« Reveal

Pandemic, Protests and Profits

2020-04-25 | 🔗

Protesters around the country are pushing to loosen stay-at-home orders, even though health experts say that could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, some Amazon workers say not enough is being done to protect them.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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from the centre for investigative reporting and r ex this is revealed analysis whose responsibility is it to keep people safe from spreading the corona buyers. Your government, your workplace yourself, In a few minutes, we're gonna hear from a worker at Amazon whose worried that the retail giant Isn't doing enough to protect employees but first start with the movement of people who think they can protect themselves there. Having stay at home restrictions be scaled back even as health experts say that could put more people at risk. A coalition of republican governors from six seven states is working to lift restrictions across the southeast Georgia. Governor Brian Camp has been leading the pack, it emits there Risks now will say that we are more people moving around we're, probably to have to see our cases continue to go up. Camps says Georgia will be able to handle any increases in cases
the doktor, Anthony Faulty, isn't so sure the director of the National Institutes of algae and infectious diseases says reopening the states to early could backfire more tester needed to make sure people who don't realize their sick aren't spreading the disease and a ball found this. Seventy two percent of Americans agree. They think the stay at home orders should remain in place. Until health officials say it's safe to lift them, but a vocal minority has a different opinion emission protesters gotten their cars to shut down streets around the capital. They demanded that the stay at home orders be lifted and the economy reopen. President Tromp has added fuel to the fire with tweets like Liberate, Michigan and liberate. Minnesota protests have spread to several states, including in
Anna Texas, Colorado, California, and this last week in Pennsylvania normal where we are locked like prisoners, that's Pennsylvania, state representative, AIR Bernstein. He helped organised protest and is on the line with me now, thanks so much for joining me thanks so much for having me on great opportunity to talk about some of the things happening here in the Commonwealth,
Tell me what it was like it at the protests. What what did you see? Basically, what I followed a group of people? They were coming together to petition their government about that in their very passionate about in your speech, you find the capital. You said that your concern about both livelihoods and freedoms that are in jeopardy. Can you explain what freedoms you believe or in jeopardy one? I think that this country was founded on was the ability for people to go and do our work and pull themselves by the two traps and work hard advance, their light provide for their families and having that independence. While practicing pvc guideline washing their hands doing those types, the things in order to remain a state as possible? It seems, like you, support other recommendations of the CDC to social distance and avoid large gatherings, but at the same time I've seen pictures of the protests of the capital
and a lot of people had no mask whatsoever. There were standing shoulder to shoulder in a large crowd it. You said that you trust people to follow the proper protocols but they weren't even doing then at the protest it can. I trust you will do its best for them. The day. You're gonna rely on a forceful government to mandate what people do or you can trust individuals, and if I were to get as a fifty fifty a boat people had mass on out of the entire thing to give up a cock numbers, but that would I viewed a huge sand, but we clearly see that people aren't following the precautions we could see it in the video from the protests that you spoke at. Your virus doesn't really care about personal responsibility, virus spreads and we know that the corona virus is highly contagious. At least forty four
thousand Americans have died from it, probably higher numbers. So are we trading off people's health and lives for the sake of the economy? There are rest, but the point they were talking about it. This are we going to shut down the entire United States of America entail. That virus is no longer an existence at all in, and I understand it there, but only those who believed that the best way to go. I doubt it. I think that ultimately, people at the main pain, personal responsibility and back to my original point of I trust the american people to make decisions that are best, but I'm gonna Wolf vetoed a bill. You supported to reopen the economy. He said that reopening
tens of thousands of businesses, too early, will only increase the spread of the virus, place more lives at risk, increase death tolls and extend the length of the economic hardship created by the pandemic. Do you think he has a point here? We add civil conversations and civil disagreement on the first one to say that, while I disagree with Governor Wolf position on this, and not one of those people that saying Tom, Wolf is trying to wreck the Pennsylvania economies trying to ruin thing, that's not true. We just have a firm difference of opinion on how the situation could be able, and I think that what has happened in this situation and Pencil Dania and several other states across the sky, Is it taken a hatchet rather than a scout, boarded the situation, I'm in California right now? What California has done the restrictions to stay at home orders if we hadn't done that the projections of what would have happened here? completely overwhelming
