Posts Tagged ‘ city ’

The Woman Some Are Dubbing ‘The Female Barack Obama’

February 10, 2012

By Tim Reid and Aruna Viswanatha Feb 9 (Reuters) – California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a veteran prosecutor with acute political instincts and a reputation for thick skin, gambled big in the settlement negotiations with banks over illegal foreclosures. It’s a gamble that appears to have paid off spectacularly. Harris, whose state has been one of the hardest hit by the U.S. foreclosure crisis, pulled out of talks with the banks last September, saying what they were offering was grossly insufficient. At the time, her office said on Thursday, California was being offered between $2 billion and $4 billion. The gambit carried significant risks. California is a non-judicial foreclosure state, meaning foreclosures can happen outside the court system. Thus there are no court files filled with the notorious “robo-signed” documents, leaving Harris with less leverage than other states in negotiating with the banks. Yet on Thursday, Harris held a press conference in Los Angeles to herald a deal that looks exceptionally favorable to California. Out of the $40 billion in total benefits that are expected to flow from the $25 billion settlement that the banks agreed to pay, California is set to emerge with some $18 billion. Harris wrung a commitment from the banks to reduce loans to distressed homeowners by $9 billion, and to provide $3 billion to assist short sales. Another $6 billion will fund restitution and anti-blight programs, among other things. There are also enforcement and penalty provisions unique to California that Harris said will make sure the banks comply with the terms of the settlement. Harris’ hardball tactics reflect a woman who has prospered in the rough and tumble politics of the Golden State. Born in Oakland, California, she is the daughter of a Tamil mother, a breast cancer specialist who emigrated to the United States in 1960, and a Jamaican American father, a Stanford University economic professor. Her parents divorced when she was a toddler and her mother raised Harris and her sister to be proud African Americans during the tumult of the Civil Rights era. By virtue of her gender and her parentage, Harris is the first female, the first African American and the first Asian American attorney general in California, and the first Tamil American attorney general in the United States. A career prosecutor, she was elected district attorney of San Francisco in 2003 after defeating two-term incumbent Terence Hall. She was re-elected unopposed in 2007. Convictions in San Francisco increased sharply during her tenure. But her unshakeable opposition to the death penalty led to a bitter stand-off with the city’s police department when, just four months into the job, a police officer was gunned down and killed by a gang member and Harris declined to seek the death penalty. She also came under fire when a scandal engulfed the San Francisco crime lab, resulting in the mass dismissal of drug cases. Yet she remained a highly appealing political figure, dubbed “the female Barack Obama” by some wags. In 2010, she prevailed over a weak field to win the Democratic nomination for attorney general, and then barely edged her Republican rival, Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, in the general election. Harris is widely considered to be a likely future candidate for higher office; if the mortgage settlement proceeds as planned, it could ultimately help more than just the troubled homeowners. (Reporting By Tim Reid and Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Richard Chang) More: The Woman Some Are Dubbing ‘The Female Barack Obama’

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Council Allocates Funds for City Projects and Services

February 10, 2012

The City Council unanimously approved funding for a range of city projects and services Tuesday. $2.1 million to Tyler Technologies Inc. to upgrade the city’s finance and human resources computer systems. $253,516 for programs that aid senior citizens and low- to moderate-income Beverly Hills residents. A little more than $180,000 of the total is from this year’s estimated federal Community Development Block Grant, and the rest comes from “unallocated funds remaining from prior years,” according to a report by Human Services Administrator James Latta. $105,720 to purchase four vehicles from Galpin Ford. Two Ford Taurus sedans for the Fire Department and a Ford Edge and Explorer for the Police Department will replace “old and job-worn vehicles,” according to the agenda. $70,000 to Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. to develop “a GIS-based parking demand model and the gathering of the necessary information to begin the population of a citywide commercial parking database,” the council meeting’s agenda states. $53,032 to purchase two motorcycles for the Beverly Hills Police Department from Long Beach BMW Motorcycles. The terms of the purchase mirror the dealership’s agreement with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to a report by the city’s Maintenance Operations Manger Fred Simonson and Fleet Manager Rene Biadoma. $47,492 to purchase a video conference system for firefighter training. $7,200 in the form of credit for future payment obligations to the Beverly Hills Little League and American Youth Soccer Organization to reimburse them for the cost of hiring TruGreen Landcare to hydro-seed areas of La Cienega Park . The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21. B e  sure to follow  Beverly Hills  Patch on  Twitter  and “Like” us on  Facebook . Excerpt from: Council Allocates Funds for City Projects and Services

