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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  November 8, 2019 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

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tonight on kqed newsroom, san francisco voters cast ballots on ngasures rag from affordable housing to deciding whether to keep ba on e-cigarettes. we'll look at the outcome of those votes. and two races that are still too close to call. pressure builds to turn pg&e into a publicly owned utility as governor gavin newsom meets with top executives in sacramento. bay area news outlets team up in silicon valley. the impa ey're having on the region's housing crisis. good evening and welcome to kqed newsroom i'm scott shafer. we begin tonight with a look at the reanlts from san frcisco's election earlier this week. on tuesday voters in san francisco headed to the polls. they decided the fate of
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several ballot measures including proposition c, which would overturn the baon selling or distributing e- cigarettes. two housing measures includin a $600 million affordable housing bond that mayor london breed suppord appears be headed for victory. still no winner in the close contest to elect san francisco's . xt district attorn thousands of ballots are left to be counted. for most of the week interim d.a. has climbed to a slim lead over chase houboudine. and editor, columnist joe esconozzi, lcome to both of you. let's start with the top of the topic,breezing to the easy reelection, getting almost 70% of the vote. did she get a mandate, joe? >> i don't know if d i couse the term mandate, but i think she got enough votes. you would have to be splitting hairs to say that's not a good enough perclotage. what i woul at if i were in mayor brrcd's inner is the vast number of people
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who voted for mayor and just skipped it. tens of thousands of people. of san franciscans apparently want to leave. you know, disturbing circumstances like these and that a fringed ndidate with disturbing racist views would and that could show some cracks in the base thof moderate movement specifically with chinese anin americans.>> and so given that somewhat popular and the city is going, now why weren't there more people running against them? and to have a serious mayoral campaign. between june of last year and now and the only people in the position to it would be mark leno and jane kim. and that just wasn't on the radar for them. >> andhey are filling out, u know, the lay mayor, and the service as mayor, and so obviously they will ttneed a more time. >> right. and you would think if you had four years instead of the time
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that there might havebeen more opposition to her and nonetheless, prop a we mentioned briefly, the housing bond, a victory for her and that is somthing she supported along with many other people. what does that mean in terms of l what shebe doing going forward. obviously housing, homelessness are big issues in the escity. >> huge is i mean we would look at the city's ctroller that was released and housing is on the minds of people who are considering whether they want to stay in the city or leave. i think her challenge is trying to figure out how to house all of our homeless populations. they need a place to stay and hoing is just expensive to build. you know, from the mayor's ld, office that it will take about $700,000 to build an affordable housing unit. and about five years, the most expensive place in the world to build. >> it's expensive. there's a lot of reasons why and so that is going be the challenge in trying to get income people and middle income
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people and also for extremely low income people who are sleeping on the streets. >> i want to talk about the da's race and the district five race where the yor's appointee is struggling to get elected on her own against dean preston, the tenant rights attornll. what difference the outcome of that make in terms of what mayor breed could do with the board of supervisors? >> it will be significant. it's not going to be a game changer, but it will be more difficult for mayor breed if you are hand picked and a former aid is replaced by someone who airan t you and is oor of youropponents. >> he almost beat london breed. >> yes, he did. and so there is a progressive supemajority on the board and if they replace them, there will not be a blmoderatek anymore. and it will be a couple of moderates and iosome fa of the progressive. there will be more to make things difficult for her and to propose whatever they want, push it in front of her. ce
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that couldainly be a pain for the mayor in moving forward. the votes are still being counted and it clis extraordinarile. >> in terms of affordable housing and homelessness, erica, youould think that there would be a natural coalition with almost anybody onsothe board of super. they all want to do something about that and there is a split is the not between more progressives and what they want to do when it comes to things like getting people with mental illness off the streets. ⌞> right there, is always a n differencelitics and how to solve the homeless crisis. even the housing crisis in building low income housing, spending money on the top of the market to let them sort of trickle down. to house people through that with two different ways. honestly sometimes you forget how long it wi take to build housing so when you think that they would trickle that it will take a little while before those units there, and then again we know it's expensive to
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build in services. >> let's talk about the d.a.'s race. that one isreally nip and tuck as well, shortly before the t election, he will step down and the mayor will appoint one of the four people running for the d.a. who is clinging to a very slim lead throughout the week. what influence do you thk that appointment made on voters? >> i think it helped and hurt d we need to note that the mayor and her advirs were aware of the potential blowback, though not as much as they got and thwere aware of the polling that wod show a low name recognition. by appointing them into the post, she waable to fire out a mountain of press releases that are approaching all the items that they care about and her opponent's gripe, they were lir ideas. now st good ideas, it is a tried and true position in politics, that complaint just
