Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: costly sick days for DWP, voting rights in Palmdale, proposal to eliminate sidewalk fees

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The Department of Water and Power has paid out more than $35 million in three years for employees' extra sick days.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

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Today is Friday, July 26, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


The Department of Water and Power has paid out more than $35 million since 2010 in extra sick days for employees, according to the Los Angeles Times. In fact, DWP employees can take off an unlimited number of sick days. "You'd expect a work ethic in a group like that. Of course, there are always people who abuse," said Fred Pickel, the ratepayer advocate.

The Times also reports that the union that represents DWP workers is looking for a contract that would forgo raises until 2016 and then give employees a 4 percent raise. "It's not good enough. Period. Mayor (Eric) Garcetti was elected with a clear mandate to bring real reform to the DWP, and that includes pensions, healthcare and salaries," according to a mayoral spokesman.

A Los Angeles Superior Court determined that Palmdale's at-large elections led to racial polarization that disenfranchised African-American and Latino voters, reports KPCC. Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford says the city will appeal the ruling.

L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino wants to eliminate the fees that Angelenos pay when they volunteer to fix their own sidewalks, reports the Daily News. Those fees can add an estimated $500 to $600 to a project.

KPCC looks at the unique nature of Los Angeles' commissions and Liberty Hills' plan to train Angelenos for commission appointments. "It’s part of giving people the tools to set the public agenda," says Shane Goldsmith, incoming CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation.



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