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March 14, 2014 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
Bill Elwell doesn't want any more customers, but they just keep coming. "Is McDonald's closed today?" he likes to grunt to those lined up outside his tiny burger stand in an industrial pocket of the San Fernando Valley. "Why is everyone here? Go down the street!" Elwell is 87 and cranky, and folks can't seem to get enough of him. It's been 49 years since Elwell took to the grill of his 10-by-20-foot burger stand on Oxnard Street where Van Nuys meets Sherman Oaks. He once flipped a burger from grill to floor to shush a customer complaining about too much mayonnaise.
March 12, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON -- The House passed the first of a pair of bills aimed at reining in what Republicans call a pattern of overreach by the executive branch under President Obama . Democrats decried the base-pleasing measure as a political stunt. Immigration reform advocates said it threatens the administration's deferred action deportation program. The legislation is a response to what Republicans say has been an "imperial presidency" under Obama -- a term that one conservative lawmaker noted also fit the Nixon administration during the Watergate scandal.
March 12, 2014 | By Cathleen Decker and Cindy Carcamo
TUCSON - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced Wednesday she would not seek a third term, forgoing a campaign that would have required her to challenge the state's term limits measure. The Republican had left open the option of running this year, despite the overwhelming weight of legal opinion against it. She became governor in 2009 when Democrat Janet Napolitano left office to join President Obama's Cabinet, and Brewer won reelection the following year. The state limits governors to two terms, and most legal experts said her first partial term counted toward the limit.
March 12, 2014 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before deciding if what I really want to do is direct. The Skinny: Just bought the book "Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America. " I'll give you a full report when I finish. I've always been fascinated by that case. Today's roundup includes Anne Sweeney's exit from a top TV position at Walt Disney Co. Also, Bill Maher sticks up for pal Jay Leno.  Daily Dose: Although there will soon be no more Time Inc. at Time Warner, don't look for the media giant to rethink its name.
March 12, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will undergo a state audit of its troubled computer billing system after a committee of state lawmakers voted Wednesday to examine what went wrong. The state audit, proposed last month by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), will scrutinize the rollout, costs and fallout of the system that sent erroneous and inflated bills to some customers. It will assess what it cost the city to address problems after the system went into effect, how the contract was awarded and the share of customers getting late or inaccurate bills, among other issues.
March 11, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday he was bent on writing "a new chapter" for the Department of Water and Power with the help of its new leader Marcie Edwards - a task that goes beyond cleaning up its woebegone billing system, he said. In electing him mayor, "Los Angeles voters really gave me a mandate to reform the DWP," Garcetti told a roomful of business leaders and reporters Tuesday. Even his own father - onetime Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti - had complained to him about being on hold with the agency for more than 40 minutes, the mayor said.
March 10, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Warning that truancy has reached a crisis level in California elementary schools, state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and half a dozen lawmakers proposed a raft of bills Monday aimed at keeping kids in school. Harris said 30% of elementary school students were truant in the 2012-13 school year. "California's Constitution guarantees our children the right to an education, yet our elementary schools face a truancy crisis," Harris said. "When children in kindergarten through sixth grade miss school, they fall behind and too many never catch up. " A child is considered truant after missing school or being tardy by more than 30 minutes without a valid excuse on three occasions during a school year.
March 10, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- The Assembly gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill that aims to crack down on anonymous campaign money by giving California's ethics and tax agencies more authority to conduct investigations. The measure allows the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Franchise Tax Board to initiate audits of campaigns suspected of illegal activities before an election occurs, even if campaign statements or finance reports have not yet been filed. It also explicitly permits the FPPC to seek an injunction in Superior Court to force disclosure and gives the tax board up to two years to conduct more complex investigations.  Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park)
March 10, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
The amount Americans tip on restaurant bills appears to be declining compared with five years ago, a new survey found. The online poll of about 2,600 men and women in the U.S. found that a majority of Americans tip their food servers less than 20% and that one in 10 tip nothing at all. Nearly 60% of those who said they tip less than 20% said the reason was that they "couldn't afford to on top of the cost of a meal," the survey reported....
March 9, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California lawmakers for years have been battling ravenous metal thieves, who pull copper wires out of street lights, grab rebar from construction sites, and steal pumps and other costly equipment from farmers' fields. Now, a bipartisan group of legislators led by Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert), is trying to put more manpower and money into the fight. Nestande's bill, AB 2313, would create a metal theft task force within the attorney general's office that would provide grants to local police and prosecutors.
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