tv KQED Newsroom PBS May 14, 2017 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT
hello and welcome to kqed "newsroom." i'm thuy vu. the top law enforcement officer in contra costa county tells us why he's against legislation to make california a sanctuary state. plus the golden state warriors pursuing another championship. and we'll hear from iranian-american comedian maz jobrani about fighting prejudice with punch lines. first, on tuesday, president trump fired fbi director james comey. comey was leading the investigation into possible collusion between donald trump aides and russian officials. kevin mccarthy responded swiftly to the news. on wednesday we defended the
president's decision to dismiss comey at an event organized by the news outlet politico. >> four months ago every democrat would tell me they've lost trust in comey. if you lose trust, you've got to change. i don't think the director of the fbi should be a household name. i personally think when the fbi director thinks he becomes also the attorney general and the prosecutor, he's probably overstepped. i think some of those past decisions have moved him into a different place. i would argue that comey made the fbi political. the investigation in russia goes on. the committees are in the senate and the house. this doesn't affect anything about it. people get to whatever bottom. there's no one thing that i know of that's hanging out is there that makes any difference in the process. for the good of the fbi and the country it's probably a good decision and let's move on. >> taking the stage right after mccarthy was fellow california
congressman eric swalwell. >> it's an abuse of power of the highest magnitude. this is the united states of america. people expect that the president is under investigation, he allows that investigation to proceed in an independent, credible way. instead, he has fired the person who's investigating him. that's something that we shouldn't tolerate. >> why do you think he was fired and why now? >> i can't speculate as to why he's fired. we just know that the fbi director was investigating the president's campaign. last week he had asked for more resources to investigate that campaign. and this week he's now the former fbi director. that offends, i think, all of our senses about the independence that's supposed to exist between the president and law enforcement. our sovereignty was attacked by russia this past election. there are questions about whether any u.s. persons were
involved. and the person who was leading that investigation was just fired. i think that's great cause for concern. the best way to ensure that any investigation is pure would be to have an independent prosecutor and also to have an independent commission look at how we were attacked and what reforms we can make to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> the gop controls both houses of congress as well as the presidency. what makes you think they will go along with an independent commission or a spoesecial prosecutor? >> they don't control the american people. the american people will still be heard. two-thirds of the american people before comey was fired wanted an independent commission. we have to stay loud and relevant and make sure your leaders are held accountable. >> do you think the house intelligence committee will now subpoena james comey? >> what he believes led to this firing. there's a number of questions about where the evidence was
taking him, whether he had all the resources he would need, whether any pressure was being applied by the white house. i think those are all relevant questions. the senate will interview him potentially next week. i don't think we should miss an opportunity either. our committee's investigation must go forward. we're in a search for the truth. we should be able to do that without regard to politics. >> last month the senate senate approved a bill that would make california a state sanctuary. it would bar law enforcement from sharing information and cooperating with immigration officials. critics contend the bill is unnecessary and moreover would hamper efforts to deport violent criminals in the country illegally. meanwhile, several counties in california have contrast with federal immigration enforcement to house detainees in their jails. the fate of those contracts would be in jeopardy if a separate state bill becomes law. joining me now is sheriff david
livingston. contra costa does have a contract with i.c.e. to house federal detainees at your jail in richmond. now, how long have you had this contract? and why did you agree to it? >> the contract actually began back in 1992 with the u.s. marshal service. more recently i.c.e. has asked to also use that contract to hold some of their detainees in our facility, which it's important to note is a dormitory style building in west county. it is intended specifically for that type of population. they actually have keys to their own cell doors. it's minimum to low security. it's extra bed space. we thought it prudent to go ahead and rent those spaces to i.c.e., generate revenue and reduce the operating cost to the taxpayers. >> how much revenue do you get from a year? >> typically it's about 6 million a year. >> how many detainees on a given day or month? >> our average is about 200 a day, although that moves day to
day by as many as 10 or 20 in either direction. >> on any given day, there are most people in your jail are there for reasons unrelated to immigration. they may be awaiting trial or serving time for other crimes. in this country, all inmates have their fingerprints sent to the fbi database. once federal immigration authorities figure out that some of the folks you have there are undocumented what do they want you to do? >> essentially anyone that's booked into my jail -- for contra costa, we don't have a choice who comes in the facility. everyone is booked into one of our jails. those fingerprints are automatically sent to homeland security and fbi. at that time i.c.e. determines that they may want to interview one of the persons recently arrested in thmy facility and ty notify us they'd like to talk to that person. they might put on a request for holds.