I think what was done in those regards in order to understand, in order to initially dress the situation was wrong. That's not what I'm talking about I'm talking about today, moving forward. Why move forward today, though, if, if you feel like the restrictions that were put in place in a month or two ago, were fine but now moving for today? What has changed for you? That makes you feel like we? We can bring this down first and foremost, the education peace, that people understand how to keep it felt safe and make it a good actions on their own. The second thing is the fact that we have in fact flattened the curve, and we have stopped I'll ppp for manufacturing firms. Medical community is ready, enable due to work, so I think those things have happened in Africa. The experts say that personal responsibility alone is just not enough that there needs to be more testing and the triple what we're doing right now and contact tracing needs to be a full effects. Are we, figure out where the virus is going
We are nowhere near being able to do that right now, so we ease the restrictions on it we really risk new outbreaks happening new hotspots popping up to me. This is not an all or nothing approach, and I think so many times that the general public says things are black and white blood ties, it alike, grey areas, especially if you're dealing with government issued Lieutenant governor, Damn Patrick in Texas, said that its worth reopening the economy, so his grandkids can thrive, even though it poses potentially fatal
is to Americans over sixty five. He said, if that's the exchange, I'm all in more recently, he said there are more important things than living. Do you agree with him? I got a poor choice of words and I wouldn't even begin to know exactly what he was trying to get at or what he would say on. What I do know is that for freedom, just couple generations ago, seventeen eighteen nineteen year old children stormed the beaches of Normandy or were shot and knew that they were going to make it to preserve freedom? Are there things out there in the world that are more important than that there are. If the way you see. This playing out actually happens in the restrictions are lifted. Are you willing to take responsibility if there's a surgeon, corona virus cases in deaths? I mean I am I'm responsible for everything I do and people responsible for the decisions they make in sixty two thousand constituents and I look at
as my sixty two thousand bosses and out when they can make the decisions on whether I made the right choices? Are not err? Bernstein is estate. Representative in Pennsylvania, after we spoke to him Wolf announced the plan to gradually lift stay at home restrictions. Darting may age Is the rules on a country by country basis, but only if the number of new cases of virus remains low. The governor is also allowing some construction work to resume or may first and by the way, New York Times, is reporting that the protests are part. A right wing movement led by national groups, including tea party, patriots and freedom, works. Then they ve Bernstein told us. His protest was homegrown when we come back which,
with an Amazon worker who says more restrictions, not fewer are needed to keep employees safe from Amazon, and, as I realise there are twelve people die warehouse, that's not gonna thought a wounded. The customer who speak up we can do it alone you're listening to reveal Hey hey, hey it's out here with another podcast pick, and this one is extra special because not only one of my favorite podcast its hosted by one all time: favorite people, Anna sale of death, sex and money. Anna, how you doing hey out nice to talk to you. I love you show, obviously have been listening to it since the beginning. Thank you would you? now we are true
into really kind of help. Our listeners serve get their heads around. How much all of our lives have changed in this matter. You know our show is about the things we think about a lot. I need to talk about more. We say you had an interview with John Prine from a couple years ago and he just passed away from Covid nineteen. Yeah, that's. One of the things we ve been doing is revisiting conversations with people we ve lost during this time were also working on stories from earliest nurse about touch an intimacy, and we got a serious coming up about money and what we can control and what we can't control when it comes to money and our personal lives right now. Well, I cannot wait to listen to it, not a personal note. I also cannot wait into were back in the office working out of the same studio, and I get to see you again, I'm so excited to see. You too have an a sale of
sex him money from the? U N Y see studios. It's on all your pie, casting apt, it's one of my favorites, so please, God, listen from the centre for investigative reporting. Impey are ex vis is reveal a mallet as a pandemic rages on. Many of us are staying safe at home and getting the stuff we need delivered right to our doorstep, Let me is reeling. Business is booming for online shopping. The corona virus crisis hit Amazon start to a record high and c o Jeff Baisers. Already the world's richest person is getting even richer meaning. Inside Amazon's warehouses where workers are churning out package, So we recently learned to confirm pieces of cuban nineteen at our site. That's a man!
