Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA budget officials don't know how much money may be hidden in city departments

City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

The chair of the Budget and Finance Committee is seeking a complete list of the city's special funds. The recent discovery of an additional $43 million in the LADOT budget shows just how little city leaders know about departments' budgets.

The recent discovery of an extra $43 million in the Department of Transportation's budget shows just how little Los Angeles city leaders know about so-called "special funds," the chair of the Budget and Finance Committee said Wednesday. 

There are between 600 and 700 special revenue funds on the City of L.A.'s books. These funds hold money from grants and taxes that are set aside for specific projects. And in the case of LADOT, sometimes the funds hold city dollars that should be reimbursed back to the General Fund. 

"There was a change in management in the Department of Transportation," Councilman Paul Krekorian told KPCC's Take Two. "And there was an early detection around October 2011 that this fund seemed to have more money that it should have in it, so they launched a forensic accounting effort that involved reviewing of 11,000 documents." 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: City Hall loses women leaders, city council races gets contentious, a look at Prop C

Roz Wyman

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Roz Wyman was the second woman ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council. She says the possibility of an all-male city council is "amazing."

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings 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, May 15, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Los Angeles is on the cusp of electing its first female mayor and yet, the rest of city government could be all male on July 1, reports KPCC. The station looks at why more women don't run for office, as well as the challenges they face once they get elected. "I mean, think of this, that we would have in 2013 no woman on the city council. That’s really amazing," said former Councilwoman Roz Wyman.

Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez had dinner with Eric Garcetti. "No one would be shocked if, in response to a question about aerospace, Garcetti revealed that he's a former astronaut who planted an organic garden on the moon," Lopez writes.

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Women lose political footing at LA City Hall

Roz Wyman

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Roz Wyman was the second woman ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council. She's seen here in 1972 with Ted Kennedy.

Estelle Lawton Lindsey

LA Public Library

Estelle Lawton Lindsey was the first woman elected to the L.A. City Council in 1915. She served for two years.

Harriett Davenport

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Councilwoman Harriet Davenport in 1954 at a groundbreaking ceremony for a statue of Gen. MacArthur in MacArthur Park.

Pat Russell

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Councilwoman Pat Russell in 1980 with Undersheriff Sherman Block, LAPD Chief Daryl Gates, DA John Van de Kamp, Mayor Tom Bradley and City Attorney Burt Pines.

Peggy Stevenson

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson on a sidewalk cleaning machine in 1977.

Joy Picus

LA Public Library/Mike Sergieff

L.A. City Councilwoman Joy Picus seen here in 1987.

Joan Milke Flores

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores attends a 1985 hearing on the Watts Towers.

Gloria Molina

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Gloria Molina was the first -- and to this day the only -- Latina on the Los Angeles City Council. In 1989, she attended a news conference with LAPD Chief Daryl Gates in MacArthur Park.

Ruth Galanter

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Councilwoman Ruth Galanter watches a crew put a Armorflex lining in the Venice canals in 1988.

Rita Walters

LA Public Library/Gary Leonard Collection

In 1999, L.A. City Councilwoman Rita Walters helped cut the ribbon on the new Staples Center.

Laura Chick

LA Public Library/Gary Leonard Collection

Laura Chick, who was a city councilwoman before she was the controller, at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's inaugural gala. Chick was the first woman to hold a citywide office in Los Angeles.

Jackie Goldberg

LA Public Library/Gary Leonard Collection

A portrait of Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, who was the first openly lesbian woman elected to the Los Angeles City Council.

Cindy Miscikowski

LA Public Library/Gary Leonard Collection

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski speaks at her last city council meeting on June 28, 2005.

Jan Perry

LA Public Library/Gary Leonard Collection

L.A City Councilwoman Jan Perry's district included the Skid Row area. Here she is in 2005 outside the Midnight Mission.

Janice Hahn

Slobodan Dimitrov

Councilwoman Janice Hahn at her inauguration ceremony for the 15th District. She ultimately left the council to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Mayoral Election Held In Los Angeles

David McNew/Getty Images

Wendy Greuel was a councilwoman for the San Fernando Valley before elected city controller. She is running to be Los Angeles' first female mayor.


With Wendy Greuel on this year’s mayoral ticket, it may seem like Los Angeles is moving forward on gender equality. But in reality, the city has gone backwards in how women are represented in municipal government.

On July 1, L.A. city government could be run entirely by men. 

Fewer than half of all city commissioners are women. The general managers of the police, fire, Water and Power, Sanitation, Transportation and Planning departments are all men. After the runoff election, the city attorney and controller will be men. And when the new City Council is seated this summer, it will have no more than two women — and possibly none at all.

"I mean, think of this, that we would have in 2013 no woman on the city council. That’s really amazing," said Roz Wyman, who 60 years ago became the second woman ever elected to the L.A. City Council. The first was Estelle Lawton Lindsey in 1915.

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LA City Attorney race: Lacey endorses Feuer over Trutanich

Jackie Lacey

Mae Ryan/KPCC

LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey, seen here in a file photo, has endorsed former State Assemblyman Mike Feuer for LA city attorney over incumbent Carmen Trutanich.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Tuesday endorsed former State Assemblyman Mike Feuer in his bid to unseat City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

“It is important to me that I have a thoughtful and informed individual with the highest standards of integrity as a criminal justice partner,” Lacey said in a statement.

Lacey, who defeated Trutanich in the district attorney’s contest last year, said she was unhappy with a Trutanich campaign mailer. The mailer blames Feuer for the recent sexual assault of a Northridge girl, allegedly by a man released under California’s prison realignment plan. The former state assemblyman voted for realignment.

“Realignment is the biggest challenge facing public safety in 30 years,” Lacey said. “Misrepresenting the facts surrounding the violent sexual assault of a child for political purposes is intellectually dishonest and counterproductive to finding solutions to the challenges brought on by realignment.”

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Brown's proposed budget boosts K-12 education, but goes easy on spending

Space Shuttle Endeavour Grand Opening

Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks from a podium underneath the space shuttle Endeavour during the grand opening ceremony for the California Science center's Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, on October 30, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.

Riding a wave of state tax revenue, Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget proposal Tuesday that looks much different from the ones Californians have become accustomed to in recent years: It has a surplus.

Brown is proposing a $96.4 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1, funneling more money to K-12 schools but otherwise taking a cautionary approach to spending.

He wants to spend extra money on schools in economically disadvantaged communities, giving California a new narrative from the multibillion dollar deficits that led to teacher layoffs, IOUs for state workers and deep spending cuts for nearly all government programs just a few years ago.

At the same time, the Democratic governor is maintaining his pledge to keep spending under control by resisting demands from within his own party to spend more freely and fully restore the safety net programs cut during the recession.

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