FROM Gene Maddaus
Facing $20 billion debt, could iHeartRadio go bankrupt? iHeartRadio is a commercial radio juggernaut. It airs Ryan Seacrest and Rush Limbaugh, owns billboards and hundreds of radio stations. Now it’s facing serious financial problems.
Beverly Hills' housing ballot measure There’s another development measure on the ballot -- but this one is only for Beverly Hills voters. Measure HH is the subject of a bitter campaign, with one side accusing the other of using illegal foreign contributions.
When All of LAPD Get Body Cams, Will There Be More Transparency? Mayor Eric Garcetti’s $58 million plan to put body cameras on every police officer by July has fallen apart. Now, the LAPD’s 7,000 cops won’t be outfitted with the cameras until next year at the earliest. Even now, when police shootings occur in California, it’s extremely difficult to get even basic information about what happened. If the police do get the cameras, will anyone ever see the footage?
City Hall: Then and Now As WWLA winds down after 23 years, we're looking back at what's changed and what hasn't. Tonight, it's all about LA City Hall. When the Rodney King riots broke out in 1992, Mayor Tom Bradley was at the end of his fifth term as the first black mayor of a major American City. Since then, there have been four mayors: Richard Riordan, James Hahn, Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti. Each has served at a different moment in a process of continual change. We hear how today’s multiculturalism evolved from the old days of Politics in Black and White.
Could the Gas Leak at Porter Ranch Have Been Prevented? After two months, 2000 families have already moved out of the upscale Porter Ranch development in the northern San Fernando Valley because of a massive natural gas leak. It won't be fixed for another two or three months more. Many lawsuits have been filed, and the LA Weekly has come up with evidence that could lead some plaintiffs to demand punitive damages. A safety valve might have allowed the leaking pipe to be shut down — but the company removed it in 1979. Gene Maddaus reported that story.
The LA Times and "Sponsored Content" The LA Times, cooperating with the Columbia School of Journalism, recently published a hard-hitting series on Exxon. It exposed the oil giant for casting doubt on climate change and opposing emission controls at the same time its own researchers were proving that climate change was real. But investigative reporting was not all that the Times was up to. It was also creating a website for the California Resources Corporation, formerly Occidental Petroleum, with articles and videos supporting the oil and gas industry.
Santa Monica City Council to Vote on Minimum Wage A full-page ad in the LA Times and a mobile billboard are just two of the more dramatic elements supporting labor in the campaign against a proposed increase to the minimum wage that the Santa Monica City Council will take up tonight.
Handicapping LA's Off-Cycle Election Since California's progressive reform movement 100 years ago, LA City elections have been held in odd-numbered years, like this one. The idea was to separate them from the partisanship of state and federal politics. Tomorrow, LA voters have a chance to change that, not just for the City but for the LA Unified School District's governing board as well. Term limits are ending the City Council careers of Tom LaBonge and Bernard Parks, and there are lively contests to replace them. Two other sitting incumbents face challenges. Results of the two Charter Amendments could impact the terms of their replacements.
LAPD’s Live Event with ex-Mexican Mafia Member Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck has apologized for a strange event this week that his department helped organize. Imprisoned ex-Mexican Mafia leader Rene “Boxer” Enriquez gave a lecture to a business group called the Young President’s Organization. The police provided Enriquez, who’s serving a life sentence in prison for murder, with an escort to a secure downtown location, shutting down streets along the way. Was it a misuse of LAPD resources, as some are now claiming?
Local Experience Versus National Recognition in State Senate Races Two Democrats topped the primary vote for the 26th State Senate seat now held by Ted Lieu, who’s running for Congress. Ben Allen is a West-Side establishment figure now serving on the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board. Sandra Fluke might not be running at all if it weren’t for Rush Limbaugh—who made her a national figure. **Clarification: Businessman and philanthropist Bill Bloomfield, who has donated to an independent expenditure committee supporting Ben Allen, did not previously run as a Republican in 2012. He dropped his party affiliation before the 2012 campaign. Gene Maddaus is covering the November run-off for the LA Weekly.
Policing the Public While things have calmed down considerably in Ferguson, Missouri, in the last day or two, the people of that St. Louis suburb are still speaking out about the death of teenager Michael Brown. A similar incident is drawing protests in Los Angeles, which has had no shortage of officer-involved shootings of its own.
The Sordid Past of Two Film Producers Kim Masters talks with LA Weekly writer Gene Maddaus about his article, " Drugs, Diamonds, International Intrigue — You Won't Believe Two Hollywood Producers' Crazy Backstory." He tells the story of Stefan Martirosian and Remington Chase, two producers on the new Pete Berg/Mark Wahlberg movie Lone Survivor, and how prior to their appearance in the movie business they served time for drug offenses and were accused of various other sordid deeds.
Can Bob Olmsted Become a Household Word in LA County? As the incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriff, Lee Baca should be a shoo-in for re-election. In two recent cases dealing with jail violence, juries have socked Baca and other deputies with punitive damages. The recent Commission on Jail Violence said, if Baca were a corporation executive, he would have been fired. His main opponent, former Undersheriff and Mayor of Gardena, Paul Tanaka , was tarnished even worse. Their potential problems have focused attention on the man who blew the whistle on jailhouse brutality: Bob Olmsted . He's the subject of a profile by Gene Maddaus in the LA Weekly.
The LA Mayor’s Race Four candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles held the latest in a series of debates that seems endless to political junkies. Three of the five candidates for Mayor of LA have served on the City Council and one holds a citywide office. But the fact remains that the candidates are not well-known to the voters. Tonight we’ll talk with political reporters about who they are, what they’re talking about and who’s got the money. Are polls at this stage believable?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.