driven Amazon Warehouse in hazels in Pennsylvania? This announcement was recorded secretly at the end of March, few days later and again all know all this possibility and they keep coming that warehouse had more than sixty cases as of MID April. It is more than most, but it's one of dozens of Amazon warehouses around the country with confirmed cases of covert nineteen, That is what I imagine. People resort to save face cases that we have one. We closed the bill and the answer is because exceeding the CDC recommendations and guidelines today and if you got a reboot, the emotion from the situation you'll see when doing more than what's being asked around Thanksgiving last year, review
we'll Evans reported on workers. Safety at Amazon Warehouse in the past few weeks he's been checking in with workers to ask they feel Amazon is doing enough to keep them safe. Now his will I've heard from Amazon workers around the country about what their jobs are like now, many you're scared to go to work and get sick. That's why the Amazon, their hiring like crazy right now, people does not come. You know, that's other har husband looking at a giant Amazon warehouse in Southern California she's right Amazon. Says it's in the midst of hiring a hundred and seventy five thousand new workers, but like a lot of workers I heard from Heather, says: Amazon has been too slow to protect its employees. The first few weeks there was. It tells me for you now stay away from my letter that your coffee cup in your mouth, nobody was really Gary Heather says she asked for disinfectant wipes a mask and gloves and couldn't get any and with her job it sometimes impossible to keep your distance from coworkers.
Sometimes people are ordering packs, gator aid packs of soldiers. I have to have somebody come and help me that person that comes to help me doesn't have a face not idle covers. They smack neither of us up second glad on any other. I have wash their hands within the last three or four hours. That's because she worried that going to the bathroom to wash up would get her in trouble for slowing down production hitherto started getting notifications of cases of covert nineteen at her warehouse for confirmed as of MID April, the company offers two weeks of it's sick time for those who have covered nineteen or ordered to quarantine. People who don't meet that high bar can take off as much time as they want, but they dont get paid. So many people
going up give our hardly worth big because they cannot, unless we take the time off, Heather finally decided that the warehouse was too risky and she's taking unpaid time off she's terrified of exposing her ten year old daughter who was murdered. Issues that weaken her immune system? Now Heather's running out of money and just applied for government assistance, not gonna, be able to pay my right next, where steadily very bad and I'm under the care they want. You there to Baku. I had a lot of questions for Amazon about what Heather and other workers were telling me, but they declined to answer any of them. Instead, they were heard me to a shareholder letter and accompany blog, or we found this message at Amazon genes, are what motivates us like flying masts around the world are doing everything we can
and to keep our people saying starting this month? Amazon is taking some more serious steps. Checking the temperature of workers before they can come in, distributing face, masks and experimenting with disinfectant flogging and Amazon says that workers can take breaks to their hands whenever they want. But many workers, save the company known for innovation and relentless speed, hasn't moved fast enough. Is on, workers walked out the door to protest conditions are the warehouse and there have been small demonstrations it. Several Amazon, Warehouses We need your bases. Its action by job is also business facility and do something about this.
They ve signed petitions demanding Amazon, temporarily clothes, warehouses for deep cleaning while continuing to pay workers. Amazon has fired a few outspoken employees at Heather's. Warehouse workers filed a complaint with California's Workplace Safety Agency, asking them to inspect it. Heather knows it's risky to speak out, but she wants the public to know what's going on and it shall anodyne festivals, that's realising that twelve people die in his warehouse. That's not gonna thought we support excited the workers because we can't do it. I saw the customers to speak up. We can do it alone. Even before covered nineteen Amazon had a history of failing to keep its workers safe. That's what we found an hour earlier investigation, which looked at that same so in California. Warehouse were Heather works back in June. Where are you have twenty nineteen another worker there
called nine one one. I am calling for a mom Amazon building on one of the associates here, and I believe that there is a gap here. That's Christina Van Bourse, she's, making the call from her cell phone during her overnight shift. Is anyone figure injured yet, where I went out on my for pretty much everyone on that side felt to associate that. I know for sure that were vomiting, one girl almost completely cast out. She had to be taken by a wheelchair at this point, Christina intercourse. I have been working with the gas smell four hours. We are going to recommend that everyone leave the building immediately and
The doors open, as agreed, accurate but Christina, says her bosses dont want people to stop working, my everyone SEC and you're, not letting people, though, like they're kind of policy happy that personal time. If we want only ok they'd, have to take personal time off. She says to flee the gas leak and when the fire department shows up, you can hear on the recordings we got that they have trouble getting around inside the building. That's because, in addition to people there are hundreds of robots moving products around the robot forward. Against that, so we can't just walk in and it's basically like Tron Tron that 80s Sci Fi Movie. I visited Christine at her apartment, complex in riverside, where she lives with her husband and three kids on the night of the leak. She said she felt nauseous from the gas, but was scared to make that nine hundred and eleven call Her coworkers were scared to their worried, about getting fired or losing their hours are losing their pay, and that's not something that they should be well.
