Stories by Hank Crook
It's been a busy week for city politics, and KPBS Metro Reporter Katie Orr is here to give us an update on the latest news coming out of City Hall. What are the details of the latest proposal to keep libraries and recreation centers open? Could a public-private partnership save the beach fire pits? And, why are the business fees in San Diego less than other California cities?
Learn how the local Muslim community and people who lost loved ones in 9/11 are reacting to the news that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has been killed. Plus, find out what the local military community thinks about the news. And, hear how bin Laden's death could impact terrorist networks around the world.
What's the best way to teach children about today's environmental challenges? What are some of the creative things schools are doing around the country to teach kids about sustainable living practices? We speak to the Creative Director for the Center for Ecoliteracy about some of the innovative programs they are working on with schools across the nation.
One of the most famous lines from the United States Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Today we will focus on the "pursuit of Happiness" portion of the Declaration of Independence as we speak to the author of "The Politics of Happiness." Should governments focus as much on "gross national happiness" as they do on the gross domestic product? How can governments assess happiness? And, what can be gained from having a happier populace?
In today's Legal Update, we'll give you a rundown of cases involving an ongoing dispute over who founded Facebook, whether an employee with bipolar disorder can be fired for making threats in the workplace, and a federal lawsuit against Trump University. Joining us to break down the cases is These Days Legal Analyst Dan Eaton.
The wet winter has created an abundant water supply in reservoirs throughout the state. Last month, Governor Jerry Brown declared the drought to be over, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California recently announced that it will end the water supply restrictions it implemented in 2009. What will this news mean for ratepayers in San Diego County? And, what will the County Water Authority and the city water department do to ensure we have a sustainable, consistent water supply in the future? We'll speak to representatives from the Metropolitan Water District, the San Diego County Water Authority and the city's Public Utilities Department.
If gas prices are increasing, why is the state collecting less in gas-related taxes nowadays? We speak to Business Reporter Erik Anderson about what's driving up gas prices, and how a recent change to the gas tax structure is impacting state revenue.
Why has very little progress been made on the international level to reduce the effects of global climate change? We speak to UC San Diego Professor David Victor about his new book "Global Warming Gridlock," which explores why the international discussions about fighting global warming have yielded very little progress over the last 20 years. We also speak to Dr. Victor about what the United States can do on a federal level to reduce its carbon footprint.
The University of San Diego basketball program is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this week. Two former players and a former assistant coach have been indicted on charges that they accepted bribes to fix games in February, 2010. We speak to San Diego Union-Tribune Sports Reporter Mark Zeigler about the charges the former USD players and coach are facing, and how authorities investigated the alleged bribery scheme.
What budget cuts are the mayor and city council considering for the new fiscal year? We speak to Katie Orr about the services that could be cut, and how the budget discussion will be different from past years.
Should city firefighters and lifeguards receive the same retirement benefits as police officers? That will be one of the major questions in the battle over pension reform in San Diego. We speak to the president of the firefighters union and Councilman Kevin Faulconer about a proposal to move all new city employees, except for police officers, to a 401 (k) retirement plan.
What can be done to end the drug-related violence in Mexico? We speak to former President of Mexico Vicente Fox about how the drug war has changed since he left office, and why he believes that legalizing drugs is the best way to reduce the violence that's plagued his country over the last decade. We'll also talk to Fox about illegal immigration, and trade between the U.S. and Mexico.
The efforts to reform the City of San Diego's pension system moved another step forward this week when the mayor and two councilmembers agreed to a ballot measure proposing to move all new city workers, except for police officers, to a 401 (k) retirement plan. We talk to Metro Reporter Katie Orr about the details of the proposal, and how the compromise was reached.
What budget options does Governor Jerry Brown have left now that he has walked away from negotiations with state Republicans? We speak to political consultant Leo McElroy about the latest news coming out of Sacramento, and discuss how teachers and other state workers will be impacted if the legislature passes an "all cuts" budget.
Could our wet winter lead to a big boom in the local insect population? We speak to San Diego County Entomologist David Kellum about how the winter rains and recent warm weather will affect the bug population. Plus, find out which insects you'll see flying around your porch light this spring and summer.
How are residents in Mexicali and the Imperial County still being affected by the 7.2 magnitude Easter earthquake that struck one year ago? And, what are some of the unique things geologists have learned about the temblor over the last year? We'll look back on how the earthquake impacted our region, and discuss how the knowledge we've gained could influence theories about quake mechanics in the future.
Governor Jerry Brown's hopes for a special election are fading fast. State Republicans refuse to support Brown's proposal to put tax-extension measures before the voters in June. We discuss whether the tax measures can be placed on the ballot without GOP support. And, we'll talk about what the state budget could look like without additional revenue.
The San Diego City Council wants to have more of a say in next year's budget. Council President Tony Young is proposing budget cuts to the mayor. We discuss why the council is being more proactive in budget negotiations this year. And, we'll talk about the dueling pension reform measures that could appear on the ballot in 2012.
