Silicon Valley’s economy is booming, but 2014 has been a rough year for tech’s political clout. The industry has come up empty on four issues critical to its health: net neutrality, patent reform, NSA reform and immigration reform. President Obama did what he could Thursday within the limits of his executive authority to help the Valley on immigration. He made it easier for foreign students and entrepreneurs to set up shop in the Valley and eased the hardships of families that include U.S. citizens or kids brought here through no fault of their own…

Read more

Less than two weeks ago, the engineers and scientists behind the Philae, a robotic European Space Agency lander deployed with the Rosetta spacecraft, achieved something extraordinary: a transfer of the Philae from the Rosetta to the surface of Comet 67P/Gerasimenko, as all three objects hurtled through outer space.

Read more

District Attorney George Gascón’s deputies appear to have stepped over the line when they hosted an after-hours re-election fundraiser for the boss the other evening at Ted’s Sports Bar & Grill across from the Hall of Justice. Seventeen prosecutors — mostly misdemeanor deputies — lent their names to the party invitation that was circulated to the rest of the office. Some of the eager deputies made a direct appeal for contributions from the 50 or so fellow prosecutors and office employees who attended the Nov. 13 gathering, an apparent violation of city and state political conduct rules. issued a 10-page memo with updated rules governing political activity, and he warned that “city officers and employees may not solicit political contributions from other city officers and employees, even while off duty.” No sooner did we point out the the rules to Gascón’s office than his political team shot off an e-mail thanking everyone who had cut a check, but telling them that “in an abundance of caution, we are returning your contribution to assure compliance with the California Good Government Code.”

Read more

Both the current president of the California Public Utilities Commission and one of its member commissioners admit to improper, unethical contacts with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. over items including which judges should rule on the utility’s cases.So President Michael Peevey and Commissioner Mike Florio recused themselves from voting on current PG&E cases.

Read more

On Thursday, I was one of several hundred people who gathered near the immigration detention center in Los Angeles to hear President Obama’s speech on immigration. Television news crews lined the streets, and a huge inflatable screen readied to project the speech to anyone within a two-block distance.

Read more

In the last year, all three of Los Angeles’ public employee pension funds have recalculated their too-rosy estimates of how much they will earn in the years ahead. Those lowered earning forecasts may cost the city in the short term — if it has to deposit more money into the funds now…

Read more

The four-block stretch of Market Street from Seventh to 11th streets — home to some of the hottest tech companies in the Bay Area — was rated the dirtiest commercial corridor in the 2014 Street and Sidewalk Maintenance Standards report. Ten inspectors canvassed 366 sites along 184 routes to come up with the ratings, judging each spot for litter, grime, dumped trash and bad smells. While tech tax breaks have brought a wealth of new money and business to the strip, the payoffs have yet to make it down to the street level of the long-bedraggled boulevard…

Read more

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” – Sir Walter Scott It really should not have been a revelation that the plan to establish a huge government health care bureaucracy and insure millions more people while…

Read more

Popular Los Angeles retailer The Container Store is in the news right now for reasons that have nothing to do with trendy, high-priced storage bins. In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, CEO Kip Tindell – who happens to be the incoming…

Read more

Russian President Vladimir Putin has overplayed his hand. As far as the major powers in Europe, his isolation is complete.

Read more

The UC Regents’ controversial tuition increase has just made it harder for the state’s struggling middle class to get a four-year degree from California’s most renowned public university, but there is some good news. California’s community colleges, still the best educational bargain in the state, showed incredible interest in the opportunity to award bachelor’s degrees as part of a new pilot program. …

Read more

The UC regents’ approval of a 5 percent tuition increase for each of the next 5 years breaches a deal and directly challenges Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature to avert it by committing more money to the system. If Napolitano can persuasively make the case that UC has done everything within reason to cut expenses and that its quality would suffer if it’s left with the 4 percent increase it has been promised in each of the next two years, then Sacramento should kick in more money to pare back the tuition increase to a more reasonable level…

Read more

Another outrage is the “iron triangle” coalition of lawmakers, veterans groups and VA officials who have stymied efforts to reform the system despite reports of inconsistent and illogical decisions, and complaints that the system is rooted in outdated perceptions of what constitutes a disability.

