tv KQED Newsroom PBS January 7, 2017 2:00am-2:31am PST
♪ hello and welcome to "kqed newsroom," i'm thuy vu. coming up on our program, oakland picks an outsider for police chief to lead a department that's been besieged by scandal and ruptured relationships with the community. plus, i'll sit down with the new mayor of berkeley, jesse arreguin, the youngest mayor in the city's history. first, with president-elect trump's inauguration two weeks away, republican leaders are wasting no time defining job number one -- gutting the affordable care act. that could have huge ramifications for california. more than one-third of californians are covered under medi-cal, the state's version of medicaid, which the aca helped to expand. immigration is also being targeted, and state lawmakers are gearing up for battle.
here to discuss what's at stake for california are kqed california politics and government reporter marisa lagos, health editor carrie feibel, and john supulveda. thank you all. cop republicans made it clear -- top republicans made it clear that they're serious about gutting the affordable care act. how will this affect california where more than one-third of californians are on medi-cal which the aca helped expand? >> exactly. it will be huge. not all californians on medi-cal, they were on medi-cal before, but 3.8 million californians got on to medi-cal because of the affordable care act. and an additional 1.3 million were able to purchase their own individual policy because of the affordable care act. and if that money all goes away, that's $20 billion a year that california will lose. and that will have a huge
trickle-down effect on people's health care, people going back to being uninsured about on our economy. >> i've been talking to folks around the capitol. there's consensus among democrats that there's no way to backfill that money. if that $15 billion goes away from childless adults who were able to go on medi-cal because of obamacare, we can't make it up. and so there's a really big question mark. and of course then there's the subsidy beneficiaries, as well, over what the state will do, do we go back to a system where, you know, people are flooding emergency rooms, or is there going to be some effort to try to, you know, change the benefit structure so that more people have weaker benefits essentially? >> the cost to local hospitals is important. so about $20 billion we know is going to be lost if it's repealed. we also know that to make that up we would have to see something like the cigarette tax done 20 times over because it gives us about $1 billion to medi-cal. and that $20 billion ends up in many local hospitals. and this specifically affects rural areas, right. so if you have a rural area, say, out in kern county or
somewhere out there, they're dependent on hospitals as providing really good jobs to this area. not only are they going to lose the money that is going into the hospitals because of obamacare, but they're going to be seeing big losses because we're going to return to the emergency care that was done before the aca was passed. >> in addition to the health insurance impact, also jobs. the aca created about 200,000 jobs in california. what happens to those jobs? >> well, i mean, i think there's been a lot of studies that are coming out that show that there would be significant job losses if this moves forward. now we should say republicans have repeatedly said they want to replace obamacare. with what, we don't know. i think there are a lot of unanswered questions about whether the jobs and insurance would disappear. i think that the rural issue is also interesting because kern county, for example, kevin mccarthy, house minority leader, is from that area. more than half of residents in his district benefit from medi-cal. there's thousands of jobs there. so i think that's going to be thing to watch moving forward --
how do republicans in congress sort of bridge this gap between the rhetoric on the campaign trail and the reality of their constituents. >> i think it's important to clarify that even if in the next month or two congress goes ahead with this, nothing's going to change immediately for californians on medi-cal in 2017. >> it could take one to two years for it to happen -- >> right. >> or it could take much longer. >> right. california has already signed the contract with insurers. the premiums can't change in 2017. if you're on it this year, you'll be insured through the end of the year is what they're saying. >> two points. i'm curious what you think about this -- the idea that it could be repealed without a replacement, ready to go, what we're looking at, that seems like it would cause uncertainty in the health market. as we know, insurance is all about certainty, it seems like that could cause a lot of problems right there, just not knowing what the plan's going to be. >> right. something called the death spiral. this has been talked about a lot. the fear that if too many healthy people drop out of this insurance market which could definitely happen as premiums start to rise, then more sick
people are the ones insured, premiums rise to cover their illnesses and so forth. premiums just start skyrocketing. that's what they're saying is going to happen even if they say, well, we'll repeal it and we'll figure out something the next year or two, businesses don't like uncertainty. so insurers are going to say, well, we're walking away now. >> you have to wonder like who are they trying to please. if you look at the polls, only half of the voters say they'd like to repeal obamacare. the vast majority say they want it replaced with something better. so i do think that there's a really interesting sort of political needle that republicans need to thread, even trump this week tweeted, you know, be careful, whatever that means. so the other interesting thing i think politically is you are seeing democrats sort of act more like republicans have been. you have the president and the vice president this week -- you can't help them save themselves. if they want to repeal this, they need to own it. that will be interesting to watch if congressional democrats can really keep that unified front and push back and say, no,
