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A scathing blue ribbon report out today say the city is failing to provide basic public services in education, transportation and wages. It says LA – where the future once came to happen – has been living in the past and, yet, it has all the makings of a bright future. Guest host Madeleine Brand looks at the main problems and explores possible solutions. Also, we're one of the few places in the country where it's not bitterly cold. The sun is out, the temperatures are balmy – but something is missing. Where's the water? 2013 was the driest year on record and there's no rain in the forecast anytime soon.

Image-for-WWLA.jpgOn our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, as the US reels from disclosures about NSA eavesdropping on Americans, guest host Judy Muller considers whether commercial drones will create fears of more snooping, this time from the skies over our homes.

Main Topic Is Los Angeles a City in Decline? 12 MIN, 41 SEC

"Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward." That's the first line of a report on the city called rather ominously, "A Time for Truth." The Los Angeles 2020 Commission, empanelled by City Council President Herb Wesson a year ago to assess the city's economic health, issued its assessment today. The results are pretty depression: because of low wages, nearly 40 percent of Angelinos live in "misery;" we've not kept pace with other cities in job creation; we're strangled by traffic; and our public school system is failing our children. While it's safe to say that many of the conclusions aren't exactly news, they are sobering.

Mickey Kantor, Mayer Brown (@Mayer_Brown)
Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California (@Prof_MPastor)

Reporter's Notebook Where Is the Rain? 9 MIN, 54 SEC

This week the news has been filled with reports about the polar vortex that has descended on much of the country. Today's high in LA was around 68 degrees, sunny – and dry. The dry part is really worrying. 2013 was the driest year on record. Our snowpack is just 20 percent of normal. California water chief Mark Cowin says he thinks Governor Brown will probably declare a drought emergency soon. The Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on people of all faiths to pray for rain. So what's behind this record dry spell?

Daniel Swain, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (@Weather_West)
David Ulin, former book critic of the Los Angeles Times; author of “The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time” (@davidulin)

Writing Los Angeles

David L. Ulin

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