Issues and Ideas

Mondays, 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Issues and Ideas is a show that features a wide variety of voices sharing their thoughts and perspectives about local people, issues and events on the Central Coast. You might hear a policy maker discussing new regulation, an artist sharing his creative process, an entrepreneur exploring sustainable business practices, or an author talking about her latest book.

Regular contributors and segments include: Greta Mart with KCBX News, travel correspondent Tom Wilmer's Journeys of Discovery, Father Ian Delinger's Playing With Food, Santa Barbara correspondent Beth Thornton, Brian Reynolds, Marisa Waddell, and others.

Ways to Connect

Issues & Ideas: Election coverage, reparations and internment camp memories

Oct 13, 2020

Among the dozen ballot measures this election, California voters are deciding on Proposition 17 and Proposition 15: we hear more about those two measures. John Laird and Vicki Nohrden are vying for termed-out Bill Monning’s state senate seat. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber chairs the California Black Legislative Caucus, and speaks about which laws she believes can help address systemic racism. We look at the long-term impacts of wildfire on the Central Coast, and we get a look at the local aviation industry. Two elderly friends talk about the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II and how they adjusted to life afterward. And, we hear from a fourth-generation resident about the changes downtown San Luis Obispo has experienced over the years.

KCBX's Greta Mart speaks with San Luis Obispo County top election official Tommy Gong about what is different in this November 3, 2020 election: the pandemic, new machinery, operational changes and possible power shutoffs. Scott Yoo, music director of Festival Mozaic and host of the newest installment of the PBS series "Now Here This," talks about  filming an episode in San Luis Obispo during the pandemic. The San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation helps people on the Central Coast who cannot afford to pay for legal services, and you’ll hear from the organization's executive director. Finally, on this month's Playing With Food, Father Ian Delinger joins a quest through poison oak to collect local wild yeast for brewing beer.

Playing With Food: Hunting wild yeast

Oct 5, 2020
Fr. Ian Delinger

Come along as Father Ian joins Chip Nasser of Night Lizard Brewing Company on a hunt for local wild yeast to make beer and bread. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. County airport director Kevin Bumen shares information about COVID-19 sanitation initiatives within airport terminals and aboard aircraft. Bumen also talks about dealing with reduced daily flights (down fifty percent from 2019), a marked reduction of income from ancillary revenue streams such as long-term parking, and Bumen's new position as the first chief commercial officer at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), with his last day at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport set on October 9.

Issues & Ideas: A virtual Monterey Jazz Festival, the SLO Botanical Garden and YouthWell

Sep 23, 2020

The Monterey Jazz Festival usually takes place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on the third weekend in September, but the 63rd annual festival will be virtual. You'll hear from Beau and Melissa Kramer of Kramer Events talking about the recent challenges of the event business. The University of California at Berkeley is starting a new center to study the science of psychedelics and you’ll hear from one of the center's cofounders—journalist and author Michael Pollan. YouthWell is a nonprofit based in Santa Barbara that provides free mental health workshops and resources for teens, parents, and educators. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden’s programs have adapted to the pandemic, and there are big plans for the future. And finally today, you’ll hear a story of stranded hikers trapped in the wilderness by a raging wildfire.

Issues & Ideas: Wildfire smoke on wine grapes, downtown vitality and SLO's first cannabis store

Sep 17, 2020

California voters will decide this fall on a dozen ballot measures, including one measure that would exempt gig companies from a law that makes it harder to classify workers as contractors. A black box theater in Santa Barbara that was almost exclusively a rental venue before the pandemic is now producing its own shows. We’ll hear from a Central Coast grape grower, who talks about the possible effects of smoke particles on wine grapes. The cities of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara are responding to COVID-19 and imagining new ways for the respective downtowns to operate as spaces for people to live, work, and play. Finally, we’ll hear from the owner of San Luis Obispo's first cannabis retail store. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with grape grower Vic Roberts, owner of Victor Hugo Winery in Templeton, about the effects of smoke particles from recent Central Coast fires on grapes. Roberts shares industry recommendations to mitigate effects of smoke and ash on grapes.

Issues & Ideas: Smart Share Housing Solutions

Sep 3, 2020

Affordable housing is hard to find on the Central Coast. Smart Share Housing Solutions helps by matching homeowners who have extra bedrooms with those looking for an affordable place to live. Consuelo Meux speaks with CEO Celeste Goyer on this edition of The Nonprofit Story.

More than 173,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States. We learn more about one of those who died of COVID-19 in July—Su Thao, a Hmong businessman and filmmaker who had a profound impact on thousands of others. Also on the program, Smart Share Housing Solutions helps people in San Luis Obispo County by matching homeowners who have extra bedrooms with those looking for an affordable place to live. Chuck Davison of Visit SLO CAL discusses the state of tourism on the Central Coast.

Fr. Ian Delinger

San Luis Coastal Unified School District is not only providing students with nutritious food, but making sure that no child goes hungry, even in a global pandemic. The district's director of food services tells the story.

