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Maven's Morning Coffee: DWP deal reached, FBI visits water district, Congressional race in Inland Empire
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Today is Thursday, Aug. 22, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
Late last night, the city reached an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents workers at the DWP. Mayor Eric Garcetti and council President Herb Wesson will discuss the contract's details later this morning at City Hall. KPCC, Los Angeles Times.
The FBI is looking into records at the Central Basin Municipal Water District that may be related to an ongoing investigation into state Sen. Ron Calderon, according to the Los Angeles Times. The paper put together this graphic to show the relationships between various Calderon family members, campaign contributions, legislation and consulting contracts.
Los Angeles City Hall and Department of Water and Power agree on union contract
Los Angeles city officials and the union that represents employees for the Department of Water and Power reached an agreement late Wednesday evening, according to the Mayor's Office and the president of the Los Angeles City Council.
Details of the contract will be announced Thursday morning at a City Hall news conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti. Council President Herb Wesson told KPCC he believes the details of the deal are similar to what was leaked earlier.
“The deal today is better than the deal was at the end of July and that credit goes directly to him," Wesson said, referring to the mayor.
The Los Angeles City Council declined to vote on the terms of the deal Tuesday because it was more important for City Hall to show a united front, according to Wesson. At that point, the city was either 48 hours from a successful deal or from the contract completely falling apart, he said.
In the Inland Empire a Congressional race is in full swing
Almost immediately after last November's election, Democrats targeted an Inland Empire Congressional seat won by Republican Gary Miller. He's being called the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in Congress and a big Democratic political action committee has endorsed Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar to replace Miller next year. That leaves former Democratic Congressman Joe Baca, who represented Inland voters for 14 years but who lost his re-election bid last year, without party backing.
Miller is a Republican representing the 31st District, a solidly Democratic seat in which about half the population is Latino. The district extends from Upland and Rancho Cucamonga east to Redlands. It includes San Bernardino, Grand Terrace, Rialto, Colton and parts of neighboring communities.
Redistricting caused Miller to seek this seat to avoid running against a fellow GOP incumbent in his former district. Miller won the 31st last year after Democrats splintered their primary votes and failed to get a candidate into the general election.
LA city councilman wants to raise legal age to buy cigarettes
A Los Angeles city councilman wants to prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing cigarettes, though it's unclear whether the city has the authority to approve such a law.
Councilman Paul Koretz's motion asks that the legal age for cigarettes be raised from 18 to 21 in the City of Los Angeles. A report from the City Attorney's Office will be considered by the Public Safety and Arts committees.
"Smoking leads to tragedy and too many people are entrapped by this deadly habit at an early and exceedingly vulnerable age," Koretz said. "It is time here in the city of Los Angeles that we do something about it and help protect the future of our kids and their health."
When Koretz was a member of the Assembly, he tried to pass a similar bill for the entire state. AB 2205 ultimately failed.
Los Angeles City Council seeks answers to city's failing 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."