tv KQED Newsroom PBS March 4, 2017 1:00am-1:31am PST
hello. welcome to kqed newsroom. coming up on the program, the state assembly's republican leader talks about why the gop needs to do a better job on messaging. and the university of california released records on more than 100 cases of sexual misconduct across its ten campuses. plus, the all male ballet troupe. we go on point with two dancers from the bay area. but first, as part of our ongoing coverage of the first 100 days of the trump administration, yesterday attorney general jeff sessions recused himself from investigations into russian interference in the presidential election. this after it was revealed that he had met twice last year with the russian ambassador.
>> i have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigation of any matter relating in any way to the campaign for president of the united states. >> top democrats, including nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, have called on him to resign for failing to disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearing. joining me now to discuss this, and issues facing california, is democratic congressman jerry mcinerney whose district stretches from contra costa and san joaquin valley. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> is jeff sessions are ecuesing himself enough at this point? >> certainly not. it is important that he would recuse himself, but he testified under oath in the confirmation hearing that he does not have any connection to the russian government during the campaign. that's clearly not the case. we need an attorney general who people can trust, who is above
reproach. that is clearly not the case now. >> you want him to resign? >> absolutely. >> what do you think should happen in terms of a special prosecutor? should one be assigned? >> there's no question a special prosecutor should be assigned. an independent person who can both investigate and prosecute if crimes were committed. >> the republican congressman from southern california, darrell issa, said his party should do more to hold the white house accountable. let's take a quick listen to what he said. >> for credibility, we have to hold this president to the level of transparency that the last president made every effort to thwart. we have to make sure this is a transparent administration. and this is the best time for republicans to show leadership. with eshow leadership when we hold our own party to a high standard, not just when we ask the other party to live up to a standard. >> do you think republicans are doing enough? are they showing leadership as issa says? >> they're not at this point. we need an investigation. >> are democrats doing enough on
this? >> we're calling for investigations. we're making specific proposals. it's time for the republicans to come our way and follow through with an investigation. >> you and two other colleagues on the house energy and commerce committee introduced a series of bills. and it focuses specifically on cyber attacks. what was the bill to do? >> what my bill does is requires all the devices that hook up to the internet, to have standards and to have some way to certify that the devices meet those standards. so that we don't have -- we're going to have a 20 billion devices hooked up to the internet by 2020. with eneed to have some confidence that those devices aren't going to interfere with the operation of the internet or other -- >> or be hacked. >> yes, that's right, they can be hacked. there was an attack in october that brought down the internet on the east coast. that's the very least we need to protect against national
security also involved. >> let's talk about the affordable care act as well. your house energy and commerce committee also has jurisdiction over medicaid and medicare. the committee is supposed to vote on the bill next week. have you even seen the bill? >> no ewe haven't seen it. we've heard some things about it. we'll be flying back tuesday to start votes tuesday night and wednesday, and they -- >> on something you haven't seen? >> health care is a very, very cam pli indicated issue. it will be very difficult to make reasonable informed decisions without having seen what we're voting on. >> actually there was a tweet this week from kentucky republican senator rand paul, and he basically said this. i have been told that the house obamacare bill is under lock and key in a secure location, and not available for me or the public to view. and he's a republican. and even he can't see the bill. >> it's clearly a traf esy. they're going to try to pull a fast one. but the public out there is well aware of what's happening.
we had a town hall meeting in martinez a couple of weeks ago and there was a lot of energy, a lot of angst out there. people are scared. >> i want to talk about the epa cuts. president trump is calling for cuts to the budget, to staff, to programs, we're hearing now it may even zero out a san francisco bay program, take away $5 million now used for cleaning the bay. what else are you hearing about the impact on california? what may be happening to the epa? >> we haven't heard specifics like you're identifying, but when we cut 30% of the epa budget, we're actually talking about eliminating protections of clean air and clean water that we take for granted. a few years -- several years ago we had a fire in the cuyahoga river. we had the love canal disaster where self people were hurt and killed. those are things we'll be aiming for if we follow through with those kind of cuts. >> we'll have to leave it there. congressman, i know you're having a town hall meeting this sunday.
thank you for taking the time to be here with us. >> thank you very much. this week, the university of california released reports on more than 100 cases of sexual misconduct across ten uc campuses. the incidents took place between 2013 and 2016. three-quarters of them involve university staff. last year, uc president janet napolitano announced changes to how the university investigates and handles sexual misconduct on campus over harassment cases involving high-profile faculty. i'm joined now to discuss this further by government reporter marisa lagos and selina, a senior at uc berkeley and a member of a campus committee tasked with reviewing it. kqed was one of several news organizations that requested the release of this under the california public records act. what types of misconduct do the documents show?
