Politics, government and public life for Southern California

City of LA asks court to block public health initiative; read the full complaint

Healthcare Stock

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The City of Los Angeles opposes a ballot initiative by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to create a new city health department. It would "threaten public health and safety in the city," says a complaint filed Monday.

The City of Los Angeles is arguing that a ballot measure to force creation of a new city health department “would result in a devastating reduction in public health and safety.” The city on Monday asked a judge to declare the initiative invalid.

The measure, backed by the AIDS HealthCare Foundation and scheduled to go before voters in June, would shift health services now delivered by the L.A. County Department of Public Health to the city. For years, AHF officials have lambasted the county’s health department.

It is “a calcified institution layered with too much bureaucracy that gives short shrift to City residents,” AHF President Michael Weinstein said in a statement earlier this year. “With this measure we wanted to spark a public conversation on public health, and now we are going to have it.”


Panel extends design deadline for key Grand Avenue project

John Rabe

The Grand Avenue Authority agreed Monday to extend the design deadline for luxury towers that will be built at First Street and Grand Avenue, across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The panel that oversees a major real estate development across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall agreed Monday to delay an important design deadline for the project.

The four-member Grand Avenue Authority now has until January 20 of next year to approve the project at Grand Avenue and First Street, which is to include luxury condos, a hotel and retail space. The original deadline had been Sept. 30, but authority members decided last week they didn’t like the concept presented by the developer, New York-based Related Companies.

Had the deadline not been extended, the entire redevelopment project could have been in jeopardy. Downtown business and labor leaders testified at the Hall of Administration Monday, urging the panel to keep working with Related. Among them was a representative for Eli Broad, who sent a letter encouraging the board to stay with the project. Broad is building a museum for his art collection across the street.


Garcetti announces appointments to Planning Commission

Mercer 1088

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

John Mack, left, was a police commissioner under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. With Eric Garcetti now occupying the Mayor's Office, Mack is moving over to the Planning Commission.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his picks for the city’s Planning Commission Monday, and included among them are attorneys, advocates and former city commissioners. 

The Planning Commission is the first step in the approval process for major building projects and real estate developments in the city. Mayor Eric Garcetti named nine men and women to the panel, including former Police Commissioner John Mack and former Metro board member Richard Katz. (For what it's worth, both Mack and Katz supported Wendy Greuel in the mayor's race.)

The other nominees are attorneys Robert Ahn, Dana Perlman and David Ambroz, architect Renee Drake Wilson and banker Caroline Chloe. The president of the East L.A. Community Corporation, Maria Cabildo, and Marta Segura, owner of a firm that specializes in community engagement and campaign development, round out the nominees. 


California family tries to make sense of pending government shutdown

Eris and Alex Cushner with their 10-year old twins, Joshua and Jordan, visiting the US Capitol on Monday, just hours before a shutdown would shut down most tourist sites in Washington.

A government shutdown effective Tuesday would affect national parks in California, but also just about every tourist venue in Washington. One California family was trying to see all the sights in the  nation's capital on Monday — and trying to understand why a shutdown might happen.

Members of the Cushner family were lucky to get their Capitol tour on Monday. Eris Cushner said she and husband, Alex, and their 10-year old twins have a busy day, taking in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. "Today!" she added. Alex says "sadly" there may be no chance Tuesday.

The twins, Jordan and Joshua, weren't paying attention to the series of Congressional votes and counter votes. "All I know is that the government in a lot of different places are going to shut down," Jordan said. Does she know why? "Not really." Her brother Jordan was puzzled as well. 


Maven's Morning Coffee: LA County workers to strike, sexism charges for neighborhood council, questions for cycling community

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky

Andres Aguila/KPCC

LA County workers are planning a protest to voice opposition to their proposed contract terms. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky says employees are painting a worst case scenario.

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 Monday, Sept. 30, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, L.A. City Councilwoman Nury Martinez fights prostitution, Bob Hertzberg loves politics, and Wendy Greuel and Dennis Zine join "Dancing with the Valley Stars."

Thousands of Los Angeles County social workers, librarians and janitors are expected to protest when their contract expires at midnight, reports the Los Angeles Times. Workers say a 6 percent raise over 30 months would be negated by the rising cost of health insurance premiums. County officials disagree. "They are postulating a scenario where they get nothing and we get everything. That's not what negotiating is about," said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.