Patt Morrison for August 5, 2008

Medical Records Breached Again at UCLA Medical Center

In the past year, the privacy of patients at the UCLA Medical Center has been breached repeatedly. Is this an issue of serving high profile patients or a systematic problem with the institution? * State Senator Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose. She is the author of SB541 which would penalize institutions for unlawful breach of medical records. * Martha E. Neil, legal affairs writer for ABA Journal

LAX to Raise Landing Fees: Can the Airlines Take it?

With airlines dealing with sky-high fuel costs, can they take a hike in landing fees? They'll have to, according to an announcement from LAX. There's a danger this will encourage airlines to reduce flights to LA. Airlines are already cutting back; what will this do to Los Angeles World Airports' overall plans? It's unclear if goals for rebuilding LAX and distributing flights to regional airports remain relevant. * Gina Marie Lindsey, Executive Director, Los Angeles World Airports * Michael Fabey, senior aviation editor for Travel Weekly

Prostate Exams Not Needed After 75?

A new study by the Annals of Internal Medicine recommends that men over 75 should no longer be screened for prostate cancer. This seemingly counterintuitive suggestion cites the stress of false positives coupled with physical and mental harm to the patient as the basis of their recommendation. Some healthcare professionals are outraged calling the recommendation an example of blatant ageism and a money saving move designed by HMOs. Is this a blow to the practice of preventative care? With rates of prostate and other reproductive cancers on the rise and aging baby boomers, this recommendation has far reaching implications for professional attitudes and practices regarding the care of an aging population. * Dr. Kenneth Lin, Medical Officer U.S. Preventive Service Task Force * Dr. Timothy Wilson, Chair of the Urology Department at City of Hope

Veepstakes '08: The Case for Governor Tom Ridge

A Christian conservative? Someone with experience in U.S. foreign policy? A woman? Even with the contenders for the top spot in the White House already set, the guessing game and fuss over the potential vice presidential candidates seem just as intense. After all, the stakes are high for the VP pick for both Senators McCain and Obama. The selection could help a candidate win over a swing state or even attract a whole subset of voters. We continue an on-going series taking a look at each of the potential VP picks for both candidates – and handicap how they could help (or hurt) their party's ticket. Next, former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security head Tom Ridge. * Tom Fitzgerald, political writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer * John Feehery, founder of the Feehery Group

The VP Pick: Does it Matter?

We've been doing a series on the different vice presidential contenders...which beckons the question: how much does it actually matter? Some pundits say VP picks help make up for a candidate's failings. Others say it has the opposite effect, by highlighting weak points. Many political analysts say the best thing a candidate can do is pick a VP with a clean record--so the choice won't get a Presidential contender into trouble. But with the oldest potential president running against the first African-American candidate, a few analysts are saying the play book has gone out the window; the VP choice will decide everything. Who's right? * Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle * Paul Hatfield, treasurer of the Neighborhood Council Valley Village and a CPA
This morning the Los Angeles City Council took up Item No. 06-0296, a piece of bureaucratic business that otherwise might have been lost in mundane schedule of the Council. 06-0296 is an increase of the Solid Resources Fee that is all but certain to be approved by the Council, which will raise the monthly trash collection fee for a single family home to $36. This fee increase comes just two years after the last fee increase, which was supposed to be used exclusively to hire 1,000 new LAPD officers. That money instead was used to cover other administrative costs, and this most recent fee is not earmarked for any particular city program. Are your trash fees being properly utilized? * Laura Chick, City Controller of Los Angeles

Missed Gorillas

For once, it's nice to welcome the 800 pound gorilla into the room. After a two year study, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported today that about 125,000 Western lowland gorillas were found in a remote area of the Republic of Congo. This discovery nearly doubles the estimated population of this type of primate. Western lowland gorillas have been illegally hunted for bush meat, suffered from outbreaks of the Ebola virus and suffered the effects of human encroachment. The WCS originally estimated that the gorilla population would drop to 50,000 by 2011, but it looks like those numbers may have to be re-thought. * Doctor Sue Margulis, curator on primates at the Lincoln Park Zoo
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