Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images
A man smokes a marijuana cigarrette in Montevideo on December 7, 2012.
Los Angeles city voters Tuesday decided to dramatically limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, approving Measure D by a 63 to 37 margin.
The measure allows only the 135 dispensaries that registered with the city before September 2007 to remain open. Hundreds of others must close immediately. In addition, the remaining dispensaries must locate themselves at least 1,000 feet from schools, and employees will now undergo criminal background checks.
Those dispensaries also face an increase in taxes — rising to $60 per $1,000 of gross receipts.
A majority of the city council supported Measure D. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which is organizing dispensary employees, also campaigned for it.
Measure F, which would have allowed an unlimited number of dispensaries, failed 59 to 41 percent. Measure E, which was abandoned by supporters, also failed.
Update 12:20 a.m.: Trutanich concedes to Feuer
Shortly before midnight, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich conceded the race to former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Trutanich's spokesman John Schwada said.
Feuer had nearly 61 percent of the votes, with about 12 percent of the city's precincts having been counted.
The campaign had been a bitter one, with Trutanich filing an Ethics Commission complaint against Feuer midway through the race, alleging Feuer was receiving unfair help in the form of discounted campaign services from a consultant. Feuer countered with a complaint that Trutanich was violating city campaign rules by sending too many official emails. — Sharon McNary
Update 12:10 a.m.: Garcetti takes the stage
The San Francisco Sentinel
State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), chairs of the Senate budget committee, wants a spending plan that will trigger increases if revenue projections are met.
State lawmakers took a closer look Tuesday at Governor Jerry Brown’s revised spending plan for public schools. One of the key questions they’re wrangling with is how much they’ll actually have to spend.
After years of budget deficits and cuts to school districts and community colleges, the state of California is sitting on a surplus. Brown’s fiscal team estimates it’s $2.8 billion, but the legislature’s fiscal analyst thinks its closer to $6 billion.
“We do think our revenue estimates are a better reflection of what’s going on in the financial markets right now,” said Ed Cabral of the analyst’s office. But, he cautioned, that figure isn’t bullet proof. “So if our revenue estimates are wrong, and you build your budget according to our estimates, then there is some risk there.”
"Gang of Eight" member Xavier Becerra (D-LA) insists House immigration deal is not dead
The U.S. Senate continued to debate amendments to a comprehensive immigration bill Tuesday. Meanwhile, in the House, Republicans are grumbling that Democratic leadership is throwing up roadblocks to the deal hammered out by the bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the "Gang of Eight." Some suggest Democrats would rather take the Senate version than the compromise reached in the House.
According to a report in Politico, Democratic leaders don't like language in the House bill that requires the 11 million immigrants on the path to citizenship to pay for their own health care.
Minority Whip Stenny Hoyer told reporters that if the House "Gang of Eight" doesn't have a bill, then the Senate's measure "ought to be considered." The number three House Democrat, L.A.'s Xavier Becerra — one of those "Gang of Eight" members — brushes off that scenario: "We're on the precipice of getting to do something really good."
Former high school teacher and Riverside Congressman Mark Takano objects to GOP student loan bill
The interest rates on federal student loans are set to double at the end of June. The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a measure that ties those loans to the price the government pays to borrow money. But Democrats say that's still too expensive.
The Republican bill links interest rates on federal student loans to the rates for a 10-year Treasury note and tacks on a two-and-a-half percent fee. That means federal student loans would be about four-and-a-half percent — about one point above the current borrowing rate.
But, if Congress fails to pass a student loan bill by the end of June, the current interest rate automatically doubles to nearly seven percent in July.
Freshman Democratic Congressman Mark Takano of Riverside — a longtime educator and community college trustee — notes the GOP bill would cap federal student loans at eight-and-a-half percent. "The Republicans are proposing basically a variable interest rate," Takano said. "So their plan is worse than doing nothing."
Democrats complain the bill is coming to the floor for a vote without a hearing.