A sentence of 25 years to life for stealing a leaf-blower may be reduced now that California voters have reformed the nation's toughest Three Strikes law. A 62-year old model prisoner who's done 16 years for a third strike on drug possession has already been re-sentenced to time served. We hear how long it will take to apply Proposition 36 on the recent ballot and how much money it might save. Also, will downtown LA hear the clang-clang-clang of a new streetcar line? Is it time to bring back the Broadway of old? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, can higher education be democratized on the Internet?
FROM THIS EPISODE
California's Three Strikes law was first passed in 1994, at a time of anxiety over violent crime. Offenders previously convicted of two violent or serious crimes could be sentenced to 25 years to life for any third conviction. Now, state prisons are so overcrowded that federal courts have ordered population reduction, but the state's voters may be ahead of the game. By huge margins in all 58 counties on November 6, they modified Three Strikes by passing Proposition 36. We hear from Michael Romano, Director of the Three Strikes Project at Stanford Law School, who co-authored that measure, and from Justin Brooks, Director of the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy at California Western School of Law, which won release of the first nonviolent offender.
Streetcars were pervasive in Los Angeles in the first part of the 20th Century, but the last one disappeared in 1963. Now there's a move to create a new, streamlined version if downtown residents agree that property owners should be taxed for the purpose. KCRW's Saul Gonzalez has talked to both sides of the issue.
(Music: 'The Trolley Song' by Judy Garland)
If you've never heard of a MOOC, don't worry. Massive Open Online Courses began last year when Stanford Professor Sebastian Thrun put a class on line. He quickly enrolled 160,000 students — in more than 190 countries. Now Harvard, Princeton and other prestigious schools are offering MOOC's that reach millions of students worldwide. We hear about benefits and the limits of higher education on the Internet.
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?
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