tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 26, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
from pumping and glacial retreat from years ago, we have sea level is rising. it is kind of unfair for us because we have both of these processes against us. the impacts are incredibly important. this is looking at some of the army corps of engineers depending on how we are factoring in the warming of the ocean and considering the historical projections. whether you are picking a more modest production -- projection, it is all going up into the right. we are entering into hurricane season now. we will continue to experience more intense storms. that has been a big challenge when we think about moving people around, providing services and goods. and the impact on businesses. this is the picture of a storm areas alongowing the potomac and anacostia, where we are at today, right here, in
a flood zone. this is where the creek is to come down. this is just looking at storm surges. pretty challenging when we think about where we are going with this. a lot of waterfront development happening in the city. is hard to imagine what the impacts are. when we can say to people by the time i am in my 70's, we are going to see an average of 10 degree increase in average temperatures, that is like adding another calendar month on to summer. when we think about precipitation, we know days with two or more inches of rain are expected to more than double by 2080. same thing with extreme weather. all of the events are going to be more intense and more frequent. sea level rise has increased about 11 inches. that is almost one foot since 1924. with storm surges, we know
nuisance flooding has increased 373% since 1950. a grim reality here. about thiscited report and it will inform how we look at the data and what it means for our infrastructure. the second piece of what we have done was looking at the impact on not just infrastructure but also vulnerable populations. we used the projections to look at the impact on infrastructure. thinking about trains and metro slowed down because of the heat, causing derailments. a big issue. we have to upgrade and think about materials in the future. same thing with flooding. a lot of major infrastructure work being done. this is a picture of flooding recently. this is a picture from hurricane sandy in new york, looking at a substation that is flooded.
we have two of our three substations in 500 year flood planes. they are not ready to handle a major storm event. we did a lot of mapping exercises but we wanted to know where and who will be most impacted. serviceshe emergency are concentrated downtown. inward a lot of services seven -- in ward 7. got areass we have around the blue plains facility built below sea level for gravity to help with the filtration system. we have flooding from the creek. the southwest waterfront, we talked about that. we talked about federal triangle and historic flooding in bloomingdale. you can see we have a lot of risk -- at risk and a lot at stake.
we have these images of polar bears standing sad on iceberg melting away. i am happy we have shifted the conversation to thinking about the people, the first nation , ourenous people populations here. we have thought about our elderly. we have looked at capacity and sensitivity, identifying age, mobility, community connectedness. are you able to survive a $400 emergency event? what about our children and youth or people with existing medical conditions? we know that is probably what is most at risk. identifying those communities are concentrated in wards 7 and 8 is separated by the anacostia river. delivering services is a big challenge. climate ready d.c. is maybe not
the solution to everything but a good step in the right direction. the plan is identifying some before different actions we can take on the mitigation site and adaptation side as well to address impacts. we have also identified partner agencies who will be involved in the decision-making process were coordinating their own studies. lastly, identifying whether actions are short, medium, or long-term. some of the solutions will span the things we will hear about today. treeplanting to increase carbon sequestration happening naturally, offering shade, assisting with filtration. low-impact development. all these wonderful things that will help us deal with rain events. and also things like green infrastructure. looking at micro-grids, the golden sachs building left up on the rest of new york was out.
thinking about modernizing the grid. these are all great solutions. we still have lots of challenges. thinking about the intense amount of interagency involvement, stakeholder involvement, congress oversight over land is policies, it is tough. one of the other challenges we have to think smart about is how we look at the landscape and start to think about things like finance and our failing infrastructure. this is where we have gone today. we are looking forward to implementing solutions and having conversations with people ready to implement them. thank you. [applause] sanjukta: hi, everyone. i think they set up the conversation perfectly to set up all the problems.
when the number crunching is done and the policies are made, what happens on the drawing board? what happens when a landscape architect is handed an acre or a mile? those sitesanslate into meaningful opportunities in dealing with issues of climate change? who workape architects in complex urban environments, our projects have to respond to multiple mandates. we have a social mandates relating to public space. we have an aesthetic mandate. and we have the environmental mandate which is the most pertinent aspect of today's conversation. a firm like ours is fortunate in
the concept of the "icebergs" exhibit. we have work that is primarily in the public realm. it is mostly at a scale that permits us to make some of these issues related to climate change really visible. issues like flooding, water management systems, and habitat enhancement, etc. i assumed we would be in that space so i decided to open with this slide which shows the .elationship of the icebergs this is where you are right now. that space is a great place to start because along with the aspiration to create this sort of surreal, underwater world of glacial fields, i think one of the best hopes we have from this reallyation was it would
invoke these important topical conversations. make the issue really visible. and that it would instigate forums of this nature. that is one of the bigger goals of things like this. i am also going to show a couple of projects that deal with issues of resiliency and climate change but at a slightly different scale. this is a project we did in new river ande harlem columbia university. it is a small, constrained urban site. hass only one acre but it both a saltwater marsh system and a freshwater wetland system. the plantings filter a lot of the rainwater and help to
improve the water quality of the harlem river. manner of the strategies you were talking about. if you could imagine this one acre being done in many places, many universities funding and park apartments picking up initiatives like this, you can imagine a lot of these issues starting to get abated. astly, i wanted to talk about this project we have in seattle. it is part of the ongoing project for the seattle central waterfront. the city of seattle is utilizing this infrastructural overhaul of rebuilding their seawall as an
opportunity for ecological improvement and recovery. the light penetrating surface you see over here is made of transparent material. it lets light through. light let's the salmon migrate with ease. that is something they need to migrate. this is one of the ways in which we overlaid a public space with a migration corridor for the salmon. this isured surfaces, an underside of the same place people are walking on. the textured surfaces aid marine habitat to grow. a great public space and great enhancer of marine environment.
what is really exciting to me is the juxtaposition of the public realm and the necessary torastructure being used make the environment of the bay visible and pleasant again. in conclusion, what i would like to get to is using these projects to make these issues really visible and engage the public is something we see to do through all of our projects. i hope it is one of the ways to engage the public. thank you. [applause] aaron: great. cool. vicki, i wanted to start with you and ask, for a city like d.c. to pull together and
adaptation plan, how common has that become? areer cities doing well -- other cities doing well that d.c. should be looking toward is the implement this plan? vicki: in recent years, we have seen more interest. share citye do is examples. d.c. operates as a state and city. there are about 14 states that have comprehensive allocation plans -- adaptation plans. more are in the works. there are a lot of other states if you look at our maps and the done,ch our team has there are efforts to start to incorporate changes we have been talking about today. you might not call it climate adaptation or climate ready d.c. they might talk about sea level rise and coping with coastal
changes like my home state of louisiana where the politics of climate change are not where they are -- what they are in other places. but they are starting to incorporate sea level rise into planning. that is fine with me. i would rather them colleague climate change adaptation, but as long as they are starting to toorporate changes and start mainstream them and plan whether it is transportation, zoning or other policies, i think that is a good thing. and that is happening more around the country. aaron: alexis, when you look at how do you see, implementation going forward? is there a way people can help to shape the plan? are you working with businesses or our neighbors in virginia and maryland? alexis: stakeholder engagement has been at the forefront of all planning initiatives. community driven planning and consensusbuilding are common
themes. there are questions around accountability and transparency. i think we made a good effort in engaging agencies who are engaging in similar initiatives and extended that to the private sector working with business districts, great streets initiatives, and providing technical assistance. i think there is this big question around community engagement. we have a lot of vulnerable populations who are not going to be able to make it to the 7:00 p.m. meeting. we have done a lot of traditional community meetings. we recently held our first webinar that had 81 people talking about science. i think the key is going to be incorporating the feedback and also thinking about setting up framework.ation whether we are identifying indicators, i think
liam of the nation -- if limitation framework and setting up some type of advisory committee to guide and ensure ongoing there are multiple points to touch with our most at risk residents. aaron: he said something interesting about what happens when people are implementing projects. mighter if you both address to what degree these plans make sustainability and climate planning part of what we do every day. how does that translate for you? do you find yourself working with communities that have bought into this? are you going to other cities that are not there yet? what does it look like when you're bringing it down to the granular level of a new thing your building in the world? sanjukta: a lot of our projects have finite boundaries. wehink the best we can do --
do a lot of larger projects. we do a lot of outreach with them. obviouslyere is buying into the idea of protecting homes and communities and the notion of combining those efforts with public space because that is something most communities really want. in most cities, you can combine most of these. i think the frustration i have had is perhaps the neighboring property and a different developer may not have the same incentives to do the things we are doing. i think there are efforts. program started a great in the mayor's office for resiliency to try to tie together some projects so they would meet the same standards to
some degree. mandatet as much of a as i would like it to be. vicki: i think we face similar challenges. you're trying to put up something. we need permits, stakeholders, notice. we have issues internally. we have to be champions to talk to organizations that already have a legacy of challenges they are working through and have a strategic plan. we have to go, this is the new science. we are trying to get you to recycle and compost. we also need you to retrofit your facilities at the same time. make sure you have also are on your roof. for the most part, everyone in d.c. his ready to talk about climate change.
