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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Voting Rights Act Outdated in Modern Day LA (The Daily News, August 21, 2011)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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  David A. Lehrer
Joe R. Hicks
 
Latest Headlines
 

Life & Times, June 6, 2006

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kithcen-table Conversation regarding the Mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District

Val Zavala>> Would the more than seven hundred thousand students in the LAUSD be better off if Mayor Villaraigosa were in charge? Well, the mayor thinks so and that's why he's launched an effort to take over the schools from the school board. But can the mayor do what the school board can't?

For some frank talk on that question, we brought together David Tokofsky, a member of the Los Angeles School Board which is against mayoral control, and Caprice Young, a former member of the school board and advocate of charter schools. She supports the mayor's takeover attempt. And David Lehrer, President of CommUnity Advocates, Inc. gets our conversation going.

David Lehrer>> The past few months have seen an increasing focus on the Los Angeles School District and Mayor Villaraigosa's effort to take control of the district. What are the basics of the mayor's plan?

Caprice Young>> Well, the key thing is to have schools be the centers of communities so that you can have partnerships between parks and libraries and schools so that the kids and their whole families can be served, and that way we can improve education and really focus on what the kids need.

David Lehrer>> That's a pretty good idea.

David Tokofsky>> That's a great idea. That's why Laura Chick referred to the city's Department of Parks and Recs as Parks and Wrecks as the worst Parks and Recs Department in the entire United States. My argument is let's fix the parks, let's fix the transportation, let's fix homelessness, let's fix the lack of police across the city and then integrate that with what we're doing to fix the schools.

And that should not be put all in one place because the experience on the east coast is that power corrupts and the more power that's concentrated, the more corruption that occurs. That's why people came to Los Angeles from the east coast to avoid these --

David Lehrer>> -- but aren't the schools in Los Angeles Unified -- clearly there's been progress over the past several years. But at the pace we're going, won't it take thirty five years until most of the grades come up to standards?

David Tokofsky>> No, I don't think that's true. If you follow the state system which is a goal of eight hundred and you prefer to ideally be over nine hundred, the schools are massively on the rise. There are over eighty schools that are over eight hundred. There's over fifteen over the nine hundred mark, including the mayor's own neighborhood, Mount Washington Elementary School where his --

David Lehrer>> -- your district.

David Tokofsky>> That's in my area and I was there when he was the Speaker of the Assembly. We celebrated that school. Suddenly, instead of celebrating and cheerleading, we're coming in with the old stick approach. As we know in education that you have to use that very sparingly in order to motivate people to --

David Lehrer>> -- this progress that they made, why --

Caprice Young>> -- well, the progress is just simply not fast enough. If our kids only improve two percent a year, which is what the school board that you serve on has approved as your strategic plan for how much you want to increase, it is going to be that case before our kids come up to proficiency and that's not fast enough for my kids.

What I see in Los Angeles Unified are pockets of tremendous excellence and I think that those innovators really deserve to have some real power put behind them so that they can replicate what they're doing and do more of it as opposed to just getting mired --

David Lehrer>> -- but you were crying to the school board. What should have been done that you wanted to do, couldn't be done, and why?

Caprice Young>> I wanted to radically increase the size of the magnet school program. We've got more than sixty thousand families that applied for the magnet program for fifteen thousand. It seems like a no-brainer that you should expand the program like that because parents want it and it's clearly working. Yet we could not get the bureaucracy to add more than a couple of schools and that's an example of where the bureaucracy is just in the way.

David Lehrer>> And will the bureaucracy vaporize when the mayor takes control of the school district?

Caprice Young>> No, but I think that it will actually really profoundly change because, with the power concentrated in the mayor, he'll be able to decentralize and to pull the decisions down to the school level and also to support some of these wonderful innovative programs. Right now, what happens is these great innovative program leaders get frustrated and they call me because they want to start a charter school because they can't do what they need to do for the kids.

