FROM Phil Willon
Are California Cities on the Ropes? The San Bernardino City Council met last night to talk about financial problems and bankruptcy was on the agenda, but nobody expected what actually happened. By a vote of 4-to-2 the council voted to seek protection from the city's creditors. Mayor Patrick Morris said the only alternative to bankruptcy would be "draconian cuts to all city services," even police and fire. They couldn't make the payroll. San Bernardino joins Mammoth Lakes and Stockton as California's third bankrupt city in just the past few weeks.
Riverside Jail Inmates Pay to Stay The Riverside County Counsel told the Board of Supervisors that most convicted criminals don't have jobs or assets of any kind. Nevertheless, the Board agreed to join several other counties in charging feels to convicts for time spent in county jail. Phil Willon reports for the Los Angeles Times .
Hundred-Million-Dollar School Sits Empty in Riverside Hillcrest High in Riverside's Alvord Unified School District is the perfect model for California's failures in public education. District voters overwhelmingly approved $105 million to build a campus with wireless Internet, a robotics lab, digital smart boards in every classroom and a well-designed performance hall. Hillcrest is finally available but students can't go there, as Phil Willon reported in today's Los Angeles Times .
Showdown over a Planned Mosque in Temecula Valley Sarah Palin has made headlines — and punch lines — by asking New Yorkers to “ refudiate ” the building of a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero. Now, there’s some controversy over a proposed mosque in Temecula, a town in rural Riverside County. In the Los Angeles Times, Phil Willon reports that the Islamic Center of the Temecula Valley has been a presence in the city for more than ten years and wants to move to better quarters.
Log Cabin Republicans Challenge 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' A federal lawsuit playing out in Riverside County will test the constitutionality of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The suit by Log Cabin Republicans comes as the Pentagon conducts a massive study on the issue of gays in the military. Will the issues decided in Riverside render that study moot? Los Angeles Times reporter Phil Willon was in the courtroom today.
Owens Lake Solar Project Mired in Caustic Mud An ambitious plan to bring power from California's Owens Valley to Los Angeles has run into problems. The LA Department of Water and Power had hoped to put solar panel platforms on an 80-acre site in the Owens dry lake bed, but has run into geological, wind, and political problems as Phil Willon reports in today's Los Angeles Times .
LA City Council Votes to Punish Arizona The LA City Council cuts future financial ties with Arizona today, officially protesting Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration by voting to ban both official travel to that state and future contracts with companies there.
City to Cut Watchdog Programs to Save Layoffs The LA City Council's trying to close a $530 million shortfall in a $7 billion budget, and major cuts are expected. The big stuff includes possible layoffs, a reduction in hiring new police officers and closing parks and libraries. But some relatively “little” things, including cuts to the Ethics Commission , are raising political questions. Created by a vote of the people, it's being slashed by almost 18% percent compared to an average of less than 10% across the board. Another proposal that has raised a firestorm of protests would cut the budget of neighborhood councils from $50,000 to as low as $11,200.
Villaraigosa Proposes 10% Salary Cuts Citywide With every source of revenue down, Mayor Villaraigosa released his plan for “ shared sacrifice ” today. His budget is one percent smaller than last year’s, and it features cuts in services as well as hard choices for unionized city workers. Reporter Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times has more.
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."