AirTalk for July 27, 2010

Mercer 9138

What's next for Bell?

Monday night in Bell, the City Council voted to cut council member wages from $96,000 per year to $673 a month. Mayor Oscar Hernandez and his vice mayor gave up their salaries for the remainder of their terms. Attorney General Jerry Brown has subpoenaed Bell records to determine whether illegalities are occurring in government payrolls. Will lower incomes allow Bell city council members to remain in office, or is this too little too late? What changes in California law needed to stop these abuses?
Mercer 9143
Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB 1070 has incited controversy, but a lesser known federal program called Secure Communities has the potential to deport far more illegal immigrants. The Secure Communities program works by cross-referencing a suspect’s fingerprints with other government agencies at the point of arrest. 467 jurisdictions in 26 states have already joined the program, but some are opting out citing civil liberties concerns. Do you think this program goes too far? Would you like your city to use the program?
Mercer 9145
Is racial and ethnic data relevant to FBI intelligence? The ACLU today requested records related to data collection and mapping of “ethnic-oriented” businesses, behaviors, traditions and among concentrated ethnic populations in Southern California and elsewhere. Is the FBI mapping Muslims in the United States?
Mercer 9144

Crime wave hits the California State Parks

The tightening of state budgets has had an effect on nearly all government programs, but is it to blame for increased crime in California’s state parks? A recent article by the Sacramento Bee shows that crime has nearly tripled in California state parks in the last decade. Although Parks and Recreation has updated the way they track ranger activity they still have a 30% park ranger vacancy rate. With over 79.5 million visitors in 2007-2008 and roughly 62,500 crimes last year, the chances of being a victim of a crime in a California state park are low, but rising. Have you noticed a change in state parks? Are you more or less likely to visit parks and beaches with fewer rangers?
Mercer 9146

How long will you live?

Researchers at Boston University are looking for a genetic link for Alzheimer’s. As part of this work, they studied 100-year-olds who show no signs of the disease. But, in the midst of their studies, they came across an even more interesting discovery—apparently; centenarians all share a group of genes that grants them their unusual longevity. The study authors caution that the test for the gene group is far from 100 percent accurate. And, of course, even if you have the longevity genes, if you smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, go through bottles of tequila, and eat Frosted Flakes and Big Macs all day, you’re still going to die relatively young. But it raises an interesting philosophical dilemma: some day it may be possible to get a blood test that will tell you how long you can live. If and when that day comes, will you get the test? And if you find out your body’s good for 100—or only 70—how will it change how you live?
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