Daily Dose: Budget freeze, teachers in trouble, porn condoms and eagle counting

Times are tough for the city of Los Angeles. That's not news. But what is new is what the city is doing about it.

Today Mayor Villaraigosa and City Controller Wendy Greuel issed a memo to all city employees freezing most city spending. No new computers. No cookies at press conferences. No office remodeling for city employees. Here's what da Mayor had to say about all the cuts:

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They've also suspended reimbursing travel expenses except for trips to Washington or Sacramento to lobby for the city. Note that Villaraigosa was in DC when the memo was sent. Oh the irony...

You may recall that story about the three teachers at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School who wound up in big trouble when they suggested honoring O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul in a Black History Month Parade.

Today LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the teachers won't return to the school. They've been reassigned to administrative offices and will remain there until new posts can be found.

So here are a few questions -- what would be appropriate disciplinary action for the three teachers? Should they be allowed to keep any job with the school district? And here's another one, that we spent a lot of time talking about last week: why was RuPaul considered a poor representation of Black History Month? With their criminal records, Simpson and Rodman are understandable. But what did RuPaul do that was that disgraceful?

And please don't take it the wrong way when I segue from that question to a story about adult films and condoms... Today the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said it will appeal a judge's decision not to order the LA County Health Department to require porn stars to use condoms. The Foundation's lawsuit was dismissed last year by a judge who said the county has broad discretion in how it oversees public health. I did a story on this for NPR a few years back when there was an HIV outbreak in the local porn industry. What do you think? Should the county mandate condom use?

Finally, if you are looking for something to do this weekend, why not count eagles? The U.S. Forest Service is looking for volunteers for their annual winter bald eagle count in the San Bernardino National Forest. Volunteers don't need prior experience, just some warm clothes and a pair of binoculars. Help out wildlife while spending time in the great outdoors? Sounds dandy to me!

If you are interested, call Ranger Matt McDonald at (909) 382-2933.

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