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Pact would end battle over firing problem teachers

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After three years of bitter disputes, a deal appears to have been reached in the state legislature that would make it easier for school districts in California to fire teachers accused of abusing students. Democratic Assembly member Joan Buchanan hammered out the agreement with the California Teachers Association and an education reform group called “EdVoice.” Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill by Buchanan …

economy, Education, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Bus crash survivors speaking to investigators today

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Investigators looking into that deadly Northern California bus crash involving L.A. high school students have received conflicting reports about whether the Fed-Ex truck that hit the bus was on fire before impact. But they say there’s no physical evidence that there was anything wrong with the truck. National Transportation Safety Board investigators will be in Los Angeles today to interview some of the 44 …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Food, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

LAPD officers pulled the plug on patrol car recorders

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LAPD officers tampered with recording devices inside of patrol cars to avoid being monitored while on duty. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck learned of the tampering last summer – but the problem did not come to the attention of the L.A. Police Commission until months later. The L.A. Times says Beck chose not to investigate who was responsible but instead issued warnings against further attempts …

Commentary, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Donuts for votes, and other ways to get people to go to the polls

Donut shop via Flickr by navets/ CreativeCommons

Until a change in the city charter 20 years ago, voters in some parts of Los Angeles were able to take stubs from their ballot, present them to local independent donut shops and receive a free dozen donuts, paid for by local Democrats.
Is it time to bring back donuts for votes? Certainly, the city is full of ideas in the wake of this year’s …

California Elections, Featured, Issues, News, Politics, Sports »

Palmdale ordered to start over with city elections

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An L.A. judge has thrown out the results of Palmdale’s City Council elections and ordered the city to hold a new vote. L.A. Superior Court Judge Mark Mooney says Palmdale must elect its four council members from defined districts, instead of using an at-large voting system, in which office holders are elected citywide. Mooney ruled earlier this year that Palmdale’s at-large system discriminated against …

economy, Featured, Food, Issues, News, Politics »

Coliseum torch lit in memory of President Kennedy

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The Olympic torch at LA Memorial Coliseum was lit just after midnight this morning to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John. F. Kennedy. The 35th president spoke there in the summer of 1960, when he accepted his party’s presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention. President Barack Obama has proclaimed today a national day of remembrance for Kennedy, ordering flags …

Environment, Featured, Issues, News, Politics, Sports, water »

California on track for driest year in recorded history

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Just how dry is it in California? During the first 10 months of 2013, The Golden State had its lowest recorded rainfall in 164 years of record keeping, according to government meteorologists. Because of that, 84 percent of the state is considered to be in severe drought. And several counties, including Kern and Santa Barbara, are in extreme drought, which is even worse. State …

Environment, Featured, Food, Issues, News, Politics »

So Cal has close encounter with a meteor

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Did you see it? A meteor streaked over California, momentarily lighting up night skies from Fresno to the Mexican border. Skygazers were hoping to catch a glimpse as meteor shower known as the South Taurids made its annual flyby. But few were expecting to see the huge fireball and a flash in the southern sky that hit around 8:15. Sightings were reported as far …

economy, Education, Featured, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

SMC graduation to double as memorial; Governor prevails in budget battle; Killer gets ‘death’

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Mourning. College graduation is a joyous event. But today’s ceremony at Santa Monica College will be tinged with sadness as the commencement doubles as a memorial to victims of last Friday’s shooting rampage.
A vigil was held on the campus last night. Shortly before 6 pm, people began assembling outside the college library. That’s where the shooter, John Zawahri, ended his killing spree. A makeshift …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, Politics, Sports, Today's News »

Today’s News: Rams great Deacon Jones dies at 74; Compton vote; Ex-congressman ending prison term

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Mr. Jones. Deacon Jones – considered by many to be the greatest player ever to suit up for the Los Angeles Rams football team – had died of natural causes at home in Anaheim Hills. He was 74.
 The Hall-of-Famer played for the Rams from 1961 to 1971 and later for the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. He was twice named the NFL’s top …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: California unveils Obamacare coverage; Leimert Park gets light rail station; Clean(er) beaches

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Obamacare. California has taken a big step toward compliance with Obamacare. The state’s new health insurance exchange has announced the plans – and the prices – that will be offered to those seeking individual insurance policies under the federal healthcare law.
As many as five million uninsured Californians are expected to seek coverage when Obamacare takes effect next year. The exchange will begin enrolling customers …