but having those conversations, you have to be very specific about which puzzle piece you are talking about. not everyone wants to hear about equity. not everyone wants to hear about ecology. but they want to know about the bottom line. shifting is definitely necessary. sanjukta: incentive is asian -- models haveion worked. not everybody has those. i think creating those models he models. it is a constantly shifting target of what is the best practice and next best thing to do. that is the struggle. you may be doing the right thing but your neighbor is not. aaron: i want to open it up to the audience in a second. vicki, you talked about the macro changes we are seeing in fuel economy and energy. for a lot of years, it was
policy driving a lot of technology and design choices. over the past couple of years, we have started to see economics drive more of this. i'm thinking of how solar prices have come down and a lot of fuel efficiency technology is cheaper than expected. what are some of the macro economic trends? is this becoming something easier people can do? vicki: i think it is getting easier. i don't want to suggest policy is not important. a lot of leadership of the state and local level along with federal tax incentive policies for solar and wind have played a role in being able to bring down the cost over time. i think it will be a combination. of fossil fuel industry has been subsidized in various ways for some time. i think we need both a policy perspective but also to take advantage of market opportunities. there are benefits to having
solar power from a resilient perspective. you're not just doing it because you are bringing down your cost or not contribute to climate change. you are also doing it because you will have power if and when the grid fails with a storm. there are all kinds of reasons. it is helpful to package the narrative so it is not like we are wanting you to go back to the caveman era and sacrifice. you have technologies that will be win-win. they are getting more affordable. with government policies and incentives, we can tilt the balance in that direction. aaron: let's open it up to questions from the audience. if folks can raise their hand, we will bring the microphone to you. this so werecording want to hear your questions. aaron: right up here.
>> i did not catch her name. vicki: vicki arroyo. >> thank you. i think it is clear a lot of us realize the global warming you are talking about is a partisan ifng and most of us realize in fact the white house changes over in a couple of months, all the global warming funding you are talking about will pretty much disappeared. my question is to alexis. the number one issue i hear like blackhe time lives matter, how do you talk about money that white people want to spend on global warming is money that does not go to black lives matter? how do you justify that? alexis: i think that is a great question. that is what i love about climate change.
even though it is horrible, when we address climate change issues we literally address first nation community rights, vulnerable populations, systematic oppression. for me, it is not just about this or that. it is about creating a culture shift and change that allows us to evaluate our policies and programs in a way that will lift all of us. i'm interested in this intersection of equity. leedis number one in certified buildings per capita. if we don't have black and brown people in the buildings, why are we building? buildings are 25% occupied because federal workers are at home and don't want to come in. it is a challenge for us. we don't want just to plant trees. we want them in black people's front yards.
i don't want to talk more with communities about bouncing back when we have not had conversations about bringing the forward. we want you to be resilient if there is an emergency, but we also need you to have food now. we need you to have training today. part of it is our ability to say we don't necessarily have the right tools and framework to engage in a lot of these organizations, that because we have science and know who is impacted, it behooves us to have the conversations because they become the support networks knocking on doors we have emergencies. i don't think they are separate conversations. i think climate change allows us to get to the root of the problem which is the cultural shift that needs to happen that will fuse policies and programs and hopefully end up on people's front doorsteps. >> [indiscernible] no.is: no, aaron: the question is whether
black lives matter folks have talked to you. alexis: they got an e-mail from me. multiple groups get an e-mail from me. there have been people that have said climate change is another way we can talk about displacement. the reason there is that fear is getting at something we need to what aret, which is, the buildings we need to retrofit and who lives in them? i have not heard anything specifically about that being a challenge. but i want to open the conversation and say what can we do together, what can we do better? the federal spending has not been what it should be in part because we have a congress that has not wanted to support adaptation. but there have in some funds going in through the national disaster fund to communities. we have done work in looking at
how those dollars can be spent to hire local people, many of whom are african american men who are out of work or underemployed. this gives them training. i know d.c. waterworks has a trainedwhere people get to install solar panels. that gives them skills they can go into the private sector for. i think people are linking these themes and that is really important. aaron: the latest is just a employees more people than coal latestright now -- the numbers show solar employees more people than coal mining right now. more questions? >> my question is for the whole panel. are you actively involved in were aware of a longer ranging advocacy for the uncoupling of whichcollar labor
involves the internet and custom programs based on the industry you're in? that uncoupling of labor from the physical location in a city center. i don't know why we continue to drive too big buildings when we had everything we need in our house or will in the future pretty soon. as part of a bigger, longer range and plan? at georgetown university, we have been having those conversations not only around climate change and stewardship but about practicality given what is happening with metro and repairs and the need for people to have flexibility in their lives to manage other commitments or focus on a work project more from home. i think that is a trend we will see more of. i think younger people will definitely want more of that and expect more of that and negotiate more of that.
i don't know what that means in terms of not having spaces where we work together when we come together. maybe the government is thinking about that more comprehensive late. right now, we are doing it more in response to difficulties people have had with commutes lately. aaron: where does metro fit into this? director wells was metro loss ofhow confidence is at a huge impact on maintaining where we are with mission supporting. questions around density. at one point, we were adding 1100 people a month to the district. haveve to make sure we enough building stock and jobs for these people. and on the other side realizing 76% of emissions are coming from holding stock. -- building stock. we have to think about land use,
best use, travel, and transportation. i also want to challenge that and say, where do you make the most impact? i think we have a lot of great ideas. a lot of times we are not looking at who we will affect. my challenge and opportunity and job is how we can make data driven decisions that will impact people who are most at risk. i would argue having a community policy or reducing density and development will hurt the people we are trying to help the most. doing it right is the challenge. we have to have a conversation about what that means when we change policy decisions. most people are living in cities now. cities will determine the quality of life for most people. most people living in cities will continue to be brown. sanjukta: that is true. -- and that's true. we have to create more by
couple, more walkable, more -- more bikeable, more walkable, more accessible -- accessing your workplace, your home could -- should be a bike ride away, should be a job away. -- a job away. we should create designed for those lifestyles, in a manner of speaking. most of the data -- it is a divine challenge. how do you make people give up those ideas of commuting unnecessarily and long distances? and have a sort of much healthier way of living their lives? aaron: one thing i know a lot of cleantech folks are really bullish about is battery costs coming down for electric vehicles, not just at the car level, but electric bus lines in the cities and those sorts of things.
