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Outlandish municipal salaries have focused national attention on Bell and some neighboring cites. Possible corruption is under investigation by county, state and federal officials. But the real power in those cities may not lie in City Hall. Criminal gangs and drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia are able to operate freely, and there may or not be a connection.  On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, opposition to Islamic mosques is not confined to New York City.  Elsewhere it's focused not on September 11 but on the Muslim religion. Are there parallels in American history?  What are the consequences for the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom?

Banner image: During a news conference on July 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California Attorney General Jerry Brown says his office has issued subpoenas for hundreds of employment, salary and other records from the city of Bell, as part of an investigation into the hefty salaries being paid to top administrators and elected officials. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Main Topic Is Southeast LA County Just Ungovernable? 15 MIN, 26 SEC

A cluster of cities in southeast Los Angeles County are at risk of coming unglued. The City of Bell has been the focus — first of a media frenzy, now of investigations by the District Attorney, Attorney General, State Controller and the FBI. It’s all about compensation for public officials that, in Bell, totaled $1.5 million in a city where the average household income is less than $40,000 a year. Bell — and other cities, including Maywood, Cudahy, Southgate and Bell Gardens — may be the victims of municipal corruption. But that’s not all.

Jeffrey Anderson, Washington Times
Cristina Garcia, Assemblywoman (@AsmGarcia)
Jaime Regalado, California State University, Los Angeles (@PBI)

Main Topic The 'Mosque at Ground Zero' and Religious Freedom 17 MIN, 11 SEC

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Sheboygan, Wisconsin and Temecula, California, plans for Islamic mosques have generated heated opposition.  But the objections are different from those being raised in lower Manhattan, where a mosque is planned as part of a larger Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero.

Laurie Goodstein, New York Times (@lauriegnyt)
Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention (@erlcsbc)
Aziz Poonawalla, Author, BeliefNet's City of Brass blog
Ronald Kessler, author, 'The First Family Detail' (@RonaldKessler)
Stephan Salisbury, Cultural Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer

Mohamed's Ghosts

Stephan Salisbury

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