FROM Barbara Maynard
Democrats and Public Unions: A Rift between Friends? Last week's national election story was the failed recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, a state where Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided. There's another division — within the Democratic Party. Consider California, one of the bluest states in the nation. In the Republican stronghold San Diego, 67 percent of voters approved limitations on the pensions of public workers, but in San Jose, the margin was 70 percent -- for reductions in pensions and benefits for public employees, including police and firefighters. We hear more about what happened in California and whether it's likely to spread.
Public Unions and Democrats: A Rift between Friends? Last week's failed recall of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker was bad news for public employee unions in a crucial swing state. The news from blue-state California may be worse. In Republican stronghold San Diego, 67 percent of voters approved limitations on the pensions of public workers. No big surprise. But Democrats who run the City of San Jose persuaded 70 percent of the voters to roll back retirement benefits for public workers. More and more Democrats agree that union benefits are so high they threaten major cuts in basic services, including public safety. If Democrats don't support unions, will union members support them? What are the consequences for this year's elections? This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network, find out more: www.KCRW.com/insight
Facing Huge Shortfall, City Budget Negotiations Continue LA Mayor Villaraigosa says he'll veto an early retirement program he once supported. After two days of long, closed-door sessions with a coalition of labor unions, the City Council voted unanimously to keep the idea alive. But, with the city spending a million dollars a day more than it takes in, layoffs and furloughs are more likely than ever.
Looming Budget Troubles in Los Angeles 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.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.