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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 12, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
The Los Angeles City Council took its first step Wednesday to explore whether beekeeping should be allowed in residential zones, asking city staff to report back on the idea. Backyard beekeepers want Los Angeles to join New York, Santa Monica and other cities that allow residents to keep hives at home. Existing Los Angeles city codes do not allow beekeeping in residential zones, according to city planning officials. Beekeeping has nonetheless blossomed among Angelenos worried about the health of honeybees and devoted to urban farming.
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NEWS
February 12, 2014 | By Jon Healey
Organized labor has become a fixture in U.S. politics and elections, donating money and manpower mainly to Democratic candidates. So it shouldn't surprise anyone when Republican officeholders try to persuade workers not to join a union. That's happening now in Tennessee, where the United Auto Workers union is trying to persuade workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga to join its ranks. And while it seems perfectly fair for pols to urge workers to reject a union in this week's vote, some elected officials in Tennessee appear to be taking their advocacy a step too far. State Sen. Bo Watson, the Speaker pro tem, said Monday that if workers voted to unionize, it would jeopardize any future financial incentives the state might offer VW. That's no small threat; federal, state and local governments ponied up more than half a billion dollars' worth of aid for the initial 1,400-acre plant , which employs 3,200 workers.
NEWS
February 12, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- Congress gave final approval Wednesday to legislation allowing more federal borrowing to pay the nation's bills, ending the last three years of partisan brinkmanship over the debt limit, but not without a last-minute protest led by tea party Republicans in the Senate. Overcoming a crucial hurdle, the Senate voted, 67-31, to advance the bill, only after top GOP leaders switched their positions to push past hard-line Republicans in a dramatic hourlong ordeal. The Senate easily adopted the bill on a final party-line vote, 55-43, with two Republicans absent as a snowstorm was poised to hit the capital.
OPINION
February 12, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The House Republican leadership did the right thing Tuesday, allowing the chamber to approve a bill that would raise the debt ceiling for one year unconditionally. The move doesn't end the fight over federal budget deficits and the growing national debt. It just allows the debate to continue without causing needless damage to the economy. Congress committed itself in December to borrow more than the current $17-trillion limit when it adopted a bipartisan budget that included more than half a trillion in deficit spending.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- With more than half the votes counted Tuesday night, Councilman Kevin Faulconer had a sizable lead over Councilman David Alvarez in the special election to replace former Mayor Bob Filner. Faulconer, 47, a Republican, was leading Alvarez, 33, a Democrat, by 57% to 43% among the 166,599 ballots that were mailed in or brought to the elections' department before Tuesday's balloting. Assuming that the overall turnout is in the range of 40%, as many political pros expect, those 166,599 ballots would account for about 60% of the overall vote.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2014 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
The West Hollywood City Council has responded to growing criticism over the removal of a rainbow flag atop City Hall by agreeing to a compromise. The rainbow flag - raised above City Hall in June - will stay down. But the city will hang a new flag that incorporates rainbow colors into the city logo, a rough geographic outline of the municipality. Council members agreed to the change at a meeting last week. "This has been a very exciting debate," said Mayor Pro Tem John D'Amico.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2014 | By Jean Merl
In an early test of candidate strength in the race for a Westside/South Bay congressional seat, state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) won decisive support from local Democratic activists Sunday. Lieu took 73% of the vote at a pre-endorsement conference, giving him strong odds of winning the California Democratic Party's backing at its convention next month. Lieu is vying in an already crowded field to replace Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), who recently announced his retirement. Former L.A. Controller Wendy Greuel, viewed by many as Lieu's main competition, received seven votes to Lieu's 59. Fourteen delegates voted for "no endorsement.
OPINION
February 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Of course the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and several religious groups sued L.A. County. Why wouldn't they? County supervisors voted last month to add a Christian cross, an unmistakable symbol of one religious faith, to the county seal, an official symbol of government. Blending the Christian symbol into the government one signals an impermissible intertwining of church and state. It practically begs for a lawsuit. Now what's this going to cost us in legal fees?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
A group of religious leaders filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Los Angeles County over a Board of Supervisors' decision to place a cross on the county's seal. Supervisors voted 3 to 2 last month to add the cross to the top of the San Gabriel Mission as it appears on the county emblem, which is displayed on buildings, vehicles and official written communications. Years ago, the board had removed a cross from the seal when a similar suit was threatened. The complaint filed Thursday argues that restoring the cross violates the state and U.S. constitutions because it "favors the Christian religion over all other religions and divides County residents by religion and by adherence or non-adherence to religious beliefs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Three Republican state senators called Tuesday for an immediate vote on expelling state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) a week after he was found guilty of eight felony charges including perjury and voter fraud. Steve Knight of Palmdale, Joel Anderson of San Diego and Andy Vidak of Hanford said in a letter to the state Senate Democratic leader that action is required to show “respect to the public and reverence for the laws.” Prosecutors said Wright lied about living in his Senate district when he ran for office and a jury agreed, but Senate Democrats have delayed an expulsion vote to allow the judge in the case to rule on a Wright motion that the jury verdict is improper.
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