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Bicyclists in the LBC, Get Schooled on Safety at Free "Bike Rodeos"

February 10, 2012
Bicyclists in the LBC, Get Schooled on Safety at Free "Bike Rodeos"

Long Beach is embracing its bicycle culture , and with more LBC-ers hopping on two wheels to navigate city streets, there’s an increased need for bicycle safety education. To help get everyone riding smart and safe, the City of Long Beach is offering free bike safety clinics. more › Continue reading here: Bicyclists in the LBC, Get Schooled on Safety at Free “Bike Rodeos”

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Well, Duh: State Yanks Credentials for Both Miramonte Teachers Accused of Lewd Acts On Students

February 9, 2012
Well, Duh: State Yanks Credentials for Both Miramonte Teachers Accused of Lewd Acts On Students

Say what you will about how the Los Angeles Unified School District is handling the ongoing investigation into Miramonte Elementary school, but news that the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing has suspended the teaching credential of former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Martin Springer is wholly to be expected. more › Excerpt from: Well, Duh: State Yanks Credentials for Both Miramonte Teachers Accused of Lewd Acts On Students

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EaterWire : Excalibur Medieval Resto Opens, Playa’s Secret Menu, Free Froyo at Menchie’s, More!

February 9, 2012
EaterWire : Excalibur Medieval Resto Opens, Playa’s Secret Menu, Free Froyo at Menchie’s, More!

DOWNTOWN— LAmag reports that a Medieval-themed restaurant called Excalibur opened yesterday across from the Staples Center on Figueroa. According to Facebook the eatery offers “an old-world dining experience” and “guests are encouraged to transform into a knight or fair maiden by dressing in costumes provided in-house and digging into family-style, mouth-watering feasts with their bare hands .” The menu . [LAmag, Facebook] MID-CITY— Did you know that Playa is offering a secret menu through March 31? The three course meal costs $37 and is offering during dinner service. [EaterWire] TORRANCE— Menchie’s froyo opens at Rolling Hills Plaza on February 11. Free froyo for all from 11AM-1PM. [EaterWire] SANTA MONICA— Brad Metzger of Restaurant Solutions has organized a pricey benefit dinner in support of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. The meal takes place on March 18, 6:30PM, at the Restaurant Solutions test kitchen and costs $750 (apparently $650 of that is tax deductible) per person with 15 seats open. The evening includes passed appetizers made by chefs Josiah Citrin (Melisse), Zoe Nathan (Huckleberry), Evan Funke (formerly of Rustic Canyon), and Raphael Lunetta (Jiraffe) followed by a two-course dinner with wine pairings by Baribault Family. RSVP here. [EaterWire] The rest is here: EaterWire : Excalibur Medieval Resto Opens, Playa’s Secret Menu, Free Froyo at Menchie’s, More!

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Contests! : Win 24 Free Dinners from DineLA!

February 2, 2012
Contests! : Win 24 Free Dinners from DineLA!

