Prop. 103 Changes May Join Ballot

The head of one of California's biggest auto insurers is pursuing a ballot measure for the November election that would rewrite large portions of Proposition 103, the 1988 initiative that changed the way the state sets auto insurance premiums. George Joseph, chief executive of L.A.-based Mercury General Corp., has hired strategists, public relations specialists and attorneys to work on qualifying the proposed ballot measure he submitted to the attorney general's office last week, the Los Angeles Times reported. Josephs said he wants to make key changes in the law, including how much weight to place on driving records, miles driven and driving experience when setting auto premiums. That could derail the Department of Insurance's recent move to lower auto rates for big city dwellers and raise them for suburban and rural drivers

Billions Needed to Fix County Ills
Los Angeles County's aging government-owned infrastructure needs at least $6.7 billion and possibly as much as $304 billion in improvements and upgrades, according to a report released Wednesday. The report comes just months after the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the area's infrastructure an overall grade of C-plus and estimated $50 billion in improvements are needed. The county report was issued Wednesday in response to a November request by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich for the Department of Public Works to compare how its infrastructure stacks up to ASCE's countywide infrastructure grades, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

Villaraigosa, Romer Hold LAUSD Talks
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles public schools Superintendent Roy Romer met Wednesday in an effort to improve relations and work together on district improvements. While the two said major areas of contention such as mayoral control of the LAUSD and a proposed audit of the district by City Controller Laura Chick remain unresolved, they hope to meet more regularly to tackle a variety of issues, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The move to reach at least a partial accord comes as Villaraigosa steps up criticism of the nation's second-largest school district and seeks public support for his efforts to overturn the status quo. Villaraigosa said he appreciated the meeting with Romer, although he disagreed with some of the substance of the talks.

City Employees' Union to File Labor Complaint
The Engineers and Architects Assn., representing 8,000 city workers, announced Wednesday that it was filing an unfair labor practice complaint challenging a city memo that requires employees to get a supervisor's approval to take vacation or compensatory time to participate in demonstrations. The union is seeking a better contract with the city, the Los Angeles Times reported. The complaint also said the city's demand for documentation from a doctor for employees who take one sick day must be negotiated, said union head Robert Aquino.

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