transportation emissions are actually higher than -- if those battery costs come down and they become incumbent for drivers and transportation, that could be a game changer. a lot of folks are excited about that. >> good afternoon. first of all, i thank the building museum for putting this on. i think until we all get better educated about the science and what we can do, we are not going to get things done. let's go to the issue of adaptation a little bit, because -- even though i think someone mentioned that the temperature range by 2080 will be dramatically higher -- even if -- of course, in paris, they were looking for a two degree celsius, or 1.5 degrees celsius limitation, it's going to be impossible without some dramatic technology changes to get there. can we talk a little bit about the adaptation/resilience issue
that the landscape architecture and building communities are going to have to deal with? this goes to the gentleman's discussion about federal funding. do we have data or can we get data that every dollar spent for resilience, compared to dollars spent for rebuilding, makes it very compelling for the federal government, state government, local governments to spend the money and set the standards for buildings and communities to be, quote, "resilient"? green, it doesn't matter who's living there. do we have an analysis of the dollars spent for resilience fors dollars spent rebuilding? vicki: we do a lot with communities with transportation agencies and all that, that are trying out to figure out -- trying to figure out how to build differently and better. how do you know what you're
going to do is going to work? the future is not static. is changing over time. there are some uncertainties. as we saw with the unexpected flooding in louisiana last week, that's not like katrina, which actually caused my own family to lose homes, but at least they could get out of harm's way in time with some stuff because they saw it coming. there are so many changes we don't know how to predict. that doesn't mean people can start taking action to plan prudently and make decisions to invest in things like trees and green roofs and things like that, permeable pavement in the district. that makes a lot of sense. but i think it's hard to compare dollar for dollar what green infrastructure, which a lot of these storm water management systems will get you, compared to some of the great infrastructure of the past, like the big seawalls. we are wrestling with that now. i know that the river smart
communities program is trying to accumulate some of the evidence to show that the green infrastructure solutions can be as cost-effective and have more multiple benefits than just putting in big seawalls and gray infrastructure and basically being left with a barren coastline that, basically, nobody wants to live like that. sanjukta: it's hard to put a dollar value to the social factor. you would rather do anything you can, any kind of -- adopt any kind of best practice you possibly can to increase resiliency, rather than have the disaster. are seeing inthey new orleans right now and in they in 2012 in new york, amount of time it takes communities to recover -- the cost of rebuilding, even if it is lower, it's just a matter of time that the social factor it creates ends up being so much more problematic than
the cost at times. alexis: there have been a lot of national studies about impacts. one of the things we did with one of our risk assessments was look a little bit at comparative risk. we did have, as i mentioned before, our inner agency staff task force that did look at, how do we start to think about the impact, the likelihood, economic lifecyclects to the management of buildings, operations? we actually have in our report started to look at those big community assets and infrastructures and how do we start to prioritize. we've used it in a different way. i think you're getting on a different point. a lot of people have started to have that conversation, but it's hard to show something quantitative if it hasn't happened. we can project, and we've done that. we can say this would be the loss of ridership for metro
going down, businesses. we can start to draw those numbers. but i think what shift needs to happen is that it's not just about thinking about, you know, how and when, but what's it going to take. do we have to wait for some type of catastrophe to happen to us? in some cases, we have and then we've been able to pull those numbers. but i don't necessarily think that we are going to see a citywide -- like we are going to do it all and figure it out. we will see phased, inc. or mental investments that will be integrated into long-range learning -- phased, integrated investments that will be integrated into long range learning that has already been done. long-term, we talk about some of these big technologies to get ahead of the development timeline. ok, we've talked about the risk from a disaster, but let's talk about the tangible bottom line that will save some energy and
think about some other adaptation solutions and what feasible threat mitigation would cost. we are trying to have them, but i think it's going to be up to us if we are going to go out and do it or it's going to be pressure from some type of outside event. vicki: policy matters. the federal government just put in place a federal standard for 500-year buildings, a flood standard as opposed to the 100-year flood standard. give the obama administration credit for using the authority they have had even without congress necessarily providing funds for it. >> [inaudible] that does not want to do the things we want to have done for mitigation, i think there will always be an opportunity to get dollars for the kind of heartening our infrastructure that we are talking about. that argument will always work better for them than the
feel-good things that we always love. aaron: i worked for a republican member of congress for a while, from a coastal district in new jersey, and there you had to did -- had the conversation about the coast, the security it provides. a lot of people can come to this conversation -- i'm borrowing this from reverend yearwood, who has worked in this space a lot as chairman of the hip-hop caucus. the way he puts it is, you need people to be able to come to their issues through your door. you can't make them come through your door. i do think there is more room for agreement, especially on the clean energy front as those costs come down and as more people are deployed in the industry and as it grows. when you talking about something like building standards, if the industry is saying we built to a 500 year standard now, so hard to come in and then say, well, now the politicians are going to force you to undo all those business decisions you've just baked into all your long-term planning for the past five
years, 10 years. it will become normal. i have to hope against hope that the weird lyrical contentiousness that happens around climate science in particular will eventually become a thing of the past as we get to the business of actually solving this stuff. >> this is just a bit more of a macro question about things. obviously there has been a bit of oil price volatility in the past few years and volatility in the markets from various political movements that are happening all over the -- the world. i'm wondering if you think these volatilities in the market might increase the amount of investment that goes towards green energy or also, like government investment, subsidies. given that green energy is not a risky proposition to invest in. think,the volatility, i can cut both ways. we've seen such low prices. i don't know about what you've seen lately. i think i saw $1.85 per gallon. if people get in their head that those low prices are going to
stay with us for some time, it will start changing some of the buying behavior that we saw a really migrating to some of the more efficient vehicles. the standard that the obama administration put in place even in their first term. they are not going to be even as driven to go to those kinds of vehicles. but on the other hand, i think people who are rational know that those prices won't stay there forever because of global disruption, terrorism, what have you. and this is, of course, the key to the argument that many of us have made for years for having some kind of a price signal on fossil fuels, whether it be the gasoline that you put in your tank or the fossil fuel that is burned as natural gas or coal for building power. that helps to create that incentive. when you see the prices that have dropped this low, it seems that, as a politician, it wouldn't have made sense to have some kind of price floor that the price wouldn't sink below and then use that difference, that delta to invest in things
like biofuels and renewable energies. we've seen some disinvestment in some of the alternative fuel strategies when it really just hasn't paid off yet. with the low gasoline prices, it's hard to be competitive. i do think, again, it's just another example of where policy plays a role. you can't just rely on the fact that people will realize that, over time, those gas prices might creep up again. aaron: let's keep the questions coming. how are we doing on time? >> we are doing pretty well. we can take a few more questions, and then we will break for the reception. aaron: keep them rolling. >> thank you. hi. this question is more for alexis and vicki. i'm curious about your take on more national disaster relief competitions that relate to designers and policymakers cohabiting across many stakeholders -- collaborating across many stakeholders and if these are successful in your
eyes. can we learn from previous design competitions and implement them more in the future? alexis: sure, yeah. i think, nationally, it's important. i really, really want to shift the conversation to local. i think we have a talent nationally, but i think because there is such geographic climate policy challenges that are very related to the places we are talking about, the cities, i think that this model of leaning on design and leaning on the innovation of the price sector is exactly what we need to be doing. i find, as administrators, we don't have that capacity. we don't always have the ability to take the risks. i did have the opportunity recently to attend, actually, a reception -- there's an architect collaborative that is here and recently had a reception. it was exactly the type of conversation we need to have,
where, i think, on the kind of local level, we have, on the one hand, where we need to have local capacity so that the money is going to the firms that can grow with us. it's not just national groups that are coming and going. but people who are invested in the community, and not just our private groups. our youth. we have so many colleges here. we have tons of partnerships. gw, american university, howard. so, i think it's really important that that become a model. and i think we've seen that recently. we've had this office of public-private partnership come to the forefront in this discussion about that being a model going forward. i think it's been incredibly effective, but if we have all of the designs in the world and we don't have the financing when we are looking at urbanism projects on a small scale, then it's like, ok. there is definite appetite. there are so many people who are like, i'm a landscaper, i want to get in the game, but i think
it behooves us -- also, there is funding for these opportunities so that we can move forward. that will take a lot of leadership from the top down to say we are ready to move forward and go for it. >> we saw with the rockefeller foundation partnership with hud that itild by design really did unleash some real creative juices and got people to really start to think more creatively, whereas the usual federal rules wouldn't allow you to invest differently. it started to really be able to stretch those boundaries and improve design by learning and doing. both good and bad. my colleagues are writing report on the lessons on that first round of rebuild by design. we served on the board of national resilience competition. there are winners and losers when there is a finite pot of money.
