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Articles on this Page
- 10/18/16--10:12: _Do software designe...
- 10/18/16--10:21: _Space odyssey: Astr...
- 10/18/16--10:50: _SoCal responds to p...
- 10/18/16--15:45: _4 things the pro an...
- 10/19/16--10:47: _How the FCC, the te...
- 10/19/16--10:51: _Filming at 120 fram...
- 10/19/16--16:14: _New use-of-force re...
- 10/19/16--16:48: _New report finds sc...
- 10/20/16--10:49: _KQED’s Michael Kras...
- 10/20/16--10:55: _Did last night chan...
- 10/20/16--10:56: _AirTalk history les...
- 10/21/16--10:46: _Should schools perm...
- 10/21/16--10:56: _Philippine presiden...
- 10/21/16--16:36: _Will flooding put a...
- 10/21/16--17:22: _Pros and cons of Pr...
- 10/18/16--10:21: Space odyssey: Astronaut Mike Massimino on conquering space, twice
- 10/19/16--10:51: Filming at 120 frames-per-second could upend movie storytelling
- 10/19/16--16:14: New use-of-force reforms are shift in focus, not disciplinary change
- 10/20/16--10:49: KQED’s Michael Krasny on Jewish humor
- 10/20/16--10:55: Did last night change anything?
- 10/21/16--10:46: Should schools permit satanic after school clubs?
- 10/21/16--16:36: Will flooding put a damper on plans for the LA River?
- 10/21/16--17:22: Pros and cons of Prop 60: Mandating condoms in adult films
People spend their time on smart phone while travelling in the Mass Rapid Transit train in Singapore on April 30, 2014.; Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty ImagesNatalie Chudnovsky | AirTalk
Given that tech product designers hack into behavioral psychology to maximize the addictive nature of their software, doesn’t the onus to create a less harmful, less distracting world lie on the shoulders of tech?
That’s the view of Tristan Harris, whose advocacy group Time Well Spent calls for software designers to take a Hippocratic oath and restructure their products to enhance human experience, rather than maximize screen staring.
Monday, we talked to Dr. Larry Rosen, co-author of ‘The Distracted Mind’ to get his take on what high-tech distractions do to the brain and how users can live a more balanced life.
Now, Larry looks at the issue from the supply-side. He talks to Harris about how tech is designed to hack the brain, what a code of ethics for software designers would look like and how apps and websites can be restructured.
Should product designers take a Hippocratic oath to make their software less distracting? What features would you like added or subtracted from your tech?
Tristan Harris, former Google product ethicist; former CEO of startup Apture, acquired by Google in 2011; co-founder of advocacy group Time Well Spent
Astronaut Mike Massimino attends 18th Annual Webby Awards on May 19, 2014 in New York, United States. ; Credit: Brad Barket/Getty ImagesAirTalk
For many of us, space travel is only a far-fetched dream. For Mike Massimino, it’s something he’s been able to accomplished, twice over.
But it wasn’t easy. In his new memoir, “Spaceman,” Massimino documents his journey and challenges to become an astronaut. In the blue-collar town where he grew up, even going to college wasn’t guaranteed. And even after attending two of the most prestigious universities in the country – Columbia and MIT – it still took Massimino three times before he was selected to the astronaut training program.
Larry talks to Massimino about his journey, his two space missions and more.
Mike Massimino will be at Skylight Books in Los Feliz tonight (10/18) at 7:30pm to talk about his new book.
Mike Massimino, former NASA astronaut and author of the book, “Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe” (Crown Archetype, 2016)
Law enforcement officers listen to US President Barack Obama speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago.; Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty ImagesAirTalk
The head of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Terry Cunningham, made an announcement Monday apologizing for the “historical mistreatment of communities of color.”
As reported by NPR, Terry Cunningham, the IACP president for the U.S. gave this formal apology on behalf of the association at its annual meeting.
In the speech, Cunningham went on to address the dark times in history between police and communities of color, but also said, “while this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multigenerational — almost inherited — mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies.”
