FROM Jack Dolan
Old law keeps taxpayers on the hook for state employee pensions In 1999, former Governor Gray Davis signed a law called SB-400; and just like that, prison guards, park rangers, the highway patrol and other state workers were suddenly entitled to the kind of pensions most of us can only dream about. For instance, some CHP officers can retire at age 50 and still make $96,000 a year. Proponents of the bill said it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny, but they were wrong . Those pensions will cost California taxpayers $5.4 billion this year – more than the state will spend on the drought, emergency response, and fighting wildfires combined.
Cleaning Up the Country’s Busiest Port There’s an ongoing effort to clean up the air around the busiest port in America, in San Pedro. Ships that run on diesel fuel spew so much pollution, the cancer rates for nearby residents are more than double the rates are for people living in other coastal communities. So a decade ago, port officials spent millions of dollars to convert Chinese ships to electric power. But once the ships received that upgrade, many of them stopped using the port. They went elsewhere, and the ships that replaced them still run on diesel. Now what?
Police Shootings Police here in Southern California shot four people over the weekend, three of whom died. That’s not out of the norm, given the statistics. According to a new investigation by the Los Angeles Times , more than 2,000 people have been shot by police in six Southern California counties since 2004. Out of all those shootings, only one officer was prosecuted. And he was acquitted. We hear from a reporter who uncovered these statistics.
LA's Department of Water and Power: Who's in Charge? LA's Department of Water and Power is the biggest utility of its kind in the country, but it's had five managers in the past seven years. Last week, Ron Nichols announced his resignation, raising a host of questions. Among them, why can't he or Brian D'Arcy — business manager of the city's most powerful union — reveal how $40 million in public money is being spent. Jack Dolan is following the story for the Los Angeles Times .
Grand Jury Investigation of LA County Assessor Underway Months of investigation have turned into a grand jury investigation of LA County Assessor John Noguez. Along with the DA and the Sheriff, he was elected countywide. He's now on paid leave pending potential criminal charges. Jack Dolan is covering the story for the LA Times .
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
Why did Jared Kushner want a back channel with Russians? News broke Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, tried setting up a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government. What are the consequences for Kushner, President Trump, and the investigation into Russian meddling?
How do Trump supporters feel about the Paris Accord? Globally and around the U.S., there are strong opinions whether or not the Paris Climate Accord is a good idea. The American exit is either a horrifying abdication of American leadership or a forceful and long overdue statement about U.S. sovereignty.