After increasing steadily for more than 20 years, gang violence is now costing Los Angeles $2 billion a year. It's reaching beyond high-crime neighborhoods to other parts of the city. We take a long look at what's wrong and what it will take to make any real improvement. Plus, the cost of cold weather to California's economy, and the jazz world mourns Alice Coltrane.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Alice Coltrane was a jazz performer who converted to Hindiusm and founded the Vedantic Center in Agoura Hills. Terry Gibbs is a vibraphone player who saw her fall in love with her late husband, the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. (It is through the generosity of Alice Coltrane that we use John Coltrane's music on this program and our national show, To the Point.)
Terry Gibbs, Vibraphone player
Just days ago, California was suffering from record heat. Now the problem is record cold, the lowest temps in some 15 years. That could be devastating for the state's agricultural economy, as we hear from farmers Emily Ayala and Dennis Peitso.
In 1979, gang violence had gotten so bad that the chance of being murdered in LA County was greater than the chance of death by accident on the freeway. Since then, it's become worse than ever, and Mayor Villaraigosa calls it "Public Enemy Number One." This week, Villaraigosa and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky promise a new attack against gang violence. LAPD Chief Bratton says he'll soon be on board. Why is the problem worse than ever? Why is it so bad that a World Health Organization epidemiologist calls gang violence a "public health problem" of "epidemic" proportions? Civil rights attorney Connie Rice was asked by the City Council to answer those questions. A year of work has produced a report with no less than 100 recommendations, providing a standard against which the upcoming proposals by local officials can be judged. We hear what might work and what might not.