Read more

In many districts, “rebuilding our schools” turns out to mean raising teacher pay.

Read more

News flash: Some MIT academics who hang out in D.C. are elitists and snobs. But the video clip of Jonathan Gruber making a “stupid” remark is a distraction.

Read more

California’s new affirmative-consent law has garnered national attention this fall, and for good reason. The first-of-its-kind “yes means yes” statute requires all public and private colleges that receive state money for student financial aid to incorporate affirmative-consent language into their sexual-assault policies. The only problem? It may be too little, too late.OpinionWill ‘yes means yes’ create more problems than it solves? Ted Rall There isn’t much hard science to support it, but the conventional wisdom on date rape is that university and college dormitories and fraternity houses are ground zero for this terrible crime…

Read more

As an investor, former Mayor Richard Riordan said he’d put money on Mayor Eric Garcetti going far in politics. When it comes to the the immediate future, though, he’s not so sure.”I think Mayor Garcetti is brilliant,” Riordan said in an interview on “The Hot Seat with Max Schwartz” podcast on Neon Tommy, the news outlet of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Read more

ANOTHER CITY ROLLS OVER ON PENSIONS, BUT BIG LIABILITIES PERSIST

Read more

The Federal Communications Commission has decided to put off action on net neutrality until 2015, drawing protests from those lobbying for strict regulation of Internet service providers. It’s tempting to argue that the delay gives the commission time to develop a consensus, but that’s a fool’s…

Read more

Advances in technology have given police agencies vastly expanded surveillance capabilities. Facial recognition software that can identify suspects, databases that can be tapped to track suspects’ movements and locations, automatic license plate readers, social media monitoring, body cameras…

Read more

For all that he’s a regent of the University of California, Gov. Jerry Brown is not an expert on academia or modern trends in higher education. What he brings to the deliberations over UC’s budget isn’t the perspective of a visionary seeking to maintain and build on the university’s…

Read more

For all that he’s a regent of the University of California, Gov. Jerry Brown is not an expert on academia or modern trends in higher education. …

Read more

The idea was to sell thousands of seats from the soon-to-be-demolished stadium as keepsakes for fans, with the city’s Recreation and Park Department getting 70 percent of the take. To make sure Montana’s business didn’t put a damper on the city’s sales before the holidays, the contract specified that he couldn’t start his sales until Jan. 2. they went up early and big on the Internet with “Candlestick Park Seats for Sale,” featuring pictures of Joe signing stacks of seat backs. Robert Hemphill, whose Cotati company is partnering with Montana on the autographed seat sales, said they were just getting up and running when he got an e-mail from Montana last week telling him to hold off until after New Year’s — though he said the reason was never explained to him…

Read more

Gov. Jerry Brown made the jaunt this past week from Sacramento to San Francisco to attend a meeting of the UC Board of Regents, during which he urged the overseers of the 10-campus UC system to reconsider a proposal before them to whack UC students…

Read more

Given President Obama’s recent decision to go it alone on immigration reform – and the discontent it’s stirred in Republican ranks – it’s unlikely that we’re going to see much bipartisan cooperation in Washington during the president’s…

Read more

Read more

There may be hope yet for the NFL. This was shown Tuesday with a decision by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to get serious about the …

Read more

Supervisors John Gioia, Karen Mitchoff, Federal Glover and Mary Piepho voted this month for their outrageous salary increases after years of asking employees for shared sacrifice. It’s not surprising workers are angry. They aren’t alone.

Read more

A bald 7-year-old arrived on our shores at the outset of World War II. He spoke practically no English and would soon lose his father. And yet he would conquer… »

Read more

High school seniors applying to college have enough stress without the delusion of thinking they’ll get into a highly selective college by applying to a lot of them.

Read more