tv KQED Newsroom PBS January 15, 2017 5:00pm-5:31pm PST
hello and welcome to show show. i'm thuy vu. coming up on our program, we talk with controversial rabbi marvin higher as he prepared to participate in president-elect donald trump's inauguration. and a conversation with big wave surfer bianca valenti about women competing for the first time this year in the coveted maverick surfing contest. but first the new year is off to a busy start in sacramento where governor jerry brown unveil the his budget proposal this week. he warns that state revenues are shrinking and california faces uncertainty as donald trump assumes the presidency. >> that's why we're going to have to hold on here. this is going to be a rough ride. we cannot tell where we're going to be in a few months.
>> meanwhile, the governor's nominee for california attorney general, javier becerra, faced his first confirmation hearing. we'll also examine what we heard during president-elect dump's first news conference and how it might affect california. marisa la go sat down with senior political reporter david ciders. >> thanks for joining us. >> great to be here. >> so president-elect donald trump hosted his first press conference this week in more than six months. he covered a lot of ground, but there is one thing that caught my eye as a californian. when he talked a little bit about maybe being willing to play favorites moving forward. let's take a look at what he said. >> that was a beautiful scene on november 8th as those states started to pour in and we focused very hard on those states. and they really reciprocated. and those states are going to have a lot of jobs, and they're going to have a lot of security. they're going to have a lot of
good news for their veterans. >> so if the president-elect is serious about what he's saying, what do you think this is going to mean for california? >> i think it depends on where you're sitting. people who have been opposed to trump all along, i think, think that california is in for a real fight. you think about people who advocate for undocumented immigrants, for example, for health care. on the other hand, i was at a chamber function just the other day, talking to business people. and i think the almost unanimous feeling there is we don't know. some things, maybe there's tax regulations that help their situation. on the other hand, some things could be disastrous. >> i mean we obviously know that obamacare repeal could punch a huge hole in the state budget. but, yeah, i just wonder if, you know, on the trade issues, on things like that, being a border state, it could be a little different than just looking at, say, health care and sanctuary city and immigration, right? >> well, i i think you're right. the former mayor of san francisco thinks we should use
environmental quality act to block the wall. that certainly would be particular to california. whatever version of that is in texas is not as strong as california's. >> returning to sacramento where obviously any of these changes would be felt, governor jerry brown unveiled a budget this week. and i would say he was vintage brown in unveiling this. let's take a look at the governor making his case for keeping spending down. >> i don't think it makes any sense or even very decent to pretend we've got money when we don't because having it means having it over a whole budget cycle. and to spend and then cut and then have the whole -- all those problems that we saw under gray davis and under arnold schwarzenegger, i don't want to repeat that. >> he took little swipes there at his predecessors. what did you make of the press conference in general and the budget? >> we've heard this from the governor before. he's gone through the litany of
previous governors who have left deficits for his successors and i think the governor doesn't want to be that. this an interesting way he frames the whole debate. he says this is a choice of a fixed amount of dollars. if you're a social services advocate or an advocate for the low income people, you say that's the wrong frame and that actually we have more money in improving the lives of people at the bottom, spending some now lifts all boats, right? we'll see. >> i think it's interesting. there was a couple things he kind of called out that he wants to either eliminate or sort of cap spending on that seem like they could really pose big fights with the legislature. one of this is this middle class scholarship act for funding college for middle class students. the other one is housing. he basically took off the table $400 million funds that he had kind of dangled out there last year if they were willing to make some regulatory changes. do you think those are going to be the big points of, you know, disagreement, or is it going to be over just how much money is there to fight over? >> well, the revenue estimates, i think, are always an important thing. but keep in mind this is
january. so he's not going to give the drea democratic lawmakers everything they want in the january proposal. he has things he wants between now and june and i think he's willing to spend if he gets some of those things done. probably the biggest push out of this budget from him, the newest thing was the acknowledgement that extending cap in trade beyond 2020 would require a two-thirds vote in the legislature, and really now asking the legislature to do it. i think it's highly uncertain what he does. >> i mean it will be an interesting fight between environmentalists who have been happy with his climate change policy and obviously the sort of more mad rat democrats who have been a little more willing to stand up with oil, who did open the door to cap in trade this week. there's another thing that was happening around the capitol this week i want to get to. jerry brown's nomination for attorney general, javier becerra was in town, i think two days. tell me what we saw and what just happened on friday. >> we saw, i think, another episode in this ongoing, at