We need about when there's a ghastly. You should be worried about your life. We talk to one Amazon worker who said she spent hours in the e r and was put on oxygen because of the leak. Amazon said in his statement that no one was hospitalized. The company claim shut down the site for about an hour and a half to fix the leak and air out the building. They said workers who use their personal time off to leave were refunded their time in Our job Christina sees a lot of the warehouse and overtime she seen her coworkers get hurt all kinds Andrews my seeing me injuries, I've seen shoulder injuries, I've seen people poor things out and cut themselves. Why do you think so? maybe bargaining her because they have to meet their quota Amazon closely guards. The record
of serious injuries, but regulations say the company has to give them to workers who request them with the help of Amazon employees. We were to obtain injury records from thirty one fulfilment centres out of a hundred and ten around the country. We found that in twenty eighteen workers at those Amazon facilities got seriously hurt at a rate, more than double the industry average Amazon says these high numbers show their extra diligent in recording all injuries and their careful not to send employs back to work until the ready. When the company found out, we were getting the injury records it refused to let us record a tour of one of its warehouses, but they ve. Let a lot of other media in how proud I am here.
And also the work environment that we want our gas to come in and see how funny Amazon, to be an Amazon representative talking to ABC News on a tour of the company's warehouse in Tracy California, inland from San Francisco. We found The Tracy warehouse that they were showing off had four hundred and three, before injuries and twenty eighteen and Assyria injury rate, nearly three times the industry average and a warehouse in trout, they'll organ a serious injury rate more than six times the industry average. But here's how Fox Twelve Oregon covered that warehouse how automated at all, if the loser like joint room budget all over the place technology, the company claims that all that exciting technology not only makes
the warehouses faster, but also safer for workers, but I talked to several former Amazon safety managers who said the companies need for speed compromising safety. All of them were afraid of jeopardizing their careers by speaking about Amazon. Publicly I met with one, though, who would talk if we disguised his voice and whoop packages to customer in a day, but we haven't figured out how we can get packages to the customer debate without hurting people. Safety manager said that within the company, warehouses with robots are known for having a lot of injuries so much so that some safety managers dont want to work in them. Basically, Gordon Whinstone because of the amount of shoes and the amount of injuries, the robot set a blistering pace and people can barely
keep up, except for a select group very soon, because you were on the industry especially now. Does the industrial athlete here's a problem with that Not everybody is enough. We like we know that we all want the high school. Not everybody was on the football team if you guys the sub section of individuals that we too maybe can perform at this high. We not everybody, can do that. Had the robots push the humans pass, their limits, yeah man, humans or turn out at Amazon's warehouses. Most of the injuries, however, debilitating aren't life threatening. When you look at the injury logs, you see patterns, Strains springs wrist and shoulder injuries or back problems, but there have been more serious incident.
Coming down one. What is an out of your emergency? What has Amazon eight hundred per rude forgotten eight hundred Perrier under lip. You dont know if he is conscious. Inbreeding know about the man at the Amazon, where house in Plainfield Indiana, a maintenance worker named Philip Lee Terry, had been killed on the job. The next stage. On Stallone who worked for Indiana Occupational Safety and Health administration was sent to investigate John recorded his inspection and twelve ten p m. On September, twenty fifth, seventeen going into Amazon John studied the scene of the accident where there was still blood on the floor, mixed with hydraulic fluid. Fifty nine year old, Philip Lee Terry, who went by Lee, had been doing maintenance on a forklift.
The forks and a metal platform which weighed twelve hundred pounds were above his head and Amazon manager described the accident and came down on the individual to take those working on it? Does he just kind of problem is useful, Johns Inspection revealed that about five feet from where the accident had taken place was a safety device that should have been used to brace the forks. While Lee worked on the machine after he had been trained on yes or is there something This document is that something you'd have raining. Ministers appear training, retraining means informal training from another worker doing a similar job. Another maintenance and boy. You John interviewed, told him: there's no training, there's no safety, its get done.
