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Gary Toebben

BUSINESS
February 23, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California farmers markets want to get tough with interlopers who don't sell what they grow. They're backing a bill to crack down on vendors who falsely claim to offer pesticide-free or locally grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. "Californians are fortunate to have the highest concentration of farmers markets in the nation," said the bill's author, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). The bill, AB 1871, he said, would "increase consumer protections and accountability at our certified farmers markets, protect local farmers and help this growing sector of the economy continue to thrive.
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BUSINESS
July 28, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - In the closing days of the Legislature last year, Gov. Jerry Brown helped forge a compromise on a sweeping overhaul of the workers' compensation insurance system and persuaded Democratic and Republican lawmakers to pass it into law. Now he is taking on another big challenge: He wants to fix the state's financially ailing unemployment insurance program, which pays jobless Californians up to $450 a week. With one of the nation's highest unemployment rates for several years, the state has had to borrow money from the feds to keep the program going.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 6, 2010 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
Low-wage workers in the Los Angeles area are even more likely than their counterparts in New York and Chicago to suffer violations of minimum wage, overtime and other labor laws, according to a new UCLA study being released today. The study found that almost nine out of 10 low-wage workers surveyed in Los Angeles County had recently experienced some form of pay-related workplace violation, or "wage theft." Almost one in three reported being paid less than the minimum wage and nearly 80% said they had not received legally mandated overtime.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 2, 2013 | Steve Lopez
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Flora Castaneda marched in Inglewood. She marched with hundreds of fellow El Super grocery store employees, supporters and clergy, at a labor rally in the parking lot of the El Super at West Century and Crenshaw boulevards. And here's what the employees, whose contract expired in September, were lathered up about: Their work schedules and total weekly hours are in constant flux, so tending to family matters and managing second jobs are more than a little challenging.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 20, 2012 | By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington -- The long-stalled new federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles will finally move forward, Washington officials announced Thursday, despite scrutiny from congressional Republicans looking for ways to cut the federal budget deficit. The roughly $400-million project at 1st Street and Broadway, planned for more than a decade, would replace the Depression-era federal courthouse on Spring Street, which officials say has security and asbestos problems. It would also fill an immense hole: The Junipero Serra State Office Building, considered seismically weak after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, was demolished in 2007, leaving a gaping cavity and a rainy-season pond occasionally inhabited by ducks.
OPINION
April 11, 2008
Although a recent spate of violent crime has focused much of the city's attention on gangs, there is another source of fearful social upheaval rippling through Los Angeles: immigration raids. Although they certainly do not threaten residents' welfare and security with deadly gunfire, the continual rounding up of illegal immigrants at their places of employment is having serious consequences within and without the Latino community.
BUSINESS
January 15, 2014 | By James Barragan, Marc Lifsher and E. Scott Reckard
President Obama named Los Angeles businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet, the founder of a community bank and a former California Cabinet member, as his nominee to head the Small Business Administration. Obama said Contreras-Sweet, who has worked with small businesses in the private sector, understands what small businesses need. "Maria knows how hard it is to get started on a business," Obama said Wednesday. "The grueling hours, the stress, the occasional self-doubt. " "So not only did she start small businesses, but those have also been her customers, and she understands all too often that the lack of access to capital means a lack of opportunity," he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 25, 2011 | By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Sacramento -- Friends of Gov. Jerry Brown who have acknowledged raising money from private donors to pay the governor's Sacramento rent said Friday that they are also running a second nonprofit for Brown that his predecessor tapped to fund luxury travel around the world. The nonprofit, called the California State Protocol Foundation, was used by supporters of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pay for private jet trips, luxury hotel stays and other expenses incurred by the governor and his entourage.
BUSINESS
June 11, 2009 | Ronald D. White
Deep inside the nation's busiest seaport lurks the old Southwest Marine shipyard, a collection of rusting corrugated-metal buildings, broken windows and dark interiors that has appeared in more than a dozen films and television shows, including "Die Hard," "24" and "CSI: Miami." But these days, the 38-acre site at the Port of Los Angeles is the setting for another kind of high-stakes drama, this time involving competing visions of the port's future.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 10, 2012 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Proposition 28 proposes a tiny tweak in legislative term limits. But it could have a huge impact on legislative quality. Little changes sometimes can result in big improvements. No one knows for sure where Prop. 28 would lead, but simple logic strongly suggests a legislative upgrade. At least the original term-limits author, former Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum, tends to think so. "I'm persuaded it's probably the right thing to do," Schabarum told me, stopping short of a formal endorsement.
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