Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Patt Morrison for Thursday, 12/2/2010


Thursday, December 2, 2010

1-3 p.m.




1:00 – 1:30



1:30 – 2:00

LADWP – challenge and change

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power provides services to 1.4 million customers. The department’s sheer size makes it one of the largest power blocs in city government, and one of the largest targets within city politics. Last week, the L.A. City Council approved a measure for the March ballot that would allow the Council to fire top DWP executives. A separate measure to form a watchdog agency independent of the DWP was repeatedly amended by council members, mindful of union opposition (mayor Villaraigosa supports creation of a "ratepayer advocate" while opposing placing the issue on the ballot). The Council also recently voted to review a controversial DWP decision to reduce the size of solar panel subsidies. Although this rebate project has been overwhelmed by its own success – 2010 requests more than doubled the program’s budget – the steep rebate reductions would drastically affect participating residents, businesses, and environmentalist groups. And last March, the City Council rejected an ECAF rate hike, highlighting the tensions between these competing municipal power bases. We sort it out with KPCC’s environment reporter, Molly Peterson.



Molly Peterson, KPCC’s environment reporter



Eric Garcetti, President of the Los Angeles City Council




Austin Beutner, Interim General Manager of the DWP and First Deputy Mayor



2:00 – 2:30

The national high school dropout rate improves… a little

The nation seems to be doing a better job of getting high school students to “stay in” instead of dropping out. A new report shows that the national graduation rate increased to 75 percent in 2008, from 72 percent in 2001. But the authors of the report warn that in spite of the good news, more work needs to be done. “While 400,000 fewer students are attending dropout factory schools, 2.2 million students are still in these schools”, says Dr. Robert Balfanz, one of the co-authors of the report. President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan want more from the nation’s kids. They’ve set a goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate. But how do we get there?  The report found the schools that succeeded in raising the graduation rate shared a few common traits; they set high standards, had clear goals, committed to innovative approaches, used a collaborative model, and raised expectations. So what is the secret to success? If these standards were applied to high schools across the country, could there be a more sweeping change?



Robert Balfanz, is a research scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University and co author of the report “Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic.


  • Balfanz is associate director of the Talent Development Middle and High School Project, which is currently working with more than fifty high-poverty secondary schools to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive whole-school reforms. His work focuses on translating research findings into effective reforms for high-poverty secondary schools.


  • Balfanz has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, and instructional interventions in high-poverty schools. Recent work includes Locating the Dropout Crisis, with co-author Nettie Legters, in which the numbers and locations of high schools with high dropout rates are identified.


Allison Graff-Weisner, founding executive director, City Year Los Angeles



  • Graff-Weisner currently serves on the board of the Drucker Institute and is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. 



  • California's high school dropout rate is 20%.  In Los Angeles, the dropout rate is 34.9%.


  • Four out of five third graders in Southern California can't read at grade level.


  • 70% of students from Southern California's 2,000 public schools are English language learners.  And due to the lack of additional resources, students who do not receive additional education support, such as attending after-school programs, are 57% more likely to drop out of school and 27% more likely to become arrested.




2:30 – 3:00

Selling the Fountain of Youth

Advertising and anti-aging industry stake holders have done it – they have taken the most natural of all processes, growing old, and transformed it into something to be avoided, fought, and even feared. Got wrinkles? Varicose veins? Gray hair? There’s a cream for all of it, and what’s more, that cream is selling – quickly. But why? Does it really work? We’ve all heard the miracle stories, but is there any legitimate science that lies behind the industry? Journalist Arlene Weintraub has written about health, beauty, and pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology for over fifteen years – she argues that most of these so called “miracle cures” are based mostly on hope and anecdotal evidence, lacking anything more than weak science. In her book, Selling the Fountain of Youth, Weintraub takes readers inside the anti-aging industry and reveals the true cost of artificially extending youth.



Arlene Weintraub, author of “Selling the Fountain of Youth” How the anti-aging industry made a disease out of getting old – and made billions




Coming up next week –

Join LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and me for an inside view of law and order in the southland, Wednesday evening, December 8th, at 7:00pm in the Crawford Family Forum. Come early and meet the four-legged members of the LAPD’s K-9 unit and find out about special programs like Lock It, Hide It, Keep It; iWATCH; Team Sheriff Racing; and the Sheriff’s bicycle safety program called BEAR.  RSVP on the Patt Morrison page at KPCC–dot -org.



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