Something new during PBS NewsHour Weekend: KLRU News Briefs

KLRU News Briefs

We’re rolling out something new this Saturday and Sunday during PBS NewsHour Weekend: local news from KLRU. KLRU News Briefs are short local news stories focused on the rich culture and community in Austin and Central Texas. The weekly pieces will air Saturday and Sunday near the end of the regular broadcast.

This Saturday (3/22), we look at why people who receive food assistance in Texas were not affected by the recent Farm Bill. We spoke to Kathy Green, Senior Director for Advocacy and Public Policy at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas about beneficiaries in Central Texas, and why only 56% of people in Travis County who could sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or what’s commonly called “food stamps,” are actually enrolled.

“People who are senior citizens, a lot of times they don’t realize their eligible for SNAP and that that’s an additional benefit that they can have. Also we have a lot of veterans, we have a lot of people who can enroll on behalf of their children,” Green told us.

On Sunday (3/23), our story focuses on Austin’s affordable housing bond, which was approved by voters in November. The bond was similar to one that passed in 2006. We spoke to Mandy DeMayo, Executive Director of the non-profit HousingWorks Austin about the 2013 bond and what advocates and officials hope will happen with the money.

“What we found with the 2006 housing bond and something that we really struggle with as a community is incorporating affordability throughout the city. It shouldn’t just be in one area. We don’t want to concentrate poverty, we don’t want to concentrate low income families, we want to provide them with opportunity. So, about half of the bond funds [in 2006] were invested west of I35, which I think is a success story. We can do better with 2013 and we’re planning on doing that,” DeMayo said.

We also spoke to Charles Cloutman of Meals on Wheels and More Home Repair Program. Cloutman chairs the Austin Housing Repair Coalition, a group of 12 organizations working together on home repair for low-income homeowners. Part of the bond funding goes toward repairs to existing homes and Meals on Wheels and More does some of that work in Austin and Travis County.

Austin City Government 101 forums 2/8 and 2/22

WhyBotherKLRUBlog

Join KLRU and our community partners for Why Bother? Austin City Government 101 forums.
DATE: Saturdays, Feb. 8 and Feb. 22
TIME: 10 am (doors will open at 9:30 am)
LOCATION: KLRU’s Studio 6A (map)

Austin’s form of government just got a big overhaul, and it can be confusing knowing who does what inside City Hall. KLRU is teaming up with The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, The League of Women Voters of Austin Area and KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR Station, to host two forums to answer your questions and to teach you how to make your voice heard at City Hall.

Why Bother? Austin City Government 101 is a general overview and education on the functions of Austin’s city government in order to increase civic engagement, with an emphasis on the challenges and opportunities the new 10-1 form of governance will bring.

The forums will take place both Saturdays, February 8 & 22 in KLRU’s historic Studio 6A on the University of Texas-Austin campus at the corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton. The two hour forums start at 10am. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m.

Joining us for the discussion on February 8 will be a number of city officials, including City Attorney Karen Kennard, City Auditor Ken Mory, Deputy CFO Ed Van Eenoo,  former General Manager of Austin Energy Roger Duncan, former Assistant City Manager Terrell Blodgett and Assistant Director of Planning and Development Garner Stoll.

On February 22, Nelson Linder, President of Austin’s NAACP chapter, Gonzalo Barrientos, Chair of the Charter Revision Committee, Susan Morrison, League of Women Voters, as well as a number of city board and commission members. Reporters from KUT 90.5 will moderate the discussions. Audience members will be able to participate in a Q&A portion with panelists on both days.

Why Bother? Austin City Government 101 is part of our Why Bother? initiative, an effort with the Annette Strauss Institute and KUT 90.5. It is aimed at increasing civic engagement in Austin through voter education. Watch the other programs in the Why Bother? series on klru.org

This week on Overheard: Novelist Jonathan Lethem

On this episode of Overheard, Jonathan Lethem discusses his writing process. Lethem is an award winning, best-selling novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His most recent novel, released in September, is Dissident Gardens.

