Which Way, LA? The Question that Won't Go Away 23 years ago, the fires of the Rodney King riots were burning and the sirens wailing when KCRW first asked, WWLA? We've been through fires, floods, earthquakes and massive social, cultural and economic change. While this is the last program titled WWLA? the question still needs to be asked. We talk with a group of important and thoughtful people about what LA has become and about the challenges to be faced in the future…as we continue.
Then and Now: Is LA Still the Car Capital of the World? Urban planners got some bad news today. Ridership on public transit in Southern California is on the decline, despite the billions being spent in recent years to build light rail and subway lines. Why aren't more drivers leaving their cars at home, as traffic gets more congested than ever? Meantime, there's a shortage of money to repair aging roads, bridges and other parts of the infrastructure. We look at the impact on the state's economy.
Does California Have a Double Standard for the Public's Protection? Porter Ranch and Vernon are mirror images of each other. In one, schools have been closed and thousands of residents are being moved away by the polluter—just months after a natural gas leak was discovered. In the other, residents complained for years about health risks to school children from exposure to lead and arsenic from a battery recycling plant— until the federal government finally stepped in.
Is 'Warfare' a Thing of the Past at the LAPD? Video of police misconduct wasn’t as common 25 years ago as it is today. The spectacle of LAPD officers beating Rodney King was a wake-up call, but didn’t persuade a jury in Simi Valley. When the cops received not-guilty verdicts, the city exploded. We hear from veteran officers who say they’ve changed. What about their tactics? Have they gained the trust of marginalized communities and people of color?
The City of LA Pays Millions to Wrongfully Convicted Men The City of Los Angeles will pay $24 million for the wrongful murder convictions of two men who spent years of their lives in prison because of proven misconduct by the LAPD. The City Attorney says going to court would cost even more.
What's Behind the Yosemite Name Changes? The Ahwahnee Hotel is about to become the Majestic Yosemite; The Wawona will be known as the Big Trees Lodge. Names that go back generations are being changed because of a trademark dispute between the National Park Service and a New York concessionaire that failed to renew its contract. Outraged residents and visitors are asking how that can happen
Race Relations: Then and Now WWLA? began its 23-year run in the wake of an incident so complex we still haven’t decided what to call it. The Rodney King 'riots?" The "uprising?" The "civil disturbance?" As WWLA? winds down, we look back and measuring what’s changed and what hasn’t. One major component was race relations. Have we learned, as Rodney King famously put it, to “just get along?” As always, that question has many different answers.
Pressure on DA Lacey to File Charges against LAPD Officer LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey faces no credible challenger yet in this year's bid for re-election, but she is facing increased political pressure. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck wants her to file charges against one of his own officers in a controversial killing — an action he's never taken before. Political activists are waiting for her decision.
Los Angeles Gets an NFL Team (or Two) The NFL says the St. Louis Rams are coming to Inglewood — back to the massive Los Angeles TV market they left 21 years ago. Skeptics say team owners can't be trusted, but boosters insist this time is different. What will it mean for the taxpayers of Inglewood — if it doesn't turn out to be another broken promise?
California Case Could Be Labor's "Citizens United" The California Teachers Association has been called an obstacle to education reform in Sacramento. Now, the US Supreme Court is poised to reduce its power. The case is about union fees and First Amendment rights, but the decision could be a blow to unionized police officers, fire fighters and other public workers all over the country.
Did LA Pass Its First Big El Niño Test? The first of this year's El Niño storms were only a test, and Southern California is braced for another onslaught of mudslides, potholes, flooded freeways and basements and mountains of trash swept out into the ocean. We get updates and look at what's next.
El Niño Storms Are Finally Arriving, Is Los Angeles Ready? Mudslides, floods and road-closings have been predicted for weeks — and so has the plight of 29,000 homeless people who sleep on the streets of Los Angeles County. But today, the Civil Grand Jury called preparations "unconscionable and grossly inadequate." We get a response from local officials and update efforts to keep vulnerable people alive — including those who are mentally ill.
Good News behind the Rise in Crime Last year, for the first time in more than a decade, all categories of crime in Los Angeles increased over the year before. Homicides went up by 10% to 280. That's a tragedy for the people directly involved — and for the community. But consider that in 1992 there were almost four times as many murders — 1,092. We look at the rise in crime in the context of city history.
Could SoCal Gas Have Prevented the Porter Ranch Gas Leak? The continuing gas leak that's moving thousands of families out of their homes is an ecological disaster of national proportion. It constitutes 21% of the state's methane emissions and 2.3% of its entire carbon footprint. Now it turns out that Southern California Gas Company removed a safety valve that could have stopped the leaking from pipes it knew were not just decades old but likely to have been corroded.
FAA and Local Authorities Spar over Drone Regulations New FAA rules might require you to register your drone before you fly it, and there are several regulations here in California about where these airborne overlords can go. But Sacramento and the FAA aren't exactly on the same page. Guest host Barbara Bogaev tries to make sense of the territorial dispute in the skies.