Southern California breaking news and trends

LA budget, sanitation officials split over trash pickup for businesses, apartments

VICA president

Alice Walton/KPCC

VICA's Stuart Waldman speaks at City Hall in support of a plan to move the city's trash pickup to a non-exclusive franchise.

A proposal to change how private trash companies collect refuse from Los Angeles businesses and apartment buildings could generate as much as $30 million a year in new revenue, according to a report from the city’s top budget official.

A study from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana recommends moving the city to a non-exclusive franchise model. That means qualified haulers would be required to obtain a franchise agreement from the city. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Sanitation recommended moving to an exclusive franchise where the city's six trash zones would be subdivided into 11 collection areas. Each collection area would have one primary hauler. 

“A non-exclusive franchise preserves an open, competitive marketplace which is the most significant factor in maintaining price controls, and where the primary business model concerns business-to-business relationships, not business-to-city relationships,” Santana wrote in his report.


Los Angeles maintains credit ratings despite fiscal concerns

Piles of cash

Photo by 401K via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Anglees' short-term credit ratings will remain the same, despite agencies' concerns about possible layoffs and a lack of reserve funds.

Three major agencies will maintain the city of Los Angeles’ short-term credit ratings despite concerns about a low reserve fund, police overtime and looming layoffs, according to reports released today.

Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services all affirmed the city’s short-term rating for the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes, which allow the city to pay bills now even though taxes and fees will flow in throughout the fiscal year. The city is looking to borrow about $1.2 billion. 

The stable outlooks come with warnings, however. Fitch Ratings points out the city continues to fall short of its own goal to set aside 5 percent of the General Fund for the reserves.

“While the city has taken significant budgetary actions in response to economic contraction and its personnel-related expenditure pressures, the time taken to achieve the necessary political consensus, as well as the longer term budget initiatives still in development, indicates how politically difficult it is for the city to respond nimbly,” according to the report. 


The traffic trip: Honolulu vs. LA in the battle of the worst

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Traffic on the northbound and the southbound lanes of the 405 freeway near Los Angeles International Airport.

According to new traffic research report, the distinct honor of having the "worst traffic in the country" now belongs to Honolulu.

Last year, the turn-by-turn navigation app Waze, in collaboration with the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts and Nik Hanselmann, visualized a trippy 24-hours of Los Angeles traffic, then considered the worst traffic in the country by the Texas Transportation Institute, noted Fast Company.

That was before Hawaii swam up and captured the crown while California wasn't looking.

According to the new INTRIX National Traffic Scorecard, Los Angeles is still the big winner for "worst traffic corridor," with highest marks given to the 13-mile stretch of 405 Freeway between the Imperial Highway interchange and Getty Center Drive.

The study sets the average L.A. drive-time at 56 hours spent in traffic in 2011, while Honolulu residents spent 58 hours trapped in their transitmobiles. Despite the exhaust(ion), drivers may still be able to breathe a little easier. The report found that overall national congestion was on the decline.


Los Angeles city budget avoids layoffs, increases penalties on parking tickets

Exterior view of Los Angeles City Hall

California Historical Society/USC Digital Archives

A spending plan approved by the Budget and Finance Committee delays 209 layoffs while increasing the fines for all parking violations in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles city employees whose jobs had been on the chopping block received a six-month reprieve today as members of the Budget and Finance Committee agreed to keep them on the payroll as elected officials look for additional revenue sources.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed budget had called for 231 layoffs, two-thirds of which would have impacted civilian, administrative staff at the Los Angeles Police Department. The city’s chief legislative analyst reduced that projection to 209 layoffs, before they were pushed back to Jan. 1, 2013.

“Our first goal is restoring services – not protecting jobs for their own sake,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.

“As we restore services, where are they most appropriate to fulfill the core mission of this city?”


Beastie Boys in Los Angeles: A map of landmarks 'from here to Gardena' (in honor of Adam 'MCA' Yauch)

adam yauch map

Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Beastie Boys at Sundance in 2006. Adam Yauch (center) died on May 4, 2012.

Despite their New York beginnings, the Beastie Boys have put roots down all over Los Angeles. 

In honor of the late Adam Yauch, who passed away Friday morning after a near three-year battle with cancer, we've put together a MCA tribute map of the most important Beastie Boys landmarks around the city.


View Beastie Boys landmarks of Los Angeles in a larger map

...On the map...

G-Son Studios
This creative space in Atwater Village is where the Beastie Boys recorded their 1992 album "Check Your Head."

Created by Mike D. of the Beastie Boys, this high-end t-shirt and men's clothing store changed hands a number of years ago.

Capitol Records
Capitol released the Beastie Boys' album "Paul's Boutique" in 1989 and held the group's album release party on the iconic building's roof.

Hollywood Palladium
The Beastie Boys played their first show as headliners in Los Angeles at the Palladium with Run-DMC and Grandmaster Flash.

Beastie Boys throw a mannequin into the L.A. River
The trio's scene was edited out from the "Sabotage" video and later restored in the Beastie Boys Video anthology, a mannequin is thrown off an overpass and into the L.A. River.

Netty's Girl
The Echo Park lake is where a young Mike D. sang his solo underground hit, "Netty's Girl," while in a paddle-boat.

Grand Royal Records Party
The Beastie Boys had their Grand Royal Records Party at the Los Feliz Golf Course in the mid 1990s.

"I'm the illest ___ from here to Gardena"
A fan-favorite lyric from "So What'cha Want" off of the 1992 release "Check Your Head."

The Record Plant
The recording studio where the Beastie Boys created and mixed a portion of "Paul's Boutique."