Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Mayor appoints professor, civic leaders to LA Police Commission

LAPD

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."  

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Redevelopment in Watts, new city commissioners, Chinatown Walmart prepares for opening

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino called the redevelopment of Jordan Downs "life-changing," reports the Los Angeles Times.

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 Thursday, Aug. 15, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The Los Angeles City Council approved plans to replace the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts, according to the Los Angeles Times. The billion-dollar transformation is contingent on $30 million in federal grants.

Bruce Katz spoke to Los Angeles Magazine and had some advice for Mayor Eric Garcetti. "You have unbelievable assets in Los Angeles, and that has been masked by the dominance of Hollywood and the reality of the location where you are situated. But that gives you an opportunity to have a contrarian brand and to begin to send a signal to the world: here’s the Los Angeles you don’t know," he says.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LA County hires social workers, neighbors pay for curb improvements, Moreno Valley councilman resigns

jann_on/Flickr Creative Commons

The Department of Children and Family Services is hiring 150 more social workers for child welfare cases.

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

Headlines

Los Angeles County is hiring 150 more social workers to handle child welfare cases, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Money for the extra workers had been appropriated three years ago, but agency officials apparently left it untapped, thinking they needed additional authorizations," according to the newspaper.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to allow curbside gardens, planted between the sidewalk and curb, to remain without penalty, reports the Daily News. "This is a way to let us take a deep breath and deal with this by holding off on citing people," said Council President Herb Wesson.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti names his picks for airport commission

LAX Thanksgiving

Ben Bergman

Mayor Eric Garcetti named six new Board of Airport Commissioners members Tuesday. Among their top priorities will be the future of LAX's northern runway and control of the Ontario Airport.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti named his seven picks to oversee Los Angeles World Airports Tuesday.

The Board of Airport Commissioners is responsible for Los Angeles World Airports, which includes LAX, Van Nuys Airport and LA/Ontario International Airport. The seven appointments — listed below with their names and occupations — are subject to confirmation by the Los Angeles City Council:

  • Sean Burton, CityView, president
  • Gabriel Eshaghian, Somerset Group, prinicpal 
  • Jackie Goldberg, former L.A. city councilwoman
  • Bea Hsu, Related California, vice president
  • Matthew Johnson, Ziffren Brittenham LLP, managing partner 
  • Cynthia Telles, former vice president of L.A.'s Ethics Commission
  • Valerie Velasco, attorney and Airport Commissioner

"L.A.'s airports are a critical economic engine and our city's first impression for millions of visitors every year. I'm pleased to appoint these talented Angelenos to the airport commission and know they will focus on ensuring L.A. has world class airports that are also first class neighbors," Garcetti said. 

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Whittier to consider changes to city elections in wake of California Voting Rights Act suit

Whittier Latino Coalition

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Members of the Whittier Latino Coalition include homemaker Lisa Lopez, in the striped shirt. She is one of three Whittier residents who is suing the city with the Coalition's support, demanding the city create council district elections.

Whittier City Council photo wall

Sharon McNary

The back wall of the Whittier City Council chambers is lined with dozens of photos of past mayors and council members, of whom only one has been Latino in the city's 115-year history. Some residents have sued to change the way council members are elected in the city that is two-thirds Latino.

Patricia Lopez

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Patricia Lopez addresses the Whittier City Council in support of changing at-large elections to a district election format.

Miguel Garcia, plaintiff

Sharon McNary/KPCC

From left, Louis Reyes, Miguel Garcia and George Ledesma of the Whittier Latino Coalition at a Whittier City Council meeting. Garcia is a plaintiff in a lawsuit to force the city to abandon its at-large elections in favor of district elections.

Whittier Daily News

The Whittier city council.


The Whittier City Council will consider putting a new election system – which may include district elections – on the ballot at its next meeting, the board voted Tuesday evening. The decision comes after a Latino Coalition lawsuit accusing the city of violating the California Voting Rights Act.

Attorney Miguel Garcia, homemaker Lisa Lopez and Whittier College student Jafet Diego filed the suit, demanding the city switch to district elections. 

They say elections in which all voters choose the five council members are keeping Whittier's 67 percent Latino majority from selecting council members they prefer. Only one Latino, a popular high school football coach, has ever won a Whittier council election.

The city released the following statement  from Mayor Bob Henderson about the potential changes expected to be discussed at the next council meeting :

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