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BUSINESS
January 5, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California's two top legislative leaders - both Democrats - have their eyes on 2014 as California faces big challenges in continuing to improve the state's still underperforming economy. They're pleased that after years of austerity, the Assembly and Senate along with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have stabilized the state's budget, raising revenues, keeping spending in check and even socking away money for future downturns. Even so, state unemployment remained high at 8.5% in November, despite a quickening job creation pace.
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OPINION
December 13, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Top Assembly Democrats have revealed what they'd like to do with billions of dollars in extra tax revenue that the state is projected to receive, and their top priorities were reassuring: expanding the reserve fund and paying down the debts that Sacramento accumulated over the last decade. Their budget blueprint also calls for a lot of new spending on education and anti-poverty programs, however. If state government really has entered a sustained period of large surpluses, lawmakers can afford to make more long-term investments in California's infrastructure and its people.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 13, 2013 | By Elizabeth Hand
The fury of a woman scorned is just one of the perils encountered in "Dangerous Women," a splendid cross-genre anthology featuring original stories by a number of writers, male and female. The title invokes that of "Dangerous Visions," Harlan Ellison's groundbreaking 1967 science fiction anthology, and even though there are no real game-changers here, it's an impressive assembly of work by mostly well-known authors, with a few relative newcomers who make a strong impression. Gardner Dozois, former editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine and founding editor of "The Year's Best Science Fiction" series, has at least 100 anthologies to his credit, six co-edited with George R.R. Martin.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Republican Assembly candidate Susan Shelley said Monday that she was calling off a recount from the Nov. 19 election after one day of re-tallying ballots found little difference. The decision means Democrat Matt Dababneh is the winner of the election in the 45th Assembly District, which extends from the San Fernando Valley to a sliver of Ventura County. "The recount today confirmed that the optical scanners tallied the votes correctly," Shelley, a Woodland Hills author and publisher, said in a statement.
OPINION
December 4, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Would you like a $5,000 raise this year? Certainly members of the Legislature would. The difference between them and the vast majority of Californians is that they are actually going to get one. And that's OK. The higher salaries are a result of a 1990 ballot measure that wisely stripped lawmakers of the power to set their own pay. Proposition 112 established the California Citizens Compensation Commission, which sets salaries for state elected officials,...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Bolstered by help from his powerful father, City Council aide Sebastian Ridley-Thomas beat two fellow Democratic candidates in a special primary election Tuesday for a Los Angeles-area seat in the state Assembly. The vote tally on election night gave Ridley-Thomas 60% of the vote, well beyond the simple majority needed to avoid a Feb. 4 runnoff with former Culver City Mayor Christopher R. Armenta, who finished second with 36% of the vote. The third-place finisher, with 4% of the vote, was John Jake, president of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Republican Assembly candidate Susan Shelley said Monday that she is asking for a recount of the Nov. 19 election results that gave Democrat Matt Dababneh a victory by 329 votes out of more than 29,000 cast in a district largely in the San Fernando Valley. Shelley, a Woodland Hills author/publisher, said her preliminary examination of the election results with the help of the nonpartisan Election Integrity Project showed 206 more votes counted in Los Angeles County than were available to count for the 45th Assembly District.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 30, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - The musical chairs in California's Legislature continues when voters in a Los Angeles-area Assembly district go to the polls Tuesday in a special election to fill a vacant seat. One of the three candidates in the contest - all Democrats - is Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father, Mark Ridley-Thomas, who served in the Legislature before being elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The other candidates are former Culver City Mayor Christopher R. Armenta and John Jake, a real estate broker who is president of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 28, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - California lawmakers are set to receive a 5.3% pay raise Monday, but a dozen say they won't accept it in the wake of a tax hike approved last November and while many residents are still struggling to recover from the recent recession. The raises were approved by the citizen panel that determines state officials' compensation. The base salary for most legislators will go from $90,526 to $95,291 - still below the $116,208 that lawmakers received in 2007, before their pay was cut during California's budget crises.
WORLD
November 20, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali and David Zucchino
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday that the United States and Afghanistan had reached agreement on a security partnership after international combat troops withdraw, and that the deal would be presented to a gathering of influential tribal leaders beginning Thursday. The deal, whose terms Kerry did not disclose, will be subject to approval by the tribal assembly, known as a loya jirga, as well as the Afghan parliament. The tribal gathering is an advisory body only, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated he won't sign the security agreement unless the assembly approves it. "As we sit here tonight, we have agreed on the language that would be submitted to a loya jirga, but they have to pass it," Kerry said at the State Department.
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