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Los Angeles City Hall has become so dysfunctional that critics are calling for outside intervention. Is bankruptcy the way to go? We hear from former Mayor Richard Riordan and Council member Paul Koretz. Also, a state senator says Cal State Stanislaus has shredded public documents to keep a secret for Sarah Palin. And LACMA will help restore a cultural icon: LA's deteriorating Watts Towers. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the Senate is back in Washington, ready to take up finance reform — in an election year. Will public anger at Wall Street bring some Republicans on board? What about consumer protection and banks that are “too big to fail?” 

Banner image: Mayor Villaraigosa addresses the budget crisis, April 6, 2010.

Main Topic Can the US Senate Pass Finance Reform in an Election Year? 28 MIN, 3 SEC

In the House version of finance reform, the provision that banks hate most is an independent agency for consumer protection. It's been compared to the so-called "public option," that divided Democrats to the benefit of Republicans during the healthcare debate.  But the politics of finance reform are very different.

Noam Scheiber, New York Times (@noamscheiber)
Charles Taylor, Director, Pew Charitable Trusts' Financial Reform Project
Simon Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (@baselinescene)
John Berlau, Competitive Enterprise Institute

13 Bankers

Simon Johnson and James Kwak

Making News Palin's Visit Brings Trouble to CSU Stansilaus 6 MIN, 53 SEC

California State University-Stanislaus is in the Central Valley City of Turlock in California's Republican heartland. The speaker scheduled for the 50th anniversary gala in June will be Sarah Palin. Today a Democratic state senator claimed that public employees shredded documents in order to keep her fee secret. Lance Williams is an investigative reporter for California Watch.

Lance Williams, Center for Investigative Reporting (@LanceWCIR)

Main Topic Should Los Angeles Declare Bankruptcy? 11 MIN, 39 SEC

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.

Richard Riordan, former Mayor of Los Angeles (@RichardJRiordan)
Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Council (@paulkoretzcd5)

Reporter's Notebook Rescuing the Watts Towers 6 MIN, 8 SEC

LA's budget crisis has reached into the LAPD and the DWP. Now it's threatening one of the city's cultural treasures. Deferred maintenance on the Watts Towers has been estimated at $5 million, and the city can barely come up with $200,000.  But the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has offered expert help and the promise to raise private money. Melody Kanschat is President of LACMA.

Melody Kanschat, Claremont Graduate University

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