least since trump's election, every opportunity california democrats get to position themselves as the counterweight and the confirmation hearing with javier becerra, it was a cakewalk, and it was meant to be a show of force, i think, around him. and we saw the assembly ultimately today confirm. >> so immigration is obviously a huge concern. you know, i think we heard becerra pretty forcefully say anything within our power we're going to do. but, you know, he also opened the door to the fact that there are things that california just can't do. i mean do you think, like, is his role going to be more of a figurehead in talking about immigration, or do you think we're going to see some court battles if he's, you know, confirmed, which i think is going to happen pretty easily. >> just judging from the model of attorney generals past, they tend to be people who actually are filing litigation and our involved. if he really is the model, say, on the former texas attorney general citing the obama administration, which i think might be, then we probably would see that. on the other hand, there's only so much space to have this
fight, and he's competing with some other very big personalities, the gubernatorial candidates, the mayors of big cities. so i'm not sure where he falls in that whole spectrum. you covering sacramento and big city, maybe up have a better feeling about what that might look like. >> you know, he's from l.a. too. so l.a. politics are a different animal than san francisco politics. before we end, i want to turn back to national politics actually. our president-elect will be taking the oath of office in just a week, and i wanted to get you to weigh in on a particularly nasty exchange we saw between donald trump and a reporter at a press conference this week. let's look at that. >> as you know, they're under audit. >> but every president since the 70s -- >> oh, gee, i've never heard that. i've never heard that. you know, the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay? they're the only ones. >> you think the american public -- >> i don't think so. i won. i mean i became president. >> so he did win, but i'm
wondering if you think this is an issue that the public still cares about. and just given the like sort of, you know, adversarial tone there, what does this mean moving forward for reporters and the public in general? >> the political consultants i talk to say the public wants to see tax returns. but then they look at a vote like they did in november, so they may want to see tax returns, but it may not be their deciding issue. we've seen that before too. the current governor, jerry brown, did not release his tax returns in the 2010 campaign, breaking from years of tradition. he still has sky high approval ratings. so i think it's unclear. >> but he was never that adversarial with the press, would you say? >> well, maybe not as adversarial as the president-elect but, yeah, he's had some run-ins. but not like the president-elect. that's on a different scale. and how the press interacts with the president, i think, is really interesting to watch in the coming months. i think it was also interesting to see the whole thing with, you
know, the cnn reporter and whether questions even get answered. >> we'll have a lot more to discuss. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. next week's inauguration ceremony for donald trump will include blessings from six religious leaders, including a rabbi from los angeles. rabbi marvin hyer is founder and dean of the simon weezen thaul center in l.a. their mission is to confront anti-semitism, and he founded the museum of tolerance, dedicated to education about the holocaust. his participation in the inauguration has prompted anger among many american jews who object to trump's comments about minorities. kqed's senior editor of politics spoke with rabbi hyer earlier today. >> welcome to newsroom. >> thank you. >> let me begin by asking you about your decision to participate in friday's inauguration. it's generated some controversy in the jewish community, which voted overwhelmingly for hillary
clinton. tell us about your decision. why did you decide you were going to say a prayer in the inauguration friday? >> well, first i must be very honest and frank. it didn't take me very long to say that i would participate. it's an honor. my parents were immigrants that came to the united states in the 1920s to escape anti-semitism. the united states is the freest and greatest democracy in the world. when the inauguration committee asked me to give a prayer for the 45th president of the united states, i considered it to be an honor and a duty to say yes. >> yeah, and what are you going to say, and how do you think your par tis pags will matter? >> i'm going to say a prayer. i know i'm going to speak as a representative of the jewish community. the prayers will come from jewish sources, from biblical sources of course. i hope it will have a 21st century ring to it.