it is a tremendous effort for all of the jurisdictions that compete, whether or not they get it. on the one hand, even if you don't get it, you now have a concept that maybe you can build localocal -- sell some private sector partners and philanthropies to try to get it funded. on the other hand, there are some that feel it is really a heavy lift to be part of those design competitions. if you don't actually get the funding, you've really lost that time. people have to figure out whether or not they are willing to take that risk, but i think we are learning a lot of really good things from rebuild by design and from and drc -- and from ndrc. --jukta: rebuild by design the great thing was they dealt with really large segments of the cities that they were looking at. from what i was saying earlier, we usually get smaller size, fairly finite boundaries. something like rebuild by design is really great because they come up with some kind of
standards, right? so, you need to meet certain elevations or you need to build seawalls in a particular way or you need to adopt certain green technologies. so, the kind of vocabulary of strategies that competitions like this build -- i think that's really good, because it kind of says, ok, if you are going to parcel it out to somebody else or somebody else who has the money to build it some kindhave come -- of standard to build two. i think that's really missing right now. for the local person to come in and actually do something, a larger standard of what should be done is actually missing. something like rebuild by design actually helps to promote that. aaron: ok. some more questions? i saw some hands earlier. there we go. >> hi, so, we haven't really touched on agriculture.
i was just wondering how you see that playing into being in the city's and whether it should be -- the cities and whether it should remain separate in the cities or become integrated. just touch on that in general. alexis: for d.c., i think we have less than -- i don't even know. 0.8 square miles of cultivated. mostly small parcels. one piece of what we know is happening ecologically. it's been hard to figure out here what that looks like, not just the agricultural piece, but fishing, food, transportation of goods that aren't necessarily cultivated, but brought into the district. i think the biggest issue for us is going to be kind of increasing our local distribution of food sources and having them be on micro scales. again, not just looking at impacts of water crises -- prices on food prices, but also thinking about access for people
who can't necessarily afford to go to whole foods or wherever and buy. for us, we have a distribution issue we are looking at. how can we have more stuff they can go here? -- that can go here? some of the challenges of being so spatially confined. we have to revisit the original conversation that brought us into climate change, impact on ecology. we know our streams are heating up superfast. strauss -- droughts are decimating crops. that puts pressure across the board. here we may not see that so much in terms of impact for residents across the board, but come along term, we have to think about sourcing for food and looking at local providers, fractures, and more large-scale production that -- crop shares, and more large-scale production that puts food in grocery stores here. aaron: cities have a lot of resources, a lot of money. what does that adaptation look
like the rural communities, specifically poor rural communities or ex-urban communities? aaron: i think it's tough -- vicki: i think it's tough. we worked with vermont after tropical storm irene hit it. it was really devastating. it washed out miles and miles of roads and hundreds of bridges. this is an example, to the gentleman's point earlier, of when they tried to to rebuild differently, they were first denied the reimbursement from fema, saying you built to a new standard as opposed to the old way. bookse regulations on our to the new standard, and we know the climate is changing. over time, fema has revisited that. but i think it was an example of the rural poor and often in flood zones that were the most affected by the devastation of the floods. at first, the townspeople really want getting reimbursed --
really worked -- really weren't getting reimbursed. if you're making that investment and you are not reimbursed as a town, that's hundreds of individuals who make up that town, so it really is a fiscal issue. i really think it does come to the need for revisiting things like the stafford act, which is the disaster act that we have been dealing with that tends to look at disasters in the old way, the way they were -- you put things in place the way they were where they were. we dealt with this in new orleans after katrina, when 80% of the city was underwater and it was the beginning of the school year. we knew some of the schools and neighborhoods were not going to come back, but nobody was sure. the policy was put the infrastructure and people in place. i think we are seeing with this administration attempts to allow people to spend that morning -- money more flexibly. but you do have to have that money to spend. that's where i think changes at the ballot box are really
important. people need to be able to talk about climate change if you are saying you are going to spend the money differently in an era of climate change. aaron: do you have a question? maybe we could do a lightning round. two lightning round questions. let's just go down the line. what's your biggest pet peeve in this field? what do people not get about your work that, like, annoys you, that you wish they would get? let it out. [laughter] sanjukta: as a landscape --hitect, i think we do a lot of what is seen as green infrastructure is considered to spongy and,kind of like, essentially something that comes as an afterthought. people don't realize the tremendous amount of engineering that goes into making a
resilient thing. that is -- there is a tremendous amount of -- what looks soft is not actually soft is all i'm trying to say. that a perception -- that's a perception i would love to change. i don't think -- i don't expect people to know what goes into it. if you've done a good job, it should look like a beautiful, passive park, right? but i think that's something that people need to know, that it's not an expendable amenity. it's something that's doing a job, a really important job that is engineered and it's there for a purpose, not just to make it beautiful. alexis: and i think -- i get so frustrated. i work for government. but it's always the same thing. it takes so much time for us to cut through red tape.
everyone is, like, shaking heads. just the amount of e-mails it takes to figure out the word for, like, equity. i think about the amount of attention we put on these small things, a culture that's kind of afraid to take risk. not only that, but because we are afraid to take risks, we have all these policies and approvals. when we do take risks, they are calculated. we prioritize the risks so they are ok. that's really hard. sometimes you just have to drop the pens and go out and do something impactful. let's stop talking. sometimes it does need to go through the traditional heads and stuff. which is great. we have a lot of programs on equity that we've done. but it is still challenging. i have to go to the community meetings and talk to people and say, yes, we've been in the planning process for three years, yes, we will probably be
in this for another couple years, yes, we need funding, but hang with us. i have no idea where i take this body of feedback. it can get lost in the structure we have of d.c. and being a kind of state and city all at once. that's my frustration. vicki: i think mine is more meta. it's the disconnect between the magnitude of the problem and the rate of change we are seeing and what all of this work is. we are working -- many of you are working, really -- some of theause of obstacles, whether bureaucratic, political, whether it's just that people haven't really wrapped their heads around what's coming at us. it's always shocking to me how we really haven't managed to national of a real conversation about the crisis that's before us, how we are going to prepare and plan for it, both in terms of the impact it's going to have on people's
lives and communities, and also in terms of the opportunity to have a different future that we envision together. i wish that was more in our everyday discourse. aaron: maybe i will do one more lightning round. ok. cool. we will all be around at the reception if you have some more questions. my last question, let's go reverse order this time. what's the best, most hopeful, happy surprise that you've had in your work in the past couple something you didn't expect that made you feel good about our ability to tackle these problems? vicki: i will go back to the example i gave, the paris climate talks. i've been going to them off and on for 15 years. i've been to some that ended in people literally standing on tables and arguing. i mean people from the u.s. environmental community arguing with each other, not just, like, saudi arabia and one of the sinking island states or something like that. we really come along way in acknowledging the problem -- come a long way in a college in
part because we are seeing the effects already-- long way in the problem, in part because we are seeing the effects already. when people start taking these actions, they see they can do it affordably and there are women -- win-siwins in it. aaron: just as an aside, the international climate meetings have gone through a weird, stressful bubble for about two weeks. i went to one that didn't go well. i will never forget, at the end of it, just watching grown people with phd's, experts, just cry from the release of stress at the end of the thing. there's a guy you probably know who i worked with for years who has been to almost every one of these meetings since the early-19 90's. therethe paris accords,
was a journalist who had also been to these meetings. he says he knew the meeting was going to end successfully because this man could not suppress his smile. for the folks who work on international climate policy, it's frustration, frustration, frustration. thing.nd of a weird i think everyone is very happy that there is a deal and that there is a constructive path forward, and, at the same time, saying, and we have to actually do even more than what the pledges are. alexis: i think i'm really excited about things lining up. i feel like we've got the last piece of the social justice movement fully realized. gender equality, race equality, all this stuff going on. we have all this data and science and technology we can share and access. then there's all these people. i think the private sector is ready to have these conversations. people are constantly saying, hey, we have a climate group. then i get another e-mail, we have a group on climate.
