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Assembly Speaker Karen Bass

July 2, 2009
The message of the failed May 19 special election appears to have been received by pretty much no one in Sacramento. Fuss-budgeting went on, deadlines notwithstanding, as if it were still August or December 2008. The result: California entered its new fiscal year with no cash in hand and a growing multibillion-dollar deficit.
January 22, 2010 | By Michael Rothfeld and Richard Simon
They flew to Washington searching for a path out of the budget storm that has battered California. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state's four legislative leaders found nothing more definite than a promise for more discussion. It was a case of bad timing. They arrived Wednesday to find Capitol Hill buzzing with the election of a populist Republican to fill Democrat Edward Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, and confronting the consequences for the national healthcare plan, the Democrats' hold on Congress and Barack Obama's presidency.
December 11, 2009 | By Eric Bailey and Shane Goldmacher
A freshman Democrat from Los Angeles won the unanimous support of his party colleagues Thursday to be the next leader of the California Assembly, a choice that would make John A. Perez the first openly gay lawmaker to hold the powerful post. Perez, a 40-year-old former labor union official and a cousin of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is slated to be confirmed as the next speaker in a floor vote set for early January. The choice of Perez ended several contentious weeks of infighting among the Assembly's ruling Democrats -- who hold a 50 to 29 edge over the GOP -- and came only after his chief rival, Assemblyman Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles)
January 25, 2010 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Legislators -- the leaders, anyway -- know they must change the way they operate. The sooner the better. But they still can't agree on exactly how. The problems are clear: Bleeding, gimmicky budgets that lead to more deficit spending. Incessantly late budgets that cripple the state's credit. Lack of prioritizing or long-range planning. Trivial pursuits. Petty partisanship. There's also an acute problem of special interest influence: business on one side, labor on the other, wing-nuts on both.
September 15, 2008 | Evan Halper, Times Staff Writer
Legislative leaders announced Sunday that they had reached a deal on a no-new-taxes state spending plan, bringing the longest budget impasse in modern California history nearly to an end. Their proposal would increase spending for education and healthcare, though not enough to avoid cutbacks in services. It would borrow against the state lottery. And it relies heavily on maneuvers that would push the state's financial problems into the future at a time when economists have little hope that revenue is on the rebound.
May 29, 2010 | By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times
As termed-out former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D- Los Angeles) focuses on her campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives, a competitive Democratic primary race is on to succeed her. In her economically and ethnically diverse Westside-Southwest Los Angeles district, Holly Mitchell and Reginald Jones-Sawyer are generally considered the front-runners. Also among the five Democrats on the June 8 primary ballot is Ed Nicoletti, a businessman and home builder from Westwood, who is campaigning hard.
February 14, 2010 | Cathleen Decker
In Los Angeles, history often seems to careen on with hardly a backward glance. Last week, as Diane Watson announced that she would retire this year from Congress, history suffused the room and there were backward glances aplenty. In the conference room off Wilshire Boulevard stood many of the city's African American political lions, the men and women who helped in 1973 to make Tom Bradley the city's first -- and so far, only -- African American mayor. Bradley's name came up early on, as Watson joked to the Rev. Cecil Murray, the former head of First AME Church, about his ability to summon the mayor at all hours.
January 1, 2011 | By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times
It was just 6 a.m. on most mornings when the teenager would board a city bus and startle sleepy passengers by loudly announcing that his cousin, Diane Watson, was getting on. Then the teacher and school psychologist, an imposing African American woman standing 6 feet tall in heels, would sweep down the aisle, repeating her name three times and telling anyone half-listening that she was running for the Los Angeles school board and was "out to meet...
February 12, 2010 | Jean Merl
By the time Democratic Rep. Diane Watson announced Thursday that she would end her political career after more than three decades, word of her impending retirement had spread so widely that she joked about the anticlimactic nature of the news conference she held in her Wilshire Boulevard office. But Watson had at least one surprise up her sleeve -- she declined to endorse a candidate to succeed her, raising eyebrows among the many political observers who expected her to back state Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles)
January 21, 2010 | By Patrick McGreevy
At least 26 state legislators are being fined for failing to disclose that they accepted gifts from lobbying groups. The fines are the first penalties revealed as part of a month-old investigation by the state's political watchdog agency into suspicions that 38 state lawmakers -- including Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) -- and 15 staff members failed to make the required disclosures. FOR THE RECORD: Ethics probe: The headline on an article in Thursday's Section A on at least 26 California lawmakers being investigated by the state's political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, said they were fined for taking gifts.
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