The San Diego City Council adopted regulations this week aimed at limiting where and when local medical marijuana collectives can operate, and ensuring that the shops are operated legally. We discuss the approved regulations, and why some medical marijuana proponents were angered by them.
The political landscape in America is very polarized nowadays. Many people identify themselves as "Conservative" or "Liberal," and are willing to defend their beliefs vigorously. The political debates tend to focus more on the areas of disagreement, rather than the issues people agree on. Now, a new blog has popped up that attempts to combine the political beliefs of Libertarians, who support free markets and property rights, with the ideals of "bleeding heart" Liberals. We speak to the creator of "Bleeding Heart Libertarians" about the motivation behind his blog, and what he hopes people will take away from it.
Is the situation in Iraq becoming increasingly unstable as the time for American withdrawal approaches? And, what are U.S. officials doing to reach out to Iraqis here and abroad? We talk to representatives from the Department of State who are visiting San Diego, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, and to the Director of Strategic Effects for United States Forces in Iraq.
Where does San Diego rank among California's healthiest counties? KPBS Health Reporter Kenny Goldberg breaks down recent report analyzing the health of communities across the nation.
Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilman Kevin Faulconer recently proposed a ballot measure to switch new non-public safety workers from a guaranteed pension plan to a 401(k) retirement account. Coucilman Faulconer and the president of AFSCME Local 127 talk about how the proposal could impact the city's budget deficit and workforce.
This week marks the one year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the health-care reform law. We'll discuss the impact the law has had over the last year, and talk about why it remains controversial.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi are continuing their assault against opposition groups, despite the increase in U.S. and allied airstrikes across the country. We discuss the U.S. strategy in Libya, and the costs associated with getting involved in another conflict in the Middle East.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilmember Kevin Faulconer unveiled a proposed ballot measure this week that would make major changes to the city's pension system. We discuss key elements of the proposal, and discuss the impact it could have on city workers and the budget deficit.
What effects has the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care reform law, had since it was passed one year ago today? Why is there so much confusion about the law's impact? And, what provisions of the law will go into effect in the future? Local advocates for and against the law debate its impact.
Why did the U.S. decide to get involved in the ongoing battle between Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and rebels aimed at overthrowing Gadhafi's government? We discuss the latest news coming out of Libya with KPBS Military Blogger Beth Ford Roth.
Earlier this week, the San Diego Unified School District sent out 1,300 layoff notices to teachers and other district staff. We discuss how the district's budget could be affected by the yet-to-be-approved June special election, and the governor's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies. Plus, what can the district do to prevent future layoffs and budget deficits?
As the world watches the nuclear crisis unfolding in Japan, many people are asking if San Diego is prepared if the same situation happened here. What safety procedures are in place if the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station experienced a meltdown? And, should the U.S. reexamine its nuclear energy policies in light of what's happening in Japan?
As workers try to cool the radioactive materials at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, we discuss the long- and short-term risks this crisis could pose to the Japanese people. Plus, we discuss the lessons being learned from the still unfolding nuclear crisis. We speak to experts from SDSU and UC San Diego about the latest details coming out of Japan.
As fears grow over the possibility of a catastrophic meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan many are now wondering what would happen to our nuclear power plant if a large earthquake struck near San Diego. We speak to Environment Reporter Ed Joyce about the safety of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
What can San Diegans do to help the victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan? And, what challenges has the local Japanese community faced as it tries to contact family and friends back home? We speak to the president of UC San Diego's Japanese Student Association, the director of disaster services for the local Red Cross, and KPBS Science and Technology Reporter Peggy Pico.
Could this be the year SDSU wins its first NCAA Tournament game? And, what are the chances this year's Aztecs could make it deep into the tournament? We speak to sports reporter Mark Zeigler about the Aztecs first round matchup against Northern Colorado, and the big challenges SDSU will face in the West Region.
Why did Governor Jerry Brown ask the state legislature to postpone its vote on his spending plan, and his proposal for a June special election? And, what are the main areas of disagreement between the governor and Republicans in the state senate? We get the latest details on the budget talks from John Myers with "The California Report."
What are the latest trends in the local commercial and residential real estate markets? Why are some areas of the market improving, while others are still struggling? Local real estate experts discuss what changes we've seen in 2011, and offer their predictions for what could happen in the spring and summer months.
The San Diego Unified School District is facing an estimated $114 million budget deficit for next academic year. The deficit could be cut in half if voters approve tax extensions in a statewide special election the governor has proposed for June. We talk to the school board president Richard Barrera and the president of the teachers union, Bill Freeman, about the possibility that more than 700 teachers could be laid off. Plus, we talk about what actions the district should take to prevent future budget deficits.
Women are often the ones who suffer the most during conflicts, while men are the ones who are celebrated for their accomplishments during times of war. A new series produced exclusively for the PBS audience is hoping to shine a light on the contribution women are making in conflicts happening around the world. We speak to filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney about the new series Women, War & Peace.