people are starting to come up and pull up their own seat to the table, and i love that. it's such a good time when we have this huge conglomerate of other issues coming up. there is this neat little intersection that's super compensated and stressful in some cases. but because now it has been elevated to this national conversation, i feel like we can finally have those conversations because people are at the table. even though there is an incredible amount of stuff we have to do and a lot of people ating can we even do it, least people are at the table and we are talking about equity, policy, political landscapes. i think that is really great. we don't have to do it alone anymore. we are not just heavy lifters, environmentalists in the back room. we are getting policy officers, whole branches and divisions. i think that's really great. me, you: i think, for know when people are in design school and they are in studio everything seems really tough?
all the projects seem so hard. once you become a design professional, especially i think in landscape architecture -- once you are meeting people who really want public spaces, who want to go to parks, who want their communities to have laces to play and work -- hav ee place to play and work, people generally really like what you are doing. i think that realization was a watershed moment. the pain is kind of worth it. the other one was -- we had a project in miami. it's actually a rail line and they are converting it into a biking and walking trail underneath it. and miami is notorious for the amount of driving that goes on there. people will not give up their cars. in our first couple of public meetings, we had a few pretty angry people, who were saying "who is going to bike here?
larry spending all this money? -- why are you spending all this money?" by the third or fourth time, they were like, "i think we will give up our cars for this," which was pretty different from "we will never stop driving." that was pretty good. aaron: i want to thank the audience for coming out. please give yourselves a hand. [applause] aaron: i really appreciate the dialogue. please give a hand to the panelists. thank you so much. [applause] >> if folks could just join us in the east court, we will have drinks and snacks and the conversation can continue. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
architects." the exhibit here in washington, d.c., will run through september 5. more live coverage coming up tomorrow, when republican vice presidential nominee governor mike pence holds a rally in purcellville, virginia. we will have it here on c-span as our "right -- "road to the white house" continues. florida holds its primary election this coming tuesday. debbie wasserman schultz has represented the 23rd district in florida in the miami area since 2005. she spent six years as chair of the democratic national committee, up until recently. she stepped down last month due to those leaked e-mails from dnc staffers. tuesday, she will face a law professor in the primary. here is more about that race. >> joining us from fort lauderdale is anthony, a
political writer for the "sun sentinel." thank you very much for being with us. guest: glad to be here, thanks. host: why has this become a primary to watch on tuesday? guest: the fundamental reason is that he outraised wasserman schultz in 2016, and that has given him two things, some credibility as a serious challenger and it has allowed him to open up a lot of field offices, bring in a lot of paid staff, including canvassers who are going door-to-door in the district, and it has allowed him to be up on broadcast television, even in the expense ensive miami, fort lauderdale market. host: who is he? guest: he's a professor of law down here in the fort lauderdale area.
he's a newcomer to political campaigns. he comes from the bernie sanders movement. he was a big supporter of bernie sanders and supported him even before sanders really took off in the presidential campaign this year. that has really helped fuel his candidacy. in many ways, it's been like a repeat of the sanders/hillary clinton presidential campaign. canova has run a campaign against wasserman schultz similar to the kind of campaign sanders ran against clinton. canova has charged wasserman schultz as too much of a patron of corporate interests and just does what her corporate campaign contributors want, and he has really come out her from the left. month,p until last debbie wasserman schultz was also the chair of the democratic national committee, only to step down the week of the democratic
national convention in philadelphia. has that been a big issue in this democratic primary in fort lauderdale? guest: it really hasn't been something that has gotten a lot of attention from voters. when we did -- the "sentinel" wasa poll, we found it almost 100%, 97% of people had found -- heard about their resignation and the wikileaks issue, but it doesn't seem to be affecting the way people vote. it's not something you hear a lot about. the canova people have pushed that a lot and used it in a lot of their fundraising e-mails that have gone out, especially to bernie sanders supporters, trying to get campaign contributions, but it's not something you hear a lot of from voters on the street. host: what's been the overall tone of this primary campaign, and what have the polls showing you? guest: the tone has become increasingly negative from canova. he's been going after the
incumbent, claiming she is a tool of special interests. he's been trying to hit her on parts of her record that he sonate witht re democratic primary voters. he's been talking about things like payday lending and fracking , thingscal marijuana that he senses some weakness on. it's become somewhat negative. he has some attack ads on tv. she has, for the most part, ignored him. finally, after a lot of calls for debates for months and months, she agreed to one early morning, weekend tv debate. she has pretty much ignored the challenger. that doesn't mean she's ignoring him internally. they currently have some concern and her site is working very hard and they are not leaving any stone unturned in trying to fend off this challenger. host: you indicate that the
district is overwhelmingly democratic. the winner of the primarily -- primary will presumably win in november. others say this is a district tailor-made for denver -- debbie wasserman schultz. can you tell us a little bit more about the 23rd district? guest: hillary clinton got about 68% of the vote in the democratic presidential primary here, about four percentage points better than she did statewide in florida. it really is hillary clinton -- a hillary clinton kind of district. it's largely suburban. it takes in parts of broward county, florida, and miami-dade county, florida. to some extent, it's the democratic left overs in the territory of south florida after congressional districts are drawn to ensure hispanic access seats and african-american access seats. to a great extent, it's kind of
what's left over and carved into one district that snakes up from miami-dade county in through south-central broward county. is thisw much attention primary getting, not only by you, but others in the regional media? guest: it's getting enormous attention. there are a couple of very hot ands going on in florida south florida, but this really is the one that may he getting the most attention as people begin to think that the u.s. senate primaries here are technically decided with clear front-runners, a lot more attention has been going to the debbie wasserman schultz/10 canova -- debbie wasserman schultz/tim canova primary. host: thank you very much for being with us. guest: great to be here. we will have the only debate between representative debbie wasserman schultz and her democratic challenger in tuesday's primary, tim canova,
tonight at 8:35 pm eastern here on c-span, as our coverage of campaign 2016 continues. the senate today held a pro forma session, as is usual in pro forma sessions, no legislative business was conducted. republican senator james lankford of oklahoma was the presiding officer for today's session. he sent out this tweet. in washington, d.c., today to gavel the senate order and prevent the president from making recess appointments." >> one month a year we don't actually vote. i've been traveling all over the state to see people literally on every corner of the state. today is the one day i'm back in for august. all of us are broken up. of us isee days, one back in washington, d.c., holding the president accountable to make sure we don't have a recess appointment ring this time p -- during this time. as many of you know, the president has been very open to
pushing the boundaries on recognition on guidance documents, from a new executive order that far exceeded that authority -- one way to block it is to make sure the senate never goes into recess by opening and closing the chamber every three days, so that there will be no question that the senate is not in recess. you can't do a recess appointment. today is my day to be able to sit down in the chair, open and close the session to make sure we are doing everything we can so that we keep the executive branch in check. there,tor james lankford the presiding officer in today's senate pro forma session. congressman tim walberg also on twitter today. he sent out a video today. his message, "it's been an absolute privilege to represent hundreds of vietnam veterans from michigan's seven district with their 50th anniversary pins." >> [indiscernible] [applause]
>> [indiscernible] u.s. marine corps. [applause] >> on behalf of the grateful nation, i want to say thank you to you for your service, for your sacrifice, for your valor, for the fact that your nation called and you came. god bless you, and welcome home. wear this pin proudly. you've earned it. >> members of the house and senate have about a week and a half left in the summer break. the congress returns on tuesday,
september 6, for legislative work. here's more now about the issues pending before congress when they return. c-span.org, you can watch our public affairs and political programming any time at your convenience on your best top, laptop, or mobile device -- desktop, laptop, or mobile device. go to c-span.org. use the search bar to type in a name or topic. reefin -- refine your search with our many search tools. our homepage has many current programs ready for your immediate viewing, such as today's "washington journal" or the events we covered that day. c-span.org is a public service of your cable or satellite provider. check it out at c-span.org.