The former Amazon safety manager, we interviewed said we should have gone through a formal training programme for the forklift, and he said it standard practice for a company to have documentation of that training on hand. John, the ocean Spectre repeatedly pressed Amazon for those records and came up empty, He ultimately determined that Amazon failed to provide Lee with adequate training. He found that the company bore responsibility for these death Indiana OSHA hit Amazon with for serious safety citations, but even Oh, a worker had died, a company It was then worth almost half a trillion. Dollars would have to pay fines of just twenty eight thousand dollars. That was less than what John had wanted and he began to get suspicious. Employers like Amazon, are entitled to a meeting to try to resolve citations. They disagree with
when his Indiana OSHA bosses held a conference, call with Amazon John secretly recorded it, That's legal in Indiana, despite the fatal accident, it's a real friendly call will sometimes I too consider ratings patients to lower the penalty him off. That's Julia Alexander, a director for Indiana OSHA she suggesting different ways that Amazon can reduce the citations. At one point, She pitches Amazon on joining an OSHA programme, so it can set an example for other companies as leader in safety later on safety? After that all with Amazon is over. Julie goes even further. She tells John not to get to attach to his citations. I hope you don't take it personally. If we have to wait citations every year. We them free.
Strong on her own doing. I'm I get paid by the hour. You do what you gotta do, but one thing she said really galled John. She speculated about the war. Who had died guessing they are just to be clear, Philip Lee Terry wasn't on drugs when he died. We got the toxicology report from the corner that showed the only things in a system at the time or caffeine and nicotine, even so on Johns tape, you hear a state official charged with keeping workers safe. Suggesting that a worker might have been high at the time of his death. John Stallone doesn't work for Indiana, OSHA anymore. I went to see. At his home and Anchorage Alaska, to talk about why you can tell his proud of his experience and safety right next to his front door. He keeps a collection of heart hats over the Middle EAST,
The oil and gas appear in Alaska BP, those in government contract work. I did, though, for safety runs in this guy's family Johns dad used to be chief of enforcement for Alaska, OSHA Johns, also a veteran who served in the air force in Afghanistan and he's now a safety official at a different company. I asked John what happened with the case in Indiana seem like, whereas I got closer and closer to the end of this case things are getting more and more out of my hand. He says he was getting pressure from his bosses to stop pursuing the case altogether. All of my management telling me to back off. Don't push them investigator, like myself, leads me to wonder what are we looking for? What's going on in the background John Does he found the answer to his questions when he was pulled into a meeting with the State Labour Commissioner Rick Rouble
and the governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb see at the time. Indianapolis was one of many cities vying to be the sight of Amazon Second headquarters. The company had promised an investment of more than five billion dollars and as many as fifty thousand high paying jobs John says, the Labour Commissioner and the governor pressured him to drop the investigation. You need to back off. In this case, you don't need to push this you're going to, then you need to resign and they specifically brought up the fact that Amazon, light and bring it second headquarters to any in, in a statement, governor Whole comes office denied that this meeting or took place. The Indiana Labour Department called Johns account fantastical, in addition to being absolutely false, the governors re election campaign.
Received a one thousand dollar donation from Amazon. Just shortly after John says, the meeting took place It wasn't even an election year and Amazon hasn't given to Governor Holcomb before or since not too long. After that meeting John says he got called into a supervisors office. He was told use would it be fired for poor performance. He says it was retribution and he says he quit the governors office later said he was terminated, John, did not moving back to Alaska and the four Syria Safety, citations and twenty eight thousand dollar, fine. Those when, way to Amazon, didn't pay assent in fines and the company never admitted any fault. In the death of Philip Lee Terry Liese, death was chalked up to employee misconduct. In the end, Amazon blamed Lee for his own death, the former Amazon.
