Is It Graffiti? Is It Advertising? Or Is It Art?
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Los Angeles is widely known as the street-mural capital of the world, but murals have been illegal for almost 10 years. The law makes no distinctions between art, graffiti or commercial advertising, and city contractors have rubbed out or painted over some very popular, even historical, works. Now the City Council is taking another look. Also, America's first unionized carwash -- in Santa Monica. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the US is withdrawing troops from Iraq. What's it leaving behind?
Banner image: How and Nosm, twins from Germany, Heartship. Photo by Daniel Lahoda
Republicans Lose Redistricting Court Fight ()
The State Supreme Court has unanimously refused even to hear arguments against the first legislative and Congressional districts drawn up by a voter-created citizens' commission. Republicans left Assembly districts alone, but filed suit against 40 Senate and 53 Congressional districts. Yesterday, the court said forget it. John Myers is Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED Public Radio in San Francisco and The California Report.
Murals, Billboards and Graffiti ()
From East LA to Hollywood to the Westside, murals have made Los Angeles a worldwide capital of high-level street art that appeals to residents, critics and tourists. In 1986, the City Council issued a blanket exception for all outdoor murals. But the outdoor advertising industry demanded the same rights as artists and exemption from regulations, and successfully sued. Since then, the city's been hiring contractors who've obliterated murals along with posted signs and graffiti. A few weeks ago, we spoke with Saber, an outdoor artist who hired skywriters to fly over City Hall with the message, "Art is not a crime." Today, we hear from a city planner who is managing the development of a new city ordinance on murals and from the founder of the LA Free Walls program, which has produced over 60 murals in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles in the past two years.
Swoon (New York City) Portrait of The Artist, Ben Wolf, April, 2011
Shepard Fairey, Peace Goddess, December, 2009
Saber (Los Angeles) Pepper's World, April, 2010
All segment photos: © Daniel Lahoda
What's Next for 'Car-washeros' Trying to Unionize? ()
Bonus Car Wash, on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, is the first company of its kind in the country to become a union shop. It has to pay workers starting when they were told to show up at work, instead of making them wait until customers start arriving. Their breaks will be 10 minutes longer and they'll have water to drink. They also got a two percent raise. Is this the start of something big? Neidi Dominguez is lead organizer with CLEAN, the Community Labor Environmental Action Network.
As the US Withdraws Troops from Iraq, What Are We Leaving Behind? ()
George W. Bush began the latest war in Iraq, and agreement to end it by the end of this year was reached in his second term. President Obama was against the war from the start and, when he made he declared that, true to his promise, troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year, he did not say, "Mission accomplished." But there's bitter controversy over how the withdrawal will happen, how much of the US presence will remain and whether Prime Minister Maliki (photo) is presiding over a new democracy or another dictatorship.
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert 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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