Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council's Budget Committee avoids layoffs for LAPD clerks

City Councilman Paul Krekorian

Andres Aguila/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian chairs the Budget and Finance Committee, which voted Thursday to avoid layoffs through the end of the fiscal year.

Looks like it won't be a blue Christmas for more than 90 City of L.A. workers after all.

The Los Angeles Police Department and city Personnel Department have identified enough money to keep 96 employees in their jobs through the end of next June, members of the City Council Budget and Finance Committee were told Thursday.

By the end of this year, 93 LAPD clerks and three employees with the Personnel Department were to be laid off. The reductions were part of a budget plan approved by the City Council. Appearing before the committee, police and personnel representatives testified they had found the $3 million needed to keep the employees.

Councilman Paul Koretz voiced his opposition to the layoffs, noting that a $3 million loss would be worth it to keep people in their jobs. 

“The difference that $3 million will make, I think, is insignificant enough in terms of the morale difference of laying people off when you don’t have to," Koretz said. "I would think we’d be better off being $3 million shorter and not having to do layoffs during this period."


Los Angeles City Council schedules special election for May

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

A special election for the Los Angeles City Council's next Sixth District rep will be held on May 21, 2013 at a cost of $400,000.

A special election to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Los Angeles City Council is set for May 21, 2013.

The L.A. City Council voted 12-0 to hold an election that day to fill the vacancy that will be left when Councilman Tony Cardenas is sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3. A runoff election is scheduled for July 23. 

It will cost $400,000 to hold the special election. It could have cost more than a $1 million if the primary were not held the same day as the city’s municipal election runoff.

The city council could have voted to appoint a new council member to serve the remainder of Cardenas’ term, through June 30, 2015. However, the L.A. City Council has not chosen that option since the 1960s when John Ferraro was appointed to the council. With this election, it means there will be seven new members of the Los Angeles City Council next year.


LA City Council votes to place sales tax increase on March 2013 ballot

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

A sales tax increase backed by Council President Herb Wesson was approved for the March 2013 ballot in a vote of 11-4.

A sales tax increase that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the City of Los Angeles will appear on the March 2013 ballot.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-4 Tuesday to place the tax measure on the March 5 ballot. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he will return the measure to the council without his signature, which will allow the measure to appear on the ballot. 

Council President Herb Wesson proposed the tax increase, saying it could bring in $215 million a year for basic city services. Los Angeles is expected to start the next fiscal year in July with a $216 million deficit. 

Villaraigosa released a statement that said:  "I will not ask the people of Los Angeles to support higher taxes until the City Council makes progress on a set of new reforms that will make us more efficient, accountable and competitive. We must tie new revenue to new reforms.” 


Turkey, transition and tradition: Tony Cardenas moving from local to national political scene

Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas

Sharon McNary/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas is moving to Congress, meaning he'll represent about a half-million more constituents.

California voters are sending fourteen new members of Congress to Washington in early January. Tony Cardenas is one of them. Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles City Councilman  took a few minutes during his annual turkey giveaway for needy families to reflect on the coming change.

He'll represent his current 200,000 San Fernando Valley constituents, plus another half-million in the 29th Congressional District to which he was elected Nov. 6.

It's Cardenas' tenth consecutive year on the food distribution assembly line, handing out the frozen birds to families who were nominated to receive Thanksgiving gifts by local schools and non-profit groups. After about 20 minutes of transferring turkeys into bags and receiving the thanks of the last of the families, Cardenas' hands are chilled.

The turkey hand-out has become something of a tradition. Now Cardenas is hoping he doesn't draw the short straw in another tradition — the lottery for new members' office space on Capitol Hill.

"One office, they say, is notorious because people walk through your office to go to the bathroom, which I think is just not nice," Cardenas said.

As he concentrates on moving from local to federal government, Cardenas says he needs to let go of issues such as filling potholes and fixing street lights.

"Now, as a congressman, I have to discipline myself to understand that that's not my responsibility directly," he said. "However, I will be trying my best to make sure that various departments get grants to my community."

Cardenas sees it as returning tax funds to the community, and he's already getting requests. He told the crowd he will focus on policy issues such as creating a path to permanent residency and citizenship for immigrants.

Cardenas is taking one of his City Hall staffers with him to Washington; the rest of his D.C. staff will be people who have experience navigating the federal labyrinth.

"It's a very confusing place, literally," he said. "The tunnels are like mazes and it's hard to find the offices and find your way around. It's going to take a bit of time for me to acclimate."

Constituents such as Antonia Lamas, while thankful for the bag of food, are also focused on the bigger picture, and on what Cardenas can do for them in Washington."The most important thing," she said, "is that he get immigration laws implemented and enforced so that we all benefit."


LA City Council special election slated for May at $400K cost

Mercer 14447

via cd6.lacity.org

L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas has been elected to Congress. The special election to fill his seat will cost the city about $400,000.

A special election to fill the vacancy that will be left by Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas’ move to Congress will cost the city about $400,000, according to a report from the city clerk.

The Sixth District seat will open too late to make it onto the March 2013 ballot. The City Clerk's office said there needs to be reasonable notice for prospective candidates to meet residency requirements and organize their campaigns.

The estimate assumes the primary for Cardenas' seat will be held on May 21, 2013, which is the runoff date for the mayor’s race, as well as city attorney, controller and eight city council seats. If the CD 6 primary isn't held on that day, the estimate will increase to well over $1 million. 

The report states: “The $400,000 cost is based upon the number of precincts in CD 6 and presumes an estimated 15 to 20 candidates filing papers to run, normal at-poll voting methodology, and the necessity of administering both the primary and runoff elections."