tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS June 26, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> pelley: tonight, fresh signs of an economic recovery. good news on the housing market throughout most of the country. jim axelrod has that story. david martin on a growing investigation of air force basic training. did drill instructors force sex on women recruits? tropical storm debby makes landfall this evening. parts of florida are under water and the ground is swallowing homes. michelle miller is on the scene. >> michelle, the water was up to our necks. >> pelley: and the tragedy of the japanese tsunami comes to america's west coast. bill whitaker reports on the endless waves of debris. >> it's my backyard and i don't like it. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. in this lousy economic recovery
we've been looking for signs of a rebound and we got one today. a new report shows home prices rose march to april in 19 of the 20 largest cities. only detroit fell. nationally prices were up 1.3%. the research is from standard and poore's case-shiller index. the housing has been the biggest drag on the economy but consider what's been happening lately. house sales are up, mortgage rates are the lowest they've ever been and builders are starting to build again. are we rising at last from the worst real estate collapse since the great depression? we asked jim axelrod to look for the signs. >> this is a two bedroom two and a half bath. >> reporter: luis silva, who's been renting a home in miami for the last three years, is now looking to buy. >> $500,000 and up-- that's what we're looking for at the moment. >> reporter: silva is shopping in a market where prices are
climbing .4% from march to april this year in miami. 3.2% year to year, reflecting a growing demand. yale professor robert schiller tracks housing prices across the country. >> when people are out there looking for houses and thinking about buying houses it's still at a relatively low level but it's increasing. >> reporter: in shiller's 20- city composite, san francisco was up 3.4% from march to april. washington, d.c. 2.8%. phoenix 2.5%. atlanta and cleveland 2.3%. what should people look for to figure out whether this is a sort of a temporary spike or something more substantial and permanent. >> i think if home prices continue increasing at anything like this pace for the next 12 months i will become optimistic. >> reporter: the latest move up in prices comes after seven
consecutive down months. help is now coming from foreign buyers looking for safer places to put their money than their shaky economies at home. they spent $82.5 billion buying u.s. residential homes in the last year. nearly 9% of the total and 24% more than the year before. >> it's really amazing. >> reporter: silva hopes to add to the total. he's brazilian and he's hoping to find that beach front condo in miami that's out of reach back home in rio. >> you won't be able to find anything similar. no, that's at least two or three times more. >> reporter: the miami market is fueled by foreigners. 60% of buyers are from other countries. but that's seen to be a general force upward on housing prices. add in mortgage rates now lower than during the great depression, scott, and there is some optimism among housing
experts. >> pelley: jim, thank you. another thing that is helping the economy right now and that's the price of gas. the national average is now $3.40 a gallon. that's down 52 cents from april 1 when the prices peaked. the difference means that america is saving $200 million a day. unfortunately, all of this is coming a little too late for a lot of our cities that are struggling with bills they can not pay. and a little later in this broadcast, ben tracy will take us to one city that is considering tonight whether to file for bankruptcy. today we learned that the air force has appointed a major general to head up an investigation into the sexual misconduct at four of its bases. pentagon correspondent david martin has been following this. >> reporter: it is perhaps the ultimate abuse of power. drill sergeants taking advantage of their authority over raw recruits to have sex with young women, some of them still in their teens.
it allegedly has been happening for at least the past two years at lackland air force base in texas where recruits undergo basic training. sergeant luis walker is facing court-martial on charges of raping or sexually assaulting ten trainees between october, 2010, and january, 2011. walker, who has pled not guilty, is one of four drill sergeants accused of sexual misconduct with recruits. sergeant peter vega-maldanado pleaded guilty to having sex with one recruit and subsequently admitted to improper relationships with nine more. he is now cooperating in the prosecution of sergeant kwinton estacio and craig leblanc, also accused of sexual misconduct with female recruits, one of whom was 18 years old. eight other drill sergeants are under investigation. there are nearly two dozen alleged victims, one of whom testified "they're drill sergeants and you don't say no to them."
