Facing a massive deficit, Mayor Villaraigosa has called on his base of support, organized labor, to “share sacrifices.” We hear what he means and ask union leaders if they'll go along. Will there be cuts in services? Plus, another look at two of the nation's most endangered rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, in Latin America and Washington there's pressure to change US policy toward “Communist Cuba.” How far is President Obama willing to go? Will he insist that Cuba change its repressive ways?
FROM THIS EPISODE
For the first time since 2006, American officials met yesterday with Fidel Castro in Cuba. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus visited what they described as Castro’s “modest” house and reported that he was healthy and talkative as ever. Democrat Barbara Lee of California said it’s time for a change. Even some Republicans want relations improved. They and other critics say US policy has been held hostage by Cuban-Americans in Florida, and has failed to get a repressive country to change its ways. Is it the US rather than Cuba that's being isolated from the rest of the world? Can the President act without the approval of Congress, presuming he wants to?
Tom Omestad, Diplomatic Correspondent, US News and World Report
Armando Vilaseca, Vermont Department of Education (former)
Mauricio Claver-Carone, Cuba Democracy Advocates
William Ratliff, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Vicki Huddleston, former Chief of Mission, US Interests Section in Havana
The City of Los Angeles faces a record shortfall of $530 million. Mayor Villaraigosa won't produce his new budget for two weeks, but he's telling city workers that, if they don't make some concessions, it'll cost them 2800 jobs. He's prepared a videotaped message to members of municipal unions that proposes three cost-saving options.
The environmental group American Rivers has named the Sacramento and San Joaquin as the most endangered rivers in the United States. It's a PR stunt to focus attention on what Californians already know and have known for decades. The Central Valley and the Delta, where the two rivers come together, are in a mess that threatens fish, agriculture and the state's water supply. Matt Weiser covers natural resources for the Sacramento Bee.
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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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