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October 23, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb
Angela Spaccia, the former second-in-command in the scandal-plagued city of Bell, went on trial Wednesday in a case that could establish who was the mastermind of the wrongdoing that made the working-poor city a symbol for municipal graft. In opening statements, Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman told jurors that the extreme salaries in Bell were based on a "secret formula the public could never find out. " Spaccia has pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of public corruption. FULL COVERAGE: Corruption in Bell The former administrator is the last of eight onetime city leaders and elected officials in Bell to go on trial in the sweeping corruption case, which exploded in 2010 when the city's huge salaries and generous benefit packages were exposed Spaccia has said that her former boss, Robert Rizzo, was behind the wrongdoing in the Los Angeles County city.
October 16, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before dreading another argument with my bank. The Skinny: My bank thinks my account has been compromised. I think I know what happened but finding someone to explain it to is making me feel like Kafka. Most annoying. Today's headlines include a list of the highest paid TV stars and creative differences over a movie about Noah's Ark. Also a profile of 20th Century Fox Television toppers Gary Newman and Dana Walden. Daily Dose: The controversy over the name Redskins shows no signs of slowing down and some reporters won't even use the name anymore.
October 3, 2013 | By Steve Lopez
In January of 2011, the attorney representing Robert Rizzo told me his client would beat the 69 public corruption charges against him. Citizens had a right to be ticked off about the Bell administrator's staggering $800,000 a year in compensation, lawyer Jim Spertus said, but no crimes had been committed. Now Spertus is singing a different tune, and apparently, Rizzo will be doing his own singing, soon. "Mr. Rizzo wants to make amends to the citizens of Bell for engaging in wrongdoing," Spertus said in explaining Rizzo's surprise "no contest" plea today, a week before scheduled jury selection, "and we've been able to negotiate a fair and just outcome that will hopefully establish that Ms. Spaccia was the mastermind behind all the greed that led to the charges.
September 13, 2013 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I'm 64 and lost my last full-time job a year ago. I have since exhausted my unemployment benefits and been on and off food stamps. (I'm waiting to get back on them right now because my temporary-to-permanent job didn't become permanent after all.) Fortunately I almost never need to go to a doctor, or if I do, I don't know that I do and can't afford to find out. I have about $3,000 in emergency savings, and my IRA is about $15,000. I was fortunate enough to sell a home in Hawaii 20 years ago, but I managed to run through all the money.
August 31, 2013 | By Jeff Gottlieb
When a pair of graduate students from little-known Brandman University dug out the salaries of top administrators at all 34 cities in Orange County and made them public, they were showered with praise. Cindy Smith and Janet Voshall testified before the state Legislature, were honored by the county board of supervisors and rode limousines to TV news shows. "I gave them an award because what they did was ethical, valid and honest," Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson said. "Anybody that would question whether that was a righteous thing to do, that would immediately put up a red flag that I should be worried about them.
August 23, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The United States didn't develop its great universities by reducing higher education to equations of graduation rates and job placement. Yet on Thursday, the Obama administration revealed a plan that would push colleges in that very direction and could harm some of the students the president most wants to help. The president's proposal to make higher education "a better bargain" includes some strong elements, especially a public rating system for colleges that will help students make thoughtful choices about which schools are best for them.
August 22, 2013 | By David Zahniser
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will appear at a news conference Thursday to announce details of a proposed four-year salary package for Department of Water and Power workers. The proposal ends weeks of back-and-forth talks between elected officials and the utility's powerful employee union. Garcetti and council President Herb Wesson will appear at the 11:30 a.m. news conference to discuss the proposed contract with Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
August 19, 2013 | By David Zahniser
Amid his first big political battle as Los Angeles mayor, Navy Lt. Eric Garcetti will have to juggle summer duty as a military intelligence officer over the coming weeks. Mayoral spokesman Yusef Robb said Monday that Garcetti has begun two weeks of training as a member of the Navy Reserve - a stint that will send him to a facility in the city of Bell and possibly other locations in Southern California during a portion of each workday. The training comes as council members are growing increasingly vocal about wanting a salary deal with the union that represents Department of Water and Power employees by the end of the month.
August 15, 2013 | By Michael Finnegan and David Zahniser
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday set the stage for a potentially messy confrontation with the City Council, saying he would refuse to sign a proposed salary deal with the politically potent union representing Department of Water and Power workers. Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ran a fierce campaign against Garcetti, whose main argument in the mayoral election in May was that he could be trusted to stand up for DWP ratepayers. In a written statement, Garcetti said the union-endorsed contract proposal included cost savings that were worth pursuing.
August 8, 2013 | By Eric Pincus
The hardest sell at the Staples Center's Team L.A. store might be a Lakers jersey with the name "Cap Room" on the back. "They're a mess," former Lakers coach Phil Jackson said in June. "We know that because of their financial disorder right now, that's the thing they have to get straight right away. " The Lakers haven't been under the NBA's salary cap since before the 1996-97 season, though the franchise has won five titles since then. But with Dwight Howard having gone to Houston and Kobe Bryant facing an uncertain return date from Achilles' tendon surgery, the Lakers' prospects on the court next season are anything but certain.
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