If manager, we interviewed called that appalling diversionary misconduct berets putting a person we're gonna know, experience and working This piece of equipment to allow that to happen, dogs, the misconduct just three weeks. After all, the citations were deleted and the fines went away Governor Holcomb appeared in an Amazon round table at that point. Indianapolis was a finalist in the headquarters search. He told W p h our TV in Indiana less than he was still working to land the deal we offer a great place to grow Space to grow Obviously our are attacks and regulatory climate. Very just try buddy enticing. Despite that enticing regulatory climate, Indianapolis didn't win the second Amazon headquarters and ended up going to Virginia
state officials in Indiana, including Julie, Alexander, refused all our request to be interviewed about Philip. We Terry's death. Instead in a written It meant the Indiana Department of Labour said Amazon provided evidence that Lee had been properly trained and the department said it prove Amazon. New Lee was performing the task incorrectly in part because you working alone. That's one thing that everyone involved in the case can agree on Lee was worth in alone, after the accident? His body wasn't discovered for nearly two hours, evening of the accident least son Zack was making dinner when you got a call from a police chaplain without out Cookin on the grill and immediately to optimize of it didn't seem real and
It didn't seem real for a long time. I went out to Southern Indiana to meet Zack last fall. He didn't want to talk about the accident or its aftermath or Amazon, with his kids playing in the background he wanted to talk about his dad. I have a lot of anger built up because it everything that's happened. My big thing is honour in my dad's memory and who he was as a person. We want an accident, it was the patriarch of our family and how do I put this in the dude lit up a room. Zack was raised by his father and they were especially close. He got custody of me. Two years old I live with him all the way up until you know I was out of my own. He put me before anything else. He's supported all of my endeavors he's what I strive to be as a father. Zack and his wife LISA, raising three kids with another baby.
The way to of his children will never get the chance to meet their grandfather. The former Amazon safety manager. We interviewed didn't work at the warehouse where Lee died, but he was inspired to speak out. Because of the way Amazon handled it, he hopes ammo, on, will change its safety practices, but until then you know when you learn something from Amazon and you ve got inside Amazon. You wonder like he is ordering my package going to be the demise of somebody. Amazon said it provided Phillip Lee Terry Training Records to Indiana officials, but the company declined to say any more about his death, citing the privacy of employee information. After the story
aired, Indiana Governor AIR, cocoa, issued a cease and desist letter to reveal demanding retraction. We continue stand by our reporting are store, was produced by gather, miss ghastly coming up next What does it mean when a company like Amazon or Tesla, moves into your backyard? Your listening to reveal
centre for investigative reporting in p r eggs, this is reveal a mallet just like in Indiana governors all over the country have tried to convince companies like Amazon to set up shop in their state. That's what Brian sand of all did when he was the governor of Nevada, its twenty and sand olives, hosting a tech summit to celebrate the opening of Teslas Giant Battery Factory, the gig factory in the Nevada Desert twenty miles outside Reno. It was a big for the state which was still. Struggling to recover from the great recession. Exactly eight years ago, there was a front page story in the Arena Gazette Journal above the fall that said, Reno Detroit or the west. Now companies like Amazon and who have settled in state, but none represent the New Nevada better than Tesla, which created seven thousand jobs. One of those jobs went to Isabel West.
I am a production associate at tests, IBM training to become a technician. Isabel is twenty. She has pink here and infectious laugh. She was read, but in school she didn't have the best grade, so she was nervous when she first applied for job Tesla. They were a big company and they were proof. Small sum, obviously they won't me I'm a nurse Oh, what do they want with me, but Isabel and press the recruiter and landed a job making batteries for Tesla cars. She started out at around fourteen fifty in our choice the minimum wage in the vat at the average of the gig factories thirty thousand our since the end of March, because of the corona Vires, the gig factory has down production way back for the slowdown. Isabel said Tesla has been good for when she was asleep you're in high school. She wasn't sure what you want to do, but now that I'm here We like seeing at first hand like yeah. This is me
This is why I really like in the Tesla cannot be figure out myself. Just like Isabel Reno is figuring itself out now that has become a hub for tech companies like Tesla our friends at USA. Today's podcast, the city spent eighteen months. Looking at how the city is changing engineer, Damon has do we first brought you this past fall when Isabella most other workers from the gate, factory punch out for the day they had home to Reno, all over town parked outside grocery stores and gems. You see factory workers, cars with these black and white He passes in the past five years. The Reno area has grown by merely thirty thousand people and added forty eight thousand jobs, the city's changing fast, and it's trying to figure out how much to keep of its old Reno
