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The L.A. Times held its fourth annual Town Hall in Los Angeles

‘L.A. in Crisis’: Watch the town hall hosted by the L.A. Times and Fox 11

Shelley H. Pomerantz reports on the town hall hosted by the L.A. Times and Fox 11. (Photo: Fox 11)

Shelley Pomerantz has been covering news, politics and culture in Los Angeles for more than a decade

Updated 5:21 pm, Thursday, January 22, 2015

Los Angeles, CA – The L.A. Times held its fourth annual Town Hall in L.A. on Tuesday night, and the event turned the usual political meeting format against itself.

At the center of the debate was the recent budget stalemate with the White House over President Obama’s request for an increase of about $2 billion in the nation’s discretionary spending cap.

This deficit reduction plan, known as the Budget Control Act, was the centerpiece of the White House’s “fiscal responsibility” initiative to cut spending as a way of spurring the economy while at the same time making cuts in other areas, particularly defense.

The L.A. Times, the newspaper of record, hosts a Town Hall every year in December to ask readers their opinion on major issues. It is designed to help the readers get to know the L.A. Times editorial voice, to get a sense of the newspaper’s priorities and to gauge public opinion in the area.

The event in Tuesday night’s Hall of Fame Room, which was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, was moderated by the L.A. Times’ chief political correspondent Shelley Pomerantz and hosted by Fox 11 anchor Mary Steenburgen as well as The Times’ Washington bureau chief Jim Rutenberg and editor in chief Will Bunch.

The meeting began with a prayer and ended with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The discussion ranged from L.A.’s role in President Obama’s reelection campaign last year and its importance to the city’s success and economic growth, to the fact that the state’s budget problems are not due to lack of revenues but because of overspending.

The L.A. Times has its own special committee dedicated to finding solutions to the state’s budget crisis, and Pomerantz was joined by her L.A. colleague Mary Anne Marsh, the executive editor of

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