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goes so far and a very tough argument to say it was anything, but the political appointment, and that wemay or may not be able to see that as we sift through the adults. >> i want to outalk her that, i want to show you a clip on election night at her headquarters and sh say would capture a chant that was shown. i just want to note before we play the clip that it is blurred out and bleeped out because of what she was saying, but let's look at it. just a anquick ation there, she was saying f the poa being the police officer association. and what is -- we will get to whether or not that's
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appropriate, but what's the history of r antowards the poa? >> the poa had led a charge. ey had law enforcement agencies all around to dump money into the d.a.'s race to boost both anthen in soof the harshest terms with villains who y look like t would be on that market production. >> but a white willie. it was a dog whistle, but not a whistle whistle. and it has been a big force in san francisco politics for quite a long time and while they still have a lot of money, they have been losing races left and right and fairly late. and they are out st with them even. >> they are a step with almost everybody in the city and they
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still have that unionized representation so you could say they would have it coming with regards to that frustration. i don't think that it will be wise to do that in public that way and to play into their narrative that thwould tell their cops that everybody hates you and only we could represent you. it was an unwise g th do. >> just quickly as they were they would overturn their ban on e-cigarettes and sales. and of course at the very end after spending about $18 million, they pulled back it because of all the bad publicity. what is the implicat fact that they so soundly, 81% of the voters saying no, we're going to keep that ban. >> and you know they would have ke 160,000 in votes, you , showed them the polls,consideri the ballot and that housg bondmeasure and that
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proposition got 16000 votes. so it is just the contentious matter that the fact that you're at home that will bring them to the polls for this one, you know. >> and just the last word for you. >> i don't think that they would pull back because of bad publicity, but the campaign that they were running locally was undermining the goal of getting the fda approval. and they were shooting themselves in that foot by t claiming tthey are a smoking sensation device and doing so in a way that they were undermining their efforts with the fd nga and consul the fda, which is not a good thing to do. >> okay, thank you so much. thank you. >> thank you. on monday josan se mayor led the coalition of california's mayors and supervisors, in urging the state's top regulator to turn pg&e into a customer-owned cooperative. more than two dozen lawmakers
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from northern and central californ have signed onto the efforts, representing nearly five million pg&e customess. meanwhile on y governor newsom met with bill johnson in sacramento. last friday the governor anpounced the tments of the new energy czar saying the state could take over if it doesn't emerge from bankruptcy by the start of next year's wildfire season. joining us nois our politics correspondent. the former president of the public utilities commission, now welcome to both of you. let's giwith this letter. what is the case that the mayor and all the atother people are turning this into a customer-ownedsetility? >> their will track what people would like to see them take it over and anybody th would like to see sort of the current structure edreso currently this is a publicly traded company, they inare paid dividends. you have bondholders who are making money off the bonds that they would issue and they think
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that, you know, they have lost that public confidence and if it could become sort of something that is customer owned and not traded on wall street that you would have more money to reinvest in the system and you might be able to rebuild that confidence. >> and to spend money on maintenance and because you need to make the shareholders happy? >> and just the distrust that we would have for anthe co at this point. which is very widespread. it is one of the few non- partisan issues that you can see that we have seen over and over again, you know, starting with the isenergy cr20 years ago, up to the san bruno explosion in 2010s through the wildfiand a sense that safety is not in that culture t s company and it is something dramatic that needs to change. >> any kind of model for this in california or elsewhere? >> absolutely. there are publicly owned utilities in every state of the nation including in california about 20% of our power right now that will comefrom the government-owned utilities. >> like smud? >> or paloalto and so it is
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not a radical experiment, but it is enat hato keep their lights on every day. >> hct much dissatisn is there with those public is there more confidence you would say? >> yes, absolutely. and it is just that fact that they are eysafer, re more reliable, cleaner, and they are cheaper. now they are not perfect and there are always problems with n the insider shenanin any systems. so you have to get it right, you have to make sure that people are not financially conflicted. but the public power is power that is cheaper, better, quicker, clean. >> we did ask for a reaction to what the mayor's letter said. part reads that we will share the governor's focus on reducing the wildfire risk and share the same goal of fairly resolving the wildfire claims and exiting the chapter 11 process as quickly as possible. kind of a vanilla statement i would say. not too much. >> i think pg&e at thispoint
