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Hundreds of licensed cab drivers descended on LA City Hall last week to protest Uber and other Internet companies using mobile phone apps to connect passengers with part-time, non-professional drivers. They're cheaper than traditional taxis. Are they unfair competition, or are ridesharing, air bnb and other examples of the sharing economy using digital technology to create a "new normal" in the way business gets done? Also, the new state budget is generous to Governor Brown's bullet train, and Santa Barbara is drying up.

Photo courtesy of Uber

State Lawmakers Approve $156 Billion Budget 5 MIN, 51 SEC

Governor Brown has until the end of this month to veto items in the $154 billion state budget passed by the legislature's Democratic majority over the weekend. Mostly, it appears to be a done deal. Chris Mergerian reports from Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times.

Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times (@ChrisMegerian)

Uber, "Big Taxi" and the Sharing Economy 14 MIN, 54 SEC

As commercial ridesharing becomes more popular, it's eating into the business of traditional cab companies. Licensed cabbies are being replaced by part-time, unlicensed drivers using their own cars to make extra money. Hundreds of taxi drivers protested last week at Los Angeles City Hall against Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, what they all “bandit cabs” that use apps to find passengers and don't have special licenses or insurance coverage. Yesterday, London cab drivers brought gridlock to the center of that city. Is mobile technology spawning a mobile black market or is ridesharing the wave of the future?

William Rouse, Yellow Cab of Los Angeles (@LAYellowCab)
Arun Sundararajan, New York University (@digitalarun)
Brendan Greeley, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (@bhgreeley)

NBC News video on Uber's insurance, background screening process
Greeley on London cab drivers' Uber protest
Sundararajan on Uber, 'the Amazon effect'
Sundararajan on Uber's safety fee
CPUC overview of limousine and transportation network company regulations
CPUC investigations result in enforcement actions and fines imposed on limousines, shuttles, bus companies

Welcome to Santa Barbara, Where Wealth and Drought Collide 7 MIN, 44 SEC

California is experiencing a drought so severe that Governor Jerry Brown has issued not one, but two emergency drought proclamations. Some regions are especially vulnerable because of where they get their water and how they use it. One community that's drying up fast is among the most affluent in California. KCRW's Saul Gonzalez discovers what happens when wealth collides with a shrinking water supply.

Lake Cachuma
Photo by Saul Gonzalez


Saul Gonzalez, Host, 'There Goes the Neighborhood: Los Angeles' (@SaulKCRW)

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