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News Clippings and Summaries

During the semester clip articles from the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition, relating to any public management concern covered in this course (must involve a government agency).  Articles must have been published in the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times during the week preceding their submission (Thursday - Thursday). Don't go back in time!

Attach to each clipping a one-page, neatly typed summary that "summarizes" the key issues of the article using your own words. Don't simply paraphrase the article. Read and understand it first, then summarize it as a whole, breaking your account into logical and concise paragraphs. If your summary simply tracks the article, changing the words, you're doing it wrong!

Be concise!  Don't feel compelled to fill the entire page -- depending on the subject matter, two-thirds can do just fine. Avoid jargon - use simple, declarative language. Do NOT quote from the clipping.  Do NOT critique the article, analyze it or use any external references.

This is not group work. Clipping summaries must be your own original product. Although it is expected that an article may be used by more than one student, summaries that seem unusually similar will be returned ungraded for an explanation.

Submitting clippings:  You may turn in ONE clipping per class session. Since the purpose is to learn by sharing, clippings must be personally turned in at the beginning of class by the student who did the work.  Clippings will NOT be accepted in any other way (e.g., from someone else, by mail, left in the instructor's mailbox, etc.) If you will be absent from class or must leave when class begins you CANNOT be credited for any news stories during the preceding week.

Technical instructions: Place the last four digits of your student ID number on the top right. Center the article headline, date and page number across the top (OK to condense). Single-space, use one-inch margins, 12-point type. Absolutely no fancy fonts, no graphics, no pictures. Staple the original clipping to the summary (photocopies of clippings are NOT accepted).

Grading: Clippings can earn 0, 1 or 2 points.

  • If the subject matter of the article is relevant to the class, if the clipping is original (not a photocopy), if the summary follows directions, is clear, accurate and sufficient, not too wordy and free of multiple spelling or grammatical errors, you will earn ONE point.
  • If all else is well and the narrative summary is excellent the clipping can earn TWO points.
  • If the article is not relevant to the class, if a summary simply rewords what the author said, is improperly formatted, sloppy, unclear, insufficiently descriptive or incorrect, or has substantial spelling or grammatical errors, you will earn zero points.

Up to ten points can be awarded for clippings per semester.  Once you have reached the maximum you're done!

Example

(original clipping stapled here)                                                                                                                       Student 1234

"O.C. Must Justify Planning Fee Use"
August 23, 2004, p. B-1.

A judge has ordered Orange County to prove that it did not overcharge a homebuilder for planning fees in 2001. The builder, "Barratt American", had sued claiming that during 2001 the County charged it fees to review and approve proposed housing developments that substantially exceeded its costs of administering the program.

According to California law, building and planning fees must reflect the actual costs of licensing, such as paying building inspectors and processing plans. Outside experts retained by the Court reported that between 2001-2002 Orange County collected as much as $14 million in excessive fees.  Supposedly the surplus was used to fund excessive numbers of employees, buy vehicles and pay for general Government expenses.

Builders in other counties have voiced similar complaints. Their allegations have drawn mixed reactions from judges, with a State appeals court ruling that excessive fees can be challenged but are not refundable. It is expected that the extent of a County's obligation to follow the law and reimburse builders will be settled by the California Supreme Court.

The discrepancy in Orange County was first discovered in 2002. It led to the layoff of 39 Planning Dept. workers, the early retirement of their boss and the firing of the County executive.