>> they really run the gamut. we're talking about dozens of cases involving what you've maybe characterized as more minor, verbal harassment, e-mails, some touching. the majority do involve co-workers, not necessarily people who are working under somebody. but we did have at least 12 where the accused was in a position of power over the person under them. at least 13 where there were allegations of actually sexual assault. we're talking about some really egregious cases in addition to the other ones, including one in 2013 at usf where a professor was co-e co-ersing a student in sex. and generally making unwelcomed advances toward female students. so a lot of them are very upsaiding. just the shear number.
>> what kinds of punishment was handed out? >> so, the process is really -- has been in the past, this is something we can talk about moving forward, is changing, has been very sort of disparate across the universities. a lot left in the hands of not just individual campuses but individual supervisors, deans within the campuses. one pattern -- we're still digging through these. a lot of information. but one pattern we did really note that stood out to me is how many of them happen in hospital or medical center settings. at least 40 of the 113 cases were in that kind of setting. >> which does raise questions about the culture. you also have to ask, i don't think it's totally fair to say uc davis had so many, does that mean they have a harsher sort of culture towards women, or a more sexual harassment. maybe they just have a better process for reporting them. >> selina, what are your thoughts what was revealed by the documents that were
disclosed? >> yeah, i think it was really concerning to have this many reports come out. but in reality, i think the number is much higher than 113. because of who chooses to report. and at the end of the day, any number is too high of a number for something like sexual violence. >> we should say these were only released cases that involved faculty or staff, or somebody who works -- a student-on-student incidents -- >> were not included. >> who knows how much higher they really are. >> i wanted to ask you about the committee on sexual harassment that was con veebd by uc berkeley chancellor's office last year. you issued a report last month. what were some of your key findings and key recommendations? >> i think the piece on focusing on prevention is very important. so engaging faculty in this process of prevention, and having it start with higher
level leadership. so we're having a new position, an adviser to the chancellor that will be in direct communication. and then i think the focus is on redoing the faculty process. it's very important. we need to make sure that people with higher authority are held to a higher standard. and that they are moved through the process swiftly, because so much of their power has, like, control over other people's lives. >> what are you hearing from fellow students about their thoughts on how sexual harassment cases are handled at uc berkeley, and other uc campuses? >> i think there's a lot of distrust amongst students. and i think that comes out in a lot of different ways. i think talking to my peers about this story that came out, not many of them were very surprised. and i think that they -- we all
want the university to step up and do a better job at adjudicating these cases and having more transparency, and really responding more to the student needs, and survivors' needs. >> marisa, last year there was a lot of public outrage over high-profile cases. we had one involving vice chancellor graham fleming, the astronomer jeffrey marcy, former law school dean. in each of these cases, many people felt the sentence, the punishment was too lenient. systemwide, what kinds of reforms have been put in place? >> yeah, so janet napolitano, the uc president, has created a new position of title 9 coordinators. processes are followed across the board. she's also asked that when somebody in a position of power like an administrative position is accused of something like this, they actually get brought to the attention of the uc itself, not just the individual campus. but i will say looking at these,
it did raise real questions about how tenure and union rules impacted folks. you saw in a lot of cases if a janitor was accused of something inappropriate, they were fired. but if it was a professor, doctor, administrator, it seemed they had more opportunities, and the process dragged on. because i think that they have the opportunity to call in lawyers. so i think that there's rules around tenure and other things that are preventing that. but there's also the power structure. that's a real point of concern for the uc, and something to her credit that napolitano is trying to address. >> so selena alluded to that when you say the students want to see people in higher positions held to a higher standard as well. this is to you both. you know, investigating sexual misconduct falls under title 9, the fell law that mandates equal access to education regardless of gender. is it possible for colleges and universities to do a good job of being an impartial investigator after the same time as trying to
also support the accused and the accuser and play all those roles and protect the university's image all at once? >> i asked that same question to some folks that coordinate the crisis center that work on this issue. what's interesting to me is they feel like this is -- it can be a parallel process. this is not to say you can't go to the police. but i think there are cases, especially when it's low-level harassment, where students necessarily want to get the police involved, they just want the other student out of their class, the t.a. to leave them alone. i do think it's important to have some other sort of avenues for folks. but i think that's going to be an open-ended question. >> selena, your thoughts on that? can the university system play all those different roles at once? >> i think it's difficult, but i think -- i definitely agree that there should be another process within the university for those accommodations for students that are very important to just
remove them immediately from a space where they might not feel safe. and it's my hope that throughout consulting with staff, faculty, and students that they'll be able to develop a fair and equitable process. >> on that note, i want to thank you both. i know you still have a lot more data to dig through. thanks for being here. >> thank you. last weekend in sacramento, republicans gathered for their annual statewide convention. republican leader chad mays was there. he sat down to talk with us about his working class roots and how to connect with voters in a state where the policies of president donald trump are proving deeply unpopular. kqed senior editor for california politics and government, scott schafer, has more. >> to those who don't know you, which is a lot of people in the bay area, tell us a little bit about yourself. you're the son of a pastor. >> mom and dad ran a small