Cunningham also iterated that the apology was a step in the right direction to mend the relationship between police and those communities. According to the Washington Post, IACP spokesperson Sarah Guy said the speech received a standing ovation.
At a time when tensions between law enforcement and communities of color runs high, the apology has taken many by surprise. Criticisms of the apology have ranged from arguments the statement fuels anti-police views, to people who say the apology is too little, too late.
What do you think of the IACP’s apology? Is it a step in the right direction, or will it do more harm than good?
Perry Tarrant, Assistant Chief of the Seattle Police Department; President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
Eugene O’Donnell, Professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; former NYPD officer; former prosecutor in Kings County, New York
Audrey Ngo | AirTalk
The controversial ballot measure would give California one of the highest taxes on tobacco, taking the current rate from 87 cents to $2.87 per pack of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes and cigars, as well as other tobacco products would be included in the tax.
Aside from the measure’s goal to urge the public not to smoke, the tax would bring $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion during its first year, and is mostly going to fund the state insurance program, Medi-Cal. Funders of the measure include health care companies. (See the top funders)
But opponents of the measure, including the tobacco industry, argue that Prop 56 would benefit health insurance companies.
1. Prop. 56 is heavily geared toward reducing youth smoking
Robb Korinke: There are studies that demonstrate that hiking the cost of cigarettes does lead to a decline in smoking, particularly among youth, and that's one thing I want to emphasize most. Prop 56 is really geared toward trying to reduce youth smoking, and it would extend the existing state taxes as well as the new proposed tax to electronic cigarettes, which are becoming a strong gateway for youth to begin smoking.
2. E-cigarettes are included in the tax
Korinke: We have strong evidence that E-cigarettes are not helping people quit, they're helping people start [smoking]. A USC study notes that youth are more than six times more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes [if they use E-cigarettes]. Note: a study published in the British Medical Journal that Larry Mantle cited during the interview found that E-cigarettes that contain nicotine can help people stop smoking.
3. Most of the tax revenue will go to Medi-Cal
Korinke: About $1 billion per year will go to Medi-Cal. . . the funds that go into that have to go directly into care, they're very tight state and federal regulations about how those dollars get spent. And if they don't provide the care, they don't get the money.
Beth Miller: Prop 56 relies on an unstable and declining revenue stream. Even the legislative analysts office said the funds generated from this measure are expected to decline over time as cigarette consumption decreases. . . If Medi-Cal is a significant concern and a public policy priority, it should be funded with a stable revenue stream and not by a targeted tax.
4. Smuggling of cigarettes could be exacerbated with the tax increase
Miller: We have a huge law enforcement component to our broad-based coalition, and they're on board because of concern that an increase in the tobacco tax will significantly increase black market, counterfeit and smuggling. Currently, 31.5 percent of cigarettes consumed in California are smuggled.
*Note: This interview has been edited for clarity
Robb Korinke, official spokesperson for the Yes on 56 campaign
Beth Miller, official spokesperson for the No on 56 campaign
How much is being spent on the campaigns?
Voting has begun in California. KPCC is here for you and will help you develop your Voter Game Plan. Use our election guide to find your personalized ballot.
A headset hangs on a cubical wall after the last telemarketing shift at Spectrum Marketing Services, Inc. September 26, 2003 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.; Credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty ImagesAirTalk
These kinds of calls are the number one complaint the FCC receives, according to FCC Chairman tom Wheeler and since the federal ‘do not call’ list has been basically defunct for years, the FCC has convened a team of minds from companies like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Google to help come up with better standards of caller ID verification in the hopes of weeding out unwanted or automated calls from scammers, debt collectors, and more.
Now, those 60 days have passed and today marks the deadline for the task force to report back to FCC Commissioners with those plans. At the group’s first meeting, Chairman Wheeler encouraged the group to ‘get creative’ and suggested the possibility of a “Do Not Originate” list, which would put outgoing numbers that are often spoofed, like those of banks and IRS, into a database that’d be shared among the wireless companies.