for me, look, i know that i should point out that it's not -- even though i've never participated at an inauguration, i've had the privilege of giving invocations to four presidents of the united states -- ronald reagan, george h. bush, george w. bush, william jefferson clinton. if it would have been a democratic president and they'd asked me, the answer would be the same. >> i've seen you said you're hoping that we should all -- americans should all pray for the success of this new president. i'm wondering, you know, you mentioned you come from a family of immigrants. of course there's been some controversial comments that president-elect trump has made about immigrants as well as muslims. do you feel like you're endorsing those things in participating, or might you even in some subtle way condemn those things and ask for more tolerance? >> not at all. i don't think i would lose my
voice for attending the inauguration. i've spoken out before. i'm a critic -- i was a critic of the idea of deporting 12 million latinos and mexicans from this country. i've spoken out against every president, against barack obama when i thought he was wrong, ronald reagan, george h. bush, george w. bush. and i don't think that i would change. in other words, the fact that i'm invited to an inauguration of a president, if i believe the president is wrong in the future, i will -- i will be amongst those who speak up. >> the goal of the museum, the simon weezen thaul center, the museum of tolerance, of course, is to teach about the holocaust, to root out anti-semitism, call out anti-semitism. i'm wondering what your thoughts are about trump's comments this week comparing the u.s. intelligence agency and the release of information about him to nazi germany, the kind of smear that would have happened
in nazi germany. what are your thoughts about that kind of rhetoric? >> i wouldn't have used that kind of rhetoric, but i would say this. i don't really believe that donald trump thinks that the united states or the press in the united states equals what took place in germany from 1943 and 1944. if i were the president's adviser and he said to me, do you think i should use such language, my answer would be absolutely not. >> does it disturb you that he does use that kind of language and that he calls for a ban on muslims? he's kind of walked that back a bit, but i mean are these things and other things that he has said even consistent with the tenets of judaism? >> first of all, it's not -- i'm against any registry of any ethnic group. let me be very clear of my position. i'm not embarrassed to tell you what my position is. i'm against any ban on muslims, on any other ethnic group or
religion. i am absolutely in favor of a registry on behalf of jihadists. if the u.s. intelligence services and intelligence services around the world want to keep tabs on jihadists, i think that is a great idea. >> are you concerned about a slippery slope kind of situation where, you know, you could -- some might compare what happened with you'vjews in the 1930s. >> not really. listen, you add people that supported in europe during the war. you had those that were national socialists. and you had those that were not national socialists. if a person declares i am a jihadist, i want to end western civilization, he belongs on a registry. if he is not a jihadist, we should absolutely not discriminate. >> let me ask you about one of the most controversial members of his inner circle -- donald trump. that is steve bannon, former
head of breitbart news. he has been associated with the alt-right movement, including some whi -- i'm not saying he endorses those groups or their philosophy. but does it concern you with that association of organizations is that close to the president? >> first let me say i know very well and respect alan dershowitz. i knew him for many years. alan dershowitz is a democrat. he has stated emphatically that steve bannon is not an anti-semite. alan dershowitz is not a stranger to what constitutes an anti-semite. i take his word for it. >> but does it concern you at all given the association of this -- >> i'm concerned about the alt-right, and i'm concerned about the alt-left that we hear nothing about. there's almost dead silence when it comes to the extreme left.
