Dec 5, 2012

The strike at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, the nation's busiest, is drawing to a close after contract proposals were put on the table and striking workers said they would be heading back to work.


From the LAT's Ricardo Lopez, Ronald D. White and Stuart Pfeifer: "The deal came after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa alled in two federal mediators Tuesday morning to try and break the impasse. That pushed the unions into a quicker deal, fearing a loss of influence and negotiating power once the mediators took over."


"For Villaraigosa, a former union leader before going into politics, the tentative agreement was seen as a victory. "Mission accomplished. This has been a long eight days, but it's a great day for everybody now that a deal has been reached," Villaraigosa said in announcing a deal."


The strike began Nov. 27 as the clerical workers' union voiced frustration about shipping line employers outsourcing jobs, an accusation the Harbor Employers Assn. has denied. Though the union is small, it was backed by the 10,000 regional members of the ILWU, which honored the picket line and refused to work. By the end, the strike shut down 10 of the 14 cargo container terminals at the nation's busiest seaport complex."


A study  by the UCLA business school says Proposition 30, the tax-increase initiative backed by the governor and approved by voters, could be a drag on the state's economy.


From George Avalos in the Contra Costa Times: "Because of Prop. 30, California in the coming year will add payroll jobs more slowly, the statewide jobless rate will improve less quickly, and personal income won't be as robust as originally predicted, according to the forecast."


"But despite the uncertainties, California remains on track for economic growth and more jobs. While lowering its forecast slightly for 2013, the Anderson Forecast revised its forecast upward for 2014, Nickelsburg said."


"The state has turned the corner," said Edward Leamer, director of the forecast. "We have the troubled housing sector starting to contribute in a positive way. California will continue to grow but not as much as it used to grow."


Drag or not, public schools clearly are happy with the passage of Proposition 30, although it's not a panacea. and there is some confusion about a state announcement dealiing with school funding.


From Kathryn Baron at EdSource: "It doesn’t rise to the big public policy announcement that [Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration] has given us,” said Robert Miyashiro, Vice President of School Services of California, an education management and advocacy company. “It’s certainly welcome, but it shouldn’t be interpreted as some windfall or bonanza.”


"That’s because paying down deferrals – early or not – doesn’t give school districts more money; it’s the same money they were owed by the state, which borrowed it to pay its own debts. That, in turn, forced many K-12 and community college districts to take out loans in order to get by..."


"There’s also another potentially confusing aspect to the state’s announcement. The deferred funds being repaid to districts this month are for intra-year deferrals, when the state borrows from schools within the academic year because it’s running short of cash for that month."


Veteran congresswoman and former state Assemblywoman Maxine Waters, an LA Democrat, is the new ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.


From  the WSJ's Michael Crittenden: "Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) was tapped Tuesday by House Democrats to serve as the ranking member on the influential House Financial Services Committee, promoting a vocal liberal who has long been critical of Wall Street."


"Ms. Waters will succeed Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who is retiring at the end of the year, as the top Democratic voice on banking and financial services matters in the House of Representatives. Recently cleared of allegations she helped steer federal bailout money to a bank in which her husband owned stock."


"Ms. Waters will be tasked with pushing back at Republican efforts to weaken or roll back the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law."


Frank Barbaro, the long-time leader of the Democratic Party in Orange County, is stepping down, saying he is tired of the hassle.


From the OC Register's Martin Wisckol: ""Everybody just seems to be at each other's throats all the time," said the 69-year-old Santa Ana attorney. "The Democratic Party is a party of many tents and keeping everybody placated is not always possible. I'm just tired of all the infighting. I don't want to do it anymore."

he county's growing Latino electorate has been accompanied by Republicans' voter-registration advantage shrinking from 17 percentage points to 10 points. Of the 34 cities in the county, six are now Democratic – up from two when Barbaro took office in 2001. November's election saw Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva upsetting incumbent Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, and Obama winning 11 cities – including five GOP cities."


"Barbaro had previously served as party chairman in the late 1970s, which included the brief period in 1978 when there were more registered Democrats than Republicans in the county. He is well-connected with key politicos in Washington, D.C., and in Sacramento."



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