Side issues may delay budget deal

While California’s faltering budget process is capturing headlines, the federal government is nearing as tipping point. Republicans and Democrats are locking horns over spending cuts as a temporary extension of the federal budget is set to expire April 8.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said the problem is as much Republican vs. Republican as it is between the two major parties.

“We’re still far apart because even if (House Speaker John) Boehner wants to make a deal, he’s got to curry favor with the most extreme members in his caucus,” Sherman said, adding that symbolic side issues are waylaying substantive discussions. “There are people Boehner has to deal with that would shut down the government over the issue of whether any money goes to Planned Parenthood.”

Details of President Obama’s new compromise plan of $33 billion cuts — a little more than half of what Republicans seek — are just now emerging. Sherman said he is prepared to “swallow hard” and accept deeper cuts than he’d like to see.

“We’ve got to keep the country going,” he said, adding that “government is substantially less efficient when you try to run it two weeks at a time.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) noted that the compromise involves “a lot of cuts to a very small piece of the government — discretionary domestic spending.”

Lawmakers will avoid a shutdown, he said, “though it’s still hard to see how we’ll bridge the gap between Senate and House Democrats and House Republicans. But we have to get to yes, because the costs of not doing so is just too high.”

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Maro Kechichian of Burbank and Maureen Walsh of Glendale are among Rep. Adam Schiff’s “Women of the Year.” Last week at a Pasadena ceremony, Schiff (D-Burbank) honored one women from each of the nine cities he represents.

Kechichian, a native of Lebanon, brought her teaching skills from Beirut to Burbank in 1984. She has long been a prominent figure in the Los Angeles Chapter of the charitable agency Homenetmen, and in 1990 was asked to establish a Homenetmen effort in Armenia, according to Schiff’s office. She serves as executive secretary at the Armenian Relief Society of the Western Region.

Walsh is a native New Yorker who in 1988 became active on the Women’s Committee of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra, where she helped bring symphonic performances to Glendale schools.

Since 1994, Walsh has been involved with the Cabrini Literary Guild in Glendale, raising funds for charities such as Loaves & Fishes, the YWCA of Glendale, and high school literacy and writing in the Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles, according to Schiff’s office. She also is a member of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Guild, where she has championed the Pets with Purpose program.

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Howard Thelin, who as a teen bussed dishes at the Broadway Café in Glendale and later served for 10 years as a state Assemblyman in Glendale and 21 as a judge in Los Angeles County, died this week at age 90. Services were held Friday.

His son Richard Thelin recalled that as a judge his father handled several high-profile cases, including litigation over the break-up of the Jackson Five and a case in which “Charlie’s Angels” actress Cheryl Ladd battled an unauthorized use of her image.

“My dad commented on Cheryl Ladd being in the courtroom and a lot of young lawyers being distracted,” Thelin said.

The elder Thelin was involved with Glendale and Burbank Republican clubs for decades and remained active with them nearly until the end of his life, his son said. Before being elected to the Assembly in 1956, Thelin was a law partner with Carlos Moorhead, a like-minded conservative who served in the Assembly and later represented the area as a member of Congress from 1973 to 1996.

“When he was an assemblyman, it wasn’t so much a passion for power,” Richard Thelin said of his father. “He just enjoyed serving the public and doing every time what he thought was best.”

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Local cities lost a recent battle in what promises to be a decades-long war over the proposed 4.5-mile tunnel under Pasadena connecting the Long Beach (710) Freeway and the Foothill (210) Freeway.

On March 22, a state appellate court threw out a law suit jointly filed in 2008 by La Cañada Flintridge and South Pasadena seeking to block the use of $780 million in Measure R tax money on the tunnel.

The appeals court agreed with a Santa Barbara County trial judge that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority hasn’t guaranteed that the Measure R money would go for a tunnel, but that the project is one of several options under consideration for closing the 710 gap.

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The Humane Society of the United States gave Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) its Humane Champion Award for his record on animal rights issues.

The organization cited the congressman’s co-sponsorship of a measure that would ban so-called Internet hunting, in which hunters use remote cameras and weapons to identify a target and then pull the trigger. Several states have banned the practice, but the effort for a federal ban has not been successful.
 
 

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