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August 26, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Dave has been receiving calls from contractors looking to stop by his home and bid for work. That's annoying, but it's not unethical. The ethical line gets crossed by some contractors purporting to be following up on an earlier call (they aren't) or touching base after speaking with Dave's wife (they haven't). Dave wants to know how he can get these calls to stop. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions The Federal Trade Commission says its do-not-call list is a glowing success.
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NATIONAL
April 8, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - President Obama used his executive power and a hot-button issue to try to stoke support from a key election-year constituency Tuesday, as he issued two directives aimed at ensuring federal contractors pay women as much as men for equal work. Surrounding himself with female supporters at the White House, Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who talk about how much money they make. Advocates say secrecy about salaries is a major contributor to the gap in average pay between male and female workers in the United States, which the White House says means women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The president also ordered contractors to report data to the government showing the compensation paid to employees by gender and race.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 27, 2011 | By Paul Pringle and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times
Community college has helped Art and Michelle Gastelum get ahead. Way ahead. The father and daughter own two of the companies that have profited from close relationships with the trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District, connections built on campaign money, a Times analysis found. Companies working on the district's construction program account for 44% of the $4.6 million contributed to trustees' election efforts or to campaigns to pass construction bond measures since 2001.
NATIONAL
March 10, 2014 | By Steve Appleford
AUSTIN, Texas - Edward Snowden brought no bombshells when he arrived to an excited round of applause Monday, his stubbled face relaxed as it was beamed in from across the continents for a "virtual conversation" about the vulnerability of personal data. His presence was event enough. Public appearances by the former National Security Agency contractor and U.S. exile are rare, and this one was beamed in from an undisclosed location in Russia via several online proxies for his own security, a bit of technological cloak-and-dagger that could only add to his mystique for the three roomfuls of international tech specialists struggling to hear his words in video that was choppy and often inaudible.
NATIONAL
August 27, 2009 | Josh Meyer
The Justice Department prosecutor appointed this week to examine the CIA's interrogation program will revisit long-dormant abuse cases involving the agency's civilian contractors, bringing new attention to a little-known but controversial element of the Bush administration's war on terrorism. Civilian contractors used by the CIA at secret overseas facilities were accused of detainee abuses and deaths in a series of cases in the years following the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but only one was ever prosecuted.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 17, 2013 | By Dan Weikel
Four major contractors that built the $250-million south runway at Los Angeles International Airport are the target of a new city lawsuit that alleges that widespread construction flaws are causing the runway to wear out prematurely. The city of Los Angeles sued R & L Brosamer, HNTB Corp., CH2M Hill Inc. and a joint venture involving Tutor-Saliba Corp. and O & G Industries Inc. The case was filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Torrance. The lawsuit claims there are concrete flaws and substandard construction throughout the 13,000-foot runway that opened in April 2007.
NATIONAL
May 5, 2012 | By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Anxiety about the effect of a ban on political spending by federal contractors is prompting new caution by a company connected to such donations and a "super PAC" that accepted them. Restore Our Future — a super PAC that has spent more than $42 million on behalf of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney — had previously solicited money from federal contractors. Now it is warning the contractors to get legal advice before giving. Meanwhile, Oxbow Carbon, a major coal and petroleum supplier that gave Restore Our Future $750,000 last year, now says its contracts to sell fuel to the federal government are through a sister company that is a separate legal entity — an arrangement that allows it to skirt the prohibition on federal contractors making political expenditures.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 21, 2013 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- Two defense contractors have been sentenced to three years in prison for their part in a fraud and bribery scheme involving phony payments for the repair of military aircraft at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado. Robert Ehnow and Joanne Loehr, owners of Poway-based companies, were convicted in San Diego federal court of showering Navy officials with gifts and cash in exchange for millions of dollars in payments for work supposedly done on planes at the Fleet Readiness Center.
NATIONAL
October 24, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - Developers of the troubled Obamacare website confirmed Thursday that a last-minute decision requiring users to sign up before shopping for insurance caused the system to bottleneck and acknowledged they did not conduct an "end to end" test until just before this month's botched rollout. The federal contractors sought to shift responsibility for the more than $400-million project to the Obama administration, providing fuel for Republicans who want to kill the Affordable Care Act. The White House's Democratic allies have expressed growing anxiety over what went wrong with President Obama's signature achievement - and when it will be fixed.