we're not going to be responsible. >> and you're seeing this briefly playing out. rand paul in kentucky coming out and saying we need to do something. he's got a lot of rural areas. i am curious, though, what's going to happen -- a lot of people -- you talked about jobs, a lot of people in california decided to become entrepreneurs or decided to become independent businesspeople, artists, because they had -- they knew they had access to aca. that goes away. do the jobs go away, as well? >> that's a good question. i want to move on to immigration, as well. it was back in the headlines this week, california leaders announced that they had retained eric holder, the former u.s. attorney general, to help represent california in any legal fights against the trump administration, including on immigration issues. marisa, what else are lawmakers in sacramento doing on the issue of immigration? they've introduced some bills. >> that's right. in general we have expanded immigrants' rights, undocumented immigrants' rights, you know, a
lot over the last eight years. we have medi-cal is rolling out to some -- to minors. there's some thought of putting state funds into nonprofits and potentially public defenders to help defend immigrants who are facing deportation. there's a lot of other things percolating. the eric holder thing is interesting. it's a three month, $25,000-a-month contract. as of now it's not for litigation. they're going to be advising them on responses. i think there's been a lot of questions, will we have an attorney general or we will soon, becera will replace kamala harris and is expected to be confirmed. what are they gearing up for is the question. what they're gearing up for is having somebody in the know like holder and this respected law firm to tell the legislature what bills do you need to write and pass to respond to whatever trump and this republican congress is doing in realtime. >> i think this is interesting from my vantage point. eric holder is the one who oversaw the most deportations in
u.s. history, and the california legislature is turning toward him to say we need to do something to help make sure there aren't deportations. there's plenty of irony. >> that's the point. >> briefly, kevin deleon, senate president, it's almost like -- the first person to tell me this was guy marzarati, producer at "the california report." it seemed he was saying governor jerry brown has his pick for attorney general, i have my pick for attorney general, and that's eric holder. that seemed to be the enthusiasm behind when deleon spoke earlier this week. it came off that way. >> and it's not just democratic lawmakers who are announcing bills on the issue of immigration this week. on the republican side, darrell issa of southern california, said he's got a bill to make it tougher to get h1b visas. >> the most interesting point, to watch the reaction in the united states, to watch the reaction in india. this is important to california. california's dented on tech, i.p. law, things coming out of
india. call centers, things like that. india has really freaked out about this because it would mean a lot of indian companies or companies that have major business in india are not going to be able to get their workers over unless they pay them a lot more or something was to change. and just a quick stat -- the indian stock market lost 22,000 crones, the equivalent of $5 million, when this was announced that this was filed by republican darrell issa. >> and essentially now the highly skilled workers, there's a $60,000 threshold. this would move it in terms of salaries to $100,000. it would also eliminate this requirement for a master's degree if somebody's below that threshold. you know, i think there's actually agreement among lawmakers and a lot of people even in tech that there could be tweaks to the program. i think as always the devil's in the details. you know, this was met by a lot of consternation by lofgren, a silicon valley lawmaker. she will propose her own fix to
this. i think there's a lot of issues here. and $100,000 in silicon valley doesn't go that far, right? >> if we say hb1, most people are like what are you talking about. it goes back to the question, why isn't it being done now? what is the reasoning for that? and i haven't heard a good answer on that. >> that is a good question. i wish we could go into it a little more. i want to also get to the new california delegation in congress, john. and we've got a delegation now including senator kamala harris, the first black woman to represent california in the senate. the first indian american to be in the senate. who are some of the rising stars that we can expect to see? >> i don't know if she's a rising star yet, but nanette barrigan, in the congressional delegation from los angeles county. she was a former hermosa beach city councilwoman. she took on somebody who had the full support of the los angeles democratic party machine, state senator from compton. and she beat him by 2% points. it was a big win. it was something that we saw her
do by going door to door and just being a great campaigner. so in a year when many women were thinking that because of the loss of hillary clinton it was a setback for women in politics, this is a good example of somebody who knows how to connect with voters and knows what issues they care about. >> what about who beat honda in silicon valley? >> that was a bloodbath. watching that was the same strange fascination of watching, you know, something disastrous play out. >> could he be a rising star? >> i think so. he's younger and represents the tech mentality more. this is a rematch from a couple of years ago when honda beat him out. he's one to watch especially given with the issue of visas and immigration, how to bridge the gap. kamala hair nice a weird way i think has -- harris has in a weird way been given a gift. she has a real opportunity to stand up and fight this administration on all the policy issues we've already discussed and others like climate change
