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Unemployment insurance is set to expire for more than a million out-of-work people across the country, including 215,000 in California. Here, job seekers line up for a career fair in L.A.
California's unemployment numbers are still higher than the nationwide figure. On Monday, nearly two dozen of the state's Democratic members of Congress called on GOP leaders to extend unemployment benefits.
The letter from Lakewood Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and 22 fellow California Democrats asks House Speaker John Boehner to schedule a vote on a bill that would continue unemployment benefits for another year for more than 1.3 million Americans — including 215,000 Californians. Those benefits are set to expire after Christmas.
California's unemployment rate is 8.9%. That's much lower than the recession peak of 12.4%. But it's nearly two points higher than the current national average of 7.3%.
There isn't much time to act. Congress has just nine legislative working days left on the calendar for this year.
LAObserved previews the new Los Angeles Magazine profile of labor leader Maria Elena Durazo.
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Today is Monday, Nov. 25, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, Ana Cubas encourages women to get involved in government and the City Attorney's Office works on gun legislation.
LAObserved has a preview of a Los Angeles Magazine profile of Maria Elena Durazo. The piece apparently includes details on Miguel Contreras' nine-year affair with Gloria Romero and the extent of Durazo's power when it comes to development in Los Angeles.
Architect Frank Gehry is back on the Grand Avenue development project, reports the Los Angeles Times. Construction could begin in 2015 and be done by 2019.
Five cities south of Pasadena are considering a plan to consolidate their fire departments.
Five cities in the San Gabriel Valley are exploring a plan to increase cooperation among their fire departments. The Monterey Park City Council voted this week to explore joining Alhambra, San Gabriel, San Marino and South Pasadena in a resource sharing proposal.
Each city currently runs its own fire department and is part of a mutual aid agreement to assist in neighboring communities during emergencies.
The new deal would combine the command staff of the five departments, reducing the number of top fire managers through retirement and eliminating redundant positions, said South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez. He estimates the resource sharing plan would save each of the cities at least $200,000 a year.
The 11 fire engines in the five cities could respond anywhere in the 27-square mile area, and some training functions could be shared. Each department would retain its own identity, Gonzalez said.
The DWP's labor boss is criticizing out the utility and the mayor for the clunky rollout of a new customer service software system.
The Department of Water and Power's labor union is used to being on the receiving end of criticism. But, it turns out the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers can not only take it, but dish it out too.
IBEW Local 18's chief Brian D'Arcy released a statement Friday calling out Mayor Eric Garcetti and DWP brass for a new software system that's left customers with inaccurate bills and long wait times when they call the service line. Some bill estimates are double and triple what customers typically pay.
"The current situation is so dire that employees feel threatened by the hostile environment that has resulted from this epic failure," D'Arcy said in the statement. "I call on the city’s leaders to resolve this embarrassing and costly predicament much sooner. The people of Los Angeles deserve better."
First Lady Michelle Obama honored a Southern California mentoring program Friday at the White House, giving a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award to Write Girl. The organization matches at-risk teens with women writers.
Sixteen-year-old Jackie Uy is a Write Girl. She's a junior at L.A.’s LACES High School and wants to be an international correspondent, like Christiane Amanpour. Working with her Write Girl mentor, newspaper veteran Katherine Geyer, Uy has learned how to interview people, how to write a news story, and one other thing: confidence. Uy says you’ve got to have thick skin as a writer, "because you’ll get a lot of hate messages." Uy’s already had a taste of reader feedback as news editor of her school newspaper, LACES Untied.
The First Lady praised a dozen after-school programs from around the country — and even one that works with street kids in Nairobi, Kenya. But she touted the singular success of Write Girl over the past decade, pointing out that "every single one of the program’s graduating seniors has gone on to college." Mrs. Obama offered encouragement to the adults running the various after-school programs, saying, "all of you are using the power of the arts to change young people’s lives."