Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Conflict at LAX, MWD considers ethics policy, big data at City Hall

LAX Tom Bradley Terminal - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Board of Airport Commissioners may reconsider a media contract after Clear Channel Airports filed a conflict-of-interest complaint.

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 Monday, Aug. 19, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Los Angeles International Airport may restart the bidding process on a media contract because of a conflict-of-interest complaint, reports the Los Angeles Times. Clear Channel Airports filed the complaint after a group that includes former Airport Commissioner Alan Rothenberg received a lucrative advertising contract at the airport.

The Metropolitan Water District is expected to consider a new ethics policy that could improve the independence and confidentiality of its process, according to KPCC. The Los Angeles Times editorial board urges approval of the policy. "A more robust ethics program could catch problems when they are small, and would send a public message that water agencies can and do operate based on some principles other than self-dealing and cronyism," according to the editorial.

Read More...

Metropolitan Water District considers stronger ethics policy

MWD Seal

MWD

The way the Metropolitan Water District investigates ethics complaints would be streamlined under a proposal being considered Monday.

The multibillion-dollar agency that oversees water for 19 million people in Southern California will consider a proposal Monday to overhaul the way ethics complaints are handled. 

The Metropolitan Water District has a $1.5 billion budget and is responsible for delivering 1.7 billion gallons of water every day. 

Its Audit and Ethics Committee will meet this afternoon to vote on a plan that would streamline the way ethics complaints are handled. The current system allows complaints against staff members and contractors to be vetted by the district's general manager, auditor, attorney and Human Resources director. 

“Because there are so many people involved at the outset before an investigation actually commences, there is a sense from people who either have been through the process or who know about it, that there isn’t sufficient confidentiality," said MWD Ethics Officer Deena Ghaly.

Read More...

Long Beach first city to permanently display Gold Star flag honoring sacrifice of military families

Gold Star Mothers flag in Long Beach

City of Long Beach

A flag honoring U.S. parents of military service members killed on duty during war is raised Aug. 15, 2013 at Long Beach City Hall Plaza. The women dressed in white are members of the American Gold Mothers, who have suffered the loss of a son or daughter in war.

Long Beach this week became the first city in the nation to permanently display the Gold Star flag honoring United States service members killed during times of armed conflict and paying tribute to their families.

The tradition of a mother going to her window to display a blue star, signifying she has lost a loved one at war, goes back to World War I.

"When that blue star in the window has been changed to gold, now the whole community knows there's been a loss in the family," said Terry Geiling who runs the American Gold Star Manor, a housing development for 400 for low-income seniors and veterans in Long Beach.

He says the tradition of putting a service flag  in the window continues today, thanks to a group known as the American Gold Star Mothers.  Some members of that group are among the residents of the American Gold Star Manor.

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: Mayor won't sign DWP contract, Fire Commission gets new members, panel signs off on Expo Line

Garcetti Inauguration

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Today is the city's public hearing on a contract with DWP workers. Mayor Eric Garcetti is against the proposal, but some members of the Los Angeles City Council are pushing for a quick resolution.

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 Friday, Aug. 16, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Mayor Eric Garcetti has made it clear he does not like the deal that's on the table with the Department of Water and Power's union. Now, he says he won't sign the deal as is, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The voters of Los Angeles have been clear — they want fundamental DWP reform and so do I," Garcetti says.

In preparation for this morning's public hearing on the DWP contract, Controller Ron Galperin released data on just how much utility employees make, reports the Daily News. In the first six months of 2013, DWP paid out $77 million in overtime.

Read More...

Mayor shakes up panel overseeing Los Angeles Fire Department

Los Angeles Fire Department Engine

Courtesy Los Angeles Fire Department

Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed a four new members to the FIre Commission Thursday.

In his third set of commission appointments this week, Mayor Eric Garcetti replaced four members on the Board of Fire Commissioners. 

The shake up comes as the Los Angeles Fire Department continues to address concerns over response times, the reliability of its 911 system, and even the allocation of resources. LAFD is working to update it's technology with the development of FIRESTAT,  a system to track real-time responses to emergencies. 

"Our work at the Fire Department will be focused on reducing response times and making sure our department is cutting edge," Garcetti said. 

Fire Commissioner Steven Fazio was the only one reappointed to the board. The new nominees are:

  • Andrew Glazier, managing director, City Year Los Angeles
  • Dr. Jimmy Hara, physician, Kaiser Permanente Southern California
  • Delia Ibarra, attorney, Lara & Ibarra
  • Jimmie Woods Gray, teacher

Read More...