Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Mayor Villaraigosa seeks to renegotiate pay raises, health care costs (updated)

LA City Budget

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his final spending proposal Monday morning. He wants the next mayor and Los Angeles City Council to renegotiate employee benefits. Doing so could result in a surplus by the end of the next mayor's first term.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s $7.7 billion Los Angeles city budget proposal calls for the renegotiation of pay increases for municipal employees scheduled to take effect next January.  

The 5.5 percent raises would go to 60 percent of the city’s civilian force. The mayor wants the City Council and his successor to renegotiate those raises and force city workers to pay 10 percent toward their health care benefits. Villaraigosa has pointed to a 2007 decision to increase workers’ paychecks by 25 percent as one of the contributing factors to LA’s budget problems.

“I feel compelled and I have felt compelled to make up for that mistake,” Villaraigosa said.

“What if I told you that we have some employees that don’t pay a penny for health care? The notion that we should pay 10 percent of health care is not a radical notion. It’s a sustainable notion.”

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Maven's Morning Coffee: a new poll in the mayor's race, a special election in the Valley, an old claim against a councilman

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

A new poll from the Los Angeles Times finds Eric Garcetti leading Wendy Greuel in the mayor's race by 10 points.

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.

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Today is Monday, April 22, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, mayoral candidates hit the airwaves, Antonio Villaraigosa talks about Mitt Romney, and the city's budget proposal gets a release.

A new poll from the Los Angeles Times finds Eric Garcetti leading Wendy Greuel by 10 points in the mayor's races. "The most important question in this campaign is whether Wendy Greuel can convince voters that her support from organized labor does not make her beholden to them," said Dan Schnur with USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, per KPCC.

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California corrections office helps victims navigate parole hearings and release of perpetrators

iStockphoto.com

California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s main job is to keep criminals behind bars. But at some point, most of those inmates are released.

The agency’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services informs victims before that happens. To highlight that work, California prison officials are holding a ceremony Monday morning in honor of Victims Rights Week.

Corrections department spokesman Bill Sessa says the agency's responsibilities also include notifying victims if a prisoner gets a parole hearing.

"The board of parole hearings takes the feelings or the consequences of the crime on the victims as one serious factor in deciding whether on not someone should be released," Sessa said. "Those victims can testify in the parole hearing and our office of victim’s services helps them do that."

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Poll: Eric Garcetti widens lead over Wendy Greuel in LA mayor's race

Los Angeles Mayor

AP

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti has increased his lead over Wendy Greuel in the latest poll conducted by USC and the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013With the L.A. mayoral election a month away, Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti has opened a double-digit lead over City Controller Wendy Greuel.

According to a poll released Sunday by the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Los Angeles Times, 50 percent of likely voters favor Garcetti, while 40 percent prefer Greuel. Once thought to be the favorite in the race, Greuel is seeking to become the city’s first woman mayor. The runoff election is May 21.

Perhaps most surprising: female voters support Garcetti over Greuel 50-41 percent.  Poll director Dan Schnur, who heads USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, suggested Greuel’s emphasis on her work as city controller may be weakening her with women voters.

“Greuel may be suffering from a Hillary Clinton problem,” Schnur said in a statement, referencing Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. “Clinton emphasized her qualities of strength and toughness to such a degree that it mitigated her gender advantage. The difference is that Greuel might still have the time to fix it."

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Bill Clinton stumps for Wendy Greuel at iconic LA deli (updated)

Bill Clinton

Alice Walton/KPCC

Bill Clinton and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel participated in a town hall Saturday at Langer's deli in Westlake. The former president had previously endorsed Greuel's mayoral campaign.

Former president Bill Clinton came to Los Angeles Saturday to make a public show of support for mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel.

Appearing at Langer’s deli in the Westlake neighborhood, Clinton praised Greuel’s work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. He also referenced her work with the LA’s BEST after-school program.

“One of the things you need to do is to go out and tell people that the mayor’s job is a job that makes a big difference in their lives and we can’t tolerate, in this condition of the economy, the kind of low turnout you always have in these mayors’ races,” Clinton said.

In the March 5 primary, just 21 percent of L.A.’s registered voters completed a ballot.

In order for Greuel to win the May 21 runoff against Councilman Eric Garcetti, she needs to show voters her true self, Clinton said.

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