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: 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.

SLO County

Animal shelters across the state are seeing a reduction in the number of dogs and cats in their kennels. Eric Anderson, the manager of San Luis Obispo County's Animal Services division, talks with KCBX via Zoom about the impact of the pandemic on animals in our community.

Fr. Ian Delinger

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of both California and the Central Coast. KCBX's Greta Mart talks with Brent Burchett, executive director of the SLO County Farm Bureau, about a variety of local agricultural issues and challenges for the county's farmers.

KCBX's Greta Mart has a conversation with Mindbody CEO Rick Stollmeyer about that company's decision to layoff or furlough a third of its employees. We hear from Col. Charles Bell, commander of Fort Hunter Liggett, about how the rural base community is trying to protect itself from an outbreak of COVID-19. From our colleagues in the Central Valley, we get a feel for what it's like to work in a Fresno emergency room during the pandemic. Finally, KCBX correspondent Brian Reynolds has a conversation with first-time novelist Jessica Winters Mireles.

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas: We learn more about a STEAM—science, technology, engineering, the arts and math—program for middle school students offered by the Foundation at Hearst Castle. And a nationwide shortage prompts distilleries in San Luis Obispo County to turn production over to hand sanitizer. We hear more about a nonprofit organization called 'School on Wheels' that tutors homeless children in Santa Barbara County. And Father Ian takes us on an educational tour of Central Coast olive groves and olive oil producers. 

Playing With Food: Central Coast olive oil

Mar 30, 2020
Fr. Ian Delinger

Explore the world of Central Coast olive oil with Father Ian on "Playing With Food."

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear how the pandemic is affecting the hospitality industry in Monterey County, and operations at the SLO County airport. Cal Poly journalism lecturer Kim Bisheff talks about the current media landscape, and suggests ways we can find news outlets we can trust. We visit Atascadero Lake to witness the installation of a new bioswale project and learn how it will improve water quality. And we hear about the hundreds of 'catch-and-eat' rainbow trout just planted in the lake. 

In this episode of Issues & Ideas: Learn how the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council is helping local residents better prepare for fire.

Also, hear about REACH, which is the new iteration of the Hourglass Project, a year-old "action tank" focused on forming a viable plan to create new jobs and economic development across the Central Coast. 

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear from local winemaker Neil Collins, named 2019 “Person of the Year” by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Collins visits the KCBX studio to talk about his background, changes he’s seen in the local industry and a coming new certification for products produced by regenerative operations. 

Playing with Food: Foraging for seaweed

Feb 24, 2020
Fr. Ian Delinger

On the Central Coast, the ocean is an enormous source of food. We all know about fish and shellfish. But what about seaweed? Harvesting seaweed is super easy, and there is an endless supply. Father Ian Delinger dove right in, and took Playing With Food to new depths.

Issues & Ideas: Cultivating a more diverse EcoFarm

Feb 22, 2020
Mark C. Anderson

Why aren’t there more people of color and women at agriculture conferences? One organization is actively working to change the demographics of both presenters and attendees—and workshop topics—at what's considered the oldest and largest organic farming conference in the West.

Issues & Ideas: The SLO County supervisor race and food literacy on the Central Coast

Feb 11, 2020

The 2020 California Primary election is underway. In San Luis Obispo County, almost 80 percent of voters do so by mail, and by now, most have received their ballots. Over the next few weeks, KCBX News will be airing interviews with many of the candidates appearing on Central Coast ballots. On this week’s Issues and Ideas, we talk to four candidates running for the San Luis Obispo County board of supervisors.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas, we discuss affordability and housing issues on the Central Coast. Greta Mart speaks with journalist Kate Cimini of the Salinas Californian newspaper and CalMatters about her reporting on Salinas farmworking families. In another segment, we learn more about San Luis Obispo County’s YIMBY movement. YIMBY means 'Yes In My Backyard,' and the grassroots group advocates for creating more affordable housing stock in established city neighborhoods.

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, we talk to members of Cal Poly’s Iranian Student Cultural Organization. Following recently-increased tensions between Iran and the United States, the group is hosting a panel for the San Luis Obispo community, featuring experts on the history of conflict between the two countries. 

Playing With Food: Fermenting kombucha

Jan 27, 2020
Fr. Ian Delinger

Fermented stuff is all the rage these days. One fermented product is popping up all over the Central Coast—not just for sale, but in people’s garages—and that’s kombucha. Playing With Food checked in with both a commercial kombucha brewer and a home brewer to get a taste of what is kombucha.

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, we get better acquainted with former San Luis Obispo city councilmember Dan Rivoire. He was recently selected to be the new executive director of leadership development for the SLO Chamber of Commerce. He’s tasked with running Leadership SLO, a county-wide program designed to bring participants out of their comfort zones to learn new leadership styles and ways of handling diversity in opinions and people.

Playing With Food: Holiday Special 2019

Dec 23, 2019
Fr. Ian Delinger

This episode is a 'Playing With Food' holiday extravaganza, with three segments featuring foods along the Central Coast.

The podcasts for the individual segments of the holiday special can be found below and on the 'Playing With Food' page, including the recipes for latkes and Hanukkah donuts.

Playing With Food: A tamale holiday party

Dec 23, 2019
Fr. Ian Delinger

In Mexico and for many Mexican-American families, Christmas means tamale time. This little package of meat and mole nestled in cornmeal and wrapped in a corn husk can be found at many a taqueria here in California.

Playing With Food: The magic of oil at Hanukkah

Dec 23, 2019
Fr. Ian Delinger

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. As with every Jewish holiday, symbolic food is prominently featured in the celebrations. Since the observance recalls the miracle of a one-day’s supply of lamp oil lasting a full eight days, oil takes center stage…in the preparation of the holiday treats.

Pages