Californians have voted to take the politics out of drawing district boundaries for the Legislature, Congress and the Board of Equalization. All a new citizens commission has to do is make elections competitive and representative of racial, ethnic, geographic and gender diversity. If that sounds impossible, it just might be, considering the force of the pressure likely to be applied by interest groups of all kinds. We talk with the new commission’s first chairman and others. Also, the suicide of a possible suspect in the killing of Ronni Chasen. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the Pentagon today asked the Senate to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and ran into Senator John McCain.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Last night there was a suicide of a possible suspect in the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen. The man, known as Harold, reportedly shot himself to death in the lobby of an apartment building on Santa Monica Boulevard. Beverly Hills police reportedly were approaching him to serve a search warrant. Sharon Waxman is CEO and founder of the Wrap.com, which is following the story.
Elections are supposed to be competitive between political parties, but consider this. In the past 10 years in California, just one out of 53 congressional seats has changed hands, only six of 80 Assembly seats and no seats in the State Senate. That's because the state legislature drew district boundaries to preserve the status quo. Voters decided they'd had enough, and created a citizens commission to draw new lines using the data from this year's census. Eight of 14 commission members have been chosen by a complex process administered by the State Auditor — four Asian Americans, two whites, one Latino and one African American.
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a personal appeal to the Senate Armed Services Committee today to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
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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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