California Roundup: What's the one thing we need in 2010? More Unions!


* The University of California system is now a closed shop for postdocs. Researchers at the 10 UC campuses (campi?) have signed a union contract that will hike pay by 1.5 percent to 3 percent and aim for compliance with NIH-suggested pay scales. Larry Gordon of the Los Angeles Times is unable to find any potential downside in this "success" that one source tells us will "breed success." Gordon also wins today's Arabic award, in which written information is delivered precisely backward. Here, for example, is how he explains that despite a four-year organizing campaign, the union was unable to attract a majority of researchers to vote for its takeover: "[A]lthough less than half of the posdocs voted, 95% of those who did vote supported the contract."

* Elsewhere at the LAT, Lisa Mascaro falls in love with Mikael Moore, the 32-year-old grandson of and chief of staff to the embattled Rep. Maxine Waters. And what's not to love? He's a young, "politically gifted" take-charge man who "brought order to a sometimes tangled office" (while allegedly setting up a sweetheart deal for Waters' husband's bank); he's pulling down $129,000 a year; he looks damn well in a suit with one of those hanky-thingees peeping out of the breast pocket. And obviously he knows the importance of family.

* Sadly, the L.A. Times' lawyers have not been as successful at breaking the prior restraint of a judge who barred the paper from running a photograph of a defendant in a murder case, on the grounds that publishing a photo of the defendant in prison garb would violate his right to a fair trial. The case is before L.A.'s 2nd District Court of Appeal, and though Superior Court Judge Hilleri Merritt overstepped the bounds of the court (and the paper will almost certainly prevail in the case), it's interesting  to see a peevish judge pit First Amendment and Sixth Amendment guarantees against each other.

* Digital divas deliver a one and a zero for Republicans: HP's Carly Fiorina pulls ahead of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in polling; eBay's Meg Whitman can't make a dent in gubernatorial opponent Jerry Brown.

* Bob Rizzo—is there no end to this man's evil? LA Weekly's J. Patrick Coolican explains how the disgraced former Bell city manager came up with a policy so vicious even the cops hated it: a three-a-day quota for impounding cars.