tv KQED Newsroom PBS October 10, 2014 8:00pm-8:31pm PDT
downgrading nonviolent drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanor. the debate over proposition 47. >> the world's most intelligent stethescope. >> 50 entrepreneurs get set to present inventions that could change everything from health care to education. plus the tiny house movement growing larger. >> come on in and take a look at my house. ♪
good evening and welcome to kqed newsroom. as part of our california election watch 2014 coverage we focus tonight on criminal justice at the ballot box. voters will decide the attorney general's race. democratic incumbent pamela harris faces opponent ron gold a republican and former attorney general. proposition 47 would downgrade nonviolent crimes such as drug possessions or small property theft from a felony to a misdemeanor and thousands of state prisoners serving time for those crimes could have their sentences reduced retroactively. scott schafer leads our discussion. >> proposition 47 is the latest proposal to reform criminal justice in california. it's supported by liberals like the san francisco d.a. but also by conservatives including newt
gingrich. some law enforcement groups are saying it would give a free ride to criminals by shifting away from incarceration toward community based treatment and prevention measures. joining me for a closer look, criminology at berkeley law school and the write for san francisco chronicle. welcome to both of you. why do proponents of prop 47 say we need it? why is it necessary? >> i would say the proponents have been observing for the last 20 years in california that the public is overwhelmingly supportive of fewer nonviolent offenders in prison and if it was spending too much on prisons and they liked to see a very different approach to drugs. >> and this sentence is really aimed at drug offenses primarily? >> that's the biggest category. the delima sooechb though the public is overwhelmingly supporting these policies, these
policies get nowhere in the legislature. that's either gridlocked or dominated by traditional interest groups. >> you look at the endorsements. you have the traditional law and order groups really opposed to this. >> it's amazing that you have real butting heads on this. you have the district attorney of san francisco who is in support of it and nancy omally and a lot of the sheriffs and cops groups who are opposed to it. california has tried attempts before at realignment in 2011. we had a shift in three strikes the year after that. the question is now is more needed and that's where the debate is. >> and that's a good point. wouldn't it make sense? and some people including jerry brown said in the past let's not all of these other reforms carla eluded to, let's see how they work before we add on another layer of reform on sentencing. what's the argument with that. >> if you look at the last
session of the last legislature almost anything rational was defeated in the legislature. it's almost impossible to get anything through the current california legislature. >> is that just what fear of the politics? >> it's mostly fear of theq!x politics but the other thing that makes this time is that the -- a lot of senior member of the legislature like darryl steinberg, are terming out. so the feeling is its going to be a whole lot of new people. new staff. starting all over again so it would be years until any of these proposals would seriously be considered. >> are the politics of it really that tough. >> when you have attorney general pamela harris that wrote a book on better sentencing she stayed out of this. >> hasn't taken a position. >> hasn't taken a position. it shows you how hot this one is. it comes down to some of the crimes. when you tell them look let's reduce receiving stolen property
from a felony. it's a nonviolent crime to a misdemeanor but then nancy omally says wait a minute, do you really want to reduce that? same goes with date rape drugs. that's another area. fear is some of these law enforcement people are erasing these. is it going to put the public at risk? are violent offenders going to be out there? we know they already said something like 40,000 cases will be changed. >> based on realignment we've seen a lot of these offenders now in the responsibility of the county instead of the state and they're on probation instead of parole. have we seen any indication that these other reforms have lead to an up tick in crime? >> no, that's what is encouraging the proponents of 37. the crime rate in california is the lowest it's been since john kennedy was nominated put. >> but we're seeing the property crimes tick up.
