Friday, May 13, 2011

Patt Morrison for Monday, May 16, 2011


Monday, May 16, 2011

1-3 p.m.





1:06 – 1:39




1:41:30 – 1:58:30

A welfare 'time out': is it time to trade in cash in for a housing voucher?

The welfare rolls in Los Angeles County have grown by 70% in the last three years.  Today, there are more than 100,000 people collecting "general relief" checks each month.  That adds up to a lot of money--it's now costs the county close to $300 million annually. Most recipients genuinely need help (we are in tough economic times after all), but are some just riding the system and costing the county millions?  L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe has introduced a plan that would limit the amount of time welfare recipients can receive cash assistance.  He wants to replace the monthly general-relief grants with housing vouchers for those folks who haven't looked for a job or applied for federal disability assistance within a prescribed period of time.  He notes that general relief is not set up to be a permanent solution for the county's indigent population--most receive a maximum of $221 per month and are homeless or have mental, physical or substance abuse issues.  Knabe wants to funnel folks into federal assistance programs and find stable housing solutions for others. A similar system was enacted in San Francisco and has been extremely successful.  Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky calls the proposal a win-win, but some on the Board wonder if the vouchers will amount to enough to find affordable housing.  Will the county help and can the vouchers be redeemed if affordable housing can't be found?  And what about folks who just need the cash?



Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisors Representing the 4th District



John Marceri, executive director, Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica


Gavin Newsom
, Lieutenant Governor of California; former mayor of San Francisco, where he implemented the “Care Not Cash” program



2:06 – 2:19




2:21:30 – 2:39

62-mpg fuel efficiency might be coming…but can we still go fast?

The current fuel efficiency standard, governing the average fuel economy of cars, is almost at 32 miles per gallon.  If the rumors are accurate and the Obama administration can have its way, those standards will soon be set at an amazing 62-mpg by 2025, a major increase in fuel efficiency that will quite literally change the way Americans drive.  Changing the CAFÉ standards, as they’re known, always prompts debate among environmentalists, car enthusiasts and the automobile industry over how much new fuel efficient technology will cost and how much of an impact on air quality it might have.  The auto industry estimates that a 62-mpg standard will add at least $10,000 to the cost of every car for the consumer, and their surveys show that even though Americans say they want increased efficiency they are not willing to sacrifice performance to get it.  Environmentalists charge the auto industry with purposely dragging its feet in implementing new technology and that consumers are more than willing to pony up a little extra for higher MPG in the face of $4/gallon gasoline.  Would you pay extra for a 62-mpg car?



Sean McAlinden, executive vice president of research & chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research


  • CAR conducts research on the automotive research and is funded in part by the federal government and automobile manufacturers.


Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, an advocacy group committed to fighting global warming by slashing greenhouse gas emissions




2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Does the release of big box office movies on-demand mark the end of the movie theater?

The good news is you may be able to watch big movie releases on-demand in your living room much sooner than in the past.  The bad news is it's sparked a feud between movie studios, filmmakers and theater owners.  Four major movie studios, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios have announced that they will make big box office releases available to the consumer much faster. The movies will be available on-demand through DirecTV and will cost about $30 (movie fans will have two-or three-days viewing privileges).  The problem is theater owners and filmmakers are concerned that releasing movies sooner will prevent people from going to the movie theater—theater owners typically get a four month exclusive on films before they get released on video.  Studios counter that theater owners make most of their money in the first few weeks of a release, so the financial hit won't be too significant.  But big time directors like James Cameron (Avatar) and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) say video on demand could threaten ticket sales and "irrevocably harm the financial model of our film industry." Who knew eating popcorn and watching a movie on your couch would cause such a stir.  Will you still go to the movies if you can watch at home and save $20 on popcorn and candy, or is there something special about watching a movie with a room full of strangers?  



John Horn, film writer at the Los Angeles Times



Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research for the National Association of Theater Owners




Warner Brothers, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal


Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
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