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One Serious Problem Gone (Jewish Journal, February 1, 2012)

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The City Council's Shameless Pander (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

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Stout Awards Honors Olney, Morrison and Mantle (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

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Dance With Who Brung ‘Ya (Jewish Journal, September 28, 2011)

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Jury Got It Right in the ‘Irvine 11’ Case (The OC Register, September 23, 2011)

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'Irvine 11' Muslim student protesters found guilty on both charges (KPCC’s Airtalk, September 23, 2011)

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Voting Rights Act Outdated in Modern Day LA (The Daily News, August 21, 2011)

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What Los Angeles Can Teach the UK (BBC News World, August 15, 2011)

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When Did Carrying An ID Become A “White Thing”? (The OC Register, August 15, 2011)

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Bill Crafts Disneyland Version of History (The Sacramento Bee, July 14, 2011)

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An Education Game Changer (The Wide Angles, July 12 2011)

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A Flotilla of Fools (The Wide Angle Blog, July 8, 2011)

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Advocacy, the Academy and Mushy Thinking (The Wide Angle Blog, July 1, 2011)

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Tragic Fiction comes to Life (The Wide Angle, June 23, 2011)

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Coalition Sues to Keep Circumcision Ban Off Ballot (The Jewish Journal, June 22, 2011)

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The Circumcision Wars (The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2011)

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Male Circumcision Ban Proposed in Santa Monica (The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2011)

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Right Goal, Wrong Strategy (The Wide Angle Blog, May 11, 2011)

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The Bus Has Left the Station (City Journal, April 1, 2011)

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UCLA Leads the Pack (The Wide Angle Blog, March 29, 2011)

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Mixed Race Marriages and Our Attitudes (The Wide Angles, March 25, 2011)

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The Uncle Tom Accusation, Again (The Wide Angle Blog, March 18, 2011)

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A Forward Looking Decision in Civil Rights (The Wide Angle Blog, March 9, 2011)

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A Rising Wave of Anti-Semitism (Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009)

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The Wide Angle, A Community Advocates Blog (July - September, 2009)

July… August… September…

Israeli Consul General, Palestinian Lobbyist Reach Mock Peace Agreement (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 6, 2009)

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Critical Issues Seminar—Mock Peace Summit in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, April 29, 2009)

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In Battle Between Teachers, LAUSD, It’s the Kids Who Lose (Daily News, March 6, 2009)

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L.A. at the Tipping Point (www.RonKaye.LA, February 13, 2009)

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Theatrics by the Teachers (Daily News, February 8, 2009)

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Chicago Vs. Los Angeles Their Supe Is Obama’s New Education Man. Our Supe is Nice But… (LA Weekly, January 23, 2009)

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Critical Issues Seminar—Millennials Remaking America with KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, January 21, 2009)

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The Good News About Gaza in America (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 21, 2009)

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What Oakland Should be Protesting (Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2009)

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Calling All Radical Reformers to LAUSD (Daily News, December 14, 2008)

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Attention Politicians: Pandering Won’t Fly (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, November 12, 2008)

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Presentation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Ziegler Prize for Courage of Conviction (Japan American Theatre, October 22, 2008)

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The Problems and Potential of South L.A., A Dust-Up Exchange between Joe R. Hicks and Earl Ofari Hutchinson (Los Angeles Times, August 11-15, 2008)

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Find Fresh Ideas to Battle Hate, Letter to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

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Fast Food Freeze is a Good Choice for South LA by Jan Perry, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

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Do You Want Poppycock With That? by Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2008)

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Fast-food Moratorium is Meddling (Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2008)

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Critical Issues Seminar on the Role of Race in the 2008 Elections in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, June 27, 2008)

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Shalom is not Funny (Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Downtown News, June 23, 2008)

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A Dangerous and Precedent Setting Intrusion (Jewish Journal, June 13, 2008)

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“Ziman and Lee” (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 16, 2008

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We Don’t Need More Gabfests on Diversity (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 2, 2008)

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Families Deserve More than a Moratorium (Los Angeles Times, Blowback, April 10, 2008)

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On Any Given Sunday, Rev. Wright is Wrong (www.theroot.com, March 26, 2008)

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Obama’s Minister (KPCC’s Airtalk, March 18, 2008)

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LA Gang Violence Spikes (Associated Press, March 6, 2008)

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Critical Issues Seminar on The State of the Black Civil Rights Movement Today in conjunction with the Los Angeles Public Library and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February)

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Asking Too Much (Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2008)

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Playing a Frayed and Faded Race Card (Jewish Journal, January 18, 2008)

