AirTalk for October 1, 2010

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Schwarzenegger vetoes pension reform bills

Amid a flurry of bills crossing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk yesterday, at least 5 dealt with public pensions. The Governor vetoed bills designed to prevent automatic pay raises and cap pensions in public employment contracts in the wake of the Bell scandal. He also vetoed two bills that aimed to prevent pension spiking. Among the bills Schwarzenegger did sign, a pension fund transparency measure that requires deal makers to register as lobbyists if they want to propose investments to CalPERS. Do you agree with the Governor’s vetoes? What changes must be made to ensure that state employee pensions are not abused—by managers or by public officials themselves?
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Arrested Redevelopment

Municipal redevelopment agencies are charged with directing funds to turn city-owned property into beautiful and useful public and retail spaces. But in many Southland cities, those vacant lots, abandoned theaters and empty car dealerships have instead been left to become neighborhood blight. Where have those tax dollars gone? Today’s Los Angeles Times reports that in cities from Rosemead to Riverbank, as well as Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District, funds have been squandered while city property lies fallow. Bribing city officials hasn’t helped, reports one developer. Despite his cash-filled envelopes, the go-ahead for Temple City’s promised Piazza Mall never materialized. With little oversight of these agencies, who’s minding the (empty) store?
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Throughout the U.S., budget cuts are the norm. Schools are struggling for funds. Police forces are strapped. Infrastructure is crumbling. The Great Recession is a worldwide phenomenon, but America’s been hit particularly hard. When people travel abroad, they often remark at China’s shiny new cities, the world’s high speed trains, and Japan’s amazing technology. Which begs the question—is the U.S., relatively speaking, starting to resemble a third world country? The cover story on last week’s MacClean’s magazine, the Canadian equivalent to Time or Newsweek, asked just that question. What do you think? Are we going third world?
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FilmWeek: The Social Network, Howl, Case 39 and more

KPCC film critics Tim Cogshell and Andy Klein join Larry to review the week’s new film releases including The Social Network, Let Me In, Case 39, Howl, Freakonomic, Barry Munday, and The Girl, among others.
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Larry Mantle talks with director Stephen Frears about his new film, Tamara Drewe, based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. It is the story of a young woman, once an unattractive child, who returns to the English countryside of her youth as an undeniably beautiful woman, and how that affects the town’s inhabitants.
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'Catfish' directors swear it's a true story

Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman run a commercial production company. The friends had a habit of following and filming just about everything, including Ariel’s brother Nev, a dance photographer. When Nev struck up an online friendship with a young artist, Henry and Ariel thought the footage might yield a documentary about artistic collaboration. When the artist’s beautiful older sister began an online romance with Nev, the film took a very different turn. Larry Mantle talks with the directors of the documentary they swear is true, Catfish.
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