Today’s News: Riordan drops pension measure, San Bernardino cuts deep; LAUSD loses ‘Race to Top’

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Retiring type. Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan says his team simply didn’t have the time it needed to collect the nearly 300,000 signatures required to qualify a pension reform measure for the May ballot. Riordan has abandoned the effort. His measure would have scaled back benefits for current city workers and required new hires to accept a 410(k)-style retirement plan instead of a guaranteed payout. Riordan considered trying for the 2014 ballot but instead told KCRW’s Warren Olney that he’s exploring other options. Which Way, L.A.?

Austerity plan. A divided San Bernardino City Council voted to slash $26 million from its budget and defer another $35 million in debt payments. San Bernardino announced declared insolvency this summer. The spending plan passed 5-2. It’s a required step in the federal bankruptcy process. But it doesn’t entirely close a budget hole estimated at $46 million this year. San Bernardino Sun

Top-less. L.A. Unified didn’t qualify for a high-profile federal grant. But a local charter school organization is still in the running. Green Dot Public Schools operates 18 charters, and is still a contender for a prestigious “Race to the Top” $30 million, four-year grant. That money would help the district boost  science and social studies offerings and expand its use of technology. L-A Unified applied for a $40 million grant, but it failed to get the teachers union on board. L.A. Times

Failing grade. California is in the bottom half of U.S. states when it comes to high school graduation rates. The U.S. Department of Education says California is 32nd in overall, with 76 percent of its 2010-2011 class graduating. New federal rankings are supposed to better account for pupils who drop out or don’t earn a regular high school diploma. L.A. Times

Ailing sheriff. Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens says she’ll stay on the job as she battles breast cancer – and she’s optimistic about her chances for a full recovery. Hutchens says her doctors are planning an aggressive treatment program that involves chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. She’s vowing to stay focused on work – and says she’ll run for a second term next year. Orange County Register

End game. It appears Betsy Butler’s first term in the state Assembly will be her last, at least for the time being. Santa Monica Mayor and fellow Democrat Richard Bloom has doubled his slim lead over Butler in the latest tally of votes for the Westside Assembly seat. Bloom is now leading by 900 votes. That’s still less than one percentage point, but state officials say there are few votes left to count. Sacramento Bee

No jokes. The Writers Guild of America is ordering writers on some Comedy Central shows to stop going to work. The union says the cable network hired writers on more than two dozen projects earlier this year without securing deals with the guild. The WGA didn’t say which shows were involved. The union has negotiated agreements with the network for its top-rated programs, including “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and the “Colbert Report.” L.A. Times

Vulnerable youth. County Supervisors will consider a plan today to create L.A.’s first sex trafficking task force. Supervisor Michael Antonovich introduced the motion. The Daily News reports the goal is to develop a plan to prevent foster youths from turning to prostitution and to help current child sex workers extricate themselves from sex-trafficking rings. The task force would collaborate with law enforcement agencies and social service organizations.L.A. Daily News

Injured fan. The city of San Francisco wants more than $1 million from the Dodgers to cover unpaid medical costs for Bryan Stow. He’s the San Francisco Giants fan who suffered brain injuries when he was beaten up in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on opening day in 2011. San Francisco is seeking reimbursement for bills not covered by Stow’s medical insurance. S.F. Chronicle