Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Changes to Public Records Act stir controversy

Glendale City Hall

Flickr/ T.Hoffarth

Image of Glendale City Hall.

If, as expected, Governor Jerry Brown signs Senate Bill 76 this week, local government agencies will no longer be required to follow key provisions of California’s Public Records Act. The bill was part of the budget state lawmakers enacted over the weekend.

California law requires local governments to respond to public requests for information within 10 days. For example, a citizen could ask to see contracts that a city awards an independent contractor. If the municipality is unable to meet such a request, or if they reject it, they have to explain why. Both those requirements are about to be suspended for local governments. 

The state maintains this is a budget move, because it has to reimburse local governments for complying with some aspects of records requests. The Department of Finance estimates that exempting local governments from those requirements could save the state tens of millions of dollars a year.

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Federally funded summer jobs are scarce across Southern California

Mercer 9479

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The economy is on the upswing, but the number of summer jobs for young people in the Los Angeles area has declined.

It's not a great summer to look for a job if you're a kid in Southern California.

Most money for youth jobs programs at places like the L.A. Conservation Corp, Urban League and parks departments come from the federal government. But a lot of that funding has dried up over the past few years.

"Back in the 90's, we had tremendous ongoing federal resources for summer youth employment,” said L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce Development David Rattray. “That’s been eliminated."

He blames political pressure to reduce the federal deficit. Young people lack the lobbying power of senior citizens or the military, Rattray said.

“They have strong constituencies advocating for them,” he said.

The federal government increased funding for summer jobs programs after the Great Recession hit. But those subsidies under the American Recovery Act have ended. Add a stubbornly high unemployment rate and you end up with a tough summer for young people looking for work.

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Eric Garcetti names longtime aide as mayoral chief of staff

Betsy Annas

Longtime aide Ana Guerrero will be Eric Garcetti's chief of staff when he moves into the mayor's office.

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti has made the first major personnel announcement of his administration, naming longtime aide Ana Guerrero as his chief of staff. 

Guerrero joined Garcetti's city council office when he was first elected in July of 2001. She was promoted to chief of staff in 2008. 

"I'm focused on creating jobs and solving problems in our neighborhoods, and there is no one more expert and experienced in making government work better for the people of L.A. than Ana Guerrero," Garcetti said. 

"Ana was the key player in my work to cut budget costs and revitalize neighborhoods. Together, we're going to build on this foundation with new solutions to fix City Hall and strengthen communities citywide."

Guerrero is a first generation Mexican-American and the daughter of migrant farmworkers. She came to Los Angeles from Northern California in 1995 to work as an organizer for the United Neighborhoods Organization. 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: uncertain future for enterprise zones, Calderons fundraise for 2014 races, Eric Garcetti prepares to take office

CA Gov. Brown Joins Hundreds Of Scientists Calling For Action On Climate Change

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking an end to enterprise zones, which were created to provide tax breaks to companies that created jobs in underserved areas.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings 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 Monday, June 17, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate enterprise zones, which can provide tax breaks to companies that create jobs in disadvantaged neighborhoods, according to the Los Angeles Times. The governor has said the zones are "inefficient, opaque and loose" in handing out the tax credits.

The three Calderon brothers -- Ron, Tom and Charles -- are all raising money for 2014 campaigns, reports KPCC. Their fundraising efforts are continuing despite a recent FBI raid on Ron Calderon's Sacramento offices. Over at the Sacramento Bee, the newspaper looks at the "clout and entitlements of this local dynasty."

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Calderon brothers raising funds for 2014 campaigns

Ron Calderon

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

State Sen. Ron Calderon, left, has been raising money for a return to the Assembly in 2014. He's seen here with his brother, former Assemblyman Charles Calderon, who has a committee for a Secretary of State campaign. A third brother, Tom, may seek Ron's current Senate seat.

 State Senator Ron Calderon, whose Sacramento offices were recently raided by the FBI, has been raising money for a return to the Assembly. And his two brothers, veterans of the Sacramento scene, are also raising funds for 2014 campaigns.

FBI agents searched Calderon's offices on June 4 but have not divulged the focus of their investigation. The U.S. Attorney's office has subpoenaed records from the Central Basin Municipal Water District, an agency with ties to two of the Calderons.

Ron Calderon, who will be termed out of his Senate seat next year, is planning a return to the Assembly, where he served from 2002-06 and still has two years of eligibility. Through the end of last year, his campaign committee raised more than $172,000. The campaign’s expenditures include $12,370 for a three-day fundraising event at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel in Dana Point, which included lodging for 20 people.

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