we don't honor holds. if that person is subject to being released at a certain time, we release them at that time. if i.c.e. is present to interview them, we'll allow the interview to occur. otherwise that person is releas released. >> do you ever proactively contact i.c.e.? >> if there is a person that is a violent offender or serious offender or self-discloses they may be subject to i.c.e. investigation, we'll notify i.c.e. they may be interested in this person. that doesn't happen very often. when they come in to do that interview n many cases they don't take the person into custody. >> a lot of people take issue with that. people feel it's wrong for you to proactively contact i.c.e. >> it's a relatively small group of people. it's somewhere between 30 and 50 that appear pretty regularly to protest. my obligation as sheriff is to
provide public safety to the entire county. that's 1.1 million people. we focus on what's best in our view in providing public safety to everyone, not just special interest groups. we already have a policy that i have signed off on that says we will do no immigration enforcement at all for our deputies on the street. this is really about the back end when someone who is already here undocumented has committed a new crime and now finds themselves in jail. >> several cities throughout california have declared themselves sanctuary cities. now there's a bill. the state bill would make all of california a sanctuary state and prohibit law enforcement agencies like yours from cooperating with federal immigration agents. where do you stand on sb-54. >> i like nearly all of my colleagues in california and st state sheriff's association are opposed to that bill. we think it's a disaster.
it's the first time where the state government is trying to tell us who we can talk to and who we can't talk to among other law enforcement agencies. it would hamper our efforts. we couldn't share basic information about human trafficking or other cases with i.c.e. unless the individual has a prior conviction for a serious or violent felony. and so putting those kinds of restrictions on our access to our federal colleagues and partners can be very damaging to public safety. we oppose it. >> supports of the bill, though, say that the flip side of this is that there would be damage to public safety from another angle. that is it would make undocumented immigrants so fearful of deportation that they would be less willing to. cooperate with you and other law enforcement agencies, less willing to report crimes. >> we want everyone to feel comfortable coming to their local law enforcement agency or the sheriff's office to report a crime, of course.
either to report a crime as a victim or a witness. we work in communities now, north richmond for example, where we already encounter those types of issues. it's very difficult to get people to come forward. >> wouldn't that be exacerbated if you keep on opposing this sanctuary bill? >> i don't believe so. in fact, if we have a situation where i.c.e. has to go now into the community to take someone into custody, we may be facing a felony or a very serious charge when they could have had that interview conducted in the safety and security of a custodial facility. that's putting more people at risk. we believe at least working with i.c.e. to the extent that they can conduct an interview makes sense. >> you're currently seeking $95 million to expand the west county facility. state senator nancy skinner of berkeley has a bill that essentially bars state funds from being used for jail expansions in counties that hold i.c.e. detainees. so your seeking of this $95
million could be in jeopardy if this bill passes. your thoughts on senator skinner's bill? >> i think senator skinner has moved the goal posts in the middle of the came. we applied for those funds in good faith to build a reentry facility that would help those that need it most in our custody, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment. that's what this is about. it's a $70 million grant with matching funds that the county would come up with. it's a very competitive grant. we've had this contract with i.c.e. for many years. to now say if you receive the grant funds, you're not going to be able to have contracts with any federal agency is patently unfair and inappropriate. >> thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. now to politics and humor. iranian-american comedian and author maz jobrani stars in the cbs prime time comedy superior donuts where he plays an iraqi
immigrant businessman. >> the more you learn, the more i'll give you to do. >> okay. so what about the pay? >> open for negotiation. tell me, what does arthur pay you? >> 10.50 an hour. >> first lesson, never reveal your current salary. now i could offer you 10.75 and you'll take it. >> a decade ago he helped launch the axis of evil comedy tour featuring comedians with middle eastern roots whose routines attack stereotypes one joke at a time. >> people think because i'm from the middle east i'm an expert on the middle east. i've got a friends any time the gas prices go up, he'll always ask my opinion about it. what's going on with this gas thing? what's going to happen? 50 words or less. break it down. >> and maz jobrani is now back
in the bay area this weekend. he's here to give the commencement address at his alma mater uc berkeley. welcome. go bears. >> you and i get disappointed every football season. >> that's true. but you get to give the commencement address. i've never had that honor. what are you planning to say? >> you know, it was interesting because when they first invited me i just instantly said yes because i am honored to be asked. then the next day i started freaking out. i've got to write a speech. the truth is i'm a comedian and i'm not used to writing speeches. so i've been kind of molding the whole thing together. as a median i feel like i need to be funny a little bit. and then i feel like i've got to talk about a few things. as an iranian-american immigrant, i feel like i've got to talk about that since that's a hot topic nowadays.