Here at Eater, whenever possible, we like to give away free shit. Because, hey, why not? Starting right this very second we have a pretty epic dinner series to give away in conjunction with dineLA which is going on right now! Up for grabs is one grand prize of 24 $50 gift cards valid at participating dineLA restaurants. So, the winner will receive $50 gift cards to each of the following restaurants: Xiomara on Melrose, The Strand House, The Roof on Wilshire, Short Order, Rivera, Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse, The Lobster, Michael’s on Naples, Hal’s Bar and Grill, LA Prime, Marrakesh, Morels, Much Ultima Mexicana, Noe Restaurant, Ports O’ Call, The Penthouse at the Huntley, Rosa Mexicano at Sunset Blvd, Rosa Mexicano at LA LIVE, Rush Street, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Beverly Hills, Sake House by Hikari, The Backyard at W Los Angeles – Westwood, The Tam O’ Shanter , and Zengo . All sorts of awesomeness. Want to win? Write to la@eater.com by 5 PM this Friday when dineLA wraps, and prove to us that you are the biggest foodie in the city . Be it in writing, photos, a PowerPoint presy, whatever. Anything goes. See original here: Contests! : Win 24 Free Dinners from DineLA!

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Ball of Artists Crashes Greystone Mansion With Nude Party Ball and Clowns Breaking Plates

January 31, 2012

On Saturday night, LAXART and the Getty threw a lavish Ball of Artists, billed as the “culminating event” of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival . See more here: Ball of Artists Crashes Greystone Mansion With Nude Party Ball and Clowns Breaking Plates

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State Assembly Bill Seeks to Disclose Political Ad Donors

January 31, 2012

Public interest groups are urging citizens to back a bill up for a vote Tuesday in the California Assembly that would require the disclosure of large donations to political advertisements shown across the state. Under AB 1148, also known as the  California Disclose Act , the three largest donors to TV, radio, web and printed political advertising must be named. “This would be a huge win for democracy in California, allowing citizens to give proper weight to the different messages they hear and make informed decisions at the ballot box,” MapLight , a nonprofit that tracks the influence of money in politics, wrote in an email message to supporters. The California Chamber of Commerce has announced its opposition, dimming the bill’s prospects, the  San Jose Mercury News stated. Beverly Hills voters who want to share their thoughts on the proposal with 42nd Assembly District representative Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) can contact his office here . (Note: Beverly Hills is joining the  newly created 50th Assembly District  in the November 2012 election due to redistricting. Until then the city is represented by Assemblyman Feuer as part of the 42nd Assembly District.) Be sure to follow  Beverly Hills  Patch on  Twitter  and “Like” us on  Facebook . See the original post here: State Assembly Bill Seeks to Disclose Political Ad Donors

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Local Top Cop Allegedly Fixed a Traffic Ticket For Politician’s Aide

January 27, 2012
Local Top Cop Allegedly Fixed a Traffic Ticket For Politician’s Aide

Lt. Jeff Eley, the acting Chief of Police for the city of San Fernando, has gotten into some hot water and is now under investigation for allegedly making a traffic ticket issued to a politician’s aide disappear. more › See the original post: Local Top Cop Allegedly Fixed a Traffic Ticket For Politician’s Aide

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Should We Be More Like New York City?

