CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 8, 2010 |
Even as the state grappled with a budget crisis last year, bureaucrats spent nearly $45 million on new vehicles, almost $30 million on new furniture and more than $2 million on off-site meetings and conferences, a legislative panel has found. The expenditures were outlined in a report released Monday by the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review, which plans to call on state agency managers to explain their spending at a hearing Wednesday. "These expenses came despite an executive order from the governor last year for each state agency to cut costs and eliminate vehicle purchases unless they were for emergency purposes," said Mark Martin, a consultant for the committee.
February 4, 2010 |
Moody's Investors Service has downgraded $1.7 billion in bonds for the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, which oversees the 20-mile rail route built to speed the flow of cargo from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to retail shelves across the U.S. Moody's on Wednesday lowered ratings on the senior lien bonds to A3 from A2 and subordinate lien bonds to Baa1 from A3. It also put the ratings on a watch list for possible further downgrades....
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 28, 2010 |
The push to eliminate 1,003 jobs across Los Angeles city government could carve most deeply into neighborhood councils, arts programs and initiatives aimed at reducing ethnic tensions, according to a report obtained by The Times. To close a nearly $200-million gap, budget officials are looking at a 50% reduction in staff at the agency that oversees neighborhood councils, or 19 out of 38 jobs. Libraries would see a 10% reduction in staff, as would the office of City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, the draft spreadsheet states.
January 20, 2010 |
The Federal Housing Administration will raise mortgage insurance premiums, update requirements for so-called FICO credit scores and down payments for new home buyers and take other measures designed to shore up the agency's low capital reserves. The FHA, which insures mortgages, also will reduce allowable seller concessions to 3% from 6% and institute a number of measures to increase lender enforcement, the agency is expected to announce today. The proposals were outlined last month by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
January 14, 2010 |
President Obama, signaling "one of the largest relief efforts in history" for victims of the earthquake in Haiti, said today that he has ordered an immediate investment of $100 million in U.S. aid. "This investment will grow over the coming year," said the president, standing with several Cabinet members and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whom Obama said he has ordered to make the disaster in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince the...
January 1, 2010 |
The White House is poised to order all federal agencies to evaluate any major actions they take, such as building highways or logging national forests, to determine how they would contribute to and be affected by climate change, a step long sought by environmentalists. Environmentalists say the move would provide new incentives for the government to minimize the heat-trapping gas emissions scientists blame for global warming. Republicans have opposed it as potentially inhibiting economic growth.
December 3, 2009 |
Forget sky-high unemployment and those two wars overseas. Jeff Peckman has more earthly concerns: For one thing, if extraterrestrials were to descend on Denver, what's the best way to welcome them? Thanks to Peckman's tireless efforts and taste for the limelight, Denver voters will be asked in 2010 to boldly approve what no electorate has approved before: an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission. This week, Denver officials announced that Peckman had gathered about 4,000 valid signatures needed to place the issue before the 350,000 registered voters of the Colorado state capital.
October 30, 2009 |
A politically connected Beverly Hills financial firm and three current or former executives were indicted Thursday on charges that they defrauded government agencies across the country by rigging bids to invest the proceeds of municipal bond offerings. The nine-count indictment, issued by a federal grand jury and filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accuses CDR Financial Products Inc. of steering business to investment firms that paid it kickbacks. Also charged in the indictment are the firm's owner and president, David Rubin; its vice president, Evan Andrew Zarefsky; and its former chief financial officer, Zevi Wolmark.
October 6, 2009 |
Urging the government to "lead by example," President Obama ordered federal agencies on Monday to set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy use, save water and recycle more. The order calls for a 30% cut in vehicle fuel use by 2020, a 50% increase in recycling by 2015 and the implementation of high-efficiency building codes. It also instructs agencies to set goals within 90 days to reduce the heat-trapping gases scientists blame for global warming. The measures echo a Los Angeles sustainability program launched under the direction of then-Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley, who now heads the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2009 |
Filling a job that has been vacant for three years, Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday narrowly approved the hiring of an attorney to investigate the cases of children who die while in the county's care. To take the post, Rosemarie Belda will leave the Office of County Counsel, where she has represented the Department of Children and Family Services, the agency that will now be a central target of her reports. In addition to investigating child deaths, she has been asked to recommend reforms that might prevent future fatalities.