Patt Morrison for August 25, 2011

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Sonia Hermosillo’s husband, and the doctors who were treating her, say that she was suffered from an extreme case of postpartum depression, ever since the birth of her son Noe Medina Jr. Prosecutors, who will be filing murder charges against Hermosillo after she dropped her 7-month-old baby off of a parking garage outside of UC Irvine, say that she knew what she was doing. While the death of Noe Medina at the hands of his mother is an extremely rare and tragic occurrence it does put more attention on a condition that afflicts millions of mothers every year. Some form of postpartum depression, even the mild “baby blues,” is estimated to affect 80% of all mothers; about 12 – 16% of new mother experience postpartum depression, which often requires treatment with medication and therapy.
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They are ubiquitous on the highways around California, so reliable in their presence every couple of miles that they’re almost forgettable. In the age of cell phones they have become almost forgettable, relics of an earlier era when pay phones were on every street corner and cheap cell phones weren’t in everyone’s pockets. They are the emergency call boxes that line the state’s highway systems and even as they have arguably become obsolete you continue to fund them with your taxpayer dollars. In 1990, 170,511 calls were made from those bright-yellow emergency call boxes that line San Diego County highways. By 2010, that number had dropped to 11,625. But during those same two decades, the special tax revenue that funds them has built up a reserve of $12.8 million. So now, a Republican assemblyman from San Diego wants to slash the service and cut the fees that fund call boxes, which are mostly taken from a $1 surcharge on your car registration. As funds for the call boxes have grown they’ve been used for other services, like firefighting helicopters and quick response tow trucks, but not for their original intention, the call boxes. Do we still need to be funding the emergency call boxes on the side of every major highway in California? Is it worth keeping them around for the small percentage of motorists who don’t have cell phones?
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UPDATE: Because this Yelp Wars segment received such a large response that many callers were turned away and key questions were left hanging, Patt is having back Vince Sollitto, vice president of corporate communications of Yelp. He will be here, in studio, to take your calls and comments about Yelp. Please see attached segment page for the part two of this segment.
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With incarceration rates high and educational and job opportunities low, the mayor of New York has decided to use his own fortune to do something about it, with a little help from billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros. Mayor Bloomberg and Soros will each pledge $30 million of their own money toward implementing some innovative ideas to combat unemployment, high recidivism rates and low high school graduation rates. This fall, the Bloomberg administration wants to place job-recruitment centers in public housing complexes, retrain probation officers to tackle the issue of high recidivism rates, provide fatherhood classes and establish criteria for assessing schools based on the performance of black and Latino students. Creative ideas for sure, but will they work and can they be implemented in Los Angeles without financing from billionaires?
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California’s Dream Act goes to a vote

A California Senate panel today voted to release AB 131 from suspension and send it to a vote on the Senate floor. AB 131 is the second of a two-part bill package known as California’s version of the Dream Act. Sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), the bill would allow undocumented students to compete for $40 million in public financial aid packages like Cal Grants and community college fee waivers. Governor Brown signed the first part of the package, AB 130, into law last month, granting undocumented students access to $88 million in private financial aid. Access to public aid faces greater opposition not only in a climate of public budget cuts but also because those financial aid packages are usually much larger. Opponents argue a financially strapped California cannot afford new benefits for anyone, let alone illegal immigrants, while supporters of the bill say those students should be allowed to compete on the basis of their merit. Can California afford its own Dream Act and will this move comprehensive immigration reform closer to becoming a reality?
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