>> white house press secretary josh earnest said president obama's top advisors conducted an evenhanded transition meeting with representatives of presidential nominees hillary clinton and donald trump. he also addressed the conflict in yemen and the recent u.s. navy incidents with iranian vessels in the u.s. -- in the persian gulf. mr. earnest: morning, everybody. happy friday. before we get started i'll just do a -- one piece of news you may have seen already. as part of the president's commitment to protect the natural beauty of the united states, we announced today that president obama is building on this leadership by taking an historic step in creating the world's largest marine protected area just off the coast of hawaii. the designation will more than quadruple the size of the existing marine monument,
permanently protecting pristine coral reefs, deep-sea marine habitats, and other important ecological features and resources in the waters of the northwest hawaiian islands. altogether, president obama has protected more public lands and waters than any other president, and has protected important marine coastal environments, spectacular natural areas renowned for their outdoor recreation opportunities they offer. and these sights often help tell the story of significant people or extraordinary events in american history. in fact, studies have shown that every dollar we invest in our national parks generates $10 for the national economy, most of which stays in local communities. and our national parks, forests and other public lands attract visitors from all over the world, fueling local economies and supporting an estimated $646 billion national outdoor economy. so, i'm happy to take your questions on the papahanaumokuakea national
marine monument -- [applause] or anything else that may be on your mind today. reporter: thanks, josh. mr. earnest: there's been a little practicing this morning. reporter: let's start with the economy. i wanted to ask you about this newest estimate showing that the economy was growing at a 1.1% rate in the spring, a little bit of a revision downward. is that concerning to the white house or not, particularly given the assessment from chairwoman yellen that the economy looks like it's strong enough that the case is building for an interest rate hike? mr. earnest: well, listen, the revision was just down 1/10 of 1%, so i don't think that there is a whole lot of new information that's revealed in the revision, some greater specificity around some of the underlying metrics. but, look, even in those underlying metrics, there is some optimistic data to take a look at. i think the most significant of those is that consumer spending grew at a very strong rate of 4.4% in the second quarter.
and i think that is consistent with the strong readings of consumer sentiment that we see in the economy. i think that is an indication that the president's optimism about the economy is shared pretty broadly by the american people. now, i think everybody agrees there's a lot more important work that needs to get done. and the president certainly has spent some time talking about additional steps he believes the country needs to take to ensure that economic opportunity is being enjoyed by people up and down the income scale. and that's why the president has made expanding access to a college education such a high priority. and the president continues to believe that a robust investment in infrastructure, particularly while interest rates are low, would have positive economic benefits for the country in the short term, but would also lay a foundation for our long-term economic strength. so, the president has got plenty of ideas about what additional work could be done to strengthen the economy and to further strengthen economic growth.
but the president's optimism about the u.s. economy is widely shared, and it should be. as it relates to comments from the fed chair, i understand that she gave a speech a little earlier this morning, and i'll let her assessment of the economy speak for itself. reporter: thanks, josh. there's been this debate taking place in france over the burkini, which, although it's a different legal system over there, it seems to mirror the debate that we've been having in this country about religious freedom and tolerance and concerns expressed over the political sphere about islam. if a u.s. municipality were to ban the use of the burkini the way a number have in france, what kind of a view of that would the white house take? mr. earnest: well, josh, i want to be careful of not weighing in too aggressively to second-guess the policy decisions that are being made by one of our closest allies, particularly when it comes to their assessment about national security and homeland
security. i think what i can say affirmatively about the united states and certainly the approach that the president has taken is there's a reason that the united states is a beacon of freedom around the world. the united states of america was founded to serve as a country where people could observe their religious faith and worship god without the fear of persecution or even intrusion by government authorities. this freedom of religion is something that we hold dear in this country. and what's important about the right to a freedom of religion is that every american citizen enjoys it. every american citizen, regardless of your faith, benefits from the protection that's provided by the united states constitution. the president certainly believes strongly in protecting freedom
of religion and believes that it's important that the commitment to that value and the commitment to that principle is reflected in the kinds of policies that are advanced by the federal government. the president also happens to believe that the commitment to those values actually strengthens our national security. reporter: and lastly, we didn't have a chance to talk a lot about the olympics while the president was on martha's vineyard. but ryan lochte is now being charged with filing basically a false police report in brazil, and i'm wondering, given the fact that we have an extradition treaty with brazil, would the u.s. consider a request from brazil to extradite one of our own citizens? mr. earnest: well, listen, the united states will certainly adhere to the terms of any extradition treaty that we've signed with any country in the world. obviously, as we've discussed in a very different context, we remain committed to following
those guidelines assiduously, and allowing the guidelines of those treaties and the law here in the united states to guide those discussions and to guide those decisions. i can't speak to the details of the charges that have been reportedly filed against mr. lochte, so for more details on that, i think i'd refer you either to brazilian authorities or to attorneys that have been retained by mr. lochte. ayesha. reporter: thanks. there have been reports of yemeni missiles hitting saudi arabia's oil facilities today. i was wondering -- and oil prices are up on these reports. is the white house monitoring this? is there concern about this latest seeming attack? mr. earnest: ayesha, i have not seen this specific report. what i can tell you in general is that the united states has
expressed on a number of occasions our concern about potential instability along saudi arabia's southern border. i think the only people who are more concerned about that are the saudis themselves. and they have expressed their own concerns about how some of the chaos and violence that they've seen in yemen could spill over into saudi arabia. and saudi arabia has undertaken military actions that they say are necessary to try to limit that threat. and the united states has provided some limited support to those operations. we certainly do stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners in saudi arabia as they figure out the most effective way to limit the national security risk that they face from the chaos and
violence in the country along their southern border. reporter: moving on to iran, so, a u.s. navy ship fired warning shots to warn an iranian fast-attack craft yesterday. and this is the latest in a series of incidents in the gulf this week. i was wondering, what does the white house think about these incidents, that they seem to be escalating? does the white house consider that these tactics are planned or that this is an orchestrated -- that these events are being orchestrated towards some end? what is the white house view on these incidents? mr. earnest: yes, ayesha, you won't be surprised to hear that the white house is well aware of recent incidents in and around the strait of hormuz of iranian vessels approaching u.s. vessels who are operating in
international waters. the department of defense has reached their own assessment about a couple of these situations and determined that the actions that were taken by the iranian vessels were unsafe and unprofessional. it's unclear exactly what their intentions were or what their aims might have been, but the behavior that we have seen is not acceptable, primarily because this is already a volatile region of the world. and in a compressed space like the strait of hormuz, it only increases the risk associated with possible miscalculations. that's certainly something that we want to avoid. and the truth is, a more dangerous interaction was avoided because of the
professionalism and skill of our united states navy and our men and women who represent our country in the united states navy. so, obviously the situation is rather unique, and our ability to discern exactly what their intent was is limited by the fact that we don't have diplomatic relations with iran. there are some channels where we've engaged in some talks, but there are no formal diplomatic representation of the united states on iranian soil. that typically -- where we've had these kinds of concerns have been raised by, for example, russian military vessels, we've got diplomatic channels that we can use to express our concerns and to try to reach an understanding about what exactly happened, we're a little limited in our ability to do so because
