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L.A. city councilmembers get paid more than the governor and members of Congress, and they are paid almost twice as much as California state lawmakers. How did that happen? Plus, a company called Pearson has its finger in every piece of the American education pie, making billions from testing, online curricula and textbooks. We talk to a Politico reporter who has done an in-depth investigation into Pearson’s rise. Next, in our parenting segment: Is it possible to talk about vaccines without people getting mad? After that, we discuss the now confirmed death of ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller. And the man who shot navy seal sniper Chris Kyle is going on trial in Texas. Will the movie make it impossible for him to get a fair hearing? Finally, who made those little soy sauce packets so popular -- and is that really soy sauce inside them?

 

Banner Photo Credit: Ken Lund

Producers:
Andrew Walsh
Christian Bordal
Matt Holzman
Jolie Myers
Anna Scott

L.A. City Council Salaries 7 MIN, 59 SEC

Candidates campaigning for L.A. city council seats have been criticizing councilmembers’ high salaries. Councilmembers are the best-paid in the nation compared with other big cities. They make a minimum of $184,610 per year. That’s more than the governor. More than members of Congress. And almost twice as much as California state lawmakers. At the same time, the city has a budget crunch, and mayor Eric Garcetti -- who makes more than $235,000 a year -- is negotiating with unions to put off pay raises, have workers pay part of their healthcare premiums, and reduce pensions.

Guests:
David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times (@DavidZahniser)

The Big Business of Education 9 MIN, 15 SEC

When the program to give iPads to every LAUSD student fell apart, the name Pearson kept popping up in the news. Pearson supplied the digital curriculum on those tablets. But the 140 million dollar contract was scuttled when an investigation revealed a sweetheart deal between school officials and Pearson. Cozy relationships are nothing new for Pearson, according to a new investigation from Politico. The company has its finger in every piece of the American education pie. It makes billions from states on testing deals, online curricula, textbooks, and school turnaround plans. And it scores many of those deals without going through a competitive bidding process.

Guests:
Stephanie Simon, Politico (@StephanieSimon_)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Vaccines 7 MIN, 56 SEC

In our parenting roundup: How do parents talk to other parents about the hot-button issue of vaccines? Also, a study says HPV vaccine doesn’t encourage promiscuity. And when is it too early for your grade schooler to prep for college?

Guests:
Stefanie Wilder Taylor, Co-Host of the parenting podcast “For Crying Out Loud” and author of the book “Naptime is the New Happy Hour.” (@swildertaylor)

Negotiating with ISIS 8 MIN, 5 SEC

The White House confirmed that 26-year-old Kayla Mueller is dead. She was being held by ISIS after being captured in Syria. Meuller was an aid worker from Arizona. It’s not clear how or when she died. ISIS says she was killed by a Jordanian airstrike. But what efforts were made to try to save Mueller since she was first kidnapped in 2013? And why didn’t they work?

Guests:
Yochi Dreazen, Foreign Policy magazine (@yochidreazen)

American Sniper Murder Trial Begins 6 MIN, 29 SEC

The movie American Sniper tells the story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle. After he returned home, he ran a program for vets with PTSD. One of them is a man named Eddie Ray Routh. Routh is accused of murdering Kyle and another man at a shooting range in Texas. The jury has been selected in Routh’s trial, and opening arguments are scheduled to begin tomorrow. But Routh’s lawyers say because of the movie, their client cannot get a fair trial: especially in Texas where a lot of people have seen the movie.

Guests:
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times (@mollyhf)

The History of a Messy Soy Sauce Package 8 MIN

Japanese designer Kenji Ekuan died this week. He was the man who created Kikkoman's iconic soy sauce bottles with the wide bottoms and the red cap. He had nothing to do with those packets that come with Chinese food when you get it delivered to your home: the ones that end up squirting more soy sauce on your shirt then your chow mein. Who designed those horrible little packets, anyway? Well, it seems that nobody really knows. But thanks to a new article, we now know at least who made them popular, and that in many instances, the stuff in them isn’t even technically soy sauce.

 

Guests:
Tanya Basu, Editorial, The Atlantic (@mstanyabasu)

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