When Randy Adams was negotiating for 770,000 thousand dollars to be the city police chief, he joked in an e-mail about “taking all of Bell’s money.” That’s just one of the ugly revelations emerging from hearings into a scandal that’s made Bell the national poster child for local corruption. Part-time council members were paid 100,000 a year for meetings they almost never attended—all arranged, says the District Attorney, by two principal defendants: former Chief Administrative officer Robert Rizzo and his former assistant, Angela Spaccia. Their compensation amounted to 1.5 million and 850,000 respectively. With all but one council member facing charges and no meeting since last year, who’s in charge?
FROM THIS EPISODE
Ramona Ripston is retiring today after 40 years as executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. During that time, she’s been a champion of affirmative action, school busing, gay marriage and abolishing the death penalty. She had a lot to do with reforming the LAPD after incidents of police abuse that led to the Rodney King uprising in 1972. More recently, she’s focused on homelessness--on the ground that “poverty is a civil liberties issue.” She herself has told the LA Times that the Southern California ACLU is “a peculiar ACLU.”
Ramona Ripston, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
In the 1990's, Big Bird, Kermit and all their friends saved Bill Moyers, Frontline and the rest of public broadcasting from Republican budget cuts. But charges of liberal bias never went away. Last year, NPR's news analyst Juan Williams told Fox News he was "nervous" flying with passengers wearing "Muslim garb." When NPR fired him, Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans saw evidence of "a left-wing network." Since January, six bills have been introduced to defund public broadcasting once and for all. This week, Congress will vote on a measure that would withhold the remaining amount of the budget for this year. We hear from their critics and their supporters.
Paul Farhi, Washington Post
Laura Walker, President, New York Public Radio
Laurence Jarvik, author, 'PBS behind the Screen'
James Rainey, Variety (@raineytime)
Adam Thierer, Senior Research Fellow, George Mason University's Mercatus Center
More From Which Way, L.A.?
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?
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Mexico Earthquake: How to help A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday. The quake hit Puebla state, but caused major damage in Mexico city and a vast swath of the country. Updates from NPR: The… Read More
Vote! What question should we answer next? Vote now to help Curious Coast choose what to investigate next. Is there something you’re curious about? Let us know! What do you want to know more about in or… Read More