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is trying to keep their heads above water and to see how to put forth that restructuring plan that will be acceptableto governor newsom and other lawmakers. there are challenges to bringing this company in particular public, whether th is a co-op, essentially only meaning rate payers in the service area, the bigger government takeover, as they would really mean the taxpayers d the entirestate, even those who are not impeaching one of those is we still don't know the total cost of the last few years of thwildfires. now that would be transferred to all of us. % we are paying for it any way and i do think that there are some questions about that. >> in loretta, d they wosay this week the total liability could be something like $6 billion. that's lot of money, but if you are spreing it out, getting maybe th loans, as the public entity, maybe you uld get a better rate, for example, than you could from bondholders? >> you could do that nd take the profin the system and
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plow it had back either to y the victims, workers, or to improve safety. what we know is th they have once over and over and over again done the wrong thing. their corporate culture is one of corporate negligence, cutting corners. california just simp could not afford to allow them to remain a private utility e wh they would cut the corners, where they are always looking for the profit and not for safety or reliability. >> one of the thnegs gavin om said and i will ask you about this has been in his words cozy th the utilities over the past couple of decades. what are your thoughts atabout certain that period under michael brown, you know, that he did not get reappointed. he chose to go away. is that a fair criticism? >> i think it s changed the last few years to some extent. you knowthat we saw slews of e-mails in that san bruno case, where he was d being wined dined and where they were gun shoppingor the favorable
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administrative law structure. and it was very -- i mean there's no question that it was a culture of cozineat best. but i do think michael picker who jerry r brown appointed af pb left did try to change that. i think there's a lot criticism for regulatrs to go around and that we asked him to do a lot and that safety was not necessarily the main charge it always should be, of course, but it wasn't to the extent. i think you could ask that question why didn't both pg&e and cpuc see this wildfire climate crisis coming. i think we don't knw yet. >> well, first of all do you think that's a fair criticism of the puc? >> yes, absolutely. they were complicit. when i s there we were a watchdog. and the very first thing i did to order pg&e to trim their trees and we would find them for cutting corners on maintenance and safety. it is truefor the last 15 years the puc has beenco-oped
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and not concerned about safety. now we were and enwhat ha instead of trimming the trees and doing the right things, pg&e, 15 years ago, they chose bankruptcy to get out from under california's control. and now remember they chose >> and we are seeing san francisco has been flirting with municipal powers for a long time and mayor london breed was not one that signed that letter and they would set off. d how is it that those bears are proposing others than what san francisco is talking about? >> on the basis, the idea is taking away sort of the grid and the delivery system from pg&e. and making it either a co-op oro rnment entity, arguably similar things. i think the challenge for san francisco is that taking away the san francisco part of the grid doesn't realdress the underlining problems. but we are talking about our rural areas, where th transmission lines, they have been kept and where there are tree issues and they have t started in urban areas. so i will have a hard time
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believing that regulators are even going to allow san francisco to take over and if there is not a broader restructuring plan that could really change the dynamics, leavg everyone outside the urban area. >> and now you need to pay te ion to politics, i know as they would now own this, whether or not they ke that. and they do. what are the risks for him politically in any of these options that he's confronted >> both the go has a whole will need to get that right. they could not allow them t get it whereon yet again. it's bad for our economy and bad for our business and bad for our family. ret the question here is not is it technically possible or i iteven financially possible? and because it is. now today's market cap of pg&e is $3.2 billion. that's purchasable if you want to go and purchase their stock and the huge question is politically possible? and will the elected politicians do the right thing here. and that i would applaud mayor
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lccardo answering about that question and for california and not what's best >>for pg&e. all right, political mind fields. >> yesi think governor newsom says there is no secret that they would have broad ambitions for northern california and this really is tional attention. attracting if they could fix it, it is a huge win. if they can't, it could beenthe of the political career. >> and that is who you would work for. now tell them a little bit about that. i'm sorry to bng that up in the end. >> a cautionary tale. >> exactly. >> all right, yothank u both oury much. >> thank who owns silicon valley? that's the question d asby a team of reporters from kqed, the mercury news, and several other bay area news outlets. the year-long collaboration investigated top landowners of the region. a role in a housin crisis that led to sky high rents and hours long commutes. among the findin university's property holdings
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are worth nearly $20 billion. that's more than google, apple, and intel combined. and alsoapthis week e pledged $2.5 billion to combat the housing crisis, saying omit is, tted to being a part of the solution." joining me now is rachel myro, senior editor of the silicon valley news desk. hi, rachel. >> hi, scott. >> what were you setting out to do in this year-long project? >> we wanted to find out who were the big players. how do you find that out from a data perspective? you start with the fiassessor's . one of the wonderful things about having a multi-newsron collaborats we were able to have a team of data reporters from the mercury news, nbc bay area. going into this data, which is prty messy, line by line, cleaning it up, figuring out who owns the mt land. and also who owns the mo.
