Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council confirms new members to Board of Fire Commission

Los Angeles Fire Department Engine

Courtesy Los Angeles Fire Department

Four new members were confirmed to the Board of Fire Commissioners Friday. The Los Angeles Fire Department is facing a number of challenges, including the allocation of resources, response times, and reliability of the 911 system.

The Los Angeles City Council confirmed four new members to the Board of Fire Commission Friday, including Mayor Eric Garcetti's former physician. 

Dr. Jimmy Hara of Kaiser Permanente, attorney Delia Ibarra, retired teacher Jimmie Woods-Gray and Andrew Glazier of CityYear will join incumbent commissioner Steve Fazio on the panel. The Fire Commission is the civilian panel that oversees policy for the Los Angeles Fire Department. 

The appointments come at a time when the department is under scrutiny for how it uses its resources and how quickly personnel respond to emergencies. The reliability of the city's 911 system has also been called into question. 

LAFD Chief Brian Cummings, a 32-year veteran of the department, is among the executive-level managers whose performance is being reviewed by the mayor's office as part of his transition into office.

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Undocumented immigrants cheer passage of CA drivers license bill

undocumented drivers

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Armando Ibañez says he's relieved California will allow undocumented immigrant drivers like himself to apply for a driver's license. "I have been living in fear," he says.

Undocumented – and unlicensed – immigrant drivers Friday celebrated passage of state legislation that would allow them to apply for a California driver’s license.

“I have been living with fear of getting pulled over and stopped by police, and getting deported,” Armando Ibañez told reporters gathered at the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Ibañez, who works three food service jobs in downtown L.A., said he’s been driving for 12 years without a license.

“I am asking the governor to please sign the bill,” said Ibañez, 30, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Governor Jerry Brown has said he will sign the legislation, which gives the Department of Motor Vehicles until 2015 to develop regulations for implementation.

“It’s been stressful for all of us,” said Araceli Sanchez, 49, who came to the U.S. in 1994 and lives in West LA. She recalls police impounding her car a decade ago — as she was returning home from the grocery store with her three children — because she did not have a driver’s license.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: analyzing Board of Supervisors' seats, a new fire station in the Valley, West Hollywood to ban exotic animals

Supervisor Gloria Molina

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Supervisor Gloria Molina is the only Latino on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. LAObserved looks at the politics of creating a second Latino district.

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, Sept. 13, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

LAObserved columnist Bill Boyarsky explains why termed-out L.A. County supervisors may oppose the creation of a new, Latino-dominated district. It comes down to "the long standing relationships the supervisors have with small city politicians, chambers of commerce and other business organizations, religious groups and others. These organizations comprise crucial support networks," he writes.

Did the city of Los Angeles try to pull a fast one residents in Sherman Oaks by secretly OKing a new fire station? The LA Weekly thinks so. "The Bureau of Engineering, LAFD and (former Councilman Tony) Cardenas (now in Congress) in 2009 began to plan a vast, 18,533-square-foot, $37.1 million fire station at Oxnard Street and Vesper Avenue. Residents got word just eight weeks ago, when it was all but a done deal," according to the paper.

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Farmers tell Democrats how climate change affects crops

Henry Waxman

Kitty Felde/KPCC

LA Democrat Henry Waxman, right, says his task force is looking at climate change "in the context of what it means every day in the lives of different Americans as they face severe weather changes."

American farmers are experiencing climate change in their fields. That was the message delivered to a group of Democrat lawmakers Thursday in Washington. Consequently, drought in the Midwest is affecting California's dairy farmers — and parents looking for a reasonably priced gallon of milk.

Democrats frustrated with the lack of Congressional action on global warming are trying a new tactic: focusing on how climate change is affecting Americans in various ways. The bicameral Task Force on Climate Change has in the past examined the growing threat of wildfires, and also profiled clean energy companies and their effect on the U.S. economy.

Now, the group of Senate and House Democrats is hearing from representatives of America’s agricultural industry. The task force chairman  is L.A. Congressman Henry Waxman, who — as the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee — was the architect of the climate change bill passed by the then-Democratic led House three years ago. Waxman said the task force is exploring the issue "in the context of what it means every day in the lives of different Americans as they face severe weather changes, whether it’s drought or flooding."

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Update: Dozens arrested outside US Capitol as protesters demand immigration reform

Immigration activist arrested at US Capitol

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Dozens were arrested outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, as protesters pushed for a Congressional vote on immigration reform.

More than a hundred activists from around the country gathered outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday morning, chanting slogans and staging a sit-in to push for immigration reform.

Women wearing red T-shirts sat down in the middle of busy Independence Avenue, just as lawmakers were trying to make their way from their House offices to the House chamber for the final votes of the week. Capitol Police peacefully arrested more than a hundred women, including a number of undocumented immigrants.

Emily Gelbaum, originally from Newport Beach, is with Fair Immigration Reform Movement. She says with Congress returning to work this week after the August recess, "we need to make sure immigration reform is at the top of their list."

Congressman Paul Cook of Big Bear says for members of Congress — and for most of their constituents — recently there's been just one topic. "The last two weeks," he says, "everything has been Syria, Syria, Syria. That's what we've all been focused on." The freshman Republican says immigration has, frankly, fallen off the radar screen.

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