Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Mayor Garcetti speaks to labor, airport panel rejects appeal, Roz Wyman honored

Eric Garcetti DWP City Hall

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to the AFL-CIO Convention this week, a sign that he is rebuilding his ties to labor, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, Sept. 12, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke at the national AFL-CIO Convention, a sign that he is rebuilding his ties with labor, according to the Los Angeles Times. "By being here today, he obviously is signaling that he wants to work with labor, and he intends to work with labor, and that's a good place to be," said Maria Elena Durazo.

An airport panel rejected a challenge from Culver City, Ontario and San Bernardino County over a plan to move one of LAX's runways 260 feet, reports the Daily Breeze. "Had the commission voted the other way, it could have stalled — at least temporarily — the controversial runway project approved in April by the Los Angeles City Council," according to the newspaper.

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As prison plan moves ahead, opponents keep up the protests

Prison Protest

Frank Stoltze

Inmate rights activists rallied in downtown LA against Governor Brown's plan to send prisoners out of state to comply with a federal court order. "This is a moral failure, not just a policy failure," said Rev. Leonard B. Jackson of Justice Not Jails.

A group of Los Angeles area inmate rights activists gathered outside the Reagan State Office Building in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday to rally against Governor Brown’s prison plan, even as the state legislature moved towards approval.

“We will continue to raise strong concerns around any budget raid that will go towards funding prisons at the expense of rebuilding other services and programs, including early child care and education,” said Martin Castro, president and CEO of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and chair of the L.A. Child Care Alliance.

Under a compromise between Brown and State Senate Democrats, California will start sending more than 6,000 prison inmates to private facilities out of state at the end of the year unless a federal court lifts an order to reduce overcrowding. If judges agree to postpone or ease their order, Brown will spend more money on rehabilitation programs that could reduce recidivism rates. 

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Voters will decide fate of Public Records Act

Barry Allen

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Barry Allen has years of experience requesting public documents from local governments. He civic watchdog group is worried about the fate of the state's Public Records Act.

A proposed constitutional amendment on California's June primary ballot could shift the cost of complying with public records requests, which now rests with the state,  to the local agencies that get the document requests.

The legislature voted Tuesday to put the proposal on the ballot.

Barry Allen isn't all that impressed.  He and members of his civic watchdog group, The Vanguardians, make lots of document requests under the California Public Records Act.

"Actually, we made one to the city of Bell for all of their compensation records, before the L.A. Times did," Allen said.

The city of Bell stonewalled, Allen says. When records finally surfaced showing officials were massively overpaid, several were charged with crimes. That's the power of the Public Records Act.

But Allen worries the law does not go far enough to truly help the public.

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4 new DWP commissioners confirmed by LA City Council

DWP Commissioners

Alice Walton/KPCC

L-R, William Funderburk, Mel Levine, Michael Fleming and Jill Banks Barad were unanimously confirmed to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners Wednesday.

Four new members of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners were unanimously confirmed Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council, whose members asked few tough questions on utility rates, renewable energy goals or labor practices. 

The DWP board is the first stop when the utility requests rate hikes. Its recommendations are then passed on to the city council.

DWP officials will release a plan for rate increases by the end of the year. Those rates will have to be reviewed by the new commissioners William Funderburk, Michael Fleming, Mel Levine and Jill Banks Barad, who were nominated by Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Christina Noonan, an appointee of former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, will remain on the panel.)

The new commissioners were sworn in just a month after intense negotiations between Los Angeles city officials and the union for DWP workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18. Hundreds of work rules that govern issues such as overtime and sick leave became a sticking point in those negotiations. While two councilmen on Wednesday mentioned the work rules as something the DWP will have to work on in the future, no one asked the appointees for their thoughts on how the work rules should be overhauled. 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Police Commission gets to work, new terminal at LAX, public records amendment heads to ballot

Steve Soboroff shows John Rabe the bill of sale for Shuttle Endeavour 11-12-12

Gary Leonard

Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, seen here with KPCC's John Rabe, wants LAPD officers to be outfitted with tiny cameras on their uniforms. And he wants to see it happen in 18 months.

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.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 11, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

It only took 2 1/2 minutes for Steve Soboroff to make his presence felt on the Police Commission, reports the Los Angeles Times. The new commission president wants all LAPD officers to be equipped with small video cameras on their uniforms -- in 18 months.

Nine new gates at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal will open on Sept. 18, reports the Daily News. The hall, named after former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is opening significantly behind schedule.

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