DREAM Act could generate $1.6 trillion

Listen to the audio story:


The DREAM Act applies only to those who came to the United States under the age of 16 and plan to pursue at least two years of higher education or military service.

Dr. Raul Hinojosa, a University of California, Los Angeles professor and director of the North American Integration and Development Center, found that the estimated 825,000 legalized youths would generate between $1.4 trillion and $1.6 triillion in income over a work life of 40 years.

Dr. Raul Hinojosa: We took a conservative estimate of what they would likely achieve in terms of education and then after that, what type of jobs could they be getting and what that would contribute to the economy over the next 40 years. On that basis, we calculated income taxes, sales taxes, all types of financial benefits, without taking into account the fact that many of them are also probably going to end up buying houses, businesses and creating more jobs for the rest of society. This is simply a very conservative version of what their income will be over the next 40 years.

Madeleine Scinto: I was reading some arguments by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington DC, that basically says the DREAM Act is actually going to give broader amnesty than the 2 million that are estimated as a possibility because it’s going to be used as a back-door avenue by some students who get legal status and try to bring more people.

Dr. Hinojosa: I don’t believe that this is going to be a big back door. On the contrary, what we have seen from these legalization programs in the past, is that they end up having a lot less people actually apply, that could apply. The key thing we need to understand is that these are people who have already gone through the educational system. They want to contribute to society. Many of them are already in colleges, paying their own tuition, working very hard to be able to make something of their lives. It’s logical, a no brainer, that we would want as many people as possible to be able to pay in to the social security and the tax system and pay back, and if we keep them in the shadows right now, they will graduate, and they will not be able to work. That entire contribution will not be able to benefit the whole society and the fiscal benefit of our budget deficits at the moment.

Tom LaBonge says he wants to save the city’s arts programs

Listen to the audio story:


The chair of the committee, Councilman Tom LaBonge, said the committee will save the city and programs about $2 million.

Madeleine Scinto: $2 million?

Tom LaBonge: But compared to no dollars, meaning the dollars are being erased because of the difficult times that we’re in. And so we need to reach to partners in order to keep these places open.

Scinto: Is there any fear that if you contracted out or leased out these programs that these partnerships won’t be able to execute these programs as well as the city has been doing?

LaBonge: Well, I think they can do… they’re seen around the country, these relationships that have grown and even in other cities and other countries as well, where there’s this relationship that enhances it, blossoms it. It makes things more creative, so I’m not afraid of this opportunity.

Scinto: Would this be the first public-private partnership in Los Angeles, if this went through?

LaBonge: In the early 90s, the cultural affairs partnered out with community groups to do the public-private partnership. But there were public-private partnerships from a long, long time ago. The Grand Theatre in San Pedro is a public-private partnership for many years.

Scinto: What kind of organizations would you foresee coming in to participate in this?

LaBonge: People who have a love of arts, a love of people and a skill to raise revenue.

Scinto: But you don’t have any specific organizations in mind?

LaBonge: No, I don’t know. That’s up to those who choose to bid on it. I hope people step up who have a value and a love for the city’s opportunity to continue art-community programs.

Department of Water and Power may face mandatory audits

Listen to the audio story:


The measure comes after two employees were accused of funneling $3 million of Department of Water and Power money through fake companies. This also comes another employee was caught going to a strip club while on the job. The department has been accused of trying to hike electricity rates unnecessarily.

But the department argues that Councilman Eric Garcetti, who proposed the measure, put the proposal together hastily without much thought or outside consideration. Yusef Robb, who is Garcetti’s spokesperson, defended the measure and the need for auditing of the Department of Water and Power.

Proposition 27 advocates say re-districting should be in hands of state legislature


Listen to the audio story:


It is why Daniel Lowenstein, University of California, Los Angeles law professor and former chairman of California for Fair Political Practices Commission, supports Proposition 27. If passed, the proposition would disband the independent commission that is currently scheduled to draw up state senate and assembly boundaries. Proposition 27 would also prevent the independent commission from drawing the United States congressional district lines.

Californians passed Proposition 11 in 2008, which originally established this commission to draw state lines. Proposition 20, on next Tuesday’s ballot, would extend the jurisdiction of the commission to include doing congressional lines.

Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 directly oppose each other.

Preview of the gubernatorial debate with debate expert


Listen to the audio here:

Dr. Gordon Stables is also a communications professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He said the first gubernatorial debate between State Attorney General Jerry Brown and former E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman might be the kind of vote where people choose the candidate they dislike least.

Photo courtesy of University of Southern California’s website