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Limiting Fast Food Outlets---Path to Better Health? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 20, 2007)

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The State Bar and Revealing Data on Minority Passage Rates (KCET’s Life & Times, December 18, 2007)

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Divisions in the Jewish Community—Talking About Jerusalem (KCET’s Life & Times, December 12, 2007)

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Do Los Angeles’ Anti-Gang Programs Work? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 6, 2007)

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Sharpton Leads Call for Federal Investigation of Hate Crimes (Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2007)

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Race Card Backlash (Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2007)

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Critical Issues Seminar on Charter Schools in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 5, 2007)

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The Private Lives of Public Officials (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, October 2, 2007)

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“Smart Growth” and Los Angeles Planning (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 20, 2007)

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Civil Rights in Louisiana (To the Point, KCRW-FM, September 20, 2007)

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The Racial/Ethnic Educational Achievement Gap (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 12, 2007)

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Board Vote Not Aimed At Students (Los Angeles Daily News, September 9, 2007)

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Healthcare Reform and Politics (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 5, 2007)

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The Constitution and Sex Offenders (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, August 30, 2007)

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‘Profiles in Courage’ ( Jewish Journal, August 24, 2007)

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Where’s the Fire? (Washington Post, August 2, 2007)

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Race and Politics in a Changing South LA (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 20, 2007)

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Gangsta Rap and its Impact (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 13, 2007)

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Mexican Americans and Drunk Driving (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 6, 2007)

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Baseball and the Decline in African-American Players (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 30, 2007)

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Los Angeles Unified’s New Board (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 23, 2007)

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Hollywood and its Impact on Political Discourse (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 16, 2007)

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New Times and the NAACP (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 9, 2007)

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Downtown Homeless and the LAPD (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 2, 2007)

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Immigration and the new Sanctuary Movement (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 25, 2007)

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The Teachers’ Union and School Reform, (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 18, 2007)

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Drop the Race Card (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

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The Takeover of the Times (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 11, 2007)

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The Governor’s Health Care Plan (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 28, 2007)

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Racism in the LA Fire Department? (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 14, 2007)

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Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February 26, 2007)

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“Has the Nanny State Gone Too Far?” (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, February 28, 2007)

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“Justice Takes A Beating In Long Beach Racial Hatred Case” ( Jewish Journal, February 16, 2007)

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“Gang ‘Marshall Plan’ - Will It Work?” (KCET’s Life & Times’ Kitchen Table Conversation, February 14, 2007)

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“Living Wages or Dying Businesses?” (KCET’s Life & Times Kitchen Table Conversation, January 31, 2007)

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“Gangs of New York and LA” (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, January 26, 2007)

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KCET’s Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “The Future of the Middle Class in Los Angeles” (Life & Times, January 17, 2007)

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“Does Abe Foxman Have An Anti-Anti-Semite Problem?”, (New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2007)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Military Recruitment on Campus---Right or Wrong?” January 3, 2007

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Is There An Assault on Christmas?” December 13, 2006

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Racism Claims a Stretch" (Daily News, December 1, 2006)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “What is Racism Today?” November 29, 2006

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"Racism in Entertainment", (KCRW's "Which Way LA?", November 27,2006)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Border Fence---Boondogle or Barrier?” (life & Times, November 15, 2006)

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“LA’s Jews and Other Minorities---Oh How They Danced” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, November 11, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Racial Profiling and a National ID Card" (Life & Times, October 18, 2006)

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Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 9, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Immigration Debate Divides Conservatives" (Life & Times, October 5, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Drugs in Sports" (Life & Times, October 3, 2006)

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Award Dispute", KPCC's Airtalk, September 15,2006

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"Two Faced On Terrorism", Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2006

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Award to Islamic Leader Hathout Stirs Dispute", KCRW's Which Way LA?, September 14, 2006

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "California's High School Exit Exam?", ( Life & Times, August 23, 2006)

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"4 Los Angeles Latino Gang Members Convicted of Anti-Black Conspiracy" (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2006)

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"Muslim Council's Bias All Too Clear" (Los Angeles Daily News, August 1, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "UCLA's Minority Admissions, (Life & Times, July 19, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Celebrity Causes--Ego or Altruism?", ( Life & Times, July 13, 2006)

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Did Anti-Semitism Take Root at the South Central Farm? (Jewish Journal, June 23,2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversations regarding Immigration and Employment (Life & Times, June 21,2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of news segment on the South Los Angeles Farm controversy (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kithcen-table Conversation regarding the Mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

