FROM Jack Dolan
How LA cops and firefighters get rich after reaching retirement age Los Angeles police and firefighters can retire at age 50 and collect their pension, which is 90 percent of their salary for the rest of their lives. If they sign up for The Deferred Retirement Option Plan, they can collect even more money. The Los Angeles Times investigated how much money the city is spending on the DROP program, and discovered that many cops and firefighters may be abusing the program with bogus injury claims.
Old law keeps taxpayers on the hook for state employee pensions In 1999, former Governor Gray Davis signed a law called SB-400; and just like that, prison guards, park rangers, the highway patrol and other state workers were suddenly entitled to the kind of pensions most of us can only dream about. For instance, some CHP officers can retire at age 50 and still make $96,000 a year. Proponents of the bill said it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny, but they were wrong . Those pensions will cost California taxpayers $5.4 billion this year – more than the state will spend on the drought, emergency response, and fighting wildfires combined.
Cleaning Up the Country’s Busiest Port There’s an ongoing effort to clean up the air around the busiest port in America, in San Pedro. Ships that run on diesel fuel spew so much pollution, the cancer rates for nearby residents are more than double the rates are for people living in other coastal communities. So a decade ago, port officials spent millions of dollars to convert Chinese ships to electric power. But once the ships received that upgrade, many of them stopped using the port. They went elsewhere, and the ships that replaced them still run on diesel. Now what?
Police Shootings Police here in Southern California shot four people over the weekend, three of whom died. That’s not out of the norm, given the statistics. According to a new investigation by the Los Angeles Times , more than 2,000 people have been shot by police in six Southern California counties since 2004. Out of all those shootings, only one officer was prosecuted. And he was acquitted. We hear from a reporter who uncovered these statistics.
LA's Department of Water and Power: Who's in Charge? LA's Department of Water and Power is the biggest utility of its kind in the country, but it's had five managers in the past seven years. Last week, Ron Nichols announced his resignation, raising a host of questions. Among them, why can't he or Brian D'Arcy — business manager of the city's most powerful union — reveal how $40 million in public money is being spent. Jack Dolan is following the story for the Los Angeles Times .
Grand Jury Investigation of LA County Assessor Underway Months of investigation have turned into a grand jury investigation of LA County Assessor John Noguez. Along with the DA and the Sheriff, he was elected countywide. He's now on paid leave pending potential criminal charges. Jack Dolan is covering the story for the LA Times .
Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé Morgan Parker says that the poems in her book There Are Things More Beautiful than Beyoncé take a stand against the clichés of the dominant culture.
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?