Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA County workers rally for pay raises

SEIU Rally

Alice Walton/KPCC

Thousands of LA County workers rallied outside the Hall of Administration Tuesday in support of pay raises, which they have not received since 2009.

Thousands of county workers rallied outside the Hall of Administration Tuesday in support of pay raises, which they say the $24.7 billion budget can now support because it shows the county is back on solid financial footing.

The workers gathered as County CEO Bill Fujioka prepared to formally present the budget to the Board of Supervisors. 

“Our message to Mr. Fujioka and the board is: it’s time for L.A. County workers to get a raise,” said Marlene Allen of the Department of Public Social Services, addressing the crowd gathered on Temple Street.  “We know the budget that Mr. Fujioka is presenting doesn’t call for any cuts and that’s a good thing because we don’t need cuts. But the question is, does it call for a raise?”

SEIU represents 55,000 county workers, from nurses to clerical workers, who have not had salary increases or cost-of-living adjustments since 2009. As a result, the county has not issued furloughs or layoffs.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Wendy Greuel's budget plan, LAFD wants more ambulances, LAUSD looks to revise teacher investigations

Los Angeles City Hall

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The campaign of Wendy Greuel released a plan Monday that could save the city $175 million.

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 Tuesday, April 16, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel proposed $175 million in savings Monday through parking lot collections and changes to employees' health care benefits, reports KPCC. "The proposal was unveiled after months of complaints from civic leaders that Greuel, the city controller, and her opponent, Councilman Eric Garcetti, have offered too few ideas for closing the budget shortfall," according to the Los Angeles Times.


L.A. Mayor’s Race: Greuel presents budget proposals

Grant Slater/KPCC

City Controller Wendy Greuel speaking to her supporters in March after moving forward to a runoff against Councilman Eric Garcetti in the race for Los Angeles mayor.

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel Monday presented a series of proposals which she said could reduce the city’s budget deficit through $175 million dollars in savings and new revenue.

“The ideas we discussed today are a blueprint for how we can close our budget gap so we can get back to providing the services Angelenos depend on,” Greuel said as she unveiled her proposal.

But several of her ideas mirrored those presented by her opponent, City Councilman Eric Garcetti. 

For example, Greuel said the city could save $60 million annually by requiring city workers to contribute more to healthcare costs and changing the design of the city's healthcare package. Garcetti’s plan estimates $40 million dollars in similar savings.

Another idea: collect $20 million dollars from parking lot operators who fail to pay a 10% parking tax. The city’s ad hoc Commission on Revenue Efficiency first presented that proposal last year. Garcetti also endorsed it. City administrators have warned that money would be hard to collect.


Senate approves another federal judge for LA: Beverly Reid O'Connell

L.A. Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell has been approved by the U.S. Senate for a seat on the federal bench. She is seen here during her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By unanimous vote of 92 to zero, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a new federal judge for Southern California. The bench for the L.A. area is now fully staffed, but that’s not the case elsewhere in the state.

The confirmation means Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell will leave the L.A. Superior Court for the federal bench. University of Richmond Law Professor Carl Tobias says it’s a "great addition" to the court. He says Judge O’Connell is highly regarded in California. She created a program that brings inner city students to the courthouse to talk to judges and lawyers.

Her confirmation means the Central District, which serves the greater L.A. area, is fully staffed with 28 judges.

That isn't the case  for the rest of the country, or for California. Tobias says then state still has five vacancies on the federal bench; other border states have even more.


Greuel TV ad calls for end to gun violence, references Sandy Hook

Mayoral Election Held In Los Angeles

David McNew/Getty Images

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel references the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in her new political ad.

In her first television spot of the runoff campaign, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel calls for an end to gun violence by referencing the December shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.  

"We could all have our own Sandy Hook," Greuel says in the commercial. "For me, it was a gunman with an assault weapon firing on children at a Jewish community center and a murder-suicide with a semi-automatic at our family business."

That first reference is to the 1999 shooting at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills. Five people were injured and a postal worker was later killed by the gunman, Buford O. Furrow, Jr. The campaign says Greuel grew up blocks away from the community center. 

The murder-suicide Greuel talks about in the ad occurred in 1992.