Transforming Trash Into Good Jobs and a Clean Environment

 released Transforming Trash in Urban America, a report that underscores the urgent need to reform the way America’s largest cities deal with their trash.

The report reviewed the waste management infrastructure of the top 37 metropolitan areas in the United States and found that environmentally unsound waste disposal processes create strain on local budgets, degrade a city’s quality of life and seriously accelerate climate change. Nearly half of the cities involved have recycling rates in the teens or lower— significantly below the national average of 34 percent.

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San Jose FireOps Course Highlights Demands of Job, Dangers of Sequestration

 invited elected officials and attendees of Netroots Nation, a conference for progressives and activists, to take part in a basic firefighting class at its training facility in San Jose, Calif. Participants climbed ladders, operated fire hoses and Jaws of Life, performed CPR and navigated through a warren of dark, tight corridors—all while wearing full firefighting gear.

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Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano Tapped to Serve as New Leader of UC System


She was a federal prosecutor, state attorney general, governor of Arizona, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security – and now she’ll be our boss: UC president Janet Napolitano. She was named after “a secretive process that insiders said focused on her … as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate,” reported the Los Angeles Times. She did not apply for the position, but made the decision after a head-hunting firm hired by UC contacted her.

Why Napolitano? She won’t be the first national political figure to become a university head. The regents apparently were looking for someone with strong political rather than administrative skills, after cuts of $1 billion over the past five years. 

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LAUSD Superintendent in Hot Seat After “No Confidence” Vote & Election of New School Board President

David Lyell

July 2, 2013, wasn’t just another day. On that day, there was a LAUSD School Board meeting unlike any other in recent memory.

Each year, at the first LAUSD Board meeting in July, the seven School Board members vote to elect a president. While the School Board president doesn't have expanded powers, the position affords an opportunity to set the tone, run Board meetings, and work closely with the superintendent to determine meeting agendas. In a 5-2 vote, the Board elected District 7 Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic as its president. According to a July 6 L.A. Times article by Howard Blume, prior to the vote, Superintendent Deasy indicated that, were the Board to elect Vladovic as its president, Deasy would resign. 

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Paid Sick Days Do Work For Small Businesses

 recently reported on how small business owners in certain cities are dealing with paid sick days laws. The takeaway? These new requirements have caused very little pain. The article highlights Bill Stone, the owner of Café Atlas in San Francisco's Mission District, who was initially leery of paid sick days for his employees back in 2007 when San Francisco became the first city in the nation to implement a paid sick leave law. In 2007 Bill felt that the new paid sick law would only make it more expensive to run his business.

But Stone recognizes that his fears about paid sick days were unfounded.

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Lawmakers Join Electrical Workers to Celebrate Grand Opening of “Zero Net Energy” Training Center

 was celebrated as a “game changer” for the union electrical industry and an example of labor management cooperation. The union hosted a Grand Opening celebration at its ZNE Center in San Leandro May 30, featuring speeches and presentations by Governor Jerry Brown, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, State Senator Ellen Corbett, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy and other officials.

IBEW Local 595 Business Manager Victor Uno thanked the union’s Trustees and leaders and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) for creating the center, which he said was a fulfillment of a vision for a new model of training. 

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Governor Brown Signs Historic Enterprise Zone Reform Into Law

Steve Smith

For years, the state’s broken enterprise zone has been costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars while doing little to create new jobs. Even worse, the program was subsidizing strip clubs and giant corporations like Walmart that pay workers poverty wages and offer few, if any benefits. We called it the Corporate Gravy Train. And today, Gov. Brown put an end to this abuse of taxpayer dollars.

At a ceremony this morning in San Diego, the Governor signed AB 93 and SB 90, bills that formally reform the enterprise zone program and redirect taxpayer dollars to programs that incentivize good jobs.

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Walmart Chinatown Battle Goes to Court

Jan Tokumaru

Today, the fate of Chinatown residents and small businesses will be decided by the Superior Court. For the past 18 months, Chinatown residents and community activists across the city have been fighting Walmart’s attempt to open a grocery store in the historic downtown neighborhood. Now a judge will weigh the right of Asian-American communities to have a voice in what is built in their neighborhoods versus a multinational corporation’s ability to open just one more store. The lawsuit filed by the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) and its allies seeks to nullify the building permits granted to Walmart by L.A. city officials.

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Tribune Co. Announces Spin-Off of Newspaper Business; No Immediate Sale to the Koch Brothers

 that it will split in two, separating its newspaper business from its broadcasting unit, as it focuses more on its television operations in an attempt to become more profitable.  The announced spin-off is at least a temporary setback to Charles and David Koch, the conservative billionaire brothers who had expressed interest in acquiring the newspapers. 

The Tribune Company owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and several other leading newspapers around the country. A spin-off will allow the current owners of the Tribune – including pension funds invested through the Tribune’s largest shareholder Oaktree Capital – to participate in a hoped-for turnaround of the newspapers as new sources of revenue such as digital subscriptions grow.

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