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FROM THIS EPISODE

There’s a new twist in the story of Rafe Esquith, the L.A. elementary school teacher from who was removed from his classroom in April and put into teacher jail after allegedly making an inappropriate joke. Now the allegations against him have escalated to sexual and financial misconduct, and Esquith, for his part, is suing the LAUSD.

And in March, the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon agreed to shut down permanently, because of chemical pollution. Now it’s come to light that the extent of the contamination in the surrounding neighborhood is much worse than previously thought.

Then, solar has gotten cheaper, better, and easier to install in recent years. But many traditional power companies view solar as a threat and are fighting to limit it. Here in California, utility giant PG&E is looking to reduce financial incentives to go solar.

Then we look at how the Watts Riots seeped into pop culture, starting with a 1973 documentary called Wattstax. Finally, rappers who came straight outta Compton are coming straight to a theater near you.

Banner Image: Nellis Solar Power Plant, located in Nevada; Credit: USAF

Producers:
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Jolie Myers
Christian Bordal
Ryan Kailath

Rafe Esquith Sues the LAUSD 7 MIN, 40 SEC

There’s a new twist in the story of Rafe Esquith, the L.A. elementary school teacher who was removed from his classroom in April and put into “teacher jail” after allegedly making an inappropriate joke. Now the allegations against him have escalated to sexual and financial misconduct, and Esquith, for his part, is suing the LAUSD.

Guests:
Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times (@howardblume )

Exide Plant Contamination Worse Than Previously Believed 6 MIN, 59 SEC

In March, the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon agreed to shut down permanently, because of revelations that it had been spreading dangerous chemical pollution into surrounding neighborhoods for years. The extent of the chemical contamination in the area is much worse than previously thought.

Guests:
Gladys Limón, Communities for a Better Environment

Solar Power v. Power Companies 6 MIN, 56 SEC

Solar power: it’s not just for rich hippies anymore. Solar has gotten cheaper, better, and easier to install in recent years. It’s a win for everyone: manufacturers, consumers, and the environment. Everyone, that is, except the traditional power companies. In many states, utilities view renewable power as a threat and they’re fighting to limit it. Here in California, utility giant PG&E is looking to reduce financial incentives to go solar.

Guests:
David Roberts, Vox (@drvox)

Watts Riots: Watts in Pop Culture 13 MIN, 44 SEC

All week, we’ve been sharing stories about the 50th anniversary of the Watts riots. In the years after 1965, what happened in Watts seeped into pop culture. Today we look at how the riots have been reflected on the big and small screens starting with the 1973 documentary Wattstax. The film focuses on a massive music festival that took place at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the seventh anniversary of the riots. It intercuts performance footage with scenes of everyday life in Watts.

Guests:
Todd Boyd, University of Southern California (@DrToddBoyd)

Film Roundup: 'Straight Outta Compton' and More 10 MIN, 2 SEC

This weekend, rappers who came straight outta Compton are coming straight to a theater near you. We’ll talk about the movie based on the story of their life. We also talk about the reboot of a cult classic TV show, and Kevin Bacon playing a small town sheriff gone bad.

Guests:
Matt Atchity, Rotten Tomatoes (@Matchity)
Witney Seibold, Crave Online (@witneyseibold)

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