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January 29, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. - He has taken to saying he has a pen and a phone that he can use to work around Republicans in Congress, but President Obama also has a jet and a helicopter. He used them both Wednesday as he set off on a two-day traveling sales tour to promote his State of the Union agenda to increase economic mobility for American workers, stopping first at a Costco store in Lanham, Md., just outside the Beltway, and then at a U.S. Steel plant here. "Wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families, regardless of what Congress does, that's what I'm going to do," Obama told steelworkers gathered on a factory floor.
January 29, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
President Obama's plan to tackle the U.S. retirement crisis is ambitious and well-intentioned but unlikely to have much of an effect, experts say. In his State of the Union address, Obama proposed a new type of retirement account for the 4 in 10 Americans who don't have access to 401(k) plans at their jobs. The accounts, dubbed MyRA, would offer guaranteed investment returns, no fees and tax-free profits. But Obama's proposal rests on a pair of uncertain assumptions: that employers would be willing to offer the accounts and that financially stretched low-income workers would agree to participate in them.
January 20, 2014 | By Joseph Tanfani
The mayor of Hoboken, N.J., says it was pure intimidation by Gov. Chris Christie's top people, delivered in softly-worded asides at public events: Get on board with a big development deal or say goodbye to hopes of Superstorm Sandy relief money. "'This project is really important to the governor,'" Mayor Dawn Zimmer said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, recounting what she said she was told in May by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. "And she said that ... this was a direct message from the governor.
January 16, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Apple's iPhone is owned by more than 40% of smartphone users in the U.S., giving the Cupertino tech company a larger share of the national smartphone market than any of its rivals, according to a report Thursday. Apple's U.S. iPhone ownership grew from 35% during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 42% during the same period in 2013, according to a study by NPD Group. The study found that Samsung came in second place, with 26% of smartphone users reporting they own a device by the South Korean tech giant -- up from 22% during the fourth quarter of 2012.
January 15, 2014 | By David Zahniser
A Los Angeles city councilman called Wednesday for his colleagues to explore ways of punishing banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. for engaging in financial misconduct, possibly by terminating the company's contracts with the city. Councilman Gil Cedillo, with support from Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Curren Price, introduced a motion that seeks to determine how much business the city's pension funds and other agencies have been doing with JPMorgan Chase. The proposal calls for the council's lawyers and financial analysts to provide legal options for severing the city's ties with the company.
January 12, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The 10-month gap between Sheriff Lee Baca's departure at the end of this month and the swearing-in of his elected successor in December should be a time of decisive action, not a ponderous waiting period or quiet intermission. Problems in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are deep and require immediate attention. Baca's unexpected but welcome resignation creates an unusual opportunity, before the arrival of an elected sheriff, to lock in badly needed reforms. Even as candidates campaign for the job and deputies wonder who their next leader will be, there is an existing diagnosis of the department's problems and an agenda for fixing them.
January 9, 2014 | By Jack Dolan
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, mired in a series of controversies over employee perks, rate hikes and customer service problems, lost its general manager Thursday as Ron Nichols announced he is stepping down. Nichols becomes the latest in a revolving door of leaders to cycle through the nation's largest municipal utility, which has seen five general managers since 2007. Mayor Eric Garcetti is now searching for a replacement who will face obstacles on several fronts.
January 9, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Snack-food maker Diamond Foods Inc. agreed to pay $5 million to settleĀ allegationsĀ that the company cooked its books. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Thursday that Diamond boosted its earnings and stock price in 2010 and 2011 by systematically underreporting payments to walnut growers. The SEC also charged two former Diamond executives. QUIZ: How well do you understand the Fed stimulus? Michael Mendes, the former CEO, agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a charge that he should have known the accounting was bogus.
January 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca threw his support Monday behind a proposal to set up an oversight commission for the Sheriff's Department, which has been beset by allegations of widespread misconduct and abuse of inmates in the nation's largest jail system. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina proposed setting up a permanent civilian oversight commission in September, after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its civil rights division would investigate the treatment of mentally ill jail inmates in county custody.
January 4, 2014 | By Julie Cart
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general will investigate a federal agency whose mission is to exterminate birds, coyotes, mountain lions and other animals that threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. The investigation of U.S. Wildlife Services is to determine, among other things, "whether wildlife damage management activities were justified and effective. " Biologists have questioned the agency's effectiveness, arguing that indiscriminately killing more than 3 million birds and other wild animals every year is often counterproductive.
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