>> that's a one year tick up and now it's going down again. crime rates in california are low but the other thing that's very important is while the criminal justice officials are taking whatever position they'll take, i mean, remember, they opposed 36 even though the voters liked it. >> that was the three strikes change. >> no. >> the drug sentencing. >> the drug sentencing. many of them opposed the three strikes reform and it didn't really matter but the one thing i think that's really important is the fact that for the first time the progressive position have been able to mount a very well financed campaign. >> and, in fact, it's also getting money from the right wing. the biggest donor to prop 47, the yes side is a conservative business man from malibu. >> as you point out, it's remarkable how much money the yes side has gotten. >> what is it that's attracting conservative money? >> it's the idea that the
prisons are overcrowded. we know that. what can we do to more effectively address the mental health issues and drug issues to keep some of these people from crowded the prisons. i think they get that. the question is where is the public going to go on it? especially law enforcement. law enforcement wants that ability to hold it over the head of someone when they're about to do the sentence and that's what they don't want to give up. >> but the law enforcement people have not even raised enough money to have a good cocktail party. >> very little money. >> and the thing that i think is so interesting, i mean, i don't remember a time in california when jay-z the leading rapper and newt gingrich are on the same side of an issue. that tells me there's something going on here. >> let's go shift to the attorney general's race. you mention pamela harris she has opposition. four years ago she barely got
elected. she barely beat the d.a. of los angeles and she doesn't have a credible opponent. she has $3.6 million in the bank. her opponent has virtually none. how do we get to this point. >> is it a rising super star of the democratic party and he's not debating ron gold the los angeles attorney. >> the republican. >> the republican. interestingly enough ron gold is for legalization of recreational use of marijuana. pamela harris has taken no position on it and she has not taken a position on 47 or on the decision that's very controversial. >> tenure. >> she has really played it safe and many newspapers have endorsed her but says she is playing it way too safe. >> so you have ron gold running for attorney general as a republican to her left on marijuana. >> he wants to legalize all forms of marijuana. >> yeah. >> all types. but i think i interrupt this as the republican party in
california beginning with pete wilson shot itself in the foot. completely alienated the latino vote which is the largest vote in this state. they have taken the number of social positions that have alienated young people. they have so marginalized themselves that you don't really have to take a lot of positions. >> you have to be on the belt. >> that's right. >> which is what she's doing but there's also all of this talk about pamela harris running for something else, higher office. she has been mentioned as a possible replacement for eric holder. is it justified or is it just hype. >> no, i think, look, there's no question about it. she has a huge political future. the question is in what? running for governor or u.s. senate? is she already running for something else by pulling back and plague it to cautiously. >> you can get in trouble doing that. >> that's right. that's what the critics are saying. >> so is there anything that we can look for in the next few
weeks in this race? >> there's no town halls. there's very few availabilities. this is a case where in her race there is no race. she knows it. she won 53% in the primary. so she's going to hope to coast to victory and then go on to the next whatever that is. >> all right. carla from the san francisco chronicle. thank you very mae up, a look at who is building tiny houses. but first, we turn to technology. a san francisco group is gathering the best and brightest young minds in high-tech. the cairo society as identified 50 entrepreneurs worldwide all under age 25 whose innovations could change health care, education, and energy. joining me are a local entrepreneur who has been selected as one of the cairo 50. connor landgraph that started echo devices in berkeley and the president of the cairo society.
welcome to you both. connor, your company, echo devices, what does it make? >> so we're building echo t world's most intelligent stethoscope and it's an add on to additional analog stethoscopes. the one that 95% of physicians have and we built a smartphone application that works with it so we can record, play back and analyze heart sounds for physicians from their tablet. >> how did this come about? >> it came about from research at berkeley. i was working with a professor and she brought in physicians and had them talk to us about their challenges and things they saw were broken in the health care system and one of the things we told us is stethoscopes are challenging to use. they take years of practice to get good at and the vast majority of physicians are really not the best with stethoscopes. so we thought about this problem and thought let's apply technology and let's apply applied computing to help them.