of the limited diplomatic relations between the united states and iran. reporter: but is there a concern that these incidents are escalating? is there maybe a call now to maybe to change tactics on the u.s. behalf or to do something about these incidents that keep occurring? mr. earnest: well, just to make sure that the record is clear here, these are u.s. vessels who are operating professionally in international waters, consistent with international norms. and it's only because of their professionalism that a more significant incident was avoided. and the behavior and the actions that we've seen by these iranian vessels is a source of concern because their actions were unsafe and unprofessional and, because in territory that's as compressed -- or in international waters that are as
compressed as the strait of hormuz, the likelihood of miscalculation is increased. and that is certainly something that we want to avoid. michelle. reporter: we've heard plenty of speeches this week from each presidential candidate, especially just yesterday -- hearing from both donald trump and hillary clinton, pretty much back to back. and what you see is the nominee on each side basically calling the other a bigot. you've talked about the debate in this country and how that's good for america. do you still feel like the debate is good for this country? mr. earnest: well, i think the president himself has acknowledged that there are certain aspects of our political discourse have gotten too polarized in a way that, ultimately, is counterproductive and only does feed greater dysfunction in our political system. and the president has
acknowledged that his own performance on this measure is not perfect, but it's been quite good. i would say i think that there is a risk of drawing an equivalence, even among the two presidential candidates, that i don't think would withstand any scrutiny at all by an unbiased analyst. and i think that people will consider the rhetoric and language that is used by the presidential candidates to draw their own conclusions about that individual's fitness for office. but i think that's part of the case that people make about what presidential elections are all about. while running -- being a presidential candidate is very
different than being president of the united states, when you're a presidential candidate, you do face some of the same challenges and stressors that a -- our president has to face in difficult times. being in the spotlight, being asked difficult questions under pressure, being able to communicate clearly to the country something that you believe, even if the topic is something that's quite complicated. so, i think it's entirely fair for people to listen carefully and to listen closely to the individual candidates and to draw some conclusions about the rhetoric that they use. reporter: i mean, there's been a lot of name-calling. and obviously that's something that's been there before in american politics. i mean, you look 100-odd years ago, there were some pretty nasty and rough things said on the trail. but there's something about this cycle that has shocked many watchers. does the administration feel like this cycle has changed
american politics for good? mr. earnest: when you say "for good," you mean for the better or you mean permanently? reporter: or you could just say, has it changed american politics? mr. earnest: well, listen, i think many people have made the observation that the political debate in this country, in this cycle, is markedly different than the kind of race that has been run in recent presidential cycles. and some of that is due to the rhetoric that we've seen on the republican side of the aisle. there's just no denying that. and not by any one candidate. there were a variety of republican candidates earlier in the primary process that had some quite shocking, controversial, and even offensive things to say -- some of them about the president of the united states.
so, that being said, i think the president has got a lot of confidence in the wisdom of the and the strength of this country's democratic institutions. i'm referring to our system of government as a democracy, not the democratic or two. the confidence in our sometution to withstand additional stress. knowledge -- would acknowledge that the american people and our institutions are more stressed and they happen. >> the reason i ask is because i've heard that the debate is good for america. but the way the debate has been conducted, a beacon say on both sides through the cycle, has that been good for america?
mr. earnest: i think there is a drawing equivalents to the rhetoric on both sides. i think there is no denying that some of the rhetoric that we have heard from presidential candidates has been counterproductive and inconsistent with our country's values. the president is not pleased to see that. that said, the president that running for president is a top business. -- tough business. throughout american history, there are any number of examples of harsh rhetoric on the campaign trail. this is not the first time that we have seen that in the context of american politics. i think it is fair to say that there seems to be a little something different this time
around. john. >> and interview -- and interview of a person taken hostage and murdered by isis. the president went to visit with the family about 17 months ago. during that visit, the president had promised to make a donation to a foundation they had set up. is that correct? mr. earnest: let me start by ordeal that the family has had to endure is unimaginable. their daughter was a special person. she had a special calling in life. remember the first time we were in this room talking about reports of her death.
her parents made public a letter she had written and enabled to deliver to them -- able to deliver to them where she talked about how her life had been .ulfilled based on her passion the lunch used was that she usedled -- line that she with that she recalled seeing god in the eyes of people in crisis. a profound statement from someone in her early 20's. her life and her example has had an impact on people all across the country. it has had in an impact on people here at the white house, my life -- myself included. given all of that, i think pain
and grief that continues to be family, id by the think it's entirely understandable. what i can say is that i will not speak to any private conversations that the president has had with their family. what i will say is that the president is aware of the foundation that has been formed to honor her memory and life's work. it is consistent with the kind of terrible organizations the president and the first lady have supported in the past. i anticipate the president would make a commitment to support this organization. said is that the meetingt during the said he would be making a donation to the foundation and 17 months later, he says the donation has not been made.
can you confirm than a donation has been made? mr. earnest: i was not a part of the conversation. >> you don't think he would like? -- lie. mr. earnest: i'm just indicating that i was not a part of the meeting. this is a private conversation. the president is aware of the foundation that has been set up .o support the life's work it is the kind of organization that the president and first lady have supported in the past. this sitete foundation that the president and first lady would support. >> can you give us any reason that would prompt a delay like that? mr. earnest: i can't speak to any promises or conversations between the president and the family directly. expressedrents also some disappointment with the
kaylats taken to free before she was murdered was inadequate. the president could have been a hero but he chose not to. what is your reaction? mr. earnest: this is a father who is grieving over the loss of his daughter. sadnessthe grief and that he feels about the fact that his daughter was not rescued is an entirely human response and one that is understandable. at the direction of president obama himself, a variety of national security agencies expend significant resources and time to go into great lengths to try to rescue americans who are being unjustly held against their will around the world. will alsoecall --
recall there were some weaknesses in that approach that were identified by the administration. there have been imported reforms made in the process over the course of the last 18-24 months. they have resulted in more effective use of those resources and more effective use of the expertise within the federal government to sharpen our efforts to secure the return or to rescue american students held against their will. -- citizens held against their will. there have also been efforts made to improve the way the government communicates with families who are in this unspeakable situation. the president has been pleased reforms haveose improved the effectiveness both the release of
hostages and medicating with families in the difficult situation. community with families in the difficult situation. the pace of improvement is hoping to continue. plan --te individuals paying ransom. white house officials threatened them with criminal prosecution if they try to pay the $69 ransom, is that correct -- $6 million in some, is that correct -- ransom, is that correct? mr. earnest: i will not get into this conversation. is not theou that it policy of the obama administration to threaten families like these who are in the situations -- the situation with prosecution. the united states does have a policy of not paying ransom. that is a painful policy.
it is understandable that gravees would have concerns about the policy. i can understand them raising some moral questions about that. the conclusion that president obama reached the same conclusion that previous presidents in both parties have reached which is that to get into the habit of paying ransom would only make americans traveled overseas a more appetizing target to criminal organizations. for that reason, we have made clear, and we have carefully follow the policy of not paying ransom even to secure the americans who are being held against their will overseas. clear, can the toily expects the president make a donation to the
foundation soon? i can't speak to any previous conversations they have had. i -- the foundation, kayla's if the kind of foundation that the president and first lady have supported in the past. i would expect that they would make a financial contribution. you aboutto ask [indiscernible] any update on the conversation? confirm thean coronation between russia and part of that deal? mr. earnest: we know that russia is -- has expressed some interest in greater military cooperation.
