Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Los Angeles City Council seeks answers to city's failing streets

Bureau of Street Services

Alice Walton/KPCC

The L.A. City Council is once again exploring a $3 million bond measure to repair city streets.

The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to study a $3 billion bond proposal that could ultimately repair thousands of miles of failed streets in the city. 

A quarter of Los Angeles' streets are considered "failed." A failed street requires entire reconstruction — and that costs $2.5 million a mile. In contrast, the city can maintain a street already in good shape for just $25,000. 

Los Angeles city councilmen Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander are supporting a bond proposal that could provide enough funding to repair the 8,700 lane miles of damaged roads. 

"Poor pavement conditions affect every Angeleno, every day, whether by increased traffic, slower public safety response or decreased property values," Englander said. "It is vital that we invest in our infrastructure to improve our quality of life and our city."

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Maven's Morning Coffee: details of DWP contract, Probation beefs up staffing, a push to end fundraising during legislative session

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The director of the Jesse Unrush Institute at USC is pushing a policy that would prohibit fundraising during the legislative session.

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, Aug. 21, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

A confidential document from the city administrative officer revealed the latest terms of a proposed contract with the union that represents Department of Water and Power employees. City officials would have the option to renegotiate work rules throughout the four-year contract, while the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will continue to receive free health benefits through 2016. KPCC, Daily News, Los Angeles Times

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Metropolitan Water District OKs new ethics policy

metropolitan water distric

Photo by Joe Mud via Flickr Creative Commons

The MWD's new ethics policy eliminates the existing committee system for evaluating complaints.

A new ethics policy was approved Tuesday by the Metropolitan Water District, the billion-dollar public agency that oversees water for 19 million Southern Californians.

The policy makes the district’s ethics officer responsible for evaluating all complaints, which can range from alleged conflicts-of-interest to harassment. The old system allowed a committee that included the general manager, counsel and human resources to determine whether to move forward with a complaint.

The ethics proposal included up to $245,000 to hire an additional analyst and pay for outside investigators. The item was approved by about two-thirds  of the 37-member MWD board, which is made up of representatives from water agencies served by the district.

“This can really help us to create an independent process that is free of political influence, and I think that’s important for all of us,” said Leticia Vasquez, a member from the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which was recently subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in connection with an investigation into state Sen. Ron Calderon.

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New details on DWP contract emerge in negotiations

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

New details on negotiations with the Department of Water and Power's union emerged Tuesday to show movement on the utility's health care and work rules. "There’s still things that you need to iron out and that’s what we’re doing now," says Council President Herb Wesson.

New details on the future of the Department of Water and Power’s health care and work rules emerged Tuesday as the Los Angeles City Council continued to negotiate a contract with the utility’s union.

The mayor has expressed his desire for more concessions from the union on work rules, and Monday night he took his case to a joint meeting of the city's neighborhood councils. 

"Clearly, there has been important progress," Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said in a statement. "We are reviewing the language that's on the table to make sure it achieves Mayor Garcetti's goals on DWP reform."

City Council President Herb Wesson believes a deal is on the horizon.

“We’re getting closer and you saw that movement within the past 48 hours,” said Wesson after emerging from a two-hour council session behind closed doors. “The council is optimistic that there will be a partnership with the mayor. You can feel it in the hair on the back of your neck.”

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Maven's Morning Coffee: DCFS needs more beds, Mayor Garcetti's first 50 days, Q&A with a councilman

jann_on/Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Supervisors is expected to appoint a new acting assessor.

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 Tuesday, Aug. 20, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The Board of Supervisors is expected to appoint Assistant Assessor Sharon Molleras as the acting county assessor, reports the Los Angeles Times.  Assessor John Noguez is currently facing 30 felony counts for allegedly accepting bribes and misusing public funds.

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services is experiencing a shortage of beds for babies and toddlers, reports KPCC, and that is straining the system. A "(l)ack of flexibility in placements for children means less thoughtful placements ... more children placed far away from their birth families, which interferes with reunification efforts," according to the station.

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