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Roundtable: Mexican Election, Welfare Cuts, Fireworks Fail

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Friday, July 6 Roundtable
Roundtable: Mexico's Election, California's Budget, San Diego's Fizzle
Guests: Alisa Joyce Barba, senior editor, Fronteras DeskDavid Rolland, Editor, San Diego CityBeatTom Fudge, reporter, KPBS News

Mexicans Return PRI To Power: Enrique Pena Nieto is officially the president-elect of Mexico.

There have been challenges to the election’s legitimacy, and some votes have been recounted. His win marks a resurrection of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), after 12 years out of power but was not the landslide predicted.

He brings with him several state governorships, but will have to negotiate his ambitious plans with Manuel Lopez Obrador’s PRD party, which came in second, and with the ousted PAN, the Mexican National Party.

Pena Nieto has said he wants to reform Pemex, Mexico's giant oil company which was nationalized in the 1930s. Reducing the drug violence and adding jobs are also priorities.

For decades the PRI ruled Mexico with great power and impunity. It was believed to be rife with corruption and was no stranger to strongarm tactics. Pena Nieto has said his government will be "willing to listen and open to criticism."

Budget Cuts Aid To Poorest Californians: Recently passed by the legislature and on the governor’s desk, the state budget features big cuts to impoverished parents.

The 2013 budget hits CalWORKS, the agency which provides assistance to parents as they look for and find work. The cuts are to cash aid, childcare subsidies and job training.

The state had already cut CalWORKS by $780 million between 2009 and 2011. For the 2012-13 budget, Governor Jerry Brown originally proposed a whopping $1.4 billion in further reductions. The final budget was much more generous, but still cut subsidized child-care, and shortened the time-limit for financial assistance, thus providing a barrier to finding and keeping employment.

San Diego’s Epic fireworks Fail: Ok, so it’s not poverty or a national election, but hundreds of thousands of San Diegans were counting on the city’s annual bayfront fireworks show, which was over in approximately 15 seconds.

The explosion of all the fireworks at once is estimated to have cost nearly $500,000 and was broadcast, tweeted and reported about all over the country and even internationally. The Port of San Diego, a major sponsor of the event, expressed disappointment. The company which put on the unexpected event, Garden State Fireworks of New Jersey, said a computer glitch made all 7.000 shells go off simultaneously.