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.
100 days of executive action: Accomplishment or posturing? President Trump's first 100 days have featured a flood of high-profile executive orders. Which ones do what he says they do, and which ones don't? How are Trump voters feeling now?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?