Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Patt Morrison for

Patt Morrison for June 23, 2011

From This Episode


Here’s why your DWP bill is about to go up

Everybody loves renewable energy, who wouldn’t unless you’re an oil or coal executive? But green power comes with a price tag, and as had been promised for the past few years, customers of the Department of Water & Power are about to pay it. DWP’s new general manager is proposing annual rate increases of 5% for water and power services over the next three years, money they claim is needed to comply with new environmental regulations and protect its credit rating. While the additional revenue will cover mandates to move L.A.’s municipal power provider away from coal and deliver 33% clean energy by 2020, there is yet more money that needs to be spent in the next few years to upgrade aging utility infrastructure. More green—green in terms of the environment and in terms of the great expense—programs will also be implemented in the near future, such as moving away from the use of ocean water to cool power plants (resulting in big “dead zones” off the Southern California coast). All of which means that the 5% annual rate hike might just be the beginning. Debates over rate increases have proved contentious and this round might not be any different, with the unfilled job of ratepayer advocate looming over both the DWP and the L.A. City Council. Councilwoman Jan Perry said she would not approve rate hikes until the city hires the voter-mandated position of ratepayer advocate. DWP claims that its customers have had it good over the past 10 years, averaging much smaller rate increases as compared to other California utilities. We bring the general manager of the DWP to talk about the future of water and power in Los Angeles, and the future of your bill.


Make the U.S. competitive or protect jobs for Americans? Bill to increase visas to foreign workers in U.S.

The first “brain drain” we heard about was the most intelligent, skilled individuals of other countries leaving and coming to the United States. Foreign students would come to the U.S. for higher education and then stay (or try to) and use their degree to get a job here. This left developing countries, in particular, struggling to further develop and become competitive without their best and brightest. Now, we’re seeing a brain drain out of the U.S., leaving the U.S. in the same predicament, particularly in science and engineering. Foreign students—many from China and India—come to the U.S. for higher education and, now, take the degree to work back at home. U.S. policy has been: “get an education here and then leave.” So, because they don’t have visas and because China and India now have just as many—if not more—science and engineering jobs, the graduates take their talent to our competitors. To prevent this, CA Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has introduced a bill to keep foreign-born workers in the country by increasing the number of H1B visas granted. Lofgren argues that the measure will bring money into the U.S. and make the country more competitive. Lofgren is responding to American companies, like Intel, Google, and Oracle, who say they face a serious shortage of talent and need to hire the very best to be competitive. The bill has been met by strong resistance from Republicans and others who point to statistics that the U.S. is producing more than enough American science and engineering grads, and we should be protecting jobs for American. In response, Lofgren and proponents say that even if we don’t increase the number of visas granted, American jobs will not be protected because the U.S. companies are following the U.S.-educated best and the brightest back to their home countries to set up shop. Should we increase the number of visas allowing foreigners to work here? Will such a measure make U.S. companies and/or the U.S. more competitive? Or, during this post-recession period of high unemployment, should we be protecting jobs for Americans?


What if Congress did nothing? How the budget could balance itself, & other projections in a $14 trillion fight

Negotiations over shrinking the $14+ trillion federal budget deficit will soon reach a fever pitch, as the deadline for increasing the debt ceiling looms in August and the search for a grand bargain between Democrats and Republicans intensifies. This morning Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor pulled out of negotiations with the White House citing differences over tax increases, which will certainly prove a political obstacle for any deal. How much of the budget balancing will come through spending cuts versus revenue (tax) increases? No matter what the outcome the message from multiple sources is clear: the time to act is now, before the budget deficit become so out of hand that it swallows up most American economic progress. The Congressional Budget Office late yesterday put out its budget projections and predicted that if the same policies persist—the Bush tax cuts are kept in place, spending on Social Security & Medicare continue at current paces, drastic spending cuts are not enacted—debt held by the public would balloon to nearly 190% of GDP by 2035. The CBO sums up these frightening numbers succinctly: “Such a path for federal borrowing would clearly be unsustainable.” The most compelling possibility laid out in the CBO projections is a scenario under which Congress does absolutely nothing: keeping spending at current levels, allowing tax cuts expire, allowing the alternative minimum tax to expand to half of all taxpayers & keeping Social Security & Medicare from any new growth. Under the “do-nothing” scenario the government would have a balanced budget by 2017. Of course taxes, as a percentage of the total economy, would rise to 23%. So how will Congress balance the budget, and would you approve if they did nothing at all?


Recent Episodes from Patt Morrison

Patt Morrison for September 7, 2012

Broadcasting live from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, we check up on how President Obama's speech checks out. And Hollywood's been at the DNC – actors Richard Schiff and Beau Bridges riff on that enduring connection. Also, Comedy Congress’ big wrapup in Charlotte – Diane Sawyer talks about her age and Mike Dukakis talks about what ifs.

Patt Morrison for September 6, 2012

It’s old home day at the Democratic Convention... that is, if your home is California. The Golden State’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, southern California Congresswoman Judy Chu, and actor Richard Schiff, he is of "The West Wing" and a new political show called "Chasing the Hill." Plus, a post game analysis of former President Bill Clinton’s address to the Democratic troops.

Patt Morrison for September 5, 2012

We’ll hear the First Lady’s speech but what does her body language say? We’ll be reading it. And, what party muckety mucks are keeping away from President Obama and staying home from the Democrats’ big dance? We’ll do the Charlotte two step.

Patt Morrison for September 4, 2012

How do the conventions look to the rest of the world? And how well do foreigners understand the electoral college? We’re polyglot with the foreign press in Charlotte. And, what did Nancy Pelosi tell Comedy Congress about Clint Eastwood and his chair?

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