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June 28, 2011 | By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
Chinese local governments have taken on $1.65 trillion of debt with little regulatory oversight, an official audit found, raising concern about how much of the money will be paid back. Some of the funds raised were improperly funneled into the stock market and the country's overheated real estate sector, according to the first-of-its-kind review by China's national audit office. About half the debt, which was measured as of the end of last year, was incurred after Beijing in 2009 allowed banks to issue a record amount of new credit to stimulate the economy.
April 18, 2014 | By Catherine Saillant
In the latest sign that business interests are coalescing around his candidacy, Los Angeles County supervisorial candidate Bobby Shriver was endorsed Friday by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Riordan cited Shriver's time on the Santa Monica City Council and his business and nonprofit backgrounds in announcing his support for the candidate. Shriver is seeking to replace Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on the five-member Board of Supervisors. "The job of Los Angeles County supervisor is a challenging and important one," Riordan said in a prepared statement.
August 15, 2001
In "Regionalism, Small Version" (editorial, Aug. 13) you persist in the conventional wisdom that maintaining multiple districts to deliver services (58 counties, 476 cities and nearly 5,000 special districts in California) is inefficient and would benefit from streamlining. The evidence is to the contrary. The presumption of duplication in spending with small jurisdictions cannot be shown empirically; small jurisdictions are not more expensive on a per capita basis. Opposition from some San Diego legislators to the San Diego Regional Government Efficiency Commission proposal for a "powerful, 15-member regional government" suggests that residents value local government and don't want to give it up. Finally, you're right on target when you talk about the potential for joint efforts among smaller jurisdictions as a solution to regional problems.
March 29, 2014
Re "The Mojave solar threat," Opinion, March 26 Mark Butler's sensitive and heartfelt Op-Ed about Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Desert aligns with my own feelings about the current state of the Antelope Valley's desert landscape. Formerly serene areas in the "delicate ecosystem," as Butler puts it, are facing what appear to be plans for wall-to-wall solar. The local government here has spearheaded solar without objectively considering the effects. A big short-term issue includes the numerous dirt storms that have disrupted our once peaceful valley.
April 17, 2000
The verdict is in from yet another study of the fiscal snarl that hobbles local government in California, and the conclusion is no great surprise: It's a mess and needs to be fixed. The problem, of course, is how. The 34-member Speaker's Commission on State and Local Government Finance has offered some small but significant corrections that can be made now.
April 27, 1986 | MARK FINEMAN, Times Staff Writer
There is no government in this once-bustling port city on the southwestern tip of the Philippines. At night, the drug addicts, pickpockets and smugglers have virtual free rein on the docks. Even during daylight, there is, on the average, a shooting a day in the city's main market--sometimes over the price of squid, sometimes because of feuds among vendors. Potholes in main streets grow bigger by the week, and many city employees simply are not showing up for work.
July 3, 1996 | SHELBY GRAD
More than 20 cities have joined a group designed to give Orange County a unified voice in Southern California issues such as air quality, housing and state demographic mandates. The Council of Governments, sponsored by the League of California Cities, also will be a forum for elected officials to discuss ideas for making government more efficient.
March 27, 2003 | Jennifer Oldham, Times Staff Writer
An overwhelming majority of Los Angeles County residents are satisfied with the neighborhood they live in and feel a sense of community, even as they feel disenchanted with their local government's performance, a new poll shows. The survey, by the Public Policy Institute of California and the School of Policy, Planning and Development at USC, found increasing frustration with government on both the county and city levels.
It now takes 55 government agencies and private water companies to distribute Orange County's water supply. Is that efficient government? Throughout the state, there are 72 recreation and park districts--more than the 58 California counties--working every day to maintain the "quality of community life" for 8 million Californians. Does that mean that more government is better? And by the way, who needs county government?
October 29, 2003 | Jessica Garrison, Nancy Vogel, Times Staff Writers
State and local officials estimated Tuesday that battling the runaway fires in Southern California had drained tens of millions of dollars so far from their already stressed budgets. Thousands of local firefighters and police, as well as traffic, animal services and even parks employees have been thrown into the battle against 10 major brush fires. The tab includes the costs of overtime, fuel and potential equipment losses.