that are really important to her home state. >> kamala harris had a chance, it was revealed by the intercept, she had a chance to go after the man who will be the treasury secretary under mr. trump when she was attorney general for problems with the foreclosure market. this memo came out, and it was shown that she did nothing. so she will have that chance, but we've seen in the past she hasn't taken advantage of that. >> all right. in the 15 seconds we have remaining, what else should we look for between now and inauguration day that might have a huge impact on california? >> i'm really closely watching the border towns, especially in calexico where we had a high number of republican folks who voted with donald trump but don't agree with the idea of the wall. >> we'll wrap this up. two weeks until inauguration day. marisa, carrie, and john, thank you all. >> thank you. for the first time in 14 years, berkeley elected a new mayor, jesse arreguin. the youngest mayor and first latino to hold the post. he's a berkeley graduate and served eight years as city
council member. he takes the reins at a challenging time for berkeley. the city has a large homeless population, housing affordability problems, and its sanctuary city status faces threats from the incoming trump administration. jesse arreguin, nice to have you here. >> thank you for having me. >> congratulations, you officially took office december 1st. what are your top two priorities? >> addressing our homeless crisis. we have an unprecedented number of homeless people on our streets. it's not just a local issue, it's a regional issue. so i'm committed to working with other mayors in other cities to pursue region am strategies to address homelessness such as creating housing and navigation centers, as well as addressing our affordability crisis which is actually leading to increased homelessness in our community. >> let's start with homelessness then. you've seen a 23% increase in the homes population in berkeley over the last seven years. what specifically will do about that? you mentioned navigation centers, are you talking about the type san francisco has where everybody moves in, shopping
carts, pets, and the social services are under one roof? >> yes, absolutely. i'm proud to say in the one month i've been in office, we have made a tremendous progress in addressing homelessness. at our first city council meeting we asked staff to double the capacity of shelters and warming centers and moving towards developing a navigation center with the goal of moving people to permanent housing. so we are making progress, but there's a lot more to be done. and as i mentioned, i'm particularly interested in how we can develop regional strategies to address this issue. >> how will you do that? historically bay area cities have operated pretty much independently of one another on the issue of homelessness. how will you convince them to get into a regional agreement? >> i've already been in conversation with the mayor of oakland, the mayor of emeryville, and other mayors in the region around joint housing initiatives and navigation centers. i think we all recognize that this is a shared challenge that we have. and if we really want to make a lasting impact in reducing homelessness, we have to work together. >> what about affordable
housing? what specifically will you do to make more affordable units available? >> several things. we're fortunate that the voters of berkeley approved several measures which would provide millions in funding to create new housing for low and middle-income families. we not only have low-income families, we have a missing middle that needs to be served by creating subsidized housing. and housing for homeless. so i want to move to expand the capacity of affordable housing in berkeley, to have policies in place to prevent displacement so we can keep people in their homes. so there's a lot we can do to stem the tide of displacement and keep berkeley diverse and affordable. >> in the meantime, you do still have an issue with homeless encampments. why do you stand on those? there -- where do you stand on those? there was an encampment on adeline that got cleared before christmas, generated quite a bit of controversi. >> yeah. i think the encampments are a symptom of the bigger issue. i'd like to see berkeley move toward creating a sanction encampment, something that
oakland has done to serve that particular population. we also need to stay focused on creating permanent housing and transitional housing, as well. so we will be working on all those initiatives in the coming weeks and months. >> and speaking of housing, staying on the issue, another issue -- another controversial idea, right, are the short-term rentals. and like the type you find in airbnb. where do you stand on that? currently they're illegal in berkeley, but there are about 1,000 short-term rental units in berkeley. >> correct. i think we should allow the new economy, but we need strong protections in place that we're not losing housing when we're in a housing crisis. and we've seen whole buildings, rental properties, that have been used as short-term rentals. we're working on crafting regulations that balance the need to allow people to rent property on a short-term basis but also to preserve a long-term housing stock. >> you would legalize them? >> yes, i think we should legalize them but have strong