Another commissioner suggested legislation to crack down on foreign scammers who prey on Americans by spoofing caller ID. But skeptics say that this would be difficult administratively and logistically for phone companies since numbers are easy to obtain and spoof. They also worry that too much regulation could mean calls that customers do want to receive wouldn’t go through.
The FCC will hold another meeting next week, and it’s expected that the Commissioners will comment on the solutions the Strike Force has proposed.
We contacted the FCC and CTIA - The Wireless Association, which is the main trade group for the wireless and telecom industry. Both declined to participate in our discussion. CTIA did send us a statement from their senior vice president and general counsel, Tom Power:
“Unwanted calls and texts are a consumer issue the wireless industry works hard to address and we look forward to working with the FCC to help address this challenge together."
Raymond Tu, Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Arizona State University
Actors Vin Diesel (L) and Garrett Hedlund with director Ang Lee (C) attend the "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" photo call on October 15, 2016 in New York City. ; Credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty ImagesJasmin Tuffaha | AirTalk
It's back to the projector room for Oscar-winning director Ang Lee after his pricey, gutsy movie-making experiment, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” played to mixed results at the New York Film Festival last week.
The ground-breaking war drama was shot at an ultra-fast 120 frames-per-second rate in 3-D with 4K resolution. The first wave of critics at the fest panned the film and blamed the technology.
Today on KPCC, the film innovator who inspired Lee's venture, Douglas Trumbull, says the NY screening projected the film "much too bright" and without necessary projector adjustments.
Now, Trumbull is tweaking the movie. He explains, "I'm working with Ang and Sony Pictures at this moment and [inaudible] — providing the projection systems — to try to make sure that that next wave of screenings of 'Billy Lynn' are going to be much better than what I think we saw in New York."
Also at the fest screening was L.A. Times film writer Steve Zeitchik. He takes issue with the knee-jerk criticisms and argues the movie's “immersive experience” provided by the ultra-fast frame rate requires a different set of criteria to judge it.
"What I would question," Zeitchik tells Airtalk's Larry Mantle, "is this idea that we need to fix it. For one thing the heightened, hyper-real aspect from a purely experiential standpoint ... really does work." He adds, "I've watched a lot of war movies — good, bad, and indifferent — over the years and I don't think I've ever felt as jolted ... felt war in quite as visceral a manner as I did watching this film. And so I think a lot of that has to do with the resolution and the frame rate. So when you bring down the brightness and you bring down the frame rate , you're losing a lot of that."
A question for studio executives and audiences posed by Zeitchik: "Who's to say the kind of traditional cinema that we're used to, and traditional storytelling, should necessarily be the dominant mode for this new era of immersive cinema? ...Why can't we have something new or a mix of types and genres? ... Let's not fix the movie."
Trumbull, whose credits include "Blade Runner" and "2001: A Space Odyssey," says "Billy Lynn" and the faster frame rate truly sing when shooting first-person point-of-view scenes.
“You want to switch gears from conventional third-person storytelling, in which the director is directing the camera to see an action that is off to the side.... When you create more of a virtual reality, a first-person point-of-view is much stronger,”explained Trumbull.
Another major effect of the "immersive" film technology noticed by Zeitchik is that traditional movie moments of heightened drama or artifice lose their credence. In his L.A. Times piece he notes, “Because everything around the actors feels so real, when they’re asked to break from that reality -- to act in even the most slightly heightened way, or show an emotion that’s bigger than emotions people show in their everyday lives -- it can seem artificial or staged.”
If the faster frame-rate becomes more widely adopted, how will writers, performers, directors, and cinemas have to adapt?
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BY CLICKING THE PLAY BUTTON ABOVE.
Douglas Trumbull, Filmmaker and film technology innovator; Credits include "Brainstorm," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Tree of Life," "Blade Runner;" Trumbull convinced Ang Lee to use 120-fps
Steve Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times staff writer who has been covering film and the larger world of Hollywood for the paper since 2009
Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck addresses the media at Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters.; Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty ImagesJacklyn Kim | AirTalk
LAPD Chief Charlie said a sweeping set of reforms approved by the Police Commission earlier this month won't have a huge impact on police training or policy, but will mean a new focus for both.
