June 12, 2013 |
Often, by the end of an election, the weaknesses of the existing campaign finance laws have become evident, and the need to update them has been made clear by the ways those weaknesses have been exploited. That is certainly the case with Los Angeles' most recent city elections. Some of the problems are not fixable locally. The explosive rise of independent expenditures, for instance, is constitutionally protected. The Supreme Court has held that the 1st Amendment protects the right of individuals, unions and corporations to spend unlimited sums on a political race, so long as the spending is not made directly to (or coordinated with)
June 7, 2013 |
Many Californians have helped their schools in recent years by voting for bonds to build and refurbish campuses. For the most part, the investment in schools has been necessary and right, but that doesn't mean voters always got their full money's worth. As Times staff writer Dan Weikel reported this week, many school districts have gotten around the state's prohibitions on spending public money for bond campaigns by forging relationships with companies that stand to benefit when the bond is issued - underwriters or building contractors.
June 6, 2013 |
Under pressure from lawmakers and flight attendants, the Transportation Security Administration said it would indefinitely prohibit passengers from carrying small pocket knives on planes - a ban that began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The decision is a dramatic reversal for TSA chief John Pistole. Two months ago he decided to lift the ban, saying the move would enable airport security officers to focus on bigger threats, such as explosives. Just days before the TSA planned to lift the ban April 25, Pistole said he was temporarily putting off the policy change to consider the comments and concerns of a security panel made up of pilots, flight attendants and other airline workers.
May 31, 2013 |
Starbucks is breaking up the love affair between smokers and their joe. The classic pairing of coffee and cigarettes will be no more at the java giant, which beginning June 1 will prohibit anyone up to 25 feet from a Starbucks store from lighting up. The Seattle giant already bans smoking inside its cafes. But spokeswoman Jaime Riley said the expanded rule stems from “a sense of responsibility to provide customers with a safe and healthy environment.” The new decree applies to all 7,000 company-owned stores within the U.S. and Canada, regardless of whether the cafes feature outdoor seating.
May 24, 2013 |
Question: Our cooperative homeowners association has an election for two of seven board members next month. As members we all received ballots recently, which we are instructed can be voted by mail (appropriate envelopes for secret ballot were enclosed) or handed in at the annual meeting. I mailed my ballot, with a vote for a candidate who then announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy. In light of that, I would like to re-vote. The board says that it is probably illegal and not practical to pull my original ballot and give me a new one. Is this fair or correct?
May 23, 2013 |
GRAPEVINE, Texas - In an emotionally charged vote Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay youth starting in January next year, the latest sign of a shift in American attitudes toward gays and lesbians. After months of debate in local districts, more than 61% of the Boy Scouts national council approved a resolution at its annual meeting overturning the long-standing prohibition on openly gay youth, while retaining a ban on gay adult leaders. Of 1,232 votes, 757 were in favor.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 16, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - State lawmakers advanced measures related to firearms and violence Thursday, including two introduced after the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. One would require gun owners to keep their firearms locked away if they live with someone prohibited by law from using guns. The bill provides for sentences as long as three years and a fine of $10,000 for anyone convicted of allowing such a person access to guns if death or great bodily injury resulted.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 16, 2013 |
Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) that would prevent cities from ticketing motorists who park at broken meters sailed through the state Assembly on Thursday. Assembly Bill 61 passed on a 71-0 vote and now heads to the state Senate, where it will be assigned to a policy committee, Gatto's office said Thursday. In a statement, Gatto said the legislation was meant to ensure that the maximum number of parking spots remain available for drivers. “Forcing someone to aimlessly drive around in search of a parking spot when there are perfectly good spots available is not good for the driver or for the environment,” he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2013 |
Responding to new technology, state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) says he will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of 3-D printing devices to make usable firearms. Yee said he is alarmed by news reports that a plastic firearm has been designed and made with a 3-D printer and was able to fire bullets. A 3-D printer extrudes layers of plastic to produce almost any three-dimensional shape desired. Yee is concerned that guns made with 3-D printers can be untraceable and made by people who do not undergo background checks.
April 22, 2013 |
I know that Prohibition didn't work. But sometimes I get nostalgic for it anyway. And I'm thinking that, today, Reese Witherspoon and Al Michaels might agree. By now you've seen the headlines about their misadventures with demon rum. If you're a news junkie, you might even have read the stories. If you're under 30, you've checked out the tweets -- which, I'm told, is just as good if not better than reading whole stories, like us old fogies do. (An aside here: Did you catch the wonderful documentary about “ All the President's Men ” and Watergate on Sunday?