the concern we have expressed is that too much of the time and attention of the russian military is being devoted to propping up the astonishing -- assad regime. the horrific tactics of those undershooting -- assad regime. militaryhat government assets, including aircraft with the full support of the russians and iranians have been used to target civilians and target medical facilities. pale.beyond the matter, theal actions that would have seen from the assad regime are
indefensible from a moral perspective. for people who are not interested with morality, even as a practical matter, they only put off the kind of solution that even the russians themselves acknowledge as necessary to deal with the situation inside of syria. as long as russia is going to support the regime's murderous tactics that often claim the lives of innocent women and children, the more difficult it is for a political solution to be reached. it is also more difficult for him in a turn relief to be delivered -- humanitarian relief to be delivered. is the crux of the problem. i recognize that it is a problem for the united states that it has prevented the kind of
political progress we would like to see inside of syria. it is a bigger problem for the russians. it calls into question their integrity and their effectiveness to deal with the puppet regime that they are rate -- our maintaining. maintainingre inside of syria. they say that a clinical transition is necessary but yet they are invested in propping up the assad regime. the more they profit up, the more difficult it is to affect the political transition. i recognize that this has been an impediment to the united states. we want to end violence in syria, try to get the chaos under control and make it more difficult for stressed organizations to operate. because of the russians and their inability or the refusal to exercise some input
over the assad regime, it has only continue to fuel the kind of extremism that the russians are worried about. this is all a subject of ongoing discussions between secretary kerry and his russian counterpart. i don't have a detailed update of the conversation to share with you because, as i learned shortly before, they are still talking. we have been clear about what we need to see. we need to see a clear commitment demonstrated in real life on the ground. and thehat the russians syrian government are willing to live up to the commitment they made in the context of the cessation of hostilities six
months ago. >> try to understand how to read [indiscernible] -- the talks are going in the direction for you don't think the russians and the assad regime are making a type of concessions you would need to see for this type of military action. mr. earnest: i probably don't heak the kind of point -- wants diplomatic -- new wants to -- nuanced diplomatic talk by by other agencies. we have been clear about this. we are not seeking concessions. the russianng government living up to the commitments they have made.
they have made commitments in the context of cessation of hostilities. they made this commitments six months ago. for several weeks -- there was skepticism when they made the commitment about their willingness to follow through. i think everyone was pleasantly surprised. they didn't think to be a commitment on the part of the russians in terms of their own activities and using their influence with the assad regime to scale back military activity in a way that allowed for much improved humanitarian accents -- access included space -- and created space for diplomatic negotiations. over the last several months we have seen the commitment to the cessation of hostilities fray, o.pecially around alepp
that has led to the situation where the human appearing situation -- humanitarian situation has gotten even worse. the political talks are struggling, if they are doing anything. and the russian activities only fuel extremism in the country. because of the efforts of the united states and our counsel coalition,nter isil we've been able to address it while that. they are under a lot of pressure. progressade important on the ground against isil. that has come in spite of the actions of the russians who continue to engage in activities that only fuel extremism. it is a complicated situation. again, there are negative consequences for the united
states because of the inability of the russians to live up to their commitment. the negative consequences for the russians themselves are much greater. it is appealing to that self-interest. the point is, that is where make the case to you that we are not describing these as concessions on the part of the russians, this is about living up to commitments they have made that are consistent with their own self interest. unfortunately, they have refused to do that. your answer to tpp [indiscernible] proliferation of car loans with people with bad credit and pain high interest rates -- paying high interest rates.
designed for default. consumer spending [indiscernible] the bubble could burst. mr. earnest: i can't speak to the specifics of the used car sector. we can find somebody to follow up with you. i think what the data does show of the the credit health u.s. economy when talking about individuals as opposed to as this is, -- businesses has improved significantly. the credit bubble and the run-up to the financial crisis in 2008-2009 is much improved. there are a variety of reasons for that.
important work that has been done as part of what the report. that is a function of common sense. reform.street that is a function of common sense. there has been improvement on this when it comes to emerging risks and things like the used car market. i will defer to the experts. >> last one. creating a type of bunch for newer -- new type of entrepreneur [indiscernible] new leases that would serve temporarily to allow refugees to enter the united states and other countries. wondering [indiscernible] an idea that has been considered
or worked on? listen, i would refer you to my colleagues at dhs in terms of the specifics about whether or not a specific refugee visa could be issued. there have been steps to try to address the refugee situation regarding central america. this is something the administration officials have been discussing with their counterparts in costa rica. they have established a process to allow individuals to apply for refugee status without coming to the united states. that could stem the tide of the flow of individuals and help us get a handle on that situation while continuing to enforce our laws and make sure we live up to the standards set by the president to subject potential
refugees to more thorough vetting and screening than any other individual who enters the united days. the president -- united states. the president is contaminated -- committed to that principle. regarding some executive action that could involve some visa toe authority, i do for you dhs -- defer you to dhs. >> [indiscernible] is that off the table? mr. earnest: that is off the table because of the implied military committed that it would require in order to effectively enforce it. the concern is that it sounds simple to maintain that kind of area, ultimately, responsible for the border of the same sound and policing the say-so.
that would be work intensive. it would be dangerous. it would require a greater u.s. military commitment. it would come at the expense of our on going efforts to destroy isil. >> there has been a military analysis done on this. mr. earnest: i don't know how formal of an analysis there has been. there has been a consideration of this issue. discussed,e it is the team comes back to the realization that this work intensive dangerous effort to establish borders, patrolled the skies overhead and please the area once it has been created is all too likely to fall on the shoulders of the united states of america in a way that is contrary to our interests and our counter isil efforts. >> president assad guilty of
crimes for all the horrible things he has done. mr. earnest: we read a little bit more about them today. there's a painful story in the new york times today. essentially be scorched-earth scorched-earth strategy that has been executed by the assad regime to target medical facilities and target residential facilities with women and children is unconscionable. their international institutions that have been established to fairly evaluate questions like that. evidence and they for conducting those kinds of investigations. the united states is strongly supportive and has called for
international consideration of this exact question. unfortunately, the united nations have seen countries like russia and china stepped forward to try to block progress of those investigations. that is disappointing. particularly when you read the kinds of accounts that i read about today in the new york times. >> there is a process of delay isre the united states trying to get the international community to reach that conclusion? mr. earnest: what the united states has done has called for the international community and the international criminal court and other organizations to conduct investigations and get to the bottom of this specific question. to conduct an investigation that is impartial and independent. we are strong supportive of that. this question has been raised at the united nations level. it has been blocked by the
russians and the chinese. when thereortunate is a lot of evidence to indicate that the assad regime is engaged in tactics like targeting women and children and medical facilities that are unconscionable. the united states believes strongly that people should be held accountable and that they ultimately will. that accountability should come through the well-established international process and through the international bodies that are charged with conducting these kind of investigations and reaching those conclusions. >> there is a big transition meeting here. mr. earnest: just yesterday. >> can you give us anything about what happened? what they are talking about? mr. earnest: as you know, the
president made a smooth transition a top priority for his team. we have talked a lot about how effective president bush's team was. they prepared in advance for a smooth transition. president obama and his team here benefited from that tremendously. i think it did reflect a commitment to professionalism presidentacy that obama and his team is determined to live up to. that is why you have seen a steady pace of preparations already underway for transition. the conversation yesterday involved senior members of become campaign and -- trump campaign and senior representatives from hillary clinton. there were some senior national security officials as well.
i can tell you that this meeting of the white house transition court and counsel was focused on waykinds of steps along the that the federal government and its representatives of the two candidates will have to take over the course of the next i've months as they prepare for one of them to become president. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up on saturday morning, brookings institution will talk about turkey's role fighting isis. and the competitions that arise from syrian kurds. haroldi girl reporter -- reporter on the recent move to transfer 15 detainees out of guantanamo bay. c-span's washington journal live beginning at 7:00 eastern on
saturday morning. during the discussion. -- join the discussion. >> sunday night on q and a. >> one racial lynching a week in the south. it was a brilliant psychological device to hold down a race. if you are black, you are afraid that this could happen to you. he talks about his literary career including his latest book, the lynching. yet the courtroom bottle -- battle the client -- battle klan.brought down the mr. lamb: he's a teenager. youngest of seven children. home with his mother. his aunt wants to ask him to get a pack of cigarettes. give him a dollar and puts it in the wallet. he goes out and it car comes up behind him.
he pulls out the pistol and orders him into the backseat of the car. he knows when he gets into the car what will happen. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q and a. c-span, it is democratic vice presidential nominee tim kaine in tallahassee, florida. and that phone calls is followed by a debate between democrats running for congress i n florida's 23rd district. during this august recess, we have been following a number of members of congress in their home states and districts as they participated in any number of activities, councils -- town halls and business meetings.