Thursday, October 20, 2011

RE: Patt Morrison for Friday, October 21th, 2011


Friday, October 21, 2011

1-3 p.m.



1:06 – 1:30 OPEN


1:30 – 1:58:30

How should California teach gay history?

Now that Governor Brown has signed SB 48, the law requiring California social studies books to reflect the contributions and role of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to society, teachers are grappling with just how to do that. It will be several years before state textbooks can be re-written, but teachers must begin incorporating material of their choosing into the lesson plan by January 1, 2012. Proponents of the bill, including some religious leaders and the California Teachers Association, argued it was long overdue; opponents, including some vocal parents and religious leaders, claim it is legislating morality. Senator Mark Leno wrote the bill as an attempt to combat harassment of gays by their classmates.  How will schools introduce the controversial subject to their students and at what age? And will shifting pedagogy bring more tolerance?  



Craig DeLuz, vice president of the Board of Trustees for the Robla School District in Sacramento; he’s also the parent of two high school students in the Sacramento district and a former high school teacher. He testified in the SB 48 hearings


2:06 – 2:20

Anthem Blue Cross sings a different tune to Medicare Advantage customers

Nearly 12 million seniors subscribe to Medicare Advantage, which provides them with the same Medicare benefits, but through a private health insurance plan. As of Jan 1, Anthem Blue Cross’ Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will have to pre-apply in order to receive benefits, an announcement that was equally disturbing as it was abrupt. As L.A. Times reporter David Lazarus reports, Anthem customers received two letters in the mail: one commending their loyalty and another gives them the boot. Currently, Anthem offers universal rates across California – even though medical expenses tend to be higher in the north than the south, a business plan that is causing them to lose money. Instead, Anthem will localize its Medicare Advantage program into 13 regions, customizing each accordingly with varying premiums and benefits. What prompted the Anthem’s abrupt and confusing change in policy? Will customers remain loyal, or will they shop around for an alternative provider? What other options are out their for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries?



David Lazarus, business columnist for the Los Angeles Times



Representative of Anthem Blue Cross


2:20 to 2:30 OPEN


2:30 – 2:58:30

City trees: danger, danger everywhere, or a potential hazard worth keeping, but who pays?

Are trees more expensive and potentially dangerous than they are worth? The cost of

pruning and maintaining trees owned by the city is a burden that in some cases the

city just can’t afford. Case and point are the Coral Trees lininig San Vicente Blvd. in

Brentwood. Residents have taken up the very expensive cause of tending to the majestic

trees that were planted after World War II.  One of the trees fell last month and residents

worry about the potential hazard if the trees are not maintained.Organizers have started a

Brentwood Coral Tree Endowment Fund and hope to raise $500,000 to provide care in

perpetuity.  That’s a lot of green. Should the finanical burden be on residents to care for

trees the city planted? Tree maintance isn’t just related to limbs. Faced with budget cuts,

the City of Los Angeles has come up with a new way to save a buck, and this one may

ruffle some feathers. The city council is considering a plan to make homeowners

responsible for sidewalk damage caused by tree roots. If the proposal passes, the

homeowner would be responsible for repairing damage to the sidewalk and legally liable

for any trip-and-fall claims. According to the DailyBreeze, the city spends between $4

and $6 million every year on liability claims and around $1.5 billion to repair sidewalks.

David Kissinger with the South Bay Association of Realtors thinks the city

should “amortize the costs over time to be paid through proterty taxes.” Geoffrey

Donovan of the U.S. Forest Service in Portland and David Butry of the National Institute

of Standards and Technologly found that walkablilty on a tree-lined street raised the

property values by $22,000. So, are trees worth it? And if the city can’t afford to maintain

them, who should? If the trees aren’t maintained and pose a threat, will the city cut them down?

The mayor of Los Angeles had a plan to plant 1 million trees, but given the cost, should he re-think that?



Lisa Smith, registered certified arborist



Ron Lorenzen, assistant chief forester for the Los Angeles urban forestry division

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks, who supports the plan to shift sidewalk

maintainence to homeowners







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