Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Report: LA City Council should approve proposed DWP contract (updated)

David McNew/Getty Images

An independent report sent to the Los Angeles City Council encourages the city to approve a proposed contract with the DWP union. Above, the Department of Water and Power's San Fernando Valley Generating Station.

A new report from the city's chief legislative analyst urges the Los Angeles City Council to approve a proposed contract with the union representing employees with the Department of Water and Power. 

The CLA's report found the deal could save $7.9 billion over a 30-year period. 

The contract "accomplishes the negotiating goals established several years ago with all labor negotiations, will provide the greatest protection to DWP ratepayers, creates certainty over the next several years in DWP revenue requirements and rate impacts on customers" and provides a template for future labor negotiations, according to chief legislative analyst, Gerry Miller.

On Friday, members of both the Budget and Finance committee and the Energy and Environment committee are expected to hold a joint public hearing on the contract.  Council President Herb Wesson has said a deal needs to be in place by Sept. 1 to avoid cost-of-living adjustments that are scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1. 


Former Mayor Villaraigosa heads to Harvard

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has maintained a low profile since leaving City Hall in June. This fall, he will be a visiting fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are headed to Cambridge as visiting fellows at Harvard's Institute of Politics. 

Visiting fellows meet with students groups, participate in public policy classes, and lead discussions on their experiences in public service.

"Our fall Fellows class has impressive experience in politics and campaigns, journalism, business, technology, and service at the highest levels of city, state and federal government – including in the U.S. Senate and the President’s cabinet.  We are confident this group will create strong interest and inspire the leaders of tomorrow here at Harvard," said Trey Grayson, director of the Institute of Politics. 

This year's resident fellows are:

  • Mo Cowan, former U.S. Senator
  • Ginny Hunt, strategy principal, Google
  • Sasha Issenberg, columnist, Slate
  • Karen Mills, administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration 
  • Beth Myers, advisor, Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign
  • Ana Navarro, political commentator, CNN/CNN Español


Maven's Morning Coffee: Crenshaw Line stops short, Gloria Molina pens letter on the sheriff, Democrats hang on in the Valley

Mercer 10789

Roger Rudick/KPCC

When in opens in 2019, the Metro Crenshaw Line will only stop near the airport -- not at or inside, similar to the Metro Green Line, aka the "train to nowhere."

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


When the Metro Crenshaw Line opens in 2019, it will stop 1.5 miles short of LAX -- similar to the Metro Green Line, also known as the "train to nowhere," reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Democrats need to hang onto the San Fernando Valley's 45th Assembly seat in next month's special election if they hope to maintain a two-thirds dominance in Sacramento, reports the Daily News. "While another September election -- the 52nd Assembly district race in the Pomona-Ontario area -- could also close the gap for Democrats -- some believe the 45th race is a better bet for the party," according to the newspaper.


City Hall prepares for public hearing on DWP contract

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

L.A. City Councilmen Paul Krekorian, above, and Feliipe Fuentes will co-chair a public hearing on the DWP's new labor agreement proposal.

The Los Angeles City Council is preparing this week for a public hearing on a labor agreement that will carry the Department of Water and Power through 2017. 

Council President Herb Wesson announced last week that the Budget and Finance Committee would hold a joint session with the Energy and Environment Committee to vet a contract for more than 8,200 DWP employees.

The current agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18 does not expire until next year, but members are expected to receive a cost-of-living adjustment on Oct. 1. That pay increase could be as much as four percent. City leaders are hoping a new agreement may push those raises to 2016. 

"Given the fact that the pay increase is coming down the pipe quickly, I think it's important that we act in time to be able to preserve the option of postponing or avoiding that pay increase," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of Budget and Finance. 


State audit: Counties spent $22M on voting machines that couldn't be used

Audio voting machine, Los Angeles County

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Audio voting machines like this help voters who have poor vision, or who have difficulty reading a ballot or operating the ballot marking systems. It speaks the ballot, choices are entered using the yellow buttons, and the printer puts out a marked ballot slip.

A California state audit released Thursday found that counties spent $22 million on voting machines that could not be fully used — and that about $13 million alone was spent by Riverside County, an early adopter of new voting technology.

Most counties have exhausted the funds allocated for the voting technologies, with the exception of Los Angeles County.

The California Auditor's report also said that Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office was not efficient in overseeing how millions of federal dollars were spent on those voting systems.

Los Angeles County was found to have spent $1.2 million on machines that couldn't be fully used, but it still hasn't spent about $20.6 million. L.A. is in the midst of designing its own voting system and plans to use the funds to pay for it.