Thomas Wilmer

The base commander at California National Guard base Camp San Luis talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about the process of becoming the first military base in America to achieve 100 percent carbon neutrality. Initiatives include installation of extensive rooftop solar arrays, 40 electric vehicle charging stations, replacing gasoline powered vehicles with electric power sources, and transitioning to 100 percent LED lighting inside buildings and for exterior lighting. 

We’ll hear from Dr. Gail Newel, Santa Cruz County's public health officer, who discusses a variety of topics—from new evidence on the effectiveness of masks to how the pandemic has affected her daily life. We'll learn about Downtown SLO's efforts to maintain a vital city center during the pandemic from the organization’s CEO Bettina Swigger. The Point San Luis Lighthouse just celebrated its 130th birthday, and while it's closed for actual tours during the pandemic, its history is rich and there are lots of plans for the future. Finally, insects are included in the everyday diet in many parts of the world, and we’ll learn about raising awareness and changing the perception of Americans around eating bugs.

Issues & Ideas: Coin shortage, abalone and a "quarantini" a day

Jul 28, 2020


Playing With Food: The daily quarantini

Jul 28, 2020
Dustin Colyer-Worth

While the bars have been closed, one person is doing his best to do his part to flatten the curve by staying home and recreating the ambiance of a cocktail bar right in his own home. Dusty Colyer-Worth has been creating his own unique "Quarantini a Day," and turning into a fine mixologist.

Issues & Ideas: Wildfire season, Santa Barbara history, and a SLO airport project

Jul 23, 2020

In this episode of Issues & Ideas: Wildfire season has arrived in California, and managers of a preserve in Monterey County are hoping to change the way communities approach wildfires. We’ll hear from a Santa Barbara historian to learn more about what was making news one hundred years ago. Bakersfield’s South High School has had a Confederate rebel for its mascot since 1957, and we’ll hear from Marcus Hicks, who, as a Black student, talks about what it was like to be in that environment. The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture brings new art exhibits to the community throughout the year, and we’ll learn about a current sculpture at what locals call Hendry's Beach. The San Luis Obispo Airport has an upcoming project to the airport's runway. The US Forest Service plans to prevent wildfires in the Los Padres National Forest by cutting down trees. And finally, we'll hear from a local tech business leader who believes “it’s high time we demand the right to open, tinker with, and repair everything we own.”

Issues & Ideas: NAACP, Latinx healthcare and Miss Odette

Jul 17, 2020

The San Luis Obispo County chapter of the NAACP has big plans for the next five years; we share a conversation with the chapter’s leaders. KCBX's Greta Mart speaks to a researcher who is studying ways in which community groups can help immigrants within the Latinx community get access to better health care. The authors of a new book on stress management techniques for first-responders share some practical tips. We’ll learn about a remote mountain top in rural California where a years-long renaming effort continues, and we’ll visit a rare underwater lab run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute— one of the world's only long-term monitoring sites at that depth. Finally, San Luis Obispo County's Miss Oddette serves up pulled pork and a conversation about racial justice.

Fr. Ian Delinger

In this episode of Playing With Food: Getting authentic Southern smoked pulled pork and a sought-after Southern BBQ sauce isn't always easy on the Central Coast, but Miss Oddette's Creole Kitchen will deliver, with a side of coleslaw and more. Father Ian visits with Oddette Augustus and talks about the recent local Black Lives Matter and George Floyd demonstrations, and how nationwide calls for racial justice were felt here on the Central Coast. 

Moving Picture World

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Santa Barbara historian Betsy J. Green about Santa Barbara’s Flying A Studios, which was producing movies before the advent of Hollywood. Green also shares insights about the 1918 flu epidemic in Santa Barbara, and how the 1925 earthquake that destroyed numerous buildings spurred the city to mandate all city-core reconstruction projects to employ California Mission-Revival architectural motifs.

Issues & Ideas: Flying at SBP, job losses for undocumented workers and GALA pride

Jun 26, 2020

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, San Luis Obispo author Nicholas Belardes talks about growing up in Bakersfield and going to a high school steeped in Confederate symbolism. A new report from UC Merced shows undocumented workers have been hit hard when it comes to job loss during the pandemic, especially women in non-essential jobs. SLO County Regional Airport director Kevin Bumen discusses the current protocol of transiting through the airport, in-flight COVID-19 precautions and the state of the airline industry as people are beginning to think about traveling again. Michelle Call of  the Central Coast's Gay and Lesbian Alliance, or GALA, gives us an update on local happenings during Pride Month. And finally, we learn how sea otters may be keeping our estuaries’ underwater plants healthy.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, Cal Poly grad student and photojournalist Diego Rivera discusses his  reporting on the SLO Police Department's explanations for using tear gas and pepper spray during the June 1 San Luis Obispo protest march. We’ll hear from Courtney Haile, co-founder of R.A.C.E. Matters SLO, describing the goals of the organization and the recent protests around San Luis Obispo County. Michelle Shoresman of the San Luis Obispo County Health Department talks about her job helping find medical coverage for poverty-level residents. And while government insurance covers the poorest of the poor, there are still millions of Americans who fall into a gap: they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford to buy insurance on the marketplace. The Noor Foundation in San Luis Obispo County aims to close that gap. Finally, UC Santa Barbara professor of communication Robin Nabi talks about her research on the positive effects of entertainment media as it relates to stress, illness, and goal attainment.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport with a conversation with airport director Kevin Bumen. Bumen shares insights about current protocol of transiting through airports; in-flight COVID-19 precautions and the current status of the airline industry; details about TSA protocols; United, Delta, Alaska and American Airlines' modification of service frequency, including United's temporary elimination of service between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles; and Delta's elimination of service to Santa Barbara.

