March 16th, 2009
08:37 PM ET

Evening buzz: On the Road to Rescue from Los Angeles to NY

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

All this week, 360 will be traveling across the country, On the Road to Rescue. For the next five days, in five different cities, Anderson will report on how Americans hit by the economic crisis are finding ways to pull through. He’ll talk to people on the ground about their hopes, challenges and strategies.

The idea is to connect the big picture issues of the economic crisis to the snapshots on the ground - minus the partisan noise you’ll find elsewhere. We believe knowledge is power; the more information you have the more control you’ll have over your families’ futures.

Tonight, Anderson is in Los Angeles, where unemployment has surged four percent since October – to 12 percent. Anderson talked with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who wants the federal government to give nearly $7 billion in stimulus money directly to his city, bypassing the state government. Why? He fears state officials will use the money for deficit reduction rather than job creation. At the very least, he says, it will take longer for the money to reach his city if it has to wind its way through state channels.

Mayor Villaraigosa would use some of the $7 billion to buy “green trucks” built by a local company. Anderson will show us these electric trucks plus the port where some of them would be used. He’ll also examine Villaraigosa’s contention that giving stimulus money directly to cities will help speed recovery.

Anderson also goes to the frontlines of the battle against gangs. He’ll introduce us to Gregory Thomas, the co-founder of a local gang-prevention group in Watts, who hopes to use stimulus money to create jobs and job-training programs while hiring dozens of gang outreach workers. An estimated 400 gangs operate in and around L.A., and last year nearly half of all homicides in the city were gang-related.

A reverend who heads up the city’s task force on gang prevention told Anderson he’s convinced that even a small amount of stimulus money would have a big impact in Watts. As he puts it: ”I mean surely if we can still pay out bonuses to bankers on wall street, it seems to me we can use some of these dollars to invest in poor community’s that have been overlooked and over-passed for decades.”

Can the fight against gangs create jobs and helped fuel the recovery? We’ll dig deeper.

We’ll also spend some time tonight on the huge new wave of outrage that AIG has unleashed with its latest bonus payouts – to employees in the very division that nearly sunk the giant company. President Obama has told Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to use all legal means to stop the payments or get the money back. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is also taking action. But what can they actually do? Is there a way to get the billions of taxpayer dollars back?

We’ll also take a closer look at the Obama administrations plans to help small businesses. Plus, we’ve pulled together a panel of experts who say that recessions can actually be good for entrepreneurs. Remember the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? More on that tonight.

After L.A. we head to New Orleans, Detroit, New York and Miami. Should be a fascinating week.

See you tonight at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. dave

    You either have an ocean, great lake or a major river for the cities you are visiting. I am sure there are major rail systems to those cities. Why can't leaders develop manufacture plants to make alternative energy parts and systems (solar, battery and wind) along the rail systems to create jobs? Then rail those parts and systems to these port cities. Then ship those energy parts and systems to international customers. Detroit's customers could be the middle east. LA customers could be the far east. New Orleans customers could be South America. Shipping and rail jobs would be created in these cities to transport energy parts and systems internationally.

    March 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    A mirad of economic troubles are facing this nation--will we be able to resolve?---time will tell.

    March 17, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  3. Kim Beebee

    O.K. explain this to me like I'm a fourth-grader...I am a master teacher and in order to receive a living wage in my state (Nebraska) where we are 44th on the pay scale for teachers, I need to prove my worth in order to be awarded "merit pay" which means I need to do my job to the absolute best of my ability and shine above others. I am fine with that. That I can do. BUT WHY should those who don't do there jobs reap the reward of millions of dollars for doing a bad job that has harmed others? I just don't get it!
    Kim Beebee

    March 17, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  4. maille

    I was listening to national public radio news and they stated that congress continues to bail out AIG because it secures their pensions! This is why they're not ending this bailout and bonus outrage!

    March 17, 2009 at 7:42 am |
  5. vallerie

    The banks are revoking line of credits and making it worst for the average individual yet they are paying out bonuses revoke there line of credit !

    March 17, 2009 at 5:11 am |
  6. Karen Frymoyer

    These people are common criminals in my opinion! I was talked into buying an annuity with this company...Now I worry that it won't be there when I need it!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:59 am |
  7. Gene

    In this financial crisis with interest rates at historic lows, why is no one looking into the rates charged by credit card companies? The rate you can make on your money at a bank is between 1-3% and credit card interest rates are 18-30%. An Outrage!!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  8. Fay

    We are 59 and 61, retired for 4 years and just drew out the last of our retirement. We can't find jobs, We have always paid our bills and our taxes but now we won't be able to pay our house payment, our medicine, or our bills. We have never been on any kind of assistance. Now that we need it, where is our bail out. Where can we go for help. We have no where left to turn.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:41 am |
  9. Jamie Weyer

    im not sure who exactly will be reading this so be ready.i dont type much an talk on these things less.I'm not a great mind with the almighty solution im a worker,from paycheck to paycheck.Good but hardly well off.Ive had this idea for awhile and not sure how to channel it.I think one place to start looking for some economic stimulis should come from our own military.We are a war time nation.Proven through history to make great economic advances during times of war.O.K. That being said lets stay out of as many wars as possible but lets declare a new war on joblessness in this country.We can utilize our military to build new plants, industry's ready to take on tommorow and the world.By doing this we start providing needs around these sites to stimulate infrastructure growth.Tap into what they can give us for new power sources-energy supplies ways to get off the gas habit is this making sense to any one but me???Stop trying to save the dinosaurs build a better being

    March 17, 2009 at 2:39 am |
  10. Kate--Michigan

    Where will you be doing the show from when you're in Detroit on Wednesday?

    March 17, 2009 at 2:37 am |
1 2