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Letter to the Editor regarding Race, Religion, and Demographic Change (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Hybrid Cars and Energy Conservation (Life & Times, May 23, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Teen Sex (Life & Times, May 18, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black Brown Tensions in LA (Life & Times, May 2, 2006)

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Debate education policy, not race (Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Fatherless Parenting (Life & Times, April 11, 2006)

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Border Protests Not Fight for Civil Rights (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 7, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black-Brown tensions (Life & Times, April 4, 2006)

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Civil Rights? How About Lawlessness? (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Immigration (Life & Times, March 30, 2006)

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Differing Views of Race in L.A. Collide in 'Crash' (Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006)

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Disputed Film Draws Muted Response (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 10, 2006)

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Blacks vs. Latinos at Work (Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2006)

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The Munich Concern Is Us--Not Film (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 20, 2006) with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

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NAACP Leader Turned Heads By Backing Tookie (Baltimore Sun, January 15, 2006) Joe Hicks quoted

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Munich Portrays Real World Issues (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, December 23,2005), with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

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New Farrakhan Embodies Old Message (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, October 21, 2005)

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Levees Let Loose An Ugly Flood of Black Paranoia (Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2005)

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Lessons From the Ruins (LA Weekly, August 12, 2005)

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Let's Make A Diploma Mean Something (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

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Police Beating of Minister Disputed (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

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We Only Burned Ourselves, Baby (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005)

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Knee-jerk Activists and Their Tantrum Politics (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2005)

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"Crash" Is No Picture of the Real Los Angeles (Los Angeles Daily News, June 24, 2005)

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Hit Film Paints Inaccurate Picture of Diverse LA (89.3 KPCC Perspectives, June 23, 2005)
Joe Hicks, the vice president of Community Advocates, says the hit movie Crash ...
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Jackson Trial Reaction Shows How Unimportant Race Is in US (Los Angeles Daily News, June 19, 2005)

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"Reel Life" (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 10, 2005)

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Joe Hicks talks about the election results (89.3 KPCC AirTalk, May 18, 2005)
with KPCC's Larry Mantle and reporter Adolfo Guzman Lopez, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Raphe Sonenshein, Bill Rosendahl, Rick Caruso, Antonia Hernandez, , Joel Kotkin and D.J. Waldie.
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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation “Living Wages or Dying Businesses?” January 31, 2007


Val Zavala>> It takes about ten dollars an hour to live even minimally here in southern California. That's what's considered a living wage. Recently the city of Los Angeles required a certain group of hotels to pay that living wage. Well, that sparked a major controversy and the question is, will it do more harm than good?

We brought together Carol Schatz of the Central City Association representing the hotels and James Elmendorf of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy representing workers. Joining them is David Lehrer of CommUnity Advocates. Our segment is funded by Ralph Tornberg.

David Lehrer>> James, Carol, last November the City Council passed a living wage ordinance affecting thirteen hotels near the Los Angeles Airport. Now with some headlines, the ballot measure and whether the City Council is going to rescind or not rescind the ordinance. In a nutshell, what's the ordinance all about?

James Elmendorf>> The ordinance is about raising wages of thirty-five hundred workers at thirteen hotels that are airport hotels where these hotels have higher revenue than many other sub-markets in Los Angeles including downtown, but pay twenty percent lower wages. They benefit from the city's huge investment in the Los Angeles Airport. The City Council recognized that it needs to do something to address the incredibly growing gap in poverty in our city.

David Lehrer>> Carol?

Carol Schatz>> Not so. This is about the fact that the unions have been trying to organize those thirteen hotels and they're using the City Council as a wedge and a hammer to allow them to do so. The City Council has no business --

David Lehrer>> -- because they would be exempt from the fact that they've been unionized.

Carol Schatz>> That's right. They'd be exempt from the living wage if they were union hotels. So what business does the City Council have helping labor or helping management. If management came to them and said, "We want to keep the union out and you've got to help us", inappropriate. It is a fight between two commercial interests. The unions will get about two million dollars a year in dues from these covered workers. And it's a precedent, David. That's really important here because we figure it's about three hundred fifty workers that would be covered --

David Lehrer>> -- Three hundred fifty out of all these hotels.

Carol Schatz>> Three hundred fifty people because ninety percent of the employees in these hotels with their tips are making above the living wage. But what happens to the macro economy when you do this? The precedent that is set here is extraordinary and it's enormous because the existing ordinance says that you have to either be contracting with the city or be on city-owned property. These are hotels that pay full freight. They bought their parcels or they're leasing them from a property owner and they have nothing else to do.

David Lehrer>> So there is no nexus.