Jonathan Lethem explains how he drew from his real life in order to create the setting and characters for his most recent novel. He explains how his grandmother and mother inspired the way his characters act and think. His characters in Dissident Gardens, he explains,”are passionate believers that they are on some kind of committed course the change the world.”

He also discuss modern publishing, how technology is changing publishing and the new idea of marketing yourself. Plus, he tells Evan what’s next in his career.

Tune in November 21 at 7 p.m. to see Jonathan Lethem on Overheard with Evan Smith. Watch the video above for an excerpt from our interview.

Community Cinema: The State of Arizona 12/3

KLRU and the Austin Public Library present Community Cinema. The free public screenings take place at the Windsor Park Branch Library (5833 Westminster Dr.) from 7 pm to 9 pm.

On December 3rd, watch a preview and discuss The State of Arizona. The divisive battle over illegal immigration in Arizona that came to a head with Senate Bill 1070 frames this tense documentary that tracks multiple perspectives – activists, politicians, Latino immigrants, controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ranchers, and others – as America eyes the results.

After the documentary screening, we’ll have a community discussion of the issues in the film with guest Matt Simpson, Policy Strategist with ACLU of Texas. Simpson has served as a policy strategist at the ACLU of Texas since 2008. He advocates for civil rights and civil liberties at the state legislature and assists with local campaigns related to criminal justice reform, such as prison and jail policy, law enforcement information sharing, and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Matt holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon and a B.A. in political science from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Community Cinema is a groundbreaking public education and civic engagement initiative featuring screenings of films from Independent Lens on location in 100 cities and online. Between September and June, Community Cinema brings together leading organizations, community members and public television stations to learn, discuss and get involved in today’s critical social issues.

Special thanks to

Austin American-Statesman

This week on Overheard: Author & Commentator Jonathan Alter

In this episode of Overheard with Evan Smith Jonathan Alter discusses his new book The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. Alter previously worked for Newsweek for close to three decades. He’s written three New York Times best sellers on American presidents.

Alter tells Evan how he must get inside of the minds of leaders in order to write. He also touches on the Obama “haters” who took part in the so-called Birther Movement as well as the haters of former presidents. Alter explains how Obama is often criticized for not accomplishing what he said he would.

But, not all of his comments about the president are negative. He also explains the legacy Obama will leave behind with healthcare. He says while many people are unhappy with it now in 2016 it will be something celebrated by future candidates. Alter explains, although people were scared of what the healthcare reform would do that “America is not Texas and is not going to be Texas anytime soon,” citing the state’s decision not to implement parts of the law.

Alter gives insight to the government shutdown. He explains the “effort by the Tea party, essentially, to put a gun to the head of the government and of the global economy” which he notes was “utterly defeated.” He explains that the party failed and Ted Cruz himself had to acknowledge he was “defeated.”

Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. to see Jonathan Atler on Overheard with Evan Smith. You can see a preview in the video above.

Overheard with Evan Smith: Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist. He writes for The Washington Post and appears as a panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press. His 2008 coverage of the election of the first African American president earned him the Pulitzer.

In this episode, Robinson give us his take on the “broken government” and how the United States should focus on moving forward with the economy. Robinson also explains how the Tea Party has influenced the government.

The subject of race comes up as Robinson address Obama and how the race factor affects the people’s view of him. He explains that race plays an important part of how the Obama administration and it’s decisions are viewed. He also contrasts how different racial issues are currently compared to when he was growing up.

Robinson gives insight to government issues and compares them to the issues of past administrations, including the Clinton era. He explains how President Obama can look back on what mistakes he has made and how the president has transformed while in office.

Evan and Robinson also discuss his career at The Washington Post and his reaction to Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the paper. He shares his hopes for how technology can transform newsrooms.

Don’t miss this informative and timely episode of Overheard airing November 7th at 7:00 p.m. on KLRU.