>> yeah. let me ask you about the president-elect's choice of ambassador, david friedman, ambassador to israel. he's called president obama a blatant anti-semite. he supports settlements. he supports -- he's a compared liberal american jews with nazi collaborators. are you concerned at all about that kind of rhetoric? i mean i guess what i'm really getting at with many of these questions, rabbi, is where is the healing? where is the reconciliation? >> first of all, let me say i don't those the ambassador-designa ambassador-designate. i know that he's a committed jew. i judge him on what he's going to do. you made a statement regarding settlements. i have a point of view on that. one of the biggest phony things that has ever occurred is the peddling by american politicians that settlements are the only obstacle or the main obstacle to a middle east solution.
anyone with any knowledge of the middle east should be wondering about this question. why is it that we've discussed settlements for maybe 15 years on a regular basis at the u.n., secretary of states, presidents have mentioned it. but since hamas, a terrorist organization has taken over gaza, no u.s. official or member of the security council has had the guts to go before the security council and say the following. i want to meet on the objective of how we dislodge hamas from gaza, a terrorist organization committed to the total destruction of the state of israel. >> i'm afraid we're almost at the end. very quickly if you could tell donald trump and perhaps you can, one thing, what would it be? >> unify the country. we can't -- you know, we've had our great differences. the political season is over. the right thing to do is for
every american to pray that donald trump turns into a great president. that would be the patriotic thing to do. >> all right. rabbi marvin hyer, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. the mavericks big wave surfing contest is about to get a big change. for the first time ever, there will be a women's only heat. six women competing for a $30,000 prize. the move comes after a steady campaign by top women surfers to gain access to the prestigious competition. one of the most vocal advocates is san francisco surfer bianca valenti. she joins me now in the studio. nice to have you here. >> thanks for having me. >> what went through your mind when they announced that this year the mavericks contest will be open to women? >> i'm just absolutely excited and inspired and just think it's a huge step forward for the
future. >> you've been outspoken for a number of years, pushing for more women opportunities in competitive surfing. what does this moment mean for you personally? >> yeah, it's breaking the glass ceiling, and it's not just -- it is a personal glass ceiling, but it's also just a huge step forward in the big picture of equality and opportunity for women, you know, in sports and as a whole. >> and how will the competition work this year? women will be in a separate heat from the men? is that right? >> yeah, so we'll have a one-hour heat, and there are six women in the heat. so in that time period, you have to try to catch two waves. they get scored out of ten points. your best ride gets doubled in score. so risk is rewarded. they want you to go big. basically if you get a score in the excellent range, an eight or above, you're going to beat anybody who just goes for a safety ride in the mid range.
>> so i want to hear more about your experience as a surfer as well. what does it feel like when you're out there on a surfboard? >> so i always like to think of it as a conscious meditation because everything stands still the moment you catch a wave. leading up to it, it's exciting. it's exhilarating. you know, it's scary. there's just a range of emotions. you feel every emotion at once, and then you prioritize what emotions you want to give the most importance. >> tell us about some of the worst wipeouts you've had. i'm sure there have been quite a few. >> um, yeah. let's see. one time i was actually out and sarah gar hart gave me a tip to sit kind of to the side. this wave, i was trying to go over it, and this wave caught me and took me straight into the bowl, which is where the waves break the hardest. i had to take about six 40-foot waves on the head. i was breathing so hard. my voice went hoarse, and i've broken my ribs here, here, here. i've injured my knee multiple
times, but it's all good. >> the video we just saw was not only you wiping out but some other surfers as well. it shows clearly how risky it can be. do you think about the risk when you're out there? there have been deaths at mavericks. those swells can be anywhere from 25 to 80 feet. >> no, it's important to think about risk versus reward, especially in the conditions and what waves do you want to catch. i like to think of big wave surf evers as a calculated risk taker. i'm not going to go from something that's stupid. when the winds come from the south, it creates a huge bump up the face. so the risk versus reward doesn't make sense. >> every remembers when mark fu died out at mavericks in 2014. it was a big story. >> these are some of the most incredible surfers in the world, and big wave surfing is life or death. so that's why it's so inspiring because it forces you to be the best you can be. >> and how do you train for this? you train all the time for these
enormous waves. >> yeah. so i do movement-based strength training three days a week in the gym. i go to the pool, and i do interval training. we add in some breath-hold tactics in the gym and in the pool. >> and you could hold your breath for a long time, four minutes, is that right? >> yeah. >> how do you do that? >> anyone can do it. it's all up here, and that's probably the biggest part of the training is mental training. i mean no matter how much physical training or how much skill you have, you really have to believe in yourself. >> okay. but, you know, i like to think of myself as someone who believes in myself. but, really, four minutes sounds so extraordinary to me. how do you get there? >> i know it sounds crazy. but in a two-hour seminar, you could do it. trust me. yeah, you have to learn how to calm your heart rate beforehand. that's what it is. it's about staying calm in the face of danger. >> some people describe surfing almost like a religion, right? i used to scuba dive.