i hope to also touch on free speech a little bit because it is berkeley. >> sure. >> and then i just hope to end with a few just lines of wisdom that i've picked up here and there. then they can all go have their brunch. >> let's talk a little bit more about your iranian background. your family fled iran during the 1979 revolution. you were 6 years old at the time. how would you describe your comedy? is it political comedy? >> somebody asked me a little while back. i have young kids as well now. i would say my comedy, i take on social issues, political issues and my kids. it touches a wide array of things. of course now with the trump administration, it feels like the political stuff has gotten even more pertinent. i just filmed a netflix special that will come out later this
summer. i did it in washington, d.c. at the kennedy center. i called it maz jobrani immigrant. i really wanted to make a point about how you're an imgrant, i'm an immigrant. immigrants come to america because we love america. we want to make america better, make ourselves better. there's such an anti-immigrant sentiment out there in some parts of this country. a lot of it is coming through our president. i want to fight that message by getting out there and letting people know we are good people and we should be accepted. >> how do you think you fight that message? >> i think that part of it is -- one of the things was when the travel ban happened, i got really upset. i started hearing real stories of real people being affected by it. as an iranian-american comedian, people were sending me their stories. i thought what if i had left the revolution, come to america, landed here and they would have put me back on a plane with my
family and sent me back? what kind of trauma would that have caused me and my family? how would that have affected my destiny? when you think about that and it becomes personal, originally i just went out there and started posting on facebook and telling people my story. it just caused people to argue. rather than posting like that, i'm just going to start putting out the stories that i'm hearing. when i would get articles of different people being affected by this, i would post it on my facebook page or talk to friends of mine. i had a friend of mine who's a republican who really did not understand all the fuss that was being made from the protesters. he thought it was just a little bit of inconvenience at some airports. no. people are being affected. once people hear the real life stories of other people, i think it opens their eyes. i think americans in general are sympathetic people. that's what i try to do. >> there's the serious side of you and then the kmcomedic sidef
you. >> with superior donuts, you know it's a sitcom. as an actor of middle eastern desend dece decent, i'm playing a businessman from iraq. we're used to playing terrorists. >> you played a terrorist. >> yeah. early on i played a terrorist in a chuck norris movie, in the tv show 24. it put a bad taste in my mouth. so i told my agents no more terrorist parts. i don't mind playing store owners or cab drivers. i knoweasterners that are that. this thing with superior donuts, as much as the character is this businessman who's trying to buy up the buildings in the neighborhood, they give me a lot of funny lines. i've been getting a lot of positive responses from people
that are not of middle eastern descent that hit me unp on socil media and they're enjoying the character. that's a good push in the right direction. >> a lot of comedy comes from challenges, right. and from tragedy. are there times when the tragedy is so great, though, that you can't joke about it? >> i always say if there's a tragedy, i think that -- i never make fun of the victims of anything. when september 11th happened, i just thought that no one could ever be funny again. the song the day the music died, i felt like it was the day the comedy died. quickly when i started seeing the bush administration was using those attacks as an excuse to go into iraq, i realized there's a job for us to try and talk about some of this stuff. then you also make fun of the
terrorists. you don't make fun of the victims. >> you had studied political science at uc berkeley. you aereven started a phd progr. your real love was acting. what did your parents think? >> my parents wanted me to be a lawyer original. >> of course. >> immigrant parents want you to become a lawyer or doctor. i thought i'd be a professor to please them. then i started the phd program and dropped out of it. my mother said you did not become a lawyer, you did not become a professor. at least become a mechanic. how did you go from lawyer to mechanic? she goes, people need mechanics. nobody needs an actor. she was right. >> but they need a comedian. >> here i am. >> maz jobrani, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we should also tell you that
maz jobrani will be performing at cogs comedy club in san francisco this friday and saturday. busy weekend in the bay area including the warriors game. >> reporter: this weekend the golden state warriors resume their run for a second nba title in three years. they'll take on the san antonio spurs sunday at home for the first game of their best of seven series for the western conference. for a look at what stands between the warriors and another championship i'm joined by bay area news group columnist marcus thompson. the spurs beat the warriors twice during the regular season by a combined margin of 51 points. what does that say about what's going to happen sunday? >> absolutely nothing. the first one was the first game of the season. i think that was just a shock and awe campaign. it was just the spurs were ready to play and the warriors were trying to show everybody how great they were. >> durant's first game. >> that was the weird vrns ofne
