FROM Marc Lifsher
California’s Courtship of Tesla Motors Tesla is churning out its electrically powered cars in the Bay Area — a “green” product in what claims to be the “greenest” state in the nation. Now Tesla wants to build a new battery plant… starting in 30 days. That would require big changes in California’s Environmental Quality Act, but negotiations reportedly are under way in the office of Governor Brown.
CA Insurance Commissioner Race Boils Down to Power Debate Democrat Dave Jones is running for re-election as California Insurance Commissioner . His opponents are Republican State Senator Ted Gaines and Peace and Freedom candidate Nathalie Hrizi . There's not much interest in next week's primary, but there's a lot at stake for November.
Next Week's Election… and Your Money Whoever's elected as California’s Insurance Commissioner next week will have a lot to say about how much you pay to insure your property. We look at the candidates.
Campaign Spending: Trial Lawyers and the Insurance Industry California's Insurance Commissioner is an elected official who overseas a $124 billion market of automobile, home and life insurance. Federal healthcare reform could provide even more power to Sacramento Democrat Dave Jones or Mike Villines of Fresno. Ten years ago, Republican Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quakenbush was run out of California. After taking $8 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry, he allowed victims of the Northridge earthquake to get far less than they were entitled to. Jones and Villines, both termed-out assembly members running to be Commissioner, have said they won't take insurance-company money. Both claim to be pro-consumer, but their attitudes toward new regulations on health insurance are starkly different.
The Trouble with CalPERS The California Public Employees Retirement System is the biggest thing of its kind in the country with $200 billion in assets. CalPERS, as it's called, has been a model for big investors and a champion of good corporate governance. Now its reputation is under assault because of big losses from bad investments and potential conflicts of interest. Today's Los Angeles Times reports that CalPERS continued doing business with two hedge fund advisors for two years after contracts had run out.
Big Fires Raise Big Questions about Money Firefighters got a break from the weather today as clouds moved in and increased the humidity. At a command center today, Governor Schwarzenegger congratulated firefighters who are being sorely tested by so many blazes in so many places. So far, state and local budget shortfalls have not reduced state and local resources. But fire season is just beginning.
Republicans Vote against Extension of Unemployment Benefits Unemployment in California is running at 10.1%. In Sacramento last night the State Assembly spent hours deciding whether to accept $2.5 billion in federal dollars for 20 additional weeks of benefits. By one vote… the measure failed. Marc Lifsher reports from the Capitol for the Los Angeles Times .
Politics and Labor in an Election Year Mayor Villaraigosa may be a child of the union movement, but he couldn't stop today's first strike in a generation by his own city employees. Hundreds of Los Angeles' engineers and architects walked off their jobs today at crime labs, sewage treatment plants, animal shelters and airports. Union members picketed City Hall and other municipal buildings. Meantime, Governor Schwarzenegger may be a Republican, but he's defied some business interests in a deal with Democrats to raise the minimum wage . You can't tell political players anymore – even with a program! We thread our way through a changing political environment.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.