Civic Summit: Healthcare Reform and You

Open enrollment in the nation’s new health insurance Marketplace started two weeks ago, and many are still confused by what is offered, who is covered and how they can sign up. Civic Summit: Healthcare Reform & You is aimed at clearing up some of that confusion. Watch Thursday night at 9pm on KLRU for an in depth discussion about the law with our panel of experts. Panelists will answer viewer questions and explain some of the misconceptions about how the law is being implemented in Texas.

Our discussion is moderated by Dr. James Rohack, Chief Health Policy Officer at Baylor Scott & White Health. Our panel is comprised of Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Tom Banning, Executive Director of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, which is the state’s largest medical specialty organization, with close to 6-thousand member doctors, and Mimi Garcia, Texas State director for Enroll America, a non-partisan, non-profit group which has been working to educate and enroll uninsured Americans.

Civic Summit: Healthcare Reform & You airs Thursday, October 17 at 9pm on KLRU. 

KLRU responds to Citizen Koch documentary controversy

Many of you know about the controversy surrounding the “Citizen Koch” documentary. (If not, please read the included links to news articles on the subject.) We have read the emails, petitions and comments from our community with interest and appreciate the opportunity to clarify a few matters regarding “Citizen Koch.”

The public television system includes a wide array of organizations, from producers and local stations to distributors like PBS.  Each entity is independently owned and operated.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS), which funds, presents and promotes documentaries and dramas for public television and cable networks, was the organization that was in discussion with the makers of the film “Citizen Koch.” ITVS did not submit the film to PBS, or any public television station, for consideration.

To the best of our knowledge, the filmmakers have not yet made “Citizen Koch” available for broadcast. Right now, it seems that the filmmakers are presenting the film at festivals and screenings.   If the film does become available to PBS stations, we will review it and consider airing it just as we would any similar submission.

If you would like more information on this subject, the PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler, has written a column on this which you might find informative.

You might also be interested in a film presented earlier by PBS through ITVS and  INDEPENDENT LENS series entitled “Park Avenue.” This examination of the widening gap between America’s wealthy and rest of the nation by Alex Gibney (Academy Award-winning filmmaker of Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) was aired by public television stations across the nation, including KLRU,  and can be seen via free streaming on klru.tv

We appreciate your feelings on this matter, and we share your concern for open and honest information.  KLRU appreciates and seeks out input from our community.  We will watch for a program offer that will allow us to consider “Citizen Koch.”

 

Recent articles about the film and PBS:

The New Yorker, May 27, 2013
A Word From Our Sponsor – Public television’s attempts to placate David Koch
By Jane Mayer

Beyondthebox.org, May 28, 2013
ITVS Responds to The New Yorker article on Park Avenue and Citizen Koch

The PBS Ombudsmen, May 25, 2013
David Koch and PBS: The Odd Couple
By Michael Getler

Current.org, May 20, 2013
Was resignation of billionaire Koch from WNET Board related to controversial doc?
By Dru Sefton

Indiewire.com, May 23, 2013
Why ITVS should be held accountable and “Citizen Koch” should be called “Citizen Corp”
By Anthony Kaufman

 

Overheard with Evan Smith: Joyce Banda

This week on Overheard, Evan Smith sits down with President Joyce Banda of Malawi. Joyce Banda is the fourth President of Malawi and the first woman to hold the office. She previously served as Vice President as well as the Minter of Foreign Affairs.

In this episode, Banda gives insight to what her childhood was like, from growing up in a tribe to attending school when others could not. Full of passion, Banda explains the experience that lead her to fight for women’s rights and how it shaped her mission to keep children in school.

President Banda explains in detail how she is transforming the country’s traditional tribal views of her childhood. She also explores her ideas to tackle Malawi’s population growth and the country’s issues with HIV/AIDS.

In a very candid portion of the interview, Evan and the Malawi president discuss the relationship between the United States and Malawi. Banda explains her country’s views on Western aid to Africa as well ways to improve relations between the U.S. and Malawi.

Make sure to catch this unique episode of Overheard with Evan Smith tonight (10/3) at 7:00 pm on KLRU. The show also airs Sunday (10/6) at 12:30 pm.