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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2013 | By Jessica Garrison, David Zahniser and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
A day after voters rejected a tax increase, top Los Angeles officials began preparing a new round of cuts to city services, warning that even the Police Department may not be spared. The sales tax was seen as a last-ditch attempt to help balance the city's budget without more reductions, which already have included slashing 5,300 positions and scaling back services ranging from sidewalk repairs to 911 rescue operations. "Everything has to be put back on the table, from the size of the police force to the restoration of fire services to the paving of our streets," said the city's Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who said he plans to deliver a menu of potential budget reductions to lawmakers within days.
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OPINION
February 24, 2013
Voters in City Council District 13 are choosing from a crowded field of 12 candidates vying to represent one of the most diverse and vibrant areas in the city, stretching from Hollywood across to Silver Lake and Echo Park and down through historic Filipinotown to Koreatown. The district improved during the nearly 12 years it was represented by Eric Garcetti, but much remains to be done. Nearly 35% of its children live in poverty, and the median household income is just under $38,000.
NATIONAL
February 13, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Among the usual cliches in the annual State of the Union speech is a phrase to the effect: “Our union is strong.” Presidents Bush, Clinton and Reagan all used the phrase and President Obama didn't disappoint Wednesday night. But the same phrase usually works its way into the local version of the annual speech, whether State of the State or State of the City. According to aides, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to use some form of the sentiment when he delivers his State of the City address Thursday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 13, 2013 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
At a time when taxpayers are being asked to dig deeper to resolve Los Angeles' chronic budget crisis, city employees are receiving raises that will cost tens of millions of dollars within a few years, according to records obtained by The Times. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an assortment of City Council members and Police Chief Charlie Beck are urging voters to approve a sales tax hike on the March 5 ballot that would boost the city rate to 9.5% , one of the highest in the state. At the same time, thousands of police officers, firefighters and civilian employees are in the midst of receiving a two-year series of raises that were backed by the mayor and council.
OPINION
February 13, 2013
The city of Los Angeles is facing a deep budget deficit for the seventh consecutive year, and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana says there is no end in sight. The cost of city services, particularly labor costs, is expected to grow faster than revenue, even as the economy recovers from the 2008-09 recession. The solution, according to Santana and City Council President Herb Wesson, is Proposition A, which would raise the city's sales tax by half a percent. But with voters about to install a new mayor, controller and up to eight new council members, now is not the time to take that step.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2013 | Michael Finnegan and James Rainey
City Controller Wendy Greuel has tried to set herself apart from rivals in the Los Angeles mayor's race by casting herself as a frugal budget expert well qualified to lead the city's recovery from chronic cash shortfalls. But her plans for major expansions of the police and fire departments, along with her pledge to abolish the city's business tax, set her apart in a different way: Her agenda would cost Los Angeles far more than anything proposed by her opponents. It would also make it harder to restore recent cuts in sidewalk repairs, tree trimming and other services, or to weather the next economic downturn, experts say. One of the next mayor's toughest tasks will be to close deficits projected to range from $216 million to $327 million a year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 25, 2013 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
A broad array of political fundraisers and appointees who helped Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa win office and govern the city for eight years is coalescing around mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, according to a Times analysis of endorsements, campaign contributions and other records. At least 70 current and former Villaraigosa appointees have donated to Greuel's campaign, endorsed her or both - more than twice the number lending support to her leading rival, Councilman Eric Garcetti.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2013 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
The police officers made their way though the Costa Mesa park known as "ground zero," the crowded hub for the city's homeless, handing out fliers and encouraging people to get on a bus that would take them out of town. Like other cities, Costa Mesa has had a tenuous relationship with its homeless, and many would just as soon they all simply leave. But efforts on this crisp afternoon had a different motivation: They were nudging them to seek shelter from the near-freezing nights that had gripped the area and board a shuttle to the Santa Ana armory.
NATIONAL
December 24, 2012 | By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - The crowd in the Upper West Side bookstore practically cooed when the mayor of Newark, looking like the college football tight end he once was, strode into a book signing and gave the audience a bashful smile. Cory Booker, here because he wrote the forward to a book about homelessness, spent the next half-hour talking about his father's roots in poverty and the kindness of humankind, throwing in references to friends such as entertainer Tyler Perry and author Alice Walker, and, presumably because this is New York, using some Yiddish.
OPINION
December 16, 2012
Think of last month's election - with its presidential contest, its 11 statewide ballot measures, its additional three countywide questions, the district attorney's race and voters' first full-scale workout with the new district lines and the top-two primary - as kind of a walk-through. For Los Angeles, the big election comes March 5, with voting under way in less than two months. The city is about to undergo a sweeping turnover in municipal government, electing a new mayor, deciding whether to keep or replace the current city attorney, choosing a new controller and electing more than half - the controlling majority - of the City Council.
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