Labor Battling Governor Over Key Appointee

An expected showdown over a key appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger could mark the beginning of a battle between the governor and organized labor over workers' compensation, employee pensions and a host of other workplace issues, the Los Angeles Times reported. Unions and attorneys for injured workers are planning a coordinated attack on Andrea Hoch, the governor's point person for implementing 2004's workers' compensation insurance overhaul, when she appears before the Senate Rules Committee for confirmation. Labor intends to mount "a mass turnout," union officials said.

Gasoline Prices Down Nationally, Up in State
Gasoline prices nationwide dropped slightly in the last two weeks as oil price hikes were checked by an increase in the gasoline supply, said industry analyst Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country. The average retail price for all three grades dropped half a cent to $1.93 from Feb. 5 to Friday, the Associated Press reported. Although the price nationwide dropped, the price of each grade of gas rose by about 11 cents in California to an average of $2.33.

Metrolink Limits Train Service
Metrolink riders on two Ventura County lines will be bused today to trains departing from Moorpark because of flooding, washouts and sinkholes on 15 to 20 miles of track, the Los Angeles Times reported. Montalvo, Oxnard and Camarillo riders who take the 104 and 106 trains , departing at 6:05 a.m. and 6:44 a.m., respectively , were bused to Moorpark, where the Union Station-bound trains will run about 10 minutes later than scheduled.

Torrance Mayor Got Cash Help From Developer
A major development company delivered more than $16,000 to the mayor of Torrance just days after it sought city approval for a townhouse project, campaign records show. Mayor Dan Walker received 17 individual contributions to his re-election campaign on a single day from donors with close ties to JCC Homes, the Daily Breeze reported. The contributions were legal, and Walker said they played no role in his votes on the City Council.

Dump Foes Say Mayor Must Help
On the campaign trail in 2001, Mayor James Hahn promised to dump L.A.'s trash outside city limits and to work to close the city's two remaining landfills, both in the San Fernando Valley, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Now, with Hahn seeking re-election, the mayor is again pledging to end urban dumps, and several critical decisions on the horizon involving the Bradley Landfill in Sun Valley and Sunshine Canyon in Granada Hills will test whether he fulfills that pledge.

Estrich Web Site Lacking So Far
In her new campaign against the L.A. Times and Michael Kinsley, USC law professor and columnist Susan Estrich announced last week she was launching a Web site, As of Monday morning, it still wasn't up and running, reported the L.A.-based blog Web site LA Observed. "I have spent the last year trying to convince the three men who run the opinion section of my local paper that there are, in fact, many great women thinkers in the community where I live, but they choose to publish none of them," said Estrich.

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