Pact would end battle over firing problem teachers

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After three years of bitter disputes, a deal appears to have been reached in the state legislature that would make it easier for school districts in California to fire teachers accused of abusing students. Democratic Assembly member Joan Buchanan hammered out the agreement with the California Teachers Association and an education reform group called “EdVoice.” Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill by Buchanan last year, but she says the governor is on board this time around. The compromise legislation would shorten the dismissal process for teachers accused of child abuse, sexual abuse or certain drug crimes. Critics say it would still be too difficult to fire incompetent teachers under the bill.

capitolIt could be a challenge for California incumbents in this year’s mid-term Congressional elections. A Field Poll finds voters here are highly dissatisfied with what’s happening on Capitol Hill. Just 13 percent give Congress passing marks, while 80 percent disapprove of its performance. The numbers are not quite so stark when state voters rank the performance of their own representative. But even then, support is tepid – just 46 percent. The poll says Republicans are more likely to be dissatisfied with the status quo – and those who identify with the Tea Party are most critical of the work being done by Congress.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation recently dropped a bid to ask voters to create a new health department in the city of L.A. – separate from the larger county agency. Now the AIDS group and others are trying to qualify a ballot measure this November that would establish a 15-member commission to oversee the L.A. County Health Department. Backers have submitted a petition with more than 100,000 signatures – far more than are needed to qualify. They say the commission would give residents of the city of L.A. more say in how healthcare is delivered. Jonathan Fielding – head of the County Health Department – calls the ballot initiative “a bureaucratic solution in search of a problem.”

CHINAFILMEXPOAs film and television production deals grow deeper and more lucrative between Hollywood and China, plans are moving forward for a first of its kind entertainment industry exposition this fall in Los Angeles. The goal of the U.S. China Film and TV Industry Expo will be to broaden business and production relationships between film and television communities in each country. China generated more than  $3.5 billion in box office revenue last year. It’s now the largest international market for American films. The Expo will be held in September at the L.A. Convention Center.

lakemerittHow does Pepsi Park strike you? Or how about Zuckerberg Zoo? That could be the future in Oakland. Officials in the cash-strapped city are considering letting corporations and wealthy individuals buy the naming rights to city-owned parks and gardens. In exchange, sponsors would have to spruce up the parks and keep them maintained. The city estimates its parks need about $110 million in repairs – but there’s no money in the budget to pay for them. The naming rights idea is still being debated and no decision has been made yet on whether to go forward.