Patt Morrison for October 13, 2010

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Let’s get ready to (3rd) PARTY!

According to a recent poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, 54% of voters are in the market for a third party candidate. The number is unsurprisingly higher among voters that identify as Independent. So, if the majority of voters want a third party why don’t the majority of voters vote for one? As always, in politics there are no simple answers even to simple questions. Though the Tea Party is continuing to gain momentum voters seem to be split on whether or not they should be the 3rd party. Despite the fact that minds may not be made up when it comes to Green being better than Tea or Tea being better than Labor or Labor being better than Surprise – one thing we know for sure, voters are ready to Party.
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There is a contest underway in Los Angeles that is analogues to the drama of an NFL game—two teams in a pitched battle to cross the goal line first, except in place of footballs in the players’ hands they’ll be carrying a brand new stadium to house a new NFL team for L.A. Rival development companies, AEG and Majestic Realty, are pressing hard for their own versions of new NFL stadiums, and if a new football team wasn’t incentive enough to get a stadium built there’s another possibility to throw into the mix: L.A. hosting the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The U.S. will have its World Cup hosting bid voted on by FIFA in December and both AEG & Majestic are designing their proposed stadiums with World Cup games in mind, which could help L.A. land the global soccer tournament. Considering the fact that a World Cup game was played in Los Angeles long after a professional football game had taken place here, is it possible that we’ll get both in the end?
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Too many children too easily fall through the cracks of society—unwanted or uncared for by parents who are either unwilling or unable to provide care. Foster youths are among the most vulnerable members of society and arguably the most in need of a solid social safety net. And while controversial deaths of children in L.A. County’s foster care system get publicity, thousands of foster youths each year find themselves without shelter, an education or job prospects and many of them are left to their own devices once they turn 18. Los Angeles, with the highest number of kids in foster care in the country, had 22,291 children in the foster care system in 2008, which actually shows years of progress in reducing the numbers. Even as the number of kids in the system comes down, these youths find themselves facing long odds at success: less than 4% of children in the foster care system nationwide graduate from a 4-year college. In this second part of a series examining foster care in Los Angeles, Patt talks with the embattled director of the L.A. County Department of Child & Family Services, tasked with the impossibly difficult job of caring for thousands of neglected children.
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Being stuck in traffic, cursing L.A.’s tangled freeways and the moron that just cut you off, is a right of passage for commuters in Southern California—it’s a horrible way to get to and from work but we’ve all accepted that this is the way it is, but does it have to be? If those crafty engineers at Google have any say in the matter your future could look much brighter, and be clear of traffic headaches. Google has been working in secret, and testing in plain sight, on a fleet of automated automobiles that can drive themselves , using artificial intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic decisions made by a human driver. There is a big “cool” factor in Google’s research, as their automated cars have been regularly cruising the highways up and down California, but the long term implications are revolutionary: the same commute that you were cursing this morning could be a breeze with a network of smart cars on a smart freeway that will almost completely remove drivers from the equation. Is the commute of the future almost upon us?
Democrats may outnumber Republicans in California’s 47th district, but Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is facing strong opposition in candidate Van Tran, who is Vietnamese-American, for her seat. Van Tran is behind in campaign contributions, but has strong Republican support behind him and is counting on the 18% of district voters who are Asian. We preview the race and tonight’s debate.
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Solving the mystery of the Station Fire

Last year, the Station Fire of the San Gabriel Mountains became the largest fire in L.A. County history claiming the lives of two firefighters and destroying more than 200 homes and buildings. But the cause and management of the Station fire is still a bit smoky… Southern California Congressman Adam Schiff has convened a panel to discuss the fire’s cause, handling, and aftermath. One of the looming questions surrounding the fire is whether or not the U.S. Forest Service delayed its response to fighting the fire to avoid extra spending during a time of financial struggle and cutbacks. Congressman Schiff and the Angeles National Forest’s Supervisor are here to discuss what went down during the panel discussion and how the investigation will continue.
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