Carol Schatz>> There is no nexus whatsoever. What's to stop it here?

David Lehrer>> Is there a certain reality to what Carol is saying? I mean, this looks like it's targeted on a particular business at a particular time because of whatever and other dynamics. There are only six cities in the entire country that have created living wage ordinances for businesses that don't contract or on city-owned property, so six out of God knows how many thousands --

James Elmendorf>> -- when the living wage that already exists in the city was passed ten years ago, Los Angeles was the third city to have done it. As you said earlier, there are now something like a hundred thirty or a hundred forty cities that have done it. There are six cities that have done this. Clearly it's a way of looking at a specific policy solution. Some of them are big cities. For example, Santa Fe and San Francisco both have citywide minimum wages set up that are higher than the state level.

David Lehrer>> San Francisco has it for all businesses in the city of San Francisco?

James Elmendorf>> Correct. I think, clearly, what the City Council decided and what we believe in this case is that there's a very specific situation and specific problem which is that these hotels do have a nexus, which is that billions of dollars have been invested in growing businesses over there and in the airport.

These hotels do benefit from that investment. These hotels pay dramatically lower wages than hotels around the city. They pay dramatically lower wages than the businesses that are in the airport, so that's the problem that the City Council recognized.

David Lehrer>> But what are the realities that they can pay lower wages? Is there something going on there that's different from hotels around the Van Nuys area or hotels around Burbank?

Carol Schatz>> But that's the whole point. That's where labor just sort of loses all sense of economic reality. There are pressures that, you know, hotels and businesses in geographic areas have to face. But the room rates charged at these hotels are the lowest in the county because of the competitive pressures they feel.

The point is, what is the appropriate role of city government in setting wages and benefits? The city has two primary powers: the police power which is public safety, police and fire and land use. Health and safety is not really one of them.

David Lehrer>> I would imagine there are people who get lousy wages in fifty-five other places in Los Angeles. Why this particular sub set of all the businesses? That's the kind of --

James Elmendorf>> -- there's a couple of reasons. One is this is the largest market of hotels in southern California. There are more hotels here than anywhere else. The wages are significantly lower in these hotels than in any of the other major markets. The only ones that are comparable are some of the really tiny markets that aren't significant tourist generators, so those are the important issues. Then because Los Angeles does such a significant relationship, having invested so much in the airport.

I think, if you think about it logically, the question could be asked, do these hotels have a financial relationship with the city? Well, would the hotels exist if the airport was not there? I think the answer is clearly no. There are thirteen hotels there. There are more hotels than anywhere else in Los Angeles precisely because of what Carol said, that we do have all the airport business that is generated for these hotels. They do have money coming in from airline companies, conferences are coming in for one day.

Carol Schatz>> This isn't huge, but they checked out these hotels because they want them to be union hotels, one. Number two, they are also trying to provide a legal justification for expanding the precedence beyond a direct contract with the city on property and you basically send the message to other businesses, "Well, gee, if the City Council can do that, there's no contract, they're not on city-owned property, they're just mirrors of city assets." Why do it? And what do the --

James Elmendorf>> -- if I could answer the question?

Carol Schatz>> Excuse me -- what do the retailers say? What do the fast food joints say? Are we going to essentially dismiss them and say we don't want them in Los Angeles because they don't pay a living wage? Retail doesn't pay a living wage.

James Elmendorf>> The question I think you asked me, what is the impact on business? There have been studies done on living wage and minimum wage laws all across the country and almost all of those studies show that there is not a significant impact on the number of jobs, but there is a significant impact on improving lives for workers. There are also benefits for businesses in terms of increasing the turnover that happens so that people stay in their jobs longer when they make it.

Understand that, when we're talking about the living wage, we're talking about $9.39 an hour. What that means is that somebody is making about the federal poverty level if they make a living wage. If they are making below that, as workers in these hotels are, it's below the federal poverty level, they have to get food stamps, they have to get other public welfare programs, have to have county health --

David Lehrer>> -- but isn't that what minimum wage is all about?

James Elmendorf>> And minimum wage means that you are at poverty level. It means that you must get subsidies from the federal government and the state government. It means that you don't have health care.

David Lehrer>> But shouldn't you be lobbying to increase the minimum wage? That's the minimum statement on my part. I want to thank you both for participating and coming to our Kitchen Table.

Carol Schatz>> My pleasure.

Val Zavala>> The city and the hotels are hammering out a compromise. The city has agreed to rescind the ordinance and invest in the area. The hotels have agreed to phase in a living wage over a year.

 

 
   
 
 
   

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