enforcement and policies to discourage the conversion of long-term housing. >> also wanted to ask you about altabase hospital. anything to be done to save it from closing? >> i think there are things we can do. looking at san francisco and the fight to save st. luke's hospital, a successful effort and was a fight against the same corporation, the sutter corporation. i think we need to build a regional coalition because this doesn't just affect berkeley, it affects all the other cities in west contra costa county. we need to work to put pressure on sutter to keep them open. if they close, we need to make sure we have an emergency room to serve residents. >> and as you know, the inauguration for president-elect trump happens in a couple of weeks. he has made immigration a big issue. and he has specifically targeted sanctuary city saying he will withdraw federal funding. berkeley currently gets about $11.5 million in federal funding.
what will that money be used for? and what is it currently being used for? you've said that you're not giving up the sanctuary city status. what will you do if you lose that funding? >> the funding that would be affected by such a policy is funding for the most vulnerable, public health programs, homeless programs, housing programs. and so we need to make sure that we can keep those services in operation if president-elect trump decides to follow through on his threat. we're also going to be working with other cities in the bay area to have regional resources, legal defense resources, resources for undocumented families because berkeley is a sanctuary city. we will remain a sanctuary city and will continue to fight for the values that make our city an inclusive, diverse, and equitable community. >> i wanted to ask about your personal story. it's a compelling one. when you were elected to the city council you were the youngest city councilman then. now you're the youngest mayor. you were the first latino to be mayor in berkeley.
do you feel there's a special responsibility that comes with being the first on those fronts? >> absolutely. i think now more than ever with the new leadership in washington and as we discuss the move to particularly aggressively enforce immigration policy and the statements have been made by president-elect against latinos and immigrants. i think there's a special responsibility that i have to fight for the rights of all people, and to also as the youngest mayor, to make sure that we are opening the doors of our government to all people. and particularly young people, to empower them and get them engaged. i think that's how we're going to make lasting change in our society is by empowering and engaging young people to get involved and make a difference. i'm incredibly excited to be mayor. i think it presents a unique opportunity to move our city forward. >> in addition to you, there are a few younger members on the berkeley city council, as well. libby schaaf is also young and mayor of oakland. do you think there's a generational shift going on in
leadership in the east bay? >> i think so. and i think it's coming at an important time. you know, from our housing crisis, homeless crisis, regional transportation issues, we need fresh ideas. we need fresh thinking. and so i think this is happening at a critical time. and i'm excited to work with the new council and with other mayors to address the challenges facing our region. >> jesse arreguin, berkeley's new mayor, thank you very much for being here. much luck to you. >> thank you very much. and a big announcement this week in oakland. after a seven-month search, oakland mayor libby schaaf introduced the new police chief, anne kirkpatrick. >> i do have the courage, indeed, of holding officers accountable. but that includes myself holding me accountable. but for the men and women of the oakland police department, i also want you to know that in this chief i have the courage to stand by you, and i will. >> kirkpatrick is set to become
the city's first female police chief. she's currently guiding reforms in chicago's troubled police department. the head of the police board there told kqed that kirkpatrick is tough as nails and honest as the day is long. the new chief has 34 years of policing experience to draw on as she takes the helm in oakland. the department has been rocked by a sexual misconduct scandal and remains under federal watch 13 years after the infamous riders case. joining me to discuss the story is darwin von gramm with the east bay express. welcome. >> good to be here. >> the new chief has held various leadership posts including in chicago, which we mentioned. she was also police chief in spokane, washington, until 2012. how did she perform in those jobs? >> she wasn't on the job long in chicago. in spokane she spent six years at that police department. she knew when she took that job that she was inheriting a very difficult situation. they had had a killing committed
by a police officer there just i think six months before she took over. morale was low. that officer went on trial. there was a bit of a scandal, a cover yuch the-up there also. she had to handle that situation. people say for the most part she did a good job there. >> what does that tell you about how she might lead in sdploooak? >> she's a reformer, and she's tough. she says she's not afraid to fire people. that appears to be why mayor schaaf made this pick in particular. >> does that include firing command staff, though? one of the complaints that we hear often from rank and file in oakland is that when misconduct happens, they are the ones who get penalized but supervisors rarely get punished. >> that's true. that's a complaint among a lot of the rank-and-file officers there. it remains to be seen if she'll discipline people who rank lieutenant and above. >> i talked with mayor libby schaaf at the height of the turmoil in june of last year as the sex scandal involving officers and a teenager broke out.
