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Budget Battles and Public Pensions

All over the US, Republicans are meeting grassroots opposition to efforts to weaken public unions. Pension reform is a local issue, too. We hear about Governor Brown's testimony before a joing legislative hearing today, and ask Mayor Villaraigosa if he's trying to renegotiate union contracts in Los Angeles. Also, the Oscars: young audiences and cold weather. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Republican governors in several states continue their face-off with organized public workers. Is it just about their budgets? What's the role of partisan politics? How do Americans feel about the value of unions, public and private?

Making News

LA Mayor Promotes Stimulus, Transportation ()

Los Angeles County voters raised the sales tax in 2008 to pay for some 12 projects, including the subway extension to the Westside.  Instead of waiting for 30 years, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to borrow $40 billion in federal dollars and finish them off in 10 years.  His 30/10 initiative has won the support of two major players, the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL/CIO. Villaraigosa discusses his transportation plan and pension reform at the local level.

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Main Topic

Pensions and Politics, from LA to Sacramento ()

Jerry Brown did something today that Governors almost never do. He testified before a joint legislative committee hearing on the state budget, delivering stern lectures to both political parties. We hear about that and about pension reform at the state level.     

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Reporter's Notebook

Oscar Preview ()

The snow level’s expected to drop to 500 feet Saturday in the local mountains, and Sunday temperatures could be close to freezing in Southern California.  But that won't stop the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from staging the last of this year's major awards shows with young hosts and a slate of 10 nominees for Best Picture.  Pulitzer Prize-winner Joe Morgenstern, who reviews films for the Wall Street Journal and KCRW, has a preview of this year's Oscar contenders.

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Main Topic

Are Republican Governors Union Busting? ()

With state budgets facing massive shortfalls, several Republican Governors are demanding concessions from public employee unions. Some union officials accuse the Governors of playing politics with Democratic supporters. In Wisconsin, unions have agreed to pay more for healthcare and retirement, but not to give up their bargaining rights.  The Senate's minority Democrats have left the state to prevent a vote in the legislature. In a recorded telephone call, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared to confirm it's about more than the budget.

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Underwriters

Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.

 

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