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Senior Advisor

October 6, 2013 | By Anh Do
The men had just finished their thick steaks and were starting to smoke cigars while artichoke hearts warmed on the grill. A plate of mooncakes awaited them nearby. On a sunny afternoon in the backyard of his home in the hills of Orange, Van Tran plots his political comeback. Once California's highest-ranking Vietnamese American politician, riding a wave of activism in the immigrant community where he came of age, Tran was bounced to the sidelines in 2010 when a veteran congresswoman, Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana)
August 6, 2013 | By Michael Finnegan
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has named Rick Jacobs, a Democratic organizer who raised more than $2 million to help him win the May election, as one of his senior advisors at City Hall. Garcetti's appointment of Jacobs is the latest in a series of top-tier City Hall jobs awarded to key supporters of the mayor's campaign. Jacobs' title, deputy chief of staff for operations, belies the clout he is likely to wield as an outspoken player in the upper ranks of California politics and a longtime friend of Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland.
August 5, 2013 | By Maria L. LaGanga and Lee Romney
Gov. Jerry Brown is urging both sides in the BART standoff to reach an agreement to avoid a strike in “the strongest terms possible.” The sides need to “meet quickly and as long as necessary to get this dispute resolved,” Brown said Sunday. The governor also announced that he has appointed a board to investigate the disagreement between labor leaders and Bay Area Rapid Transit and that it should report back to him within seven days. The move should keep the trains rolling for at least another week, and possibly longer.
July 9, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that top advisor Ron Dermer will become the country's next ambassador to the United States. Dermer is expected to replace Ambassador Michael Oren, whose four-year term ends this fall. Dermer worked closely with Netanyahu as a senior advisor during the last four years. “Ron Dermer has all the qualities to successfully fill this important post,” Netanyahu said Tuesday. Dermer, who is from Florida, moved to Israel in 1997.
May 29, 2013 | By Lisa Girion
Despite the state Senate's failure to pass a bill Tuesday that would have improved a prescription-drug monitoring program, a spokesman for Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said the state's top law enforcement official was hopeful that the measure would succeed this week. The bill would create a steady financing for CURES, as the state's prescription drug monitoring program is known, by raising licensing fees on pharmacists and on doctors and other prescribers. The program is seen as key to preventing prescription-drug addiction and overdoses by identifying doctor-shopping patients an the physicians who cater to them.
April 20, 2013 | By Hailey Branson Potts
In the wake of the Boston bombing, Muslims "find ourselves in that very awkward and uncomfortable place," said Mather Hathout, the senior advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In a sermon at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, Hathout told worshipers before Friday prayers to expect questions from non-Muslims. "People will come to you … to find answers, and they have that right," he said. "Life is not fair. You will be put in that position … [of people asking]
April 10, 2013 | By Jenny Hendrix
David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, is joining the list of  one-time Obama administration officials who will be penning memoirs next year, Penguin Press has announced . Other Obama administration officials with books on the way include former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Axelrod's book is scheduled for a fall 2014 release. "Over the past 30 years as a journalist, political consultant and senior advisor to the President, David Axelrod has had a front-row seat to our political process at every level," Penguin Press editor-in-chief Ann Godoff said in a statement, "His idealism is infectious and his storytelling gifts are prodigious.
April 9, 2013 | By Ned Parker and Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - An Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group in Iraq has united with one of Syria's most-feared Islamic opposition groups in a vivid display of how the two-year Syrian civil war has emboldened extremists across the two countries' borders. The group known as the Islamic State of Iraq also revealed its formative role in creating Al Nusra Front, or Jabhat al Nusra, a Syrian group conceived last year that the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization, according to an announcement posted on militant websites late Monday.
April 4, 2013 | By Seema Mehta
Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, long rumored to be considering a challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown, filed paperwork Thursday that allows him to begin raising money for a gubernatorial campaign. Maldonado, 45, is a Republican who previously was elected to the state Senate and Assembly and was mayor of Santa Maria, where he lives. As a state senator, he was among a handful of GOP legislators to cross party lines to vote for a tax increase in 2009. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger subsequently appointed him lieutenant governor.
March 26, 2013 | By A Times Staff Writer
Laguna Police Department officials said they don't plan to file any charges after a dog belonging to the stepdaughter of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords killed a sea lion in Laguna Beach over the weekend. Police did not cite the owner “because it was legal for her to have the dog on the beach this time of year, and she did have it leashed. It was so strong that it pulled free of her when it saw the [sea lion],” said Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz. It's illegal for an owner to encourage a dog to attack marine life.
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