another one said "he was like a father." congresswoman jackie speier is calling for a congressional investigation. >> we're looking at serial sexual predators that have been allowed to operate at lackland for a long period of time. >> reporter: the air force has begun an investigation going back over the past six years as lackland and three other training bases. >> i want to know why it is that this kind of conduct can go on in a military environment where discipline, respect, taking care of each other are supposed to be hallmarks of the institution. >> reporter: this could well be the worst sexual misconduct scandal to hit the military since a similar case involving the army 15 years ago. >> pelley: david, it makes you wonder whether the military keeps up and keeps track of sexual assault reports in its ranks. >> reporter: well, there were 3,200 reported cases of sexual assault last year, but sexual assault is such a notoriously
underreported crime that pentagon officials estimate the real number is 19,000. >> pelley: david, thank you very much. tropical storm debby made landfall this evening in florida. some places could get more than two feet of rain. as debby moves slowly across the state, michelle miller is in hernando county, florida tonight. michelle? >> reporter: the bulk of the rain here is gone, but take a look behind me. that flooding extends another two miles across these fields and down that road. >> this fence was almost completely covered at one point. >> reporter: sandra bolczak and her family rushed to save 15 horses from rising water in brooksfield, florida. >> hooked the ropes up to them and the poor ponies their noses were just above the water. >> reporter: what's the plan? >> we really don't know what we're going to do as of today. >> reporter: debby has dumped 15 inches of rain here. the florida highway patrol here
closed a 50-mile stretch of i-10 between tallahassee and jacksonville because of the flooding. across north central florida people have been forced from their homes. the relentless rain has also opened dozens of sinkholes-- some big enough to swallow homes. 30 appeared in hernando county alone. >> you can see the crack lines right there so you know there's no ground under that. you have cracks over here... >> reporter: so we're not standing in a safe place right now? >> we're probably not in a safe location. >> reporter: forecasters say some parts of florida may see nearly two feet of rain before the storm finishes its march from the gulf of mexico to the atlantic. and, scott, if the flooding weren't miserable enough, there have been reports throughout the states of alligators in the streets, snakes in homes, and one woman told me that her front yard looked like a virtual aquarium. >> pelley: michelle, thank you very much. there's no break in the weather for firefighters in colorado. at least six large wildfires are burning.
the temperature hit 98 degrees near colorado springs where a fire has scorched eight square miles. another wildfire near fort collins has burned 257 homes. late this evening there was an announcement out of washington that will revolutionize college football. a committee of college presidents has approved a national championship series beginning with the 2014 season, the b.c.s. is dead. armen keteyian is joining us now. armen, this is a big deal. >> this is huge. as you know, college football is the only major sport not to decide its national championship on the field, a tradition that held for more than a hundred years. now we have a game-changing decision. the centerpiece: a three-game playoff culminating in a national title game on january 12, the 2015. under the new system, two semi final games would be played on new year's eve and new year's
day and rotate among the top six bowl sites such as the rose, sugar, orange, and fiesta and two to be determined. the winners would then play for the national championship at a site hosted by the highest bidder. one site already in play: cowboy stadium. the 100,000 seat home of jerry jones' dallas cowboys. >> pelley: so, armen, what's driving this right now? >> one word: money. it was driving the massive realignment in college football this year and the estimates are for just the television deal alone on this could be $350 or $400 million each and every year. >> pelley: one of the criticisms of this has always been it would extend the season, there would be more injuries for these student athletes, less time for them to study. >> you sound like the college presidents about five years ago and i think what has happened, scott, is the money has gotten so big that it is just overwhelmed the other criticism which is that the b.c.s. was this old boy's network. the timing is right and more than ever the money is right. >> pelley: armen, thanks very
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>> pelley: the turnaround in the housing market we just told you about may be too late for cities struggling to cope with tax revenues. there's no better place to look at this than stockton, california, where the city council tonight will discuss filing for bankruptcy. it's a city of about 300,000 and could be the largest city ever to file for bankruptcy. we asked ben tracy to show us what's troubling so many cities today. >> i offered it to the people next door. >> reporter: bradley koster is selling off what's left of his bar in downtown stockton. he just went out of business. what's it like to let this go? >> oh, it hurts. i had loyal people that worked for me for years and that hurt. >> reporter: it wasn't long ago that business was booming in stockton. housing values nearly quadrupled and tax revenues poured in. the city spent $190 million to redo its marina, buy a new city
hall, put up parking garages and an entertainment complex. >> on friday and saturday nights, hockey, every table, every seat was taken. >> reporter: but the stockton bubble was burst by the great recession. stockton has nearly 20% unemployment and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. the city tried to balance its books by cutting its police force 25%. the fire department 30%. other city workers 43%. wells fargo just took control of those parking lots and the future city hall. >> it's at crisis stage. >> reporter: bob dice, stockton's city manager, is trying to figure out how to pay pensions and benefits for city workers, benefits that include free health care for life and will cost stockton $400 million it does not have. people in the general public hear that and they say "that just sounds crazy." is it crazy at this point? >> given the economics today and what we expect in the next 20
