Index
Thursday
Oct162014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, farewell to Superintendent John Deasy: "John Deasy expected to step down as LAUSD superintendent"; also, "LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy to resign" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "John Deasy expected to step down as LAUSD superintendent" - From the LAT:

Embattled L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy is expected to step down after reaching a settlement with the school board, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The L.A. Unified school board could name an interim superintendent as early as 10 a.m. Thursday, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it involved a personnel matter. Another source said the board was likely to select former Supt. Ramon Cortines to run the district on an interim basis.

As part of the departure agreement, Deasy is expected to receive about 60 days' pay, or roughly $60,000,  sources said.  His contract requires a severance payment of only 30 days, even though Deasy was under contract through June 2016.

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Cortines retired as superintendent of L.A. Unifed in April 2011. He had a long career as a respected educator, but his exit was marred by a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a current district employee. A proposed settlement of that litigation later fell apart. Cortines, 82, lives in the Pasadena area. If he takes the interim job, it would be his third stint as district leader.

***ALSO:

* Daily News:  "LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy to resign"

Thursday
Oct162014

SACRAMENTO: Senator Kevin de Leon, swearing-in event, Senate President Pro Tempore: "Kevin de Leon becomes state Senate leader in $50,000 event" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Kevin de Leon becomes state Senate leader in $50,000 event" - From the LAT:

In an elaborate event at Walt Disney Concert Hall featuring mariachis, a Korean drum circle and a student color guard, Democrat Kevin de León was sworn in Wednesday as leader of the state Senate — the first Latino to hold the post since 1883.

The $50,000 celebration was labeled an inauguration and paid for with foundation money from corporate interests with regular business before lawmakers. It fit the historic nature of the occasion, planners said. Others suggested it was an inappropriate extravagance at a time when the state Senate is struggling to shake off the taint of corruption scandals and regain public trust.

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Nearly 2,000 people attended the ceremony, including Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), UC President Janet Napolitano, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Gov. Gray Davis. After De León's speech, the crowd moved to a party outside on a closed stretch of Grand Avenue. Hundreds of people gathered to sample a variety of food-truck offerings such as gourmet hot dogs, boba tea and fattoush salads.

The event's price tag, which organizers said covered the cost of renting the downtown landmark as well as food, drinks and security, was paid for by the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation. In the last 12 months, the nonprofit foundation has received checks from oil companies, health and insurance firms, charter school groups, utilities and the cable TV industry, according to filings with the state ethics agency by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, chairman of the caucus. AT&T and Chevron, both of which lobbied on several bills this year, were the biggest donors, contributing $25,000 each .........................

Thursday
Oct162014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: California high-speed rail project, California Supreme Court: "High-speed rail: California Supreme Court eliminates hurdle"; also, "California high court clears way for more bullet train work"; "High court clears bullet train but problems remain"; "California high-speed rail wins big round in state high court" ....

***Sampling of coverage:  California Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Central Valley lawsuit by opponents of high-speed rail project....

* San Jose Mercury News:  "High-speed rail: California Supreme Court eliminates hurdle"

* Los Angeles Times:  "California high court clears way for more bullet train work"

* Sacramento Bee:  "California high-speed rail wins big round in state high court"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "High court clears bullet train but problems remain"

Wednesday
Oct152014

INTERNATIONAL: Scandal, Citigroup, Mexico: "Another Scandal Hits CitiGroup's Moneymaking Mexican Division" ....  

* New York Times:  "Another Scandal Hits CitiGroup's Moneymaking Mexican Division" - From the NYT:

The accusations read like a pulp thriller: Citigroup employees in Mexico are suspected of pocketing millions of dollars in kickbacks from vendors. And bodyguards for bank executives bought audio recordings of personal phone calls and created shell companies to disguise their fraud.

A new scandal has erupted at Citigroup’s Mexican unit just months after a $400 million fraud involving a well-connected client. Now the sprawling global bank — which separately announced plans on Tuesday to withdraw from consumer banking in 11 other markets — is wrestling with how to get its house in order in one of its oldest foreign operations. A crucial part of that decision rests on how to nudge aside the most powerful executive overseeing Mexico, a country where Citigroup has been doing business since 1929.

What makes that decision particularly difficult is that the Mexican unit, Banamex, mints money. Still, the scandals at Banamex — and the investigations in two countries that have come as a result — have exposed the bank to risk at a time when Citigroup is trying to reduce its legal and regulatory burdens.

In a delicate dance, Citigroup is encouraging its Mexico chairman, Manuel Medina-Mora, 64, to retire, according to four people briefed on the matter. The bank has been quietly laying the groundwork for his departure, which could come by early next year, the people said ..........................

Wednesday
Oct152014

L.A. CITY HALL: Council District 14 election, new independent expenditure committee: "Former Huizar Rival Nick Pacheco Now Running a PAC for the Incumbent" ....

* Downtown News:  "Former Huizar Rival Nick Pacheco Now Running a PAC for the Incumbent" - From the DTN:

Fourteenth District City Councilman Jose Huizar has raised $735,000 for his re-election bid, putting him well ahead of his chief competitor, County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who has pulled in $33,000 since filing papers to run last month.

Now, even more cash could be spent on Huizar's behalf, though there's a twist: It's in the form of an independent expenditure committee being run by Nick Pacheco, who once lost a bitter council race to Huizar. Pacheco, who served as the CD 14 council rep from 1999-2003, is chairing the just-launched Community Support PAC. . . . .The PAC aims to raise $500,000 to ensure Huizar's re-election...................