church in yucca valley. and mom was a schoolteacher, principal of a small christian school that i went to, k through 12. i grew up with folks who believed that all people were equal in god's eyes. so when i see the world, i don't see people from different places, i see everybody having the same value, whether you're rich or poor, whether you come from this community group or that community group, they're all equal in god's eyes. >> how does that play out in your politics? >> it plays out in my politics because for me, i think people matter. i think that the work that we do in government, the work of governing is just that. we should be putting policies in place that make people's lives better. again, it's not about rich or poor or those in the middle class. it's making sure that all people can thrive. >> this is, of course, a overgeneralization, but people
tend to identify the republican party with more wealthy and whiter voters, and the democratic party with low-income working class. i know that wasn't exactly how it played out in the last election. but does that reputation and that image trouble you as a republican? >> it does trouble me, because that's not who i came from. if you saw the house that i grew up in, my first car that i drove was a 1973 datsun truck. its primary color was rust. and i started working when i was 12 years old. throwing newspapers, and had to put myself through college. and i think that that really is the story of many people here in california. you know, in california, we really have become two californias. if you live on the coast, you tend to be doing very well. at least one would think. if you live inland, people aren't doing very well. >> you've made poverty an issue for your caucus. >> yeah. >> i'm wondering, what is the republican prescription, or solution for poverty, for the
issues you just described? >> well, we do believe that when you empower individuals, and eempower businesses to make decisions for themselves, that it really lifts all boats. i do believe free enterprise really is the key to fixing poverty. but that doesn't mean that government can't -- there shouldn't be government programs. in fact, i have a bill myself this year that will increase cal works funds, for those on cal works if they go get a high school diploma, 65% of cal works recipients in california don't have a high school diploma. if you don't have the education to work in this new economy, it's pretty difficult to make ends meet. so again, we believe in free enterprise. we believe in low taxes, less regulation. that ends up actually making people's lives better. but at the same time we need to make sure that the government programs work. >> so why hasn't that message been heard, or why hasn't it been effective? >> when you look at some of the data that we have, when you talk
about the issues, california yaans are with republicans. californians don't like republicans. the truth is, they don't like democrats either. they like democrats a little bit more than they like republicans. i don't think we've done a very good job of people knowing in california that we care about them, that we care about the issues that affect them and that we're working on their behalf. >> what do you think they don't like about republicans? >> i think there are these labels that have been put on us, that i think are false. this idea that somehow if you're a republican, you only care about white people. you only care about owners of big corporations, and that you don't care about all people. i'll tell you, that's just not the case. it's not who i am, not where i grew up, not the people i serve in my district, in inland california. i think we've got to work towards changing that image. >> do you think for what you want to accomplish in your agenda and growing the party in california, is donald trump a
net positive or in et negative? >> i would tell you, i think he has an approach that is much different than mine. but he is the president of the united states. i do think that as republicans, we have to reach out to folks. i'm not somebody who believes that it's best to get out your bull horns to scream into it, to try to effectuate change. i think it's best to have reasonable, rational conversations with individuals, and to sit down and reason together to try to solve problems. that's my approach. >> when you go to work in the morning and you work on the issues that you care about, whether it's poverty, or immigration, whatever it might be, what do you think of young chad mays growing up in yucca valley, with the rusted car, and the parents who had, you know, middle class jobs? is that still who you are? is that what you think about? >> yeah. every once in a while. i look at the town that i grew
up in, and i often remind myself, my goodness, we didn't have a whole lot growing up in yucca valley. the fact that i've been able to become a member of the state legislature is a big deal. and every single day i think about the next chad mays that's 9, 10, 11 years old that was playing basketball out on the basketball court, and i think about his life. and if we still had the opportunities for him, like there were opportunities for me. and so that does motivate me every day. >> chad mays, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. you may think you've seen this classic ballet. but look closer and you'll notice the dancers in tutus and toe shoes defy convention. they're men. for four years now the all-male troupe has been interpreting classics. they've entertained audiences in
more than 600 cities and 30 countries. this weekend they're coming back to the bay area. one of the places where they first performed. joining me now are two dancers from the all male ballet troupe. bay area native chris willet and josh haik who hails from chicago. welcome to you both. >> thank you for having us. >> chris, you're from san francisco. you danced with the pittsburgh ballet theater. what drew you to ballet, the troupe is also known as the troks. >> yes, my introduction to ballet actually started here. my mom brought home a video of great performances, san francisco ballet, they were performing cinderella. at 2 years old i watched it every day, all day. and it didn't hurt that it was hosted by kermit the frog and miss piggy. >> always influential sources for 2-year-olds. that's interesting that you've known since 2 what you wanted to do. >> that was my dream. >> what made you want to become a troks?