“I don't think there's gonna be a huge change,” Beck told Airtalk host Larry Mantle, “because we already do role-playing. We already do scenario-based training. We already have our fire arms trainings simulators. Much of this is in place, and it's a further refinement of things that we already do.”
The reforms call for accountability in releasing video footage. They also require that officers favor non-lethal force and undergo de-escalation trainings. Beck said that would only serve to focus what the LAPD has already been doing in terms of training and protocol.
“We require an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death before we shoot," Beck said. "The chief of police can always discipline relative to not acting to your training or not acting to department policy — doesn’t change that one bit."
Beck also spoke about department's evolving policy on when to release officers' body camera footage and a recent protest at an event featuring L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey, among other issues.
You can hear the full interview above by clicking the blue playhead, or read more highlights below.
ON THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE AS A “LAST RESORT”
Beck: Shooting is always a last resort, always has been. As a matter of fact, it's not the last resort, it's the only resort. We require an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death before we shoot…
The Police Commission is calling for de-escalation training, which we do, which we want to expand. They also want to move the wording of “last resort” into the policy piece on deadly force instead of in the training piece, and both of them control what officers’ behavior is [...]
The chief of police can always discipline relative to not acting to your training or not acting to department policy, doesn’t change that one bit […]
It is a focus, it is a highlighting, but is it a change? Did we ever have a shooting policy that wasn’t last resort? Absolutely not. It's always the last resort […]
But I think what it does, and the importance of it and why the commission wants to do it is that it refocuses, or focuses, the police department on its core values regarding use of force. That deadly force is a last resort, that we should exhaust options before we use deadly force, and that we recognize the severity of that option.
ON WHEN TO RELEASE VIDEO FOOTAGE AND WHY
Beck: This is something that we're working on. This is something that’s new to policing. It’s being done about 100 different ways across the country right now, all of whom are looking for the right answer.
I think there is video that should not be released just because it's so graphic, it is so personal, it is so intrusive to the people involved. I think that there are many times that police officers are present when very, very bad things happen to people and I don’t know that that should be part of the public conversation other than the fact that it happened. So we have to guard with that, guard for that.
One of the things that everybody agrees on, including me, is in those rare instances when police officers do violate the law in a use of force. It is extremely difficult to prosecute them, so the release of video does not make it easier. As a matter of fact all the prosecutors advise against it, [but] there are all of these competing desires.
ON THE TOWN HALL MEETING WITH LA COUNTY DA JACKIE LACEY
Beck: The problem is that whenever we shout somebody down, whenever we deny somebody else's right to express their point of view — first of all, we tear at the very fabric of democracy. We take away what is great about this country — that we can have a dialogue — and then we also stymie any attempt to move forward.”
If all you're gonna do is yell at me then we are probably not gonna be able to build a bridge between us, and I think that is the tragedy of what's going on, and all of us see it...people not listening and just putting forth their opinion, where what we really need to get through these tough issues — like when to release video, like what kind of policing is legitimate, what kind of policing do we want — what we really need is dialogue.
We really need to hear each other, not talk at each other.
Interviews have been edited for clarity. Hear the full discussion by clicking the playhead above.
Los Angeles School Police Sgt. Robert Carlborn watches over students lining up to pass through a security check point.; Credit: David McNew/Getty ImagesNatalie Chudnovsky | AirTalk
A study released Wednesday has renewed the ongoing debate over whether police should be called to school campuses for disciplinary issues.
The study, published by the the American Civil Liberties Union of California, claims districts are increasingly turning to police to deal with student discipline problems, a practice that disproportionately impacts minority students, poor students and students with disabilities.
"Studies have consistently found that black students are far more likely to be referred to the police or referred for suspension and exclusion from school based on discretionary offenses, such as disorderly conduct or willful defiance," ACLU of Northern California attorney and study author Linnea Nelson told Airtalk’s Larry Mantle Wednesday.