Arts & Culture, economy, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News, Warren Olney »

Today’s News: Full plate of labor issues awaits Garcetti; Valley was critical in mayor’s race; Missing Newport art

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti talks to the press the day after his election

Garcetti’s challenge. L.A. Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti will meet today with the man he’ll be taking over from on July 1st. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calls Garcetti “a true leader”and says he trusts him to guide the city into a bright future.”
Garcetti is going to have some sensitive issues to deal with when he moves into the mayor’s office. At the top of the list, salaries …

Education, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor »

Today’s News: Eric Garcetti will be L.A.’s next mayor; Feuer blows out Trutanich; Controller race to Galperin

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Mayor. Eric Garcetti will be L.A.’s youngest mayor in more than a century.
With every precinct in the city reporting, the 42-year-old City Councilman has 54 percent of the vote, to 46 percent for City Controller Wendy Greuel. Greuel called Garcetti to concede around 2 this morning, and she’ll make it official later today.
The mayoral race generated a record $33 million in spending and dragged …

Education, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: Campaigns hustle to get out the vote; U.C. medical workers launch strike; Bank heist arrests

By Muffet via Flickr

Campaign’s end. Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel are leaving no stone unturned as they engage in a last-minute scramble to sway undecided voters. The mayoral candidates were in constant motion yesterday, canvassing the city from Sherman Oaks and Westwood to East L.A. and San Pedro in a final push for votes.
Today, the campaigns turn their attention to mobilizing supporters to go to the polls. …

economy, Education, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: Mayoral candidates sprint to the finish; Race sets spending record; Poll says Feuer way ahead

LA mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, left, and Wendy Greuel

Election’s eve. Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel will be criss-crossing the city today in a last-dash effort to sway undecided voters. After two years of campaigning, the hard fought and expensive campaign for mayor of L.A. comes to an end tomorrow.
A new USC-L.A. Times poll gives Garcetti a seven-point lead over Greuel – 48 percent to 41 percent – with 11 percent of likely …

Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Warren Olney »

Today’s News: Trutanich, Feuer battle to the wire; Federal oversight ends for LAPD; Powerball fever

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Top prosecutor. The city attorney’s race came to “Which Way, L.A.?” last night as KCRW’s Warren Olney conducted separate interviews with the candidates in Tuesday’s run-off election. The incumbent, Carmen Trutanich – or “Nuch” as he’s commonly known – finds himself in an uphill battle to keep the job that he won in a surprise victory four years ago.
After pledging not to run for another …

economy, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: Mayor’s race is going down to the wire

Eric Garcetti (L) and Wendy Greuel (R) celebrate after winning a place in the May mayoral election.

Neck and neck. A new poll finds a virtual dead heat in the L.A. mayor’s race with less than two weeks to go before Election Day.
The results are good news for Wendy Greuel. The City Controller trailed in earlier surveys, but the new poll by the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A. gives her a one-point lead over City Councilman Eric Garcetti – …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: Decision opens new chapter in pot wars

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Pot shots. Now that the state Supreme Court has upheld the right of cities and counties to ban pot shop shops – what’s next for medical marijuana in California? And what about the three medical pot initiatives that will be on the Los Angeles city ballot two weeks from now?
The court’s unanimous decision means that a 1996 California ballot measure approving medical marijuana notwithstanding, …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: California air dirty, but getting cleaner; Mayoral hopefuls face off; Lakers storm into playoffs

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Clear(er) skies. It’s getting a little easier to breathe in Southern California. A new report finds that the number of unhealthy air days in L.A, County dipped from 30 in 2000 to 11 last year. California as a whole cut smog-forming pollutants by 55 percent during that time. That’s the good news. The bad news is that southern California and the Central Valley continue …

Commentary, Featured, Headline, Interviews, News, Race for Mayor »

Friday Mixer: Mayoral amalgam

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Gene Maddaus (LA Weekly), Dakota Smith (LA Daily News) and I have talked a lot in recent weeks about how much the mayoral candidates are alike. Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are both Democrats. They both espouse progressive views, to match the electorate each hopes to serve.

But until recently, the only difference highlighted between the two was the fact that Wendy Greuel seems to …

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