i haven't gone in a long time. but i know when i was in the throes of it, when you're down there under the water, 100 feet down below, you get into sort of this meditative state. do you get tiny thinto that stas it a different kind of religion? >> absolutely. surfing is my church, and it's my prozac. it's everything. it makes me a better person. i can't imagine my life without it. it is a great sport, and it's a great metaphor for life and how you go through life, you know? we're always going to wipe out. you're always going to face obstacles. do you let those obstacles defeat you, or do you view those obstacles as a new opportunity to learn something? >> you're originally from dana point, but you've been living in san francisco full time since 2009. >> that's right. >> you surf a lot at ocean beach, but you started surfing mavericks about four years ago. what makes mavericks so special for you? >> mavericks is, you know, arguably the mt. everest of big wave surfing.
i mean the first time you go out there, it's really magical and majestic. the energy comes out of nowhere, and you're just awe struck. then to even try to ride that wave, like i said, it inspires you be to the best you can be in the water and out of the water. i think that's what keeps me coming back for more. >> how did you do the first time you went out to mavericks? did you wipe out, or did you do okay? >> the first time, i was mostly speck tating. then there's kind of a wider spot that you can be a little more safe. you can go out in the channel, and it's really spectacular to see whether you surf or not because the ocean's calm, calm, calm. then like i said, this amount of energy that can light up the entire city of san francisco comes out of nowhere, and you're just like, whoa. it makes you feel the greater power of the universe. >> you're one of the elite women surfers in the world. that's why you're competing in mavericks. do you have any sponsors? >> i have some local sponsors, but, no. it's a challenge in our sport
whether you're male or female. it's a question -- >> why do you think that is? why do you think it's so challenging to get sponsors in the surfing world? >> because nobody owns the ocean, and so like with soccer and baseball and football, the stadium can sell the ad space. so we need to think of a new model for surfing in order to monetize it. but i think that what is so powerful about what we do is the art of it and what can we do to inspire change in the world through it? that's what i would like to see in surfing. >> i know you've also been vocal on the issue of how women are portrayed in ad campaigns around surfing. your thoughts on that? >> yeah, so that's been an issue since i was a little kid, and it's something that really used to upset me was women constantly being portrayed in this sexual manner in surfing. it's so important to have diversity and role models, and that's why it ain't pretty is so awesome because we want to be
promoted and progress our sport and share what we do for our athleticism. you know, it's about creating equality and not about your looks. >> all right. and just to wrap it up real quickly, what's next for you? what's your ultimate goal for surfing for women? >> i'd love to win mavericks, but i'd love to see a big wave tour for women and just, like i said, to inspire change through surfing. to change the world through surfing. that's my dream. >> all right. mavericks could happen anytime between now and the end of march. we'll be watching. i know you'll be watching as well. bianca valenti, thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. also we want to give our thanks for all the film footage you just saw. the film will be released february 7th on itunes, amazon, and directv. that is it for us. a reminder, "kqed newsroom" is moving to a different time slot next week. starting next friday, january 20th, the show will air at 7:00
p.m. we're kicking off our new time that day with a one-hour inauguration special. we'll have coverage from washington, d.c. and right here in california. that's next friday at 7:00 p.m. hope to see you here. as always, for more our coverage, you can go to kqed.org/newsroom. i'm thuy vu. thanks for watching.
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