Southern California breaking news and trends

LA City Councilman Jose Huizar involved in Boyle Heights crash

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar was involved in a traffic accident Thursday in Boyle Heights. The Los Angeles Police Department says one person was detained for a possible drunk driving charge and one person was treated on scene for a minor injury.

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar was involved in a three-vehicle traffic collision Thursday evening, resulting in one injury.

The crash was reported at First Street and Boyle Avenue in Boyle Heights at 6:45 p.m., according to LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman. One person was treated on scene for a minor injury, LAPD said.

A spokesman for Fourteenth District representative Huizar called it a minor traffic accident and denied that alcohol played any role. 

“Councilmember Huizar was involved in a minor traffic accident this evening near First and Boyle near his home in Boyle Heights. LAPD gave the Councilmember a DUI sobriety test, which of course he passed. The councilmember is glad that nobody was seriously injured,” Rick Coca, a spokesman for the councilman, said in a statement.

The LAPD could not provide any immediate details on the vehicles, but both the Los Angeles Times and KTLA reported that a Saturn was struck from behind by a Toyota Highland hybrid, which was registered to the councilman’s office. A spokesman for Huizar could not immediately confirm whether the Toyota was a city-owned vehicle.


Ordinance blocking big retailers in Chinatown fails

Kylie Reynolds

Walmart is building a "neighborhood market" on the ground floor of this building at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues on the outskirts of Chinatown.

A proposal to ban major retailers from opening in the Chinatown area failed Tuesday on a vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

The emergency ordinance fell one short vote of the 12 needed to pass. The measure will be back on the agenda Wednesday for a second vote, though it is unlikely any of the dissenters — council members Jan Perry, Bernard Parks, Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino — will change sides. 

The ordinance was proposed last spring when it was announced that Walmart would open a neighborhood market on Cesar Chavez at Grand Avenue in a vacant building that was constructed more than 20 years ago to be a grocery store.

Walmart received its final permit before the emergency ordinance was introduced, but the permit has been challenged by a Chinatown resident. A decision on whether the permit is valid is expected in the next 30-60 days. If the city council passes the ban, and the Walmart permit is determined to be invalid, then the store would not be allowed to open. Walmart anticipates finishing construction in December. 


Committee: LA trash pickup should be exclusive franchise

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Fewer private trash haulers would be allowed to pick up garbage from Los Angeles' multifamily and commercial properties under a proposal unanimously approved today.

Fewer private companies would be allowed to pick up garbage from Los Angeles' commercial and multifamily properties under an exclusive franchise deal unanimously approved today by two Los Angeles City Council committees.

The vote from the Energy and Environment Committee and Ad Hoc Committee on Waste Reduction and Recycling is a win for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, which has spent two years lobbying to move the city's waste hauling toward an exclusive franchise system. Under a proposal from the Bureau of Sanitation, the city's six trash zones would be divided into 11 collection areas. The city government would then be in charge of setting rates and handing out franchise agreements to a limited number of garbage companies.

"There’s no legitimate means for accountability in this (current) system," said Maria Elena Durazo, head of the county Federation of Labor. "The Latino immigrant workers, the African-American workers, men and women who are most of the workforce deserve better."


LA City Council moves forward with campaign finance reform recommendations

Pile of money

Tracy O./Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles City Council agreed today to revise the city's matching funds program, though questions remain on the details.

A proposal to change how the City of Los Angeles provides public dollars to candidates for their political campaigns could give more power to small-time donors.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 Wednesday to ask the City Attorney for a draft ordinance that would implement a host of campaign finance reforms. They include a provision that would provide $2 in public funds for every qualified dollar a candidate receives in the primary. The match would increase to $4 per qualified dollar in the general election.

The city would match the first $250 for city council candidates and the first $500 for citywide candidates.

Under current rules the city matches, dollar-for-dollar, the first $250 of an individual’s contribution to a qualifying candidate. A total of $100,000 is available to a candidate in the primary and $150,000 in the general. The city currently has $12 million in its matching funds account, which comes from the general fund. 


When it comes to illness, LA's elected officials take different paths to disclosure (updated)

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl

Andres Aguila/KPCC

When it comes to disclosing medical issues, some Los Angeles city politicians wait weeks or months. Councilman Bill Rosendahl announced his cancer diagnosis within a week of hearing the news.

Within a week of finding out he had cancer, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl used his blog to tell constituents and reporters about the diagnosis. 

The gregarious councilman described how he discovered what he thought was a back injury was, in fact, cancer in his pelvic region. Rosendahl detailed his pain and announced that he was starting medical treatment.

That level of disclosure, which was immediate and open, is not always the case when a public figure has a personal medical issue. With no clear guide regarding disclosure, it is often up to the individual politician to determine when and what to share. 

In April of 2007, then-city Controller Laura Chick discovered she had breast cancer. She underwent surgery four months later, but it wasn’t until January of the following year that she acknowledged her condition. The decision not to share that information was reflective of Chick’s personality, she said.