Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST PM (Sep. 11)—The Water and the Power, AM radio hero rises, Google in your airwaves, carpool lane wants alone time


1. The Water and the Power: New DWP board members installed by LA City Council (KPCC)

Four new members of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners were unanimously confirmed Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council, whose members asked few tough questions on utility rates, renewable energy goals or labor practices.

The DWP board is the first stop when the utility requests rate hikes. Its recommendations are then passed on to the city council.

2. Let's take another look at that huge Google Street View case that didn't get thrown out of court (NPR)

A judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses Google of violating federal wiretapping laws — the company allegedly used Street View cars to "intercept, store, and decode data" from wireless networks as they crisscrossed the countries of Earth snapping pictures of your house.

Privacy advocates called the ruling a landmark; Google argued that Internet data broadcast over airwaves was more like a radio transmission than a phone call.

3. The FCC Commissioner’s quixotic quest to save AM radio (KPCC)

Flashback to 1978 and nearly half of all radio listeners were dialed in to the AM band. As of 2011, AM listenership fell to 15 percent — a mere 3.1 million people.

With little regard for modern interference, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says AM is “the audible core of our national culture.” And he’s on a personal mission to save it.

4. Where are YOU now? (KPCC)

Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Bros. — a historic bankruptcy widely fingered as the trigger for the 2008 real estate crisis that hastened a global financial crash.

In the chaos that followed, some execs found similar work elsewhere; others left finance and opened home repair franchises in New Jersey. Five years later, are you in better or worse financial shape than you were in 2008?

5. Carpool lane needs alone time—emerging bill would let in solo drivers (KPCC)

A bill approved this week by Calif. lawmakers will allow solo drivers in carpool lanes on L.A. freeways for a few hours a day. Approval for the bill, which is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's signature, was overwhelming.

If Brown signs the bill, test zones will be installed along the 134 and 210 freeways. Currently, tickets  for non-carpooling drivers caught driving in HOV lanes cost over $300.

6. Should college athletes be compensated for their work? (KPCC)

The 2013 college football season has kicked off with a controversy over how student athletes get paid. It all started when Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel got slapped with a suspension for signing autographs for brokers.

The NCAA and his school determined he didn't make any money off the deal, but it now now some question if it's fair that student athletes are cut out of revenue streams they create.

7. FBI arrests TSA worker after LAX threats (KPCC)

A security screener at LAX was taken into custody after quitting his job and making threats that led officials to clear and search terminals at the airport, the FBI said in a statement Wednesday.

Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, was arrested shortly before midnight Tuesday in Riverside. A search of Onuoha's otherwise empty Inglewood apartment turned up a note containing unspecified threats citing Wednesday's Sept. 11 anniversary.

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