Patt Morrison for March 24, 2010

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While the recession and the fallout resulting from the 2008 financial collapse might be easing, ramifications for the companies who received government assistance continues to be felt thanks to the Obama Administration’s “pay czar.” Ken Feinberg announced yesterday that his $500,000 restriction on cash salaries will cover 82% of the 119 top executives at the five companies he oversees. AIG, the bailed-out insurance giant, had been chaffing under Feinberg’s pay restrictions and was seeking to allow its executives to earn more than the cap, but for the most part the pay czar stood firm. Going forward Feinberg intends to reduce total executive compensation at AIG, GMAC and Chrysler Financial by 15%--is this proper punishment for being saved by taxpayers?
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Budget shortfalls, teacher and administration layoffs, budget shortfalls, school reform under Public School Choice, budget shortfalls… LAUSD Ramon Cortines faces a plethora of problems, with a budget deficit of $640 million for the year 2010-2011 underlining all of them. Continuing our series, the Superintendent takes an hour to answer your calls on these issues and more.
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Is bad credit keeping you unemployed?

It’s the ultimate Catch-22. You lost your job due to corporate downsizing, fell behind on a few bills, your credit took a hit and now you can’t get a job because your credit history is less than stellar. This is a vicious cycle one lawmaker hopes to break. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) has introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from using credit checks during the hiring or firing process. Should employers be able to run a credit check on a potential employee and what do job seekers need to know if they don’t want their recession related bad credit to hamper their ability to get hired?
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The plan was ambitious but certainly inspiring when it was first announced: Mayor Villaraigosa and other city leaders were committed to generating 20% of the energy used by Los Angeles from renewable, green sources by 2010. But the path to that goal, which according to the Mayor and the Department of Water & Power includes an electric rate hike, has been fraught with controversy and hit one more obstacle yesterday on the City Council. The Council voted unanimously to assert jurisdiction over the DWP’s decision to implement a “carbon surcharge” and plans to conduct a review of the rate increases. This move comes after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors has already voted to oppose the surcharge. The infighting continued when the Mayor’s office threatened that without approval of the surcharge the DWP might renege on its pledge to provide $73 million to the city’s strained general fund. Who will blink first in this heated stand-off?
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