Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maxine Waters embraces role as top Democrat on powerful financial committee

LA Congresswoman Maxine Waters is the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.

Maxine Waters has settled into her new job. This term, the L.A. Congresswoman became the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee. The appointment came after a three-year fight to clear her name on banking-related ethics charges.

Waters waited a long time for the position — 22 years. She says when she first came to Congress, "People were fleeing the old banking committee because of the [savings-and-loan] scandal and nobody wanted it."

Waters notes: "I stayed, I worked, I've learned, and I've earned the seniority."

With Republicans in charge of the House, Waters admits her ability to get things done is limited. But she still has a to-do list: reform of the quasi-governmental mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, boosting construction of residential rental property, and defending the landmark financial oversight law known as Dodd Frank.


Control of parking is central to USC's proposed lease of LA Coliseum

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission has approved a lease agreement with the University of Southern California, but it's being challenged by some supporters of cultural institutions in Exposition Park.

The board of the California Science Center is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to support leasing the Los Angeles Coliseum to the University of Southern California. 

Some members of the foundation that raises funds for the center want the Governor to stop the deal because it gives USC most of the parking in Exposition Park on at least 25 days a year.

The science center operates in a public-private partnership between the State of California and a non-profit foundation. 

Under the deal, USC would lease the Coliseum and Sports Arena for 98 years and keep the proceeds from any events.  In exchange, the university would invest  at least $70 million in improvements.

“The state is not in position of making improvements to this property that it needs,” said Melissa Figueroa, who’s with the state agency that manages the properties at Exposition Park.  She said the Coliseum needs the cash infusion from USC. “Otherwise it’s going to just continue to crumble and deteriorate.”


Report: AEG should operate Los Angeles Convention Center


This is AEG's rendering of what the Los Angeles Convention Center could look like after Farmers Field is built. Regardless of what happens with the football stadium, the City of LA is recommending that AEG take over management and operation of the convention center.

Management and operation of the Los Angeles Convention Center should be turned over to Anschutz Entertainment Group, the city's chief budget officer recommended Tuesday. 

The arrangement would take place regardless of whether or not AEG builds a football stadium adjacent to the convention center. AEG has proposed to build a new convention center wing if the stadium goes forward.

The decision to select AEG over another operator, SMG, was made by an independent panel, according to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana. SMG operates convention centers in Detroit, New Orleans and San Francisco, among other cities. AEG manages centers in Australia, Malaysia, Oman and Qatar. 

"The AEG proposal presents an enhanced, cost-effective and unique experience for all Convention Center visitors," Santana wrote in his report. 


LA City Council endorses state bill to develop publicly-owned voting systems

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to endorse a state bill that would allow cities and counties to develop their own voting systems. Supporters say moving away from privately-owned systems would create more transparency.

A state bill that would allow California counties to develop their own voting systems was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council. 

SB 360 was introduced by State Sen. Alex Padilla to allow for publicly developed and owned voting systems. 

Los Angeles County is in the process of creating its own voting system and its use "would increase transparency in elections," according to a report from the chief legislative analyst. The city of Los Angeles routinely uses the county's equipment for elections. According to the CLA's report, SB 360 would give the city more flexibility in its elections. 

"This would be a step in the right direction to increase voter engagement, input and hopefully turnout," said Councilwoman Jan Perry. "No new voting systems have been approved in California since 2007. County voting systems in our state are aging rapidly and the process for approving voting systems is doing little to approve new, innovative systems."


Maven's Morning Coffee: concerns over USC parking deal, LA County gets good financial news, state treasurer retires from politics


Photo by Rick Samuelson via Flickr Creative Commons

A deal to give USC parking in Exposition Park in addition to control of the Coliseum is being called an unfair, lopsided deal.

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Today is Tuesday, June 4, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


A trustee for the California Science Center has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to stop a deal that would give USC parking owned by the state museum, reports the Los Angeles Times. The parking is part of a deal that would allow the private university to control the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Los Angeles County will see its interest rates go down now that the three major rating agencies have given it the highest short-term bond rating, reports the Los Angeles Times.