>> do you have fda approval to market this yet? >> not yet. we're about to file with the fda for clearance and hopefully we'll be on the market in 2015. >> so daniel i'm curious what was it about echo devices and about the other 49 entrepreneurs on your list that made you select them and how many applications did you get overall? >> sure. we receive hundreds if not thousands of applications each time we open up the k-50 and what we're looking for is a very unique blend of young sbr entrepreneurs. you have to be under 25 and in addition to this as connor's company demonstrates they already have a working prototype and some already have customers. so they're acting on the
ambitions. >> you're running counter active to some concerns we heard about how it seems many young entrepreneurs are focussing on things like photo sharing apps, dating apps that while may be entertaining they're not necessarily impactful. you're looking for something else. >> sure and listen there's a bunch of guys our age who are making lot of money building the next facebook. great for them. that's really awesome. but we think there's a lotic9x bigger problems that we can solve as technologists and entrepreneurs. >> we hear this term doing good passed around a lot. is that one of the criteria you apply to the contestants? >> sure. we should all acknowledge this fast that doing good is a term, we like to think about impact and if we can positively effect the lives of billions of people that's a pretty good place to start. >> connor, when you had -- when you came up with your idea, are
there certain stereotypes, misperceptions or hurdles that you faced as a young entrepreneur. >> absolutely. one of the biggest challenges is the health care system is hard to break into and it requires lots of knowledge and expertise to get into the health care industry and so often people come to us and say to us health care system can't -- you won't be able to build a new device for the health care system or you won't be able to find a way to pay for that in the health care system and we found a few select mentors so impactful and helpful to us in saying yes that's important and that needs to be done and we'll help you and give you the resources to do that. without them it wouldn't have happened. >> so often we hear about the young billionaire entrepreneurs under 40. the mark zuckerbergs, uber, that's one measure of success. how do you measure your success of the entrepreneurs. >> on the broadest level. we hope to make people like connor revered as much as people
like mark zuckerberg. they need examples of successful entrepreneurs that have gone out and survived and succeeded. that's an absolute win. also we're trying to recognize that a rising tide raises all boats and by creating an entire ecosystem that young entrepreneurs need. whether it's local governments, universities, major corporations, investors, d.c.'s labs we try to bring every single piece of the ecosystem together. >> do you have these funders and big companies supporting you? >> absolutely. next week is the global summit happening in southern california. some of our biggest partners are some of the biggest companies in the world. general electric, johnson & johnson, sprint, these are all companies that come to the table because they want to have a hand in helping shape the future and they see companies like echo that connor is doing as part of that. >> there's a severe gender gap
in tech. women make up half of all in the country yet only 25% of the workers in science and computers. do you work to promote women in technology. >> absolutely. on a broad scale cairo spent many years developing a wide pipeline to develop the talent in the world but we also need more older women as examples of entrepreneurs we have a mentorship program and we actively recruit older wise female entrepreneurs that can help guide the next generation. >> we know about echo. what's some of the other products that you're excited about that will be demoed at next week's conference? >> sure we have everything from mind controlled robotic lenses. the next generation of infrastructure development with rollable concrete. >> what's rollable concrete? >> right now if you want to pour
drive way or irrigation ditch you need 40 guys, a big cement truck, imagine if you could roll it out like a roll of carpet. pour water on and the next day you have concrete. there's also softwares, algorithms to improve the eco consciousness of your delivery fleet. people are trying to solve big problems and are coming at it from very different perspectives. >> a lot of wide ranging product with the potential to make a really big impact. thank you both for coming in. >> thanks for having us. >> and good luck to you next weekend. >> thank you. >> and when i apply for a job in two years you'll hire me right? you'll remember me. >> absolutely. >> connor and daniel. thank you both. >> thank you. >> well, the so-called tiny home movement is getting, well, bigger and parts of california are becoming hub for the small
dwellings including sonoma and berkeley. it has its appeal to a growing number of people. planning experts are building on the concept calling it a possible solution to the affordable housing crisis. >> walking down the street in berkeley california, it might not catch your eye but hidden in plain sight sits a small house that is part of a big movement. >> come on in and take a look at my house. all together this probably 6 by 11. 66 square feet. >> the san francisco bay area say hot bed of the so-called tiny house movement. people like nathan williams are turning away from high rents or big mortgages building their own small house and living a simpler life style. >> this is a kitchen area, office, storage under here. this is a portal to the outer world. >> taking design queues from boats and rv campers now
professional builders are turning tiny homes into some what of a cottage industry reaching nearly 200 total square feet with a sleeping loft these tiny houses are popping up all over the country. they're not considered permanent structures so in urban environments they don't need building permits but that doesn't mean they go entirely unnoticed. >> we actually view them as rvs or motor homes. the technical definition we have for them is house cars. so they're really unregulated by our building code but the city doesn't allow them to be connected to the sewer lines or to be permanantly mixed in another way that would allow inhabitants to live there full time. we're also limited to staying in those house cars three days within a 90 day period. >> but people are living in them full time and now some cities are considering updates to their
