Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Immigration proposals moving quickly on Capitol Hill

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are expected to offer amendments to the 844 page immigration reform bill beginning tomorrow. But that's not the only action on immigration this week.

Democratic negotiators on the House side briefed their fellow Democrats today on progress on a House immigration bill. Los Angeles Congressman Xavier Becerra, one of those working on a bill, says the eight House negotiators "continues to work well."

The briefing packet included a list of new polls showing support for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.

Tomorrow, an unlikely group of immigration reformers that includes anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will host a conference call to unveil the results of another poll showing Republican voter attitudes on immigration.

Read More...

Domestic workers renew push for overtime pay and breaks

Domestic Worker Rally

Julie Small/KPCC

Domestic Workers rally at the capitol for paid breaks and overtime.

Domestic workers are once again pushing state lawmakers to approve a bill that would give them overtime pay and breaks. Governor Brown vetoed a similar measure last year; it's unclear what his position is this time around.

There are more than 200,000 domsetic workers in California, most of them in southern California. Amelia Bernachea of Los Angeles said she earned just $70 for a 24-hour day when she recently cared for an elderly woman with Alzheimer's.  

She cooked meals, changed linens, and repositioned the woman every couple of hours to prevent bedsores.  All the while, Bernechea said the woman screamed, "From the sun down, then the whole night and morning-she yells non-stop."

Bernachea said that made it impossible to take any breaks.  Nor did she receive overtime pay for the long hours.

Read More...

NASA proposes $200 million cuts to planetary science; JPL could suffer

The rover Curiosity and other NASA spacecraft at Mars are now in a radio blackout, as the sun is interfering with transmissions. Curiosity took this self-portrait by combining 66 exposures in February.

/NASA

The rover Curiosity on Mars took this self-portrait by combining 66 exposures in February.

To meet a 1 percent overall budget cut, NASA is proposing a $200 million cut to planetary science programs next fiscal year. That could be an ominous sign for Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Lab, the brains behind the successul Mars rover missions.

The agency said it shouldn't have to reduce programs as a result. But members of Congress told the head of NASA today they’re concerned the space agency is trying to take on too much without the funds to back it up. 

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, said it sounds like NASA is "going to raid" planetary science "and seriously degrade Mars missions." Schiff, whose district includes JPL, said Congress told NASA it didn't want to see cuts to planetary science.

"They’re just not listening," he said.

NASA head Charles Bolden told lawmakers NASA had to make "some pretty tough choices."

Read More...

Eric Garcetti goes 'back to basics' with TV ad

Los Angeles City Council President Eric

Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles City Councilman and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti.

In his first television ad of the runoff campaign, L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti says he'll be a "back to basics" mayor, while highlighting his work in the 13th council district. 

"While my opponent is running attack ads, I'm running on my record of solving problems and creating jobs to revitalize neighborhoods like Hollywood and Silver Lake and push my district to be number one in jobs growth," Garcetti says in the ad.

The councilman is referring to a 2012 study by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce that found his district leads in job creation, though that ranking came in part because of redistricting. 

"Voters have a clear choice: my campaign based on proven results on job creation and problem solving, or Ms. Greuel's campaign based on false attacks," he says.

The Greuel campaign released three televisions ads last week. The first focused on gun violence, and the second featured some of her high-profile supporters -- Sen. Barbara Boxer, former Mayor Richard Riordan and former NBA star Magic Johnson. The third commercial accused Garcetti of profiting from a decision to convert billboards into digital signs. 

Read More...

New trash regulations for apartments, businesses move forward at LA City Council

San Francisco Passes Toughest Recycling Law In U.S.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

New guidelines for trash collection and recycling were approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council. By 2017, a new system will be in place to pick up garbage at the city's apartment buildings and businesses.

By 2017, a new system will be in place to collect trash at city apartment buildings and businesses in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, the L.A. City Council approved a set of guidelines to govern that system. 

The Bureau of Sanitation is responsible for single-family homes, but private trash haulers pick up garbage at multifamily and commercial locations. The city is in the process of implementing an exclusive franchise system, which will divide Los Angeles into 11 zones, each with one waste hauler. Supporters say the new system will reduce pollution and force companies to implement higher safety and recycling standards. 

"With this plan we are hoping to increase competition, increase recycling, improve working conditions and build a fairer system," said Councilman Jose Huizar, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. 

Read More...