September 14, 2013 | Lee Romney
As a City Council member here, Libby Schaaf is notified each time someone is shot. That, it turns out, occurs several times each day. It is a relentless reminder of Oakland's sweeping public safety crisis: So far this year there have been 3,026 gun crimes in this city just shy of 400,000 residents, which tops the list of the state's most dangerous. Extreme conditions, reasoned Schaaf -- among the public officials who recently attended the wrenching funeral of an 8-year-old girl strafed with gunfire at a slumber party -- require exceptional measures.
September 3, 2013 | By Mark Z. Barabak
OAKLEY, Calif. - Randy Pope is a conservative-tinged libertarian with a strong aversion to big government and the nanny state he sees "growing, growing, growing. " "I can't choose which toilet I want to put in my house. I can't choose which light bulb I want to illuminate my living room," he says, ticking off the outrages on his meaty fingers. "I can't choose which shower head I'm going to use when I'm bathing. " Pope is a city councilman in this Democratic-leaning suburb on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and if that seems unusual given his rightward bent, he is not alone.
August 21, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - This has been absurd. There should be an easier way to yank a shamed, politically impotent sexual predator from a mayor's office. There is, of course. Bob Filner could have - should have - resigned as San Diego mayor weeks ago. He should have slinked off soon after so many women - at least 16 now - tagged him as a sexual creep. After the accusations of gropes, slobbering kisses and sexual innuendoes by female city employees, political aides, business execs, college officials, military sexual assault victims and a retired admiral.
June 29, 2013 | By Robert Kuttner
America's failure to solve the continuing mortgage crisis is the most serious lapse in the aftermath of the 2008 subprime meltdown. Several decades of increased homeownership rates in working-class and minority communities have been wiped out. Most homeowners who lost equity, or their homes, were not speculators but innocent bystanders caught in the downdraft of the housing prices that followed. The Obama administration's mortgage relief program has helped only about 10% of the more than 13 million households still at risk of foreclosure because of "underwater" mortgages - those worth more than the value of the homes.
June 23, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - You don't normally see politicians who are firmly planted in their positions suddenly do acrobatic 180-degree turns. But last week was very abnormal in California's Capitol. Odds are what happened won't be repeated for a long while. It showed the power of public pressure - and the dexterity of successful politicians quick to recognize the need to backpedal . Actually, it was entertaining to watch. In sum, first the Assembly speaker, then the Senate leader and governor, reversed course rather than continue to take heavy flak.
June 20, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Facing a growing outcry, Gov. Jerry Brown abandoned a plan Thursday that threatened to reduce public access to government records. Brown had been poised to sign a measure, passed by the Legislature as part of the budget last week, that would have freed local governments from requirements to provide records to Californians quickly and in electronic form. Brown sought the change because making compliance optional would remove the state's obligation to reimburse local authorities for their efforts, potentially saving the state tens of millions of dollars.
October 31, 1999 | Sam Quinones, Sam Quinones, an Alicia Patterson fellow for 1998, is working on a book about Mexico
Natural disasters have a way of exposing the weaknesses of Mexico's political system. The torrential rains and floods that hit central and Gulf Coast Mexico this month show how antiquated, inefficient and dangerous the system of governance is. The tropical storm that swept across the states of Puebla, Hidalgo, Veracruz and Tabasco earlier this month was devastating enough.
June 3, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Lawmakers on Monday voted to allow the public to be excluded from certain gatherings that include the governor and county officials. The state Senate sent to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk a measure created in reaction to a legal opinion by a county prosecutor. The official said a private 2011 meeting between Brown and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors violated the public's right to see government business being conducted. At that closed-door meeting, Brown and the supervisors discussed his controversial plan, dubbed "realignment," to begin holding nonviolent felons and certain other low-level offenders in county jails rather than send them to state lockups.
May 30, 2013 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles International Airport landed in court again Thursday when a labor union, four local governments and a neighborhood coalition filed lawsuits challenging the latest round of construction being performed at the aging facility, including a controversial plan to relocate the northernmost runway closer to homes. The cases allege that Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, violated state laws that require thorough evaluations of the environmental effects of projects as well as measures to reduce adverse impacts.
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