character. A greedy town that years ago made its name capitalizing on gambling drinking and debauchery the brain out biggest little city. Were, I grew up here, built a career as an investigative reporter. I kind of like green is, but that is starting to disappear. Midtown is apart. The city that just a few years ago, was one of rhinos, rougher, neighborhoods, full of biker bars, liquor stores and a crack house or two Now it's a symbol of New Reno High and wine bars and sushi burrito joints are taking over the buildings that used to sit empty and the tattoo parlors are now clean and trendy
in the middle of all. This headedness is the Ponderosa hotel. It's cheap and most people live here year round. To call it. A hotel might be generous. It's more of a six story. Motel that sets right behind a Strip club and it's pretty run down the elevator certainly breaks half the light bulbs are missing and the ones that still work Flickr, almost like a strobe late, I'm here to visit on the shores of sixty four year old grandmother who lives on the fourth floor, with sweeping view of the changing city? Cannot it's ok. Velma invites me into the room she shares with their sixteen year old, granddaughter Taylor she's done a great job of turning the hotel room into a comfortable living space. Well, it's got ed
No it's gotta live in area. Here. It's got two beds in it. I could have tabled chairs. If I wanted, I do have the table. Velma spends her days. Dart up and down the hallways of the ponderosa gripping her oversized cellphone she's, a de facto leader for here checking in on our neighbours making sure they have food labelling, maybe just moved in a couple of doors over he's lived here before, but he was harmless, and so I told him I fix them into the Box of Staff and rang term summit as we just candor look out for one another. Velma was homeless too, at one time so Although the ponderosa run down, she sees it as her best option, I have money to move the gods. Eight about with new and higher values. One of four thousand people in the city- who rely on weekly motels for housing, but places like the ponderosa are becoming
curse as the new Reno takes hold, with people flocking to the city for jobs, there's a serious housing shortage about twenty five thousand units. Count weekly motel owners are cashing in and selling to developers were building fancier apartments, no cause evictions, where landlords boot tenants without a reason have spiked three hundred per cent, These are the kinds of problems that could have been planned for if government officials had taken the time to do more thorough impact studies when they approved projects like the gig factory
Even IRAN, mosques says the lack of housing is a problem that could threaten the completion of the cake factory here is that a twenty eight teen tax summit, there's gonna, be singled out from units with you know, you're a corporate buildings. I think we're gonna work. Will cats creating housing compound just on us at the factory, that compound was never built and while city leaders are now starting to act, building new works, housing and a tiny home village, for instance. They sometimes just turn. Blind eye to the problem like when I go on a tour of midtown with executives from the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and there we might cashmeres. It has taken me around like a perspective business owner interested in moving to Reno. Well, we're just crossed the river and really most communities would kill, to have a river run through it like this? He brings along
I am his young clean cut used to own a hooker. Engine downtown, actually he's the guy that chooses tech clients. Our driving into midtown, which is sort of the main street that leads into our downtown corridor and over the last decade it sort of transition to be the Phooey Cultural Artsy, section of downtown. They love showing off the gentrifying parts of town but then we were left to renew homeless shelter. It's an overcrowded complex and a new brewery district, just east of downtown. I asked them if they drive their clients, pass the shelter and Brian dodges. My question you don't say I wouldn't say that we have a homelessness issue. I think it's more perception and reality might doesn't correct them. But we are literally staring at a block filled with homeless people waiting to get The shelter for a meal or a shower or a bad perception Ursus reality in many ways, that's rhinos whole fight,
back at the ponderosa, the housing crunch. To vomit shoals doorstep. In January, twenty eighteen, He found a letter tat toward door. They said to find so hotel obtain it. Unfortunately I must realise and bad very bad news to you. The lover was I'm coming Kashmiri, the owner of the hotel. It goes. Under say he might have to nearly double her rent to thirteen hundred dollars a month we're a thirteen hundred dollars. Who's got that kind, Mammy, nobody a lot of money. Her landlord was on the front lines of the battle between Old Reno and New Reno, and now Velma being drawn into the fight.
See. In addition to only the Ponderosa camera Kashmiri owns the Strip Club next door, the wild orchid, it's one of three clubs. He owned. In town communist family open the club in the late nineties, and it still got that distinctly nineties feel you're. Ok, give the citizens Rinaldo Little Vegas just touch Vegas. The wild orchid is pretty well till now the camera is proud of it. Over the years is made him a lot of money enough. He says to keep rents at the ponderosa low but a lot of city leaders want this trip clubs to disappear. They want to move past old, Reno reputation as a home to agent, casinos and dingy clubs.
