . he'll endorse and could be helpful with fund raising and so on. he doesn't have big coat tails. >> he did emerge as a national voice on the pension reform issue. labor issues are also a topic in the east bay, scott, particularly in the 16th assembly district race where labor groups have been hammering hard at steve glacier who wanted to campaign. >> he's an ally of jerry brown. he really made a name for himself during the bart strike. he have at the bart stations and having people sign petitions opposing strikes for public workers especially transit
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workers. that really helped to elevate his profile. he's getting a lot of support from labor. i think labor sees this as real must win in a sense. you have this candidate, a democrat, who is getting a lot of attention and money and votes by posing labor. i think they say that as very ri risky. >> that bart strike was old style labor. it would be interesting. it could be interesting see how that affects. >> absolutely. the field poll last year even here in the bay area support in the democratic bastion of california for labor much lower than it was. i think he's got an issue, he's holding onto it and we'll see how it plays out in the first round of voting in june. can't scramble the dynamics
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within the democratic party. >> there's chance that the republican candidate would be in the top two. i think it's 32% republican registration in that district. >> it's a very purple district. you have this attorney kathryn baker from pleasanton. she's getting support from the chamber of commerce. lit be interesting to see if it's glaser and baker. you could. the top two primary could be two democrats, could be republican and democrat. you just don't know. >> what are some of the other key races? >> that's always a surprise. he was there 40 years. those seats don't come up very often. when he announced his retirement you would have thought there would be a rush of candidates kind of like when pelosi ran. >> that didn't happen. >> it didn't happen. you have the state senator from that area. he seem to have it wired. the day miller announced his retirement, he announced he was
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running. people have sort of fallen in line. no one else has announced they're running. >> it was just a drum beat of n endorsemen endorsements. it seems like every day, this group, this group is endorsing. >> the other race over there eric swalwell. the state senator is challenging him in the top two primary system saying he's too moderate and too inexperienced. we'll see how that shakes out. >> a tougher race this time than against pete who we portrayed as bold and out of touch. >> he's been very visible in the district since he got elected. my sense is people like him. he was very unpopular. i think people were ready for change. i don't know that's the case this time around. he's raised over a million
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dollars. he's got relatively high visibili visibility. we'll see. it's always tougher to knock off an incumbent. >> chuck, let's turn to san francisco. what's the biggest issue there ? >> that's the problem. there isn't a problem. camos has decided he will have to rough up david shue. the frustrating thing is he's a very thoughtful, kind of wonky guy that wants to take his time. he doesn't want to fight back. it started with a double digit lead and now down to a dead heat. >> think he will get a little more aggressive at striking back back? >> it's like a schoolyard fight. everyone is yelling hit him.
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he's reluctantly doing that. a very rough ad came out this week. i don't think anyone realized this could have the legs that it does. campos voted in favor of re-instating the sheriff. >> he voted against re-instating the sheriff? >> chew did. there were enough votes. there were four votes in favor of re-instating and the sheriff got his job back. there's an ad that came back this week that has a woman saying my daughter was a victim, was killed by a domestic violence incident. i cannot believe that david campos voted to re-instate him. >> you have david chu who is an
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asian-american. how is that work out? >> it's fascinating. that was conventional wisdom is they had their basis. the asian base and david would have the progressives. he would have the latino vote and the lgbt. the lgbt vote turns out to be thin. there's a much more moderate group of lgbt people in san francisco than you realize. they are homeowners. they have been here for years. that are in committed relationships and they have families. i think that's one of the i thinks that campos has seen. we've got to push him. >> i don't want to leave this discussion without touching on proposition b. that allows voter approval of any building exceeding height limits. there seems to be a lot of public support. where is this going? >> it's a popular idea. this is the group with no wall
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on the water front. it's a great motto of let the people decide. it's great. there are some far reaching consequences. over 75% is zoned for 40 feet high. the planning department says 40 feet will not cut it. you can't make the nut on what your plans are. what it means is people like arty and erin will become incredibly power if this passes because everyone will have to go to them saying will you please support a vote, we're trying to build a 100-foot building. it will be a great moment mp. >> will former mayor run again? >> he has a good line. he says i'll run when rose park and willy pack form a run, art run committee. >> thank you all. terry christensen, nevac.w. nev and scott shafer. a program note, we're off next week for the memorial day holiday weekend. you can tune in for an encore
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presentation of hunger in the valley of plenty. a look at why people in live in the san jouquin valley struggle to feed themselves. have a good night.
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♪ on this edition for sunday, may 18, swiss voters reject a plan to create the world's highest minimum wage. in our signature segment, south africa wages war on poachers, targeting the world's largest population of rhinos. >> cease entering your country, poachers, illegally. they plunder your resources. and how coverage of women on wikipedia may be lacking because of the people who edit the content, next on pbs newshour


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