years, i would say it borders on crazy. >> reporter: talks with the unions have broken down. the city is $26 million in the red and needs a balanced budget by friday. bankruptcy would allow stockton to change its benefit agreements with workers. that worries jerry ridge, a retired worker from the police department. >> i'm asking is to get back what i deserve. i worked hard, so did all the other retirees. they worked hard for this city. >> reporter: bradley koster doesn't know what's next for him or the 290,000 other people who live in this city on the brink. >> gotham city went out to batman. >> reporter: the city could file for bankruptcy as soon as tomorrow. ben tracy, cbs news, stockton. >> pelley: the f.b.i. said today two dozen computer hackers from all over the world has been arrested in a major sting operation. the suspects-- two of whom are minors-- are accused of stealing credit card and bank information
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funding, which is a problem that many public universities are facing today. wyatt andrews has our story. >> reporter: accepting the job she abruptly lost two weeks ago, u.v.a.'s president theresa sullivan was gracious, the celebration was joyous. ♪ let's all join hands... >> reporter: but the pressure she still faces to change the university is real and, as she acknowledged, it applies across the country. >> we have problems at u.v.a. all of higher education does. we are not in crisis, but change appropriate to our mission is necessary. >> reporter: that necessary change is being debated at almost every public college in america. how do universities teach more students with less state support and without raising tuition? how can they demand in-person attendance when online classes can be just as good? clashes between presidents and their governing boards have led
to tensions in texas and the firings of presidents in illinois and oregon. donna shalala at the university of miami who use to run the giant federal department of health and human services says being a college president is the much tougher job. >> on the one hand, you want us to keep costs down. on the other hand you want us to recruit world-class faculty and raise our rankings. on one hand you want a diverse student body, and on the other hand you have to understand that we have to in fact invest in a diverse student body. >> reporter: sullivan's firing also exposed a culture clash. college governing boards like u.v.a.'s board of visitors tend to be full of fast-acting business leaders. but change at most colleges needs the support of faculty. molly corbett is the president of the american council of education. >> in this instance there was no consultation with the faculty and not any evidence that, indeed, there was consultation
with the president. >> reporter: the board that ousted sullivan expressed regret for firing her in secret but not for the list of policy changes it wants her to quickly undertake. sullivan was all smiles, but she still works for a board that wanted her gone two weeks ago. wyatt andrews, cbs news, washington. >> pelley: we were struck by a remarkable sight. in britain today a wounded british paratrooper did what many thought impossible: he walked on prosthetic limbs carrying the olympic torch through his hometown. 27-year-old ben parkinson is considered the most seriously wounded soldier to survive the war in afghanistan. he lost both legs and suffered severe brain and spine injuries in a 2006 bomb attack. parkinson called the 328-yard journey "nothing. just another walk." the cleanup is just only beginning. but what's being done about all
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has been more than a year since the tsunami catastrophe in japan. the sad aftermath of that is coming ashore now along our west coast and bill whitaker has been combing the beach in oregon. >> reporter: mark meade lives on the coast of oregon. he loves the beach, he hates what's happening to it. all this white stuff, these aren't shells? >> that's styrofoam from japan. >> reporter: it has drifted 5,000 miles from the devastating tsunami in japan 15 months ago. everyday more debris piles up on the beach. meade picks up what he can but he's overwhelmed. >> you've got tons of bottles of whatever. >> reporter: this is just a portion of the litter he picked up last week. >> it's my backyard and i don't like it. >> reporter: based on ocean currents and computer models, scientists predicted the 1.5 million tons of tsunami debris floating across the pacific would hit oregon and washington at the end of this year.
when this 66-foot japanese dock washed ashore in oregon this month it was clear those predictions were wrong. and this is just the first wave. debris is expected to keep coming for two, even three years. >> we're obviously very concerned about it. but we're not sure what to expect and when to expect it. >> reporter: rich mays, manager of cannon beach, oregon, says it's costing this tiny resort town up to $2,000 a month already. have you budgeted for that? >> oh, no. no. >> reporter: in washington state where this japanese fishing boat washed ashore at cape disappointment, governor christine gregoire says $100,000 set aside for tsunami cleanup clearly isn't enough. >> we don't have the resources at the state level to do what we're going to have to have done here. we don't. >> reporter: for now, washington and oregon are relying on volunteers like russ lewis and ellen anderson. >> a water bottle.
>> reporter: they call this "america's coastline" and, like many people in the northwest, they say they need federal help now. >> something needs to be done to clean it up as it comes in. and there is nothing in place. >> reporter: there is no plan. >> there is no plan. >> reporter: if all the tsunami debris came ashore at once it would probably be declared a national disaster. this is a crisis growing one piece of styrofoam one plastic bottle at a time. bill whitaker, cbs news, sunset beach, oregon. >> >> good evening i am alan martin >> i am elizabeth cup. gone for broke trying to balance its books but the city of
stockton could be turning the page to chapter 9. the city of 300,000 is $26 million in debt and despite deep cuts to its work force is still bleeding red ink and now on the brink of a bankruptcy filing that could make it the biggest united states city ever to do that. christin ayers in stockton where the city council is meeting at this moment. >> that meeting currently underway faced with a $26 million budget deficit. city officials are saying that there's no way to pay for it and at the meeting they will announce that the city will file for bankruptcy. at the city council meeting officials are expected to approve a plan that would make stockton one of the largest municipalities in the country to officially file for bankruptcy. the city borrowed millions of dollars for big budget projects in the early 2000's like a sports arena and fancy waterfront hotel but the city has gone broke with 25 percent of p