L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles city employees/city union contracts: "Public, private sector wage gap heavily favors many L.A. city workers" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Public, private sector wage gap heavily favors many L.A. city workers" - From the LAT:

For almost a year, the labor groups representing roughly 20,000 Los Angeles city workers have battled at the bargaining table for people like Marshall Turner.

Turner supports his union. Yet when it comes to his job, he's not complaining. A 59-year-old garbage-truck driver, he made $95,696 last year including overtime. His three decades of city employment enabled him to buy a four-bedroom Rancho Cucamonga home and provide for five children. He recognizes his privileged place in an economy that has grown increasingly bleak for blue-collar workers. "I feel blessed at the city of Los Angeles," he said recently over a ramen lunch during a break from collecting trash in South-Central.

That sense of satisfaction is not misplaced — at least not when it comes to his paycheck. Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found.

The analysis, which compared 2014 city and federal wage data, shows that three of the five largest job categories represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 — the biggest and most prominent of the unions now in contract talks with the city — pay more than double the median salary of similar full-time, private-sector jobs in Los Angeles County.

For example .........................


POLITICS (National, State, Local): Bay Area, "Caltrans was warned of Bay Bridge leaking before scan opened"; presidential election, "Hillary Clinton to hold first Hollywood fundraisers May 7"; legal, "'Maternity tourism' witness held after trying to board flight to China"; politics/miscellaneou, "As columnist, Willie Brown has been on point -- and also way off" ....

***Various items relating to politics and/or public policy -- national, state, local....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Hillary Clinton to hold first Hollywood fundraisers May 7"

* Sacramento Bee:  "As columnist, Willie Brown has been on point -- and also way off"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Caltrans was warned of Bay Bridge leaking before span opened"

* Los Angeles Times:  "'Maternity tourism' witness held after trying to board flight to China"


POLITICS/LEGAL (National, State/Montana): Lifetime achievement award from local bar association to judge who was censured and suspended by Montana Supreme Court: "Former Montana judge to get Bar Assn. award despite censure over rape comments" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Former Montana judge to get Bar Assn. award despite censure over rape comments" - From the LAT:

A former Montana judge -- who said a 14-year-old rape victim was partly responsible for a teacher's attack on her – will receive a lifetime achievement award from his local bar association. Former Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh was chosen for the award by the board of directors of the Yellowstone Area Bar Assn. The group's president, Jessica T. Fehr, confirmed the award but refused to comment on her organization’s reasoning.  “The YABA Board has no comment at this time,” Fehr said in an email to the Los Angeles Times. “If that changes, I will let you know.”

Baugh sparked nationwide outrage in 2013 when he handed down a 30-day sentence to a former high school teacher convicted of raping the teenager, who had killed herself while the case was pending, just before her 17th birthday. When he imposed sentence, Baugh commented in court that the girl was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Stacey Dean Rambold, the teacher who was convicted on one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

Baugh sentenced Rambold, who was 54 at the time, to 15 years in prison, but suspended all but 31 days and gave Rambold credit for one day served. Prosecutors had asked for 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended. The penalty violated the state's mandatory minimum sentence of two years. In comments to reporters later, Baugh downplayed the crime, describing it as "horrible enough as it is given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape."


After an uproar over the sentence and Baugh's comments, the Montana Supreme Court ordered another judge to resentence Rambold. He received a 10-year prison term. The state Supreme Court also publicly reprimanded Baugh in 2014 for his conduct, saying in court filings that he had “eroded public confidence in the judiciary and created an appearance of impropriety." Baugh was censured and suspended for 31 days.

The judge, 73, retired in December after nearly 30 years on the bench.


AFTERNOON MEMOS: Ports of L.A., Long Beach, "Port truckers to vote on strike that could begin Monday"; L.A. River, "Report advocates housing along L.A. River"; L.A. County, "Activists outnumber business owners at L.A. County minimum wage forums"; Proud Bird Restaurant, "With New Lease, Sky's The Limt for the Proud Bird" ....

***Various items this afternoon from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Activists outnumber business owners at L.A. County mininum wage forums"

* The Argonaut:  "With New Lease, Sky's The Limit for the Proud Bird"

* Long Beach Press-Telegram:  "Port truckers to vote on strike that could begin Monday"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Report advocates housing along L.A. River"


POLITICS (National/International): Obama-Netanyahu/U.S.-Israel tension, fundraising boom for Jewish Republicans: "Republican Jewish Coalition says it sees fundraising boom" ....

* Washington Post:  "Republican Jewish Coalition says it sees fundraising boom" - From the WP:

Tension between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fueled a fundraising bonanza for a conservative advocacy group that serves as an influential hub of wealthy Jewish donors on the right.

The Republican Jewish Coalition — whose board includes casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and other GOP mega-donors — has brought in scores of new contributors alarmed by the open sparring between President Obama and Netanyahu over how to curb Iran’s nuclear capabilities, said Matthew Brooks, the RJC’s executive director.

“Our national fundraising has been exploding as a result of this,” Brooks said. “There are a lot of folks who are deeply troubled by the actions of this administration and the undermining of the relationship with Israel and with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and as a result, I think, they are engaged and energized in a way I have never seen before.”


Brooks would not disclose how much the group has raised but said the RJC is on track to bring in record sums. The organization plans to finance its largest voter outreach ever in the 2016 elections ....................