Here's my cosmetics, gay again. I think it's an embarrassment to our community and something that I believe we should have done something about a long time ago. They should not be defining us. The clubs have become an issue the renewed city council to which approved drying up ordinances, to get rid of Flash Easter Club signs and alcohol sales and move the clubs to industrial areas away from downtown. If the clubs go so the under Rosa, which is why commie ended his letter to Velma in her neighbours with an appeal. Perhaps you could stop the city from gender vacation and the wild Orkut at the expense of your homes. You have lessons Apologies for this bad news. The meeting of the Renault City Council are first order of business. Is the pledge of allegiance? Is the day after Velma got Kemys letter. I met city Hall for Route
the council meeting. Thank you very much that in fact time we voted. In the public comment period. I remind everybody just as the meat. It is getting under way about two dozen people file into the room, Some are young and look to be blue collar workers. A couple of others are in wheelchairs. There's an elderly man with afraid sports coat, his hereupon pomade into place and Velma after getting that letter. She's rounded up her neighbours at the ponderosa and they marched. City Hall, to fight for their homes. Yet no known only through better roads. Barrymores five year six years, my robotic Velma is barely taller than the lectern better Chin
that as she faces the council members, were you really made. Are we need more than anything in the world right now, not just made that other families are not the only family rising his there. This confrontation is exactly what can we wanted me? Please don't take. That from us is based Ugandan up by saying that I would appreciate that its clear that Velma in the other hotel residents don't blame camp for any of this. They blow Marino, Reno City Council, but Council women, Naomi Jardin tries to turn their attention back to the guy, threatening to double their rent is a disgusting tactic. They're using you as their necks, he's a man palm whether what she said about care. Is true or not its clear. The city hasn't kept up with the growing housing crisis. I talk about it with my cousin, ski the economic development guy, alright,
so tough test. I want to know why city leaders haven't done a better job of planning, so the growth we ve been able to attract with it come growing pains We could have been more aggressive. It afore for housing. We have not been, but it's time to play ketchup come back to this question of teslas here now is a huge member of the community. Adding stress to a lot of these safety nets and not just safety nets, but just our infrastructure in general. Should we be asking more of the company she got to be about calling out one business and then expect you to pay for things that businesses are not. Therefore, there are there to create a product Ultimately, if their successful here will allow us to have many well, paid employees able to do things that are community, when you do the numbers, we come out way ahead. Its April. Twenty,
team and I'm back at City Hall today this the council is going to make a final decision about? Restricting MR clubs or p simply moving them altogether at the rapid reflected the city Council winning the public hearing. At this time, the arguments go back and forth by the clubs should go the rights they have as established businesses. All those in favour say I I alone am opposed and in the end they back down, they decide not to move the clubs they do put in a bunch of restrictions, but comic us to keep as clubs downtown. So I go back to the ponderosa visit. Foma cameos no longer threatening to double her rent, but I wonder if she thinks her troubles are over Reno, Still changing around you and rents are going up everywhere, and do you think about that very much? Yes, I do Now. If I leave here, I know where to go
at nine in another year I can go Laffer senior housing Zombie sixty five, but there again it's not it's run me hard because her such waiting lists the city around her is still changing developers or circling with an iron on property. Gentrifying midtown is creeping closer and closer, as this city continues, fill with tat workers. The city councils vote didn't change any of that the engineer: Damon with the city, an investigative powers gas from USA today check it out. What you get by gas I leave produce for this week show is chasms. Gasket jet help this week from Christopher Harlan Dunaway
the many and Rachel Delhi on Turkey to meet his edited. The show thanks less Louis Hannah, Young David Roguery gas fired Duncan and Anti Donnie special thanks to Jessica, router, author of the book, no man's land, the city podcast, castles, reporting and produced by feel corps, Bit Camille Stanley, Taylor Making and Robin Amer. The editors are Amy Pile and met Deutsche Bahn. Aston was a story consultant regional music by hands Brown Victoria. Baroness gives our general council. Our production managers, windy and hosts are sound. Design team is. Dynamic. Do o J Breezy Miss Jim Briggs. If a man Doma Aruba then help this week from Amy Mustafa and clear, see no Mullen r C, O Whiskers Schonberg Thompson, is our editor. In chief executive producers, Kevin solving a thing It is by Colorado, like support for reveals, provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation. The John Dene can T Macarthur Foundation the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation,
the Fort Foundation, the hiding Simons Foundation, the democracy fund, the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production four investigative reporting, MP or X, amount lesson and remember. There is always more to this Laurie.
Transcript generated on 2020-05-04.