David Tokofsky>> I've never called City Hall and found it to be a model of efficiency, whether I'm trying to get scum cleaned up in my house or get the trash taken care of or any of the other issues. If you look at the homelessness issue that Steve Lopez wrote column after column about, there doesn't seem to be any efficiency except for maybe hauling people out and moving them away.

If it comes to housing issues, people moving to Riverside as we sit here and talk, to find cheaper houses, affordable houses out there, they're not moving and naming a school and saying, "I'm going to Riverside because of that school." There are a variety of options and choices in Los Angeles. Even in the other districts within Los Angeles County, kids are much more trapped in issues of low performance than they are in this larger more cumbersome system. But on the other hand, it's a system that has a variety of --

David Lehrer>> -- well, somebody says, okay, the mayor will forget about trying to take over. How would you respond to what Caprice is saying is the urgent need to take the examples of excellence and replicate them throughout a district of seven hundred fifty thousand?

David Tokofsky>> I worked with Caprice and I loved her impatience on all issues. That was a motivating factor and, again, I would suggest to her that here is an application, don't just do the charter schools. I'd love to see Caprice apply for Superintendent because what we need is the kind of energy and passion and optimism about what can happen.

Superintendent Romer came in and he brought some peace and some progress and performance on the construction and on the academic piece. What we now need to do is accelerate. We've gotten consensus about what can be happening. Let's see, if it's a matter of deciding whether the school board and the Superintendent are doing things right, four times we've gone to the voters and said, "Would you trust us with your tax money?" Four times they have returned billions of dollars at seventy percent of the voter approval.

To me, that's a massive sense of you're doing things right. Any parent like myself, like Caprice and like yourself want to accelerate things and make them much more challenging. That's a nationwide problem and not just a Los Angeles Unified problem.

David Lehrer>> Well, if you've got a Board that's interested in doing what's right, you have a Superintendent who manifestly at his age didn't have to come here and he must care about kids and want to accomplish something. What were the obstacles to moving this massive aircraft carrier in the right direction?

Caprice Young>> Well, you know, I think part of it also is that the innovations that existed just three or four years ago don't exist anymore. I mean, this is a Board where we've got Board members calling for a moratorium on charter schools just in time when our test scores are beginning to really outperform at the secondary level and parents are creating massive waiting lists for charter schools. I don't understand the logic when a Board member calls for a moratorium against something that's clearly working and that parents clearly want. That's not forward thinking.

David Lehrer>> What are the political underpinnings of that? Are the unions against charter schools? Who opposes the charter schools?

Caprice Young>> Well, A.J. Duffy, the head of the union, has opposed charter schools. But interestingly enough, most of the charter schools in Los Angeles are not particularly anti-union. We've got a lot of charter schools that are union charter schools. In fact, the group of charter schools that David works for are all union charter schools.

David Lehrer>> Well, you know, the UTLA is the mayor's alma mater. Is he going to take on the UTLA if he takes over the school district?

David Tokofsky>> Well, I don't know. I think that not only is it his alma mater, but he served in a role as a grievance arbiter, so he would go in and in essence protect the due process of an employee who was not deemed to be performing well and often left the children and the families with people in the classroom based on due process who were not necessarily performing at the high level. Now whether or not he's had a rebirth and suddenly is saying, "I did things wrong. It's between me and my maker. I want to move things", I'd love to see that.

But there is no long line at the personnel office for people to come and teach. There is no long line for people to become TAs. The average age of a principal in the state of California is sixty-three years old. What we need to do is take that golden nugget that each person came into to work with kids and motivate it and uncloud it and push it and push it constantly. That's what Caprice did. Too often, though, we demonize things and put it as this is good and this is bad. We end up reinventing the wheel and frustrating the public even more.

David Lehrer>> Well, we've run out of time. Thank you very much, Caprice. Thank you, David.

 

 
   
 
 
   

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