here's what she said at that time about the need for change in oakland's police department -- >> i have talked a lot this week about what i believe is a toxic, macho culture. and that's why's important we not just look at our recruiting and screening practices, not just at who is becoming a police officer, but the culture once they're in the department. a culture of not coming forward and reporting misconduct. that is something that i'm very serious about getting underneath and reforming. >> so will the new chief be able to change the department's culture? >> that's the biggest question of all, right? i mean, the oakland police department, 13 years under federal oversight. the primary thing holding them back is apparently there is a culture within the police department of not reporting misconduct. they didn't take the negotiated settlement agreement seriously for the first few years. they've struggled to complete those reforms. so will this chief be able to do these things?
her resume seems to indicate that she will. it looks like a good pick, but we really don't know yet. >> what is her philosophy on policing? >> if you read the answers that she gave to supplemental questionnaires for different jobs she's applied to over the years, chicago and now recently oakland, her philosophies appear to be both very progressive but also in some ways quite traditional and conservative. she says she believes in the broken windows theory of policing -- >> explain that. >> that's essentially the idea that serious crimes like murders and robberies are committed more frequently when officers don't crack down on smaller quality of life crimes. >> there have been critics of that, right? >> a lot. >> yeah. they say it promotes racial profiling, it cracks down on low-income people. it's something that's a practice -- than particular practice but the broken windows theory is something she supports which
kind of seems the antithesis to what some community activists would say oakland needs now to heal the community. >> it she says she supports that, and yet at the same time in those questionnaires, her answers are that she supports community-oriented policing. she supports efforts to track officer misconduct and intervene early on when an officer is identified as having problems like racial bias and so forth. it's -- it's an interesting combination of seeminglyphiloso. >> what would you say the biggest challenges as she prepares to take over the oakland police department? >> well, at the press conference where she was introduced, the question was asked what is -- what is her take on the negotiated settlement agreement, why has the oakland police department not been able to complete that reform, that set of reforms over 13 years. she did haven't an answer to that. it's going to be a huge challenge for her to understand the nsa as a document and a process.
>> what is the nsa? just tell our viewers quickly. >> right. the negotiated settlement agreement stems back to an earlier police officer misconduct scandal in the late '90s, early 2000s, officers were found to be planting drugs on individuals, beating them. so that -- >> that was the riders scandal? >> the riders scandal. as a result of that, a federal judge appointed a monitor to oversee the department in a series of reforms. she has to understand the whole history behind that and the problems that the police department has faced in completing those reforms. but she's also got -- this is a big problem -- oakland just set up a police commission. so she doesn't just have the mayor to answer to now. she's going to have the police commission has a boss also. she's going to have about five bosses. it's going to be a difficult job. >> and some community activists have said that they wish that the mayor had wait until the police commission was in place before she made the hire. we will see how things shake out. darwin von gramm with east bay ex-private sectors, thank you very much. >> thanks -- east bay express,
thank you very much. >> thanks. "kqed newsroom" is moving to a different time slot in two weeks. starting friday, january 20th, we'll start airing at 7:00 p.m. we'll kick it off with special coverage of the presidential inauguration. so please join us friday, january 20th, at 7:00 p.m. for more of our coverage, go to kqed.org/newsroom. i'm thuy vu. thank you for watching. ♪