They were joined by Teri Sorey, President of the Irvine Teachers Association and Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, to discuss the report, as well as whether police officer presence on campus can ever have positive impact.
Click on the blue playhead above to hear the full discussion, or read highlights below.
On school districts giving staff too much discretion to call police
Nelson: School districts do not have adequate policies to protect youth against police misconduct and the aggressive criminalization of student behavior... most school districts give staff complete discretion to call police to address student misbehavior that should be handled by school staff...Over two thirds of school districts statewide allow police officers to interview students immediately upon demand, stating that staff shall not hinder or delay interrogations.
On the negative impacts of these practices
Nelson: Studies have consistently found that black students are far more likely to be referred to the police or referred for suspension and exclusion from school based on discretionary offenses, such as disorderly conduct or willful defiance. And those offenses are classically in the eye of the beholder... we're very concerned about the impact of implicit bias on school discipline.
On whether there are benefits to having police on campus
Canady: There are three things that we [police] do in that environment [on a school campus]. One is about school safety. The second piece is about the issue of informal counseling...to have the opportunity to mentor kids. And the third is to be involved in the education process... to teach students about different law-related issues.
On when it's appropriate for school administrators to turn to police
Canady: We're talking about assault or serious bodily injury.
On how school districts should address behavioral issues
Nelson: We need to be sending our students the message that they are scholars, not suspects. Every student deserves an educational environment where they can thrive. Districts in California are spending millions of dollars a year from classroom budgets to put armed police in schools and we need to ensure that schools invest in resources for a quality education, like school counselors and mental health services that keep students in school...Counselors are the best way to go. Counselors are trained to work with students in conflict resolution and to keep youth in school and out of trouble.
Interviews have been edited for clarity. Hear the full discussion by clicking the playhead above.
Read the ACLU California report:
Linnea Nelson, Education Equity Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California and author of the report
Teri Sorey, President of the Irvine Teachers Association, which has School Resource Officers on its campuses
Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers
; Credit: Flickr user: shawncalhoun / creativecommonsAirTalk
KQED’s “FORUM” host Michael Krasny is a familiar voice for news on current events, business, tech, culture and more – but he’s also a master of Jewish humor.
Krasny’s new book “Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It Means” shares a favorite collection of Jewish jokes paired with annotations that can help any reader appreciate the comedy within one’s culture. Larry talks to Krasny about his latest work, comedic inspirations and current life.
Michael Krasny, Ph.D., host of KQED’s “FORUM” and author of “Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It Means”
Republican nominee Donald Trump gestures as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton looks on during the final presidential debate. ; Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesAirTalk
The headline was Donald Trump's response to moderator Chris Wallace's question about accepting the election's results, that he would leave us “in suspense” until election day.
What did you think of the debate? Call us at 866-893-5722
In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates George W. Bush (L) and Al Gore. ; Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty ImagesAirTalk
After spending the past few weeks claiming the presidential election will be "rigged" in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump was asked directly by Fox News anchor and debate moderator Chris Wallace if he would concede should he lose to Clinton.
"I will look at it at the time," Trump said. When pressed moments later, Trump added simply: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense." Speaking in his defense, supporters of Trump compare his views to the contested presidential election of 2000. It was a tight popular vote between Democratic candidate Al Gore and Republican candidate George W. Bush, so tight in Florida that state law triggered an automatic recount, and a legendary battle followed.
Does the history of the Gore campaign's actions vis-a-vis the Florida results in 2000 justify Trump's statement last night? AirTalk will review what happened in Florida with campaign experts.
With files from the Associated Press.
Sean Davis, co-founder of the Federalist, a conservative online news magazine
Pentragram. ; Credit: Flickr user: Adam Cohn / Creative CommonsAirTalk
The Los Angeles Unified School district has rejected the request to let After School Satan Club into a Panorama city elementary school.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, The club’s L.A. chapter would have been one of several started in schools across the country, including Portland, Salt Lake City and Detroit. LAUSD said in a statement that the organization’s rejection was due not receiving the proper paperwork from the club. But Ali Kellog, the chapter head for The Satanic Temple Los Angeles says the club has been stonewalled by the school district.
