- Newsmaker: Colombian Government and Rebels Resume Peace Talks
Colombia has averted renewed civil war as the government and leftist rebels agreed to resume peace talks. El Tiempo's Francisco Miranda says those living in the zone controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are relieved. Adam Isacson, of the Center for International Policy, says the FARC's concessions be predicated on fear that, in the aftermath of September 11, the US would carry its war on terror to them.
- Reporter's Notebook: Impact of MTA Decision on Other Consent Decrees
Facing a civil rights suit by riders claiming it discriminated against them by spending so much on trains, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority signed a federal consent decree. After four attempts to get the judgement nullified, the MTA Board has resolved to appeal to the Supreme Court. USC lawyer professor Erwin Chemerinsky says an overturn would seriously alter the balance between federal, state and local governments.
Ethics Commission Again Fines LA Elected Officials
Political reformers boast that Los Angeles has the nation's stiffest controls on campaign fundraising. Yet even the commissioners who enforce them admit such checks give violators an unjustified break. Elected officials, like Council President Alex Padilla who was recently hit a record penalty, may have to refund money and pay fines, but they can raise the money from campaign contributors. Miriam Krinsky, who heads the LA City Ethics Commission, favors personal disciplinary action that could not be covered by fundraising, and a ban prohibiting incumbents from soliciting funds from those with business before the city. Councilman Nate Holden maintains that such laws effectively discriminate against candidates of modest means.