Politics, government and public life for Southern California

San Gabriel City Council decides to seat councilman-elect

Chin-Ho Liao and legal team

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Attorneys Deanna Kitamura, center, and Nilay Vora, left, celebrate on hearing that Councilman-elect Chin-Ho Liao, right, will be permitted to take his seat on the San Gabriel City Council.

The San Gabriel City Council voted 3-1 Monday to set aside a challenge to the residency of councilman-elect Chin-Ho Liao and let him take the oath of office.

When Liao takes his council seat Tuesday evening, it will be two months after the election. Soon after the votes were counted, a resident of the city filed a complaint alleging that Liao did not live in San Gabriel as required by law. The City Council chose to hold off installing him in office and held hearings that included testimony from his Liao's neighbors, wife and acquaintances.

At Monday's meeting, the council focused on two issues: whether Liao had a physical presence in the city and whether he intended to remain in San Gabriel.

A majority of the council agreed that Liao resided in the city for the March election. He had rented an apartment in San Gabriel last November, changed his drivers license and voter registration address, and neighbors said he appeared to be living within the city. But other key indicators of his domicile did not follow — tax records, health insurance and other records kept his out-of-city address.


LA city unions insist scheduled pay raises should be honored

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

The Coalition of LA City Unions presented its financial proposals to the Budget and Finance Committee Monday.

Members of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions presented their financial proposals Monday to the Los Angeles City Council's Budget and Finance Committee, maintaining that the city should retain the 5.5 percent pay raises that are scheduled to take effect in January.

The committee is in its second week of budget deliberations on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's $7.7 billion budget. Citing the city's precarious financial situation, the mayor proposed withholding the raises. He also wants city workers to pay 10 percent toward their health care. 

The coalition represents 22,000 public sector employees, from librarians to 911 operators to maintenance staff.

In an opening statement, Julie Butcher with SEIU Local 721, told the committee labor believes the city's budget is in good shape. Butcher also referred to a Los Angeles Times article that found money for the scheduled raises exists in a reserve account. 


Maven's Morning Coffee: mayoral candidates find common ground, Rick Caruso takes a crack at the city budget, "political swatting" takes over campaigns


Maya Sugarman/KPCC

In their latest debate, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti found common ground on policies related to teacher evaluations, neighborhood improvements and immigration reform. They also agreed that neither is "dishonest."

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 Monday, May 6, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


It looks like Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti found plenty of things to agree on at Sunday's debate, reports the Los Angeles Times. The two have similar positions on teacher evaluations, neighborhood improvements and immigration reform.

In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, Jan Perry and Kevin James develop a talk show, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa looks for a library, and Rick Caruso gets honored.

KPCC looks at the math behind Los Angeles' pension plans. An average city worker will get an annual pension of $46,000 after 30 years on the job. For police officers and firefighters, that figure is more like $66,000.


LA Mayor’s Race: The city pension problem facing Garcetti and Greuel

Jacob Miller, who works as a care technician at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services, is covered by the L.A. City Employees Retirement System. Under that system, the average worker who retires this year after 27 years on the job would receive an annual $46,000 pension for life.

One of the biggest challenges facing the next mayor of Los Angeles is the ballooning cost of pensions for city employees. Those costs eat into other city services such as street repairs and paramedics.

To get a sense of the challenge, meet Jacob Miller. He ‘s worked at the Department of Animal Services for 11 years.

"If you are dropping off an animal, or adopting, or redeeming your own pet that got lost, I'm the person you would talk to,” Miller explains after working an overnight shift. “And I make sure your pet is comfortable while it’s at the shelter."

Miller, 34, recalls the words of his father, who also worked in the public sector: "He said, 'Once you have a city job, you're set for life. They're going to take care of you.'”


CA prisons chief says state remains at odds with federal court order

California Prisons

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

California Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard (seen here in a file photo) said Friday "We don’t think we need to do any more" to reduce the state's prison population.

Less than 12 hours after California followed a court order and submitted a plan for reducing its prison population, the state's prisons chief called it “the best of the bad options.” 

Speaking at a press conference Friday morning, Secretary of Corrections Jeffrey Beard said, "We don’t think we need to do any more, and that’s why we haven’t submitted a plan before this.  We’re only doing this under court order.”

Last month, a panel of three District Court judges court ordered California officials to determine  how to shed 9,500 inmates from state prison system before year's end. It was the latest development in a legal fight dating to 2009 when the judges ruled that overcrowding was the primary reason inmates lacked adequate mental and medical care.

The following year, the judges ordered California to reduce the prison population by 40,000 inmates within two years. The state's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. Despite sending large numbers of inmates to county jails, the state has struggled to meet the federal mandate.