The After School Satan Club is headed by The Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts. The club has been pushing to branch out to schools across the country as a counterpart to the Good News Clubs, an after school Christian club. Officials from The Satanic Temple have said they believe the Good News Clubs to be fringe, zealous and hateful, and not representative of true Christianity.
According to the Satanic Temple, their religion “does not promote belief in a personal Satan. . . The Satanist should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things.”
What do you think of the After School Satan Club? Is it a breach of religious freedom and First Amendment rights to prohibit them in schools?
Ali Kellog, chapter head for The Satanic Temple Los Angeles; she created the curriculum for the After School Satan Club which was presented to the LAUSD
Barry McDonald, professor of law at Pepperdine School of Law; he is an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court, Constitutional and intellectual property law
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands as they attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on October 20, 2016 in Beijing, China.; Credit: Pool/Getty ImagesAirTalk
A day after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced in China that he is moving away from the US to align with China, officials in the country are trying to walk back the controversial statements.
On Thursday, Rodrigo gave a speech in front of a group of business leaders in Beijing, and declared the country’s new alliance with China.
"America has lost now. I've realigned myself in your ideological flow," Duterte said in China. "And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way."
Duterte also said this “separation” from the US applies to both economic and military ties.
But as news of the meeting spread, government officials from the Philippines have come out to stem the political damage.
"The president did not talk about separation,” Philippine Trade Minister Ramon Lopez told CNN in Beijing today.
"In terms of economic (ties), we are not stopping trade, investment with America. The president specifically mentioned his desire to strengthen further the ties with China and the ASEAN region which we have been trading with for centuries," he said, referring to the Association of South East Asian Nations.
How realistic are Duterte’s claims? What would closer ties between China and the Philippines mean for the US?
Vicente L Rafael, a professor in history and an expert on the Philippines in the University of Washington
The iconic 6th Street Bridge that connects downtown Los Angeles with its eastern disticts is reflected in the Los Angeles River after its closure to traffic on January 27, 2016.
; Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
Potential flooding may be causing trouble for neighborhoods close to the Los Angeles River.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report that found parcels north of downtown L.A., including Atwater Village, Elysian Valley, Burbank and Glendale, could be flooded if a 100-year storm hits.
This news comes in the wake of a $1.6 billion L.A. River restoration project, which is working to naturalize an 11-mile stretch of river from Northern Griffith Park to downtown L.A. The plan would add water cleanup features and restore plant life, in part by extracting concrete walls that were originally put in place to prevent flooding.
The report prompted federal officials to require property owners with federally backed mortgages to buy flood insurance. The report also pointed to areas that could be under threat which are currently outside FIMA’s recognized floodplain.
“The cities can be going through a process with FEMA to re-map the floodplain, and the end result of that could require some [more] folks to need flood insurance,” Deputy Chief Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers David Van Dorpe told AirTalk’s Larry Mantle Friday.
They were joined by Marissa Christiansen, senior policy director for Friends of the Los Angeles River, to discuss what effect this report will have on the restoration project.
Click on the blue playhead above to hear the full discussion, or read highlights below.
On the probability of this type of flooding
Christiansen: What we're talking about is a 1 percent chance of these levels of storms happening in any given year.
On how to mitigate flood damage and still continue the restoration project
Christiansen: There are a number of different flood risk mitigations that are far outside just channelizing the river. You can look at widening the channel...tunneling and diverting storm flows, having retention basins that are activated during storm events [...] continuing to design for the most innovative approach is what I think people should be focused on.
On whether the restoration project will affect communities downriver, where there has been devastating flooding in the past
Von Dorpe: No... when we look at a river and analyze its hydrology, we're looking at it as a whole system. Actually, the L.A. River and all its tributaries is part of what we call the L.A. County drainage area system... we're going to make sure that anything we do up here, whether it's ecosystem restoration or perhaps water conservation or flood risk management reduction, that it won't have consequences downstream.
