Patt Morrison for May 12, 2010

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Anger against the harsh immigration law passed in Arizona has emanated from various parts of the country, but it’s been perhaps most intense in Los Angeles, a city full of both legal and illegal immigrants. This afternoon the L.A. City Council manifested that anger with a vote to ban most city travel to Arizona and future contracts with companies in the state. Councilman Ed Reyes, one of the resolution’s sponsors, summed up the angry mood on the council: “Los Angeles the second-largest city in this country, an immigrant city, an international city. It needs to have its voice heard. As an American, I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport. If I come across an officer who’s having a bad day and feels that the picture on my ID is not me, I can be … deported, no questions asked. That is not American.” The Council voted 13 – 1 (only Greig Smith dissented), and the resolution stops short of a total boycott or the rescission of current contracts that the City has with Arizona-based companies. Can the City Council make a difference in this fight?
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A forum with the aim of making Los Angeles a more “walkable” city might seem like a cruel joke to Los Angelinos in a city where pedestrians are afterthoughts in urban planning. Yet, the L.A. Metro, the regional transportation authority, was holding a symposium this morning titled “Walking into the Future City” with the goal of planning, designing and building a more pedestrian-friendly city. There would seem to be numerous challenges to this goal, from the budget crunch hampering L.A. City, County and the state governments (it’s an expensive prospect to build more walking & hiking trails, or to build more pedestrian bridges and walkways) to the difficulty of redesigning car-centric neighborhoods (extensive construction needed to lengthen and widen sidewalks, and the like). Can L.A. be molded into a city that caters to its walkers, and if it could be, would Los Angelinos take advantage with a stroll through the neighborhood?
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The case, which could serve as a model for other states, calls into question New York’s competency in regard to providing legal representation for the poor. The judge raised questions about the fundamental fairness of the state’s system and cited evidence of an overwhelming number of wrongful convictions. The story is grim--one of defendants being shuffled through the system with inadequate representation, or none at all; lawyers who are poorly trained and/or trying to juggle an overwhelming case load (on average more than 700 per year); and defendants who are pressured to plead guilty. Issues with the public defender’s office are not unique to New York. Five other states have filed similar actions. Nearly 80 percent of individuals in the United States facing criminal charges are unable to pay for representation. Are we doing enough to ensure that the indigent are being afforded their constitutionally mandated right to counsel? And if not, does the death penalty raise the stakes?
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Ask the Chief with LAPD’s top cop, Charlie Beck

Arizona’s strict new immigration law sparks protests in LA, officers are forced to put cases on hold because there’s no money for overtime, bike thefts spike and get more violent, and the city says good-bye to Daryl Gates, controversial chief of the LAPD during a tumultuous period of gang violence and increased tensions with minority communities. Call in with your questions, comments and arguments for the Chief, as he takes on all these issues and more.
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She’s known as NPR’s librarian, and her knowledge of literary works is so legendary that a librarian action figure has been modeled after her. Nancy Pearl is truly a “rock star” librarian—an author, bookseller, commentator and literary critic who transcends librarian circles to become a trusted voice on all matters of reading advice and critiques. Nancy Pearl brings her years of literary experience to KPCC to talk about her favorite recent reading and big things to come (from the iPad, to the explosion of e-books to the latest in fiction) in the world of books.
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