Southern California breaking news and trends

Changes proposed to draw more visitors to Los Angeles Convention Center


A report on how to overhaul operations at the Los Angeles Convention Center comes as AEG is proposing to knock down the West Hall to make way for a football stadium.

Los Angeles city officials want the convention center to move away from local trade shows and focus on larger conventions that draw out-of-state visitors, but whether privatization will be a part of that equation remains up in the air for now.

A proposal to overhaul operations at the convention center was presented Monday afternoon to the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana recommended hiring a private manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the business, though he noted that change alone would not improve the convention business in Los Angeles. Privatization would, however, save the City of L.A. as much as $37 million over a five-year period, according to Santana.

A representative for SEIU Local 721’s Professional Managers Association questioned why improvements couldn’t be made with the current structure that's in place.


2 tax increases could appear on Los Angeles' spring ballot

City Councilman Paul Krekorian

Andres Aguila/KPCC

As chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Councilman Paul Krekorian told his colleagues it's time to get real about how the city of Los Angeles will close its structural deficit.

The tax that homebuyers pay when they purchase property in the city of Los Angeles would double next spring under a proposal to reduce the city’s ongoing deficit.

A measure to increase the city’s documentary transfer tax should appear on the March ballot, according to a recommendation from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana. The proposal would increase the tax from $4.50 per $1,000 of a home sale to $9 per $1,000.

For the average homebuyer, that would increase the tax from $1,733 per home sale to $3,465.

During the housing boom that coincided with fiscal year 2005-06, the city received $217 million from the tax. That’s in contrast to this year, when budget officials expect to receive $150 million from the documentary transfer tax.

The projected deficit for fiscal year 2013-14, which starts July 1, is $216 million. Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, told his colleagues that it's time to face reality.


LA to add Armenian, Russian, Farsi to city ballots

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Los Angeles' election services will now be provided in Armenian, Farsi and Russian. The city clerk was asked to put together a plan so ballots can be in all three languages by 2015.

The City of Los Angeles will now provide election services in Armenian, Russian and Farsi, and the three languages could be on ballots by 2015. 

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who is the first Armenian-American to be elected to the Los Angeles City Council, recommended that election outreach and pollworker recruitment be done in Armenian for the city's 28,000 registered voters of Armenian descent. An amendment added Russian and Farsi to those recommendations. 

“We’re the city with the greatest diversity in this country. There are 92 languages spoken by the parents of LAUSD students at home," Krekorian said. "The third most commonly spoken language by those who are not perfectly fluent in English is Armenian, after Spanish and Korean.”

The City Clerk already provides election services in eight languages other than English: Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese, per a federal mandate. Local municipalities can voluntarily add other languages at their discretion. 


LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian decides against running for city attorney

City Councilman Paul Krekorian

Andres Aguila/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian says he is not a candidate for city attorney in 2013, despite speculation to the contrary.

Despite months of speculation and what sounded like a confirmation of his interest, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian will not run for city attorney in the 2013 race, he told KPCC today.

The District 2 councilman would have faced Assemblyman Mike Feuer and attorneys Gregory Smith and Eduardo Angeles in the March primary. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who earlier this year failed to make the runoff for Los Angeles County district attorney, has said he will run for reelection.

“My intention is to focus on the task at hand. I have no plans to run for the city attorney or any other office in this upcoming election,” Krekorian said. “I plan to focus on bringing this city back to fiscal sustainability and continuing to serve the residents of the San Fernando Valley and the second council district.”


LA City Hall calls for review of lost property taxes

Photo by John Noguez via Flickr Creative Commons

Two Los Angeles city councilmen want an independent assessor to review properties that received significant tax reductions, which could have resulted in less revenue to the city, under the leadership of Assessor John Noguez.

Concerned by the news that a Los Angeles County appraiser may have improperly slashed the assessed value of Westside properties, two Los Angeles city councilmen today called for an independent review of how much money the city may have lost.

The resolution from Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Dennis Zine asks the county Board of Supervisors to appoint an independent third party to review all properties that received a property tax reduction of least 20 percent beginning in December 2010 when county Assessor John Noguez was elected.

Lower assessed values mean lower taxes for property owners. 

“If there is any undervaluation of property assets that result in a diminished property tax payment to the county, the city is adversely impacted by that and it's going to result, inevitably, in diminished services to our constituents,” Councilman Paul Krekorian told KPCC.