FROM Paul Koretz
Why trash in some LA neighborhoods still sits on the curb Some parts of Los Angeles don’t smell very good these days. That’s because piles of garbage are sitting on the street rotting. The city changed its trash collection policy. Now some companies aren’t picking it up.
Should the Biggest Water Wasters Be Punished? A recent investigation revealed that a Bel Air property owner's been using 11.8 million gallons of water a year — at a cost of $90,000 a month. Whoever it is lives in the district represented by City Councilman Paul Koretz, who today won a unanimous vote giving the DWP 30 days to find a way to crack down. The massive use of water by owners of mega-homes was discovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting , where Lance Williams is a senior reporter.
Increased Minimum Wage: A Workplace Reality or Political Dream? Local politicians are being congratulated for raising the minimum wage. Some 700,000 workers will be entitled to $10.50 an hour next year and $15 by the year 2020. But that doesn't mean they'll get it.
Increased Minimum Wage: A Workplace Reality or Political Dream? The political battle over raising the minimum wage is over. In Los Angeles, that's supposed to mean $10.50 an hour as soon as next year and $15 by the year 2020. But it's likely to take a long time before reality can catch up to expectations. Consider the people who work in local restaurants.
E-Cigarettes: Health Hazard or Safe Way to Quit Smoking Tobacco? E-cigarettes are already a $1.7 billion business that's growing fast. The Centers for Disease Control reports that some 10% of high school students have inhaled vapor produced by the electronic devices. They heat liquids that sometimes contain nicotine and sometimes don't. The FDA has not issued any regulations of e-cigarettes but the LA City Council has . Yesterday, Councilman Mitch O'Farrell called them "a very sinister product," and joined the rest of his colleagues in unanimous support of a measure by Paul Koretz, who joins us.
Electronic Cigarettes: Should They Be Banned or Encouraged? The Electronic Cigarette Convention will take place this weekend in Anaheim. Vendors and users can sell and sample the battery-powered inhalers that deliver nicotine from flavored liquid called "juice." E-cigarettes are becoming popular with teen-agers – the number has doubled in the past year , and that's led to proposed restrictions in Seal Beach and Los Angeles, among other places. We hear a report from KCRW's Evan George, followed by a debate about the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.
LA City Council Votes to Ban Plastic Bags If you shop for shoes, clothes, kitchen supplies or groceries in the City of Los Angeles, forget about taking them home in plastic bags. The City Council today voted 11-to-one to ban plastic bags, and you'll have to bring your own reusable container or pay 10¢ for a plastic bag. Councilman Paul Koretz, whose district runs from West LA into the West San Fernando Valley, authored the measure.
Medical Marijuana and Legal Confusion President Obama recently asked the following question on ABC New: "How do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that it's legal?" In California, other questions arise. Why do different cities regulate medical marijuana in different ways? Why will the City of Los Angeles very likely have three, competing medical marijuana measures on the ballot in May?
The LA City Council Revisits Medical Marijuana Since voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, California cities have been wrestling with how to regulate a substance that's illegal under federal law. Some 70 lawsuits are pending. The State Supreme Court is considering a lower court ruling against state legalization. In the meantime, the LA City Council is considering an outright ban — and another plan — allowing about 100 dispensaries to operate. We get more background, then speak with council members favoring each version.
Measure M: LA's Effort to Cash In on Medical Marijuana Measure M on next week's Los Angeles City ballot would impose a hefty business tax on medical marijuana. The ballot argument claims it would raise $10 million for everything from public safety to libraries to paving roads, alleys and sidewalks. But the language of the measure itself reminds voters that "the sale of marijuana is illegal." We hear why the City Council went ahead anyway and get the pros and cons.
Mayor Villaraigosa and the State of the City This was the day for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to put up or shut up with regard to city finances, the Department of Water and Power and relations with the City Council. Just a few days ago, he warned that whole departments might have to shut down for two days a week and that 4000 workers might have to be laid off. Credit agencies lowered LA’s rating. Today, the Mayor presented a new budget and addressed the State of the City .
Should Los Angeles Declare Bankruptcy? It's often said that government should be run more like business, where bankruptcy can be an acceptable solution when financial problems get out of hand. Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council agree that Los Angeles' finances are unsustainable, but insist that bankruptcy is out of the question. Enter a businessman who's also a former Mayor: Richard Riordan, who's been talking about city bankruptcy since 2005.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.