Southern California breaking news and trends

Los Angeles increases penalties on parking tickets

Mercer 3868

Corey Moore/KPCC

The fine for parking at an expired meter will increase to $63, while street cleaning tickets will jump to $73 under a plan approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

All parking fines in the city of Los Angeles will increase at least $5 under a proposal approved today by the Los Angeles City Council, bringing the penalty for an expired parking meter to $63.

Angelenos who forget to move their cars for street cleaning will see tickets increase to $73. Illegally parking in a permit-only spot overnight will now cost $68, while a car left in an anti-gridlock zone during rush hour will leave its driver with a $163 tab.

Parking fines generated $134 million for the city of Los Angeles last year, with about one-third of those fees coming from street-cleaning tickets. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had proposed increasing that $68 fine by $10, but the plan received pushback from city council members who said the fine disproportionately impacted low-income neighborhoods that lack off-street parking.


Free WiFi coming in for a landing at LAX

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles International Airport will have free wireless Internet available to passengers beginning next month.

Free wireless Internet will be available at Los Angeles International Airport next month, even though city council members today denounced the airport’s process for obtaining the WiFi contract.

Councilman Joe Buscaino prompted the review of the Advanced Wireless Group contract after it was approved the Board of Airport Commissioners. Another provider, Los Angeles-based Boingo, could provide the airport with a better financial deal, Buscaino said.

“Can you imagine the city of Detroit needing a police car and not asking Ford or General Motors for a price?” he said.

The airport’s current Internet provider, T-Mobile, charges passengers $9.99 per session, which provides LAX with $1 million a year in revenue. However, T-Mobile will end its service on July 15, and airport officials testified that Advanced Wireless Group will provide a seamless transition between the two services. Ultimately, airport officials will sign with a company willing to make $20 million in upgrades to LAX’s infrastructure to provide a more reliable network. It will take at least two years to get a company in place. 


Lawsuits on deck in Los Angeles' redistricting process

Los Angeles Redistricting Map 2012

City of Los Angeles

New district lines were approved today by the Los Angeles City Council. Members of the clergy and Korean American Coalition are ready to file a lawsuit as soon as the maps take effect.

A coalition of clergy members took to the mayor’s office today to demand a meeting after the Los Angeles City Council approved new district lines that that group says ignore the will of the people.

In a 13-2 vote, the council gave final approval to the maps. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has 10 days to approve or reject the maps. Council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry continued to oppose the maps, which moved USC out of Parks’ district and decimated Perry’s downtown and South Los Angeles district.

“Little did we know that it would turn out the way that it did, with the Ninth District being severed from its economic engine of 40 years, rendering the residents who are now south of Staples, south of Olympic to having an annual (median) income of $16,000,” Perry said.

Religious leaders as well as the Korean American Coalition plan to sue the city once the mayor takes action on the maps. Their requests for meetings with Villaraigosa have been denied. 


Alex De Ocampo reaches fundraising benchmark in CD13 race

Alex De Ocampo

De Ocampo Campaign

Alex De Ocampo is the first candidate to reach the $50,000 fundraising benchmark in the race for the Los Angeles City Council's Thirteenth District.

Three weeks after declaring his candidacy, a manager with the Saban Family Foundation became the first to hit a fundraising benchmark in the crowded field running for the Los Angeles City Council’s Thirteenth District.   

Alex De Ocampo has raised $50,000 as of today. City council candidates are required to notify the Ethics Commission when they collect that much in donations.

De Ocampo declared his candidacy May 29. He is one of a dozen candidates hoping to succeed Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor. CD 13 includes Echo Park, Silver Lake and Hollywood.

De Ocampo is a member of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council. He serves on the boards of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and Grand Performances. De Ocampo was a two-term state president of the California Young Democrats. 


Nominee to be city librarian quizzed on his summer reading list

Barnes And Noble Unveils Their E-Book Reader The Nook

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nominee to lead Los Angeles' library system is spending his summer reading a biography on of Olimpia Maidalchini.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s pick to be the next city librarian was approved by a Los Angeles City Council committee today, but not before members could quiz him on his summer reading list.

John Szabo was previously the director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. If the Los Angeles City Council confirms him, Szabo would replace Martin Gomez as city librarian.  

Appearing before the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, Szabo reported he is reading a biography of Olimpia Maidalchini, who is referred to as the first female pope for her work with the Vatican in the 1600s.

“It’s a fascinating biography,” Szabo said.

A brief description of the book prompted Councilman Richard Alarcon to tell his colleague, "Mr. LaBonge, I think you’re reading that same book.”  

Councilman Tom LaBonge retorted: "I’m just reading my mail."