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valuable la >> and so obviously stanford university is thll800-pound gohere by far. and how did they acire so much land? >> well it all started with leland stanford, the dad of leland jr. who, of course, whom the university is named after. he was one of the original big four railrd barrens, robert from the guilded age. d addition to purchasing a beautiful knob hill mansion in san francisco, he also developed the country estate that grew and grew overtome the point where finally took over that land. >> that's a loof land. stanford has what i would say a more benign positive reputation than say facebook or google these dayany way. and so o how should we look at them when it comes these issues of the housing crisis?
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>> well that's an interesting question, right many their community isre than 34,000 people. when you add the undergraduate students, the service workers, erthe nurse practitiat their medical center and they would have more than one. and a very big employer, rather than organization that will bring in a lot of people toits campus in a similar fashion to these tech giants. >> yeah, and google and an facebook, they haunced a billion dollar contribution for housing and then apple in this past week, $2.5 billion. and so how much housincould be built with that kind of money and why are they coming forward now? are they feeling the pressure basically? >> i think a lot of these organi tions, they are waking up to th crisis has grown in the bay area where communities are now
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askior landowners, nizations with a lot of wear with what they could do to soften the edges of the housing crisis that they would help t create. stanford, even ough it had a big hand in creating silicon valley it's not fair to blame them alone and there are a lot of factors playing into the ho ing crisis. but now as a community, we're starting to ask more of these organizations. >> right. for quite some ti. has the similar kind of pressure been placed on stanford or should it be? >> and i think that we see the colleise for most general use permit. is it an example on how their conversation have changed between stanford ansanta clara county officials. and that every 10, 15, 20 yearthey would sort of
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create that game plan for how they want to grow and expand in year by yearanta clara county, for the most part at hagone through without a hitch. we saw the county pushing back with thenddefor the campus to mitigate some of the impacts of their suspected growth in the next 15 years. >> and it is not just the area that will have that housing crisis that will iv expe everywhere in the bay area, but how do they compare? >> goodness gracious. i mean you have a sense ere it is just getting to the dysfunctional ace where itis not just a few people who are working class or forced out of the community, but now tens of if you make less than six figures and even if you do makei sires t is very hard to live here. not just because of the housings
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and because of the traffic and because of the underfunded public schools that there are a lot of reasons that the bay area has become a less pleasant feasible place for ma people to live in. >> because of the expensive housing in silicon valley, more and morepeople especially if they are not high-level exe utives that moving further and further away, which exacerbates the commute. >> exactly. you have these commutes. and they are stanford worko s have esbeen making commutes. just before county supervisors were to vote on this general use application and i think that it does reflect the a conversatiut growth in the bay area has changed. is >> what g e you hearas a result of the investigation from stanford or anyone else? >> they have not contacted us directly. to talk about it. we did have an opportunity to talk with them, but not on tape
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for this collaborative investigation. it's hard to knowatexactly wh led to thr final decision to withdraw that application, what they plan to do next. >> do you get a sense? i think he told you that they have never been turned down, in all the ydecades. get a sense that there will be a shift in that waic that public ols will be looking at not just stanford, but the other developers, the corporate developers? >> absolutely. s there always been some give and take. depending on the city the county, whenever you have a large developer, proposed massive extensioand it will be worth pointing out that back in june, the santa clara county
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planning commission prunanimous ed their application and just that they came back with turns that stanford wasn't willing to meet. >> rachel, thanks so much for your reporting. real interesting series. that'll do it for us as always, you could find more of our coverage on kqed.org/newsroom. i'm scott shafer. thanks so much for joining us.
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robert: impeachment testimony goes public and a blue wave sweeps the suburbs. >> we will begin our open hearings in the impeachment inquiry next week. robert: ahead of public testimony, transcripts reveal new details about the president and his advisers and democratshe make case. >> we have not heard a single witness come in and proviy testimhat would suggest this was anything other than defense dollars for dirt. robert: republicans balk at the process, dismissing suggestions of quid pro quo. president trump:otverything he in that report was a lie. my phone call was a perfect. the whistleblower, because of robert: plus, eleion results show suburban challenges for the g.o.p.

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