January 27, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood, that mythic land where movie drama was invented, suddenly finds itself caught up in its own real-life drama, one involving high-priced real estate and people taking on City Hall. In this storyline, the issue is whether it is time for a famously spread-out, freeway-centric city’s best known tourist destination to begin looking a little more like New York City by adding a towering skyline and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. The city Planning Commission recently gave its unanimous blessing to a new Hollywood Community Plan that would allow buildings of 50 stories or more in some areas. The skyscrapers, which planners see someday dotting what they call the Hollywood Corridor, would be linked by a section of subway that runs right underneath the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame. Planning Commissioner Michael Woo says the proposal is likely to come before the City Council in February or March for the first of several public hearings before a vote is taken. But in the canyons and along the hillsides that make up much of Hollywood’s more quiet residential areas, the plan is already getting a raucous public hearing from people who live in homes that run the gamut from sprawling mansions to century-old crackerbox apartments. Several neighborhood associations are banding together, vowing to fight it. The plan’s opponents worry that bringing skyscrapers to a section of the city that already has seen traffic proliferate with the arrival in recent years of trendy hotels like the W and hot-spot nightclubs like the SkyBar will destroy the ambiance of their neighborhoods as well as compromise safety. They will become prisoners in their homes, they say, their narrow, winding streets blocked day and night by the cars of outsiders while emergency vehicles are unable to reach them. “I love living in Hollywood. I love the craziness,” said Patti Negri, president of the Hollywood Dell Civic Association. “I don’t care when they close Hollywood and Highland for a premiere or when they close the streets for a show at the Hollywood Bowl. That’s why I live here and I’ll take the little inconvenience that goes with it. That’s part of the deal. But this is not part of the deal.” Negri, who has lived for 20 years just up the hill from Hollywood Boulevard and around the corner from the Hollywood Bowl, says this deal would gridlock her neighborhood at all hours, every day, not to mention blocking the neighborhood’s views of the city. If the City Council ultimately approves the plan it would create a blueprint for future development in 25-square-mile Hollywood, an area that is home to 228,000 people as well as numerous production offices, soundstages and tourist attractions. Any new towers would have to meet the city’s strict seismic standards. Although he hasn’t studied it closely enough to say whether it would work, Marlon Boarnet, director of graduate programs at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, says the proposal exemplifies Los Angeles’ “transformation from an automobile-only city to a much more multi-modal city,” one where people live and work in high-rises and use public transportation. “Los Angeles in many ways is going to have to grow up, and I mean vertically,” Boarnet said. “There’s a lot of pressure from population growth, land prices and the fact there really isn’t any more vacant land.” During the past 10 years, Hollywood has grown up to some extent, undergoing a renaissance that has taken it from being a haven for crack dealers, street thugs and prostitutes to one of the trendiest, hippest, most tourist-filled spots in town. Several residents who oppose the plan say they do appreciate that change. Musician Chuck E. Weiss, for one, says he has watched in wonder over the years as gang members have been replaced by families walking their dogs at night. That change, he says, has brought a new, admittedly much more minor problem to the neighborhood where he’s lived in a small, century-old house above the Sunset Strip for 30 years. Instead of sometimes hearing gunfire at night, he finds dog droppings in the street during the day. “But if the tradeoff is dog poop for gangsters, I’ll take that,” he quickly adds. What he and others don’t like is the few large buildings they already have seen proliferate along the Hollywood Corridor. One that comes to mind for many people is the Sunset-Vine residential tower. At 22 stories, it is not nearly as tall as LA’s biggest building, the 73-story US Bank Tower downtown. But at Hollywood’s most famous intersection, and wrapped in gigantic, garish billboards that are plastered across every side of it, it is impossible to miss. “That thing is an abomination. It’s always been a clash with the neighborhood,” said Weiss, echoing the opinions of many. Planning Commissioner Woo said he understands some of those objections. “It’s unfortunate that because a lot of the new buildings are not very distinguished, some members of the community are assuming all the new buildings will be mediocre,” he said. “We’re hoping this plan will encourage architects to design more beautiful, innovative buildings for Hollywood.” Meanwhile, he and other officials are quick to point out that while the plan would allow huge buildings in the already densely populated sections of Hollywood, it would also establish tougher restrictions on high-density development elsewhere. “We’re going to preserve the single-family neighborhoods, absolutely they will be preserved,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents part of Hollywood. “But in some areas, where the subway stations are, we should be developing high density, and the people who live in that higher-density area will use the subway.” Residents are skeptical of that, many saying the recent influx of nightclub-goers has already clogged their streets with people who drive in looking for free parking. “As a metro rider, I love to use the metro,” said George Skarpelos, who lives in Hollywood Dell and edits the association’s newsletter. “But that doesn’t mean people are going to be forced to use the metro. There’s going to be a lot of traffic. There’s a lot of traffic now, and I can’t imagine there will be a solution other than them saying, `People will work it out.’” The rest is here: Should We Be More Like New York City?

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Raw Police Video