all. then they rested the other game. everybody knows this is a much different situation. the warriors are healthy and peaking. >> durant was out for a spell. during that period they lost three games in a row. and then they got their mojo back and really went on a run. what did you learn about the team during that stretch? >> number one, steph curry is still pretty good. they built this on chemistry. they built this on just how they play the game. and they got back to that. during that stretch they relied on what got them here, which is ball movement, sharing, just the chemistry and camaraderie. they had a pretty soft schedule. but i think now that durant is back, they realize we need to play this way no matter who we have and let's bring him into this instead of changing. >> when you say this way, what does that mean? >> a lot of passing a lot of
sharing. it's relying on each other. it's shooting the ball well. taking advantage of mismatches. they have a very free flowing style. they play really hard defense and they want to run the fast break. if they did that -- >> and they're fun to watch. >> it is a pleasure. the way they shoot threes, the way they pass the ball, there's a ballet kind of feeling. there is some finesse. >> choreography. >> oh yeah, especially with steph. >> when the warriors signed kevin durant at the end of last season, they had already won 73 games. how could they probably be any better? what kind of adjustments have clay thompson and draymond green and steph curry had to make with durant there? >> clay thompson doesn't make adjustments. the real adjustment was steph. this was his team and everything was centered around him. he took a more passive approach. it actually hurt him at first
but he wanted to welcome durant. draymond kind of pushed away from offense and focused on locking in on defense. he got really good defensively. they started watching durant. it was all about making him happy. because he still has to sign a new contract this off season. they want to make sure he stays. eventually they figured out we're not going to win this thing if we cater to durant. we have to play our game. >> coach steve kerr has been out for a bit now. he's had back problems for a couple of years. what's his status and what is going on behind the scenes to make sure it's been a smooth transition. they're 8-0 in the playoffs without steve kerr. what's been going on? >> steve is trying to in essence get his life back. he had a back surgery july 2015. then he had a spinal fluid leak.
that was corrected in september of 2015. since then, he's been suffering through a lot of pain and discomfort and nausea. i think they're to the point where it's like we don't want you to coach through that. we want you to get healthy. he's trying to get healthy. he just had a procedure at duke. they're trying to fix the problem. >> how hard was that for the players? >> they love steve, right. they respect him. he's good to them. so for the people in the organization, it just hurts to see him hurting because he's constantly in pain. >> what about on the court? >> on the court, you know, he's their disciplinarian. he's the one that's like we're not doing that. he breaks clip boards. he screams at draymond. they do have a little bit of substitute teacher in here with steve kerr gone but they are a well-oil machine.
>> one of the things that steve kerr has done in the past year is he's gotten very political with the election of donald trump. how political is the team including the players? >> it's really political. i think they really take to this whole bay area vibe. a lot of teams like to keep the outside world out and just kind of quarantine themselves. the warriors don't do that. they're aware of what's going on. >> was it an awakening caused in part by steve kerr? >> it was always there. steve kerr is so open about it, it gave them license. you see steph curry being a little bit more politically vocal. i think they had that bent. they just did it beends thind t scenes and quietly. >> it plays well in the bay area. >> doesn't it? right. if you want to win over bay area people, you just criticize the
current administration. >> i don't want to jump too far out in front but the other 8-0 team in the playoffs, cavaliers. everyone wants to see that matchup in the end. what would it mean to see these two teams play for the third consecutive year in the finals? >> number one, it would mean history. it's never happened before. i feel like we deserve it. they owe us this. >> we were up last year 3-1 and lost 4-3. >> they each won a title. they have to finish this tril y trilogy. do it right now while both teams are really good. it would be revenge. it would be redemption. but i think later we'll look at this and say what a time in history. >> quick prediction? >> for -- >> spurs? >> warriors in five. it's a gentleman sweep. that's what we call it. >> marcus thompson thanks for coming in. >> thank you. that does it for us. for more coverage go to
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