California's deep and interminable economic recession finally may be easing, as the state appears to be entering a period of slow, modest growth that is projected to extend into next year as well. The LAT's Marc Lifsher tells the tale.
"Over the next two years, the state is poised to add nearly half a million jobs and drive the current 11.1% unemployment rate down to nearly 10%, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said in an annual forecast scheduled to be released Wednesday."
"And on Tuesday, financial rating company Standard & Poor's upgraded its outlook on California's ability to repay its debts to "positive" from "stable."
"We think the state is poised for credit improvement — and potentially a higher rating," S&P said."
Another seemingly interminable period also is ending: The era of incumbent protection in California's political wars. Incumbents, their seats usually sercured in redistricting deals designed to keep them in place, now are in turmoil. In the congressional landscape, six incumbents have retired rather than face campaigns in districts newly drawn by a voter-approved commission, and a seventh is contemplating it.
From Molly K. Hooper in The Hill: "Much of the political media’s attention has focused on the left amid showdowns between California Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in the 30th district and Reps. Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson in the 44th. But there is plenty of GOP drama as well."
"Some Republican lawmakers are still smarting over the decision not to challenge the new district lines. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) argued against such a move, exasperating others in the GOP delegation."
California and several other states have been given more time to consider a class-action settlement with Honda involving some 200,000 vehicle owners who say the car company's mileage claims for its hybrid vehicles has been inflated.
From the AP's Elliot Spagat: "The states' sudden interest in the proposed settlement came shortly after Honda owner Heather Peters won $9,867 in small claims court -- much more than the couple hundred dollars cash that the settlement is offering."
"Attorneys general in California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington asked last week -- only two days before Saturday's deadline -- for more time to consider the settlement with about 200,000 Honda Civic hybrid owners."
Nadia Lockyer, the wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, announced she is entering a rehab program for substance abuse, following a family argument that led her to a Newark motel and a meeting with her former boyfriend, who reportedly assaulted her and prompted her to call 9-1-1. An account of the alleged attack, provided largely by Bill Lockyer to the Chronicle, which first reported the story, now is being challenged by the former boy friend.
From the Oakland Tribune's Josh Richman: "But Stephen Chikhani, 35, of San Jose -- Nadia Lockyer's ex-lover and alleged attacker -- said Tuesday night that the only truths in the Lockyers' account of what happened are "that I have a record and that they were separated. ... Pretty much everything else was false, was made up by her husband."
"As of today, there is no warrant for my arrest," he said. "I tried calling the police; they won't call me back, so I feel like I'm being pushed into a corner."
"After having Nadia Lockyer's statement read to him, Chikhani said he needed to consult his lawyer again before speaking any further."
CalPERS, the state's huge public pension fund, will take another look at adjusting its investment forecast, which has an impact on employer contributions and the workers' costs.
From the Bee's Dale Kasler: "Just a year ago, the board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System ignored recommendations from senior staff to cut its forecast a quarter-point, to 7.5 percent."
"Yet on Tuesday, senior actuary Alan Milligan said CalPERS staff will make another recommendation to the board next month."
Scores of nonprofit groups believe they may have lost most of their donated funds following the closure last month of a center that kept track of the money. The LAT's Jeff Gottlieb has the story.
"The International Humanities Center closed its offices, took down its Web page and informed its clients by email that it has ceased operation. The center served as an umbrella organization for small nonprofit groups, handling their donations and performing administrative duties."
"Directors from two of the groups said the executive director of the center told them only $10,000 was left in the accounts his organization held when there should have been $1 million."
"A tally of potential losses compiled by directors of 40 of the groups comes to $877,000."