>> i didn't know that the troks were actually even in existence until i came to san francisco, and my late friend glen clekner introduced me. i was so enthralled with the male/female aspect of the company, that i was immediately drawn to it, for sure. best of both worlds. >> in your performances, there are times when it's easy to forget you're not typical female performers, the male/female thing you were just talking about. the tutus, the makeup and beautiful dancing. then you remind us that this is not regular ballet. let's just take a quick look at what you do. ♪ >> do you think about the stereotypes, getting back to the gender roles? and do you focus on that, or
mostly on the dancing? >> we have a really balanced show. so we definitely want to give audiences moments of the heroine, and the prince, and, you know, the villain. but i think as the show progresses, we focus more on our technique and our performance. and the audience themselves, they forget that we're men. and they just see our dancing. i think that's a nice point to prove to people. >> and you're serious dancers. but kind of also mocking the, you know, not so serious side of dancing, right? really kind of having some fun with it. so what is it like, josh, to balance these two forces, the serious dancing side and also the campy humor? >> i think they work together. if you see a performance and you see somebody that's a serious dancer, and someone that maybe makes a mistake, that's actually a moment where the audience can take a pause to realize a very human aspect of what the art form is. and it kind of breaks the
barrier of something that's taken seriously, but then also you can make light of that seriousness, and that type of almost stuffy demeanor of, i have to be perfect at all times. but then there's a break. and then that break, it's almost the humor hits you more intensely from that serious aspect. >> so then what do you hope audiences will take away from your performance? >> a night of fun. i really want, you know -- we definitely do our jobs just to hear people laugh. coming from a trained classically in a company where you perform classics, it's kind of an addiction now just to work with your audience, and just have the best time in the theater together. >> and do you think that amid all the fun, though, do you think about sort of the ramifications of what you do, maybe on a political or social scale? especially given the times we live in now. do you see yourselves as possibly helping to bridge the differences that are dividing so many people in this country?
>> i think the ballet has been doing that since the first time they performed in the new york city loft. i think that we are active participants in an ever-changing volatile political climate, where this type of art is needed now more than ever. so that people realize that you can make light of gender norms, you can make light of things that people might even deem as, oh, well, you can't do that, because that's not conducive to a hetero normative perception. but it's giving people the opportunity and ability to redefine what it is for themselves. >> chris? >> i agree. i mean, we definitely have the freedom to play with, you know, a masculine or feminine side. and i believe that those are inside of everybody. i mean, no one -- i don't think it's weak to be a sensitive man. and i don't think, you know,
like it says something less about you if you're a strong woman. just to bridge all of that, and to be the beacon for that, and for people to see that. i think it's really empowering. >> in the 30 seconds we have remaining. i want to point out that last month at the national dance awards in england, one of your fellow dancers, chase, won the best male dancer award. what does something like that mean to your troupe? >> well, it's the first time -- yeah, it's the first time a male has been nominated for his role as a female. for him to get recognized for his work is just -- it's unbelievable. he worked so hard, and we're just all so proud of him and what it means for where we're all evolving as people. >> and it goes again to what you've been doing for decades now. thank you both. chris and josh, with the le ballet monte carlo. >> thank you for having us. >> thank you. the troks will be performing tonight and saturday at uc
>> it is complicated! attorney general jeff sessions steps away from all probes into russian meddling in the 2016 election. i'm robert costa. we explain where the investigations go from here, tonight on "washington week." >> let me be clear. i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian intermediaries about the trump campaign. >> president trump stands by his attorney general, saying he is an honest man and calling the controversy over his meetings with the russian diplomat a politically motivated witch hunt. >> the fact that the top cop in our country lied under oath to the american people is grounds for him to resign. >> but a leading republican and trump supporter has joined with