On what the public can do to support the restoration project
Christiansen: Number one, the city is getting ready to move the G2 parcel, which is part of Taylor Yard... into escrow. When that comes up on the City Council agenda, we definitely urge the community to support that, because that really is a crown jewel of the river's restoration... The second thing that public can do - on November 8th there are a number of initiatives that will actually offer money to river or river adjacent projects. That is Measure A, which is the parks measure, and Measure M, which is a transportation measure, which would fund the bike path along the river... we support both.
Interviews have been edited for clarity.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, will hold a public workshop on November 7th to discuss different aspects of the flood risks. Click here for more information.
Marissa Christiansen, senior policy director for Friends of the Los Angeles River
David Van Dorpe, deputy chief engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Audrey Ngo | AirTalk
California’s controversial Prop 60 would make it mandatory to use condoms in adult films.
Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in L.A. is behind the measure, which would put language into state law creating a mandate for adult film actors to wear condoms in pornographic films.
Current worker safety laws already allude to condom use, and requires employees to be protected from bodily fluids that could cause infections. But this hasn’t always been enforced among adult film producers.
Prop 60 has stirred opposition from the porn industry. Many performers and studios argue that alternatives to condoms should be used to protect actors, including frequent testing for sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) and prescribing PrEP, an HIV prevention pill.
But shouldn’t adult film performers want to take advantage of every option to protect themselves?
According to Chanel Preston, chair of the Adult Film Actors Association, the measure would do more harm than good because it would leave performers open to lawsuits. Under Prop 60, Cal/OSHA, a workplace enforcement agency, would be able to sue producers if condoms are not visible in adult films.
Larry Mantle spoke to Preston and the John Schwada, the spokesperson for the Vote Yes on Prop 60 campaign, to hear both sides of this highly controversial issue.
3 points of tension between proponents and opponents of Prop. 60
On adult film actors being subject to lawsuits if Prop. 60 passes
Chanel Preston: This is an industry of sex workers and film performers and we are subject to harassment and threats everyday. Sometimes people say that this is hyperbole, that people won't attack us through lawsuits. But that's not true. . . anytime there's a tool that people can use to hurt the industry or the individual, they will use it. If a lawsuit does occur, they would have access to our personal information, and that's a really big concern for performers.
John Schwada: This is special pleading on an industry that refuses to obey the law and wants to be exempt from the public exposure when they are accused of violating the law. Every other individual knows that when people are sued, and people are charged with criminal conduct, their names are made public. Often in cases you can find the names, but you can't find the addresses of the accused parties. I think some of this is scare tactics on the part of the porn industry.
On the chilling effect the measure could have on the porn industry
Schwada: I suspect that [the industry] will be able to thrive with these rules. . . The thing that they're really afraid of in this industry is that their own performers will sue them, and [performers] will be whistleblowers.
Preston: There's an assumption that performers don't have power in the industry and that's not true. . . As an organization we've been working on ways for performers to use condoms without feeling like they're blacklisted. . .We don't need Prop. 60 to make that happen.
On whether condoms are the best way to prevent STDs
Preston: In a professional setting, we're having intercourse anywhere from 30 minutes to hours on set. And it's very difficult to use condoms sometimes. . . It causes rashes, they break, you're still susceptible to [sexually-transmitted infections]. And so performers don't necessarily feel like that's the best means to protect themselves. . .We haven't had a case of HIV transmission on a regulated porn set since 2004, so that shows that our testing system is extremely effective.
Schwada: The industry doesn't like condoms and that's the gold standard for protecting the workers from STDs and HIV. The business doesn't like condoms because they don't believe condoms in porn films sell those films. So they basically sacrifice worker health on the altar of their profits. . . also condoms don't have to be visible in the films.
John Schwada, communications director and spokesperson for the Vote Yes on Prop 60 campaign
Chanel Preston, adult film performer and chairperson of the adult performer advocacy committee; she has been campaigning for the No on 60 campaign
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