In this edition of Issues & Ideas—protests, demonstrations and rallies continue across the Central Coast and nation, and one of the many issues brought into the spotlight is the racism that has shaped our cities over the past several decades, and how that racism intersects with climate change. We have an interview with Peter Rupert, director of the Economic Forecast Project at UC Santa Barbara, an initiative involved in Santa Barbara County's reopening after the pandemic shutdown. Consuelo Muets, CEO of SPOKES—which, for a membership fee, provides resources for nonprofits—talks with guests from OperaSLO and the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande. And finally, contributor Tom Wilmer traveled to Arkansas in 2016 and spoke with Robin White, superintendent of the National Park Service's Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. Given the national conversation at the moment, we're listening again to White's perspective. 

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, emergency relief for undocumented immigrants recently became available in California, but demand outweighs the supply of cash. We’ll learn how the California NanoSystems Institute at UCSB is repurposing 3D printers to make face shields for healthcare workers. And hear about the challenges facing small farmers in California due to COVID-19. We get an update on First 5 SLO County from director Wendy Wendt; the independent public agency, created by California’s Proposition 10, uses a tax on tobacco products to fund programs for children through age five and their families. The city manager of Morro Bay, Scott Collins, talks about having to discourage vacationers due to the pandemic. And finally, we’ll learn about an award-winning book by UCSB professor emeritus Tonia Shimin featuring the art of her late father, Symeon Shimin.

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, we hear from a SLO County infectious disease physician who is a key player in paving the way out of the pandemic shutdown; and from SLO supervisor Lynn Compton, who gives an update on the current status of the county's reopening plan. A founder of Lighthouse Atascadero talks about how the nonprofit has helped young people fight addiction since 1994, and how its programs have grown over the years. We’ll follow Father Ian as he hunts for local wild yeast in “Playing With Food,” capturing some yeast near a patch of poison oak and baking with it. And finally, we learn more about a fatal shark attack earlier in the month in waters off a state beach near Watsonville.

Playing With Food: Poison oak, yeast and bread

May 18, 2020
Fr. Ian Delinger

Yeast. It’s all around us. Two popular uses of yeast are for beermaking and breadmaking. Playing With Food went on a hunt for local wild yeast and has produced a segment on each. This one is about making bread with wild yeast…specifically wild yeast captured near poison oak, which is how this segment got its name. This is how we did it.

Issues & Ideas: Camp Roberts distancing, the Noriega closes and past vigilantes

May 12, 2020

On this episode of Issues and Ideas, we learn more of the history behind Bakersfield's Noriega Hotel, which recent closed its doors for good. A Bakersfield institution, it was the oldest Basque restaurant in town and a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. Also, Camp Roberts’ garrison commander has a conversation with correspondent Tom Wilmer about modified training and adjustments made to daily life at the National Guard base due to social distancing. We speak with Avila Beach resident and author Pete Kelley about his new local history book. And we’ll take a look at the 2020 census, and some new strategies used to get the word out to undercounted communities. Finally, we'll hear from San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre managing artistic director Kevin Harris about keeping a theater company alive during a pandemic.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

On this agriculture-themed episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear the second half of a conversation with Brent Burchett of the SLO County Farm Bureau, about issues facing farmers on the Central Coast. Father Ian takes us on a journey to explore growing and enjoying Central Coast artichokes. We learn more about a new research project in a San Miguel vineyard involving vermiculture, and tag along on a tour of a vermicompost production facility. And we get the lowdown on a state grant program designed to encourage healthy soils. Finally, meet the newest baby giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Playing With Food: Artichokes galore

Apr 27, 2020
Liz Frost

The artichoke—California’s official vegetable—was brought here by the Spanish in the 19th century. With 99.9% of America’s artichokes grown here, they are as Central Coast as any produce can get, as Father Ian Delinger learns exploring the joys of artichokes in this episode of 'Playing With Food.'

On this week's Issues & Ideas, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, by speaking to its organizer, Denis Hayes, in a wide-ranging and in-depth conversation. Correspondent Tom Wilmer takes us to Camp San Luis Obispo to find out what the National Guard are doing there. To see how virtual learning is faring during pandemic school closures, we check in with school districts in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. We also learn how Santa Barbara teenagers are helping seniors during the pandemic through a program called 'Zoomers to Boomers.' All that and more on this episode of Issues & Ideas.

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