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Roundtable: Sanders’ Legacy, Immigration Bill, Bitumen Oil Spill Exposed, Boston Media Madness

HOST

Mark Sauer

GUESTS

Claire Trageser, KPBS News

Susan White, Executive Editor, InsideClimateNews.org

Jill Replogle, KPBS Fronteras Desk

Bob Lawrence, writer

Transcript

This week on the Midday Edition Roundtable, reporters, writers and editors examine four stories which have resonance here, including two which actually took place thousands of miles away.

Sanders' San Diego Legacy

As he starts a new job running the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, former Mayor Jerry Sanders spoke with Claire Trageser of KPBS News about his time as the city’s chief administrator.

Looking back, he believes that his biggest accomplishment was balancing the city's budget after a fiscal crisis in which the word "bankruptcy" was mentioned more than once by some civic leaders. He is comfortable that his primary focus was on downtown (at the expense of other San Diego neighborhoods) because he believes a vital downtown is good for the city as a whole.

The collapse of the Irwin Jacobs plan to remove parking from Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama was “unfortunate,” he told Trageser, and he noted that lawsuits, like the one which derailed the plan, are a way of life in the governance of San Diego.

Sanders understands why current Mayor Bob Filner’s actions are so often contentious. Filner, he says, is being tested by others and at the same time is testing the limits of his own power.

Sanders also says he's not concerned about his legacy, and is probably not a very good politician, either.

What's in the Senate Immigration Bill?

The U.S. Senate’s "Gang of Eight" released its bipartisan bill overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. The bill is now in the Judiciary Committee where this week it has faced criticism from conservatives that it gives too much authority to Homeland Security and is too broad and too expensive.

On the other side of the aisle there is concern that same-sex couples have been left out of the bill.

Jill Replogle and her reporting partner John Rosman of the KPBS Fronteras Desk broke down the major components of the monster bill for KPBS viewers and listeners.

The bill gives any unauthorized resident living in the U.S. before January 1, 2012 provisional residential status if they:

--pay a $1,000 fine and back taxes

--learn English

--stay out of trouble.

After 10 years they may apply to become become permanent residents and may apply for citizenship three years after that.

Also in the bill: the tremendous backlog of visa applications will be cleared up, and there are different provisions for highly skilled workers, agricultural workers and DREAMers.

An Ugly, Toxic Oil Spill

Susan White, a Coronado resident and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has been honored a third time for a series she edited on an oil spill you probably never heard of.

Michael Stolz

Flickr

Photo from the Kalamazoo River oil spill.

In July 2010, just 10 days after the BP oil well stopped spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a major spill of Canadian oil goo called diluted bitumen poured out of a pipeline in Marshall, Mich., operated by Enbridge Energy Partners.

The EPA expected the spill to be cleaned up in a couple of months, but the agency was unaware that it was bitumen, the dirtiest, stickiest oil on the market, that was contaminating homes, yards and drinking water in Michigan. Diluted bitumen is the oil that will course through the Keystone Pipeline, should it ever be built.

At more than $756 million (so far), the Marshall spill is the most expensive oil pipeline spill since the government began keeping records.

Boston Media Madness

CNN, Fox News, the NY Post and an infinite number of social media posts had something in common from the time of the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, through the capture of Dzhokar Tsarnaev on Friday night, April 19.

They all were wrong about important events, loudly and publicly. And, in some cases, harmfully.

Former San Diego Union media critic Bob Lawrence muses on how the huge mountain of information available through new(ish) technology and social media increased pressure on traditional media, particularly commercial television and newspapers, which are struggling to maintain their relevancy. (Too late, some say).

The mass availability of photos and theories galvanized a horde of amateur sleuths who fingered the innocent and mucked up the search for the guilty.

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