Source: Los Angeles Times
News
Oct. 12, 2017

U.S. consumer prices rose 0.5% in September, the largest increase in eight months. The result reflects another big jump in energy prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which shut Gulf Coast refineries and caused gasoline prices to jump across the country.

The September increase in the closely watched consumer price index was the biggest one-month gain since a 0.6% rise in January, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Energy prices shot up 6.1%, led by a 13.1% surge in gasoline. Analysts believe that the impact of the hurricane will be temporary.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, rose a tiny 0.1% in September.

Over the last year, overall prices are up 2.2%, while core inflation has risen 1.7%.

News
Oct. 9, 2017

Davis’ finance director, former state Sen. Steve Peace, accused Washington of treating Sacramento “like a colony,” contending “it’s nothing short of a confiscatory federal tax policy. It’s no mystery why Californians feel overtaxed. They are.”

That was baloney, even by political standards. If Californians feel overtaxed, it's because of Sacramento politicians and state voters, not Washington.

News
Oct. 6, 2017

A California Energy Commission committee is urging the state to reject a proposal to build a new natural gas plant in Ventura County.

Called the Puente Energy project, the 262-megawatt power plant would be owned and operated by NRG, a Houston-based electricity company. NRG contracted with Southern California Edison to supply power to the utility.

In what the regulators themselves called an “unusual” statement, the two-member committee said that the proposed plant, set for construction on Mandalay Bay in Oxnard, conflicted with state laws and goals for communities and the environment.

News
Sept. 27, 2017

When California rolled out new standardized tests, experts said scores would improve when students got used to them. But three tests in, rather than showing strides from familiarity, their scores have stagnated in English and math.

About 3.2 million students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress in the spring. The tests are aligned to the Common Core standards, and demand mastery — which means they’re harder than California’s old standardized tests.

This year, 49% of students passed the English exam, compared with 48% in 2016. In math, 38% of students met or exceeded the state’s standard, compared with 37% last year. Fifth-graders’ scores dropped slightly in English.

News
Sept. 26, 2017

The City Employees’ Retirement System board, which oversees pension benefits for thousands of city workers, voted unanimously to cut its assumed rate of return — the yearly earnings expected from the agency’s investment portfolio — to 7.25%, down from 7.5%.

The decision is expected to shift $38 million in retirement costs onto the general fund budget, consuming funds that would otherwise pay for basic services. And it comes at a time of increased concern over the city’s growing pension burden.

Another pension agency, which oversees benefits for thousands of retired firefighters and police officers, recently reduced its own rate of return and recalculated the expected lifespan of its beneficiaries. Meanwhile, growth in the overall city payroll is also expected to push pension payments upward.

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