dwelling policies and yet even with permit changes these house cars are still impractical for most however the tiny house movement sparked new ideas and concepts for affordable housing. today there's a quitely growing trend of homeowners building fully permitted 500 to 800 square foot accessory residences on their property. >> this is a beautiful backyard. >> isn't it beautiful? >> it's like being in paradise. >> peggy jones sold her long time home and pooled resources with her son and his family. they now share a property with a main house and a small cottage they built for her in their backyard. >> this is my cottage. >> you must love it out here. >> i do. >> this is so cozy. >> i love it. >> it's very nice. >> it looks very spacious actually. >> it's very spacious. >> the thing i really like the most is being close to this child and being able to watch her grow up. >> do you think this is a good solution for other families
looking for a solution to a multigenerational dwelling. >> yes because it works and they can help me when i need it. i can help them when they need it and economically with prices with houses being so expensive in the east bay we combined our resources. >> when you look at this place that you have build, your mother-in-law is living in it now but it looks like it could be a really flexible space. >> we were definitely thinking into the future but we were -- we wanted to make a nice little nest for grandma so we were mostly focused on that. we don't know what the future brings. it may be a rental unit in the future. my daughter may live there when she's older. it's hard to go wrong investing in your property. >> most city planners agreed this kind of development is not only beneficial for homeowners but necessary for the regions growing future. >> here in berkeley california the city is pretty much built out. there aren't a lot of vacant
parcels. >> in the next 30 years the population of the bay area is projected to grow by more than 2 million people with a need for 660,000 new homes. karen chapel has scloesclosely d these growth patterns and projections. she built it on her own property. >> here in the san francisco bay area affordable housing is a crisis. do you see tiny homes and cottages such as yours as a possible solution to that. >> that is the million dollar question. we should probably be getting about half of our development from cottages like this. and, in fact, if we don't, we're never going to be able to accommodate the 2 million people that are coming in the next 30 years. >> welcome to my cottage. >> it's nice. very cute. >> it's adorable. people have fallen in love with it. >> how many square feet? >> 250 on the bottom. 170 upstairs.
so 420 total. >> i wanted to make sure that this could work as a housing unit according to the city of berkeley. it wasn't just my own kind of funny house. >> the city of berkeley identified 8,000 residents that are prime candidates and with the average rent already exceeding $2,000 a month there's added incentives for homeowners willing to build on their land. >> when you decided to build this what was the purpose? >> i can use it as a study. it can use it as a rental property and i can use it for my sisters when they come visit. we need to have spaces that work for different types of life. that work for different income levels, work for different part of the family. what we need to be doing is thinking about how to make it financially more feasible for homeowners to build this type of unit. >> it's lovely. i think i could live here.
>> bring your family and move on in. ♪ >> joining me once again is scott schafer. >> hi. >> the head of the public utilities commission said he will step down at the end of the year rather than ask the governor to reappoint him. he's been underfire since the gas explosion that killed 8 people. >> he has. there's feelings that they weren't on top of it even before the explosion in 2010 but certainly afterwards that the oversight was lax. there's a sense that they were too cozy and e-mail surfaced showing they were very friendly. a little bit too much so. some people got fired and other people -- there's just a lot of concern that they weren't really watchdogs. they were more lap dogs so this
protest against peavy as the head of the pc has been building and it came to a peak this week. >> there were even more e-mails that didn't put him in a good light. >> it was more fuel to the fire. these e-mails showing that he basically asked for a million dollar political contribution in exchange not for himself but trying to undermine a key environment law and it didn't look good and it added to the motion that this is not a healthy relationship. it's not the kind of relationship that the pc is intended to have with the utilities they oversee. >> let's look ahead to next week as well. the 20th anniversary of 187 is coming up and this is the measure that really targeted undocumented immigrants. would have denied them basic services like health and education i. was overturned by the federal courts. but it's lost an impact hasn't it? >> it's been huge. you see it up and down california and you see it in the
legislature. it was beginning of the end for the republican party in california. at that time pete wilson was governor. he got reelected because he embraced prop 187 but it energized a whole generation of latinos into politics. he's going to be sworn in next week, the los angeles senator that got involved as a young organizer fighting prop 187. so you see it all over. >> he's the first latino to be in that office for more than 130 years. >> exactly. it's symbolic. he authored the legislation that the governor signed a few weeks agatha took prop 187 off the books. it was symbolic but clearly it's the coming full circle from when he got involved in politics 20 years ago. >> on a lighter note we can't leave without saying something this saturday. >> you're wearing orange right. >> that's right. i'm sort of laughing. >> people are so excited. it brought the city together in a fun way.