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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 27, 2013 | By Teresa Watanabe and Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
For a fleeting moment in her underdog campaign, Monica Ratliff faltered. The candidate for the Los Angeles school board stood outside her chief fundraiser's home and balked at the task of asking people for money. Then, she said, she thought of three struggling students in her fifth-grade class at San Pedro Street Elementary, located in a gritty downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. She thought of the vocational programs, better training for teachers and other ideas she could push for as a board member to keep her students from falling off track.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
Southern California beaches had overall good water quality during the last year, and a vast majority of beaches received good to excellent ratings, according to an annual report released Thursday by Heal the Bay. The organization's beach report card was first published in 1991 and assesses water quality at more than 600 beach monitoring locations on the West Coast.  Each location is assigned an A to F grade. The higher the grade, the lower the chance of becoming ill while swimming in the water.  Southern California beaches that received A ratings during summer and dry winter periods included Santa Monica Beach at Wilshire Boulevard and Will Rogers Beach at Temescal Canyon, the report by the Santa Monica-based environmental organization found.  Some beaches received A+ ratings.
NEWS
May 22, 2013 | By Karin Klein
The Times' editorial board endorsed 5th-grade teacher Monica Ratliff for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District board -- twice -- but that doesn't mean we expected her to win. Ratliff went into Tuesday dubbed the underdog by a mile, with her relative shoestring of a campaign war chest compared with the $2 million in independent fundraising for her opponent, Antonio Sanchez. Sanchez also is the far more politically plugged in, and politically savvy, of the two, and he had the backing of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, for whom he used to work (as well as the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, for which he also used to work)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 22, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The race for an open seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education was close in early returns with Monica Ratliff ahead despite financial support and union backing that made her opponent, Antonio Sanchez, a heavy favorite. In the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees election, incumbent Nancy Pearlman was leading challenger David Vela, according to returns. Sanchez, 31, had the benefit of the combined clout of labor unions along with a deep-pocketed political-action committee spearheaded by outgoing L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, which amassed more than $1 million on his behalf for the runoff.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 22, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
On its face, the election this week of a Los Angeles fifth-grade teacher to the Board of Education was a stunner. Monica Ratliff's low-budget effort included her boyfriend, a film school instructor, as her campaign manager. She had no paid staff and no meaningful help from her own politically active teachers union. Her strategy to achieve some name recognition was to mail out refrigerator magnets, which cost $5,000 in scarce campaign funds. Ten to 20 faithful volunteers knocked on doors every weekend.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2013 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center improved slightly from an F to a D in a national hospital safety report released Wednesday, while Cedars-Sinai Medical Center stayed at a C grade. Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit healthcare quality organization, based the scores on an analysis of infections, injuries, medication errors and other problems that cause patient harm or death. The organization publicizes the scores in an effort to inform patients and reduce safety problems, said Leah Binder, its president and chief executive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 6, 2013
A Times analysis of street inspection data found wide disparities in road quality among the city's 114 neighborhoods. The streets in the newer development of Playa Vista, which the city's database gives the highest ranking with an average grade of B, scored 80% higher than those in Silver Lake, which ranks among the worst with a D-minus average. Join us at 9 a.m. as we discuss the Times analysis and L.A. road conditions with Times writer Ben Poston. The differences are not driven by wealth or political power.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 4, 2013 | By Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times
A drive along Angus Street in hilly Silver Lake requires navigating a gantlet of buckled concrete slabs and dirt-filled cracks. But on South Seabluff Drive in Playa Vista the ride is smooth, the pavement is black and you can smell the fresh asphalt. Despite the city's best efforts to keep up with the constant flood of road repairs, Los Angeles is a city divided - by its potholes, cracks and ruts. Interactive map: See your street's grade A Times analysis of street inspection data found wide disparities in road quality among the city's 114 neighborhoods.
BUSINESS
May 2, 2013 | David Lazarus
The Better Business Bureau wants you to know that it's cleaned up its act in Los Angeles. The organization reached out to me this week to say that a new operation is up and running after the old BBB of the Southland was expelled in March after years of reports that the branch had been awarding inflated grades to businesses in exchange for cash. Carrie Hurt, head of the national Council of Better Business Bureaus, told me that a "virtual BBB" has been launched in Southern California, enabling bureau officials from across the country to address local consumer issues via the Internet.
BUSINESS
May 1, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- It has not gone unnoticed in technology and financial circles that Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher has become an A-list startup investor. Now Kutcher is confirming that his A-Grade Fund is raising money at a $100 million valuation. At TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City on Wednesday, Kutcher and his partner Guy Oseary confirmed the rumors. VIDEO: Samsung Galaxy S 4 unboxing A-Grade, which also counts Ron Burkle as a partner, has made some smart bets: Airbnb, Uber, Fab, Spotify, Uber, among others.
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