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FROM THIS EPISODE

The Los Angeles City Council votes today on a proposal to raise the minimum wage over the next five years to $15 an hour. But what about all the workers who currently make even less than the minimum wage? Federal immigration courts have a backlog of 445,000 cases, and the most severe situation is here in California. Next, the psychology of getting people to save water: negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement, and other tactics. Can Mammoths be “de-extincted”? A UC science professor talks about the prospect of bringing extinct species back to life. And finally, the lowdown on how new gastropubs are turning the Valley into a destination for foodies.

Producers:
Jolie Myers
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Christian Bordal

The Underground Economy and the Minimum Wage 10 MIN, 47 SEC

The Los Angeles City Council is debating today whether to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2020 -- considerably higher than either the state or federal requirement. We commonly think of people making the minimum wage as the lowest paid workers; it is the MINIMUM wage, after all. But one study suggests that a third of all workers in Los Angeles actually make less than the minimum wage. How can that be?

Guests:
Tia Koonse, UCLA Labor Center (@UCLALabor )

Immigration Courts Face Unprecedented Backlog 8 MIN, 28 SEC

Federal immigration courts around the country are backlogged with nearly half a million cases. That’s the biggest number judges have ever seen. California has the highest number of pending cases. The situation undermines the court’s entire mission. People with weak cases can end up staying in the U.S. for years, waiting for their day in court. And people with strong cases remain stuck in the shadows.

Guests:
Dana Leigh Marks, National Association of Immigration Judges

Getting People to Save Water: What Works? 8 MIN, 23 SEC

A new poll out today found two-thirds of Californians support mandatory water cuts -- IN THEORY. But, more than 4 out of 10 homeowners say they can’t cut back. So what would it take to close the gap between what you should be doing and what you’re actually doing? Higher water rates? Fining? Public shaming? Positive reinforcement? The psychology of getting people to save water.

Guests:
Ken Baerenklau, UC Riverside
Karen North, USC (@APOCusc)

De-Extinction: Will Scientists Really Clone the Woolly Mammoth? 13 MIN, 56 SEC

The movie Jurassic Park came out in 1993. Even back then people were thinking about the possibility of scientists getting dinosaur DNA and bringing real dinosaurs back to life. Of course in the movie, it didn’t work out so well. Last month, however, an international group of scientists announced that they’ve put together the complete genome of two woolly mammoths. Is life preparing to imitate art?

Guests:
Beth Shapiro, author, 'How to Clone a Mammoth' (@bonesandbugs)

The Valley's Restaurant Scene Heats Up 5 MIN, 11 SEC

Certain pockets of the San Fernando Valley are known for their food. There’s the stretch of Ventura Boulevard known as “sushi row,” for example. But now, a slate of new gastropubs and other eateries are turning the Valley into an official destination for foodies. We get the lowdown on L.A.’s newest hip food scene.

Guests:
Katherine Spiers, How It Got In Your Mouth (@katherinespiers)

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