Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Metropolitan Water District considers stronger ethics policy

MWD Seal


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.


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.


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.

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


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.


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


Mayor appoints professor, civic leaders to LA Police Commission


Andres Aguila/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed four new members to the Board of Police Commissioners Wednesday. The appointments are subject to approval by the Los Angeles City Council.

A law professor, a former media executive and a longtime civic leader were among the Angelenos appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners Wednesday by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

Garcetti is replacing four of the five commissioners who had served under the Antonio Villaraigosa Administration. Robert Saltzman, a law professor at USC, was the only commissioner to remain on the board. 

If they are approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the new commissioners would be:

  • Sandra Figueroa-Villa, executive director, El Centro del Pueblo
  • Kathleen Kim, law professor, Loyola Law School
  • Paula Madison, majority owner, Los Angeles Sparks
  • Steve Soboroff, chairman, Weingart Foundation 

"We're going to keep up the momentum on crime to make every L.A. neighborhood safer and more prosperous," Garcetti said.  "Job creation is one of my top priorities, but a strong L.A. economy isn't possible without public safety. When our streets are safe, businesses grow, tourists visit, and our communities and families thrive."