Politics, government and public life for Southern California

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. 


Californians in Congress create Sikh Caucus, observe Armenian Genocide


U.S. Rep. Judy Chu is one of two California representatives to Congress that have formed a Sikh Caucus.

A pair of California House members have announced the formation of a new group to acknowledge a large religious group in California: the Sikh Caucus.

Nearly 40 percent of the nation's estimated Sikh population --an estimated 250,000 -- live in California. Early immigrants worked on the railroad and farms in California's Central Valley. The first Sikh Temple built in California, Gurdwara, opened in 1912. 

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, and Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, will co-chair the new caucus, an informal group created to educate members of Congress and the general public about American Sikh issues.

“More than a decade after 9/11, too many Sikhs across America face discrimination, bullying, and even bias-motivated violence from misguided individuals associating them with the terrorist attacks,” Chu said Wednesday. “This caucus will be the voice for American Sikhs in the House of Representatives."


Feinstein wants Yosemite to grow to John Muir's boundary lines

Yosemite National Park

Stephanie O'Neill/KPCC

California Senator Dianne Feinstein wants to expand the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

Feeling a little crowded these days when you visit Yosemite National Park? California lawmakers want to expand the park to protect habitat.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill that expands Yosemite by about 1,600 acres on the park's western border. The proposed new boundary would include acreage that conservationist John Muir first proposed more than a century ago.

The bill, co-sponsored by fellow California Democrat Barbara Boxer and introduced in the House of Representatives by Jim Costa of Fresno, would allow the National Park Service to buy land from willing sellers. It would include nearly 800 acres already purchased by the conservation group Pacific Forest Trust.

"Yosemite’s popularity is also its greatest challenge,"  Feinstein said.

She said new development in the western lands adjoining the park would "increase the threat of fire, habitat fragmentation and degradation of creeks that flow into the park."


Maven's Morning Coffee: charges for county assessor, a legal fight in Ontario, and a closer look at the DWP union

Noguez mugshot

LA County Sheriff's Dept.

Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez is facing more felony counts in an alleged bribery scandal.

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, April 24, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


KPCC takes a closer look at the men and women whose paychecks help fund the Department of Water and Power union. "Donors to Working Californians are mainly individual union members; the locals that have put up the most money for the PAC are Locals 11 and 18 of the  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and unions representing other DWP workers, such as pipefitters and plumbers," according to the station.


LA mayor's race: City worker unions power the pro-Wendy Greuel Working Californians PAC


Maya Sugarman/KPCC

City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel chat before their April 22 mayoral debate.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013A political action committee backed by city labor unions has collected $2.7 million in support of Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, making it the biggest independent PAC in the race.

Mayoral candidates Greuel and Eric Garcetti attacked one another over questions of integrity Monday during a debate sponsored by KPCC, NBC 4, Telemundo and USC.

At $2.7 million collected and counting, Working Californians to Elect Wendy Greuel for Mayor 2013 is the biggest independent political action committee in the mayor's race. A senior official describes it as a coalition of labor, business, and philanthropists, but city unions — particularly those representing Department of Water and Power workers — have given the lion's share of the PAC's money.

Attacking the PAC has become part of Councilman Garcetti's campaign mantra: "I don't have $3 million from a super PAC led by the DWP union supporting my campaign," he said in Monday's debate.