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California's 450-mile-long Central Valley produces one third of all the food grown in the US. It's a precious resource often forgotten by those of us in the rest of the state. New York Times food columnist and cookbook author Mark Bittman paid a visit and found that the astounding production levels of the past 100 years may not be sustainable. We hear what's being done to destroy — and to save — the Central Valley.  Also, with campaign commercials filling the air, we take another look at Proposition 32 on political contributions by payroll deduction.  What does it do?  Who's in favor, who's opposed?  On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, abortion rights, the US Supreme Court and the race for the White House.

Banner image: Benketaro/flickr

Main Topic California's Agricultural Miracle: How Long Can It Last? 15 MIN, 49 SEC

For yesterday's annual food edition, Mark Bittman, author of many cookbooks and the leading food writer for the New York Times Magazine, asked his readers what he should do. All they wanted, he found, was something on "big farming, small farming, sustainability, politics, poverty and, of course, truly delicious food." He found it all in the same place: California's Central Valley, running 450 miles, from Bakersfield up to Redding, between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the coastal ranges. It's larger than nine states, where the climate allows for four growing seasons, and it's the largest patch of Class 1 soil in the world. It produces some 230 crops.  It's a precious natural resource and, he found, it's in trouble.

Mark Bittman, New York Times (@bittman)
Tom Willey, T and D Willey Farms

Reporter's Notebook What's Behind the Fight over Proposition 32? 12 MIN, 49 SEC

Proposition 32 on next month's ballot is generating big money and deluge of campaign commercials. One supporting Prop 32 cautions, "Money and politics, corporations and unions give politicians millions in contributions. They get tax breaks and big pensions and we get higher spending. There's a better way: Prop 32 prohibits deductions from employee's paychecks without permission… No loopholes, no exceptions." In another, the League of Women Voters' Helen Hutchison expresses the League's opposition. [It's] deliberatively written to look like campaign reform, but it's not. It actually gives more power to Wall Street, Big Oil, and those secret campaign Super PACs. And Prop 32 let's those same special interests spend that same unlimited and unregulated funds… Learn more about Prop 32 because it's not what it seems."



Michael Mishak, Los Angeles Times (@mjmishak)
Bob Stern, Center for Governmental Studies

Main Topic Abortion and SCOTUS Become Presidential Campaign Issues 19 MIN, 59 SEC

Image-for-WWLA.jpgIn last week's vice presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan disagreed last week on questions central to controversy about women's rights. Moderator Martha Raddatz asked both about abortion.  Biden said his Catholic religion required him to oppose it in his own life, but that he would not impose his views on others. Ryan, who's also Catholic, said "elected representatives," not "unelected judges," should make that call. We hear how abortion and the right to appoint Supreme Court Justices have become issues in the presidential campaign.

Irin Carmon, Salon.com (@irincarmon)
Ann Stone, Trump campaign / Republicans for Choice (@aews)
Janice Shaw Crouse, Concerned Women for America (@CWforA)
John Gramlich, Congressional Quarterly (@johngramlich)

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