NATIONAL
June 19, 2009 | T. Christian Miller
Lawmakers on Thursday sharply criticized a federal program that relies on private insurance companies to provide medical care and benefits to civilians injured while working in support of the U.S. military effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of a House subcommittee charged that the insurance firms had exploited the taxpayer-supported program to reap enormous profits while shortchanging workers. "We've got to straighten out this mess and we're going to do that," said Rep. Elijah E.
BUSINESS
March 9, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I just received my tax forms from my employer for last year. I was originally a W-2 employee, paid hourly, as a receptionist. But it seems that at some point during the year, my employer changed me to a 1099 employee without telling me or having me fill out paperwork. After researching the characteristics of a 1099 employee, I found I do not qualify at all. I am upset that I will have to pay taxes on this income, since I thought they were being withheld from my pay. Do I have any recourse?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell, This post has been updated. See below for details.
As many as 168,500 patients of Los Angeles County medical facilities may have had their data stolen in a break-in at a county contractor's office last month, county officials said Thursday. A Torrance office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, which handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Health Services, was broken into on Feb. 5 and computer equipment was stolen, according to a statement from the county. [ Updated at 4:19 p.m.: Sutherland also handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Public Health]
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
Personal data of as many as 168,500 patients of Los Angeles County medical facilities may have been stolen in a break-in at a county contractor's office last month. A Torrance office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, which handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Health Services and Department of Public Health, was burglarized Feb. 5 and computer equipment was stolen, according to a county statement issued Thursday. The computers contained data including patients' first and last names, Social Security numbers and certain medical and billing information, and they may also have included birth dates, addresses and diagnoses.
OPINION
March 5, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
As more of our children's education moves online, there are increased opportunities for abusing the collection of their personal data. Last month, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill that would help close a loophole in federal regulations - at least in California - in an effort to safeguard personal information of public school students. The potential privacy violations could be significant, and it makes sense for the Legislature to act now. Under the federal Family and Educational Rights Protection Act, schools that receive federal funding are rightly barred from making disclosures about students' education records without permission.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By Ben Welsh and Robert J. Lopez
The creator of computerized scripts that Los Angeles firefighters use to assess medical emergencies during 911 calls is threatening to cut off the service. The warning came Tuesday in response to a decision by city leaders to direct the Los Angeles Fire Department to begin developing its own series of questions to judge how best to respond to victims. Last month the LAFD announced that it would create a structured program of questions for call takers that are tailored to the department's specific needs.
NEWS
March 4, 2014 | By Ben Welsh and Robert J. Lopez
The creator of computerized scripts that Los Angeles firefighters use to assess medical emergencies during 911 calls is threatening to cut off the service. The warning came Tuesday in response to a decision by city leaders to direct the Los Angeles Fire Department to begin developing its own series of questions to judge how best to respond to victims. Last month the LAFD announced that it would create a structured program of questions for call takers that are tailored to the department's specific needs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 21, 1997 | SYLVIA L. OLIANDE
Supporters of state Senate Bill 339, the New Homeowner Protection Act, gathered Tuesday morning at an earthquake-damaged condominium complex to illustrate the need for tighter rules on contractors to prevent damage caused by work not done to code--as backers say happened in their case. The bill, introduced by Sen. Byron D. Sher (D-San Mateo), would require that work be performed by licensed contractors and architects be made available to check on the work in progress.
NEWS
March 24, 1985 | LEO F. BUSCAGLIA
The time had come to add another room to my house. I can't say that I wasn't repeatedly warned but, of course, it's only human to say, "It won't happen to me." My family and friends advised me to forget the project. They tried to assure me that I wouldn't have the time, energy or patience to work with contractors. They told me horror stories of their experiences, which should have been enough to frighten off any sane individual.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 19, 2014 | By Jeremiah Dobruck
A Newport Beach contractor was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for underreporting his income by about $2 million. The government lost out on roughly $300,000 in tax revenue as a result of Jeremy Scott Levine, 42, underreporting his income over a five-year period, according to the  Internal Revenue Service . U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow ordered Levine, who owns Newport-based JSL Construction and Landscaping, to...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 17, 2014 | By Matt Stevens
A natural gas leak in Playa del Rey on Monday was caused by a contractor's truck that drove over a well's protective cover, damaging a small valve, a spokeswoman for Southern California Gas Co. said. The incident occurred around 1 a.m., with the release of pressure causing a “loud screeching noise,” said Angela Fentiman, a spokeswoman for the utility. The truck was discovered with its engine running on top of the valve, she added, but the driver was not located. It was not immediately clear if the truck had driven onto the gas storage facility in the 8100 block of Gulana Avenue, or if it had been inside the campus prior to striking the valve.
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