Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: EPA studies freeway pollution, another lawsuit against Millennium Hollywood, City Hall considers murals (updated)

Should the Metro Build a freeway tunnel to alleviate traffic?

Flickr/formulaone

Starting next year, the EPA will study pollution near Southern California freeways.

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. 26, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

State Sen. Ron Calderon, who is under a federal investigation, hired former Bell Gardens City Councilman Mario Beltran as his spokesman and that's drawing questions. Beltran was hired after he was sentenced to probation for misusing campaign money, according to the Los Angeles Times. (Update: Beltran was banned from holding public office for four years. That ban lifted earlier this year.)

Gov. Jerry Brown is considering a law that would allow non-citizen legal permanent residents to serve on juries, reports KPCC.

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Immigration: Governor Brown considers allowing 3.4M non-citizens to serve on juries

Phil Spector Trial Continues

Pool/Getty Images

AB1401 would allow legal permanent residents to serve on juries. "Its only fair," said Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), one of the bill’s authors. (Photo by Fred Prouser-Pool/Getty Images)

This is one part in a new KPCC series looking at the rights, responsibilities, traditions and privileges that come along with being a citizen. Let us know what you think.

California could become the first state to allow non-citizens to serve on criminal and civil juries, under legislation now on the governor’s desk.

“The jury system is based on our peers judging us,” said Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), one of the bill’s authors. “It's only fair, because so many people living in California are legal permanent residents.”

Under AB1401, non-citizen legal permanent residents would be allowed to serve on juries. Federal law allows such residents – sometimes called “Green Card Holders” – to stay in the country as long as they like. Some are in the process of applying for citizenship. Others choose to remain citizens of other countries.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Jail workers charged, City Attorney talks marijuana, uncertain future for Sutter Brown's Twitter

KPCC Police Crime stock photo

Christopher Okula/KPCC

Officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department guard an intersection outside the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2013. L.A. County prosecutors have now filed charges against two employees there for allegedly covering up a deputy's beating of an inmate.

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. 23, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Mayor Eric Garcetti says a new contract with the Department of Water and Power's union will return the power to the people. "The department will now be managed by its owners, the people of Los Angeles," he told reporters at City Hall. What impact the contract will have remains to be seen. KPCC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News, LA Weekly

Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged two jail workers for allegedly covering up a sheriff's deputy's beating of a Twin Towers inmate, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The arrests by local authorities are the latest charges to be filed as the FBI and federal prosecutors continue to investigate deputy misconduct within the Los Angeles County jail system, the largest in the nation," per The Times.

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FAQ: What you need to know about the proposed DWP deal

Eric Garcetti DWP City Hall

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Eric Garcetti discusses a new deal the city reached with Department of Water and Power workers at Los Angeles City Hall.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday said the city has reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with the powerful labor union that represents 8,200 Department of Water and Power workers. He said it would create “a pathway to comprehensive DWP reform.”

Does the deal include a raise for DWP workers (some of the best-paid city employees in Los Angeles whose average salary is nearly $100,000)?

The deal provides no raise until October 1, 2016. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which represents DWP workers, has agreed to delay a cost-of-living increase that was scheduled for October 1 of this year. Significantly, the 2016 increase is tied to this year’s consumer price index, which is a relatively low two percent. In addition, starting salaries for new employees in 34 job classifications would be reduced.

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After acrimony, Garcetti approves of tentative deal with DWP labor union

Eric Garcetti DWP City Hall

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson (foreground) announced a deal reached with the DWP union on a new labor contract.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed victory Thursday in his battle to squeeze more contract concessions from the powerful union that represents Department of Water and Power workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18.

“Today, the balance of power at the DWP shifts to the people,” said Garcetti at a late morning news conference.  The mayor credited voters, in part, saying his May election over union-backed candidate Wendy Greuel paved the way for a tentative deal.

“You delivered a clear mandate for reform in this city and the DWP," said the mayor. "You gave me the strongest possible bargaining position for this contract.”

Under the new contract deal, 8,200 DWP workers will give up a cost of living increase scheduled for October 1.  They instead will receive the increase in three years.  It’s been more than two decades since DWP workers have gone without an annual pay increase.

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